Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt. In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to stop Thanos from collecting the Infinity Stones.

Well what can I say except, well done! I was glued to my seat and my eyes were glued to the screen while watching this magnificent epic movie. This is what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building upto. Well, this and the sequel that comes out in a year’s time. Everything is so awesome and grandeur that I can’t pick my favourite moment. Thanos is a great villain; a great villain has a reason and a purpose and in his mind, he is the hero. He feels that his way is right and that is the way to save the universe. He is willing to do the ultimate sacrifice, giving up the only person he loves in the whole universe to achieve it.

Everyone is awesome in this movie.True some were focused on more than others and we also have characters like Hawkeye, Ant-Man and Valkyrie missing from this film. In fact, what happened to Valkyrie as she was on the ship that Thanos decimates. Loki is killed in the first few minutes of the movie. A bunch of them are killed off or cease to exist towards the end of the film as Thanos gets all the infinity stones and snaps his fingers, as he lets us know earlier on, and half the creatures of the universe are wiped out randomly. This includes Bucky Barnes, Drax, Groot, Mantis, Wanda Maximoff, Spider-man, Peter Quill, Dr. Strange, T’Challa, and Wilson. Nebula and Stark remain on Titan, while Banner, M’Baku, Okoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Thanos, healed, retreats to a small nipa hut as he watches the sunset in satisfaction.

Great fight scenes, great banter and some funny humourous moments peppered along the way. Oh and Thanos’s children are awesome too – I felt myself getting a crush on Proxima Midnight (depicted by Carrier Coon) as she looked so amazing and hot. And seeing Peter Dinklage as a giant dwarf (is there such a thing) was awesome too! All out a huge success. What will happen in the sequel? I give this movie a ……..9.5 outta 10!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) is a 2017 American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the eighth main installment of the Star Wars franchise, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). It was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The ensemble cast includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Frank Oz in returning roles, with Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro joining the cast. The film features the final film performance by Fisher, who died in December 2016, and it is dedicated to her memory. The plot follows Rey as she receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker, in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order.

So I finally got around to it and to be honest there were parts of it which I found to be boring in some parts and a bit predictable. I am not a big fan of Star Wars and I have this say this – I do not see why this franchise is so popular and why a lot of people find this franchise and universe so fascinating. I am not that impressed. Also I am one who likes the prequel trilogy and think that they were essential for us to understand the main characters in the original trilogy and especially Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader. And I wasn’t impressed with the Force Awakens which is just a rehash of A New Hope (JJ is known to do that, what say Star Trek : Into Darkness?) .

What did I like from the movie? The special effects, the fight scenes, the spaceship fight scenes, the light sabre fight scenes with Kylo & Rey and everything with Leia, Poe and his character development and the new character Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) who becomes a hero with her death. What didn’t make much sense is the new Jedi trick of projecting themselves across great distances of light years and interacting with someone, Luuke’s behaviour throughout his interaction with Rey, the casino “royale” scene which made no sense and the whole adventure that Finn & Rose go through to get the codebreaker – for nothing! And Phasma – wow, that was a slap in the face. I was expecting a lot from this character and they ruined it!

And what the heck is with the porgs if that’s what you call them? Stupid, idiotic looking animals. Luke, who is completely out of character in this film milking some animal and then drinking the milk that he just squeezed out of it’s tits? The final fight scene between Kylo and Luke – don’t get me wrong, it was cool but the fact that Luke was mind projecting all that while and not really there was a bit weird. And he dies or decides to die in peace once that is done as he looks up at the rising suns on his exile planet. Finn was a supporting character and not very impressive in this movie.

The Last Jedi had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 15, 2017. It has grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2017, the 7th-highest-ever grossing film in North America and the 9th-highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the second-highest-grossing film of the Star Wars franchise. It’s beyond me but then money and Disney and the Star Wars machine defies odds. 7.5 outta 10!

Annihilation

Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction horror film written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. The film stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac, and follows a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer”, a mysterious quarantined zone full of mutating landscapes and creatures. The film was released in North America by Paramount Pictures on February 23, 2018, and in other markets on March 12, 2018 by Netflix.

From the skies something flashes by and hits a lighthouse in an area in Southern California and a shimmer like dome appears surrounding it. Over the course of three years the area inside the shimmer, deemed Area X, grows and expands until it reaches almost city size. Cellular biology professor and former U.S. Army soldier Lena’s husband and Army Special Forces soldier named Kane is one of the military men sent in to investigate the inside of the shimmer as part of the 3rd group sent in – no one comes back out. A year later, after deemed to have been lost, Kane returns back home surprising Lena without much memory of what happened and suddenly become ill. Lena calls an ambulance but a government security force intercepts Lena and Kane on the way to a hospital and brings them to Area X.

Psychologist Dr. Ventress recruits Lena into the project, after being question by her as she feels that a group of scientists should follow the all military 3 expeditions. The research expedition consisting of them, physicist Josie Radeck, anthropologist Cass Sheppard, and paramedic Anya Thorensen. Lena does not reveal to her teammates, other than Ventress, that Kane is her husband. Once inside the shimmer they lose track of time and events that happened and their equipment save for supplies and ammo are useless. Inside the now swamp like environment they are attacked by a mutated crocodile which has teeth like a shark, which the manage to kill. They then find Kane & group’s base of operations inside an abandoned military center and in a memory card find a recording that shows Kane cutting open a living expedition member to reveal that something inside him is moving.

At night a mutated, bear-like creature drags Cass away and kills her; the following morning, the team see Cass’s boot. Lena investigates further alone, and she discovers the mutilated corpse of Cass, which she reveals to the others. As the team continues toward the lighthouse at the center of the shimmer, they find a settlement filled with human-shaped plants. Josie hypothesizes that the shimmer is acting on organisms the way a prism distorts and refracts light. The team members realize they are rapidly changing as well. That night when Anya discovers that Lena is Kane’s wife, she gets paranoid and restraints the other three. Anya hears what sounds like Cass screaming for help outside, and investigates. The creature that killed Cass enters the house, and the screams are coming from the creature. It kills Anya and attacks Lena before Josie shoots and kills the creature.

Ventress, who is dying of cancer, goes to the lighthouse alone while Josie, seemingly gives herself to the mutation happening and changes into a human shaped plant. A distraught Lena heads to the lighthouse where she finds a corpse, incinerated by a phosphorous grenade. A video recording footage in the camera next to him shows Kane ranting about the shimmer’s effects on him, urging someone offscreen to find Lena, and finally committing suicide and his doppelganger appears near him. Lena descends into the hole and finds Ventress, who tells her the forces at work will spread to encompass everything. Ventress disintegrates into a glowing nebulous structure that absorbs a drop of blood from Lena’s face and creates a humanoid entity that mimics Lena’s every motion and eventually transforms into an identical copy of her.

Lena manages, after a tussle, to set an active phosphorus grenade in its hands before fleeing. The creature is set ablaze by the grenade and it spreads the flames everywhere engulfing the lighthouse, and the various constructs in the area collapse and the shimmer fades away. Lena goes back and is questioned by the military while under quarantine and is reunited with the doppleganger Kane. She asks him whether he is the real Kane, to which he replies, “I don’t think so.” He asks her if she is Lena, to which she does not respond. The two embrace as their irises shimmer and shift in color.

Here is a scifi movie that is slow and methodical and yet brings enough intrigue and some terror and thoughtfulness into the plot. You are left wondering and guessing as the movie ends, which is what good scifi does. I will give it an 8 outta 10!

Pacific Rim Uprising

Pacific Rim Uprising is a 2018 American science fiction film directed by Steven S. DeKnight (in his feature-film directorial debut) and written by DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, and T.S. Nowlin. It is the sequel to the 2013 film Pacific Rim, with Guillermo del Toro, director of the original, serving as a producer here. The sequel stars John Boyega (making his producer debut) as well as Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Adria Arjona, and Zhang Jin, with Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman returning from the original film. Set in the year 2030, the plot follows humanity needing to again fight Kaiju, giant monsters set on destroying the world.

Set 10 years after the events of the 2012 film,  former Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost–son of Kaiju War hero Stacker Pentecost–makes a living by stealing and selling Jaeger parts on the black market. While trying to steal part of a disabled Jaeger’s power core, he and teenager Amara Namani (who stole the core to power her homemade and much smaller Jaeger, Scapper)  is arrested by the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps. His adoptive sister and PPDC General Secretary Mako Mori gives Jake a choice between prison and returning to the PPDC as an instructor. Both Jake and Amara, who is recognized for her talent, are taken to the PPDC where Jake starts training Jaeger program recruits with his estranged former co-pilot Nate Lambert. Nate and his sister reveal to him that the Jaeger program is threatened by Shao Corporation’s drone program, which offers to mass produce remote controlled Jaegers developed by Liwen Shao and Dr. Newt Geiszler.

Mako is due to deliver a final assessment to determine the authorization of the drones at a PPDC council meeting in Sydney, but is killed by rogue Jaeger Obsidian Fury before she can report. The drone program is authorized and before her death Mako reveals the location of a defunct Jaeger production facility in Russia, which she suspects Obsidian Fury is using as a base of operations. Before Jake and Nate can investigate the area in their own Jaeger, Obsidian Fury destroys the complex and engages them in battle. Upon destroying its reactor, they find that Obsidian Fury was controlled by a Kaiju’s secondary brain. Later, the drones are taken over by cloned Kaiju brains and simultaneously attack Shatterdomes worldwide, inflicting heavy casualties on the PPDC forces and incapacitating almost all Jaegers. Hermann Gottlieb seeks out Geiszler for help, unaware that Geiszler is the mastermind behind the attack, as he has been corrupted by regularly drifting with Kaiju brains.

Seeking to destroy the world for the Precursors, the alien race who created the Kaiju, Geiszler has installed a backdoor in the drone program so that the Kaiju brains could take over the drones, destroy the PPDC and open new breaches all over the world. Although Shao is able to destroy the drones, three powerful Kaiju successfully emerge from the Breaches and unite in Tokyo. The team realizes that the Precursors’ goal is to activate the Ring of Fire by having the Kaiju fall into Mount Fuji, where their blood will react with the volcano’s rare earth elements and activate all of the volcanoes volcano in the ring of fire, wiping out all life on Earth and terraforming the planet for their colonization. Using the recruits and 4 jaegers, the team launch an attack at the the Kaiju, Geiszler merges them into one gigantic beast that quickly overpowers the team. The PPDC use Gipsy Avenger, the last operational Jaeger to destroy the Kaiju with a rocket designed by Shao. In the aftermath, Geiszler is taken into custody by Nate.

The captive Geiszler threatens that his masters will attack the world over and over again. Jake replies that next time, humanity will be the ones attacking the Precursors. Setting up what could be an awesome third movie, which could be made if this movie is successful. I must admit, initially I was not impressed with the movie as it looked and felt like so many other films. The original movie was much better but in the second part of the film, things picked up and the action is riveting. Albeit the actors do look cheesy with all the stuff they have to do but it was fun. No characters really stand out. I’ll give it a 7 outta 10!

Black Panther

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler from a screenplay by him and Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T’Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict that has global consequences.

Apparently Wakanda, formed around a mountain where a meteorite of the alien metal vibranium crashed centuries ago, has 5 tribes that went to war with each other in order to rule Wakanda. A warrior ingested a “heart-shaped herb”, that was affected by the metal, and gained superhuman abilities. He became the first “Black Panther”, and united the tribes to form the nation of Wakanda, though the Jabari Tribe chose not to follow the Black Panther’s rule. Over time, the Wakandans used the vibranium to develop highly-advanced technology and chose to isolate themselves from the rest of the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992 Prince N’Jobo, who has abandoned Wakanda after became convinced that Wakanda’s isolationist policies had done more harm than good, and vowed to share its technology with people of African descent around the world in order to help them conquer their oppressors, is confronted by his brother, King T’Chaka, then the Black Panther. When N’Jobo threatens the undercover agent Zuri, T’Challa is forced to kill his own brother and leaves his nephew, who was born to N’Jobo and his American wife, on his own as an orphan. In 2018, T’Challa is taking his role as king after his father’s death when, as part of the ceremony, he is temporarily stripped of his powers, and the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown, but T’Challa defeats M’Baku in ritual combat, becoming the new king. He allows M’Baku to live.

T’Challa is joined at the ceremony by his mother, the current Queen Ramonda and younger sister Shuri as well his General Okoye and Nakia, a spy and his love interest. Ulysses Klaue, a black market arms dealer who N’Jobu had enlisted to infiltrate Wakanda and steal a cache of vibranium, had recently surfaced to sell a stolen Wakandan artifact to a buyer in Busan, South Korea, T’Challa’s closest friend W’Kabi—who lost his parents as a result of Klaue’s actions—urges him to bring Klaue to justice. T’Challa, Okoye & Nahia go to a nighclub in Busan to capture Klaue and run into CIA agent Everett K. Ross, who is posing as the buyer to apprehend Klaue. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda’s international image is just a front for a technologically advanced civilization, before being broken out by Erik, now an ex-U.S. black ops soldier who goes by the name “Killmonger”.

Ross is seriously injured during the attack, and T’Challa decides to take him to Wakanda where their technology can save him rather than pursue Klaue. Shuri heals Ross with vibranium, while T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu. Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda as a token, revealing his identity to the tribal elders and challenging T’Challa for the throne. He challenges T’Challa to ritual combat; during the battle, Zuri begs that he be killed in T’Challa’s place, so Killmonger kills him. Killmonger defeats T’Challa and hurls him over a waterfall. Killmonger is fed the heart-shaped herb, giving him the power of the Black Panther, and orders that the remaining heart-shaped herbs be incinerated. Nakia manages to extract one herb before the rest are burnt. Killmonger enacts his father’s plan and prepares shipments of Wakandan weapons to be distributed to operatives around the world, supported by W’Kabi and his army.

Nakia takes Ramonda, Shuri and Ross to the Jabari tribe where the group finds a comatose T’Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for him sparing M’Baku’s life. Healed by the heart-shaped herb brought by Nakia, T’Challa requests that M’Baku provide his aid to defeat the usurper to the throne, but M’Baku declines. T’Challa returns to Wakanda to complete his combat with Killmonger, as he had neither surrendered nor died. Killmonger commands W’Kabi and his army to attack T’Challa. While the Dora Milaje are initially loyal to Killmonger, they become disgusted with his actions and battle him, causing him to reveal he had stolen a Black Panther suit for himself. In the battle (with huge rhinos wearing vibranium armour) Shuri and Nakia fight alongside the Dora Milaje, while Shuri instructs Ross to remotely pilot a jet to shoot down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons before they can leave the country. M’Baku and the Jabari eventually arrive to fight alongside T’Challa.

T’Challa and Killmonger fall into Wakanda’s vibranium mine and continue to fight below. Okoye tells W’Kabi, her husband, that she who would kill him before abandoning the throne, causing him and his army to surrender. T’Challa uses sonic mining technology to temporarily disrupt Killmonger’s suit and fatally stab him. Killmonger declines an offer to be healed and imprisoned, choosing instead to die free as he watches the sun set over Wakanda. Rejecting Wakanda’s isolationism, T’Challa establishes an outreach center in Oakland to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda’s true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri continues to help Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.

I really like the movie but the fight scenes between T’Challa and his cousin Eric leaves a lot to be desired as it was dark and the CGi was choppy. Perhaps the fact that I was watching it in a PVR screen where they don’t do dark scenes well also is to blame but the fighting left me feeling unfulfilled. There’s a lot more to the film and it was done well. 8 outta 10!

Power Rangers (2017)

Power Rangers is a 2017 American superhero film based on the franchise of the same name, directed by Dean Israelite and written by John Gatins. It is the third Power Rangers film, and is a reboot. The film features the main characters of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series with a new cast, starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks.

I remember watching some of the tv shows as a kid and late into my teens and I remember watching the first movie once or twice. It was never one of my favourites as the franchise has always been aimed at kids and teens and never appealed to me much once I hit 20. This obsession with teens as superheros must have some qualities that certain people like but it never worked well for me. Over the years I had forgotten about this franchise and only remember it in 2011 when I started binge watching the show Flashpoint and saw that Amy Jo Johnson was also in Power Rangers.

This reboot has 5 young adults acting as teens who acquire the Power Coins in some rock formation. The Coins were brought to earth by the six interplanetary warriors, the Power Rangers, who arrived 66 million years ago, tasked with protective life on earth. They were betrayed and destroyed by a former Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa, but the leader Zordon is able to get their robot Alpha 5 to cause a meter shower that wipes out the dinosaurs and kills him while knocking off Rita into the bottom of the ocean where she supposedly dies and decays. Jason, Billy, Kimberly, Zack & Trini are forged into a team and practice their newly acquired super strength and powers.

A fishing boat pulls up Rita’s corpse and once out of the freezing cold, she thaws and attacks humans to gain her powers and former self back. Zordon’s consciousness is still in an ancient ship buried in an underground cavern beneath the sea. They have 11 days before Rita reaches full power and summons her minion Goldar (a creature made out of gold that she acquires from stores and very originally named) and destroys all life on earth. After training for 11 days the team finally bonds and discovers that they can morph and they have one major battle, in which much destruction is caused to buildings, landscape and vehicles (but I doubt if any human was killed) and Rita is slapped into space.

The kids return to their former lives and things are normal though they retain their powers. It’s a bit too cliched, formulaic and rushed and it’s not very entertaining either. I was happy to see Naomi Scott (who I last saw in the short lived Terra Nova) but the rest of the main cast of Rangers are new to me. Choosing Elizabeth Banks to be the villain was a bad idea. Bryan Cranston as Zordor? It’s more comical than anything and perhaps they should have done an animated version. The movie flopped at the box office and I am not surprised. 6 outta 10!

Ranking Planet Of The Apes Movies

I’m a big fan of science fiction movies and I love the Planet of the Apes franchise. Classic scifi that started in 1968 and they are really awesome. Here is my ranking of the 9 movies that they have made (including the two reboots). They even had two series based on the original movies but I haven’t watched them yet.

    • Planet of the Apes (1968 )
    • War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
    • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
    • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
    • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
    • Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
    • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
    • Planet of the Apes (2001)
    • Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Ye cash loans unemployed ah on the whole, I think Tim Burton’s attempt at a reboot was probably the weakest try but Battle is almost unwatchable. I still find it hard to watch that in my rewatch cycles (every 3 years or so.

Predestination

Predestination is a 2014 Australian science fiction thriller film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor, and is based on the short story “—All You Zombies—” by Robert A. Heinlein.

A time traveling agent is in 1975 and attempting to disarm a bomb to stop the “Fizzle Bomber”‘s attack on New York. Things go wrong and it explodes causing a fire and the agent is severely burnt on the arms and face. A stranger pushes his time traveling device closer to him, so the agent is able to go back to the future and is taken care for by the agency. He is given reconstructive surgery and told that he will look very different from before. After he recovers he takes on his final assignment and goes to 1970 and works as a bartender.

One night he meets John, who is a writer under the pseudonym “The Unmarried Mother” for magazines about true confessions. They start talking and John decides to tell the Bartender about his own life; he was born Jane in 1945. As a baby she was left on the doorsteps of an orphanage and raised there. She excelled in her studies growing up but never fit in and always got into trouble. As an adult she applied for a program called “Space Corp”, which promised women the chance to go to space while providing astronauts R&R, but she was later disqualified because of a medical condition which she was not informed of, which a man named Robertson was interested in. While taking classes one evening, she bumps into a man who says he was waiting for someone.

They hit it off and start talking and soon fall in love. Months later the man walks away from her, telling her he will be back shortly but never returns.  Robertson approached Jane, revealing that Space Corp worked for the Temporal Agency, and this agency now wanted to recruit her. However when they find out that she is pregnant she is rejected and left devastated. While performing a Caesarean section, doctors discovered she was intersex, with internalized male sex organs as well as female sex organs. Complications during the birth forced them to remove her female sex organs, and she had to undergo a gender reassignment and begin living as a man. Furthermore, the baby was stolen by a mysterious man. Since then, John has been living a bitter life as “The Unmarried Mother”.

The bartender tells John about his time traveling and tells him that he will take him to back to the day that Jane met the lover who left her, so John can take revenge and kill him for ruining her life. In return, John has take over the agent’s job for whatever duration he wishes. The agent and John jump to that day in 1963. John prepares to kill his past lover before he can meet Jane. While waiting, he encounters Jane, and when they begin talking, John realizes that Jane’s lover was him. The baby born from this “self-fertilization” is stolen by the agent and brought to the orphanage 18 years earlier, in 1945. Therefore, Jane, John, and their baby are the same person, revealing a predestination paradox. The agent then goes to 1975 and helps the the burned man from the beginning of the film.

He then goes to 1963 and takes John back to the Temporal Agency so John can take over his job and the agent can retire in 1975 New York. However his device doesn’t  decommission itself as planned and he is ordered to go to a laundromat where he sees the Fizzle Bomber who is actually the agent’s future &older self, now suffering from psychosis as a result of excessive time travel. he Fizzle Bomber insists that his actions have saved and will save more lives than the lives lost, and that they ultimately lead to the reinforcement of the Temporal Agency. He tries to convince the agent that the only way to end the cycle is to spare his life, unlike the Fizzle Bomber did in his past. The agent denies he will ever become the Fizzle Bomber and kills his future self. He then tries to understand the paradox.

So that’s the story? The burned man, Jane, John, the agent, and the Fizzle Bomber are the same person. This agent’s creation was orchestrated by Robertson to create an agent who has no ties to time. This “perfect” temporal agent was responsible for both his own conception and death; he has driven the predestination paradox to its limit. Try to wrap your head around that one. It’s a well done movie and it had a very interesting scifi premise. It only made $4.3 million but it was made on a very low budget. I give it an 8.5 outta 10!

Justice League

Justice League is a 2017 American superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name, consisting of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is the fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. It features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen and J. K. Simmons.

Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons attempt to conquer and remake Earth through the combined energies of the Mother Boxes. They are foiled by a unified army that included the Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, ancient humans, and Green Lanterns. After repelling Steppenwolf’s army, the Mother Boxes are separated and hidden in locations around the world.

  • So what did I think of this film? I watched it in Lulu PVT Gold (the plush recliner seats and expensive theatres of Lulu PVR) last evening with my cousin and we liked it a lot. It’s not my favourite superhero film but it’s pretty good.
  • We have a weak, one-dimensional almost cartoonish villain who keeps babbling about. That kinda spoiled it a bit. We should be getting more complex and evil villains.
  • Gal Gadot is a sight for sore eyes. She really was meant to play this role, this version of Wonder Woman, just like Linda Carter was made to play the 70s version. She is gorgeous, graceful, classy and a bad ass. She brings to life the superhero of our childhood and dreams. She is probably my favourite superhero playing character of all the ones rights now (sorry but Christopher Reeve is still #1 of all time for me).
  • Ben Affleck does an tremendous job again as an older Batman. He has fit into the role so well that even I, a former Affleck non-fan and critic, has warmed up to him. I would gladly watch several films of him as the detective Batman. Sadly, I doubt if we are going to see him in them for another film, if the rumours are true.
  • Ezra Miller is fun as Barry Allen aka The Flash and provides the comedic elements to this film. He has averted my fears of doing a good job in this role though for me, Grant Gustin IS THE FLASH. I don’t care how many movies Miller makes in the DC’s movieverse, he just won’t be Flash enough for me.
  • Likewise Ray Fisher as Cyborg is a good addition. I don’t know anything about Cyborg to compare his performance to but I think he did very well. There is a progressive change in loans quick cash the character’s evolution in the movie. Also, I have never seen the actors in a role before. There is supposed to be a standalone movie on the Cyborg character sometime soon.
  • Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry aka Aquaman – although he was good, Jason plays the same type of grumpy or gruff musclebound character in everything he is known for. Ronan in Stargate Atlantis, Conan The Barbarian, Khal Drogo in Game Of Thrones and now as Aquaman. I know he can’t change his style and physical appearance but he secured bad credit personal loan doesn’t show much variety.
  • Henry Cavill as Clark Kent aka Superman has an awesome return in the film. I haven’t been sold on Cavill as Superman. I find him to rigid and lacking any charisma. Perhaps I am comparing him to evergreen and fan favourite Christopher Reeve but that is bound to happen. Cavill is a big guy but he is no charmer like Reeve was. Still, I liked him better here than in the previous two movies he has been as Superman!
  • Diane Lane, Amy Adams, JK Simmons, Connie Nielsen & Jeremy Irons return to portray their supporting characters to good effect in the film. And the post-credit scene showing  Joe Manganiello and Jesse Eisenberg as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke and Lex Luthor, respectively looks ominous and interesting.

Everyone else did a find job. The story was ok, the fight scenes were pretty good and the laughs were well timed. We had fun watching it in the theatre. And that’s all we can ask for. I liked the special effects and the script though I felt that it would have been better if they had the movie be longer than it was. 8 outta 10!

Star Trek Discovery : Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

We finally visit a planet on Star Trek Discovery. Our first away mission on a planet that looks alien and has an alien look & feel about it and which a non-corporeal life form.

Coming to the aid of another Federation ship, the Discovery is unable to prevent its destruction from a Klingon ship with their cloaking technology. Desperate for a way to detect these ships even when they are cloaked, Burnham, Tyler, and Saru are sent to Pahvo, a seemingly uninhabited planet with a naturally occurring crystalline transmitter that broadcasts the planet’s vibrational frequency into space. They hope to use the transmitter to create a sonar for the hidden Klingon ships. They discover that Pahvo is inhabited with indigenous life that introduce Saru to their higher understanding of peace, and he attempts to force Burnham and Tyler to remain with him on the planet forever. Burnham is able to fight off Saru and broadcast the new signal. However, the Pahvo lifeforms adjust the signal to contact the Klingons as well, hoping to end the war. Kol receives the signal, after sentencing L’Rell to death: she had tried to help Cornwell escape in exchange for protection from Kol, leading to L’Rell apparently killing Cornwell to try save face with Kol.

And we see some amazing character development in terms of Saru. In a lifetime of fear, where he has never been at ease in his own skin, of course Saru would finally find peace on Pahvo and want to hold onto it forever. That was really good. I also really like the Gagarin ship which is now the cover of my Facebook page. I don’t care if most people (including me) agrees that it is the Shenzou with the nacelles reversed. A space battle in which the Gagagrin is destroyed – oh no – even though Discovery comes to her aid. And the thing with L’Rell wanting to defect?

L’rell asks Kol to let her interrogate the Admiral who he had captured two episodes ago. Cornwell screams back at the Klingon when faced with a terrifying scream from her to be torturor. And then L’rell tells her as they discuss peacefully, that she wants to defect as she feels that Kol’s methods have no honour. They try to make their way out of the Klingon ship but Kol sees them so L’rell picks up the Admiral and hits her against a electric device which seems to kill her. L’rell drags the body to a chamber where she sees all of her men killed and their bodies laid out. She swears revenge but is captured and imprisoned by Kol.

Are the Pavhan’s similar to the spores? They seem to be able to transport you instantaneously, as they show bringing Ash to where Saru and Michael are fighting. And then they signal the Klingons in order to bring about peace – are they like the Organians? What will happen in the next episode when the Discovery comes face to face with the Sarcophagus ship? A 8 outta 10!

Thor : Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and is the seventeenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnarök.

This movie is just out and has already made $450 million plus and is a behemoth in the box office. It certainly is the best of the three Thor films. Let’s see the various aspects of the movie:

  • It is really funny. Thor himself is a more relaxed and chilled version of himself and there’s plenty of jokes at his expense. This is despite the rather sad experience of losing his father, Odin. Hemsworth intearctions with The Hulk & Bruce Banner are hilarious as is his banter with Tom Hiddleston / Loki is also great.
  • Good new characters introduced in Korg – who sounds so New Zealandish -, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, Karl Urban as Skurge & Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie are all well done and well cast. Valkyrie will be a recurring character in more films with Thor and MCU movies in general and she is pretty good as a hard drinking recluse who left Asgard in shame after Hela killed all her fellow legendary warriors of the Valkyrior. The Grandmaster is basically Jeff Goldblum playing the Grandmaster playing Jeff Goldblum! If you can imagine that.
  • Karl Urban’s character Skurge is a predictable one – he is a lower rung Asgardian trying to come up in the world. He guards the Bifröst Bridge in Heimdall’s absence and aligns himself with Hela to survive. He becomes her executioner but his heart isn’t in killing his own people and in the end he sacrifices himself to save people.
  • The Hulk/Bruce Banner/Mark ruffalo is awesome in this – for two years he has been The Hulk and Banner has been in the backburner. The way that the Hulk talks is like a toddler and it is even seen in his behaviour. This is probably the best the Hulk has been done in.
  • Kate Blanchett – I might be biased but she plays an awesome villain who is just pretty damn awesome to watch. She is bored when challenged but kicks so much ass that she backs up that strut and boast of being the goddess of death. The reveal that she was the first born child of Odin and was once his executioner and general in his army was surprising. Also – how old do these Asgardians live? It kinda seems like Hela was imprisoned for very long and both Thor and Loki are unaware of her.
  • Waititi also provided the motion-capture performance for the fire demon Surtur, based on the mythological being Surtr, with Clancy Brown providing the voice for that character. Thor co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance as a man on Sakaar who cuts Thor’s hair. There are also several cameos in a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of The Dark World: Sam Neill, who Waititi previously worked with on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, plays the Odin actor; Luke Hemsworth, brother of Chris, plays the Thor actor; and Matt Damon plays the Loki actor.
  • Oh yeah and nice to Doctor Strange in a cameo appearance in it as well. That scene was really good.
  • The action is awesome, the fight scenes and battle scenes are great and entertaining, the special effects is awesome and the acting is really good. What more could you want? 9 outta 10!

Star Trek Discovery : Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Star Trek Discovery‘s 7th episode has a familiar Star Trek and scifi theme – a time loop, destruction and repeat. Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad may have a familiar feel to it but that does not make the episode any less entertaining and enjoyable.

Episode Synopsis:

While attending a crew party, Burnham and Tyler are called to the bridge to deal with an endangered space creature that the Discovery has come across. When the creature is brought on board, it is revealed to be carrying a person: Harry Mudd. He plans to kill Lorca and sell the ship to the Klingons, but when he is caught he blows up the ship instead. Time returns to the party earlier, with Burnham and Tyler called to the bridge again. They are intercepted by Stamets, who is aware that they are in a time loop due to his interactions with Ripper. Over several time loops Stamets works with Burnham and Tyler to find a solution to the problem while Mudd gets further in his plan each time. They eventually convince Mudd that he has won, and he ends the time loop. Preparing to receive a boarding party of Klingons, Mudd is instead confronted by his “beloved” Stella and her father, from whom he had stolen her dowry. They take Mudd away. Stamets reveals to Burnham and Tyler that in one of the time loops they had danced together and kissed.

So while I was not really that chuffed about this episode, many people were. It’s been done before – especially a memorable episode in TNG – so I wasn’t that happy. Yet it did have it’s cool moments. The crew having some down time while still in the midst of this war with the Klingons (though they are winning at this point and hence it is understood) and having a party with music and drinks. Though playing an annoying 21st century hip-hop version of a Bee Gees disco classic (disco on the Disco-very, get it) is not cool. Tyler & Burnham kiss in one of the time loops, so you know that the pair are going down that road soon.

While I am know for not liking time travel (if done right it’s great, if not it just plain sucks) I can enjoy the complexity of it. Plus Rainn Wilson is loving it playing Harry Mudd in a Star Trek show (he is a fan) and is hamming it up. Again, even though I have a hard time placing him as the same Harry Mudd from TOS. And what’s up with Stamets? I just feel that something major is happening to that guy. Now he is outside of normal time! Will we see him transform and change into something else? And perhaps that’s why the spore drive is lost to Starfleet and we never see it again.

And one more thing – I can buy everything else but why let Harry go with his father-in-law and wife? He just committed a terrible criminal act, killed a few officers including Lorca, the captain, multiple times though because of the time loop there is eventually no harm done. I just don’t get that ending. Lorca should have imprisoned him or killed him. Oh yeah and Ash Tyler walking around unshave like that – it’s not becoming of a Starfleet officer. It doesn’t make sense. 8 outta 10!

Star Trek Discovery : Lethe

Hmmm, an episode in which I am quite torn about, I really liked some aspects of it and did not agree with some of it. This episode has been said to be very Star Trek-ish but to me the aspects I did not like was a bit off putting.

Episode Synopsis:

On his way to broker a peace deal with two renegade Klingon houses, Sarek is injured when a “logic extremist” attempts to assassinate him. Burnham senses this, and Lorca agrees to help rescue him. Admiral Katrina Cornwell questions this decision and others that Lorca has been making. Burnham enters the nebula in a shuttle with her roommate, Cadet Sylvia Tilly, and Tyler. Burnham attempts to connect with Sarek’s mind, and finds him remembering the time that her application for the Vulcan Expeditionary Group was rejected. Sarek reveals that the VEG would only admit one of his children, and he chose Spock, his half-human son. Spock ultimately chose to join Starfleet, rendering Sarek’s decision futile. Burnham helps Sarek regain consciousness and activate a locator beacon. Lorca and Cornwell sleep together, but she is concerned by his paranoid behavior and plans to have him removed from command of Discovery. With Sarek unable to meet the Klingons, Cornwell takes his place; however, the peace talks are actually a trap, and she is taken captive.

Ok, I cannot stand this long range Vulcan means of communication just because some of Sarek’s katra is with his adopted daughter Michael Burnham. I do not like it as it is more fantasy than science fiction. Other than that the story of Burnham and Sarek is actually good and very interesting. But why would the Vulcans be so racist (alienist) against humans at this stage of their relationship with them? This is 100 years or a bit less after the formation of the Federation. And why paint the Vulcan society in general as such jerks?

Michael who is older than Spock was a good student and cleared her tests to get into The Vulcan Science Academy. But they don’t want both her and later on Sarek’s half-human son in the academy as well. They make him choose and he makes the logical choice – he chooses Spock because atleast he looks more Vulcan and hence will not face too much of a problem. Burhman, being fully human, would be more at home in Starfleet among humans. So he lies to her and Amanda (played by Canadian actress Mia Kirshner) and says that she did not clear the tests. Hence, she is sent to Starfleet.

Now Lorca! We see him being visited by his friend Admiral Cornwell, who is worried about him. They end up in bed – apparently they have been an on-off thing earlier on before she got promoted to Admiral – but while he is asleep she notes a triangular shaped mark or torture remnant on his back and when she touches it, he wakes up with a jolt and pulls his phaser on her. She pushes him away and informs him that she was right about her suspicions of him being too disturbed and not fit to command. As she has to go take Sarek’s position in the peace talks on neutral territory, she puts off informing Starfleet command about Lorca until she gets back. And ofcourse the meeting turns out to be a trap.

Her aids are killed as are the neutral aliens hosting the peace talk by Kol’s men and they take Cornwell as a prisoner. What is in store for her, we don’t know. Are Burnham and Tyler going to have a relationship more than friendship as it looked like at the end of the episode? Is Ash actually Voq? I dunno. I give this episode a 7.5 outta 10!

Star Trek Discovery : Choose Your Pain

We finally see one of the main cast members, after 4 episodes, and see an old familiar character albeit played by a different actor as well as a different look. Also, what the heck is up with Stamet’s reflection?

Episode Synopsis:

After a month of successful operations, Lorca is ordered to protect the spore drive until it can be replicated for other Starfleet ships. As he returns to the Discovery, he is taken captive by the Klingons. Burnham has grown concerned with the toll that the drive has taken on Ripper. Along with Stamets’ partner, medical officer Hugh Culbert, Burnham convinces Stamets to find an alternative to run the drive. Lorca is imprisoned with captured Starfleet officer Ash Tyler and human criminal Harry Mudd, and in discussions Lorca reveals that he killed his entire crew during an earlier battle to spare them from the Klingons’ torture, but escaped himself. Lorca is tortured by L’Rell, who wants the secret behind Discovery’s new form of travel, but Lorca and Tyler escape before the Klingons learn anything. For the final jump needed to escape the Klingons, with Lorca and Tyler onboard, Stamets connects to the spore drive himself using Ripper’s DNA. Later, Burnham frees Ripper, while Stamets’ reflection does not walk away from a mirror when he does.

We see a lot of things – Lorca’s back story is very interesting. A captain not going down with his ship and instead is the only one survivor while the rest of his crew is dead? Apparently seeing that the crew would be captured by the Klingons and unable to save them and not wanting them to be tortured by their enemies, he took the decision to blow up the ship. This makes us understand his willingness to win the war at all costs.

Saru shows some character growth and development here. Saru gets his first taste of command when Lorca is captured and he asks the computer to list out the best captains in Starfleet’s history – a list which has Robert April, Phillippa Georgou, Matthew Decker, Christopher Pike and Johnathan Archer – and asks for common characteristics. He wants the computer to analyse his performance and check to see if has common traits. At the end, despite the rescue of Lorca and fellow Starfleet officer / POW Ash Tyler, Saru does not want to know the results from the computer, instead he lets his actions speak for themselves.

That brings us to Ash Tyler, a POW who has been on this Klingon ship for about 6 months. Klingon L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) has taken over as captain of the ship and has taken a liking to him which has eased up his torture. And when I say liking – yeah, she is using him as a sex slave! Lorca meets Ash as well as Harry Mudd, who was captured while trying to escape his debtors. I think this Mudd is interesting; he has been a snitch for the Klingons and thus has been so far almost bruise free while other prisoners get beaten. He has a creature named Stewart who he has trained to steal food as well.

Lorca and Ash are able to escape, after Lorca has had a torture session, beat up and kill a few Klingons. When Ash is alone, L’Rell comes to find him and asks him how he could leave her after what they have been through. It’s a threat more than a lover’s lament and the look on Ash’s face says it all. Lorca shoots at her but it hits a beam and sparks ricochet off it onto her face, giving her a massive burn. She yells him pain as Lorca and Ash make their way to some shuttles and escape to be picked up by the Discovery, evading chasing Klingons.

The poor tortured Tardigrade is being put through the wringer and Burnham is feeling empathy for it. She questions usage of the spore drive, which is hurting the creature so much. At one point it shrivels and shrinks down and Stamets uses it’s dna on himself and connects himself to the spore drive making the rescue of Lorca and Ash possible. And what the heck happens to him? After seeing him and his partner, Dr. Hugh Culber, are in their quarters brushing their teeth in the bathroom and while Stamets says he is fine, after he walks away we see his reflection still in the reflection with a sinister smile and then it walks away. What the hell?

Is this a foreshadowing of the mirror universe? Does the Discovery’s work with the spore drive cause the mirror universe to connect with us from time to time? We don’t know. Only time will tell. Also, is Ash a Klingon spy? Talks have been around that he is actually Voq, who has undergone surgery at a genetic level to disguise himself as a human. As wonderfully unique as that would be, it does not seem feasible and will have a lot more questions. I give the episode an 8.5 outta 10!

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, with Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto in supporting roles. Set thirty years after the original film, the story depicts a bioengineered human named K, who discovers the remains of a once-pregnant replicant. To prevent a possible war between replicants and humans, K is secretly tasked with finding the child and destroying all evidence related to it.

So 30 years have passed and replicates have been integrated into society, mostly as servants. The new manufacturer of replicants is the prolific but ambitious and ruthless industrialist Niander Wallace, who took over the now defunct Tyrell corporation which was the original pioneer in this field. And we have K, a newer Nexus-9 model replicant who is created to obey his bosses and is employed by the LAPD to work as a Blade Runner and hunt and kill older rebellious replicant models. His home life is spent with his holographic girlfriend Joi, an artificial intelligence product of Wallace Corporation.

After tracking a replicant who is hiding on a farm and killing him post a struggle, K finds he remains of a female Nexus-7 replicant who died as the result of complications from an emergency caesarean section. K, and his superior, Lieutenant Joshi, find this unsettling, as pregnancy in replicants was originally thought to be impossible and she orders K to destroy all evidence of this and kill the child. K is disturbed by this order visits the headquarters of Wallace Corporation founder, who identifies the body as Rachael, an experimental replicant designed by Dr. Tyrell before his demise. In the process, he learns of her romantic ties with former veteran blade runner Rick Deckard. Wallace wants to check out replicants who can reproduce as creating new replicants is tedious so he sends his enforce replicant named Luv to steal Rachael’s remains from LAPD headquarters and follow K to find Rachael’s child.

K finds a date scratched in the farm and it matches the date of one of his own memories about hiding a toy wooden horse while being chased by bullies. Joi insists that this coincidence is evidence that K is, in fact, a real person. Searching birth records for that date, he finds that there were twins born – a boy and a girl – and the girl died while the boy lived. He tracks the child to an orphanage which he recognizes and finds the hidden wooden horse, suggesting that these memories — which he thought were merely implants — are real. K seeks out Dr. Ana Stelline, a memory designer who informs him that it is illegal to program replicants with humans’ real memories, and verifies that his memory of the orphanage is real, leading K to believe that he might be Rachael’s son.

fter failing a test of his replicant behaviour, K is suspended by Joshi, but he explains that he failed the test because he completed his mission in killing the child. Joshi gives him 48 hours to disappear. K transfers Joi to a mobile emitter on her orders, despite knowing, and informing Joi, that if it is damaged she will be erased. He then tracks the wooden horse to Las Vegas, a city in ruins, and finds Deckard, who admits to mixing up the baby’s records and was forced to leave a pregnant Rachael with the replicant freedom movement to protect her. They are then attacked by Luv and her agents and K is left for dead while Deckard is taken away. Joi is lost as the emitter is destroyed but K is rescued by the rebel replicants.  was forced to leave a pregnant Rachael with the replicant freedom movement to protect her.

K is told by their leader, Freysa, that Rachael’s child is actually a girl, and her memories were implanted in K. K deduces that Stelline is Deckard’s daughter, as she is capable of creating the memory and implanting it into him, and had begun crying upon viewing the memory earlier. Freysa urges K to prevent Wallace from uncovering the secrets of replicant reproduction by any means necessary, including killing Deckard. In Los Angeles Wallace tells Deckard that Rachael’s feelings for him may have been engineered by Tyrell to test the possibility of a replicant becoming pregnant and tempts him into revealing the location of the child he had. Deckard does not cooperate and is taken away.

K finds Deckard and kills Luv and her men, and heavily injured himself takes Deckard to Stelline. A mortally injured K, who had stages Deckard’s death so Wallace won’t send more of his men to find him, succumbs to his wounds outside on the steps of Stelline’s lab while Deckard reunited with his daughter.

The film is a stunning visual feast, though the pacing and length might not be suitable for all. It is a fitting epic sequel to a scifi classic. I love the decaying society feel of humans who seem to have lost their humanity while it is their creation, the replicants, who feel more human now. This franchise is look at the question what does it mean to be human and possibly about humanity being replaced eventually by their own creation. An 8.5 outta 10!

Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The script was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. It is a loose adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

Set in a dystopian Los Angeles circa 2019 (just two years away) the story depicts a future in which synthetic humans known as replicants are bioengineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies.  When a fugitive group of replicants led by Roy Batty (Hauer) escape back to Earth, burnt-out Los Angeles cop Rick Deckard(Ford) reluctantly accepts one last assignment to hunt them down. During his investigations, Deckard meets Rachael (Young), an advanced replicant who causes him to question his mission. The film questions what it means to be human and the quest for life and also thematically enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of human mastery of genetic engineering in the context of classical Greek drama and hubris – and also in a way a take off from Frankenstein.

It shows humans as being less empathetic, cold and impersonal, while the replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another – the test to find out if one is a replicant is an empathy test, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals. The quest for the rebel replicants to seek out their father,  Eldon Tyrell , in a quest to gain more life than the 4 years that the lifespan for their Nexus 6 has, ends in tragedy – all of the replicants die. Roy Batty, the leader of the rebels demands more life from Tyrell and the latter tells him that it is impossible; the replicant confesses his “sins” to his maker and upon getting praise for his advanced design and accomplishments, he then kisses his maker and kills him.

Then there is Rachel, a replicant who does not know that she is artificial and thinks she is human. Tyrell has her programmed with false memories so she thinks she is a human but later has suspicions and approaches Deckard, who starts to fall in love with her and she reciprocates. Deckard kills two of the rebel replicants and saved by Rachel before one can kill him. After his fight with Roy in the rain at the end of the movie, Deckard leaves to find Rachel and leaves the city apparently to hide out and live with her. I am surprised about Roy – he has no problem in killing the others but he saves Deckard though he attacks him. When the latter is about to fall from the roof, Roy catches him and pulls him up and then dies.

While a commentary on humanity, the film asks you the question : was Deckard a human or replicant? Deckard’s unicorn-dream sequence, inserted into the Director’s Cut and concomitant with Gaff’s parting gift of an origami unicorn, is seen by many as showing that Deckard is a replicant—because Gaff could have accessed Deckard’s implanted memories. The interpretation that Deckard is a replicant is challenged by others who believe the unicorn imagery shows that the characters, whether human or replicant, share the same dreams and recognize their affinity, or that the absence of a decisive answer is crucial to the film’s main theme.

The film was a critical favourite but didn’t make money at the bo – it only made $33.8 million off a $28 million budget but has since become a cult favourite and considered a scifi classic. In the year after its release, the film won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and in 1993 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. I give it an 8 outta 10!

The Orville : Episodes 3 & 4

It’s been a while but I am finally back to my review of the episodes from The Orville. Episode number 3 is one of my fav scifi episodes of all time. It is just wonderful the way they spun the story.

When Dr. Finn refuses Bortus and Klyden’s request to have their daughter undergo sex reassignment surgery, which is standard practice for Moclans on the very rare occasions when a female is born, the parents petition Mercer to order the procedure. Mercer refuses, as he (and the rest of the crew) object to performing such a procedure on a healthy infant, so Bortus and Klyden arrange to have the procedure performed on a Moclan vessel. Gordon and John change Bortus’s mind by showing him Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but Klyden still wants to proceed, revealing that he was born female.

The case is arbitrated on the Moclan planet, Moclus, where Grayson represents Bortus; she casts doubt on the idea of male superiority by demonstrating that Alara is physically strong and Gordon is stupid. Ed locates a female Moclan of advanced years, Heveena, who testifies that she lived a happy and fulfilling life in seclusion, and reveals that under the pseudonym “Gondus Elden”, she has become an esteemed novelist on Moclus. But Klyden and the tribunal are unconvinced, and the baby undergoes the surgery. Despite their disagreement, Bortus and Klyden are committed to one another and to giving their son, Topa, a good life.

Talk about a deep subject in the midst of the comedy. This is scifi tv at it’s best, using a futuristic setting to talk about humanity’s issues which are happening now and have happened before and will probably still continue. The way it ended, sad for me, was brilliant – if the Moclan had come to the decision to not have the baby undergo the sex change operation to turn it into a male, it would have been cheesy and predictable. The ending was touching and realistic. Very good writing. This episode is a perfect 10 for me, considering that the show is basically a spoof.

The Orville encounters a huge, 2000-year-old derelict ship drifting into a star. Mercer, Grayson, Kitan, Finn, and Isaac enter, discovering an artificial biosphere and a civilization of 3 million who worship an entity called Dorahl, and do not know they are on a ship. Grayson is held prisoner by their theocratic dictator Hamelac, who imposes a death penalty on “Reformers” who believe anything short term loans for students uk exists beyond the known world. While Bortus takes the Orville to save a colony ship from a Krill attack, Grayson’s crewmates rescue her and lead a group of Reformers to the alien ship’s bridge.

An ancient recording from Captain Jahavus Dorahl (a surprise cameo by Liam Nesson) reveals that it was a generation ship disabled by an ion storm. Isaac initiates repairs and opens the hull’s window, enabling the populace to see stars for the first time, moving even Hamelac. Mercer makes arrangements for the Union to train the people to operate their ship. Meanwhile, Klyden is frustrated that Bortus’s duties leave him little time for family.

This type of storyline has been done before in Star Trek yet the context is still done well. No doubt a dig at totalitarian regimes, religious dogma and societies unwilling to change, this is also Scifi at it’s best. And they kept the comedy to a lesser degree in an episode in which Alara is seriously injured and in which Kelly is captured and tortured. The Liam Neeson appareance threw up for a loop. Expecting more such apply for a small loan surprises and oh we are getting a hot super star in the next episode. A 7 outta 10 for me.