Jupiter Ascending

A sci-fi film about a girl that is a genetic recurrence of someone important in the past. It’s kinda like reincarnation, except not really. Probability just gave the girl the same genes as someone that died before. Her name is Jupiter, an ordinary girl working as a maid. She becomes embroiled in a property dispute among three rich siblings because as a recurrence, she has rights to some of the property the original person had.

Oh, and Jupiter gets a wolf-eared hunky soldier to protect there named Caine. Oh, and Jupiter is a recurrence of the three siblings’ mother. That’s why all of them want something from her.

This all reads like some kind of teenage fantasy, and the movie plays out a lot like one, too. Caine has antigravity skates, man. Anti. Gravity. Skates. Along with an arm shield that makes him a total badass. He’s a lone wold with a troubled past that never gets fully explained. I’m alright with it not getting explained, actually.

The movie does create an interesting backstory. You find out enough about what’s going on in the universe, though I can’t say any of the plot points suprised me. Either they were really telegraphed, or I just watched too many similar kind of stories. I’m not going to spoil them, but you’ll probably figure out what’s going on long before the movie tells you.

So pretty much watch this for the spectacle. I enjoyed the universe they put forth. The three siblings, being the rich bastards that they are, have all of the best views and finest homes. Yet somehow their guards still all lose to Caine.

I feel like this movie would work much better as a cheesy homage to sci-fi movies rather than trying to be a serious film. They even have certain scenes that seem like it’s tributing something from other movies.

I do like how the Aegis, the space police, is still shown to have some authority of the rich siblings. The siblings have to try to work within the law to get what they want. I also like how no one really cares about Earth other than as Jupiter’s property.

Eddie Redmayne as the main antagonist sibling is the most memorable performance of the show. He’s trying to be really chillax, but then he just starts shouting. It’s pretty fun to watch. Everyone else is prety standard.

I consider the movie alright. I do like sci-fi and this movie is really sci-fi veering into fantasy in a space setting. The universe is well-realized, and they even touch upon the belief system that the universe has. That part’s good. The plot itself is standard, though, and it treats everything seriously, even things has been done a lot of times before.

Just… anti-gravity skates.

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Goosebumps

With Jack Black as R.L. Stine!

I read a lot of the Goosebumps books as a kid, though I don’t really remember any of them now. This movie is not an adaptation of any one story, but of a fictional R.L. Stine. Anything he writes with some magical typewriter will come to life, so he must keep his monstrous creations from wreaking havoc on the land.

So of course some kid comes along and releases all of the monsters. I will apologize and say that I do not remember the main character’s name. Funny, out of all the major characters, his is the one I don’t remember. There’s his best friend, Champ. And his next door neighbors Hannah and her father, R.L. Stine.

The main character, thinking R.L. Stine is up to no good, breaks into his house and releases the abominable snowman. Somehow, even though they specified that the books are locked, the book containing Slappy comes out. Slappy is one of the monsters that I still remember to this day, so great choice of main antagonist.

The story is really simple, though. I feel it doesn’t really do most of the monsters in Goosebumps justice. They just act as generic minion types that bullrush people. And since this is a kid’s movie, no one really gets hurt. Well, one person gets hurt.

Only a few monsters really feel like individuals. The rest are all just swarms meant to chase people. And Champ, the one guy that said he read a lot of the Goosebumps books turn out to be completely useless to stopping any monster.

It’s an alright movie that moves along at a nice pace with a lot of action and monsters. It’s not particularly scary for anyone older than five or so. It’s just a solid, cliche filled story meant for younger kids. There’s nothing bad about it, but anyone older would find the movie pretty standard.

If they made the monsters more distinct, it would have been better, though it also might bog down the pace of the movie too much. Goosebumps is alright. Jack Black does pretty well in the film. Champ is entertaining in a kiddy sort of way. That leaves the Main Character and Hannah to be the serious ones. They do alright at times and at times, you can tell they’re reacting to things that aren’t there.

This movie just really needs more of an identity beyond the name recognition.

Pan

Pan, the story before he became Peter Pan in Neverland. He’s even friends with James Hook! Best friends, even. Sorry, other boy that I forgot the name of. Nivy? Something like that.

This movie focuses a lot on visuals, even to the point where some things just don’t feel like Neverland. What’s with the floating spheres of water with fish and alligators swimming in them? They look rad, but it’s just there to try and add to the magic of the place. Then there’s Blackbeard’s mining operation. It also looks amazing.

The movie looks pretty good with wild and varied scenes. The plot is just kinda there. Blackbeard wants fairy powder to stay young, so he wants to find the hidden Fairy Kingdom. Peter has an arc about believing in himself and flying. Then there are some scenes with the tribal people that look like it comes straight outta Hook.

The movie mainly presents a fantastical island with a simple story throughout. Hook is a lovable Han Solo type of character. Tigerlily is the serious tribal girl that’s always focused. And Peter is the uncertain hero of the story.

It really comes off as kind of a generic fantasy story about taking down the big bad plundering pirate. Still, I like Blackbeard. He was just hamming it up all movie long. Straight from the introduction, the man was a huge presence.

And the twist of the movie is that Hook and Peter remain friends! No clash of ideas, no whatever it was to turn them into enemies.

Hmm, I don’t have a lot more to say about the movie, actually. I enjoyed watching it. The visuals excited me, but the story prospects didn’t.

Star Trek: Beyond

I’ve probably mentioned this in my previous reviews of Star Trek, but I only watched about 2 or 3 episodes of the show Star Trek, and those were split between Kirk and Picard. I’m really enjoying these new movies as a new viewer, though. It’s just cool going out into the final frontier to explore and find new things for the sake of doing so. I understand that happens more in the shows since the movies need their epic set pieces and main villains, but it’s still just a fun thin to think about.

Now, on to actually talking about Beyond. Kirk really does go Beyond, beyond the known parts of what the Federation has mapped out. He goes on a rescue mission into the nebula, and of course things fall apart immediately. And by things, I mean a big thing.

Kirk is getting more heroic and less abrasive by the movie. I like it. He’s a proper captain now and everyone on board will absolutely follow him anywhere. The other characters are great to see. Spock and Bones together is great. Scotty has a new character to play off of. Uhura and Sulu work together. And Kirk gets to hang around with Chekov. These smaller groups really allow for some fun back-and-forths between the crew.

Still, the movie is a bit predictable. From the moment I saw Yorktown, the space station, I knew what was happening to it at the climax of the movie. Yeah, it’s kind of a spoiler, but you’ll probably have the same thought too the moment you see it, especially if you’ve seen the previous movies. Still, Yorktown is a wonder to behold and a pretty awesome final set piece.

I really enjoyed the new character of Jaylah. She doesn’t overshadow the story while still having some nice moments and development. And she’s pretty darn skilled at a lot of stuff, too. She fits into the crew really well. I hope she doesn’t just disappear like the science officer from Into Darkness.

The main badguy of Beyond is a strange alien with some vicious technology. His name is Krall, and he pretty much hates the Federation’s way of doing things. He talks philosophically a lot, but there never is a real debate about it. It’s mostly just a few short lines between him and the crew.

He’s pretty menacing, but you only find out more about him toward the end of the movie. It surprised me, but it also reminded me a bit of the previous movies. That’s all I’ll say about him.

I’m really enjoying the Star Trek movies. This one is great for actually going to new places and trying to explore. The crew interactions are also great. The background crew still doesn’t do much, but they do feel cohesive and like people that deeply care for each other.

Star Trek Beyond is pretty great.

Suicide Squad

The movie event of the summer is here! Time for the review of 2 Lava 2 Lantula!

Nah, just kiding. That movie was entertaining, yo.

But actually, this is about Suicide Squad, the latest installement (as of writing this) in the DC cinematic universe. It follows after Batman V Superman, though you don’t have to know a lot about the movie. In fact, trying to tie it into Superman kind of hurt the movie. I mean, they built the squad so they would have their own meta-humans in case an evil alien or super being appeared. Only the squad involves at least three people that would offer no challenge to anyone of Superman’s level.

The movie itself is fun at times but also wierdly-paced at others. The beginning starts up too slow for my liking. It goes into a several minute long intro into both Deadshot and Harley Quinn. I think the length it gives Captain Boomerang in the introduction would be much better.

Again, I think the problem is that DC wants to jump past the introductory phase of the movies, that’s why all these villains are already in jail and they need to introduce an entire squad of people that had never been on-screen before.

Imagine if there had been a Batman movie first that introduced Harley Quinn and the Joker. That would be pretty neat. Or maybe Batman facing Deadshot. I just feel there was too much explanation in the beginning. Then for certain other characters, they got one line or a ten-second flashback. Speaking of flashbacks, I think there was too much of it in the movie.

The action scenes were alright, kind of hectic but there are some memorable moments. The final fight was fun but suffered from an all-powerful enemy not using their abilities to their full extent. I think something less world-ending for the squad’s first opponent would be good.

I really liked the movie though. It’s a summer action flick that is fun with lots of wild characters playing off one another. Deadshot and Harley Quinn are the obvious main characters, though. It’s not like an equal ensemble. The movie was forced to jump around too much and slow down too much just to introduce everyone.

The later moments in the movie are great, though, once everyone starts to know everyone else. Those are the parts that really make the squad feel like a squad. It could have been so much more fun, though. If the enemy wasn’t so overpowered, more of the squad could have been given a chance to shine.

Tonally, the movie seems split between goofy and serious, and that clashes at times. Suicide Squad is a fun movie that I overall enjoyed. It could haveb been really good, though.

Some spoiler thoughts about individual characters. Will include general movie spoilers as well.

Deadshot. I liked him though at times he felt more Will Smith rather than Deadshot. He has some great shooting scenes that really show what he’s capable of. Those were awesome.

Harley Quinn. I really enjoyed her character. There were times when she reminded me of the original cartoon version. It was just the way she talks and acted in those times. At other times, she sounded like a different person. I’ve read a bit about her original arc of refusing the joker for her new friends, but I don’t think that would have worked. She barely had any good interactions with the squad at the time the Joker comes around.

Killer Croc. His head looked way too large for his body. He needed, like, an extra 2 feet of height and three hundred more pounds. Otherwise, I liked his character. He doesn’t talk a lot, but his reactions to stuff is fun.

Captain Boomerang. He is really fun and out there. Probably he’s the least serious character in the movie and he does some wild things. I just wanted him to be more involved, and maybe throw some more boomerangs. But he’s great fun in the movie.

El Diablo. He is probably my favorite out of the squad, really. He had a complete story and a great resolution at the end. It doesn’t hurt one bit that he’s overall awesome with his firepower.

Slipknot. I mean, what can I really say about Slipknot, yo? Best member.

Rick Flagg. He’s alright. I would have liked to see more of his relationship with Dr. June Moon. It was just one of the many things not given enough time due to too many characters.

Katana. For what she did, which was basically be kickass with a Katana, she did great. I just wanted more for her to do. Even her two character-building moments were pretty much based on the same event.

Amanda Waller. She does scary government official so well. It was a really intimidating part. Often times, she is the biggest presence on screen, and that’s impressive considering who’s around her.

The Enchantress. I really liked the way she looked in her scraggly form. Just the diffusing shadow thing worked really well. Her more powerful look actually seems weird. Her motivations, though, were no better than most other super-hero villains. Let’s destroy the world! Yay!

Joker. Hmm. He’s alright. I actually don’t have a lot to say on him. I do kind of think he would work better as a flashback only character because the movie was already really busy.

Gosh. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone.

Adaptations

Of late, there has been a huge number of adaptations. Well, there’s always been a lot of adaptations, but now they are even turning movies into TV shows! It used to be just video games to movies/tv shows or comics to movies/tv shows. Now some tv shows and movies are even being turned into comics. Everything goes in all directions. We an asterisk now, fellas.

I did write a piece on adaptations before, multiple ones, in fact. I have not read them in a while, so my opinions may or may not have changed. I dunno, maybe they changed a little bit. I mean, people change, it happens.

I do think I enjoy adaptations a lot more when I don’t know the original. Even if I do, I can still usually enjoy them because they are their own thing. Making direct adaptations between mediums is really hard. If you tried to turn a book scene for scene into a movie, the movie would be six hours long or so. A direct translation into a tv show would lead to a lot of boring episodes, I think. There would be just many episodes where I think what’s the point? I want my TV episodes to have some kind of high-point and resolution each time.

Turning movies into TV shows is kind of interesting. I actually watched Limitless the TV show and really enjoyed it. I think it was smart that they set it as more of what happened after the movies. That made the world a lot more interesting to me since Brian was interacting with the main character of the movie. I have not watched any other movie to TV show adaptations, so I can’t talk too much about them.

Still, you’re trying to stretch a two hour plot into ten to twenty hours depending on season length. It might work, it might not work. But I think doing direct adaptations will rarely work well.

Also, I think I don’t mind changes from the source material, even beyond things required by the change in medium. It’s fun to get surprised by what you think you know. Of course, it might also be frustrating if they mess with your favorite moment. Sometimes, I think if the producers/writers want to change things a lot, they could just make original material. Unfortunately, original material has no name recognition, and when they need $100 million or more just to make the project, investors want something more guaranteed.

In the end, it really just depends on the end product. Some people make changes and they work great, maybe even better than the original. Some people make changes and they turn out to be really bad. But adaptations will be different, mostly be necessity. But I think big or small surprises would be fun for people that already knows what happens.

I mean, I enjoyed the Iron Man 3 twist. A lot of people didn’t because it deprived them of a great comic book villain, but I thought it was really fun. Of course, the actual villain of the movie was not more interesting, which was a shame.

Wayward Pines, Season 2 Finale

Wow, never expected a season 2. I was suprised to see one happening. Since I liked the premise of the first season, of course I went and watched it. Season 2 takes a large shift in tone. It probably has to since keeping up the mystery thing doesn’t work when season 1 already revealed all the answers. I’m kind of glad. I don’t need a brand new mystery in the town.

So, what happens now that everyone, and this will be spoiler information from season 1. If you’re at all interested, at least check out the first half of season 1, which is when the answers are revealed. Anyway, in season 2, what happens when everyone knows they are in the year 4000 something and surrounded by a new, dangerous race of abbies?

It’s a new season where martial law reigns. The leader ofthe town is Jason, who has taken over Pilcher’s ideals and is doing what he thinks is right to keep everyone alive, including a rough suppressing of anyone that tries to rebel against him. Things get shaken up by a new person being awakened, Theo Yedlin.

Dr. Yedlin is the only doctor around, apparently, since even after he shows a great willingness not to listen, they don’t just freeze him up again for another doctor. Anyway, like most people from the old world, Theo doesn’t like his new future, and he doesn’t like what’s going on where Jason is a dictator is in charge of everything.

The second season is a lot more about how would a town survive in a hostile world where they can’t get the resources they need and the locals want to kill you. Oh, and if you fail, the last of humanity goes.

The abbies are much more of a threat this time around. There’s more of them, and they still want to break through the barrier. Everyone is stressed and on edge. Each episode throws in new challenges and stresses and shows both how the leadership deals with things and how the normal people do.

I think it’s an interesting look at this kind of society after everyone else in the world is gone. I enjoyed most of the episodes even if it is really different from the first season.

There’s a whole new cast, really, for this season. I think out of all the new characters, CJ stands out for me. He’s thoughtful and careful while still being intense. The others are alright, though I will say Doctor Yedlin annoys me at times. He’s definitely abusing the fact that he’s useful.

I do have a higher than normal amount of spoiler thoughts, so they will follow. If you liked season 1, and I thought it was alright, might as well see where the story goes. Now for some spoiler thoughts.

I originally didn’t like them taking an all new cast of characters. The season 1 characters are mostly back for a few episodes. Out of everyone, Megan surprisingly survived and is around for a while! Pilcher, too, is also in a lot of flashbacks. It’s cool to have callbacks to season 1, but they already had the perfect reason why those characters would no longer be in season 2, Jason froze all of them! But they bring them back just for a few episodes each anyway.

There are some nice callbacks to the first season, too, and seeing more of the founding of the town is cool. The season ends with just as much of a what’s next feeling as the first season, but with completely different circumstances.

I feel that most of Doctor Yedlin’s complaints about how the town is run should be for after Humanity gets back on their feet. If your entire population is in one town protected by a wall, some extreme measures need to be taken. Of course Jason still made quite a few bad decisions, too. Overall, living in that kind of place will do that to a person.

I am not expecting a season 3, but if one comes along, sure, I’ll watch it.