22 Jump Street (2014)

Genre: Comedy, Action, Crime

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman, Michael Bacall, Jonah Hill, Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube

Rating:★★★★

22 Jump Street was a release I was anticipating after enjoying it’s refreshing and hilarious prequel, 21 Jump Street, however there was a part of me which was nervous, a degree of doubt crept in telling me that this was going to be a sequel which shames all what came before it, however I was wrong. A very post-modern comedy, one which doesn’t take it self seriously, recognises its potential flaws and mocks them until they turn into positives is exactly what this film achieves and is about. A bro-mance relationship between duo Tatum and Hill once again provided wonders, whilst the many writers and the duo directors provided the genius touch to make 22 Jump Street a laugh-out-loud, entertaining comedy rollercoaster which is definitely worth seeing.

At the end of the 2012 hit, 21 Jump Street, Ice Cube’s Captain Dickson barks “This time, you’re going to college” and that’s exactly what 22 Jump Street revolves around. The film starts with a “previously on…” flashback which reminds us what we loved so much about its prequel whilst also mocking how the film has been based on a TV series, in which becomes the first of many references which laughs at and mocks itself.

Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) once again fail to be real policemen on real cases, and since they look far too old to go back to high-school they find themselves at college doing the same mission, in the same way, all over again; find the drug dealer, find the drugs; stop the drugs, “save kids’ lives”.  As they join MC State College it soon appears how Jenko seems to fit in more than Schmidt once again putting pressure on their partnership, just as we’ve seen before. However this time it’s different, there are no rules or boundaries, ink-squirting octopuses and amazingly bad Mexican accents. Jenko becomes a football-hero jock whilst Schmidt becomes an art-geek but as they seem to be running in circles with the case and they are at risk of failing as their budget runs low, both their relationship and the case seems stronger than ever.

The thing which makes 22 Jump Street stand out for me is its ability to mock itself but at the same time make it a real positive by being very funny. Watching an interview with Tatum and Hill it seemed clear that this was their aim, to create a film which notices how bad it could be and how bad other films are. In one scene Jenko having a conversation with Captain Dickson says, “So you’re telling me, it’s going to be exactly the same as before but cost twice as much?”, referencing the film itself something I couldn’t help but laugh at. Schmidt when walking into the new office says “wow, this building like a big cool cube of Ice” whilst directly speaking to Ice Cube himself, whilst the extra-added special ending (which I won’t ruin) sums up the brilliance, wit and light-hearted approach taken by the directors and host of writers.

The comedy which this film brings is great, matching its prequel which I was really impressed and pleased by. The opening sequence, which will be familiar from the trailer, kicks things off with a big comedy bang, whilst 22 Jump Street then continues with a host of other hilarious scenes, one of my favourites being Ice Cube’s shock realisation. Although not always being greatly funny, I feel there was always something to laugh at in each scene and even each frame but it felt very natural and flowing, something adding to the viewing experience. Lacking the refreshing element which was found before, is replaced by the self-reflection and mockery, whilst Ice Cube seemed to play a much more prominent role and the constant references to its prequel tied-together a well-written and comedic screenplay.

Channing Tatum’s and Jonah Hill’s relationship within the film is fantastic and completely natural, being one of If not the, best comedy relationships I’ve seen in a while really adding again to the overall greatness of 22 Jump Street. Ice Cube’s greater involvement as mentioned added something funnier and different, whilst the other characters all seemed to slot and fit in well.

There was so much to love about 22 Jump Street but it did have some flaws and annoying elements that brought it down a notch or two. Some scenes seemed overly long or dragged-out, not with the comedy but with touchy scenes meant to be a bit more serious, however I just wanted it to end and move back onto the funnier stuff. The character of Mercedes, a key role in the case, was completely annoying and frustrating, with annoying dialogue, actions and even facial expression, making a really hate-filled character.

22 Jump Street is a film which needs to be seen for a really fun-filled laughing experience which almost everyone can enjoy and relate to in some aspects. Everything which was successful with 21 Jump Street was transferred and reflected here, self-mockery, great writing, acting and overall comedy makes for a hard to hate comedy release which I couldn’t help but enjoy.

“We Jump Street, and we ’bout to jump in yo ass.  Jenko: Mmmm-hmmm. Schmidt: Right in the crack.” It’s a Must-See.

 

 

Lego Movie (2014)

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell

Rating: ★★★★½

The Lego Movie is all about reconnecting to the creative, imaginative, fun and happy childlike mind-set you were in as kid when playing with one of the world’s most famous franchises. It’s an absolutely hilarious film the crafting being complete genius, making for a hundred minutes of laughs and reminiscing. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is what makes for such a great and entertaining watch, alongside some brilliant film references, famous voices, and a well-thought and written concept and ending making for one of the most surprisingly good films I’ve seen in recent years.

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just an ordinary construction worker, following the instruction manual just like every other Lego mini-figure living in a whole world made from Lego bricks, blocks and bits. After his work-shift Emmet spots something strange but before he knows, he is kidnapped and taken away by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), under the order of Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Emmet is seconds away from being melted into a tiny block of plastic when he gets rescued by WildStyle (Elizabeth Banks) who enlightens Emmet about him being the prophesied “Special”, the only person who can save the Lego Universe from the evil tyrant Lord Business. As Emmet goes on an adventure to save the universe he must both learn how to use his special gift whilst defeating and avoiding the traps of Lord Business.

The story is fun and entertaining, as Emmet adventures on through his mission he meets all kinds of people from batman, superman, and green lantern, to even a repressive happy pink unicorn. Eventually the film fizzles out to an ending which reminded me of the much famous Star Wars, the ending rounds of the film very nicely whilst showing of some brilliant thoughts and film-writing.  Lego Movie gives off a very nice message, for me it was all about being free to create what you want and to be what you want in life, doing what makes you happy without following the instruction manual.

The characters were all fantastic, all being hilarious, well written and well voiced by some famous names. Emmet was fun and well written; although Pratt voice didn’t jump out too much I felt overall it worked well. Liam Neeson as Good Cop/Bad Cop was by far my favourite; it was outrageously funny and genius. As his faced changed from good to bad or from raised eyebrows to angry, I couldn’t help but laugh whilst Neeson’s voice couldn’t have been more fitting. Writers and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, comical geniuses in my eyes, deserve a lot credit for what they have made, whilst fellow writers Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman shouldn’t be forgotten.

The way in which Lego Movie has been made is film craft and animation at its finest, not a detail missed and this only increased my admiration. The water scenes were for me most impressive, with each splash being a handful of blue little bricks thrown up into the air. Every block and Lego-made character brought back memory after memory of childhood fun, and it amazes me how all this came across on a big screen.

It’s hard to find things I disliked about Lego Movie, it had everything from humour  to great visuals however I found its theme song, “Everything is Awesome” one of the most annoying aspects and one of, if not the, most annoying film song I have heard for a long while despite it being ridiculously catchy. It brought a very silly aspect to this film with it also reminding me how this is a kid film, despite its appeal to the older viewers, this was also something it seemed to dodge and avoid throughout but couldn’t for a few frustratingly catchy scenes.

Lego Movie I’m sure will be remembered for a long while by both children and adults alike, not only for its song but for a fun-filled film which relights childhood feelings making it too hard not to enjoy. Written and directed greatly, a host of well-known voices and an overall concept which aims to please makes Lego Movie a surprisingly enjoyable film and one of the biggest and surprising releases this year so far. It is a must-see entertaining watch which won’t disappoint!

 

21 Jump Street (2012)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Jonah Hill, Michael Bacall, Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

Rating:★★★★

In the light of the fast approaching release of its sequel 22 Jump Street, I revisited a film which I will never tire from; the brilliant, funny and refreshing comedy 21 Jump Street. Originally a TV series, Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall adapt the 80’s hit show, which starred a young Jonny Depp, into a new and refreshing comedy which brings laughs and action together as well as touching on something a little deeper.

Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are both newly graduated police officers and bicycle riding partners; however the two actually went to school with each other but were far from partners back in the day. Schmidt was a typical unpopular dork and had an uncanny resemblance to Slim Shady; Jenko was the polar opposite, a popular jock who everyone chased after. Since they are young, and look like high school students along with their inability to be police officers they are both assigned to an undercover unit where they have to infiltrate a drug ring that seems to be at the heart of a high school, supplying the student’s synthetic and dangerous drugs. As Jenko and Schmidt go back to high school as undercover officers it brings comedy, but from a lot of angles and perspectives. The obvious comedy comes from Jenko and Schmidt attempting to fit in within high school, despite them both appearing older with even the science teacher fancying Jenko, the pair go on the throw a party, attend prom and take part in the school play of Peter Pan however the real humour is achieved elsewhere for me. School has changed greatly since Jenko and Schmidt   have become officers, however this is of course a real life portrayal of school too, as the pair attempt to fit in on their first day they realise everything is the opposite. There are more than the typical jocks, nerds and goths; the “cool-guy” Eric (Dave Franco) is an eco-warrior and cares for Mother Nature, fast cars aren’t popular and either is not trying and acting “cool”, this for me was hilarious, due to me being a student I could make these comparisons and laugh with our protagonists as they realised the changes. The film portrays this idea well, and uses it cleverly; Jenko who was the popular guy is now a dork whilst Schmidt is enjoying life being the popular and fun kid and of course this will set up a conflict. The acting was great, Jonah Hill for me is an underrated actor and is a really talented guy, and he can take on serious roles but is also brilliant when it comes to delivering comedy. Hill as Schmidt was great; his high school tantrums were a highlight along with the flashbacks of slim shady and his attempt of fighting. Tatum as Jenko was good, even the fact that Tatum was casted as Jenko brings humour as we wold expect him to be popular and seeing him take on a somewhat dork role was great. A real highlight was his attempt to “fuck-up” science, and in particular potassium nitrate. As well as the portrayals were of our main characters, the writers deserve a huge amount of credit for creating such humour and fun with them alongside some brilliant side characters and constant hilarious scenes.

When watching a comedy you always want big moments and big laughs, 21 Jump Street gives you just that. The most memorable from the whole film for me is when Jenko and Schmidt take the drugs which they are trying to infiltrate, the side-effect and resulting hallucinations are hilarious as their sports teacher turns into a talking ice-cream and the pair try to “finger fuck” each other’s throat to throw it up. It’s hard to fault 21 Jump Street; however I do feel at times the story goes a bit dry whilst the ending try to combine “silly” humour and it didn’t compliment the film at all. However for me 21 Jump Street is still a film I won’t get bored or watching and it will never fail to bring laughs.

21 Jump Street is a refreshing comedy, with a nice idea and a well written story which displays a range of humour which is suitable for all types of audiences. Each and every character is brilliant alongside the performances from the well-known and talented cast. I can only hope that the soon to be released sequel, 22 Jump Street, which sees Jenko and Schmidt go onto an undercover college mission, follows and reflects it’s original. Lots of laughs and easy to watch 21 Jump Street is definitely a memorable and great comedy.