Movie Review – War of the Planet of the Apes

TL;DR – Apes Together Strong

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

War of the Planets of the Apes

Review

Film trilogies are very precarious things to manage because you have to keep each film working in its own right, but also place it in the context of a greater series. This can lead to all sorts of issues, like power creep when you have to keep upping the last film into ridiculousness, or different creators can come in and you have to balance their views with what is already established, there are studio and contract pressures. All of this can lead to the very common third film fail where things just fall apart, like the X-Men films for example. So given how strong the Planet of the Apes films have been, especially given that they are reboots, I was concerned that they would not be able to stick the landing with the third film. But I was wrong, and I am so happy that I was.
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Movie Review – Kong: Skull Island

TL;DR – Fantastic action, amazing visuals, interesting characters, and the best rendition of King Kong in a long while, this is a must watch film

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. There is a post-credits scene

Kong: Skull Island

Review

The more and more we heard about Kong: Skull Island, the more I had a feeling that Kong was either going to be a masterpiece or a heaping pile of trash, I just could not see a middle ground happening. Well, I was right, Kong: Skull Island is not a mediocre film at all, and thankfully it is not a pile of trash either, instead it is an epic film that makes the most of the characters whilst setting it away from the traditional narrative. The effects alone make it a film you have to see, but it is so much more than just a technically brilliant film, it has a strong narrative, characters you relate to, and one of the more interesting island set ups I have seen since I read Dinotopia, quick aside, can we actually get that Dinotopia film now please and thank-you. Ok so let’s go break down why I think you should go see Kong: Skull Island.

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Movie Review – Ben-Hur (2016)

TL;DR – I’m sorry to be blunt, but this film is just boring, only the chariot race redeems it slightly

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Review

Arg, I’m going, to be honest with you, I went into Ben-Hur with very low expectations, this year of remake/re-interpreting/sequels galore is really starting to grate on me (see Ghostbusters, The Legend of Tarzan etc), as well as this, of all the films that did not need to be remade, the original Ben-Hur is up there with movies like Gone with the Wind, timeless classics, and nothing in the pre-release media blitz caught my attention. But I am a long suffering optimist, and I really wanted to be proven wrong here, unfortunately even my low expectations were sadly left wanting, the final product does itself, and its legacy, a real disservice for being just as bad as it is.
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Movie Review – Warcraft (Warcraft The Beginning)

TL;DR – The World of Bore-Craft

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Review – So there is this stigma about movies based on Video Game franchises, that they simply will never be good, indeed Good Game did a whole episode on this very issue. To be fair, at best we have only ever got passable Video Game movies, and the only good film in this genre was Wreck-It Ralph and it only used Video Games as a setting, and of course the less said about Pixels the better. So with all this, is Warcraft the movie that will break the curse? No, no it won’t. So before we go on I should qualify that I never played World of Warcraft, so I am coming to this movie with only the knowledge that you get from being on the Internet, Alliance and Horde and all that jazz. That being said, for a movie to be good I should be able to understand everything without playing the source material, and a good adaption would make that happen.
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Movie Review – Fantastic Four

TL;DR – This movie is a train wreck that will make you look back fondly on the camp amusement that was 2005 Fantastic Four.

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

(warning: the trailer is edited in such a way to give an impression that this is a action film, nothing could be further from the truth)

Review

Fantastic Four has not had the easiest life in development, it is a film that only exists to fulfil a contract and avoid movie rights reverting back to Marvel. Now interestingly, this is not the first time this has happened with the Fantastic Four, also this is not necessarily a bad thing. X-Men First Class was in the exact same situation, but while that was an exercise in innovative storytelling, this is an overly protracted and ultimately boring film.

“We gave you six years, and millions of dollars, and you gave us nothing” strangely prophetic words given how the film turned out.

As with most reboots, Fantastic Four is an origin film, we see how all the main players get their powers and how it changes their lives. One should point out, no one asked for these powers, like Spiderman this is caused by an accident. This is a really interesting set up because you didn’t get to choose, the powers get thrust upon you and you have to decide how to react. But here we come across the first stumbling block of the film, lazy writing. This film is full of clichés, (Spoilers Ahead: Jump To The Next Paragraph If You Wish To Avoid), like how one character constantly argues with their father only to regret it later, seriously, if you have to declare “I’m an adult now” during a middle of a temper tantrum, you’re not an adult. Then we also we have the two characters are presented to be best friends, then enemies, then best friends again … because of the story. Also, good writers can foreshadow future events or give little winks to the audience who know what’s coming (see King Joffery’s Crossbow), bad writers literally go in the first 5 minutes of a character’s introduction “wow you’re like Dr Doom”. Also, while I am always ok with an adaption changing something from its source material to make it work, if it improves the adaption, or makes it work in a new medium, some of the changes (which come down to the core of the relationship between the FF and the world) feel forced and unnecessary, bar for the need to add tension for no suitable reason.

What is this mess

What is this mess

The casting also is a bit of a problem, they cast the film way too young, Julian McMahon may have been overly theatrical with his performance of Dr Doom in the 2005 film, but at least he had some gravitas behind his performance rather than whiny angst.  Now, in this case, I don’t blame the actors because you can see some of them are really trying, but whether through the script, or the directing or the editing it just falls flat. Out of all the cast Miles Teller (Reed Richards/ Mr Fantastic) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm/ The Thing) work the best, however, the way they frame Kate Mara’s (Sue Storm/ The Invisible Women) performance makes it almost feels like an afterthought that they added in, and Michael B. Jordan has all the bluster of the Human Torch, but with none of his charm.

This film is so bad that the trailers for the film are edited in a way that gives the impression that the film is going to be a much more action focused global film when nothing could be further than the truth. At best it is misleading and worst it is simply lying to a potential audience. There is a simple reason for that, the films pacing is really slow at the start and never really ramps up until it hits a sudden unsatisfactory climax, and then just kind of ends with this sort of staging for the sequel, which I doubt is a done deal atm and also reinforces how uneventful the rest of the film has been.

What a waste of a good cast

What a waste of a good cast

Now it is not all bad, some of the effect are really amazing and given you have Weta Digital on the payroll that should come to no surprise, it is just a pity that you don’t see more of it.

There is much more I could say but I think at this point you can get the general feeling I have for this film, in the end, Fantastic Four, I’m not really upset with you, I’m just disappointed.

Directed by – Josh Trank
Screenplay by – Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg & Josh Trank
Based on – ‘Fantastic Four’ by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Starring – Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey & Tim Blake Nelson
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: M; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13