Pre-Existing Properties- After the Wedding & The Angry Birds Movie 2

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There were ten minutes where I thought After the Wedding might be a good or even a great movie. It comes during the wedding of the title. Isabel, the lead played by Michelle Williams, breaks down as she stares at the father of the bride at a wedding she was invited to where she wasn’t supposed to know anybody. She staggers into the house to make certain the man is who she thinks he is. The man sees Isabel, but because of the formalities and the busyness of weddings it takes a while before the audience learns of their past.

Those well crafted ten minutes  allow the audience the time and space to create their own story for the pair’s connection. The heightened suspense of those  ten minutes make up for the  beginning of the movie where all the principal characters are very slowly introduced. Those ten minutes however don’t make up for after the wedding. Nor for After the Wedding. Not when the explanation for why Isabel is so stunned comes across as so contrived.

I learned after watching it that After the Wedding was a remake of a 2006 Danish movie by the same name.  That movie was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar, but something must have been lost in translation. Despite some interesting acting by Williams, this version is kind of a mess. Character motivations don’t make sense especially when the ending ties everything up in a tidy knot that I can’t imagine the original Danish version would have allowed.

People complain about comic book movies and remakes of 1980’s movies, but for my money recreations of foreign films have the lowest batting average of any form of adaptation. Sure The Departed won an Oscar, but remakes of Solaris, Swept Away, and Vanilla Sky so brutalized the original classics that I can’t figure out why America continues to try.to improve on works in other languages.

To look on the bright side at least Denmark gave us ten good minutes.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 comes from a more noble background.

It is a sequel to a cartoon based on a video game. Because of that pedigree fairly or unfairly I judge it on a different scale. Did my six year old daughter like it? Yes? Well that makes the flick a success. Even if she would also watch people on YouTube opening packages for ninety minutes if they adapted such a feature for the silver screen.

Now would a fully functioning adult  enjoy this movie? Well, I didn’t fall asleep during The Angry Birds Movie 2 which is more than I could say for The Secret Life of Pets 2 or The Lion King remake. There’s some toe tapping music the producers paid pretty pennies to have in their soundtrack. There are some famous actors voicing birds and pigs. Depending on whether or not you’re in a state where marijuana is legal, you might even laugh a couple times.

But the short answer is if you’re the type of person who reads movie reviews and you don’t have a six year old you need to entertain, go see something deeper and more intellectually stimulating.

Like Toy Story 4.

David Rolland

David Rolland edits the JitneyBooks.com blog. He is the author of the novel The End of the Century.