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Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
This wasn't the end to the TNG films I wanted...
Star Trek: The Next Generation, is quite simply, one of the finest sc-fi shows ever created. No. Lets go a step further, its one of the very best series on TV thats ever been commissioned.
I will qualify that with the first series being a little on the weak side, only because the actors were finding their feet and settling into their characters, by season 2, things picked up.
Nemesis however was not how I wanted the TNG movies to end, it was far too miserable and dour, this is not what TNG was about. It wasn't always happiness and light at the end of every episode, but I sure as hell don't remember it being so damn miserable either.
Part of the problem for the TNG movies is that the production values on the TV series were pretty high. The Enterprise-D model still looks great on screen. The reason the TOS movies look so much more like movies is simply because there was so much time that had passed between the original series and when the movies were made, that advances made you feel like you could see the money on the screen.
But for TNG, the VFX were only slightly better for the most part. One of my problems with Nemesis was that it felt like a TNG TV episode, certainly it would have fit in a 2 parter with ease, the movie wouldn't have been diminished in that format, I just felt that the movie didn't take enough of a risk and be a big extravaganza that it should have been.
And where did the money go? Nemesis cost $60million to make, yet the far more costly looking First Contact cost only $45million.
And thats another thing I don't understand about the TNG movies. Generations had the gimmick of having Picard and Kirk in the same movie, First Contact was the big action spectacle with the TNG crews biggest foe (with the exception of Q), and then both Insurrection and Nemesis were kind of tame TV episode affairs.
I don't hate either Insurrection or Nemesis, but after the spectacle of First Contact, the following movies really didn't capitalise on that at all, preferring the personal stories rather than the grand ones.
Its such a shame that the TNG crew didn't get to go out on a high unlike Kirk and Co did with Undiscovered Country.
They deserved better, and so did we as the audience, and we'll never get it.
I Give It a Year (2013)
A little patchy in places, but a decent laugh hit rate
This movie completely and utterly passed me by, I had never heard of it at all. Only reason I bothered to investigate it was because Channel 4 were doing some feature on rom coms and the various successes and failures (I was monumentally bored), and featured actors and actresses talking about those roles.... and then Channel 4 decided to show this particular movie afterwards, so I watched it.
Pretty funny for the most part, sometimes in an embarrassing way, but I guess thats part of the point.
Its a rom com with a difference, which is what caught my eye in the first place, because it starts off with the happy ending, and then ends up with another happy ending, but has a strange journey to get there.
Sure, there's a few flat spots, and the over reliance on Stephen Merchants character to get the laughs in started to wear thin. His Best man speech was pretty funny because he was so inappropriate, but then when he's still doing it throughout the movie, kinda loses its effectiveness to be funny, because bizarrely, his inappropriateness gets kind of normal when some of the other characters (played by Minnie Driver) are nearly as inappropriate as he is.
Its very British humour, its very crude, there's certainly no sophistication about it at all, which means it might not translate so well for foreigners, as a typical British rom com from the likes of Richard Curtis has a few crude moments, but aims a little higher with the humour.
Still liked it, but not sure it has much of the rewatachable factor about it.
Alright for a one off, I laughed plenty of times, so for that, it succeeded.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Stylistically it got it all right......the script just wasn't upto the same level
The look of this movie was all good. The locations looked great, Cavil and Vikander looked great, as did most of the supporting cast.
Ritchies frenetic directing style was turned down a notch from his previous movies, because quick cuts and dutch angles don't suit a movie like this.
I thought both Cavil and Hammer were alright in the roles, Hammer arguably better than David McCallum in the original, and Cavil was certainly at least as suave as Robert Vaughan as Napoleon Solo.
So the casting and the locations was all good to see. A shame then that the script was so....boring. Now I know the original was inspired by Bond, but I distinctly remember it being a bit more exciting than this movie.
It lacked punch, it wasn't quite as humorous as it could have been. Don't get me wrong, there were brief elements like the torture scene that went wrong and the rescue of Kuryakin from the water that were quite well done, but it needed more. It didn't need to be an outright comedy, but more humour in the situations that called for it would have worked, if only for the forced relationship of the East versus West leads which should have provided more laughs.
Its not a terrible movie, its just, it comes and goes without really announcing itself, and after a week, I can imagine entirely forgetting most of it.
Jason Bourne (2016)
A welcome return of Bourne, but with a few reservations
Always like the Bourne movies, since my first accidental introduction when I was bored one day and picked up The Bourne Identity which for some reason I hadn't really heard much about.
Saw the following two at the cinema, and even the not as great Legacy, and when Jason Bourne was announced, I was in, critics reviews or not.
The storyline is very similar to The Bourne Supremacy, in that one is his girlfriend is shot and killed and that brings him back into action.
In this one, Nicky Parsons tries to get information to him about his father, and she dies in the process, kickstarting Jason Bourne going back into action after living off the grid since the end of Ultimatum.
And that for me is one of my reservations. Its made clear at the end of Ultimatum that he was alive, and should be free because the major players in his life that caused him to be who he became are either jailed or dead.
Yet we get reintroduced to Bourne 9 years later, and he is still living off the grid, clearly not enjoying anything, having recurring nightmares of his past and suffering injuries from his many bare knuckle fights...... just what did Jason Bourne bother to live for at the end of Ultimatum if all he was going to do was exist?
Seems very contrary to the character. We know he can fall in love with women, so why at least not have the end of Ultimatum as being a return to normalcy for the character, so when he is brought back into the fold for this movie, the viewer then feels he has more to lose..... the way things are played out, going around kicking ass all over the world has to be a better use of time than simply not living a life.
But other than that, the Nicky death had poignancy at least, she is the only other character to be in Bournes life throughout all the movies.
I was saddened by her death, but, after the events of Ultimatum where she was no longer a part of the CIA and was clearly not going to be a part of that clandestine world again, her death was essential.
Everyone else played their respective parts well, no-one stuck out as being out of place, Tommy Lee Jones was pretty decent throughout, Alicia Vikander was good as the new breed of schemer within the CIA, never really knowing until the end where her loyalties were with.
The final problem I have with this movie, is the one i've always had with this series of movies, and is Paul Greengrass's insistence on shaking the camera to bits not just in action scenes, but in fairly pedestrian scenes.
For instance, there are several shots where important text messages are being displayed, but because the camera shakes so much, you can't quite view them properly, and its like someone when they edited realised it, because then we return to the same shot but its been steadied so you can read them properly.
I know Greengrass is going for a sense of realism and making it more frantic as if you were there viewing it all, but its getting to the stage that even mundane shots are being affected.
It spoils decent action and fight sequences. Whats the point in Matt Damon doing weeks of choreography on these fight scenes if most of the excitement of them is lost because the camera moves too much.
Please, please, please..... can it be toned down for the sequel? Please?????
Casting women wasn't the only change.... comedy got sidelined as well
There's two things the trailers did, and one of them was wrong.
Firstly the trailers made the movie look like rubbish, and secondly made Lesley Jones' character look like a ridiculous stereotype.
Lesley Jones got shortchanged in those trailers.
I don't necessarily dislike changing the original male characters for female ones, but it has to be because of a raft of improvements over the original. Just changing the sex of the main characters is not "edgy" or "cool" and it sure as hell is not "empowering" either.
The original Ghostbusters was a supernatural comedy, and thats all the remake/reboot needed to be, it didn't need to be about "women" and "girl power", and if the focus was on making a good and funny remake, the fact that it was all women wouldn't have even be a factor.
And thats the problem. Ghostbusters 2016 is simply not funny. I didn't laugh once, two smiles throughout the movie do not construe a comedy.
I simply don't think this kind of franchise movie lies in Paul Feigs skillset. He seems to excel at the raunchy smaller indie movies, and for the most part, i've liked everything he's done before, I have no downer on the guy.
The same can be said for Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, both been in funny movies, Wiig has even written funny stuff, and frankly she was the most hilarious thing in the movie Paul.
McKinnon and Jones I have no experience of, but in this movie, I found McKinnon irritating, and Jones was actually OK, she sure as hell wasn't the stereotype the trailers made her out to be. OK, lets temper that with, "the power of Patty" and "I don't know if it was a race thang..." lines still featured, inspite of those scenes in the trailers REALLY irritating people, but for the most part, she was OK.
The VFX were good, obviously better than the original...... but then every time you see the VFX, you're reminded of Scooby Doo, and that doesn't compliment your $144million movie!
The villain of the movie...... i'm not sure if they couldn't find a more pathetic antagonist if they tried, but his motivations were "I was bullied so i'm going to bring hell on Earth"....... scriptwriters must have had sleepless nights coming up with that :/
Its hard to not compare it to the original, but in no measurable way does the new iteration come off better than the original except the VFX, but stylistically, the original has it beat even there.
The original movie, whilst a comedy, also played it serious. The new one felt like the characters were in on the joke.
I'm saddened that this movie got greenlit so quickly after Harold Ramis died, because its as if people behind the scenes gave up on the notion of a Ghostbusters III, and opted for this instead, and very quickly this one was turned around and made.
And it shows.
And this is my biggest complaint.... this isn't the movie I wanted after 25+ years of waiting, Ghostbusters III was what I wanted, one last hurrah of the original cast, even if it had been a "passing of the torch" idea, it would have worked, because any future scriptwriters would have had to follow the same formula that was set down in previous movies, THIS movie would have been different, and would have been better for it, and everyone would have won.
No-one wins in this movie, the original actors certainly don't win, McCarthy and Wiig don't win and we know they can deliver the goods with a good script, certainly Paul Feig doesn't win as its clear a big budget franchise movie is not where he is at his most comfortable.
Worst of all, fans of Ghostbusters don't win, because when this movie fails as it undoubtedly will, any further Ghostbusters movies will take just as long as this one did to come about.
Gods of Egypt (2016)
A movie full of action set pieces with a threadbare plot to hold it all together
I like Egyptian themed movies, done right, they have plenty of history to draw upon.
The likes of Stargate, The Mummy and its immediate sequel, Young Sherlock Holmes, all good stuff.
So its with some dismay that Gods of Egypt is so hum drum.
Visually it ranges from the fantastic to the.... "oh dear". The giant sand snakes looked great, some of the set pieces looked great, but, the major VFX problem is to do with the Gods themselves, namely the two main characters when they transform into their golden God forms.
Its a style that was used back in the 80's and 90's with its highly reflective style, its what rendering software on the Amiga and early Silicon Graphics machines did........ but stylistically, its an 80's and 90's 'thing' so it looks out of place in this movie in 2016.
Don't get me wrong, the VFX for the Gods are not terrible, just incredibly dated.
The storyline is frankly perfunctory...... Nicolaj Coaster Waldau appears to be phoning in his performance, and no wonder, the plot just kind of easily moves on, each character knowing exactly what to do for no other reason than they just 'know'.
Gerard Butler puts in a bit more effort, but his retorts are more a case of repeating what someone has said to him back to them.
I don't much care about 'whitewashing', but clearly, in the case of a movie that surrounds itself with characters in ancient Egypt, detractors have a point.
Zaya and Hathor are probably the closest to looking vaguely Egyptian, but in reality, they are nothing of the sort, they are simply closer than anyone else in the movie.
Music was forgettable, and it really shouldn't be. This was a $140million movie, how did they get it all so wrong, and how did it cost so much?
I don't like to beat down on a movie like this, I have a soft spot for the under dog, but this movie is simply a distraction on an afternoon, and to be honest, half way through, I did consider mowing the lawn instead, so not much of a distraction.
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Not as iconic as the original but entertaining enough
Its taken 20 years for this movie to finally get released, and in a way, the storyline makes good use of that long delay between movies to come up with plausible reasoning for the advancement seen on screen.
However, the story is merely perfunctory, that its taken Emmerich and Devlin 20 years to come up with this particular story is frankly a mystery, its basically a retread of the original movie, with some different scenes to give it a bit more scope....... but I have no idea why it took 20 years to figure it out.
Still, the storyline we get, works.
There were some complaints from some over the CGi shown in the trailer, those complaints are entirely misplaced. The VFX for this movie is fantastic throughout, however, there is something distinctly iconic about some of the scenes in the original movie that are very hard to beat for simple visual presence, clearly the VFX in Resurgence are magnitudes better, but I think the original utilised them better.
The music score? Entirely forgettable. Its not just that i've seen ID4 quite a few times which is why I remember the music so well, its a great score which is why its remembered. I have no clue whatsoever why it wasn't used again in this movie, and its omission was a stupid decision. Its not that the music on offer was bad, I simply cannot remember even one cue or beat from it at all.
All the actors did fine, none of the younger actors irritated, no-one tried to do a Will Smith or a Randy Quaid impression, and to be brutally honest, I didn't miss Will Smith at all.
Its a sci-fi hokum to entertain for a couple of hours, and me and my son were entertained enough that should the obvious setup for a sequel come about, we'd go and see it.
Its not as good as ID4, but it has a certain charm about it, and its better than recent Roland Emmerich fare.
Much closer to the original cartoon....good and bad outcome
I didn't much mind the first TMNT movie, it didn't rape my childhood or anything daft like that, it was a fair re-introduction to the characters I first saw in a cartoon and later the movies in the 90's.
This movie is far more faithful to the 'lore' of TMNT than the original movie was, but therein lies part of the problem.
I'm sure plenty of people are happy that Beebop and Rocksteady feature, and also Krang.
What I will say in the movies defence is they've accurately recreated those characters, but its only when you're an adult and actually see these characters come to life that you realise nostalgia is a powerful thing, because Beebop and Rocksteady suck big time. Just far too childish and boorish, but then again, that is the characters from the cartoon, so the movie can't really be blamed for duplicating them.
The characters are inane and every time they speak, you are simply just waiting for them to shut up and the movie swiftly move on from them.
The rest of the movie is alright, Megan Fox is fine, although some will convince themselves and no-one else that she can't act, Will Arnett is fine, Stephen Amell who normally plays Arrow plays Casey Jones, and is as good in the role as Elias Koteas was in the original movies.
Tyler Perry wasn't irritating.... a bonus I suppose!
The VFX were of the same high calibre as the original movie, sure, some people don't like them stylistically, I think they look great, as my memory hasn't convinced me that the 90's TMNT costumes have stood the test of time well unlike some.
The story is perfunctory, but what there is, isn't boring, the movie races along at a decent pace.
Humour is generally fine with the exception of Rocksteady and Beebop, but no real proper laugh out loud moments.
Took my 9 year old son to see it, he liked it, and really, thats exactly the audience the movie makers are looking for.
It didn't offend me or irritate me, a bit more humour would have been nice, a little less Rocksteady and Beebop would have been a plus, it was OK.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
It was OK, but its not quite the Apocalyptic spectacle the trailers suggested
I like X-Men, I largely like what Fox has done with it, and I don't have a problem with Bryan Singer either. I liked the new batch of X-Men movies so far, and certainly X-Mens interpretation of Quicksilver was a tough act for Avengers to follow, and the former did it better.
So watching the trailers for Apocalypse, and knowing the power of the subtitled character who forms part of the movies title, I really was expecting some worldwide destruction on an unprecedented scale.
Alas, that didn't happen. In fact the worldwide apocalypse was a bit of a damp squib.
I just didn't ever get the on screen power of what Apocalypse is supposed to be. The most powerful mutant ever, the one that can give powers or expand powers of existing mutants, but the movie felt more like a road trip of collecting some bad guys to help, and then not really being given the chance to wreak the havoc the character was capable of.
Apocalypse the character didn't ever appear to be close to being able to cause the destruction he promised. Sure, Cairo got knocked about, nuclear missiles were fired into orbit, and a few guys got killed..... but where was the REAL menace of the character?
Sure, he was powerful, but he should have been one that other mutants visibly were scared to death of.
Quicksilvers scenes during the destruction of the mansion were the stand out, just like they were in Days of Future Past.
Most of the characters were alright in their roles, Psylocke was the Captain Phasma of X-Men..... really oversold in the trailers and marketing, and then barely given any screen time. Hopefully due to events at the end of the movie, this will change in any proposed sequel.
VFX were great, music was forgettable.
I didn't dislike the movie, but it simply didn't live upto the promise of the bad guy, which is a shame, and I hope it doesn't end the franchise.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Avengers was the pinnacle.....Cap Civil War now is.
From a fairly low key start, Captain America has gone from strength to strength. I liked the first movie, thought it was a decent origin story, and it wasn't done in a jingoistic "America, rah, rah, rah" way either.
The second movie was a big step up, and having the added bonus of Robert Redford come onboard got everyone thinking about what the quality must be like for him to come out for it, and we were all rewarded with a great movie, full of heart and action, and Captain America as a character really growing on people.
Civil War? Damn, its better than The Avengers if thats possible to believe. I saw Batman versus Superman with my son, we are in no way DC or Marvel fanboys, we go to see lots of comic book movies, but whereas BVS was a pretty miserable experience where Superman was even more brooding and downbeat than Batman.
Civil War tempers the misery with humour, excitement, and a decent mature storyline inbetween all the ass kickery.
And there's LOTS of characters in this movie, but do you know what? Other than maybe The Vision and Hawkeye, I felt that none of the characters were sidelined at all.
Spider-Man had probably the best introduction any character has had in a comic book movie. Not only were his scenes pretty damned good, it was funny as well. Speaking of funny, Ant-Man, fairly short amount of time in comparison to other characters, but hilarious as well, and one of the stand out scenes in the movie was attributed to that character.
Falcon got developed more, Hawkeye did well, Scarlet Witch was pretty good, Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes was great, and the new addition of Black Panther, again, new character, but great screen presence and plenty of screen time to be fairly interested in his movie when it gets released.
Black Widow had some of the best fighting scenes, a few genuine moments of "cool" and some of the action set pieces, especially when Winter Soldier is attempting escape from the German police in the apartment block, just so much inventiveness in the fight scenes, not one of the fight scenes was boring.
I'm just amazed that the Russo Brothers were able to craft such a well put together movie, with so many characters, and deliver a story that was so much more than just the action scenes.
I like the theme of repercussions for the Avengers actions, I like that in a movie full of fantasy, it at least grounds itself in a normal reality where if superheros were real, they wouldn't be allowed to do what they want without reprisals. Its something BVS got close to trying to emulate, but then they blew everyone up when Superman arrived, so Civil War was able to tackle those issues better.
I hope that this isn't the end of solo Captain America movies, because the character is really growing on me. But if this is the end of the solo movies, what a way to end it all.
If the Russos can do this for Cap, their take on Avengers is going to be a must see.