Tag Archives: Sci-fi

Event Horizon, American/UK movie (1997)

Every movielover probably has their own favorite kind of films. While some might have a very broad taste in movies (and I certainly count myself as one of them), there are usually some genres that have a certain preference above all the others. For me those are science fiction and horrormovies. And of course it is even better when a movie combines both of those genres. Ever since I saw the first Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott, I have always been on the lookout for movies that could rival or even surpass that classic masterpiece. But let us be honest, that is a very hard task to achieve as that film is pretty much in a league of it’s own. Throughout the years a lot of attempts have been made, and most of these have resulted in films that were mediocre at best. But there is one film that came unnervingly close and is in my opinion a highly underrated gem that is still awaiting discovery by many people. The name of that movie is Event Horizon.

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This pretty much redefines the word meatgrinder. 

It is the year 2047. Seven years after the research ship Event Horizon vanished without a trace, it suddenly reappears near the planet of Neptune sending out a distress signal. Soon a rescue vessel, called the Lewis and Clark, is dispatched to find out if there are any survivors and of course what has happened to the ship during all those years that it was presumed lost. Headed by captain Miller, he and his crew are accompanied by the mysterious doctor Weir, who was the original builder of the Event Horizon. It soon becomes clear that the ship was one of a kind, and had an experimental drive system installed that allowed it to create an artificial black hole. With this drive it could travel farther than any human vessel ever went before. When the Lewis and Clark eventually arrives at the location of the lost ship, captain Miller and his crew are about to find out just how far the Event Horizon truly went. Because there are some places in the universe that are better left alone, and seem to resemble hell itself…….

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Sam Neill’s role in Jurassic Park left him a changed man. 

Event Horizon is a movie that still creeps me out after having seen it multiple times. It is truly a very disturbing and chilling film, that throughout the years has created a cult following. In still think it is one of the best science fiction horrormovies that I have ever seen. For starters the atmosphere in this movie is what sets the tone right from the very first second. It’s dark, scary and you constantly feel as if the bowels of hell are about to open and swallow you whole. The amazing setpieces that were created for this film only add to this feeling. This was a time when the use of CGI backgrounds was pretty much unheard of, and as such everything was build by hand. And then we have the music for the movie that seems to have been created by a madman and will make you feel even more creeped out than you probably already are.

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Yep, that really is the man known as Morpheus. Now where is Neo when you need him?

The cast for Event Horizon is headed by two very well known actors. First up is Laurence Fishburn who plays the role of the heroic captain Miller. It’s amazing how young he appears to be in this film, but his performance is as solid as ever. Miller’s character is truly the driving force for this one, and you really feel his desperation when the horror of what is happening around him keeps growing and growing, and almost threatens to send him over the edge. The other well known actor in this film is Sam Neill and he performs the role of doctor Weir. And it is a role that you have never seen him play before, and that only makes it that much scarier. Weir becomes increasingly more unstable throughout the movie, and his descent into madness is something only a very capable actor can pull off. Needless to say Sam definitely succeeds in that and then some. The rest of the cast for this movie also manages to shine, most notably Joely Richardson and Sean Pertwee. Every single actor in Event Horizon contributes to the film in his or her own way.

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Don’t let the ship’s beauty fool you. 

I’m not going to lie here, this movie contains some very, very disturbing imagery. It sometimes might remind you of Hellraiser, and if you have ever seen that film, you probably know what I mean. Yes people, this is a true horrorfilm in every sense of the word, and as such it certainly won’t be a movie that everyone will enjoy. If you have a strong stomache though, and like to be scared out of your mind, this film is definitely the one to watch. It will at times leave you breathless, and might even give you nightmares after you finished it. But I guess that is also part of it’s charm, if you can call it that. If you are interested in finding out more about the background for this movie you might want to check out this great post written by mr. Bobinsky. It contains not only a great review but also some great info about the making of the film that I myself did not know about. And while you are there, you might want to subscribe as well, as it is a really cool blog. So, all I can say is: watch this film, and I dare you not to be scared while you are at it.

I give Event Horizon a 9 out of 10 score.

 

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The Expanse season 1, American/Canadian tv series (2015)

There was a time when science fiction on television was very popular, and there were a lot of tv series to choose from. Babylon 5, Stargate Sg-1, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda, are just a few examples of these shows that offered truly amazing future visions. But it seems that television these days had it’s focus on different things, and it is somewhat harder for sci-fi fans to get their fix. A few years ago I came across a novel called Leviathan Wakes written by James S.A. Correy. It was the start of a fantastic new science fiction saga called the Expanse, and has since then been followed up by 4 other books and a couple of novellas. (You can find a review for the second part in the series right here). To my absolute delight I learned that the novels now have been turned into a television series, but at the same time it filled me with dread. Turning books into movies or tv shows is always a risky business. So the question is: is the Expanse tv series any good? Well I can answer with a resounding: Hell yeah it is!

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Dude, seriously you need a haircut.

The Expanse takes place roughly 200 years into the future. The solar system is fully colonised and there are three major factions, Earth,Mars and the Belt, that have an uneasy peace between them. On a space station in the Asteroid Belt, police detective Miller is assigned a case to find a missing daughter of a wealthy businessman. Elsewhere, James Holden, the executive officer of the icehauler Canterbury is involved in a tragic incident. It soon becomes apparent that this incident is one of the first steps to destabilize the three factions and bring them to an all out war. But how exactly does the missing daughter fit into all this? Eventually the paths of Miller and Holden come together and they are about to uncover a very sinister conspiracy. A conspiracy that threatens the entire human race…..

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Man, lighten up. You are in a truly terrific show. At least put on a smile.

I’m going to make a pretty bold statement here by saying that the Expanse is one of the best science fiction series that I have seen in years. I was already a huge fan of the novels, and I can only say that this series really respects it’s source material. This first season of 10 episodes follows the story of the first part of Leviathan Wakes. One of the strongest points of this show is the story and the many different layers it contains. It has elements of politics, conspiracies, spacebattles and even horror all blended together in a truly amazing and wonderful script. It certainly isn’t a tale that was put together overnight, but really is very well written and has many surprises in store that will both delight and shock you. The visuals are also outstanding, both in terms of special effects, but also in costumes and setsdesigns. Everything looks really convincing, and this all adds to creating a very believable science fiction setting.

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Well, I did say that this series also contained some horror elements right?

But what is a world without memorable characters, and the Expanse also succeeds in creating those. Detective Miller played by veteran actor Thomas Jane, can almost be described as a kind of film noir character you would come across in old black and white movies. I love the fact that Miller also definitely has his flaws, and this creates a person that is very human and who you can relate to. The other main character, James Holden, who is portrayed by actor Steven Strait, is someone who tries to do the right thing, but eventually gets in way over his head because of this. It creates some great scenes between him and his crew, who don’t always agree with his decisions. There are also a lot of other supporting characters, and it would go too far to describe them all in this review. Suffice it to say though, that the cast for this show is truly wonderful and another very good reason to start watching this.

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Yep, what would the human race be without some big guns. 

Are there also negative things to mention? Well, honestly I have been wracking my brain for an answer to that question, but I would be hardpressed to find them. If I were to name one, it might be that the story is pretty complex and certainly not always the easiest to follow. This is not one of those shows you can watch while also texting with your best friend. But I never do that anyway, so I don’t really see this as a weak point. It is very nice to finally have a great science fiction series back on the small screen. The third season for this show was just announced, so there is luckily plenty more to come. For everyone that loves intelligent science fiction storytelling, I can’t recommend this series enough. And while you are at it, you might also want to try the novels that this show is based on. I’m almost certain that you will not be disappointed by this, but hey I could be wrong of course.

I give The Expanse season 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

 

Terminator 2 Judgment Day 3D, American movie (2017)

Okay, today I’m going to let you in on a little known secret about me. It will probably come as a shock to most of you. Are you ready? Okay here it comes: I love movies. Yes, I know this is a revelation about me that probably surprises most people that have been reading my blog for a while now. Seriously though, because I love films so much, I don’t think there is a better place to experience them than in a movie theatre. Sure, home entertainment has definitely come a long way, but watching a movie in theatres on a big screen with thundering sound is still the best way to enjoy a film. Well, at least for me it is. Having said that, there are certainly quite a number of movies that I would love to see in the theatres one day. Either I was too young to see them when they came out, or I just did not have the time to go there. Terminator 2 is a movie that I almost know by heart, but I had never seen it before on the big screen. And now director James Cameron is giving everyone that chance. Because yes people, Terminator 2 is back, and now in 3D.

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Look mom, I can hold this gun with one hand! 

Terminator 2 Judgment Day picks up the story almost 11 years after the end of the first movie. Things have not gone very well for the mother of the future, Sarah Connor. After having tried to blow up a computer factory in order to prevent the war with Skynet, she got arrested and was placed in a mental institute. Her son, John Connor, who is now a teenager, is living with foster parents, and is in the belief that his mother is a complete psycho. Ever since he was born she had been preparing him for the coming war against the machines, but John is now in complete disbelief of everything he has been told. Things are about to change though. Skynet has sent an advanced prototype Terminator called a T-1000 back through time with the mission to kill John. This deadly killing machine will stop at nothing to carry out it’s program. John is about to have his whole world turned upside down. Luckily he is not without help though, as a protector for John has also been sent from the future. A protector in a very unlikely form……a Terminator. The battle for the future is about to begin….

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What?! You haven’t seen this movie before? That’s a no no…..

A few months ago I reviewed the first Terminator  movie, and I stated in that review that I still think that first part is the best. Having now seen this second movie in the theatres, I haven’t changed my mind on that opinion. However I still absolutely love this film. As this movie has originally been made in 1991, the thing that truly amazed me the most was the fact how well it has withstood the test of time. If someone would have told me that this movie had been released for the first time this year, I would have believed that person. The special effects still look every bit as impressive and not even for a single second does the film look dated. The 3D effects did not add much to the experience though, but honestly that didn’t really bother me. James Cameron is not George Lucas, so except for a few minor technical details the movie appears in the same form as it’s 1991 version.

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If you say “I’ll be back” one more time, I am going to shoot you. 

Terminator 2 is not only a special effects marvel, but it’s also the characters that are featured in this movie, that are truly terrific. Schwarzenegger steals the show as the good Terminator, and the chemistry he has with young John Connor, played by Edward Furlong, is the heart of this movie. Even though he plays a machine, Arnold manages to add a layer of humanity to his role, that really makes you care about what is basically a robot. Erm, excuse me, cybernetic organism. Linda Hamilton returns in her role as Sarah Connor, but it’s almost as if she plays a completely different character. In the first film she was the one who needed protection, but here it’s people who need protection from her. This Sarah Connor is a tough chick that kicks ass and is at times truly frightening. Speaking of frightening, let’s not forget the chilling role of Robert Patrick as the T-1000. His cold portrayal of a machine that is totally without mercy, is really amazing, and he manages to create one of the best villains in movie history.

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Hey…I said it was a no no if you had not seen this movie. Don’t say I did not warn you.

I had an absolute blast seeing this film in the theatres for the first time. James Cameron has stated that if this release manages to perform well at the box office, he is going to focus on bringing his other masterpiece, Aliens, back to the big screen in the 3D format. If that were to happen, I would go absolutely nuts, as Aliens is my alltime favorite science fiction movie. We will just have to wait and see though. In the meantime everyone can enjoy this terrific classic in the way it was intended to be seen: in theatres. I cannot recommend this movie more than I have already let shine through in this review. If you have yet to see this amazing film I can only say that you are in for a treat. This is science fiction movie making at it’s best and a true classic that everyone who loves movies like this, should see at least once in his or her life.

I give Terminator 2 Judgment Day 3D a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Black Bullet, Anime tv series (2013)

You have to wonder what kind of fascination the Japanese seem to have with destroying Tokyo in increasingly inventive ways. We have seen earthquakes, tidal waves, supernatural disasters and even huge monsters laying waste to the city in countless anime and live action movies throughout the years. It provides great entertainment, I have to be honest in that, but it does make me want to know if there is just some kind of hate against this city. Whatever the reason is, in the animeseries I am about to review there is yet another threat against it. Although it is called the Tokyo area in this anime to be more specific.

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This guy certainly isn’t a likeable character in this series. 

It is the year 2021, and the human race has almost been destroyed by the parasitic virus known as Gastrea that turns it’s host into horrifying monsters. What’s left of mankind now lives in cities protected by huge stone Monolith walls that are made from a special material called Varanium, which is able to subdue them. Not long after, children were born that carried the virus within them, but did not turn into monsters. Instead they gained superhuman abilities which were incredibly useful in fighting the Gastrea. Known as the Cursed Children, they were only females. A special fighting force is formed, the Civil Securities, that pairs these children with a handler called a Promoter. The highschool student Rentaro Satomi is one of these Promoters who operates in the Tokyo Area. Rentaro is paired with the loveable Enju Aihara, who has a complete crush on him. But soon things become grim as the Gastrea are beginning to gain ground. Will the remainder of mankind finally fall into oblivion?

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What?! We are not getting a second season?!

Black Bullet is a 13 episode animeseries that for lack of a better term to describe it was just, well, fun. It isn’t the best thing that I have ever seen mind you, but quite honestly it’s one of those series that just doesn’t seem to do much wrong. From a story point of view I can’t say it will win the price for originality. A virus is ofcourse nothing new, although the way it is handled in this series is different from what you might be used to. Another thing that I found that was very cool was the use of the Cursed Children. Here we have young girls ranging from 10-13 years old that have all kinds of superpowers and act as though they are adults. Which ofcourse they are not. It provides both comedic but also at times very grim moments. The story unfolds  rather nicely, and has a few tricks up it’s sleeves along the way, although there were not a lot of surprises.

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If you have a fear of spiders I would definitely watch this….

The characters in the series are not it’s strongest point. The bond between Rentaro and Enju is pretty fun to watch at times. Although some people might also find some of the situations between them a little bit unsettling to watch, as Enju is of course still a child. I don’t think the series crosses any serious lines though, and for the most part it certainly gave a few laughs. During the later episodes a lot of new Cursed Children, also called Initiators are introduced together with their Promoters. And they just don’t get enough screentime to grow any real attachment to them. I felt the series could have used a bit more time to focus on it’s characters instead of throwing them at us without giving us time to get used to them.

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Do you really have to move so close to me? 

What the series may lack in character development it more than makes up for in the action department. If you like action featuring superpowered beings fighting huge and horrifying monsters, this is a show that will certainly give you that. Some of the bigger Gastrea monsters had very cool designs, and it was incredibly satisfying to watch them get taken down in some of the more spectacular fights the series has on offer. But it’s not all monster fighting though, as Rentaro and Enju get to deal with a lot of different situations including assassination attempts and prejudice against the Cursed Children. The animation of the show is pretty good as well, and together with the music serves up a nice and pleasurable viewing experience. All in all I really enjoyed this one. The story for a change gets wrapped up for the most part in the end, although there was certainly room for a second season. Seeing it’s been almost 4 years since the release of this one, I doubt that will happen though. Black Bullet may not be for everyone, but if you like a bit of action coupled with cool monsters and interesting fight scenes, you might give this one a shot.

I give Black Bullet a 8 out of 10 score.

The War for the Planet of the Apes, American movie (2017)

After reviewing Kong Skull Island earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to do another review that featured monkeys, or apes if you prefer. Honestly it is just a coincidence that these reviews are coming out in the same week, as I saw this film quite a while ago. It’s just one of those posts that for some reason I did not get around to earlier. In 1968 the original movie was first released starring Charlton Heston, and it is considered by many to be a science fiction cult classic. And of course it was inevitable that Hollywood at one point would remake this. The first attempt dates back to 2001, and was directed by Tim Burton. Starring Mark Wahlberg, it certainly wasn’t a bad film, but it also can’t be considered a very good one either. However in 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released. The first movie that would be the start of a new trilogy was a terrific film. It featured amazing special effects that for a change served in telling the story, instead of being the driving force of the movie.

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Hmm, I wonder who the human is in this picture. 

Three years later the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out, and it was another amazing film. Again featuring ground breaking special effects, a heartwarming story, and plenty of action, it was a great follow up to the first movie. And now we have the War for the Planet of the Apes, which draws the trilogy to a close. In this third and final film, Caesar together with his family and the rest of his band of apes, tries to live peacefully in a secluded forest. This peace is shattered however when a ruthless human colonel attacks the camp of the apes. After suffering a terrible loss Caesar, together with a few of his most trusted friends, sets out on a path of revenge. In the middle of the quest they stumble across a young human girl who they eventually befriend and decide to bring along on their journey. Their path brings them ever closer to the colonel. Unbeknownst to them however this man has drawn his own plans, and they spell complete and utter doom for the remainder of the apes…..

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Kids these days like Teddy-apes more than Teddy-bears. 

Let me not keep you any further in suspense: War for the Planet of the Apes was a worthy end to a fantastic movie trilogy and then some. With a title that has the word war in it, you would expect a movie that has explosions, loads of action and other stuff like that in it. It’s all the more surprising however that this movie turned out very differently than I expected. This is not an action extravaganza, but more a very thoughtful drama set in a truly believable post apocalyptic science fiction world. We go along with Caesar and his friends on a journey that makes us question our own humanity at times. The apes were definitely possessed of more kindness, than the humans that were in this film. In fact, besides the young girl, there is not a single human character that you can relate to. Which is a good thing, because it’s the apes that you want to grow attached to in this movie. And they are brought to life in hyper realistic computer effects, that make the apes look completely real and lifelike.

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Haha, I am not worried you will miss me anyway. 

The main character Caesar is again played by Andy Serkis, who already did such amazing work playing as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings saga. Even though his face is completely hidden by computer effects, Caesar almost feels like a human, and that is mostly because of the amazing work of this actor. The colonel is played by veteran actor Woody Harrelson. His character is pretty much as far from being human as one can be, which is funny considering he is almost the only human being you get to see in this picture. At least as far as the bigger roles go that is. Harrelson creates a truly loathsome character, that you will grow to hate throughout this film. And that of course is a credit to the acting skills of Woody.

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Hey, come over here. Did you hear that joke about the monkey and the human? 

War for the Planet of the Apes is a movie that I label as a must see picture. I would even go so far as to call this closing installment the best part of the entire trilogy. Some people may at times feel the movie is moving along too slow. I was never bored for one second though. All the scenes that were in the film were created with a single purpose in mind: to make us truly feel for a group of apes and see them in the same light as normal human actors. And I would say the film certainly succeeded in that mission. The movie is a truly beautiful film to look at, with amazing special effects, and a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful tale as well. I highly recommend this movie. Even if you don’t regularly like science fiction I think you might still enjoy watching this one. Only if you are expecting an action fest it might be wise to avoid this one, for this is most certainly not an action oriented film.

I give War for the Planet of the Apes a 9 out of 10 score.

Kong Skull Island, American movie (2017)

There are some Hollywood creations that have simply become icons in their own way. Never mind having never seen the movie it appeared in, everyone seems to know about it anyway. One of those icons is the legendary ape King Kong. It made it’s first onscreen appearance in the 1933 movie with the same name, and it has since then become the stuff of legend. One of it’s most famous scenes was King Kong being on top of the Empire State building and getting shot at by airplanes. Moviemaking certainly has come a long way since then, and when you look at that scene now it may look dated in terms of special effects. But it definitely still is every bit as powerful as when it was first shown to the public. These days we get a lot of movies that have terrific special effects, but fall short when it comes to showcasing any kind of emotions or story. That does not mean that a movie like that can’t be entertaining though.

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There was a sale on fresh tentacles, he just could not resist.

Kong Skull Island starts in the year 1944 when two fighter pilots, one American and one Japanese, parachute onto a mysterious island, after having lost both of their planes to each other. While continuing the fight on the ground, they are interrupted when a gigantic and monstrous ape appears. In the year 1973, 29 years later, we meet up with a US government agent called Bill Randa. He is trying to get approval to get an expedition formed to visit the island known as Skull Island. Eventually his superiors give in, and Bill hires skilled tracker James Conrad to help with the undertaking. Accompanied by a group of soldiers led by the tough Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard and a female photojournalist named Mason Weaver, the expedition takes off for the island. But once they arrive there, they are about to discover that mankind may not be on top of the food chain anymore. If they manage to survive the wrath of the King of Monsters that is…..

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Where is Thor when you need him?

This movie is a part of the Legendary film company’s attempt to create a new cinematic universe, with this film being the second offering. (The 2014 version of Godzilla was the first) And quite honestly I had a monster, pun intended, of a good time with this film. What it lacked in story it certainly made up for in entertainment value. Yes people, this is a special effects driven movie, I am not even going to deny that fact, but boy was it a lot of fun. The creatures infesting the island the group lands on are gloriously designed and the absolute highlight of the film. Kong of course will get to fight a few of them, and it is these scenes that impress the most. You can’t help but get a big grin on your face when the creatures start bashing each other’s skulls in. It never gets gory at any point, but it provides some solid fight scenes all realised through computer, and the effects are truly convincing to say the least.

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Smile, you are on Candid Camera.

The cast that was assembled for this film is quite impressive. John Goodman plays the role of Bill Randa, and it is a more serious role that you usually see him play. He is an actor that I always think is pretty underrated, and he did yet another fine job in this movie. Tom Hiddleston who most people probably know from playing the evil yet incredibly fun role of Loki in Thor, plays the character of James Conrad in this movie. His natural charisma makes him instantly likeable and the role of Conrad is certainly one that suits him. And then ofcourse we have Samuel L. Jackson as Lt. Col. Preston Packard. I always like Jackson’s performances, and the best way to describe his character is a new version of Captain Ahab from Moby Dick. He will stop at absolutely nothing to kill Kong, no matter what the cost might be. Even though the human factor in this film was minimal, all actors in this played very well and certainly contributed enough to the movie to make it a worthwhile experience.

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I love the smell of ape in the morning.

As I said in the beginning, this is a special effects driven movie, and that’s why the story isn’t really worth mentioning. It does get the job done though, and there is enough tension, occasional humor, and excitement that makes this movie a solid piece of entertainment. The after credits scene hints at the next installment for Legendary’s monsterverse, and I do honestly have to say that I am excited for it. There are pretty much no really bad things in this film that I can think off that are worth mentioning. It’s just two hours of mindless monsterbashing fun, and only if you don’t really like these sort of films will you be disappointed by it. So put on some popcorn, crank up the volume of your television and go sit down in your favorite chair to watch the King of Monsters back in action. Hail to the King, baby.

I give Kong Skull Island a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Stranger Things season 2 trailer.

Last year, Netflix released a television series that was so incredibly briljant, that I finished it twice in one weekend. Yes, I am not kidding. The series was an homage to everything 80’s and managed to create an atmosphere that I had not felt since movies like E.T. or Stand by me. That series was called Stranger Things and it was everything that an 80’s junkie like me could have dreamed of. Stranger Things was simply perfect, and it had only one negative point to it as far as I was concerned: it only had 8 episodes. Being such a huge succes, it would have been erm strange, if a second season would not have been announced. Ofcourse it was, and since then I have been eagerly awaiting news or the first images of the second series. Besides a very short 15 second  teaser, it all was deceptively quiet. Until now….

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When there is something strange, in your neighbourhood, who are you going to call? Erm..not them….

This morning I woke up, browsed through the YouTube video’s and then my eyes fell upon the Stranger Things season 2 thriller trailer. With a pounding heart, I clicked on the play button……and had a stupid grin on my face until it finished. I just had to share this with you guys. Unless I am mistaking this second season is going to be even more epic than the first. All of our favorite characters return, and oh man that wonderful 80’s vibe, you just can’t beat that! We still have to wait a few months for it’s final release, but until that time we can watch this trailer again….and again….and again! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. And if you haven’t yet seen the first season, go and watch it now. It is utterly amazing, and certainly the best tv series that Netflix has made so far.

Transformers:the Last Knight, American movie (2017)

Well, if we are to believe mister Michael Bay, supposedly this is the last time he takes the plunge into the world of Transformers. I do say supposedly on purpose, because he has made this statement quite a few times already in the past. And we all know what happened with those words: they were covered up in a pretty large sum of money. Michael Bay has always been a director that has been receiving large amounts of very negative press, especially where the Transformers are considered. It has also divided the fan community as well, with some people absolutely hating the direction he has taken the beloved robots in disguise into. This fifth part of the franchise has certainly been pounded into the ground the most. Pretty much every single review, with maybe one or two exceptions, has completely destroyed this movie. As such, despite being a fan of the previous films, my expectations for this one were at their lowest. Let us see if this movie really deserves the amount of punishment it has been receiving. Roll out!

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Really fighting a giant robot with a wooden stick is the best idea you came up with?

This movie continues the story almost right from where part 4 ended. Optimus Prime has left Earth in search of his creators and hasn’t been heard from in quite a while. On Earth almost every single government has declared the Transformers as outcasts, and a special task force called the Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) has been established to destroy and kill them all. Cade Yeager together with Bumblebee try to save as many Transformers as they can, but it is an almost impossible task. During one of their rescue attempts, he comes into possession of a mysterious metallic talisman, that might hold the key to saving the Earth from an ancient threat. Together with an English lord who seems to know more about the object, and a beautiful female Oxford professor, Cade tries to stay alive while on the run from Decepticons who are also after the talisman. But amidst all the chaos there are indications that the homeworld of the Transformers is on it’s way to Earth, bringing doom for every single living being on the planet. But the greatest threat comes in a very unexpected way: namely in the form of a robot called Optimus Prime…..

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Yes Megatron, we know you are evil, you don’t have to look at us like that.

This is a typical Bay movie, and that means you know what you can expect from it. Mindless action, slowmotion shots, explosions and an almost non-existent story. Yep, this movie certainly has all of these elements in it. I’ve heard it said that because of this fans will use it as an argument to say that this is the reason for watching it any way. Well, I am a fan of Transformers, both the old cartoons and these new movies, but from an objective point of view I have to say this movie was one of the weakest installments from the franchise. That’s not to say that this film is as bad as everyone says it is, there is still enough in it to enjoy, but the engine certainly has run out of steam. For a movie that is supposed to feature robots kicking the crap out of each other, there is actually quite a lack of scenes like that in this film. Except for a gigantic battlescene near the end, we hardly see robots fighting each other, but instead it focusses on the human elements engaging the Transformers.

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This is a new form of American Football that will be introduced next year.

The special effects are still every bit as impressive, and you can certainly tell that is where most of the budget for the movie went. The Transformers themselves look awesome, especially a new robotic dragon form that makes it’s first appearance here. The humor for this movie was the thing that was ridiculed the most by everyone in reviews. Comedy is a very selective thing, and admittedly there were certainly quite a number of cringeworthy scenes in it. But, during those scenes, there were also a lot of people in the audience with me that did laugh out loud. Which means that it’s all a matter of perspective. What works for some people, might not work for others. I did have a few laughs as well, but the humor certainly wasn’t it’s strongest point. That honour still goes to the numerous special effects and action sequences.

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I am Optimus Prime….yes…we heard you the first 300 times. 

Lastly we ofcourse have the human factor, this time represented by Mark Wahlberg who reprises his role from part four, and none other than Sir Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins plays the role of the English Lord Edmund Burton, a role which suited him, and he seemed to be having a lot of fun while playing it. The female element this time comes in the form of the beautiful actress Laura Haddock, who plays the love interest for Mark Wahlberg’s character. Ofcourse as you know Bay always objectifies his women and this movie is no exception, although when compared to the previous films it wasn’t too bad I guess. Lastly we have the young actress Isabela Moner who plays the role of the kid Izabella who gets caught up in the war by accident. Her part, though small, was pretty interesting, and I wish she would have had a larger role in the film.

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Let’s shed a little light on the subject shall we? 

So, in the end we are left with a film that just feels like a washed up version of what has come before. There were certainly enough things in it that I did enjoy, like for instance a King Arthur angle that was pretty interesting, and the large scale battle at the end. But most of the scenes in between felt more like filler, and it almost seems like they just ran out of ideas of what to do. Combined with a pretty weak story, and action scenes that also weren’t as impressive as what came before, this was definitely the least interesting part of the franchise. Still, the heavy flack this movie has been receiving has blown things way out of proportion. This is still mindless fun, and certainly has enough entertainment value to make it worth a trip to the cinema. Just don’t expect to enjoy it as much as the previous ones. It will be interesting to see in what direction this franchise will go with a new director at the helm. Only time will tell I guess.

I give Transformers the Last Knight a 6 out of 10 score.

 

 

Alita Last Order Omnibus vol.1, A Japanese manga book (2011)

The Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, or Gunnm as it is known in Japan, has been praised by none other than director James Cameron. He is a huge fan of this manga, and has been wanting to direct a live action movie based on it for quite some time now. I doubt it will ever get to see the light of day though, as it has been announced so many times that is almost becoming laughable. For those of you unfamiliair with the original manga let me tell you quickly what the story is about.

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Battle Angel Alita is set in a post apocalyptic future and is centered around the character of Alita, a female cyborg. She was originally found in a junkyard, robbed of all her memories. The cybernetics doctor who finds Alita, decides to rebuild her, and when she awakens she discovers that there is actually one thing she does remember. It is the ancient legendary martial art of Panzer Kunst. With this deadly skill she eventually takes on the profession of  bounty hunter. The world she lives in is an interesting and very unique one. The floating city of Tiphares is the cause of a massive scrapheap on the surface which surrounds the aptly named city of Scrapyard. As the city of Tiphares is off limits to surface dwellers, they are forced to make a living amongst the junk, a very hard life indeed.

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Alita Last Order continues the storyline of the original manga, but does pretty much ignore the original ending, or so I have heard. While I did read a few chapters of the first Battle Angel Alita series, I have never completed it. But so far I have been able to follow the storyline along just fine without all the knowledge of the original manga. Alita Last Order starts off with the resurrection of Alita by her enemy/ally Desty Nova. Their relationship has always been a complex one, and it continues to be so in the new series. The story this time takes place on Tiphares, on which quite a number of things have changed. The city has turned into complete chaos, and numerous rebellions are underway. Amidst the chaos Alita tries to find out what happened to her old friend Lou, but at the same she also searches for more answers to her own forgotten past. Both things are incredibly hard to do, as Alita is about to find out…

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While I still prefer anime to manga, this series was just to good to resist. I fell in love with the character of Alita quite a few years ago, when I first laid eyes on her in the original manga. While visiting Animecon 2017 last month, I was amazed to find out that the series had continued in this new form, and as such I bought all five omnibus editions. The first installment certainly did not disappoint. The art for this is absolutely breathtaking, and at times I just kept staring at certain panels to admire them. Alita contains enough action to keep your attention throughout the entire 650 page count, but the story itself also is worth every minute of your time. The theme that keeps returning the most is the question of what it is like to be human. But even though that has been featured so many times in other media, Alita turns it upside down, and still manages to be original too. I simply have nothing negative to say about this series. If you love dystopian post apocalyptic science fiction stories, featuring great art, and enough action to leave you gasping at air, I highly recommend you check this manga out.

I give Alita Last Order Omnibus Volume 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Blade Runner, American movie (1982)

Harrison Ford almost seems to be on a farewell tour, in which he reprises all of his most famous roles one more time. Two years ago he played Han Solo in the seventh installment of the famous Star Wars franchise, and three years from now he will be playing the role of Indiana Jones one final time. But all eyes are on him this year, as he will be making an appearance in the sequel to the classic science fiction movie Blade Runner. One has to wonder if making a sequel to what was obviously a landmark in science fiction history really is the best idea. Still having seen the first few trailers of the new movie, and the director of the film being Denis Villeneuve, I am cautiously optimistic for it. It is ofcourse a good thing that Harrison himself is also featured in this new one. We will still have to wait a bit for the results though, as the new movie is currently scheduled for an October 2017 release. Which gives everyone a chance to rewatch the original movie, something that I did today.

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Traffic can really be a problem sometimes. 

Blade Runner is set in a dystopian and honestly very dark future. The powerful Tyrell Corporation has made a new type of advanced robot that go by the name replicants. They are almost indistinquishable from humans, and are made to work on off world colonies because of their unique abilities. Replicants are banned from ever returning to Earth punishable by death, although the more humane word they have given for it is retirement. The men and women tasked with hunting them down and retiring them are called Blade Runners. When a group of four recently escaped replicants led by the dangerous Roy Batty are loose in Los Angeles, the expert but kind of washed out Blade Runner Rick Deckard, is given the assignment to find and kill them. But when he meets a very advanced female replicant called Rachael, he is beginning to question what it really means to be human…..

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Hi, we are your new neigbours. Really, you can trust us. 

Director Ridley Scott’s vision of the future depicted in this movie is very bleak indeed. Right from the start of the film you get a sense of depression and dark foreboding that doesn’t leave you until the endcredits roll. The scenery created in this movie is absolutely breathtaking, and even though the effects look a bit dated after all these years, they still hold up pretty well. These also help create the atmosphere I just mentioned but an even larger part in that plays the New Age soundtrack created by Vangelis. The haunting synthesizer sounds and melodies that you hear throughout the film, at times make you feel as if the end of the world has finally arrived.

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Shoot first, ask questions later. That usually seems to work. 

Harrison Ford plays a very different role than the ones that you are used to seeing him play. He depicts a man that is kind of an anti-hero, and he is beginning to ask himself if what he is doing is the right course of action. He also isn’t very likeable, as he is very gruff man without a real sense of humor. But Harrison really manages to pull it off, and I think it is one of the best roles of his career. The role of the replicant leader is played by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer. And his role is the one that impresses the most in this film. His cold demeanor devoid of any humanity, makes it an all the more ironic role, as that is what his character is striving to become: human. Rutger really plays an iconic bad guy, and it is quite a shame that most of the films he played in afterwards were mostly forgettable.

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Hmm, they should really do something about the view in the future. 

Obviously the theme of this movie is centered heavily on what it really means to be human. It is an age old question, and one we have seen appearing in many science fiction classics. The replicants aren’t necessarily evil, and that’s one of the things that makes this film all the more interesting. What right do humans have to create beings, that are only kept as slave labor, and are taken out when they just want to live? And that is also what we see Deckard struggling with throughout the movie. Strangely enough this is probably only the second time that I have seen this film. Which is why I was surprised a lot by the pacing of the movie. This isn’t an all out action fest, but rather a very slow, but obviously thought provoking movie. Blade Runner certainly won’t be a movie that is going to please everyone. But if you like dark science fiction stories, mixed with good acting and amazing setpieces, it is well worth it to check this movie out. Even after all these years Blade Runner is a science fiction epic, that changed the way we looked at science fiction altogether. Let’s hope the sequel will do it justice.

I give Blade Runner a 9 out of 10 score.