Archive | Sci-fi & Fantasy

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049

SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN THIS REVIEW!

Blade Runner 2049 is a melancholic noir that follows replicant K as he pursues knowledge of a miracle replicant birth in a sequel that thoughtfully continues the exploration of what it means to be human with what it means to live and love. The designation “K,” while short for a serial number, hearkens to The Trial, a film by Orson Welles based on a story of the same name by Kafka. In it an accused man, Joseph K, attempts to discover the crime for which he is accused and defend himself against said undefined accusation. This inkling of pursuing the unknown in the dystopian The Trial can be felt in Blade Runner 2049, as well.

Definitely worth seeing, Blade Runner 2049 is a towering example of how to make movies with a big dash of how not to make movies. I credit the makers with respecting the audience in their quest to combine art and accessibility. As it turns out, however, the opening weekend was a box office disappointment, in some part due to the R-rating, doubtlessly required for the unnecessary and weak sex scenes. What works in this film is fantastic, which makes what doesn’t work that much more inexplicable and agitating.

Blade Runner 2049 might subjectively look better, or perhaps offer more of what we all love, but it’s not better than the original, nor does it need to be. Where the original sequel fears were justified, and while Villeneuve, himself, said that the chance of success was narrow, Blade Runner 2049 has justified its existence on its own merit by being a very beautiful and worthy addition. In the meantime, before it gets edited seven times, enjoy Blade Runner 2049 for what it is: a torn masterpiece, like its predecessor.

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IT

IT

It isn’t necessarily the IT you remember, but it is something you won’t ever forget!

Stephen King has often said he never really felt that his novels translate well into full length movies, and with few exceptions, I agree with him. But when I heard he was making the miniseries for regular TV back in the ’80s, I wasn’t too thrilled. Nevertheless, despite the censoring, that iteration of IT has always remained a favorite, because I really loved the book. And regardless of what your millennial friends are pushing, Tim Curry is, and always will be, Pennywise the Dancing Clown. However, Bill Skarsgård certainly impressed me as his honorable heir, and this full-length feature film lives up to the  hype, IT is a must watch film!

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Traitor of Mars

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars

Some old friends are back in this animated, kick-ass film about legendary Space Marines, err I mean the Mobile Infantry (MI). If you aren’t familiar with the characters, they are loosely based on the classic bildungsroman about a group of high school kids thrust into a war for survival of their species. An invading swarm of giant, spider-like bugs mercilessly slaughters anything in their path. Traitor of Mars is the latest film to feature many of the original characters from the 1997 film Starship Troopers, also written by Edward Neumeier. Because Traitor of Mars is an animated film, there is no limit to the amount of effects. And we finally get to see the power suits that Heinlein introduced to our world back in 1959, which arguably launched the mecha armor craze that is still strong today.

Overall it was just a fun film that I will definitely be adding to my Blu-ray collection. The addition of the much missed power suits alone makes it a must watch for fans of Heinlein’s work. And I had to scour the NET to find the old Microprose PC game from 2000 that I used to play that I swear heavily influenced certain elements of the film. Many times while watching the movie, I kept having flashbacks of playing it and wondering how long the Lost Patrol would last under my command. [Incidentally, there was a 2005 Starship Troopers PC game that apparently stunk.] 

If you are a fan of Neumeier’s other writing, I think this one holds up to his style, and I really loved the end credits metal adaption of Basil Poledouris’ original score from 1997. It made me want to suit up and jump – because, after all nobody lives forever!

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The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower

The Josh Chop: It’s never fair to compare a book to a film. Even to compare a screenplay to its final film would be to compare colors of paint in a tube to a final Michelangelo piece. It’s hard to say how this film compares to the novels because, I never read them. When going into this one, I kept an open mind that this film would be unlike other Stephen King novels made for the big screen. Stephen King is of course well known to write fiction that deals with the macabre and horrors only his mind can make up. While The Dark Tower gives us a reason to have nightmares at night, horror is not an overall theme of the film.

I really did enjoy it and would most likely watch it again to see if I could catch things I missed the first time around. My only wish with future Dark Tower films is that the Gunslinger show more emotion and that events be slowed down a bit. They really did fit a TON inside the hour and a half run time. Either way, I definitely think people should see The Dark Tower as it was a pretty decent story overall.

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Valerian

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I set the bar very low for Valerian, just keep me entertained. On that point, the film was a success, because Besson is a master at creating worlds and his imagination on screen is certainly praiseworthy. But, the kids, we need to talk about these kids. You know those commercials where you see kids pretending to be adults? That is exactly what was wrong with Valerian, every time they did something that had an air of maturity, it was like watching kids pretending to be cool, or mature. And, it was painful to watch the lack of any chemistry between DeHaan and Delevinge. But, luckily Rihanna comes in to provide some much needed relief.

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