The true-life tale, directed by Whale Rider's Niki Caro and featuring Kevin Costner as the harried coach of an underdog cross country team in California's Central Valley, tells its by-the-bootstraps story so winningly that, predictable though it may be, it's still hard not to find it thoroughly rousing.
Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the audience, and (given the $175 mil price tag) the studio, Jupiter Ascending isn't exactly the second coming they were hoping for. Instead, it's a melange of misplaced ambition that's asphyxiated by tangled plot threads that are at once overcooked and undernourished.
If nothing else, Maleficent serves as a perfect example of why Jolie is one of the most in-demand actors on the planet. Through the sheer power of her personality (with, of course, an able assist from Rick Baker's remarkable prosthetics), she's able to create a character who has equal parts bombast and fragility.
Yes, it's gross. Yes, it's tasteless. But none of that is a problem if you're making some kind of bold social observation, blazing some new trail, or just plain being funny. Instead, A Million Ways to Die in the West feels like lukewarm leftovers from comedies that got there first and did it better.
To its credit, the film does its level best to fix some of the Sony version's most egregious flaws. For one, there's no try at reinventing the wheel with how this most iconic of movie monsters looks. This is unmistakably the same Godzilla that several generations of viewers have come of age with over the past 60 (!!) years.