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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
I'm Distracting you, ya big TurdBlossom!
This was simply fun, no other way to describe it. This is a Comic Book movie the way they should all be made. It's the "Star Wars: A Hew Hope" type of thing.
Most moviegoers today did not see the original "Star Wars" as it was called in 1977, and moreover they did not see it up to 20 times in the theater like just about everyone did back then. In fact, there were no multiplex theater complexes, movie-going was much more of an event.
By today's standards, it's impossible to create a movie that will have the same impact. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ran for most of a year when it came out. But Star Wars? The Original Star Wars ran for almost 2 years straight, the line to get in was constantly over 100 people long.
So when I say, this movie gets that feeling back, it does - Maybe not the same reaction. It is very rare that a movie runs for a year these days, so if a movie runs 4 to 5 months, it is considered excellent.
But I started hearing very good things about this for months until I was able to see it. It looks good, the music brings back memories, and at the most important spot in the movie, they play "The Runaways" version of "Cherry Bomb".
Vinny Diesel really does not need to say much beyond "I am Groot", after a while, you know what he means. But the guy who stands out here is of course Dave Bautista, who was also in "Riddick" as what Riddick calls "A Big Jamoke". Here, he's the the big Jamoke who takes everything literally. His performance is one of the best things here.
Each of the main characters has that one quirk that makes them interesting, or, irritating.
I can see tendrils of story leading into The Avengers and the first Captain America installment, look for The Cosmic Cube. There are several great character actors- "The Collector" (Benicio Del Toro), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Djimon Hounsou as Korath, John C Reilly as a Nova Cop, even Glenn Close as Nova Prime. Christopher Fairbank, "The Broker".
Lee Pace (Thranduil from The Hobbit series) is a great Ronan. and we finally get to see that "Skrull" who was shown briefly at the end of "The Avengers" - It was "Thanos", voiced at least by Josh Brolin.
I have the first edition of this comic in my comic bin, sadly I have never read it. Of course this is rife with CGI, but it's a comic book movie, and CGI is, or could be used as comic art of sorts. I wonder how much this story follows anything from that one comic? The cinematography is very much like recreated comic book frames.
It's not just about CGI, it is using it cleverly, which this does. This film could not have been made without it.
Zoe Saldana is great in green, but the big mystery of the day is "who is Starlord's dad"? According to Yondu, "The Guy was a Jerk".
Hopefully we'll find out, in a sequel that's as cool as this one. And remember, Nebula (Karen Gillan) is still floating around somewhere sans hand, did she go back to her daddy?
The bad reviews and votes: I found several verbatim 1 stars in here, repeated over and over as I went through the pages chronologically. Seriously, post it ONE time. Ya don't get 100 votes while we only get one!
Huey, Dewey, and Louey's Rendezvous with A Space Oddysey
I doubt if the troll who just handed me a downvote even read this, I have been accused of being paid to write a good review, in reality the ones being paid are for the dupe negative reviews.
I would not call this film a "Remake" of "2001: A Space Oddysey" but there are several references to that film in this one. There are Monoliths (TARS, CASE and KIPP), a two-year trip to a Jovian Planet (Saturn in this case), Scientists in Frozen Sleep, a message of sorts, and the film even shows a kind of psychedelic trip through a spacial anomaly, ending in a scene with an old figure in a bed, Ellen Burstyn as "Old Murphy".
As I read the IMDb Trivia I note that many of the scenes are shot using actual film and practical effects, a true rarity these days. Also that the "Wormhole" look and feel was created using actual scientific data, rather than something just thought up in a CGI house. The Documentary Style of the Film is precisely the right amount, not too much "shaky cam" - So it gives the feel of actually being there with the central figures.
This film proposes some future calamity (unspecified) that leaves the Earth reverting to an atmosphere that would support ultimately only Anaerobic life forms, aka "The Blight" which are choking out oxygen using Life Forms. The Midwest "Dust Bowl" of the early 20th Century is referenced, and this film even uses interviews from a Documentary about it.
But this film also proposes a world where the 1960-70's trips to the Moon are considered faked, propaganda to cause the Soviet Union to go Bankrupt. A world where Engineers are no longer useful, only farmers. Such a world makes me shudder. This Earth as shown here, does have Technology, even more advanced technology than we have today, but in a correct move, Nolan suppresses it's appearance and importance, at least while we are "on Earth" with Coop, Murphy and Tom (older version played by Casey Affleck).
A world where Nasa works in secret to perform a thankless, impossible task.
This is the first film I have seen with Matthew McConaughey (As "Cooper") that I really believed his character, one of the last Engineers and former NASA Astronaut who now uses his skill to fix farming machines. His "Daughter" (Named "Murphy's Law") is a little doll played by Mackenzie Foy (at 10 years old), Jessica Chastain as a young woman, and the aforementioned great Ellen Burstyn as an old woman. Murphy is a scientist at age 10, she understands the scientific process: Investigate, theorize, prove.
But she has a "Ghost" in her room that is toppling her books, and sending cryptic messages, In Morse Code and even in Binary in the dust left by an Open Window. Clues. Clues which lead Coop to his former Professor, "Brand" (Michael Caine) and his daughter, also called "Brand" (Anne Hathaway).
I had to laugh at Coop's first meeting with TARS. I can't and won't say anything more.
One of the main points of this film is time. Therefore, Hans Zimmer's score is based on 60bpm and variations, depending on how Time is moving on Earth vs for Coop and Brand.
One final reference to "2001" is how a member of the expedition goes mad, in "2001" this was an artificial intelligence. Here, it happens to "the best of us". And just as Hal 9000 had created falsified Data, that happens in this story as well.
The AI's "TARS, CASE and KIPP" could be a reference to Huey, Dewey and Louey from "Silent Running", but they are more than just walking, talking Monoliths. They are important characters, they are treated as people, we have to consider them people to believe this. People preprogrammed with the amount of honesty and humor they use.
This film as with "Predestination" explores the cyclic properties of time, we perceive time as ever flowing only forward. But is that the only way time can flow? Where "Predestination" dealt with the "Grandfather Paradox", this film deals with Relativity, and Gravity, using Robert A Heinlein's "Tesseract" theory (From "-And he built a crooked house") to show how the past can be affected by the future. So, both films use elements from The Dean of Science Fiction.
There are also things that bring to mind Arthur C Clark's "Rendezvous with Rama". It's really about Hope.
Sleepy Hollow: Pittura Infamante (2015)
Ichabod finally has a "modern date" with Katrina. At an event showing Samuel and "Abigail" Adams collected possessions. Many of these items Katrina remembers from being at their house 200 years ago, particularly a desk with a secret drawer. What's in there?
Another of these is a Portrait of an artist, James Colby (Daniel Thomas May) which seems to be killing people and sucking out their blood. Anyone who touches this portrait is doomed, unless Ichabod and Katrina can "Fringe" it out. Why is this happening now, of all times, and can't Ichy and Katrina ever get a break - Or a room?
Meanwhile, Former Captain Irving shows up at the Police Station sans Memory. Our Abigail needs to know if he is not becoming another "Brooks" (John Chu) situation, so for safety's sake, she has Jenny ask Hawling how to kill the living dead- She must get the magic bullets out of one of the bodies of the Undead from "The Akeda". Hawling of course does not bother to mention that one bullet must needs be left in, to keep the undead - dead. But that's Hawling for you.
Katrina finds a way to confront Colby "on his own turf". This of course separates Ichabod from his Galaxy 4S, so he can't receive calls from Abigail- That gets her worried.
This story is about two Abigails, Abigail Adams and our Abigail. The former had trapped Colby in "Pittura Infamante", the latter has to find a way to put him down for good.
Still no word from Henry. Where is he?
Thorin becomes Smaug vs. Galadriel, the Action Hero
This entry of the Jackson Tolkien Films is the most difficult to get a handle on. Mostly because the events depicted only filled a few chapters in "The Hobbit". But what most people forget, is that these events are meticulously revisited in the Appendices of "Lord of the Rings" and there are more to these events than in JRR's first Middle Earth novel.
For one thing, Gandalf joins a "Council of White Wizards" mentioned in the last chapters of The Hobbit, which confronted "The Necromancer" and drove him out of Dol Guldur. Saruman is not named as one of these, but those events are also in the Appendices of Lord of The Rings. Which is where it speaks of Saruman telling Gandalf the lie that The One Ring had rolled down the River Anduin into the Ocean, Saruman in fact had been looking for it for a while, but Bilbo's unexpected possession of it put a kink in his plans for it.
This "Council of White Wizards" is shown early on in the Film, and in this treatment, includes Gandalf, Radagast, Galadriel, Elron and Saruman- Who had all come to the aid of Gandalf. This is where Galadriel "Adamanty" drives "The Necromancer" from Mirkwood- At first I thought using only "Nenya", the "Ring of Adamant", but after repeated viewings, she is definitely also holding the Light of Earendil, which as you remember, she gave to Frodo in "The Fellowship of the Ring". Here, she is shown with all of the potential dark power needed to perform an ejection of Sauron, protected by that light just as Frodo and Sam were in Shelob's Lair. I wonder if Galadriel's Wrath can be viewed as the same as Burt Lancaster, armed with a Machine Gun, shooting down Japanese planes in "From Here to Eterenity"? Both show each character digging into their inner selves, pulling out power from deep within. Whether this power comes from a Machine Gun or "Nenya", one of the Three Elven Rings, is inconsequential. Both have the power, but it is the person who must choose to use these as weapons. Both scenes show each character differently than they normally are.
In the extended version of "Desolation of Smaug" it is shown that Gandalf has found Thorin's Father Thrain in Dol Guldur. This also is recollected in The Appendices, with the fact that he had the last Dwarf Ring.
So the question is, how do you tell a good story out of the few remaining chapters of the book? You do it by mining all of the facts out of the Lord of the Rings Appendices that relate to this time and side-load them into your story. The actual "Battle of the Five Armies" is not experienced from the reader's POV in The Hobbit, it is told after the fact. But here, all of the things that led up to it can be shown.
The only real added thing was Jackson's Addition of the She-Elf "Tauriel" (Evangeline Lilly), who I had already said was pleasant to look at, especially when she lights up like Arwen while healing Fili, the whole thing with the added character and a kind of romantic thing with Fili does not deter me from enjoying this one bit. We know that Legolas and Gimli found an unbreakable connexion, not just in the Lord of the Rings Films but in the books as well, in fact they take the very last Ship into the West. Would JRR Roll in his grave? Maybe, maybe not, if he understood how movies are made. I have to question, would a treatment of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, done page by page and scene by scene from the books, be any better? Consider that in Lord of The Rings, one story is told, then it backs up and tells another story that happened at the same time. In a book, that might make those events easier to follow, but in a film, to show them all happening at once is better.
So Legolas and Tauriel take a side trip to Gundabag? Maybe the book does not have those characters doing that, but we do know that Gundabag and Angmar were part of this story and with Lord of the Rings years later.
But the part of this film I love is the depiction of The Madness of Thorin, who, after Smaug is killed, takes on his personality, even repeating phrases Smaug used. What will it take to break through that madness? Thorin has to do it himself, but he has always had the Loyalty of the other 12 Dwarfs and Bilbo.
The Highlight of course is Billy Connolly as Dain, asking very politely if a an army of Men and Elves would Sod Off, Before being attacked by Creatures that seemed to have come from "Arrakis" in Frank Herbert's Universe.
The Blending of CGI with Live Action and Miniatures is mind boggling. THIS is where Jackson Excels.
If "The Silmarillon" could be made into a film or set of films, would Jackson do it? Moreover should he do it? I think so, if only to create a continuity of look and feel of Middle earth. New Zealand really is Middle Earth on Earth. Of course, I may add more when the Extended cut comes out. This film was in fact much too short. Finally, I want to add a hearty middle earth "finger" to all of the trolls who are downvoting every positive review.
After being carted away by "The Eagles are Coming!", our troop is still playing Hide and Seek with Azog's Orc-Pack.
But we have to have a Flashback First. Once again we see Peter Jackson walking around Bree with a Carrot in his mouth. In "The Fellowship of the Ring" we met his daughter as one of the cute little Hobbit kids. This time, she is a "Butterbur" (The Ostlers of "The Prancing Pony"), carting tankards of Ale to Thorin and Gandalf, one year earlier. Just look for the girl that looks like Peter Jackson. Here is talked about Thrain's Disappearance, Thorin's father- Who wielded the last of the Seven Dwarf Rings. As Gandalf tells Thorin, they would need a Burglar...
Fade to Bilbo spying on Azog's pack, and he sees a huge Bear. Gandalf tells him this Bear might be an Ally, he will either help them - Or kill them.
So they take refuge in a House, Gandalf not telling them it's The Bear's house, until The Bear is chasing them into it. The Bear is "Beorn" (Mikael Persbrandt), and it just so happens that he hates Orcs and Goblins more than Dwarfs - So they have a temporary Ally.
This film had a lot of the things I was waiting to see, Mirkwood, The Spiders, and the Wood-Elves Kingdom. Lee Pace is Thranduil, Legolas' Father. It just makes Sense that Legolas is there, and if he were true to character, he would have helped the band of Dwarfs just like he helped Aragorn and Gimli. Peter Jackson creates a She-Elf out of thin- air, "Tauriel" (Evangeline Lilly) who is very Elf. I don't have any trouble with this either, she neither adds nor takes away anything, and gives us something very pretty to look at. But she only has eyes for Fili, much to Legolas' Chagrin.
Since The Hobbit was written as if Bilbo wrote it, these little facts and characters didn't need to be written in, so it's up to us to fill in the blanks, with Jackson's help. And Tauriel is very much an Elf, displaying many of the powers that Arwen had.
While the Dwarfs plus Bilbo get "wrapped up" in Mirkwood, Gandalf has to go to the High Fells of Rhudaur. This is part of the back-story of the Witch King of Angmar, the leader of the Ring-Wraiths.
These two stories get told side-by-side for the rest of this film and beginning of the last, much the same way Lord of the Rings told up to five stories at once, we have the Orcs - Azog and Bolg, who is introduced here, summoning Azog to Dul Goldur. We have the Wood-Elves Kingdom, we have Laketown, and the bargeman Bard's (Luke Evans) relationship with the Master of Laketown, and his history, Evans also plays Bard's ancestor Girion, the archer who shot the Black Arrows at Smaug at Dale and missed, but in fact causing a chink in Smaug's armor, to be abused by Bard 60 years later. Laketown creates the opportunity for many characters and interactions to take shape.
But mainly, the Dwarfs get to Erebor on Durin's Day, even though their party has been split up, Kili and some others left at Laketown, where Bolg attacks, giving Orlando Bloom the opportunity to be Action Hero again. It seems that Legolas has the Skill to kill Bolg (Lawrence Makaore, who was the Witch King in Return of the King), just not the luck to do it this time.
We finally get to see the Whole Smaug this time, not just his nostril or eye. This is one of the best Dragons of Film, CGI or Not, almost as good as the Dragon from the early 80's film "Dragonslayer".
Some of the interaction between Smaug and the Dwarfs is expanded a bit, but in the end, Smaug smells Laketown on Bilbo and flies off for retribution. But not before he gets to take a kind of Swim and gets a shiny new coat...
If "An Unexpected Journey" hinted at many of the things to come, "Desolation of Smaug" gets into the details much more, further connecting this trilogy to the "second" one. In a way, I wish this trilogy had been made first, or that less time had been between the two. That way the reaction to this one would have been less jaded.
When it comes to film, what do people want? Three more Expendables films? More Schwarzenegger films? I think this era's moviegoers, well they may be fine - But it is all of these Internet Eberts who create 50 IMDb accounts, just to try to scrag the ratings of one film, that ruin the enjoyment of the people who went to see it. And if you check the join date of every bad review or 1-star rating, you'll see it was "One Day Ago" - And I'll bet they pirated a copy of it just to watch it - If they watched it at all, which I doubt.
What if we Sit on them and Squash them into Jelly?
That's what I would like to do to the Trolls who are attacking every positive review in here (probably using multiple IDs). We'd have quite a glob of squished IMDb trolls, maybe enough to satisfy even the Three Trolls of Trollshaw.
Peter Jackson once again visits Hobbiton and takes us with him, this time for real, as they have left the Hobbiton set standing. In my mind only Jackson could have made this, just like only he, an unlikely Director, could have made the first (Or rather, Second) Trilogy. Is "The Hobbit" a 200-page book? No, actually it is more like 986, at least in i-Books. Regardless of book length on paper or in Bytes, what is forgotten is that "The Hobbit" is simply one very small part of a much larger story written by Tolkein which included "The Hobbit", "Lord of the Rings", "The Silmarillon", and several collections of "Lost Tales". If you are not interested in the whole of Tolkein's Awesome Creation, then maybe these trilogies are not for you. As this story never really begins, and never really ends, I can live with these very short in perspective sorties into Middle Earth that these films afford us. Jackson has handed us a window into Middle Earth, a doorway in fact. We can either enter and enjoy it as it is, or spend our time using multiple IMDb accounts trying to drag this film and the others down. Me, I prefer to enjoy them, and write about why I enjoyed them.
First off, I don't think Two Hours and Forty-Nine Minutes are enough. And in fact, the extended version is over three hours. And that is almost enough, at least for this first part.
We are given an illustrated history of how the Dragon "Smaug" (Benedict Cumberbatch/Khan) took down the town of Dale while getting at the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor for it's Gold, and the unhappy history of Thror, the King Under the Mountain, and his son Thrain, and grandson and subject of this film, Thorin Oakenshield, named for the Oaken Branch he used while fighting the Orc "Azog the Defiler". This all given to us by Ian Holm as "Old Bilbo", in a note to Frodo (Elijah Wood, looking very much as he did almost 15 years ago).
This gives us something to grab onto, since The Hobbit is the same story as Lord of The Rings. It gives us a continuity as Old Bilbo reminisces of a time 60 years past - At which point Bilbo meets Gandalf, who looks basically the same as he did in Lord of the Rings - When he was still Gandalf the Gray. Enter 13 Dwarfs led by Thorin, who "Blunt the Knives and Bend the Forks" while eating all of Bilbo's food - Of which Bombur doesn't use a knife, eating blocks of Cheese whole.
One thing these films have more of, and even more in the extended editions, are the delightful Songs of Middle Earth, mostly in the same form as they are in the books, even a few from Lord of the Rings that we missed in those films.
As far as young Bilbo is concerned, Martin Freeman portrays a much different Bilbo at first, and as the films proceed the mannerisms start becoming more like Old Bilbo. I was expecting 13 Dwarfs much like Gimli, but we never saw any Young Dwarfs in Lord of the Rings. Apparently they look very Human until they start digging for Gold and their noses grow. These are all relatively Young Dwarfs save Balin, and they show his progression from being younger in Flashback.
This was Middle Earth as it was before the end of The Third Age, there was more Magic, this was reflected in the look of Elves and of Rivendell, even of Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls, all riding Wargs. By the time of Frodo, much of this magic had been subdued.
By my second viewing I was better able to see which effects and characters were practical and which CGI, there are a lot of practical shots and Miniatures. What we are offered here is a level far beyond Lord of the Rings, it works because that is how the story is.
After the party gets abducted by the Trollshaw Trolls, the film veers away from the book somewhat, expanding the role of Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy). Or merely telling us more than is told in the book, not necessarily adding more than is in The Hobbit, merely foreshadowing things to come in Lord of the Rings- such as The Release of The Witch King of Angmar and the rest of "The Nine", further trying the loose ends of Lord of the Rings.
There is one little thing about Stone Giants, I thought this had been made up and added, in fact, Gandalf talks about it briefly in the book. Once we get into Goblin Town and Bilbo meets Gollum, it is the heart of the story, "Riddles in the Dark". Maybe Guillermo del Toro had something to do with the look of the Stone Giants, feels like his handiwork. To be Continued.
Sleepy Hollow: Paradise Lost (2015)
The Frisbee of God
Our Witnesses and crew wake up in the aftermath of The Akeda to find, or rather not find Henry. But the daemon army is missing too, so they count their blessings.
Six Weeks later, Ichabod finds a disgusting, rotten Apple at a Farmer's Market. Abbie thinks he is overreacting, but Ichy has to visit the Farm where the Apple was harvested, to check for any spawn of evil that might have been let loose from Purgatory after the events in "The Akeda".
They find something, but not what they had expected: An Angel named "Orion" (Max Brown). Who seems like the perfect ally. They see him vaporize a few lesser daemons in a barn, but one of them gets away.
Meanwhile, Katrina finds a spell that can return Abraham back into a regular human. Catch: He has to be set free for her to do it. But Abbie and Ichy's new friend states his intention to kill Abraham with his Angelic Xena-Style-Chakram. So Katrina has to decide if she should let Abraham go, but she gives Abraham the choice - Does he want to be "cured"?
Meanwhile these lesser devils are searching for a new "Master" and they elect Abraham, the Horseman of Death.
But soon it becomes plain that Orion has an agenda, and his solution to everything is akin to "The Flood". As he speaks, it becomes clear that he is not really doing the "Will of God", he has his own ideas about the salvation of the world. One that maybe means ending it.
And in the meantime, Abbie and Ichy have come to odds. Ichabod does not trust Orion one bit, but Abbie wants to help him.
Which choice is the right choice? In order to choose, they have to get more facts. Ichabod looks Orion up in some encyclopedia of Angels, and finds some troubling things.
But we have to ask, "What's Henry been up to?" And "Where did Captain Irving's body go?" We'll get at least one answer to those questions, but we won't like it.
Sleepy Hollow: The Akeda (2014)
Ichabod's Dysfunctional Family
I have to love John Noble's performance as "Henry Parrish" almost as much as his past performances as Denethor in "Lord of the Rings" and Walter Bishop in "Fringe". Whatever he touches becomes magical and we are drawn in to any role, evil or good.
I somehow knew he was "not as he seemed" in the Season One Finale. But in this season, we learn that even Henry has to obey some other entity. Henry is a lot like Walter Bishop, even having a "Lab" of sorts where he dabbles with Alchemy.
From episodes 1 through 11 of this season, we felt as if Henry has been pulling Ichabod and Katrina's strings, and there was not much they could do about it. And Even former Captain Irving, is he destined to become another Horseman?
But no, Frank joins the two witnesses along with Jenny Mills (The Magnificent Lyndie Greenwood) and Hawley (Matt Barr).
But it all comes down to what Henry will do. Is there a spark of goodness in him, or is he hopeless?
As Moloch's Army-from-Purgatory starts digging themselves out of the ground, an all out battle ensues, one with a High Cost. And only one person can wield the only weapon that can harm Moloch, who will it be and who will pay the cost - Or is it "Apocalypse Now?"
This ensemble of characters is the most unlikely lot I have ever seen. When it comes down to it, all men and women regardless of culture have a lot in common. Here we have a man, Ichabod Crane, soldier, formerly British, a man of breeding and values. And then there is Abbie Mills, Cop, would-be-FBI agent, and her sister Jenny, the one who is always in trouble. And what to make of Hawley? Who either loves or does not love Jenny, but won't be tied down to any particular city or woman. Katrina, a witch, a woman of deep secrets, most of which trouble Ichabod Crane. And her doting headless horseman who was Ichabod's best friend Abraham. And Henry who was Jeremy Crane at one time, cursed by the same coven that put Katrina into Purgatory.
It seems so outrageous, but it also gives me hope: That if these disparate people can join together in a bond of fealty, maybe we can too.
I know where I come from, but where do All you Zombies...
If Robert A Heinlein and his wife Virginia had lived to see this, they would have been more than pleased. They would have sat there with jaw agape at how perfectly this film follows every detail of the story it is based upon.
I heard about this project a few months ago in a Reddit board. Whenever I hear about my favorite books or stories being made into Film, I always wonder how much they will muck it up. In the case of this, the source matériel is so unusual that I knew that regardless of who made this film, I would be seeing "All you Zombies".
Of course, anyone who has read "All You Zombies" - The Short (very short) story by The Dean of Science Fiction, would have every detail of it memorized. It's one of those stories you have to read, and then read again, and then wonder what the blazes you have read, so you read it again. This is one of those stories that you have to read maybe 50 timers before you really understand what's being said.
Because there is no "Unwed Mother", there is no "Bartender" and there is no "Fizzle Bomber", at least not as individual people. And there never was a baby dropped off at the steps of an orphanage in 1945. And John Never met Jane. And most important, the Chicken never laid the egg that grew back up into the Chicken.
Of course, that "Chicken" would have also have to have been 1/2 Rooster. But that is Heinlien's Handywork for you, his twisted humor, which he revisits in his last four books from "The Number of the Beast" to "To Sail Beyond the Sunset"- All of which deal with Time Travel and Alternate Universes.
This is a story that takes time and tosses it into a blender and re- shapes it, but where other Time Travel paradox stories fail is where 'All you Zombies" is a perfect circle, we can see the clear direction of Time's Arrow.
Speaking of which, the story which comes closest to Predestination's planned perfection is Star Trek's "Times Arrow" two parter which spans from 1890's San Francisco to the planet Dividia II in the 24th Century- Beginning and ending with Data's Head. But where some of these Time Tales revolve around an "Altered Timeline", this one has none of that- It's all the same Timeline, the time-line of a single individual.
But this story can never go past the 50 year mark - 50 years from when time travel had been "stitched" out, in either direction. Because just like Heinlein's very first published story "LifeLine", this is all told from within the life span of one person.
In a way, John and Jane's story is the story of every man or woman on Earth, but In John's case, he actually was "his own grandpa".
I have read All You Zombies at least a hundred times, I know every facet of this story. And whoever "The Spierig Brothers" are, they not only created this perfect rendition of the story, even doing much of the special effects and music - But on top of that, they UNDERSTOOD exactly what Heinlein was saying, and so there is not one idle phrase from the story that is not represented here, in this visual retelling.
I have been waiting for this story to be made into a film all of my life, and I for one am in no way disappointed with any part of it - The story is recanted by Jane/John to "The Bartender" just like the written story, and the events of John's story match every detail of the original short story.
There are some things that go a little further than the story, like this stuff about a "Fizzle Bomber", And I think it was a logical way to include the Ending of the story - Because the short story only has the Beginning and the Middle and then the beginning again, so the added material actually provides the end of the Ouruboros' tail- The snake that eats it's own tail.
It's just another Brief History of Time, but in this case it tells a remarkable and fascinating story.
Very Interesting rendition of the Mythos
I loved the imagery of this, it had all of the aspects of Hercules/Xena which I loved. But here, when the imagery is used it depicts not actual events, but how the legend has been passed down by mere mortal men.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is as much Hercules as any actor who has portrayed the DemiGod, Kevin Sorbo notwithstanding. Dwayne is more than a sheer bulk of rocky flesh, he is one damned fine actor as well, and I have loved his work since the time he guest starred in Star Trek: Voyager and beat up "Seven-of-Sixty-Nine".
The landscape of this film is fantastic, some of it real, some of it excellent Matte Paintings. And as Dwayne and his merry band of Mercenaries- Including Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell (Amphiaraus and Autolycus the King of Thieves)- pass through it, we are reminded of how legends begin.
I haven't seen Joe Fiennes since "Enemy at the Gates", does the man ever age? And once again we have John Hurt. But the real standout here is Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as "Atalanta", who really knows how to unleash a can of Whoop-Arse on screen. Aksel Hennie is the non- speaking animal-man and of course the whole story is rendered by "Iolaus" - Reed Ritchie, who, unlike the side-kick from the 90's TV show, is not allowed to fight.
We are given many images in this film that depict old Greek legends, only to have them revealed as mundane things later. I suppose this is how any story changes from historical account to embellished legend.
Because we don't remember heroic figures as mere men, we always grant some kind of godlike quality to them. And what do we remember? Just like "The Man who shot Liberty Valance", we remember the legend- Because that's what we as mere men need to hear.