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Movie review: ‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Captain Underpants’

“Wonder Woman” (PG-13)

More than 75 years after she debuted in the DC’s comic book universe, the Amazon Warrior Princess has finally gotten her due with Wonder Woman, a wonderful origins movie that marks the first live-action appearance of the character since Lynda Carter’s classic TV series that ran from 1975-79.

Marking the first solo movie for the Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (a stunning Gal Gadot) after she made her scene-stealing debut in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016, the movie takes us back to World War I, where an American spy pilot, Steve Trevor (the always great Chris Pine) crash lands in the ocean near the secret island paradise where Diana, Princess of Themyscira, was raised, and by happenstance drags her and her fellow warriors into the conflict.

Leaving behind her home to rid the world of the evil force she believes is responsible for the war, Diana finds adjusting to the outside world is a bit harder than she could have imagined — that is, until she discovers her true identity and destiny. Full of humor, heart and action, “Wonder Woman” is a must-see.

Lammometer: 8.5 (out of 10)

Hear Tim’s review of “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Underpants” with Tom Barnard on KQRS.

“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” (PG) 

A different kind of superhero saves the day (or at least, tries) in “Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie,” the first (obviously) of hopefully many movies based on the best-selling illustrated children’s book series by Dav Pilkey. Hilarious and full of heart, it’s easily the best animated movie of the year so far.

Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch bring glee to the voices of George and Harold, a pair of practical joking grade-schoolers who get revenge on their ultra-strict principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms), who rules the school with an iron fist. Accidentally hypnotizing Mr. Krupp with a cereal box “Hypo Ring,” George and Harold convince Krupp he’s a dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants, who wears only underwear and a cape made of office drapery. Complicating manners is a Mr. P. (Nick Kroll, who steals the show), as a villainous science teacher who is onto George and Harold’s scheme.

“Captain Underpants” separates itself from most animated movies by relying on its already clever origins material (which is expanded here and there), instead of giving into Hollywood convention and employing pop culture references, sly jokes that only adults would get, and a hip soundtrack in a vain attempt to help tell the story. It’s a refreshing take in any genre, where story matters first — and in this case “Captain Underpants” is ultimately a great story about friendship.

Lammometer: 8.5 (out of 10)

Watch Tim’s review of “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Underpants” with Adrienne Broadus on KARE 11.

Movie reviews: ‘Sausage Party,’ ‘Hell or High Water’ on KQRS

Sausage Party Wiig, Rogen, Norton, KrumholzFollow @TimLammersFilms on Twitter

Tim Lammers reviews the Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig R-rated comedy “Sausage Party,” and the Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster crime thriller “Hell or High Water” on “The KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard and the crew. Hear the segment starting 14 minutes in.

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Movie reviews: ‘Star Trek Beyond,’ ‘Ice Age: Collision Course’

Paramount Pictures

By Tim Lammers

“Star Trek Beyond” (PG-13) 3 stars (out of 4)

Following the underwhelming response to the Khan narrative in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the Starship Enterprise is back on course with “Star Trek Beyond,” the third chapter in the reboot of the classic film and television franchise.

Once again starring Chris Pine at the helm as Captain Kirk, this ‘Trek’ finally finds the Enterprise on its five-year mission into deep space. Answering a distress call to a distant planet, the ship is destroyed by the vindictive vil

lain Krall (Idris Elba), who takes most of the crew members hostage as he prepares to execute a deadly plan of revenge on the Federation.

Interview: Simon Pegg talks ‘Star Trek Beyond’

While the “destroy the Federation” narrative feels familiar, “Star Trek Beyond” has all the elements you’d want in a “Star Trek” film: smart dialogue, exciting action, spectacular visual effects and moments of poignancy, all while maintaining a sense of humor about itself. Most importantly, it maintains the tone of the franchise, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

You can’t help but be saddened throughout the film every time Anton Yelchin pops up on screen as Chekov, showing once again the brilliance that was cut short by his tragic death last month.

“Ice Age: Collision Course” (PG) 3 stars (out of 4)

The fifth film in the “Ice Age” film series is probably more of a screwball comedy than any of its four predecessors, yet it has the most dire of circumstances: an asteroid is hurtling toward the planet and threatening extinction, and the woolly mammoth Manny (voice of Ray Romano) and his pre-historic friends, including the one-eyed weasel Buck (Simon Pegg), must find a way to deflect it off its collision course.

Despite the end-of-the-world storyline, “Ice Age: Collision Course” is hardly a film that will have younger viewers fretting. In fact, the film is very kid-friendly, especially when it comes to the subplot involving Scrat the sabre tooth squirrel.

Continuing his quest to get that ever-elusive acorn, Scrat sets off the chain of events that puts his fellow creatures in peril. It’s easily his most entertaining adventure yet.

Reviews of “Star Trek Beyond” and “Ice Age: Collision Course” starting 10 minutes in on “The KQ Morning Show.”

Tim Burton Book 2
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Interview: Simon Pegg talks ‘Star Trek Beyond’

Paramount Pictures

By Tim Lammers

Without question, Simon Pegg’s career trajectory of late has catapulted him into the stratosphere. In the past seven months, he’s appeared in a “Star Wars” film with “The Force Awakens” and now, another “Star Trek” film — a pretty amazing feat, considering most actors don’t get the opportunity to be in one film in either franchise, much less both of them.

But the real thrill, Pegg said in a phone conversation from New York Wednesday, was an opportunity to co-write the screenplay for the latest adventure of the Starship Enterprise in “Star Trek Beyond.”

“It’s been a heck of a ride. It’s been a privilege to me as a fan and getting a chance to manipulate the ‘Star Trek’ universe and add details to it,” said Pegg, who, of course, also plays Scotty in the reboot of the film franchise. “It’s also great to add new characters and new situations for those beloved characters we know from 50 years of ‘Star Trek’ history.”

Opening on 2-D, 3-D and IMAX 3-D screens Thursday night, “Star Trek Beyond” finds the crew in the third year of its five-year mission, forced to confront a malevolent villain, Krall (Idris Elba), after his forces destroy the Enterprise and captures its crew. In addition to playing Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Pegg shared screenwriting duties with Doug Jung. Pegg said while he and Jung felt an “enormous responsibility” to deliver, they weren’t necessarily intimidated by the assignment.

“As fans of the show, we felt, ‘Yeah, we can do this.’ This is something that we’re eminently qualified to do since we’ve been around a long time and felt plugged in,” Pegg said. “It felt right, even though I knew it would be daunting at times, and incredibly frustrating since we had a short space of time to write it in. I knew that eventually, if we could pull it off, then it would feel like a wonderful thing to have done. As the cliche goes, ‘It’s always better to regret something that you did do instead of something you didn’t.’ I didn’t want to say, ‘No way I’m doing this.’ It felt like it would be silly not to have grabbed the opportunity.”

While Pegg knew from a narrative standpoint that the “Star Trek” saga was moving forward, he also wanted to give his take on the franchise a different spin, creatively. Oddly enough, while the spin would be fresh to the timeline of the new trilogy of films, it’s essentially an idea that makes up the core of the TV franchise.

“First and foremost, we wanted to get the Starship Enterprise trekking. It hadn’t even started its five-year mission in the first two movies,” Pegg said. “The first two movies were pretty much in their own solar system with a few little jaunts outside of it. It felt like we need to get this film to be what the original TV series was about, which was a mission to explore the galaxy.”

Another thing that was important to Pegg was to make sure the film didn’t take itself too seriously.

“We wanted the film to feel fun, and not dark and ponderous,” Pegg, 46, said. “That seems to be the mood these days, to make everything so dark and serious, almost as if to justify us watching these things as grown-ups. In actual fact, these stories should be celebrated for what they are. If the stories are light and fun, the movies should be light and fun. I think the original ‘Star Trek,’ aside from having a vein of social commentary and seriousness to it — which is an important part of it — also did embrace its humor, and people sometimes forget that. It was important to Doug and I that the film had a fun side, too, in addition to being an exciting and thoughtful adventure.”

Produced by J.J. Abrams, directed by Justin Lin and featuring the return of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Karl Urban, “Star Trek Beyond” has an inherent bittersweet feeling to it since fellow core cast member Anton Yelchin died tragically in June at the age of 27. Pegg said the loss of Yelchin has naturally been weighing heavy on everybody’s minds, even as they get ready to premiere the film for fans at San Diego Comic Con this week.

“We knew it was going to be an effort to promote the film with any degree of enthusiasm because we’ve lost somebody that we loved,” Pegg said. “We’ve been a family for a long time and I feel for anyone who’s lost anybody in circumstances that were premature. It’s an unspeakable pain, and we’re all utterly, utterly undone by it.”

Pegg said when he saw the film for the first time recently, he expected to be in tears the whole time, only to be gripped by the magic of a performer who was clearly in his element when he was onscreen.

“To see Anton alive, to see him feel alive, vital and brilliant like he was, it made me realize that he will live forever,” Pegg said. “For people who didn’t know Anton, things haven’t changed. You’re still going to be able to see him and still be able to enjoy what he did. For us who knew him, there’s going to be a hole in our lives forever, but we decided to move forward in the promotion of this film because it was coming out whether we liked it or not.

“Rather than withdraw from it and not engage, we decided to get out there and work hard because it needs to be seen and not missed because it stars Anton,” Pegg added. “He was our brother and we loved him very, very much.”

Original Interviews, Reviews & More By Tim Lammers