Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Movie Marketing At MoviePush

Just so you know, my main focus is now on MoviePush, my blog dedicated to movie marketing. If you haven't checked it yet, please do.


In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movies and marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.

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Friday, 23 July 2010

MoviePush: Marketing Movies


A new blog dedicated to the marketing of movies.

There are many movie sites already in existence, ones that purely review films, those that have interviews with the cast and crew and those that link to the newest trailers. Yet there are very few that look specifically at the marketing of movies (absurd considering how much time and money goes behind a successful movie marketing campaign) and therefore this is what we aim to focus on at MoviePush.

We will be looking at new movies and the marketing techniques used to promote and "push" them into market. From the traditional (Movie Trailers, Posters, Billboards) to taking advantage of the new channels such as social media, mobile apps, etc.

Updating you with the latest news and media being used to maket movies, together with after thoughts and opinions of advertising campaigns and the films themselves.

We hope you enjoy.

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Friday, 25 July 2008

The Dark Knight

“Let’s put a smile on that face....”

Thank you Chris Nolan, Jonathon Nolan, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gwylyhall and everyone else involved, for creating the greatest “super-hero” films ever told.

Referring to The Dark Knight like that sounds a bit wrong, to say it’s the best Batman film would be an injustice, to say it’s the best comic-book film would be an injustice, to be quite honest this is just one of the best films ever committed to celluloid. Period.

This film is incredible, it contains so many strong story-lines that interweave and all pay-off, so many well developed characters and an abundance of intense scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Due to this the film is structured almost like a 2 and a half hour trailer, but this is not a criticism. There is so much jammed into the film and it moves at a very brisk pace, that this is the only conceivable way it could work. The musical score is constantly flowing with the film and pulls you in all the way to the end. Unlike Spider-man 3 with similar amounts of storyline and which ended up being a schizophrenic mess, The Dark Knight holds everything together and is consistently strong. Not an ounce of dialogue is wasted, everything said either advances the plot or a characters motivations.

Whereas Batman Begins was very much centred on Bruce Wayne this is more of an ensemble piece, with Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon, the Joker and Harvey Dent all pretty much sharing the screen time. Of which Harvey’s story creates the emotional arch and back-bone of the film.


Heath Ledger is insanely good in this film, he inhabits the Joker to such a point that you never once see Heath Ledger. You believe the Joker exists as his own person, his mannerism, his voice, his motives create one of the best screen villains ever seen. Partly due to the script and partly due to Heath’s interpretation, every second he is on screen, you listen, you take note, you don’t want to miss a second of his performance. It’s magnificent and very bitter-sweet, to realise we will never see Heath act again is very depressing, but this is a triumphant last outing. Rest in Peace.

As good as Ledger’s performance is, the rest of the cast all deliver equally strong, (it’s just the Joker obviously as the screen grabbing antics) especially Aaron Eckhart, he plays Harvey Dent perfectly with charisma and charm and then by the end his turn to Two-Face is manic, heart-breaking and genuine. If your fiancĂ© had just been killed and you’d be left burned and permanently scarred you’d probably do the same.

Christian Bale is excellent as the three sides of Bruce Wayne, his public persona, the behind closed doors “real” Bruce and of course Batman.

The rest of the cast all do brilliantly, there just isn’t enough time to write about everyone.

The film is intense from start to finish, with several key sequences where a few crossing story lines all climax to equal several “Oh shit, I can’t believe that just happened” moments. The initial attack on Commissioner, the judge and Harvey, then the Mayor assassination attempt, the race to save Rachael or Harvey and Joker escape, the 60 minutes dead or blow up hospital sequences. All bring heart-pumping suspense to the film.

Then you’ve also got an incredible car chase which culminates with a semi-truck doing a full flip over itself, the opening Bank Heist, the Joker’s pencil magic trick, Joker’s escape from Gotham Police Station, Two-Face’s revenge, Batman dropping Sal Maroni to ankle crunching landing, the Hong Kong sky scrapper, and many more.

Then there is the Interrogation scene which is incredible, from the intro with the Joker in the dark, to the reveal of Batman and their ultimate encounter, 5 minutes of absolute perfection.

Two-Face is excellent too, he looks terrible (in a good way), burnt skin, no eye lids and a hole in his cheek so you can see the insides of his mouth, a marvel of CGI and prosthetics. His revenge is justified and believable and he’s used well. Having Harvey’s story build the foundation for the film, and it makes sense they killed him, like a tragic Shakespearean play.

The only two slight issues I had was when the Joker pretends to be dead, one shot gives an unsettling reminder of Heath Ledgers demise.

The second being the Ferry game at the end, whilst a good idea it doesn’t quite pack the same emotional impact as the rest of film as it involves random citizens we’re not invested in.

Those things aside everything else is brilliant, the musical score is exceptional, pulsing throughout the film and giving each character their own themes, the Joker’s is particularly unnerving.

The fight editing as also been tidied up so now you can see exactly what’s going on.

Everything feels real, not like your average super hero film. Batman is just a man in a costume, Joker is a psychopath that wears make-up and Two-Face is really just a vengeful burn victim.

It’s so good, I don’t really want another one. It’s Part One and Two of a huge film. They couldn’t compete with another. No Joker, no back bone from Harvey, no central love interest to kill off, no comparison!

Though it does also feel like a middle, as it follows directly on from the Begins end sequence and could lead to a introduction of a third with Batman being hated by Gotham until a threat exists requiring Batman to rise again allowing for the title of “The Dark Knight Returns.” But I have no idea what sort of idea could possibly compete or top this one. You could maybe add the Riddler, the Penguin or Catwoman. But to keep it realistic as they have with the previous villains would be very hard. The Riddler could potentially be the easiest to make “real” but could also end up being very familiar to the Joker in this film, setting up games to play with Batman.

If they made a third it would have to centre on Bruce again, which would be a nice way to end the trilogy and make symmetrical with the first Bruce-centric adventure.

Enough talking about “unneeded but inevitable sequels” get out and see this film, it is incredible and is by far the best film of the year so far, and I very much doubt anything could equal or better it.

It is so good it is already in my top five films of all time.


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Sunday, 20 July 2008


They've done it again.

As with all Pixar films, the feature is preceded by a short.



I think this Pixar short has to be one of the best they have ever done. From concept to execution it is spectacular.

The simple story involving a magician, his rabbit and his magic hat set up one of the funniest five minutes ever delivered from Pixar. The amount of creativity and genius on screen is unparalleled, I was constantly laughing or thinking how clever it all was.

The pace builds from beginning to end and is an instant classic.

With such an incredible short, the main feature had a lot to live up to...



Fortunately the main presentation is itself also incredible.

It should be worth mentioning though, that Wall-E is a completely different type of movie than what today’s movie-goers are use to. Firstly there is little to no dialogue used for the first half of the film, and the central two characters don’t speak at all. The comedy and entertainment is therefore created from much more subtle and physical humour, as opposed to witty one-liners, etc.

Despite the advertising campaign centring on Wall-E and his overall cuteness, that makes the film seem like it would be very child focused I’d say this is actually the darkest and most adult Pixar film, with the bleak vision of the future, consumerism, loneliness and its overall message dealing with very serious issues.

Yet despite all this it really is a marvel of film-making, the ambition of this story is huge and to tell it in such an unconventional way, you really have to give the film-makers praise.

Watching the film I was constantly thinking “This is so clever, this is so clever.” Not from the obvious graphics stand point (which are flawless), but from the genius of Wall-E and the other characters, how they move, how they interact with one another and how they communicate. How Pixar give these inanimate objects so much life and personality to tell an interesting and moving story, is just hands down magnificent.

Wall-E and Eva are both incredibly likable and their love story is told in a unique way, yet feels so familiar.

I must say I enjoyed the first act slightly more than the rest of film, the introduction contains some of the most original bits of filmmaking I’ve seen in years, especially in animation. The second and third acts are just as strong, but become a little more conventional with the introduction of the Captain and spoken dialogue, and therefore don’t quite have the same amount of charm as the first 35minutes.

The length of the film is something that puzzles me, as it is relatively short compared to last year’s Ratatouille and in context this does seem a bit strange. Bear in mind Ratatouille essentially told the story of a Rat in a kitchen, where as Wall-E tells the story of the human demise and rise across the Galaxy and it’s half an hour shorter! I suppose I’m only complaining because I wanted to spend more time with Wall-E which you can never say is a bad thing, but then again with no dialogue if it had been any longer the experience may have been over stretched.

Although it’s expected the graphics and music are both exceptional throughout the film, whether its the textured rust and decay of Wall-e or the ultra slick reflections on Eva, everything looks stunning.

Special mention for the sound design and effects should be mentioned as these are used exquisitely and really make the film what it is.

Wall-E isn’t quite perfect, but considering everything it achieves and its ambition, it is in a master-class of filmmaking.

One of Pixar’s best.


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Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Pretty Darn Good!

Okay, I’m not really sure what happened, I wasn’t a fan of the first Narnia film (only watched 2/3rds and never got round to watching the end because it didn’t grab me), didn’t think the trailers looked that amazing and hadn’t bothered reading much about it at all.

Yet I actually really enjoyed Prince Caspian, it was definitely on par with some of the better films I’ve seen of the summer so far. I haven’t read any of the books so I can’t comment on it’s integrity to the source material, but as a film I had a pretty good time.

The story was relatively straightforward but entertaining, special effects and fight sequences were very good (even though they’re kid friendly) and everything ran at a brisk pace even though it was quite a long film.

Minus a few sequences that are very similar to Lord of the Rings, the film as a whole was solid. It kept a consistent tone throughout, balancing darkness with light-hearted comedy very well.

The action sequences were very well choreographed, especially a night-time flight infiltration of a castle and the climatic battle.

My other favourite scene, involved two disgusting creatures and the (almost) return of the Ice Queen. However, this did feel a bit out of place in the film (I imagine the book dedicated much more time to it and the build up, so the filmmakers felt they had to include it) it did just appear from nowhere in the context of the film. But as a standalone scene I loved it.

I had a surprising good time with this Narnia sequel (maybe because I wasn’t expecting much), but it’s always nice to be proved wrong once in awhile, and I'd actually quite like to see it again soon.


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Thursday, 3 July 2008


There's heroes. There's superheroes. And then there's Hancock... Mmmm...

I find my feeling to Hancock to be very mundane, it was nowhere near as bad as a lot of people have been saying, but at the same time it wasn’t particularly special either. It was just a bit “blah” for lack of a better word.

This opinion runs throughout the entirety of the movie, special effects aren’t rubbish but their nothing new, story isn’t atrocious but is pretty straight forward, concept is sort of original but never fully expanded and so on.

Though it is worth pointing out that the acting from Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman is all top notch, despite the mediocre-ness of the film, they deliver some fairly decent performances.

I was a bit surprised at the tone of the film, the trailers make it out to be fairly light affair, yet Will Smith is taking this role very seriously and more in the vain of his “I am Legend” performance rather than say his “Independence Day” one. The last act especially changes direction, with a very dramatic, violent and heavy emotional sequence that is starkly contrasting to the films first half.

The film is very short and (based on what I’ve heard) has been heavily edited from it’s original cut. This is noticeable, and looks like after the initial cut was finished somebody went through and literally cut out anything that didn’t involve the three leads or was deemed too hard hitting for a summer audience, probably why the endings tone stands out so much.

A few plot holes and inconsistencies can be ignored, but I don’t see why after Charlize Theron’s character has spent so long hiding her secret, that she’d then decide to have a huge brawl with Hancock in front of hundreds of pedestrian spectators, which then becomes a pretty empty sequence when there was no real reason for it in the first place.

I thought Hancock was watchable and fairly entertaining, but I wouldn’t rush to see it again or protest at seeing it again either, it basically just fills a couple of hours of time.


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Wednesday, 25 June 2008


"What the f*ck have you done lately?"

Comparisons to the Matrix and Fight Club are instantly going to be made with anyone who sees this film as they all basically use the same template. Bored office worker trundling along in life, wanting there to be more, is pulled out from it when they meet a mysterious and sexy stranger who introduces them to a new world.

The over the top action is also very much inspired by these two films and is taken to a whole new level, with curving bullets crashing into each other, car somersaulting across the streets, etc. The first sequence is almost too similar though, with a suited man jumping from a skyscraper, smashing with particles of glass surrounding him as he shoots in slow-motion.

Forgetting the basic story and the special effects similarities, Wanted is still a very enjoyable film and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The action is very well executed, with great editing and spectacular shots, guns fights, knife fights, car chases and a train sequence (which is the highlight) being fun and actually quite gory.

James McAvoy plays an extremely good part as he’s grows from weedy nerd to cocky gun slinger, though I found the American accent a little disconcerting to begin with.

Angelina Jolie is... well... Angelina Jolie. She’s stunning throughout the entire movie, kicks ass in all the action sequence and genuinely made me fancy her even more. That woman is made for men, she is perfect (and you get to see her sexy wet bum too which is worth the price of admission alone).

Morgan Freeman plays his standard type of role with an little twist, but it’s essentially the same character you’ve seen before.

Only two problems I had with Wanted were-

Firstly the amount of swearing in it. I don’t have anything against swearing per se, but sometimes it just didn’t fit with the characters, it felt that the writer couldn’t think of a witty line to include so just decided to write the word “Fuck” again. It seemed lazy and unwarranted.

Secondly, the farfetched action sequences come fast and furious from the beginning with no real explanation as to how these people can defy gravity. The premise revolves around curving bullets which is sort of explained, but how a man jumps from building to building is never elaborated on at all. The Matrix’s key concept allowed similar sequences to flourish, so unless you accept gravity defying stunts with no reasoning you may find yourself rolling your eyes quite a bit. Sometimes the action is so fast hitting the phrase “Less is more” comes to mind. But they do look amazing; you just have to forget logic for a couple of hours.

Overall the film moves at a brisk pace from start to finish, I was never bored and some of the ideas are very cool and unique. You don’t necessarily get anything revolutionary or new with Wanted, but you do get a very enjoyable night at the cinema with fast cars, sexy women and extremely well staged action.


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Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Incredible Hulk


With the release of two marvel films in as many months, comparisons are bound to arise. So I’ll get them out of the way straight a way…

I enjoyed Iron Man better, only slightly, but it just goes to show how strong of a force Robert Downey Jr is in that film, because I actually think Hulk has a better overall story and action set pieces. Yet Downey Jr’s charisma gives Iron Man the edge.

Edward Norton plays a good part as Bruce Banner, yet the problem with Hulk as a character is the huge difference between man and monster (superhero). With the majority of other superhero’s you get the same man just wearing their costume, so the emotional connection remains for the audience much easier between the transition. With Hulk and Banner the transformation is much grander and causes the connection to almost be lost, to the point that they become two quite separate characters.

This is no fault of the filmmakers just an underlying issues with the character itself. Despite how great Norton is, I wanted more Hulk. With Iron Man and Batman Begins, I actually enjoyed the time with Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne almost more than their hero counterparts (no easy feat within a superhero film).

With that minor gripe out of the way, (and it is minor considering how good the rest of the film is) lets get on with the review.

The story is relatively simple and is essentially a long chase in the same vain as the original TV series. This works well though and gives it it’s strength, leaving room to build characters and their relationships and dedicate time to the creation of Abomination (a rarity in a Superhero film to have the villains origin given more time than the heroes (which was my only problem with Iron Man)).

I did like this as it breaks the regular superhero origin template that most “first” films follow.

The action is pretty spectacular and delivers full on comic book thrills for the silver screen, with sonic cannons and an excellent (almost pitch-perfect) climatic battle.

The special effects are brilliant, Hulk and Abomination both look incredible even though (admittedly) the CG is still quite apparent. But then again is it ever going to be possible to make a 15 foot mass of green muscles look real?

I’d highly recommend this film to anyone, it’s definitely one of the better super-hero movies.


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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Sex and the City

Fans of the show are going to love it.

I’ve got to be honest I’m a little jealous; here’s a film where the creators have genuinely made it for the fans. They haven’t taken some concept or franchise with a fan base and then diluted it, added extra parts to appeal to a larger audience, they’ve delivered on every front and is exactly what you’d expect of a “Sex and the City” movie.

I wish other properties were shown similar respect (I’m looking at you Lucus).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly a huge fan of the series and I thought the film was just ok. So if you don’t like the series, there is no way in hell you’re going to like this movie. But what annoys me is wouldn’t you love it if the creators of your beloved franchises showed the same respect to you, and didn’t destroy your fave films by making another unjustified sequel and cramming it with un-needed extras.

There is no extra “unique” creation or story development in SATC to try harder or increase the fan base; it’s just “exactly what it says on the tin” fan filled entertainment. Presumably that was the aim, and in that regard it’s hard to fault in any area, this is perfect film-making for any fan.

I saw it with 3 girls who are all fans and they all loved it, and judging by the (majority women) filled cinema they loved every second of it too.

I’m not going to elaborate on the story or anything like that, as it is basically a 2 hour episode, but Kristin Davies does get naked in the shower so it got an extra point for that.

But this really deserves two film scores.

Fans – 10/10
Non-Fans – 6/10

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Friday, 23 May 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Last Crusade should most definitely have been the Last Crusade!

For a die-hard Indy fan - Disappointed, would be an understatement.

Shocked and what the hell just happened?? Is a little closer to the mark.

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, just read the non-spoiler paragraph next.

I really can’t understand the thought process of George Lucus & Steven Speilberg, how anyone could think this was a good idea is beyond me. They had 19 years to get the story right and if this was the best they could come up with, then what was the point? Topped with the fact none of the actors even try to look bothered during the whole film. It just looks like everyone is going through the motions. There are some cool bits, but not nearly enough to justify the existence of this movie.

I can’t really say anymore without spoilers, and no matter what I say you’ll probably go and see it anyway. But it’s probably best to close your eyes and pretend this never happened.


Now specifics, major spoiler filled review next so don’t read unless you want to have the “surprises” ruined.

One large problem that plagues the entire movie is how it’s filmed. Now I know it was filmed in a similar style to the old three films, using similar cinematography, etc, so as to not make a huge contrast between them. And this works fine in theory for all the practical effects of the film, but when used in combination with CGI (of which there is a lot), it makes it look ridiculous. Using old style lighting and camera work with CGI looks appalling, and every special effect has a weird overly bright blooming effect that just doesn’t fit with rest of film.

A lot of the special effects are also in areas where I can’t understand why they wouldn’t do it for real. Or if it wasn’t possible, why bother doing it at all?!

That is a general problem, and for all the talk Speilberg gave about using practical effects, that was an out-right lie. The last ten minutes is virtually all CGI and shot on green screen and looks completely out of place, Indiana Jones virtually jumps into a computer game.

There are two shots that are technically brilliant though, Indy looking at the nuke cloud and the flying saucer taking off at the end (yes you read that right), but they both look like they should be in another movie in order to appreciate them.

Well some good things - the opening action sequence in the warehouse and the motorbike chase through the campus are both cool, but again are the two sequences that don’t use CGI, and parts of the jungle car chase/ant attack are fun (minus the monkeys and the Tarzan imitation). But these two/three parts are the highlights.

(Don’t get me wrong I usually love CGI in films, but the majority of this just looks so bad it ruins the experience.)

There are bits and pieces throughout the entire film that are cool, and I thought “that’s a good idea”, like Marion slamming the breaks on causing Spalko to roll over the jeep bonnet and grab the turret gun, the ants climbing up each other, Indiana running across the wooden frames in the warehouse, blowing the poison dart back at the grave indians or climbing through the car during the motorbike chase.

But then you have Mutt swinging through a computer game jungle with monkeys, the entire end sequence filled with aliens and a teleportation device, Indy surviving a nuke by hiding in a fridge without even gaining a scratch, crotch shots from cgi plants, surviving three waterfall drops without even gasping for air and a f***ing flying saucer coming out of the ground for no reason what-so-ever!!

It’s point like that that leave you in utter disbelief and “How the heck did they think that was a good idea” or “what the hell is that doing in an Indiana Jones film?”

George Lucus if you want to make some 50’s style “Saucer Men from Mars” B-Movie create another character to do it with, don’t mess with Indy.

See the film follows the basic structure of the other Indy films, but this MacGuffin and conclusion are just awful and so not a part of the Indy world. There’s a flippin full life alien in an Indiana Jones film for Christ sake!! Indy discovering a long lost civilisation of dinosaurs would have worked ten times better than that.

The acting isn’t much better, no one seems particularly bothered about what’s happening, they see a huge flying saucer, survive falling off mile high cliffs and everyone is just like “Yeah, whatever, happens all the time. Let’s laugh about this great family day out.”

Harrison as Indy was a bit inconsistent, sometimes he was classic Indiana rolling with punches and making the right expressions, and other times he was just regular Harrison Ford which to be honest felt awkward, especially when jokes fell flat. Even when Indy finds out about Mutt being his son, he just makes jokes about it and makes stupid grins for the next half hour. Right so you’re now a cartoon version of your younger self??

The classic get up, didn’t seem to fit him either, it was like watching your granddad in a fancy dress “one-size-fits-all” Indy outfit. In the other films, they felt just like regular clothes, now it was like he was putting on his super-hero outfit.

An even bigger problem is the majority of the characters aren’t even needed, Mutt and Marion are pretty much just along for the ride, and they serve no purpose what-so-ever.

Shia Lebeouf as Mutt Williams (Indy’s son) wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t particularly amazing either and I’d have no desire to see him lead his own franchise or continuation of this one. But hey, if I got asked by George Lucus and Steven Speilberg to be in Indy 4 I’d have done it too!

The alien storyline was pretty weak but could have been passable if it wasn’t for the ridiculous out of this world (literally) ending. If they’d just kept it to alien relics, instead of actually bringing them to life, or used a earlier idea mentioned in the film of children having they’re skull elongated, then it could have worked. But as it stands you’re left with a big “What the f***?! They didn’t just do that did they?”

I’m a die-hard Indy fan and really wanted to enjoy this, but I can’t, I’ll go and see it again with much lowered expectations and see what I think of it then. But I can’t see it holding up over time against the other 3, it’s a forgettable film with a few nice touches but essentially wasn’t needed.

They should have very much left this trilogy alone. At least with Rambo and Die Hard they seemed to know what they were doing.

- Update –

Having seen it a second time this weekend, I have come to realise I was probably overly harsh in my initial opinion of it. This was due to my overly high expectations from a 19 yearlong wait, a few miss-steps in the film that drew my pessimistic focus and ruined the film for me and the fact it has the burden of having to live up to the other Indy sequels (I love TOD and LC equally but for different reasons).

I did enjoy it much more the second time, though I still absolutely hate the monkey swing sequence, it looks completely fake and out of place in the contexts of the film and the original trilogy, and the needless over-use of CGI for 3 minutes of the inner temple destruction (portal machine) and aliens at the end.

If it wasn’t for these two sections I think it would hold up a lot better and sit comfortably with the original films. Even though the nuclear test (fridge escape) and triple waterfall drop are a little too much I can kind of accept them.

I absolutely love the opening action sequence in the warehouse, the bike campus-chase, jungle jeep chase and the giant ants. I really got into these sequences the second time and found them much more impressive.

And Harrison Ford felt more like Indy for the duration this time, don’t ask me why…

So I guess I can’t really hate a 2hour ten minute film for what probably amounts to 5 minutes of problems with CGI (even though they still severely tarnish the film).

It’s an enjoyable film, not as bad as my initial “over-hyped self” thought, but still not entirely necessary and not in the same league as the first three.

Revised review score:

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