Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Film Review: Rampage (good family fun!)

Rampage is a classic Summer film, released perhaps a bit early in anticipation of the encroaching box office hell that will be a month of Avengers followed by another month of Star Wars. Despite this, it's a fun movie....not the "think hard and ponder reality" kind of movie, nope. This is a movie which takes the barest backbone of a early nineties video game and turns it in to a Dwayne Johnson blockbuster, fully digestible for the family.

So, all snark or whatever aside, Rampage really is a fun film. It's arguably also a successful game-to-film adaptation but I would go so far as to suggest that reviewers touting this as a feature are being disingenuous; the movie is at best taking the barest core conceit of an already anemic video game as a point of inspiration and then transforming it into the basic structure of a story. The only parts of the movie that are from the video game are as follows:

Three giant monsters (a gorilla, a wolf thing and a reptile thing) need to crawl up a building or buildings and do lots of damage in the process while occasionally eating people

If you capture that, then you've captured the game. All the rest is just icing on the cake....and there was plenty of icing on this cake! The lead protagonist is an empathetic character built to play to Dwane Johnson's particular style. His female counterpart is a mousy but feisty scientist guaranteed to appeal to women in the audience. The villains are suitably villainous in an overt manner designed to make you happy when they get eaten like popcorn. George the gorilla is played straight up to be the most empathetic character of all, and in the words of my son, "They almost made me cry!" at a particular scene I won't mention that I am 100% sure was tested with an audience reaction for maximum positive reaction in the end.

The whole movie, being so carefully constructed, is therefore an entirely empty but utterly enjoyable ride. Well worth it if you have kids to take them to see this, but note that the violence level borders on Jurassic Park level at times, just not in an overt manner....think "people getting squashed, but only occasionally do we get evidence of real gore." Sensitive children probably should avoid it, but my son just ate it up. When the "Yes We're Broadcasting Just How Evil We Are" bad spec ops team goes in after the wolf, my son was gleefully saying "The Wolf's gonna kill them all" with the delight that only a budding wildlife conservationist anti-poacher can evoke.

If my son becomes an  wildlife conservationist one day, or even joins PETA or something I think I'm going to blame this movie.

So....Solid A!

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