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The Spoils of War delivers the most satisfying action sequence since "The Battle of the Bastards"
The Spoils of War is another great episode of the seventh season so far. Much like the third episode where it finally had Jon Snow and Queen Daenerys meet and interact with each other, it delivered the satisfying and no doubt the best action sequence since "The Battle of the Bastards" where Daenerys and her dragon fight against Jaime and his army. filled with suspense and tension. The performances continue to be strong, the characters still remain compelling, the pacing never drags, the directing/editing are still solid. The writing also continues to be superb including scenes where Jon Snow and Daenerys interacted at Dragonstone and where Arya and Brienne of Tarth interact with each other for the first time they meet before they dueled each other which is also satisfying. Overall, The Spoils of War exceeded my expectations and is another solid episode in the seventh season. Recommended :)
With intelligent interaction and even more superb writing, this episode exceeded my expectations
The Queen's Justice continues the seventh season in the best way possible. It delivered what everyone including fans of the book series wanted including the long-awaited meeting between Daenerys and Jon. The pacing is great and doesn't drag even if it's around an hour and the directing/editing continues to be solid. The performances continue to be terrific as well with Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke during the interaction of Jon Snow and Queen Daenerys along with the final performances of Diana Rigg, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers and Indira Varma as Olenna Tyrell, Tyene Sand, and Ellaria Sand. Especially when Olenna confessed that she was the one who killed Joffrey after she drinks poisoned wine and the two ladies of the Sand who got captured by Euron Greyjoy and given to Cersei Lannister as gifts to their marriage once their war is won. Ramin Djawadi continues to deliver in his beautiful score and fitted really well. And finally, the bait-and-switch scene concerning Casterly Rock and Highgarden which is also well-written. Overall this is another great episode and the seventh season continues to be even more compelling.
Game of Thrones: Stormborn (2017)
An intense storm that got born in the best way in this episode
Stormborn is an excellent episode and a step up from the first episode. It uses strategic discussion perfectly as the characters continue to prepare themselves for war. The story continues to be well-written, the pacing is well done, the directing and editing continues to be solid, Ramon Djawadi continues to shine creating more beautiful music and the characters are still compelling. The moments involving them are also compelling including Daenerys arranging her army in Dragonstone, Arya reuniting with her direwolf Nymeria, and the ending where Euron Greyjoy attacking the Sand Snakes and the Greyjoys on the Iron Fleet before taking Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand as hostages which resulted in a great action sequence to end the episode. Overall, this is an even solid episode and the best was yet to come in the later episodes. Thumbs up. :)
Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
Blue Sky Studios, you did a great job back at 2008!
Today's the 10th anniversary of Blue Sky's Horton Hears A Who, an adaptation of the book by Dr. Seuss. It was met with positive reviews and was considered by many to be the only good Dr. Seuss adaptation when compared to the live action Grinch and Cat in the Hat.
I saw this film and I have to say I agree with them. I'll admit, there are some problems that could've been fixed. Some parts of the plot are cliched and predictable and the Japanese anime references added nothing to the plot.
That being said, everything else is great. The plot maintains the style, message and spirit of the book perfectly while expanding on it. The characters are likeable thanks to some solid voice work from Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Carol Burnett and many others.
The 86 minute length is nice and doesn't drag. Horton's relationship with the other jungle animals of Nool seemed a bit obvious, I'll admit, but the relationship between Horton and the Mayor is charming. There are some funny moments as well and the music score from John Powell is neat, but the best part is the animation, which is beautiful. If Dr. Seuss were still alive, he would be really proud because the visuals and the character designs remain Seuss-like with cartoony but solid expressions.
Overall, Horton Hears A Who is a Dr Seuss adaptation done right once you can get past the cliches and Japanese anime references. Recommended to those who haven't seen it yet. Thumbs up :)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
The franchise continues to soar thanks to the film's compelling story, strong emotional depth, and characters that are still great
Hi everyone. This is gavin.thelordofthefuture and today's the 2nd of March which means that the third and final installment of the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy will be out in one more year. So, I'm going to review this second installment that came out almost four years ago.
After the success of the original film in 2010, DreamWorks started production on the sequel. Dean DeBlois, who directed the first film with Chris Sanders, revisited the films from his childhood, My Neighbor Totoro and The Empire Strikes Back as inspirations for the film to focus on the scope, the characters, and the fun. The original voice cast including Jay Baruchel, gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller and Kristen Wiig returned fo the sequel along with three new additions like Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou, and Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones. Then, after finishing the design and look of the film itself, it came out to theaters and was met with critical acclaim, with praise for it's animation, voice work, action sequences, John Powell's musical score, emotional depth for the characters, and the more darker and serious tone compared to the first film. So, having loved the original, this sequel blew away my expecations and is the best animated sequel from DreamWorks since Shrek 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Madagascar 3.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 shows Hiccup trying to take responsibility when he becomes the chief of Berk. Suddenly, a threat occurs when the new villain named Drago Bludvist sets to conquer the world and it's up to him and the other dragon riders, along with Hiccup's long lost mother, Valka, to save it.
This film is a reminder of a second installment done right. It reminds me of Kung Fu Panda 2, also a great sequel to the original film, which I also loved as well. Because not only does it provide a compelling story with breathtaking flying moments that are as good as the original film, excellent action sequences and emotional moments (the flashback of Valka being taken by the dragons, the reunion of Stoick and Valka, the death of Stoick (SPOILER ALERT to those who haven't seen the film yet), Hiccup's attempts to free Toothless from the Bewilderbeast's control with the power of compassion and friendship) but it does a great job in expanding on the original film by making the new characters and villain have a connection to how the war between the Vikings and Dragons started. The new characters are great. Valka (voiced by Lady Galadriel-I mean Cate Blanchett) is a female side character done really well because of her relationship with Hiccup and their perspectives on how to create peace for all the dragons and vikings of Berk. Eret, the dragon trapper and working for Drago Bludvist, is really entertaining and while having some menacing moments, he also has some hilarious moments. And last, but not least, Drago Bludvist. Some people considered him to be a generic villain wanting to conquer the world, but to me, he's one of DreamWorks Animation's best villains since Rameses, Tai Lung, and Lord Shen. The reason why his connection to how the war between Vikings and Dragons started make sense is because his people were slaughtered by dragons is what drives him to use dragons to bring fear to other people.
That being said, the rest of the film maintains the same strengths that the original film had. Hiccup continues to be relatable due to his struggles by trying to take responsibility as chief of Berk and his relationships with Toothless, Astrid, Stoick, and Valka are beautifully written. The other dragon riders Astrid, Fishlegs, Snotlout, Tuffnut, and Ruffnut weren't given as much screentime, I'll admit, but they contributed a little bit more to the plot while still providing some great humor particularly with Ruffnut, whose expressions when encountering Eret became really hilarious. Stoick, whose stubborness changed after the end of the original film, is still a great chief and shared his emotional moments with Valka perfectly while Gobber is still a funny side character. The animation continues to be beautiful from the landscapes, the even more unique character animations and movements and expressions so beautiful. And last but not least, the music score from John Powell and he did a great job. He reprises the themes from the first film while introducing new themes for the new characters, but not only that. It retains the scottish tone and provides some really strong action music writing while also being as epic, dramatic, haunting, and emotional as ever.
Overall, How To Train Your Dragon 2 not only managed to be as good as the original film, but reached the mature heights for DreamWorks Animation since The Prince of Egypt. I cannot wait for How To Train Your Dragon 3! Solid recommendation to fans! :)
A definition of a episode of the first season that kept me hooked!
Chapter Three: Holly Jolly does a great job expanding more on the first two episodes. I mean, it kept me hooked the moment I started watching the show on Netflix.
It showed what happened to Barbara after the end of the previous episode and her death was so sad it made me feel sorry for her. Because Chapter One and Two showed the characterization of her. She started out as a nerdy classmate and a misfit in society before she got killed by the monster, which is the only reason why the show gained a fanbase. Kudos to the producers for making us sympathize with her.
Also, the story and writing are even stronger. It expands more on the first two episodes and gives out some more character depth to not only Eleven (El), but Joyce Byers as well. Joyce starts to hear Will trying to communicate with her and she uses the Christmas lights to communicate with him as well it makes you feel for her and her son too. Even the interaction between Eleven and Mike is great. Not only that. The actors range of emotions you feel in the beginning and end of the episode gives you goosebumps which is the only reason why the third episode is a definition of why the first season has been keeping me hooked so far.
The actors continue to deliver excellent performances. Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, and Natalie Dyer along with the other actors impressed me with their range of emotions like I said before and the script is superb while the music score continues to compliment the 1980s setting and year perfectly.
Overall, Chapter Three: Holly Jolly is a classic episode and a definition of how an episode of the first season kept me hooked when I started watching Stranger Things. Thumbs up from me. :)
A perfect continuation of the pilot episode and remains consistent throughout
Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street is a solid second episode of the first season. It continues where the pilot episode left off and remains consistent throughout. My only quibble is that the house party where Nancy and Jonathan go to felt a bit too awkward for my tastes, but that's doesn't matter because the rest of the episode retains the same stuff that made the first episode a great start.
The story is still intriguing with a raw and tear-jerking scene with Winona Ryder and Charlie Heaton. There's also a little more back story for the other characters aside from Joyce and Jonathan. The kid protagonists Mike, Dustin and Lucas share their chemistry that feels natural thanks to Wolfhard Matarazzo and Mclaughlin's solid performances. Natalia Dyer, Shannon Purser (who played Barbara in the first episode) and David Harbour continue to deliver excellent performances and Millie Bobby Brown continues to excel as Eleven in a very well-written flashback revolving around her character. The cinematography is still gorgeous with a brilliantly lit atmosphere it retained from the first episode and the music score is still impressive, continuing to compliment the 1980s decade and setting perfectly.
Overall, a solid second episode of the first season and remains as consistent as Chapter One. Thumbs up from me. :)
An intriguing and solid start to the show
My older sister saw the show during the summer of 2016 and she convinced me to watch it because it reminds me of the classic 80s movies and TV shows that I watched when I was growing up. So, I checked it out and to my surprise, it turned out to be very intriguing. I'll review the episodes of the first season starting with Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers.
The episode takes place in Indiana in the year 1983 where four kids named Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will are playing Dungeons and Dragons. Later, after they finished the game, Will encounters a creature that escaped from the U.S. Department of Energy and after running towards his home, he mysteriously vanishes. The next day, as the adults of Indiana try to find him, a young girl in a hospital gown steals food from a local diner and Benny, the owner of the diner, finds out that her name is Eleven. Suddenly, a bunch of armed men find her before she quickly escapes. Later, while Will's mother Joyce Byers hears his voice on a phone call, Mike Dustin and Lucas try to find Will only to find Eleven.
This pilot episode to the show is with no doubt a intriguing and solid start. Not only is the writing strong, but the characters are well introduced. Will Byers and his friendship with Mike, Dustin, and Lucas is very unique it reminds me of The Goonies, a movie that also has a strong friendship between Mike, Mouth, Chunk and Data. Needless to say, that's a great way to pay homage to the 1980s media. Also, the opening and closing sequences are really great from the disappearance of Will Byers to the his friends' encounter with Eleven with competent directing and beautiful atmosphere. The music score represents the 1980s synthesizers it respects the year and decade the episode takes place and compliments it really well.
The acting is also great. The adult actors David Harbour and Winona Ryder (who starred as Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice (1988)) did respectable jobs as Chief Hopper and Joyce Byers, the young adult actors Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer and Joe Keery also did respectable jobs as Steve Harrington, the bully, Nancy Wheeler, the older sister of Mike, and Jonathan Byers, the older bother of Will, and the kid actors who played Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas, including Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb Mclaughlin, and Noah Schnapp filled their respective roles perfectly as did Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven (El), a mysterious young girl with telekinetic powers.
Overall, Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers is not only a solid start to the show, but a great reminder of presenting a story that takes place in the 1980s with horror and science fiction which is blended seamlessly well. It leaves you wanting more and there are a lot of other things to come in the first season. This deserves a thumbs up from me. :)
Hagane no renkinjutsushi (2017)
While it captures the look and tone of the manga/anime, Fullmetal Alchemist ends up as a disappointment in adaptation form
A couple of years ago, my brother showed me an anime that revolves around two brothers Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric trying to use alchemy to get their mother by using an alchemical ritual only to end up with disastrous results. Alphonse loses his body and has his soul transferred to a suit of armor while Edward loses his leg and arm. A few years later, Edward becomes a State Alchemist working for the government to find him and Alphonse find the Philosopher's Stone, an artifact that would help them regain their bodies while performing human transmutation without a circle while discovering the truths about their world governed by the law of Equivalent Exchange, the stone itself, alchemy, their family, and evil forces using alchemy for sinister purposes. That anime was Fullmetal Alchemist.
When I watched the 2003 anime and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood with my brother, I was surprised at how beautifully written the story was and how compelling the characters and their motivations where. Their situations make you relate to them during their adventures, but not only that. It deals with deeper themes including the true meaning of family, and the difference between life and death. Nonetheless, I loved both of those shows and are now my favorites of all time. So, when a live-action film adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist was being made, I was really excited, hoping it wouldn't end being like Death Note (a USA live-action adaptation back in 2017 which disrespected the source material fans loved). Then, when it arrived on Netflix, my brother and I watched it... And sadly, it ended up being a disappointment. It's not as poor or terrible as Death Note, Dragonball Evolution, and The Last Airbender, but it lacked something that made both the manga and anime much more complex.
Let's start with the problems. Those who read the manga and watched the anime might be disappointed. I'm not going to spoil the story, but I will say this... the movie didn't include key characters that contributed to the story including Scar, Armstrong, Izumi, and Fuhrer Bradley. If the producers of the film ever make a sequel, they better bring them together. Not to mention the special effects on the Mannequin soldiers are really poor along with the other effects including the Homunculus. Also, the story fell apart. It had a decent start with an accurate depiction of the younger Edward and Alphonse using alchemy to try and bring their mother back, but the rest of the film suffers from some of the biggest problems. The writing is really weak because it had bits of the manga and place them out of order in a two hour and fourteen minute length, which results in uneven pacing that drags too long and because of that, the character development ends up lacking in comparison.
That being said, there are some good things that saved the film. The actors did a fine job capturing the personalities of Edward, Alphonse, Winry, Colonel Mustang, and the bad guys Lust, Gluttony, and Envy. The other actors who portrayed General Hakuro, Shou Tucker, and Hughes also did a fine job. The directing is actually really good. It captures the look and feel of the anime perfectly. Also, the music score is good. It's atmospheric, it has a great use of drama and action, and ends up being really powerful. And most importantly, some of the effects, including the transmutation sequences and Alphonse's metal armor, is nicely detailed and looks good in movie form. Oh, and the costumes are great and are accurate to the anime/manga counterparts. Kudos to the producers for being at least some effort.
Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist ends up being a huge disappointment. It has good intentions and is faithful to the anime/manga, but due to the weak writing and lack of character development, the movie just comes up short. My advice, if you want to see a live-action movie based on your favorite manga/anime, this film is only watchable. However, you might want to revisit the 2003 anime and Brotherhood again and remember the complexity they had. 2.5/5
Game of Thrones: Dragonstone (2017)
A terrific start to the seventh season
After being impressed by how impressive the sixth season of Game of Thrones was when it continued the character arcs for the surviving Stark and Lannister family members and the writing was as strong as the previous five seasons (despite one episode in season 5 that I considered to be my least favorite, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken even though it was decent). Anyway, when I saw the first episode of the seventh season last summer in order to catch up with the series finale coming in 2019, it lived up to my expectations and it became a great start. The reason why I'm giving this a 9/10 is because the only quibble that I have with Dragonstone is that while it was great to see Ed Sheeran and the other song artists Will Champion, the drummer from Coldplay and Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol playing Lannister soldiers and sharing a scene with Maisie Williams, they only appeared for four minutes. I mean, after they sang that song together, I was expecting them to have more screen time in the seventh season, but sadly, they didn't. What a shame.
Anyway, the rest of the episode is solid. The storyline continues to be exquisite much like the previous six seasons and continues to up the ante with the relationships. Not only that, there are some great scenes that made it worthwhile to other viewers. Arya disguising herself as Walder Frey and having her revenge on the House of Frey for killing her mother Catelyn Stark and her brother Robb Stark by killing them, Sandor Clegane, who survived his wounds after the fourth and sixth seasons and having to atone for his old life of working with the House of Lannister, and Daenerys's dramatic homecoming to Dragonstone. Those sequences are amazing and another perfect example of well-paced and atmospheric filming which makes them on par with The Red Wedding, the Execution of Eddard Stark, the destruction of the Great Sept, and more. Ramin Djawadi continues to create more excellent music for his score for this season. It fitted the scenes really well as well as retaining the scale and scope of the production designs, which are still as gorgeous and before. The editing is sharp, the pacing didn't drag, and the acting continues to be strong with the best coming from Maisie Williams, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, and Emilia Clarke.
Overall, Dragonstone delivered what it promised. It showed the characters trying to make an army to they can begin the war against the White Walkers while continuing the depth and development. This deserves a thumbs up from me. :)
Woody Woodpecker (2017)
Not exactly the worst but sadly very mediocre
I'm not a fan of Woody the Woodpecker, although I do remember watching a couple of cartoons revolving around the character when I was a kid. But I do understand how certain people are fond of that lovable woodpecker. So, wouldn't you know it, Hollywood decided to make a live action/cgi adaptation of said character and so far it falls I the same category of movie adaptations of classic cartoon characters not being very good. But that's not why I decided to watch it on Netflix a few days ago. The only reason is because I was expecting something that would at least have some effort. Unfortunately, it turned out to be very mediocre. It's marginally better than the terrible live action Death Note film back in 2017, but its still not very good.
The story is juvenile and above all predictable with several cliches we've seen before which I'm not going to spoil, the writing is complete garbage with only one or two moments that are funny but the rest of the film is flat out mediocre so that doesn't matter, the characters are really generic despite the actors themselves trying hard, and the pacing is really uneven despite being only an hour and a half longer.
It's a shame because there are some good things that came out of it. The CGI is ok and is accurately detailed on the design of Woody and the voice actor Eric Bauza did a good job imitating the actual character. Also the music score is pleasant and the scenery is very pretty.
Is Woody Woodpecker as terrible as the critics and audiences made it out to be? Nope, I wouldn't go too far to say I hated it, it sadly, its still not a good film. My recommendation: just watch the cartoon and give this one a skip unless you have kids. Otherwise, I'd stick to Speed Racer (2008).
Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)
Flawed, but thought-provoking and smart, Nicholas and Alexandra is worth checking out
When I was in high school, I learned about the story of the Romanovs from Russia, most notably the events that led to their execution, which led to several TV series and film versions of those events. Then, a few years later, I came across this movie and decided to check it out after watching the trailer from YouTube. Upon viewing it, I was expecting a really solid film, but from what I've got, it's actually not that bad. OK, it's not one of my favorites, but I'm glad I saw it.
Let's start with the positives. The script is really good. It's smart and intelligent in it's interpretation of the Downfall of the Romanov Dynasty during the Russian Revolution and has some really powerful moments particularly the scene where Tsar Nicholas and his son Alexei salute the soldiers of Saint Petersburg before as they march into war against Germany. The directing from the late Franklin J. Schaffner, who directed Planet of the Apes and Patton, is really superb and the photography and productions are well-detailed and gorgeous to look at. Richard Rodney Bennett, who died five years ago on December 24 2012, delivered a unique score that is rousing, dramatic, powerful, and haunting. The best part, however, goes to the actors, who did excellent with their roles. Michael Jayston did a fine job as Tsar Nicholas, a kind and loving father to his family, but also an incompetent ruler, Janet Suzman also did great as the Empress Alexandra, a kind mother, but another incompetent ruler whose chemistry with Michael Jayston and Tom Baker (which we'll get to in a moment) is spot on. Laurence Olivier also did a fine job as Count Witte, but Tom Baker, however, steals the show. Known as the famous Doctor Who, his role as Rasputin is top notch. He balances funny with really intense and shares some of his scenes with Janet Suzman solidly. The rest of the actors, including Ian Holm (who would later play Bilbo Baggins in in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) did a superb job with their limited roles (which isn't a bad thing).
That being said, there are some problems that held the film back. First, there's the pacing, which runs at 188 minutes. I don't mind three hour films, but here, it went on for way too long and could've been at least an hour or two. Also, there are some scenes that padded the movie's runtime including having Rasputin be distracted by a man dressed in drag during the assassination sequence and Alexei, Nicholas's hemophiliac son, committing suicide. But the biggest letdown, however, is the ending, which to be honest wasn't as powerful compared to the first 2/3 of the film. It didn't have any drama and what's worse is that it omitted the speech that made the Execution of the Romanovs event so important.
To end this review, I don't think it's a failure as everyone makes it out to be, but had those flaws not hold the film back, it would've been a masterpiece. However, the movie is still worth seeing. It's well-acted, It's well-made, and certainly for those who love the history of Russia. Check it out and you won't regret it.
An excellent episode that doesn't seem to have any damage
Damaged is without a doubt the finest episode and a classic fifth episode in the first season so far. Not only does it enhance the character depth to a bigger level and in the writing department, but it had a solid character introduction one character known as Malcolm Merlyn, Tommy's father (played by John Barrowman), who has a mystery to him that might be revealed later on in this season. Seriously, that guy did a superb job. The other aspects that made the first four episodes interesting are still retained. The combination of action mystery and drama is still blended nicely, the pacing doesn't drag too long, the characters are still interesting and relatable as Oliver Queen continues to shine with his relationships with John Diggle and his family along with Tommy and Laurel (who people may find to be annoying at times, but there might be some potential to her than most people think), the music score is still solid, the directing and editing are still top notch and the flashback story arc for Oliver continue to be well-written. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think the first season really got me hooked it got me wanting to see what would happen next on Oliver's gritty adventure. By all means, this receives a thumbs up. :)
Arrow: An Innocent Man (2012)
Not far from innocent
The first three episodes did a great job in establishing the premise of the show. A rich spoiled boy who got stranded on an island turns into a hero and tries to fight businessmen who are trying to destroy the city he loves seemed kind of uninspiring, but this episode shows that there's more to it than just that. It continues to give some more character depth to not only Oliver Queen, but the other side characters as well including John Diggle and Tommy Merlyn, who might turn out more interesting in the later episodes. And the writing continues to be strong and the characters still remain as relatable as possible especially with the relationships between Oliver and John and Tommy. The combination of action, mystery, and drama continues to be fresh and the pacing never fails to amuse me. The directing is top notch, the cinematography continues to be riveting, and the music score continues to be solid. So, overall, An Innocent Man is a great continuation and proves there's more to come in the future for the first season. Thumbs up :)
Arrow: Lone Gunmen (2012)
Lone Gunmen shot the right amount of great bullets
Lone Gunmen proved to be another great episode especially for a third episode in the first season. Seriously, this show does have the potential to be even better than I realize. My only quibble is that some parts of the story felt a bit too similar ( which I'm not gonna spoil), but everything else is great.
The writing continues to be strong, the characters continue to get even more interesting as their relationships still being engaging, the action sequences are well done, the music score is solid, the new villain Deadshot is great as did the actor's portrayal of said character. Looks like this episode shot the right amount of great bullets. So overall, another great episode. :)
Arrow: Honor Thy Father (2012)
A great continuation of the pilot episode
Honor Thy Father is another great episode and continues the pilot episode with great intentions. The character interactions were neat and it's great to see Oliver Queen struggling with his relationships with his family and other people including Laurel and John Diggle. Also the dynamics between Oliver and John were superbly written with Stephen Amell and David Ramsey bringing solid chemistry.
The writing continues to be strong with its blend of mystery drama and action. Also, the flashbacks were very cool too and leaves you wanting more about what would happen to Oliver in Lian Yu Island. My only quibble on this episode is that while the villain China White was well introduced, her fate felt really predictable.
Overall, Honor Thy Father is another great episode and continues the pilot episode nicely. Thumbs up. :)
Not nearly as engaging as The Maze Runner, but above all a decent enough sequel
Since The Maze Runner: The Death Cure came out two weeks ago, I'm going to review the second installment of The Maze Runner franchise that started with the first one. The original Maze Runner deviated from the young-adult romance trope that plagued the recent adaptations after Twilight ended and it received mixed-to-positive reviews. While fans of the book series either hated it or found it ok, it was considered by many to be a much better young-adult adaptation. It had mystery, it had thrills, it had action and it had emotion. People liked it and so did I. Then, a year later back in 2015, I saw the sequel hoping it would live up to the first film, but while it was a decent enough sequel, it did disappoint me and I understand the mixed reaction from both critics and fans of the second book "The Scorch Trials".
There are some positives that worked in the film. The cinematography is really gorgeous including the buildings and the actual desert, not to mention it's solid make-up and CGI effects on the Cranks. 61 million dollars went into the production and much like the first film, it was well spent. John Paesano, who scored the first film, did another solid job in delivering the same stuff he did from the atmosphere to the action music. Wes Ball, who directed the first film, delivered another top-notch direction. Also, the acting continues to be great with Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Alexander Flores, Ki Hong Lee, and Patricia Clarkson continuing to deliver excellent performances as did the new supporting cast including Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Tudyk, Rosa Salazar, and Aidan Gillen as the Rat Man, Jorge, and Brenda. And then, there's the action sequences which are more intense and action-packed including the chase scenes. Those set pieces alone are worth watching if anyone else checks the movie out on DVD.
That being said, there are some drawbacks that disappointed those who loved the first film and the book series. First, there's the writing, which sadly does feel a bit weak and borrows sources from other zombie-genre related stuff. Not only that, it deviated from the second book despite having some bits of elements which caused an outrage to fans. Also, while the film delivered on the action and thrills, it lacked the mystery and emotion that made the first film work. Not to mention the plot and character development were severely lacking. The new characters were well introduced, but no depth was given to them. Then, there's the pacing which is sadly another weak element to the film. I don't mind two hour films but only when they have development for the characters. The original film had brisk pacing and took it's time for Thomas to interact with the other Gladers and becoming a really great leader and those characters were the ones you cared about. There's some of it here but not enough considering the weak writing and it's deviation from the source material.
Overall, The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a decent enough sequel and it delivered what it promised in the trailers, but sadly, it wasn't nearly as engaging as the first film. I haven't seen The Death Cure yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed it would be an improvement. 3/5
Not nearly as good as Part 1, but still a decent episode
Chosen Part 1 is where I started watching The Shannara Chronicles online despite not having read the books. I know fans of the series hated the show for not being as close to the books, so I might as well read them after I watch the show. That being said, the first episode wasn't anything spectacular, but at least it got me interested due to it's world introduction. Chosen Part 2, however, while a decent enough episode, isn't nearly as good as Part 1 and there are some problems that irked me.
The dialogue was really standard, there are some of the same fantasy cliches we've heard before in many other films and TV shows and the editing did feel a bit clunky at some parts. However, everything else is fine. The acting is still good with the best material coming from Manu Bennett and John Rhys-Davies who continue to shine with their separate characters Allanon and Eventine Elessedil, the ruler of the Elven Kingdom. The rest of the actors did marginally better than Part 1 and may have some potential if their characters could get compelling. The music score is still good, the pacing is very brisk, and the episode did leave a cliffhanger, hoping what would happen next.
So, overall, not nearly as good as Part 1, but the rest of the first season has a long way to go. :)
Not a big fan of the book series, but this first episode got me interested
I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of the book series this TV series is based on, but this episode got me a bit interested. OK, I wasn't expecting this beginning of the episode to be a masterpiece because it does have some of the same fantasy cliches we've seen a million times before, but I think the world introduction was well-done. It had some very nice scenery and the CGI, while not the best I've seen, was at least tolerable enough. Also, the character introduction wasn't that bad at all either and have some potential to be compelling. And then you have a music score that, while too electronic in some parts, does have an atmospheric quality throughout the episode.
What got me interested in this episode, however, was the two casting choices. Manu Bennett, who most people remember as Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) from CW's Arrow, does make a very good character in Allanon and John Rhys-Davies as the Elven King (which is ironic, considering he played Gimli in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy) did seem to have fitted the role really well. As for the actors who played the main leads, they did fine. Not as interesting as the two actors I already mentioned, but they tried their best with what they were given.
Overall, this episode isn't quite a strong start, but thanks to it's world introduction, I got interested I decided to watch other episodes, but not the entire first season, which I'm planning to for this month.
iZombie: Maternity Liv (2015)
Sadly not strong, but marginally better than Virtual Reality Bites
While Maternity Liv is marginally better than Virtual Reality Bites, but it's not as strong as the first five episodes, which were great after a solid debut. It did feel a bit abrupt, especially towards the end, (which was the only problem I had with the pilot episode, but at least it was still a strong start) and some parts of the writing lacked something that made the first four episodes very interesting. That being said, the rest of the episode is good. The blending of the comedy, crime, and drama is still handled well (especially the drama, which was an improvement over Virtual Reality Bites and Liv and Let Clive), the pacing didn't drag, the directing/editing is still solid, the music score continues to shine, and the performances continue to be spot on as they continue to being complexity and charm to the protagonists and the villain played by David Anders (who played Dr. Whale/Victor Frankenstein) in the 1,2,3,5, and 6 seasons of Once Upon A Time. Overall, not as strong sadly, but another good episode and marginally better than Virtual Reality Bites.
iZombie: Virtual Reality Bites (2015)
Personally not as strong as the previous five episodes, but still good
Virtual Reality Bites is another good episode, but sadly, it wasn't as strong as the first five episodes, which were great after a promising debut. The drama wasn't as strong as I hoped, much like Liv and Let Clive, which in that episode was the only problem I had with. Also, Bradley James (who played Arthur in BBC's Merlin) and his character wasn't nearly as interesting as the main protagonists. His performance was fine, it's just that I wish that he could've been written better. Anyway, the rest of the episode has some of the same qualities from the previous episodes. The blend of comedy and crime is still well handled, the pacing didn't drag, the directing/editing is still superb, the performances, other than Bradley James, are still spot on, the writing, despite the drama not being as strong and aside from Bradley James' not interesting character, is still good and the music score continues to shine. Overall, not excellent and not as strong, but it's still a good episode.
Flight of Another Great Episode!
After watching the pilot, the first season lived up to what it promised. It promised a mixture of comedy, drama, and crime, some character development, and lots of thrills. The first four episodes were great so far. Yes, they weren't excellent, but so far, they had some good writing, spot on performances, and a well-written story. Only Liv and Let Clive's drama wasn't as strong as the first three episodes despite being another solid episode. Flight of the Living Dead's drama is an improvement, although there are some parts of the writing that could've been given some more flair. That being said, everything still holds up. The quality of the writing is still good, the pacing is brisk and never drags, the directing/editing is very solid, and the music score continues to shine giving an atmospheric and thrilling tone to the episode. The performances are still spot on with Rose McIver continuing to give relatability and charm to her character. Overall, another solid episode and neat continuation of the first season.
iZombie: Liv and Let Clive (2015)
Another solid episode for IZombie, albeit not excellent
After anticipating an interesting premise back at 2015, I found myself liking this so far. IZombie lived up to it's potential to be a very good show mostly because of Rose McIver, who played the Yellow Ranger in Power Rangers RPM and made her feature film debut in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones. The pilot episode and second and third episodes were great with solid writing, spot on performances, great use of comedy, drama, and crime, and very likeable characters.
Liv and Let Clive may not be excellent, but it's still another solid episode. Yes, the drama wasn't as strong as the previous episodes and could've been much better, but everything else still holds up. The script is still spot on, the writing is still good, the performances continue to shine with Rose McIver still giving out the best of her role, the comedy is still good, the music score is very riveting and suited the mood and atmosphere of the episode really well. Overall, another solid episode and great continuation! :)
Once Upon a Time: Tallahassee (2012)
A step up from The Doctor and another solid continuation
Tallahassee isn't quite as strong as the first four episodes, but it's a step up from The Doctor. Yes, there are two problems I do have with it. It did introduced too many storylines at once and it's a bit hard to get into especially in the present-day storyline. It could've been better if it continued focusing on Emma and Snow's journey to get back home and expanded more on the other side characters. Also, the actor who played the giant, Jorge Garcia, who played Hurley from Lost, another show created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, did a fine job, but unfortunately, he wasn't as well-written as Hook, Mulan, and Dr. Whale.
That being said, everything else was fine. Mark Isham continue to make great music, the pacing's never dull. Despite what I said about the convolutedness of the storyline in this episode, the writing is still good, the performances are still solid with Jennifer Morrison growing into her role and Jamie Chung and Colin O'Donaghue continue to deliver more great lines as Mulan and Captain Hook. Oh, and the production designs are still beautiful aside from some shoddy green screen effects. Also, the blending of reality and fantasy continues to be interesting while retaining the humor, mystery, charm and pathos that made the first season engaging.
Overall, I understood the mixed reaction from other people and I respect their opinions, but I think this episode is another solid continuation despite some of the problems I've already stated. :)
Once Upon a Time: The Doctor (2012)
Not a step up from the previous four episodes, but still another good episode
The Doctor didn't live up to the first four episodes of season 2, but it's still another good episode. Yes, it did have too much stuff going on, just like in Lady of the Lake, and only two performances were a disappointment. Noah Bean, who did a fine job in the first season in episode 18 "The Stable Boy", was a bit bland and Sarah Bolger is still very stale even though Aurora hasn't been a terrible character so far (I wish the writing for her could've been stronger).
However, everything else was fine. The storyline continues to be well-written especially the one between Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. It expanded on those two characters and went deeper into their emotions and we even get a glimpse of Dr. Whale's true identity. Also, Emma and Snow's relationship continues to be interesting in their subplot. The script is till strong and continues to blend the reality and fantasy parallels really well. Mark Isham continues to make more great music, this time creating intensity, suspense, and emotion to the scenes revolving around Regina, Rumpelstiltskin, and Dr. Whale. And the performances continue to be solid with Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, David Anders, and Colin O'Donaghue delivering each of their own solid lines.
Overall, not a masterpiece, but still another good episode of the season season.