action, adventure, drama, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 23rd, 2017 Movie – War For The Planet Of The Apes

war for the planet of the apes

Happy Turkey Day everybody. I hope everyone is having fun spending time with family and going into food comas. Today’s movie is the latest installment in the rebooted Planet Of The Apes franchise. As soon as they announced the release date for this movie, I had it marked on my calendar to go see, as the first two installments were great. When the first trailer was released, that only whetted my appetite and made me even more impatient for the movie to come out. So let’s see how the adventures of Caesar and his tribe of intelligent apes plays out in the latest movie, War For The Planet Of The Apes.

The plot: 15 years after the rise of intelligent apes, and the subsequent devastation of mankind from the Simian Flu, Caesar and his tribe were trying to peacefully coexist with a nearby group of humans in San Francisco until Koba led a coup against Caesar and attacked the humans. Caesar had overthrown Koba and regained leadership of his tribe but the humans had contacted a military base up in the North and explained what had happened so Caesar was forced to go into hiding. Two years later, a military special forces unit called Alpha-Omega are in the woods in California and see an ape patrol and a fortified trench, which they believe is a sign that Caesar’s base is nearby. Along with the human soldiers, Alpha-Omega also has several captured apes that had followed Koba, which they call “donkeys” working for them. After getting into position, the soldiers take out two members of the ape patrol and blow up the trench, attacking the apes inside, but the surviving patrol member rides off on a horse and begins calling out for reinforcements, which arrive and begin launching a counter attack on the soldiers. As the soldiers are being killed, one of them, Preacher, radios to the Colonel to tell him what is happening just before he is captured. Preacher, along with 3 other soldiers and a gorilla named Red, are taken inside the structure, where Caesar approaches them and says that he did not start the war but killed the ape that did and only fights to defend other apes. When one of the soldiers points out they attacked Red, and Caesar says that Red was one of Koba’s followers and they were scared about what he might do to them so they chose to work for humans in order to spare their life. Red speaks and tells Caesar that he is not afraid of him but warns that Caesar should be afraid of the humans and Caesar orders an albino gorilla named Winter to take Red away. Caesar then ties the soldiers back to back onto a pair of horse and tells them to deliver a message to the Colonel, saying to leave the forest to the apes and there will be no more fighting. As the horses ride off, Maurice, Caesars orangutan friend and adviser, asks if he thinks they will deliver the message and Caesar says the soldiers themselves are the message, hoping that the Colonel will see that they don’t want to kill all of the humans. Later, Blue Eyes (Caesar’s son) and Rocket return to the camp and they head to the apes secret lair behind a waterfall. At a meeting, Rocket and Blue Eyes tells Caesar that they found a safe place for them to live out in the desert on the other side of the mountains. Winter wants to leave that night but Blue Eyes says that is impossible and Caesar agrees, saying Rocket and Blue Eyes made it because there were only two of them but they must find a safe way for all of the apes to make it out of the forest. That night, Caesar is laying in his nest staring at his wife Cornelia and his young son Cornelius when he notices men repelling down the waterfall. Telling Blue Eyes to stay and watch over his mother and brother, Caesar heads down to the lower levels, where he encounters a gorilla sentry named Luca and tells him to gather the rest of the patrols and Rocket. They take out one of the soldiers but as Caesar listens to the radio chatter, he hears the Colonel say that “King Kong is dead” and order his men to pull back. Rushing back to his nest, Caesar finds Cornelia and Blue Eyes had been killed and the Colonel is preparing to ascend the rope and leave the lair. Caesar rushes out to attack the Colonel, grabbing onto the rope and climbing after him but the Colonel cuts the rope, causing Caesar to fall into the water below while he climbs to the top and escapes. When Caesar returns to the camp, Luca tells him that they can’t find Winter and believes he might have betrayed them to the soldiers. After finding that Cornelius had survived the Colonel’s attack, Caesar has the tribe prepared to move to the safe haven they hope to find in the desert but tells Maurice that he is not going, planning on going after the Colonel in the hopes that he will focus his attention on him, leaving the apes free to go. After leaving Cornelius with Lake, Blue Eyes’ girlfriend, Caesar rides off but is soon joined by Luca, Maurice, and Rocket, who all refuse to let him go alone. They make their way to an abandoned town, where Luca’s scouts have spotted fires burning constantly and believe it to be the soldier’s base. When they reach the town, they start searching the place and find a single soldier carrying a stack of wood for the fire. The soldier goes to put the wood down and grab a gun but Caesar kills him, and the apes wonder why he is alone. Hearing a noise from another cabin, they search it and discover a young girl cowering in the bed and Caesar, Luca, and Rocket go to search the other cabins. Maurice stays behind and hands the girl a ragdoll, who tries to thank him but she can’t speak. As they go to leave, Maurice says the girl will die if she is left alone, since they had killed her guardian, and despite Caesar saying they can’t take her with them, Maurice ignores him and brings the girl. Continuing on, they soon find the soldiers camp and spot Winter serving as one of their donkeys. Sneaking into the camp that night, Caesar, Luca, and Rocket confront Winter when he is alone in a tent washing dishes and ask where the Colonel is. Winter says he went to the border to meet with some soldiers coming down from the North, saying the other donkeys said that they are coming to finish off the apes. When the silhouettes of some guards are seen outside the tent, Winter starts to cry out to alert the soldiers but Caesar and the others quickly restrain him to keep him from making a sound but during the course of the struggle, Caesar accidentally smothers Winter and kills him. Returning to their camp for the night, they try to figure out their next move but Caesar sees the image of Koba taunting him for killing Winter and Caesar worries his quest for vengeance might be turning him like Koba. The next morning, the soldiers leave to meet up with the Colonel and the apes follow them but as it starts snowing, they hear gunshots and quickly take cover only to notice they are not the ones being fired upon and wonder who the soldiers are shooting at. Advancing cautiously, they find three bodies lying in the snow and as Caesar pulls back to hood on one of the bodies, he discovers they are human. One of the men is still alive and when Caesar asks what happened, the man is only able to croak out noises, and Caesar and Maurice realize the men were mute like the little girl Maurice is caring for. Caesar puts the man out of his misery and then the four apes climb up a nearby tower to try and figure out where the soldiers went, leaving the little girl sitting on Maurice’s horse. Suddenly, a hooded figure makes his way over to the horses and starts examining the saddle bags of the closest one. When Luca spots the stranger and roars out, the stranger jumps on the horse and rides off, with Caesar and the others leaping down and giving pursuit. The eventually catch up to the stranger, who is revealed to be an intelligent chimpanzee named “Bad Ape”, and has learned to speak by listening to humans. Bad Ape tells them that he came from the Sierra Zoo and is the only one to survive when the humans attempted to kill all of them in the zoo. Bad Ape brings them some preserved food to eat and when Caesar sees it is from a Border Quarantine Facility, he asks Bad Ape about it. Bad Ape explains it was a “human zoo” where all the humans were sick but they are all dead now and when Caesar asks if he will take them there, Bad Ape refuses, saying it is snowing now and they should stay there and rest for the night. As they rest for the night, Bad Ape and Caesar talk for a while, with Bad Ape asking Caesar about the girl that is travelling with them, and as they discuss how they both lost children, Bad Ape agrees to take them to the facility. When they reach the facility, Caesar and Luca go closer to get a better look at the facility but they are attacked by a patrol and Rocket helps them kill the patrol but Luca is stabbed in the gut by a bayonet. Caesar and Rocket carry Luca back to their camp, where they all mourn his death, including the girl, and Maurice says they should leave and meet up with the rest of their tribe but Caesar blames himself for Luca’s death and tells the others to leave while he goes on alone. Heading to a nearby cliff to observe the camp, Caesar finds that there are hundreds of captured apes inside the facility and several apes tied up onto X-shaped crucifixes close to him. Hearing one of the apes groan in pain, Caesar releases him and recognizes him as an ape from his tribe and asks what happened. The ape tells him they were ambushed and taken their to build something but dies before he can say anything further and Caesar ends up being knocked out by an approaching patrol. When Caesar comes too, he finds the Colonel taunting him and asking him how he found this place. Caesar is taken out into the courtyard and sees Cornelius calling out to him from a pen with some other young apes. Caesar is thrown into another cage, where the ape there shun him, and when he sees Lake, she says to forgive them as they have been through much. The next day, Caesar and the apes are taken from the cages and are forced to work on building a wall, and Caesar questions why the Colonel needs one. When a weakened orangutan causes an accident, the Colonel has Red start whipping him in punishment but Caesar yells at him to leave him alone. The other apes, seeing Caesar standing up for them, start to cheer for Caesar so the Colonel has Red whip Caesar instead. The Colonel then tells Caesar to order the other apes to get back to work and when Caesar refuses, demanding that the Colonel give the apes food and water, the Colonel puts the gun to Caesar’s head and starts counting down. Before he reaches “1”, Lake picks up a boulder and tells the other apes to get back to work and as they continue working, the Colonel has Red tie Caesar onto a crucifix. On a cliff overlooking the camp, Maurice, Rocket, Bad Ape, and the girl see what is happening and wonder how they can rescue Caesar and the others. That night, Caesar is brought before the Colonel, who threatens to start slaughtering the apes if he disrupts the work again. Caesar tells the Colonel again that the apes need food and water, but the Colonel says they will get it after they finish building the wall. Caesar tells the Colonel he knows the soldiers are not coming to join him, but to stop him, and the Colonel is impressed by Caesar’s intelligence and then tells him that the simian flu, which all of the surviving humans still carry in them, has begun to mutate and begin devolving humans into a more primitive state. The first to suffer from it was the Colonel’s own son, and as the others in his unit begin to fall victim, the Colonel realized that he had to stop the virus from spreading or else all of humanity would essentially be wiped from existence. The Colonel then began to execute anyone infected, including his son, but one of the infected had managed to escape and make his way North to the survivors up there, which is why they find themselves in the situation they are in now. Caesar is tied back onto the crucifix but witnesses the donkeys bringing food and water for all of the apes, however Red throws a bucket of water onto Caesar’s head, leaving him to freeze to death. Maurice and the others see what is happening and want to help but Bad Ape doesn’t want to go into the facility. As they are forced to hide from a patrol, Bad Ape falls discovers a tunnel and they begin exploring it. Maurice and Rocket figure it was used by the sick humans to escape the facility and realize it leads directly under the facility. Meanwhile, the girl heads down another tunnel and climbs up the ladder, where she Caesar tied to the crucifix and starts moving towards him while Bad Ape convinces her to come back. As night falls, Caesar again hallucinates that Koba is taunting him for getting the apes killed as The Colonel has Red cut Caesar down and put him in a cage, saying if he survives the night he will be put back to work. Nova sneaks into the camp and gives Caesar her ragdoll, then brings a bucket of water for him to drink out of. When the other apes call out to her, she heads over there and the apes give her food to give to Caesar. As Caesar stares at the food, he sees Lake and the other apes make the sign that they are stronger together, which the girl mimics. Seeing some guards approaching, Caesar tells the girl to hide but as they get closer, he fears she will be found. Outside, Maurice, Rocket, and Bad Ape sees this and realize they will kill the girl if they find her so Rocket heads to the facility and allows himself to be captured, then starts a fight with Red, providing a distraction that allows her to escape. After the Colonel breaks up the fight and has Rocket placed in a cage, Rocket signs to Caesar that they have a plan to escape. The next day, the Colonel, Red, and Preacher approach Caesar’s cage and are surprised to see him still alive. The Colonel has Caesar taken to the quarry but before he can leave, the Colonel sees the ragdoll and asks how it got there but Caesar doesn’t answer. The apes count out the steps to the different holding pens and tell Caesar and he signs the information to Maurice, who is watching them from the cliff. Maurice hands the binoculars to the girl and then heads down into the tunnel with Bad Ape. As night falls, Red takes Caesar back to his cage and tells Caesar that the Colonel plans on killing all of the apes once the wall is finished and Caesar tells him he will be killed as well. The girl goes into the tunnel and tells Maurice that the apes are back in the cages and Maurice tells her that she is very brave. When the girl asks if she is an ape, Maurice looks at her and pulls at an emblem that Bad Ape had given her, telling her that she is Nova, bringing a smile to her face. Bad Ape digs through to the cage where the adult apes are being kept but Nova notices water coming from further down the tunnel and as Maurice examines it, he is forced to close the sewer hatch. Signing what is going on to Rocket and the others, Rocket tells Caesar that they can’t keep digging or else the tunnel will flood. Caesar says that they have to leave tonight or else they will be caught in the crossfire between the two armies and killed so they will have to rescue the children above ground. Rocket flings poop at a sentry, prompting him to enter the cage to kill him but Maurice tunnels up from the ground to grab the guard and drag him into the tunnel, then throws Rocket the keys and hands him his gun. Rocket frees Caesar and they both head into the children’s cage, where Caesar is reunited with Cornelius, and they then have the children climb along a wire above the cages and drop down into the adults cage. The apes then send the children through the tunnel, where Maurice, Nova, and Bad Ape lead them to safety, and then the adults follow. Caesar and Rocket are the last two to leave but Caesar tells Rocket to leave without him, saying that Maurice was right and he has become like Koba as he can’t let go of his hate for the Colonel. As Caesar makes his way to the Colonel’s barrack, the Northern army launches their attack on the facility. As the Colonel’s troops begin fighting back, Caesar enters the barrack only to find that the Colonel has fallen victim to the mutated virus and can no longer speak. Seeing Caesar holding his pistol, the Colonel grabs the barrel and places it against his head, begging Caesar to kill him but Caesar refuses and sets the gun down so the Colonel grabs it and kills himself. Back outside, the soldiers are still attacking the other army when some of them notice the apes trying to escape and begin firing on them. Seeing this, Red starts to feel bad about the slaughter of his own people and sees Caesar going to blow up the fuel tanks nearby but he is shot by Preacher. Red grabs a grenade launcher and uses it to kill Preacher but he is killed by a nearby soldier, who then begins firing on Caesar. Caesar manages to grab the grenades he had been carrying and blow up the fuel tanks, then barely manage to make it down into the tunnel. As the enemy soldiers swarm into the facility and finish off the rest of the soldiers, they begin cheering in victory but stop when they see Caesar standing up by some rocks. One of the soldiers goes to shoot Caesar, who stares at them then stares back up the mountain, and the soldiers turn as well to see that the explosions had caused an avalanche. As the avalanche makes it’s way down the mountain, the soldiers are swept away and killed while Caesar and the other apes (and Nova) manage to climb to safety in the trees. The apes then begin making their way through the desert to find a new home and eventually come across an oasis  with a lake hidden inside a canyon. As the apes all head down to the lake but Caesar and Maurice stay behind. Caesar, having grown weak from his injuries, knows he is dying and tells Maurice not to worry, as the apes will be strong without him. Maurice tells Caesar that Cornelius will know who his father was and what he did for the apes. Caesar smiles and looks down at the apes, seeing Nova and Cornelius playing together, and then finally dies from his injuries as Maurice strokes his leg and weeps, alerting the other apes to Caesar’s passing.

War For The Planet Of The Apes met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “War for the Planet of the Apes combines breathtaking special effects and a powerful, poignant narrative to conclude this rebooted trilogy on a powerful — and truly blockbuster — note.” There were numerous allusions to the original series of movies in this movie, from the Colonel’s unit being called Alpha-Omega )the same name as the bombs that the cult worships), to Maurice naming the girl Nova (the same name as the slave that fell in love with Taylor), and Caesar naming his son Cornelius (just as Caesar named his son Cornelius in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes). While the movie was the most highly rated movie according to critics, it did not perform as well as the previous installment but was still a box office success, earning $490.6 million off of a $150 million budget.

Man, this may not be the last installment in the series (as a 4th movie is being considered), but this was definitely one of the most powerfully, emotional movies in the series. This was an incredible movie and if this is how the reboot ends, then it went out on an incredible high note. The acting was incredible, with Andy Serkis delivering an absolutely amazing performance as Caesar. Woody Harrelson was equally good as the Colonel and the interaction between the Colonel and Caesar was really good. Karin Konoval (Maurice), Terry Notary (Rocket), Ty Olsson (Red), were also great in their roles, while Steve Zahn was pretty funny as Bad Ape. The story really was emotionally riveting, with Caesar constantly being haunted by Koba’s actions and worrying about his becoming just like him. The interaction with Maurice and Nova was also incredibly endearing, while Red’s conflict with Caesar and his eventual change of heart was also pretty pivotal and also helped to play a role in Caesar’s hallucinations regarding Koba. The final scene with Caesar and Maurice speaking, and Maurice actually vocalizing instead of signing, was incredibly emotional and appears to set up for the original Planet Of The Apes movie was incredible; especially the ending, where it seemed like Maurice was being primed for becoming the “Lawgiver”, the orangutan that passed down the history of how the apes rose to power and who has statues dedicated to him in the original movie. The special effects and motion capture effects were astounding and made the apes look incredibly realistic. I am serious, this is a fantastic movie and definitely worth watching.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Advertisements
Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 22nd, 2017 Movie – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

guardians of the galaxy 2

First off, I learned a valuable lesson last night/this morning that I should do a better job of NOT leaving an app running on my phone, which drained my battery and ended up causing me to oversleep. Thus, I find myself being late in getting today’s movie reviewed. Now, the first Guardians Of The Galaxy became a surprise hit in the MCU and I absolutely loved it. So I was hoping for a sequel to come about and sure enough, a sequel was announced and I eagerly awaited it. The fact that it came out on Cinco de Mayo made it even more fun, as my friends and I went out for Mexican and had some margaritas before going to watch the movie, with some more beverages during the movie as well (got to love how movies have changed now-a-days). So it’s time to have some more laughs with today’s movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.

The plot: In 1980 Missouri, an alien named Ego had fallen in love with Meredith Quill and he takes her into some woods to show her a plant he had planted in the ground, saying that one day the plant will cover the universe. Meredith embraces the alien, saying she doesn’t understand what he is saying but loves him, and the two kiss. 34 years later, the Guardians Of The Galaxy (Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot) have been hired by the Sovereign race to defend their super batteries from an interdimensional beast. When the beast appears, Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket begin attacking it while Groot finishes hooking up Quill’s stereo and begins dancing around the area until Drax is thrown into the stereo and breaks it. Drax, saying that the creatures hide is too thick to pierce from the outside, decides to try attacking it from the inside and leaps into the creature’s mouth, despite Gamora trying to stop him. Quill and Rocket begin distracting the beast and making it look up, allowing Gamora to exploit a cut on the beast’s neck and slice it down to it’s stomach. The creature falls over and dies and Drax emerges from the wound and starts laughing, claiming to have defeated the beast single-handedly. The Guardians head to the throne room, where Ayesha, the ruler of the Sovereign race, thanks them for saving the batteries and gives them their agreed upon reward, Nebula (who the Sovereign had captured attempting to steal their batteries). As the Guardians start to leave, Ayesha asks Quill about his heritage, sensing something reckless within his genetic makeup. The Guardians leave the Sovereign homeworld but are soon attacked by a Sovereign fleet, as Rocket had stolen some of the batteries himself. Trying to evade them, they head towards the nearest jump point, which happens to be on the other side of a quantum asteroid field, but Quill and Rocket argue over who should pilot the ship and they end up taking damage. While Drax takes out the last of their pursuers, they make it out of the asteroid field only to find that a second fleet had gone around the field to cut them off. They start taking massive fire when suddenly, a strange man riding on top of a ship destroys the entire fleet, allowing the Guardians to make it through the jump, where they end up crashing into a forest. As Gamora chastises Quill and Rocket for not working together to get through the asteroid field, the strange man lands his ship and reveals that he is Ego and he is Quill’s father. Meanwhile, Yondu and his Ravagers are taking some R&R on a planet when Yondu spies his old teammate Stakar Ogord and attempts to speak with him. Ogord tells the establishment owner that he has lost the business of serving 99 of the 100 Ravager guilds for serving Yondu and his men, as Yondu was exiled from the Ravagers for taking part in human trafficking. As Yondu stares at the retreating Ogord’s back, one of his men, Taserface, comments about how Yondu has grown soft, but goes quiet when Ayesha approaches Yondu and offers to hire him to locate and capture the Guardians. Back in the forest, Ego attempts to explain to Quill about hiring Yondu to bring him to his planet after Quill’s mother died and offers to take Quill there and try to be the father he wanted to be. Quill and Gamora walk off to discuss the situation and Gamora convinces Quill to at least give Ego a chance, as he had wanted a father all his life. Meanwhile, Ego’s assistant Mantis is speaking with Drax and starts bonding with him. Quill, Gamora, and Drax agree to go with Ego and Mantis, leaving Rocket behind to repair the ship and watch over Groot and Nebula and as they leave, Rocket continues to insult Quill. That night, the Ravagers arrive on the planet to capture the Guardians but Rocket, who had set traps around the perimeter, manages to hold them off but gets captured by Yondu. As the other Ravagers surround Rocket, Yondu says he isn’t going to turn the Guardians over, planning on just taking the stolen batteries and selling them. This angers Taserface and he begins to organize a mutiny against Yondu, causing a standoff to occur between those siding with Taserface and those loyal to Yondu. Suddenly, Nebula, whom Groot had set free to help Rocket, shoots Yondu’s control fin, knocking him out, then shoots Rocket before taking control of the Ravagers. Returning to their ship with the prisoners, Taserface jettisons the Yondu loyalists into space and prepares to kill Rocket and Yondu but Nebula convinces him to turn them over to the Kree for the bounties on them. She then grabs a new robotic hand and takes a ship so she can go after Gamora, who she blames for all the suffering she endured at the hands of Thanos. While in their cell, Yondu and Rocket start to bond and they get Groot to help them escape, sending him to retrieve a prototype fin out of Yondu’s chest in his room. After returning with several mistaken items, Groot is helped by Kraglin, one of Yondu’s supporters who had sided with Taserface during the mutiny but didn’t expect his friends to be killed, and returns with the fin. After Rocket attaches the fin onto Yondu’s head, Yondu is able to control his arrow again and uses it to kill the Ravagers attempting to stop them. As Yondu ignites some explosives to detonate the ship, Yondu, Groot, Rocket, and Kraglin head into the forward section and jettison it to go after Quill but Taserface relays their coordinates to the Sovereign before he is killed. Back on Ego’s planet, Ego explains to Quill and the others that he is a celestial and had fashioned the planet himself but wanted to experience more and see if there was other life out there. He created a human form and set off into space, meeting Meredith shortly afterwards. When Quill asks why he left or didn’t come back, Ego explains he has to return to the planet to recharge in the light or else he becomes mortal and dies and he was too heartbroken to go back to Earth after Meredith died, which is why he hired Yondu to bring Quill back to him. Ego then starts trying to train Quill in using his celestial powers, showing he can make and reshape matter if he tries. Meanwhile, Drax and Mantis grow closer and Mantis starts to tell him something but stops when Gamora appears. When Gamora asks her what she was going to say, she refuses to say and shows them where they will be staying. Gamora voices her suspicions about Ego to Quill and her concerns about not reaching Rocket but Quill, who has finally started accepting Ego as his dad, argues with her and says she is jealous that he finally found his family. Gamora goes to be alone when she is attacked by Nebula, who ends up crashing her craft into a cave chasing after Gamora. Gamora save Nebula’s life by dragging her out of the wreckage but Nebula continues the fight and starts to choke her before releasing her and the two sisters end up reconciling. As they make their way out of the cave, they find a cavern filled with hundreds of skeletons, causing Gamora to worry about Quill. Meanwhile, Ego talks with Quill and explains that he had a plan and needs Quills help to fulfill it. Mantis sees them leaving together and wakes up Drax, telling him that Quill is in danger. Drax and Mantis head to the chamber and are met by Nebula and Gamora, who attacks Mantis but Mantis uses her empath abilities to make Gamora release her and explains what is happening. Ego explains to Quill his plan for the “Great Expansion” and says he needed another celestial to help him, which is why he attempted to create a hybrid to have someone help him but Quill was the only one of his children to have the celestial gene in his body. When Ego tells Quill that he had put the tumor in Meredith’s brain, Quill attacks Ego but Ego regenerates and then attacks Quill and uses him to help power the Expansion, causing the flowers he had planted across the galaxy to start expanding and absorb the planets they are on. Rocket and Yondu arrive and head down to the planet’s surface with Groot to rescue their friends, severing Ego’s connection with Quill. Quill and the others head onto the ship but instead of leaving, Quill has them head to the planet’s core so they can destroy Ego’s power and save the universe. Drilling down to Ego’s core, they attempt to destroy it but come under attack by the Sovereigns. Drax, Gamora, and Mantis are knocked out of the ship and when Ego starts to manifest, Mantis uses her powers to put him to sleep and try and keep him that way as long as she can. Quill, Rocket, and Groot head down to the core, where Rocket fashions a bomb but they are unable to make their way down to the center. Quill says Groot is small enough to make his way down there so Rocket attempts to teach Groot what to do but Groot keeps motioning to the wrong button and when Rocket’s attention is turned, Groot grabs the bomb and heads into the core. Nebula helps Yondu destroy the Sovereign fleet but some of the debris knocks Mantis unconscious and Ego manifest in the cavern and begins attacking the Guardians. Yondu’s ship is destroyed and Gamora is knocked down a crevice but Nebula leaps after her and saves her. Kraglin brings the main ship down and Quill gives Drax his rocket disk and has him take Mantis and get on the ship. Gamora and Nebula make their own way up while Quill, Yondu, and Rocket begin attacking Ego. Ego manages to capture Quill again and start absorbing the rest of the Guardians, while his flowers across the galaxy start growing and threaten all of the various planets. Yondu yells out to Quill and helps him control his powers and Quill begins attacking Ego, distracting him enough to release the Guardians. Gamora and Nebula make it to the ship and Groot manages to activate the bomb and make his way out of the core. Rocket grabs Groot and goes to get Yondu and Quill but Yondu tells him to get Groot out of there while he stays behind to rescue Quill. Rocket looks at him sadly and says he only has one rocket disk and space suit left and hands them to Yondu, then flies off. When Rocket gets on the ship, Gamora asks where Quill is and when Rocket doesn’t answer while Groot points back to the planet, Gamora starts to head back to the planet but Rocket stuns her, saying he can only lose one friend today, then tells Kraglin to blast off. The bomb goes off and Ego’s human form dissolves and Yondu uses the Rocket disk to carry him and Quill up into space, putting the space suit on Quill so that he survives as Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill. After the Guardians pick up Quill and Yondu’s body, the hold a funeral for him before casting him out through their engine into space. As Yondu’s body burns up and the dust starts to drift out of the ship, Quill and the others are surprised to see Ogord and all of the other Ravager guilds arrive to offer their respects and send Yondu to the next life in a blaze of colors and Rocket explains that he got in touch with Ogord and told him what Yondu had done, causing Ogord to reinstate him as a Ravager. Nebula leaves to go hunt down Thanos and Gamora hugs her sister, which Nebula eventually returns. Kraglin stays with the Guardians, taking over Yondu’s control fin and telekenetic arrow but he has trouble mastering it, stabbing Drax in the throat at one point. Ogord, touched by Yondu’s sacrifice, decides to get his old team of Ravagers together in Yondu’s honor. Back on the Sovereign home world, Ayesha says she isn’t finished with the Guardians as she has fashioned the ultimate being, dubbing him Adam, which she plans to use to get her revenge. Elsewhere in the galaxy, a group of beings known as the Watchers, are listening to stories from their agent on Earth and the eventually take their leave of him, leaving the man stranded on an asteroid in space.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that’s almost as fun — if not quite as thrillingly fresh — as its predecessor.” According to Visual Effects Artists, Ego’s planet consisted of a trillion (yes, trillion with a T) pixels and is considered to be the biggest visual effect ever made. The movie was a box office hit, earning $863.6 million off of a $200 million budget.

The first movie was fantastic and while it didn’t quite catch that same magic, this movie is no less entertaining. The acting was really good, with all of the returning characters doing a great job reprising their roles. I also liked that the started to do a bit more with evolving the relationships between the characters, doing a great job in making them more like a dysfunctional family than a random group of people. The story was pretty good, though there were some changes made to some of the new characters from their comic book counterparts. I liked that they had the brief cameo of Howard the Duck (who was shown in a post credit scene in the first movie) but my favorite cameo was the Stan Lee one, as they basically wrote in an explanation for why this man is all over the MCU. The special effects were pretty good and very vibrant and colorful while the soundtrack was just as good as the first movie and in some scenes, really added to the emotion in some of the scenes. One of these days, the MCU may have a bad movie on their hands but this is definitely not one of those days.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review

November 20th, 2017 Movie – Wonder Woman (2017)

wonder woman 2017

Finally, DC managed to put out a good entry in their “DCEU” series. Now when I first saw Diana Prince make her appearance in Batman V Superman, I knew that a solo movie would be coming relatively soon, which was a big concern. See, solo female superhero movies have never really worked out well in live-action form, with Catwoman and Elektra being two of the more recent less than stellar attempts. However, the initial trailer that was shown looked amazing so I ended up getting my hopes up that finally, things would be different. Boy was I surprised when I went to see it in theaters and I decided to pre-order Wonder Woman (2017) as soon as it came out on video so I could enjoy it again and again.

The plot: In the present day, Diana Prince arrives for work at the Louvre in Paris, where she receives a suitcase from Wayne Enterprises. When she opens it, she finds an framed, old photograph of herself and 4 soldiers during World War 1, with a note from Bruce saying he had found the original photo and that he would love to hear the story one day. Diana thinks back to her childhood on the island of Themyscira. Diana is eager to begin training for war like the rest of the Amazons but her mother, Queen Hippolyta, refuses to allow her to train. Hippolyta tells Diana the history of the Amazons, how Zeus had created them to restore peace and protect mankind from the evils inflicted by Ares. As Hippolyta led a crusade to end the wars of man, the gods rebelled against Ares so Ares killed all of them except for Zeus, who was able to strike down Ares, then created Themyscira to hide the Amazons and the weapon he created which could kill a god. Diana sneaks off to train with her aunt Antiope and when Hippolyta eventually catches them, she sends Diana away before arguing with Antiope. Antiope argues that Ares is still alive and Diana needs to be prepared to battle him and Hippolyta reluctantly agrees, telling Antiope to train Diana harder than any Amazon before her. As the years pass, Diana has become a young woman and continues training, defeating the strongest Amazons in combat. As she spars with Antiope, Diana gets the upper hand but when she turns to seek Hippolyta’s approval, Antiope knocks her down and presses the attack, lecturing Diana that war isn’t fair, when Diana slams her bracelets together, causing a shockwave that sends Antiope flying. As some Amazons tend to Antiope, Hippolyta worries about what she has done while Diana apologizes, then runs off after seeing the looks on the other Amazons faces. Heading to a cliff to think about what happened, she sees a damaged airplane piercing the mystic veil protecting Themyscira and crashing into the ocean. Diana dives into the water and rescues the pilot, Steve Trevor, and carries him to shore, unaware that German troops were searching the area for his plane and also discover the island. As the Germans approach the island, Hippolyta and the other Amazons attack them as they land on the beach. Steve and Diana join the battle but Diana, fighting her first real battle, gets distracted by seeing her fellow Amazons dying and is almost shot herself but Antiope leaps in front of her and takes the bullet herself. Grieving over her sisters death, Hippolyta prepares to kill Steve but Diana jumps in front of him, saying that he fought at her side. When Steve refuses to answer, he is brought into the city and tied up with the Lasso of Hestia, which compels him to tell the truth. Steve tells them that he is an American spy working with British Intelligence and had been undercover at a German war factory, where General Erich Ludendorff and his chief chemist, Dr. Isabel Maru, are working on developing a new mustard gas that can eat through Allied gas masks. Steve stole Maru’s notebook and managed to escape the factory, bombing it on his way out, and was attempting to make it back to Allied headquarters but was shot down in the attempt. Diana argues that they should go fight in this war, as it surely means that Ares has returned, but Hippolyta refuses to allow it. After talking some more with Steve, Diana decides to help him leave the island, sneaking into the armory and taking the Lasso and the “Godkiller” sword as well as her armor. Diana leads Steve to a dock where a ship is ready to sail but before they leave, Hippolyta and her guards arrive. Diana approaches Hippolyta and says she has to go and Hippolyta says she knows and allows Diana to leave but as they watch the boat sail away, one of her guards asks Hippolyta if she should have told Diana the truth but Hippolyta says that the more Diana knows, the faster Ares will find her. Meanwhile, Ludendorff and Maru have survived the bombing and set up a new factory to manufacture their weapons but Maru is still not having any luck without her notebook. She gives Ludendorff some gas capsules, which increases his strength, and as he recovers from the effects of the gas, she finds some crumpled notes and realizes she might have the answer to their problems. Diana and Steve arrive in London and Diana wants to head straight to the war but Steve convinces her to let him get the notebook to his superiors first. Steve takes Diana to get some more modern clothes so she can blend in but as they head to the war council, they are attacked by German spies and Diana is able to quickly defeat them. Reaching the council, they listen as Sir Patrick Morgan attempts to discuss negotiating armistice with Germany. After handing over the notebook, the generals try to interpret the book and Diana recognizes the languages the book is written in and is asked to translate it. When she tells them of the new mustard gas Maru is working on, Steve tries to convince the generals that they need to send a team in to take out Maru but they refuse. Diana argues with the generals before Steve drags her out of the room and tells her he will take her to the front, despite being ordered not to go. Steve and Diana head to a nearby bar, where they recruit Steve’s mercenary friends Sameer and Charlie, and Sir Patrick arrives to wish them luck on their mission into Belgium. Meanwhile, Ludendorff arrives at a council meeting, where the other generals are discussing the upcoming armistice. Ludendorff says that he can still win the war but the other generals overrule him and say they plan on telling the kaiser to sign the armistice so Ludendorff has Maru throw a gas grenade in the room, then Ludendorff locks the generals inside with the gas to be killed. When Diana and the others arrive in Belgium, Diana is saddened by the sight of all the injured she sees but Steve tells her they have to keep moving so they continue moving forward. The eventually meet up with Chief, a smuggler who supplies items to both sides of the war, and they make camp for the night. The next day, they arrive at No Man’s Land and when she hears what has happened to the nearby village of Veld, Diana decides to help the villagers. Heading up out of the trenches, Diana makes her way towards the German line and Steve and the others, inspired by her bravery, follow after them. They are soon able to take out the German soldiers in the trenches and make their way into the village, taking out all of the soldiers there and liberating the people. After posing for a photo, Steve makes contact with his secretary, who tells him that Ludendorff is hosting a gala close by to the village but Sir Patrick tells him not to go to the gala, as it will disrupt the armistice treaty. That night, the villagers celebrate their newly won freedom while Steve and Diana dance and end up getting closer to each other. The next day, they head to the gala and Steve tells Diana not to go inside before he heads there in disguise with Sameer, but Diana steals a woman’s dress and makes her way in. At the gala, Steve begins speaking with Maru and attempts to persuade her to work with him but he gets distracted when he sees Diana enter the room. Diana makes her way to Ludendorff, whom she believes to be Ares, and the two discuss the war and the Greek gods while they dance before Ludendorff takes his leave. Diana moves to kill him but Steve stops her and argues that it won’t help them find the gas and tells her she might be wrong. As the two head outside, they see Ludendorff ordering cannons to fire at the village and Diana rushes back to the village and Steve follows her, telling Chief and the others to trail Ludendorff. When she reaches the village, Diana finds everyone inside dead and she blames Steve for their deaths, believing his preventing her from killing Ludendorff allowed this to happen. Steve sees some nearby smoke and tells her to follow it, as it is Chief and the others telling them where Ludendorff went. Diana heads out and finds Ludendorff at a nearby airfield, where the gas is being loaded onto a bomber heading for London. Diana starts fighting Ludendorff and eventually kills him but is shocked to discover that the Germans are still loading the bombs onto the plane. Steve arrives and tries to convince Diana to help him stop the Germans from using the gas again but Diana is too confused by what is going on and wonders if mankind is even worth saving, so Steve and the others head out on their own. Suddenly, Diana sees Sir Patrick appear and realizes he is Ares and goes to confront him but when she attempts to stab him, the Godkiller sword is destroyed. Diana looks on in horror and Ares tells her that she, not the sword, is the Godkiller, being the last child of Zeus that he left behind to be used as a weapon against him. Ares attempts to convince Diana to join him but she refuses so he begins attacking her. Steve and the others discover the gas being loaded onto the plane and make plans to disable the plane when they see Diana and Ares fighting. Maru orders the plane to take off and Steve comes up with a plan, telling the others to clear him a path to the plane. When Diana is knocked back by an explosion, Steve goes up to her and starts talking to her, though she can barely hear him as her ears are still ringing from the blast, and he hands her his father’s watch before running and getting on the plane. After knocking out the pilot, Steve pilots the plane as high as it can before setting off the explosives, sacrificing himself in order to destroy the gas in the explosion. Diana, who had been trapped by Ares, sees the explosion and cries out in grief over Steve’s death, enabling her to access more of her power, which she uses to attack the Germans attempting to kill Chief, Charlie, and Sameer. Ares tells her to use her powers to help him kill mankind, offering up Maru for Diana to kill. However, Diana thinks back to what Steve was telling her before he got on the plane and how he loved her, and realized that despite the evils some men may show, there is good in mankind. Ares attempts to attack her again, using lightning this time, but Diana is able to absorb the lightning with her bracelets and uses it to kill Ares and the soldiers end up laying down their arms. Back in London, Diana and the others see a memorial to various soldiers that died in the war and Diana touches Steve’s picture on the memorial before turning and walking away. Back in the present, Diana places the picture back in the suitcase, along with Steve’s watch which she still had, then sends Bruce an email thanking him for the picture before hearing sirens in the distance and, donning her armor, heads out to save mankind once again.

Wonder Woman was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot’s charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.” Gal Gadot was 5 months pregnant when she had to do reshoots for the film so the crew made a costume that included a green screen around her belly, which they removed during post production. The movie was a box office hit, earning $821.8 million off of a $149 million budget, and set several box office records; including being the highest grossing live action film directed by a woman and the highest grossing super-hero movie with a female lead.

There were a few flaws, but this was a great movie and worth the praise people were giving it. The acting was really good, with Gal Gadot doing an amazing job as Diana, while Chris Pine (Steve), David Thewlis (Ares) and Danny Huston (Ludendorff) were equally good. I also thought that Connie Nielsen (Hippolyta) and Robin Wright (Antiope) were fantastic as Amazons (seriously, Buttercup became a real bad-ass) while Said Taghmaoui and Ewen Bremner made for some pretty good comedy as Sameer and Charlie, while Eugene Brave Rock (Chief) did a good job being the straight man for them. The plot was one of the better origin style movies to come out in recent years. Yes, I know that in the comics, Wonder Woman appeared pre-World War 2, not World War 1, but I think the different setting helped set it apart a little more (and might have also helped keep some of the regular movie-goers from trying to compare it to Captain America: The First Avenger. On a side note, I literally LOLed during the scene where Diana is eating ice cream for the first time, as that was almost identical to a scene in the animated movie, Justice League: War. The special effects were really good, with the battle in No Man’s Land being exceptionally well done and choreographed, as was the Amazon’s battle against the Germans. The only mild drawback for me was the final battle between Diana and Ares, as it felt like the went a little too overboard on the special effects during parts of the battle, when a “less is more” approach might have been better. All in all, DC finally got their act together and made a good live-action movie. Hopefully, they can keep this up.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Standard
movie, movie review, adventure, action, animation

November 20th, 2017 Movie – Batman And Harley Quinn

batman and harley quinn

Ok, so you might be wondering why I have backtracked to today’s movie. Well, this kind of goes along with my quest to review The Star Wars Holiday Special on it’s anniversary. I bought a lot of movies in order to review the special on that exact date but once I achieved that goal, I had a problem with several movies that I had pre-ordered. Now I could have just kept them at my house and held off on watching them, but that temptation would have been too much for me. So, I decided to remove the temptation and as soon as the movies came in, I would take them to my friends’ house and have them hold onto them for me. After I reviewed the special, I got the movies back, which honestly weren’t that many, and am now handling those reviews. So this is one of those movies that I heard about and thought it sounded like a pretty funny idea. The fact that it is one of DC’s animated movies didn’t hurt matters either. So lets see the trouble that occurs in today’s movie, Batman And Harley Quinn.

The plot: Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man, break into S.T.A.R. Labs and steal the information regarding Dr. Alec Holland’s work in bio-regeneration. When Batman and Nightwing arrive and discover what the two criminals had taken, they decide to split up. Batman heads to A.R.G.U.S. to find out information about a recently kidnapped scientist, Professor Harold Goldblum, and learns he had been working on biological warfare weapons. Meanwhile, Nightwing tries to find Harley Quinn, to see if she knows where Poison Ivy might be hiding out. He eventually finds her working at a super-hero themed restaurant, posing as herself, and follows her back to her place, where Harley call him out for following her. Nightwing tries asking her where Poison Ivy might be hiding but Harley refuses to help, as she has gone straight since she was paroled and wants nothing to do with the “costume” crowd anymore. When Nightwing taunts her about working as a waitress, Harley gets angry and attacks him and the two end up fighting in an alley, with Harley ending up being the victor when she secretly injects Nightwing with a mild dose of Joker Venom and knocks him unconscious while he is incapacitated by it. When Nightwing comes too, he finds himself tied to Harley’s bed while she talks to herself over what she should do with him. Noticing he has regained consciousness, Harley shows him the stack of rejection letters she received when she applied to work at psychiatric institutes, as well as offers for more R-rated type of work, and Nightwing feels guilty for his comments. Harley goes to change but when she notices Nightwing reaction to her body, she decides to seduce him, offering to help him in return. Meanwhile, Batman is searching Goldblum’s home and discovers a leaf from Woodrue and confirms that they are behind his kidnapping. He attempts to contact Nightwing but gets no response so he goes looking for him and finds Nightwing and Harley, both fully dressed, fooling around on her bed. After quietly admonishing Nightwing for his actions, Batman meets Harley at the Batmobile and refuses to meet Harley’s demands, saying she will help them because the lives of everyone on the planet are at stake. Harley starts to direct them to where Ivy might be heading but quickly makes them stop the car, as she spots her former boyfriend and chases after him and starts to beat him up for standing her up at the senior prom before Batman pulls her off of him. Back in the Batmobile, Harley directs them to a bar frequented by villainous henchmen and seeks out one of Ivy’s regular henchmen. After getting the information from him, they go to leave but find their way blocked by the other henchmen, who want payback on Batman and Robin, so the trio are forced to fight their way out. At their lair, Ivy and Woodrue have Goldblum test the formula on a rat but when it fails, Goldblum theorizes that they need to use the water and biological matter from the same swamp where Holland became Swamp Thing to make the serum work. Batman, Nightwing, and Harley show up and Ivy is shocked to see Harley working with the two heroes. Nightwing battles with Ivy while Batman tried to deal with Woodrue but they are unable to subdue the two villains. When a fire breaks out and separates them, Woodrue grabs the research notes and chemicals, then kills Goldblum as he starts to come out of Ivy’s pheremone control. Ivy is hesitant to leave Harley in the fire but Woodrue grabs her and drags her out of the building as portions of the roof collapse. Once outside, Woodrue hands Ivy part of a tuber he grabbed from Swamp Thing’s corpse when he had briefly died, and tells her to eat it, which connects the two to The Green and allows them to travel to the Louisiana swamp. Batman and Nightwing manage to free themselves and find Harley comforting the mortally wounded Goldblum. Batman gives Goldblum a sedative to ease his pain and Goldblum tells them where Ivy and Woodrue are heading before he dies. After getting some medical attention, Batman summons the Batwing and prepares to head to Louisiana with Nightwing, thanking Harley for her help. When she argues that she should go with them, Batman tells her he can’t trust her and she starts crying, saying she won’t survive a plant apocalypse, and Nightwing says they should bring her as a contingency plan. They reach Louisiana and head into the swamp, accompanied by some soldiers but the soldiers end up being attacked and killed by some of Ivy and Woodrue’s plant guards. Harley tricks Batman and Nightwing into springing one of Ivy’s traps and when Ivy and Woodrue arrive to see what is happening, Harley attempts to talk Ivy out of going through with her plan. When Ivy refuses to stop, Harley throws a weed killer pellet at the tree holding Batman and Nightwing, freeing them, and the two heroes immediately start attacking Woodrue. Ivy, feeling betrayed, begins attacking Harley and the two friends start fighting until Ivy uses her control over plants to trap Harley. When Harley learns that Ivy hasn’t tested the formula yet, she pull out her ultimate weapon; taking off her cowl and wiping off her makeup before she gives Ivy the sad, puppy dog eyes and then crying, causing Ivy to start crying and hug her friend. Woodrue overpowers Batman and Nightwing and approaches Harley and Ivy using a plant to attack them. Ivy stops the plant but Woodrue knocks her out, then shoves Harley aside as he grabs the formula and approaches the swamp. Suddenly, Swamp Thing emerges from the swamp and chastises Woodrue, saying this is not the way to fix the problem but he will not interfere. Woodrue starts laughing, thinking he has won, while Batman, Nightwing, and Harley feel dejected at Swamp Thing’s refusal to help. Suddenly, Harley reminds them that Woodrue is basically a plant and asks if either of them has a match; prompting Batman and Nightwing to smile and kiss her on the cheek as Batman lights a match and throws it towards Woodrue, setting him on fire and causing him to run burning through the swamp. Some time later, Harley is shown to be helping people overcome their fears and insecurities by having them run through an obstacle course as part of a reality game show.

As much as it pains me to say, this was a little bit of a letdown of a movie. The voice acting was great, with Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester doing a good job reprising their roles of Batman and Nightwing/Dick Grayson from 92’s Batman: The Animated Series. Melissa Rauch did a good job as Harley Quinn and the interplay between her and the other characters was pretty funny. The basic story was pretty good but there was a lot of mixtures of adult and sophomoric humor aspects that honestly felt weird. I know that a lot of the recent animated movies have taken on a more adult aspect in times so the whole Harley seduction thing, while a little weird, wasn’t that bad but the 2-3 minute fart joke was just stupid and really didn’t need to be there. I will say that the throwback to the classic 60’s Batman show, including the henchman taunting Batman by doing the Batusi, was very funny. The animation was pretty good, kind of bringing a nostalgic style to the movie as it was a little different from some of the more recent movies. It feels like a little bit of a step down from their recent work, but it’s still not a bad movie to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 19th, 2017 Movie – Starship Troopers

starship troopers

You know what was missing from the 90’s; giant bug movies. I mean, they were a staple of the sci-fi genre during the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s but then kind of disappeared in the 80’s and early 90’s. Luckily, Director Paul Verhoeven, of Robocop and Showgirls fame/infamy,  had decided to do a giant bug movie and was pointed in the direction of doing Robert A. Heinlein’s novel when similarities were pointed out between the novel and the script Verhoeven was working on. I didn’t read the book before going to see the movie but I enjoyed the movie, which of course prompted me to read the book later. A while back, I had caught part of the movie on TV one day but. not wanting to deal with the censorship or commercials, I just decided to go to Best Buy and pick up a copy on DVD. So let’s have some good CGI fun with today’s movie, Starship Troopers.

The plot: On the alien planet of Klendathu, a reporter is filming a live broadcast of the Federation’s battle with the Arachnids when he is attacked and killed by a bug. Several soldiers kill the bug and Johnny Rico yells at the cameraman to run when a second bug attacks and kills another soldier and the cameraman before piercing Rico’s leg, leaving him crying out in pain as the camera cuts out. One year earlier, Rico is finishing his last day of high school in Buenos Aires with his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and his friends Carl Jenkins and Dizzy Flores, where there teacher, Mr. Rasczak, tries to teach them the difference between a citizen and a civilian in the Federation. After class Rico goes to help Carl practice his psychic abilities before taking part in a football game against a rival school, where he strikes up a rivalry with Zander Barcalow when he starts flirting with Carmen. As Rico gets ready to go to the graduation dance, his family argues with him about his wanting to enlist in the military, as they disapprove of military service, and attempt to bribe him with a trip to the Outer Rings before he enrolls in Harvard. At the dance, Dizzy, who is in love with Rico, manages to snag Rico for a dance when Carmen wanders off and as they are dancing, she asks Rico why they never hooked up but Rico says that he just wants to stay friends with her. He then speaks with Rasczak for a few minutes before meeting back with Carmen, who is talking with Zander as he is going to the Fleet Academy just like she is. The next day, Rico, Carmen, and Carl head over to enlist, with Carl being signed up for Military Intelligence, Carmen going to Fleet, and Rico going to Mobile Infantry but when Rico’s parents find out, his father disowns him. At the training camp, Rico is surprised to see that Dizzy has transferred to the same camp that he is in and asks if she followed him there. At the same time, Rico starts a friendly rivalry with Ace Levy, as they both want to be squad leader. Meanwhile, Carmen is beginning her training on the Roger Young and finds that Zander has arranged to be her flight instructor on the voyage and the two start flirting with each other. After excelling in a training exercise, Rico is made squad leader and he apologizes to Dizzy and repairs their friendship but later that night, Rico receives a “Dear John” letter from Carmen, where she tells him she wants to pursue a military career. During a live-fire training exercise, Rico’s bad judgement results in the death of one cadet and a second cadet quits over her guilt in killing the cadet while Rico is given ten lashes for his actions. Meanwhile, Carmen and Zander are getting closer as they train together, while their performance prompts Captain Deladier to place them permanently on her crew. While they flying close to Jupiter, they detect an asteroid coming towards them on a course from Earth. Carmen and Zander are able to save the Roger Young from being destroyed but the ship suffers some damage and they are unable to contact Earth to warn them of the asteroid. Back on Earth, Rico decides to quit the infantry, despite Dizzy trying to talk him out of it, and calls his parents to tell him of his decision but their call gets cut off partway through. As Rico starts to leave, he sees the soldiers all running towards a view screen and he follows them to learn that the asteroid had struck Buenos Aires and wiped the city off the map. Enraged, Rico goes to the head office to rescind his resignation and his drill instructor, Career Sergeant Zim, tears up his 1240-A form and tells Rico to gear up. As Rico, Dizzy, Ace, and the other infantry head to the space platforms to make the journey to Klendathu, Rico is surprised to see Carmen calling out to him. After speaking with her for a few minutes, she is joined by Zander and Rico implies that she felt what was best for them was that she be with Zander and goes to leave. When Zander taunts Rico about the Mobile Infantry, the two end up getting into a fight before they are separated. As the mission on Klendathu begins, the fleet come under fire from bug plasma fire from the surface and discover that it is not the harmless bursts of light they were led to believe as several ships are destroyed and the Roger Young comes under fire. On the surface, Rico and the others make land and take out two of the giant bugs that are firing the plasma. When the soldier bugs appear, Ace freezes up so Rico orders the platoon to start firing but as they find themselves being overrun, he orders them to fall back (bringing us to the events at the beginning of the movie). When the Roger Young returns to port, Carmen checks the list of those killed in action and finds Rico’s name on the list, causing her to break down in tears and shrug off Zander as he tries to console her. Rico had managed to survive and is in a healing tank getting his leg repaired when Ace and Dizzy stop by to show him the news that he is dead and joke with him. The three friends report to their new unit, the Roughnecks, and Rico and Dizzy are surprised to learn that the unit commander is their former teacher, Lt. Rasczak, who was the person that saved Rico on Klendathu. With a new Sky Marshall in charge of the military, the new plan of attack is to take out the outer planets before attacking Klendathu again. The Roughnecks head out to one of the planets and during the course of the battle, Rasczak promotes Rico to Corporal when Cpl. Birdie is severely wounded in the attack. That night, Rasczak allows the Roughnecks to have some R&R and during the course of the night, Rico and Dizzy end up having sex. The next day, the Roughnecks answer a distress call coming from an outpost and find that it has been overrun by bugs. As they secure the compound, they find General Owens hiding in a cabinet and learn that the bugs had sucked out the brains of the radio operator and controlled him in order to send the distress signal to lure them into trap. As the bugs start to swarm and attack the compound, Rico and Dizzy get on the radio to contact a retrieval boat then join the others in holding back the bugs long enough for the boat to get to them. The rescue boat arrives, piloted by Carmen while Zander covers the troops as they get on board. Rasczak is mortally wounded and orders Rico to put him out of his misery while Dizzy is also mortally wounded by a bug and Rico and Ace manage to get her onto the boat, where she dies in Rico’s arms. Returning to the co-pilot’s chair, Zander tells Carmen that Rico is still alive and when Rico tells them to bomb the planet, Carmen shows her shock at seeing him alive. Rico’s request is denied and he gets upset until Carmen points out that the fleet has mobilized for an attack. On board the Roger Young, Rico and the Roughnecks arrange a funeral for Dizzy and as it ends, Carl joins them. Rico and Carmen approach Carl, who apologizes that Rico’s group was the one sent to “P”, as the mission had a low survival rate, but they had to determine if a Brain Bug was on the planet. Carl then tells them that they are sending people down to “P” to find the Brain Bug and capture it and promotes Rico to Lt., giving him command of the Roughnecks. As Rico and the others land on “P” and receive fresh reinforcements from Boot Camp, the Roger Young comes under heavy fire and is destroyed, with Carmen and Zander being some of the only survivors. As they crash land on “P”, Carmen manages to make contact with Rico and tell him her position but they are attacked by some bugs and the transmission is cut off. Sugar Watkins prepares a rescue mission but Rico cancels it and says they need to continue with the mission. As they head into the tunnels, Rico suddenly suggests that they head down a side tunnel, saying that Carmen is there, and orders the rest of the Roughnecks to continue with the mission while he, Ace, and Watkins head down the side tunnel. Meanwhile, Carmen and Zander have been captured and are being held down as the Brain Bug appears and approaches them. Zander slips Carmen a knife just before the Brain Bug impales him in the head with it’s stinger and sucks out his brains. When the Brain Bug approaches her, Carmen cuts off the stinger just as Rico and the others show up, holding up a pocket nuke to keep the Brain Bug and the other bugs at bay. As the Brain Bug moves away, the bugs start attacking Rico and the others and Watkins is seriously injured so he grabs the nuke from Rico and tells the others to run while he holds off the bugs until the nuke goes off. Rico, Carmen, and Ace survive the blast and as the emerge from the tunnel, they learn the Brain Bug was captured. Carl approaches the Brain Bug and is able to sense that it is scared, drawing a cheer from the crowd. As Carmen and Rico approach Carl, he tells them this was the turning point in the war and Rico is surprised to learn that Zim, who had gotten busted down to a Private in order to join the war, was the one to capture the Brain Bug. As the war continues, Carmen is shown to have been made a Captain, while Rico and Ace continue leading the Roughnecks into battle.

Starship Troopers met with negative results from the critics when it was released in theaters but since then, has garnered more favorable results; holding a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A fun movie…if you can accept the excessive gore and wooden acting.” During the filming in the desert, Jake Busey and several other cast members ended up suffering from heat stroke, as many as 25 people per day at one point, and so modifications to some of the actors’ costumes were made to help prevent this in the future. The movie was barely a box office hit, earning $121.2 million off of a $100 million budget, and ended up spawning 2 live action sequels, 2 animated sequels, and an animated TV series.

This is one of those movies that is a total guilty pleasure for me to watch. The acting was ok, with Casper Van Dien (Rico), Jake Busey (Ace), and Dina Meyer (Dizzy) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Michael Ironside (Rasczak) in this and as surprising as it may sound, thought Denise Richards did a good job as Carmen. There were some changes in the story from the book to the movie but the plot on a whole was fairly simplistic, which led to some of the wooden acting the critics accused the movie of having. The special effects were really good, with the CGI bugs mixing in with the scenery really well while some of the live robotic models used for closeups were incredibly detailed. One thought I had while watching this movie again is how some of the basic assault rifles used by the Federation soldiers looked a lot like the basic assault rifle used in the Halo games. Anyways, I still find this a lot of fun to watch and a great way to kill time for 2 hours.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 18th, 2017 Movie – Stargate

stargate

Oh look. It’s a movie from my least favorite duo; Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. I know that at some point, I should let go of my hatred towards them (I mean, it has been almost 20 years), but I think I am going to keep holding onto it until they redeem themselves for Fraudzilla. Now before that travesty, the two had actually made a decent name for themselves in the sci-fi realm and had a number of box office hits (yes, I know that THAT movie was also a box office hit). Today’s movie was not the first time the two paired up but it is an early collaboration and one that I did not see in theaters. I ended up getting it on DVD years ago when I was bored one day so let’s see how this impule purchase holds up as I watch Stargate.

The plot: In 8000 B.C. Egypt, a bright light appears in the night sky above a small village and massive winds begin blowing away their tents and supplies. Most of the villagers run in terror but one man approaches the light to see a pyramid-shaped structure just as a ball of light flies from the top and strikes him. In 1928, archaeologist Professor Langford, along with his young daughter Catherine, is at a dig site in Giza when his foreman shows him a large cover stones that form a circle, which seem to fit inside a large disk they found close by. As they lift the disk up, they discover a strange fossil had been buried underneath it. In 1994, Dr. Daniel Jackson, an Egyptologist and linguist, is approached by an elderly Catherine for help in translating some artifacts, as she knows he is poor and has been evicted from his home, but Jackson doesn’t like the secretive nature of the assignment and refuses at first but reluctantly agrees to go. When Jackson arrives at converted Air Force bunker in Colorado, where he is introduced to Dr. Gary Meyers and Dr. Barbara Shore, who Catherine had also recruited to help her with the artifact. As Jackson examines cornerstones and the hieroglyph that are written on them, he corrects Meyer’s initial translation and says they refer to something called a “Stargate”. When he asks why the Air Force is concerned with it, Colonel Jonathan “Jack” O’Neil, who had been  reassigned to manage and provide security for the installation, tells him that the matter is classified. After two weeks of studying them, Jackson realizes that hieroglyphs actually refer to star clusters and constellations and during a meeting, explains that the symbols are used by the Stargate to travel from one planet to another. Meyers doesn’t believe Jackson, saying that they haven’t located the 7th symbol that Jackson says is necessary for travel, and General West, the man in charge of the project, tells them to show Jackson the Stargate. When Jackson locates the missing symbol, they activate the Stargate, which opens a wormhole and they send a probe through to find out where it leads. The probe heads to a planet in another galaxy, sending back data that the air is breathable as well as images of a Stargate on that planet but the symbols don’t match the ones on their Stargate. West says that they might have to scrap their plan to send a recon team through the wormhole but Jackson says he can translate them and, despite O’Neil’s reluctance, West orders Jackson placed on the team. Catherine gives Jackson an amulet that she had found when her father discovered the Stargate and he joins O’Neil and his team as they make their way through the wormhole. Arriving on the distant planet, the team find themselves inside a pyramid and walk outside to find themselves in a desert environment. O’Neil orders Jackson to start translating the Stargate while they work on setting up a base camp but Jackson tells him that he can translate the symbols but without knowing the order that they need to go in, he won’t be able to send them home. Jackson says they need to look around for a tablet or something that would have the symbols on it but the other soldiers get upset that they are stuck on the alien world. O’Neil heads back inside the temple and begins setting up a nuclear device, which they brought as a means of last resort to destroy the Stargate so that nothing can get back to Earth if they fail. Meanwhile, some of the other soldiers yell at Jackson and throw his gear down a sand dune and as Jackson goes to pick it up, he notices tracks leading across the sand. Following the tracks, Jackson discovers a strange creature that appears to be domesticated, as it has a harness attached to it. When O’Neil and two other soldiers, Brown and Kawalsky, arrive to check on Jackson, the creature gets startled and starts running away, with Jackson being dragged behind it as his feet had gotten tangled in the rope harness. O’Neil, Brown, and Kawalsky follow after him and eventually catch up to the creature only to discover a settlement, with people mining some strange material. Jackson, O’Neil, and the others approach the settlement and when Jackson goes forward to try and speak with them, one of the men notices the amulet and cries out, causing everyone to suddenly bow to the strangers. O’Neil has one young boy stand up and attempts to shake his hand but the boy runs off and gets the settlement’s chieftain, Kasuf, who greets them and offers them some water. Jackson offers Kasuf a candy bar in return and says they have a chance in finding what he needs to activate the Stargate in their city so O’Neil radios the base camp to secure the site while they are lead towards the city. Inside one of the buildings, Kasuf shows them a disk with the symbol of Ra, the Egyptian Sun God, and Jackson says they people believe the 4 of them are emissaries of Ra that were sent to them. When an alarm sounds and the people bar the gate, O’Neil, Brown, and Kawalsky make their way to the gate and fire warning shots at the people when they try to stop them from opening it but the boy, Skaara, motions for O’Neil to follow him and shows that a sand storm is approaching and O’Neil and the soldiers apologize. During dinner, Jackson attempts to speak with Kasuf and tries drawing out the symbols but Kasuf quickly erases the symbol, causing Jackson to theorize that writing is forbidden to them, and them hastily drags Jackson away. Jackson is taken to a tent and cleaned before Kasuf’s daughter Sha’uri is presented to him as a gift. Jackson stops her from disrobing and starts to leave but, not wanting to insult Kasuf, stays in the tent and begins talking with her. When Sha’uri indicates she has seen the symbols before, Jackson takes her hand and asks that she show him where. Meanwhile, the other soldiers head inside the pyramid in order to take refuge from the storm when the alien spaceship lands on top of the pyramid, merging with it. The soldiers attempt to defend themselves but they are quickly captured or killed by the aliens. Back in the city, O’Neil starts to befriend Skaara, who reminds him of his son, who died years ago. When O’Neil asks Skaara and some other children about where Jackson is, Skaara uses Jackson’s scarf to allow one of their animals to track him. They find Jackson and Sha’uri inside a temple, and Jackson explains to them that the people’s dialect is Ancient Egyptian, and tells them how Ra had come from an alien planet to escape dying and ended up taking over the body of the boy who had approached their ship in Ancient Egypt. Ra then became ruler of the land and began transporting people to the alien planet to mine the minerals needed for their weapons and technology. However, a rebellion occurred back on Earth so Ra forbade the people on the planet from being able to learn how to read or write. Jackson discovers a slab that shows 6 of the symbols needed to operate the Stargate on this planet but the last symbol is too faded for him to make out. O’Neil decides they should head back to the temple but when they get there, they see no sign of the other soldiers. When they head inside, Brown is killed Kawalsky is captured by the aliens, as Skaara watches from a window, and O’Neil has Jackson follow him down to the Stargate, as he wants to arm the bomb but finds it missing. The two are captured and taken aboard the ship and brought before Ra, who accuses them of wanting to destroy him. When the guards remove their armor, O’Neil attacks one of them and grabs his weapon, killing a second guard but when Jackson tries to get them to stop fighting, he is killed and O’Neil is knocked unconscious and dropped into a dungeon cell, where he finds the rest of his captured men. Outside the pyramid, Skaara and some of the other children are going through the supplies from O’Neil’s camp but take cover when they see two craft fly away from the pyramid towards their city. The two craft begin firing at the city, killing many of the people inside and when Skaara returns, Sha’uri says Ra is punishing them and Kasuf says they shouldn’t have helped the strangers. Back on the ship, Jackson finds himself brought back to life and is brought to Ra’s chamber, where Ra speaks with him. Ra tells him he plans on sending the nuke, made even more powerful by mixing it with the elements from the planet, back through the Stargate so that he can wipe out Earth’s civilization. Ra then offers Jackson a chance to live by executing his teammates but if he refuses, then he can join them in death, as Ra wants to show his slaves that he is the only person they should worship. Back in the city, Sha’uri is in the temple when Skaara and some others tell her that Ra has summoned the city to witness an execution and Sha’uri tells them they have to stop it, explaining what Jackson told her about their history. When the people arrive at the pyramid. They see O’Neil and three of his soldiers lined up as Ra approaches and sits in his throne. Jackson appears and is handed a weapon, then motioned towards O’Neil and the others but as he approaches them, Skaara signals him and shows that he has one of their weapons with him. Jackson turns the weapon on Ra and blasts the throne area, while Skaara and the other kids begin firing the weapons in the air, creating a diversion that allows Jackson, O’Neil, Kawalsky, and the others to escape. They head towards some caves and O’Neil angrily grabs some of the weapons from the kids and Jackson accuses him of not telling his men the truth about his mission and the bomb. The next day, Jackson sees Skaara drawing a symbol for their victory and realizes it is the last symbol and says he can get them home. When one of Ra’s guards shows up at the mine to get the people to work harder, O’Neil kills him, which upsets Kasuf until Jackson removes the armor to show him that his gods are just normal people. Disguising themselves as part of the caravan, O’Neil, Jackson, and the other soldiers join Skaara, Sha’uri, and their friends in approaching the pyramid and begin attacking the guards. Jackson, Sha’uri, and O’Neil head down to the Stargate, where Ra’s guards had taken the bomb for deployment, but Sha’uri is killed by one of the guards and O’Neil activates the bomb, telling Jackson he has 7 minutes to activate the gate and get himself and the rest of his men back to Earth. Outside, two flying craft begin attacking the rest of the soldiers and Ra orders his head guard to send the bomb to Earth. Seeing the teleporter activating, Jackson grabs Sha’uri’s body and jumps onto the platform, telling O’Neil to wait for him, and he teleports onto the ship while Ra’s guard arrives in the pyramid and begins attacking O’Neil. Onboard the ship, Jackson activates the regeneration chamber and uses it on Sha’uri, then heads back to the portal but Ra sees him and attacks him. Back in the pyramid, O’Neil manages to overpower the guard and activates the teleporter, sending the guards head back to Ra’s ship while inadvertently rescuing Jackson and Sha’uri at the same time. Outside, Kawalsky and the others run out of ammo and are forced to surrender but as the two guards approach them on foot to finish them off, Kasuf and the rest of the tribe appears and attacks the guards, killing them. Seeing his men are defeated, Ra decides to leave the planet but Jackson and O’Neil, realizing they can’t turn off the bomb, use the teleporter to send it onto Ra’s ship, causing it to explode in outer space. Seeing the explosion, everyone cheers as Jackson, Sha’uri, and O’Neil emerge from the pyramid and later, Jackson activates the Stargate to send O’Neil and the others back to Earth but he chooses to stay behind with Sha’uri.

Stargate met with mixed reactions from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that over-abundance of special effects in the movie was to try and make up for the weak plot. The early pre-release screenings were disastrous and the executive producer realized the main problem was that the plot made no sense so he had Ra’s dialogue subtitled and made it so it presented a clearer story line, which helped later test audiences. The movie was a box office hit, earning $196.6 million off of a $55 million budget, and spawned 3 TV spin offs.

Long and boring. That’s about the best way to describe this movie. The acting was ok, but James Spader (Jackson) and Kurt Russell (O’Neil) both seemed completely uninspired in their performances. Alexis Cruz (Skaara), Mili Avital (Sha’uri), and Erick Avari (Kasuf) were much better with their performances, while I was kind of indifferent towards Jaye Davidson (Ra). The story was really weak, and felt like it was stretched out even thinner in order to fill the length of the movie. The special effects were pretty good but I honestly thought that they would have been better considering the money spent on the movie. I remember there being a lot of hype surrounding this movie when it came out in theaters but I honestly can’t see it being worth it but it’s worth a watch, at the very least if you want to see what the TV show was based on.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Standard
adventure, movie, movie review, musical, sci-fi, tv episodes

November 17th, 2017 Movie – Star Wars Holiday Special

star wars holiday special

Happy Life Day everyone and if you haven’t figured it out by now, today’s movie is the reason for my buying a ton of movies at the beginning of the year. So 39 years ago today, a television event occurred that has since become legendary for how absolutely terrible it was. CBS had approached George Lucas about doing a TV special featuring the characters from Star Wars, as the recent re-release of the movie in theaters showed that the movie’s popularity had not waned in the least. Well, George Lucas agreed and the end result ended up being a train wreck of such epic proportions, that it was never rebroadcast after the initial airing, nor did it receive an official release on home video,  so the only way you could obtain a copy was through a bootleg copy of an original recording or, in more recent times, off of the internet. George Lucas has never considered the special to be part of the Star wars canon and, in regards to the bootleg copies, has stated that “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every bootleg copy of that program and smash it (with a couple of profanities thrown in there).”

Fast forward a few decades, and I managed to pick up a copy of the special at DragonCon. Some time later, my friends and I decided to watch it one night while watching a slew of “bad” movies and thought it was absolutely hysterical. Since then, some of my friends and I will wish each other a Happy Life Day on this day. Last year, I wished my friend Paula a Happy Life Day and she said I should review this special since it was “Life Day”. Well, at this point last year I was only in the “P’s” so that wasn’t going to happen but I looked at where it fell on the schedule and realized I could quite easily make it happen this year. Thus, 150 some odd movies later (mostly off of the two box sets I bought) I am able to watch today’s movie, The Star Wars Holiday Special, on the anniversary of when it first debuted.

The plot: Han Solo and Chewbacca are heading to Chewbacca’s home planet of Kashyyyk when they are attacked by two Imperial Star Destroyers. Han wants to turn back but Chewie convinces him to continue as the day is important so Han makes the jump to light speed. On Kashyyyk, Chewie’s son Lumpy is playing with a wooden X-wing while his grandfather, Itchy, sits in a chair carving a second one. When Lumpy gets on Itchy’s nerves, Chewie’s wife Malla has him take out the garbage, admonishing him when he tries to steal a cookie that she baked, though he quickly takes another one when her back is turned. Malla and Itchy are starting to get worried that Chewie isn’t there yet and Itchy lets Lumpy watch a holovid of some acrobats and jugglers in order to keep him entertained. Malla checks a scanner for approaching ships but finds nothing in the area. She then contacts the rebel base and reaches Luke Skywalker, who is working on his X-wing with R2-D2, and when Luke learns that Chewie and Han haven’t reached Kashyyyk yet, he tells them he doesn’t know where they are but is sure they will be there soon. Malla then contacts Saun Dann, a local trader, to ask if he has heard from Chewie but Suan’s shop is being searched by Imperial troops so he has to give Malla a coded message telling her that Han and Chewie are on their way while on board one of the Star Destroyers, Vader tells his officers to search every house on the planet for the Rebels. Malla works on cooking a meal when a message comes through the view screen announcing an Imperial blockade around the planet. Just as the message ends, someone knocks on the door and the wookies fear it is Imperial troops but it is only Saun, who had brought them all some Life Day gifts. Lumpy grabs his gift and quickly takes it up to his room while Saun gives Itchy a holotape, which he claims is “Wow”, and puts it in for Itchy, who uses the privacy viewer to watch it. Princess Leia and C-3P0 contact Malla and when they learn that Han and Chewie haven’t arrived yet, Leia worries that the Imperial blockade might be more of a problem for them and asks Saun to stay with Malla and the others until they get there. Han and Chewie arrive at Kashyyyk but when they notice they blockade, they decide to enter in the Northern area where they have less of a chance of being spotted. Malla, Lumpy, and the others hear the Millennium Falcon’s engines and they rush to the door to greet them only to find Imperial troops outside. As the Imperials begin searching the house for any signs of the Rebels or Rebellion contraband, Saun tries to distract them, showing one of the officers a holovid of a band singing but the officer in charge forces him to leave. As the Imperials continue searching the house, Lumpy starts watching an animated adventure of the Rebel Alliance. In the cartoon, Han Solo and Chewie had gone to fetch an ancient talisman but Han falls victim to a sleeping sickness attached to the talisman and they end up crashing on a planet close to the hidden Rebel base. Luke, R2, and 3P0 head to the planet but they end up stuck in the planet’s surface and a creature begins attacking their ship before they are rescued by a man named Boba Fett. Boba Fett offers to help them and takes them to the Millennium Falcon but as Luke enters, he falls victim to the sleeping sickness just as Chewie gets rid of the talisman. Boba Fett thinks Chewie did something to them but 3P0 translates that it was the talisman that caused them to fall asleep, though it only affects humans. Boba Fett says he recognizes the virus and offers to go into town to get the cure but Chewie demands to go with him. When they get to town, Boba Fett has Chewie wait while he gets the cure but as he does, he secretly contacts Darth Vader, who had hired Boba Fett to locate the Rebel base. After returning to the Falcon and administering the cure, Luke thanks Boba Fett but R2, who had intercepted Boba Fett’s transmission, informs Luke of Boba Fett’s deceit and Boba Fett uses his rocket pack to fly away. The Imperials finish searching Lumpy’s room and order him to clean it up but Lumpy uses the time to work on building a transmitter. Back downstairs, a live video, which is required viewing for all Imperial soldiers, tells of Tatooine having a curfew placed on it and watch as the bartender, Ackmena, tries to kick everyone out and eventually does so by singing a song and leading them in a dance. Lump gets his transmitter working and fakes an Imperial transmission telling the soldiers to return to base. The Imperial officer orders one stormtrooper to stay behind while the others leave but the stormtrooper hears the repeated message coming from Lumpy’s room. The stormtrooper smashes the device and chase Lumpy outside but Han and Chewie arrive and as Chewie moves to protect Lumpy, Han manages to trick the stormtrooper into falling off the deck and into the jungle below. Han and Chewie enter the house and after making sure everyone is ok, Han leaves, wishing them all a Happy Life Day. Saun returns to the house just as the Imperials try contacting the stormtrooper but Saun convinces the Imperials that the stormtrooper had deserted and they agree to send a search party to look for him. After Saun leaves, Chewie and his family each hold up a globe and they end up wearing red robes as they are transported into space, where they join a procession of other aliens walking into a star. They arrive at the Tree of Life, where they are joined by Han, Leia, Luke, R2, and 3P0. Leia greets everyone and sings a song to celebrate Life Day, as Chewie thinks back to how he met all of his new friends, before heading home with his family and having dinner.

Everything you heard about this special is true, but that actually makes it fun to watch because it is such a train wreck. The acting from the main Star Wars cast (Hamill, Ford, and Fisher) felt pretty stifled and nowhere near as crisp as it was in the original film. Art Carney did a good job as Saun while Bea Arthur (Ackmena) made for a funny twist as the bartender and Harvey Korman was hysterical as the alien chef and the instruction manual for the communicator. The base story was honestly a little weak and they tried too hard to stretch it out for a 2 hour special. Some of the side bits to help stretch things out were pretty good; such as the cartoon, which was the first appearance of Boba Fett, and the scenes with Harvey Korman were funny as hell. The scene with Itchy watching the holovid of the woman is a little disturbing, as it was more or less implied that he was essentially watching porn. Equally as disturbing was the scene with Jefferson Starship and I know that it was supposed to be a lightsaber but it honestly looked like Marty Balin looked like he was singing into a glowing dildo (my apologies if the description offends you). This is not good in any sense of the word, but it can entertaining in the whole “so bad, it’s good” style of enjoyment.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 (but the entertainment value could bump this to a 2 1/2)

Standard