action, adventure, sci-fi, video game

January 20th, 2019 Movie – Rampage (2018)

rampage

Man do I miss the good old days of spending hours upon hours, and tons of quarters, at the arcade, and one of my favorite games to play was Rampage. I mean, you get to go around as a giant monster and destroy a city while fighting other monsters. That is a kid’s playground fantasy come to digital life right there. When I first heard that they were making a movie based on the game, two thoughts went through my head; 1) this is going to be another terrible video game movie, and 2) it was definitely a movie that I would be interested in seeing/owning. Let’s face it, almost every movie that has been based on a video game has absolutely sucked so there is definitely a precedent that this will be a bad movie. However, this is also a movie involving giant monsters destroying a city, and those are some of my favorite movies to watch. With these two differing factors weighing in, I honestly didn’t feel like spending the money to go see this in theaters and waited till it came available to rent before watching it. Then I saw that there was a sale on the digital copy of the movie for $5 and decided that was a pretty decent price for some entertainment, which is what brings us to today’s movie, Rampage (2018).

The plot: In 1993, the breakthrough gene editing technology known as CRISPR allowed scientists a way to treat incurable diseases but by the year 2016, gene editing had been deemed a “Weapon of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.” In 2018, the space station Athena-1, owned by the Energyme corporation, is doing illegal tests when the test subject, a rat, breaks free and attacks and kills the crew. Dr. Kerry Atkins, the lone survivor, tries to make it to the escape pod but finds the hatch sealed remotely. She is told by Claire Wyden, the CEO of Energyme, that they won’t unlock the hatch until she retrieves the canisters of the pathogen they were testing from the lab. Atkins makes her way to the lab and begins retrieving the canisters when an alarm sounds that the space station’s hull integrity has gone critical, just as the rat appears down the corridor. With the rat chasing after her, Atkins makes it to the hatch with the canisters and is allowed inside, then jettisons the escape pod before the station explodes but the damage done by the rat causes the pod to break apart as it reenters the Earth’s atmosphere. At the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, Davis Okoye, along with his friend Nelson, are leading new team members Amy and Connor into the gorilla habitat to see how Paavo, a new arrival, is integrating into the enclosure. When Paavo sees them, he gets agitated but Davis is able to calm him down until George, a large albino gorilla, appears. Paavo gets agitated again, frightening Connor and causing him to run, with Paavo chasing after him but before Paavo can attack him, George knocks Paavo aside and roars at him, cowing the younger gorilla. Davis goes to check on Connor as George roars at them, but then starts laughing and Davis realizes he is joking with them. Davis then signs to George and tells him tobe nice, welcome and protect Paavo, as his family had been killed by poachers, and George agrees to do so. That night, the debris from the escape pod crashes to Earth, with one landing in the Wyoming desert, where a wolf investigates it and is engulfed in a green gas, and a second one landing in the Florida Everglades, where an alligator swallows it. A third canister lands inside George’s gorilla habitat and when George touches the canister, it breaks open and envelops him in a green gas, causing him to roar out. The next day, Davis is summoned to work by a call from Nelson about George and when he gets there, Nelson tells Davis that George is in the grizzly enclosure. The two head over there and find that the grizzly is dead and a wounded George is sitting in a cave and when Davis convinces him to come out, they are shocked to see that George has grown considerably. Connor radios Nelson and tells them to come to the gorilla habitat, where he and Amy show Nelson and Davis the canister that was still in it’s crater and Davis uses a sample bag to grab it and says they need to figure out what it is. At Energyme’s corporate headquarters in Willis Tower in Chicago, Claire’s brother Brett is upset about the space station’s destruction and the hit that their company took on the stock market but Claire tells him that everything will be ok. She tells him that Atkins had gotten the research canisters off the space station and even though the escape pod blew up, the canisters were designed to survive reentry, and one of them had landed in Wyoming. Claire tells Brett to deal with the press while she uses a private military unit, led by a man named Burke, to retrieve the canister. When they arrive at the crash site, Burke contacts Claire and tells her they found the canister but whatever was inside was gone or destroyed. He then tells her they found a pack of wolves that had apparently been killed by a single wolf and Claire, realizing that the wolf had been infected with Project Rampage, tells Burke to bring her the wolf dead or alive. In Los Angeles, a genetic engineer named Dr. Kate Caldwell sees the news report about Athena-1’s destruction, and the story about George “escaping” his enclosure, and she quickly heads to San Diego. In San Diego, Davis is looking over the lab results for George when Kate arrives and tells him she can explain. Davis takes Kate to see George and Kate explains that she worked for Energyne and had developed a way to advance CRISPR so that instead of altering one cell at a time, her system allowed entire DNA strands to be edited at once. Suddenly, George breaks free from the containment cell and breaks out of the lab, terrorizing the visitors to the sanctuary. As police show up and threaten to shoot George, Davis is able to calm George down but a Homeland Security helicopter arrives and shoots George with multiple tranquilizer darts, bringing the large gorilla down. Back in Wyoming, Burke and his men spot the wolf, which has grown to giant size, and attempt to kill it but the wolf kills them all. Back in San Diego, Davis and Kate are taken into government custody by Agent Harvey Russell, who loads them onto a plane along with George. As they are flying, Russell reads Davis’ file out, revealing that he was former Special Forces and is now part of the UN’s Anti-Poaching Task Force. Russell then shows them the video of the giant wolf, who has been named Ralph, and when Davis says that Kate can cure the animals, Russell reveals that Kate used to work for Energyne and had been fired two years ago, then sent to prison for 13 months for stealing company hard drives. In Chicago, Brett shows Claire surveillance photos of Davis and Kate being loaded onto the plane with George and Claire says that they should have killed Kate when they had the chance. She then tells Brett that there is a pill that can halt the growth and aggression in someone exposed to Project Rampage, and that the pathogen also rewired the host to respond to low level radio signals. Claire activates a radio transmitter that her team modified atop Willis Tower, which will lure the animals to Chicago, and in the case of George, destroy the plane and kill Kate in the process. When the signal is activated, George, who had been sedated, wakes up and breaks free from his enclosure and begins attacking the agents when they try to shoot him. During the fight, some explosives are detonated, blowing a hole in the plane and causing it to crash. Davis and Kate parachute to safety, with Davis rescuing Russell as well, while George goes down with the plane but George survives the crash and makes his way to Chicago. In Chicago, the FBI arrive at Energyne and after serving Claire the warrant, begin taking all of the hard drives and servers while Claire begins trying to pass the blame onto Kate. Back at the crash site, Russell tries to secure transport for the three of them while Kate tries to explain herself to Davis. Davis isn’t interested at first but Kate tells him that she had joined Energyne to try and use CRISPR to save her brother but when she learned that Energyne was using her research to weaponize DNA, she tried to destroy it but got arrested for it, and her brother died while she was in prison. Russell manages to get military transport to a base outside of Chicago, where the base commander is coordinating an assault on George and Ralph before they reach the city. Davis and Kate try to explain that Energyne must be luring the animals to the city and that the attack won’t work but the commander has them taken away, saying the FBI wants to speak with them. Davis knocks out their guards and he and Kate head to an unguarded medevac helicopter when they are stopped by Russell, who hands Davis the keys and a satellite phone and says that they are on the same side. Russell returns to the operations room just as the attack on George and Ralph commences and when it fails, he contacts Davis to let him know what happened. Davis and Kate reach Chicago just as George and Ralph begin attacking the military in the city, and are shocked to see a giant alligator, Lizzy, emerge from the river and join in the attack. Realizing that the military won’t be able to stop the giant creatures, Davis and Kate head to Energyne to try and find the antidote, being contacted by Russell and told that Blake is ordering a MOAB to be dropped on the city to destroy the creatures. When they reach the labs, Kate finds that the system has been completely scrubbed clean by the Wydens but the keep looking and eventually find the cure, only to be confronted by Claire and Brett. Claire tells them that the R-19 doesn’t return the animals to their original size, merely removes the growth and aggressiveness in them, then demands that Kate hand them over but Kate secretly sneaks one into her coat. Claire then tells Davis and Kate to move and when Davis refuses, Claire shoots him, then forces Kate to head to the roof. They head for the waiting helicopter but George arrives on the roof and destroys the helicopter, then begins smashing the transmitter. Davis, who only wounded, rescues Kate from the debris and when she reveals she still has a cure, Davis says they should give it to George and hope that he will help them deal with the other two monsters. The two head down the stairs to get off the roof but are stopped by Claire, who wants them to distract George so she can escape. Davis appears to agree, but then yells out for George while Kate throws the cure into Kate’s bag, where the other two vials are, and shoves her back into George, who grabs her and swallows her. In the building’s lobby, Brett is trying to call for an escape when he encounters Russell, who tells him that he will let him escape if he hands over the laptop he is carrying. Brett quickly agrees, but as he walks outside, he is crushed by some falling debris. Back on the roof, Davis realizes that the building is about to come down and quickly gets into the Wyden’s damaged helicopter with Kate and powers it up, managing to stay just above the building as it falls before they crash to the ground. Davis and Kate walk away from the wreck just as George emerges from the debris, and they are happy to see that his gentle personalite has returned. When Ralph and Lizzy emerge as well, Davis sees a Humvee and tells Kate to use it to find Russell and get him to call off the air strike while he and George deal with the creatures. Using a grenade launcher, Davis fires on the animals while George attacks them, and they manage to lure Ralph into flying towards Lizzie, who grabs his throat in it’s jaws and decapitates him. George and Davis then turn their attention to Lizzie, just as Kate reaches Russell and tells him what is going on. George is overpowered by Lizzie and tossed into some debris, ending up impaled on rebar. As Lizzie closes in to finish off George, Davis gets into a downed Apache and begins firing at Lizzie, taking it’s attention off of George. As Lizzie goes to kill Davis, George takes the rebar and impales Lizzie through the eye, piercing the brain, and finally killing the giant alligator. Colonel Blake, who had been alerted to the situation by Russell, calls off the airstrike and as Davis tells George that they saved the city and George saved him, George collapses from his injuries. Davis cries for his friend’s death just as Kate and Russell show up and as they see the military helping the survivors, Davis sees George move and realizes that George had been playing a joke on him. After talking with Kate and Russell, Davis says that they should help get the people to safety, then find George a new home.

Rampage (2018) met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but contrary to appearances, this makes it the highest reviewed movie based on a video game of all time. The critical consensus on the site is, “Rampage isn’t as fun as its source material, but the movie’s sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster.” During the movie when Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) signs to the young gorilla Paavo to calm him down, the sign he makes while saying “It’s me” is for”rock”, a reference to his WWE days as The Rock. The mutated rat at the beginning of the movie is likely a reference to Larry, a character that was only available in the Atari Lynx version of the game. The film was a success at the box office, earning $428 million off of a $140 million budget.

Ok, this was not what I would consider a great movie but it was a pretty entertaining movie. Dwayne Johnson was pretty good in his role and the interaction his character had with George felt pretty natural. Naomie Harris (Kate), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Russell) and Malin Akerman (Claire) were also good in there roles as well. The story was pretty good and did a decent job in sticking to the basic premise of the video game, but instead of humans being the subject to the experiments and turning into monsters, the movie chose to simply have animals accidentally be exposed to the pathogen that turns them into giant monsters. The special effects with the creature designs were pretty interesting, well Ralph and Lizzie’s design, as George was simply a big gorilla. One thing I didn’t particularly care for the consistent power-ups that they seemed to give Ralph. First it was the projectile spines that he fired at one of the helicopters, but then he was able to fly, which was just weird. Another thing that I thought was interesting was that Lizzie seemed so much more massive than George or Ralph. The only reason I can think as to why this was is because Lizzie had swallowed the canister with that pathogen, receivng a larger concentration of it, as opposed to what happened to George and Ralph, who had simply been exposed to a portion of the gas. A nice bit of mindless, city trashing entertainment that can be fun to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, sci-fi, The Asylum

January 13th, 2019 Movie – The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

sharknado 6

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and that includes the phenomenon known as Sharknado. Yes, when it was announced that the latest Sharknado movie would be the end of the series, I will admit that I was pretty sad to hear about it. I mean, ever since the first movie took the world by storm (pun somewhat intended), Every summer I would get a week of brand new shark themed movies to go along with the latest installment in the series. It is going to be very hard to let go of something that awesome. Anyways, after the last movie, and learning that the next installment would be the end, I was curious to see exactly how The Asylum was going to close out this franchise. Let’s see how they did with today’s movie, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time.

The plot: During the Cretaceous period, a velociraptor is curious about a large, shark fin shaped rock but it quickly runs off when the rock explodes as a jeep drives through it. Inside the jeep, Fin Shepard turns to talk to his adult son Gil but notices that Gil has vanished. Suddenly, a hologram recording of Gil appears and tells Fin that due to the energy involved in time travel, a person can only go back in time once or else they vanish. Telling Fin that the time travel device is built into the pilot wings that Gil threw to Fin, Gil explains that Fin has to go through time and stop all of the past sharknado’s from happening if he wants to prevent the world’s destruction. When the recording ends, Fin goes looking for the bag that contains the cyborg head of his wife April only to see a dinosaur grab it in it’s mouth and run off. Fin drives the jeep after it and finds himself in a stampede, slamming on the brakes before he joins the dinosaurs in going over the cliff into the sea below. As Fin looks down the cliff, a megalodon breaches out of the water, causing Fin to step back from the cliff’s edge. A tyrannosaurus appears and Fin manages to avoid it and when it turns to attack him, the megalodon leaps out of the water and grabs the tyrannosaurus, dragging it into the sea. Fin then turns and faces the dinosaur that grabbed the bad and attempts to get it back when a masked figure suddenly leaps down from a nearby cliff, attacking the dinosaur with knives and forcing it to drop the bag and run off. As Fin grabs the bag, he is shocked to see that the masked figure is Nova, and she if joined by Bryan and a non-cyborg April, who rides in on a pteranodon. Fin is shocked as everybody had supposedly died and they explain that Gil had saved them all before they died and brought them there to help Fin stop the first sharknado. A meteor storm occurs just as the first sharknado appears and the group decide to use the meteors to destroy the sharknado but they aren’t powerful enough. Fin jumps onto the back of a megalodon caught in the vortex and as he forces it to swallow some of the meteors, he spots Gil riding on another shark and calls out to him but Gil disappears through time. Fin jumps back onto the pteranodon and Bryan hits a meteor into the megalodon, causing an explosion that destroys the sharknado. When a time vortex appears, they fly through it, thinking that they are returning to the present day but find themselves in the medieval kingdom of Camelot, and that Bryan has suddenly become a woman. The sorceress Morgana shoots down the pteranodon and attempts to take them prisoner but she is called off by Winter, who escorts them all to the castle, saying their arrival has been foretold. Winter introduces them to Merlin, who tells them that Gil had been studying with them for 10 years and Winter goes to fetch him only to see him sail off into an approaching sharknado. When she reports what happened, Fin and April want to try and save him but Nova tells them if they stop Gil from traveling through time to search for his parents, he won’t grow up and pull the others out of time to help Fin stop the sharknados from occurring. When an alert sounds from the bag containing the cyborg April’s head, everyone is curious about what is in the bag and Nova tries to grab it from Fin, only for the bag to open and the head rolls along the floor and lands at April’s feet. Fin explains to April that it was the only thing left of her when the world is destroyed and April tells Fin she forgives him but decides to hold onto the head. Fin and the others go to stop the sharknado but are stopped by Morgana, who tells them she has a potion that will destroy the sharknado but will use it only if Merlin agrees to remove the spell around Excalibur. Merlin agrees and Morgana uses an arrow to send the potion into the sharknado but instead of destroying it, it causes the sharks to start breathing fire. Fin and the others rush to defend the castle and Fin decides to try and use Excalibur, pulling it from the stone and revealing it to be a chainsaw sword. Fin uses Excalibur’s magic to stop the sharknado, with Morgana being killed in the process, and they then seal themselves into a large cauldron and are fired from a catapult so they can go fast enough to travel through time. They arrive in colonial America, with Bryan returning to being a man again, and they begin to wonder if their attempts to stop the sharknados might do more harm than good but when they see a sharknado approaching the colonial fleet, they decide to stop it before America ceases to exist, only to be captured by colonial soldiers. They are taken to General Washington’s camp and after explaining to Benjamin Franklin that they are there to help save the colonies from the sharknado, they are allowed inside to speak to Washington. Fin and Bryan explain their plan and after Washington allows them to proceed, Fin has the army fire their cannons into the sharknado, timing their attack to coincide with the lightning strikes to cause the cannonballs to become electrified. After destroying the sharknado and sending the British fleet retreating, Fin and the others try to figure out a way to get home but Nova, having encountered her ancestor, rushes off to talk to him. Nova hands her ancestor a note to be passed down to her grandfather but Fin takes it from her ancestor, causing an argument between him and Nova on her desire to change her past and save her grandfather. Fin and Nova rejoin April and Bryan so they can leave but Bryan, due to his being a history teacher, decides to stay behind and ensure America is put on the right path. With Franklin’s help, the three head off to the time vortex, where they end up landing in the Old West, where they come between a stand off between Billy the Kid and the town sheriff. Surprised at the arrival of the carriage, Billy is disarmed by the sheriff and runs off and the sheriff arrests Fin for his role in helping Billy escape. As Fin is taken to jail, April and Nova hide in the carriage and are shocked to see Skye appear. In jail, Fin speaks to another prisoner, who was supposed to be rescued by Billy the Kid, and as the prisoner is taken from his cell to be hung, Fin realizes that the prisoner is a grown up Gil. Nova and Skye break Fin out of jail and Fin explains that they screwed up and Gil is about to be killed and Skye goes to rescue him, just as a sharknado approaches. Fin and Skye rescue Gil, who races off into the vortex, while April and Nova use cyborg April’s head to destroy the sharknado. After a standoff with Billy the Kid, who wants to go to the future, Fin, April, Nova, and Skye get onto a train and use it to travel through the time vortex. They end up on the Santa Monica beach in the 1950’s and as a sharknado approaches the beach, they rush to save the people on the beach only to be shocked when they see Fin’s parents, Gilly Shepard and Raye Martin, working to stop the sharknado. After the adult Gil makes it through the vortex and the sharknado is destroyed, Nova sees the prototype capacitor that Gil had left behind and shows it to Fin. They see the date on it is the date of the first sharknado that hit Santa Monica and realize that that is their next destination and borrow Gil’s Cadillac to make the trup but Nova reprograms the capacitor to take them to 1997 San Francisco so she can try to save her grandfather. Fin tries to talk her out of changing her past but Nova refuses to listen to him and heads off. Nova reaches the charter boat that her grandfather owns and heads on board, with Fin and the others getting on board as well. The group head out into the ocean and as Nova watches her grandfather interact with her younger self, Fin again talks to Nova about what she is planning on doing. Nova argues her reasons for saving him, and after noticing the ripped up note she gave her ancestor framed and mounted on a wall, she rushes to warn the captain, inadvertently causing the boat to crash on some rocks. Realizing that she is the reason her grandfather died, Nova starts to freak out but Fin helps Nova’s grandfather and younger self escape on a raft. Nova attacks some sharks to give them time to escape and ends up falling overboard, with the cyborg April’s head falling with her. As a shark attacks Nova, April tries to save her and ends up getting dragged overboard, where both her and Nova are killed. Realizing that the only way to save them is to keep stopping the sharknados, Skye grabs the capacitor while Fin hooks a shark and the are dragged behind it, allowing them to warp to the future but instead of the year 2013, a malfunction causes them to end up in the year 20013. They find themselves attacked by a robotic flying shark and once Fin kills it, they are captured by an army of April clones. The clones take them to their base, where they are confronted by the repaired cyborg April, who reveals that she had perfected time travel and rescued April to use her DNA for cloning her army. As Fin rushes to April, Skye confronts the cyborg April and ends up encased in carbonite, then tells Fin that she brought him there to be her queen. Fin tries to attack the cyborg April, who tries to stop him by showing him robotic versions of his children Matt and Claudia, as well as a robotic Nova, but Fin continues his attack, killing the replicas. Cyborg April attacks Fin but her attack also disables the stasis chamber that April is in, who leaves the chamber and begins attacking her cyborg doppelganger. The cyborg April easily overpowers the original but as she attempts to kill her, her power strikes the capacitor just as Fin grabs it, sending him back to 2013. Fin lands on the boat owned by Captain Santiago, whose crew has just brought cyborg April’s head back to the surface. When Santiago orders his men to throw it overboard, Fin convinces them not to and the cyborg April is happy to see that Fin came back for her. Santiago goes to kill Fin but as the sharks on the edge of the sharknado begin killing his crew, as well as his traitorous business partner, Fin convinces him to work together to destroy the sharknado. Santiago and Fin use Santiago’s weapons to attack the sharks but Santiago is swept up by the storm and killed. Cyborg April’s head says that her lasers are recharged and they have to destroy the sharknado or else time will unravel but before Fin can aim her at the sharknado, Gil appears. Fin is happy to see his son and embraces him and Gil tells him that he can fix everything but he needs the capacitor. Fin moves to hand it to him but when Gil messes up the Shepard family motto, Fin realizes he is an imposter. Gil is revealed to be the future cyborg April, who tries to get the capacitor from Fin so that he can’t destroy the sharknado. Fin and cyborg April’s head are sucked up into the storm, with cyborg April’s head being swallowed by a shark. Fin and future cyborg April struggle for control of the capacitor and when Fin is knocked away by some debris, future cyborg April laughs as time begins unraveling. Suddenly, the shark with cyborg April’s head appears and destroys future cyborg April, then tells Fin they have one shot; activating her self destruct button in her head which will either destroy the sharknado and restore time or wipe out the universe. Fin kisses the cyborg head, activating the self destruct and April’s head explodes, restoring time. In a sharknado free 2013, an explosion is heard off the coast of Santa Monica and the patron’s of Fin’s bar wonder what it could be. As Nova, Matt, and Fin’s brother-in-law Martin Brody stare out the window, a shark suddenly slams against the glass and Nova feels sorry for it, as she loves sharks now. Fin and April, who is pregnant with Gil, are planning to retire to Kansas and are turning over the bar to Martin, who tries to convince Nova to stay but she is going to college thanks to a loan from Fin. Bryan tells everyone to check out the TV, where the see a political add for Skye, who is running for President. As Gemini enters the bar, and Wilford and May Wexler talk with April about the baby, Claudia hands Fin a letter from The Colonel, which contains his flight wings, in case he doesn’t make it back from space in time for Gil’s birth. Fin offers a last round on him to everyone at the bar and giving a heartfelt speech about how much they all mean to him. Just as he finishes, April’s water breaks and the Shepards, as well as Wilford, May, Nova, and George (a regular bar patron of Fin’s), head out the door to go to the hospital, while a TV weather report has Al Roker telling the audience that there is not a cloud in the sky anywhere in the world so people should go out and enjoy it as there won’t be another like it ever again.

So I had a lot of expectations going into this movie and while it did hit several things that I wanted it to, I was honestly a little disappointed and felt like they could have done more. The movie was the same ridiculous fun that all of the others have been, and all the returning characters did great in their roles. Ian Ziering was great finishing off his role as Fin Shepard, while Tara Reid and Cassandra Scerbo were just as good reprising their roles of April and Nova respectively. I actually think April was written a little better in this movie, as she did more than just scream all the time. I liked that they brought Judah Friedlander (Bryan) and Vivica A. Fox (Skye) back and the interaction with the other characters was pretty good. Some of the cameos were pretty funny, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson playing Merlin and Dee Snider playing a sheriff, but most of the cameos felt a little flat, as if they were running out of ideas on how to make the most of them. I will say that I was kind of glad that they used some archive footage from the first movie to have John Heard’s character George show up at the end. The story was ok but the way they brought up time travel into things actually made the story feel rather disjointed. I did think it was funny how they tried to reference Back To The Future a couple of times during the movie, such as the capacitor looking like the flux capacitor as well as Gil telling Fin he has to be going 88 mph to start the time travel. The special effects were ok for the most part, though there were times where they honestly were a little worse than I was expecting, but that makes these movies that much more fun to watch. So it was a good way to end the series but I still think that they could have done a better job with it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, The Asylum, Uncategorized

January 6th, 2019 Movie – 6-Headed Shark Attack

6 headed shark attack

A new year is upon us and, as promised, I have returned with more movies to watch and review. Since I cut back on my movie purchasing after I finished my initial run, I am only going to be posting reviews over the weekend, primarily on Sunday but I could do them on Saturday as well depending on how busy I am. So, let’s dust this thing off and get right into a new movie. Today’s movie was part of Syfy’s Sharknado week last year and is the latest installment in the multi-headed shark franchise (I don’t think they have an actual title for the series). This was one of the movies I was most looking forward to seeing during that week, mainly to see how the shark was going to look with all of those heads; with the actual plot of the movie being a distant second. Luckily, the movie actually turned out to be pretty entertaining, much like the other movies in the series. So let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, 6-Headed Shark Attack.

The plot: In 1984, a graduation party for the UCSB School of Biology is being held on the floating Marine Research Station off the coast of Isla Corazón in Baja, Mexico. During the party, a couple argue over the man’s flirting and actions at the party, causing the woman to throw her engagement ring into the water. As the man heads back inside to the party, the woman stays outside to cry when she notices a large shadow moving through the water, just as a 6-headed shark begins attacking the station. In the present day, Isla Corazón has been bought by William and turned into a marriage boot camp. William is holding a session with the latest group at camp, Mary and James, Duke and Daphne, Angie and Kip, and Jake and Sarah, but when James questions where William’s wife is, William brushes off the question. After the group finishes the first task, with James refusing to participate, William notices a boat approaching the island and tells the group to grab their wetsuits and meet him on the beach, then tells his assistants Brad and Rebecca to prepare the next challenge while he goes to meet the boat. Brad and Rebecca set up the challenge, then head off to enjoy the surf but they are attacked and killed by the 6-headed shark. Meanwhile, William paddles out to the boat, where his wife/ex Suzanne and her new boyfriend greet him, and as William argues with his wife about her giving up on the camp, he reluctantly signs the papers she asks for so she can dissolve their business. On shore, the couples are all getting ready for the next task, with Jake telling Sarah his belief that the island was the home for a secret government project that was shut down during the Cold War. Meanwhile, Daphne flirts with Kip, causing tensions to flare between Angie, Kip, and Daphne, while James and Mary argue about their being at the camp and James telling Mary he is jealous about how William was looking at her. William is trying to get in touch with Brad and Rebecca when Mary approaches him, telling him that James and her want to leave. When William tries to convince her to stay, she threatens to sue him for false advertising and William relents and says that he will take them back the next day and refund their money. Mary rejoins the others, telling James that they can’t leave until tomorrow, and they all head out to the floating dock, where their supplies are. Meanwhile, William discovers a severed foot in the shallow water of the beach and rushes to join the others, just as Brad’s body surfaces near Mary. As Everyone reacts in shock on the small dock, William tells them that their only chance is to head to the boat, as the tide is to low for him to risk bringing it to them, and after James argues with him for a bit, William comes up with a plan and they all begin paddling the floating dock towards the boat. They manage to reach the boat and William tries to radio for help but is unable to reach anybody. William decides to head back and try to find Rebecca, despite the objections of the guests, and Duke decides to go with him, fashioning a make-shift bang-stick to use against the shark. They head towards the beach, where Duke spots a shadow in the water and heads out to kill the shark, while the others raise the boat’s anchors and head out to try and help them. As the shark approaches Duke and William, Duke jabs it with the boom stick, seemingly killing it, but as he talks with William, the shark revives and attacks him, ripping him in half between it’s heads, then rips off the damaged head, which quickly grows back. Meanwhile, the others are shocked by what they saw and end up running aground on the rocks and William swims out to them and tells them they have to swim back to shore. Everyone reluctantly does so and William has to help Daphne through her guilt for Duke’s death before she starts swimming. The group manage to make it to shore, where Sarah blames William for what has happened and as tempers start to flare up, Daphne points out an approaching storm system and Sarah tells them that the intensity of the storm will put the whole island underwater. William suggests heading to an old lighthouse but Sarah says that is in the direction of the storm and they won’t make it in time. Jake says they should head to the lab, as it is on floating docks, and convinces the others to go with them, with William and Daphne, who says she will go where he goes, reluctantly following. When they get to the lab, they try to find something to help them survive, with William finding a radio and attempting to call for help again. Meanwhile, James and Jake discover that the shark had been created at the lab, which had been testing the regenerative properties of sharks. Suddenly, a storm swell rocks the labs, causing Jake to fall into the water and a shelf to fall onto the opening. Sarah and the others lift the shelf so Jake can get back onto the lab but as Sarah embraces him, the shark leaps up from the opening and grabs both Jake and Sarah, killing them, then tries to get the others. William works on fending the shark off, allowing the others to escape, then starts to swim for shore himself when he hears Suzanne speaking over the radio. William rushes to the radio and makes contact with Suzanne, telling her to meet him and the others at the lighthouse, then avoids the shark before making his own swim to shore. The others reach shore and after James spots the lighthouse, they all start heading for it. As they make their way there, Kip and Angie end up falling behind and discuss their relationship. As they decide to make it work, they are shocked to see the shark approaching them, using 4 of it’s heads to walk across the sand, and Kip and Angie are both killed. Mary, James, and Daphne run for the lighthouse, with the shark shuffling after them and as it moves to attack Mary and Daphne, William appears and cuts off one of the shark’s heads, then chases it away from them so they can get to the lighthouse. When they reach the lighthouse, William and James work on finding the fuse box and getting power to the lighthouse while Mary tends to Daphne, who is in shock but when Mary leaves Daphne to look around for supplies, Daphne leaves the lighthouse and wanders to the nearby rocks to scream out her frustrations, only for the shark to kill her. Back in the lighthouse, James confronts William over his imagined affair with Mary, pointing a rifle that he finds at him but William quickly grabs the box of bullets. Mary appears with some acetylene canisters and they start bringing them up to the light to use when James spots Suzanne’s boat approaching. When the shark moves towards the boat and begins circling it, causing a vortex to drag the boat underwater, James tells William to hand him the shells but William refuses, not wanting to risk James hitting Suzanne. William leaves the lighthouse and Mary follows after him but they can only watch helplessly as the boat is dragged under and Suzanne and her boyfriend are killed. William decides to use the acetylene canisters to kill the shark, handing James some bullets for the rifle while he and Mary place the canisters on the beach and prepare to lure the shark towards them so James can shoot the canisters but James instead attempts to shoot William but Mary realizes what he is doing and knocks William aside, saving his life. James then shoots the shark in one of it’s heads but the shark simply rips it off and flings it at the lighthouse, crushing James underneath it. The shark heads back to the water and William tells MAry to grab the canisters and they swim back out to his boat, which has come free of the rocks due to the storm swell. With the motor damages, William says they will have to use the sails to get out of there, just as the shark starts attacking the boat. Mary fashions a spear to attack the shark and after fending off the shark, William grabs it and heads down into the hold to attack the shark as it tries to break through. William manages to stab the skark in the head and pin it to the ship just as Mary drops the canisters down there, flooding the hold with the gas. William shoots a flare at the shark, attempting to kill it with the gas, but the flare doesn’t ignite and they quickly swim to shore, with the shark getting free and following them. As they run from the shark, it leaps after them and gets stuck in the rocks and William shoots another flare at the canisters, causing an explosion which blows off all 6 of the shark’s heads. With the shark finally dead for good, William and Mary embrace each other before heading back towards the camp so they can try to signal for a rescue off the island.

Man, was I ever glad that this movie lived up to my expectations because it was exactly the sort of ridiculously funny movie that I enjoy watching. The acting was pretty good, with Brandon Auret doing a good job as the lead role of William. Thandi Sebe (Mary), Cord Newman (James), and Jonathan Pienaar (Duke) were also pretty good in their roles but nobody else really stood out much. The story was good in the sense that they actually attempted an explanation of how the shark came to be, though I will admit that they could have done a better job using that explanation. Unfortunately, there were some plot holes in the movie, with the biggest ones being the storm that was approaching the island, prompting the discussion on whether the lighthouse or the labs would be safer, but then it never actually materialized and seemed to have been completely forgotten towards the end of the movie. The special effects were pretty good and I loved that they finally had the shark look similar to a starfish, which is what the shark was rumored to look like in 5-Headed Shark Attack before the design was changed. I especially loved the part where they had the shark walking on land, using the snouts from the 4 back heads to move itself, as I thought that was the funniest, and most original thing I had seen from this type of movie and it literally had me falling out of my chair laughing. So it’s a fun bit of horror/sci-fi shark entertainment and if you were a fan of the other movies in the series, then you will enjoy this one as well.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 11th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell

tremors 6

2018 was kind of a disappointment on the sci-fi front. See, there had been talk of a reboot of the Tremors TV series, with Kevin Bacon returning to star in it. They even made a trailer for the show but then Syfy decided to pass on it. The only bright spot on this bit of sad news is that we did get a new movie in the franchise. As soon as I heard that this movie was being made, I immediately made plans to purchase it as soon as it came out. So let’s see what new horrors are in store for us with today’s movie, Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell.

The plot: At the Nanavut Province in northern Canada, 3 scientist (Aussie, Yankee, and Dutch) are taking core samples of some ice when their drill hits something under the ice. As Yankee and Dutch work on the drill, a yellowish fluid starts seeping up, just as Aussie detects a seismic anomaly, as if something living was moving under the ice. Suddenly, a large graboid burst out of the ice and swallows Aussie, while whatever was struck by the drill begins moving, dragging Yankee with it. As the graboid burrow under the snow towards Dutch, he starts running and falls down an embankment, only to have the graboid kill him. Some time later in Perfection, New Mexico, Burt Gummer is approached by Special Agent Dalkwed of the U.S. Treasury Dept. Dalkwed tells him that due to Burt’s not paying taxes, the government is putting a lien on his property. As Dalkwed leaves, Burt’s son Travis shows up with supplies that he had gone to get and he argues with Burt over his not making more of an effort to work with him. Back in the arctic, Dr. Rita Sims, the head of the research team, heads out to the site of the attack with team members Valerie McKee and Aklark and when they see the carnage, Valerie recognizes what has happened. Back in Perfection, Burt is taking a nap on the roof of Chang’s store but is plagued by painful nightmares of the time he was swallowed by a graboid. As he falls out of his hammock, Travis tells him he has a phone call from a woman saying they have a graboid problem. Burt picks up the phone and speaks with Rita but when she tells him where they are located, he says that it can’t be a graboid attack as they are desert/tropical creatures. Valerie gets on the phone and tells Burt she is a graboid enthusiast, impressing him with her knowledge of the creatures, and tells him the site has all the markings of an attack and convinces him it is worth coming out there to investigate as it would be a new phenomenon for him to explore. Burt packs up for his trip and Travis packs to go with him, which Burt objects to his coming but Travis convinces him that he needs to teach him how to hunt and kill graboids for when the time comes that he is unable to do it anymore. The two head out to Canada and as they are flying to the site in a single prop plane piloted by Mac, they are attacked by an ass-blaster, which runs into the prop and forces them to land. On the ground, they are approached by Mr. Cutts, who is in charge of a DARPA facility next to the research station. Cutts confiscates the alcohol that Mac was smuggling into the area and warns Burt to stay out of his way, while Burt warns him that he should take his team and leave the area. As Cutts leaves, Valerie and Aklark show up and Valerie rushes up to hug Burt. Burt chastises her for not telling him about the ass-blasters and when she learns they saw one, she says her parents aren’t going to believe it, then reveals that she is the daughter of Valentine “Val” McKee and Rhonda LeBeck, whom Burt lost track of after they left town following the first Graboid attack. The head out to the Boite Canyon Arctic Research Facility, towing Mac’s plane behind them so she can repair the engine. They are approached by Rita and Dr. Charles Freezze, who is upset to learn that the plane is broken as he wants to leave as quickly as possible. Rita introduces Burt and Travis to the rest of the staff and Burt tries to tell them of the dangers they are now facing. Burt then asks Rita to step aside and asks her about Cutts and the DARPA facility and she tells him it is a joint US/Canada project but they are being secretive about it. Suddenly an ass-blaster appears at the site and kills a security guard while trapping Freezze underneath the communications tower, which it destroys while trying to get to him. Burt heads out to rescue Freezze, handing him an insulated pancho to hide his body heat from the ass-blaster when Burt suddenly has a seizure and collapses to the ground. As the ass-blaster flies towards Burt, Travis and Rita head out and start shooting at it and Burt recovers enough to shoot as well and they eventually kill the ass-blaster, but Burt passes out. When Burt regains consciousness, Valerie tells him he had surgery and the two talk for a bit before she leaves as Travis enters the room. Travis asks Burt how he is doing but Burt angrily asks him where he got the HK that he was using when they are interrupted by Rita, who says she has something Burt needs to see. Meanwhile, the DARPA team is at the Meltwater Hot Springs 8 miles from the camp taking reading of the water when they detect a high level of formic acid in the water. Suddenly, the scientist in the water hears something just before a graboid appears and kills her. Back at the research facility, Burt is told that he has a parasitic organism in his blood that is killing him and when they tell him that it came from a graboid, he figures he was infected when he was swallowed and had to cut his way out of one. Travis suggests that they kill a graboid to get the antibodies but they tell him they need a live graboid, which Burt says is impossible to catch. Suddenly, graboid tendrils snake through the window and grab the doctor, yanking her outside to be swallowed  by the graboid. Burt orders everyone to secure the area and since they can’t get any seismograph readings due to their comm tower being down, he asks for a satellite phone only to discover that Freezze has taken it and fled. Travis radios Mac and Aklark, telling them to stop their work on the plane, just as the graboid moves under the lab and away from the area. Realizing that it is chasing after Freezze, they look outside to see him heading for the nearby truck. Hart rushes off to try and stop him but the graboid knocks the truck over and kills Freezze while Hart climbs up a nearby tower. Burt has everyone else get back inside and they try to come up with options. Swackhammer says they have some dynamite and supplies to rig up a bomb to feed down the graboids throat but Travis comes up with a better idea, using the generator to fashion an underground electrical fence to keep them away from some of the buildings. As Burt splits the group into teams to head out, Cutts and his men show up and Burt taunts him, believing that they were somehow responsible for this. Cutts tells Burt that they aren’t creating bioweapons, but are trying to access the water and figure out a way to transfer it to cities. Suddenly, the graboid breaks through the floor and attacks them, killing one of Cutts’ men. Burt tells the other to head out according to their plan and Burt tells Cutts to get somewhere on high ground and stay there. Travis sticks a makeshift fuse into the gas can on Aklark’s ATV and drives off to create a distraction and as the graboid chases after him, he jumps to safety while it swallows the ATV, only to be blown up. Burt yells for everyone to head to the hangar but when a second Graboid appears, they are forced to take shelter, with Burt and Swackhammer heading to the tower Hart is on while Travis and Rita are on the flipped over truck. Burt has Hart pee on the ground to lure the graboid towards them, then tells everyone to continue towards the hangar but as he makes a run for it, Burt suffers another seizure. Valerie and Vargas spot a third graboid heading towards Burt and he manages to make it onto some rocks before he collapses. Swaghammer manages to make the makeshift electric fence, which stops a graboid from entering the hangar but it instead heads over to the DARPA facility, attacking the building and people in there. While it is gone, Burt recovers enough to make it to the hangar and tells everyone to start prepping the bombs. Travis argues with Burt about their needing to capture one of the graboids in order to save him, then reveals that he had gone to see Heather, which is where he got the HK from. When the core sampler starts up automatically, the graboids approach the tower that Hart is on and Valerie rushes over to shut it off. Burt tells Swackhammer to shut off the fence while everyone else uses powertools to make some noise and lire the graboid towards them, then Swackhammer turns the fence back on, killing it. Valerie manages to shut off the fence as the third graboid takes off and they head towards the base. Inside the hangar, the generator gives out just as Burt has another seizure and collapses into a coma. Travis takes the lead and tells Mac to get the plane ready while they head to medical but before they leave, they hear Cutts calling out for help. Travis tells Rita and Aklark to get Burt to medical and keep him alive while he and Swackhammer head out to rescue Cutts. When they get there, Cutts demands that they get a ladder so he can get down but Travis refuses to do so unless Cutts arranges to remove the lien on Burt as well as ensure that neither Burt nor Travis have to pay federal taxes ever again and Cutts reluctantly agrees to it. Travis and Swackhammer return to the base with Cutts and he goes to see Burt, who tries to get out of bed but Travis argues with him that he needs to stay down and let him handle this as he has a plan. Travis has Swackhammer cut out the ends of a shipping container, fashioning a trap for the graboid. They then set some bait and as the graboid grabs it, Mac is able to use her plane and it’s own momentum to steer it into the container, where everyone pushes some steel bars through the slots to trap it in place. They then open the other end of the container to reveal steel bars are keeping it from closing it’s mouth and they attempt to sever the three proboscis tentacles, with Burt shooting them from the base camp before passing out again. Travis crawls inside the graboid’s mouth and extracts the venom from it’s gland sac and they take it back to medical to fashion the antibodies needed to save Burt’s life. With Burt fully recovered, he and Travis prepare to leave and Cutts shows up with the signed paperwork ensuring that Burt is clear of any tax penalties or owes any taxes ever again. Cutts then comments about the graboid being a good bioweapon but Burt has Hart fly one of his RC planes carrying a bomb into the graboid’s mouth, then detonates it, killing the graboid. Valerie says goodbye to Burt and comments about how she is going to have a great story to tell her parents and he tells her to tell Val and Rhonda he said hi. Travis and Rita, who had become attracted to each other, say goodbye, with Rita telling him she will be back in the states in 6 months. Travis kisses her on the cheek and as he joins back with Burt, Burt chastises him for simply kissing her on the cheek, prompting Travis to go back and fully embrace and kiss Rita, to the cheers of the other staff. As Travis rejoins Burt, Burt tells him it was better and that they should head back to Perfection.

One thing I like about these movies is that even though the basic premise is the same, they manage to add a new twist to make things interesting. This movie was a lot of fun to watch. Michael Gross and Jamie Kennedy did great jobs reprising their roles of Burt and Travis respectively, and I liked that they still had the clash or personalities as Burt still struggled to accept Travis as his son. Tanya van Graan (Rita) and Jamie-Lee Money (Valerie) also did great jobs in their roles and I loved the interactions between them and Travis and Burt respectively. The story was good, with the new location being a nice twist, while also being a not so subtle nod to the climate change debate. Aside from the introduction of Valerie, there were also a couple of other nods to the original movie that were pretty funny if you caught them. The special effects in the movie were good and I liked that they used the new designs from the previous movie for the graboid and ass-blasters, as it felt like the right versions to use, as they were frozen in ice millennia ago and never thawed until the temperature warmed up along the Arctic, allowing them to move about. So a great entry into a fun franchise and hopefully they will continue on with the it, either with more movies or another attempts at a TV show.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

November 8th, 2018 Movie – Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

star wars episode vii - the last jedi

It’s funny, but I just realized that it is almost exactly 1 year since I started reviewing the Star Wars movies, and I now find myself watching the most recent one. Now there was a lot of buzz about this movie but the biggest surprise was what happened after it came out. People went absolutely ape-shit on the internet over this movie, for all sorts of reasons. I can kind of understand the one bit about Princess Leia but the trolls that attacked Kelly Marie Tran really took things too far. Anyways, all of the negative media buzz concerning this movie weighed in on my mind when I finally went and saw Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, but I refused to let it ruin my day and set back to enjoy the movie.

The plot: After the destruction of the First Order’s Starkiller base, General Leia Organa orders the Resistance base on D’Qar to evacuate but a fleet of First Order Star Destroyers arrives before they can flee. General Hux, the former leader of Starkiller base, prepares to open fire on the base when Poe Dameron approaches his flag ship and opens a communication with it. As Hux speaks with Poe, Poe acts like he can’t hear him in an effort to stall for time, then he makes an attack on the First Order’s dreadnought, taking out it’s surface cannons. The ruse works as the Resistance is able to escape the base before it is destroyed and Leia orders Poe back to the fleet but Poe disobeys her orders, saying that they need to destroy the dreadnought while they have the chance. With the last of the dreadnought’s surface cannons destroyed, Resistance bombers head towards it, with Poe and other fighter craft covering them. As the bombers get close to the dreadnought, most of them are destroyed when a tie fighter crashes into one of them, causing it to explode and take most of the others with it. The last surviving bomber makes it over to the dreadnought and though badly damaged, manages to drop it’s bombs and destroy it, which brings a cheer to the Resistance members but Leia is saddened by the massive loss of life that the victory cost them. As the fleet escapes into hyperspace, Finn awakens from the injuries he sustained fighting Kylo Ren and wanders out of the med bay, only to be spotted by Poe and as Poe goes to help him get dressed, Finn asks where Rey is. On the planet Ahch-To, Rey hands Luke Skywalker his old lightsaber and he stares at it before tossing it over a cliff. Rey is shocked by his actions and after retrieving it, goes to try and speak to Skywalker but he refuses to open the door to his cabin. Rey gets Chewbacca, who knocks down the door and roars at Luke and when Rey says that Luke is coming back to the Falcon with them, Luke asks where Han is. Elsewhere, Supreme Leader Snoke hears Hux’s plan for how they will destroy the Resistance and is pleased to hear what it is. As Hux leaves to carry out his plan, Kylo Ren approaches Snoke and Snoke admonishes him for his defeat against Rey, causing Kylo to get upset after he leaves the throne room. Back on Ahch-To, Rey explains why she is there to Luke but he refuses to help her and goes about his day. Rey refuses to give up and follows him around but after a bit, she senses something with the Force and is drawn to an old tree, where she finds some ancient books inside. Luke confronts her and reveals that the books are the original Jedi texts and then questions Rey again about why she is there and when she tells him about what is happening with her, Luke tells her that she needs a teacher but he refuses to teach another generation of Jedi as he had come to the planet to die. The Resistance fleet comes out of hyperspace and as Leia chastises Poe, then discusses what their next plan should be, the First Order fleet appears behind them and starts opening fire. Finn says they should do another jump but Leia realizes that they tracked them through hyperspace, which should have been impossible, and if they did another jump they will be stuck with no fuel and at the First Order’s mercy. Poe goes to lead an attack squad against the Star Destroyers but Kylo and his squadron attack the Resistance flagship, destroying their fighter bay and all of the fighters in it. Kylo then goes to attack the bridge but when he senses Leia’s presence on board, he hesitates but his wingmen don’t and blow up the bridge, sending Leia hurtling into space. Kylo is called back as the Resistance ships have moved out of range for the Star Destroyers to cover him, but they continue chasing the fleet, picking away at their shields. Meanwhile, Leia uses the force to head back to the flagship but the effort leaves her exhausted and she is taken to the medbay, while Finn picks up the signal/tracking device Leia had to contact Rey. Back on Ahch-To, Luke sneaks onto the Falcon and is surprised to see R2-D2 on board. When Luke tells R2 that he won’t be going back, R2 plays the old message of Leia begging Obi-Wan Kenobi to help her, and Luke reluctantly agrees to train Rey. Back on the Resistance flagship, with Leia incapacitated and the rest of the leadership dead, command of the fleet has fallen to Vice Admiral Holdo and when Poe approaches her to find out what the plan is, she refuses to tell him. Meanwhile, Finn attempts to escape with the biotracker in an escape pod but he is stunned by a technician named Rose. As Finn recovers, Rose is taking him to the brig when they start arguing about the First Order being able to track them through hyperspace, which causes them to come up with an idea. Finn and Rose tell Poe their idea about sneaking on the lead Star Destroyer and taking out the tracking system long enough for them to get away. Poe contacts Maz Kanata to see if she can help them crack the First Order’s security codes but she is tied up in a labor dispute but recommends a first class hacker that can be found on Canto Bight. Meanwhile, Rey wakes up to begin her training only to see a vision of Kylo, who is also able to see her. Rey tries to attack Kylo and Kylo speaks to her but when Luke appears, the connection is severed. Luke takes Rey up to a cliff and teaches her the first lesson about the Force but as she opens herself up to it, a darkness within the island calls out to her, causing her to react via the force. As Rey stops her efforts, she comments that Luke has closed himself off from the force and Luke tells her that he has seen this much power once before and he wasn’t scared then but he is now. Meanwhile, Finn, Rose, and BB-8 head to Canto Bight to locate the master hacker but as they search for him, they end up being captured for illegally parking their shuttle on a private beach. Back on Ahch-To, Rey has another vision of Kylo, who wonders why the Force is connecting them and when she tells him she found Luke, he taunts her by asking her if he told her what happened the night the temple was burned. Luke continues the lessons and tells Rey how in the end, the Jedi were failures due to their own pride in their abilities with the Force. Rey disputes the notion but Luke tells her about how the Jedi allowed Darth Sidious to rise to power and create the Empire, and how his own pride allowed his nephew Ben to become Kylo Ren and slaughter his students. Back on Canto Bight, Finn and Rose try to figure out a way out of the cell when DJ, a hacker who is in the cell with them offers to help them. They refuse his offer but when DJ picks the lock and leaves, they leave as well, escaping into the sewers, while DJ encounters BB-8, who is knocking out the guards with coins he acquired. Finn and Rose find themselves in a stable and as the kids working in the stable move to sound the alarm, Finn and Rose tell them they are with the resistance and the kids help them escape by opening the stables and letting the racing fathiers out. Finn and Rose ride on the back of one through the city and out to the beach but the police blow up their shuttle before they can get on board so they continue riding up the cliffs. They manage to elide the police and set their mount free when BB-8 appears in a shuttle, driven by DJ, and they quickly get on board and speed off. Back on Ahch-To, Luke finally opens himself up to the Force and uses it to reach out to Leia, who calls out his name. Meanwhile, Rey continues to have conversations with Kylo and he tells her that Luke had attempted to kill him because he feared Kylo’s strength in the Force. Shaken by what Kylo told her, Rey heads to the hole that is strong in the Dark Side of the Force and ends up falling in. Inside, she finds a strange, cracked mirror, which shows myriad reflections of herself and when she tries to see her parents, she only sees herself again. Rey talks with Kylo about her experience and as they continue talking, they tell each other they are not alone and touch each other through the Force. Luke enters Rey’s cabin and seeing what is happening, yells out for them to stop, destroying the cabin in the process. Luke angrily yells at Rey to leave the island and Rey asks if what Kylo told her is true. The two end up fighting and Rey ends up besting Luke when she uses the Force to grab Anakin’s old lightsaber and uses it on him, causing him to stumble and fall to the ground. Luke tells her that he had sensed a darkness in Kylo and when he looked into his mind, realized that Snoke had already turned him. Luke reacted on instinct and activated his lightsaber but couldn’t bring himself to kill Kylo but Kylo realized Luke’s initial intention and struck down Luke and destroyed his school. Rey tells Luke that she had sensed Kylo’s turmoil and feels that she could bring him back to the light and despite Luke telling her not to leave, she takes off with Chewie and R2-D2. After they leave, Luke goes to destroy the ancient Jedi texts and the tree/temple when he sees the Force Spirit of Yoda watching him. When Luke can’t bring himself to do it, Yoda summons a lightning bolt to destroy the tree and texts and when Luke argues about it, Yoda tells him that they offered nothing that Rey didn’t already know. Yoda then tells Luke that he needed to pass on what he had learned, and that included his failures as they were more important to learn from. Meanwhile, Finn and Rose are making their way to the First Order fleet and when DJ tells them he expects to be paid for his services, they tell him the Resistance will pay him when they are done and Rose gives him her necklace as a down payment. Elsewhere, the Resistance fleet has lost both of it’s escort craft and when Poe goes to see Holdo to demand to know what their plan is, he discovers that she is fueling the escape craft and plans on having everyone abandon ship. Poe is angry that she is willing to risk everyone’s lives in unarmed ships and tells her about his plan with Finn and Rose and when Holdo refuses to change her plan, Poe leads a mutiny and takes command of the ship. As Finn, Rose, DJ, and BB-8 sneak onto Snoke’s ship, Rey tells Chewie to jetison her in the escape pod and wait for her signal to return, then leaves the ship and heads to Snoke’s ship as well. She is met by Kylo, who places her in manacles and takes her up to see Snoke. Finn, Rose, DJ, and BB-8 make it to the tracking system but are captured by Captain Phasma and as Poe, who was in contact with them, despairs over their capture, he is shocked to see Leia break through the door to the bridge and stun him. Lei has Poe loaded onto one of the escape shuttles and as she discusses the plan with Holdo, Holdo says she has to stay aboard and pilot the flagship to make sure the shuttles are able to escape and though Leia is saddened by the sacrifice, she knows Holdo is right. When Poe recovers, Leia points out the nearby planet Crait and explains that there is a former Rebellion base on the planet that is heavily fortified and should allow them to contact their allies in the Outer Rim while the First Order passes them by. On Snoke’s ship, Snoke reveals that he had facilitated the connection between Rey and Kylo, as he knew Rey would fall into his trap so he could either kill her or turn her. Meanwhile, DJ is revealed to have cut a deal with the First Order and told them of the Resistance’s plan and they begin firing on the escape shuttles. Meanwhile, Snoke continues to taunt Rey and reveals the Resistance shuttles being destroyed. Snoke orders Kylo to kill Rey but as Kylo moves to do so, he secretly maneuvers Anakin’s lightsaber so that it is facing Snoke, then activates it, cutting Snoke in half. Rey and Kylo then proceed to fight off Snoke’s guards and after killing them, Rey tells Kylo to call off the attack on the shuttles but he refuses, saying that they should get rid of the old and she should rule at his side. Rey refuses and they end up fighting over Anakin’s lightsaber, eventually causing it to be split in two, knocking them both out. Meanwhile, Holdo maneuvers the flagship towards the First Order fleet and jumps to light speed, sacrificing herself by crashing into Snoke’s ship and destroying or damaging several of the smaller Star Destroyers while buying time for the remaining shuttles to make it to the surface. Finn and Rose, who were about to be executed, attempt to escape in shuttle but are forced to deal with Phasma and her stormtroopers but manage to escape with BB-8’s help, who had taken over an AT-ST. Meanwhile, Hux heads to the throne room and sees Snoke dead and Kylo lying unconscious on the floor. Hux moves to kill Kylo when Kylo regains consciousness, saying that Rey killed Snoke and demanding to know where she is. When Hux tells Kylo that she escaped in Snoke’s escape pod, Kylo orders their troops to the planet’s surface to finish off the Resistance and when Hux questions Kylo’s authority, Kylo force chokes him into accepting Kylo as the new Supreme Commander. On Crait, the Resistance prepare to hold off the First Order, Finn sees that the First Order has a battering order cannon with them and warns that it will crack open the shield door in seconds. The Resistance starts to lose hope, especially when they learn the shield door is the only way in or out, but Finn says they have to have hope that their allies will come and they should hold out until then. The Resistance forces head out to the surface, while Poe, Finn, and Rose lead a squad of pilots in ancient Rebellion speeders to take out the battering ram cannon. AS Kylo orders the support Tie-Fighters to take out the speeders and ground troopers, the Tie-Fighters come under fire by the Millennium Falcon, with Rey and Chewie on board, and the fighters all go after it. Poe leads the speeders towards the cannon but as they start getting picked off, he tells everyone to break off the attack. Finn refuses to listen and continues towards the cannon, intending to sacrifice himself to destroy it, but Rose crashes her ship into his, knocking them both out of the way as the cannon fires and blasts a hole in the door. Finn rushes over to Rose’s ship to see if she is still alive and asks why she did that and she tells him that the way they will beat them is not by destroying what they hate, but saving what they love. Inside the base, the Resistance learns that their distress signal has been received in numerous systems but nobody is coming to help them and Leia says that they must have finally run out of hope. Suddenly, Luke appears in the base and speaks with Leia, apologizing for what happened to Ben (Kylo) and saying that he is there to face him. Luke heads outside to confront Kylo and when he sees him, Kylo orders his troops to open fire on him but Luke is seemingly unfazed by their attack so Kylo orders his shuttle to land so he can confront him. Poe and the remaining Resistance troops watch Luke and Finn wants to help him but Poe realizes that Luke is stalling so that they can escape. As Poe tells everyone to try and find another way out, he notices that the crystal foxes that were in the base have vanished. Bringing that to everyone’s attention, they all see one last fox staring at them before making it’s way down a tunnel and they all follow after it. They eventually catch up to it at the site of a recent landslide and Poe starts to give up hope when Rey, who had been searching for them, uses the Force to lift the boulders away, allowing the Resistance to escape. Meanwhile, Luke and Kylo are fighting when Luke suddenly stops, as he knows his stalling has worked, and when Kylo moves to kill him, his blade goes right through Luke, revealing that Luke was simply a Force projection all along. As Luke disappears, Kylo realizes he has been tricked and sends his forces into the base but they find it empty. On Ahch-To, Luke ends up dying from his exertion battling Kylo, with both Leia and Rey feeling him pass. Kylo senses Rey and the two stare at each other through the Force before Rey closes the door to the Falcon and they leave. As the surviving members congratulate each other on surviving, Leia and Rey speak about feeling Luke’s passing, With Leia saying that the Rebellion is reborn. On Canto Bight, The children that helped Finn and Rose escape are reenacting Luke Skywalker’s stand against Kylo and the First Order when the stable manager yells at them. As they rush off to get back to work, one of them uses the Force to summon a broom to his hand and starts sweeping before staring up into the stars.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi honors the saga’s rich legacy while adding some surprising twists — and delivering all the emotion-rich action fans could hope for.” When filming, Laura Dern said “pew” every time she shot her blaster. Although not audible, one such instance even made it into the finished film. It can be noticed in the close-up shot when Holdo is stunning her opponents. With the passing of Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels is the only actor to appear in all 8 of the main Star Wars films. Though it didn’t earn as much as it’s predecessor, the movie was a box office smash, earning $1.333 billion off of a $317 million budget.

Here’s the deal. When you watch any of the new Star Wars movies, you have to ask yourself one question before you start; Was this movie worse than Episode I? With that being said, this wasn’t what I would consider a great follow up but it was a good movie, and definitely better than The Phantom Menace. The acting was good, with Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe), and Adam Driver (Kylo) doing good jobs reprising their roles. I also thought that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were good reprising the roles of Luke and Leia respectively, while Kelly Marie Tran did a good job as Rose. The story was honestly a little disappointing because you had so many side things going on at once. Granted, the movie seemed to resemble Empire Strikes Back in some regards but while George Lucas did a good job keeping the different sub-plots flowing smoothly, the sub-plots in The Last Jedi seemed to keep jumping around at random in such a way that they felt disjointed with each other, until the last 30 minutes or so where they started to rejoin each other. Speaking of resembling Empire, the last battle on Crait really did feel like it was the Battle of Hoth, just with different equipment. Now, for the scene that brought about so much anger. Seeing as how she was the daughter of Anakin Skywalker, there was always a chance that Leia would be Force sensitive. In fact, she showed her abilities starting to emerge at the end of Return Of The Jedi. So to assume that in the years after the fall of the Empire, that she would not have undergone at least some basic training with Luke is pretty silly notion (in the old Star Wars books, Leia was actually trained by another Jedi, as she felt Luke was going to soft on her). Now, I will admit that the scene itself was quite a bit over the top, okay it was REALLY over the top, but it wasn’t as far fetched of a thing as the haters claimed it to be. The special effects were incredible and the colors and imagery in the scenes were amazing to see. I loved the battle in Snoke’s throne room, where Kylo and Ren fight the guards against the solid red backdrop of the walls and curtains, with the curtains catching fire and falling among them adding to the raw emotion in the scene. I also liked the sand that turned red on Crait, as it made for a nice way to liven up the otherwise barren battle scene. So it is a good movie and did do a good job in being the midpoint in a trilogy but it needed to nail down a couple of issues to be considered truly great.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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October 29th, 2018 Movie – Ant-Man And The Wasp

ant man and the wasp

Ok, I feel kind of bad for this but for the first time since 2008, I did not see one of the MCU movies in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Ant-Man quite a bit but when the sequel came out, there was just too much going on in my life for me to take the time to go see it. So I had to wait patiently for this movie to come out on video before I could watch it. As soon as I got it, I had to put it in because there was one burning question that needed to be answered; how does this movie tie in to Avengers: Infinity War. Well, let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Ant-Man And The Wasp.

The plot: Sometime after Scott Lang stopped Darren Cross (Yellowjacket), Hank Pym is talking with his daughter Hope about when her mother had gone sub-atomic to stop a missile and never came back. When Scott did the same thing to stop Cross but came back, Hank wonders if maybe his wife Janet is still alive, and shows Hope some old plans he had developed for a Quantum Tunnel, which he plans on building to try and find her. In the present, Scott Lang is finishing up his last days on being under house arrest for his role in helping Captain America. As he entertains his daughter Cassie, he is also helping his partner Luis go over the plans for their security system proposal when he accidentally triggers the perimeter alarm for his house arrest. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and his team search the house, as part of the terms of the deal Scott signed. As his team searches the house, Woo asks if Scott has had any contact with Hank or Hope, as it was his tech that Scott used, but Scott tells him that Hank hates him for getting involved with the Avengers and neither of them have spoken to him in the past two years. That night, Scott has a dream where he is back in the quantum realm and sees Janet, then finds himself in one of Janet’s memories. Waking up, Scott uses a secret phone to contact Hank and leaves a message about the dream but realizes how stupid it sounds and hangs up, then breaks the phone. The next day, Scott is eating when something buzzes by him and stings him, causing him to pass out. When he comes too, he finds himself in a car with Hope driving. Hope explains that they have left a decoy with his ankle monitor to fool the FBI, then explains that they are still mad at him but the only reason they are talking is because they need what is in his head. Hope takes Scott to their secret lab, and Hank explains that they had been building the tunnel for the past two years and had tested it the night before when a part overloaded. % minutes after the tested it, Scott called them which makes Hank believe that Janet had placed a message inside his head that they need to get. Scott still thinks it was just a dream he had but when Hope says the dream he described was how she and her mom always played hide and seek, Hank and Hope get excited. Saying Hank owes them for going to Germany and destroying the Ant-Man suit, Hank and Hope shrink down the lab and go to see a man named Sonny Burch, with Scott reluctantly going along but as they drive off, an almost invisible figure is watching them. When they reach the meeting spot, Hope heads inside, with Hank and Scott watching via ants that Hank is controlling, but as Hope speaks with Burch, he reveals that he knows who she really is and wants to change the deal they have. Burch figured out that they are involved in quantum technology and, knowing that it is the future in energy, has arranged for some buyers for their lab but when Hope refuses, he refuses to give her the part. Hope leaves but as Burch goes to leave, Hope returns wearing he Wasp armor and begins attacking Burch’s men, reclaiming the part they needed. As Hope goes to leave, the mysterious figure appears, constantly fading in and out of sight and tangibility. Realizing Hope is in trouble, Hank gives Scott a prototype Ant-Man suit and Scott goes in to help Hope but the figure disappears, then reappears in Hank’s van and steals his lab. Needing a place to hide, Scott takes them to his business office and they discuss what they can do. With all of the equipment they could possibly use to find the lab inside the lab, Hank says there is only one man that might be able to help; his former partner Bill Foster. Meanwhile, Ghost, as Scott and the others called her, takes the lab to an abandoned house, then gets inside a special chamber to help stabilize her condition. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the college that Bill teaches at and meet with Bill, who continually makes snide remarks to Hank while they talk. When Scott notices that Woo is there, he realizes someone must have spotted them and they leave but Bill tells them a way to find the lab as they leave. In the car, Hank says that the problem with Bill’s idea of using their suit’s regulators is that he got rid of the regulators in the new suits but Scott reveals that he did not destroy his suit like he originally told them. Scott had mailed it to Luis before he was imprisoned, then placed it in a trophy that Cassie had gotten him but when Luis can’t find the trophy, Scott realizes that Cassie had taken it for show-and-tell. Scott and Hope head to Cassie’s school but while they are there, Scott’s suit malfunctions, causing him to change sizes randomly. Scott and Hope are able to retrieve the suit and after trying Bill’s idea, they get a signal from the lab and track it down. As Scott and Hope prepare to head inside, they discuss their former relationship and Hope tells Scott that had she been there, he would not have been captured. The two head inside the house and discover the lab, as well as Ghost in her chamber, but when they go to grab the lab, Ghost awakens and knocks them out. Scott comes too and finds himself strapped to a chair, with Hope and Hank still unconscious and tied up next to him. The ghost appears and says her name is Ava and she won’t hurt him but needs what is in his head. As she goes intangible again, she gets upset and wakes Hope and Hank up, just as Bill appears and reveals that he was working with Ava. Ava explains that her father was a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist that was working with Hank but when they had a disagreement, Hank had him fired and discredited. Her father continued his work to restore his name but due to thae lack of proper safeguards, there was an explosion and her parents were killed while Ava was left in her noncorporeal state. Bill was still working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and worked to help Ava, but S.H.E.L.D. wanted to use her as a spy and assassin, then kill her. When S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed, Bill helped Ava escape, and they had been watching Hank to see if he could help them when they learned of Scott’s message from Janet. Bill says that he wants to harvest the quantum energy that Janet has been soaking up to restore Ava’s body but Hank says that it will kill her if they do that. Bill goes to leave but Hank fakes a heart attack and Hope says his medicine is in the altoids container her carries. Bill goes to get the altoids container but when he opens it, a bunch of ants pop out and grow to human size. Then ants free Scott, Hope, and Hank, who are able to escape with the lab. As Hank, Hope, and Scott prepare to activate the tunnel and learn where Janet is, Ava wants to use Cassie to get Scott to get the lab back but Bill refuses to help her if she hurts Cassie so she says there are other options and leaves. Meanwhile, Burch shows up at Luis’ business and gives him some truth serum to learn where Scott is, only for Ghost to show up and disable his vehicle. Burch calls his contact at the FBI to tell him where Hank, Hope, and Scott are but tells him to give him the lab. At the lab, Hank and Hope activate the machine and Janet’s consciousness takes over Scott’s body, allowing her to help them locate where she is but she warns them that they only have 2 hours or else it will be another century before they will be able to try again. Luis calls and warns Scott about what happened and Scott tells Hank and Hope, who are upset and quickly work on powering down the lab so they can shrink it and leave while Scott grabs the Ant-Man suit and heads home so Woo doesn’t catch him. At Scott’s house, Cassie, along with her mother and stepfather, show up at Scott’s house and Cassie discovers the giant ant pretending to be Scott but keeps it a secret. When Woo shows up, Cassie stalls him and Scott is able to get back in time but Hank and Hope are captured. As they are being placed in a car, Burch’s man grabs the lab and puts it in the trunk of his car but Ghost appears and knocks him out and steals the lab. At Scott’s house, Cassie talks with Scott and asks if he is going to help Hope and Hank and Scott says he wants to but doesn’t want to hurt her and she tells him that he should help them. At the FBI office, Hope picks the lock to her and Hank’s restraints and they try to figure out a way out of there when Scott uses some ants to bring Hope’s Wasp suit, as well as an FBI uniform for Hank, and then cover the camera so they can escape, unaware that Burch’s men are following them. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the lab, thanks to Hank placing a new tracker on it. When they get there, Hank tells them that he will be the one to head into the tunnel, as he needs them to protect the tunnel and deal with Ghost. Scott uses the ants to disrupt the machine, drawing Ghost out and Hank heads inside, using some large ants to keep Bill at bay. As Bill explains his reasoning, Hank tells him that he will help Bill find a cure as soon as he gets back from rescuing Janet and Bill wishes him luck. Ghost attacks Scott and as she does, Hank heads through the Quantum Tunnel while Hope shrinks the lab, allowing her and Luis to grab it. They go to leave but Burch and his men show up and they are forced to drive from them, with Hope shrinking and growing the van to deal with the pursuers. Scott catches up to them while Hope deals with the last of Burch’s men but Ghost shows up and steals the lab, while causing Scott to crash the van. Hope and Scott work on getting the lab back but as they deal with Ghost, Burch manages to grab the lab. Hope chases after her and Scott, still having issues with his suit, follows after them. Meanwhile, Hank makes it to the quantum realm and goes searching for Janet but as he collapses from the strain of the realm on his mind, Janet shows up and helps him but as they go to return to the surface, the learn that the lab is still shrunk down and they can’t ascend. Back on the surface, Luis finds the remote for the lab in the van and grabs another car to drive and meet with Hope and Scott. When he comes under fire form Burch’s men, Hope rescues him while Scott continues chasing after Burch. When Burch gets onto a ferry to escape, Scott grows to giant size in order to get the lab back from him but as he places it back on the dock, he passes out from the strain on his body. Hope and Luis arrive and Hope dives into the water to save Scott while Luis goes to get the lab but Ghost shows up and knocks him out, then enlarges the lab. Seeing the lab has returned to normal, Hank and Janet begin the journey back, unaware as to what is going on. Luis is confronted by Burch and his men but Kurt and Dave show up and uses tasers to incapacitate Burch’s men while Luis knocks out Burch. Inside the lab, Bill tries to talk Ghost out of harvesting Janet’s energy but Ghost shoves him aside and starts the process, which starts tearing Janet apart. Scott and Hope enter the lab and stop Ghost, then begin fighting with her until Hank and Janet return, with Scott rescuing Hope while Ghost is struck by the vehicle. Hank, Janet, and Hope all embrace each other and when Janet sees Ghost, she approaches her and gives her some of her energy to temporarily stabilize her. When Luis warns them that the cops and FBI are approaching, Scott uses his suit to create a decoy so that they can get away, while he rushes home, where a suspicious Woo can’t prove he had left and takes off the ankle monitor, warning him that he will be keeping an eye out for him. Burch and his men are arrested, and since Luis, Kurt, and Dave were credited with the arrest, their company gets a huge contract that they had been working on. Ava tells Bill to leave her, as she had hurt so many people trying to save her life, but Bill says he won’t leave her and she embraces him. Hank and Janet are shown to be on a tropical beach, where Hank reveals he had shrunk their house and brought it with them for them to live in. Scott, Hope, and Cassie are enjoying a makeshift drive-in movie night, where Cassie reveals to Hope that Scott wants her to be his partner. Some time later, Hank, Hope, and Janet have made a smaller Quantum Tunnel and Scott travels into it in order to get some quantum healing particles for Ava but as they prepare to bring him back, Hope, Hank, and Janet are disintegrated, courtesy of Thanos and the Infinity Stones, leaving Scott stranded in the quantum realm.

Ant-Man And The Wasp met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.” During the scene where Hank, Hope, and Scott first meet with Bill Foster, Bill says that he worked on the “Goliath Project” with Hank and had grown to 21 feet. In the comics, Bill Foster was Hank Pym’s assistant and would indeed become a super hero known as Goliath, who took part in Civil War as one of Cap’s allies but would be killed by a robotic version of Thor. The movie was a box office success, earning $622.4 million off of a $195 million budget.

I really feel bad for not seeing this in theaters because this movie was just as funny as the original. The acting was good, with Paul Rudd (Scott), Evangeline Lilly (Hope) and Michael Douglas (Hank) doing great jobs in their roles. Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet) and Laurence Fishburne (Bill) were also good, while Hannah John-Kamen and Walton Goggins (Burch) made for some interesting villains in Ghost and Burch respectively. The story was pretty good as, aside from the aspect of Scott bing under house arrest, it was essentially a stand alone movie that did not need to rely on anything from the other movies. There was simply the part at the end where the Hank, Hope, and Janet disintegrated that showed the events were occurring roughly at the same time as Thanos’ attack on the universe. One thing about the movie I did like was the various moral decisions that constantly came into play during the movie. I mean, you had Scott wanting to stay on the straight and narrow so he wouldn’t get his chance at probation revoked and losing the chance to spend time with his daughter, but also wanting to help Hope and Hank rescue Janet. Then you have Bill Foster, who wants to save Ava but in the end, doesn’t want her to risk harming Janet, though Ava is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself, including threatening Cassie until Bill warns her against it. The special effects were great, with the constant size changing during the fight scenes, as well as the car chase scenes, were incredible to watch and really well timed. The visual imagery during Hank’s journey into the quantum realm was also incredibly beautiful, even the tardigrades (water bears). A fun movie to watch and a good way to ease back from the emotions of Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 28th, 2018 Movie – Avengers: Infinity War

avengers infinity war

This is it. This is the movie that has been 6 years in build up and anticipation. Ever since Thanos first appeared in the post credits of The Avengers, this is the movie that everyone knew was going to happen. Now I have to admit that while I was always a comic book reader back in the day, the Infinity Gauntlet story line was the one that really got me into some hardcore collecting back then. I mean, this was a three year story arc that was spread out over dozens of titles, not including the main 6 issue mini-series for the main story arcs, and that was an awful lot of comics to be buying. So I was really curious to see how they were going to be translating this movie onto the big screen. Surprisingly, I did not rush out to watch this opening weekend but would wait a few weeks before I went to see it in theaters but I bought it almost immediately after it came out on video. Now, let’s get our hearts ripped ut once again with today’s movie, Avengers: Infinity War.

The plot: Out in space, the Asgardian refugee ship has come under attack by Thanos’ flagship. Thanos teleports on board with his acolytes (Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive) and they kill all of the Asgardians and wound Heimdall. Loki is left alone and he watches as Thanos grabs Thor and reveals that he has the Power Stone, which he had taken from Xandar. Thanos approaches Loki and demands that he turn over the Tesseract or else he will kill Thor and Loki tells him to kill Thor but as Thanos proceeds to blast him, Loki relents and reveals the Tesseract and moves to give it to Thanos, only to pull it back and rescue Thor as the Hulk leaps out and attacks Thanos. Obsedian goes to help Thanos but Maw holds him back as Thanos, using the Power Stone, is able to overpower the Hulk and beat him down. Heimdall uses his sword to summon the Bifrost to transport Hulk back to Earth to warn them of Thanos’ coming and Thanos kills him for that. Trapping Thor within some wreckage of the ship, Thanos breaks the Tesseract to reveal the Space Stone within it and places it in his gauntlet. He then orders his acolytes to go to Earth to retrieve the two stones that are there, then bring them back to him on Titan. Loki volunteers to help them on Earth but as he approaches Thanos, he tries to stab him only for Thanos to stop the attack and break Loki’s neck, dropping the body in front of Thor. Thanos then uses the stones to destroy the ship and teleport himself and his acolytes back to their ship and, with his bonds broken, Thor crawls over to Loki’s body just before the ship explodes. On Earth, Dr. Stephen Strange and Wong are discussing getting lunch when the Hulk is dropped through the ceiling of the Sanctum and as he transforms back into Banner, he tells them Thanos is coming. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are walking in Central Park when Strange appears before them and says he needs his help, bringing Bruce with him to prove the seriousness of the situation. Stark goes with them back to the Sanctum, where Strange and Wong explain the history of the Infinity Stones to Stark, and how they are the protectors of the Time Stone. When Banner says that they have to find Vision, Stark admits that Vision has turned off his transponder and been missing for 2 weeks. He says that Steve Rogers might be able to find him and when Banner says to call him, Stark tells him that they are no longer speaking and about the Avengers breaking up. Banner tells Stark that Thor is dead and Stark reluctantly pulls out the phone that Steve had given him when they notice something happening outside, only to find a giant spaceship has appeared over the city. Peter Parker is on a field trip with his class when he sees the spaceship and while his classmates are all staring at it, he quickly changes into his Spider-Man costume and goes back to the city. Maw and Obsidian appear on the street and demand the Time Stone and Stark, Strange, and Wong prepare to face them but when Banner tries to change into the Hulk, he refuses to come out so Strange teleports him away to safety. Stark ends up facing Obsidian, with Peter arriving to help him while Strange and Maw face Maw. Maw easily knocks Wong aside and manages to capture Strange but finds Strange has placed a protective enchantment on the Eye of Agamotto, which holds the Time Stone, preventing him from grabbing it. As Maw attempts to leave with Strange, his Cloak of Levitation flies him away and as they pass by the battle with Obsidian, Stark tells Peter to help him. Peter attempts to rescue Strange but Strange ends up being beamed aboard Maw’s ship, with Peter clinging to the side of it. Stark tries to get away from Obsidian to help Peter, with Wong teleporting Obsidian to another part of Earth so he can do so, and as he flies after the ship, he orders his computer, Friday, to activate a set of armor. The ship rises above the atmosphere and Peter starts to pass out when the armor attaches itself to him, becoming a nanotech version of his spider suit, and Stark orders Friday to send him home while he breaks inside the ship but Peter manages to stay on the ship and sneaks inside as well. Back on Earth, Wong returns to the Sanctum to guard it while Bruce picks up the flip-phone that Stark had dropped and calls Steve. Out in Space, the Guardians of the Galaxy had heard the Asgardian distress call and go to help only to find the wreckage and bodies scattered in space. Thor’s body lands on their ship and when they see he is still alive, they bring him on board, where Mantis revives him. Thor tells them what happened and says that Thanos will be going to Knowhere next, as that is where the Reality Stone is being held. When they ask why he will be going there next, Thor says that Thanos has the Power and Space stones, the Time and Mind stones are safe on Earth with the Avengers, and nobody knows where the Soul Stone is (which causes Gamora to get a sad look on her face). Thor then says he needs to borrow their scout ship so he can go to Nidavellir, so he can have Eitri the Dwarf make a new weapon so he can kill Thanos. Rocket agrees to go with Thor, telling Groot to come with them, leaving the others to go to Knowhere to stop Thanos from getting the stone. Back on Earth, Vision is in Scotland with Wanda Maximoff, as they have secretly been seeing each other for 2 years. As they walk along the city, Vision asks Wanda to stay with him when they see the news footage about the events in New York. Suddenly, they are attacked by Midnight and Glaive and they try to fend them off but find themselves outmatched but before they can finish off Wanda and retrieve the Mind Stone, Steve shows up, along with Sam Wilson and Natasha Romanoff. The three manage to wound Glaive so Midnight teleports them away and Steve helps Vision onto their ship and tells Sam to take them home. Back in space, Gamora remembers her first meeting with Thanos, where he had slaughtered half of her people, including her mother, then adopted her. When Peter Quill approaches her, she asks him to kill her if Thanos looks like he is going to win, as she knows something that Thanos can never find out, and Quill reluctantly agrees to do so and Gamora kisses him. The group arrives at Knowhere and find the place is deserted but as they make their way to the Collector’s room, they find Thanos questioning the Collector about the Reality Stone’s whereabouts. Seeing Thanos, Drax wants to attack him in revenge for his family and when he doesn’t listen to reason, Mantis puts him to sleep. Gamora attacks Thanos and seemingly kills him but as she breaks down in tears over killing her adopted father, Thanos reveals that he already has the Reality Stone and had used it to make a false reality. Thanos grabs Gamora, then uses the Stone to tear apart Drax and Mantis, leaving only Quill to face him. Gamora reminds Quill of his promise and he reluctantly points his gun at her, with Thanos taunting him over it, and after they both admit their love for each other, he pulls the trigger only for bubbles to come out of his gun. Thanos smiles, telling Quill he likes him, then disappears with Gamora, leaving Quill with the restored Drax and Mantis on the ruins of Knowhere. Back on Earth, Rogers and the fugitive Avengers return to Avengers HQ, interupting a meeting that James Rhodes is having with Secretary of State Ross. After Rhodes shuts off the meeting, disobeying Ross’ orders to arrest them, he greets Steve and the others. Steve and Natasha are surprised to see that Banner is there and after he tells them what is going on, he asks about Clint and is told that both he and Scott Lang had signed deals to protect their families. Vision tells them that they need to destroy the Mind Stone as it is the only way to ensure Thanos doesn’t succeed in his plan but Wanda refuses to do it. Bruce suggests finding a way to remove the Stone without killing Vision and Steve says there is only one place where they have a chance of doing that. In Wakanda, T’Challa and Okoye are discussing their resources for the upcoming fight, with T’Challa saying they should send a message to M’Baku and the Jabari for help, as they approach Bucky BArnes and give him a new cybernetic arm to use in the fight. Back in space, Maw is torturing Strange to try and force him to give him the Time Stone. Stark discovers that Peter had stowed away and is upset with him for not listening but agrees to let him help him rescue Strange. Stark blasts a hole in the side of the ship, sucking Maw out into space while Peter, and the Cloak of Levitation, rescue Strange. Strange wants to turn the ship around and return to Earth but Stark refuses, as he wants to take the fight to Thanos rather than let him do any more damage to Earth. After arguing for a bit, Strange relents but warns Stark he will let him and Peter die in order to protect the Time Stone and Stark says he is ok with that, then tells Peter that he is an Avenger now. On Thanos’ flagship, Thanos and Gamora argue about his plans and how he wants to right the cosmic imbalance he sees. He then says he knows she lied about not finding the Soul Stone and takes her into a room, where Gamora sees Nebula has been captured and pulled apart while still alive. Thanos begins torturing Nebula and Gamora tries to lie but when he accesses Nebula’s memory banks and plays a file showing that Gamora had found the map and burned it, she reluctantly tells Thanos where the Soul Stone is in order to spare Nebula. Elsewhere, Thor, Rocket, and Groot continue towards Nidavellir and, after Rocket talks with Thor and gives him a cybernetic eye to replace his missing one, they arrive only to find the massive forge has gone cold. Heading inside, they find the place empty and Rocket sees a mold for a Gauntlet similar to Thanos’, just before they are attacked by Eitri. Thor gets him to stop attacking them and Eitir blames Thor for not protecting them but when Thor tells him that Asgard has been destroyed, Eitri says that he made the gauntlet in order to save his people, but Thanos killed them anyways, then poured the molted metal over his hands, ruining them. Back on Thanos’ ship, one of Thanos’ soldiers works on repairing Nebula only for her to kill him, then send a message to Mantis telling her to have the Guardians meet her on Titan. Stark, Strange, and Peter crash land on Titan, only to be attacked by the Guardians, who mistake them for working with Thanos but after a brief standoff, the Guardians realize that they are the people Thor was talking about. Knowing that Thanos will be coming to them, Stark tries to come up with a plan, arguing about it with Quill when the Guardians seem uninterested. They notice Strange doing something and as the approach him, he tells them that he had been using the Time Stone to look through future outcomes of their fight with Thanos and of the over 14 million futures he looked through, there was only one in which Thanos loses. Meanwhile, Thanos and Nebula arrive on Vormir and are confronted by the Red Skull, who is the Keeper of the Soul Stone. The Red Skull tells them that in order to obtain the Soul Stone, he must sacrifice what he loves most. Gamora laughs, saying that Thanos doesn’t love anything, but the Red Skull says that isn’t true, and Gamora realizes that Thanos did love her as a daughter. Gamora tries to kill herself but Thanos wills the knife away, then throws Gamora off the cliff to her death and as he sheds tears for her death, he is given the Soul Stone. Back on Earth, The Avengers arrive in Wakanda and are greeted by T’Challa, Okoye, and Bucky and as they take Vision into Shuri’s lab, she says she should be able to remove the stone but it will take time. The Acolyte’s ship arrives and sends a landing party outside the country’s borders and while Steve tells Wanda to blow up the Stone as soon as it is removed from Vision, T’Challa marshals his army and tells them to bring Steve a shield. Back on Nidavellir, Eitri explains that there was a weapon called Stormbreaker that was to become Thor’s when he became King and it would be strong enough to kill Thanos but with the rings frozen, he won’t be able to forge it. Thor has Rocket help him restart the rings and when the mechanism fails, he holds it open long enough for the metal to heat, but passes out from the pain and Rocket saves him and brings him back to the forge. Eitri manages to pour the molten metal into the mold, then looks for the handle, as the axe is the only thing that can save Thor’s life. Groot uses his own arm to form a handle for the axe, then breaks it off and as it clatters to the floor, Thor’s fingers start sparking with electricity as the axe moves towards him. Back on Earth, the Avengers, with Bruce wearing Stark’s Hulkbuster armor, stand beside the Wakandan army and watch as the landing craft descend. Steve, T’Challa, and Natasha approach the barrier to speak with Obsidian and Midnight and when Natasha asks about Glaive, Midnight says they will pay for his life. Midnight summons her amry of creatures to attack the barrier and the creatures kill themselves forcing their way through, with the Wakandans picking off the stragglers. When the creatures move to flank them, T’Challa orders a section of the barrier to be opened, then he leads his army forward to face the creatures, with the Avengers joining in. The Avengers and Wakandans try to hold off the creatures so Shuri can finish removing the Mind Stone but they find themselves being overwhelmed when Thor suddenly appears with Rocket and Groot and they join the fight. On Titan, Thanos arrives to find Strange waiting for him and they talk briefly, with Thanos explaining his plans but Strange was merely a distraction as Stark pushes one of Titan’s destroyed satellites onto Thanos. Quill, Drax, Peter, Strange, and Mantis join in the fight as they try to take the gauntlet from Thanos. As Thanos appears to get the upper hand, Nebula appears and distracts him long enough for Mantis to try and put him to sleep. As she struggles with Thanos, Drax and Strange hold him down while Peter and Stark try to take the gauntlet off of him. Quill asks Thanos about Gamora and when Mantis says he is mourning, Nebula realizes Gamora is dead and an enraged Quill begins hitting Thanos in the face. When Stark tries to calm Quill down, Thanos recovers and is able to send everyone flying then knock out Mantis, Drax, Quill, and Nebula, leaving Peter, Stark, and Strange to fight him. Back on Earth, the battle continues and when Midnight summons some war machines onto the field, Wanda leaves the lab to help her friends and Midnight, seeing her on the field, contacts Glaive and tells him to make his move. Glaive, who had managed to sneak into the palace, kills the guards and knocks out Shuri but Vision grabs him and shoves him out the window, falling out as well. Falcoln sees what is happening and tells Steve, who yells out for someone to help Vision. Banner shows up and ends up fighting with Obsidian and when he tries to summon the Hulk again, Hulk still refuses so Banner is able to kill Obsidian by using the Hulkbuster armor to send him into the barrier, killing him, then says that he and Hulk have a lot to figure out. Wando goes to help Vision but is knocked down by Midnight and as Natasha and Okoye fight with her, Wanda recovers and uses her powers to send Midnight into the path of the war machines. Steve reaches Vision’s side and fights with Glaive, telling Vision to get out of there, but as Glaive overpowers Steve, Vision stabs him with his own spear. Back on Titan, Thanos is able to overpower Stark and the others, stabbing Stark with his own armor, and as he moves to finish him, Strange offers him the Time Stone in exchange for Stark’s life. Thanos takes the Stone and as Quill recovers and fires at him, he teleports away. Stark asks Strange why he did that and Strange tells him that they are in the end game now. Back on Earth, the Avengers and Wakandans are winning the battle when Thanos appears on Earth. Steve and the Avengers work on fighting him but he is easily able to overpower them so Vision tells Wanda to destroy the Stone. Wanda manages to do so but Thanos uses the Time Stone to turn back time, then grabs the Mind Stone from Vision’s head, killing him. As Thanos places the Stone in the gauntlet, Thor attacks him and manages to stab him in the chest with Stormbreaker, but Thanos tells him he should have aimed for his head, then snaps his fingers, causing a massive flash of light to appear. When it subsides, Thor asks Thanos what he did, as Thanos stares at the damaged gauntlet before teleporting away. As Steve asks where he went, Bucky calls out to him before he disintegrates, as does T’Challa, Wanda, Groot, Sam, and many of the Wakandans. On Titan, Stark and everyone regroup when Mantis senses something has happened just before she disintegrates. Drax and Quill disintegrate and Strange tells Stark it was the only way, just before he and Peter disintegrate, leaving Stark and Nebula the only two left on Titan. As the heroes left on Earth try to come to terms with what has happened, Thanos is seen on a distant world, recovering from the injury he received from Thor. In New York City, Nick Fury and Maria Hill are driving when they see vehicles crashing as their drivers are disintegrating. As Maria disintegrates, Nick races to his bag and grabs a special pager from his bag and sends out a signal just before he disintegrates and the pager falls to the ground, with a star atop a red and blue background showing on the screen.

Avengers: Infinity War met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.” Tom Holland was not allowed to read the script for this movie, since he revealed too many secrets for Spider-Man: Homecoming. In one of the promotional videos for the movie, several of its cast members are in an interrogation room refusing to reveal any spoilers, and Holland’s mouth is conspicuously taped shut.The movie was a box office success, earning $2.05 billion off of a $400 million budget, making it the 4th movie to break the $2 billion mark and the first superhero movie to do so while breaking several other box office records in the process.

As much as I hate to say it, perhaps there is some truth to the old saying that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. This was a great movie to watch but because there was so much going on, I feel like they weren’t able to give it quite the justice it deserved. The acting was great, with everyone doing great jobs reprising their roles from the previous movies. I really liked the interactions some of the characters had with characters from different movies, such as Thor with the Guardians or Stark with Dr. Strange as well as his interactions with Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The story was pretty good in the way it explained Thanos’ motivation for wanting to find the Infinity Stones. It also did a good job in explaining how the different heroes managed to come together to fight Thanos and his acolytes, and how some of the Earth heroes ended up fighting Thanos in space Rocket and Groot ended up on Earth. One thing I wish they had done a better job of is clearing up some plot holes, such as what happened with Valkyrie, as well as Korg and the surviving gladiators that were on the ship at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. Were they killed as well or were they not on the ship when Thanos attacked them? Also, I wish they had shown Thanos collecting the Power Stone from Xandar. I mean, you kind of see him get the Reality Stone but your first appearance of him is with him already having the Power Stone and you just casually toss out that he destroyed Xandar to get it. That’s it? Every other stone was a fairly decent scene but the Power Stone was reduced to just a casual line that Thor blurts out? That is lame. The special effects really were incredible and they went all out with this movie. From the various planets and locations to all of the battles, this was a true special effects extravaganza. A fun movie to watch and while not perfect, did a good job in tying the MCU together against a single enemy.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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