The first decade of this millennium is often heralded as some sort of golden age for children’s films. Sure, most of Pixar’s best flicks came out in this period, and there were some winners in general, but I think people tend to view the films of their own childhood with rose-colored glasses. Most of these films are goddamn godawful. Just HOW goddamn godawful, you ask? Let’s find out together by checking out EVERY kids film between 2000 and 2009. From theatrical to direct-to-DVD to Disney Channel Original, we’ll look at ’em all because I am a glutton for punishment.
This week, a meh movie and a fantastic movie that doesn’t really count but whatever screw you.
SCOOBY-DOO AND THE ALIEN INVADERS
I like Scooby-Doo a bunch! I personally tend towards the “Mystery Incorporated” branch of the franchise, but Scooby-Doo is pretty much uniformly ok. It can be great, but it’s very rarely bad.
In this case, the gang is aimlessly driving through the desert (like you do) when they find a small town. Scooby and Shaggy wander off into a cave and encounter some space aliens because plot and they respond in true Scooby and Shaggy fashion: by running like cowards.
Turns out the residents of the town know that something weird’s been going on, but don’t really give enough of a shit to figure out what. The gang stay the night, and scooby and shaggy are abducted.
I don’t like how easy this image was to find online.
But before they can be dissected horribly, Scooby escapes and frees Shaggy.
Now, I have a question: We later find out that the aliens are imposters (Come on, that’s not a spoiler. This is Scooby-Doo, did you really think this would be the ONE TIME the threat was real?) But since we know that to be the case, what was their plan if Scooby and Shaggy HADN’T escaped? Actual direction? Probing? This is very troubling as a concept.
Scoob and Shag then meet Crystal and Amber, a hippy girl and her dog. They fall immediately in love and sing a song which I am ok with because songs.
Eventually, The gang all encounter the aliens in a series of chase scenes because Scooby-Doo.
They also run into some Military Police, which is when Crystal reveals herself to be a secret government agent. The gang discover that the “aliens” are actually local people trying to scare people away from a hidden store of gold.
Oh really? I am so very very surprised.
But then it turns out that Crystal and Amber are for-realsies aliens.
Ok, I didn’t actually see that one coming. But mores, I’m surprised that this and Land Before Time VII have the same goddamn twist ending.
Amber and Crystal go back to space, and Scooby and Shaggy are sad until they eat their feelings.
Standard Scooby-Doo fair, sure, but still great nonetheless.
SEVENTEEN AGAIN A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES
Ok, so when I tried to find the 2000 film “Seventeen Again” I couldn’t.
Buuuuuuuuuuuuut, when I searched for it on Google Play of all places, it recommended me A Walk Among the Tombstones instead. So I’m reviewing that because A: I like this movie and B: It is about as far removed from what I typically review as possible.
So I’m reviewing that instead.
A Walk Among the Tombstones is dark and brooding and incredible. A Liam Neeson movie that shows he can do deeply serious films and not just bullshit like “Nonstop”, AWATT is based on the Matt Scudder series of novels by Lawrence Block, drawing most of its plot from A Walk Among the Tombstones (obviously) but also taking bits and pieces from the rest of the book series.
The plot follows former cop and current PI Matt Scudder, who retired after his drunkeness led to the accidental death of a seven year old girl while in pursuit of a felon. He’s hired to find two brutal serial killers after they execute the wife of a drug dealer and kidnap a teenaged girl, a job which finds him new allies, new enemies, and a dark spiraling path towards redemption.
I fucking love this movie.
I’ve already discussed how much I love musicals and courtroom dramas, but another one of the things I adore with all my heart is movies about cops or detectives chasing serial killers. And this is a really good one’o those. It pulls no punches in its brutality but still finds time for select moments of levity, especially with his young partner TJ.
Although, fair warning, if you saw my recap of this movie and thought “oh, Liam Neeson trying to rescue a kidnap victim? SO IN!” you are in for a surprise. This is not a popcorn movie. In fact, this is the kind of movie that makes you feel bad for not giving it your full attention. Taken, it ain’t.
No matter how much it looks like this screenshot could have been pulled from either film.
The cast of this thing is phenomenal. Neeson plays a serious character with some definitive shit in his past he needs to work through. His interactions with the rest of the cast, especially TJ, show his attempts to reconnect with the world even after all his previous failings. David Harbour and Adam David Thompson play two of the most menacing serial killers I’ve seen lately, each in a different (yet still terrifying) way.
Plus, this movie gives us some sweet Dan Stevens, who will be known to most of you as “the dude from Downton Abbey” and to the cool ones of you as “that awesome guy from The Guest”
Every movie could use more Dan Stevens.
Buuuuuuuuut, that’s it for the week. Next week, I guess I’ll watch some other movies that are bad again. Unless one of them is unavailable in which case I guess I’ll give Se7en a re-watch.