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Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
boldly going forward but keeping the past in mind
I saw this last night in Derby and I'm sure glad I went to the cinema for this one.
Remember those special effect moments from Star Wars in the 70s/80s that blew your socks off? This movie bought back some of those moments for me and as a result this film is always going to be special to me from now on. There was this sequence when the Enterprise fell through the clouds and.... Well go see for yourself.
In terms of story there were plenty of references to plots past whilst keeping everything in the new styling. I can't really mention the "The Wrath of Khan" without breaking the no spoilers rule on this post - suffice to say it is well used in it's new modern setting (which ironically due to the new time-line happens before the original happenings in "the Wrath of Khan").
I kind of felt sorry for the Enterprise crew whose only job appears to be getting sucked out in to space or dying horribly! In fact the Odeon cinema in Derby has dreadful tinny and overly loud sound, and that meant the constant sound of breaking bones and impacts genuinely made me wince (even if that was because my eardrums were bleeding).
If there was one negative, I found the overly emotional characters a little irritating. Practically everyone ends up crying their eyes out and by the forth set of tears I was thinking "oh come on, this isn't fat camp". I mean this with respect to my American cousins, but they are an emotional lot sometimes.
I suppose you could argue that Klingons are glossed over, and the 'big baddie ship' looks non-descript too; but none of that really matters. I found myself whispering to my wife every few minutes about the references to old Star Trek lore. Sadly, she is not geeky like me so she couldn't enjoy it on that level - but because this movie is very accessible she enjoyed nevertheless.
Do yourself a favour; go and see this in a cinema. Don't wait for Blu-ray, and don't you dare think of downloading some awful cam recording. If you do you will ruin something quite special.
Ignoring the foolish 'Sheldon like' purists who have gotten their knickers in a twist over some nonsense or other, this is a classic piece of entertainment and it deserves success. It may well have cemented Star Trek's popularity and ensured the franchises long term future.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
A missed opportunity full of formulaic cliché.
I'll keep this brief. I grew up in and help create the arcade generation, and so I had high hopes for this movie. Sadly it seems they could only afford a couple of licenses so most of the games are made up or obscure. There are so many games that should have been in there (reply with your lists!) but instead you get a version filled with apparent 'Chinese knock off' games.
Why is that important to this film? Well, frankly it is the weak script and writing. It is all so standard nowadays and I saw so few deviations since the first CG kid movies coming out started. You can apply this formula to almost any kids movie in the last decade:
1. Loser needs to prove self. 2. Loser has love interest. 3. Loser gets quest 4. Loser disappoints everyone. 5. Loser redeems self. 6. Happy ending with pop music.
(Try applying this formula to any CG film and you'll see it fits quite well)
Seriously, are the writers in Hollywood THAT lame now? For God's sake, somebody do better than this garbage so another country deserves the profit for a change.
Other than that all the cast do a great job and the animation is of course top notch (I must admit that at least). The actor choice for our soldier girl was simply perfect :P
As for the Arcade games, I would have wanted (in no order):
1. Pole Position 2. 1942 3. Prison Break 4. Star Wars 5. Asteroids 6. Space Invaders 7. The Phoenix 8. Scramble 9. Gyrodine 10. Hard Drivin' (EDIT - #11. R-Type! How could I forget that?! Okay, you could have had the bug monster from it or something.... Maybe #12. Operation Wolf too....)
Mind you... I am just wondering if I am assuming that I was in the arcades when the games in the movie appeared... Why would kids today relate to things in my 80's childhood? (Damn, now I hate this movie even more now because I feel old).
Not as original as it claims (and not as smart as it thinks it is)
As my summary suggests, this film thinks it is smarter than it is. There are obvious parallels with every time travel film out there. I could probably reference every blockbuster film from Timecop to Sixth Sense and draw up similarities. This film is nothing new (so stop believing the hype).
Like anything 'Hollywood' of *course* the plot is complete rubbish - so to flame this movie based on that, you'd have to state that you expect it to have scientific grounding - which is madness. Just sit down, and watch it for entertainment value alone.
But there is the problem. The ending (which I won't spoil) was inevitable. The 'laws of cliché' had already written how everything was due to end. There are no 'movie moments' that I personally took from this film, and at the end of a two hour buttock flattening I could only sum up in one word: "Meh".
Considering the work that clearly went in to the movie, I genuinely feel guilty about that! 6.7/10
Mass Effect 3 (2012)
Don't believe all the hype - it's not what you think :\
I've played this through end to end on the PC - having completed ME1/2 previously. Please take this as comments made in that context.
Good music. Good sense of impending doom! Some good set pieces and plot twists. Will keep some fans happy.
This is not as good as a PC game should be. Poor 4 year old graphics, clipping errors, texture problems... We get it, we don't have consoles. I didn't buy a £2000 PC to be restricted to the capacity of a £200 console.
One key (Space) to Run, Jump, Use, Take Cover, roll, come out of cover. You realise how many keys keyboards have, right? Why can we not set the controls properly in the menu? Why is changing weapon so fiddly?! I spent a lot of time 'forward rolling' in to switches.
Nonsensical menus and stats, cumbersome mod and weapon management. Why the hell should I care about 'battle readiness' if I NEVER play multiplayer?
Sadly, Dragon Age Origins was the last high point for bioware and EA as far as I am concerned, and with recent efforts I am going to spend my money elsewhere, as this love affair with RPG is over. Same happened to ID software - so it's time for someone new to take over (and inevitably get too greedy). No doubt initial sales will make EA believe they have not just annoyed the hell out of everyone - but who is going to pay more on their games when they make every decision, relationship and plot device irrelevant at the end of this game?
The most bugged release of all time? Sadly an old fashioned, average shooter
Firstly, I am a PC owner, not a console owner - so take my comments in that context.
I refuse to review this in the traditional sense - this game was not tested properly on And systems. There are TWO main graphics cards for PC's: And(ATI) and NVidia - how on GODS EARTH did they mess it up so badly? Check the posts, check the rants - this is not the time for anyone to go in to denial about a serious lapse in judgement. If people pay for a game it should work, and if it does NOT work on one of the most widely used platforms available on Earth, then it WAS NOT READY FOR RELEASE.
Clearly, developers see where the money is - consoles right now. No need to upset the rest of your audience.
After a WEEK of messing about and waiting for this patch or that update so the game would EVEN RUN AT ALL we finally get an old school shooter with below average graphics which seems badly outdated in it's design, graphics, and even marketing. It is a "progresion" from Doom 3 - but if you will recall that was behind the times also.
I will spare you the angst involved in getting this thing working (again - check the internet to see what I mean).
Was this game trying to be "retro" in every respect? The graphics are what you would expect from an old game. Out of date. Faces don't look real, and textures for people come from a 1998 developers colouring book - as you would expect from a "multi platform development" (so not a "port" then, eh ID?). Unlike more recent games, we are forced to wait while characters prattle on before the story moves - we are often blocked by other characters or scenery as a 'story telling device'. You cannot move, because the game design won't let you - and simply because all the hype hides one simple truth; this is a totally linear and basic gaming experience. I thought we were over this old fashioned 1980's schoolboy tripe, but clearly not. Example - why can't my gun totting hero jump over a small shrub? Has the shrub got super powers? It seems impervious to grenades! Why am so often stuck by thin air? Forget immersion or illusion. So after this let down you turn to the action, right? Oh dear. Driving is a below average sub game (I found it tedious - also you cannot save whilst driving on patch 1, ATI as it crashes). When the non-driving action finally tries to get exciting, all the tension is removed by the fact that there is only one way in to a clearing for an enemy to attack you (such as a convenient ramp or doorway) - or even worse, what you thought might be an intelligent engagement is actually scripted nonsense. Flick the switch and monsters attack you - oh please. The less said about the 30 year old "boss" concept the better (shoot the glowing bit, jump left, shoot the glowing bit, jump right...zzzzz) Simply for the "set scenes" (as mutant bash is fun!) this game *scrapes* a 7 in my book - but the PC owner can find much more engaging fiction elsewhere. As reference, 7 years ago "Half-Life 2" had superb character facial animation - yet here we are in 2011 with almost everyone in Rage looking like a Thunderbirds puppet. Only vistas look good, and the various graphical effects do not hide anything. Pouring perfume on a pig does not work - and this is ID's newest engine? I am wondering if ID is even aware of it's competition - as I did when Doom 3 was released.
All of this is sad when you see the references to the game's history (fallout, Doom, etc). It feels like a Swan Song to me. Having seen this, I'm kind of hoping it is. I've seen two software giants (ID and Bethesda) look like they are winding down, and meanwhile Bioware are going to charge people just to play the new Star Wars fame that they have already paid for by making it MMO (I'LL NEVER PAY YOU (a subscription)! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!). So I guess these great software house names are going to disappear just like Microprose, Ocean, and of course Grandslam (er...) Let's hope it is a different team working on the Elder Scrolls V - because I just can't take another poor showing like this, or another waste of my money. I think after Duke Nukem forever the public will speak with it's wallets.
expectations exceed - what a nice surprise!
I'll keep this short! I really was not expecting much from this film, and perhaps unfairly - mainly because of the movie let downs we see so much of. However, I was quite touched by the way this developed - especially as the Apes end up showing more humanity than the humans (bravo in particular to Felton who is brilliantly sadistic). Lithgow (to my mind the most underrated actor in history) genuinely brings a tear to the eye - but no spoilers, so you'll have to watch it to find out why. And to top it off, Franco comes across perfectly - even being 'out classed' by Caesar eventually. Serkis takes a shine to these roles, and this is no different.
Unfortunately, they have done it now, and I want several new films to replace and reboot the Planet of the Apes. I'm not ASKING you guys, get on wit' it!!!
A masterpiece, no question
This was just brilliant. Imaginative, rewarding, and special. Aside from the "Matrix" series, there is little that compares to this on film at the moment.
Plot wise, you have to keep up - as this film does not assume you are an idiot, and there is a brilliant "Terry" (i.e. Brazil) moment at the end where I was just wondering if the thimble would stand or fall. Sadly it (BLEEP).
Congratulations to everyone on this - especially the cast and the effects people. The sound track is probably the best I've ever heard in a movie as well. I think you could have a heart attack just by listening to that alone!
I think Leonardo has proved himself here somewhat. I'd like to see more of him in this sort of role. Perhaps Vs Matt Daemon?
Star Trek (2009)
Successful! (Much to our surprise)
I'm an amateur writer, and for me, every sentence of your prose has to have meaning and interest (i.e. no padding). Now translate that to the movies, and in particular; this one.
The energy of this film is quite evident - something emotional/dramatic/plotinal (I made that word up) is always happening in this film - so if your attention span is short, then go and watch re-runs of ghost whisperer or something.
(Spoilers, sort of - Star Trek knowledge is a prerequisite) Now, we have 2 Kirk's, Captain Pike and 2 Spock's in this film - and if you are like me, you will look back to "Enterprise" and think time travel is a disaster. Thankfully, only 1 time incursion happens, and saves all the endless "what if?" balls you'll get if this was a series. It's also quite well explained. We do understand that reality from the 'normal' Star Trek universe (e.g DS9,Voyager) has been sent off on a tangent after a singular event - the (paradoxical) destruction of Vulcan.
(MAJOR spoilers - please watch movie before reading this unless you are so poor you must sustain yourself by sucking dew from rags - in which case, did you get my £50?, and how are you reading this?) So, Vulcan is destroyed? Only 10,000 Vulcan's left?! Vulcan colonies? Hmm.. It makes me wonder how cornered Vulcan's would react... But anyway...
Well, back to the film. I was wary of a new Star Trek film, but off the top of my head, Scottie, Kirk, Spock, Sulu and Uhura were all perfectly reinvented, and at least to me they all had an extra dimension added to their characters and they felt a lot more 'real' than the original series characters did. But then, the original series only lasted 3 seasons! Even 'Enterprise' out-did that! Maybe they are correcting a character building wrong.
I actually spent 3/4 of the movie telling my (wonderful & beautiful) wife about all the references to previous Star Trek movies/episodes - but had to stop when she threatened to impale me on a cinema hotdog. She also didn't know why Spock & Uhura being an item is unlikely. Bearing in mind that Kirk and Uhura had the first interracial kiss, I guess this is the first interracial-interspecies kiss. Another first for Trek! Since Americans feel obligated to acknowledge other nations, I was glad to see Scotty portrayed by Simon Pegg - I found him quite fitting (others not), and.. Um.. The Russian Guy (whose name I cannot bloody spell) was supreme, and must come back! (Please post his name and help make him famous) I also heard some rumblings that there were no Arabs on the crew of the Enterprise, but to be fair; it is set in the future.
(I'm going to burn for that one - Admin, please take that comment out if it causes offence!) Overall, I adored this movie, loved the new actors and new portrayals - and the only thing that could rain on this parade is the possibility that they won't follow through with more movies or a BG style mini series.
Way to go guys! P.S.
I've seen there is a cam version of this film on 'torrent' (i.e. Pirate bay and the like), but I would urge anyone to see this on the big screen first for quality of experience. And, if you have it in you to respect someone's work, at least buy it later on, because this is an excellent piece of work! (This rule should not apply to the makers of 'Epic Movie' - pirate their stuff to buggery before they destroy the industry by aiming at the 'pseudo-parental-wallets' of 10 year olds!!!)
I don't normally do this, but the critic AdnanZ had the right idea. After reading his review, I felt no need to write my own.
Since my review is pretty pointless, allow me to talk about the sound in WALL-E. It's simply beautiful - normally you are distracted because of the gorgeous visuals, but I beg you to sit and watch.
Your kiddies will love this film, if they have a couple of brain cells to rub together ;)
Now I have to make this go to 10 lines.
Seems a bit silly.
I was only saying what I felt!
Out of the ordinary
This is one of those rare occasions where everybody has taken a risk - and it has paid off well (although it is obvious there was a budget to stick to). I really didn't think I'd enjoy this, but this fairy-tail jaunt won my heart by the time that Nero admitted he was a whoopsie. I recommend this to anyone who wants good work in their DVD collection. Also, being a bit of a poof myself, I almost shed a tear when the crew stands behind it's captain ;) Special mentions are due to Billy-goat - he is always fantastic, but in this he stole the show! 8/10 - not a ten, because it is painfully obvious budget had something to say. I'm hoping the public will view this at face value :)