Movie Reviews

Best Adventure Movies

I have, what I’m finding to be, a very strict definition of adventure movies. It follows the Wikipedia definition pretty closely, but apparently, that is not the definition other people seem to use; at least people that write lists and post them on the internet.

Wikipedia’s definition of an adventure movie:

Adventure films are a genre of film whose plots feature elements of travel. They typically involve protagonists who must leave their home or place of comfort and go to faraway lands to fulfill a goal. Settings play an important role in Adventure films, sometimes as big as the characters themselves.

Main plot elements include quests for lost continents and exotic setting; struggles and situations that confront the main characters, the creation of empires, characters embarking on treasure and heroic journeys, travels, explorations, quests and searches for the unknown usually also having to overcome an adversary. Adventure films are often set in a period background and may include adapted stories of historical or fictional adventure heroes within the historical context. Kings, battles, rebellion, or piracy are commonly seen. Adventure films may also be combined with other movie genres such as action, animation, comedy, drama, fantasy, science fiction, family, horror, or war.

The ending of the definition is where my opinion diverges, slightly. Adventure movies can, of course, be combined with other genres, but too often on these lists, adventure is the subgenre and has very little to do with the main parts of the movie. When I’m looking for an adventure movie, I want that to be the focus. Things get a bit sticky with films like Star Wars. It’s clearly sci-fi, but it’s also fantasy and adventure. It’s one of those rare movies that straddle genres very well.

Superhero movies will not be on my list. At least none I’ve seen as of September 2020. In my opinion, superhero movies have become their own separate genre. They have elements of action, sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure. The focus, though, is the superhero and all the superhero stuff. This is not what I’m looking for when it comes to an adventure movie.

Most action movies will not be on my list. If the purpose of the movie is to see people get beat up and shit blown up, for me, that’s action, not adventure. John Wick and The Raid are action. Sure, I could see how someone could argue they’re adventure, but, again, that’s not what I’m looking for in an adventure film.

*This definition is completely subjective and as the list grows longer will probably end up making no sense at all.

I think part of the reason I enjoy adventure movies is that unlike action, they often include female characters in more than a token role. Evie in The Mummy is a driving force in the story. Buttercup tries to save her true love and speaks up against the man in control of her in The Princess Bride. It’s Joan’s adventure that we go on in Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. Princess Leia, Abigail Chase, Elizabeth Swann, Yvaine, and Lamia have large parts in each of their movies. They each may not be the lead of their films, but their actions matter to the story.

Now that’s cleared up, here are the adventure movies I enjoy the most, listed alphabetically. More will be added as I remember them or watch them.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is about a man who is taken from Earth and forced to make his way through the galaxy with people he thought he knew. His initial goal is just to survive in his new environment, but it turns into a quest to find the answer to the ultimate question. It has a sci-fi setting and is a comedy, but the main purpose of the movie is Arthur’s adventure.

The Indiana Jones movies are my definition of adventure film. Indiana is an adventurer seeking treasures that belong in museums. Raiders of the Last Ark is easily the best. Temple of Doom still freaks me out a bit. Last Crusade has Sean Connery and is a bit of a rehash of Raiders, but I still prefer it to Temple of Doom. I actually don’t hate Kingdom of the Crystal Skull but I didn’t include a picture because the gallery looked weird on WordPress when I uploaded it.

Jumanji and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle both have kids completely out of their comfort zones fighting to survive and beat a game.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, Return to King Solomon’s Mines, and Curse of the Judas Chalice are movies that were made for TV but they are very much in the vein of the Indiana Jones films. Noah is a professional student who finds himself chosen to work for the Library. He has to seek out mythical artifacts to protect them and the world. There is also a Librarians TV show that I love even more than the movies.

The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are once again very similar to the Indiana Jones movies. However, this time the female character has agency and an integral part to the story. Evie makes these movies, she has a larger role than O’Connell. She’s amazing. Also, everyone in this movie is gorgeous.

National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets have a team of people searching all over the country for treasure. They are being chased by bad guys and there’s a little bit of romance. It doesn’t have a historical setting, but it does have historical elements.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the best of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (Full disclosure I haven’t watched the last one or two). It has swashbuckling pirates, sword fights, and treasure.

The Princess Bride has fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, true love, and miracles. You can’t get more adventure than that, now can you?

Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile are two adventure movies that follow Joan Wilder, a super successful romance writer, and Jack Colton a man who just wants to buy a boat. They travel through treacherous terrain while being chased by a corrupt military figure, in order to save her sister. The sequel isn’t as good, but I enjoy it none the less.

Stardust has a lot of fantasy elements and I debated including it on my list. It’s one of my favorite movies, but is it more adventure than fantasy? I decided to go with yes. It has pirates. It has a young man on a heroic journey to find treasure for his love. The fantasy setting plays a roll, but the adventure story is what really drives the movie. It hits all the marks I love most about adventure films, but I could just be clouded by my love.

Star Wars just might be the most epic adventure story of all time. These seven movies are a saga that has yet to be surpassed. I know there are a lot of people that hate the prequels, but they came out when I was just young enough to attach some nostalgia. So apart from Clone Wars I enjoy them all. I also included Rogue One because it is the only new movie in the series that I have loved. It is one of my favorite movies, not only in the series, but period.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life have action elements, but Lara’s quest for ancient artifacts trumps that, in my opinion. Plus, I love being able to include female led adventure films. That being said, I wouldn’t call these favorites. I enjoy them and watch them when I’m not feeling strongly about anything, but there are many ways in which they could be better. I have not yet watched the newest, if I like it I’ll definitely add it.

Tomorrowland is another one of my favorite movies. This time, though, I’m pretty sure there’s no question of it’s adventure film status. Yes there are sci-fi elements, but the movie takes part mostly in the real world. You have a young woman searching for Tomorrowland, then trying to save the world. She’s taken out of her comfort zone on a quest for an artifact.

Movies and TV Shows I’ve been Binging During Lockdown

Normally, I would be posting TV show and movie reviews alongside my book reviews, but anyone who’s read my blog the last few months will have noticed I haven’t been. I’m definitely still watching stuff, but it’s been a lot of rewatching old favorites. Some of which I’ve already written reviews on. I also have not had any desire to write reviews on any of the new stuff. I’ve liked some of it them. I just have limited mental bandwidth right now and those have been set aside, for now.

Here’s a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching the last six months:

Omg I love this movie. I’ve watched it a few times and ended up doing a rewatch of the previous two. The positivity has been exactly what I need.

Before Disney+ came out I got an amazing 3 year deal. I figured that would cover me through the first season of all the shows I’m interested in. I’m doubting that now. Still it has allowed me to watch Hamilton on repeat to the point of driving my husband insane. Just so freaking good.

I love this movie. It never fails to make me laugh. Plus, you know, beautiful people.

I could watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine on repeat forever. It is the only cop show I like and I’m anxiously awaiting how they’re going to handle everything that’s been going on. This is a definite comfort watch.

It’s been a while since I watched Parks and Rec but after watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine it was the natural next show. It is somehow better than I remember it being.

This show was adorable and everything I could have asked for in a modern adaption of The Baby-Sitters Club.

My list could go on and on, I did a Batman rewatch. Not Nolan, the fun ones. Josie and the Pussycats, The Old Guard, Sense 8, and so many I can’t remember off the top of my head. Eventually I get back in to posting reviews, till then I hope this list will do.

2019 Top Movies of the Year

So it’s the middle of May. Naturally, I’ve finally watched all the movies I was interested in watching in 2019. I had to wait until Ip Man 4 came out which took some time, and then it kept getting put off for a Brooklyn 99 re-watch that was going on for my mental health. So now, without further ado, the movies I liked the most in 2019.

  1. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – This seriously might be my favorite John Wick movie. I’ve rewatched the first two and while I still love the first a lot, I think Chapter 3 just edges it out of the first spot.
  2. Captain Marvel – We FINALLY got a female led Marvel superhero movie. I was so freaking excited for this movie. I’ve rewatched it. I bought more merchandise than I care to admit. I still love it. It hurts that I’m going to have to wait so long for a sequel.
  3. Knives Out – Was not expecting to enjoy this movie as much as I did. I am not a fan of Rein Johnson after The Last Jedi, but this looked fun and I had just enough people tell me to watch it, so I did. It was like an Agatha Christie novel. I loved it. Daniel Craig’s accent was wonderful and I hope we get another movie with his character.
  4. Avengers: End Game – It was truly amazing what they were able to accomplish with this movie. While I wasn’t a fan of what they did with Captain America, I still find it incredible that they were able to wrap everything up like they did and have it not feel lacking.
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home – I loved getting to see the world after Endgame. Jake Gyllenhaal made a perfect villain and the struggles that Peter were having felt right.
  6. Jojo Rabbit – I’m mainly putting this one here for the scene where you see Scarlett Johansson’s feet dangling. I wasn’t expecting it, I actually gasped. It made everything up until that moment hit so much harder. Even with that it was a movie with humor and not as depressing as I expected it to be.
  7. Where’d You Go Bernadette – I haven’t read the book, but I like Cate Blanchette so I figured why not. Seeing her struggle and how everyone was truly out to get her and she couldn’t be heard struck my own persecution complex. I thought the movie was funny and it was a surprise hit for me.
  8. Always Be My Maybe – This movie was fucking hilarious. I’ve watched it a couple times and each time I freaking love it. Ugh I need more romantic comedies like this. Why aren’t there more of these???
  9. Frozen II – The songs were great, the water effects amazing, the story a bit eh.
  10. Jumanji: The Next Level – Not as fun as the first one, but I still found it entertaining.

Honorable Mention

Charlie’s Angels – It truly bums me out that this won’t get a sequel. It wasn’t perfect, but I still really enjoyed it, and holy shit Kristen Stewart was HOT.

Bumblebee (2018)

Bumblee

Bumblebee (2018)

Director:

Travis Knight

Starring:

Hailee Steinfeld

Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

John Cena

Plot:

On the run in the year of 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.

Review:

I did not grow up watching Transformers, but it felt really clear that this movie was written by a fan. There seemed to be a lot of care and attention taken with the history and Transformers, but by far my favorite part was Charlie, Hailee Steinfeld. It was so clear she was written by a woman, Christina Hodson. When her mother’s boyfriend gave her a book telling her to smile, oh man, that was too real. I loved it.

Charlie has lost her father, but her mother has moved on, and Charlie feels further abandoned. She’s a brooding teenager and unable to see past her own hurt. That is until a VW Bug appears in her life and, oh yeah, turns out to be an alien.

The relationship between her and Bumblebee was super sweet. I loved that even though Memo, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., had a crush on her it barely progressed. There were much bigger things going on.

Bumblebee was a pretty awesome reboot to a franchise with some troubling issues, I’m curious to see what comes next.

4/5

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Director:

Peyton Reed

Writers:

Chris McKenna

Erik Sommers

Paul Rudd

Andrew Barrer

Gabriel Ferrari

Starring:

Paul Rudd

Evangeline Lily

Michael Peña

Hannah John-Kamen

Michelle Pfeiffer

Michael Douglas

Laurence Fishburne

Plot:

As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

Review:

Scott aka. Ant-Man, Paul Rudd, is nearing the end of his two year house arrest. Once that’s over he’s just going to have three years of parole, which lets be honest is a pretty light sentence for the damage he did in Civil War, especially as he’s already an ex-convict. Putting that aside, he’s got plans and it looks like his life is finally getting into order. He’s got a good relationship with his daughter, his ex-wife and her new husband are on good terms with him, and he’s got a new business that looks like it’s going to do alright.

Hope aka Wasp, Evangeline Lily, and her father, Michael Douglas, are a bit pissed at Scott right now. Because of his actions they’re on the run, but it’s brought them closer together. With the knowledge learned from the last movie they are working to find Hope’s mother who has been lost in the quantum realm for thirty years.

Basically, Hope is a bad ass who kicks some major ass. She’s incredibly confident and smart, easily holding her own with her father even though he’s smarter than she is. She’s cunning, but not cut throat. Scott is the heart, I guess. He’s smart, though, that’s not very clear in this movie. He’s capable in a fight, but she’s got all the training. He is loyal, but he often makes the wrong decision, just not in a way that makes me hate him more in a dude I get where you’re coming from just use your brain sort of way.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is significantly better than the last movie. It’s got the wonderful Michael Peña in a much more prominent role than last time. It has two villains, but really only one. I have a hard time viewing the Ghost, Hannah John-Kamen, as a villain. She was used by S.H.I.E.L.D. to become a killer and was just trying to get help for herself. Yes, she was willing to do unspeakable things, but she was in constant pain, and she didn’t actually succeed in doing them. I wouldn’t necessarily trust her a tight spot, but I wouldn’t count her a villain.

I’m excited to see Scott in Endgame, I’m curious to see if he’s the one that saves the day. I’m also looking forward to an Ant-Man and the Wasp 3. I hope they don’t just set these heroes aside, I feel like they’re owed their own ending.

4/5