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One Strange Rock (2018)
Will Smith ... WHY????
This is clearly a big-budget production. The camera work is amazing and they have a full cast of actual astronauts who provide their own perspectives on the science of life. That's all great. And then, inexplicably, Will Smith starts running his mouth.
I like Will Smith as an actor, but he doesn't belong in this thing. He brings no authority to the topics being discussed, and it mostly sounds like he's talking to a child. Like he's trying to convince his 9-year-old son that science is cool. Maybe that's the intention? Who knows.
I don't think a series like this needs Will-Smith-level star power. Yes, charisma matters, but I'd say it's more important to have someone you can take seriously. Will Smith just drags this show down.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Don't analyze the script, just enjoy it for what it is: an action movie with a very likeable heroine and great VFX
I'm a 47 year old man who went to film school. I loved this movie. There's no point in trying to dissect what Alita: Battle Angel got right or wrong in terms of script or pacing or character development or whatever else film snobs like to blather on about. This is just a fun, action-packed first installment of what I hope will at least be a trilogy, if not more. And they couldn't have cast Alita more perfectly, even if her on-screen form is completely digital. Great movie. Tons of fun. Don't overthink it.
The Shannara Chronicles (2016)
Kevin Sorbo should be in this, and no, that's not a compliment
I'm an American, and it's painfully clear that American-style dialogue and pronunciation sound really, really dumb in the fantasy realm. It somehow cheapens the whole thing, and this Shannara series already feels cheap to begin with.
I had high hopes for this series, but after watching three full episodes it's pretty clear that they poured all of their budget into visual effects and exotic locations and skimped everywhere else. A couple of the actors are ok, but other performances are just cringe-worthy. And the writing? Eww.
I think this series will please the Kevin Sorbo fan club demographic, but if you're expecting a LOTR or GoT-like experience, prepare to be underwhelmed.