The Croods

A prehistoric adventure with a cave family and the apparent end of the world! It’s like a more serious version of Ice Age: Continental Drift. But the movie isn’t that serious. It does treat everything smarter and tells a good story with its cast. The movie follows the Crood family, especially the adventureous daughter: Eep, and the overprotective father: Ugg.

Ugg wants to do everything the same as always and hide in the cave. Eep wants to see what else is out there and runs into another cave man, Guy. Guy happens to be slightly more evolved. He brings out ideas while being not as great physically. Oh, and the continents are breaking apart.

Hilarity ensues as Guy trys to escape the coming disaster with the Croods following along. What I really like about the film is the fantasy element of it. I don’t know much about prehistoric animals, but I’m pretty certain there were no land whales or tigers with giant heads. But it adds a fun and wonder-filled element to the movie that doesn’t feel out of place at all. The visuals are great in this.

Ugg is actually the person that changes most while Eep and Guy mostly just matures over the course of their adventure. But Ugg is done really well.

One thing I like about the movie is how there’s no bad guy. Too many disaster movies feel the need to throw in some jerk or other for some reason. Not here. Alright, maybe Ugg, but he’s not that bad at all. You can feel everyone’s point, even though Ugg’s is pretty obviously in the wrong for their situation.

The finale is a pretty great spectacle that brings together a lot over the course of the movie.

If there’s one thing I’ll complain about, it would be Guy’s backstory. Now I did watch the TV version, so it might have been cut out, but the part where Guy explains what happened to his family sort of came out of nowhere. It’s just really lucky Guy and Ugg landed in the exact situation for Guy to explain his tale.

Other than that, the film is great fun all around with a great cast, cool animals, and a fanciful locale.

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300: Rise of an Empire

I saw a TV version, so I will blame TV edits for most of the fight scenes being worse than the original 300. And I’m pretty certain that’s accurate since they cut out most of the direct hits. But there is something worse about the fights that can’t be excused by TV edits, and that’s the overuse of slow motion. I know it was awesome in the first film, but this time, they use it so much more.

300: Rise of an Empire, is the sequel to 300. Perhaps it came too late for people to still be interested, though. I liked seeing more of the war, how some other parts of Greece was doing, but the film doesn’t execute as well as the first one on most things.

This time, we follow Themistocles, an Athenian general and his defense of the coast. Now him, I liked. He’s great and works as a counterpart to Leonidas. Themistocles is the tactician. He has sly strategies that helps his group claim victory against an overwhelming Persian navy.

The other characters on the Greeks side, though, feel mostly forgettable. Like knockoffs of what they had in the first 300.

I do like what they did to the Persians in this film, though. It gave a lot more context to the war. It’s not historically accurate, but I appreciate how the Persians are no longer some monstrous army. And the main antagonist of the film, Atermisia, is done really well. She’s an intense character that commands the screen whenever she shows up and works really well as someone to fight Themistocles. Atermisia has a intense backstory, and it shows through her modern actions. Her intensity is just always turned way up.

Overall, I do want to see more of the war between Greeks and Persians told through an over the top style, but they need to make things better than the original 300.

Star Wars Rebels, Series Finale

Aw, it’s over. It was quite a wonderful journey. Star Wars Rebels is an animated show set in the Star Wars universe. When it first started, the exact timeframe was a bit ambiguous. All we knew was that it was some time before Episode 4 and after Episode 3, closer to 4. It started off as a bunch of individual episodes on the crew of the Ghost, including Jedi Kanan and his new apprentice, Ezra Bridger. Together, they get a lot of growth throughout the series with Ezra becoming pretty formidable in his own right.

But wait, doesn’t that mean there are other Jedi out there in the Universe when Luke should be the only one around? Well, the series does explain that.

The other members of the Ghost are all great, as well. And as always, Star Wars really knows how to make a cool and engaging droid character, even if Chopper only speaks in beeps. All of the droids are legimate characters with their own stories at times.

As the show goes on, it gets more and more settled into the galaxy of Star Wars. I was really glad to find out it only takes place a few years at most before Episode 4. And towards the end of the series, it was probably right before the start of Rogue One.

The last season of Star Wars Rebels starts several long storylines instead of a few shorter ones. They really put the characters through a lot of stuff, but they come out better and stronger than before. It’s a bit of a change, but it really makes the last season feel grand.

The final conflict goes back to Lothal, Ezra’s home planet. The show started there, and it ends there with the Rebels trying to get the Empire off and retaking the planet. To do that, they call in all the allies they accumulated over the course of the series. None from the Rebellion, though, since the Rebellion is busy dealing with the Empire in other locations. So it’s just their little rebel band.

It brings the show back to a more initimate setting, where everyone is important and has a stake in what’s going on.

The show also doesn’t forget about mystical Force stuff. There was a lot of wonder in the previous seasons, and there is a lot of it in this season. The Force feels so wonderful and amazing here. There are quite a bit of amazing pieces going on.

Star Wars Rebels is a great addition to the Star Wars story. It might feel a bit kiddy at times, but then at other times they go and do some serious stuff that shows a lot of heart from everyone. And as the show gets more settled into the galaxy, it just gets better. I so want more from the animated side of Star Wars. Perhaps a sequel series, eh? The ending left much to be explored.

Cloud Atlas

I fee like I need to read something to process what I watched. Alright, I’m exaggerating a bit. This movie tells six (I think) stories about the same characters that get reborn in different times. That means the same actors are playing multiple people. Individually, I understood all of the stories aside from the future of Neo Seoul. Combined, I’m not sure if it was worth the effort.

Does the premise of the movie work? Having the same actors in their different lives throughout time? For the most part, yes, I enjoyed that. It added some extra emotion to scenes. For other characters, it was pointless to have same actors playing them.

The makeup was done pretty well, though. There were times I didn’t even realize characters were played by the same actor. However, I could always tell when characters were wearing a mask.

The stories are cool pretty cool and cover a wide range of styles and tone. And while the movie jumps around a lot, I was never confused by what was happening. I could keep track of what story I was in and at what point of the story, so good on the editing.

But taken as a whole, it doesn’t feel as grand as it wants to be. I already mentioned that above, I know. the stories all chain together, but it’s not hugely important to figure out how they link. Out of the plots, I enjoyed the After Fall one the best. I think it’s cool and shows off a interesting world.

Hmm, this sort of feels like the movie where I would pick up on new information on a rewatch, but this movie is almost 3 hours long. Once is enough for me. It was a fun ride, though, that I enjoyed. All six stories were pretty fun to watch, and they stayed coherent through a lot of jumping around. If you have time to spare, its a fun story with many different tones going on.

Also, the ending credits was cool seeing which actors played which characters. That was fun.