13 Reasons Why: Powerful and Dragged Out

*Warning: Potential Spoilers*

This is probably the first and only time I will ever say this – this is the kind of story that should have been a movie.

There. I said it. Most novels that are adapted into films usually are unnecessary and can’t quite live up to the original, but in this case I feel that adapting a book into a television series (even a short Netflix series) was a detriment to the story it was telling. 13 Reasons Why had all of the great elements that it needed – a compelling tale, a talented cast, excellent cinematography – but even thirteen episodes was too much time to sum up the events of the tale of Hannah Barker neatly. The beginning of the season began to drag, focusing too much on the psychological thriller side of the story than on the tale of Hannah, and soon characters were starting to be introduced who could easily have been summed up in far less time. I understand the parallel they were going for – thirteen episodes for thirteen tapes – but that sacrificed a lot of time and impact, and at the end of the day, we weren’t watching this show for a psychological thriller tale of teenagers. That’s why we had Pretty Little Liars, and that got really old really quickly. We watch 13 Reasons Why for the heart and the pain and the truth of a teenager’s life, not the over-dramatization of it.

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The Zookeeper’s Wife: The Only World War Two Story

*Warning: Potential Spoilers*

Depending on the location, World War Two lasted anywhere between four and eight years. Nearly every country in the world participated in the war, in some way or another, and it’s estimated that 1.9 billion people fought in the war. That’s not including the people who died as a result but did no actual fighting. So why is it that, almost seventy years later, we are still incapable of telling more than one story about a time that affected everyone and everywhere? That’s all The Zookeeper’s Wife is – the same story with the same villains and the same lukewarm techniques to make its audience feel like they need to cry, even though they knew this was how the story was most likely going to go. This is not to say that the stories of people who saved lives during the war are unimportant. Those people and what they risked is nothing short of amazing. The problem is that we’ve told so many stories of heroes who saved people from the Nazis that, other than a couple gimmicks, they all seem the same now. Whatever emotional punch The Zookeeper’s Wife might have had is lost when you realize that the “zoo” of it all is less important than the title makes it seem. It’s not a bad movie – it’s just not a new one.

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The Belko Experiment Violently Amuses

*Warning: Potential Spoilers*

James Gunn has proven that he is good at having fun. His movies, whether good or bad, have always been fun to watch. When they’re good, like Marvel’s breath of fresh air Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) (and hopefully it’s upcoming sequel), they are really good, and everyone enjoys them. When they are mediocre or just downright bad (I think we can all agree that Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, while amusing, was more than a little ridiculous), they are still somehow bearable to sit through, and you might almost thank him when you’re done for making a terrible movie fun. Gunn’s newest project, The Belko Experiment, definitely falls into this second category. It’s not a good film; it is laughably ridiculous and stupid. It is a fun film though, at least as fun as a film about coworkers killing each other can be. It’s not really that original either – this is basically Battle Royale (2000) in an office, directed by Greg McLean (the guy behind Wolf Creek) and written by Gunn. But it’s a fun Battle Royale in an office, and even though you will flinch and squint, and at times throw your hands up in the air because you can’t believe some people are actually that stupid, you will still enjoy the show the whole way through.

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A United Kingdom of Several Stories

*Warning: Potential Spoilers*

Telling a story that happened in real life is always difficult for a movie to do. Most of the time there are so many events within one big story that it is difficult to tell any of them fully, or to figure out which ones are the important ones, the ones that need the majority of time devoted to them to make the entire event make sense. A United Kingdom is no different – while it tells the story of a couple whose marriage helped forge an entire country, there are many different stories that take place on the road to that country uniting behind that couple, and so this nearly two hour movie must tell several stories without dragging itself out and putting its emphasis in the correct place. What A United Kingdom chose to do was emphasize the love story and tell the story of a country’s unification as a resulting side story. This is a bit of a disappointment, because the love story is shaky, but the story of how Bechuanaland became Botswana is rock solid.

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