comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: June 11th, 2014 Movie – Bruce Almighty

bruce almighty

Now here was a movie that I was honestly curious about when it first came out. I mean, who didn’t dream about having the powers of God at one point in their life, or at least the power to do whatever you wanted. There was only one problem with this movie that kept me from going to see it, Jim Carrey. I used to like watching Jim Carrey’s movies but after time, I started liking them less and less because he seemed to basically play the same character all the time. So I never went to see Bruce Almighty in the theaters but when it came out TV, I would catch it every now and then and decided to go ahead and pick a copy on the cheap after a few times.

The plot: Bruce Nolan is a field reporter for a television station in Buffalo, NY but has dreams of becoming the lead anchor. After doing a local story on a bakery trying to bake the largest cookie, Bruce’s girlfriend, Grace Connelly, tries to cheer him up but he continues to mope about his situation. After dropping Grace off at the daycare she works at, Bruce gets stuck in traffic and is late to work, where he learns that his story is being dropped in exchange for a story that his rival, Evan Baxter, had done. After the meeting, Bruce talks with Jack Baylor, the station manager, and tries to convince him to give him a shot at a major story instead of the small time daily stories he does that constantly get unaired, and Jack decides to send him to do a live report at Niagara Falls. Bruce calls Grace to let her know about his live broadcast, thinking it is a sign that he will be getting the upcoming promotion to the anchor position but as he is being introduced to the audience, he learns that Evan has been given the promotion. Evan decides to take a jab at Bruce during his acceptance by using Bruce’s own words from his unaired story in his speech. When they cut to Bruce, he is frozen in shock at first by the announcement but then proceeds to go through with his story, taking the time to criticize the station and Evan for his perceived slights. Bruce ends up being fired and as he is leaving, he sees a street gang harassing a homeless man and yells out at them, causing them to leave but after checking on the homeless man, Bruce taunts the thugs, making them turn around and beat him up and vandalize his car. When Bruce gets home, he complains about everything that happened to Grace and though she tries to calm him down, he refuses to stop, upsetting her when he says he is tired of his mediocre life. Bruce drives off and decides to try praying to God for a miracle to occur but ends up crashing into a light pole, causing him to start yelling at God and blaming him for his misfortunes. As he finishes ranting, Bruce receives a page from a number he doesn’t recognize but he decides to ignore it. The next morning, Bruce is woken up by a page from the same number, prompting him to throw the pager out the window, where it is destroyed and run over, but when he rushes their dog outside to keep it from peeing in the house, he hears the ruined pager going off again and decides to call the number. When he calls, he hears the announcement specifically calling him out about a job and is directed to an abandoned warehouse. Heading inside, he sees a janitor mopping the floor, who directs Bruce on where he needs to go then asks for help but Bruce says he is busy and asks for a rain check. When Bruce gets up to the 7th floor, he finds the janitor there fixing a light and as Bruce thinks he is being pranked, the janitor removes his work clothes to reveal a white suit underneath, telling Bruce he is the boss. The man tells Bruce that he is God and Bruce doesn’t believe him at first when God says he is offering him all of his powers, until he sees himself with 7 fingers on his hand when he tries to trick him. Bruce runs out of the warehouse and ends up at a diner, where after a few accidental uses of God’s powers, God reappears and asks Bruce to walk with him. Walking across the nearby lake, God explains that there are two rules Bruce must follow; don’t tell anyone he is God and don’t mess with free will. God then tells Bruce he is going on vacation, leaving Bruce to handle things while he is gone. As Bruce starts to have some fun with his new powers, he sees the gang that beat him up the day before and decides to get revenge on them. Bruce then heads home, apologizing to Grace for how he acted the night before and using his new powers to make their sex better. The next day, Bruce wakes up hearing several voices in his head but shakes it off as a recurring dream, then tells Grace he is going to get his job back. Bruce shows up at a K9 training center just as a rival network finishes their story, and Bruce is able to get the scoop over them, as their van mysteriously locked itself, when one of the dogs uncovers the body of Jimmy Hoffa. As Bruce films a report about Hoffa’s discovery, and the rival news crew being arrested for marijuana possession, he returns to his former studio and is given the job of lead field reporter, where he makes it so that even more strange things miraculously occur while he is reporting. Bruce then goes to the studio while Evan is on air and proceeds to use his powers to cause Evan to make a fool of himself on camera. That night, Bruce takes Grace to the restaurant where they had their first date and he tells her that has gotten the promotion to an anchor position after Evan’s debacle on air but while she congratulates him, Grace is disappointed as she thought he was going to propose to her. Suddenly, Bruce starts hearing voices again and rushes out of the restaurant, when he suddenly finds himself on Mt. Everest with God. After messing with Bruce for a bit, God explains that the voices Bruce has been hearing are people’s prayers, which he has been ignoring, and suggest that Bruce try using his powers to help others instead of himself. That night, Bruce starts trying to come up with a way to get rid of the voices and converts the prayers to emails, then auto answers yes to all of them, figuring that will make everyone happy. Friday night, a party is held for Bruce’s upcoming promotion and Bruce calls the house, hoping to get Grace and convince her to show up, then uses his powers to get their dog Sam to help him. After trying to call the house again, Bruce is surprised by Susan, who starts kissing him but as he pushes her away, Hesees Grace in the door way. Grace storms off and Bruce follows after her, trying to convince her that it was an accident but Grace tells him she is staying at her sister’s house. Bruce uses his powers to try and get Grace to forgive him, making several signs appear near her but she tells him she doesn’t love him anymore. As Bruce’s first night as anchor is about to go on, all of the various prayers Bruce answered and events that he caused to happen result in chaos and riots occurring in the streets. Bruce leaves the studio and when he sees what is occurring, he calls out for God and suddenly finds himself in the warehouse. Bruce looks for God, who appears behind Bruce and reminds him of the rain check for helping clean the place and Bruce starts cleaning with God. When they finish, God subtly offers Bruce advise about what to do before he leaves, telling Bruce he can handle it. The next day, Bruce turns off the auto answer program with his emails, while doing some good deeds to people he sees in need. When he gets to the office, Bruce approaches Evan, who is packing up his things, and tells him that he turned down the anchor position and congratulates him on getting the job, saying he deserved it. As Bruce continues doing small things to help people, Grace’s sister Debbie shows up to pick up Grace’s things. As she is finishing, Bruce hands her the photo album that Grace had been working and Debbie is surprised to find that it is full, then tells Bruce that Grace prays a lot for him. Bruce checks his emails to see all the times Grace has prayed for him when he suddenly sees a new notification and sees Grace praying, asking God to help her stop loving him. Despondent, Bruce walks down the highway where he had wrecked his car and tells God that he doesn’t want the powers anymore and will let him decide what is best for him, just as he gets hit by a truck. Bruce is confronted by God and told to pray for something and Bruce prays for Grace to find someone that will make her happy. God tells him he will get right on that, then pushes Bruce, shocking Bruce just as the EMT’s are shocking his body to try and revive him. Bruce wakes up in a hospital and sees Grace at the doorway and she goes over to him and embraces him as the two make up. Some time later, Bruce is doing an news story about a blood drive, introducing Grace as his fiance during the report, and as the report finishes and Grace moves Bruce over to donate some blood himself, they pass by the homeless man that Bruce had helped and had kept appearing around town, who suddenly reveals that he was God all along.

Bruce Almighty met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Carrey is hilarious in the slapstick scenes, but Bruce Almighty gets bogged down in treacle.” During the scenes where God pages Bruce, the studio used an actual phone number instead of the usual fictional 555 number most movies use. The studio admitted that while the number used was not in use in the 716 area code, which is used in Buffalo, they did not check to see if it was used in any other area codes. Several people that used that number began receiving calls from people wanting to talk to God and when it was released on video and for television, the number was changed to 55-0123. Despite the mixed reviews, Bruce Almighty was a box office success, earning $484.6 million off of an $81 million budget and would spawn a spin-off sequel, Evan Almighty

This was not going to be the greatest comedy of all times but it was actually a better movie than I thought it would be. The acting was good, with Jim Carrey doing a good job as Bruce but Morgan Freeman was fantastic as God, and I honestly couldn’t think of a better person to play him, while the interaction between the two was great. Jennifer Aniston did a good job as Grace while Steve Carell made for a great foil for Carrey with his portrayal of Evan. The story was pretty good, essentially playing out the fantasy most people have had at one point or another; what would you do with the power to do anything. The best thing though is that they actual showed a fair amount of growth in Bruce throughout the movie, allowing him to break from his focusing on helping himself and his career with his powers and then using them to help others and being more selfless in his actions. The comedy aspects were a decent mix of slap-stick, which were pretty much all Jim Carrey, and some play on words and situational comedy but it was done to a very good effect. So yes, it is a good movie and one worth giving a chance.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, comedy, fantasy, martial arts, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 24th, 2014 Movie – Big Trouble In Little China

big trouble in little china

Ok. I have been a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a long time, both as a wrestler and as an actor. That being said, I will never forgive him if his plans of remaking this movie ever come to fruition. I wish Hollywood would stop with the whole remaking everything possible instead of trying to come up with more original ideas. When it comes to this movie, this is one of those movies that I have always loved watching because it is so ridiculous. Ever since I first saw the trailer, where Kurt Russell’s character knocked himself out, I decided that this was a movie I had to see. I managed to watch it on HBO years ago and every time it came on TV, I would watch it. So of course I had to pick up a copy on DVD so I could watch Big Trouble In Little China whenever I wanted.

The plot: Egg Shen is talking with his lawyer, who asks him if he knows the whereabouts of Jack Burton, but Egg tells him to leave Jack alone, as they were in his debt. The lawyer persists in finding out what happened, as Egg is being blamed for the destruction of a city block in a ball of green flame, and Egg says it was magic, revealing himself to be a sorcerer himself, and starts telling the lawyer what all happened. Some time earlier, Jack Burton is driving his truck, The Pork Chop Express, outside of San Francisco to make a delivery and as it is being unloaded, he gambles outside of the warehouses with his friend Wang Chi and several other people. Jack ends up winning $1148 over the course of the night and as morning breaks, everyone else leaves to start work but Wang convinces Jack to stay for one more bet, offering double or nothing. Wang proposes to cut a bottle in half with a large knife and Jack takes the bet but when Wang goes to cut the bottle, the bottle ends up flying towards Jack, who quickly catches it, citing his reflexes. Jack asks Wang to pay up but Wang says he doesn’t have the money on him and asks Jack to stop by his restaurant later, as he has to go to the airport first, but Jack says he will give Wang a lift, as he wants to ensure he gets paid. At the airport, Wang is there to pick up his childhood sweetheart Miao Yin, who he intends to marry, but as they are waiting for her, Jack notices a woman, Gracie Law, and heads over to talk with her. As they are talking, members of a Chinese street gang called the Lords of Death push by them and Gracie gets nervous about why they are there. Gracie moves away from Jack and spots her friend, another Chinese girl, and calls out to her but the Lords of Death move to grab her. When Jack tries to intervene, one of them pulls out a knife and baton and moves to attack him, allowing a second member to sweep Jack’s legs out from under him. Miao Yin shows up but ends up being grabbed by the Lords of Death, who escape from the airport. A pissed off Jack decides to go after them and Wang tells him that they have a club in Chinatown. After following Wang’s directions through some alleys, they find their path blocked by a funeral procession of the Chang Sing. Jack starts to back up when he notices some other figures approaching and Wang says they are the Wing Kong, the rivals of the Chang Sing. A massive fight breaks out between the two gangs when suddenly, a burst of green fire erupts from the ground and the Three Storms (Thunder, Lightning, and Rain) appear and kill three members of the Chang Sing, before moving forward to continue fighting. Wang tells Jack to get out of there and as Jack drives forward, the Three Storms move out of the way but Jack ends up running over David Lo Pan. Stopping his truck to inspect the body, Jack discovers that Lo Pan is still alive and hsi eyes and mouth suddenly start glowing, temporarily blinding Jack. Wang helps him get away and splashes water on Jack’s eyes to restore his vision when they find themselves approached by the Lords of Death and are forced to run, only to discover that Jack’s truck has been stolen while the Three storms are slaughtering the Chang Sing. Making their way back to Wang’s restaurant, Jack is on the phone with his insurance company about his truck when Wang’s friend Eddie Lee shows up and tells him that the Lords of Death stole his truck. Gracie shows up, saying she feels bad as the reason Miao Yin was taken was because of her and tells them that She was taken to the White Tiger, an illegal brothel the the Lords of Death run. Jack, Wang, Gracie, and Eddie head over to the White Tiger and Jack heads inside on his own, leaving the others waiting outside. As they are waiting, Gracie sees another car pull up and heads over to it, as it is her reporter friend Margo, and she tells her what is going on. Inside, Jack tries to find out if Miao Yin is there when suddenly, the building starts shaking while outside, Wang and Eddie see a giant green cloud over the building. Suddenly, the Three Storms appear, blowing a hole through the roof and they grab Miao Yin, who was being held in a secret room, and fly off with her. Realizing that Miao Yin must have been taken to Lo Pan’s place, Jack and Wang head in there disguised as telephone repair men and attempt to locate her only to be captured by the Rain. Rain tortures them briefly before tying them up and taking them to see Lo Pan, who appears as a decrepit old man. Lo Pan asks Wang about Miao Yin, and Wang realizes that Lo Pan intends to marry Miao Yin in order to appease the God of the East, then sacrifice her in order to remove the curse that he was inflicted with. Suddenly, Lo Pan sees Gracie, Eddie, and Margo on the monitors and he has Jack and Wang taken away, while Thunder ends up capturing the others. Jack and Wang are taken to a cell but Jack manages to free himself and Wang, then quickly pretend to be tied up again when Thunder enters with Eddie. Jack jumps onto Thunder, holding his knife to his throat, while Wang helps Eddie down and they go to leave when Thunder suddenly starts expanding, sending Jack flying off of him and into one of the wheelchairs he and Wang were tied to. Jack goes rolling backwards down the hall, knocking out some Wing Kong fighters that were coming to deal with them, and Wang and Eddie quickly lock Thunder in the room and head out after Jack before Thunder gets free. The three go looking for Gracie and Margo and find them locked in cages along with several other girls and as Wang and Eddie deal with the guards, Jack frees all of the women. When Thunder arrives with more Wing Kong warriors, they all make a run for it, diving into a pool of water and making their way through the sewers. After climbing back up to the warehouse that Jack and Wang first entered, they go to leave only to find their way blocked by more Wing Kong warriors but Jack and Wang manage to deal with them. Jack and Wang create a distraction so they cna lead everyone past the front guards but Gracie ends up being captured by a strange, orange furred monster. Outside, Jack and the others find Egg and Wang’s uncle Chu waiting for them in Egg’s tour bus and the manage to get away but realize that Gracie is missing. Gracie is taken to the room where Miao Yen is being held and Lo Pan approaches her and uses his powers to mesmerize her, just as Miao Yin is, as Gracie has green colored eyes like Miao Yin. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Egg shows up with the surviving members of the Chang Sing and they head out with Jack and Wang to stop Lo Pan, making their way through the underground sections of the city and deep under the earth towards Lo Pan’s temple. Meanwhile, Lo Pan has the Three Storms initiate the test for Miao Yin and Gracie, both of him pass, and he has them prepared to be married to him to appease the God of the East, then will sacrifice Gracie and keep Miao Yin for himself. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s temple and encounter a beholder, which Lo Pan uses to watch for intruders. Seeing what the beholder sees, Lo Pan taunts Egg Shen until Jack shoots at the beholder, driving it away. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s office, wondering where everyone is, and after finding the secret elevator, Egg gives everyone a magic potion to help them in the upcoming battle. They take the elevator down and see Lo Pan in the midst of the wedding ceremony and Egg tells them all to wait until the wedding is completed, as Lo Pan would be mortal and able to be killed. When they spot the wounded beholder nearby, Wang stabs it with his sword but Lo Pan sees them and has the Wing Kong attack them. Wang and the others rush to meet them while Jack ends up knocking himself out briefly before joining the fight. As Wang fights with Rain, Egg uses his magic to save Jack from Thunder, then begins battling Lo Pan. Their battle ends in a stalemate and Egg leaves with Miao Yin and Thunder, while Lightning attempts to seal the door behind them, then leaves himself. Wang manages to kill Rain then chases after Miao Yin, while Gracie, having snapped out of the trance, gets Jack and the go after him, dealing with the orange furred creature in the process. Taking the elevator back to Lo Pan’s office, Jack and Gracie end up kissing before the doors open, and they go looking for Miao Yin. They find Lo Pan talking with her and Thunder and Jack approaches them, joined by Wang. Jack and Wang attack Thunder and Thunder ends up chasing after Wang, leaving Jack to deal with Lo pan. Jack throws his boot knife at Lo Pan but misses and Lo Pan lets go of Miao Yin and picks up the knife. Complimenting Jack on the knife, Lo Pan throws it at him but Jack manages to catch it and throw it straight back, embedding the blade in Lo Pan’s head and killing him. Jack then goes to help Wang, who returns to the room with Thunder in tow and when Thunder sees Lo Pan’s body, he begins swelling up and ends up exploding. Thunder appears and Jack and the others run away, getting help from Egg to escape while Egg ends up killing Lightning by dropping a statue on him. Making their way through Lo Pan’s building, they find Jack’s truck and get in, driving through the warehouse doors and getting away, as Miao Yin and Wang kiss. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Jack, Wang, Gracie, Miao Yin, Egg, Eddie, Margo, and Chu are celebrating their success and Egg leaves, telling Jack he had promised himself a vacation when he finally defeated Lo Pan. Wang hands Jack a check for triple the money he owed him, saying he earned it and Jack approaches Gracie and talks to her about selling his truck and settling down. She offers an alternative of his getting a bigger truck with a sleeper compartment big enough for two and he says he will think about it, then leaves. As Jack heads down the road, he is talking on his CB about his experiences, unaware that the orange furred creature had stowed away underneath his truck.

Big Trouble In Little China met with mixed reviews from the critics on it’s release but has since received more positive results, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.” 20th Century Fox hired James Carpenter to direct the movie and rushed it into production, as they wanted to release it before a similarly themed movie, The Golden Child, came out. This fulfilled Carpenter’s wish to direct a martial arts movie but the mixed reviews from the critics left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent film making. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.1 million off of a reported $25 million but has since become a cult classic.

This movie is so fantastically ridiculous to watch and so much fun as a result. Kurt Russell was great as Jack Burton, while Kim Cattrall (Gracie), Dennis Dun (Wang), and Victor Wong (Egg) were also good. The story was interesting, trying to mix a martial arts movie with a fantasy/sorcery movie and it made for an interesting blend of styles. I also loved how Jack was trying to make sense of everything that was going on before finally just accepting it, while Wang was struggling with the fact that all of the stories and fairy tales he was told as a kid were coming true. The special effects were pretty cheesy at times but a lot of the fight scenes were decent and helped make them enjoyable. This really is a fun movie and one that is worth watching if you are in the mood for some not so serious entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 15th, 2014 Movie – The Beastmaster

the beastmaster

Ahhh, the early days of cable TV, where channels would be scrambling to find anything they could to air in order to get people to watch them. In the mid 80’s, this movie was definitely one of those movies. I lost count of the number of times I saw this on television and at one point, it was rumored that this was one of three movies that could be airing on TV at any point of the day, any day of the week (one of the other ones being The Breakfast Club and I can’t remember what the third was). Anyways, I loved this movie as a kid but despite the numerous times I had seen it on TV, I never thought about going out and getting a copy on VHS or DVD. Eventually, I would finally get this movie as part of a fantasy movie collection, though I might go ahead and get this on it’s own anyways, and as soon as I got home that day, I popped it in the DVD player and immediately watched it. So let’s catch up on some memories with The Beastmaster.

The plot: In the kingdom of Aruk, the high priest Maax pays a visit to the three witches that serve him, who reveal a prophecy to him that King Zed’s unborn son will destroy him. Before Maax can respond, Zed, along with his guards, shows up to arrest him but when Maax says that his god Ar has spoken and said that his unborn son should be sacrificed, he decides to exile him instead. That night, one of Maax’s witches enters Zed’s chambers and after subduing Zed and his wife so they can’t move, she uses her magic to transfer the unborn baby to the belly of a cow, killing Zed’s wife in the process, then taunts Zed as she leaves. Later, the witch makes camp in the woods and after cutting the baby from the cow, she brands it’s hand and then prepares to kill it when a farmer, who had been out that night, hears the baby’s cries and stops the witch, eventually killing her, then takes the baby back to his village of Emur and, naming him Dar, raises him as his own. As the years pass, the farmer is teaching Dar how to fight and defend himself when Dar suddenly senses something in the brush next to another villager. When the villager is attacked by a bear, Dar and his father back away but they fall and his father injures his leg. As the bear approaches them, Dar moves towards it, staring at it, and the bear eventually drops to all fours and then leaves. Dar returns to his father, who points to his hand that still bears the brand, and tells him he was marked by the gods and given a gift, the ability to mentally speak with animals, but he must keep it secret from others. Years later, Dar has grown up to become a young man and he heads out with some of the other villagers to tend to their fields. While in the field, Dar’s dog Codo starts barking at something from atop a hill and when Dar goes to see what he is barking at, he sees the dust cloud from an approaching army heading towards their village and Dar realizes it is the Juns, a roaming band of barbarians, and Dar and the others race back towards the village. At the village, Dar’s father sees the Juns approaching and he and some other men go out to face them but he is run down as the Juns head forward to raze the village. Dar and the other villagers arrive to join the battle but Dar ends up being knocked unconscious, while the other villagers are all killed. As Maax rides into town, as he is allied with the Juns, he rides past the unconscious Dar, not realizing that Zed’s unborn child is there. Codo manages to drag Dar to safety but is shot by a crossbow in the process and eventually dies from his wound. When Dar regains consciousness, he sees Codo lying dead, then races back to the village to find it destroyed, with the only living thing around being an eagle sitting on a post, staring at him. Dar places all of the bodies in a circle, bringing Codo’s body and lays it next to his father’s, then sets them on fire in funeral pyre. Grabbing his father’s sword and his caber (throwing blade), he starts to head off, when he stares at the eagle and it flies off, circling around him and allowing him to see through it’s eyes. As Dar heads out after the Juns, he stops to rest at a river when two ferrets grab his belt and head off into the brush. Dar chases after them but ends up falling into some quicksand and he uses his ability to convince them to help him escape, then names them Kodo and Podo and takes them with him. Continuing on his journey, he sees an animal being chased by the Juns through it’s eyes and he goes looking for it and finds a black tiger being harassed by the Juns and he decides to help it. After freeing the tiger, he names it Ruh, while naming the eagle Sharak, and says he has his friends to help him against the Juns. As he continues on his quest, he sees some woman bathing in a lake and, taking a fancy to one of them, has Kodo and Podo steal her clothes, then “rescues” her from Ruh. Dar learns that her name is Kiri and she is a slave to the priests of Ar. When he notices the scars on her back from beatings, he tells her to leave and he will protect her but she says she can’t or else they will put her family to death, then tells Dar to forget her and be careful before she leaves. Dar decides to follow her but loses her trail and eventually spots a strange tree on top of a cliff. When he reaches the tree, he finds a man in a cage and a pot of stew made from human remains. Suddenly, Dar finds himself surrounded by strange, winged humanoid creatures and when Dar frees the man in the cage so he can escape, he ends up being grabbed by one of the creatures and enveloped in it’s wings, before being dissolved by the creature’s acids, leaving nothing but the skeleton behind. As the creatures approach Dar and Ruh, Sharak appears and lands on Dar’s arm. The creatures, which worship eagles, back away and open a path for Dar to leave and he cautiously starts to leave when the leader suddenly appears before him. When Dar raises his sword in defense, the leader grasps the tip and allows a medallion to slide down the sword towards Dar, who takes it and then quickly leaves. Dar eventually reaches Aruk and, leaving Ruh to wait outside, heads inside, noting the tar moat that surrounds the city. Disguising himself , he finds all of the citizens gathered in front of the large pyramid, where Maax is sacrificing children by throwing them into a pit of fire. After sacrificing one child, Maax has his priests grab the daughter of a man named Sacco and prepares to drop her into the fire but Dar telepathically summons Sharak to rescue her. As Sharak flies away with the child, everyone bows, thinking it is a sign from Ar, but Dar remains standing and stares up at Maax, who quickly recovers and uses what happened to his benefit. That night, Dar sneaks back into town and brings Sacco back his daughter, who thanks Dar and when Dar asks about the slave girls, he tells them what is going on in town. The Juns had slaughtered all of the young men in the town and their king is imprisoned in the pyramid while the king’s son has disappeared. The Juns then placed Maax in charge so that he can keep the remaining villagers in line. Sacco tells him that the slave girls were taken back to the temple to be put to death and warns that MAax says the Juns will return to Aruk and Dar says that he will return as well, then heads out. In the pyramid, Maax and his two witches are using a ring worn by one of Maax’s priest to see what he is looking at as they go after Dar. When they see that Dar bears the brand of Ar, Maax realizes that Dar is Zed’s unborn son and orders the priests to kill him. The priests attack Dar but Ruh kills one of them and then chases after the second, only to fall into a pit trap. As the priest goes to kill him, he is knocked off his horse by a pilgrim, who then knocks him into the pit when he tries to attack him and his young companion. Dar appears and, after realizing that the pilgrim saved Ruh, thanks him and attempts to move a log to help Ruh escape the pit and the two pilgrims help him. Afterwards, the pilgrims introduce themselves as Seth and Tal and say that they are heading to the temple to worship and when Dar says he is also heading to the temple, Seth suggests they travel together. As the make camp for the night, Seth reveals the truth about who they are, saying that Tal is King Zed’s son and he is the captain of the guard, who had left with Tal to try and raise an army to rise up against Maax and the Juns. Dar then tells them what he knows and about his friends. As he shows them the trinkests Kodo and Podo have stolen, Tal unknowingly puts on the ring that Maax’s priest was wearing. Tal then sees a necklace and shows it to Seth, who asks Dar about it and when he says it came from a slave girl, Seth angrily says that it came from no slave girl and Tal says that it belongs to his cousin Kiri. Later that night, Dar sens Sharak out and is able to see Kiri and the other slaves being led away from the temple and Seth comes up with a plan to save the slave girls. Disguising themselves as ferrymen, Dar, Seth, and Tal are able to rescue Kiri and after escaping the other priests that appear, Tal asks Dar if he will help rescue his father and Dar tells him to have Kiri ask him, who kisses Dar and convinces him to help. Seth heads out to gather the men that pledged to help Zed while Dar has Sharak contact Sacco and have him help sneak himself, Kiri, Tal, and Ruh inside the city. Dar, Kiri, Tal, and Ruh head inside the pyramid and they attempt to use Kodo and Podo to steal some keys while some priests make a Death Guard but the Death Guard breaks free from his restraints and kills the priests, inadvertently severing the rope the two ferrets were tied to, then chases after them when they leave the room. Kiri had snuck away from Dar and Tal and enters a secret chamber to change clothes and arm herself, then returns to lead Dar and the others to where Zed is being kept. As they make their way to the dungeon, Tal explains that Kiri is a priestess and knows the secret passages. They find Zed in the dungeon, who has been blinded by Maax, but Maax suddenly appears with one of his witches and locks them in. When Ruh approaches them, Maax and the witch quickly head inside the dungeon, then Maax orders the witch to kill Dar. As Dar moves to defend himself, the witch uses flash powder to blind him, then climbs up the wall, preparing to kill him from above. Ruh, who is attempting to knock down the door, is able to help Dar, who sees the where the witch is through Ruh’s eyes and kills her. Kiri manages to wound Maax when he holds Tal hostage and as Ruf finally breaks down the door and enters the room, Maax escapes through a secret passage. Dar, Kiri, and Tal help Zed and they make their way to a secret exit, with Dar sending Ruh to protect them while he waits for Kodo and Podo to join them. As the priests begins searching for them and Dar quickly shuts the door and seals the passage. Suddenly, Kodo and Podo appear and as they make their way under the door, the Death Guard that had been following them kills all of the priests. Suddenly, Kiri appears and cuts a rope to use, saying they can get out through the air shaft and they make their way up there as the Death Guard breaks through the door and follows them. Reaching the end of the shaft, the use the rope to start climbing down, and when the Death Guard starts trying to sever the rope, Dar summons Sharak to deal with it and it ends up falling to it’s death. The rope breaks and Dar and Kiri fall but Sacco is there with a cart full of hay to catch them. They head for the gate only to find it has been closed and Dar has Sharak carry Kodo and Podo to chew through the counter weight but when a guard tries to kill one of them, the other attacks him, causing the guard to sever the rope instead. Sacco drives his cart through the gate, as Death Guards chase after them, and Dar cuts the rope, bringing the gate down on them. That night in the camp, Zed is trying to rouse the gathered men to help him fight Maax. Dar says his plan is reckless and if they kill Maax, then the Juns will come for them. When Zed asks who is speaking, seth and Kiri both vouch for Dar and tell Zed that he should listen to him but Zed calls him a freak that speaks to animals and casts him out. As Dar leaves the camp, Kiri goes to comfort him and Dar asks her to leave with him but she says she can’t leave. Meanwhile, Seth notices the eye in Tal’s ring and after destroying it, warns Zed that Maax knows their plan but Zed is too hellbent on revenge to listen. The next day, Sacco rides out to find Dar and tells him that Kiri and the others were captured and Dar gets on the spare horse he brought and rides into Aruk. In Aruk, Maax has Kiri brought to the top of the pyramid to be sacrificed when Dar appears, throwing the bag with Kodo and Podo in the cart with Seth and Tal so they can free them, then fighting his way up the pyramid to face Maax. When the last witch warns Maax that his death is nigh, Maax goes to Zed, who is seated nearby, and tells him that his unborn son has arrived, then kills him. Maax then tries to kill Dar but Dar stabs him with his own knife, then kills the last witch, who transforms into a dove upon her death. As Seth and Tal lead the villagers against the rest of Maax’s guards, Dar helps up Kiri and starts to carry her down the pyramid but Maax pulls the knife from his stomach and moves to stab Dar in the back. Kodo sees this and attacks Maax, causing him to fall into the fire pit, taking Kodo with him. As Dar mourns the loss of his friend, Tal points out the approaching dust cloud and they realize that the Juns are coming. As everyone argues on whether they should fight or flee, Seth says that Tal is the king now and it is his decision. Tal looks to Dar, who says they should fight, and the crowd cheers the decision. As Seth leads the villagers to cover up the tar moat to make it look like dry ground, Dar, realizing that they will need help dealing with the Juns, holds up the eagle medallion and sends Sharak with it to the winged creatures, hoping they will help. That night, the Juns appear and as they move forward, they ride into the tar moat. As one of the villagers goes to light the tar on fire, the Juns shoot him with a crossbow, then shoot some of the other villagers, one of which closes the gate. Tal and Kiri manage to get out before the gate closes and Tal goes to light the tar on fire but he is struck by a crossbow bolt. Dar and Seth climb over the gate and as the Juns make their way through the Tar, Kiri lights one of them on fire and Dar kicks him into the tar, igniting the rest of it. Dar, Seth, and Kiri then face off against the Juns as they climb through the Tar but they soon find themselves surrounded. Suddenly, the Juns’ leader rides through the flames and challenges Dar to combat and the two face off. Dar is able to beat the leader and throws him into the flames but the rest of the Juns move closer and prepares to kill them. Suddenly, Sharak flies down and lands on Dar’s arm and the winged creatures appear and begin attacking the Juns. Dar, Seth, and Kiri help Tal back to the gate as Dar sees the creature’s leader staring at him and nodding at him. The next day, Dar goes to leave and hands Seth his caper to give to Tal. Seth grabs his hand, noticing the brand in the shape of the pyramid on it and realizing who Dar is, says that he is first born and should be king but Dar says that Seth had trained Tal well and he will make a fine king. When Tal wakes up, Seth hands him the caper and Tal carries it to the top of the pyramid, where they see Sharak there staring at them and as he flies away, they know that Dar will be keeping an eye on them and will come back if they need him. Meanwhile, Dar makes his way out of the city and as he enters the canyons, he is joined by Kiri and as they kiss, Podo pops out of the bag, as do two baby ferrets, and nuzzles Ruh while Dar and Kiri continue their embrace and prepare to head out together.

The Beastmaster met with mixed to negative results, holding a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it was a pale imitation of Conan The Barbarian, but acknowledge it’s cult status and guilty pleasure entertainment. In the early days of cable TV, The Beastmaster was often aired on several local and cable channels, especially HBO and TBS. It’s replay on those two was so frequent that the letters for the stations were jokingly said to stand for “Hey, Beastmaster’s On” & “The Beastmaster Station” respectively. The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $14.1 million off of a $9 million budget, but gained a massive cult following due to it’s frequent airplay and would spawn 2 sequels and a television series.

If ever there was a guilty pleasure movie, this is it. I don’t know what it is about it but this movie is still entertaining to watch, even though it is not the greatest movie out there. The acting was decent, with Marc Singer doing a good job as Dar, while Rip Torn made a pretty interesting villain as Maax. John Amos was also good as Seth but Tanya Roberts (Kiri) was honestly kind of forgettable as far as her acting goes. The story was pretty interesting and I found out later that it was loosely based on a novel by Andre Norton called “The Beast Master”. though the only similarities was the main character being able to speak to animals and his seeking revenge for his father’s death. The special effects were kind of on the campy side, with the circular lens view supposed to be Dar’s seeing through the animals’ eyes being particularly cheesy. However, the fight scenes were pretty decent, albeit a little slow at times. Always fun to watch, no matter which part of the movie you come in at.

Rating: 3 1/2 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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action, adventure, comic book, fantasy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 8th, 2018 Movie – X2: X-Men United

x2-xmen united

When you have a smash hit on your hands, it is usually a good idea to go ahead and strike while the iron is hot with regards to movie sequels. That was definitely the case for today’s movie. When I first heard that the plot was being based in part on the graphic novel “God Loves, Man Kills”, I was immediately on board because that was one of the more powerful one-shot stories that I read as a kid. Then I started to worry and wondered if they would be able to do the story justice, or if it would be completely butchered. In the end, there was only one way to figure it out and that was to go see it. Now to find out whether my fears were justified with today’s movie, X2: X-Men United.

The plot: During a tour of the White House, the mutant Nightcrawler teleports away from the group and makes his way towards the Oval Office, taking out secret service guards along the way. He eventually manages to reach the President and prepares to stab him when one of the agents manages to fire a shot and wound his arm, causing him to drop the knife and teleport away. Meanwhile, Wolverine makes his way to an abandoned military base at Alkali Lake in Alberta, Canada, hoping to find something there that will help him remember the missing pieces of his past but he has no luck. Elsewhere, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm are taking some of the students from the school to a field trip at the New York Science Museum. During the trip, Jean starts having trouble with her telepathy, hearing thoughts from everyone in the building, as well as thoughts from the Secret Service in the White House. Cyclops questions her about and she admits that she has been losing control of both her telepathy and telekinesis and doesn’t know what’s going on. Meanwhile, Rogue, Bobby Drake, and John Allerdyce (Pyro) are hanging out in the food court when two guys ask Pyro for a light, as he is messing around with his lighter. Pyro refuses but the guy grabs the lighter and lights a cigarette and when he asks Pyro what he is going to do about it, Pyro causes the cigarette to flare up, catching the guy’s arm on fire. As the guy flails around, Pyro simply laughs and Bobby is forced to use his power to put out the fire. Suddenly, everyone in the museum freezes as Professor Xavier uses his powers to stop them so he can chastise Pyro but when they notice the report about the attack on the White House, they all quickly leave. At the White House, Colonel William Stryker meets with the President and they are joined by Senator Robert Kelly, who is actually Mystique in disguise. Stryker wants the President to authorize a special op to take out Xavier’s school, claiming that it is a mutant training center due to information he obtained from interrogating Magneto. Kelly argues that it is a school but when Stryker shows a picture of a plane seen leaving the school, the President agrees, but warns Stryker only to detain and question but do not kill any kids, as he doesn’t want a picture of that to appear on the news. As Stryker leaves the Oval Office, Kelly chases after him and asks to arrange a visit to question Magneto but Stryker refuses, causing Kelly to question Stryker’s zeal for waging a war against mutants. Some time later, Stryker pays another visit to Magneto, using a special serum applied to a wound on his neck to render him passive and unable to refuse to answer any questions he is asked. At the mansion, Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and Xavier are discussing the ramifications of the attack on the President and Xavier asks Jean and Storm to capture the mutant and bring him back to the mansion. At the same time, Logan returns to the mansion, where Rogue greets him and introduces him to Bobby, her boyfriend. Storm and Jean then talk with Logan, asking him to keep a watch on the mansion while they go to find the mutant. Logan heads down to see Xavier, who is using Cerebro to try and locate the mutant that attacked the President. When he is finished, Logan asks Xavier to read his mind again but Xavier says it won’t help and that sometimes, the mind simply must remember things on it’s own, but promises to talk with him more about the matter when he and Cyclops return. Back in D.C., Mystique changes into Stryker’s aide, Yuriko, and makes his way into Stryker’s office, where she locates the information on Magneto’s prison and guard detail. While she prints up the information, she notices a folder marked Cerebro and when she opens it, she finds Stryker has details on the device, as well as plans for alterations. Before she can do anything further, the real Yuriko enters the room and Mystique quickly changes into a janitor and leaves. Jean and Storm locate Nightcrawler in a church in Boston, where they learn that he is teleporter, explaining Xavier’s difficulty tracking him. After subduing talking with him, they learn that he has no recollection of attacking the President and when Jean wants to take him back to the mansion to further treat his injury, they notice the circular mark on his neck. Meanwhile, Xavier and Cyclops head to Magneto’s prison and while Cyclops stays back with the guards, Xavier goes on alone into the cell, where he notices the bruising on Magneto’s face. When he questions him about it, Magneto tells him that he has had frequent visits by Stryker. Xavier remembers him, as his son Jason was a former student at the school, but he couldn’t help Jason the way that Stryker wanted him too. When Magneto questions Xavier about Logan, mocking Xavier’s reluctance to pry into his mind for fear of losing another of his precious X-Men, Xavier asks Magneto what he told Stryker and Magneto says everything. As gas begins to fill the chamber, Magneto tells Xavier that he should have killed him when he had the chance and Xavier turns and yells out for Cyclops. In the guard’s area, Yuriko appears and attempts to tranquilize Cyclops but he blasts her with his eye beam, then fights off the guards. He heads to the door to free Xavier but Yuriko recovers and quickly knocks him out as Xavier slumps to the ground. Back at the mansion, Wolverine wakes up from a nightmare regarding his past and finds Bobby in the kitchen eating some ice cream. As the two talk, Stryker’s team begins infiltrating the mansion and starts tranquilizing the students. Wolverine hears something and goes to check it out, returning in time to save Bobby from being attacked by one of Stryker’s men. One of the students, Shadowcat, sees the men and is able to phase through her bed and escape from them. Another student, Siryn, wakes up and begins screaming when she sees the men, alerting the rest of the students to the danger before she is knocked out. Colossus heads to her room, changing to his steel form, and knocks out the men attempting to capture Siryn, then leads some of the other students to safety. Wolverine kills the man he is fighting with, then starts killing some of the other soldiers, rescuing another student and giving him to Colossus to take out of there with the other students. Bobby goes looking for Rogue, getting Pyro to help him and when they find her, they attempt to escape from the soldiers, eventually being rescued by Wolverine. Wolverine leads them to another escape passage and closes it behind them, then goes to face the soldiers only to be confronted by Stryker, who remarks that it has been 15 years since he last saw Wolverine. As Stryker continues to talk to Wolverine, an ice wall suddenly separates them and Wolverine turns to see Rogue and Bobby had returned. Rogue pleads with him to come with them and Wolverine reluctantly does so, taking Cyclops’s car to make their escape. As they drive off, Rogue asks where they are going and when Wolverine says they are heading to Boston, as that is where Jean and Storm are, Bobby says his parents live there and Wolverine decides to head there to hide. Back in the mansion, Stryker is told that most of the mutants escaped but they managed to capture 6 of them, as his men work on breaking into Cerebro’s chamber. Elsewhere, Mystique, disguised as a hooker, picks up one of the guards in Magneto’s prison and after giving him a laced drink, injects some iron directly into his bloodstream. At Stryker’s facility, Xavier regains consciousness to find Styker watching him. When Stryker tries talking to him about his son, Stryker tells Xavier that after he returned from Xavier’s school, he started placing images into the heads of him and his wife and his wife eventually took a power drill and committed suicide by trying to drill the images out. Xavier realizes that Styker arranged the attack on the President and Stryker says that he has plans for Xavier to help him in dealing with the mutant problem, leaving Xavier there with his son, Jason, who begins using his powers to weaken Xavier’s willpower. In Boston, Bobby lets everyone into his parent’s house and he heads to his parent’s room to get some clothes for Rogue. After she changes, they kiss briefly and when it doesn’t have a bad effect on Bobby, they kiss even more but Rogue starts absorbing too much of Bobby’s energy and she quickly apologizes. Meanwhile, Wolverine tries using the communicator he found in Cyclops’s car to get in touch with Jean when Bobby’s family returns home and Bobby quickly comes downstairs to talk with them. In Magneto’s prison, the guard Mystique drugged goes to bring Magneto his food but Magneto, sensing the additional iron in the guard, rips it from his body, killing the guard. Fashioning the iron into ball bearings, Magneto uses them to destroy his cell and kill the other guards while making his escape. In Boston, Bobby’s parents are having a hard time coming to grips with Bobby telling them he is a mutant and his brother Ronny runs off and secretly calls the police. In the Blackbird, Storm and Jean can’t make contact with anyone at the mansion and eventually manage to contact Wolverine, who tells them where they are and tells them to hurry as the police show up. Wolverine heads outside to speak with the cops and ends up getting shot in the head. As the police tell Rogue, Bobby, and Pyro to get on  the ground, Rogue and Bobby comply but Pyro decides to attack the cops. When he sets one of the police cars on fire and refuses to stop, Rogue uses her powers to absorb his and put the fires out, just as Jean and Storm arrive. Wolverine recovers from the bullet and leads the kids onto the jet, with Bobby taking one last look at his family before boarding, and they quickly leave. Back in Stryker’s base, Jason continues using his powers and eventually manages to overcome Xavier’s will, tricking him into thinking he is a little girl and Xavier leads her away towards Cerebro. Back on the jet, Storm alerts everyone that two fighter jets are approaching them, just as the jets order them to follow them to a nearby air force base. When they don’t respond, the two jets fall back and move to fire on them so Storm uses her powers to summon some funnel clouds. The twisters manage to destroy the planes but not before one of the pilots is able to fire two missiles at them. Jean is able to stop one of them but the second one hits them, opening a hole in the tail section and causing them to plummet to the ground. Rogue, whose harness wasn’t fastened properly, gets sucked out of the hole but she is rescued by Nightcrawler. As the plane drops to the ground, it suddenly repairs itself before coming to a stop, and the surprised X-Men see Magneto and Mystique below them. That night, Jean, Storm, and Wolverine speak with Magneto and Mystique, who tells them about Styker and his plans. Informing them that with Cerebro and Xavier, Stryker could manage to get Xavier to kill every mutant on Earth, then comments about how Stryker was the one that bonded the adamantium to Wolverine. When they ask why he helped them, Magneto tells them that Mystique downloaded the plans for the base but not it’s location and he believes one of them does, looking up to indicate Nightcrawler, who had been snooping on their conversation. Jean uses her telepathy to learn that Stryker’s base is at Alkali Lake and when Logan says he didn’t see anything there, she says it is underneath the lake. With final repairs still taking several hours to complete, the group prepare to make camp for the night and Wolverine talks with Jean for a bit, bringing up the tension between them. Jean tells him that girls want someone that is willing to stick around, not just leave whenever they feel like it and Wolverine says he could find a reason to stay before kissing her but Jean asks him to stop and not to make her choose between Cyclops and him. Later that night, Jean goes to Wolverine’s tent and starts kissing him but as he moves his hands up her shirt, he feels three scars on her chest and realizes it is Mystique, who taunts him by changing into Storm, Rogue, and back into Jean before turning into Stryker and asking him what he really wants. The next day, they fly to Alkali Lake and Magneto and Mystique tease Rogue about her hair, prompting Bobby to lead Rogue away from them before she tries anything. Magneto then speaks with Pyro some and begins to bond with him, as Pyro has been feeling stifled with having to keep his powers hidden all the time. Back in their base, Stryker is told that the machine is finished and one of his soldiers asks why he is keeping the children there and Stryker tells him it is to see if his machine works. Outside the base, Storm and the others are discussing the best way to enter the base and stop Styker. Wolverine says he should go, as he feels Stryker would want to keep him alive, but Magneto says Wolverine won’t be able to manage the controls for the spillway. Mystique, disguised as Wolverine, goes instead and is let inside but when Stryker gets a closer look at him, he realizes this Wolverine is a fake and orders his men to shoot him. Mystique manages to get away and lock herself into the control room, opening the spillway so that Magneto and the others can enter. Realizing that time is running out, Stryker and Yuriko head to the Cerebro room, where he orders Jason to tell the mesmerized Xavier to start searching for all of the mutants all over the world, knowing that if Xavier focuses hard enough on them, he will inadvertently kill them all. When Magneto and the X-Men join Mystique in the control room, they start discussing plans and Wolveirne notices a monitor showing Styker and Yuriko trying to escape and he secretly goes off after him. Meanwhile, Storm notices the monitor showing the children and asks Nightcrawler to help her rescue them but is worried about leaving Jean and Wolverine with Magneto. When she asks where Wolverine is, Jean looks and sees his communicator lying on the table and says disappointedly that he is gone. Storm and Nightcrawler reach the children and Nightcrawler begins teleporting down to their cell to rescue them. Meanwhile, Jean, Magneto, and Mystique head towards the Cerebro chamber but when Jean senses the mesmerized Cyclops about to attack them, she telekineticaly shoves Magneto and Mystique to safety, then yells at them to keep going while she deals with Cyclops. After knocking him down to a lower level, Jean goes looking for him only for Cyclops to try and blast her again. Jean uses her powers to block his blast and, with a sudden surge of power (and a flash of fire in her eyes) she causes a massive feedback wave, knocking both of them back but also damaging the dam. As Jean lays dazed on the floor, Cyclops approaches her but as she readies to defend herself again, he says he is ok and apologizes for attacking her. The two embrace and Cyclops helps her to his feet but Jean suddenly says that something is wrong. Meanwhile, Stryker and Yuriko are making their way out of the base when Stryker feels water dripping from the ceiling and looking up, he notices cracks in the foundation. Heading to a bank of panels, he checks the readings and yells out as he realizes his plans might come to naught. Wolverine reaches the chamber where the adamantium was bonded to him and he starts having flashback of the experience. As shakes off the memories, Stryker appears and starts talking to him before exiting the room, leaving Yuriko there to handle Wolverine. Wolverine tries to go past her but she attacks him, revealing that she also had adamantium bonded to her and a healing factor. As the two keep fighting, Yuriko appears to get the upper hand and is about to kill him but Wolverine grabs an injection gun for the liquid adamantium and stabs her with it, injecting her body full of the liquid metal and sending her sinking to the bottom of the tank. Back on the jet, Pyro gets tired of waiting around and decides to head into the base to see what is happening, taunting Rogue and Bobby for always doing what they are told. Outside the Cerebro chamber, Magneto pulls the pins for the grenades that all of the soldiers are carrying, killing all of them, then approaches the door. Inside, Jason has Xavier concentrate on finding all of the mutants causing all of the mutants on Earth to start writhing in pain. Magneto, protected from the psychic attack by his helmet, uses his powers to open the door, disrupting power to Cerebro. He then heads inside and decides to change the pattern of the Cerebro plating, so that it will kill all of the humans, instead of the mutants. Mystique, who has recovered from the attack, changes into Stryker and tells Jason to kill all of the human instead. Outside, Stryker attempts to get away on his helicopter but he is stopped by Logan, who stabs him and asks about his past. Stryker tells him he volunteered for the project and if he remembered all of the things they had done, he would consider not knowing them a blessing. Suddenly, they hear a siren going off and Stryker tells him the dam is about to burst and the whole base will be flooded. He offers to tell Wolverine everything if he helps him get out of here but Wolverine chains Stryker to the landing gear then heads back to save his friends. As Stryker works on getting free of his bonds, he is suddenly struck by Xavier’s psychic attack and he starts writhing in pain. Outside the Cerebro chamber, Storm, Nightcrawler, and the students are joined by Jean and Cyclops, and Jean explains what is going on. Realizing they can’t open the door without killing Xavier, Storm asks Nightcrawler to teleport her inside the chamber. Nightcrawler does so and they are confronted by Jason, sending them the same illusion of the little girl he is using on Xavier, but Storm doesn’t fall for his deceptions and when she can’t make contact with Xavier, she uses her powers to lower the temperature in the room. Outside, Magneto and Mystique reach Stryker’s helicopter, with Magneto forcefully removing Stryker from the landing gear, and as they go to leave, they see Pyro outside watching them and they take him with them. Back in the Cerebro chamber, Storm’s efforts are rewarded as Jason looses his hold on Xavier, who is able to stop Cerebro, just as the dam starts to break and the base floods. Nightcrawler teleports Storm and Xavier to safety before the debris crushes them and they all head towards the exit to leave the spillway but they are stopped when Logan seals the doors just as the spillway floods and he leads them outside. Logan leads them outside to where the helicopter was only to find it missing but suddenly, the Blackbird appears, as Bobby and Rogue attempted to fly it to them. Everyone heads for the Blackbird but before he goes there, Wolverine discovers Striker trapped against some rocks where Magneto left him. Stryker asks Wolverine if he will find the answers he seeks with them and Wolverine says he will take his chances with them and walks away, as Stryker yells out that one day, someone will finish what he started. On board the plane, Xavier tells Cyclops that they have to head to Washington, as he fears this isn’t over yet. As they attempt to leave, Storm asks where Pyro is and Jean is able to tell that he is with Magneto. As the plane isn’t able to start, Jean senses that the dam has broke and she quietly walks off the plane. Wishing to keep her loved ones safe, she closes the loading ramp and and prevents Nightcrawler from teleporting to save her. She then telekineticaly lifts the plane into air while holding back the wave of water from crushing them. Speaking telepathically through Xavier, she tells them that this is the only way and wishes them goodbye. With her body surrounded by a glowing flame, she easily lifts the plane to safety and sends them flying, then allows the wave to crash down around her, as Cyclops cries out in grief over her death. In D.C., the President is preparing to give a live broadcast to discuss the phenomenon that affected the world when the power fluctuates and he notices everyone but him is frozen. As a storm suddenly occurs outside, darkening the room, a bolt of lightning reveals Xavier and the X-Men in the room. Xavier addresses the President and has Rogue hand him files that Shadowcat retrieved from Stryker’s office, revealing he was behind the attack on the President. Xavier explains that there are people, both human and mutant, that want feel that a war is coming between the two species but the President has been presented an opportunity to try and work towards peace instead, which is what they want as well. Another bolt of lightning occurs and Xavier and everyone is gone, and the President is left with the folder to prove that he didn’t imagine what happened. Back at the mansion, Xavier, Cyclops, and Wolverine are discussing Jean and as Cyclops and Wolverine leave so Xavier can teach his class, Wolverine tells Cyclops that Jean made a choice and choose him (Cyclops). In the class room, Xavier is about to address the children when he suddenly looks away for a minute before getting a smile on his face and turning back to the children, while in Alkali Lake, the flaming outline of a phoenix can be seen moving underneath the water.

X2: X-Men United met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor — and a benchmark for comic sequels in general.” The Sentinels, the mutant hunter/killer robots from the comics, were initially supposed to be used in this movie but due to budgeting and rewrites, they ended up being scrapped. They would make a somewhat brief appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand, though they weren’t referenced by name, and would be a central plot line for X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $407.7 million off of a $125 million budget and set up way for a sequel.

This was a really good movie and definitely showed some improvement from the first one. The acting was pretty good, with all of the returning character doing good jobs in their roles. I thought that Brian Cox was great as Stryker and Kelly Hu was decent as Yuriko (Lady Deathstrike) but I really wish they could have given her at least a little bit of character instead of making her nothing more than a robotic slave. The story was great, sticking fairly close to the graphic novel, but with some changes necessitated by the previous movie, as well as a little creative licensing. The minor change of making Stryker a black ops colonel, as opposed to a religious figurehead like he was in the comic, actually played out better in the movie and I liked how they made Magneto even more ruthless in this, as instead of simply leaving with Xavier and the X-Men like in the comic, he chose to alter Stryker’s plans in an attempt to kill all of the humans on Earth, which is a rather twisted sense of irony in that Magneto, a survivor of the Holocaust, would actively attempt to cause widespread genocide. I also liked how they dealt with Jean and her powers, slowly giving hints to the phoenix persona beginning to emerge by showing glimpses of fire in her eyes as she uses her powers. The special effects were really good throughout the whole move, especially during the jet chase scene amidst all of the funnel clouds as that was an incredible bit of artistic work. All in all, this is a great comic book movie and definitely something worth watching whenever it comes on.

Rating 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, fantasy, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

June 6th, 2018 Movie – Wyvern

wyvern

You know, as I get closer to the end of the alphabet I realize that I will also be getting to the end of several series of movies. Take today’s movie for instance. Not only is it the last movie for the letter “W”, but it is also the last movie in the Maneater franchise. Now I didn’t get a chance to watch this movie on TV when it aired, only watching it when I bought it on DVD with some other movies from the Maneater series. Still, this is one of those movies that I knew I would enjoy so let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Wyvern.

The plot: In Northern Alaska, a melting glacier uncovers a frozen wyvern, which wakes up from it’s frozen slumber and attacks a fisherman, drawn by the smell of his blood when he cuts his hand. In the nearby small town of Beaver Mills, Vinyl Hampton, the local radio DJ, is talking about the upcoming end to the midnight sun, as the town has had almost 24 hours of sunlight for the past 80 days. At the local diner, Jake is working on fixing the steps but keeps having to stop due to his hand being injured. The town doctor, David, walks by and says he is lucky to walk away from the wreck he was in with just the messed up hand and ankle and asks Jake to let him take a look at it but Jake refuses. The diner’s owner, Claire, brings a coffee out for Jake but David grabs it and invites her to go to a conference with him but Claire refuses. When David leaves, Jake comments about David’s persistence and speaks with Claire for a bit before she invites him inside to get some food. Meanwhile, Colonel Travis Sherman is calling out for his dog when a moose head suddenly drops into his hot tub. Meanwhile, Jake finishes working on the diner and heads back to his trailer to find David waiting for him. He reluctantly invites him in to let him look at his hand and after looking at it, David says his wrist is dislocated. Jake then asks the real reason David is there and David comments about how he noticed how Jake looks at Claire, and vice versa, and he doesn’t wan’t Claire hurt when Jake drives out of there after getting his insurance money. David leaves and heads back to town but stops along the way to use the restroom when he is attacked by the wyvern and carried off. Early the next morning, Jake wakes up from a nightmare about his wreck and heads into town, waiting on the diner steps for Claire to arrive and open up and he is soon joined by Chief Dawson. Meanwhile, a local resident named Hass is out hunting when he sees the wyvern and shoots at it when it flies down towards him. Hearing the shots, Dawson goes to check it out, thinking it is just some people letting off steam early, and invites Jake to go with him. They soon find Hass and question what he was doing but Hass is in shock, simply mumbling about a flying monster. As Jake and Dawson put Hass in Dawson’s truck, they notice David’s arm lying in the grass but see no sign of the rest of him. They take Hass back into town, calling Deputy Barnes to call a town meeting at the diner. When Jake, Dawson, and Hass get to town Dawson tells the towns folk about David being missing and badly hurt, not telling them they think he is dead, but when Barnes shows up with the arm, Claire and some of the others get upset. When asked about the festival that day, Dawson says that it can still happen, though Jake says it is a bad idea, then heads out to answer a call he received. Meanwhile, the Colonel spots the wyvern flying over his house and heads to town to try and warn people. He talks to Barnes and his friend Farley but both of them don’t believe him and when he tries to tell Hampton to make an emergency broadcast but she says she can’t without authorization or visual proof of something happening. Meanwhile, Dawson goes to the resident’s house that called the sheriff’s office only to find both of the residents, as well as their caged minks, dead and he ends up knocking himself unconscious. When he comes too, he radios Barnes to shut down the festival on his authority. Back in town, Hampton sees the wyvern land outside the station and attempts to make an emergency broadcast but it knocks out the power to the station. In the town square, Barnes is telling everyone to go home when she is attacked and killed by the wyvern, sending everyone into a panic. In the diner, Jake, Claire, Hass, and Edna hear the commotion just as the wyvern approaches the diner and tries to get inside, forcing them all to take cover. When it leaves, Hampton and Farley head inside the diner and after making sure everyone is ok, they try to figure out what the creature is. Edna thinks it is the beast from Revelations but Hass, coming out of his shock, says it is a wyvern from Norse mythology. Trying to come up with a plan, Jake and Claire decide to go try to find Dawson, telling Hampton and Hass to try and get a hold of the state troopers on the CB. As they are driving to where Dawson was going, they see the wyvern fly overhead and land nearby and Jake decides to head out to see where it is heading. Meanwhile, the Colonel decides to head out to get the authorities on his own but as he drives down the highway, he sees the road blocked with wrecked vehicles and realizes the wyvern is not going to let them leave. Back in town, Dawson arrives and sees the carnage from the festival and is in shock at what happened. Hass and the others see him and yell for him to get in the diner, just as the wyvern returns and ends up grabbing Dawson and flying off with him. Back in the woods, Jake goes as far as he can in his truck, then heads out on foot, leaving Claire in the truck. After he leaves, the wyvern appears and rips off the door to try to get to Claire but she shoots it and manages to escape.  Jake manages to spot the wyvern’s nest but when he hears the shots, he heads back and finds Claire hiding in the trees. The Colonel pulls up and tells them about the highway and says that the wyvern is keeping them there as it’s food supply so they head back to town. When they reach town, they head into the diner and try to think of a new plan. Hampton says that she might be able to jury rig a long range antennae but since hers is trashed, she would need the one from a nearby store to use. Jake and Hampton head out, stopping by Dawson’s truck to get his weapons from the back, and then they head to the store. As they are inside, the wyvern lands on the roof and grabs some of the wires before flying off and after it leaves, Jake goes to get the antennae, managing to get it unscrewed and throwing it to Hampton before the wyvern returns, and they manage to get back to the diner. With the jury rigged antennae, Hampton and Jake tries to reach the state authorities and manage to contact someone but there signal keeps cutting in and out and they aren’t sure if they managed to get their call for help through. Jake, Colonel, Hass, and Farley head out and get some gas from the trucks outside, as well as some other supplies, but the wyvern returns and slashes Farley in the stomach with it’s tail. Back at the nest, David is shown to be alive and after fixing a tourniquet around his severed arm, he looks inside the nest and sees three eggs inside, just before the wyvern returns and grabs him. The wyvern returns to town and drops David on the ground, then lands on the roof of the diner and waits. Jake and the others realize it is using David as bait but Jake can’t just leave David out there. He goes out to save him, with Colonel and Hass covering him. Jake grabs David and starts making his way back and Farley, thinking that he won’t make it, decides to run out to distract the wyvern and ends up being killed. As they all recover and rest, David comes too and tells them about the eggs in the nest before he dies from his wounds. Jake, Hass, Colonel, Hampton, and Claire head out to the nest and, seeing a generator nearby, come up with a plan to electrify the nest in order to kill the wyvern and the eggs. As they head out, Hass ends up being killed by the wyvern but Jake and Hampton get the generator set up and shock the wyvern but it only chases it off. The Colonel shoots two of the eggs but Jake stops him from shooting the third, saying they need it as bait. Heading off with the egg, they come across some  more wrecked and abandoned cars, including a new semi, which happened to be Jake’s replacement truck. Coming up with a new plan, Jake grabs the GPS from David’s car and has the egg strapped into his truck, then drives off, luring the wyvern into following him. As the wyvern starts attacking the truck, Jake steers it towards a cliff and jumps out before it goes over the edge, Pinning the wyvern underneath it as it crashes, then explodes on the rocks below. Jake returns to town to tell everyone it is over and when Hampton asks about the rig, he says he doesn’t need it anymore as he has grown to like it in Beaver Mills, hugging Claire as they all head back inside the diner.

This is one of those no frills, killer animal movies where you know exactly what you are going to get out of it, and enjoy every second of it. This movie was a lot better than I honestly thought it was going to be. The acting was good, with Nick Chinlund and Erin Karpluk doing a good job as Jake and Claire respectively. I also liked Don S. Davis (Colonel) and Barry Corbin (Hass), as they had some great lines throughout the movie. The story was good and I liked that they used a wyvern instead of just calling it a dragon, like most people would probably have done. I also liked that they showcased the creatures intelligence with the scene of it using David as bait to try and lure the others out of the diner. The wyvern’s design was pretty good and I liked the over all special effects in the movie, though there were a few times where they did look a little weak. Still, definitely an enjoyable movie for any sci-fi/horror fan, especially if you are a fan of the Maneater series like me.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

June 3rd, 2018 Movie – Wonder Woman (2009

wonder woman 2009

Man, why can’t DC make their live action movies as good as their animated ones. I know it is a pipe dream but it would still be nice. Anyways, in 2005, DC started a line of animated movies, separate from the earlier movies that were all related to the animated cartoons started by Bruce Timm. Today’s movie was the 4th one in the series and the first animated movie to really focus on the female member of DC’s leading trio. So, let’s see how good of a job that they did with today’s movie, Wonder Woman (2009).

The plot: In Ancient Greece, Queen Hippolyta leads the Amazons against the forces of Ares, God of War. As Hippolyta faces off against Ares on her own, Artemis and Persephone help keep Artemis’s sister Alexa safe, as she is more of a scholar than a warrior, but Persephone loses an eye in the process. Hippolyta continues to fight Ares but knowing that he only grows stronger as the fighting continues, she changes targets and goes after Thrax, the demigod son of Ares and Hippolyta, who is leading his father’s army. Hippolyta decapitates Thrax and when Ares tries to attack her, she gets the upper hand and is prepared to kill him as well. Suddenly, Zeus appears and tells her to spare Ares life and Hippolyta refuses at first but Hera then appears and calms Hippolyta down. She has Ares bound in bracers that disconnect him from his ability to feed off the aura of violence and death that gives him strength. She then offers Hippolyta the island of Themyscira for her and the Amazons to live in peace forever, as guards of Ares prison. As time passes, Hippolyta, feeling the loss of her child, molds one out of clay on the beach and holds it up to the Gods, where a bolt of life strikes it and brings it to life. Years pass and the baby has grown into a woman named Diana, who questions why they are always training when they never fight in any wars. Hippolyta leads her to the prison, and shows her Ares, still bound in chains, and tells her that they must always be vigilant to prevent him from escaping, as mankind has no doubt continued it’s warring ways. In the outside world, USAF Colonel Steve Trevor is on a mission with two other pilots when they are attacked by 6 enemy planes. As the planes fight in the air, all 6 enemy planes are killed but both of Steve’s wingmen are killed and Steve’s plane is damaged causing him to fall towards the sea. Suddenly, Steve sees the Themyscira before him, as someone had punched the mirror that allows it to interact with the real world, and he manages to crash his plane in a lake on the island. After swimming to shore, Steve comes across some Amazons bathing by a waterfall but he is soon attacked by Artemis and some other Amazons before eventually being captured by Diana. Steve is brought before Hippolyta, who uses the lasso of truth to determine how much he knows about Themyscira. Realizing that neither he, nor his government, knows anything about them, Hippolyta decides to send him back to his world. Diana offers to escort him but Hippolyta tells her she doesn’t have the experience necessary for such an undertaking and says they will hold a tournament to determine a worthy emissary. When Diana continues to argue that she will never gain experience if her mother keeps her from doing anything, Persephone suggest she help her guard Ares and Hippolyta agrees with her. As the Amazons prepare for the tournament, Alexa goes to prison and offers to take Diana’s place, telling Diana to keep her identity hidden underneath her warrior’s helmet. As the tournament commences, Persephone express displeasure in Diana shirking her duty and as Alexa tries to console her, Persephone stabs her in the back. As Alexa falls to the floor and lays dying, she sees Persephone open the cell and kiss Ares, who says he has been seducing her for 100 years, then finishes off Alexa. Back at the tournament, Diana ends up winning and when she approaches her mother, she takes off her helmet and Hippolyta says she will make them proud. Suddenly, a guard informs Artemis of Alexa’s death and as Artemis, Hippolyta, Diana, and some other Amazons head there, they find Ares and Persephone have both fled. Diana weeps over her friend’s body and Hippolyta says that she now has a second task to accomplish in man’s world. Diana dons the armor and lasso of truth and flies off with Steve in her invisible jet and takes Steve to New York. When they arrive in New York, Diana is amazed by some of the sights she sees, especially the sight of children playing, but is also upset at how women are treated as inferior to men. Steve tries to get her to focus on the mission of finding Ares, while continuously flirting with her, and notices an uptick in violent crimes all over the world. Setting the computer to hunt for a pattern in the events, Steve takes Diana to a bar for some drinks, attempting to get her drunk, but she easily out drinks him, then storms out of the bar. When Steve tries to follow, Diana yells at him for proving that her mother was right and showing her the worst out of men, just as a group of muggers appear and try to mug them. Diana easily defeats the muggers and when another figure approaches, Steve tries to take it on only to be knocked aside as it is a servant of Ares from the underworld. Diana starts battling the creature and manages to get the upper hand but it kills itself before it can be forced to talk. Steve searches among the ashes and finds an disk with a symbol on it and Diana recognizes it as the sign of Tartarus. They fly to a mountain in Greece and discover a rebel group that Diana says is the modern incarnation of the Cult of Ares. Working together, they dispatch the guards and head inside the temple, where they find Ares preparing to sacrifice one of the cult members in order to open the gates to Tartarus. Diana tells Steve they have to stop Ares and goes to stop him but Ares casts a spell to bring the two giant harpy statues to life to attack them. Diana manages to kill one of them but the second one grabs her before she can kill Ares and flies off with her. Faced with the choice of saving Diana or stopping Ares, Steve decides to save Diana, managing to get on top of the harpy and throwing a grenade in it’s mouth, then rescuing Diana when it falls. Meanwhile, Ares makes the sacrifice and opens the gate and heads into the underworld with Persephone while Steve flies Diana to get treated for her injuries. In Tartarus, Hades leaves Persephone with Cerberus while he goes to see Hades alone and is shocked to find that Hades has made Thrax his slave but Hades agrees to free Ares from his bonds. At the hospital, Diana regains consciousness and when she learns that Steve chose to save her over stopping Ares, she slaps him and says she was prepared to die for her cause. When she accuses Steve of being willing to accomplish the mission if she was a man instead of a “damsel in distress”, Steve yells at her, saying that the Amazons aren’t perfect either, as he feels separating themselves from humanity was cowardly, and he saved her because he cared for her. The two get closer and seem about to kiss but Diana slaps him again and says they have work to do. In Washington D.C., Ares assembles his army and prepares to wage a war that will cause all of humanity to be slaughtered and allow him to challenge the Gods of Olympus, then sends them after the national guard, who have assembled to stop them. Diana and Steve arrive and begin working on stopping Ares army from destorying D.C. but Diana ends up being captured. Ares moves to behead her, much like Hippolyta beheaded his son but an arrow suddenly knocks the sword from his hand and he turns to find that the Amazons have left Themyscira and come to help Diana stop Ares. As Ares forces move to fight the Amazons, Diana frees herself and continues fighting Ares, getting the upper hand. Meanwhile, the President, feeling the influence of Ares in D.C. says that someone has to pay for this attack and when his intelligence agencies tell him of Themyscira appearing out of nowhere, he orders a nuclear missile to be fired at it. As Diana asks Ares how he will be able to challenge the Gods when he can’t beat her, he tells her of the nuclear missile and how it’s destructive power is like 1000 wars, allowing him to increase his size and strength. Steve sees the missile flying off and gets into Diana’s invisible jet and takes off after it, managing to shoot it down before it destroys Themyscira. As Ares continues to batter Diana, he uses his new found power to summon the spirits of the dead Amazons and sends them to fight the Amazon army, and as each Amazon falls, it rejoins the battle and fights against the remaining Amazons. Artemis ends up fighting against her dead sister Alexa, who continuous says a phrase to her. Realizing that Alexa wants her to say it, Artemis does so and the phrase is revealed to be a spell that removes Ares’s unnatural control over the Amazons. The dead Amazons move to attack Ares but he uses his powers to destroy the dead Amazons. Meanwhile, Hippolyta ends up fighting against Persephone and as Hippolyta kills her and says she betrayed the Amazons, Persephone said Hippolyta betrayed them by denying them the right to have a family or children. Diana and Ares continue fighting and Diana finally defeats him by using the Lasso of Truth to grab Ares and pull him into the path of a bolt of lightning he summoned, then cutting off his head. As Steve lands the plane and approaches Diana, the two embrace and kiss, while the Amazons cheer both them and their victory over Ares army. The Amazons return to Themyscira and Hippolyta comments on Artemis’s attempt at reading a book. She then notes Diana sitting sadly on a bench and, realizing that she misses Steve, hands her back the armor and lasso and tells Diana that she has a new mission, to reopen the lines of communication between man and woman. Diana returns to New York to be with Steve but when they see the super villain Cheetah robbing a bank, Diana quickly changes clothes to stop her, as the newly christened super hero Wonder Woman.

This was a pretty good movie and one of their better examples of their early movies. The voice acting was pretty good, with Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion doing a good job as Diana and Steve respectively. I also thought that Alfred Molina did a great job as Ares, putting a lot of emphasis into making him feel like he was truly evil. The plot was good, though it really was nothing more than an origin story for the most part. I did like how they showed how some of the Amazons, personified in Persephone, might have questioned being forever isolated from the rest of the world and, while not saying they wanted all of the physical things, did wish for a normal life and the chance to have a family as opposed to always training for battle like they do. I also thought they made a decent attempt at not making Diana more sexual but then they had to go and through in the scene with her putting on her uniform and you get the one bit where it is nothing more than a “Hey, check out my boobs” moment and it just shot that all to hell. I thought the animation was pretty good and the colors and shading done during the carious scenes, with the battle scenes and the scenes in Tartarus appearing darker to make it fit the dark mood in the scenes. A good animated movie and a good entry into DC’s library of animated works.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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