Next Gen

What I expected: Wall-e mixed with Flubber

Next Gen is an animated science fiction movie where robots are everywhere. And I mean everywhere. They’re even the dispoable ramen bowls that self make-themselves while advertising. And Mei, the main character, hates all of that. She is a young girl sorely missing human interaction. Her mother is a robot addict, and even school bullies outsource their bullying to the robots.

Then she meets, well, hmm, an experimental robot that’s not given a name. He has a project number, but that’s about it. He kicks off a change in Mei. First, he turns her more violent when she discovers he is full of weapons. Yes, the robot friend is armed to the teeth.

This movie is on Netflix, and I don’t know its official ESRB rating, but I would say it is pushing PG into PG-13. This movie can get quite violent at times, and Mei is a girl full of anger. When your mother spends more time with a robot buddy than you, it tends to cause issues.

The world is quite fun, showing off how everything is a robot. There are lots of jokes about it, and I like the feel. It does paint a picture where somehow, people still have things to do despite robots doing everything. I mean, kids are going to school for some reason. The main reason in film is to give Mei relatable kid problems.

The animation is great. Towards the end of the movie, there are several gorgeous shots. Mei and her robot friend both show a lot of touching moments. They work great together and really make the film fun to watch. Both of them grow throughout the film, though Mei especially. The just-activated robot turns out to be a great teacher and just what she needs. I like the problems Mei deals with is less relating to robots and just what happened to her family. Yet, the futuristic world still comes through at being important.

Next Gen is a fun science fiction movie with a lot of heart between the two main characters. It does get dark and serious, showing the issues a troubled girl gets into. It is on Netflix and is entertaining. The world is fun and the story is good.

Spoiler thoughts.

I did not expect the huge amount of weapons and actions scenes. Whoa. The main antagonist could be better, though. Though they are really creepy, I’ll give them that.

What I got: iRobot mixed with Gundam

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Mr. Peabody & Sherman

I know that this is based on a cartoon. I just have not seen it before. So I’ll be taking on the movie as a new viewer.

I like the premise of a dog adopting a boy. And what’s even more fun is how no one cares that this one dog called Mr Peabody can talk and is pretty much the smartest being on the planet. And it can’t even be excused to people just getting used to him as even when he time travels backwards, no one cares.

That’s right, Mr. Peabody has invented a time machine. And he uses it to teach his adoptive son, Sherman, about history. They have fun, wacky adventures with Mr. Peabody being awesome at getting out of any scrapes they get themselves into. But then comes a new adventure. Sherman has to go to school. And Sherman pretty much gets into trouble that results in a whole new set of time travel shenanigans.

Sherman gets into a fight with his classmate, Penny, and as a result, Mr. Peabody invites Penny and her parents over to try and smooth things over. Penny then gets into the time machine. The movie follows their series of events, perhaps even unfortunate events, as they try to get back home with a lot of things going wrong.

It’s fun and they don’t really gloss over the violent parts of history. Instead, they present it in a kid-friendly way that’s done really well. They go to several time periods, my favorite of which is the renaissance. That place is colorful and fun. In fact, all of the historical figures they meet are great.

And the relationship between Mr. Peabody and Sherman is really strong. They build it up over the course of the film where Mr. Peabody slowly stops being an intellectual all the time and becomes more caring.

I enjoyed Penny’s character. She starts out antagonistic to Sherman but after the time traveling starts, they become friends. It just happens really quick, too quick really. And out of the three main characters, she’s the one that’s the most useless. The movie is only called Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but Penny feels pretty much just there to fill a female character slot.

But the movie is fun with a lot of historical jokes and a great relationship between the two main characters. The ending is quite a blast, too.

The Expanse

Thank you Amazon for giving this show another season! This is the best science fiction show on TV. It started off a bit confusing, but now, everything is settling into place and the bigger picture is being revealed. Season 3 finishes up the 2nd book and actually finishes the entirety of the 3rd book. That means the 3rd book is done in about half the season, making it feel a bit more rushed than the other parts. I’m still not sure why they didn’t do 1 season a book.

Anyway, this show is just getting better all the time. From the effects to the characters and the story, things are getting intense. And have I mentioned how awesome Amos is? Because he is.

The 2nd book ended a bit abruptly and the start of the 3rd book can seem kind of jarring. Since it happens in the middle of the season, people might feel that there’s just an unexplained timejump. Why is Prax just suddenly gone and all the other fallout of what happened skipped over? Because new book, that’s why!

Still, the second half of the season is fantastic. It gets so much more majestic now that the mysteries behind the protomolecule are unravelling. The pacing is faster, but it still manages to build up the new characters great. Ashford, in particular, is done really well. He’s a great foil to Drummer, who is now in command of the Belter expedition to the Ring.

What I wanted is a bit of a slowdown on two parts. One, I want to feel the full foreboding and strangeness of the space inside the ring. I feel everything happens too fast to give it the awe and anxiousness it deserves. They show people worrying a bit, but I really wanted more large shots of all the ships inside the space, trapped and unable to get out.

The second thing I needed slowed down was Melba. Well, this is going into spoilers, so I’m not going to say much. I’ll say that what the show gave us towards the end was enough, but more wouldn’t hurt.

The Expanse is fantastic, and I am so looking forward to what’s coming next. I haven’t read the books, so I have no idea! Let’s do this.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Ah, this movie brings back memories. Not complete ones. I was young when the first Independence Day came out, but I went to see it, and that movie was so great to me. So I was pretty excited for a sequel. There are many things I concentually like about this film. For one, it takes place in real time. The sequel came out 20 years later, and in their version of the world, 20 years had passed. And society developed entirely differently thanks to the arrival of aliens. I got to see enough of the world, and it looked pretty great until the aliens attacked again.

I still had a lot of fun in the film, though it was overstuffed. The characters weren’t that fun or interesting. Really, there was just a lack of meaningful character interaction all around. And there are a lot of characters around just to be love interests. Aside from repelling the alien invasion, that was the main story arc for about half of the characters.

The movie has a lot of great action scenes in space, in strange locations, and on earth. Thanks to modern cinema special effects, the aliens are now a lot more comfortable taking on humans on foot. I say it works well. The first film, they were mysterious. Now, humans have studied them for twenty years, so the time for mysterious is over. It’s time for aliens to bring in the big guns, hard. And that they do. Their new mothership is really impressive in scale.

Overall, there was a lot of character and plots they could have cut from the movie. But on an individual level, I don’t know which ones they should cut. I was entertained by most of the side plots. They might not be necessary, but I wasn’t bored following them. Perhaps I would remove the pyschologist (David’s new love interest).

One side plot I really liked was Julius (David’s father). He had the least to do with anything, but his part showed off more of what normal people was going through while the invasion was happening. It wasn’t dark, either, but a rather different take on everything to the story.

What I really like about the film is seeing the kids of the first movie now all grown up and taking the charge in the fight. Despite both of them being played by different actors, it was still nice to see.

But the film overall is just an excuse for a lot of space battles and explosions. The characters aren’t compelling enough, and there are too many of them. And the big epic speech wasn’t as great as what we got in the first film. Or the speech from Pacific Rim. Or Lord of the Rings. And that’s a shame.

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.

The Orville

This show, this is my favorite new show of the season. Almost everything about this makes me happy. The marketing for this show misrepresented it as a comedy. It is not. This is a serious show about a union that explores the galaxy and tries for diplomacy first. The show is serious, the characters are more laid back, despite being military. It’s a lot like scrubs. The situatiions that characters are put into are dangerous and potentially dire, but the characters themselves are jokey and more like regular people.

Alright, I admitted this in my Star Trek movie reviews (I think) but I only saw a few episodes of Star Trek. From what I hear, this show really captures the tone of the show, including some of the cheesiness. It’s also hopeful and optimistic about what we can achieve in the future along with our alien allies. There are a lot of world, or rather, galaxy-building hints dropped in this first season that I really want followed up on, but they have built an interesting place that I want to explore and know more about.

The crew are all great. Each episode focuses on one or two of them while the other’s act as backup. And I like everyone. While the show is written by Seth MacFarlane, and he also plays the captain, the show doesn’t focus on him more than anyone else. He plays Captain Ed Mercer, a likeable guy that is sometimes awkward, but he shows off multiple times why he’s the captain. He is does his job well and tries to treat everyone fairly.

His first officer is Kelly Grayson, who is perhaps the most serious member of the crew. She mostly has great scenes with other crew members, but she’s also really good at her job, and we get to see that a few times over the season.

Next up is Bortus, the second officer. I think he has the least amount of focus, but his mannerisms are great. And he pretty much steals the scene whenever he’s the focus. Sometimes even when he’s not. Alara is the security officer, and I think she has the second-most development out of all the cast. She’s a great character, too. Great at what she does, but insecure about other things.

The pilot is Malloy, who perhaps has the second-least amount of focus. But he is great friends with everyone, and that plays well across the show. There’s Lamarr, the navigator, who initially starts out pretty normal, like anyone else. He gets a bit of focus later on that could build into something cool. We’ll have to see next season.

Doctor Finn is the ships medical officer. I think she has some great moments now and again, and I actually enjoy the scenes with her kids. They start off annoying, but they quickly become endearing. I think some more scene of her and them together will be great. The last crew officer is Isaac, the science officer. He’s perhaps my second-favorite of the crew. He’s a robot trying to study human life and interactions. Much like Bortus, he’s a scene-stealer, but he also has his science knowledge that I like.

The show goes to a lot of interesting scenarios. I say scenarios because most of the places they visit still look vaguely earth-like. Probably budget and stuff. But the crew has to deal with something interesting each time, and there’s not always a good solution to the problem. They just have to do their best.

This season was far too short. I really like The Orville and want more of it! It is not a parody, it is an homage and a serious show about a group of explorers and the situations they need to handle.