Tag Archives: Sci-fi

Tron Legacy, American movie (2010)

Remember the 80’s? I’ve mentioned it quite a few times in the past that I am a fan of that particular era. It is famous for bringing us some great cartoons, wonderful and very memorable movies, but it also saw the rise of a completely new form of entertainment: the video game. People back in those days went to the arcades to play classic games such as Pac Man, Space Invaders and Centipede to name but a few examples. In the year 1982 Disney made a film that focussed on computergames in a way that had not yet been done before. Featuring groundbreaking special effects the name of that movie was Tron. It became a moderate succes back in those days, but it is now recognised by many as being lightyears ahead of it’s time and has gained the status of cult classic. Almost 30 years later a sequel was made to the original film. It was anticipated by a lot of people but unfortunately it did not become as succesful as many had hoped. Welcome everybody to part 3 of Countdown to the Last Jedi.

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Now tell me, was I lying about the visual aspects of this film?

In Tron Legacy we are introduced to the son of Kevin Flynn, a young boy called Sam. In the year 1989 his father disappeared without a trace just after he was promoted to CEO of the computer systems corporation Encom International. Ever since his disappearance, now over twenty years ago, nobody has heard anything from him. Sam has grown up, but has little to no interest in his father’s company, despite being the primary shareholder. He does like to play a prank on the board of directors every year. Kevin’s closest and oldest friend Alan Bradley one day checks in with Sam, but not without a reason. It seems that Alan has recieved a pager message that originated from Kevin’s old, but now sealed video arcade. At first Sam is very skeptical, but eventually he decides to investigate it anyway. Arriving at the arcade, he discovers a hidden basement, where he inadvertently gets transported to The Grid. This virtual reality world was created by his father, and it seems that something very sinister has been brewing there. A rogue and corrupt program called Clu and that closely resembles his father, has taken control of everything. But Clu has bigger plans than the virtual world….plans that threaten the real world and every living thing in it. Sam becomes the reluctant hero that has to save the world. But stranded in an unfamiliair place, will he be up to this task?

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Were you just talking about me?

Tron Legacy can be only by described as a visual masterpiece. It is a feast for your eyes in many ways. The virtual world of The Grid is created in an absolutely breathtaking way. The buildings, the vehicles, the world, all of them are simply put works of art. It is one of the most beautiful fantasy worlds that I have ever seen created for a movie. I unfortunately missed the opportunity to see this one on the big screen, something that I regret to this day. But not only the visual aspect of this film is worth mentioning. It is also the film’s soundtrack, created by Daft Punk that brings this movie to life. Heavy synthesizer sounds combined with some orchestral score create a truly unique sound, and one that fits this movie perfectly. I highly recommend listening to this one with a headset on, as it will give you the best experience. But for all it’s visual might and powerful sounds, this movie is not without it’s faults unfortunately.

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I want one of these bikes for Christmas.

One of the least interesting aspects of the film are it’s characters. Sam, played by Garett Hedlund is a rather boring guy. He tends to overact in certain scenes and just doesn’t really convince you as the hero. Olivia Wilde, in the role of Quorra is one of the key characters of the movie. An apprentice created by Sam’s father, Olivia’s role is decent, but ultimately also underused. Most of the film she spents her time fighting along Sam, but has just too few lines to really make an impact as a character. Luckily the film is saved by the solid performance of Jeff Bridges, who reprises his role as Kevin, but also plays a younger version of himself as the evil Clu. Now the younger version of Bridges is created mostly through the heavy usage of CGI effects, and is not really done in the best way I’m sorry to say. Still it get’s the job done, and both roles by Bridges are without a doubt the best parts of the movie. It was also fun to see Bruce Boxleitner, who played Tron in the original movie, return for a small cameo performance.

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Ahh…to be young again, well…sort of. 

And then there is the storyline. At times it is quite hard to follow, and there are a few parts of it that just don’t always add up. But honestly the same can be said of the original film. Tron Legacy is one of those movies that will not be appreciated by everyone. Even though it boasts some astonishing special effects and an incredible music score, it’s the story that will not sit well with most people. I for one though, really enjoyed the film. Yes it definitely has it’s flaws, I’m not going to deny that, but there was enough in the movie that made it a solid science fiction adventure. I’m going to leave you with a clip that showcases one of the best scenes from the film: the light cycle sequence. Worthy of mention is also the song by Daft Punk that accompanies this scene and that makes the it even more powerful. Next up for the countdown to the Last Jedi feature is Serenity. I hope you all enjoyed reading this post. End of line.

I give Tron Legacy a 8 out of 10 score.

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Deadman Wonderland, Anime tv series (2011)

I’m beginning to have a small luxury problem. And I’m sure I’m definitely not the only one that has this particular problem. Ever since I started my blog, now more than a year ago, my love for anime has resurfaced. Shock of all shocks, it might even surprise you that before that, I had not been watching anime for a period of more than five or six years. I know right? How on Earth did I even survive that? Now though I have so much anime to watch, that I don’t even know where to start anymore. Besides my own rather formidable dvd collection, I now also have Crunchyroll and more recently Netflix, that have such a great variety of anime series on offer. So what to do about this problem? I’m just going with the flow I guess. I now try to watch a series from my own dvd collection, and then one from either Netflix or Crunchyroll. Just to keep some kind of balance. Erm, yes I guess I can be weird like that at times. Anyway, it was Netflix that was next in line, and after browsing through their considerably large animelist, my eyes were drawn to Deadman Wonderland.

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This brings a whole new meaning to the term papercut. 

In Deadman Wonderland the life of the seemingly ordinary highschool student Ganta Igarashi is about to take a turn for the worse. When his class is preparing to take a school field trip to the privately owned prison Deadman Wonderland, that at the same time serves as an amusement park, a mysterious being suddenly appears. The being that is known as The Red Man, slaughters the entire class, with the exception of Ganta. Being the only survivor, Igarashi soon gets charged with mass murder. Things get even worse when overwhelming evidence is presented that can’t be explained and soon young Ganta is sentenced to death and sent to the Deadman Wonderland prison. Once there he meets a mysterious white haired girl called Shinto, that saves him from a bunch of bullies that were about to kill him. All of a sudden a large explosion rocks the prison and brings down a large object right on top of Ganta and Shinto. Just when it is about to crush them, a mysterious power awakens in Ganta that allows him to take control of his own blood. In this way he manages to keep the object from falling on their heads. With the awakening of this power it is beginning to become apparent that Deadman Wonderland holds many secrets, and not all of them very friendly…..

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Hey, I told you Shinto could get a little crazy at times

Well, let me start this review by saying that this series is not, I repeat not, for the faint of heart. To call this series rather gory is quite the understatement. The blood flows freely in this anime, and I am not talking about a few small drops either. No we have buckets full of blood that are spilled, including several mutilations, and a rather nasty removal of an eyeball, that makes this a really brutal show. But before you all turn the other way, let me tell you that this show also kicks ass (pardon my French). I have never seen an animeseries that featured such a unique power. Ganta, and a rather large cast of other colourful characters, can use their own blood to form  weapons like swords, whips or even projectiles. And this makes for a couple of incredibly cool fightscenes between the inmates, that while at times rather bloody, really are highly entertaining to watch. It’s almost as if you are back in Rome during the days of gladiator fighting.

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Don’t worry these are all special effects, he is fine. 

As mentioned the cast is rather large, and more and more are added with each episode. This eventually results in quite a few them being rather bland, and not ones that you can form an attachment to. But one character I guarantee you will in love with is Shinto. This free spirited girl that has a special, and really protective bond with Ganta is a truly fun character. Sometimes a little crazy, at other times seemingly innocent, but more than capable of taking care of herself she is the absolute highlight of this anime. Ganta, the hero of the series is your typical innocent young boy character, that you have seen in quite a number of other shows. That is not to say that you don’t feel sympathy for him though. Not only is he wrongfully accused, he also gets confronted with a mysterious power and is placed in the most awful place one can imagine. It is enough to drive most men or women insane, but Ganta keeps fighting the good fight, and you have to admire that.

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In case you were wondering, no she is not naked, she is wearing a suit. 

For those of you that are observant, you might have already taken a glance at the final score I have given this anime. Made you look didn’t I? So why the low score for a show that I haven’t been really negative for yet? Well, it’s unfortunately one of those anime series that wraps things up in a really bad way. Or maybe it’s even better to say it doesn’t wrap up anything. After 12 episodes you are left with so many unanswered questions, and no real resolution that you end up feeling rather frustrated. I absolutely hate it when something like this happens. I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun watching this, up until the final few episodes. And this is really such a shame. The storyline for this was very good, the animation more than decent, there were cool fightscenes and some very interesting  characters. And then it all went to hell in a handbasket. Whether or not you want to give this a try depends on the fact if you don’t mind shows that end with with no real resolution. I do have to admit that the fightsequences alone are worth seeing at least once, so there is that. All in all, despite a pretty big list of positives I can’t really bring myself to fully recommend this one. So watch at your own discretion.

I give Deadman Wonderland a 6 out of 10 score.

 

 

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, American movie (1982)

When it comes to science fiction franchises there are what you could call two major players. One is a series of movies that take place in a galaxy far, far away. Otherwise known as Star Wars, these science fiction movies are based on pure fantasy and have little or nothing to do with reality. The other player takes voyages across the galaxy to boldly go where no man has gone before. Now consisting of six television series and thirteen movies the science fiction phenomena Star Trek is known by pretty much everyone in the world. Where Star Wars as mentioned is pure fantasy, Star Trek has always tried to take a more realistic approach and predicts a positive future for all mankind. The fun thing is that Star Trek fans usually don’t like Star Wars and vice versa. There a lot of hilarious sketches on YouTube where the two camps take pot shots at each other. However, I love science fiction in general, and have always loved both franchises. So that’s why today I’m continuing the Countdown to the Last Jedi with what by many is considered the best Star trek movie to date, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

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Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!

The Federation starship USS Reliant is on a mission to find a suitable planet for a topsecret project called Genesis. If succesful the so called Genesis Device will be able to turn a lifeless planet into a fertile one, ready to be colonised. Arriving at a possible  planet that might qualify for the project, the Reliant’s captain, a man called Clark Terrel together with Commander Pavel Checkov beam down to the surface. To their astonishment they find what seems to be an abandoned cargo ship. Upon entering the wreck, Checkov sees a name that makes him stop dead in his tracks: Botany Bay. It brings back memories of his time aboard the starship Enterprise fifteen years earlier. The Botany Bay was the name of the ship that was commanded by the infamous Khan Noonien Sing, a genetically engineered tyrant. The Enterprise under the command of captain Kirk was barely able to defeat this criminal mastermind. In the end though, Kirk won, and marooned Khan together with his crew on the surface of the planet Ceti Alpha V. Checkov screams at Terrel that they must leave immediately. But just when they are about to, they get surrounded by a group of unknown assailants. When their leader reveals himself, Chekov is shocked to find out it is Khan. Still alive, and out for revenge against the man that took everything from him: Kirk. The captain of the Enterprise will soon find out that revenge is a dish best served cold…..

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She may be old, but she is still a terrific ship to look at.

After 25 years this movie is still just as awesome as when it was first released. There is so much cool stuff in this film, that it’s almost impossible to mention everything. I’m going to make an effort anyway. For one thing it’s the original crew that will always hold a special place in my heart. No matter what you say about William Shatner, I think nobody can deny how truly terrific his role as Kirk was. And in this film I think he did the best job out of all the movies and tv episodes. In the beginning of the film we see a Kirk that is feeling old and finds himself bereft of energy. Having accepted a promotion might have possibly been the worst decision of his career. It is only when he returns to the Enterprise, and is forced to take command, that he comes alive again. This change is remarkable and portrayed perfectly by Shatner. But it’s also the enormous rollercoaster of emotions that the captain goes through in this film, that makes it so fascinating. Laughter, anger but also sadness because of the death of a major character and close friend of Kirk, will absolutely strike a chord in you, I guarantee you that.

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Look! We are on television!

But Kirk is ofcourse nothing without his two close friends Spock and Bones. It’s the comedic banter between the three that always puts a smile on my face. There are so many great moments with them in this film, both heartbreaking but also very funny ones that will have you bursting out with laughter. But let us not forget there is also the villain Khan, played by Ricardo Montalban. Perhaps the best, but certainly the most interesting enemy that Kirk has ever faced. The natural charisma, and pure evil wickedness of this character are a joy to behold. As much as you grow to hate him, you also don’t want him to die, which is always the sign of a great bad guy. On a fun side note, we also see a very young Kirstie Alley play the role of Spock’s protege, Saavik. It’s always funny to see someone play a completely different character than what they are used to. She pulls it off very nicely though, and Saavik plays a pretty important role in the unfolding of the plot.

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Yep, that really is Kirstie Alley. Erm, just to make sure, she is the Vulcan on the left.

And what a great plot it is. Sure it is your basic revenge story, you will get no argument from me there. But it also contains so many layers and great lines, that it’s so much more. Above all it is a story about friendship. The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. That line really bears great weight in this film especially near the admittedly very heartbreaking end. Another recurring theme is the fact that you are only as old as you feel. Always continue doing what you love to do, for as long as you can. Before you know it, time will be up. This being a 25 year old movie, one might argue that the special effects do not hold up so well. But even those I think are still very good. All in all what we have here is a remarkable and solid science fiction adventure that can be enjoyed by everyone. You don’t even have to be very familiair with the franchise in general to watch this movie. I have been wracking my brain to find something negative about this film, but I really can’t find it. I’m going to leave you with the trailer from those days. Coming up next for this countdown feature will be Tron Legacy. Thank you for reading as always!

I give Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan a 10 out of 10 score.

Ergo Proxy, Anime tv series (2006)

Have you ever felt the pressure when you are writing a review? A cold sweat that the things you are about to write might not go over so well with everyone? I’m feeling that pressure right now. A certain amount of dread for a review that I have been promising for quite a while now. Namely that of the anime Ergo Proxy. And now that I’m actually starting my first draft for this, I don’t really know where to start. Because honestly I have no clue what to make of this series. When I first started watching this, and that was weeks ago, I really felt this was a anime that contained a lot of elements that I usually enjoy quite a lot. A dark dystopian future, a very unusual but utterly terrific style of animation, and characters that at first I thought I would really like. But at some point, it all started to go wrong. At least for me it did. So what happened? Let’s first talk about what this series is all about, before I am going to dive into the review itself.

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It was a dark and stormy night….unfortunately it was like this every night, and day.

Ergo Proxy is set into a future where thousands of years ago the planet was all but destroyed by a global ecological disaster. What is left of humanity lives on in a domed city called Romdo. It is supposed to be a utopia, but as is so often the case beneath all the shine, dark secrets are being kept from the general public. The humans that live in Romdo coexist with androids called AutoReivs. The AutoReivs serve humanity in different kind of ways either as Companions or Entourages. The peace is soon shattered when a series of grissly murders take place. Re-L Mayer is the investigator who is assigned to look into the case together with her AutoReiv partner Iggy. While at the site of one the murders, Re-L encounters an unknown entity. She has never seen anything like that before and later she is attacked at her house by a similar being. Her investigation eventually leads her to a young immigrant called Vincent Law that seems to be involved with these mysterious creatures called Proxys. But just how is he connected to them, and just what exactly is a Proxy? All the answers to these questions might be more than Re-L can handle, and might shake Romdo to it’s very core….

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You meet the strangest people these days while donating blood.

Ergo Proxy starts very promising. The first ten or so episodes tell a very interesting supernatural mystery, with some intriguing moments that will have you guessing at every turn. Re-L’s investigation into just what exactly is going on is a fascinating journey to follow, with many twists and turns. Eventually she ends up outside the city of Romdo together with Vincent Law and a young AutoReiv called Pino. And that is the point where it all started to go wrong for me. Every episode afterwards sees the three of them travelling across a dark and very depressive landscape aboard an airship. And almost nothing happens. The time is spent with a lot of talking, and talking….and more talking. Okay, this is maybe a bit of an exageration, but it is not very far of the mark. I don’t mind slow series at all. I certainly watched quite a few of those that were incredibly entertaining. But I do mind it, when a show goes into very deep philosophy mode about subjects that I can really not make heads nor tails of. And it becomes even worse for me when all of a sudden an episode is inserted that is just complete and utter crazyness.

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Woohoo….at least one character is happy in this show!

Let me explain that last remark. Episode 15 sees our three leads enter a quizshow completely out of the blue. Yes you read that right, a quizshow. It is so incredibly out of place when compared to the rest of the series that one just had to wonder what the point of it was. Another thing that I was not satisfied with, was the wrap up of the story. Everything just goes into full on speed mode in the last 3 episodes. It was almost as if the creators were thinking we don’t have any time left, let’s finish this as quick as we can. The result is an unsatisfactory conclusion with quite a few things just not fully explained. And then there are the characters. Both Re-L and Vincent are just not really people that I would love to make friends with. They are incredibly dull, have an expression on their faces most of the time as if someone has died, and quite frankly were not people I could feel any sympathy for. Which is a real shame because the design for Re-L especially is really beautiful. She looks bad ass so to speak, and could have ended up as a truly amazing character.

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Yeah, I just had to include another picture of the happy character.

This is turning a bit into a rant, for which I am truly sorry. Is there nothing positive? Yes there is. The animation style is really unusual but also very beautiful. The dark city of Romdo looks amazing, and so do the truly dark backgrounds. And then there is the character of Pino. This young childlike AutoReiv was a joy to watch, and one of the only shining lights in a series that consisted of characters that at any point seemed almost ready to take their lives. Or at least that was what they looked like at times. Pino was infected with the so called Cogito virus that makes her self aware. It only made her more human, and quite luckily a very welcome happy note in this very depressive series. The storyline itself, besides the for me truly poor execution, was still very intriguing. Especially in the beginning it contained some very cool elements that were a joy to watch and at times had me on the edge of my seat.

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Erm, no I am sorry. I am not going to shut up about my feelings for this show.

I really wanted to like this anime. I’m sure a lot of you reading this review might even be surprised at my reaction. But in the end the series just didn’t work for me. It unfortunately happens at times, and sometimes even with shows that contain elements that normally should have you bursting into joy. Another note of warning I also want to give to you is that this really isn’t a happy show. It can really affect your mood, turning it into something very melancholy. I know some people can be overly sensitive for things like this, and that’s why I’m at least mentioning it. So, in closing I want to say that this is my own opinion on an anime that really has some very high ratings. Don’t take my word for it, but just go and watch it yourself and maybe you will be someone that is going to really enjoy it. I hope not everyone is going to bite my head off after posting this. So with a few drops of sweat on my brow I guess I’m going to press the publish button.

I give Ergo Proxy a 5 out of 10 score.

 

Kill Command, Uk movie (2016)

I have always loved robots. My fascination with them started at a young age with a cartoon that for everyone that grew up in the 80’s should be very familiar: The Transformers. It was awesome and the toy of my childhood. I don’t even remember the number of Transformers toys I eventually ended up with, but I would not be surprised if they were more than a hundred. As I grew up, I discovered other metal monstrosities that I loved even more. By watching movies such as The Terminator, and anime shows that featured even more exotic variations, my love for walking (and sometimes even talking) metal only grew more and more. Anytime a movie or tv show appears that features robots in some way, I just have to check it out. Early this year I came across a pretty gripping trailer for a movie that I knew nothing about. But I was determined to see it because it featured, yes you guessed it: robots! Welcome people, to part 1 of Countdown to the Last Jedi.

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This thing is just so awesome…in a scary kind of way. 

Kill Command is set in the near future, but where technology has certainly made some big leaps. The Harbinger Corporation is developing military hardware in the form of sophisticated robots and A.I. systems to maybe replace soldiers on the battlefield. The cyborg Katherine Mills is an employee of this corporation, and accompanies a group of soldiers to a training island for a two day training mission. Captain Damien Bukes is the leader of the group and upon arrival issues his orders to his squad. At first everything seems to be going according to plan, and the excersise is progressing nicely. But when the first of his men dies, Damien soon realises that something is horribly wrong. Does Katherine know more about what is going on, or is she just an innocent bystander? Whatever the case, the soldiers are in for the fight of their lives. Because the robots they are up against are incredibly strong and are able to outsmart them at every corner. What began as a training excersise has now turned into a deadly fight for survival…..

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Don’t be afraid….I just want to give you a hug. 

Kill Command is a small budget movie that looks like a Hollywood blockbuster. Seriously, I have never seen special effects of this quality in a movie that has such relatively low costs. The stars of this film are the robots. All of them are realised through CGI, but if they would have told me that they build these for the film, I would have believed them. The lead unit of these advanced machines is incredibly menacing. There are a few scenes where this thing approaches through doorways, and you would think you were watching a horror movie. It really is an incredibly bad ass, but also terrifying monstrosity. Most of the scenes in this movie are filmed in a dark forrest, and on location, a fact that only enhances the experience of the film. Mixed with the special effects the fight scenes between the soldiers and the robots work incredibly well, and will have you on the edge of your seat.

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Say hello to my little friend…..

The human characters however are an altogether different aspect. They are just incredibly static, and at no point do you feel any attachment to them. That is not to say that they are realised by bad actors, but it’s the lines that are given to them in the script itself that don’t really give room for great acting performances. It almost at times feels as if the humans themselves are robots too. Katherine Mills is of course one, albeit a cyborg, and she is played by actress Vanessa Kirby. She does a pretty good job in her role under the circumstances, and the character she plays is one that you never quite know what to make of. Is she good or evil? She keeps you guessing and that is a good thing. The rest of the squad, including Captain Bukes, played by Thure Lindhardt, are just your typical soldier grunts and serve mainly as cannon fodder. None of them leave a lasting impression unfortunately, which is a shame as it could have elevated the movie to an even higher level.

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I don’t have a clue what to say here….

Usually when a movie doesn’t have a worthwhile script or interesting characters, it would be a turn off for me. But with this movie that’s somehow different. I enjoyed this film from start to finish. It’s tense, gripping and will leave you breathless at times. Yes, it’s certainly not perfect, and could have been an even better movie with a somewhat more interesting script. But despite that fact, if you love military science fiction movies, with some great special effects, and cool action sequences you had better check this one out. Down below you can find the trailer that got my interest for the film in the first place. If you want another review for this movie, you can find an awesome one over on mr. Bobinsky’s blog right here. (And while you are there I would definitely suggest you follow it, because it’s an amazing blog). That’s it for part 1 of this countdown. Next up is Star Trek II: The wrath of Khan. Hope you enjoyed this review, and as always thank you for reading!

I give Kill Command a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Countdown to the Last Jedi

In a few more weeks Star Wars fans from all over the world will be flocking to the theatres to finally see the latest installment from that galaxy far, far away…..Adventure, excitement, bah a Jedi craves not these things. No, a Jedi maybe not, but a Star Wars fan like myself does. I honestly can’t wait to see this movie, and I am actually counting down the days to finally see it. So, I thought it would be a cool idea to write a series of reviews, just like I did in my Countdown to Halloween feature. Only this time instead of horror, the focus will be on science fiction films. I will be reviewing one of these films each week. So, what is there to look forward to? Well, you can check my selection of films down below. And of course I had to end with a Star Wars film. Thanks for reading. The Force will be with you: always!

1. Kill Command

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2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

 

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3. Tron: Legacy

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4. Serenity

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5. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

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Special Features Presents: Coming up next……

Earlier this week I realised something that actually shocked me a bit. In a little bit less than two months we will be saying goodbye to the year 2017. I don’t know if this is just me, but seriously this year has rushed by so fast! But maybe the reason might simply be it’s because I’m getting older or something like that, but I do wonder where this year has gone off to in such a hurry. As the year 2018 is already slowly beginning to appear on the horizon, I thought it would be nice to let you all know what will be coming up next in these last two months of the year on my blog. I will try to release some diverse content so that hopefully everyone is going to have something to look forward to. So let’s take a look into the crystal ball of the future shall we?

Anime

imageYes anime is definitely still a part of my blog. It has been lacking a bit in the past few weeks, I have to admit, but let me just ease your minds: there is plenty of that still going to be heading your way. Ergo Proxy is a series that I know a lot of you have been waiting to hear my thoughts on. Rest assured the post for that one is coming this month. Girls und Panzer is an unexpected delight. I had skipped over this series quite a number of times in the Crunchyroll line up. But because of a recent post from The Otaku Judge on the Girls und Panzer film, I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did. Other anime you can expect reviews for are Deadman WonderlandThe Skycrawlers and Bakemonogatari.

Tv series

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I am really playing catch up to a lot of things at the moment, and as such have fallen  behind on some of my favorite television shows. But that does not mean I don’t occasionally start with something new. Television series based on movies are usually a very bad idea and have an awful track record. Ofcourse there are exceptions to this rule, and the Lethal Weapon tv series certainly is one. Prison Break returned this year to our small screens with a one time 9 episode event series. It used to be one of my alltime favorites, and that’s why I am really looking forward to watching this. Star Trek Discovery is the newest Star Trek tv series, and while I am still debating on whether or not I actually think it’s a good show, it’s certainly not bad either. Besides reviews for these three series, you can also expect posts for Homeland season 6, The Walking Dead season 7, and Fear the Walking Dead season 1.

Korean Dramas

imageKorean dramas are so much fun, but unfortunately as with almost everything I have really started to run behind on these (sorry Kay). The first one is Pinocchio a somewhat older series, but one that I have so far been enjoying for quite a bit. The second is one that has been on my to watch list for ages and that’s Missing 9. The main reason for watching this one is that it includes one of my favorite Korean actors Jung Kyung-ho. The second reason is that it reminds me a lot of Lost, an alltime favorite series of mine, as it tells the story of a group of people that survive a plane crash and get stranded on an island. Both of these are up for reviews in the coming months.

Movies

imageNo big suprise that of course movies will also remain a big part of this blog (at least I hope it won’t be a surprise that is lol). Yesterday I saw the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok. It was a fun filled film, and that one will be up first when it comes to movie reviews. With the releasedate of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, coming ever closer, I am planning on doing a series of posts similar to the Countdown to Halloween feature. And it will be given the name Countdown to The Last Jedi (duhhhhh). I’m not yet going to reveal which movies will be included, but of course they are all going to be science fiction. Other movies you can expect reviews for are John Carpenter’s classic Christine and Justice League. But with movies I expect a few others to be added to this list along the way.

Books

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Ughh, my Good Reads to read list is growing daily, and I probably won’t be able to complete it until I am close to entering a retirement home. I do want to finish a couple of books by the end of the year though, so I still have hope of including at least a few reviews for those as well. I am currently right in the middle of the Sisters of Battle Omnibus written by James Swallow. Part of the Warhammer 40000 universe, it has so far been a very entertaining read. For those who want a bit of nostalgia, I’m also planning a review for the Mini-comic collection of He-man and the Masters of the Universe. The last two books on my list for this year are The official making of Big Trouble in little China and the Star Wars novel Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. This last one especially is one I am really looking forward to as it marks the return of my favorite villain from the Expanded Universe that became canon again (erm, yes I am going to explain that one when I write the review for it).

Boardgames

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Yes, I still play boardgames, even though the last review for one of those dates back to May this year. I hope to publish at least one more review for a boardgame and that is for the incredible Xenoshyft Dreadmire. This is a really fun but incredibly tough deckbuilding game, in which you have to defend your base from a horde of bloodthirsty alien creatures. The artwork for this game is off the scales, and it will be a delight to show it you in all it’s creepy glory.

In closing….

So, that’s pretty much what I have planned for the final two months of this year. In between these posts I also hope to catch up on some tags and awards that I haven’t yet made posts for. As with all things, these are all plans that can be subject to change, as you never know when real life decides to throw a wrench into everything again. But hopefully that won’t happen. In closing I want to thank each and everyone of you who continue to support my blog. I really could not do this without you! So: Thank you all 😀 Let me know in the comments section below if there are any things that you are looking forward to in particular (or if there is nothing on this list that grabs your attention, which is fine as well of course, but I definitely hope that’s not the case lol). Thank you all for reading, see you on the next post!

Stranger Things Season 2, American tv series (2017)

It is saturday morning, the 28th of October. I’m going through my checklist. Have I locked the door? Have I turned off my phone? Did I stock up on foodsupplies? Did I make sure that I have cancelled all my appointments for the day? I feel the fear swiftly take a hold of me. I did do all these things right? Calmly I exhale…yes, I have checked everything multiple times now. A grim smile crosses my face: I am ready. Quietly I walk towards the remote of my television set. With my heart pounding like thunder, I press the play button and see the Netflix logo appearing. I sit back, grab my cup of hot coffee and whoop with joy. Yes people season 2 of Stranger Things is finally here. I imagine the scene I just described has been playing across multiple homes across the globe this weekend. Albeit probably a bit less dramatic. So, in case you have yet to discover this tv series, I’ve got you covered. Last year I did a review for the first season, which you can find right here.

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Who are you gonna call? (Oh come on, what else did you expect me to say about a picture like this?)

What’s that? Can’t I just give a quick description? Sure. Stranger Things is pretty much a loveletter to everything that made the 80’s so awesome. The series is set in the 80’s and focusses on a group of friends that end up in the middle of a mystery that is out of this world. You will find references to all your favorite movies from that era, like the Goonies, E.T., Aliens, the Thing and a whole bunch more. To say that I am in love with this series is an understatement. So you are warned that this review for the second season is going to be me gushing pretty much over how awesome this show really is. But I will be doing that spoilerfree, and sure I will try and be as objective as I can. With a series that had such a strong opening season, there is always a lot of pressure. Will it be as good? Aren’t they going to ruin everything what you loved so much about the series in the first place? Well….they didn’t. In fact, at some points it was even better. Now of course I will get to that soon, but let’s first get to the story of the second season.

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Yes, that really is quite a disturbing sight.

Season 2 takes place a year after the events of the first season. Will Byers is safely back, and tries to pick up his life as best he can after the trauma he suffered. Supported by his group of friends, they get back into the things they love doing. However, soon Will is beginning to experience terrifying visions of the Upside Down. It seems that the supernatural forces are still out there, and are trying to get back into the world, with the intent of destroying it and humanity. But is Will just having after effects of his earlier experiences or is there something more sinister going on? In the meantime Sheriff Hopper is having problems of his own. He is trying to keep something a secret in order to protect the ones he loves the most. But in doing so, he might just be making things even worse. It is not long before all hell is going to break  loose and a terrifying presence from beyond is going to make itself known. Once again it will be up to Mike and the rest of his band of misfits to save the world. But this time, the stakes are much, much higher, and the question becomes if they are going to be up to this task…..

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Who says girls can’t play videogames is just very stupid.

The first thing you will notice when you are starting with the second season is that the pace has been changed. Events are moving at a much slower rate, and we are spending more time getting into the minds of the characters, instead of going into all out action mode. I did not think this was a bad thing though, but I can understand how some viewers might also consider some of it a bit too slow for their tastes. The strength of this show however is the characters. Whoever did the casting for this series should definitely get a raise. I am in awe of the acting abilities of some of these kids. We have to consider the fact that these are relatively young children, but from the way they are acting you would say they had been doing it for years. But next to the regulars we also get a bunch of new additions to the cast. This is always risky, as with a cast as awesome as this, you really wonder if any new ones don’t throw a wrench into the well oiled machine.

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There is going to be a season 3? Really?

But here there are also no problems, as they all work out incredibly well. My favorite had got to be tomboy Max who adds some much needed girlpower to the group. She is a feisty and spirited girl that you will fall in love with right from the start. Her stephbrother though is a whole other matter. A truly loathsome guy, who thinks he is God’s greatest gift to women, he is a seriously annoying presence, but in a very good way. It’s always terrific when you get a character that you truly hate, but also want to see more of because he is played so well. We also get a new love interest for Winona Ryder’s character namely the good guy Bob Newby. Played by Sean Astin, who once played in the Goonies, this is just one of those characters that basically can’t do anything wrong. Finally Paul Reiser portrays a new scientist called dr. Owens that works at the lab that started the whole mess. At the beginning it is pretty unclear just  what his motives are, and whether or not his intentions are evil or not. I always enjoy shady characters like that, and it’s nice to figure stuff like that out.

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Why did you not tell me there would be a third season sooner?

As you might have noticed I have kept things about the plot relatively in the dark. That’s because I really don’t want to spoil things for anyone that still has to see this. Don’t worry about the fact that things start off slow though. The pace will pick up soon enough, and there is still plenty of action. As mentioned above I thought this season at some points was even better. I loved finding out more about all the characters, and the special effects for all of these episodes were also a step up from the ones seen in Season 1. Clearly they just had a much bigger budget, and could therefore spent a lot more money. Overall though, one has to be honest and say that everything in this season was simply playing it very safe. There were no real surprises and they just made sure that the viewers got everything they loved about the first season and then some. Not that this was a bad thing though, but one has to wonder what they are going to be doing for season 3.

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Let’s have a little light in the darkness. 

Season 3 you say? Yes. Stranger Things will reportedly get at least three more seasons , with the next one already heading into the production phase. And I love it! Yes, the series has to be careful to not play it too safe, and hopefully will also try and bring a bit more surprises into the existing storyline next season. That being said, the mythology of this show along with the wonderful cast of characters, is something that I don’t mind spending more time with. This series is awesome, and simply the best series on Netflix at this moment. It’s one those shows that makes you sad when the credits start to roll on the final episode. Stranger Things season 2 is a terrific watch, and if you were already a fan, you will even be more of a fan after this one. The lack of surprises made me not give this season a 10/10 score like last year, but it was another amazing ride and one that I did not regret for even a single second. Well…time to unlock the door and plug in the phone again. Let’s get back to the real world.

I give season 2 of Stranger Things a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

Plastic Memories, Anime tv series (2015)

For those of you that have been wondering if my love for anime has maybe disappeared, let me put your minds at ease: it has not. I admit it has been quite a while since I have last published a post for an animeseries, which is exactly the reason why I am doing one now. And don’t you just love it that it’s for a series that I just picked by pure chance and turned out to be something really quite special? I’m still in the middle of Ergo Proxy, and while I am so far truly enjoying it, it paints a picture of a very bleak future. The entire atmosphere it breathes is quite depressive and that is why I was looking for something to counter that and put me in a bit of a brighter mood. Looking through the Crunchyroll line up, I stumbled upon Plastic Memories. I found the premise for it quite promising, and I thought it would be a pretty bright and upbeat show. In parts it truly was just that, but I certainly did not expect that the final episode would bring me close to tears.

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This is a bit how I feel when I haven’t yet had my coffee in the morning.

Plastic Memories takes place in the future where humans live alongside androids that are all but indistinquishable from humans. The most advanced models, the so-called Giftias, have the most humanlike abilities, and have emotions and memory. Unfortunately all this comes at a price. A Giftia has a maximum lifespan. If it exceeds that limit, it results in a change in personality and memoryloss. In fact the best way to describe is that they turn into a very agressieve zombielike being. But there is an organisation that helps to retrieve the Giftias that are getting close to their expiration dates from their owners. The so called Terminal Service carries out that work in teams of two, a human called a Spotter and a Giftia that acts as the Marksman. A young man called Tsukasa has just started working at one of the offices of the Terminal Service. He is introduced to his beautiful partner Isla and together the pair start their job. Tsukasa is quickly developing feelings for Isla though and soon their relationship begins to become very complicated. Even more so as it seems Isla’s time is starting to run out……

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Don’t you just hate it that you have to prove to everyone who you are?

This is one of those animeseries that seems to have nearly every range of emotions contained within it. You will laugh, you will feel excitement, and you will cry. When the series first starts, it looks like the show will develop into a light hearted romantic comedy. There is nothing wrong with that, but a series like that is usually not really my cup of tea. For some reason I decided to stick with it though, and I am very glad that I did. This is an incredibly heartwarming series. As the series progresses there are an increasing amount of very beautiful moments between owners of Giftias that have a hard time letting go of their almost humanlike androids. A young boy for instance, has developed a very strong relationship with a Giftia that has been acting as a kind of mother figure, as his real mum died. There are several moments like these throughout the show, but at the heart of it all is the relationship between Tsukasa and Isla.

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I guess they both don’t like the food and drink on offer. I wonder why?

Tsukasa is a character that has his heart in the right place. At the start of the series he is very inexperienced and tries to do his job as best he can. Even though he certainly makes mistakes, his natural charisma helps him to get through these mistakes and get better. Isla has a lot of experience, but when it comes to human emotions she has a hard time coping with those. At first she feels awkward when Tsukasa seems to be developing feelings for her, even calling it an error. But as is usually the case, true love can’t really be denied, and the bond between the two turns into something truly beautiful. The rest of the characters are made up of their coworkers, and even though some of their roles are minor, they really become an integral part of the story as well. Both in providing comic relief, but also in adding to the many layers this series has. I especially liked the redhead Michiru that even though she denies this has fallen for Tsukasa. She really is a great character that provides some of the best comedy the series has on offer.

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Well, I told you the backgrounds were very beautiful.

The animation style of this anime is rather good, especially when it comes to the backgrounds. The future city this is taking place in, looks amazing and utterly believable. Another strong point and something of a rarity these days, is that the final episode brings the series to a close in a highly emotional and breathtaking way. I do advise you to keep a box of tissues nearby though. Are there any negatives to this one? Well I am hardpressed to find them. There is a very small moment of fanservice in a later episode that I found to be a little out of place. But that scene goes by so fast that you hardly even know it’s there. I highly recommend this series. It’s message throughout is very clear and so true: live live to the fullest and spend as much time as you can with the people you love. Before you know it, time is up. This series plays with that message in an incredible way. This anime shows how precious memories really are, and that you should cherish them as much as you can. Especially the good ones.

I give Plastic Memories a 9 out 10 score.

Blade Runner 2049, American/Uk/Canadian movie (2017)

The movie industry can sometimes be incredibly strange. In 1982 the original Blade Runner was released. A movie that many consider to be a groundbreaking piece of science fiction filmmaking. Throughout the years the film has become a cult classic, that has been gathering praise long after it’s release. Because when it was released 35 years ago, it did not perform very well, and even some critics did not give the movie very positive reviews. When the news was announced that a sequel was being made for this film, many people including myself, had to raise a few eyebrows. Why do you make sequel to a film that quite frankly doesn’t need one, and were there people really waiting for this at this point? When the first trailer was released for it, I became cautiously optimistic. For it really looked….good. With the release of the film now upon us, critics are giving the movie very high marks. With glowing reviews under it’s belt and cool trailers, one would think this film would become an overnight box office succes right?

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What do you mean this film isn’t doing well at the Box-office? 

Well, that’s where you would be wrong. Just like the original, the movie is currently under performing at the cinemas, so I guess in some cases history does repeat itself. This is going to be a bit of an unusual review for me, as I am not going to tell you much about the plot of the film. To do so, would be to rob of you of a lot of enjoyment as in this case the less you know about it, the more you will be surprised by it. What I can tell you is that this sequel takes place 30 years after the events of the first movie. The mighty Tyrell Corporation has gone bankrupt. Out of it’s ashes a new pioneer for the replicant technology, a man named Niander Wallace, arises. He has created a new type of replicant that is obedient and has been integrated into society to work as servants and slaves. The older types are still being hunted and retired by the cops known as Blade Runners. One of them, the Blade Runner known simply as K has stumbled on a secret that could shake the very foundations of society. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent that secret from coming out…

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This is my response to that! 

It’s very hard to describe to you exactly what I thought of this movie. Perhaps it’s best to give you my state of mind as I left the theatre yesterday afternoon, after having sat there for almost three hours seeing the movie for the first time in IMAX. And that state of mind was very, very sad. Not because I hated the film, but because of the atmosphere that this movie manages to create. One of the things that I love in films is to escape in a make believe world for a few hours. What we have here however is a very bleak and depressing future, that seems to penetrate itself into the very core of your mind. Together with the brilliant music created by Hans Zimmer, and the incredible visual style, I don’t think I have ever seen a more depressing view of the future than what has been created in this film. It’s one of the main reasons why this has become a must see movie, but it’s not only the visuals that make the film so astounding.

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Hello little man. 

We also have a script here, that would not surprise me if it got nominated for an Oscar. There are so many layers in it, that it’s difficult to tell too much about it without heading into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that one of the main things that I really liked about it, is something you might be surprised at: and that is the universal theme of love. K has a very unusual relationship, which is both beautiful and incredibly sad at the same time. But just like in the original it’s also the age old question of what it exactly means to be human, that makes it’s return. And even more than in the original 1982 classic, that question is even harder to answer in this sequel. Even though some of the trailers for the film would like you to believe this is an action movie, it really isn’t. It’s very slow moving, and while there is some action, the main part of the film is spent with K trying to figure out his place in the uncovering of the secret.

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I can see clearly now the rain is gone. 

Performance wise there is a lot to enjoy. Ryan Gosling plays K, and he manages to create a character that is both very human and at the same time also isn’t. This really is his journey, and for an audience to go along on that journey, you have to be able to create sympathy for your character. And Gosling certainly has excelled at that. The role of Niander Wallace is performed by Jared Leto. Though his character had a chilling aura, it certainly wasn’t a very memorable part. In fact it was his replicant enforcer Luv, played by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks that made a much more lasting impression. She played a great villain, and pardon my French: a perfectly evil bitch. And of course there is Harrison Ford who reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Even though time might have catched up with him, he can still pull off the part. It was an absolute joy to seem him make an appearance again, and the movie just would not have been the same without him in it.

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The first person to make a remark about my age is going to get it! 

So, are there any negative points? Yes, there are. The film clocks in at almost three hours, and that was just too long overall. Some scenes felt unnecessary, and could have helped with the pacing of the movie had they been left out. At times the film is just a bit too slow. But then again, this really isn’t much different from it’s original counterpart. Now on to the hard part: do I recommend this film? I can honestly say that this is an incredible movie, with a fantastic script, a believable and utterly beautifully created world and some high caliber performances. At the same time, this movie also won’t be for everyone. If you can’t handle slow paced films, and expect an action spectacle you would be wise not to go this movie. For fans of the original though, this almost feels like coming home. It’s a sequel that pretty much rivals and at some points is even better than the classic. And that is a very hard thing to accomplish. I won’t lie to you though, it’s bleak vision of the future will take you a bit of time to let go of. Also be prepared to have the movie spinning around in your head for a while. But that usually is a good sign.

I give Blade Runner 2049 a 9 out of 10 score.