REVIEW: Films to catch up on from the first half of 2022 | Culture
With a new school year upon us, I figured it was time to look back at movies from the first half of 2022. We haven’t had a chance to cover those movies yet because they’ve been the subject of tiny theatrical releases or came out over the summer. Here are five movies, ranging from awesome to awful, that deserve to be addressed in a formal way.
Jurassic World: Dominion
Colin Treverrow returns to helm the director for the third and hopefully final film in the “Jurassic World” saga. In “Jurassic World: Dominion,” Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) live off the grid to protect their surrogate daughter Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) from the prying eyes of genetics company Biosyn, after the de -extinction of the dinosaurs in the previous film. Meanwhile, a mysterious plague of genetically engineered locusts sweeps the globe, posing an eminent threat to humanity’s food sources.
The main problem with “Jurassic World: Dominion” is that the plot is a confusing mess of barely coherent ideas. The short synopsis above fails to capture the full breadth of the film’s plot as characters from the original “Jurassic Park” film make their way through the story, alongside human abductions and dinosaurs and a menagerie of new dinosaurs thrown randomly into a number of inconsistencies. set pieces in America, Italy and Malta. It’s all crammed into a two-and-a-half-hour film with little care for the end product to actually be a memorable and worthy addition to the universe of Spielberg’s 1993 classic. Avoid at all costs.
By this point, you should all be well aware of the number of memes surrounding “Morbius”. The legendary film that failed – twice – stars Jared Leto as Michael Morbius, a brilliant young scientist who also suffers from a rare and unnamed blood disease. His solution? Splice his own genes with those of vampire bats to cure blood disease. This has the unintended consequence of turning him into a bloodthirsty vampire. It’s up to Michael Morbius to take control of this new power before it takes control of him.
“Morbius” is a film that disconcerts me on several levels. Firstly, this film’s overly heavy story and range of stereotypical characters already felt boring and dated back to 2004. Instead of improving, the film had a completely old feeling when it was released in April 2022. Secondly, the choice to make Leto the main character the character is just weird; it’s a completely unpleasant and uncharismatic choice for the lead role in a superhero movie. Lastly, the tone and presentation of the movie is just a complete mess. It can’t decide between being a pseudo-horror movie, an epic and inspirational superhero movie, or a light-hearted comedy game, making the end product more confusing than anything else. If “Morbius” hadn’t been memeed to the sky and back, I wouldn’t even be talking about it now, but alas, that film’s eerie legacy has been cemented in the annals of cinematic history. Check out “Morbius” only if you’re feeling particularly masochistic.
Story isn’t everything when it comes to making a great movie. Making a movie can elevate a good or mediocre screenplay to greatness. This is the case of Robert Eggers’ latest film, “The Northman”. The film follows Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård), a Viking prince whose father was killed by his uncle, Fjölnir (Claes Bang), sending Amleth on a years-long quest to avenge his father and save his mother.
The discerning among you will have noticed that the story of this film shares a lot in common with stories like “Hamlet” and “The Lion King.” What helps set “The Northman” apart from these overly classic tales is the film’s presentation and direction. The cinematography is jaw-dropping, with the fluid camera movement lending weight to the film’s brutal action scenes. The sound design is crisp and immersive, and the film’s lighting and production design add an extra layer of historical and period accuracy to the film. Not to mention, the film knows its story is tried and true, so the fatalistic elements of the story are played for dramatic effect in clever ways throughout. “The Northman” absolutely gets my stamp of approval.
Jordan Peele returns with another one of his socially responsible genre films. “No” follows Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) and her brother OJ (Daniel Kaluuya), a pair of professional horse trainers residing on a ranch in California. The two learn that a mysterious and dangerous presence lurks the night sky of their seemingly desolate ranch.
Talking about “No” is incredibly tricky without telling the whole story. Jordan Peele films tend to be best experienced blindfolded and letting the whole web of intertwined plots and themes overwhelm you. Like its two previous outings, “Nope” is packed with exhilarating set pieces that deftly blend horror, comedy, and social critique into one package. My only reservation with “No” is the same as I have with all of Peele’s films: they tend not to hold up as well on subsequent viewings. I have a feeling that will be the case with this movie as well, even though I haven’t seen it a second time yet, and your experience may differ. All in all, this one is definitely worth seeking out.
“Prey” wraps up the assortment of 2022 movies worth catching up with. This film is the latest film in the long-running “Predator” franchise and follows Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Comanche woman living in pre-colonial America. She must fight to protect herself from the franchise’s signature species of highly advanced aliens who have come to Earth for the usual reasons: to hunt the strongest species on the planet and claim their skulls as trophies.
The biggest issue I have with “Prey” is its attachment to the “Predator” franchise. This connection leads to an excessive amount of boring nostalgia flattery, with tacky one-liners and set pieces thrown into the movie just to reference the original. By discarding these ridiculous and seemingly obligatory inclusions, however, “Prey” manages to be a competent action film in its own right. Naru was a compelling main character to follow, and his constant struggle to subdue the predator was gripping from the moment the creature appeared on Earth. The film’s story may not be the most original in the world, but it managed to have enough exciting action and satisfying character beats to keep me invested throughout the runtime. While it’s a bit odd that these characters speak modern American English, Hulu does offer an optional Comanche dub for the film, which I’d recommend watching if you want the most time-accurate experience.
If there’s anything these five movies demonstrate, it’s that artistic integrity seems, more often than not, to be trampled on in favor of a schlock pop that leaves no lasting impression on the viewer. For example, “Jurassic World: Dominion” was a smash hit and while “Morbius” didn’t get the same box office returns as Dominion, it more than made up for it in lyrics. Meanwhile, “The Northman” bombed and “Prey” was thrown straight to streaming services. The only exception to this rule is “No”, but only because it was directed by Jordan Peele, an already very successful individual in his own right. He has the power to turn down studios and produce the kinds of movies he wants to make.
This year’s releases are a further continuation of the depressing state of the modern film industry. My advice? When choosing what to see, whether with friends, alone or on a date, don’t be afraid to look for something you may not have heard of before. Who knows? You might like it.