Have you seen This is the End Yet? No? zOMG you should watch it right now!!!!!
What? You say you’re not in a movie theater? And you don’t like pirating movies because it feels dishonest?
Fiiiiiine. At least watch this trailer:
Hopefully the trailer put you in a good mood, and now you can forgive me for promising this review some three weeks ago and not delivering until now. I assure you that there is a very good reason as to why that happened. Well, not a very good reason. Not much of a good reason either. But a reason. What happened was this: I saw This is the End the week after it came out, loved it, rushed home to gush over it, and …
And immediately encountered two weeks worth of writer’s block.
I didn’t understand. This was a fantastic movie, so why couldn’t I come up with anything to say about it? Luckily, I used my hardcore analytical English degree skillz and finally figured out the problem:
I just don’t know what to do with a good Rapture movie. I’m used to stopping these movies every twenty minutes just to curb the boredom/frustration. I’m used to getting excited over what seems to be a major plot point, only to have said plot point swept under the rug and never talked about again. I’m used to hearing “We should accept everyone regardless of race or creed!” used to identify a character as evil. I’m used to explanations making no sense. I’m used to agreeing with the antagonists whilst scratching my head at the protagonists. I’m used to watching the credits roll, finally, and wondering why the hell I couldn’t have a normal hobby, at least one that people make decent movies about.
Then, two weeks ago, I sat through a Rapture movie that was quite solidly a good movie, one that I was happy to watch in one sitting, full of character development and plot points that didn’t disappear and antagonists that I disliked and protagonists I could relate to. I watched the credit roll realizing that I wanted to see this movie again.
It was mindblowing. I had no idea what to say.
Besides, everyone knows it’s easier and more fun to talk about bad things than good ones. It’s why bad news travels faster. Trying to write about a movie with no downsides is like trying to write a story with no conflict. What’s the point?
Still, I will try, and I will try to make it interesting despite the lack of conflict. Maybe I will randomly insult Left Behind just so I can toss some zingers onto the page.
Where were we? Oh, yes. So This Is The End. The movie follows two friends, Seth Rogen (Seth Rogen) and Jay Baruchel (Jay Baruchel), who are drifting apart but trying to reconcile their differences during Jay’s visit to L.A. Despite Jay’s protests that he wants to chill at Seth’s place, Seth drags him to a party at James Franco’s. Celebrity guests abound, including Emma Watson and WAIT OH MY GOD HERMIONE IS IN A RAPTURE MOVIE MY LIFE IS COMPLETE AS OF THIS MOMENT!!!
As I was saying, our heroes visit James Franco, celebrity guests abound, and that’s when things get weird. Everyone gets high, James Franco reveals his obsession with Seth, Jonah Hill reveals his obsession with Jay, Craig Robinson and Emma Watson quote Forest Gump, Rihanna doesn’t take off any panties, but Michael Cera does.
And then the world ends. I mean, not as a direct result of Michael Cera’s panties–it just sort of happens that way. A bunch of people get schwooped up into the sky and a sinkhole opens in James Franco’s front yard. Michael Cera loses his phone, which, oh man, is really embarrassing.*
*When I polled an unbiased focus group (consisting entirely of people sitting around at a bonfire last Friday), they agreed unanimously that Michael Cera basically made the movie.
The few survivors barricade themselves in Franco’s house while they try to figure out what’s going on. That’s not as easy as it seems. L.A. is on fire, and there’s something outside that’s biting people’s heads off–literally. Always a good time.
Will they find out what’s happening? Will Jonah Hill get raped by a demon? Watch and find out. And also the answer is yes.
Some good aspects of the movie are worth expanding on. First, the level of thought that went into This is the End is impressive. When I said that I wished Rapture-palooza had been more fleshed out, this was what I was talking about. They establish Rapture rules, stick with them, and then build in working exceptions. If you go back and re-watch the first scene where people get schwooped (long before the rules are explained), there is still a deliberate pattern to who gets schwooped and who doesn’t. This movie is funny, but it isn’t slapped together. It’s well-planned, and I appreciate the planning.
Additionally, the characters in This is the End grow as people. They argue, make up, evolve, and learn things about themselves. I love a good adventure story, and it doesn’t necessarily have to have character development to be fun, but I always like the added layer of characters who grow from their crazy magical supernatural experiences. It makes the story a little more universal. Not many of us can say, “Remember the time we were almost eaten by Satan during the Apocalypse?” But a lot of people can say, “I remember the time I argued with my best friend.”
The one downside is that, like Rapture-palooza, This is the End gets a bit rambly towards the end. That’s when most of the character growth takes place, though, so character-wise I was still engaged. Plot-wise it started to feel repetitive. By the third time they sent a protagonist out to find water, I started to wonder where things were going.
Luckily, it turned out they were going to Channing Tatum’s house, where they were chased in circles by what I believe was a lion-horse monster from Revelations 9:17-19. Meanwhile, Jonah is possessed by a demon, and from there the plot picks up again quite nicely. I enjoyed the Rosemary’s Baby reference during Jonah’s demonic encounter, by the way–well, no, ‘enjoyed’ is the wrong word. ‘Was incredibly traumatized by’ is more accurate. What I mean is that I thought it was clever.
In light of this exciting if mildly traumatic film, I need to revise my previous statement about Rapture-Palooza being my favorite Rapture-themed movie…
Rapture-palooza has been bumped into second place in my heart, but that’s ok. Now I have two Rapture movies that I genuinely enjoy. Before last month, I had none, although if you caught me on a patient day I would probably sit through The Omega Code again. So overall I’m very pleased with this development.
I’m going to go fangirl now.