watching, reading, and writing stories

Smurfs vs Baby Boss


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So I haven’t done a movie review in a little while and I happened to see two movies this past weekend, so I thought it was time to do one. The two family films or kid’s movies that I went to see with a friend were The Boss Baby and Smurfs: The Lost Village. I have to admit from the previews I was a lot more excited about Smurfs than Boss Baby. The whole idea of a baby acting like an adult kind of weirded me out and even though I like Alec Baldwin’s humor, I wasn’t sure it would work out in a kid’s movie. Smurf’s on the other hand, looked extremely funny from the previews and I thought an all-animated movie would be an improvement over the mix of live-action and animated figures that we have seen in past Smurf movies.

And so, into the theater I went. The first film I saw was The Boss Baby, and I was surprised at how good it was. There were multiple funny lines and scenes, and the characters had a depth with great strengths and weaknesses. I was especially excited to see how both of the main characters grew through the movie. The single child realizes how fun and good having a brother can be. And the boss baby learns what he’s been missing out on by not being part of a family and how empty career advancement really is. And both boys learn how love isn’t limited but how it can grow to include more and more people.

At the end of Boss Baby I was just so happy. It had enough surprises for me to not feel like I had known exactly what would happen before I even watched the movie, and it had a satisfying conclusion where both characters get what they thought they wanted and then decide to change and give up their old desires for new better ones.

After a snack break and some leg stretching me and my friend headed back to the theaters for the Smurf movie. As I watched the movie, I found myself not laughing as much as I had thought I would. I realized that most of the jokes that I had found funny in the preview were the same jokes in the movie. After seeing them in the previews, they just weren’t as funny and there were not many additional ones to the ones I’d already seen. There was also not a lot of surprises either. The majority of the plot had already been revealed in the preview: other Smurfs exist in the forbidden forest, and four of our more familiar Smurfs go find them, the new Smurfs are all girls, then they have to defeat the evil wizard. There were a couple of other things that weren’t shown in the preview, but it definitely felt like I already knew most of the plotline. So when we finally got to the climax and it seemed like one of the Smurfs was a goner, I seriously doubted that it would end that way, and of course that Smurf magically came back to life. So it was an emotional ending, but somewhat predictable.

In the end, I actually liked Boss Baby more than the Smurf movie. This might have had a bit to do with low expectations for Boss Baby and High Expectations for Smurfs. Or perhaps I was excited for a movie when I saw Boss Baby and a little tired of watching movies by the time I saw Smurfs. But I think the biggest reason was because Smurfs revealed too much of its plotline in its previews and that made the movie predictable. Whereas Boss Baby set up the intro of its movie nicely in its previews but left most of the plot a surprise for the audience, and it had more of a surprising ending.

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Our church team praying before we left for Mozambique

Hello blogging world, sorry I haven’t posted in so long but if you hadn’t seen, I was out of the country for 2 weeks and didn’t have access to my laptop or even the internet. I had the opportunity to join my church on a mission trip to Mozambique. I had never been to Africa before and it was a wonderful experience. It may be hard for me to process all that’s happened and what all I learned from the experience but I’m hoping this blog will help me sort out my thoughts. So for the next few days or weeks, I will be posting a lot about Mozambique. I hope you enjoy and maybe even learn something.

So for my first post, I wanted to write about expectations. I think whenever you go on a trip, there are expectations that you have for yourself and that the people around you have for you as well. Especially for a mission trip, I feel like there’s this unspoken expectation that you are going to do something significant, make a difference, and achieve something. Often times we measure this with “projects.” It might be building a well, or a new church building, or providing food or clothes to poor people but we like having a specific mission and then achieving it.

Well going into this trip, I was very unsure what that “mission” was. I heard hints of showing the Jesus film and spending time with the Grannies (or caretakers of orphans) but I wasn’t really sure what we were supposed to do or what our mission was. Then right before we left, our trip leader told us that our main goal of the trip was to be a blessing, an encouragement, and a refreshment to the local missionaries in Mozambique that our church supports.

This goal might not have seemed very monumental but during the trip, I discovered how significant it really was. So often in America we focus on the physical world, like the “projects” to build buildings and provide food and clothing and solve problems. But on the trip I realized that all of those things are temporary. There are hundreds of buildings in Mozambique that are abandoned and crumbling. They aren’t allowed to tear them down, so they just sit there, useless and wasting away. Who’s to say that any project we work on won’t end up being the same way in a few years, eventually losing it’s usefulness and crumbling. Even the food we give out won’t fill empty tummies for long, and clothing will eventually wear out as well.


An abandoned hotel on the coast

I realized that the only thing that really lasts, like for eternity, is relationships. People are eternal beings and when we engage with each other, encourage each other, build each other up and point each other to Jesus, that has an impact that lasts into eternity. So even though we did do a few of those earthly “projects” on this mission trip, what I’m most excited about is the time I spent with people, developing relationships. Because of this trip I now know our missionaries Mark and Les, and their local camp director Dilon, on a deep level. I now know how to pray for them and encourage them and I even if I never make it to Africa again, I will always be their sister in Christ.


Some of the girls I built relationships with on the trip



Lone Ranger 2013 Movie Poster

It was my birthday this past week, and as a present, I got to go see two new movies in theaters. Now in general, I prefer kids movies. If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know that I liked Monsters University a lot more than The Man of Steel. It seems to me that kids movies, in general, have a fairly good storyline without crude language or questionable scenes. However, it is not always the case that kids movies end up being more enjoyable than other movies, as you will soon find out.

So, as I was saying, it was my birthday and one of my good friends wanted to take me to see some movies. We decided on Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger. Now, I think a big part of what makes a movie enjoyable is EXPECTATIONS. If you really want a movie to be good and then it doesn’t meet those high expectations, you end up disappointed, even if the movie itself wasn’t that bad. Or if you go to a movie, expecting it to be lame, you might be surprised by some emotional moments and end up liking the movie. Of course this isn’t always the case. When I went to see Tron Legacy, I was expecting it to be a bad movie, and when I walked out of the theater I was only more convinced that I didn’t like it. And when I went to see Monsters University, I was hoping it would be really good, and it fulfilled my expectations. But no matter how you look at it, expectations do influence us.

So, the big question before I tell you about the movies I saw is: what were my expectations for each?

Let’s start with Despicable Me 2. I did see the first Despicable Me, and to tell the truth, I was disappointed. From the previews I was hoping for a hilarious kids movie, and I found the jokes, especially involving the minions, not very entertaining. I know a lot of people who really liked the movie, but I wasn’t a fan. So going into the sequel, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be more of the same? Or perhaps an improvement to the original? In any case, my expectations were not very high.

Then there’s The Lone Ranger. I’m not a diehard fan of the old TV series, but I have seen about 2-3 episodes on Hulu of how the show started. So I had a grounding in the characters, but wasn’t sentimental about how the show was made. I was looking forward to an updated version of the old west drama.

And now to the results! I enjoyed The Lone Ranger more than Despicable Me 2. A lot of this had to do with expectations, but it also had to do with storyline. I expected Despicable Me 2, to be like it’s predecessor, and it was. Since I didn’t love the first movie I didn’t love the second. It was an average movie, with a fairly predictable plot line, a few new characters, and some more minion jokes. But with the Lone Ranger, I had no preconceived notions about what it should be like, and only a basic understanding of the original plot of the TV series. So I thoroughly enjoyed finding out about Tonto’s past and why he acted the way he did, and seeing John slowly transform from a city lawyer into The Lone Ranger. I think the film did a good job balancing a connection to the original, while sill being able to poke fun at some of it’s aspects. It had a satisfying ending that wasn’t completely predictable, and interesting characters that I cared about.

So there you go, expectations are a big deal. They done completely determine a movie’s likeability, (the movie has some work to do too) but it does play a significant role.

So How to Train your Dragon 2, you better be good, because I’m expecting big things from you!

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