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October 21st, 2016 Movie – Planet Outlaws

planet-outlaws

Buck Rogers, a somewhat unsung hero in science fiction. I remember watching the TV show years ago and thought it was pretty cool, though I also remember wanting to rip Twiki’s head off to keep him from talking. Anyways, The TV show was not the first appearance of Buck Rogers in film as there was an old movie serial that came out in 1939. Then someone decided to re-edit the serial into a movie in the 50’s, so they condensed an almost 4 hour long serial into a 69 minute movie. Man, I hope they didn’t cut out anything important, like the plot, when the made those edits to form today’s movie, Planet Outlaws.

The plot: Lieutenant Buck Rogers and his co-pilot George “Buddy” Wade are flying a dirigible over the North Pole when the weather causes them to crash. Centuries later, two men find the wreckage of the dirigible and discover the bodies of the two men perfectly preserved in suspended animation. Buck and Buddy are taken to the hidden city to see Dr. Huer, the scientific leader of the city, who informs the two men that due to the gas that they were carrying in the dirigible, they have managed to stay alive for over 500 years. Lt. Wilma Deerling informs Huer that Killer Kane has captured one of their pilots and Huer turns on a video screen, where they are able to observe the pilot being interrogated by Kane. Buck asks who Kane is and Huer explains that due to the world’s inability to stamp out lawlessness in the 20th century, the criminals ended up ruling the Earth. Learning about their plans to seek aid from Saturn, Buck speaks with Air Marshall Kragg, Huer’s military counterpart, and comes up with the idea to send a radio controlled ship out to act as a decoy so that Buck can slip through Kane’s blockade. Kragg agrees to the idea and orders Wilma to go with Buck and Buddy to Saturn. When the enter Saturn’s atmosphere, they come under attack by two of Kane’s ships and are forced to bail out before their ship crashes. The make contact with Earth and set out towards a nearby city but are soon captured by Kane’s men. Kane’s men take them to their ship but they all end up captured by some Saturn soldiers. They are all taken to see Aldar, leader of the Council of Wise, and Buck pleads his case but Kane’s emissary says that Kane is a benevolent ruler and that Buck and his companions are part of a revolutionary force. Aldar believes Kane’s men and orders Buck, Buddy, and Wilma to be put in jail, saying that Saturn wants no part of a revolution, but Buck overpowers a guard and the three escape, then steal one of Kane’s rockets to head back to Earth. As they approach Hidden City, they don’t radio ahead and Kragg, believing it to be an attack by Kane, has the ship destroyed but Buck and the others survive and are taken back to the city. Back on Saturn, Aldar sends Prince Tallen to Earth to verify the story of Kane’s emissary and if it is true, to have Kane sign a treaty which gives Saturn’s pledge of support. When they see the ship approaching, Buck decides to disguise himself and Buddy as Kane’s soldiers to spy on Kane. They make their way to Kane’s conference room, where he and his council are about to sign Tallen’s treaty but Buck stops Kane from signing it and has Kane show Tallen how he treats his prisoners. Tallen agrees to go with Buck to speak with Huer and Kragg and joins Buck and Buddy as they escape from the city. Flying back to Hidden City in Kane’s personal ship, they encounter a squad of ships from Hidden City, and are fired upon by Deerling but they land and after she realizes who they are, they all head back to the city. Tallen pledges his support to Huer and Kragg’s cause and they attempt to make contact with Saturn but are unable to. Buck, Wilma, and Tallen make plans to fly back to Saturn, and Huer uses an invisibility ray to cloak their ship long enough to make it through the blockade. The three make it to Saturn and after the treaty is signed, Buck and Wilma return to Earth. Unknown to them, an emissary of Kane’s had gone to Saturn and managed to stow away on their ship when it heads back to Earth. The spy opens the gates to Hidden City and radios Kane to inform him of where it is. Buck and Kragg show up and try to stop the spy and Buck is shot in the arm during the scuffle before Kragg is able to knock out the spy and close the gates. While most of the ships are destroyed, two manage to sneak in and are captured. Buck decides to use one of the ships to fly to Saturn and get them to help attack Kane’s forces, then heads back to Kane’s city, where he and Bucky start removing the robotic helmets from the prisoners. As Saturn’s forces destroy the air blockade, Buck and the freed prisoners manage to capture Kane and his council, then place a robotic helmet on Kane, ending his reign of terror.

As short as this was, this was a pretty decent movie but it could have been better. The acting was good, with Buster Crabbe doing a great job playing Buck Rogers. The story was ok but the pacing felt weird and incredibly sped up due to all the cuts. Granted, I know a lot of stuff was cut out to make this into a movie but it just felt like you were missing stuff throughout the entire movie. The action and special effects were probably pretty decent in 1939, but look pretty laughable now. I will be honest, it is worth a watch but it really made me want to watch the serial more than anything else.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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October 20th, 2016 Movie – Planet Of The Sharks

planet-of-the-sharks

So it looks like I have fixed all my mistakes (please let me be up to date) so let’s get back to where we should be. Now back during Sharknado Week, there were sooo many shark movies that I was able to enjoy and today’s movie is one of the few new ones that were released on DVD. Now since it was a shark movie and it was from The Asylum, there was absolutely no chance that I would not be buying it so when it came up for pre-sale, along with Sharknado: The 4th Awakens and Ice Sharks, I immediately pre-ordered it. So let’s dive into today’s movie, Planet Of The Sharks.

The plot: In the future, global warming has caused the polar ice caps to melt, flooding the earth. On a floating settlement called Junk City, a lookout spots a large school of sharks heading towards the city and warns the citizens, just as the sharks start attacking the city and killing everyone. One of the citizens sends up a flare, which is spotted by the residents of Salvation, a larger floating city, but when they try making contact with Junk City, the don’t get an answer. Dillon Barrick, captain of the supply boat Osprey, radios Salvation and tells them he will check it out, then receives a call from Dr. Roy Shaw, head of the Westron Reseach Facility, asking about some materials he is bringing them. After getting off the radio with Barrick, Munro goes to talk with some of her team and Dr. Shayne Nichols tells her that the rocket they are building will work but they only had enough materials for one scrubber, making this their only shot at trying to cool the planet down. Salvation sends out Nathan Terry in a mini-copter to check on Junk City and locates the sole survivor, a tennage girl named Bea, and radios Barrick to pick her up. Barrick pulls up to the dock and pulls Bea aboard the boat, then quickly leaves as the sharks, led by a large mutated shark, head towards them but as Barrick heads out into the open water, the alpha shark turns away and the school follows it. Barrick heads towards Westron while the Nathan heads back to Salvation to report what he saw but Joanne D’amato, the leader of Salvation, has a hard time believing his story. When Barrick and Bea reach Westron, he tries to get her to leave his ship but she refuses and Nichols tells her she can stay as Barrick has to take her and Shaw to Salvation to pick up some supplies for the rocket and that D’amato needs to talk to Barrick and Bea about what happened to Junk City. When they arrive at Salvation, D’amato and Shaw talk about the materials Shaw needs and D’amato wants Shaw to relocate some of Salvation’s people to Westron. When Shaw asks about Salvation’s defenses for sharks, D’amato says that they got rid of the nets, then shows her how they deal with sharks. D’amato and several people begin pounding on the walkways and making noise, luring the sharks towards them, where they then begins spearing and killing the sharks before dumping them back in the ocean. When the alpha shark grabs the hook they use to capture sharks and swims away, causing the large wench to break and fall into the sea. Barrick and the others quickly head back towards the Osprey as the sharks start to attack the city. Seeing someone trying to steal his boat, Barrick jumps in the water and starts swimming towards it and Shaw, Nichols, Bea, and Moffat jump in later . Barrick manages to make it on board and fights with the man who stole his boat, eventually beating him after a shark bites the man’s head off, then Barrick helps Bea and the others get on board the boat and they head back to Westron as they watch Salvation be destroyed. Shaw contacts Westron and has Dr. Caroline Munro and Hideo Ishiro get the HARP, a device that was used to attempt to create new landmasses by causing volcanic eruptions, ready to fire. She then builds a signal device to lure the sharks into the caldera of a volcano, and gives it to Nathan, who had survived the attack on Salvation. Nathan takes the device out to attract the sharks but he flies to low and a shark jumps out of the water and brings the mini-copter down and kills Nathan as he tries to swim away. Nichols uses some paraskiing gear that Barrick has on board to sail out and grab the device, then lure the sharks to the target zone. Shaw contacts Ishiro and tells him to fire the harp and the beam heads into the atmosphere and bounces down to strike the target, triggering an eruption which kills most of the sharks, but the EMP from when Munro shuts the device down causes the power to go out at the station. Out in the ocean, Barrick spots a tsunami approaching them and manages to get the Osprey to ride over the crest, and they head out to pick up Nichols, who is being pursued by the alpha shark. The shark manages to knock Nichols off the ski but she makes it safely on board the boat, while Shaw is able to tag the alpha shark with a transmitter. Returning to Westron, Shaw is told of the problems and that the Westron is sinking and decides to use the alpha shark to help power the launch of the rocket. As the station starts to sink and sharks attack the people, Moffat is killed while trying to keep Bea safe. Nichols goes with Barrick onto the Osprey to try and find a way to drive the sharks away while Shaw manages to lure the alpha into an enclosed area underneath the rocket and jab some electrodes into it, enabling Munro to receive enough power to initiate the launch. As the countdown progresses, the bottom of the container breaks and Shaw and the alpha are dropped into the water, just as the rocket launches and the scrubbers start to work. Shaw swims towards the Osprey but is killed by the alpha but Nichols manages to figure out how it controls the other sharks and causes them to start attacking the alpha. The alpha kills several of the sharks, then jumps onto the Osprey to try and kill Barrick and Nichols but they escape as Barrick steers the Osprey towards some fuel tanks, causing an explosion that kills the Alpha while Barrick and Nichols swim back to Westron to rejoin Bea, Munro, and Ishiro. 6 months later, Barrick, Nichols, and Bea are out on a boat and they see that the water levels have started to go down, as the look out over the parts of New York City that have risen out of the water.

When I first saw the list of movies for Sharknado Week, this is one of the ones that I was really looking forward to. However, when I did watch it, I enjoyed it but was a little disappointed with it. The acting was pretty decent, with Brandon Auret (Barrick), Lindsay Sullivan (Shaw), and Daniel Barnett (Moffat) being my personal favorites. The story was interesting but honestly reminded me a little of Waterworld, just with more sharks. I did like the idea of the alpha shark controlling the other sharks as that was a rather unique twist in what could be a boring movie. The special effects were pretty decent for the most part, with a few exceptions here and there, and helped make the movie more enjoyable. Not my favorite new shark movie but an enjoyable viewing none-the-less.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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October 19th, 2016 Movie -Piranhaconda

piranhaconda

Ok, so there is an interesting situation regarding this DVD. See, when this movie debuted on Syfy years ago, I was all excited because it was another Roger Corman movie for me to enjoy. After watching it, I eagerly awaited for it to appear on DVD but, to my great despair, it was never released on DVD…or at least not in the US. I have seen several copies online in other regions but since I don’t have an all-region Blu-Ray/DVD player, none of those would do me any good. However, I would still go online and try to find a copy that was playable in the US and one day, I managed to find one….sort of. What I wound up getting was a set of promotional disks for all of the movies that debuted on Syfy that month, including Arachnoquake and Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Well the three other movies in the set were all finished products but today’s movie was not, which I admit makes for some interesting, and often entertaining viewing. So let’s get right on with today’s movie, Piranhaconda.

The plot: Professor Robert Lovegrove and his two assistants take a helicopter to a remote part of the Hawaiian islands to search for a legendary creature. Reaching a waterfall, they find some eggs and Lovegrove grabs one and places it inside a plastic container. Suddenly, a piranhaconda bursts out of the water and kills the two assistants, while a second one attacks the helicopter and causes it to crash, leaving Lovegrove stranded there. On the other side of the island, a film crew is filming the latest installment of a horror movie when the director decides to stop for the day. As they pack everything up, one of the crew goes off on her own to look for a missing light meter and ends up getting attacked and killed by the piranhaconda. At the hotel, Rose (the scriptwriter) and Jack (stuntman/killer) are talking and Rose is showing him an article online about how a legendary Polynesian creature was spotted on the island last week but they are soon interrupted by Kimmy Weston, the movie’s female lead, who convinces Jack to put some suntan lotion on her back. When a man, Rick,  sitting next to them recognizes Kimmy and asks his girlfriend Jamie to take a picture of him with her,  Kimmy tries to get Jack in the shot with her but he leaves and goes back to the table with Rose, only to have her leave as soon as he gets there. Elsewhere, Lovegrove makes his way towards an abandoned sugar factory and tries to see if there are any keys in the vehicles there when he is taken captive by a woman named Talia. Talia takes him to her boss Pike who, despite Lovegrove’s warnings about the monster in the jungle, decides to hold him for ransom and keeps him in the factory. Meanwhile, Dr. Masters, her assistant Vicki, and their guide Leilani are looking for a rare flower and find it only to be killed by a piranhaconda. At the film location, the director Milo calls a cut to the first scene and asks the girl with Kimmy to practice screaming while he takes a call so the girl wanders off and ends up getting eaten. When Milo gets off the phone, he informs everyone that the film has been shut down so they all pack up to leave. On the way back to the hotel, Jack, Kimmy, Milo, Rose, and Gunner (the film’s explosive’s man) are taken hostage by some of Pike’s men but Gunner uses some mini explosions to create a distraction which allows him and Jack to escape. The lead kidnapper, Arturo, sends two men after them but one of them is killed by a piranhaconda and the other returns holding the camera dropped by Lovegrove’s assistant when she was killed. The lead kidnapper watches the camera’s footage and decides to take the three prisoners to the sugar factory. Meanwhile, Rick and Jamie decide to go hiking to a remote beach but after they go for a swim in the ocean, Rick goes off to use the restroom and ends up being killed by a piranhaconda. Back at the kidnapping site, Jack and Gunner meet back up and decide to go after Rose and the others so Gunner grabs some supplies from the back of their van. At the factory, Arturo shows Pike and Talia the video camera and after seeing the footage, Pike decides to try and sell the egg that Lovegrove had in order to make some more money, though Arturo and Talia seem uneasy about it. Meanwhile, Lovegrove is explaining to Rose and the others about what he was doing there when Arturo has Rose, Kimmy, and Milo go outside. The three are taken to a field, where a masked Pike films them while giving his ransom demands, then they are taken back to the factory but Rose pretends to seduce Arturo then knees him in the crotch and escapes. One of the kidnappers chases after her and catches up to her after she trips and falls into a nest of piranhaconda eggs but he is killed by a piranhaconda. Rose runs back to the factory and tries to warn the kidnappers and they take her back to the room with the others. Jack and Gunner arrive and see Rose being taken inside so they make a plan to get them out. After taking out a guard and grabbing his gun, Jack goes to get the others while Gunner plants some explosives around the area. After freeing the prisoners, Jack leads them towards the van and Milo, who had been shot in the foot earlier, chooses to stay behind to help cover their escape as he won’t be able to make it to the van. Jack, Rose, Kimmy, and Lovegrove head to the van, with Pike and the kidnappers shooting at them when a piranhaconda appears and kills Talia. Gunner sets off the explosives but ends up getting hit by a stray bullet so Jack is forced to leave the body. As they drive off with the piranhaconda in pursuit, Lovegrove notices his satchel in the back of the van and quickly grabs it. When the piranhaconda appears on the road ahead of them, Jack stops and then notices Pike had shown up and fired a bazooka at them so he quickly speeds towards the piranhaconda then swerves so that the rocket hits the creature instead. As they drive off, Pike watches as a second piranhaconda nudges the wounded one before killing it. Pike returns to his men and they head off after Jack and the others. Meanwhile, Milo manages to wander through the jungle and reaches the beach where Jamie is waiting for Rick to return. When Milo tells Jamie about what is going on, she thinks he is crazy and goes running off yelling for Rick, with Milo chasing after her. When Jamie reaches the nest of eggs, Milo tries to warn her that they should leave but she decides to break the eggs instead, attracting a piranhaconda to them which quickly kills Milo then Jamie. Jack and the others run out of gas and decide to make their way down river in hopes that there is a boat nearby. When they reach a dock and see a boat, they start to get inside but Rose finds the egg in Lovegrove’s satchel and they realize that the egg is what attracted the piranhaconda to them. Since the studio vans are nearby, Jack decides to use the egg as bait to kill the piranhaconda and heads back there to get some explosives. As Jack and Rose are working on rigging up the bomb, Jack is shot by Pike, who plans on killing them all. When a piranhaconda appears and starts killing Pike and his men, Lovegrove uses the opportunity to grab the egg and run while Kimmy goes to get the detonators but she ends up being killed by the piranhaconda. Jack tells Rose to head back to the dock and get help while he deals with the piranhaconda, planning to use a gun he grabbed from a dead worker to set off the explosives. Rose sees Lovegrove getting on the boat and jumps on with him and they leave. When the piranhaconda chases after them, Rose discovers the egg and Lovegrove quickly grabs it back from her. She manages to knock him overboard, where he is killed by the piranhaconda, then beaches the boat and runs through the jungle with the egg, eventually catching up to Jack. The two ride off on Pike’s ATV and head back to the waterfall, where they are cornered by the piranhaconda. Jack places the bomb in the container with the egg and throws it at the piranhaconda, then he grabs Rose and they jump into the water just before they detonate it, killing the creature. Jack and Rose embrace each other and kiss due to surviving but are quickly killed by a third piranhaconda.

As is common with any Roger Corman/Jim Wynorski movie, I found this movie very entertaining. The acting was pretty decent in several aspects, primarily Michael Madsen (Lovegrove) and Rib Hillis (Jack), and pretty corny in others but that is to be expected. The story was decent as far as the main plot goes but there where the random plotlines that didn’t really seem to make much sense but just seemed to be filler, such as the Dr. Masters looking for the flowers. The special effects were pretty decent and I liked the simplistic design of the creature, with just the facial area showing the melding of the two animals and it really worked. Now I have to admit, watching the DVD that I have, where you see words appear on the screen to denote the special effects that will be inserted (such as “blood mist” or “chunks of meat fall to ground”) or seeing a woman’s leg painted green to show where the editing will make it look like it was bitten off was pretty entertaining, but I honestly would really like to have a normal copy. Still, if this comes on TV it is worth watching for some cheesy sci-fi fun.

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

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October 18th, 2016 Movie – Arachnoquake

arachnoquake

So this has been one screw-up after another. See, when I noticed I forgot to review Piranha Sharks the other day, that led to me noticing I forgot to review another movie I own. Well, there is a reason why that one wasn’t necessarily reviewed, which I will bring up when I review that movie, but it did bring up the fact that another movie that was also included in that particular collection was left off of my list. So, I am forced to backtrack…again…and take care of my own oversight. So here is today’s movie, Arachnoquake.

The plot: At a chicken farm outside of New Orleans, some of the workers are talking about an earthquake that occurred the night before while one of the men complains about something biting him the night before. The owner of the farm, Jean Jacques, hands the man who was bitten a shotgun and tells him to go check out the hen houses as something has killed two of the hens so he heads out and stops when he sees a large hole has opened up in the ground. Suddenly, his shoulder starts to seriously hurt and as he takes off his shirt to check it out, a small spider bursts out of a boil on his shoulder and comes towards him, backing the man up until he falls into the hole. In New Orleans, Paul shows up two hours late and his dad, “Pops”, berates him for costing them their first charter of the day due to his not bringing the boat back to the dock so he demotes him to driving the trolley bus while he and Petra, Paul’s sister, go get the boat .Meanwhile, Charlie, a high school girls’ softball coach, shows up to pick up his team and take them back to Houston but his assistant Barb is seriously ill after being bitten by something so Charlie is forced to drive them back to Houston, to the displeasure of his wife Katelynn, and his kids, Justin and Annabel, who had gone there on vacation to be with him. Katelynn and the kids, along with Glen, Tina, and an old man nicknamed Gramps, get on the tour bus that Paul is driving and they start the tour but are forced to stop after awhile when they come across a section of street that has collapsed. As Paul gets out to check the street, Annabel notices a small spider and captures it and all of the passengers get out to look at it before Justin grabs the container and tosses it down a storm drain. Paul shows back up and they notice a spider on his back but Paul knocks it off of him and Gramps knocks it away with his cane. When some larger spiders get on the bus, Paul quickly gets everyone back on the bus and they drive off. When Paul stops at a gas station to refuel, Glen, Tina, Justin, and Annabel head inside to look for bug spray while Paul, Katelynn, and Gramps stay outside but they quickly head inside when the giant spiders show up. Inside, the have the clerk call the police but he complains about not feeling good just as a boil on his neck explodes and he falls to the floor dead, where a baby spider crawls on his face. Paul and Glen manage to kill some more baby spiders but when a giant spider breaks into the store, they all run back to the bus but Gramps is killed by one of the giant spiders. Katelynn starts to have an asthma attack and Paul tries to get her to a drug store but Glen argues with Paul and tries to take over driving the bus. When Paul is forced to stop as police have blocked off the way ahead of them, Annabel tries calling her father but when Charlie picks up the phone, he ends up wrecking the bus he is driving while trying to avoid a giant spider on the road. As Charlie and the team try to get the bus free, they are attacked by a giant spider and manage to kill it but get back on the bus when more spiders appear. Meanwhile, Pops and Petra go get their tour boat but while making sure the boat isn’t caught on the reeds, they notice the body of Armando, a famous local alligator, floating in the water. When they get back to the dock, they notice fires coming from the city and Pops goes looking for Paul and escorts the bus back to the dock. On the dock, Glen wants a refund for the tour and starts ranting about what is going on but he ends up getting killed by one of the spiders and Pops has everyone get on the boat. Once they get on the water, Paul gives Katelynn a tank of Heliox to breathe in order to combat the asthma attack but when they see another boat that has been attacked by spiders, Tina panics and heads for the bridge, where she pushes the throttle forward. Petra loses her balance but Paul is able to catch her and drags her back on the boat just before they crash onto the shore. Tina is killed by the spiders and Pops tries to distract them so the others can escape but he ends up getting burned by one of the spiders. Paul and Petra run to help him and a spider approaches them but it is killed by Mary, Armando’s mate. The group makes its way through the swamp and run into Jean Jacques and two of his workers, who take them back to the farm to tend to Pops’ wounds. Back on the bus, Charlie and the others are rescued by Major Crandle, whose daughter is on the team, and while the girls are taken back to Houston, Charlie rides with Crandle to rescue his family. Back at the farm, Katelynn asks them to try and capture or kill a spider so she can dissect it and learn a possible weakness to them. The farmers manage to kill one in a pit trap and bring it back for Katelynn to study and as she learns what she can about them, they figure out that recent fracking is what caused the spiders to come to the surface. When the spiders suddenly attack the farm, most of the ranch hands are killed while the group ends up getting split up. Katelynn, Justin, and Annabel head off with Jean Jacques but when Katelynn is snared in  spider’s web and dragged off, Annabel chases after he while Jean Jacques prevents Justin from following. Meanwhile, Paul and Petra notice that they have become separated from Pops so Paul goes back to look for him, managing to save him from another spider attacking him but when they return to where Petra was, they find that she has disappeared and Pops ends up dying from his wounds. Jean Jacques and Justin show up and Paul asks Jean Jacques to take Justin to the safe zone while he goes looking for Petra and the others. Returning to the boat, he sees Annabel grabbing something off the boat and running off into the woods and follows her, where he sees her jumping down into a hole. Following after her, Paul makes his way through the cavern and find Petra, then they locate Katelynn and Annabel, who are observing the queen spider. When the queen notices them, they head back to the boat and manage to get free just before the queen reaches the surface, where it starts to chase after them but Katelynn ends dying from her asthma. Back in the city, Justin and Jean Jacques arrive at the safe zone, where Justin is reunited with Charlie while Crandle is informed of the queen heading towards the city. As the queen makes its through the city and begins making a web between two buildings, Paul puts on his father’s diving suit and makes a bomb to use against the queen, then heads into the city after the spider while Petra and Annabel take Katelynn’s body with them. Paramedics take the body while Annabel and Petra are taken to the safe zone, where they watch Paul and Jean Jacques, who had grabbed a bazooka from the military, get captured by the queen. The queen kills Jean Jacques but when it goes to attack Paul, he manages to grab the ovipositor and gets swallowed by the spider. Inside, he attaches the bomb to the queens gas bladder and after managing to crawl out the spinneret, he ignites the bomb, killing the queen and causing all of the drones spiders to die as well. Everyone celebrates while Petra believes Paul is dead but as Crandle tells her that he is going to see that Paul is given the highest honor a civilian can receive, they see Paul had survived the blast and send a team to rescue him.

As far as spider movies go, this was a pretty decent movie to watch. The acting was pretty good, with some funny dialogue popping up every now and then, especially some of the dialogue between two of the farmers. The story was ok, although the whole hive mind idea is not exactly original. I did think it was interesting that they took their own stance on fracking, coming up with a very unique danger to what could happen. The special effects were pretty decent, with the spiders looking pretty good but the whole fire breathing part was a bit much, though the concept did come back in Lavalantula. On the whole, a decent movie to watch if you are in the mood for watching some creepy crawlers.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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October 17th, 2016 Movie – Piranha Sharks

piranha-sharks

I simply can’t win. Every time things seem to be going well, I notice something that makes me realize I screwed up. In this case, this is something that is entirely my fault due to an oversight. See, earlier this year, I decided that I would include movies that I own digitally, instead of the Blu-Ray or DVD, in this blog. Now I thought I had them all written down on my list so I could do this but apparently, I had missed a movie and while I would have eventually noticed it (2-3 weeks when the next digital movie would come up), it still annoys me right now. Oh well. I am only human and I make mistakes like everyone else. So let me correct this mistake and get into today’s movie, Piranha Sharks.

The plot: At a military research lab, a scientist is observing a batch of genetically altered nano-sharks under a microscope and witnesses them self reproducing. When the lens on the microscope cracks, the scientist goes to remove the sample but accidentally cuts his finger, exposing the nano-sharks to his blood stream, where they proceed to kill him from the inside. Two advertising marketers get a hold of the video and approach the project’s manager, Dominique, and convince her to let them sell larger versions of the sharks as pets to people, saying that they will be able to quickly recoup the money lost in the project. Jackson, Benny, and Wally, three roommates that work as exterminators in New York City get a call for a job but Wally stays at the apartment and after seeing an ad for the Piranha Sharks, orders some online. After finishing their job, Jackson and Benny head to the strip club where Benny’s girlfriend works but she dumps Benny as she feels he won’t amount to anything. Jackson then goes to see his ex-wife Roxy and watches their son, Lawrence, while Roxy and her current boyfriend Guy perform at a show. Lawrence shows Jackson the Piranha sharks that he just got and Jackson tells him to pour bleach in the tank to kill them as they should not be introduced to the ecosystem. Meanwhile, Dominique is kidnapped by Brody, a former analyst from the military project, and he plans to torture her to get the names of the scientists that developed the sharks, as he fears they are a menace to society, then leaves to go get some supplies and leaves his wife to guard her. Back at their apartment, Jackson has a talk with Wally about not pulling his weight and chastises him for buying some piranha sharks. The next day, the two ad execs are summoned to the spokesperson for piranha sharks, he complains about some of the bad publicity that is being generated by the sharks and the ad execs say they will take care of it but secretly leaves some piranha sharks at the house to kill him. Jackson talks with Benny and Wally some more when they notice that the sharks have rapidly multiplied in the tank and the three begin studying them to try and find a way to kill them as they figure they will be getting calls about them soon. Meanwhile, Brody returns to his house to find Dominique making friends with his wife but she agrees to help him as she saw the sharks multiplying and takes him to see the men that created the sharks. The mayor gives a press conference about the piranha sharks and says that things are being handled but he receives a call from the pentagon saying that the city will be nuked in 18 hours. At the home of Dr. Parsons and Dr. Harlow, Brody and Dominique manage to speak with the two scientists and when they say they need a sample to study, Brody agrees to take them back to his house but when he takes Dr. Harlow back to his house, she grabs his gun and holds Brody, his wife, and Dominique hostage. That night, Benny goes to the strip club to try and get back with his girlfriend while Jackson goes to a club with Lawrence to watch Roxy perform when both clubs are attacked by piranha sharks, which burst out of the water pipes. Returning back to Jackson’s apartment they learn about the impending nuclear strike but Wally tells them that he figured out how to kill the sharks and explains that when he spilled his drink in the tank earlier, the fake gold flakes in his gold jaegar killed the sharks. They head back to Roxy’s house to drop her and Lawrence off, then Jackson, Benny, and Wally head next door to Brody’s to borrow some guns and manage to rescue them from Dr. Harlow. Jackson, Benny, Wally, Brody, and Dominique make their way to the mayor’s office to explain their plan and the mayor agrees to let them try in order to save the city. While the mayor sends some men to a central water plant to pour the poison into the water system, Jackson, Benny, Wally, and Brody go to a plant that has a clog to clear the clog and allow the poison to reach the entire city. When they get there, they are attacked by some flying piranha sharks but they manage to kill them all and make their way to the clog. Wally realizes that the turbine fans aren’t running and dives down into the tank to get them running again, sacrificing himself to do it, while Jackson and Benny release the poison into the tank. When they see the sharks are dying, Jackson quickly calls the mayor, who is able to call off the nuclear strike. Later, as they are at a press conference to thank them, the mayor offers Jackson a city position but he refuses, choosing instead to be with his family. Some time later, the two ad execs are relaxing on a beach when they are given two complimentary drinks. Unknown to them, Dominique, who is at the beach with Benny, is watching them and had placed some piranha sharks in the drinks to kill the two men.

So this was a fun little low budget movie to watch. The acting was pretty decent, though a little over the top at times. I have to admit, one of my favorite parts was the cameos with Jose Canseco, who continually professed his love for piranha sharks. The story was actually pretty interesting but there were a lot of jumps in the plot that could have been done a little smoother and a lot of scenes that didn’t really add to the movie and instead just seemed to be nothing more than filler material to make the movie longer. I did think they paid a bit of a tribute to Piranha II with the scene of the piranha sharks flying around attacking people in the clubs and the water plant. The special effects were so-so, with some good scenes and some bad scenes. I am really curious what they could have done with this if they had a bigger budget. Still, it was entertaining and a decent B shark movie to watch if you are in the mood for one.

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October 16th, 2016 Movie – Planet Of The Dinosaurs

planet-of-the-dinosaurs

So we are finished with all of the monkey business (sorry, couldn’t resist) and now we are heading to a planet with some different animals in the forefront. Now being that this movie features dinosaurs, you would think that this would be one of those movies that I would have seen many, many times as a kid. However, the first time I saw this was actually on YouTube about 10 years ago, back when they had the limit on video length. It was a little odd watching this movie broken into 12-15 minute clips but it definitely got my interest. So I decided to buy the DVD a while ago but, as my luck would have it, it is out-of-print (currently it is still sitting in my cart since I “ordered” it on Amazon even though I tried cancelling it). Luckily, I am good at finding things on Ebay as I was able to find a copy of the DVD for cheap, which brings us to today’s movie, Planet Of The Dinosaurs.

The plot: When an accident occurs aboard the space ship Odyssey, Captain Lee Norsythe is able to get some of the crew (Jim, Nyla, Charlotte, Mike, Chuck, and Cindy) and passengers (business man Harvey Baylor and his secretary Derna Lee) into an escape shuttle and jettison before the ship explodes. As they try to figure out their options, they notice a nearby planet and head towards it, where they crash into a sea and are forced to swim to shore before the ship sinks. When they get to shore, Harvey complains about their being lost and they realize that the distress beacon did not make it to shore with them. Chuck and Cindy, swim out to look for it but Cindy is attacked and killed by a strange creature and Chuck is ordered to swim back to shore. After opening one of the crates to retrieve some laser rifles, Lee orders everyone to head away from the sea, as they don’t know if the creature is amphibious. As they come to a river, Derna refuses to go in the water so Mike gives her one of the rifles to hold but she ends up slipping and ruining the rifle when it is dropped in the water. Making camp for the night, they hear an animal roaring in the distance and wonder what it could be. The next morning, they discover a brontosaurus nearby and realize that the planet they are on appears to be following Earth’s evolutionary history, only millions of years behind where they are now. When they see the corpse of a half eaten dinosaur further ahead, they realize that there are dangerous predators around and Lee wants to keep moving. During a rest stop, they find them selves trapped by a stegosaurus and tyrannosaurus and after the tyrannosaurus kills the stegosaurus, they move out, with Lee suggesting making their way to a plateau where the larger dinosaurs can’t reach them. Beginning their climb up the cliffs, Nyla looses her footing and causes the crate of food supplies she was carrying to fall down the cliff, along with another rifle, but they are forced to press ahead. When they reach a cave, they stop for a rest and Lee sends Nyla and Harvey to scout an opening at the top. When the two climb out and look around, Harvey finds some eggs buried in the sand and calls Nyla over but as they look at the eggs, a styracosaurus suddenly appears and roars at them. Harvey grabs the rifle from Nyla and tries shooting the dinosaur but it shrugs off the blast and charges at Harvey, who tries to run but finds himself trapped at the edge of the cliff and ends up impaled on the dinosaur’s front horn and tossed off the cliff. Jim and Lee arrive to find a shocked Nyla and after heading down to bury Harvey, Lee wants to continue looking for a safe place to wait for rescue .Jim starts arguing with Lee, saying that they are stuck on the planet and they should be working on making a civilization for themselves instead of running and hiding but the others agree with Lee. They all get to work on building a stockade to keep the dinosaurs out but Lee comments to Nyla about Jim’s seeming to question everything he does now. Nyla speaks with both Lee and Jim about their actions towards each other but the both feel the other is wrong about what is best about their survival. When Charlotte is attacked by a small therapod, Chuck and Jim manage to scare it off and Jim chastises Lee over his idea that they will be safe there and decides to chase after the injured dinosaur and the others agree. They follow the dinosaur’s tracks but find that it was attacked and killed by an even larger carnivore and they decide to make their way back to camp. The next day, they hunt and kill a small dinosaur for food and as they are all eating, Charlotte speaks with Nyla about Lee and Jim, wondering if they should let Jim lead as he has more survival experience than Lee. Later, Chuck and Charlotte are spending some time to themselves by the barricade when the tyrannosaurus appears and easily smashes the barricade as it chases after them. The people all run further up the mountain but Derna goes back for the rifle and the tyrannosaurus grabs her in it’s mouth and walks off. Jim wants to find the beast’s lair and kill it and so they track it down but when they find the lair, Jim and Lee argue over the best course of action. Lee wants to try and poison it by using a dead animal covered in poisonous berry juice, as a way to prevent more people from dying. After killing a small kentrosaurus, they coat it in berry juice and drag it towards the tyrannosaurs’ lair but the dinosaur comes up from behind them and ends up killing Mike. Jim decides to try his idea of coating large spears with the berry juice and luring the tyrannosaur into a trap but Lee wants to head towards a nearby valley where he feels they will be safer. The others refuse to leave and when the they hear thr tyrannosaurs roar, Lee decides to lure it away from the others, as their trap isn’t finished. Lee manages to distract the tyrannosaurus and ends up leading it to a rhedosaurus, which the tyrannosaurus kills and takes back to it’s lair. With their trap finished, they all head to the dinosaur’s lair and taunt it into chasing after them and it ends up impaling itself on the poisoned spears and is killed, and the people celebrate their victory. Sometime later, they group is shown to have built a house and a pond in the valley, and Chuck and Charlotte have a child. As the men are working on building a wall, Charlotte asks Nyla if they will ever be rescued and Nyla says it doesn’t even matter now.

There is a lot of good to be said about this movie, which is good because this is one of those so bad it’s good movies that most people won’t like. The bad is definitely the acting. Many of the characters were relatively monotone in their dialogue, even when they should be expressing more emotion they just felt flat. Add to that the screaming from the girls mixed with the bad, make that terrible, facial expressions and it is enough to drive you mad. The story itself is actually pretty decent, as the concept of travelling in space and landing on a planet similar to Earth’s prehistoric past has been done in science fiction before, and has been done since this movie first came out. The majority of the budget in this low budget movie was used for the stop motion animation of the dinosaurs and that was really well done. There was even a nod to Ray Harryhausen as one of the dinosaurs in the film was a rhedosaurus, made famous in The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Of course, with all the budget spent on that, other things had to suffer, such as the scenes with the space ship at the beginning of the movie. Bad acting aside, this is a fun sci-fi movie and worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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October 15th, 2016 Movie – Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes

After the success of the reboot, a second movie was almost guaranteed to be made. Just like Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, there was some aspects of the movie that mirrored one of the previous movies in the franchise, in this case it would be Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, but while there are some similarities, this is definitely not a remake. When I first heard about the movie, I was really excited to hear it and could not wait to see it. So of course, I wound up not seeing it in theaters for one reason or another, which I will admit to being disappointed in myself for it. I did make up for it by buying the Blu-Ray when it first came out, and after watching it, immediately regretted my decision even more. So let’s get into today’s movie, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.

The plot: 10 years after the events in San Francisco, the majority of the human race has been wiped out by the ALZ-113 virus, dubbed the “Simian Flu”. In the forest where they are living, Caesar leads a group of apes on a hunt for deer but when his son, Blue Eyes” wanders closer to a captured deer, he is attacked by a bear. Caesar goes to help his son but when he is disarmed, calls out for help and is saved by Koba. The hunting party returns to their village, where Caesar is alerted to the impending birth of his second child, a son. Later, Caesar talks with his friend Maurice and the two wonder if the humans really are all gone, as they have not seen any in the past two years. The next day, Blue Eyes and Ash, Rocket’s son, are returning to the village from fishing when they run into a man named Carver, who is scared by the two apes and draws his pistol and ends up shooting Ash in his panic. Carver calls for help and the rest of his scouting party show up just as Caesar and the other apes, having heard the shot, arrive at the scene. Malcolm, the leader of the human group orders his men to lower their weapons, then tells Caesar that they mean no harm. Caesar yells at the humans to “Go!”, shocking them at first but when he yells again, they leave and Caesar has Koba and some other chimps follow them. Malcolm’s group head across the Golden Gate bridge into San Francisco, where the surviving humans are living under the command of Dreyfus. Malcolm informs Dreyfus that the dam they were looking for looks secure and would be able to generate power for them but the apes will probably not let them near it and Dreyfus tells them not to say anything to the rest of the survivors. Koba returns to the village and during a council meeting, says they should fight the humans now before the humans but Maurice and some of the other apes argue that they don’t know how many people, or guns, are there or why they were in the forest in the first place. Caesar says that he doesn’t want a war as it could destroy everything they have built but will make a decision in the morning and dismisses the council. The next day, Caesar and the majority of the village head into San Francisco and ride up to the edge of the human’s sanctuary. When Malcolm goes out to speak with Caesar, Caesar tells the gathered humans that the apes will fight if the must and warns the humans to stay on their side of the bridge. After the apes leave, Dreyfus tries to keep the survivors from panicking and tells them that they will find a way to get to the dam. Later, Dreyfus and Malcolm talk and Malcolm wants to go and meet with Caesar and try to talk with them but Dreyfus tells him that he is going to the armory and if Malcolm isn’t back in three days, he will go up and kill all of the apes. The next day, Malcolm and his small team head back to the forest and Malcolm has everyone stay in the cars while he goes on ahead. He makes his way up to the ape village, where he is soon captured and brought before Caesar but manages to convince Caesar to let him show him why he is there. Malcolm takes Caesar to the dam and explains what they want to do and says he doesn’t want a war. The apes take Malcolm back to his group and Malcolm tells them they can stay but they have to turn over their guns. At ape village, Rocket destroys all of the guns but Koba isn’t happy and says that they should kill the humans while they are weak. Caesar says that this is their one chance at peace and to let the humans do their work but Koba angrily points out the scars he received as a test animal. At the human’s campsite, Carver says he doesn’t trust the apes, blaming them for the virus, despite Ellie, Malcolm’s girlfriend telling him scientists created the virus. The next day, under the ape’s observation, Malcolm, Carver, and the other men check out the dam and, noticing some debris blocking the water flow, decide to try and blast it free. When they trigger the explosion, it cause a cave in on the tunnel and they are trapped but Caesar and the other apes help Ellie and Malcolm’s son Alexander to free them. As Ellie tends to the people’s injuries, Malcolm goes to thank Caesar but Caesar’s young son uncovers the shotgun Carver had hidden and when Carver draws it, Caesar quickly grabs it and after threatening the humans, throws it in the lake and tells them to leave. Meanwhile, Koba and two other chimps had gone back to the city and discover the human’s armory and Koba says there are enough guns there to kill every ape and that they should warn Caesar. Back in the forest, Malcolm and Ellie go back to the village to try to apologize to Caesar when they see that Caesar’s mate is sick. Ellie offers to help and Caesar agrees to let her, then says they can stay one more day, and the apes will help them. The next day, Carver is forcefully placed in one of the cars and left there while Malcolm and the others head back to the dam. When Koba returns to the village and learns that Caesar is at the dam with the humans, Koba grows angry and heads to the dam, saying that Caesar loves the humans more than the apes. Caesar gets angry and attacks Koba but doesn’t kill hum, saying that apes don’t kill apes. That night, Caesar tries to explain things to Blue Eyes but Blue Eyes refuses to listen to him, swayed to much by Koba’s distrust of humans. Koba goes back to the armory and steals a gun, then heads back to the human’s camp and kills Carver. When Malcolm and the others restore the power, Caesar tells Malcolm that he trusts him and takes him and the others back to the ape village and shows them the city, where the lights have come back on. When Caesar’s mate shows she is feeling better, Caesar and Blue Eyes both go to see her. Koba chooses that moment to have one of his followers set fire to one of the ape homes, then he goes to a lower level of the village. Caesar sees Koba approaching just as Koba points the gun at Caesar and shoots him, then leaves the gun and Carver’s hat to frame the humans. When Blue Eyes finds the gun, Koba says the apes should kill the humans, but Maurice tells Malcolm and the others to run and they are able to hide from the apes. Koba leads the apes to the city, where they attack the armory and grab the weapons there, then attack the human sanctuary and manage to take it over. Back at the ape village, Malcolm, Ellie, and Alexander are trying to get back to the cars when they find Caesar barely clinging to life. When they get Caesar to their jeep, Malcolm wonders how Carver got the gun and Caesar tells him that an ape shot him. Back in the city, Koba and the other apes are working on capturing all of the humans and when Koba tells Ash to kill some of them. When Ash refuses, saying that Caesar wouldn’t want this, Koba kills Ash and tells Blue Eyes and the other apes that they follow Koba now. As Blue Eyes goes outside, he sees Maurice, Rocket, and some other apes being held prisoner on a bus for being loyal to Caesar and Maurice warns Blue Eyes to be careful. Meanwhile, Caesar directs Malcolm and the others to the house he grew up in with Will and Charles and after bringing him inside, Malcolm goes to get a surgical kit so Ellie can treat him. Malcolm uses the subway station to get into the city and grabs a kit but runs into Blue Eyes, who points a gun at him at first but when he lowers it and allows Malcolm to leave but Malcolm stops him and tells him Caesar is alive. Malcolm and Blue Eyes return to the house and Caesar tells Blue Eyes that Koba shot him, and Blue Eyes apologizes and tells him about the other captive apes. Deciding to help his father, Blue Eyes goes back to the sanctuary and frees the other apes, as well as the captive humans and leads them back to the house. Blue Eyes tells Caesar that Koba has summoned the women and children to the city and Malcolm goes with Caesar and the apes, leading them through the subway tunnel into the city. When they are fired upon by a human sentry, Malcolms tells Caesar where to go, then goes out to meet the sentry, who leads him to Dreyfus and a radio operator. Dreyfus explains that they are wiring the tower to explode and kill all of the apes at once but Malcolm grabs a gun and tells him he can’t do let Dreyfus do it, wanting to give Caesar time to stop Koba himself. Caesar and the others make their way up to the tower, where Koba challenges Caesar’s authority and the two start fighting. Back in the tunnels, Malcolm tries to reason with Dreyfus but Dreyfus says it doesn’t matter as they made contact with a military base up north and reinforcements are on the way, which is confirmed by the radio operator, then Dreyfus grabs the detonator and presses it and Malcolm is barely able to avoid the blast. As the tower starts to collapse, Caesar and Blue Eyes work to rescue some fo the apes but Koba grabs a gun and begins shooting at Caesar, killing some apes and wounding Maurice in the process. Caesar attacks Koba, knocking him off the ledge and as Koba clings to the edge, he begs Caesar not to kill him, saying apes do not kill apes but Caesat tells Koba that he is not an ape and lets him fall. Heading back down the tower as the women and children arrive, Caesar tells the apes to let Malcolm go when the bring him out. Malcolm warns Caesar about the soldiers coming but Caesar says that an ape started the war and humans won’t forgive them for it. The both apologize to each other as they felt they had a chance for peace, then Malcolm leaves as Caesar heads out to the apes to prepare for what is coming.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes met with high praise from the critics, earning a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “With intelligence and emotional resonance to match its stunning special effects, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes expands on its predecessor with an exciting and ambitious burst of sci-fi achievement.” Like the previous film, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, as well as several other awards. The movie was a box office success, earning $710.6 million off of a $170 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the franchise .

One of those few movies were the sequel is as good as, if not better than, the original, this is a fantastic movie. The acting was incredible, with Jason Clarke (Malcolm), and Gary Oldman (Dreyfus) doing great jobs in their roles while Andy Serkis (Caesar) and Tobu Kebbell (Koba) doing equally good jobs in their roles. The writing in this movie was incredible, doing an excellent job in building up the relationship between Caesar and Malcolm, as well as showing the buildup for Koba’s betrayal and how similar Koba and Dreyfus both are in their desire to be the dominant species. The special effects were fantastic, with the motion capture and computer generated animals being incredibly life like. An incredible movie that is well worth watching, even if you aren’t a fan of the series.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 14th, 2016 Movie – Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes

There is a big part of me that wants to forgo my normal procedure and review the movie I saw last night. However, I am forcing myself to be patient so that when Shin Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla Resurgence) comes out on DVD, I will be able to enjoy watching it again before reviewing it. Besides, the fanboy in me probably wouldn’t be able to do a proper review of the movie right now. So, let’s get ahead with today’s movie, shall we?

Ten years after a remake was attempted, Fox decided to reboot the Planet Of The Apes franchise entirely. While it would be loosely based on Conquest Of The Planet OF The Apes, this movie was not a remake but an entirely new movie. When I first saw the trailers for this movie, I was stoked because it looked like they were going to do great things for the franchise. So I saw it in the theaters and sure enough, it was everything I thought it would be and I knew I would be getting it as soon as it came out on DVD. On a side note, this would actually be the first movie I bought on Blu-Ray, but that is beside the point. So let’s get right into today’s movie, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

The plot: Several chimpanzees are captured in Africa and taken to a biotech lab in San Francisco called Gen-Sys, where Dr. William Rodman uses them as test subjects for a drug to combat Alzheimer’s. One of the chimps, nick-named Bright Eyes, shows a lot of progress with the drug ALZ-112 so Will presents his findings to the board in the hopes of being able to start human trials. However Bright Eyes escapes her cage and, after running amok through the building, breaks into the board room, where she is shot and killed, causing the board to terminate the project. Will’s boss, Steven Jacobs, has Robert Franklin, Will’s friend and assistant, put down the other chimps but when he goes into Bright Eyes cage, he finds a newborn chimp which explains Bright Eyes behavior. Franklin convinces Will to take the baby home, where he lives with his dad, Charles, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and Will is shocked to learn that the chimp shows increased intelligence and realizes that the ALZ-112 in Bright Eyes must have transferred to him. Will decides to keep the baby chimp, naming him Caesar, and three years later, records his observations about Caesar’s increased intelligence. As Charles’ Alzheimer’s gets worse, Will decides to sneak some of the ALZ-112 out of the lab and injects his father with it, which appears to cure his Alzheimer’s. That same day Caesar sneaks out of the house and goes next door to ride the neighbor’s kid’s bike but when the father tries to attack Caesar, Will quickly stops the man from hurting Caesar further and takes him home. Will takes Caesar to the zoo to have his wounds treated and he ends up starting a relationship with primatologist Caroline Aranha. Caesar grows into adolescence and when he is out at the Redwood Forest with Will and Caroline, he sees a dog wearing a leash like the one he is wearing and gets upset. Caesar asks Will if he is a pet and Will says no, then drives by his work and explains to Caesar about his mother and what he was working on, which upsets Caroline. The next day, Charles’ body starts producing antibodies that counter act the ALZ-112 and his Alzheimer’s returns. When Charles gets into a neighbor’s car and wrecks it, the neighbor starts yelling and threatening Charles and when he sees this, Caesar attacks the neighbor and Will is forced to send him to a primate shelter. At the shelter, Caesar is abused by Dodge Landon, the son of the shelter’s owner, and when he is in the play area with the other chimpanzees, he ends up being attacked by Rocket, the dominant male chimpanzee at the shelter. Meanwhile, Will informs Jacobs about the success ALZ-112 had on his father and Jacobs agrees to allow testing of the stronger virus Will created, ALZ-113. During the test on a scarred chimp named Koba, the hose comes loose and Franklin is briefly exposed to the gas. Later, Jacobs walks by the lab and sees Koba writing out his name, causing Will and Franklin to keep him under observation but Franklin quickly leaves when he sneezes blood. When Will and Caroline visit Caesar at the shelter but don’t take him with them, Caesar gets upset with them. Managing to steal a pocket knife from one of Dodge’s friends when the pay a late night visit to the shelter, Caesar uses it to pick the lock to his cage. Heading into the play area, Caesar unlocks the cage to a gorilla named Buck, letting him out to play for the first time, then Caesar lures Rocket out there and attacks him, forcing Rocket to submit. Will takes some of the ALZ-113 to give to Charles but Charles stops him and ends up passing away that night. The next day, Will goes to the lab to see another chimp being prepped for testing and orders it stopped but Jacobs overrides him and Will quits. Will goes back to the shelter to try and bribes the owner to let him take Caesar home but when Caesar approaches the door, he refuses to leave, choosing to shut the door and turn his back on Will. Meanwhile, Franklin shows up at Will’s house trying to see him but he get’s no response and when a neighbor questions him, Franklin accidentally sneezes blood on him and quickly leaves. Franklin is later found dead in his apartment and Jacobs is told the ALZ-113 affected him in a way that was different from the apes. Caesar speaks with Maurice, a former circus orangutan that knows how to sign, and when Caesar says that he is trying to get the apes to work together, Maurice says that the apes are too stupid. Caesar breaks out of the shelter and heads back to his home, briefly staring at Will and Caroline as they lay in bed before heading into Will’s lab and stealing the ALZ-113 that he has there. Returning to the shelter, Caesar punctures the canisters and sends them rolling down the hall, infecting all of the apes with the gas. The next night, Caesar stays out in the play area when all of the other apes head back to their cages, causing Dodge to go out there to try and get him back in the cage but when Dodge attacks Caesar with a cattle prod, Caesar grabs it from him and yells out “No”. Caesar releases the other apes and when Dodge grabs the cattle prod back, Caesar kills him by spraying him with a hose, electrocuting him. The apes break out of the shelter and head towards the Gen-Sys, where they release the apes that are held there, then make their way through the city, freeing the apes in the zoo as they head towards the Redwood Forest. On the Golden Gate Bridge, the police try to block their route so that they can all be killed but Caesar has Koba lead some of the apes up the guide wires while Maurice leads some of them underneath the bridge in order to attack the police from different angles. Buck and some other gorilla’s push a bus towards the barricade and then Caesar has the apes attack, where they manage to chase off the police. Will makes his way to where the barricade is and calls out to Caesar, who turns towards Will just as a helicopter, with Jacobs on board, starts firing at the apes. Jacobs tells the shooter to kill Caesar but Caesar manages to throw a chain at them, knocking out the shooter, while Buck leaps at the helicopter and causes it to crash, but ends up getting shot in the process. Caesar holds Buck as he dies, then hears someone calling for help in the helicopter, which is teetering on the edge of the bridge. When he approaches it and sees it is Jacobs, Caesar walks away, motioning to someone behind him and Koba appears and nudges the helicopter, causing it to fall off the bridge and killing Jacobs. The apes make their way to the Redwood Forest and Will follows, where he is attacked by Koba but Caesar stops him. Will asks Caesar to come home but Caesar hugs Will and whispers to him that “Caesar is home”. Will nods his head and watches as Caesar walks towards the rest of the apes and begins climbing the trees to stare out over the city. Meanwhile, the neighbor that Franklin sneezed on is shown to be a pilot and as he makes his way through the airport, his nose starts bleeding.

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes met with mostly praise from the critics, currently holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Led by Rupert Wyatt’s stylish direction, some impressive special effects, and a mesmerizing performance by Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes breathes unlikely new life into a long-running franchise.” The movie was a box office success, earning $481 million off of a $93 million budget and would go on to spawn two sequels. The movie also achieved just as much critical acclaim, receiving an Academy Award nomination and several other award nominations, while Andy Serkis was highly praised for his performance of Caesar, nominated for several awards from associations which normally don’t recognize performance capture as acting.

This was an absolutely incredible movie and a great way to break in a new generation of fans to the franchise. The acting was great, with James Franco (Will), Freida Pinto (Caroline), John Lithgow (Charles), David Oyelowo (Jacobs), and Tom Felton (Dodge) each doing good jobs in their roles but Andy Serkis was hands down the best actor with his portrayal of Caesar, even if it was through motion capture. The story was really well written and moved pretty seamlessly throughout the movie. The writers had a definite end game in mind that would both be a great finish for this movie, while also setting up for future sequels, and they did an excellent job pulling it all together. The special effects were absolutely incredible, with the motion capture apes looking incredibly realistic most of the time, with some times the apes, mainly Caesar, looking more human like, but I am sure that is supposed to help illustrate the effects of the ALZ-112/113. Personally, I liked all of the subtle nods to the original series with some of the character names; both those used in the original such as Caesar or Bright Eyes, or those named for actors, such as Maurice and Buck. A great movie that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 13th, 2016 Movie – Planet Of The Apes (2001)

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I am going to be perfectly honest with you folks. I have never seen today’s movie in it’s entirety. That being said, this movie used to play on FX so many times that it feels like I have. Now I honestly had no intention of buying this movie for the longest time. The only reason I did was because I tend to be a completionist with some things, primarily movie franchises. So yeh, I bought it and now I will finally be able to watch today’s movie in it’s entirety. So here is today’s movie, Planet Of The Apes (2001).

The plot: In the year 2029, Leo Davidson works on training primates for space flight onboard the USAF Space Station Oberon, which is in orbit around Saturn. After finishing a training mission with his favorite chimpanzee named Pericles, Leo goes to watch a video he received when the stations power starts flickering. When the power stabilizes, Leo heads to the bridge and is told there is a massive electro-magnetic storm nearby. Despite Leo’s objections, the station commander wants to send Pericles out to get some readings of the storm so Leo gets him ready in the pod. When Pericles’ pod goes off course and they lose contact with it, Leo gets in a second pod to see what might have gone wrong. When the commander says they won’t send a rescue for Pericles, Leo defies orders and heads out after him. Leo catches sight of the pod Pericles is in but it suddenly disappears through a strange rift and as Leo gets sucked through a rift himself, the Oberon receives a strange S.O.S. signal. Leo crash lands in a pond in the middle of a jungle and quickly swims free from the wreckage. As he looks around, he is surprised to see some people running through the jungle but as he realizes they are being chased, he starts running too. The people start getting attacked by armor-wearing apes, with Leo being struck by a gorilla at one point but he still keeps running until he is eventually captured. Leo is taken to the ape’s city and, along with the other captured humans, is placed into a slave pen owned by an orangutan named Limbo. General Thade, a violent chimpanzee that leads the ape army, along with a gorilla, Colonel Attar, show up so that Thade can buy a pet human for his niece, Attar warns Limbo to watch out for Leo. As Limbo starts branding the humans, a female chimpanzee named Ari shows up to stop them, throwing the branding iron to the floor. Leo grabs it and uses it to hold Ari hostage but he whispers to her to help him so she offers to buy him, as well as a female human named Daena. Ari takes the two humans to her house, where she has them work as servants while her father hosts a political dinner, which Thade and Attar attend. That night, Leo picks the lock on his cage and escapes with Daena and another human. Meanwhile, two gorilla soldiers take Thade out into the jungle, telling him of something falling from the sky and show him the path of the falling object. When Thade asks if they told anyone about it and they say no, Thade kills them both. Back in Ape city, Leo and the others head back to Limbo’s shop and free Daena’s family and some other humans and they all try to escape, grabbing the little girl back from Thade’s niece along the way. When Ari and her butler, Krull, run into them, Leo convinces her to help them out of the city in exchange for showing her something. Ari agrees and takes them to a tunnel that leads out of the city but when Attar spots them, Daena’s father sacrifices himself to allow them to escape and ends up being killed by Thade. Daena leads Leo and the others to the lake where his ship crashed and Leo dives into the water to retrieve his supply pack. Inside he finds a signal beacon which indicates that the Oberon is on the planet and Leo plans on meeting up with them and leaving the planet. As he and the others start to head out, Limbo and two of his men show up to recapture the humans but Leo uses a laser gun from his pack to scare off the guards and captures Limbo. Back in Ape City, Thade is given authority to kill the humans and he starts to organize his troops when he is summoned to his dying father’s bed. When he is there, his father gets Thade to admit that Leo is not from this planet and so he tells him that humans once ruled over apes and that if one human comes from the stars, more will follow, revealing an old machine gun that was hidden as proof of the danger humans possess. Back in the jungle, Leo and the others see some scarecrow like figures and Ari explains that beyond there is Calima, a holy site that is supposedly where creation started. Continuing on, they find an ape encampment, where Attar has arrived and taken command, and Leo decides to sneak through it at night and cross the river, using the apes’ fear of water against them. That night, Leo uses a flare to distract the apes and his group steals their horses and ride towards the river but Leo and Ari are thrown from their horses and Leo is forced to carry Ari across the river. Continuing on, they come across some ruins but no sign of Leo’s friends until Leo realizes the ruins are the Oberon and Calima is merely what was visible from a sign saying “Caution: Live Animals”. Leo is able to access the station’s logs and learns that the Oberon was searching for Leo when they crashed and the rest of the test apes, led by an ape named Semos, revolted against the crew and killed them. The next day, Leo discovers that more humans from all over have shown up to be with him and he tries to get them to leave, knowing Thade and his troops will soon be there but they refuse to leave. Ari and Krull go to see Thade and try to get him to leave the humans alone but Thade marks Ari with the human’s slave brand and sends her back to the humans. Back at the Oberon, Leo notices Ari’s hand when she returns, then comes up with a plan to help fight Thade’s army. The next day, Leo lures Thade’s army towards the ship then uses the last of the fuel to start the engines, causing the approaching soldiers to be burned or tossed when they ignite. Leo then leads the humans to attack the stunned apes and the battle begins. During the course of the battle, Krull is killed by Attar while Ari helps save Daena, who sees the mark on Ari’s hand. Thade goes after Leo and attempts to kill him but stops, as does the rest of the fighting, when a sonic boom is heard and a ship lands nearby. When the cockpit opens, Pericles is seen inside and the apes all drop to their knees, believing it to be Semos returned from the sky. Leo goes to Pericles and walks with him towards Oberon when Pericles runs off and Leo goes to follow but Thade attacks him. Ari goes to help Leo but Thade knocks her aside and continues attacking Leo inside the ship. When Pericles tries to help, Thade tosses him into a wall but it allows Leo to grab the gun from the survival kit he grabbed from Pericles’ ship. Leo tries to shoot Thade but Thade is able to knock him down and grab the gun but as he figures out how to use it, Leo manages to lock him in the pilot’s chamber, where the bullet’s ricochet off of the glass and walls. As Ari, Daena, and Attar enter, Leo explains to Attar that the apes came to the planet from this ship and Semos killed all the humans, causing Attar to turn on Thade. As the dead are buried, Leo grabs an injured Pericles and gives him to Ari to tend to, then gets into the ship and takes off, hoping he is able to return back to his time. After passing through the portal, he appears to be headed for Earth and crash lands in Washington DC but as he looks around, he realizes the Lincoln Monument is actually a monument to Thade, as police, firemen, and reporters show up, all of them apes.

Planet Of The Apes (2001) met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “This remake of Planet of the Apes can’t compare to the original in some critics’ mind, but the striking visuals and B-movie charms may win you over.” In 1988, a continuation of the Planet Of The Apes franchise was pitched but it would wind up spending 12 years bouncing between studios, directors, and producers before Tim Burton finally got attached to it. The movie was a success at the box office, earning $362.2 million off of a $100 million.

This was an interesting movie, I will say that. The acting was good, with Mark Wahlberg (Leo), Tim Roth (Thade), Helena Bonham Carter (Ari) all doing great jobs in their respective roles. The story was an interesting mix of aspects from the original movie as well as the original novel that it was based on. I know plenty of people were confused by the ending but that was almost exactly how the original novel ended. I think most people figured this would be exactly like the original movie, which is why so many people didn’t like it. The special effects were really good, especially the make-up, and actually did a good job of making the apes appear more human like in their facial appearance, which would make sense since the apes in Oberon had been gene spliced with human DNA. It is not the best movie in the franchise, but it is definitely not as bad as some people make it out to be.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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October 12th, 2016 Movie – Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

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So the series is finally coming to an end. With the studio pumping out sequel after sequel every year, people were getting bombarded by talking apes left and right. So the question is, how will the series end; with apes enslaving mankind, or peace between the two species. Let’s face it, every movie so far has pretty much been shown that the two species are two similar to really be able to co-exist and yet the last movie did give you some hope, unless you watched the unrated cut like I did where the apes killed almost everyone. Oh well, the only thing I really remember about this movie as a kid was that it basically was the set up for the TV show. So let’s see what happens with today’s movie, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes.

The plot: An orangutan known as Lawgiver is reading from a scroll, which tells the events of the previous two movies, before saying that this story is about Caesar and his quest to find harmony with man. Years after Caesar led his revolt against man, an atomic war occurred with many cities destroyed by atomic bombs. Caesar leads a group of apes and humans living together in what is called ape city. During a class where a human is teaching the apes to read and write, a gorilla named General Aldo refuses to participate, as he has a hatred for humans. Cornelius, the son of Caesar and Lisa, asks the teacher why they need to learn how to read and write and the teacher explains that all great leaders learned how to read and write. When Aldo tries to tear up his writing page, the teacher tells him no, a word that humans are forbidden to say to apes, and Aldo and the other gorillas proceed to trash the classroom and chase the teacher. They eventually capture him and plan on placing him in the corral but Caesar stops him, then tells Aldo and the other gorillas to restore the classroom. MacDonald, Caesar’s friend and aide, worries that Aldo is not just angry with humans, but also with Caesar, a concern that seems more apparent when Aldo and the gorillas ride by and almost run over Caesar as they leave. Caesar and MacDonald talk about the living situation of the apes and humans and Caesar says he is not concerned about the future but MacDonald says that Caesar can learn about the fate of the world from his own parents. MacDonald tells him that the tapes and recordings of when Cornelius and Zira were on Earth were sealed and are inside the Forbidden City. Cornelius, MacDonald, and an orangutan named Virgil, get some weapons and a geiger counter from the armory and head out into the Forbidden City, which was destroyed by an atomic bomb. As they make their way down beneath the city, Virgil notes the background radiation and says that they have to hurry or face serious radiation poisoning. Unknown to them, a group of humans, led by Governor Kolb, have survived the war and are now living beneath the city, where the radiation is slowly starting to mutate them. When Caesar and the others trip a motion sensor, Kolb is alerted to it and sends a squad of men to capture Caesar and the others. In the Archive section, Virgil finds the tape and MacDonald plays it, where Caesar is able to see the faces of his parents, as well as hear about the Earth’s destruction. Virgil notices a security camera moving and, realizing that they have been spotted, the three try to find another way out of the city. Kolb orders his men to kill the three intruders but Caesar and the others are able to escape. In his control room, Kolb believes that Caesar and the others were committing an act of espionage but his assistant, Mendez, believes that they came in peace and only acted in self defense. Kolb doesn’t believe it and thinks that Caesar is planning to return and conquer them so he sends a scout party to find out where Caesar and the others are living. As Caesar and the others return to Ape City, they are confronted by Aldo and his men, and when Virgil says they went to the Forbidden City for knowledge of the future, Aldo says that he will make his own future with his sword. Kolb’s scouting party discovers Ape City and move closer, where the observe Caesar holding a council meeting. At the meeting, Caesar tells the other apes that he went with Virgil and MacDonald to the Forbidden City and they learned that there are human survivors there but that they are violent and mad due to the radiation. When Caesar has MacDonald, Teacher, and some other humans brought to the council, arguing that they have to work together in case the humans from Forbidden City attack them, Aldo refuses to work with humans and leaves with the other gorillas. BAck at the Forbidden City, the scouts return and report to Kolb, believing Caesar was holding a council of war, and Kolb says they will attack first and organizes his army to head out. That night, while Caesar and Lisa discuss the humans in the Forbidden City, Cornelius sneaks out to chase after his pet squirrel and overhears Aldo speaking with the other gorillas. Aldo tells the gorillas that they need to grab the guns and kill all the humans and then kill Caesar, but one of the gorillas notices Cornelius in the tree. Aldo chases after Cornelius and when he refuses to come down, chops at the branch until it breaks, causing Cornelius to fall and critically injure himself. Lisa finds Cornelius and takes him back home but the doctor says that even if they had a hospital, he won’t survive. The next day, a gorilla scouting party observes Kolb’s army approaching and they kill one of the advanced scouts but Kolb sees them and has his men fire on the gorillas, killing one of them. Back at Ape City, MacDonald is telling Virgil that someone cut the branch Cornelius was on when Aldo suddenly orders a council meeting, saying the humans are coming. He has the surviving gorilla tell them that they were attacked, then Aldo orders the humans locked in the corral while the apes plan a counter attack and when MacDonald says he can’t do this as it goes against Caesar’s will, Aldo replies that Caesar isn’t there. Aldo orders martial law enacted, then heads to the armory and breaks in, where he and the other gorillas begin arming themselves. Virgil manages to sneak into Caesar’s house and tell him what is going on, just as Cornelius manages to tell Caesar that he was attacked by another ape before he dies. Virgil takes Caesar to the corral, where they see all the human’s inside and gorillas guarding all around it. Caesar argues with Aldo and demands that the humans be freed when Kolb and his men attack the city. Caesar leads the apes to the defend the city but as Kolb and his men advance, he orders them to fall back into the city. When Kolb and his men enter the city, they find a wounded Caesar surrounded by the bodies of dead apes and Kolb proceeds to taunt Caesar when Virgil and another ape throw some explosives at the vehicles and Caesar launches a counter attack, revealing that the apes were only pretending to be dead. Most of Kolb’s troops are captured but some, including Kolb manage to escape and Caesar allows them to leave but Aldo and his men appear and kill Kolb and the other escapees. Caesar then tells Virgil to free MacDonald and the other humans but Aldo says that they should be killed. Caesar stands in front of the guns and Virgil says that Aldo killed Cornelius, prompting the apes to lower the weapons. Realizing that everyone has turned against him, Aldo tries to escape and Caesar chases after him and confronts him in a tree but when Aldo tries to kill Caesar, he ends up falling to his death. When the corral is opened, MacDonald tells Caesar that the humans need to be freed completely and treated as equals and Caesar agrees and says that they will rebuild a better world. The guns are placed back in the armory and Mandemus, the armory’s caretaker, wishes to see it destroyed and Caesar says one day when they have achieved peace. The Lawgiver is shown to be talking to a group of human and ape children, saying that it has been 600 years since Caesar’s death. When a human girl asks who knows about the future, the lawgiver replies “Perhaps, only the dead” as a nearby statue of Caesar is shown to have a tear coming from it’s eye.

Battle For The Planet Of The Apes met with mixed to negative reviews, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most critics felt that, compared to the previous entries, this was merely a last gasp effort to make more money off of the audience. Several scenes were cut from the theatrical version of the film which tied in more with the events of the second movie, primarily showing the doomsday bomb that will destroy the Earth. The movie was successful at the box office but only earned a little over $8.8 million off of a $1.7 million budget, making it the lowest earning movie in the series.

To be honest, this was a let down of a finale. The acting was decent, with Roddy McDowall doing a good job reprising his role of Caesar. I also liked Claude Akins (Aldo), Paul Williams (Virgil), and Austin Stoker (MacDonald) in their roles as well. The story honestly felt a little weak, as if they were trying to connect all 4 of the earlier movies but instead of tying them all in, they merely looped a piece of string around them and said “oh look, this fits”. Even with the stuff that was cut out, while it did seem to allow the film to make more sense, it looked like they were just throwing it in there for the sake of having it in there. It did seem like they wanted to portray a more positive outlook on the future, with the Lawgiver teaching humans and apes together but there are still 1300 years before Taylor arrives back on Earth, and plenty of time for the Lawgiver to change his mind and write the scrolls that Dr. Zaius follows so emphatically. The special effects were ok, with a lot of good work done on the make-up while the battle itself was only so-so. Not quite what I expected as an ending to a great series, but it is still watchable.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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