There are films that come out that when you see them, you are absolutely blown away by it. You like the movie so much that when you hear that there is a sequel coming out, you really don’t mind seeing it. That was definitely the case with today’s film in Now You See Me 2. Since the events of the first film the horseman J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) have gone into hiding awaiting the chance that they can work again. When the horseman are pulled out of retirement with the addition of a new female magician in Lulu (Lizzy Caplan) by their and FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), they learn that they are part of a plan by an evil tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist ever. Can the team do it or with they finally correct the wrongs? The film also stars Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as Thaddeus Bradley, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire) as Walter Mabry, Michael Caine (The Dark Knight) as Arthur Tressler, Jay Chou (The Green Hornet) as Li, Sanaa Lathan (Blade) as Deputy Director Natalie Austin, Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Anna Karenina) as Allen Scott-Frank, and the film was directed by Jon M. Chu (Jem And The Holograms).
One of the biggest reasons to see these films is because you want to see what kind of magic are they going to do and see how clever they really were. You also go to see these films for all the sleek stunts and the technology they incorporate with the tricks even though a big part of them is fighting technology and all the evil it can create. The film starts off by reminding us of who they are and what they’ve done in the past to build up these ragtag magicians up. The movie also really focuses on what happened to Mark Ruffalo’s character’s father and why he is on this revenge kick. We also see our crew evolve and become a solid team right before our very eyes as they battle the evil technology crazed world. I thought I was going to be disappointed that Isla Fisher wasn’t in the film, but I have to give credit to Lizzy Caplan for fitting right in with the crew. She added a certain wittiness to the tea by being there. The magic tricks of course are pretty cool, but my favorite thing is when they break down how they accomplished them in the first place. That is what I loved about the first film and that is what I loved in this film. Daniel Radcliffe is awesome as a really douchy guy with crap tons of money while Freeman and Caine were brilliant as always. Is it better than the first film, I don’t really think so, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have it’s moments. I enjoyed the film enough to give it a grade that is somewhere between the B+/A- range. It’s somewhere in there.
I had been promising myself for a long time that I wasn’t going to watch the movie version of Jem and the Holograms because of how different it was from the TV show version. Nevertheless, I break a lot of those and here it is. For Jerrica Benton (Aubrey Peeples), life is about as ordinary as it can be for a teenager in California. Although that will not last very long when Jerrica’s sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) uploads a video of her singing a song simply as Jem. The video catches on very quickly and she becomes an overnight sensation on Youtube which leads her to sign with Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis) and Starlight. What originally started as a chance to save her families home from foreclosure will now send Jerrica on a quest to find her true self and overcome the odds as Erica looks to break her from her sisters. The film also stars Aurora Perrineau (Freaks Of Nature) as Shana, Hayley Kiyoko (Insidious: Chapter 3) as Aja, Molly Ringwald (Pretty In Pink) as Aunt Bailey, Ryan Guzman (The Boy Next Door) as Rio, Barnaby Carpenter (Unlaced) as Emmett Benton, Nathan Moore (Thank You) as Zipper, and the film was directed by Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation).
There are obviously a lot of differences between the television version of the film and the film version. That is mainly what pissed off a lot of the Jem and the Hologram faithfuls who loved the TV show. Hence the reason, the film was instantaneously pulled from theaters after a very poor outcome at the box office in it’s first week. In the TV show, Jem is an adult who runs a label and a home for foster kids versus the fact that she is a foster kid with her sister living with an aunt in obscurity in the film version. She touches the star earrings in order to become Jem in the TV version versus pulling the Hannah Montana routine of a simple wig in the film version. There are so many differences that we can talk about, but how was the actual film itself? I actually found myself at times enjoying the film even though I know it’s a cornier version of Hannah Montana. They used a lot of youtube videos as part of the overall soundtrack and they showed the clips in the film so all of the users can thank them for the 15 minutes of fame. The film at times also had a documentary style to it with a lot of confessionals thrown in from fans when ever Jem faced a dilemma. So, the film was a little different and all over the place, but the music was actually a little decent. I could see the songs being pop chart hits that’s how catchy they were in my opinion. It’s definitely a film that I think you’re kids are going to enjoy and maybe it will be a gateway to the show for them. Just take into consideration that it’s not the same. Stick around during the end credits to see an old rival of Jem and the Holograms from the TV series. Too bad, we may never get another film. I am going to give the film an C+/B- for a final grade because I’m on the borderline with the grade.