An Aurora YA Guest Post: “Wet Hot American Summer” Review

Now for Something a little different.  Aurora is in the middle of moving, and plus, you know. school.  So here is a special YA guest blog from Aurora on Wet Hot American Summer‘s sequel, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.
Why a movie review?  Well, movies and books have long been hooked together since the first film maker put down a  book and said “I bet that would make a great movie”. Sometimes we’ve agreed with them, other times not.  And sometimes, we’ve even read a book or two and thought I’d love to see that on the screen.  So why not the occasional film review?
Anyhow, here is Aurora’s.  Enjoy!
A review of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.
Our culture has been inundated with prequels, sequels, reboots and remakes for the past few years. From Michael Bay’s Transformers, to the new Ghostbusters, to Jurassic World, all the way back to Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You may have liked some of these movies, you may have hated all the ones you’ve seen and already decided to hate Ghostbusters, too. Either way, I think we can all agree that when something integral to our childhood or adolescence gets remade, it can be at least a little stressful.
I am here to tell the die hard fans of the Wet Hot movie: don’t be stressed. First Day of Camp doesn’t feel like a remake. It doesn’t feel like a sequel, or in this case, a prequel. It doesn’t even feel like going back to Camp Firewood after all these years. There’s a very simple way to put it.
Watching Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp feels like going home.
Let’s look at it a little more closely than that, though.
The plots are ridiculously out-there, the solutions to their problems are things that would never happen in real life, and it’s all supposed to happen over the course of a single day. Is this a criticism of the show? Absolutely not. For fans of the movie, and even first time viewers, the sheer ridiculousness of the show will be one of its most charming qualities. They even poke fun at themselves for their silliness a few times in the movie, and they’re some of the funniest moments.
What truly shines about the show, however, are the characters. As in the movie, every person is in some way lovable. And even with such a huge cast, filled with returning actors and completely new members, everyone gets their moment to shine, and everyone gets their story fleshed out and explored with time to spare for the ‘main’ plots. I commend Michael Showalter and David Wain for managing to add so many characters to the show, and most of them played by big stars, without feeling at any point like they were adding a cameo just to add a cameo. Every single actor that was added seemed to have existed as a character far before the actors themselves signed on. Everyone felt like they were doing exactly what was planned for them to do rather than just popping in to say, “Hi, I’m Jon Hamm!” and leaving again.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll love catching all the little nods to it in the series, and if you’re a fan of Showalter/Wain from back in their State days, you may just catch a reference that will have you on the floor toward the end of the series. If you’re watching the show with absolutely no prior knowledge of Wet Hot, those references will still be there, but rather than enhancing the series itself, they’ll make you catch little things in the movie that will be ten times funnier when you watch it.
So, the characters are lovable, the writing is solid, if ridiculous, and there are references to make old and new fans happy. But, the big question, so many years later, is it still funny?
My answer is a resounding yes. The series, even more so than the movie, features almost every type of comedy. From physical to slapstick to the more intellectual to just plain dick jokes. I guarantee that you will laugh, out loud, for a solid thirty seconds at one point in the series at the very least. Watching it with friends, there were a few laughs each episode that were big enough that we had to rewind because we’d missed some part of the conversation afterward.
And the comedy isn’t all First Day of Camp has to offer. There are some genuinely heart warming moments, usually followed by a big laugh to keep things on track, but they’re definitely there. There’s a good story, you’ll be rooting for the people you’re supposed to be rooting for. The actors and creators know these characters, and they know how to make us laugh with these characters. There are a few musical numbers, all composed by the brilliant and returning Craig Wedren.
It shouldn’t be hard to find a reason to watch First Day of Camp, and it shouldn’t be hard to enjoy it.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and the Wet Hot American Summer movie are available for streaming on Netflix any time after July 31, 2015.