TV Review – Snowpiercer: Justice Never Boarded

TL;DR – All tease when it probably should be starting to deliver.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Snowpiercer: Justice Never Boarded, Image Credit: Netflix.

Review – Well, Snowpiercer the show started in an odd place, with a murder-mystery at the core of the narrative. I was not sure how it could all jell together, but as it has continued, those lines in the sand have become more evident as power shifts have come into the light. This brewing tension has led to an interesting premise, though it is still not clear if they can pull it off.

So to set the scene, the Snowpiercer has continued on its journey in the frozen appocalype of Earth, now steaming through the former Amazon. However, for Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs) the discovery that Lilah Jr (Annalise Basso) was the real murderer was not the end of his mission because he stumbled onto something else. For he found out the real power behind Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) and ended up in the draws for his trouble. However, everything marches on, and there needs to be a trial because there have been murders, and people want justice. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Video Game Review – XCOM: Chimera Squad

TL;DR – it is a game that is something old (The XCOM Setting) and something new (living rather than waring), something borrowed (SWAT mechanics), and something blue (the face of any enemy who just discovered Torque)  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

XCOM: Chimera Squad. Image Credit: Firaxis Games and 2K Games.

Review –

If there is one studio that is the king of turn-based strategy games it would be Firaxis Studios. While they are probably better known for their fundamental Civilization franchise, they have also delved into the world of science fiction, alien invasions, and reloading that autosave because your fully upgraded soldier just missed the one guy standing right next to them and now they are bleeding out on the floor. I have enjoyed the XCOM series in the past, okay not that one alien that pretends it’s a civilian, but other than that, so I was interested when I heard we were getting a sort of sequel/spin-off thingy. Well, I became even more interested when I got my hand on it and I found out just how fun it was.  

So to set the scene, It has been a couple of hears since the end of XCOM 2, and the world has sort of found a new equilibrium as humans, aliens, and hybrids live side by side. There is one place in the world that has been remarkably successful with this, the famous City 31. XCOM has moved from overthrowing an alien invasion to helping maintain order in a constantly fragmented world. Thus the Chimera Squad was created to help local police, but just as they arrive the mayor of City 31 Mayor Nightingale (Nika Futterman) is murdered in front of the squad and you have to work out who did it before the city tears itself apart.

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TV Review – Star Trek: Picard – Maps and Legends

TL;DR – Here we get to see the drive of the season and some moments that really show who this current Federation is

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Star Trek: Picard – Maps and Legends

Review

After the excellence of the first episode, the next question is can you keep that momentum moving which is a whole new problem all in itself. But if the first episode Remembrance framed this new world, Maps and Legends gave it context as we deal with its fallout.

So to set the scene, we go back in time to the fateful day on Mars when the synthetics attacked. We had seen part of this in the Short Trek Children of Mars, but now we get to see what happened on the ground as the synthetic F8 (Alex Diehl) is hacked and turns on his crew and assists in the destruction of the planet. Meanwhile, Picard (Patrick Stewart) begins his search in earnest to find Dahj’s (Isa Briones) twin sister Soji (Isa Briones) who is currently serving on a derelict Borg cube called ‘The Artefact’. Here he tries to go through the right channels only to get that thrown back in his face. Now we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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Movie Review – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Round Two)

TL;DR – This is a film that feels both incredibly safe but yet also incredibly weird and that dissidence is really odd and is enhanced on a second viewing.     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Image Credit: Disney.

Review

I have been thinking a lot about Star Wars in the weeks since I first watched The Rise of Skywalker. Was I too harsh with it? Did I let one story beat distract me from the rest of the film? Do I want to see a buddy cop film starring John Boyega and Oscar Isaac? Okay, that last one was an easy answer, of course, I do. However, for the first two, I was truly left wondering, well that is until yesterday when I went with some friends as saw the same film twice in cinemas (not something I have done in quite a while). Which means it is time to explore if a second viewing of Star Wars helps or hurts it and what I found is that it focuses you into the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

So to set the scene, at the end of The Last Jedi everything is in flux. The Resistance has survived annihilation but has been stretched to almost breaking point as The First Order storms across The New Republic. However, all is not dandy for The First Order as well, as their leader was assassinated by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and their main battle cruiser was destroyed. However, just at the cusp of this, a dark voice from the past pierces into the vale. For it appears that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has come back from the dead and is gunning for Rey (Daisy Ridley). Now in this review, we will be going FULL SPOILER discussing some really important plot points. If you want to read our spoiler-free review you can find it here.  

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Children of Mars

TL;DR – An emotional gut punch as you watch it all unravel  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Children of Mars. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

Can you tell a compelling and heartfelt narrative in seven minutes with very little dialogue? That would actually be quite a challenge but today we get to look at an episode that does just that as it builds to a moment that breaks you.

So to set the scene, we open in on April the 5th, First Contact Day, a day of celebration but for two girls living in San Francisco it is a day of sadness in part. For Lil (Sadie Munroe) her dad (Jason Deline) is stuck working on the Mars Orbital Facility and can’t make it downwell to see her. On the other side, we have Kima (Ilamaria Ebrahim) whose mom (Joy Castro) also works on Mars at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards. In a moment of sadness, Lil accidentally knocks over Kima on the way to the shuttle pick up making Kima late for school and then it all spirals in from there.    

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Ephraim and Dot

TL;DR –  A love letter to the past and a beautiful story in its own right  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Ephraim and Dot. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

It has been a long time since Star Trek ventured into the realm of animation, indeed, The Animated Series to this day fits awkwardly into the Star Trek universe thanks to the question marks as to its canonicity. But today Star Trek takes some steps back unto this uncharted frontier with a Short Trek full of joy and beauty. 

So to set the scene, we open in on a documentary called The Tardigrade in Space as it explores the life of a humble tardigrade Ephraim flying through space looking for a place to lay her eggs. A place that is warm and safe, which is what she found right up until the moment the USS Enterprise appears out of warp and trashes the asteroid she had picked. But then a starship with a nice warm warp reactor would be the perfect place to lay her eggs, unfortunately, a DOT-7 maintenance droid called Dot has different ideas.

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Ask Not

TL;DR –  A look at a bad day that only gets worse once a mask is revealed  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Ask Not. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

We continue our look at the Short Treks with this interesting small almost bottle episode. However, like all good bottle episodes, while it does not venture out of one location for most of its run time, it takes that opportunity to pack an emotional punch.  

So to set the scene, Cadet Thira Sidhu (Amrit Kaur) is working in inventory at Starbase 28 when all hell breaks loose. Just as she is trying to work out what happened a security officer (Steve Boyle) arrives with a prisoner hidden behind a mask. The battle has led them cut off from the brig and she has to watch the prisoner until they can return. This is a difficult situation, made all the worse when the mask is taken off and it is revealed that prisoner charged with mutiny is Captain Pike (Anson Mount).

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Exploring the Past – Alone in Space (Ensamma i Rymden)

TL;DR – A charming little Science Fiction film even though it does have a few rough edges   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Alone in Space (Ensamma i Rymden). Image Credit: Nice Drama.

Review

If you have read our site before, you’ll know that we are all about new Science Fiction films and ways they explore the genre. This year I have wanted to branch out and see how other countries are approaching Science Fiction to broaden my cinematic experience and today we get to do that with Alone in Space a film about being trapped alone in space from Sweden.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Svea XVI an escape ship form a dying Earth, but instead of being filled with colonists/refugees the only ones on board are Gladys (Ella Rae Rappaport) and her younger brother Keaton (Dante Fleischanderl). They try and get through the day, fixing what they can of the ship, scavenging food and stuff in their journeys and talking to the ship’s Japanese AI Otosan. Well one day there is a crash, sending everything on the ship flying. Thinking it was some debris they ignore it and go about fixing the ship only to discover they are no longer alone.  

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Q&A

TL;DR – This is a great episode that shows the strength of the Short Trek formula with some truly delightful moments

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Q&A

Review

We are back with another season of Short Treks, one of the more novel experiments that have come out of this third Star Trek TV resurgence. These are a number of shorts in and around the Star Trek universe (mostly but this season not exclusively around Star Trek Discovery). Like last year’s The Escape Artist that looked at Harry Mudd. Today we get to dive back into this world with a fun look at someone’s first day on the job.

So to set the scene, it is Ensign Spock’s (Ethan Peck) first day on the job. After a long flight to Starbase 40, he beams aboard and is welcomed by Number One (Rebecca Romijn). After some pleasantries, Number One decides to show the new ensign the Bridge only for the turbolift to fail on transit giving them a lot of time to chat.

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TV Review – The Expanse: Season 3

TL;DR – This is and continues to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Expanse. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

I mentioned back in my look at the New Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A. Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well, I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.

So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile, on the Rocinante the crew are dealing with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others make the tough calls?    

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