action, adventure, animation, comic book, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 9th, 2014 Movie – Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

batman the dark knight returns

When it comes to comics in the modern era (80’s to present), Frank Miller’s name has to be up there with one of the greats. I mean, you have a pretty great run of issues in “Daredevil”, not to mention his original works of “Sin City” and “300”. However, my first introduction to Miller was brought on by a 4 part miniseries that he did way back in 1986; “The Dark Knight Returns”. While on vacation with my family, I had stopped in a bookstore (I know that my friends are shocked by this) and happened to see the trade collection on the shelf. Well I picked it up and started reading it, and kept reading it, and damn near walked out the store with it before my mom stopped me and paid for the book. Anyways, Several years ago, I saw that they were making this movie but were releasing it in two parts. Now I was definitely interested in watching this movie but I decided to wait and be patient, as I had a feeling that they would release a special edition that had both parts on one disk. Sure enough, they did and I immediately picked it up and then sat back to watch. So let’s enjoy some of Frank Miller’s best work with today’s movie, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

The plot: In Gotham, 55 year old Bruce Wayne is competing in a race when his crew chief feels he is being too reckless and activates the computer autopilot, only for Bruce to deactivate it. Bruce continues racing but his car malfunctions and ends up crashing and catching fire, but Bruce was able to get out at the last minute and only received some minor burns. Later that night, Bruce meets with James Gordon, who is celebrating his 70th birthday. As the two friends share a drink, they talk about how it has been 10 years since Bruce retired and Bruce seems to be considering what would happen if he came back but Gordon tells him it is a different time now, both with the government oversight as well as the criminals, such as the Mutants. Gordon asks if Bruce has talked to Harvey Dent yet, saying he could have been a shoulder to lean on after Jason died but Bruce decides to call it a night an leaves. As he walks home, he stops at the alley where his parents were killed and as he thinks back to them, he is confronted by two members of the Mutants that consider mugging him but when they notice Bruce actually looking forward to it, they change their mind and leave. That night, after failing to get any sleep, Bruce heads down to the Batcave and stares at Jason’s Robin costume in it’s shrine before Alfred comes down to check on him. At Arkham Asylum, Joker is shown to be in a catatonic state ever since Batman disappeared. Meanwhile, Harvey Dent has undergone successful plastic surgery to repair his damaged face, while his psychologist Dr. Wolper has worked on making him sane again but after giving a press conference where he announces he is fine, he suddenly disappears. That night, Bruce is watching television and as he sees the reports of crime on the rise, a voice in his head calls him weak and says the time has come. Later that night, Batman returns to Gotham and stops various crimes from occurring. When Gotham Bank is robbed, the police chase after a car filled with gunmen, ignoring a second car that drives off in the other direction. As the lead police car chases after the gunmen, they see Batman swinging across the sky and the elder cop slows down and allows Batman to handle the gunmen. Batman lands on the car and causes it to crash into an abandoned building, where he proceeds to take them down, though his age makes him slower than he used to be. The rookie cop attempts to arrest Batman but his partner tells him to go to the car while Batman searches one of the criminals, then tells the officer to have Gordon contact him. As the news reports talk about Batman’s reemergence, one of the gunmen’s lawyer argues that his client should be released and Gordon agrees and has him released that day. Gordon contacts Bruce to tell him and as the crook heads back to the gang’s hideout to see if Two-Face is there, he finds Batman waiting for him. The crook attempts to get away from Batman and ends up falling through the window and out onto the fire escape, and Batman points out that he is bleeding to death and he is the only one who can get him to a hospital in time so he had better start talking. Meanwhile, Gordon gets some information and he heads to the roof and turns on the Batsignal, both to contact Batman and to let people know he has returned. When Batman shows up, Gordon tells him that two military helicopters were stolen and they both figure Two-Face is behind it and try to figure out what he is up to. Batman figures out where Two-Face will strike and heads to the buildings the next night. When the two helicopters land, one on two separate buildings, Dent emerges from his helicopter, his face completely wrapped in bandages, and after hacking the television signal, threatens to detonate two bombs unless he is paid a ransom. Batman, who is on the roof where the other helicopter landed, takes out the men guarding it only to discover that the bombs are already activated, and he realizes that Dent wants to kill himself and take as many people with him. Batman disarms the first bomb, then uses a grapple gun to head to the other roof  but Dent gets back in the helicopter with the bomb and shoots at him, knocking him off the line. Batman fires another grapple at the helicopter, knocking Dent out of the helicopter and Batman catches him as they crash into the building, leaving the helicopter to fly off with the bomb, where it explodes harmlessly. Dent and Batman briefly struggle before Batman is able to unmask him and sees that Dent has not reinjured his face, but rather his mind is unable to deal with having his face whole and he feels that both sides are now scarred. As public opinion continues to vary on Batman’s return, Gordon is heading home when a member of the Mutants tries to shoot him at the liquor store, only for Gordon to shoot him instead. Meanwhile, a young girl named Carrie Kelley, whom Batman had rescued during his first night back, buys a Robin costume and heads out into the city, attempting to do her own part to stopping crime. Batman confronts an Army General for selling weapons to the mutants and then decides to head out there in a heavily armored version of the Batmobile. In the city junkyard, the Mutant’s leader is rallying the Mutants to attack the police and take control of the city when Batman shows up and orders them to surrender. The Mutants attack the Batmobile but Batman is able to take them out, with Carrie helping him out unbeknownst to him. When the last of the Mutants is dealt with, the leader challenges Batman to face him man to man and, despite Alfred warning against it, Batman accepts. Batman and the Mutant leader start fighting and Batman gets the early advantage but the Mutant leader is able to take advantage of Batman’s slower movements and easily defeats him. As he goes to kill him, Carrie attacks him, distracting him long enough for Batman to use his a resin to choke the Mutant leader into unconsciousness. Carrie races to make sure that Batman is still alive, then helps him get into the Batmobile. As Alfred remotely steers the Batmobile, Carrie works on putting a splint on Batman’s injured arm, and Batman asks what her name is, then tells Alfred to take him to the cave and that Robin is coming with them. When they get there, Batman walks off into the cave, discarding his suit as he does, and Alfred tells Carrie that he is going to find his strength. As Batman recovers, the public is still mixed on Batman’s return. The mayor has announced that Ellen Yindel will replace Gordon as Police Commissioner when Gordon retires. The mayor also plans to meet with the Mutant leader, who has been captured along with many other members of the Mutants after Batman’s assault, but when he meets with the Mutant leader in his cell, the Mutant leader kills him. Back at the Batcave, Batman places a brace on his injured arm and as he gears up to fight the Mutant leader again, Alfred argues with him about bringing Carrie on as the new Robin but Batman says she is perfect. Batman then has Carrie disguise herself as a Mutant and takes her into the city, where she spreads the word among the other Mutants to meet at “The Pipe”. Meanwhile, Yindel meets with Gordon and the two discuss why he allowed Batman to run free as long as he did. As the Mutants gather there, Batman speaks with Gordon and tells him he needs one last favor from him. Gordon heads down to the cells and relieves the guards, then leaves the room. The Mutant leader’s cell suddenly opens and as he steps outside, his attention is drawn to the open sewer grate on the floor. The Mutant leader heads through the sewers to escape the jail, eventually coming to the exit pipe where Batman has had all of the Mutants gathered, and where Batman is waiting for him. Batman tackles the leader from behind and knocks him out of the pipe and into the mud pool below them, where he faces off against him. The Mutant leader fights back, but this time Batman doesn’t try to match strength with the younger and stronger fighter, but uses his martial art’s skills to incapacitate him, eventually breaking the bones in his limbs and completely beating him. The Mutants, seeing their leader completely broken, end up falling apart, with half of them being captured by the police while the other half breaking up into smaller gangs, the most prominent of them being a gang called the Sons of Batman, who have taken to wearing Batman’s symbol on their face. Gordon calls Bruce and tells him his plan worked in dealing with the Mutants but he is on his own from now on and after he hangs up, he finishes packing up his things from his office and leaves police headquarters. Meanwhile, the constant news reports about television have registered in the catatonic Joker, and he snaps out of his coma excited to find his old playmate has returned. 3 months later, Dr. Wolper has been working with the Joker since he came out of his catatonic state and as Joker comments about seeing Wolper on TV and how it must be nice to tell his side of things, Wolper says he might be able to get Joker on TV to share his story. As news breaks about Joker’s televised interview, the story switches to the White House and their lack of a clear response regarding Batman’s activities. Inside the White House, the President speaks with Superman and asks him to try and deal with Batman and get him to settle down and Superman says he will try. That night, a disguised Batman tangles with Bruno, a former lover of Joker, and tries to get information from her about Joker’s plans but they are interrupted by the appearance of Superman, who quickly traps Bruno and tells Batman he wants to talk but Batman says they can talk in the morning but for now stay out of Gotham. As the news talks about the growing tensions between America and the Soviet Union over the situation about control over the island of Corto Maltese, Yindel is officially made the new commissioner and her first order of business is to issue an arrest warrant for Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce and Clark are talking about Batman’s return upsetting the wrong people and Clark warns him that if he doesn’t go back into retirement, he might be ordered to take him down. Bruce says if that happens then may the best man win when Clark suddenly says he has to go and rushes off. Breaking news says that U.S. and Soviet forces have begun fighting in Corto Maltese and Superman has gone there to aid the American soldiers and prevent innocent people from being hurt in the crossfire. Meanwhile, one of Joker’s minions visits him at Arkham and hands him some special lipstick that he asked for as well as some nose plugs. As the show is about to go on, Yindel has the police outside the studio building, waiting to capture Batman if he shows up as well as Joker if he tries anything. As the show starts, Batman notices the police presence and has Robin wait in the Batcopter while he heads down there, getting in a fight with the cops when Yindel orders them to arrest him. Meanwhile, Joker’s henchman sends two robotic dolls to go help Joker and as Joker kills Dr. Wolper, the dolls enter the studio and begin releasing Joker’s smile gas into the air, killing everyone else. On the roof, Batman is starting to get overwhelmed and Robin brings the Batcopter in close to help Batman escape, telling him that Joker is gone after killing everyone. Meanwhile, the battle continues raging in Corto Maltese and Superman continues using his powers to destroy the Soviet forces. In Gotham, Joker pays a visit to Selina Kyle, who runs an escort service, and uses his mind control lipstick on her to summon one of her girls who has a congressman as a regular customer. The escort uses Joker’s lipstick to brainwash the congressman and have him go out on the ledge ranting about firing nukes at the Soviet Union but when the police try to get him inside, he ends up falling to his death. Yindel and her men show up and Batman, disguised as a cop, asks her if he can help. She tells him about the escort and tells the disguised Batman to bring Selina in but as he leaves, the real police officer shows up and Yindel, realizing she was fooled, tries to have Batman arrested. Batman and Robin head to Selina’s business and find Selina tied up and gagged and when he frees her, she warns Batman that Joker is worse than ever now. Robin notices some cotton candy on the floor and Batman realizes that Joker is going after the fairgrounds, causing Robin to get scared as many of her friends will be there. The police show up but Batman and Robin jump out the window and grab onto the Batwing glider. Yindel and her men fire on the glider and manage to break Robin’s harness as she is putting it on, causing her to fall but she manages to grab onto Batman’s cape and he pulls her back up and holds her to keep her safe. At the fair, Joker and his henchman are passing out cotton candy to some kids when they see Batman approaching. Joker sends one of the robot dolls to blow up the Batwing glider, then tells his henchman and the other doll to deal with Robin while he handles Batman. Batman faces off against Joker, who attempts to shoot him and has no qualms hitting innocent bystanders in the process. When he takes one of Robin’s friends hostage, Batman throws some batarangs at him, with one of them lodging in his eye, then chases Joker inside the Hall of Mirrors. Joker grabs another kid to use as a hostage but Batman is able to save the kid but gets shot in the process. As Joker goes to finish Batman off, he finds himself out of bullets and leaves the Hall of Mirrors. Meanwhile, the second doll arms it’s explosives and sits on the roller coaster tracks to blow up the oncoming train. Robin uses her slingshot to knock it off the tracks, causing it to explode harmlessly in the sky, but she is attacked by Joker’s henchman. As the henchman tries to strangle her, she lashes out and manages to kick him off of her, and he ends up getting caught in the chain for the roller coaster and killed when his head gets caught up in the gears. Elsewhere, Joker kills a security guard and grabs his gun, then makes his way into the Tunnel of Love, killing anyone he comes across. Batman chases after him and continues fighting him, with and Joker manages to repeatedly stab Batman before he twists Joker’s neck; not killing him but effectively paralyzing him. As Joker taunts him for crossing the line, he says that he wins for finally breaking him and the police will hunt him down for it, then starts laughing maniacally as he twists his neck sharply, breaking his own neck and killing him. Batman blacks out from loss of blood but comes to as the police enter the cave and begin looking for Batman and Joker. When they find Joker’s body, one of the police touches it, igniting a booby trap the Joker had on him and igniting his body on fire with napalm. Batman uses the distraction to try and deal with the police, then grabs Yindel’s gun after knocking her out and tries to shoot some plastique he had set up to make an escape route. He eventually succeeds, and Robin brings the Batcopter in to pick him up, firing on the police cars to discourage their shooting at them before using some rope to snag Batman and fly off with him. As Alfred works on tending to Bruce’s injuries, the new mayor says he asked the governor to bring in the state police to help find and capture Batman. Meanwhile, the news reports go to a live announcement from the President, where he tells America that the Soviets have been driven out of Corto Maltese but in an act of retaliation, they fired a nuclear missile at the island country. Superman intercepts the missile and manages to divert it’s course away from the island and up into the upper atmosphere, where it and explodes and unleashes an EMP that knocks out the power in Gotham, while leaving Superman extremely weak. As the people in Gotham react to the blackout, Batman regains consciousness and figures out what happened, then heads out with Robin on horseback to help reign in the chaos that is sure to hit Gotham. Batman and Robin head to where the Sons of Batman have gathered, and convince them to follow his lead in restoring order to Gotham. As the police find themselves helpless due to the blackout, the Mutants break out of their cells and hit the streets, where they encounter a mob of people who were looting a store. As the two groups begin fighting, Batman and his new army show up and quickly incapacitate all of the people involved. Batman then speaks to everyone, telling them that they can either help restore order to Gotham or stay tied up and most of them choose to follow his lead and help out. Looking down from police headquarters, one of the cops asks Yindel what they should do about him and Yindel says nothing, as he has grown too big for them to deal with. Meanwhile, Gordon had been out shopping when the blackout occurred and he convinces the people in his neighborhood to stop fighting with each other and help out or else their homes will be destroyed by fire. They manage to put out some fires just as the fire department shows up to help but when Gordon notices some more fires over by his home, he rushes there thinking his wife Sara will be dead but she had managed to get out in time and the two embrace. As the U.S. continues dealing with the nuclear winter and lack of power from the explosion, many major cities along the Eastern Seaboard have descended into chaos and the President orders martial law enacted but with little success. Gotham however is the only major city that has not descended into chaos, due to Batman’s efforts in keeping the peace, and it has become a publicity nightmare for the government. Superman is talking with the President, who asks how he is feeling, and Superman admits he hasn’t fully recovered but the President says he knows he will get better and asks that he take care of the problem they discussed and Superman says that Batman won’t let himself be taken and the President says to do what he must. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen pays a visit to Bruce and says that he always knew that things would come to a head between him and Superman and he wants to be a part of the action, wanting a little bit of payback on Superman for the loss of his arm. The next day, as Bruce is helping Carrie with her horseback lessons, a beam of energy burns down from the sky, spelling out “Where?” in the ground. Bruce looks up and says “Crime Alley”, then heads inside to begin making preparations. With Alfred helping him with a armored suit to help keep him alive while also increasing his strength and durability, Batman takes a pill, then gives himself a one hour countdown. The military evacuate Crime Alley and initiate a media blackout of the area. Batman heads to Crime Alley, as the military try to keep tabs on him and when Superman shows up and uses his x-ray vision to search for him, a series of missiles programmed to target sources of x-rays fire and strike him. As the weakened Superman drops to the ground, Robin attacks him in the Batmobile but Superman is able to knock it away. Batman reveals himself and as Superman approaches him, he uses a sonic gun, then the city’s power grid to attack him. Meanwhile, Alfred activates the self destruct in the Batcave, and as he looks over the photobooks of Bruce as a baby, he has some mild chest pains but places the book back on the shelf, then leaves the house. Back in the city, Batman and Superman continue fighting while the soldiers approach the downed Batmobile, but Robin is able to get it started and drives off, with the military chasing after her. As she drives, a pre-recorded message from Bruce starts playing, telling her that Clark should be too busy to hear this and explains the plan to her. Meanwhile, Oliver shows up and at Batman’s signal, fires a kryptonite-laced arrow at Superman, then escapes with Robin in the Batmobile. As Superman collapses from the kryptonite dust covering him, Batman approaches him and tells him that he will live, as the Kryptonite will be clear of his system in a few minutes, but he wanted him to know that he was the man that beat him. As he finishes speaking, Bruce collapses dead from a heart attack while Alfred also dies of a stroke as Wayne Manor burns down. Later, the news reports about Bruce Wayne being Batman and how all of his secrets, as well as his financial holdings and accounts, seemed to have disappeared with him. At Bruce’s funeral, Clark attends and is yelled at by Selina, who knows who he is and blames him for Bruce’s death, but Gordon leads her away. As Clark walks away, he suddenly stops as he hears a faint heartbeat coming from the casket and as he turns and stares at the lone mourner still there, a second heartbeat is heard. Clark, realizing what had happened, smiles and winks at Robin, who it the mourner, and leaves. Some time later, Oliver leads a band of former Mutants and Sons of Batman into some caves and as they get things situated, Bruce and Robin join them. Bruce, having faked his death in order to get the government off of his back, explains to the assembled gang that he will be teaching them all of his secrets and methods and they will be his army in order to keep Gotham safe. As the gang goes to carry out his orders, Oliver approaches him and asks about Superman figuring things out but Bruce tells him that as long as they keep quiet, Superman won’t bother them, then goes to oversee his new army’s progress.

The only thing I can really say about this movie is that it is fantastic. This is probably one of the best, if not the best, animated Batman movies to come out. The voice acting was great, with Peter Weller doing a phenomenal job portraying the aged caped crusader. I thought that Ariel Winter was also great as Carrie/Robin, while David Selby (Gordon), Michael Emerson (Joker), Wade Williams (Dent), Mark Valley (Superman) were equally good in their roles. The story was spot on, not deviating from the comic very much except for one or two minor aspects. The fight between Batman and Superman in this movie was the fight comic fans were hoping to get in Batman V Superman, which failed to deliver any of the emotion that was felt in this fight. The animation was great and the more angular and squarish designs of some of the characters really helped showcase the darker look and aspect of the city in this future version. The music was incredible and actually helped carry the emotions that were written into the story, especially towards the end as it started to become apparent that this was going to be Batman’s last battle. A fantastic movie and definitely worth waiting for the deluxe edition so I didn’t have to switch disks in order to watch the whole thing.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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action, adventure, animation, comic book, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 5th, 2014 Movie – Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm

batman mask of the phantasm

In September of 1992, a new cartoon would debut on Fox Kids that would change the face of cartoons for years to come. Yes, a new Batman cartoon would debut to entertain children, and adults alike. However, instead of some of the cheesy story lines and dialogue that was found in earlier superhero cartoons, these cartoons had a more serious tone and garnered a lot of attention for it. I loved watching Batman, and still do to be honest, and thought it was a great cartoon. So when they decided to make a movie I had no problem going to see it in theaters and was not disappointed. Now, let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm.

The plot: In Gotham, crime boss Chuckie Sol is showing some of his men the newest batch of counterfeit bills that he wants laundered through his casino when Batman crashes through the window and begins fighting with his men. Sol escapes and heads to his car in the adjacent parking garage but when he gets there, he is confronted by the Phantasm, a cloaked figure wearing a mask and a bladed gauntlet on his arm. Sol attempts to shoot the Phantasm but he slices Sol’s gun in half, then moves to kill Sol but is distracted by a car leaving the garage. Sol is able to get into his car and attempts to run the Phantasm down but the Phantasm disappears in a cloud of smoke and Sol ends up crashing through the barricade and landing in the building across the street. Batman arrives at the scene and looks at the wrecked car, where the crowd notices him and believes he is responsible. As Batman leaves, he grabs a piece of windshield with some residue on it when he notices the Phantasm nearby and he goes to pursue him but the Phantasm disappears out the rooftop exit. The next day, City Councilman Arthur Reeves is holding a press conference where he lambastes Batman as a killer vigilante, despite Commissioner Gordon’s protests of Batman being innocent. Later, Arthur is on the phone with an old female friend, who is flying into town after being away for 10 years, and he asks her if she plans on seeing anyone special but she says it’s ancient history, as she is looking at a magazine with Bruce Wayne on the cover. That night, Bruce is hosting a party at his home and as some girls tease him about when he is getting married, one of his exes walks up and throws her glass of wine in his face. As Bruce walks away to clean up, Arthur offers him a handkerchief and then teases Bruce about his love life, mentioning his ex, Andrea Beaumont and asking how he let her get away. Bruce thanks him for the handkerchief and walks off, heading into his study, where he starts remembering Andrea. In flashback, we see Bruce at his parent’s graves when he hears Andrea Beaumont talking to her mother, who is buried close by. The two talk for a bit and as she leaves, Andrea asks him why the man who has everything looks so sad, claiming her mother was curious. A few nights later, Bruce, using a ski mask to hide his identity, stops some men from robbing a warehouse, receiving some injuries in the process. The next day, Bruce is talking to Alfred about how things worked perfectly but the crooks weren’t scared of him but Alfred says they should discuss that later, as Andrea is seen to be approaching. Andrea approaches Bruce, who is practicing jiu-jitsu, and when Andrea uses the self defense moves she had learned to knock him down, Bruce laughs before sweeping her legs out from under her and then kissing her. Back in the present, crime boss Buzz Bronski heads to the cemetery to pay his respects to Sol when he is confronted by the Phantasm. Bronski attempts to defend himself, yelling out for his men to help him, then runs away, falling into an open grave as he runs and the Phantasm knocks the angel grave marker on top of him, killing him. Bronski’s men arrive and see the body and the Phantasm in the distance and mistake him for Batman, blaming him for Bronski’s death. The next day, aging crime boss Salvatore Valestra reads the story about Bronski’s death and has a panic attack, fearing he might be next. At police headquarters, Arthur is arguing with Gordon over his refusal to go after Batman for the crime boss murders and Gordon tells him that Batman doesn’t kill and he will have no part in the witch hunt. Batman, who was listening outside the window, heads to the cemetery to investigate Bronski’s death when he sees Andrea by her mother’s grave. Andrea notices him and as they stare in shock at each other, Batman quickly leaves and Andrea goes to follow but Batman is gone and as she notices the grave she is standing by, she realizes that Batman is Bruce. Later that night, Andrea is having dinner with Arthur, unaware that Batman is watching them from across the street. As he watches them, Batman starts reminiscing his time with Andrea. After they go on a date to the Gotham World Fair, Andrea convinces Bruce to go meet her father and as she sets it up, Bruce questions what he is doing, saying this isn’t part of the plan but Alfred feels like this might be better for him. They head over to meet Andrea’s father Carl, who introduces Bruce to Arthur, who is one of his lawyers. Bruce, Andrea, and Carl are talking for a bit before they are interrupted by Valestra, who is there to speak business with Carl. As they leave, Bruce and Andrea see some thugs trying to steal money from a street vendor and Bruce goes to stop them but he gets distracted when he notices Andrea’s concern for him and one of the thugs is able to strike him with a bat before they grab the money and run. That night, Bruce is arguing with himself over what he should do, as he feels torn between the promise he made his parents and the possible happiness he could have with Andrea. Heading to the cemetery, he talks to his parent’s grave and asks for a sign, only to have Andrea come up behind him and suggest that maybe they had sent her to him and the two embrace. Back in the present, Arthur is walking down the street when Valestra’s car pulls up and Valestra tells him to get in. As they are driving, Valestra asks if it is true about Batman killing the others and when Arthur confirms it, Valestra wonders why before having another coughing fit, and Arthur asks to be let out. Meanwhile, Batman finds a connection between Sol and Bronski, noting that Valestra was the third partner in their dummy corporations, and he makes plans to go see Valestra. Alfred asks if he will see Andrea afterwards but Batman doesn’t answer him. Batman breaks into Carl Beaumont’s old office and as he stares at some of the pictures on the wall, he has another flashback. He recalls the day that he proposed to Andrea as they are walking along the grounds of Wayne Manor and she says yes but as they embrace, they are startled by a swarm of bats the fly out of an opening in the ground. As Bruce takes Andrea home, she sees that her father is apparently having a business meeting though thinks it is odd to have one this late. She tells Bruce that maybe they should wait until the morning to tell her father about the engagement and kisses him goodbye. The next day, Bruce explores the cave but when he comes back out, he finds Alfred holding the ring box with a note from Andrea, telling him she can’t marry him and she is leaving with her father and doesn’t know when she will return. Andrea’s departure is the catalyst that Bruce needs to focus full time on avenging his parent’s murder and leads him to becoming Batman. Back in the present, Valestra goes to see Joker, believing he is the only one that can stop Batman from killing him, saying his hands are even dirtier than theirs are, and Joker says he will do it. Meanwhile, Andrea returns to her hotel room and, noticing the balcony door is open, makes a show out of kissing Arthur goodbye. After closing the door and turning on the light, she sees Batman, who questions her about a photograph of Carl with the three crime bosses. The two argue over Carl before Batman leaves and Andrea ends up breaking down into tears when  he is gone. Later that night, the Phantasm heads to Valestra’s house to kill him only to find that Valestra has been killed by the Joker and left there as a trap. The house explodes but the Phantasm is able to get away only to be confronted by Batman. The two briefly fight on the roofs when the police show up and the Phantasm escapes while the police chase after Batman. He is able to escape to a construction site but one of the cops starts shooting at him and hits some fuel tanks, causing an explosion. Batman is injured in the blast and attaches his cape to a sawhorse and sends it flying towards the helicopter in order to distract the cops so he can escape. The cops give chase but Bruce is able to evade them when Andrea pulls up and helps him escape. Andrea takes Bruce back to Wayne Manor, where Alfred tends to his injuries. When he is done, Andrea tells Bruce about what happened the night they got engaged, and how Valestra, Sol, and Bronski were demanding money that he had embezzled and he convinces them that he will get them their money in the morning but after they leave, Carl tells Andrea they have to leave and forces her to come with him as he says they will kill her to get to him. She tells Bruce that they made their way through Europe and eventually settled off the Mediterranean coast, where Carl was able to use the money he embezzled to make a fortune and pay the men back but they wanted interest. Andrea apologizes and Bruce embraces her and kisses her. The next morning, Bruce hugs Andrea and tells her that he is going to have to confront her father but Andrea says he doesn’t matter, choosing Bruce over her father this time. After she leaves, Bruce takes another look at the picture when he notices Valestra’s body guard and realizes that the body guard is the Joker. Meanwhile, Joker pays a visit to Arthur, telling him that Batman wasn’t the one killing their old associates. Just then, Andrea calls Arthur telling him she can’t meet for lunch but will talk to him at dinner that night and Joker smiles before attacking Arthur, dosing him with Joker venom. Arthur is taken to the hospital and Batman confronts him there to find out what the Joker wanted with him. Arthur tells him that he helped Carl and Andrea escape the city but when he first ran for city councilman, he approached Arthur for some money and was refused so he sold him out to Valestra in order to get the money. Elsewhere, outside the abandoned World Fair, Andrea stares at the park and thinks back to when she had returned home one day to find Valestra’s body guard exiting her house and she rushes in to find her father dead. The Phantasm confronts the Joker, who knows that it is Andrea so she takes off her mask. The two begin fighting and Andrea appears to get the upper hand but Joker is able to escape. When Andrea chases after him, she gets caught in a trap when Joker activates the wind tunnel by Batman is able to rescue him. Batman confronts Andrea over her actions and she says she knows it isn’t right but they took everything from both of them and they deserved to pay. Batman tells her to leave, then goes after the Joker himself, but Joker activates some explosives he had set up all over the fair and then attempts to escape on a jet pack. Batman manages to grab onto him as he tries to fly out of there and they end up crashing to the ground, where Andrea appears before them. Batman tells her to leave before the place explodes but Andrea says that this ends tonight. As the place starts to explode, Andrea says “Goodbye, my love”, then disappears with Joker inside the explosions while Batman is blown clear. Later, in the Batcave, Alfred tries to comfort Bruce, saying there was nothing that he could have done to save Andrea, as her need for vengeance consumed her. As Alfred walks away, Bruce notices something glint in the light and he heads over to find Andrea had left her locket, with the picture of the two of them, in the Batcave for him to remember her by. Elsewhere, a cruise ship is sailing out of Gotham and Andrea is seen on the deck, crying over what she has lost while Batman returns to patrolling Gotham and keeping it’s citizens safe.

Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm met with mostly praise form the critics, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Stylish and admirably respectful of the source material, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm succeeds where many of the live-action Batman adaptations have failed.” The majority of this movie’s plot is based off of the comic story line “Batman: Year Two”; with the Phantasm (who is never referred to by name) being patterned after the Reaper, who was the main villain in the comic. The movie unfortunately did not fare well at the box office, only earning $5.6 million off of a $6 million budget but did get a cult following and had more success when it hit home video. As a result, every subsequent release of a Batman, or any D.C. animated movie, was released direct to video (not counting the limited theatrical release of Batman: The Killing Joke).

This movie is still so much fun to watch, even 25 years after it came out. The voice acting was great, getting the same characters from the TV cartoon to reprise their roles and they all delivered great performances. The story was great, and I didn’t even know until years later that it was based off of an actual comic, which makes me want to go out and get a copy of the trade that they released of it. From what I gather, it is relatively close to the original story, though the toned down Batman’s going further down the dark side of vengeance and pushing the limit on his no killing policy that was in the comic. I did like the character of the Phantasm but the big twist that Andrea was the killer was honestly pretty easy to figure out early on into the movie so I feel like they could have done a better job of leading up to that reveal and making it more of a surprise. The animation was incredible and was a step up from the TV show in some aspect, but still kept the same feel from the show. A great movie and one well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, comic book, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 2nd, 2014 Movie – Batman Begins

batman begins

8 years after the last dismal movie, comic book movies were still making lots of money at the box office. However, the difference was that this time around, Marvel Comics seemed to be the ones ruling the box office. But that all changed in 2005, as DC decided to bring back one of their big movie earning properties. This time though, they decided to forgo the somewhat cartoonish and jokey nature of the previous films and make it a more serious and darker movie, hoping to take advantage of the new resurgence in the genre. When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I will admit that my interest was piqued and I was willing to give it a shot, as it definitely looked different than the previous movies. Now, let’s see if that hope paid off or was crushed to oblivion as I watch today’s movie, Batman Begins.

The plot: After waking from a dream about a childhood incident where he is playing with his childhood friend Rachel Dawes when he falls down a well and was attacked by some bats, Bruce Wayne, who is in a prison in Bhutan, heads out into the yard for breakfast when he is attacked by some of the prisoners. Bruce manages to deal with his attackers but is placed in solitary, for the other prisoners’s protection according to the guards. While in solitary, Bruce finds himself confronted by a man named Henri Ducard, who knows who Bruce is and says he can help him find the sense of purpose that he is looking for. He tells Bruce that when his sentence is up, to find a rare flower and bring it to the top of a mountain, where the League of Shadows is said to reside. When he is released from prison, Bruce does as Ducard says, noting the fearful looks of the villagers as he makes his way up the mountain. Reaching the top, he finds the mountain villa and heads inside, where Ducard introduces Bruce to Ra’s al Ghul, the leader of the League of Shadows. After asking what Bruce is looking for, Ducard suddenly attacks Bruce, saying that to strike fear into other, you must first conquer your own fears. Ducard renders Bruce unconscious and his dreams go back to the incident in his youth. Bruce’s father Thomas rescues him from the well and sets his bone. Some time later, Bruce and his parents go to the opera but during the performance, some of the actors are masquerading as bats, frightening Bruce and he asks if they can leave early. Thomas agrees and they head out the side door, walking down the alley to reach the train station. Suddenly, a man points a gun at them, asking for their money and jewelry. Thomas hands the man his wallet but when the man points his gun at Martha, demanding her pearl necklace, Thomas steps in front of her and ends up getting shot. Martha screams out but the man shoots her as he grabs her necklace and runs, leaving Bruce standing there in shock as his parents lay dying. At the police station, a young beat cop named James Gordon tries to comfort Bruce until Alfred arrives to pick him up and the police commissioner tells Bruce that they caught the killer. At the funeral, Bruce is approached by William Earle, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, who tells Bruce that his company will be in good hands until he is ready to take control. Later, Bruce tells Alfred that it’s his fault that his parents died but Alfred consoles him and says that it wasn’t his fault and there was nothing he could have done. In the present, Ducard works on training Bruce in the ways of the ninja and the League of Shadows. During the training, he taunts Bruce over the fact that his father is to blame for his parent’s death, then asks why he never avenged his parents. Bruce has a flashback to 14 years after the death of his parents, when he returned to Wayne Manor after studying abroad and learns from Rachel that Chill, the man who killed his parents, is getting paroled as part of a plea deal through the D.A. in exchange for his testimony against Carmine Falcone. Bruce heads to the hearing, with the intention of killing Chill, but as Chill is being escorted out of there, he is killed by someone working for Falcone. Rachel takes Bruce out of there and as they argue about Bruce’s desire for revenge instead of justice, Bruce reveals the gun he had and his plan to kill Chill, causing Rachel to slap him and tell him that his father would be ashamed of him. Bruce gets out of his car and as she drives away, he heads towards the restaurant that Falcone is at and confronts him. Falcone taunts him by saying that he could kill him right there and nothing would come of it, despite two cops and a judge sitting there, then has his men kick Bruce out of there. Deciding some of the things Falcone said was right, Bruce gives his money and jacket to a homeless person, then heads off on a freight shipment that is leaving the country. Back in the present, Ducard takes the flower that Bruce had brought up the mountain and after crushing it up into a powder, burns it and tells Bruce to inhale the smoke. The smoke induces a mild hallucinogen and while Bruce is under it’s influence, Ducard faces him as he hides behind rows of the League of Shadows’ ninjas but Bruce is able to outwit him and best him. Ra’s al Ghul applauds Bruce’s victory and tells him there is one last test he must do. A villager who had murdered his neighbor is brought forward and Bruce is told to kill him. When Bruce argues against killing him, Ra’s al Ghul says he must in order to lead his men into Gotham and destroy it, as a symbol of the corrupt society. Hearing their plans, Bruce chooses to turn against the League, knocking Ducard unconscious and fighting with Ra’s al Ghul. During the fight, the League’s explosive powder is ignited and Ra’s al Ghul is killed by some falling debris. Bruce and Ducard are thrown from the building and Bruce manages to save Ducard from falling off the side of the mountain, leaving him with the nearby villagers to tend to his wounds. Bruce contacts Alfred, who goes to pick him up, and on the flight back to Gotham, Alfred tells him about Earle’s plan to take Wayne Enterprises public, and how Bruce had been declared legally dead since he had been missing for 7 years. When he gets back to Gotham, he checks in on Rachel, seeing that she still works for the D.A. and has been having run ins with Dr. Jonathan Crane, the head psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who constantly deems members of Falcone’s gang insane and recommends them be sent to Arkham instead of jail. Unknown to her, Crane has a deal with Falcone and he tells Falcone about Rachel’s harrassing her and he says he will do something about it. The next day, Bruce heads to Wayne Enterprises, surprising Earle as he is holding a board meeting about taking the company public. Speaking privately with him, Earle tells Bruce that he can’t stop the sell and Bruce tells him he doesn’t plan on making problems but instead, asks to get a job so he can better understand his family’s company. Bruce chooses to work in Applied Sciences, which is run by Lucius Fox, and he learns that Lucius used to be on the board and knew his father. Lucius shows him some of the items he had designed and asks Bruce’s interest in them and Bruce comes up with a lie and tells him he doesn’t want to cause any trouble but Lucius says in his mind, all of this belongs to him anyways. When Bruce sees a bat in the house, he heads back to the well, overcoming his fear of bats in the process, and discovers a massive cave underneath the manor. Alfred theorizes it was used by his ancestors during the civil war as part of the underground railroad. Bruce and Alfred work on configuring Bruce’s costume and that night, Bruce disguises himself and pays a visit to James Gordon, commenting on how he is one of the few good cops that hasn’t been corrupted. He asks what he would need to stop Falcone’s drug shipments and Gordon tells him leverage against Judge Faden and a D.A. willing to prosecute and Bruce suggests Rachel before leaving. The next day, Bruce pays another visit to Lucius and as they discuss some of the other items Lucius has, he tells Bruce that the less he knows about what Bruce is planning, the less he would be able to tell when asked but not to treat him as stupid. Bruce agrees, then notices a vehicle nearby and asks about it and Lucius lets him test drive the Tumbler, a prototype military vehicle designed for bridge laying. That night, Falcone has Gordon’s partner, Flass, help oversea the night’s drug shipment when Bruce, donning his new Batman garb, begins taking out Falcone’s men, then knocks out Falcone and takes him out of there. Later that night, Rachel is taking the train to her apartment when she is confronted by two of Falcone’s men. She pulls out a taser and threatens one of the men, who runs when he sees Batman take out the other one. As Rachel turns around, she sees Batman and fires the taser at him but it has no effect on his armor. Batman gives her photos of Judge Faden with an underage girl and tells her about Falcone’s arrest, then leaves. Meanwhile, Gordon and the police show up and find Falcone’s men all restrained with Falcone chained to an active spotlight, causing his silhouette to form a bat in the night sky. The next day, the police commissioner chastises the police for allowing a vigilante to roam the streets like that and Gordon tries telling him he did do some good but the commissioner wants Batman arrested. At Wayne Enterprises, Earle is told of a problem with one of their cargo ships that was carrying a prototype microwave transmitter, which was apparently activated on board and caused massive damage to the ship before being stolen. Meanwhile, Alfred wakes up Bruce and tells him that if he is going to lead such a double life, then Bruce Wayne will have to start making appearances and do some reckless stuff to explain away his injuries as well as waylay suspicion. That night, Bruce shows up at a hotel with two models and when the models go swimming in the fountain area, the maitre d complains to Bruce, who decides to just buy the hotel. As he is leaving, he runs into Rachel and though he tries to explain that this isn’t the real him, Rachel appears disappointed. Later that night, Batman goes to see Gordon at his home and discusses how only half of the drugs went to the dealers. Gordon admits that Flass works as an enforcer for Falcone and so Batman goes to question him, learning where the drop off point is. At the prison, Crane is called in to check on Falcone, who had cut his wrists in order to appear crazy. Falcone tries to blackmail Crane into helping him out and cutting him in on whatever Crane’s boss has planned but Crane dons his mask, giving him the appearance of a scarecrow, then activates a canister in his briefcase, releasing a hallucinogen that causes Falcone to begin screaming in fear, which Crane exacerbates, then leaves the cell and tells the warden that he will have Falcone transferred to Arkham. Elsewhere, Rachel’s boss is going over the shipments from Falcone’s arrest and notices an extra container that wasn’t accounted for and when he has the guards open it, he sees a large crate from Wayne Enterprises, but is quickly killed by the guards. Batman heads to the drop off point and finds the dolls containing the drugs but he quickly hides when Crane and two henchmen appear. Crane tells his men to get rid of everything and then torch the place. Batman attempts to stop him but Crane, donning his Scarecrow mask, douses him with the fear hallucinogen and then proceeds to douse him in alcohol and light him on fire. Batman leaps out the window and manages to douse the flames and as the hallucinogen starts to take over his mind, he manages to contact Alfred for help. When Bruce regains consciousness, Alfred tells him that he was out for 2 days and he had called Lucius when Bruce’s condition worsened. Lucius was able to fashion an antidote for the hallucinogen and Bruce asks if he can make more, realizing that more people could soon be infected. Rachel stops by later to drop off a birthday present for Bruce and as he is talking to her, she receives a call informing her about Falcone and she heads over to Arkham. Bruce decides to go there as well, telling Alfred to keep the guests entertained until he gets back, then heads down into the Batcave to change. At Arkham, Rachel questions Crane about Falcone’s condition and he decides to take her to the basement, showing her that his men are refining the drug and pouring it into the city’s water supply. As Rachel tries to escape, Crane doses her with the hallucinogen and tries to decide what to do with her when the lights go out. Realizing Batman is there, Crane tells one of his men to call the police, saying that they won’t be able to stop them now anyways. As he leaves, Batman appears and begins taking out Crane’s men, then doses crane with the hallucinogen and questions him about what his plans are but Crane doesn’t talk. When the police arrive, they want to wait for S.W.A.T. to get there but Gordon decides to head inside on his own. Batman grabs him and tells him about what happened to Rachel and what Crane was doing, then tells him to get Rachel downstairs and meet him at a nearby alley. Using a beacon, Batman attracts all the bats in the city to fly towards Arkham, forming an effective distraction so Gordon can get Rachel out of there while he leaves another way. Meeting back with Gordon, Batman takes Rachel and places her in the Tumbler, then drives off, doing his best to avoid the police. As they are driving, Batman tries to keep Rachel calm while he works on evading the police but she ends up slipping into unconsciousness just as they reach the Batcave. Bruce finds the antidote that Lucius left for him and uses it to cure Rachel and when she wakes up, he tells her that he is going to give her a sedative so she can rest and when she wakes up, she needs to take the two remaining vials to Gordon, one to innoculate himself and the other to use for mass production. HEading upstairs, Alfred chastises Bruce for his actions but Bruce says he didn’t have a choice as Rachel’s life was on the line. When he asks if Lucius is there, Alfred says he is and Bruce says he needs Alfred to take Rachel back to her place and then they need to send everyone home, causing Alfred to chastise him again for not caring about his family name. As Alfred leaves with Rachel, Bruce heads to the party and is met by Earle, who tells him the stock prices of Wayne Enterprises have soared since they went public. Bruce then approaches Lucius and asks how long it would take to mass produce the antidote and Lucius tells him weeks. When Bruce tells him about the chemicals in the water, Lucius says that won’t work to spread an inhalant, then pauses and tells Bruce about the missing microwave emitter. Bruce asks him to go back to Wayne Enterprises and work on making more of the antidote and Lucius tells him about his being fired bu Bruce says that shouldn’t be able to stop Lucius. As Bruce prepares to send the guests home, one of the women introduces him to Ra’s al Ghul but when Bruce comments that he watched Ra’s die, Ducard speaks up behind him and Bruce realizes that his mentor is the real Ra’s al Ghul. Realizing that Ra’s would kill everyone there without regret, BRuce chooses to act as the spoiled rich boy that he is presumed to be and yells at everyone to get out, calling them all phony. Ra’s mocks Bruce’s efforts, saying that they will all be dead soon anyways, and as his men proceed to set Wayne Manor on fire, Ra’s attacks Bruce and manages to trap him underneath some debris, leaving Bruce to the same fate he left him. Ra’s and his men leave, leaving one man behind to ensure Bruce doesn’t make it out but Alfred knocks the man out and proceeds to help Bruce make it to safety in the Batcave. Meanwhile, more members of the League of Shadows, disguised as cops, release the prisoners form Arkham so they can wreck havoc on the city. Rachel wakes up after hearing the disturbance and heads down there to find Gordon, handing him the antidote she was given. Meanwhile, Ra’s and his men arrive on the island and proceed to use the microwave transmitter to vaporize the water in the area, releasing the toxin into the air and infecting everyone in the area. Batman gears up and heads to the Narrows, where he meets up with Gordon. Batman tells him that the people responsible plan on loading the transmitter onto the train, which runs parallel to the water lines, and take it to the main station at Wayne Tower, where it will vaporize the water all over the city. Batman tells him he will go try to stop the people but he wants Gordon to take the Tumbler and blow up the track, ensuring the train doesn’t reach the station. Rachel encounters Scarecrow as she is protecting a kid but she is able to use her taser on him, sending him screaming off in pain on a horse. When some of the crazed people move towards her, Batman saves her and the kid. As he goes to leave, she asks his name and he repeats the words she told Bruce, and as he leaps off the building, she realizes Bruce is Batman. Batman heads towards the train terminal to stop Ra’s, who has some of his men stall him long enough for the train to leave. Batman is able to use his grapple to swing onto the train and begins fighting with Ra’s. Meanwhile, Gordon gets into the Tumbler and takes off, following the train and reaches Wayne Tower before the train gets there, then works on taking out the support columns for the track, collapsing the track. As Ra’s notices the falling track, Batman gets the upper hand and when Ra’s asks if he will finally commit “true justice”, Batman says he won’t kill him but he doesn’t half to save him. Batman then uses explosives to separate the back cars from the one they are in and glides out, leaving Ra’s to fall to his death as the engine runs off the track. The next day, Earle enters Wayne Enterprises to find that Lucius Fox has been made the new CEO, under Bruce’s authority. When he contacts Bruce to find out what gave him the right, Bruce reveals that he had secretly been the one to purchase all of the Wayne Enterprise stock, making him the sole owner of his family’s company. Bruce heads to the remains of Wayne Manor and Rachel meets him there, telling him that she had never stopped thinking about him when he was gone all of those years. She kisses him and tells him that one day, when the city doesn’t need Batman anymore, maybe there will be a chance for them to be together. She asks him what he is going to do and he says he will rebuild the manor just as it was and after she leaves, Alfred suggests making some modifications to the foundation in the south west corner, right over the Batcave. That night, Gordon, now a Lieutenant, uses a newly fashioned Bat-signal, to get Batman’s attention and have him meet him on the police station rooftop. He tells them that they started something but there is a lot of work to do, as Crane and half of the inmates have yet to be captured. He then asks about escalation, showing him the calling card of a theatrical criminal that had committed a double homicide and as Batman looks at the Joker card in the evidence bag, he tells Gordon he will look into it and then glides off into the night.

Batman Begins was well received by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.” Hans Zimmer, who scored the movie, named the tracks after various types of bats, with tracks 4-9 actually spelling out BATMAN. While shooting on the streets of Chicago, a person accidentally crashed into the Batmobile. The driver was apparently drunk, and said he hit the car in a state of panic, believing the Dark Knight’s vehicle to be an invading alien spacecraft. When the film was released, The movie was a financial success, earning $374.2 million off of a $150 million budget and would spawn two sequels, all three of which would later be referred to as The Dark Knight trilogy.

DC redeemed themselves because this was a great movie. The acting was really good on almost every count. I thought Christian Bale did a great job as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but the whole deep yelling voice he chose to use for Batman was a bit much in my opinion. I thought Cillian Murphy was the perfect casting as Crane while Liam Neeson (Ra’s al Ghul), Gary Oldman (Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius), and Michael Caine (Alfred) were also great in their roles, but I was honestly rather indifferent towards Katie Holmes character of Rachel. I know it was supposed to help with Bruce’s character but she honestly didn’t really seem to add anything except be a somewhat weak plot point. The story was rather good, taking it’s influence from several different Batman story lines from the comics that depicted some of the early stages of Batman’s development. I’m glad they decided not to use the Joker as the first villain Batman faced and allowed one of his “less famous” villains in Scarecrow make an appearance, while also have Ra’s al Ghul show up as his mentor/arch rival made for a great bit of a plot line. The special effects and fight scenes were pretty good and I liked that the gave the movie a sense of realism, not making it to over the top ridiculous like the last few movies where. Definitely a great way to reboot the series and a really fun film to watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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adventure, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review, zombie movie

July 4th, 2018 Movie – Zombies Of Mora Tau

zombies of maru tau

It’s always interesting to see a pre Night Of The Living Dead zombie movie, as they way zombies were depicted was totally different. While I have seen several of them, this is the only one of those movies I own. The reason for my owning this is because it was a box set of some movies I purchased for the sole reason of it containing The Giant Claw. Now, I have never seen this movie so it should make for an interesting watch. The only thing I know is that there won’t be any flesh eating in this movie. So let’s see what we have with today’s movie, Zombies Of Mora Tau.

The plot: Jan Peters is being driven to her grandmother’s home on the coast of Africa and as she is talking to the driver, Sam, a man appears in the road ahead of them. Sam runs the man over and Jan yells at him to stop but he tells her that it wasn’t a man in the road, it was one of “them”. When they arrive at her grandmother’s house, Jan tells her grandmother what she saw but after Sam explains what happened, her grandmother tells Sam to help Jan take her things to her room. Meanwhile, on a steamer ship off the coast, Captain George Harrison, his wife Mona, Dr. Jonathan Eggert, and diver Jeff Clark are sharing a drink with George toasting to the hopefully successful recovery of $1 million in diamonds. As Jeff and George leave the cabin, one of the crew is getting the landing boat ready when a figure swims up and drags him into the water. George fires into the water, claiming to have hit the man, but Jeff says he could have hit his crewman. When they pull the crewman onto the boat, they discover that his neck has been broken and wonder who the person was that killed him. Back at her grandmother’s house, Jan is putting her things away when she looks out the window and sees her grandmother by the water’s edge, directing a man into the water. Jan heads outside to ask her grandmother what is going on when Jeff, George, Mona, and Jonathan arrive in the landing boat. Grandmother Peters introduces them to Jan and says that she was expecting them, figuring they were their fro the diamonds. When George confirms this, she shows them the graves of the other expeditions that had attempted to reclaim the diamonds over the years and warns them away from it. When Mona falls into an open grave and tells George that she wants to leave, Grandmother Peters offers to put them up for the night. As George and Jeff discuss where they should begin their search, Jonathan talks with Grandmother Peters, explaining that George is after the diamonds but he is after the historical knowledge that can be found from the sunken ship. She tells him how her husband was part of the crew that found the chest of diamonds 60 years ago when 10 men, including her husband, disappeared. The next night, the 10 men returned and killed everyone on the ship and scuttled it, and now continue to guard the cursed diamonds. When Jonathan asks why she is there, she explains that she had come there hoping to find a way to break the curse and send her husband to his eternal rest. Suddenly, Mona and Jan begin screaming as a zombie is in their room and approaching them. Jeff tries to stop it but is easily thrown aside and George prepares to shoot it but Grandmother Peters pushes his gun down and uses a torch to force the zombie outside, explaining that fire is the only thing that scares them. Mona wants to leave but George refuses, saying that he came for the diamonds and refuses to leave without them. Later, Jan is arguing with her grandmother about her knowing about the dangers but Grandmother Peters says she knows what she is doing as she wants them to find the diamonds and hopefully break the curse. Jan heads outside and, seeing Jeff standing by the landing boat, goes over to talk to him. After talking for a while, she tells him about her experience earlier and wants to go find out what happened to the man they hit so Jeff agrees to go with her. After driving to the spot where Sam had hit the zombie, they find the evidence of someone walking away from there and Jeff goes to get something to mark the spot, saying they will come back in the morning with some more men to look further. As he goes to the car, the zombie grabs Jan and carries her into the jungle and Jeff, hearing her scream, goes off looking for her. He catches up to the zombie and attempts to stab him with a knife but it has no effect and the zombie knocks him aside and continues carrying Jan away. The zombie heads into a graveyard and carries Jan into a mausoleum, where the other 9 zombies are also resting and they all move towards Jan but Jeff shows up and uses a flare gun to keep the zombies at bay so they can escape. The next day, Jeff is relaying what happened to George, Mona, and Jonathan as they are eating breakfast and he wants to go ahead and cancel the dive but George convinces him to go through with it. They head back to the ship and Jeff dives down to search for the ship. When he finds it, he starts going to investigate when he is attacked by a zombie, who disconnects his air hose during their struggle. When they lose contact with him, George orders them to winch Jeff back to the surface and as he clears the water, he is finally able to knock the zombie from him, who swims back down to the ship. Jeff loses consciousness and George and the others take him back to the house, where Grandmother Peters explains that the nearest doctor is a 5 hour drive. As Jan looks over him, Jeff regains consciousness and starts talking to her when Mona enters, upset that Jan didn’t tell them he was awake. As Jan starts arguing with Mona, George enters the room, angry to find Mona there, and ends up slapping her out of jealousy. Mona runs off but ends up being grabbed by the zombies and taken away. When the others realize she is gone, Jeff figures that the zombies must have taken her to the mausoleum and leads George, Jonathan, and some men there. When they get there, they see Mona lying on the floor with the zombies around her and Jeff fires a flare to frighten the zombies back. George goes to get Mona but says she is dead when she suddenly sits up. He leads her out of there and the pour some gasoline at the entrance to the mausoleum and Jeff lights it on fire with a flare, keeping the zombies trapped inside. They head back to the house and when they get there, Jan remarks about Mona’s hands feeling cold but Jonathan tries to come up with an excuse for it. When they head inside, Grandmother Peters says that Mona is dead but George refuses to believe it and asks Jan to help him take her to their room. After watching over Mona for a while, George leaves the room and goes to talk with Jeff. While he is gone, Mona gets up, grabs a knife and heads to the bedroom where two of the crew are resting. She kills one of them as the other man cries for help, and George and Jeff rush in and try to stop her. Jan and Grandmother Peters enter the room and and light some candles, then help them guide Mona back to her room, using candles to keep her there. The next day, Jeff and George come up with a plan to get the diamonds, using their cutting torches to keep the zombies at bay underwater. Jeff heads inside the shi, with George keeping watch outside. As Jeff works on cutting into the chest holding the diamonds, the zombies approach the ship but George is able to hold them at bay. Jeff manages to get the diamonds but George is getting overwhelmed and yells for the ship to pull him to safety. They lover the divers stand for him and bring him up, using a flare to scare the zombies away from him. They lower the cage for Jeff and bring him up but the zombies begin making their way onto the ship. Telling Jonathan to take the diamonds and head into the cabin, Jeff and the rest of the crew use torches to try and scare off the zombies but they keep coming towards them. Some of the crew dive overboard and swim away while Jeff and another crewman head into the cabin. Since George is injured, Jeff plans on taking the diamonds and luring the others away from the ship so they can get away and he will rejoin them later but George refuses to let him take the diamonds, thinking he is only going to take them for himself. Jeff knocks George out, grabs the chest, and heads to the launch so he can go to shore but George, recovering from the blow, orders the remaining crew to follow him. Jan meets Jeff at the shore and he takes her inside, where Grandmother Peters says she knew he would succeed. Jeff manages to get the chest open and they quickly work on placing the diamonds into a sack. Outside, George, Jonathan, and two crewmen show up and George tells the crewmen to get the launch ready while he and Jonathan head inside the house. Entering Grandmother Peters’s room, George demands that Jeff hand over the chest and when he does so, he goes to leave with Mona but as they start to get on the boat, Mona kills him and grabs the chest, carrying it away as she leaves with the other zombies. Jeff wants to take the diamonds and leave with Jan but Grandmother Peters says the diamonds must be destroyed or cast to the sea so that the zombies can be at peace. Jeff refuses to believe her and, not wanting to leave either of them there with the zombies, takes them with him. They get to the launch and he plans on selling the diamonds in New York, saying they will be scattered that way but Grandmother Peters says it won’t work. Jeff tells Jan that he wants her to marry him but when she refuses to leave Grandmother Peters, he reluctantly hands her the diamonds. Grandmother Peters proceeds to dump the diamonds overboard and the zombies vanish. Jeff sadly says he will probably never be rich now but Jan smiles and kisses him as they embrace.

To be honest, this was a pretty boring movie. The acting was ok but nobody really stood out. I know that he was supposed to be the “hero” in this movie but I honestly couldn’t find it in myself to really care about Gregg Palmer’s character, Jeff. Actually, I found myself not really caring about any of the characters as they felt too generic and had no real personality among them, even George and his greed. The story was interesting and I liked the idea of the zombies guarding the cursed diamonds but I felt like there could have been a better way of breaking the curse. I mean, obviously they couldn’t destroy the diamonds but scattering them at sea is just boring. Then we get to the end and Grandmother Peters simply dumps them out, fairly close to shore, and that supposedly stops the curse, which makes no since as someone could easily dive down and grab them. The effects were ok for the time but the pacing for everything was soo slow that you could fall asleep waiting for something to happen. If you need something to help you fall asleep, this is the perfect thing to use but I wouldn’t recommend watching it for anything else.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, comedy, horror, movie, movie review, zombie movie

July 3rd, 2018 Movie – Zombieland

zombieland

You ever find yourself watching a TV show or movie and have a “what if” moment regarding it? That is kind of what happens every time I watch today’s movie. See, this movie had originally been written as a TV series so every time I watch it I wonder what it would have been like as a TV show. Would it be a group of people going from city to city, having crazy adventures, or would each episode focus on a different person and what they would do. Unfortunately, we will never know as the TV pilot never came about and was instead, rewritten into today’s movie. Still, I won’t complain because zombie movies will always be entertaining. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Zombieland.

The plot: Two months ago, someone ate a burger infected with a mutated strain of mad cow’s disease, with the end result being that the person became a zombie. The virus quickly spread until there are very few people left alive in the country. A college student from Austin, TX is making his way towards Columbus, OH to see if his parents are still alive but as he stops at a gas station to use the restroom, he is attacked by some zombies. He manages to get away from them and back in his car but a zombie is in the back seat and tries to bite him and the student ends up crashing his car in an attempt to kill it. As he is walking along the highway, he sees a car speeding towards him and takes cover as it stops close to him. When the driver gets out and points his gun at the student, a brief stand off occurs before the student holds his thumb out and the driver motions him to get in the car. As the student gets in the car, he thanks the driver and asks his name but the driver chooses not to get too attached to other people. Deciding to refer to each other by their destinations, the student, Columbus, and the driver, Tallahassee, head out, with Tallahassee saying he will take him as far as Texarkana, stopping to look for Twinkies any chance he gets. While taking a break, Columbus thinks back to how he wound up in his current situation. A few days ago, he was at his apartment playing World of Warcraft when the girl from apartment 406 starts pounding on his door, asking for help. He lets her in and she starts telling him about how she was attacked by a homeless person but managed to get away. 406 ends up falling asleep on the couch next to him and he falls asleep as well but when he wakes up, he finds that she has turned and attempts to kill him but he is forced to kill her. Back in the present, Tallahassee stops at a grocery store to go looking for Twinkies and after killing the zombies inside, they encounter a young woman, who asks them to come with her. As Tallahassee follows her to the back, Columbus stops to make sure they have a way out, then follows after them. In the back, Tallahassee introduces him to the woman, Wichita, and her younger sister Little Rock. Wichita says that her sister was bitten and as they discuss what to do, Little Rock says that they should just shoot her. Columbus can’t do it so Tallahassee goes to do it but Wichita tells him to let her do it but when he hands her Columbus’s gun, she turns it on him, revealing that they were pulling a con on them. The girls take their weapons and Tallahassee’s Escalade and drive off, leaving Columbus and Tallahassee to fend for themselves. As the two walk through the town, they find an Hummer H2 with a bag full of weapons in the back and Tallahassee decides to go after the girls. They spot the Escalade seemingly abandoned and Tallahassee goes ahead to check it out but when he signals Columbus to join him, he discovers that Little Rock had surprised him. Wichita joins them in the H2 and they start driving when Tallahassee gets his gun back form Little Rock. A stand off occurs but Columbus breaks it up, saying that they have better things to do than try to kill each other with zombies all around them and Tallahassee and Wichita call a truce. As they continue driving along, Columbus finds himself attracted to Wichita and asks where they are going. Wichita tells him they are heading to Pacific Playland in Los Angeles. When he asks if she has heard anything about Columbus, Wichita tells him that Columbus is wiped out and Tallahassee motions to her and she realizes that his family was there and she apologizes. They keep driving and start bonding with each other and end up letting off some steam by destroying a gift shop at an Arizona rest stop. When they reach Los Angeles, Tallahassee decides that they should crash at Bill Murray’s mansion and they head there. As they split up to search the place, Tallahassee and Wichita encounter Bill Murray, who is disguised as a zombie so he can wander around town without being attacked. After hanging out with Bill Murray for a bit, they decide to have him play a joke on Columbus and Little Rock, who had found Bill’s theater room and were watching Ghostbusters. Bill walks in, pretending to be a zombie, and Columbus shoots him, then apologizes when he realizes that Bill wasn’t a zombie. After holding a funeral for Bill Murray, the 4 settle in for the night playing games. As they are playing, they are talking about everything and Columbus realizes that the puppy Tallahassee had said the zombies killed was actually his son. Later in the night, Tallahassee starts bonding with Little Rock while teaching her how to shoot and Columbus and Wichita end up drinking and talking together. When Wichita asks Columbus to dance with her and, starting to feel attracted to him, she is about to kiss him when Tallahassee interrupts them. Chastising herself for allowing herself to get close to him, Wichita decides to leave with Little Rock in the morning and head to Pacific Playland. When they get there, Wichita turns on all of the power for the lights and rides so they can enjoy themselves but they unknowingly attract all of the zombies in the area. Meanwhile, Columbus wants to go after Wichita and convinces Tallahassee, who wants to go to Mexico, to go with him. At the amusement park, Wichita and Little Rock see the horde of zombies approaching them and attempt to escape but when the zombies swarm the H2, they are forced to drive it off the pier and into the ocean, jumping out before it hits. The two make their way to the drop tower ride and take the lift up but as it starts to drop down, Little Rock shoots the control box so that they can stay out of the zombie’s reach. Tallahassee and Columbus arrive and when they see the girls’ predicament, Tallahassee causes a distraction to lure the zombies away, using the rides to help him as he kills zombies. He eventually heads into a shooting gallery and, after sealing it off, begins killing all of the zombies as they swarm the structure. Columbus is chased by some of the stragglers and heads into the haunted house, killing some of them inside while another ride takes out the rest. When he reaches the drop tower, he comes face to face with a clown zombie, forcing him to confront his fear of clowns in order to save them. After killing the clown zombie, Columbus uses the emergency brake to bring the lift down and he helps them out of the ride. Wichita hugs him and then whispers her real name, Krista, in his ear and the two kiss. The three then go looking for Tallahassee and Columbus finds him in a shop that sells deep fried Twinkies looking for the pastry. When Columbus hears a noise coming from the storage room, he fires into it only to discover it was some rats moving around and his shot had destroyed the box of Twinkies. Hearing their car starting up, the two run outside to see it starting to drive away and they think that the girls conned them again, but the car stops and Little Rock throws a Twinkie to Tallahassee, who happily eats it and the group leave the amusement park.

Zombieland met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.” As of 2017, all 4 lead actors have been nominated for Academy Awards in other movies, with Emma Stone being the only one to win an Oscar for her performance in La La Land. The movie was a success at the box office, earning $102.4 million off of a $23.6 million budget and was the top grossing zombie movie in the U.S. until World War Z came out. Due to the movie’s success, a sequel had been considered for years and the writers confirmed in 2017 that the script is finished and they are shooting for a tentative release date of October 2019, with all 4 main cast members returning for the sequel.

This is a fantastic movie and a lot of fun to watch. The acting was great, with Woody Harrelson stealing the show as Tallahassee. Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus), Emma Stone (Wichita), and Abigail Breslin (Little Rock) were also good in their roles and the chemistry between all 4 of them really helped get you invested in their characters. I loved the Bill Murray cameo and thought that it was a great interlude from the rest of the movie. The story was pretty good and one thing I did like as they didn’t focus on how the zombies came about, just dove right into the fact that zombies were around and took it from there (yes, they did say what caused the zombies but it wasn’t a major plot issue). I did like how Columbus’s rules would pop up every now and then throughout the movie, as well as the “Zombie Kill of the Week”, which was something from the original TV show script but carried over into the movie. The special effects with the zombies were pretty good while the humor was spaced out really well, not being continuous like in Shaun Of The Dead, but keeping things light-hearted enough so that it wasn’t a total horror movie. Definitely a great movie and one well worth seeing.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, kaiju movie, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 18th, 2018 Movie – Yog: Monster From Space (a.k.a. Space Amoeba)

yog monster from space

This is a sad day for me regarding this blog as today I find myself watching the last of the Toho Kaiju movies that I own. Here is the great thing about this movie; I first learned of this movie through a video game. Years ago, I had Godzilla: Monster of Monsters for the Nintendo and one of the first monsters you fight was a giant squid-like monster named Gezora. At the time, I had never heard of Gezora before so I spent some time trying to figure out where he came from and eventually learned of today’s movie. I managed to record it when it aired on TV once and when that copy wore out, I went looking for it on DVD. Problem is, When I tried to find it I kept coming across a movie called Space Amoeba, which I quickly learned was the original name for the movie. Now, you might be asking why I didn’t review this movie back when I was on the letter “S” Well, Yog: Monster From Space was the title I have always associated with this movie and so that is the title I chose to use for today’s review.

The plot: The Helios 7 space probe is sent out on a mission to orbit and study Jupiter for one year, then return to Earth. As it flies through space, it passes through a strange gaseous cloud, which envelopes the probe before making it’s way inside, redirecting the probe back to Earth. On a plane flying over the pacific, photographer Taro Kudo has just read an article about the Helios 7’s disappearance when he sees it landing in the ocean below. He tries to tell the newspaper he freelances for about the probe’s landing but they don’t believe him, thinking it impossible for an unmanned probe to change course and land on it’s own. As he leaves the office, Kudo is approached by a young woman named Ayako Hoshino, who wants him to photograph an island for her. Taking Kudo to her employer, they explain that they are developing a hotel on Selgio Island and wanted him to take pictures of the island for selling points for the hotel. Their trip will alos include Dr. Kyoichi Mida, a scientist that Kudo had worked with before, who is going to the island to study the wildlife, as he believes giant monsters once lived there. When they show Kudo the location of the island on the map, he pulls out his own map that has the location marked and says that the island is in the area where he saw Helios 7 land and he agrees to go with them. On Selgio Island, 2 advanced workers, Sakura and Yokoyama, are heading to the beach to go fishing, with Yokoyama justifying shirking their duty by saying they are doing it to provide more food for the people arriving in town. Suddenly, a giant cuttlefish named Gezora appears and grabs Sakura, dragging him into the water. Yokoyama, manages to escape and encounters the local village chief, Ombo, and some of his men. Yokoyama tells Ombo that Gezora appeared and killed Sakura and Ombo says that Gezora is angry with their plans for the island. As Kudo, Ayako, and Mida travel to the island, they are joined by an anthropologist named Makoto Obata, who is also traveling to the island to study the ancient native civilization there. When their boat anchors off shore, Rico, Ombo’s son, goes to pick them up in a small motorboat but as they ask him why nobody is there to meet them on the island, he tells them that Gezora is angry with them, then heads off to get Yokoyama. As they wait, Kudo unfolds a map and says that they will have to keep a strict schedule if they want to explore the whole island in the week’s time that they have. Rico returns with Yokoyama and they start loading the groups luggage into their jeep. Mida and Kudo try to talk to Yokoyama about thewhat happened with Sakura but he refuses to tell them anything, saying Gezora can read minds and would get angry. They all get into the jeep and head off, stopping at a nearby cave to explore. Inside, they find a pool of water when Mida notices something glowing in the water. The water becomes very agitated, soaking the group and after the water calms, they notice Sakura’s watch lying on the ground, having been dispelled by the water. Yokoyama freaks out and leaves the cave and drives off in the jeep, with Rico asking him why they left the others. Yokoyama returns to the main camp and starts packing his things so he can leave the island but Gezora emerges from the water and heads across the land, destroying the hut that Yokoyama is in in it’s quest to get to him. Rico is thrown from the building and as he starts to pass out, he notices some bats circling around Gezora, seeming to drive it away. Kudo and the others walk back to the camp and find the jeep and building destroyed. They find Rico, who is in a state of deep shock, and as he examines the wound on Rico, Mida says that if Gezora did this, it’s body temperature must be close to freezing, as Rico’s wound looks like frostbite. Suddenly, a native girl named Saki shows up, worried about Rico and when she realizes that they want to help him, she leads them to her village. At the village, they find Ombo leading the villagers in a prayer to Gezora and when he spots them, he curses the outsiders for bringing destruction to their village. Saki leads them to a hut, where they lay Rico down on a mat and try to figure out their next move. Obata believes the whole thing is a hoax meant to scare people away from the island and when Kudo comments on Obata’s stealing the hotel plans, he reveals that he actually works for one of Ayako’s competitors. The next day, Kudo and Mida go diving down into the water and discover Helios 7 on the ocean’s floor. Suddenly, Gezora appears and attacks them but when a pod of dolphins swim by, they are able to escape. Gezora makes his way on land, where it attacks the village and knocks Ombo aside. Ayako, Saki, Obato, and the other villagers retreat to the hills, where they are met by Kudo and Mida. Trying to think of a way to kill it, Mida says that due to it’s low body temperature, they might try burning it and Ayako comments on it’s reaction to the fire in the village. Suddenly, some natives show up with some guns and cans of gasoline and Kudo comes up with a plan. Kudo and Mida begin firing at Gezora, luring it towards a clearing where they had the natives pour out the gasoline. When Gezora enters the clearing, they set the gasoline on fire, engulfing Gezora in flames. Gezora retreats back into the sea, where it’s body collapses to the ocean floor and the glowing spores from outer space emerge from within it’s body. On the island, the natives take Kudo and the others to an old WWII Japanese ammunition depot from when the Japanese were stationed on the island and they decide they should have enough gasoline and supplies to defend themselves. Obata decides to try and escape the island, taking the raft and paddling out to sea when something suddenly capsizes the raft. As the others watch and try to figure out what happened, a giant crab, Ganimes, appears and heads towards the group. Kudo, Mida, and the villagers shoot at Ganimes but their bullets appear to have no effect on the giant creature. Kudo manages to shoot out one of Ganimes’s eyes and as it chases him and Ayako, he shoots out the other one, then lures it off a cliff. As Ayako helps Kudo back up, Ganimes recovers and Kudo begins firing at the nearby cans of gasoline next to it, causing an explosion that kills the creature. As they head back to rejoin the others, they don’t see the space particles emerging from Ganimes’s remains and heading back towards the sea. Obata had survived being capsized and when he awakens on the beach, he sees the strange dust and moves to examine it only for it to envelope him. The dust, which is actually a extraterrestrial parasite, takes over his body and says he will help it take over the world. elsewhere, Mida examines the remains of Gamines and tells Kudo and Ayako that the creatures were simply ordinary creatures that were change to giant size and he believes the only thing that could have done it was some sort of space monster. Saki approaches them and asks them to come to her wedding with Rico and they agree but as Kudo takes a picture of the couple, Rico screams out and runs off. After he stumbles, Saki catches up to Rico to find he has come out of his state of shock and remembers her. Kudo and the others approach and when they ask what happened, Rico tells them that the bats scared off Gezora. Kudo recalls the dolphins when they were attacked and Mida realizes that the monster must be sensitive to ultrasonic frequencies. They decide to capture some bats in order to use them to keep the monster at bay but when they find a cave, they find all of the bats inside have been killed. As the split up to check out some more caves, with several other caves being filled with dead bats, Kudo and Ayako are attacked  by a giant turtle named Kamoebas. They quickly duck into a cave only to find some bats inside, which keep Kamoebas from attacking them, and after it leaves, they go tell the others. As the villagers work on sealing the entrances to the cave, in order to keep the bats there, Obata shows up, curious as to what they are doing and Kudo gets suspicious of him. When night starts to fall, Kudo notices Obata has disappeared and goes looking for him, only to see him pouring gasoline on the barricades. Kudo tries to stop him but Obata easily tosses him aside and as the others leave the cave, Mida realizes that Obata has been possessed by the space creature. Obata lights the barricades on fire, intending to smother all of the bats with the smoke but when Ayako pleads for Obata to not do this, Obata regains control of his body long enough to free the bats before walking off towards where Kamoebas and another Ganimes have appeared. The two monsters are suddenly surrounded by bats, whose ultrasonic waves cause the two monsters to begin fighting  and as their battle commences, they end up moving up a volcano and falling into it. As Kudo and the others watch, Mida tells them that not even the space creatures could have survived that. They then see Obata approaching the volcano and choosing to sacrifice himself in order to ensure that the last of the space creature dies. As they see the ship returning to pick them up, Kudo comments that he won’t be able to report the story to anyone as nobody would believe it.

This is a pretty decent kaiju movie, though it definitely was lacking in the property destruction that makes these movies so much fun. The acting was good, with only the typical 70’s dubbing issues really detracting from it. The story was kind of interesting, as I liked the idea of the parasitic space creature taking people over, as well as it being able to make giant monsters, but the whole take over the world plot just felt somewhat anticlimactic. I would have preferred some other reason for the dust arriving on Earth, like just random destruction. The suits created for the monsters were actually pretty decent and did fit in with the island setting for the movie, but I still wish we could have had them attack a major city. A fun little kaiju movie that is worth giving a watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, adventure, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

June 17th, 2018 Movie – Yeti (a.k.a. Yeti: Curse Of The Snow Demon)

yeti

So I got a little bit ahead of myself a few weeks ago when I said that I had reached the end of the Maneater series. To be honest, I forgot all about this movie because I wasn’t too impressed with this particular entry. This is kind of a let down because I do enjoy a good, or in most cases bad, bigfoot movie. The only reason I have this movie is just because I can be a rather annoying completionist at times and wanted to be sure to own all of the movies in the Maneater series. Well, might as well kick off the letter Y with today’s movie, Yeti.

The plot: In the Himalayas in 1972, a Sherpa guides two explorers to a cave in the mountains, where they believe they might find evidence that Yetis really exist. Entering the cave, they encounter a Yeti and the younger explorer runs in fear while the older one attempts to shoot the yeti, only to discover his gun has frozen over due to the cold. Choosing to run himself, the explorer finds himself at a dead end, where the remains of other victims are seen and as he turns to try to run, the yeti catches up to him and kills him. In the present day, a college football team is flying back to the U.S. after visiting Japan and as they fly over the Himilayas, they encounter a storm and end up crashing on one of the mountains. As the survivors (Peyton Elway, Sarah, Ravin, Kyra, Ashley, Dennis, Garcia, Andrew, and Rice) all help each other out of the plane and try to figure out the next move, Peyton finds their coach still alive but badly injured in the plane. Ravin wants to try and hike down the mountain, feeling that there has to be a village nearby but Peyton overrules him, stating that coach can’t move and they can’t leave him. Peyton and Kyra head to the cockpit to check on the pilots and find one of them barely alive. They ask him about an S.O.S. or a spare radio and he tells them that there is one in the tail section of the plane. Heading back to the group, Peyton tells them about the spare radio and Garcia and Andrew volunteer to go looking for it. While they go, Peyton and the others work on moving the bodies out of the plane and trying to find items they can use so they don’t freeze or starve to death, unaware that a yeti is watching them, having been drawn to the crash site by the smell of blood. Meanwhile, Fury and Sheppard, two rescue workers stationed on the mountain, get word on the crash and try to figure out where they should start searching for survivors. Back at the crash site, Peyton and the others find some matches and manage to get a fire built while Sarah found three energy bars, unaware that Ravin had found some chocolate bars and hidden the in the plane. Meanwhile, Andrew and Garcia reach the tail section of the plane and find the radio but Garcia gets no response when he tries to use it. Deciding to try and find shelter, they notice a blood trail and, thinking someone had survived and might need help, they follow it into a nearby cave. After searching for a bit, they find a dismembered leg and try to leave just as a yeti appears behind them. Garcia manages to get away through a crack in the cave but Andrew is stuck and ends up being killed by the yeti. Back at the plane, The survivors make a barrier to try and keep the snow and cold out of the plane and Peyton goes to talk to the coach, who tells him to look after the others before he dies from his injuries. As everyone is going to sleep, Sarah sees the yeti dragging off one of the bodies but when she tries to tell everyone else, they think she might have imagined it. The next day, Sheppard and Fury are dropped off on the mountain and Sheppard tells the helicopter to check the location every day, even if they don’t hear from them, then they head off to look for the plane wreckage. In the cave, Garcia attempts to climb out with the radio strapped to his leg but as he nears the top, he loses his grip on the loose rocks and falls back down to the ground, injuring his leg. At the plane, Sarah is still trying to convince everyone that she saw something and Peyton says that to be safe, they shouldn’t go anywhere on their own. Ravin argues with Peyton over their just sitting there, thinking they should try to leave, but Peyton says that if a rescue comes, they will be coming there first so they should wait. Sarah finds a flare gun and Ravin want to use it to set the fuselage on fire, arguing that it will attract help sooner, but everyone shoots the idea down, as it is the only thing keeping them warm at night and Peyton says they should hold onto the flares for now. As they sit by the fire and argue about the lack of food, Ravin suggests eating some of the dead but Peyton and Sarah shoot that idea down, saying that they will try to catch some of the smaller animals that are probably in the area. Meanwhile, Garcia manages to climb out of the cave and starts heading back to the others but notices that the yeti is following him and stumbles down the mountain trying to get away. Elsewhere, Sheppard and Fury spot the wreckage and fire and estimate it will take them 3 days to get there but the next day, they notice large tracks in the snow heading towards the plane and realize something else is out there with them. Back at the plane, Peyton and Sarah manage to kill a rabbit and after cooking it over the fire, the portion it out to everyone but Ravin still feels like they should cook some of the dead bodies in order to survive and tries to convince Rice the next day to go along with him. When Peyton and Sarah return empty handed trying to capture an animal, Ravin heads out to cut up one of the bodies to cook. When he heads towards Kyra’s brother, she yells at him to stop and Peyton starts fighting with him until Rice separates them. As some of the others argue that it might be the only way to ensure they stay alive, Sarah notices that another body is missing. As the day passes, and they are almost out of matches, Peyton reluctantly agrees to cut up one of the bodies, promising not to touch Kyra’s brother, and tells everyone to stay there, saying they don’t need to see who he cuts up. After returning to the fire with some chunks of meat, Ravin offers up a tray to cook the meat on but Kyra refuses to eat any of it. That night, Kyra chooses to burn the rest of the bodies so they can’t eat any of them and Ravin gets upset but Peyton agrees she probably did the right thing and says that in the morning they will head down off the mountain. As they get some rest in the plane, they hear something moving outside and Ravin grabs the flare gun and shoots at whatever tries to get into the plane only to find out he shot Garcia in the face. Noticing that Garcia had used one of Andrew’s arms to brace his broken leg, they realize Sarah was right and something was out there with them and all head back into the plane. The yeti returns to the site and, finding the bodies all burned, begins attacking the plane, attempting to roll the fuselage off the cliff. Sheppard and Fury see the attack from their camp site and quickly break down their tents so they can head out to help the kids. Peyton leads everyone off the plane before it goes over the edge but Ashley and Dennis end up getting killed by the yeti. Peyton has Kyra fill a glove with some alcohol and he throws it at the yeti, telling Ravin to shoot it but the yeti quickly rolls in the snow to put out the fire, then grabs Sarah and heads off. Peyton wants to go after them but Rice and Ravin stop him, convincing him to wait until morning. In the morning, Peyton and Kyra want to go find Sarah but Rice and Ravin think better of the idea, not wanting to risk their own lifes when she is probably dead. Suddenly, Sheppard and Fury show up and tell them they are their to lead them to an extraction site but when Peyton and Kyra refuse to leave without checking to see if Sarah is still alive, Rice, emboldened by the rescue, agrees to go with them and Sheppard and Fury agree to help, much to Ravin’s displeasure. When the group reach the cave, Peyton comes up with a plan to build a ditch at the entrance to the cave and line it with stakes, then cover it up, hoping the creatures will fall in it. Peyton and Sheppard then head inside the cave and find Sarah in between two sleeping yetis. Sarah quietly slip out from between them but Sheppard’s radio goes off, waking the yetis. They quickly make it out of there and head to the entrance, jumping over the trap and as the yetis exit the cave, Fury shoots at them, knocking them into the ditch and on the spikes. The shots cause an avalanche and they all quickly take shelter from the rushing snow, then the kids all start celebrating the fact that they survived. Heading back to the wreckage, they say their goodbyes to their dead friends then head down towards the extraction point with Sheppard and Fury, unaware that one of the yetis had survived the trap and is digging it’s way out of the snow. The group make camp for the night and continue towards the extraction point in the morning but Ravin asks for a break so he can use the restroom, secretly going to eat one of the chocolate bars he hid. As he is eating the candy, he sees the yeti approaching and runs back to warn the others. As they all run for the extraction point, Ravin splits off from the rest of the group to try and save himself but ends up being attacked by the yeti. Fury attempts to save him but ends up shooting Ravin by accident, then ends up being killed by the yeti. Sheppard goes to get the radio from Fury’s bag, then fires at the yeti, seemingly killing it but the yeti gets back up and attacks him. Sheppard throws the radio to Peyton and tells him to get the others out of there, just before the yeti rips his arm off and beats him to death with it. Peyton, Sarah, Rice, and Kyra find themselves trapped on the cliff as the rescue chopper approaches and as the yeti gets closer, Peyton tackles it off the cliff. Sarah and the others race over and see that Peyton survived the fall by grabbing onto a branch but the yeti had grabbed onto his leg to keep from falling. Sarah and the others try to pull him to safety but when they can’t, they tie a chain to a pole Sarah used as a spear, then she throws it at the yeti, then they tie the other end of the chain to a rock and push it off the cliff, causing the yeti to be yanked free from Peyton and fall to the ground below. They quickly manage to pull Peyton up and he and Sarah kiss as the chopper lands to rescue them. Back at the wreckage, Garcia is shown to still be alive and as he crawls from the wrecked plane, he sees the hand of the other yeti poking out of the snow close by.

Ok, after giving it another chance I guess this isn’t that bad of a movie, but it is still not my favorite movie in the group. The acting was ok, with Carly Pope (Sarah), Peter DeLuise (Sheppard) and Marc Menard (Peyton) doing good jobs in their roles. I honestly had to laugh at Peyton’s name, Peyton Elway, as I thought the idea of naming the lead character , who happens to be the teams quarterback, after two of the top quarterbacks in NFL history was pretty funny. The story was a pretty basic survival story, taking a cue from the Donner party as well as the story of the Uruguayan rugby team that got stuck in the Andes to add some more drama to it instead of making it just a typical monster movie. That aspect of the movie actually got a little more compelling and it really helped make Adam O’Byrne (Ravin) appear even more despicable of a character. The special effects with the yeti were honestly pretty weak and kind of a disappointment. I mean, this is the 14th movie in the series and yet a lot of the scenes with the yeti looked terrible and too fake. I think that was honestly the most disappointing aspect of the movie. It had some good intentions but it didn’t quite live up to expectations, at least not mine.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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