Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Taken 2 Is Less Than Captivating

Plus, Frankenweenie is Certified Fresh, and Pitch Perfect is toe-tapping fun.

by | October 4, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a kidnapping plot (Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson and Famke Janssen), a reanimated pooch (Frankenweenie, with voice work from Charlie Tahan and Winona Ryder), and a cappella all-stars (Pitch Perfect, starring Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow). What do the critics have to say?

Taken 2

22%

Why would anyone mess with Liam Neeson’s family again, given the brutal swath he cut in the first Taken? That’s a great question, say critics, who find Taken 2 to be largely bereft of the kinetic thrills — and surprises — that made the original a hit. Neeson is back as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, who must use every skill in his arsenal when his ex-wife and daughter are kidnapped in Istanbul by vengeance-driven family members of the folks who abducted Mills’ daughter last time. The pundits say Taken 2 is essentially a rehash of its predecessor, but without the logic, coherence, and excitement required to keep it fresh. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames, in which we present a gallery of rough-and-tumble old guys.)

Frankenweenie

87%

Tim Burton has always had a taste for the macabre, and a love for outsiders. Critics say those fixations dovetail nicely in Frankenweenie, an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story. Young Victor is a lonely middle schooler who spends his days working on bizarre science projects in the company of his faithful dog Sparky. When Sparky is fatally wounded, Victor is able to bring him back to life; in doing so, however, he unwittingly unleashes a plague of monsters on his normally placid hometown. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Frankenweenie may not be Burton’s best, its twisted sensibility and sweetness harkens back to the director’s earlier classics. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Burton’s best-reviewed films.)

Pitch Perfect

81%

At first glance, Pitch Perfect sounds like little more than a big-screen Glee. However, critics say this tale of a college a cappella competition has panache and goofy good humor that make it stand out from the pack. Anna Kendrick stars as a new kid on campus who goes looking for a new clique and finds one in the form of the school’s a cappella ensemble. Can our heroine’s hip taste in tunes shake up the group’s staid arrangements — and make it a contender at the big singing competition? The pundits say Pitch Perfect‘s plot is awfully tired, but the performances — particularly the scene-stealing Rebel Wilson — are excellent, and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well. (Find out Kendrick’s Five Favorite Films here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

animated First Reviews video boxoffice sequel hidden camera Cannes Lifetime cancelled TV shows Amazon Studios james bond FX video on demand Adult Swim satire elevated horror 72 Emmy Awards cancelled Nickelodeon zombie asian-american ratings Marvel aliens Fall TV Fargo pirates of the caribbean Geeked Week Hollywood Foreign Press Association nbcuniversal toy story Academy Awards Paramount Network binge critics Toys dragons black Nat Geo Sony Podcast Indigenous FX on Hulu Premiere Dates kids period drama Red Carpet universal monsters award winner Amazon Best Picture Comic-Con@Home 2021 ID news 2021 docuseries diversity fresh sopranos WGN crime thriller USA Network obituary Star Wars composers Legendary Heroines superhero streaming New York Comic Con die hard cars The Purge Amazon Prime live action Showtime President Lucasfilm First Look OneApp saw Pet Sematary halloween tv WarnerMedia Superheroe political drama scorecard adenture Oscar YouTube Cosplay ITV TV renewals rotten Baby Yoda Film Festival prank Character Guide E! new zealand Paramount Pictures reviews teaser biography Christmas Comics on TV criterion natural history rt labs critics edition Brie Larson 4/20 Masterpiece American Society of Cinematographers DGA international BAFTA broadcast king arthur emmy awards Pacific Islander docudrama Drama Watching Series new star wars movies stop motion zero dark thirty Tags: Comedy live event all-time foreign marvel cinematic universe AMC Plus psychological thriller Neflix E3 crossover YouTube Red science fiction Rock Anna Paquin DC Universe Prime Video sitcom debate The Arrangement APB Comedy Central Pop BBC America HFPA rom-coms Reality Netflix Martial Arts Winter TV movies werewolf travel mockumentary book Sundance TV Acorn TV Pirates Funimation vampires TCM Black Mirror toronto twilight San Diego Comic-Con DirecTV A&E wonder woman NBC ABC trophy theme song disaster Ovation space 90s TCA Awards 2020 Calendar TV GoT Captain marvel tv talk TLC Television Critics Association CMT olympics stand-up comedy Focus Features Election unscripted game of thrones Comedy Avengers posters target GIFs monster movies classics Broadway Spring TV VICE El Rey Musicals Disney Plus summer preview ABC Signature HBO Musical chucky crime transformers Summer Tumblr CBS All Access blaxploitation heist movie Grammys Trailer YA Chernobyl SundanceTV Mystery Reality Competition serial killer 79th Golden Globes Awards comic NBA Arrowverse renewed TV shows HBO Go cartoon child's play RT21 Peacock Animation Marathons Netflix Christmas movies mission: impossible hispanic heritage month DC Comics jurassic park Sundance A24 Universal Pictures CW Seed documentary Comic Book Apple Valentine's Day dc rt archives Syfy Lifetime Christmas movies crime drama AMC TCA 2017 Tarantino Nominations SXSW 2022 Video Games Fox News 2018 TCA Winter 2020 king kong fast and furious Kids & Family Amazon Prime Video PaleyFest festival Polls and Games Disney Channel italian TruTV Creative Arts Emmys LGBTQ slasher spinoff Sci-Fi richard e. Grant TV movies justice league french 007 telelvision breaking bad action-comedy rotten movies we love canceled summer TV interviews Horror Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt X-Men war kaiju MCU Rocketman Binge Guide Action venice Hallmark Christmas movies TBS gangster MTV what to watch Country Turner Classic Movies cults hispanic 71st Emmy Awards summer TV preview superman Opinion feel good Western name the review Hulu spain movie television The Witch Fantasy Holiday scene in color series Family green book Rocky hist talk show Warner Bros. Marvel Television YouTube Premium ghosts police drama National Geographic Hallmark festivals Dark Horse Comics cops deadpool mob Awards 21st Century Fox book adaptation razzies Music scary sports comiccon casting Pop TV 99% VH1 christmas movies best Tomatazos Lionsgate revenge Pixar strong female leads Tokyo Olympics spider-verse BET Awards Disney+ Disney Plus 2019 Starz dark Trivia TIFF Pride Month trailers romance Writers Guild of America Apple TV Plus japan art house anthology See It Skip It directors Film japanese sequels slashers golden globe awards spanish spider-man historical drama reboot franchise finale Song of Ice and Fire BBC One Image Comics screenings TCA Mudbound Trophy Talk dogs Black History Month Crackle anime FOX comic book movies Turner cats royal family Vudu Star Trek dexter Esquire Disney medical drama children's TV spanish language politics versus Columbia Pictures Winners dceu zombies social media discovery OWN series Sundance Now streaming movies ABC Family aapi Classic Film mutant 45 latino documentaries Logo Fox Searchlight comics Oscars Best Director romantic comedy TV Land Quiz leaderboard Marvel Studios marvel comics Paramount Plus Stephen King Elton John USA new york HBO Max Best Actor scary movies Sony Pictures sag awards Year in Review vs. Ghostbusters free movies Box Office IFC Films legend Infographic batman PBS Biopics Set visit Paramount joker nfl australia basketball robots Tubi remakes adventure thriller Emmys high school laika Interview blockbusters ViacomCBS Exclusive Video Discovery Channel MGM comic book movie technology cancelled television hollywood worst indie Instagram Live suspense know your critic Mary Poppins Returns cancelled TV series History young adult jamie lee curtis football scene in color film series SDCC miniseries Endgame facebook Women's History Month Best Actress black comedy SXSW women Travel Channel LGBT streamig 1990s Certified Fresh singing competition 20th Century Fox dreamworks Alien independent Thanksgiving 2017 mcc kong Emmy Nominations DC streaming service Superheroes The Walking Dead golden globes FXX IFC Television Academy Photos Apple TV+ BET Universal Awards Tour films Schedule Crunchyroll archives Teen Extras The Academy spy thriller stoner Native 2016 Hear Us Out GLAAD based on movie lord of the rings Star Wars Celebration Food Network NYCC Cartoon Network Super Bowl halloween witnail cooking Holidays blockbuster The Walt Disney Company 73rd Emmy Awards Bravo screen actors guild Walt Disney Pictures scene in color Mindy Kaling comedies game show adaptation 93rd Oscars 2015 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards boxing 24 frames obi wan Countdown Shudder Epix IMDb TV worst movies MSNBC CNN quibi indiana jones true crime Wes Anderson TV One 94th Oscars Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sneak Peek biopic target scene in color Mary poppins VOD RT History godzilla dramedy a nightmare on elm street BBC doctor who supernatural rt labs psycho comic books TNT critic resources Mary Tyler Moore popular Shondaland concert harry potter Spectrum Originals The CW South by Southwest Film Festival Ellie Kemper PlayStation nature Britbox ESPN cinemax Rom-Com Spike canceled TV shows CBS south america Freeform Disney streaming service Best and Worst genre parents