Posted in review

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Review

Godzilla_anime_design_reveal.jpgBefore watching this movie, It was a headline from Inverse that read this film “Is an Anime First, Godzilla Movie… Maybe Third”. After watching Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, I couldn’t agree more.

In Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Earth is abandoned when Godzilla wreaks havoc and the combined efforts of humanity and two alien races were not enough to defeat him.

20 years later after being unable to find a new planet for the three races to live on, they decide to return and finish what they started.

The vast majority of the film is spent establishing the world, the lore and the characters. Now, here is where the film loses me. I have gone on record saying that world building and characters are the most important part of any good story, whether it is in a novel, game or film. Yet, I found myself getting bored midway through the film.

With all the technobabble going on I felt like I was watching an anime version of Star Trek rather than a Godzilla movie.

I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about the characters as, despite the screen time you get to spend with them, only the main character Captain Haruo Sakaki gets a backstory and even then he doesn’t have much in the way of personality. In fact, all the characters are bland and forgettable.

51HEXHBZ4VL._SY445_This is why my favourite Godzilla movie is the first one, and I mean the original Japanese film, not the godawful American edit which spat in the face of the original. Huh, even now American adaptations of Japanese stories are horrific at best and disrespectful at worse. I guess some things never change.

Sorry, back on track. The first one got the balance of character development and action perfect. You got invested in the conflict as they debated on how to defeat the beast. You cared about these characters and wanted to see them survive. I cried during the hospital scene when I first watched it. Scratch that, I cry every time I watch it. Not to mention the powerful and bittersweet ending.

Well, this is starting to become more of a discussion about the original film that started it all rather than the latest movie of the franchise. As you can probably tell, I love it to bits. However, we aren’t here to talk about that masterpiece so I will save my rants for another article.

This is more of a personal gripe but I don’t really care for 3D animated anime. It always reminds me of cutscenes in games, sometimes when I’m watching things like it I find myself trying to push the X button only to remember “oh right, this isn’t a game” and that is exactly what happened this time. Again, this is a personal preference so take what I just said with a pinch of salt.

c7q_j1nvuaahjde-jpg-large (1)The ending angered me. I can’t say what happened as I don’t want to spoil it but I felt like I had wasted my time watching this movie. Before anyone jumps in to defend it, yes I know that this is the first movie and there will be a second one continuing the story but still I don’t think that excuse holds water for such a lacklustre and lazy ending.

Going back to the blandness of the characters, I don’t see a reason for watching the second film when it comes out as I don’t care about any of them! They spend so much time trying to get me to root for them and showing a tragic backstory but honestly, I was rooting for Godzilla as he was a more fleshed out character!

Overall, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters was a disappointing film. I can’t bring myself to say that it was a bad film, I’m sure some folks liked it and if that includes you then, cool. Glad you enjoyed it, but for me, I found it dull and forgettable. I don’t recommend this film, especially if you are a Godzilla fan.

I’m going to go watch a proper Godzilla movie now, see you later.

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Suburbicon review

suburbicon-269511033-largeWelcome to Suburbicon, where your problems disappear. Unless your scheme doesn’t go to plan. Or you are black.

That will make sense in a bit.

Set in 1959, Suburbicon follows father Gardner Lodge as he tries to keep his family safe after a home invasion gone wrong, or at least it appears as such. Things aren’t looking too good for his new next-door neighbours African-American family, the Mayers.

As the film goes on the stakes are raised and everything beings to fall apart. You know what they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Matt Damon gives one hell of a performance as the lead, and the rest of the cast isn’t too shabby either. However, If I go into detail about the characters I would end up spoiling major plot points. I mean, the trailer does spoil everything, but I have standards.

For a dark and gritty film, there are a few comedic scenes, in particular, the scene where Bud Cooper, an insurance agent played by Oscar Isaac, questions Gardner’s Sister in law Margret. That was my favourite part of the film.

Suburbicon uses an organic method to tell its story. There are no flashbacks or exposition-heavy scenes, the story unfolds from dialogue and details in the background.

7Us1l4wLQ0auZi5QxPw2jQWhile there are several action scenes, for the most part, the film has a slower pace than most movies. This benefits Suburbicon as the story is dialogue heavy and character oriented. However, I understand that it might not be to everyone’s taste.

The storyline about the Mayers feels more like time-filler than a fully realised story. Throughout the film we see people say horrific comments about them and their race, even on TV and Radio yet the Mayers with the exception of their young son don’t get any character development.

Even then the son is shown to be nice, friendly and likes baseball but that is it. The two boys are the only connection the film makes to merge the two stories.

I personally enjoyed Suburbicon, but I can’t say the same for the general moviegoing audience. At the time of writing the film as a 27% approval rate on Rotten Tomatoes. I can see why this is the case, this film is violent, unsettling and intense which is why I liked it but these elements can also put others off movies.

If you like the three themes I mentioned, then you will enjoy Suburbicon, if not then you should avoid this particular film.

Welcome to the neighbourhood!

Posted in review

Murder On The Orient Express Review

__596e9005f13c1.jpgOne victim, ten suspects and one train.

Based on the novel of the same name by the one and only Agatha Christie, while on route to solve a case, another one unfolds on the very train Hercule Poirot is travelling on.

One of his fellow travellers is brutally murdered, and as luck would have it the train has been derailed by an avalanche. While waiting to be rescued, Hercule must find the killer before another passenger is killed.

Before I continue this review, I must admit that I am a bit bias towards Murder On The Orient Express. I love true crime and crime fiction.

On top of that, I am a fan of Agatha Christie’s work. Needless to say, if you are looking for an objective review of this film, you are on the wrong blog.

Now that I have cleared the air, on with the review.

Hercule is one hell of a main character, and while rather faithful to the source material there is a subtle difference. In the movie, Hercule seems to be autistic.

9780007527502_1.jpgNow, this might just be me reading too much into it, but he does have several autistic traits, such as bluntness, a keen eye for detail and obsession with symmetry. In one scene in the film, he says “I can only see the world as it should be, when it is not, the imperfection stands out.”

I have read several of the Poirot novels and I never got the impression before. Admittedly I haven’t read Murder On The Orient Express so I couldn’t say if the line quoted above is in the book or not.

I’m autistic myself, so I hope he is autistic in this adaptation, but again it could just be me seeing what I want to see.

With this being a murder mystery I can’t talk about the supporting cast without running the risk of spoiling the film. All I will say is they all did an amazing job and gave their all.

The pacing of this film is great. They give you just enough time to come up with your opinion of whodunnit only to throw more clues at you. It keeps you guessing until the reveal, and even then what happens after keeps you on your toes. As much as I love fast-paced action films, I thought the slow pace worked to the benefit of the film.

9780062073501_p0_v2_s550x406.jpgI have heard that some people don’t like the use of CGI in Murder On The Orient Express and I can see why, but I liked it. The way it was used made the shots of the train and the snowy landscape look like a painting, which added to the classic feel of the movie.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most stylish movies I have seen in a while. From the costume design to the music, it all screamed elegance.

I loved this film, It was tense, heartbreaking and had a few laughs. I’m glad I haven’t read the book yet, as the reveal of the killer was a surprise to me. That being said, while it is a must-see for fellow Christie fans, newcomers don’t need to worry about getting lost on this journey.

With a timeless feel and an all-star cast, Murder On The Orient Express is one hell of a ride. I highly recommend this film if like me you adore murder mysteries, if not then this isn’t the film for you.

Have a safe journey!

Posted in review

Dad Of Light Review

img_0687 (1)I had high expectations for Dad Of Light. As a fan of Final Fantasy XIV, non-fiction and stories about family connections, I thought this Jdrama would be right up my alley.

Even with those lofty expectations, Dad Of Light was even better than I hoped it would be!

The story of is simple. Aiko Inaba and his workaholic father Hirotaro have not seen eye to eye in years. Aiko can’t even remember the last time they had a real conversation.

One day Hirotaro quits his job out of the blue. In an attempt to find out why and to try to rebuild their relationship Aiko buys his father a PS4 and a copy of Final Fantasy XIV.

“Dad of Light Project! This is my project to invite my father into the Final Fantasy XIV world, a place I adore, and go one spectacular adventures with him while concealing my true identity. It’s my way of showing my father that I care for him!”

Aiko Inaba, Dad Of Light

Aiko has to be my favourite character. He is well meaning, hard working and patient. But he is insecure and doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. Hirotaro is very traditional and keeps himself to himself but he does have a sense of humour we see through his avatar.

The more we watch, the more we learn about the father and son duo.

Akio.pngThere is a subplot revolving around the office Aiko works at. However, if I go into more detail about this element of the show I will give away some spoilers.

I have to say, the animation, while really cute, is a bit odd. The timing in some of these scenes is off, also there is something about the facial expressions that are a little weird.

I understand that they were trying to keep the feel of the game in these scenes, but a bit more polish would have been nice.

I knew going into this from the trailers that there was going to be some comedic moments, but again this show surpassed my expectations. While not a laugh riot, there are a lot of funny antics in Dad Of Light which left me giggling like a loon.

Dad Of Light is a rather short series. There are only eight episodes and each episode is around 25 minutes long. However, since this is only season one chances are we will get more episodes soon…ish…. I hope.

I love Dad Of Light to pieces. It has a lot of heart and quite a few laughs. It is a very sincere story that leaves you feeling good after watching it. I highly recommend you check it out!


Dad Of Light is available on Netflix

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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

SenHeads up, this might be the harshest review I have ever written. Please keep in mind that all of this is just my humble opinion.

Also, don’t worry if you haven’t played Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, this is a spoiler free review.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is the latest action adventure game from Ninja Theory. We follow the Celtic warrior Senua as she journeys through Hel to save her fallen lover.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this game for a bit, which has seemed to die down but I got caught up in the excitement and grabbed a copy.

Did Hellblade meet my high expectations? Short answer, no. Long answer, well keep reading.

Senua herself is a good protagonist and was, for me at least, the best element of the game. During the game, we see visions of her past and see the world through her eyes. The player also learns about her condition and how it affected her life and loved ones.

sourceOn that note, I have to give credit where credit is due, I did enjoy how they approached the topic of psychosis. Ninja Theory did a lot of research on the issue and worked with experts on the condition.

Here is where Hellblade lost me, the gameplay. You see, there is no tutorial and you don’t get told how things work in this world very often. Most of the time you learn through trial and error.

Normally, that would be fine but in Hellblade every time you die this infection called rot grows. It starts in Senua’s hand and continues to climb up if you continue to die. Not so bad right? Wrong. If the rot reaches her head, not only is it game over, but your save is deleted.

It wasn’t an issue during the first half of the game, which I did love. However, around the half way mark, my deaths were stacking up. From this moment forward, for me at least, the thrill of combat was replaced with irritation.

SenuaThe more enemies I faced, the more my blood boiled. By the time I reached the second to last boss, the rot was on her chest, mere inches away from her chin. This made the experience almost too stressful for me to handle.

I understand that some people enjoy this kind of experience when it comes to games, but it is not for me.

Speaking of combat, it wasn’t until I faced the first boss I learned that the focus ability helps in fights. Would have been nice to have known that!

When I finally finished the game, I was glad it was finally over. So much so I burst into tears of joy.

While I can’t say in all honesty that I regret playing Hellblade as it does have spectacular voice acting, innovative storytelling and a truly unique atmosphere, I can’t say I recommend it. At least, if you are anything like me.

If you are looking for an intense game with a fair amount of challenging puzzles and unnerving atmosphere, then chances are you will have a better experience with Hellblade that I did.

You are in for a Hel of a ride.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

GotG_Vol2_poster.jpgWith the success of its 2014 predecessor, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a tough act to follow. Did they do enough to reach the stars, or did it get swallowed up in a black hole?

In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 tensions are high as the Guardians begin to unravel the mystery of Peter’s parental past with friends and foes both old and new.

While they do somewhat recap the last film in bits here and there, to get the best experience you need to have seen the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  The only reason I’m mentioning this is because I went with my family and my dad kept asking me to explain stuff during the film.

While there is a lot of fast-paced action scenes, the focus of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is on the characters. In particular, Yondu and Nebula who are second tier characters in the first film get their time to shine here. We learn more about the Guardians and their backgrounds and see a more vulnerable side to Rocket and Gamora.

3o7budMRwZvNGJ3pyEWe are also introduced to Mantis, a character that I hope sticks around. I could rant about how much I adore her but that would give away major spoilers, so I will, regrettably, move on with the review instead.

There are a lot of emotional moments and I am not going to lie, I cried. I cried more times than I care to admit. That being said, I cry easily so that might just be me being a softie.

For a Disney film, there is a surprising about of sex jokes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I’m not complaining, as most of them got a laugh out of me, I just didn’t expect it. On that note, while comedy is subjective I found this film when it wasn’t making me cry, side-splittingly funny.

Personally, I loved this film and I can’t wait to see it again. If you liked the first film, you are going to love Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As always stick around for the after credits clip, because there isn’t just one extra scene this time.

 

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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return Review

095f7c51bae2f86b3df38390496bbe001c32544c

Before we start, I think I should admit something. I never really watched Mystery Science Theater 3000.

In fact, before this reboot of the series, I had only seen one episode called Devil Fish on YouTube a few years back. That was it. I liked it but it didn’t make any real impact on me so I forgot about it.

When I heard about Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return I remembered the Devil Fish episode and thought to myself “Oh yeah, that was funny. I’ll check out the new one when it comes out”.

So while a collection of the original series is available on Netflix, at the time of writing I have only seen this version, but I might watch it later on.

For that reason, I’m going to judge Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return solely on its own merits and not compare it to its predecessor. On top of that, as someone who had only seen one of the old episodes, consider this an outsiders opinion and review.

mst3k-netflix-e1-openingOk, now that’s out of the way, why the hell did I not watch this series sooner?

Pop culture references? Check. Meta humour? Check. Likeable if not lovable robots and human host? Check.

If I had to sum this show up in one word, it would be charming. Everyone in this show, even the so-called villains are oddly charming in their own way, which makes the show a joy to watch.

While comedy is subjective, I personally enjoy Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return‘s sense of humour. If you enjoy sarcasm and fourth wall jokes, then you are going do have a good time with this show.

I thought that the show was simply going to be Johan and the bots mocking cheesy films, but there is something of a running plot line near the end of the season. I won’t spoil it for you, but I didn’t see it coming.

tumblr_ona5naR1PL1v1zngbo1_540To be honest, there is one thing about this show that I dislike, the ad breaks. This season was made for Netflix, so I don’t understand why there are so many ad breaks. It ruins the flow of the show for me. The only reason I can see for this is that it is a reference to the original. However, this is a personal issue, don’t hold it against Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a silly but fun show to binge then might I suggest Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return. Oozing with charm and wit, it’s 90 minutes of good old fashioned laughs. I highly recommend it.