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June 20th, 2018 Movie – Reptillian (a.k.a. Yonggary)

yonggary

As the century was coming to an end, there was a lot of buzz about the Hollywood big budget remake of Godzilla. Well, South Korea decided to reboot their own monster and bring him into the new century as well. Now I had heard about this occurring and was actually curious about seeing it. My first encounter with this movie was actually catching the last 10 minutes or so on TV one day and my initial thoughts were, “What the hell is this?” I would eventually watch the whole movie when I picked it up on DVD but I have to say I was disappointed. See, much like the original Yongary, the original Korean version was not available for me to get, but this time it was not because the print was lost, but rather that it was never released on video in any market. So I am forced to watch the American version, which was released in the U.S. as Reptilian.

The plot: In Southeast Asia, an archaeological team is exploring some caverns but when one of the leaders, Dr. Hughes, gets separated from the group, the other leader, Dr. Campbell, refuses to go look for him, wanting to claim any finds for himself. As Dr. Hughes searches for the others, he finds several fossils including that of an alien being holding a strange gem, which shocks him and causes him to stumble and cry out. One of the team members hears him and wants to go looking for him but Campbell refuses, saying they are too close. He then sees a strange glowing rock and has the workers dig there but when the worker strikes the rock, an explosion occurs that kills all of the team members except for Campbell, who had ducked behind some rocks, and Hughes as he wasn’t there. Campbell steps out from the rocks and sees a rock with some hieroglyphs on it and starts laughing. Two years later, an alien mothership approaches the Earth, hiding behind the moon to avoid detection before launching several ships and destroying a satellite and space shuttle. Meanwhile, reporter Bud Black is sent to cover the story of Dr. Campbell’s latest discovery, a giant dinosaur fossil. Later that night, Dr. Hughes confronts Campbell’s assistant and niece Holly Davis but Campbell shows up and mocks Hughes for disappearing for the past 2 years. Hughes warns Campbell about his greed and tells him that they will all be in danger if Yonggary regains life. Some time later, the alien ships fire on the Earth, causing an electrical surge near the dig site that kills two workers. The next morning, Bud is taking some pictures of the accident but Campbell grabs his camera and destroys the film. He then tells the workers to get rid of the bodies and continue their work, offering them double their salary to continue. When Holly questions him, he speaks with her privately and despite her saying that it was the third “accident” in the last week, he refuses to let anything stop the dig and says she can leave if she doesn’t like it. Later that night, another worker is killed as the fossil begins to regrow it’s teeth and bones. Bud heard the scream and takes some pictures but Campbell again destroys the film, saying bad publicity won’t do either of them any good, then gets rid of the body but another body appears in the morning. Meanwhile, the U.S. military have detected the alien spaceship and General Murdock is placed in command of the situation. Back in Asia, Holly has left the dig site after Campbell’s refusal to investigate the deaths. She is approached by Hughes, who asks her to hear him out. He explains that there were more hieroglyphs in the cavern as well as the alien fossil and what he deciphered talked about how Yonggary would be brought back to life by a beam of light. When she asks why he didn’t tell the authorities, he tells her he was a “guest” of the U.S. government but they were more interested in the alien fossil than his warnings. Holly and Hughes head back to the dig site just as the fossil is completely unearthed and Campbell gloats in his believed supremacy. When the alien craft fires another beam at the site, it revives Yonggary, who attacks the site, killing Campbell and several workers, before being teleported away by the aliens. Meanwhile, the Murdock is told of the alien attack on the dig site and sends Captain Parker to investigate and he finds Hughes and Holly and begins questioning them before having Sgt. Archie take them back to their command center. Along the way, Hughes explains some more to Holly about what happened to him the last two years, and how NSIA (National Space Investigation Agency) had classified his information that he gave them so he chose to work on finishing decoding all of the hieroglyphs before trying to stop Campbell. Suddenly, Yonggary is teleported right in front of them and as they stop the jeep, they get out and observe Yonggary, with Hughes telling them not to make any sudden movement. When a fleet of helicopters attracts his attention, they quickly get away as the helicopters begin attacking Yonggary but have no success and he destroys several of them before being teleported away again. Back in the command center, Murdock is ranting about the situation when he is alerted to the arrival of Mr. Mills, a representative from NSIA, who says he had advanced knowledge of the alien craft, which angers Murdock when Mills says they knew about it months ago. Mills explains that a paleontologist had given them information of an alien civilization had visited the Earth over 200 million years ago but he stole sensitive data and disappeared. The aliens teleport Yonggary into the nearby city and Murdock and his team are able to get a visual of it before the aliens destroy the satellite. Archie enters the command center with Holly and Hughes and Mills says that Hughes is the paleontologist that was helping them. When Hughes tells Murdock that Mills chose to ignore his warnings and says he might be able to stop Yonggary if he can finish decoding the information on the disk he has, Mills tries to grab the disk but Archie stops him. As Murdock tries to coordinate an attack on Yonggary, Mills tries to leave but Murdock refuses to let him leave the building and has Archie escort him out of the command room. As a jet squadron begin attack Yonggary with no success, Murdock is informed that he has 5 hours to try to destroy Yonggary or else the President will authorize a nuke to be dropped. When Yonggary is teleported away again, Murdock organizes an evacuation of the city in case he returns, then tries to figure out what they should do next, deciding to activate an experimental T-Force squadron to attack Yongarry with jet packs if he returns. Meanwhile, Hughes and Holly manage to finish deciphering the rest of the hieroglyphs and realize that Yonggary is being controlled by the aliens by a diamond in it’s head but they are confused when it says that another beam of light will occur if the diamond is destroyed. Yonggary is teleported next to a nuclear plant and Parker leads the T Force to stop him. Hughes and Holly tell Murdock about the diamond and Parker is ordered to target it and when the aliens realize that they are targeting the diamond, they teleport him away. Back at the command center, Murdock has Mills brought back into the room and questions him about the diamond that Hughes had and he explains that it was essentially a non carbon material. Figuring out that they can track the teleport beam with infared, they follow the beam as Yonggary is teleported back to the city. Parker leads his team to attack Yonggary again but his jet pack is damaged by debris from an exploding building, forcing him to crash. As his team is getting destroyed, he orders them to fall back but one of his troops sacrifices himself to destroy the diamond before Yonggary can teleport away again. Parker attacks Yonggary but notices that he is acting different and stops as Yonggary appears non-aggressive. When some planes attack and accidentally hit a building, Yonggary stops it from falling on people and Hughes and Holly convince Murdock that Yonggary is on their side now and he calls off the attack. Murdock contacts the President and asks for more time, when their signals are suddenly jammed. They discover that Mills is jamming them, as he wants Yonggary dead for his own reasons but they are able to stop Mills and regain communications. They discover that the aliens have sent another monster named Cyker to fight Yonggary and the two monsters fight, with Yonggary seemingly killing it when he rips off it’s head. When Cyker continues fighting, Yonggary blows a fireball down it’s open neck, causing him to explode. Hughes and Holly cheer that Cyker is destroyed but Murdock warns them that it isn’t over yet, as they rush to stop the nuke from being dropped on the city, stopping it at the last second. With Cyker killed, the aliens choose to leave, saying they need to escape before Yonggary discovers his true powers while on Earth, Yonggary is transported to a deserted island to live.

This is honestly a truly disappointing movie to watch. The acting was honestly bad, with several characters going completely over the top with their delivery. Bruce Cornwell (Mills) and Richard Livingston (Campbell) were honestly the only two that gave any sort of emotion with their performances that helped make their characters more memorable; with Campbell coming across as a real egotistical asshole while Mills came across as a true, weaselly, self-serving government stooge. The story honestly felt kind of disjointed in what they were going for. I mean, I actually thought the idea of aliens bringing the Yonggary fossil back to life to destroy the world was kind of a neat idea, but the pacing of the movie and the various cutaways just made it difficult to really follow. The special effects were honestly just terrible. Instead of suitimation, they decided to make the monsters both CGI but while the creature designs looked good, the creatures looked soo fake when they were in the cities or fighting each other. It honestly made the movie look extremely cheap, which is a knock against it as it was apparently the most expensive South Korean film produced at the time. A let down of a movie and a sad way to more or less kill a franchise.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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horror, kaiju movie, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 19th, 2018 Movie – Yongary: Monster From The Deep

yongary Monster From The Deep

I didn’t lie yesterday. I told you that I was out of Toho kaiju movies but I didn’t say I was completely out of kaiju movies. Today’s movie is actually a little fitting considering the nationality of it. See, back in the 60’s, South Korea, seeing the success of Godzilla and other kaiju films, decided to try their hand at the kaiju movie business. So South Korea’s Keukdong Entertainment Company decided to partner with Japan’s Toei Company (who would later become famous for Super Sentai (which would become Power Rangers)) and come up with their own movie. Now I first heard about this movie years ago while talking about Japanese monster movies and someone had asked if I had seen it, saying it was basically a Korean Godzilla knock off. Well I hadn’t at the time but I would rectify that and pretty soon added Yongary: Monster Of The Deep to my collection of kaiju movies.

The plot: In South Korea, the families of an astronaut and his new bride watch as they drive off for their honeymoon, then tease Il-woo and his girlfriend Soon-a about when they will tie the knot. Il-woo leaves, citing he has a lot of research to do, and Soon-a is upset, thinking that he loves his research more than her but her father assures her that is not the case. As the married couple drive down the road, they are struck by a beam of light that causes them to start itching. Il-woo comes across them and after talking with the astronaut, he realizes what is going on and calls out for Icho, the bride’s younger brother, the come out of hiding. Icho comes out and the couple continue on their honeymoon while Il-woo chastises Icho for taking the ray gun out of his lab, saying he could have seriously hurt his sister with it. That night, the astronaut gets called away from his honeymoon for an emergency assignment to provide rocket surveillance on a possible nuclear testing site in the middle east. As his capsule heads into space and begins monitoring the area, the test commences and the explosion causes interference with the capsules radio, as well as triggers an earthquake to occur. When the control tower finally manages to regain contact with the capsule, they have him land and he informs them that the earthquake is moving, just as the scientists confirm that the earthquake’s epicenter has shifted and is moving towards Korea. As officials meet to discuss what they should do about the earthquake, it reaches the Hwanghae province and they decide to evacuate the area and impose martial law. As the earthquake occurs, a photographer in the area takes some pictures and spots a creature moving around underneath where the ground split open. He drives off to try and get to the authorities but ends up crashing off a cliff due to the tremors. Some guards find him and bring him to the emergency panel, where he hands them his camera before dying from his wounds. When the film is developed, the authorities see the man’s pictures of the giant monster and one of the scientist names the creature Yongary, based on an old legend. When Yongary emerges from the ground, the military is sent in to try and kill him but their tanks have no effect on the giant monster as it makes it’s way towards Seoul. As the city is evacuated, Il-woo decides to head there to observe Yongary and try to figure out a weakness and Soon-a and Icho go to try and stop him. They eventually find Il-woo and duck behind a wall as Yongary is close by, then watch as it continues to wreck the city. Deciding it is too dangerous, they all leave but end up getting separated, and Il-woo and Soon-a start trying to find Icho. The military wants to use guided missiles to attack Yongary but the government fears it would cause more damage to the area and refuses to allow the attack. Meanwhile, Icho makes his way through the sewers and ends up at an oil refinery just as Yongary arrives there. Icho watches as Yongary begins drinking from the tanks containing gasoline and oil, so Icho shuts off the valve, preventing more oil from flowing to the tanks. As Yongary angrily starts thrashing about, he smashes a building and causes an explosion that envelopes him in a white cloud of gas. Icho notices that Yongary starts acting strange when the gas cloud envelopes him and he rushes off to find Il-woo and tell him what he saw. When Icho returns home, he tells Il-woo what he saw and they decide to go to the authorities to speak with them and Il-woo says that the missiles would only make him stronger but they don’t believe him and decide to continue with their plan to use guided missiles on Yongary. Il-woo returns to his lab and, based on what Icho had said about the gas, begins fashioning an ammonia solution to try and defeat Yongary. Icho sneaks back out of the house and uses the itch ray to lure Yongary back to the refinery, where it absorbs the fire from a burning tanker. The military launches it’s missile attack but they have no effect on Yongary. Meanwhile, Il-woo, Soon-a, her sister and new husband use a helicopter to fly over Yongary and drop Il-woo’s ammonia solution into the clouds, causing it to rain and put Yongary to sleep but Il-woo says it is only temporary and that he needs to do some more work on the formula. As he works in his lab on the formula, Icho sneaks out again and goes to see Yongary, using the beam on him and causing him to wake up. Icho laughs when it appears Yongary is starting to dance and he dances with him until some soldiers show up and quickly take Icho to safety. Yongary renews his rampage and the military realizes that their missiles had no effect on him and try a new attack on him. Meanwhile, Il-woo finishes refining his solution and heads out to load it into a helicopter. As Yongary reaches the Han river, they fly overhead and begin dumping the ammonia onto Yongary, causing him to thrash about violently before eventually collapsing to the ground. Icho begs them not to kill Yongary but Il-woo says they have no choice as Yongary finally dies. The next day, Il-woo is commended for his role in stopping Yongary and he gives Icho the credit for his observations on Yongary’s behavior. Icho tells the reporters that Yongary wasn’t really evil, as he was just searching for food but he knows that Yongary couldn’t live with people, but still wishes he could dance with him again. As they all head inside, Il-woo offers to marry Soon-a and she accepts, the smacks Icho when he says that soon she might have a brat like him of her own.

I honestly think the thing that bugs me the most about this movie is that we will probably never be able to see the original Korean version, as the original negatives were shipped out overseas for international release and ended up being lost and the only version available is the AIP English dub. That being said, there are some good elements to this movie but it is one of the weaker kaiju movies that I have seen. The acting was ok, though the dubbing made some of the scenes more comedic than they probably should have been. They seemed to decide to go with the Gamera route and have this be somewhat more kid-centric so a lot of focus was on Icho but to be honest, he was kind of a pain in the ass brat. I mean, he steals the ray gun three times, using it first on his own sister and then on Yongary twice. Some aspects of the story were interesting, such as Yongary feeding on oil and gasoline but the one obvious flaw with that plot line is that if the nuclear test and earthquake occurred in the Middle East, then wouldn’t Yongary just stay in that region, as there is an abundance of those substances there. But of course, they wanted the movie to be focused on South Korea so they had him travel there. The Yongary suit honestly looked a little cheap, and you could totally see the flame thrower nozzle in his mouth the times he breathed fire, while the model sets were kind of hit or miss in regards to how good they looked. It was a good attempt, but I think they could have done a better job with it.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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

yog monster from space

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

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

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

Rating: 3 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller

June 16th, 2018 Movie – Xtinction: Predator X (a.k.a. Alligator X)

xtinction predator x

Wow, when you get to these last couple of letters in the alphabet, they seem to just fly by. So today’s movie is the only movie I own starting with the letter “X” that does not involve the X-men. Obviously, I need to do something to rectify that, and there are a few movies that I have intended to pick up at some point, but for now, this will have to do. Anyways, I first saw this movie on Netflix a couple of years ago and thought it was pretty interesting. I then saw it again, only with a different title. This lead to a bit of confusion when I tried to pick this movie on DVD. Still, I thought it was worth picking up so I found it and that leads us to today’s movie, Xtinction: Predator X.

The plot: In the Louisiana bayou, two deputies pull their boat up to a floating dock and find the severed arm of a man named Lefty. The radio in to Sheriff Tim Richards to tell him what they found and he says that Pappy, along with three other people, have gone missing and they should keep looking. Suddenly, the dock is jostled and as the deputy on the dock tries to see what hit it, he notices his partner is missing. Seeing his hat in the water, he goes to retrieve it only to have something attack him and drag him into the water. Elsewhere, Pappy’s daughter Laura has returned home and is attempting to run Pappy’s swamp tour business only to learn that he is in debt and owes the bank money. When she sees her ex husband Dr. Charles LeBlanc approaching the dock, she grabs a shotgun and tells him to leave, as she feels he is stalking her. Charles tells her that he didn’t even know she was there and had come back to town himself to buy up some of the swamp land for his own research, giving up his teaching career to do so. Charles gets some water samples from near her dock and leaves, running into Tim as he does and they confront each other about Tim’s feelings towards Laura. After Charles leaves, Tim goes to talk to Laura and tells her that there is no sign of Pappy still. They then talk about Charles, and Laura mentions his work in attempting to bring back extinct animals but he was denied the funding for it. Suddenly, Tim gets a call from his brother Henry, who is also a deputy, saying he found something and Tim heads out to see for himself. When he gets there, Henry shows him Lefty’s arm and they wonder what could have ripped his arm off like that. Back on the dock, Froggy, Pappy’s mechanic/employee is working on the tour boat and telling Laura that everything should be ok and Pappy will turn up sooner or later when they are approached by a young man, Tom, asking if he and his girlfriend Mandy can go on a tour. Froggy starts to tell them no but when Tom offers cash, saying he wants to propose to Mandy before he ships out the next day, Laura agrees to take them out, deciding she can look for Pappy at the same time. As they make their way on the tour, Tom asks to go to Pappy’s special spot and Laura tries to head there but she is unfamiliar with the swamp after being gone for several years. Suddenly, the boat is struck by a pliosaurus, which swims off undetected, and they are forced to head to shore so Laura can work on the engine. As she works on the engine, Tom goes ahead and proposes to Mandy and when Laura goes to congratulate them, they notice the shirt that she pulled from the engine is covered in blood. Suddenly, they hear screaming coming from the woods and Laura heads out to investigate. She soon sees Barry and Larry Boudreaux leading a tied up man with a sack covering his face towards the water and after Barry drops a sensor into the water, Larry takes off the sack and pushes the man in. The pliosaurus, attracted by the sensor, kills the man and Laura screams as she recognizes him as Pappy, then runs back to the boat only to find the Boudreaux’s have captured her customers and knock her out. The next day, Henry calls Tim out to the scene of the wrecked police boat and Tim is shocked to see a huge tooth stuck in the wreckage. When Tim gets a call from Froggy saying that Laura never came back last night, he heads over to Pappy’s place but stops when he notices Charles’s car at the local tavern. Heading inside, he questions Charles about where he was last night, and when he last saw Laura, but Charles tells him he hasn’t seen her since she threatened him with a shotgun the day before. Meanwhile, Laura regains consciousness to find herself and Mandy tied up in the Boudreaux’s shack, with Mandy showing signs she was molested. Barry and Larry are testing some water from some containers when they notice Laura is awake and Barry taunts her some before Larry says it is feeding time. The two leave and head out to the swamp with a bound Tom and they use the sensor to summon the pliosaurus but it doesn’t show up so they decide to feed Tom to some nearby alligators instead. Meanwhile, Charles comes across the wrecked boat and speaks with Henry, who shows him the tooth, and Charles tells him it is from a pliosaurus tooth and that the creature appears to be dying based on the condition of the tooth. Elsewhere, Tim and Froggy go out on a boat to try and find Laura, Tom, and Mandy and when they reach “Pappy’s Spot” and find no sign of them, Tim tries contacting Henry only to have his signal cut out. Climbing onto the tree to get a better vantage point of the area, Tim sees a form moving underwater just before it attacks the boat, knocking Froggy into the water, who disappears from view. Back at the Boudreaux’s shack, Laura and Mandy try to come up with a plan to get free when the Boudreaux’s return, saying the police are on their way. Henry shows up, having decided to follow up on something Charles said earlier and Laura shouts out for help and Henry heads inside only to be knocked out by Charles. As Laura questions why he is there and realizes he is working with the Boudreauxs, Charles is upset to learn that they killed Pappy and ends up knocking Laura out when she won’t stop yelling at him. Taking the Boudreauxs outside, Charles talks to them about their killing Pappy but the Boudreauxs tell him that they found that Pappy’s land has the necessary nutrients in the water that the pliosaurus needs, but Pappy wouldn’t sell the land. Charles decides to force Laura to sign, threatening Henry’s life if she doesn’t. Meanwhile, Laura regains consciousness and her and Mandy try to free themselves from their restraints and manage to get Mandy free before Charles and the Boudreauxs return. Charles tells the Boudreauxs to grab Laura and Henry and as the grab her, Laura mouths for Mandy to get help. Laura and Henry are led to the swamp and Charles explains his plan to Laura, then forces her to sign over Pappy’s land. Laura agrees and Charles leaves to go build a nest for the pliosaurus on Pappy’s land, leaving the Boudreauxs to deal with Laura, Henry, and Mandy. Barry goes to grab Laura and throw her into the water when Mandy gets their attention by blowing up the Boudreaux’s cabin. Laura uses the distraction to stab Larry in the eye with the pen and as he stumbles in pain, the pliosaurus lunges forwards and kills him. Laura, Henry, and MAndy run for it but Barry, enraged at his brother’s death, fires a shot from his shotgun and hits Henry in the leg. Laura and Mandy help Henry and they head to Laura’s boat only to see the pliosaurus destroy it so they quickly hide to avoid being spotted by Barry. The next day, Henry dies from blood loss and Laura and Mandy try to find some help but when they spot some fishermen and call out to them, the pliosaurus attacks their boat and kills them. Meanwhile, Charles contacts Barry to find out why the pliosaurus isn’t heading towards the nest he built and learns about Laura and Mandy’s escape. The eventually locate a cabin and go try to see if someone is there to help them only for Mandy to get caught by Barry. Elsewhere, Tim, still stuck in the tree, decides to risk swimming to shore and makes his way towards the Boudreaux’s cabin, only to find Henry’s truck there. Finding no sign of Henry, he gets on the radio to contact the state troopers to get some back up when he hears Laura’s screams and goes looking for her. Laura, hearing Tim call out for her, runs into Froggy only to learn that he was working with Charles and Barry. Froggy contacts Charles, who tells him to bring Laura and Mandy to him and Froggy leads Laura to the cabin, where they get Barry and Mandy but as Laura and Mandy are forced into Froggy’s truck, the Froggy kills Barry under Charles’s orders. As they are driving to meet Charles, Froggy reveals that he is Laura’s half-brother and he is working for Charles due to his resentment at how Papy treated him. Meanwhile, Tim locates Henry’s body then sees Froggy’s truck approaching and moves to shoot him but quickly jumps out of the way, causing Froggy to crash into a nearby shed. Tim helps Laura and Mandy out of the truck and tries to save Froggy but Froggy is impaled by some debris and tells Tim to save himself just before the truck and shack explodes. Realizing they still have to stop Charles, the three head to the marina where they see the nest and Charles’s sensor. Tim goes to shoot the sensor but Charles grabs Mandy and forces him to drop his gun. As the pliosaurus arrives, Charles throws Mandy in the water but Laura and Tim attack him, knocking him in the water, where the pliosaurus kills him while Laura is able to help Mandy to shore. Suddenly, the pliosaurus leaps out of the water and tries to attack them but a bundle of dynamite is tossed into the air, which the pliosaurus swallows, then explodes, killing it. Laura is shocked to see her mother, Lefty, still alive and she explains that after the pliosaurus had bit off her arm, she had gone to get some more dynamite to kill it. As the authorities arrive, Laura approaches Mandy and offers her condolences for what happened and the two hug before she heads off in the ambulance to get checked out. Laura and Tim talk about her staying in town and possibly starting a romance while in the swamp, the pliosaurus’s eggs, which nobody realized it had laid, begin hatching and the baby pliosaurus start swimming around in the water.

This was a pretty decent movie, though I wish some of the CGI was a little better. The acting was decent, with Mark Sheppard (Charles) and Lochlyn Munro (Tim) doing good jobs in their roles but I honestly felt like Elena Lyons was too annoying. I did think Ricky Wayne was great as Barry and wish he had more of a role in the movie than he did. The story was interesting but I think they could have done a better job trying to explain things than do it somewhat piecemeal like they did. I also think the whole Froggy revealing that Pappy was his father was entirely unnecessary and didn’t serve any real purpose. The CGI with the pliosaurus wasn’t as good as I had hoped, even with it being a B movie, as there were several instances where it really just looked out of place in the scenes instead of appearing more naturally. Not something to go out of your way to watch but it is a decent way to kill 90 minutes.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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June 15th, 2018 Movie – Logan

logan

Every story has it’s end, and for Hugh Jackman, his time playing Wolverine was fast approaching. Yes, the man Hugh Jackman had announced that the 3rd solo Wolverine movie was going to be his last one, though apparently he has since said that he would be willing to reprise the role if he was in the Avengers or a Deadpool crossover. Anyways, when I first the plot of this movie, I was immediately intrigued because I liked the “Old Man Logan” story line and thought that using some aspects of that for the movie would be pretty neat. Then I saw the trailers and I was even more intrigued when it was revealed that X-23 was going to be a main character as well, as I always thought it was funny that she, much like Harley Quinn, made her way into the comics after first debuting in a cartoon. So when this hit theaters, I decided to go to an early Sunday morning showing and I was not disappointed with today’s movie, Logan.

The plot: In the year 2029, an aging and weakened Wolverine, slowly dying from the adamantium in his bones poisoning his body, is resting in the limo that he drives when a gang attempts to steal his tires. When he confronts them, they shoot him and continue trying to steal the tires but he gets back up and tries again to talk them out of it. When they attack him, he is forced to defend himself, trying his best to avoid damaging his car but when it is accidentally shot, he becomes enraged and begins killing them. After slowly healing and changing his clothes, Logan begins carrying around passengers in the El Paso area. The next day, he encounters a woman in the cemetery where he is working who recognizes him and begs for his help but he tells her to leave him alone and she angrily gets in her car and drives off, with a young girl in the back of the car staring back at him as they pass. After finishing for the day, he heads to the hospital to buy some medicine off of an orderly but when he gets back into his car, he finds a man named Pierce inside. Pierce recognizes Logan and says he is looking for a woman named Gabriela but Logan tells him he doesn’t know any Gabriela. Pierce leaves him his card before leaving and when he learns that Pierce works for Alkali-Transigen, then he gets pissed. As Logan heads across the border into Mexico, he makes a call to someone about a boat he is trying to buy, urgent to get it now, but the seller raises the price when he senses Logan’s urgency. Returning to the junk yard that he lives in, Logan is greeted by Caliban, who tells him that Xavier has had a rough night and claims to be communicating with someone. Logan dismisses what Caliban said and heads into the tank where Xavier is kept, as he is suffering from a brain disease that causes him to have dangerous seizures. As Logan tries to give him his medicine, Xavier has another seizure, paralyzing Caliban in the other room and Logan is forced to struggle to inject Xavier with the medicine. When the seizure stops, Xavier speaks with Logan and chastises him for forcing him to live in the tank like he does. After getting some rest, Logan prepares to go to work and receives a fare at a motel, only to find that it is Gabriela. Gabriela pleads with him to take her and the little girl, Laura, to North Dakota, offering him $20k now and $30K when they get there, saying they have to be there by Friday in order to make their window and cross into Canada. Logan reluctantly decides to take the job and heads back to Mexico to tell Xavier and Caliban he will be gone for a few days but when he returns to the motel, he finds Gabriela dead and Laura missing. When he returns to the junk yard, Caliban discovers Laura’s bag and ball in the trunk of the limo and questions Logan about it, just as Pierce arrives. Pierce questions Logan about Laura’s whereabouts only to be knocked out by Laura, who had stowed away in Logan’s trunk. As Xavier comes out and speaks with Laura, then invites her inside to eat, Logan tells Caliban to take Pierce and dump him out in the ravine but when Caliban goes to do that, he finds Pierce has regained consciousness and his back up has arrived. Back in the junk yard, Logan is getting ready to leave with Xavier when Pierce and his men return and hold restrain Logan while Pierce sends some men to find Laura. As they wait outside, they hear screams and gunshots coming from within the building and Laura soon walks out, carrying one of the men’s head. As she approaches Pierce and the other men, Logan is shocked to see two claws extending from her hands and she attacks and kills two men, then leads the others away. As the men chase her, she manages to attack and kill some more of them but they finally capture her until Logan helps her. Seeing some men going after Xavier in the limo, Logan goes to kill them, then he gets in the limo and drives off, picking up Laura on the way. They manage to break out of the junk yard and lose their pursuers by cutting across a passing train, forcing Pierce and his men to wait until it passes to try to follow them but Pierce tortures Caliban to force him to tell him where they are. Pulling over at a gas station, Logan and Xavier watch some video that Gabriela took with her phone and learn that Laura, along with several other children, were created by Transigen to be used as mutant soldiers and Laura happened to have been created from Logan’s DNA, making him her father in a manner of speaking. When the children hit puberty, they started to rebel against Transigen’s wishes so Transigen decided to make a new weapon and dispose of the children but Gabriela and several other nurses decided to rescue as many as they could and help them get to Eden, a supposed safe haven for mutants in Canada. Charles says that they should help Laura, mentioning that she is just like Logan when he first came to the X-Men, but Logan doesn’t really want to get involved and would rather try to just disappear. Deciding to rest in Oklahoma City, Logan, Xavier, and Laura check into a casino and Logan heads out to get them a new car but as he gets rid of the limo, he discovers that Charles had hidden one of his pills in order to fool Logan into thinking he took it. As he waits for the new car to get tires put on it, he reads some of the comics Laura had brought with her and discovers that Eden was mentioned in the comic and he believes it is just a myth. Returning to the hotel, he finds Pierce’s men outside and he makes his way past them just as everyone suddenly freezes as Xavier has another seizure. Making his way towards the room, Logan sees Pierce’s men frozen in the attempt to capture Xavier and Laura and he kills them in their frozen state while Laura grabs Xavier’s medicine and hands it to Logan to give to him. They make their way out of the hotel as everyone else is still recovering from the event and leave. As they keep travelling, Logan chastises Xavier for not taking his medicine and as they argue, they are almost run off the road by a self driving truck. Seeing a truck carrying a trailer of horses also run off the road and Xavier convinces Logan to help the family, the Munsons, recapture the horses and get there truck out of the ditch and Kathryn Munson offers them dinner for their help, which Xavier accepts. Meanwhile, Dr. Zander Rice, the head of Transigen, meets up with Pierce and after chastising him for his failure in recapturing Laura, he goes to Caliban and begins talking to him to try and convince him to help them locate Laura. At the family’s house, Logan, Xavier, and Laura enjoy the meal and go to leave but Will Munson says the nearest hotel is 2 hours away and offers to put them up for the night. Suddenly, Kathryn says the water is shut off and Will goes to deal with the problem, saying it is some locals that are trying to run them off their land and Logan offers to help him. When they get there, they fix the problem only to be confronted by the major farm’s new owner, who argues with Will about the agreement Will had with the previous owner no longer being good. When he threatens Will, Logan intercedes and runs them off. Back at the house, Laura is sleeping and Xavier tells Logan to let her sleep but as the figure approaches Xavier, it is revealed to be a clone of Logan. The clone, X-24, stabs Xavier in the chest and Laura attacks him but he knocks her out and places her in restraints. The Munson’s son tries to stop 24 but he is stabbed as is Kathryn when she tries to shoot him. Will and Logan return and hear the commotion and Will is stabbed  in the chest and Logan sees 24 carrying Laura away and races upstairs to check on Xavier. In their truck, Rice and Pierce watch 24 bringing Laura back to them when he is confronted by the farmer and his men and when they shoot him, he begins attacking them. Meanwhile, Logan carries Xavier to their truck and tries to keep him alive but he ends up passing away. Rice goes out to try and get 24 to stop and bring Laura back to them only for Logan to attack 24 and try to rescue Laura. 24 is able to overpower Logan and moves to kill him when Will, who was still alive, drives his truck into 24, pinning him to a nearby tractor, then shoots him repeatedly before finally dying. Pierce goes to help get Laura but Caliban, having grabbed some grenades when nobody was looking, pulls the pins and drops them, sacrificing himself to try and stop them. Logan grabs Laura and drives off and they stop to bury Xavier by a lake but when Logan tries to start the truck again, it dies and he takes out his rage and frustration on the truck before collapsing to the ground. When he comes too, he finds himself in a doctor’s office, with the doctor saying that Laura had flagged down a motorist for help. The doctor wants Logan to check into a hospital to get treatment, saying something inside him is poisoning him, but Logan says for his own good, forget he saw them and they leave. Laura leads Logan to a jeep that she had acquired while he was passed out and as he thanks her for saving him, she says “de nada”, speaking to Logan for the first time. This causes an argument between her and Logan as she wants him to take her to North Dakota and he starts to refuse but finally relents. Logan drives as far as he can but as he starts to fall asleep at the wheel, Laura forces him to pull over and tells him to rest. When Logan wakes up, he finds that Laura had continued driving and reached a lokout station in the mountains. Logan passes out again and the kids that are there help bring him inside and treat his injuries, giving him some medicine that will help him heal if given in small doses. When Logan recovers enough to get out of bed, he tells Rictor, the kid’s leader, that they should leave before Transigen catches them and Rictor tells him that they will be leaving before dawn. He offers Logan the rest of the money he was promised but Logan refuses it, then argues with Laura again on his actions. The next morning, Logan wakes up to find the kids have all left but as he looks around the lookout station, he sees a bunch of drones flying towards the mountain border and sees some jeeps heading in that direction. Logan grabs the medicine and races towards the woods, injecting himself along the way with the medicine, which super charges his healing factor. As Transigen’s soldiers work on capturing the kids, Logan starts killing some of them, managing to rescue Laura but she notes that the medicine is wearing off as his wounds are not healing. The two sneak up to where Pierce and his remaining men are holding the captured kids and Logan tells Laura to wait for his signal to save her friends. He then approaches and Rice and Pierce move towards him, where it is revealed that Rice is the son of the doctor that helped Stryker put the adamantium into him. Pierce also tells Logan that Rice is the one that released the virus which prevented more mutants from being born, effectively wiping them out, and Logan ends up shooting Rice and injuring Pierce. Laura kills the guards, with some of the children using their powers to help but Pierce lets 24 loose to deal with Logan. As the two men fight, Laura moves to help Logan when he is overpowered and Pierce shoots Logan in the leg with a harpoon to restrain him but the kids all use their powers to kill Pierce. Logan gets free and goes to help Laura only for Rictor to use his powers to drop a truck onto 24. Logan tells Laura and the children to get out of their but 24 recovers and stabs Logan, then impales him onto a log. Laura grabs an adamantium bullet that Logan had kept, when he had contemplated killing himself, and uses it to kill 24. She then works on cutting off the branch and Logan tells her not to grow up to be a weapon like she was created to be before he dies. Laura cries out over his death, calling him daddy as she hugs him, and the kids bury him by a lake, much like Xavier was buried, and as they head to the border, Laura turns the cross they made onto it’s side to form an X, marking Logan’s passing as the last X-Man.

Logan met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Hugh Jackman makes the most of his final outing as Wolverine with a gritty, nuanced performance in a violent but surprisingly thoughtful superhero action film that defies genre conventions.” In the UK, the first wide release showing of this film was at the unusual time of 10:23 p.m., rather than the usual midnight showing for a major release. This is a reference to the film including the character of X-23, as X is the Roman numeral for 10. The movie was a box office hit, earning $619 million off of a $127 million budget and served as a great send off for Hugh Jackman’s final movie in this role.

This was a great movie and honestly one of the best ones in the franchise. The acting was great, with Hugh Jackman putting in an incredible performance as Logan, while Patrick Stewart was equally good as Xavier, with the dynamic between them making for some pretty funny scenes in the otherwise pretty dramatic movie. Dafne Keen was also great in her role as Laura, especially her interaction with Logan, while Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant were good as Pierce and Rice respectively. The story was great, and while I knew that they couldn’t really do a full version of “Old Man Logan” due to the majority of the characters being licensed to other studios, they story they did create was very well written. Since no mutants had been born in 25 years in this movie, this seems like it is in a completely different universe from any of the other movies, though Xavier mentioning the fight on Liberty Island means it at least has some relevance to the original movie. One thing I did like was the odd family dynamic that came about during the movie, especially with Logan being forced into the father/caretaker role, which is something that he is obviously not used to doing or comfortable with. The special effects were pretty good and I liked some of the ways they used the effects to showcase Logan’s deteriorating condition, such as when one of his claws doesn’t fully extend when he is fighting the thugs. Definitely a great movie to watch and a worthy finale to the Wolverine story.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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June 14th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: Apocalypse

x-men apocalypse

Ever since the end of Days Of Future Past, I was curious what they were going to do with this movie. Then the trailers came out and I have to say that I was…..thoroughly unimpressed. Seriously, there was nothing really that compelled me to want to see this movie, and I have always been a fan of the X-Men. I mean, next to Magneto, Apocalypse is arguably the X-Men’s most dangerous villain so you would think that they would go all out for this but every commercial I saw left me feeling “meh”. So I opted out of seeing this in theaters and decided to just pick it up on video when it came out. Let’s see if that was a smart choice as I watch today’s movie, X-Men: Apocalypse.

The plot: in 3600 BC in the Nile Valley of Egypt, En Sabah Nur, the worlds first mutant, is entering a pyramid and performing a ritual where he transfers his powers and consciousness into the body of another mutant, one who has accelerated healing, to himself. As the sunlight activates the advanced technology in the pyramid, some of his guards betray him, unleashing giant stone blocks to take out the pyramid’s support columns while inside, some more guards seal the chamber and attempt to kill him. En Sabah Nur’s elite guard, the Four Horsemen, use their powers to protect him but they are all killed as the pyramid collapses and En Sabah Nur is buried underneath the rubble. In 1983 Ohio, Scott Summers is in class when his eyes start bothering him and he asks to be excused. Heading into the bathroom, he notices his eyes starting to glow red but quickly hide when another student comes in looking for him, thinking Scott was winking at his girlfriend. As the bully tries to get into the bathroom stall to beat up Scott, Scott’s eyes suddenly emit a powerful concussive blast, knocking the door off it’s hinges and sending the bully into the wall. In East Berlin, Mystique enters an underground arena where she sees a winged mutant called Angel fighting Nightcrawler, a blue-skinned teleporter with a demonic appearance. Seeing that the cage they are in is electrified, and armed guards are there to ensure they fight, Mystique takes out one of the guards and shorts out the power to the cage, allowing them to escape, then helps Nightcrawler get away from there, who realizes that she is the hero who saved the president. In Poland, Magneto, living under a false name, is working at a steel mill and returns home to his wife Magda and daughter Nina, who apparently has the mutant ability allowing her to communicate with animals. Scott’s parents contact his older brother Alex, who takes Scott to Xavier’s school. When they arrive, Scott accidentally bumps into Jean Grey, a telepath and telekinetic student, who chastises him for his clumsiness. Alex introduces Scott to Hank and Professor Xavier and they head outside to test his powers, with Xavier gladly enrolling Scott into the school so he can better control them. In Cairo, CIA agent Moira Mactaggert is following a cult that worships En Sabah Nur, but as she heads down into the area where the pyramid was buried, sunlight hits the top of the pyramid, reactivating the ancient technology and reawakening En Sabah Nur. As the cult continues praying, Apocalypse uses his powers to free himself, causing an earthquake that is felt worldwide. In Poland, the earthquake causes a vat of molten metal to fall towards a worker and Magneto instinctively uses his powers to save the man, but then grows worried that some of the other workers might have seen him. In New York, Xavier sends the other students back to bed before heading into Jean’s room, to help her deal with the visions she saw. Afterwards, Hank tells Xavier that his instruments detected an earthquake originating in Cairo and he believes Jean was merely reacting to it so Xavier uses Cerebro to investigate and discovers Moira in Cairo. When he learns that she is returning to Langley to make her report, he decides to head there to talk with her. In Poland, Magneto is making plans to leave with his family when he finds Nina being held by some cops. Magneto agrees to go with them so long as they spare his family but as they move to arrest him, Nina’s powers run wild and some birds begin attacking the cops. One of the cops accidentally lets go of the arrow in his bow, which kills both Nina and Magda and an enraged and grieving Magneto kills all of the cops before raging at the heavens. In Cairo, En Sabah Nur is wandering the streets and encounters a young Ororo Monroe, who uses her powers to help the gang of street kids she leads steal food to survive. In Langley, Xavier and Alex go to see Moira, with Xavier explaining to Alex beforehand about how he wiped all memory of them from her mind, and is surprised to find that she has a son. Mystique and Nightcrawler go to see Caliban, a mutant that can track other mutants, and she asks him to get Nightcrawler papers so he can get out of the country but when Caliban tells her about Magneto, she decides to take Nightcrawler with him to see Xavier. Meanwhile, Storm takes En Sabah Nur to her gang’s hideout, where he uses the TV to learn more about the modern world. Feeling betrayed at how the “weak” have taken over the world, he decides to cleanse the world and uses his powers to augment Storm’s abilities. They then teleport to Caliban’s shop, wanting to use Caliban to help them find more mutants. Caliban’s bodyguard Psylocke moves to stop them but when En Sabah Nur augments her own abilities, she decides to join them and tells them that she knows where to find the mutants they seek. Heading to an abandoned warehouse in Germany, they find Angel still recovering from his damaged wing and Psylocke says he is no longer useful but En Sabah Nur uses his powers to alter Angel’s wings, repairing the damaged one and making them both metallic with the ability to shoot razor sharp feathers from them. Back in New York, Hank makes some special glasses to hold back Scott’s eye blasts and Scott becomes enamored with Jean Grey when he finally sees her. Later, Hank is surprised to see Mystique there and she tells him that she is there to get Xaviers help in finding Magneto, believing him to be in trouble. Meanwhile Jubilee, a student at the school, is showing Nightcrawler around when they encounter Scott and Jean, and Scott suggests that they ditch the school and head to the mall. In Poland, Magneto enters the factory and intends to kill the workers there when En Sabah Nur, Storm, Psylocke, and Angel appear. En Sabah Nur kills all the men and tells Magneto and tells him to come with him. En Sabah Nur takes him to Auschwitz and helps him learn more about his powers and tells him that with his help, they can destroy what the humans built and then build a better world. In D.C., Peter Maximoff is watching a news report about Magneto and when his mother questions him about it, he admits that he is going to go after him. Xavier, Alex, and Moira return to the mansion and Xavier is surprised to see Mystique there. Asking the others to give them a moment, Xavier and Mystique talk for a bit, arguing about what they feel is best for the students there. Mystique tells him about Magneto and Xavier heads down to Cerebro with Alex, Hank, Mystique, and Moira and makes contact with Magneto. Xavier speaks with Magneto, trying to convince him to let him help him, but Magneto says that he tried Xavier’s way and it failed him so he has found a new path. En Sabah Nur, sensing what is happening, manages to take over the connection and uses Xavier and Cerebro to launch every nuclear missile in the world up into space. Xavier tells Alex to destroy Cerebro in order to break the connection but the backlash knocks Xavier unconscious. En Sabah Nur and his group appear in the mansion and kidnap Xavier and Alex tries to stop them but unknowingly causes an explosion that destroys the mansion. Peter arrives at the mansion just before it is destroyed and manages to use his speed to save everyone there except for Alex, who was the closest to the blast. Scott, Jean, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee return to the mansion and when he doesn’t see Alex around, he heads to the rubble to search before dropping to his knees to grieve, with Jean and Nightcrawler joining him. Suddenly, a military helicopter appears and the troops, led by Colonel William Stryker, knock out all of the people on the ground, then take Mystique, Hank, Peter, and Moira captive. Jean uses her powers to prevent the soldiers from seeing her, Scott, and Nightcrawler, then Nightcrawler teleports them onto the helicopter as it prepares to fly away. Stryker takes them to his base and questions them about Xavier’s location and Moira tells him that it wasn’t Xavier but someone more powerful. In Egypt, Xavier regains consciousness and finds En Sabah Nur waiting for him, wanting to use his powers to contact everyone on Earth. Boosting Xavier’s powers, En Sabah Nur uses Xavier to deliver a message to everyone but Xavier fights back, telling those with power to protect those without, while subtly contacting Jean and telling her where he is. Jean and the others are discovered and they manage to get away and find themselves in a test room, where one of Stryker’s experiments is being held. When the soldiers enter, Jean telekinetically opens the cage and releases Wolverine, who has been reduced to an almost mindless animal, and he begins slaughtering the soldiers. Seeing Wolverine running wild and killing all of his men, Stryker decides to abandon the base and leave. Jean and the others catch up to Wolverine just as he is about to leave and Jean approaches him, using her powers to restore a part of his humanity and he stares at them before running off into the woods. Scott rescues the others and when Jean says she knows where Xavier is, they grab Stryker’s plane and fly off. In Cairo, En Sabah Nur uses his powers to bring his pyramid back to the surface of the city, then instructs Magneto to use his powers to destroy everything that mankind built. He then has Angel take Xavier inside the pyramid, where En Sabah Nur plans on transferring his consciousness into Xavier’s body so he can gain his powers. The X-Men arrive and Mystique and Peter, who told them that Magneto is his father, go to try and stop Magneto while the others grab Xavier. Angel, Storm, and Psylocke work on stopping them as the transfer process begins but Nightcrawler manages to trap Angel and then make it inside the pyramid to rescue Xavier. Teleporting him back to the plane, Nightcrawler grabs the others and teleports them onto the plane so they can leave but Angel breaks free from his trap and grabs Psylocke to stop them. Psylocke lands on the plane and cuts a hole in it so Angel can get inside but Nightcrawler is able to teleport everyone to safety as Jean puts the plane into a dive so that it crashes, killing Angel. Nightcrawler is rendered unconscious by the effort and the others try to tend to him and Xavier. En Sabah Nur, realizing what happened, calls out to Xavier and moves towards him but Peter and Mystique try to stop him. En Sabah Nur easily beats them and then mocks Xavier, saying he should sacrifice his own life for theirs. Suddenly, Magneto attacks En Sabah Nur, trying to stop him from reaching Xavier and Scott joins the fight while Beast works to rescue Mystique and Peter. Realizing he and En Sabah Nur are still connected, Xavier attacks En Sabah Nur in his mind but En Sabah Nur is able to get the upper hand. Xavier calls out for Jean’s help and she faces off with En Sabah Nur, both in Xavier’s mind and in the real world and together, with Magneto, Scott, and Storm (who turned against En Sabah Nur when she saw her idol Mystique fighting him) are able to kill him. Jean, Scott, and Beast head back to check on Xavier who turns to Moira and restores her memories of their time together, apologizing for taking them from her, while Storm and Magneto nod to each other and approach them, while Psylocke heads off on her own. Some time later, Magneto and Jean are rebuilding the mansion as the students all watch. Storm approaches Peter and asks if he is going to tell Magneto that he is his son and Peter says one day but for now he is going to stick around the school and Storm says she will as well. Magneto and Xavier talk some more and discuss their differing views on humanity’s acceptance of mutants before Magneto leaves while Xavier watches as Mystique and Beast train Scott, Nightcrawler, Peter, Storm, and Jean into becoming the newest X-Men. Meanwhile, at Stryker’s abandoned base, some men in black suits are busy cleaning up the bodies, as well as taking the data and blood samples that were left behind, all under the guise of The Essex Corporation.

X-Men: Apocalypse met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Overloaded action and a cliched villain take the focus away from otherwise strong performers and resonant themes, making X-Men: Apocalypse a middling chapter of the venerable superhero franchise.”  Apocalypse’s four horsemen, Storm , Psylocke , Angel, and Magneto, had all been his horsemen in other media. Angel and Psylocke would both become Horsemen in the comics (coincidentally, they would both end up becoming Death), while Magneto and Storm would become Horsemen in the animated show X-Men: Evolution. While the film has Apocalypse in the title, the titular villain is never actually referred to by that name in the movie, as everyone always calls him En Sabah Nur. Despite the bad reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $543.9 million off of a $178 million budget and a 4th movie is scheduled to be released in 2019.

Well, I didn’t hate it but I can’t say that I was too impressed with it either. Visual effects aside, this was kind of an average movie. The acting was ok, with the returning actors doing a good job in their roles. I did like the struggle Jennifer Lawrence showed Mystique waging, as she had unknowingly became a role model for several mutants but she didn’t feel like she deserved to be one. I liked Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, and Tye Sheridan as Storm, Jean, and Scott respectively and thought Kodi Smit-McPhee’s portrayal as Nightcrawler was pretty good but I was disappointed with Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of Apocalypse. The story honestly felt too long and didn’t really do a great job in keeping you really invested in the movie. There were some good spots here and there but it really felt like it just kind of plodded along hoping to pick up enough steam to make it worthwhile. One aspect that kind of got glossed over, and I haven’t checked out the deleted scenes to see if it might have been addressed there, but I thought it was funny that Mystique showed up in Germany and rescued Nightcrawler but didn’t care if Angel got away or not. In the comics, Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique and Azazel and in this time line, it has been 19 years since Mystique first left with Magneto and his Brotherhood, which included Azazel. So it is entirely possible that he is her son and she had heard from Caliban that he was captured and gone there explicitly to rescue him, just choosing not to tell him of their relationship. One thing I thought was a bit much was the Peter/Quicksilver’s appearance at the mansion and his rescuing of the students and everyone there. It honestly felt like it was simply a time killer and didn’t really serve any real purpose to help move things along. One thing this movie didn’t really skimp on was the special effects and they were well done but special effects can’t make a movie great if the story doesn’t pull it’s weight. It’s a decent movie but definitely not the best in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, adventure, comic book, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 13th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: Days Of Future Past

x-men days of future past

Another pivotal story line gets turned into a movie. Now there was a lot of hype about this movie when it first was announced. I mean, there was a lot of excitement about the Sentinels finally appearing in the movies, as well as tying in the original trilogy of movies to the new series. Personally, I was highly interested in this movie but did have my concerns. I mean, this is another one of the big plot lines in the comics and we all know how bad the last one turned out. Still, I heard the Bryan Singer had returned to direct so I was hoping that he could recapture the magic from the first two movies and makes this one successful as well. Now let’s see how good of a job they did with today’s movie, X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

The plot: In the year 2023, the world has fallen under the control of the Sentinels, robotic mutant hunters who have killed thousands of mutants as well as humans who are shown to carry the mutant gene, preventing more mutants from being born. In Moscow, 3 Sentinels attack the hideout of some of the remaining X-Men; Bishop, Blink, Colossus, Iceman, Kitty Pride, Sunspot, and Warpath. While Colossus, Blink, Iceman, Sunspot, and Warpath attempt to hold off the Sentinels, and are killed in the process, Kitty Pride and Bishop head to a safe room and Kitty starts using her powers to send Bishop’s consciousness back in time a few days to his younger self, thus warning the group and allowing them to move before the Sentinels are able to find them. Professor Xavier, Magneto, Storm, and Wolverine meet up with the group in China and hearing about Kitty’s new ability, Xavier and Magneto believe their plan will work. They explain to the group that the Sentinels were developed by Boliver Trask in the 70’s, who had begun experimenting on mutants back then. Mystique had found out about his experiments and killed Trask in 1973 but she was captured and experimented on herself, leading the scientists to discover the ability in her DNA to adapt, which was used to give the Sentinels the ability to adapt and counter any mutant ability they come across. Xavier wants to send his consciousness back in time to stop the assassination but Kitty says that the best she could do is a month before the mind, even one as powerful as Xavier’s would snap. Wolverine suggests he goes, thinking his healing factor would allow his mind to repair itself as fast as it snaps and Xavier and Magneto reluctantly agree that it is their best choice. As Wolverine prepares for the trip, Xavier tells him to head to his mansion and convince him to help stop Mystique, telling Wolverine that he didn’t have his powers back then. Magneto says he will also need his younger self’s help but says his location is “complicated”. Kitty tells Wolverine that they with them focusing on this attempt, they won’t be able to leave again when the Sentinels find them, then begins the process. In 1973, Trask is talking in front of a D.O.D. panel about his Sentinel program, warning that the mutants could attack them anytime, even in their own homes, but the panel refuses his funding. In Saigon, as the U.S. prepares to close down their base, 4 mutant soldiers, including Alex Summers (Havok) are being prepared to be sent to Trask Industries by Major William Stryker but Mystique, disguised as an army colonel, rescues them. Helping them get on a plane that is leaving, Alex asks if she is coming with them but she tells him that her war isn’t over. Meanwhile, Wolverine wakes up in his younger self and heads to Xavier’s mansion only to find the school has been shut down and the mansion and grounds are in a state of disrepair. When he knocks on the door, a human Hank McCoy answers the door and Wolverine forces his way in to look for Xavier, forcing Hank to transform to try and throw him out. Xavier shows up and Wolverine is shocked to see that Xavier is walking. Wolverine tells him that he is from the future and why he is there and Xavier doesn’t believe him at first but reluctantly agrees to help in order to help bring Raven (Mystique) home. When Wolverine says that they need Magneto’s help, Hank and Xavier laugh and explain that he is being held in a special prison underneath the Pentagon, as he is the one to kill Kennedy. Xavier says that they can’t get him out as it would just be the three of them but Wolverine says he knows a guy that would be a young man back then that would be able to help. Meanwhile, Mystique, disguised as Trask, heads up to Trask’s office and discovers his secret file room, where she discovers the Sentinel’s plans as well as his reports on mutants and their autopsy reports, including autopsy reports on Azazel and Angel. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine arrive at the Maximoff house and ask to speak with Peter, a speedster, and convince him to help them break Magneto out of the Pentagon. Hank, Wolverine, and Xavier go on the Pentagon Tour, then Xavier and Wolverine break away from the group while Hank uses a device to jam the security cameras. Peter disguises himself as a guard and sneaks down to Magneto’s cell and uses his powers to shatter the glass in his cell. He then braces Magneto’s neck so he doesn’t get whiplash, then races him past the guards back to the elevator. Xavier and Wolverine meet them in the kitchen and when the guards show up to stop them, Peter uses his speed to save them all. Thanking Peter for his help, Xavier, Hank, Wolverine, and Magneto head to Paris to locate Mystique and during the flight, Xavier and Magneto argue, accusing each other of abandoning the other, but later they appear to reconcile. The next day, Mystique disguises herself as a Vietnamese general and heads to a secret meeting that Trask has with the Vietnamese and Soviets, attempting to sell his technology to them. When his technology detects a mutant in the group and outs her, Mystique takes out the guards, including Stryker, but before she can kill Trask, Stryker recovers and uses a taser to stop her. Wolverine and the others arrive and rescue Mystique but after looking at the plans for the Sentinels, Magneto decides that their best course to stop the Sentinels is to kill Mystique. As Hank and Xavier try to stop him, Wolverine notices Stryker and suddenly starts having flashbacks to the Weapon X program, causing him to lash out in the future and wound Kitty. Magneto manages to wound Mystique and follows her in an attempt to kill her but Hank transforms into Beast and stops him, allowing Mystique to get away before Magneto is able to restrain Beast and get away himself. In the future, Kitty is able to regain control of Wolverine, causing him to calm down and remember why he is there in the past. After getting her injuries treated, Mystique locates Magneto and threatens to kill him for trying to kill her but he tells her about Wolverine’s message and how she is the downfall of the mutant race. He tells her that they have her blood now so they are still in danger but Mystique feels that she can still stop this if she kills Trask and leaves. In Washington D.C., President Nixon asks his cabinet about the Mystique and Magneto, wondering if they have any sort of defense against them and Trask, who was in attendance, tells him about his Sentinel program. He tells Nixon that he has 8 prototypes ready to launch and Nixon says he wants them at the White House for a demonstration to assure the public that they are safe. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine return to the mansion and Xavier’s powers start returning but Wolverine convinces him to stop using the drug to suppress them, so that they can use Cerebro to find Mystique. Xavier tries but is unable to handle hearing all of the thoughts from everyone around the world, causing a power surge to black out the mansion. Xavier says this is hopeless and tells Wolverine that they sent the wrong man and Wolverine agrees with him, saying they meant to send him (Xavier) but he wouldn’t have been able to survive the trip. Wolverine convinces Xavier to look into his mind to see his future, and Xavier ends up speaking with his future self, helping to boost Xavier’s confidence so he can try again. Xavier manages to locate Mystique and tries to convince her to stop but she refuses to budge from her plan to kill Trask. When he tells Wolverine and Hank that she is heading to D.C., Hank shows them a news report about Nixon unveiling the Sentinels at the White House and how they have samples of Mystique’s blood and Xavier fears that if she kills Trask at that event, the future will be set in stone. Meanwhile, Magneto heads after the train carrying the Sentinels to D.C. and using some rails from the train tracks, infuses the Sentinels with metal so that he can control them. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine fly to D.C. and during the flight, Wolverine tells Xavier that he saw the good that was in the future and asks him to find the X-Men. They arrive at D.C. and head to the White House, where Xavier is able to locate Mystique, disguised as a Secret Service agent, and stops her from moving, then has Hank and Wolverine go to try and get her. Meanwhile, Magneto appears and lifts the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium from it’s foundation and as he approaches the White House with it, takes control of the Sentinels and makes them start attacking the crowd. The attack causes Xavier to lose his focus and Mystique continues after Trask, making her way to the secret bunker Trask and Nixon have taken shelter in. In the future, the Sentinels have located the X-Men and sent a fleet after them and Storm and Magneto work to try and stem the tide. The appear to destroy them all, but several Sentinels survived and kill Storm while Magneto, injured by some debris from the Blackbird’s destruction, uses the remaining debris to barricade the entrance just as Blink uses a portal to send him inside. Back in the past, Wolverine and Hank, transforming into Beast, go to attack Magneto but he turns one of the Sentinels on them. Beast attacks the Sentinel and Wolverine goes after Magneto but he uses some metal rebar to attack Wolverine, forcing it throughout his body, then tosses him into the Potomac. In the bunker, Trasks alarm reveals a mutant in the area and Mystique is captured before she can kill Trask but the bunker is suddenly ripped from the ground by Magneto and opened up. Turning the TV camera to face them, Magneto addresses the world and tells any mutants that wish to join him against the humans to do so. Hank is overpowered by the Sentinel so he uses the drugs to turn him back to human, causing the Sentinel to attack Magneto but he easily destroys it. Nixon leaves the bunker to face Magneto but as Trask and the others look in confusion, it is revealed that Nixon is still in the bunker. Magneto prepares to kill Nixon when Nixon, who is actually Mystique in disguise, shoots him with a plastic gun and bullet, hitting him in the neck and then using the distraction to knock him out. She then points the gun at Trask but Xavier freezes everyone to try and convince her not to kill Trask, saying that all people have seen right now is her saving the President’s life. Mystique reluctantly lowers the gun and in the future, the Sentinels finish killing the X-Men and are preparing to kill Xavier, Magneto, Kitty, and Wolverine when they all suddenly disappear. Mystique walks away, grabbing Magneto’s helmet as she does and Xavier uses his powers to take control of Magneto and lift the debris that is on him and as Hank helps him up, Xavier and Magneto speak briefly before Magneto flies off. Logan wakes up in a new future and is surprised to see everyone alive, including Jean and Scott, and the school thriving. He goes to speak to Xavier and when he comments on not remembering anything after 1973, as his memory of history is different, Xavier recognizes him as the Logan from the past and welcomes his friend, saying that they have a lot to catch up on while back in the past, Logan is rescued by Mystique, disguised as Stryker, while a newspaper shows the Sentinel project is scrapped and Trask is arrested for attempting to sell military hardware to the Soviets. Meanwhile, in the distant past, a crowd of Egyptians chant out “En Sabah Nur” as a figure telekinetically moves stones to form a pyramid, while 4 horsemen watch from a nearby hilltop.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise’s finest installments.” The filmmakers chose to bast the story on the “Days Of Future Past” story line in order to try and correct some continuity errors that occurred with the prequel movies. The movie was a box office smash, earning $747.9 million off of a $205 million budget, making it the second highest grossing movie in the franchise behind Deadpool, and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, making it the first film in the series to receive a nomination.

Aside from a few personal issues I have, this was a great movie. The acting was good, with all of the returning characters doing good jobs reprising their roles. I thought that Peter Dinklage did a great job as Trask and I also liked the surprise returns of Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, and Kelsey Grammer as Jean, Cyclops, Rogue, and Beast respectively. The story was good, capturing the basic premise of the original comic story but making some necessary changes due to characters not being introduced or already killed off. See, in the comics, Kitty is the one to go back in time to stop the assassination of Senator Kelly by Mystique, being sent there by the future daughter of Cyclops and Jean, Rachel Summers. This is one of the rare times where I was actually able to shut down fan boy me and enjoy the movie for the most part and not constantly think in my head “that’s not how it happened.” One of the issues I did have with the movie though was them using Kitty to send people back in time.  See, Kitty’s power was the ability to phase herself, and anyone she is touching, in order to make them intangible. She doesn’t have the power to send people’s minds to the past and they never really explained how she was able to do it. I would have liked it better if it was Emma or Xavier that was constantly doing it. I did like how they tried to tie in the old movies with the new one and essentially set it up as that they occurred in a “now” alternate timeline. The other thing I didn’t like was the end, as I thought the set up for the next movie was honestly a little too blunt. The special effects were pretty good and did a great job in accenting a lot of the action during the movie. All things considered, this is still a great movie and a lot of fun to watch.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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