Three film sequels that are not wanted

 

Whenever a sequel to a film is released there is always tension about whether or not it will be able to stand up to the original; this problem is especially prevalent with sequels to very successful original films, like Aliens to Alien. This example is of course a happy one as not only was Aliens financially successful but also a brilliant film matching the quality of the original and continuing the story of Ripley seamlessly. However, such success is not always the case and sometimes sequels flop. What is perhaps worse than this though, is when a sequel is made that nobody was asking for or wanted, either due to its lack of necessity in telling the story or because it has simply been so long that there is no possible reason anybody thought a sequel was possible anymore; here are three films which fall into this latter category.

  1. TOP GUN 2

Apparently, this is going to happen, and with Tom Cruise already championing this project there is no real reason to believe it won’t. This reboot was recently announced a solid 31 years since the original movie hit screens in 1986; a classic example of a film being launched so far after the original that there can be very few reasons for doing so other than to make money, a quality that rarely leads to a great film (unless we want to believe James Cameron pitched Aliens as Alien$). Although this film is still in its very early stages its lack of originality reeks and already it is not difficult to predict the horrible manifestation of a film that awaits at the end of this journey.

 

  1. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL

A golden oldie for hating sequels, this 2008 effort is one all turn to when in need of an example of an unwanted sequel, shown most by its receiving harsh criticism from fans. The film itself is actually not all terrible as shown by the critical consensus (65 on Metacritic), but the 19-year hiatus in the series led to confusion amongst fans who were unsure of the necessity of a sequel. The release of the film was met with contempt and Spielberg was accused of beating a dead horse in order to gain money from the name of the franchise. With this all born in mind the latest is that we might expect an Indian Jones 5 as well as a reboot with a new Indy… Yay…

 

  1. THE LEGEND OF CONAN

Just, why? Another morbid equestrian flogging seems to be the case as recently Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed his interest in a number of sequels and reboots, amongst which was the Legend of Conan. With the success of the original sequels (no, just no) one does wonder why such a reboot would be necessary. Fortunately, answers can be provided as this film would supposedly forget most of the old films and be the beginning of its own cinematic universe. Just gonna leave that there. This really claims the crown for time between films, as it has begun its life a mere 35 years after the first film roared onto screens. Can people not just come up with original ideas? At this rate, there will only be films available in about three or four different universes.

 

 

Advertisements

Alien Covenant: Review

alien covenant

For a start, Alien Covenant provides some much needed answers to the end of Prometheus, and helps to explain quite where that film was heading. In a way, the answers that we receive in the newest instalment provides a new purpose and interest to Prometheus which that film was lacking, as despite all its talking, little progress was made. However, Covenant helps to complete Prometheus’ story, but also set up some new questions: did they ever make it to Origae-6? What happened to the Alien and humans once they were there? With Scott not ruling out further expansion in the series, one feels these questions could very well be answered.

Alien Covenant also saw a much needed return of action and horror that was sorely missing in Prometheus. Some of the scenes are so intense and the part seen in the trailer, with quarantine regulations in the medical bay, was one of the best scenes of the film. The tension that was built during this was immense and it showed Scott was still able to create the same horrifying grip that the original held on audiences. Sadly these moments of action or horror/tension are often then spoilt by extended dialogue between two characters to explain what is going on, as if it wasn’t entirely plain at points, and ultimately this is a failure to show the audience and have them work out the points from shots, something that made the original so good. These long periods of speech dull any fear that has been built, and at points get very weird: the whole Michael Fassbender on Michael Fassbender action is straight from fan fiction, and ultimately drawn out too long.  This being said I do think that Covenant does a good job of creating tension and fear, despite the now well known Alien no longer having the shock factor it originally had due to the success of the franchise.

Covenant also shows a nice mix of Alien and Aliens in its genre, combining the horror of the original with elements of Aliens’ action packed, shoot-up style. This movie meets in the middle of the two and this works nicely for it, as it helps to show that this is still an Alien film, despite the different settings that the characters are found in compared to the originals, where they are more confined to buildings or spaceships.

Perhaps the biggest issue is with the number of crew there are on the ship. There are 15 members of the crew, compared to the 7 of the original (and cat), each married to another crew member, and the sheer volume of them leads to them treading on each others’ toes in regards to the role they have in the movie. As a result each of the characters lacks depth, and this is compounded by the films gleeful willingness to kill them off; essentially this is the most evidence of “crew expendable” yet seen in one of these films. Danny Mcbride’s Tennessee is the best of the characters with his cowboy hat, while Katherine Waterston’s Daniels is overcome with grief, but the film really struggles to show her character until the end. Had there been less crew members then perhaps each character would have had more depth and so their deaths could have been more shocking. Instead we are left with crew members dying and not really anyone missing them.

Alien Covenant is a nice return to some of the aspects that made the original Alien so scary and brilliant. A mixture of Alien and Aliens is presented and creates a story that moves along with jumps and scares, sadly to be bogged down by the heavy handed dialogue that made Prometheus dull. This combined with a forgettable crew are the main issues, but Alien Covenant is very enjoyable and should be seen by any fan of the series.

67/100

Movies to look forward to in 2017

With 2016 drawing to a close the dawn of a new year approaches and, quite frankly, the films coming out in 2017 are quite incredible. Here are just a few which I am most excited for:

LOGAN

The final instalment for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine having done 9 X-Men films in the past 17 years. Logan is a new look for Wolverine with the now aged hero living in a dystopian future for mutants. this movie is gritty and looks to provide closure for fans of those who have followed the X-Men movie franchise from its very beginning in 2000. Charles Xavier is once again played by Patrick Stuart, and Dafne Keane joins the crew to play Laura, and perhaps provides a future for mutants after all. Logan is out in March.

LALA LAND

Ok, so for Americans this movie is not a 2017 one, however it is not out until January 13th in the UK, and the hype being built about it from the States is enough to make me very excited. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play Mia and Sebastian, an aspiring actress and jazz musician. They fall in love and the film follows their romance as it is challenged by the rising success of each of the characters. Directed by Damien Chazelle who has apparently done an incredible job in bringing the film together, LaLa Land is a film to see, and one which is set to claim many Oscar nominations.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

A real version of the classic Disney Princess movie from 1991 which was the first Disney cartoon to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens come together in this modernised retelling of the story released in March, and early opinions are very positive about it.

JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2

Keanu Reeves returns as the hit-man John Wick for a second film to be released in February. The success of the first movie, both commercially and to critics was enough to convince the requirement of a second, and although the plot is not known, it can be guaranteed to be another action packed, thrill ride adventure.

LEGO BATMAN

Following the surprise success of Lego movie, the Lego Batman movie is perhaps not as surprising as it would first appear. Will Arnet returns as Batman/Bruce Wayne with Ralph Fiennes as Alfred and Michael Cera as Robin. Chris McKay directs and his involvement in the Lego movie suggests the project is in the hands of a man who knows what he is doing. The early trailers for this movie have been great, very funny and the character Batman seems to me to be like a more PG version of Archer. Due to release in February, Lego Batman looks like great fun.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL.2

The return of the entire original cast as our favourite band of space saviours, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldama, Bradley Cooper and Dave Bautista, is very exciting indeed. The original film was great fun and with a fantastic soundtrack to match was a surprise hit for a not so very well known comic book made into a film. The trailers for the new film look as though they continue the fun and energy found in the first film; with a release date in April 2017, the new film is one to look forward to during the cold winter months of the New Year.

WONDER WOMAN

The disappointment that was Batman V Superman did give some positives, one of which was Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The success of her character has now been followed with a solo film for her, and I believe is the first female lead super hero movie in this new generation of super heroes.  Wonder Woman is drawn into war from her seclusion following the crash landing of American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). He informs the unknowing Amazons of the global catastrophe and Wonder Woman is left with no choice but to follow Trevor and go to war for the sake of humanity. So many reasons to be excited for this film, but we must wait until June.

ALIEN: COVENANT

Director Ridley Scott returns again to the sci-fi genre on which he founded himself. Alien Covenant picks up where Prometheus left off, but a few years down the line. A crew on the ship, Covenant, are travelling across the galaxy when they see a planet which presents itself as a possible paradise, but which is in fact a hell hole, and the planet on which the events of Prometheus took place. With Fassbender and Noomi Rapace returning the film must intend to provide explanation to what took place in the inbetween years from Prometheus to Covenant, and also aims to link more definitively with the Alien movies. Due to be released in May.

So there are just a few of the great movies to look forward to next year and I, for one, cannot wait! Have a great New Year!!

Batman vs Superman: Thoughts and Opinion

The recent blockbuster smash Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has been torn to shreds by many reviewers, so here I am to give the opinion (my opinion) of a movie and comic book fan. Although underwhelming compared to what could have been, the movie was not completely dire, and undeserving of its current rating on sites like rotten tomatoes, where the score stands around 31%. So here’s to a slightly different look, a spotlight on the positives, as there were some and thus there is much to be excited about for the future of DC in the movieverse. The following review is entirely my opinion on things, feel free to interject, refute and offer your own thoughts. I have also attempted to keep this review spoiler free, so read on without fear of ruining the film for yourself.

The movie’s layout made it appear to be split in two, with the first half centring mostly on Bruce Wayne and his attempts to discover Lex Luther’s evil machinations. This part of the movie was good, enjoyable to watch, giving a good introduction to Affleck’s Batman and giving some story to the whole movie, without going over the top on mad action scenes. This also saw the introduction of Gal Gadot, and set up her later appearance as Wonder Woman. The last hour was when the madness began, and the movie slipped into a CGI fest reminiscent of Man of Steel, creating excessive destruction for the shits and giggles of doing so, repeating similar scenes and generally lacking an inventive conclusion to what promised to be a good movie. However, within there was good to draw from amongst the carnage.

Affleck’s Batman was fabulous to see; clearly the intent was to give the audience this hardened and grizzled Bruce Wayne, now older and tired due to the amount of time he has spent fighting crime. Aesthetically this batman was very cool, the suit looked great and it was clear Affleck worked hard to get in shape (the guy was fucking HUGE!!!). Obvious comparisons to the Batman created by Nolan and brought to life by Christian Bale in the most recent reincarnation of Batman can be made, but I refrain from doing so for some reasons. The two Batmen are very different; they have different characters, with Affleck’s Batman being most similar to the Batman seen in Dark Knight Rises: the older and scarred Bruce Wayne. But the movies give both Batmen different problems and although both attempt to portray a realistic Batman, there is clearly an element of the unbelievable with the involvement of Superman and other such characters and events, which Nolan was careful to avoid in his adaption. Bale’s Batman is written very differently too as he encompasses the journey of Batman, where as Affleck’s is centred very much on this end stage in Batman’s career. Affleck’s appearance in the movie contributes to the character, with slightly greying hair and a worn out look in his eyes, he approaches problems with two options, either as Bruce Wayne or “The Bat”. There is a very definite distinction between the two, again suggesting perhaps that time has taken its toll and it has become necessary for Bruce to see the Batman identity in this way so as to avoid overlap with his life outside of crime and fighting. Ben Affleck’s Batman is a fresh take on the character and it gives me much hope and excitement about potential future films that may be made involving him.

Along with Affleck’s strong performance was the incredible job done by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The wait for a female superhero finally over, and boy, did Gadot knock this out of the park. Her scenes with Wayne were very interesting and the two actors seemed to connect and gave a very convincing performance that made the majority of the movie a pleasure to watch. Without wishing to give too much away, of course, but Gal Gadot’s performance was magical. She suited the character down to the ground, emitting power with her mere presence in scenes and again, as with Batman, the costume design was on point giving this Amazonian warrior complete dominance on the screen, and it is only a shame that she features relatively little overall. Gadot’s heroin is a relief from the male dominance held on the super hero world and this in particular (though obviously the pure badassness of the character contributes significantly also) makes this another super hero to be extremely excited for the upcoming movie and the future involvement of Wonder Woman in DC’s cinematic unverse.

The main fault with the movie lies with the involvement of Superman (despite him being a title character…hear me out just one sec), not to any particular fault of Henry Cavill, who played Clark Kent and the Kryptonian hero well. As with Man of Steel (a movie I dislike for its lack of story and attempts to cover this up with repetitive and unnecessary CGI destruction), there seems to be the idea that a Superman movie must involve massively excessive CGI effects, resulting in giant slug fests that level cities and destroy buildings without a concern for consequence. What made the Batman-Wonder Woman first half of the movie good was that there was story, with not pure madness and carnage from the outset; both characters act detective outside of their super hero guise and this gives time to digest and appreciate the action sequences when they come along. You would have thought that Clark Kent, an investigative journalist, would have the potential to do something similar, instead he spends most of his time on trivial tasks that leave the character without depth and he seems out of place in the movie as both other protagonists develop the plot towards its conclusion, where as Superman just breaks things.

Some quick side-notes: The soundtrack for this movie was great, Wonder Woman’s music was sublime, completely fitting the character and adding to the epic shadow her formidable presence already casts.

The actual showdown between Batman and Superman is done very well, not excessively destructive and very interesting to see how the characters react to the presence of one another (one of the many things that drives Bruce Wayne to the edge is this Super Human presence).

And finally I would say the movie was, for the most part, Aesthetically pleasing, well shot, and for this Zach Snyder deserves credit (amongst many others).

In conclusion I would say that this movie is worth a watch if you are a fan of the genre, perhaps even if not. It provides a platform for the future of DC’s movies and introduces some very interesting characters. Once again it feels, as with Man of Steel, that overuse of CGI ruined what could have been a solid film, along with some dubious decisions by characters and a fairly ludicrous (even for a comic book movie…IKR?!) conclusion. 5.6/10