I walked into the movie expecting an exact rehashing of the original series, but with Zac Efron and The Rock, but I got so much more than I expected. The movie opened with beautiful colors and contrast, simply to show off the power of Dolby Cinema, and this also set the stage for the feel of the rest of the movie: classic summer beach blockbuster. The exposition is cliche to say the least but is also written in a way that feels very natural and introduces all of the characters very well, so I can overlook the cheesier elements of the plot. Another issue I have is with some of the characters. Not a single one of them seems to understand how the world works outside the lifeguard stand, and all of them seem to suffer from delusions of grandeur throughout... especially Efron and Johnson's characters. The special effects are nothing to marvel at (fire looks fake, almost superficial), but it is obvious that a lot of time and dedication was put into creating what effects there were and into making them match the tone of the film.
Now to my positives. I thought the story was perfect for what it was: a surf flick turned comedy turned adrenaline-pumping crime drama. A new guy joins the team, is disliked by his boss, and solves the crime with the help of his new team. It's been done a thousand times before, but this is by far one of my favorite implementations of it because it feels so, dare I say, fresh. A young, all-star cast, beautiful visuals meant to capture your eye, and witty banter in every single scene. There were some moments where I felt incredibly awkward watching this (note: please do not take your children to see this), but those same moments were so artfully crafted and new that I couldn't stop myself from laughing.
There were plenty of laughs in the film, to the point that I cannot tell if this was supposed to be serious or a comedy, but I have no complaint. Some of the best moments were the ones where the cast specifically acknowledged the fact that they are in a movie (by calling Efron "High School Musical") and poking fun at the fact that "it feels like a bad crime TV show." And the references didn't stop there: both David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson made appearances, bringing the nostalgia of the original right back into the new one.
Overall, I was very impressed by BAYWATCH, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loved the original or is just looking for a great, fun, heart-pounding, summer movie.
BAYWATCH opens in theaters everywhere on May 25th.
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