|What happens in Vegas apparently warrants a sequel.|
In theaters this weekend, it's a pile of anticipation. The sequel to one of the funniest movies of the last few years, The Hangover Part II; the sequel to one of the fluffiest movies of the last few years, Kung Fu Panda 2; and the long-awaited The Tree of Life from reclusive poet Terrence Malick.
Stop holding your breath. It's all here. But, which one is more worth your money? Let's take a look below and find out.
The Hangover: Part II. R.
Remember when the boys had that really fun night in Vegas? Neither do they. But, after searching all over the city of sin, they got pieces of it back together, and found their friend Doug (in a bit of a cheat ending, but whatever) just in time to get him to his wedding. Now, Stu is getting married, but not to that lovely hooker he met and got married to in Vegas. Nope, he's marrying someone else and the boys are flying to Bangkok for a Bachelor's Brunch. So... this is the same story as the first one, pretty much. I'm anticipating this outing with the Wolf Pack not being as funny, clever, or aware of the characters' psychological defects as the original. The Hangover could have passed as a character study on four men with emotional growth problems (and it does, with a bit of thought), but this part is probably out to bastardize the depth of the original and make it a mockery of itself. And if there's a third one? It'll essentially be a remake.
Kung Fu Panda 2.
Kung Fu Panda 2.
I was hesitant to see the first Kung Fu Panda, simply because the trailers made it seem far too cute for its own good. But, by the time the credits rolled, I was glad I sat down and saw it. It makes for a good night with good food, good beer, and people you love. It's a charming, warm movie. This sequel, however, I get the feeling is going to follow the same path as The Hangover Part II. A practical rehash of what made the first one so great. We have the same lovable characters exploring the same themes and facing off against a seemingly similar threat. Will I see it? Of course. But, will I chomp at the bit for it? No. I have friends who have been waiting for it, but I'm more interested in seeing...
The Tree of Life. PG-13. (limited release)
It's been since 2005 that Terrence Malick has released a film. He's since been working on this, The Tree of Life, to great wonder, and now great acclaim. His film recently topped at the Cannes Festival, and is coming into limited release today, giving eager minds much to think about, rather than a sense of relief. Some critics have referred to the film as a spiritual awakening, or a prayer of sorts, and others have yet to find the words to describe it. But, all in all, the film itself will be one of the most widely talked about films of the year (in circles like ours, anyway). It'll probably make quite a splash come awards season, as well. Malick is a poet, as I slid in earlier, and he knows his way around Mother Nature. It's interesting, always, to see his vision through cinematographer Emanuel Lubezki's camera - it's like watching an imagination develop, like a photograph in a dark room.
There you have it, filmgoers. Go to the movies. See all three, if you can. If you've managed to catch a screening of one of these films, lay it out in the comments and tell us what you think!