Pacific Heat Review

pacificheat_sdp_approved

Pacific Heat is a new animated show made for Netflix about an Australian police squad who, despite their best efforts to do good, lack the brains and ability to do good. An interesting starting point and of course it immediately lends itself to comparison with the beloved show Archer. Unfortunately, Pacific Heat fails in a number of ways and rather than trying to simply emulate the success of the show Archer, it is quite clear that little imagination has been used to develop a new and unique idea that is separate from Archer.

One issue which I have with Pacific Heat is the quality of the show’s appearance. The animation is styled differently to Archer, slightly, with more angles and lines which is in itself quite attractive. The issue arises when effects are needed, such as explosions or fire, and here the lessened quality really shows and looks highly out of place with the overall appearance of the series’ style. The appearance of the show though is the least of its problems, and a constant falling point is the lack of main character. Following around the team of four main characters, there are times when a main character is implied, but one never steps forward. This leaves the story without focus and I found led to none of the characters really developing properly. The lack of character progression through the series left each episode lacking any reason for me to keep watching, and by the end of the series it was a struggle to keep going.

There were some funny points though, and some of the humour was good and provided me with some chuckles. Again, though, a few major issues arise with the show’s idea of fun. The thematic jokes that occurred in multiple episodes were lacking any real laugh value, and their recurrence was not appreciated. The biggest problem though was the seeming confusion between offensive and funny. This is a line which Archer runs very finely, but he seems to be forgiven for it, as either the ruder stuff can be dumped on the main character for being an abhorrent human being, or the jokes never really go too far in to out right offensive. Pacific Heat was much less concerned with subtlety, and there were points where i physically cringed as dubious sexism and racism was splurted out with little attempt to hide it. The women of the show are consistently used to sex up an episode by them removing their clothes to work “undercover”, and the criticism of certain foreign characters’ English speaking skills are just a couple of points where the mute button and duvet seemed to be the only solution to rid the festering scenes which were unfolding.

Ultimately the show is one which is trying to pick up on the success of another, but seems to misunderstand what made Archer successful, resulting in an unfunny and offensive turd of a portrayal of entertainment.

Advertisements

Stranger Things -Binge Watching Supreme

As I settled down on the sofa, blanket wrapped around me with sweets ready at hand, and pressed play on the remote to start Stranger Things, I must concede to not having quite been fully in the mood for committing to a new TV show. My mind, however, was instantly changed when the show got rolling, and what had been intended as a break from more serious work turned into an accidental marathon of the series.

Stranger Things tells the stories of a group of friends, young boys, and their families, set in the early 1980’s. When one of the boys goes missing, we see the different attempts by the groups to understand what has happened, but soon it is revealed that a more sinister and fantastical reason may be responsible for the boy’s disappearance than most seem to believe.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the different groups: the mother and brother of the missing boy, the police sheriff, the boy’s friends and finally the sister and family of Will who is the leader of the pack of boys who have lost their friend. The appearance of a girl, almost mute and dressed in a hospital gown only adds to the complicated story. Will takes her in but it soon becomes clear that she is no ordinary child. As the series progresses these stories become ever so more entwined, and the characters are explored further both with flashbacks and the way in which they adapt and handle the ever evolving situation they find themselves in.

The soundtrack is excellent too and really helps to set the scene for a 1980’s town, whist adding in elements of sci-fi and horror (and acoustically reminding me to some extent of the original Tron). The cast is strong and all give grand performances, and most pleasing is the strength of child acting, considering that much of the story revolves around them, they really hold their end up.

With twists and turns the whole way through, touching moments and characters of great depth and interest to the reader, and a cool cross over between the comic books and games which the gang of boys enjoy so much, Stranger Things is a TV show that will grab you, hold, and then leave you wanting more.

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