TL;DR – Well, this film shows that nostalgia is limited, even when wearing rose-tinted glasses.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always Review –
I was at the perfect age when the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was first released. I watched through the first couple of seasons before losing interest sometime after the movie. It was enough to get to come back and watch the film reboot a couple of years ago, and I think I may have been the only one who liked it. Well, when they announced that there would be a 30th-anniversary movie bringing the old cast back together, I was happy to hear it. A little less so now that I have watched it.
So to set the scene, back in 1993, the great sorcerer Rita Repulsa (Barbara Goodson) escaped. It was only through the powers of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, chosen by Zordon, were they were able to defeat her. 30 years later, Rita has returned as Robo Rita and strikes down the Yellow Ranger as Zach (Walter Emanuel Jones) and Billy (David Yost) look on in horror. A year later, Zach is trying to help raise Minh (Charlie Kersh) when Rita returns, and this time, she wants to take out all the Rangers.
TL;DR – A fantastic monster film that crashes through the Norwegian countryside, leaving very little in its wake.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film
Troll Review –
I have wanted to explore more of world cinema for a while, and one area where I have been trying to expand my knowledge is Scandinavia. I have not visited a film from this region in a time, and never one from Norway. With reports of a new Kaiju film out of that region all about a troll on a rampage, I knew that this was the perfect time to jump back in.
So to set the scene, at Trolltindene, Romsdalen, in Norway, Nora (Ameli Olving Sælevik) and her father Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold) climb up a cliff face. Once they reach the top, they see The Troll Peaks, and Nora relates the fairy tale of a big troll wedding where 13 trolls got too drunk, and when the sun rose, they were turned to stone. Twenty years later, on the Atlantic coast of Norway, Nora (Ine Marie Wilmann), now a palaeontologist, is rejoicing because they finally found a fossil. But in the village of Hjerkinn, in the Dovrefjell mountain range, a rail tunnel is being controversially cut through the mountain. But the last explosive charge does not just blow up some rock. It wakes a creature from its slumber, an angry beast.
TL;DR – This is a film that swings wildly, where you have moments of pure terror, but I am not sure it all comes together in the third act.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.
Warning – This film contains scenes that may cause distress.
Nope Review –
Today, I look at a film that is quite difficult to review. Challenging in that from a production perspective, I have rarely seen a movie that works as well as this. But from a narrative perspective, there were moments that negatively impacted me that I am still trying to process the day after. It is also a film that is hard to talk about without immediately heading into spoilers that might impact your time with the film. Well, it might be difficult, but I’m still going to take a solid crack at it. As such, it is time to dive into our review of Nope.
So to set the scene, we open on a TV set in the 1990s, a sitcom with rows for audience seating, but only there is no one there even though the applause signs still flash. But we see a chimpanzee sitting with blood on its hands while a lifeless body lies in the background. Flash forward to the current time, and we are introduced to Otis Jr. “OJ” Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya), who works with his father Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) at Haywood Hollywood Horses. A ranch that trains horses for TV and movie productions. While OJ is doing all the work and wondering where his sister Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer) is, he hears something odd coming from the sky. Then what looks like hail starts hitting the ground on a clear day, but it is not hail but metal shrapnel like keys and coins, one of which strikes Otis Sr. in the head. While the siblings struggle to keep the ranch going in the wake of this tragedy, the story of the objects falling out of a plane just does not hold up, and they start to wonder what else might be out there in the sky.
TL;DR – You will probably see the shape of this film for the first couple of minutes, but that does not take away how delightful the time is as we go diving through a world of monsters.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this movie.
The Sea Beast Review –
I think animation, especially animation focused on younger audiences, gets a bad rap. Sure, there is a lot of nonsense out there made to fill time, but that does not mean that an animated film directed toward children will be inherently bad. There are films where you can see the artistry and craft that have gone into every moment. Well, today we look at just such a film with the nautical adventure The Sea Best.
So to set the scene, for over a hundred years, there has been a war across the seas of this world. Great sea beasts stalked the oceans taking ships to a watery grave, even swiping people from the coastline as they were tending their gardens. To fight this menace, the royalty of Three Bridges hired great hunters to take the fight to monsters and keep the waters safe. The Hunters live by a clear code that all must follow, even those on the most famous hunting ship, The Inevitable. Under their Captain Crow (Jared Harris) and his forebears, they have kept the seas clear, with only the great red beast alluding them. Well, the King (Jim Carter) and Queen (Doon Mackichan) have become tired of paying Hunters to kill the beasts, so they make their own ship, The Imperator, to do the work for them. Seeing their future fall apart, Jacob Holland (Karl Urban) makes a deal with the royals, a race, and if The Inevitable gets the sea beast before The Imperator, well then, they keep working with the Hunters.
Disclosure – I was invited to a Press Screening of this film.
Godzilla vs. Kong Review –
There have been several attempts to create Cinematic Universes across modern cinema, but most of them have fallen flat. However, one of the few rays of light in this space has been the visual delight that has been the MonsterVerse. It has been bombast on the big screen, as giant monsters battle each other for supremacy as we watch on. Today, we look at the next film in that franchise that pits our two heroes from the previous movies against each other.
So to set the scene, it has been several years since Godzilla became the alpha at the end of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In that time, Godzilla has kept the other titans in their home areas, much to the joy of the humans living in the world. However, one day, Godzilla surges out of the water near Pensacola, Florida. The titan makes a beeline for the Apex factory tearing apart everything in its way. In the factory, a whistleblower Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), is trying to find what Apex is up to because they are up to something shady. Meanwhile, on Skull Island, King Kong is taking his daily walk when he comes across a little girl, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), in the forest. However, as they bond, Kong feels a threat coming and sharpens a tree javelin, ready to take it down.
TL;DR – This is a show with a lot of potential that would have worked a lot better had it not stumbled in critical places.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this series.
Pacific Rim: The Black Review –
When you hear that there will be an American Animation TV Series, done in the style of a Japanese Anime, based in the Pacific Rim universe, and then set in Australia, well, that is an exciting combination if I have ever heard it. Good or bad, you want to see how it works. With that in mind, let’s dive into this fascinating if flawed world.
So to set the scene, we open in the days after chaos erupts across Australia as rifts open up the centre of the continent. After a valiant fight, it becomes clear that Australia is lost, and the call to evacuate is put out. Everyone had five days to reach Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, or Sydney. While trying to help with the evacuation, one Jager team stays back to stop the Kaijus because their children had yet to leave. They tried to get to the evac point, but they were too late. Instead, they took the group of civilians back to their home base Shadow Basin which was also destroyed. The parents left everyone behind in an oasis and leave to go to the coast to get help. Five years later, Hayley (Gideon Adlon) and Taylor (Calum Worthy) have a fractured relationship as their parents never returned. However, one day Hayley fell down a metal hole and discovers that not all of Shadow Basin was destroyed, with the Atlas Destroyer Jaeger and its AI Loa (Erica Lindbeck) still there. But that discovery becomes a beacon for all the danger in the world. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – This is an
interesting take on the End-Of-The-World genre
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
When I say to you Zombie Apocalypse, I think for many people the first thing
you would do is suppress a sigh. As a genre, it has been used multiple times
and these days one could say that it has been done to death as long as they immediately
followed it up immediately with ‘pun not attended’. However, every now and again,
a new show will use the setting to explore something new and today we get to
look at just such a show.
So to set the scene, we open in on Day 42 with Jack Sullivan (Nick Wolfhard)
the only known survivor in his town. 42 Days ago portals opened up over his
town and monsters and zombies came flooding out attacking the town. Some escaped,
some were rescued, but more still were turned into zombies to roam the streets.
Abandoned by his foster family, Jack survives by hiding in his foster brother’s
treehouse and using that as a base of operation. He is trying to find his best
buddy Quint (Garland Whitt) and rescue his flame June (Montse Hernandez), but
first he needs to survive being hunted by a monster angry because Jack poked
its eye out.
TL;DR – An ambitious series
drawing inspiration from multiple religious and mystical frameworks that while
pioneering in many respects, completely fails to stick the landing
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Today I get to finally explore the third pillar of 1990s sci-fi anime with the
massively influential Neon Genesis
Evangelion. For me, this was almost a form of closure given how much I have
watched the other two pillars Cowboy
Bebop and Ghost in the Shell but
I never got to see Evangelion. It was
also interesting to see a show that has been massively influential to the genre
but watching it with 20 years of extra context on top of it. Well if nothing
else, the ending stinger to last year’s Desert Bus now makes sense. With
that in mind, let’s dive in and explore Hideaki Anno’s work of gods, and
angels, and science, and man.
So to set the scene, in the year 2000 a great calamity arouse across the world
when the second impact occurred in Antarctica blasting the icy continent to
ruin and melting all its ice causing extensive flooding across the world. The
UN authority declared that the cause was a giant meteorite impact, hence common
term of it being ‘the second impact’ (okay sort of, but also sort of not, it
gets complicated). However, this is all a cover, because what really happened
is that a creature of great power was discovered under the ice, this Angel was
called Adam and something the researchers did trigger him destroying
everything. 15 years later, Shinji Ikari (Megumi Ogata/ Spike Spencer/ Casey
Mongillo) is running through deserted streets to a pick-up location. The whole
area has gone into emergency lockdown for some unknown reason, and that reason
turns out to be a second angel that everyone kind of expected was coming. Just
before he is crushed, Shinji is rescued by Captain Misato Katsuragi (Kotono
Mitsuishi/ Allison Keith/ Carrie Keranen) and taken to Tokyo-3 where a
secretive organisation Nerv has their headquarters. The leader of Nerv is
Shinji’s father Gendo Ikari (Fumihiko Tachiki/ Tristan MacAvery/ Ray Chase) who
is at best distant, but a more fair description would be icy or even abusive.
However, Shinji does not have time to process that because he is announced to
be the Third Child, and one of only a few people that can pilot an Evangelion
which he has to do like now.
TL;DR – The action in the third act is some of the best monster action I have ever seen, however, the story is so incredibly dull that it is a slog to get to it.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is some mid-credit important information and a post-credit scene
It is odd to see a film that has two such disparate parts that are almost in
conflict with each other. Where one part of a film is so amazing that you feel
it could be a game changer for the industry. However, there is another part of
the film that works so poorly that you wonder how it made it off the drawing
board. This is something that actually makes reviewing this film quite difficult
because you have to ask how much you should let the story side just because the
visuals were so good. Well, today we will try an unpack this all, as we explore
Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
So to set the scene, we open the film on the attack in San Francisco in the
first Godzilla as we see Dr Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and Dr Emma Russell (Vera
Farmiga) desperately look for their son amount the rubble of their house. In the
years that passed since it is clear that the tragedy irreparably damaged their relationship
as Mark is now charting wolves in Colorado and Emma is working for Monarch in
China with her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown). Emma is working on ORCA an
interface that uses biodata to communicate with the Titans. The first trial of
the device works as they can control a newly born Mothra caterpillar. However,
just when they think it is all going well eco-terrorist Alan Jonah (Charles
Dance) attacks the lab killing everyone and taking Emma, Madison, and the ORCA.
Which is a problem because if the ORCA can control the Titans, what damage can
TL;DR – Bombastic as always, but it doesn’t set itself apart from what came before, and the story struggles to find its voice.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post title scene at the start of the credits
As we talked about in our look back at the first Pacific Rim (see review), I was a real big fan of the original. Guillermo del Toro’s film about giant monsters called Kaijus attacking the cities around the Pacific Ocean being stopped by giant mechas called Jaegers. There was something easy and yet compelling with the setup and the world they created. With Pacific Rim Uprising we get more of the same as the first film yet somehow it feels like something got lost along the way, and that, unfortunately, it just does not work as well as the first film. So with that in mind, we are going to dive into Pacific Rim Uprising to look at what worked and what didn’t.