The Wandering Earth II (The Wandering Earth 2/流浪地球2) – Movie Review

TL;DR – While frustratingly slow to build, I must say that it captured me in the end.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

MOSS

The Wandering Earth II Review

Back in 2019, this fascinating film slipped onto the scene and fascinated me. The Wandering Earth was one of the most unique scenarios I have ever seen put to film, and a movie with some of the most frustrating characters put to screen. It was this juxtaposition that both delighted and annoyed me. However, we now have a second bite at the pie, and it is time to see if they have learned from the issues of the last film.

So to set the scene, tragedy is brewing on Earth as it is clear that the Sun has prematurely entered its final phase and will soon expand to engulf the planet in the next 100 years. The United Earth Government was formed to find a solution with some form of Digital Life and The Moving Mountain Project being proposed. Time is of the essence as the globe slowly descends into chaos. In Libreville, Gabon, a test engine and space elevator is the first step towards The Moving Mountain Project, but this means it is at a critical phase, and if you could disrupt it at the source, then the whole thing could come crumbling down.

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Jung_E (정이) – Movie Review

TL;DR – It sets up an interesting conundrum about a world of combat AIs and then revels the story.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

Many Jung_E's in a row.

Jung_E Review

We are thankfully back at the point where there are multiple new films every week. While this is great, it leads to the problem of trying to find which one of the many you take the time to watch? Well, when you hear that the creator behind Train to Busan has a new film out, that choice becomes quite easy.

So to set the scene, it is the far future of 2194, where humanity has wrecked the planet, and after climate change leads to drastic sea level rises, most humans escape to shelters built near the Luna orbit. With those left on Earth working in the factories. But this respite would not last as some banded together to create the Adrian Republic waging a decades-long war against The Allied Force. Everyone is trying to find a way to win the battle before humanity is wiped out, and for Yoon Seo-hyun (Kang Soo-youn), that weapon is the cloned android of a great leader of the past Jung_E (Kim Hyun-joo), or as she knows her as, mum.

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The Last of Us – When You’re Lost in the Darkness – TV Review

TL;DR – A faithful and tense introduction to the series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

The Last of Us Review

I came into this week’s The Last of Us with some trepidation. On the one hand, the series, especially the second game, holds a special place in my heart as it was the streaming event that sucked me into this world. However, since then, many shows have come into this post-apocalyptic space, and some, like Station Eleven, have been transcendent. My question is, has The Last of Us missed the bus, or is it the perfect time to jump back into this world?   

So to set the scene, it is September 26th, 2003, in Austin, Texas, and there is a sense of strange calm as Joel (Pedro Pascal), and his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) celebrate his birthday as the news reports something weird happening in Jakarta. Joel and his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) have to work a double shift to get the house they are working on fixed. While Sarah is out getting her father’s watch mended, police start tearing up the streets. Hours later, things move from bad to worse as the city implodes, and Joel desperately tries to get his family to safety. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show and Schindler’s List.    

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M3GAN – Movie Review

TL;DR – A weirdly wonderful film, full of camp and tension.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

M3GAN in a pile of soft toys.

M3GAN Review

Artificial life discovering sentience is one of those thematic moments that can land you on the whole spectrum of cinema. It can be thought-provoking life After Yang, menacing like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or could flip about in between, such as Lost in Space. Today we look at a film that skews more towards the menacing, where we see that Asimov might have been on to something.

So to set the scene, Cady (Violet McGraw) is travelling with her family when tragedy strikes, and she is left alone to go live with her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams). Her aunt is not ready to be a parent, and both struggle to bond until Gemma shows Cady what she is working on. A new toy and AI robot girl called M3GAN (Amie Donald/Jenna Davis) that pairs and bonds with her primary user. Everything is going well until one day, when they have a conversation about death.

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After Yang – Movie Review

TL;DR – There is a beautiful sadness to After Yang as you connect with the characters on the screen while also becoming introspective of your own life.   

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film.

Yang's memories.

After Yang Review

At the start of the year, one of my colleagues recommended that I should check out After Yang, and well as is clearly apparent, I have been quite tardy on that request. But a promise is a promise, and also, a soft-science fiction film exploring the nature of sentience in a shifting world should be 100% my jam, so it is silly that I missed it up until now.  

So to set the scene, we open with a family in a green field trying to take a photo together. While things look fine on the surface, with father Jake (Colin Farrell), mother Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith), and kids Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) and Yang (Justin H. Min) coming together to join in on a family dance-off contest. But Yang is an android built by the company Brothers and Sisters bought to help connect Mika with her Chinese culture. However, something has gone wrong with Yang’s central core, and he has shut down, and now Jake and Kyra have the difficult job of finding out what to do next.

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Avatar: The Way of Water – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A visual masterpiece and powerful themes mark a solid return to Pandora   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Swimming with the Tulkun

Avatar: The Way of Water Review

Back in 2009, I might not have gotten all the themes Cameron was dropping, but I felt the power of narrative and the world of the first Avatar. However, I will be honest in that I have not really thought much of the film much since then. Every couple of years, there were mentions of going back into the universe, but they never eventuated. Well, I was surprised as everyone when this finally started coming together 13 years later, but then I re-watched the first Avatar in the cinemas and was reminded how good this world was. That screening primed me to return to Pandora, and I am glad I did.

So to set the scene, in the years since pushing the sky people back into orbit and skulking back to Earth, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) have started a family and live with the rest of the Na’vi people in the forests. But after many years of peace, the sky people return and begin a literal scorched earth policy. Jake fights back, but when his kids Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), Spider (Jack Champion), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) are put in the line of fire as the family is directly targeted, they decide to leave to limit reprisals. However, no matter how far you run, your responsibilities or a genetically resurrected hellspawn that will try to hunt you down.

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Andor (Star Wars: Andor): Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – Some of the best Star Wars I have seen since the original trilogy.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this series.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Post-Credit scene at the end of Rix Road.

A star destroyer a[[ears over the skies of Aldhani

Andor Review

When I heard that they would do a prequel to Rogue One, which was already a prequel to the Original Trilogy, I was concerned. Add to that, it was going to be based on Andor, a character I wouldn’t say I liked all that much in Rogue One, and concern moved to real hesitancy. However, when I sat down to watch the first episode, Kassa, I knew instantly how wrong I was and what a ride it was.  

So to set the scene, on a dark and rainy night, we see Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) make his way across a boardwalk to the glittering city Morlana One, part of the Preox-Morlana Corporate Zone in the Morlani system. He is going to the ‘leisure district’ to find out any information about his missing sister when two local security forces or Corpos accost him. Taking his leave, Andor returns to his ship when the two Corpos accost him again, not willing to leave him alone. But this time, there are lethal consequences. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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1899: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – A dark and compelling tale full of mystery and ‘wait… what?!?!’ moments.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this series.

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.

The Kerberos

1899 Review

One of the shows recommended to me is Dark, and I have always meant to give it a look, but finding time to watch three seasons has been elusive. However, when I heard that the creators of Dark had a new series that hit all the same feels, well, it was time to give it a watch. Also, for some reason, Netflix defaults to the English dub of this series. Please, before you watch, make sure you change the language from English – Dubbed to English – Original.

So to set the scene, it is 1899, and in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is the Kerberos, a large steamship taking passengers to New York City. The ship itself is light on with passengers because the Kerberos’ sister ship Prometheus disappeared on the same route a month ago with no trace. One night as all the first class passengers are eating their dinner, a young boy Krester (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen), bursts into the dining hall saying they need help because his pregnant sister Tove (Clara Rosager) is going into shock. No one will help but Maura Franklin (Emily Beecham), who rushes to assist, even though the dreams of her being locked up and tortured in a psychiatric institution bare heavily upon her. Captain Eyk Larsen (Andreas Pietschmann) is annoyed that Maura broke the rules, but that is all put aside when the ship has a sudden communication from the Prometheus, which might not be at the bottom of the ocean as most people thought. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Warriors of Future (明日戰記, Ming yat zin gei, Virtus, 矛盾戰爭) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fascinating action story, held back by some frustrating characters.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

Looking up at a painted rendition of what Earth used to look like.

Warriors of Future Review

If there is one thing that will get me immediately interested in a film, it is a story about trying to fight for a future. The world has gone to pot, but there is one chance to save us all. I can’t help but sucked into stories like this, and today we look at one around an alien plant.

  So to set the scene, technology had been advancing at a prodigious pace in the last century, as was the propensity for destruction, aided by the development of military robots. The wars and ecological decline led to a societal collapse worldwide. It is hard to go on when even the air you breathe is toxic, so what governments that were left started building Skynets over cities so they could purify the poisonous air. Things were beginning to turn around when a meteorite crashed into the plant. It caused immense destruction, to where it hit City B-16, and it carried an alien plant called Pandora that rapidly expanded when exposed to water. A turn that humanity might not be able to recover from.           

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The Peripheral: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – While it expertly builds tension and the world, it ends on a flat note of frustration  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Prime Video service that viewed this show.

End Credit Scene – The final episode, The Creation of a Thousand Forests, has an end credit scene.

Warning – Some scenes may cause distress.

Flynne connects to the VR Set

The Peripheral Review

It has been a while since I have sat down to a good sci-fi mystery. One that makes you scratch your head and wonder how all the different parts connect. I think the last one that truly captured me like this was Westworld. Which is good timing because you can see those influences in the show we are looking at today.

So to set the scene, we open in London in 2099 as Wolf (Gary Carr) sits on a park bench as holographic galleons recreate a battle on the pond in front of him. As he watches a young girl Aelita (Sophia Ally), approaches the bench without shoes. She wants to save a world, not the one they are in now, that is lost, but another world, one that can still be saved. In the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2032, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) is helping her sick mother, Ella (Melinda Page Hamilton), when she notices that her medicine is being cut by her no-good brother Burton (Jack Reynor). Confronting him, she instead gets dragged into helping some guys beat a level in a WW2 VR Video Game, something she is very good at. At work, she is given a package for her brother, a new VR machine that she can beta test, and get money for her family. But the immersive VR set in a future London is more real than anyone expected. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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