Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Joe Versus the Volcano

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Joe Versus the Volcano - 3 out of 5

This SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY, see the hypochondriac Joe Banks take on the lava spewing rupture on the tectonic plate; The Volcano!  Punches will be thrown, ash will be released and a movie that held more promise than it delivered will be on display for all to see!

"I know Kung-Fu...and I shall use it on the Volcano!"
I haven't seen Joe Versus the Volcano since it came out in 1990 and having re-watched it now, I realize I really didn't get it before.  In case you're too young to remember the movie, pre-Da Vinci Code Tom Hanks (when he was still mainly a comedic actor and not obsessed with boxes of chocolate) stars as Joe Banks, a hypochondriac working at a dismal medical supply factory (which is where the film opens and is quite possibly the best representation of a soul-crushing trudge into a man's workplace ever filmed).  Well, our friend Joe is always sick and decides to see a doctor who tells him he is suffering from a "brain cloud" and that he will die.  Soon, Banks is visited by three ghosts--I mean, Lloyd Bridges who plays an extremely rich man out to get a mineral from a native people of a small island (doesn't that sound familiar, James Cameron?)

Meg Ryan plays this girl...
Well, lucky for us the people aren't the Na'vi and the mineral isn't unobtainium.

She also plays this girl...
Anyway, the island contains a...wait for it...a large volcano where its natives believe a willing human sacrifice must be made to it once every century and the natives don't feel like volunteering this time around.  So, Bridges' character, in order to get the minerals, decides to hire Joe to be the man to take the swan dive.  Since Joe is dying, he decides to do it and Bridges lets him live it up till he gets to the island of Waponi Woo.

Also, the natives seem to really like orange soda for some reason.

And Ryan plays this girl, too.  She might have also been Hanks stunt double, too.
When I was younger, I don't think I was able to fully appreciate this film--especially not the opening sequence where we see Joe completely immersed in a job and life he totally hates.  Now that I am living that dream, I see to understand where Joe was coming from.  Now, although I enjoy the film on a different level now as a grown man, there are still some issues I have with the movie.  Don't get me wrong, I find the movie entertaining in a off-the-wall sort of way as the movie is just plain ridiculous and unapologetic about it.  The movie offers up some great laughs and Tom Hanks is great in it along side Meg Ryan playing not one, but three characters.  In fact, the first half of the movie is built fantastically and seems to be on a track to a great third act as we see Joe get ready for his trip to the Pacific and his one-way ticket to lava town but once he sets sail on the great blue ocean, the movie flies off the tracks.

Science needs to learn how to resurrect Bridges...NOW!
 I never realized it before but Joe only spends about 10 minutes on the island before, ultimately, the movie ends with closure that felt like the production was on a time crunch and had to end prematurely.  This heartbreak is compounded by the fact that the film does a great job of building up this trip to Waponi Woo and ultimate ends up being the film equivalent of a family trip to the Grand Canyon--I get it, it's a giant hole made by mother nature!  (My apologies to mother earth, you did a great job of creating the Grand Canyon and I hope to see it someday...if Vegas wasn't so respectively close.)

Ah yes, the look of a man who is currently peeing in the pool of water he is sitting in.
Even though the film ends with a black cat snap and not a mortar boom, the movie overall is decent and a well put together comedy that, as an adult, I'm enjoying more than I did as a naive young boy.  Finally, I will leave you with this clip from the film that not only is amusing but best illustrates my own dancing abilities...if I was slightly better than I currently am at that skill.

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