Tag Archives: Sci-fi

Star Trek Beyond, American movie (2016)

Space: the final frontier. I think pretty much everyone that loves science fiction, must have heard these words at least once. In 1966 Gene Roddenberry created a science fiction television series called Star Trek. Strangely enough when it first aired it got cancelled after 3 seasons. A few years later the series got very popular after reruns on several different television stations. And the rest is history. Star Trek became a world wide phenomenon, spawning several television series, movies and novels. One of the things that made it unique was the fact that it presented a very positive view of the future, in which humanity had finally managed to better itself. In 2009 a new Star Trek movie was made by J.J.Abrams, who most people know as one of the minds behind the tv series Lost, and ofcourse the director of Star Wars: the Force Awakens. It was kind of a reboot for the entire Star Trek universe, and even though the movie became a huge succes, a lot of Star Trek fans did not like it all. Last year the third installment of this new version of Star trek was released, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

image
Idris Elba’s skin rash had taken a turn for the worse.

In Star Trek Beyond, we meet captain Kirk at a time in his life, where he finds his job to be a bit tedious. He has kind of lost faith in his own capabilities, and is thinking of going for an admiral’s position, just to quit flying a starship. When his ship the Enterprise, visits the Federation’s newest starbase called Yorktown, a distress signal is picked up from an unknown ship. The person who sent the the signal introduces herself as Kalara, and claims her ship and her crew are stranded on a nearby planet. Soon Kirk and crew are sent out on the rescue mission. But all is not as it seems, and the Enterprise gets attacked by a swarm of powerful ships led by the villainous Krall.  Krall is searching for an ancient artifact that will bring death to the existing universe. The crew of the Enterprise are going to face their toughest mission yet, and one they might not all get out alive from….

image
Why is she in my chair?

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while now, you pretty much know that I love science fiction in almost every form. As such I am not one of those people that only loves Star Trek, or only loves Star Wars for instance. As long as it is done well, I can pretty much eat science fiction movies for breakfast. That said, ever since J.J. Abrams has reimagined Star Trek, the movies have deviated from Roddenberry’s original vision for it. This third film carries the name Star Trek, but it is simply put not Star Trek anymore. It is a summer blockbuster action movie, that has entertaining moments, and some cool special effects. But sadly it does not feel like Star Trek, and that really is a shame I think.

image
I really want to go home now…

 

All the actors from the new movies have returned to reprise their roles. They all do an admirable job, most notably Karl Urban, who plays doctor McCoy. Out of all the new actors that now play the parts of these legendary characters, he has always come the closest to the original role. The villain Krall is played by actor Idris Elba, who is completely unrecognisable in make up. Elba plays the part well, but Krall is just not a very interesting villain, and lacks depth. The relatively unknown actress Sofia Boutella plays the most interesting new character, the warrior woman Jaylah. Her martial arts skills are very impressive, but she also has a natural charisma that really makes you care for her character.

STAR TREK BEYOND
Just wait until I show you to my parents, they are going to love you. 

This movie is directed by Justin Lin, who has also directed a lot of the Fast and Furious movies. The story in this movie takes a bit of a backseat, and instead we get treated to a action movie with explosions, chases, and pretty much everything that you would expect in movies like that. It certainly manages to entertain at times, but all in all I found this movie just not as good as the two previous ones. As mentioned it just doesn’t feel like a Star Trek movie anymore, and I guess that is my biggest complaint for this one. I understand that they want to make Star Trek appeal to a bigger audience, but it has now kind of lost the spirit that made Star Trek always so much fun to watch. What we are left with is a bit of hollow shell, that really isn’t a bad movie, but is simply not deserving the name Star Trek. I think Gene Roddenberry, might roll over in his grave if he knew what has become of his creation.

I give Star Trek Beyond a 7 out of 10 score.

Alien Covenant, American movie (2017)

In 2015 fans of Alien received word that Neill Blomkamp, director of the fantastic science fiction movie District 9, had plans to make a fifth Alien movie. Supposedly it would take place after the second Alien film, and pretty much ignore the events of Alien 3, a movie that many fans were disappointed by. It would also see the return of both Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn to reprise their roles as Ripley and Hicks. However, when director Ridley Scott made it clear that he had plans to make a sequel to Prometheus, the project for Alien 5 was put on hold. A real shame if you ask me, for I would have loved to see Ripley and Hicks back in action. And that brings us in a roundabout way to Alien Covenant, which is a sequel to Prometheus, but a prequel to the first Alien movie. You still with me on this? Okay, now if you want some more information about Prometheus, you can find it here. Without further ado let’s dive into Ridley Scott’s new film.

image
Camping trips in the future are definitely not what we are used to right now. 

Alien Covenant takes place ten years after the events of Prometheus. We join the crew of a gigantic colony ship called Covenant, which is on a mission to a distant planet to raise a new human civilisation. During the trip something goes horribly wrong and the ship get’s damaged, waking the crew from their cryosleep. While they are trying to make repairs to the ship, a transmission is intercepted from an unknown planet. A transmission that appears to be of human origin. Abandoning their original plans, the inexperienced captain of the ship decides to check out the origin of the signal. When they finally arrive on the planet, it seems to be a match made in heaven. The planet appears to be perfect for colonisation. But looks can be very deceiving as the crew of the ship is about to find out. For the planet hides a horrifying secret. A secret so terrible that they will all soon have to fight for their lives and survival is by no means certain….

image
There really is no reason to show me something like this. Put your clothes back on. 

One of the biggest complaints that people had about Prometheus is that it focussed very little on the Alien Xenomorphs. With this film, Ridley Scott brings the alien monsters back with a vengeance. From a story point of view, the movie does an okay job. We definitely get some more answers to the questions about the origins of the Alien species, as well as the fate of the survivors of the Prometheus. Still, the story is not one of it’s stronger points. This movie really brings back the horror to the franchise and in that regard it succeeds. Their are some truly terrifying and very gory scenes in the movie, that really are not for the faint at heart. Some of the new creatures in the film, are incredibly well designed. The movie starts off a bit slow, but picks up the pace in the second act, and ends in a satisfactory way.

image
You really need to wipe your mouth.

The actors in the movie are all relatively unknowns, except for Michael Fassbender, who this time around also plays a different android called Walter. As in Prometheus, Fassbender again steals the show, with a very good role. The female lead this time is played by actress Katherine Waterstone, who plays the role of Daniels. Daniels can be compared to Ripley in many ways, as she is also a strong woman that eventually gets to fight against the horrifying monsters. The rest of the cast was okay, but the characters they played had little to no substance to to them, and as such were pretty forgettable. In the end the movie was a good addition to the Alien franchise, but I did not enjoy it as much as Prometheus. Still, it was nice to see the Xenomorphs back in action, and with the script for the third installment already finished, I can’t wait to find out what will happen next.

I give Alien:Covenant a 8 out of 10 score.

 

 

 

Prometheus, American/UK movie (2012)

Why are we here? It is a question that has not really been answered throughout human history. No matter what you believe in, I think everybody will agree that there are a lot of things in this world, that can’t and probably never will be explained. But there will be certain points in your life when you will find yourself asking that very same question. Why am I here? One thing is for sure, I am still looking for that answer. Well, before you start to think that I have completely lost it, and my blog is turning into a centre for philosophical debates, let me quickly put your minds at ease. This small introduction served as a stepping stone to my review for Prometheus, the prequel to Aliens. For it is exactly this question, and many others like it, that are featured heavily in this movie.

image
Bowling in the future certainly looks different.

In the year 2089, the archeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway, make a discovery in Scotland that may very well alter the course of human history. Certain cave paintings give clues to the origins of the human species, and seem to include an invitation for mankind to travel towards a distant moon in the far reaches of the galaxy. The invitation seems to have been made by the creators of the human race, a mysterious species called the Engineers. Soon an expedition is funded to travel towards the distant moon, and find out the origins of humanity. Both Elizabeth and Charlie are joining this expedition and travel in stasis aboard the science vessel Prometheus. After a long journey they arrive at their destination, and together with the rest of the crew of the ship, begin to make preparations to explore the moon. However in the ancient ruins of the planet, lies a terrible secret. One that may very well mean the end of human life as we know it….

image
Now if this doesn’t look cool, I don’t know what does.

Prometheus was a movie that was received with very mixed reviews at the time of it’s release. Fans of the Aliens franchise, expected a film that was very different from the movie that it turned out to be. As such a lot of fans were extremely disappointed by it. I do not count myself as one of them, for I absolutely loved this film. Even though there are enough scenes in the movie that are truly horrific, this movie simply isn’t a horrorfilm in the style of the first Alien movie. Instead it provides a background story for that film, while it also stands completely on it’s own. This is science fiction at it’s best. The way the movie looks is simply amazing, and that alone is a reason why this film is worth the watch.

image
Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Another reason is the acting that was on display for this film, especially by the amazing Michael Fassbender. He plays the role of the cold but highly intelligent android David. The chilling way that he portrays this character is absolutely stunning, and I think it is one of the best roles of his career. The role of Elizabeth Shaw is filled by actress Noomi Rapace, who also does a fine job. She is not Ellen Ripley ofcourse, but a powerful woman nonetheless who tries to make the best of it in a very hostile environment. The rest of the supporting cast, most notably Idris Elba and Charlize Theron, are great as well, even though their roles are relatively minor.

image
You know that you are being watched right?

As far as filling in the blanks for the Alien movies, this movie does not completely succeed in that mission. A lot of answers that one might hope to find here, are left unanswered. As mentioned above this movie is not Alien, but it does not pretend to be so either. It is however a great piece of science fiction storytelling, with some very cool special effects and terrific acting. Those that hope to find the same experience as the original Alien movie, might have to steer clear of this film. If you love science fiction, with a light touch of horror thrown in the mix though, this film is well worth checking out.

I give Prometheus a 9 out of 10 score.

Aliens the original comics series (30th anniversary Edition), a Dark Horse Comics Graphic Novel (2016)

In 1979 director Ridley Scott unleashed a science fiction horror movie called Alien onto the unsuspecting human race. With the tagline “In space no one can hear you scream”, there was plenty of screaming that was done in the movie theatres. Needless to say, the movie became an instant classic and set up a new benchmark for horrorfilms. Seven years later the sequel Aliens was released, and it has become my alltime favorite science fiction movie. Not only did it feature a great story, fantastic special effects, and plenty of exciting and thrilling scenes, but there were also a bunch of unforgettable characters. Two of them, Corporal Hicks and the young girl Newt, actually survived at the end of the film. Unfortunately in Alien 3 they were killed off in 10 seconds at the start of that movie. There were many fans that were very mad at the way that this was done, and it did not show those characters the respect they deserved.

image
Well, I guess it’s safe to say this guy is pretty much toast. 

In 1987 Dark Horse comics was approached to do a comicbook series that continued the storyline from Aliens. That black and white comic became a huge succes and afterwards many more books were produced. Last year the first six issues were reprinted and released in a very beautiful hardcover graphic novel. Since these comics were made before the release of Alien 3, it tells a completely different story. As such you could compare it to the books of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, that now officially aren’t canon anymore since Disney took over. But honestly I could not care less about that, as this book was highly enjoyable to read.

image
Nope, still seeing monsters. 

The comics take place on Earth, a few years after the events of Aliens. Newt is now a grown woman, and Hicks is still with the Colonial Marines, even though his colleagues seem to despise him. Both Newt and Hicks have their own traumas to deal with, and find it really difficult to cope with their experiences on the doomed colony of LV-426. But dark forces are at work on Earth. It seems that the Aliens are highly wanted material for the bioweapons industry. Certain things are being set into motion to bring the creatures to Earth. Hicks meanwhile is hired for a mission to the homeworld of the Aliens, and along the way will get reunited with Newt. But time seems to be running out for everyone, as something goes horribly wrong while trying to capture the Aliens. And soon Earth will become the target for a new hive…..

image
The coastguard sure has changed. 

This 30th anniversary edition is a truly beautiful graphic novel. All the pages have a black finish on the outside, and every page is made of very sturdy paper. As mentioned the book contains issues 1-6 of the original comic. Also included is a short story called Lucky, and a pin-up gallery of the covers and some additional art. Rounding out the book is a fore-and afterword by both author Mark Verheiden and artist Mark A. Nelson. The black and white art for these comics is truly amazing and really recaptures the spirit of the movies. Ofcourse the movies were, at times, pretty graphic, and that also comes back in this book. That’s why this certainly won’t be for the faint at heart. The storyline is very good, and honestly much better than the Alien 3 movie. Sadly the company at the time did not have the rights to the Ripley character, so you won’t be seeing her in any of these pages.

image
Game over man, game over! 

This book is simply put a must buy for every Aliens fan. The book looks great and has been a joy to read from start to finish. Even though most of the storylines are complete, the ending has left things wide open. Ofcourse the series was later continued with further issues. What might interest you to know, is that after Alien 3 was released, Dark Horse decided to change the names of Newt and Hicks to Billie and Wilks. This was ofcourse done to ensure that the comicbook could still remain canon. Here though, they reprinted the books in the way they were originally released. I highly recommend this book to every Alien and science fiction comics fan out there.

I give Aliens: the original comics series (30th Anniversary Edition), a 9 out of 10 score.

Blame!, Japanese (animated) movie (2017)

The Netflix original animeseries Knights of Sidonia, I had kind of a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand it has some very cool concepts, and definitely quite a few interesting episodes. On the other hand it also featured some very bland characters with little to no development of those said characters whatsoever. It is hard to get attached to a series in that way. I have done reviews for both Season 1 and Season 2 which you might want to check out if you are interested. This week Netflix has released a new animated feature made by the same people responsible for Knights of Sidonia. It is based on a 10 volume cyberpunk manga that was released in 1998. Has this movie been able to avoid some of the mistakes that were made in Knights of Sidonia ? Let’s find out shall we?

image
Hi, my name is Killy and this is my gun. 

Blame! takes place in a very dark future, but it never becomes quite clear exactly where this story is taking place. A gigantic city that continues to expand and self replicate has been infected by a virus in the distant past. Because of this, it has decided that people should be wiped out. Pockets of humanity that are still alive struggle daily, scrounging for food and trying to avoid Watchers that are hellbent on killing everything. A small enclave of humans known as the Electro-fishers, are close to extinction. One of them, a girl named Zuru is out on a patrol trying to find food, together with a few of her companions. Unfortunately they are soon discovered by a Watchtower of the gigantic city, that unleashes a stream of enemies to kill them all. But then a mysterious stranger appears that manages to save them. Introducing himself as Killy, he says that he is human and is looking for people that have the Net Terminal Genes. With these, he might be able to stop the expansion of the city, and rescue humanity. But the question is if Killy’s motives are entirely noble, or if there is some darker purpose that he is working for….

image
It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. 

Blame! has quite a few things that it does right. For one thing I really like the premise for this one. The story of an ever expanding city, that is totally focussed on wiping out humans is pretty cool. It created a very dark atmosphere that at times reminded me of the sci-fi classic The Matrix. The background designs, and animation are also pretty good. Even though at times it looked a bit like I was watching Knights of Sidonia, I thought it looked better than that series. Action wise there is a lot to enjoy as well. Killy has some pretty cool fight scenes, especially towards the end of the film, and those were highly entertaining.

image
These people sure like to take every opportunity to show off their guns. 

Sadly though Blame! features characters that I really could not relate to at all. The only one that was remotely interesting was the main hero Killy, who looked very cool, but also had a dark and mysterious vibe to him that somehow worked. The rest of the cast though I could not care less about. In a post apocalyptic future, with people struggling daily, I think it would be very important to create a background for  your characters. But pretty much everyone in this movie seemed to made out of cardboard, without any kind of depth to them. And that for me was a major flaw that  made the movie at the end a bit of a forgettable experience. It was not a total waste though. As mentioned the concept itself is very cool, and there are enough scenes that are definitely worth watching. I just felt that this movie could have been so much better, and as such it was a wasted opportunity. Still, if you like dark cyberpunk science fiction movies, you might want to give this one a try. Just keep your expectations for it low.

I give Blame! a 6 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Macross

When I was a young boy (and wow this makes me sound really old), my favorite cartoon and toy was Transformers. I just loved it. Robots that could transform into cars, planes, weapons: it was just a seriously awesome concept. But then I was introduced to a series called Robotech. And that series took the concept of transformable robots to a whole new level. I did not know at the time that Robotech was made up of three totally unrelated animeseries. These three shows were completely rewritten into a new storyline that tied it all together. Robotech will always be holding a special place in my heart, as it introduced me to the wonderful world of anime.

image
Yes this ship is seriously awesome.

One of the most popular segments of Robotech was the Macross saga. Macross has always been regarded as one of the anime series that laid the groundwork for the Mecha anime genre. In this special features post I intend to give a bit of an overview of the entire saga so far, although I will only be focussing on the tv series and OVA’s. There have also been a few movies, but as this post will already be pretty long, I decided not to include those. Before I start I will begin by talking about a few things that have always been common to pretty much every new series of the franchise.

Macross: common themes

image
A love triangle can be very hard indeed.

One of the coolest things in Macross are the transformable fighter planes known as the Valkyries. All of these planes can transform into a robot, but also a hybrid version of the robot/fighter, known as the Gerwalk. With every series released there were new versions of these planes that were introduced. Another common theme in every show was the love triangle. Yes, romance is definitely a factor in Macross, but luckily it is usually not romance of the sappy kind. Lastly music is also very important to the Macross franchise, and in every series to date there has been some kind of singer or band, that takes the fight to the enemy. So now that I have adressed the common themes let’s start for real with the overview.

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982)

image
Just in case you are wondering, that is planet Earth these ships are firing at.

The show that started it all, tells the story of a gigantic spaceship crashlanding on Earth. Ten years after the crash, humanity has rebuild the enormous ship, now known as the SDF-1. But then the original owners of the ship return, the gigantic beings known as the Zentradi. Their mission is to retrieve the ship at all cost, and thus begins the first intergalactic war. With a cast of great characters, truly amazing fight sequences, a terrific story, and some heroic deaths, this series is still very much worth the watch. This 36 episode series is definitely your starting point. Even though it is a very old anime, don’t let yourself be held off by that, as it is has withstood the test of time very well.

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: Lovers again (1992)

image
Sometimes you just get bored by it all and fall asleep.

Ten years after the original series, this six episode show takes place 80 years after the events of the original anime. We are introduced to a new enemy called the Mardook, who seem to be invulnerable to mankinds most powerful attacks. A young reporter is thrust right in the middle of the new war that is about to begin, and may eventually hold the key to stopping the conflict. This series was highly anticipated, but eventually was not well received by the original Macross saga fans. I quite liked it myself, but it definitely is not as good as the show that started it all. In the end this series is now not considered to be part of the Macross timeline anymore.

Macross Plus (1994)

image
Who put that helmet on my back….seriously…..

With Macross II being dismissed as a sequel, Macross Plus was henceforth recognised as the first official sequel to the original series. This 4 part anime tells the story of two testpilots that have a deep rivalry between them, and also happen to like the same girl. Meanwhile a powerful A.I. has some very bad intentions when it plans to take over the battlefortress Macross itself. This series was pretty cool. It featured some truly terrific fightsequences, and great animation. The opening tune composed by legend Yoko Kanno, I still consider to be one of the most beautiful scores for an anime series.

Macross 7 (1994)

image
I get annoyed just by looking at that guy….

To date this is the only Macross series that I have not completely finished. With 49 episodes it is also the longest. It takes place on the colonyship Macross 7, that is exploring the galaxy, when it encounters the hostile alien force called Protodeviln. I have seen the first few episodes of this series many years ago when I was attending an Animecon. All I remember from it, is that I got seriously annoyed by the rockband Firebomber, that played a major role in this series. I can’t really say much about this series, but from what I have read about it, it is regarded by most fans of Macross as not one of the best installments.

Macross Zero (2002)

image
If you only knew what this guy was looking at….

This series is a prequel to the original Macross saga. As I have recently done a review for this anime, I won’t say too much about this one, but instead I will provide a link to my review, which you can find here.

Macross Frontier (2008)

image
This picture was just to cool not to include. 

This new 25 part anime series was made for the 25th anniversary of Macross, and it is truly awesome. The best way to describe this one is as a kind of reboot for the entire series, and you can pretty much watch it, without ever having seen any of the previous shows. A Frontier fleet comes under attack by a strange new enemy, and a group of young fighter pilots get caught up in the middle. It featured some of the best characters and music from the franchise, and it has truly become one my favorite Macross anime series to date.

Macross Delta (2015)

image
Spice girls: the reboot. 

This is the final series that has been made so far. It was unfortunately not as good as Frontier, and this was mainly because the plot was at times hard to follow and it featured way too many characters. I have also done a review for this series, which you can find here.

Final thoughts.

image
Can’t we all be friends? 

Macross is still one of my favorite anime franchises to date. While not every installment is good, there is always something included that makes it worth watching. One of the best things about it will always be the music, and the incredible fightsequences. Those are pretty much the trademarks of the entire franchise. If you like science fiction space opera, than I highly recommend these shows. I hope this post will serve as a handy reference for you, whenever you might feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormous amount of shows that are out there. Currently work has begun on a new series to coincide with the 35th anniversary of Macross. There has so far been very little news about it, except for the fact that it will be released in 2018.

So over to you! Have you ever watched Macross? If so did you enjoy it? Do you have any favorite series or characters? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!

Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2, American movie (2017)

Unless you have been living on a completely different planet for the past few years, it is almost impossible to have missed the enormous amount of superhero movies in the cinemas. Marvel ofcourse has released so many comic books over the past few decades, that it is almost impossible to know every single character contained within these comics. The fun thing about the release of the movies is that many of us get to meet a few of these characters for the very first time. Three years ago, we were introduced to a new team of heroes: the Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a pretty unique Marvel movie, seeing that the team was made up mostly of aliens (and a talking raccoon being one of them, just don’t let him hear I called him a raccoon). Also the action did not take place on Earth but in outer space. It was a pretty big gamble on Marvel’s part. But the gamble worked, as the movie became a huge success. And you know what happens when things are a success right? Correct: enter the sequel.

image
The new Nintendo controller now comes complete with a talking tree (batteries not included)

The action in part two sees the Guardians being much more of a team than in part one. Ofcourse there is still the occasional disagreement, but mostly we see a tightly knit group that works well together. When the team has completed an assignment, Rocket steals a bunch of batteries from their former employers. These people are less than amused by this action, and soon set off in pursuit. During their escape, they come across a mysterious individual, who comes to their rescue. Soon after the man introduces himself as none other than Peter Quill’s father. This is the beginning of a new adventure in which the word family becomes ever more important. Just who is Peter’s dad? And what are his goals? The answers to these questions will come, but they might not be as much fun as they may have expected…..

image
No……I am your father! Wait, wrong movie. 

I absolutely loved the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It had a very cool storyline, great music, fantastic characters and most of all it had the word fun written all over it. This second part certainly contains a lot of these elements. The Guardians themselves are still every bit as enjoyable as they were in the first movie. Baby Groot really takes centre stage in this one, and there are some seriously funny scenes involving this very popular character. The already pretty big cast is joined by a couple of new heroes, most notably Mantis who has some of the craziest scenes in the film. Veteran actor Kurt Russell did a great job in his role as Peter’s dad. Kurt is just one of those actors that can handle pretty much any role, and it was fun to see him play this kind of character.

image
Never leave your home without a big gun.

The story of the movie itself though, was one of the weaker points. Basically the film deals with three different plots, that eventually come together. There is a lot going on at the same time, and that sometimes made it a bit hard to follow. I certainly felt at times that they tried to put too many things in the movie, and if they had let a few things out it would have been a more streamlined film. There is enough action in this movie to fill a galaxy though, and some these scenes were very enjoyable to watch. Coupled together with some great special effects, humour and terrific music, you still get a film that definitely has enough entertainment value.

image
Really, you should take a breath mint. 

If you liked the first movie, you will enjoy this one as well. While it isn’t as good as the first part, there is still plenty to enjoy in this sequel. Just like almost every Marvel movie to date, it pays to not leave the theatre after you have seen the credits for the movie. I am not going to give away spoilers here, but suffice it to say that there is more than one scene before the credits finally come to an end. In closing I would just like to say: I am Groot! What’s that? You want a translation for that? Oh well, just go find Rocket, he will tell you.

I give Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 a 8 out of 10 score.

 

 

Special Features Presents: My favorite creature feature movies (part 2)

Last week, on part 1 of this special feature, I presented my favorite monster movies that had at least a bit of a realistic feel to it. For those of you that might have missed this post, you can find it here. Now though, all hell breaks loose, as I am now going to feature the terrible creatures that are not of this world. And some of these are so incredible frightening, that at times you wonder what on Earth must have gone through the mind of the person that thought these things up in the first place. Anyways, sit back, grab a cold drink, and prepare to scream.

1. The Thing (1982)

image
I sure have a headache today, I really wonder why?

John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 classic movie The Thing from another world, is one of the best monster movies ever made. In The Thing members of a research facility in Antarctica are under attack by a creature that can take on the same shape as anything it touches. As nobody is able to trust one another, paranoia soon grows rampant. The creature effects in this movie are stunning and absolutely disgusting. Even to this day, they are very impressive to say the least. But the true strength in this film, lies in the concept itself. With literally anyone who could be the monster, who can you trust? Great stuff, and in my opinion this is an absolute must see movie.

2. Tremors (1990)

image
Did anyone order fried snakes?

This movie has fun written all over it. Starring a young Kevin Bacon, a small town is threatened by a group of gigantic worms that live under ground and are attracted by noise. This movie has a lot of funny and scary scenes at the same time, and with great creature effects, this is just another highly enjoyable movie. This film has spawned four sequels and even a tv series. Supposedly a second tv series is currently under development, with Kevin Bacon reprising his role. The original movie is still the best though, and after 27 years it has withstood the test of time very well.

3. The Relic (1997)

image
I really wonder what his dentist has to say about his teeth.

This is a pretty underrated movie, that might not even be known to a lot of people. Based on the novel of the same name, the Relic tells the story of a frightening creature that has unknowingly been transported to the basement of a Chicago museum. When people start to die, a homicide detective joins forces with a anthropologist to find out the truth. I honestly have to admit that the novel was better than the movie, but still this is a very enjoyable monster romp. The creature itself, designed by legend Stan Winston is amazing, and the dark atmosphere and unique setting ensure that you will definitely be entertained throughout this movie.

4. The Host (2006)

image
The things you find in the river these days.

The Korean movie The Host, is one of the more unusual monstermovies on this list. In Seoul’s Han river a truly repulsive monster resides, that suddenly emerges and begins to attack people on the shore. A father fights to protect his family from the creature at all cost. Usually, in a film such as this, we get to see the monster later on in the film. But here the creature is shown right from the start and in full daylight. With a story that is part comedy, part horrormovie, and also part drama this really is a very unique monster film, and one that I was highly impressed by.

5. Cloverfield (2008)

image
Hey…no need to run away, he really doesn’t bite, trust me.

Cloverfield was steeped in secrecy before it was released. Nobody quite knew what to expect from this film, as the trailers showed very little of what was going on. This was a movie in the found footage category. A group of friends in New York get caught up right in the middle of what at first is presumed to be a natural disaster. However it turns out that a gigantic monster has invaded the Big Apple and is on a rampage. We get a lot of shaky cam shots, that actually made people ill while watching it in theatres. I had no such problems however, and found it to be a fantastic experience with a very well designed creature.

6. Virus (1999)

image
Hey, who are you calling ugly?

Virus tells the tale of the crew of the salvage ship “Sea Star”, that during a storm comes across a Russian vessel seemingly abandoned at sea. However it soon becomes clear that a terrible evil has invaded the ship. This movie features some great actors including Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland. But the real stars for this film are the very well designed robotic/organic creatures. This is a highly underrated gem of a movie, with some terrific performances by the cast, and a truly frightening atmosphere. This is one of those films where you wonder why it received so many negative reviews at the time.

7. Aliens (1986)

image
Why the hell do they make these ceilings so low?

I have featured this movie a couple of times on my blog, on all kinds of different posts. But if I were to leave this one out of this list, I would really be doing something wrong. Yes the original alien movie was great, but this sequel was superior in every way. When a group of marines travel to the newly established colony on planet LV 426, they encounter a breed of deadly alien xenomorphs. Together with Ripley, the sole survivor of the spaceship Nostromo, and who has encountered the creatures before, they must find a way off planet before it’s too late. I have seen this movie too many times that I can count, and I am honestly still in awe of the incredible creature effects that are featured in this film. This movie is just simply put an alltime classic.

8. The Descent (2005)

image
A candle light dinner sure isn’t what it used to be.

The small British horrormovie the Descent is a truly frightening and claustrophobic experience. A group of girls travel down into an unexplored cavesystem, but encounter a horrifying breed of creatures. A struggle for survival begins, but with the way back pretty much cut off, their chances of getting out alive are slim. This movie is definitely the most terrifying one of this list, and that is in part because of the truly tense atmosphere that this movie has. Even though this film had a pretty low budget, it does not show that in the least. If you like to be truly scared this movie is definitely for you.

Final thoughts

And that as they say, is that. Now is this list complete, and does it feature all of my favorite creature feature movies? I would have to answer that one with a big and resounding no. Predator, King Kong, Godzilla to name but a few, are also favorites of mine. But as this post is already pretty long, I have decided to stick with the 8 movies that are featured on this post. Maybe in the future I will do another one of these, as I really had some fun writing this.

But these are my favorites, and as always I am looking forward to the “out of this world monster films” that you like the most. Are any of them featured above? Are there any others you like? Let me know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading this one, and I will see you all at the next post!

 

Steins;Gate:Fuka ryouiki no déjà vu, Japanese (animated) movie (2013)

A few months ago I reviewed the anime series Steins;Gate. (You can find it right here). This series is considered by many to be one of the greatest animes ever created. I myself however was less enthusiastic about it. Even though the characters in the series were great, and I highly enjoyed all of their antics, I found the series itself very slow. The storyline was quite clever, and did really stick in my mind well after I finished it, but for some reason I could not really get into it. What I am going to do is give this series another try later this year, to see if my opinion for it changes. Browsing through Netflix, I came across the Steins;Gate series as well, or so I thought. Actually it was a movie that was made two years later, and chronicles the further adventures of Rintaro Okabe.

image
Hey! I am talking to you, it is not polite to turn your back on me. 

Steins;Gate: fuka ryouiki no déjà vu (which roughly translated means Load Region of Deja Vu), picks up the events after the animeseries. Rintaro believes himself to be safe, seeing as the time machine and the threat of SERN is gone. But is that really true? Lately he has been getting strange flashbacks to the terrible things that have happened to him in the past. As he is the only one that knows these things, the rest of the members of the Future Gadget Laboratory have no real clue what is going on with him. When Kurisu arrives in Japan for a press conference, after having been gone for a year, she ofcourse reunites with her friends. Kurisu is beginning to notice Rintaro’s strange behaviour, but when she is right in the middle of a conversation with him, he disappears before her eyes. Even more disturbing is the fact that nobody seems to remember who Rintaro was. Kurisu will have to find a way to get Rintaro back, but in order to do so, she might have to pay a very high price……

image
Sorry, just have to scratch my ear for a second. 

So a few of you might have already noticed the grade I gave this one below my review. I’m probably going to be hated on, seeing as so many people enjoyed this movie. But I am sorry to say that I was not one of them. Let me start off by saying that I really understood what the goal was that they set out to do with this film. The story for this was heartbreaking and it really shows what someone who really cares for another will go through in order to save that person. So that was really a good thing. But seriously, I thought the series was slow, but this movie took it to a whole new level. It started off okay, with the funny and enjoyable banter between Rintaro and the rest of his labcrew.

image
Trust me, this scene is not what you might think. 

But the last hour of the movie was just too slow for me to appreciate it. As I stated in my review for the series, I really enjoyed the characters, and thought that was the best thing of the series. But in this movie, except for the first half hour, the entire mood was very dark and quite depressing. And that also affected the behaviour of the characters themselves. Yes ofcourse the second part of the series had a very dark atmosphere as well, but this movie went more down the line of being very sad. But this is how I feel about it, and seeing as so many viewers have enjoyed this movie and the show in general, this might just be me. As stated in the beginning, later this year I will give the animeseries a second watch, and see if I might have a change of heart for it. So, probably if you have liked the animeseries, you will enjoy this movie (even though it’s tone is different). But if you are like me, and were not too impressed by the series, you had best avoid this one.

I give Steins;Gate fuka ryouiki no déjà vu a 5 out of 10 score.

 

Spectral, American Movie (2016)

Throughout history there has sadly been one constant factor that has kept mankind occupied: war. No matter what century you would choose to look at, there has always been some kind of war that was being waged at some place on the planet. There is a quote from Albert Einstein that also appears in the movie I am about to review : ” I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. A truly chilling prospect if you ask me. Warfare has also changed a lot over the past decades. These days people can be killed by the push of a button from a million miles away. There has yet to develop a situation that our modern weapons can’t deal with. But what if something like that were to happen? What if you were to fight an enemy that could not be killed by normal weapons…..?

image
What are you looking at? They are invisible remember? 

Spectral takes place in the not too distant future. When a soldier gets killed by an unseen force on a battlefield in Moldavia, help is requested by the military. That help comes in the form of dr. Clyne, who is the designer of the so called hyperspectral imaging goggles, that allow soldiers to see things on the battlefield that they would normally not be able to. Together with a bunch of Special Ops soldiers, he gets sent into the city , in order to investigate this unknown enemy. It soon becomes clear though that they are not dealing with a conventional force. Weapons are useless against them, they move through walls like they are not even there, are invisible to the naked eye and are able to kill with a single touch. Soon the squad comes under siege, and when people are beginning to die, their only hope might rest with a bunch of children who seem to have found a way to stop them. However with so little people left, their task seems almost impossible…

image
The annual Call of Duty conventions are getting more realistic each year. 

The first thing that springs to mind when you see this movie are videogames. Some of the scenery for this film, seems to have come straight from the highly succesful Gears of War games. And that’s not all. At times the way the action is shot, and the situations that arise, you really get the feeling that you are watching someone that is playing a videogame. Luckily though, it is a very good videogame. The special effects for this film, as well as the action are definitely the reason to watch this one. The spectral enemies the soldiers are facing, look really cool, as well as all the hightech weapons and gadgets the soldiers are using.

image
Yep, this gun is big alright.

The group of soldiers are being played by couple of familiar faces, as well as a few unknowns. Max Martini plays the commander of the special forces unit, and one wonders at times if the guy really is from the military, seeing how many soldiers he has played throughout his career. Still, he always plays the role well, and in this movie that is no exception. James Badge Dale who portrays dr. Clyne, also does very little wrong. Most of the other characters though are pretty underdeveloped, and the same can be said for the story. It is all pretty straightforward, with little surprises, although the true nature of the enemy was pretty original.

image
You are seeing this right? 

That said I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has plenty of action, some seriously cool setpieces, and if you like military science fiction movies I highly recommend this film. Ofcourse it won’t win the price for most original movie of the year, but if you can look past that, this movie has entertainment written all over it. This being a Netflix Original movie, I can honestly say that they are definitely on a roll with producing some very well made movies.

I give Spectral a 8 out of 10 score.