Author’s note: I review movies for artistry, content, and moral messages. I give each film a letter grade for artistry; this is not necessarily a moral endorsement of the film. I break down content as best as I can to help readers make their own decisions. I share moral messages in case parents (and others) want to use cinema as a springboard for Gospel discussion.
In a Nutshell:
My four sons used to play the 1997 Midway Rampage video game, so I was curious to see how well director Brad Peyton would adapt the game to a movie for the fans. Historically, movies that take video games to the big screen are not that great. Well, here’s another one. This movie requires you to turn off your brain and not care. (I guess video games are like that too.) If you just want to see some monsters destroy a city and watch the ROCK do his thing (he’s awesome), then this movie is for you. If storytelling and character development are important to you, then you’re going to have trouble watching this.
Tips for Parents:
You quickly care about George, the silverback gorilla. Unfortunately, he flips the bird several times and swears. There is some other profanity, but no F-bombs. There is a HUGE body count. There are a lot of bloody bodies and some of the deaths are almost portrayed as a joke, which was a bit alarming. Needless to say, there is a LOT of destruction and violence, mostly done by the monsters, but humans shoot a lot of guns and crash into things too, putting a lot of people in perilous situations.
Another element that you might need to talk to your younger kids about is poachers. You might need to explain what poachers are and why they’re so bad. One character shows a lot of cleavage and there is an inappropriate joke at the end of the movie.
Family, friendship, loyalty, animal protection
Things That Are Good:
According to IMDb, an original cabinet of the Rampage arcade game can be seen in Claire Wyden’s office. That’s a fun Easter egg for fans, but it doesn’t make sense for her to have it. Another thing fans will like is the respectful nod that the city rampage occurs in Chicago, the headquarters of Midway video games. The movie feels like a video game, especially in the second half when the monsters are destroying everything, which is basically all the popular video game was about anyway! The CGI monsters look really cool and they did a great job merging live action with CGI. The young male gorilla that is new at the sanctuary at the beginning of the movie looks totally fake. George looks much better.
As far as character development, some are well done and others not so much. For example, if you love The Rock like I do, you’ll be fairly content just to watch him work his magic and you even see him burst out of some zip ties in one scene.
Things That Are Not Very Good:
There were quite a few differences in the movie and game, although George and Ralph keep their names in the movie. Lizzie’s name is never mentioned as the crocodile. George was never an albino in the game. The biggest difference, however, is that the monsters in the video game were mutated humans, not mutated animals like in this movie.
The villains are really terrible, but not in a good way. They felt like one-dimensional cartoon characters. Some other characters are introduced in the beginning but completely disappear from the story. Naomie Harris doesn’t really do anything in the story, other than run around and rely on The Rock to come up with a plan. It was nice to see an African American woman get a leading role. I’m sure she could have really wowed us if the script had been better.
There are some really dumb details that could have been easily fixed if anyone working on the movie had been paying attention or cared. An added scene at the end could have easily tied up some loose ends and provided some needed continuity in the storytelling. The clip in the movie trailer that shows the gorilla crack the crocodile’s jaws open like
Overall, it’s brainless fun and a good bucket of buttery popcorn will easily help you get over the flaws.
For movie night recommendations and Gospel discussion guides, order 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, available in paperback and Kindle.
Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program. She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her four sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews at www.MovieReviewMom.com You can find her books in LDS bookstores, on Amazon, and at www.TrinasBooks.com.
Lead image from IMBD.com