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

October 28th, 2018 Movie – Avengers: Infinity War

avengers infinity war

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Advertisements
Standard
drama, movie, movie review, musical

Flashback Review: May 5th, 2014 Movie – Black Snake Moan

black snake moan

Now this is one of those movies that when you first saw the trailer for it, you didn’t quite know what you were going to get. I mean, is this a racially charged drama or some sort of a soft core porn disguised as a big budget picture. I have to be honest, nothing about this movie really enticed me into seeing this movie in theaters when it first came out. About a year later, during a dark time in my life, I wound up renting it from Blockbuster only to have the copy I rented be damaged and unable to play. I took it back and tried to grab another copy only to find they were all out. Well, this just served to make me want to watch it even more and I ended up just buying a used copy, because at the time it made sense. So that, dear readers, is how I ended up with a copy of Black Snake Moan, yet another of my random Blockbuster purchases.

The plot: In a small, rural Tennessee town, Lazarus Redd meets with his wife Rose, who had been having an affair with his brother, and he tries to convince her to come to church for counselling but she refuses, saying she doesn’t love him anymore. As she goes to leave, Lazarus grabs her hand and tells her he will pray for her over what she did to him and she yells at him before storming out of the diner. Meanwhile, Rae Doole and her boyfriend, Ronnie Morgan, are having sex before Ronnie begins packing to leave for deployment with the National Guard, though he suffers from severe anxiety disorder. As he goes to leave, he gives Rae a watch that is synchronized to his, so that when the alarm goes off, they will know the other is thinking of them. As Ronnie gets his friend Gill to give him a lift, Rae chases after Gills truck before falling to the ground.She then starts moaning to herself and rubbing her legs before succumbing to her nyphomaniac tendencies and ends up sleeping with a man named Tehronne. Afterwards, she asks him for money and a ride into town and as she walks to the store, she is shocked to see her mom working there and quickly leaves. Elsewhere, Lazarus gets some supplies for his farm and heads home to begin working the yard when he ends up running over his wife’s flower beds with his tractor. That night, Lazarus is having a beer at the bar as a woman starts flirting with him but Lazarus is currently sour on women after what his wife did to him. When Lazarus’ brother enters the bar, the bartender warns Lazarus to keep his cool. Lazarus’ brother tries to apologize for hurting him and as they start to argue, Lazarus breaks a bottle and threatens to use it on him before leaving the bar and returning home, where he begins playing the guitar and singing a blues song about his cheating wife. Elsewhere, Rae is at a party with some friends when she takes some drugs and ends up having sex with a random guy at the party. As she stumbles around in a pair of panties and some shoulder pads, Gill walks up to her and takes the pads off before taking her home. Along the way, he pulls over and comments about her cheating on Ronnie all the time and tries to have sex with her but when she laughs at him, he gets mad and starts beating her. When he stops, Rae isn’t moving and, thinking he killed her, he dumps her out of her truck and drives off, leaving her on the side of the road in her panties and a skimpy t-shirt. The next morning, Lazarus is taking some trash to the side of the road for pick-up when he sees Rae on the side of the road. He goes to check on her and when she begins coughing, he brings her to his house to tend to her. As Lazarus tries to talk to her, Rae incoherently mutters Tehronne’s name and Lazarus thinks he did this to her and heads out to town to get some medicine for her and speaks with Angela, the local pharmacist, who talks briefly with her before going to get some medicine for him. After getting his medicine, Lazarus leaves and starts to head home when he sees Tehronne’s car and heads to the nearby pool hall to talk with him. Lazarus talks with Tehronne about Rae, thinking he is the one to beat her, but Tehronne denies it and simply says that she is a freak who has sex with anyone when her boyfriend isn’t around, calling it a sickness. At Lazarus’ house, Rae continues to have hallucinations and ends up falling to the floor, where Lazarus finds her. As he tries to help her up, she kisses him and then begins writhing on the floor, disturbing Lazarus and causing him to rush out of the house before running a cold bath to try and break Rae’s fever. Later that night, Rae, still in a delirium, ends up running through Lazarus’ vegetable garden looking for Ronnie when Lazarus finds her. He brings her back inside and helps her get back to sleep, then heads out to his barn and grabs a length of chain that he has in there. The next morning, Rae wakes up and is apparently feeling better, but is somewhat leery of Lazarus. She goes to leave when she discovers that Lazarus has chained her to his radiator and Lazarus tries to explain the chain but Rae refuses to listen and starts screaming for help as she runs outside. The chain prevents her from getting far and as she scream for help, Lazarus tells her that nobody is coming and when she refuses to come inside, he uses the chain to drag her inside. Lazarus tells her it is his spiritual duty to cure her of her sinful ways, which he feels is why she was left for dead by his house and tries his best to tend to her but she doesn’t seem overly receptive to his help. The next day, Lazarus heads into town to get some clothes for Rae and while he is gone, she wakes up and begins snooping around his house. Eventually, a young teenage boy named Lincoln shows up, as he had promised to help Lazarus on his farm and when Lazarus returns some time later, he chases Lincoln out of his house, as he had been having sex with Rae. As Lincoln runs off, Lazarus’ pastor R.L. shows up and Lazarus tells him to leave, as he doesn’t want anyone around and R.L. takes offense to Lazarus’ attitude.  When Lazarus threatens to shoot him, R.L. grabs the gun and points it at his chest, then grabs the gun from Lazarus when he refuses to pull the trigger, then asks him what is the problem. When R.L. sees Rae chained to the radiator, he yells at Lazarus and asks what he is thinking and Lazarus tells him he hasn’t touched her and found her on the road by his house and was trying to care for her. R.L. asks about the chain and Lazarus tries to explain it, then asks that R.L. talk to her while he goes and talks with Lincoln, who was hiding in his barn. Later, Lazarus is fixing dinner and Rae, who puts on one of the dresses that Lazarus bought her, helps out, then sits at the table with Lazarus, R.L., and Lincoln as they eat dinner. Meanwhile, Ronnie has returned to town, having been discharged by the army for his anxiety, and he runs into Gill at the bar. Lazarus asks Gill if he has seen Rae and Gill lies about her at first, saying she is probably around somewhere, but eventually tells him the truth about Rae’s antics when he is gone. Ronnie doesn’t believe him and the two end up fighting before Ronnie steals Gill’s truck and goes looking for Rae. Back at Lazarus’ house, Lazarus and Rae are sharing some moonshine when Lazarus unlocks the chain, saying that he doesn’t have the right to judge her or try to change her life. Rae asks Lazarus to play a song for her and as he plays, a storm starts brewing outside and a scared Rae asks that he keep playing and singing. The next day, Lazarus takes Rae into town with him so she can confront her mother about their past while he sells his vegetables. While Rae is gone, Angela approaches Lazarus and invites him to a picnic lunch with her and the two sit on a bench and talk. Meanwhile, Rae approaches her mother and confronts her about how her mother’s boyfriend had sexually abused her as a kid while she was in the next room and did nothing to stop it. Rae gets upset when her mother denies anything happened and attacks her, causing a commotion that attracts Lazarus’ attention and he rushes into the store and helps her out, awkwardly refusing to meet Angela’s stare when she sees him with Rae. Back at his house, Lazarus works on comforting Rae and then decides they should go out for the night. As they head to the bar, where Lazarus is going to play with his old band, Rae’s alarm goes off on her watch and as she turns it off, she hears the alarm going off nearby and looks around but when she doesn’t see anything, she heads inside with Lazarus. Lazarus is surprised to see the place jam packed with people and he tells Rae to get a seat near the corner of the stage while he performs but soon Rae is dancing and having a good time, unaware that Ronnie is watching them through the window. The next morning, Lazarus is woken up by Rae trying to play one of his guitars and he sits down with her and plays while she sings when Ronnie sneaks into the room and strikes Lazarus. Pointing his pistol at Lazarus, he starts at yelling at them for what he believes she was doing and Lazarus taunts him about wanting to kill him. Lazarus’s taunting eventually overwhelms Ronnie, who collapses to the ground, and as Rae goes to comfort him, Lazarus hooks his phone up and calls R.L. and asks him to come over to talk to them. As R.L. talks with them and tries to help them through their issues, Lazarus heads over to Angela’s house to apologize and asks her a favor. Back at Lazarus’ house, Rae and Ronnie have decided to get married and Lazarus, who has become a father figure to Rae, gives her away. As the two drive off, Lazarus and Angela hold each other’s hands as they watch them leave. Rae and Ronnie are driving down the highway and when they become boxed in by some tractor trailers, Ronnie suffers another anxiety attack and has to pull over. As he is trying to deal with it, Rae starts feeling the effects of another episode but she is able to overcome it and helps Ronnie out, saying they will be ok.

Black Snake Moan met with positive results from the critics, holding a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Uninhibited performances, skillful direction, and a killer blues soundtrack elevate Black Snake Moan beyond its outlandish premise.” In the party scene, a guy suggests getting high on Coricidin. The pharmacist in the movie, is the spokesperson in the Coricidin HBP commercials. The same year, Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci co-starred in Home of the Brave (2006), which also starred Justin Timberlake’s wife Jessica Biel. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $10.9 million off of a $15 million budget.

Well, it wasn’t quite what I expected, which is actually a good thing. This is a slow paced movie but is actually pretty decent. Samuel L Jackson (Lazarus) and Christina Ricci (Rae) did great jobs in their roles and I liked the interaction they had with each other; especially towards the end when they started treating each other as a sort of surrogate family. The story was a little disturbing to be honest, as I feel like it was intentionally made to make people feel uncomfortable. Seeing how it was set in the South, there was a bit of a racial overtone, one which Lazarus commented on when he told R.L. about what would have happened had he gone to the police with Rae when she was beat up. The sexual drama seemed rather over the top, even the times Rae was drugged up. I don’t know if this is going to be one of those cult cinematic movies that will be looked at favorably years later, but I can say that it is at least worth a watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Standard
crime, dark comedy, drama, movie, movie review, romance

March 28th, 2018 Movie – True Romance

true romance

Man, there were a lot of notable movies to come out in the 90’s and today’s movie is no exception. This is honestly my first experience with Quentin Tarantino’s work, even though he wasn’t the one directing the movie. Now I remember seeing this in theaters and being thoroughly entertained by it. When I watched it again years later, I was honestly amazed at how many people were in it that I didn’t realize when I first saw it. I know several of my friends that saw this movie also enjoyed it so let’s see if True Romance is still as much fun now as it was back then.

The plot: Clarence Worley is attending a Sonny Chiba triple feature at a Detroit theater when a girl, Alabama Whitman, accidentally dumps her popcorn on him. As Alabama apologizes, she asks Clarence to fill her in on what she missed in the movie and the two start talking, continuing their conversation over pie after the movies. Clarence takes her back to the comic shop that he works at and shows her around and they end up having sex in Clarence’s apartment above the shop. Later that night, Alabama admits to Clarence that she is a call girl that Clarence’s boss hired for his birthday but that she has fallen in love with him. Clarence says he is in love with her and the two end up getting married the next day. Later that day, Clarence keeps thinking of Alabama’s pimp, Drexil, and has a vision of Elvis telling him he should kill Drexil and Clarence decides to go through with it. Clarence asks Alabama for Drexil’s address, saying he is going to go there to pick up her things, and she begs him not to go but he insists that he has too so she relents. Clarence goes to Drexil’s house and tells him he is Alabama’s husband and he wants her things and ends up getting into a fight with Drexil and his bodyguard, Marty. Clarence kills Drexil and Marty and tells one of the other call girls to put Alabama’s things in a suitcase but when he gets back to his place, they find the suitcase is filled with bags of cocaine. Clarence and Alabama go see Clarence’s father Clifford, a former cop, and Clarence asks him to asks his friends on the force to see if they are looking into Drexil’s murder. Clifford does so and says that the police think it was drug related, as Drexil was associated with a drug dealer Blue Lou Boyle. Clarence thanks Clifford for his help and gives him the address for his friend Dick in Los Angeles, where they are heading too. As Clarence and Alabama head to L.A., they call Dick, saying they will be there tomorrow, and ask him of they got the letters Clarence sent, as it would explain what they are coming there for. Meanwhile, Clifford is visited by Vincenzo Coccotti, Boyle’s consigliere, and his men, who proceed to interrogate Clifford for Clarence and Alabama’s location. Clifford tells them that they left on their honeymoon and didn’t tell him where and Vincenzo kills him. As he cleans up, Vincenzo tells his men to go to Clarence’s apartment and find out where he might have gone when one of his men finds the note Alabama left with Dick’s address and points it out to Vincenzo. In L.A., Clarence and Alabama arrive at Dick’s apartment and he is shocked that they really have a suitcase full of cocaine. When Clarence asks if he arranged a sell, Dick says he can’t do it but his friend Elliot works for someone that could handle that much cocaine. Clarence, Alabama, and Dick meet with Elliot at an amusement park and explain what they have and Elliot calls Lee Donowitz, a film producer, who agrees to meet with them to sample the merchandise. Meanwhile, one of Vincenzo’s men, Virgil, shows up at Dick’s apartment and speaks with his roommate Floyd, asking where Clarence and Alabama are and Floyd tells him the motel they are staying at. Clarence drops Alabama off at the hotel while he goes to get them some lunch but when Alabama walks into the room, she finds Virgil waiting inside with a shotgun. Virgil asks her about Clarence and the cocaine and she tries to lie but he proceeds to beat her to get the information. Virgil finally finds the cocaine and plans to kill Alabama but she fights back and manages to kill him just as Clarence returns, and he quickly grabs her and the cocaine and quickly leaves. Meanwhile, Elliot gets pulled over for speeding and tries to get the girl he is with to hide the cocaine he is carrying but she refuses and ends up smacking him with the bag, covering him in the powder. He is arrested and offers to cut a deal, telling them about the upcoming sale, and the two detectives, Nicky Dimes and Cody Nicholson, tell their captain about it and plan to wire Elliot to make a sting. As the day of the deal comes up, Clarence, Alabama, and Dick show up at the hotel and meet with Elliot but Clarence, feeling cautious after recent events, points a gun at Elliot and threatens him, causing the police listening in on the wire to worry that the op is blown but Elliot manages to convince Clarence that everything is fine. Meanwhile, Vincenzo’s men show up at Dick’s apartment and learn from Floyd where Clarence and Alabama went. Back at the hotel, Clarence and the others arrive at Lee’s penthouse and they make the deal for the cocaine. As Clarence goes to use the restroom, he is visited by Elvis again, who tells him everything is going fine. Meanwhile, the police got the information they need and show up to make the bust, just as Vincenzo’s men show up. Finding out that Elliot had set him up, Lee throws coffee in his face, causing a shoot out to occur. Clarence is wounded as he exits the bathroom and Alabama crawls over to him while Dick throws the cocaine in the air to cover his escape. Everyone ends up getting shot to death, while Clarence is shown to still be alive and Alabama grabs him and the suitcase with their money and they leave, using a standoff with the last mafia member to cover their escape. Clarence and Alabama head to Mexico to live, with Alabama giving birth to their son, which they decide to name Elvis.

True Romance met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Fueled by Quentin Tarantino’s savvy screenplay and a gallery of oddball performances, Tony Scott’s True Romance is a funny and violent action jaunt in the best sense.” It was Brad Pitt’s idea to make his character a stoner that never left the couch and the hat he is wearing in the movie was one that he found on the boardwalk and decided to keep it, wash it, and use it for the movie. Despite the good reviews, the movie did not fare well at the box office, earning $12.3 million off of a $12.5 million budget.

This is such a good movie an so many levels. The acting was really good, with Christian Slater (Clarence) and Patricia Arquette (Alabama) doing great jobs in the lead roles. I also liked all of the other characters that were in the movie, though I wish that Christopher Walken (Vincenzo) had a bigger role in the movie than just the one scene. The story was incredible and very well written, indicative of Tarantino’s style for story telling. I will admit that the scene with Virgil beating up Alabama to get the information is a bit rough to watch but her fighting back and killing him made it memorable and if possible, more powerful. The drama involved was great in moving the story forward and the fire fight scene, while a bit over the top, had a bit of a poetic feel to it. A great movie and one that earns it’s own place in Tarantino’s hand crafted cinematic universe.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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

November 14th, 2017 Movie – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith

star wars episode III - revenge of the sith

Ever since they announced a prequel trilogy for Star Wars, I eagerly awaited the last movie for one reason; I wanted to see the fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin. When this movie came out, I decided to have a massive Star Wars movie marathon as part of my birthday celebrations since the Star Wars movies always came out close to my birthday, So me, and my friends who showed up early enough, started watching the first two prequels at my house, went to the theaters to watch the latest movie, then went back to my house to watch the original trilogy. It was a lot of fun and I will admit that not everyone managed to stay awake throughout all of the movies. So let’s observe the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader with today’s movie, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith.

The plot: Three years after the battle on Geonosis began the Galactic Civil War, the Separatist Fleet, led by the cyborg General Grievous, has launched an attack on Coruscant, the Republic Capital Planet, and kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. As a battle rages in space between Republic and Separatist forces, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker mount a rescue mission to rescue Palpatine, though Obi-Wan’s ship is damaged in the process of reaching Grievous’ ship. After locating Palpatine, they suspect they are walking into a trap so they leave R2-D2 behind with their ships while they head off to rescue him. After reaching the command tower, they approach Palpatine and move to rescue him but he alerts them to Count Dooku entering the room. The two Jedi move to face him, working as a team to try and overpower him but Dooku easily holds them at bay, then uses the Force to send Obi-Wan flying into a raised platform before dropping it on him. Anakin becomes enraged and manages to defeat Dooku, severing both of his hands as he disarms him and hold both his and Dooku’s lightsabers against his throat. Palpatine applauds Anakin’s victory, then orders Anakin to kill Dooku, eliciting Dooku to look at Palpatine in surprise, and Anakin hesitates but is eventually goaded by Palpatine into beheading Dooku. After freeing Palpatine, Anakin goes to check on Obi-Wan, though Palpatine says they should leave him behind, but as they make their way to the hangar, the battle outside intensifies and Grievous’ ship receives major damage, causing it to tilt precariously as it starts to lose orbit. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine manage to avoid getting crushed by an elevator but end up captured and taken to Grievous, who takes their lightsabers from them. R2 causes a distraction, allowing Obi-Wan and Anakin to use the Force to retrieve their lightsabers and begin battling Grievous’ Magnaguards. Once they defeat them, they go after Grievous but he destroys the cockpit hatch, allowing himself to be sucked out into space while Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine struggle to hold on so they don’t follow after him until the safety windows are closed. Grievous uses a tow cable to climb along the outside of the ship and drop back inside, where he enters an escape pod and ejects from the ship, then launches all of the remaining escape pods. With the ship falling apart and still dropping out of orbit, Anakin and Obi-Wan, with R2’s assistance, attempt to safely land the ship, though it ends up breaking in half as they enter the atmosphere, and the eventually crash land on a prepared runway. After a shuttle collects them and escorts them back to the capital, Palpatine, Anakin, and R2 disembark but Obi-Wan stays on board so he can go report to the Jedi Council about the latest developments. As Palpatine speaks with Mace Windu about Grievous’ escape and heads inside with the other senators,  Anakin talks briefly with Senator Bail Organa before meeting with his wife Padme, who embraces him and after expressing her happiness that he is still alive, tells him that she is pregnant. Padme worries about what they are going to do, as Anakin has already broken the Jedi code by marrying her, and Anakin says not to worry as this is a happy occasion. Meanwhile, Grievous arrives at his base on the planet Utapau and contacts Darth Sidious, who tells him to send the Separatist leaders to the volcanic planet Mustafar and says the war is almost over. When Grievous asks if Dooku’s loss will affect their plans, Sidious informs him that he will soon have a new apprentice, one who is younger and more powerful than Dooku. That night, Anakin has a dream of Padme dying during childbirth and after telling Padme about it and saying he won’t let it happen, he goes to speak to Yoda about premonitions within the Force. Yoda questions Anakin about the dream and when Anakin says it involves someone close to him, Yoda warns him not to get too attached as it could lead to the Dark Side. Later, Anakin goes to speak with Obi-Wan, who tells him that the Senate is voting on giving Palpatine more executive powers then tells him that Palpatine wishes to see Anakin, but is uneasy as he did not make the request through the Council as protocol dictates and warns Anakin to be careful around him. Anakin goes to see Palpatine, who asks Anakin to be his representative on the Jedi Council and Anakin is excited at the opportunity. At the Jedi Temple, the Council reluctantly agrees to give Anakin a seat at the Council but refuses to make him a Master, which upsets Anakin. As the Council meeting continues, Yoda decides to head to Kashyyyk, to help reinforce the Wookies in their fight against the droid armies. After the meeting, Anakin is still upset about not becoming a Master and Obi-Wan tries to calm him down then tells him that the Council gave him the seat because they want him to spy on Palpatine, as he is grabbing more and more power for himself. As they head to the shuttle pads, Obi-Wan tells Mace and Yoda of Anakin’s reluctance to handle the assignment and Mace voices his doubts concerning Anakin but Obi-Wan says he will do what needs to be done as he is “the Chosen One” to bring balance to the force. Meanwhile, Anakin voices his concerns that the Jedi might be losing their way during the course of the war and Padme says that she wonders if the longer they fight the war, the more they end up becoming the bad guys. That night, Palpatine has Anakin meet him at an opera and after Palpatine discusses how the Jedi seem to be against democracy, with Anakin agreeing with him, Palpatine tells Anakin the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise, a Sith Lord so powerful, he was able to create life and keep his loved ones from dying. When Anakin asks if it is possible to learn this ability, Palpatine tells him not from a Jedi. Later, Anakin relays news that Palpatine received concerning Grievous’ whereabouts and says Palpatine suggested he lead the assault but the Council denies that request and chooses to send Obi-Wan instead. After the meeting, Anakin is walking with Obi-Wan and voices his displeasure with the Council, then apologizes to Obi-Wan for not being a better student and wishes him luck on his journey. Obi-Wan heads to Utapau and speaks with the planet emissary, who whispers that Grievous and an army of droids are on the tenth level of the facility. Using a lizard mount, Obi-Wan heads up there and manages to sneak into the level, just as Grievous is sending the leaders to Mustafar. Obi-Wan drops down to face Grievous, dispatching the Magnaguards that Grievous sends after him, and as Grievous drops his cloak to fight Obi-Wan, he reveals that he has 4 arms, with a lightsaber wielded in each hand. As they fight, Obi-Wan manages to cut off two of Grievous’ hands when his reinforcements, led by Commander Cody, arrive. Grievous climbs into his personal vehicle and attempts to flee and Obi-Wan chases after him but loses his lightsaber, which Cody picks up. Cody transmits a report to the Jedi Council and Mace tells Anakin to alert Palpatine to the attack. After he leaves, Mace speaks to the other Council members via hologram and says he feels Palpatine is involved in a plot to destroy the Jedi and if he won’t relinquish his emergency power after Grievous’ defeat, then they will be forced to remove him from office. Anakin goes to Palpatine’s office and tells him about Obi-Wan’s attack and Palpatine begins speaking out against the Jedi Council and reveals himself to be Darth Sidious, and asks that Anakin join him and he can teach him to become more powerful in the force in order to save Padme but Anakin leaves to alert the Jedi Council about Palpatine, saying he will learn who is telling him the truth. Back on Utapau, Obi-Wan continues his pursuit of Grievous and as Grievous is about to kill him, Obi-Wan uses the Force to grab a nearby blaster and uses it to shoot Grievous, eventually killing him. Back on Coruscant, Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, and two other Jedi Masters are preparing to head over to speak with Palpatine and tell him of Grievous’ death and demand he return the emergency powers back to the Senate when Anakin approaches Mace and tells him that Palpatine is Darth Sidious. Anakin asks to go with Mace when they confront him but Mace tells him know, fearing Anakin’s troubled mind would be a weapon Palpatine could use against them, and tells him to wait in the Council chamber until they return but Anakin disobeys and follows after them. Mace and the Jedi’s enter Palpatine’s chamber and move to place him under arrest but Palpatine says they are committing treason, then pulls out his lightsaber and begins attacking them. He quickly kills Kit Fisto and the other two Jedi but Mace is able to battle back and eventually get the upper hand on him. When Anakin arrives, Mace has Palpatine pinned down and Palpatine tries to convince Anakin that the Jedi have turned traitor, then attacks Mace with Force lightning when Mace tries to convince Anakin that Palpatine is lying. Mace is able to deflect the lightning with his lightsaber and direct it back towards Palpatine, causing him to age as the lightning saps his strength. When Palpatine stops firing the lightning, Mace decides he is too dangerous to let live and goes to kill him but Anakin pleads with Mace to let him live, saying it isn’t the Jedi way. When Mace doesn’t stop, Anakin uses his lightsaber to cut off Mace’s arm and as he cries out in pain, Palpatine uses the lightning again to send him flying out the window to his death. Anakin is in anguish over what he has done but Palpatine says he did the right thing and convinces Anakin to join him as his apprentice. Renaming Anakin Darth Vader, Palpatine tells him that all of the Jedi are now their enemies and he sends Vader with a squad of troopers to kill everyone in the Jedi Temple, including the younglings, and after he leaves, Palpatine sends a communication to all of his clone officers and tells them to execute Order 66, a command hidden in the clones programming to attack the Jedi. Back on Utapau, Obi-Wan regroups with Cody, who hands Obi-Wan his lightsaber, and then he heads back into battle when Cody receives the order and has his men attack Obi-Wan, blasting the rock his lizard mount is climbing and sending him plummeting into a deep pool below but he survives and is able to avoid detection. As other Jedi Masters and Knights across the galaxy are killed by the clones, Yoda is struck by their loss through the Force but when two clone troopers try to kill him, he quickly kills them, then is helped off of Kashyyyk by the Wookies Chewbacca and Tarfful. Back on Coruscant, Senator Bail Organa goes to the Jedi Temple but is told to leave by a group of clone soldiers. As he goes to leave, he witnesses them kill a young Padawan and quickly leaves before they can attack him, then heads off to find Yoda, telling his men if any Jedi would have survived it would have been him. Back on Utapau, Obi-Wan continues to evade the clones and makes his way to Grievous’ ship and leaves the planet. While trying to call for help, he receives a transmission from Organa, who tells him that all of the Jedi had been betrayed by the clones but he has Yoda with him and sends Obi-Wan their coordinates so he can meet with them. Back on Coruscant, Anakin returns to Padme’s apartment and tells her that the Jedi turned against the Republic but he will remain loyal and then heads off to the Mustafar system under Palpatine’s orders. Out in space, Obi-Wan docks on Organa’s ship and heads inside, where he discusses the situation with Yoda and Organa. Hearing that a coded message telling the Jedi to return to the temple is being transmitted, Obi-Wan says they must go to the temple and shut off the beacon, as it is merely luring any surviving Jedi into a trap. As they reach Coruscant, Organa receives word of a special Senate session and thinks it might be a trap but Yoda disagrees, as Palpatine will still need the Senate to help run the galaxy, and Yoda thinks it will make sneaking into the temple easier. Meanwhile, Sidious contacts the Separatist leaders and tells them that the war is almost over and his assistant, Darth Vader, will be arriving to take care of them. When Vader arrives, on the planet, he enters the chamber that the leaders are in, then seals it before proceeding to kill all of them. As Palpatine delivers a message to the Senate, telling them of the Jedi’s “betrayal” and attack on him and declaring the Republic to now be the First Galactic Empire, Obi-Wan and Yoda enter the temple and recalibrate the signal. Obi-Wan then views the security footage of the temple to learn who betrayed the Jedi and witnesses Anakin attacking the temple and killing the younglings. Deciding to face the Sith, Obi-Wan asks Yoda to let him face Palpatine but Yoda says Palpatine is too powerful for him to face and says Obi-Wan must face and defeat Anakin. OBi-Wan goes to see Padme, asking her help in locating Anakin and telling him how Anakin and everyone had been deceived by Palpatine but she doesn’t believe him. As he goes to leave, Obi-Wan asks Padme if Anakin is the father of her baby and when she bows her head, he says he is sorry and walks away. Padme boards a spaceship and prepares to head to Mustafar to see Anakin but Obi-Wan manages to stow away on the ship. When Padme reaches Mustafar, Anakin rushes out to greet her and asks what she is doing there. Padme confronts him about what Obi-Wan told her and when Anakin confirms that he did what he must, she begs him to leave everything behind and leave with her so they can raise their child together. When Anakin sees Obi-Wan at the top of the ship’s gangplank, he accuses Padme of betraying him and starts to Forcechoke her but Obi-Wan convinces him to stop and she collapses to the ground. As Obi-Wan goes to check on her, Anakin starts ranting at him and the two begin fighting. Back on Coruscant, Yoda enters Palpatine’s chambers and confronts Palpatine, who uses his Force lightning to blast Yoda into a wall. As he laughing approaches Yoda’s body, Yoda gets up and Force shoves Palpatine over his desk, then the two begin fighting with lightsabers as Palpatine’s Senate platform rises up into the Senate Chamber. As the two continue fighting, Palpatine begins hurling Senate platforms at Yoda, and after avoiding several of them, Yoda stops one and sends it hurtling back at Palpatine, then presses his attack. Palpoatine fires Force lightning at Yoda, who blocks it but the resulting feedback due to their close proximity knocks him to the ground and as Palpatine laughs while he struggles to climb back onto his own platform, Yoda crawls away and contacts Organa, who picks him up and helps him escape. Yoda says that he must go into exile as he failed to stop Palpatine while Palpatine tells his men to keep searching for Yoda, then orders Commander Cody to prepare a shuttle as he wants to check on Vader. Back on Mustafar, Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fight continues, with one of Anakin’s blows destroying the computer controlling the force fields, causing them to drop and making the whole complex vulnerable to the lava on the planet’s surface. As they continue to fight, they end up on a platform floating down a river of lava and as they find themselves locked in a stalemate, Obi-Wan jumps onto the nearby shore and the two continue to argue their different viewpoints as to who is evil. When Anakin leaps from the platform and attempts to attack Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan slashes at him and ends up severing both of Anakin’s legs  at the knees and his left arm. As Anakin cries out in pain and slides down to the lava river’s edge, Obi-Wan cries out that Anakin was supposed to bring balance to the Force, not destroy it and that he was like a brother to him. Obi-Wan picks up Anakin’s lightsaber and as Anakin catches on fire, Obi-Wan leaves him to die and heads back to the shuttle, finding that C-3PO and R2 had already gotten Padme on board and prepared it for takeoff. They leave just as Palpatine’s shuttle arrives on the planet and Palpatine finds a badly burned Vader struggling to climb up out of the river and orders Vader placed in a medical capsule. Obi-Wan meets up with Yoda and Organa on a hidden medical facility, where the medical droid says that she is dying, having given up the will to live, but the must act quickly in order to save her babies. Padme gives birth to her twins, naming them Luke and Leia, and tells Obi-Wan that there is still good in Anakin before she dies. Meanwhile, Palpatine has Vader taken back to Coruscant, where he is fitted with cybernetic limbs and armor (containing a breathing apparatus for his damaged lungs) and after learning that Padme died, he cries out, destroying the machinery in the lab as he does. Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Organa decide to keep the twins hidden and separate them so that Vader and Palpatine can’t find them. Organa says he will adopt Leia while Yoda tells Obi-Wan to take Luke to Tatooine to live with his aunt and uncle, Owen and Beru Lars. Before Obi-Wan leaves, Yoda tells him that while on Tatooine, he is to begin training in a new aspect of the Force, one that will allow him to communicate with Qui Gon Jinn. As they leave to drop off the prospective twins, Yoda heads to the planet Dagobah to live in exile while Palpatine and Vader head out into space, where they oversee the beginning stages of construction on Palpatine’s secret weapon, the Death Star.

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant — if still a bit uneven — conclusion.” In preparation for their final fight, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen trained in fencing and fitness for two months, with the end result being the speed of their duel that was filmed being unaltered in the completed movie. The movie was a box office success, earning $848.8 million off of a $113 million budget but like it’s predecessor, it was not the #1 box office movie that year.

There were some flaws, but this got the job done and was a nice way to wrap up the trilogy. The acting was ok, with Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan), Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine), Christopher Lee (Dooku), and Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu) all did great jobs in their roles. As good of an actress as she is, Natalie Portman’s performance of Padme felt a little bland while Hayden Christensen (Anakin) was just terrible, with it seeming like he put no real inflection in his tone, making him sound flat and somewhat robotic (a criticism many people cited against him). Minus some dialogue issues, the story was pretty good and did it’s part in ending the prequel trilogy while setting up how the initial trilogy would start. I will admit that the scene with Vader learning of Padme’s death and crying out in loss was incredibly stupid, but my guess they were trying to humanize him a little more (but it kind of made him seem even more robotic). My favorite part was the twist with the prophecy regarding Anakin, as he did bring balance to the Force in a fashion, just not in the way the Jedi thought. The special effects in this movie were great, with the various battle scenes being incredibly well done. The fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan was not what I expected but everything I could have hoped for. I also loved the imagery, whether intentional or not, in the fact that before the duel started, Obi-Wan kept appearing in the light while Anakin always had a darker backdrop behind him. The lava eruptions as they fought, which were footage of an actual volcano erupting, added to the dynamic of the fight. Faults aside, this is the best movie out of the prequels and worth watching to see how they set things up.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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

November 13th, 2017 Movie – Star Wars: The Clone Wars

star wars the clone wars

So with the prequel trilogy a success, it looked like it would be another 15 years or so before we would get a new movie. Luckily, someone at Lucasfilm Animation had a different idea. Before Revenge Of The Sith came out, there was a short animated series on Cartoon Network which won several awards. Seeing how much interest there was in an animated series, Lucasfilm Animation decided to make another series, but this time with a full length movie serving as the pilot for the series. I will admit that I did not see this movie in theaters when it came out but wound up watching it after it showed up on Netflix along with the Clone Wars series a few years ago. So I decided to pick it up on DVD in order to complete my Star Wars collection, which brings us to today’s movie, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The plot: As the Galactic Civil War continues to rage, the Separatists Armies have taken control of the hyperspace lanes, making it difficult for the Jedi and their clone soldiers to move throughout the systems. As this is going on, Jabba the Hutt’s son Rotta is kidnapped by a rival gang and he contacts the Jedi for help in rescuing him. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine says they have to help Jabba, hoping to use the opportunity to make a treaty with the Hutts, who control the Outer Rim, and use their space lanes to help turn the tide of battle. Mace Windu says the only Jedi they can spare are Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, who are finishing a campaign on the planet Christophosis, and Palpatine says to contact them immediately. Mace Windu and Yoda contact the Republic fleet in orbit above Christophosis and ask that they escort their messenger to Obi-Wan and Anakin immediately. On the planet’s surface, Obi-Wan and Anakin, along with their clone troops, manage to successfully hold off an assault by the Separatists’ droid army when a shuttle lands and Ahsoka Tano, a Togruta Padawan exits. Ahsoka relays Yoda’s message to them and when they explain their situation to her, she suggest routing a message from her shuttle to the command ship to try and contact the Jedi Temple. They manage to reach Yoda, who tells them that he will send reinforcements but their transmission is cut off as the command ship, drastically outgunned, is forced to move position and come back for them later. Obi-Wan introduces himself and Anakin to Ahsoka, believing her to be his new Padawan but she explains that Yoda assigned her to Anakin. Anakin is shocked and not happy about this but reluctantly takes her with him as he goes to check on their defenses. Meanwhile, Asajj Ventress, the apprentice to Count Dooku, contacts him to inform him of her success in capturing Rotta when Darth Sidious appears in the hologram and says that their plan to have the Hutts attack the Jedi is proceeding as planned. Back on Christophosis, Anakin introduces Ahsoka to Captain Rex, one of the clone leaders, and as Rex shows Ahsoka around, they see the droids approaching under the cover of an energy shield. Discussing their options, Ahsoka suggest destoying the shield generator and Anakin agrees with her and the two head off to find a way to the generator. Meanwhile, a republic scouting party have followed some bounty hunters to an old monastery on the planet Teth, where they believe Rotta is being kept and report it to Mace and Yoda. Mace tells them to stay out of sight and keep watch while Yoda heads off to rescue Obi-Wan and Anakin. Back on Christophosis, Anakin and Ahsoka hide underneath a box as the shield, and troops, pass over them, then head towards the generator but in her rush to get there, Ahsoka trips the security system, causing droids to appear and attack them. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan and the clones are being overrun so he orders Rex to have the clones fall back to the heavy cannons and defend them while he tries stalling the droids by faking a surrender. Back at the generator, Anakin deals with the droids while Ahsoka plants the explosive charges and as she helps him destroy the last of the droids, she blows up the generator. With the energy shield collapsing, Obi-Wan is able to capture the Separatist general while Rex and the clones destroy the droid tanks and soldiers, just as Yoda and the reinforcements arrive. As they wait to be picked up, Anakin talks with Ahsoka and admits that while rough around the edges, she did a good job and he agrees to take her on as his Padawan. After Anakin and Ahsoka return to their base, Yoda explains the situation and sends Anakin and Ahsoka to Teth to rescue Rotta, while sending Obi-Wan to Tatooine to negotiate an agreement with Jabba. On Tatooine, the heads of the bounty hunters Jabba sent to find his son have been sent back to him and he angrily contacts Palpatine and demands that the Jedi find and return his son. Obi-Wan arrives on Tatooine and meets with Jabba, who demands that they also bring him the ones responsible for kidnapping his son. Anakin and Ahsoka arrive on Teth and after Anakin speaks with the scouts and learns the situation, they head out to the monastery. After reaching the monastery, they scale the cliff walls and make their way to the top. Ahsoka, wanting to beat Anakin to the top, is riding on an AT-TE (All Terrain Tactical Enforcer) but finds herself in trouble when the droids start targeting it and almost causes it to fall. Anakin saves her, and the AT-TE, then commandeers a droid STAP (Single Trooper Aerial Platform) to reach the top, taking out the droids while Ahsoka and the AT-TE take out the Destroyer droids that show up. After securing the monastery, Anakin and Ahsoka head inside, meeting a caretaker droid who tells them where Rotta is. Anakin and Ahsoka head down to the detention levels, dealing with the few droids they find, and find Rotta but Ahsoka notices that he is running a fever so they place him in a med-evac pack. However, Ventress has the caretaker droid record this, which Dooku uses to convince Jabba that the Jedi were the ones to kidnap his son. Back on Teth, Ventress leads a droid army to attack Anakin’s troops and they are forced to fall back into the monastery. As Captain Rex and the clones hold the droids back, Anakin, Ahsoka, and R2 try to find another way out of there so they can save Rotta. They find a hidden platform and try to contact Obi-Wan, who had arrived with reinforcements, to pick them up there but their transmissions are jammed. When Ventress shows up with two Destroyer droids, Anakin has R2 seal the door to buy them some time. Rotta points out another platform with a ship on it and Anakin jumps onto a large flying insect, then grabs Ahsoka as she is trying to fend off Ventress and heads for the platform, with R2 following behind them. When they reach the platform, Ahsoka discovers that the caretaker droid was working with Ventress and the droids and destroys the droids on the ship. Obi-Wan and his reinforcements arrive to help Captain Rex and his surviving men, and Obi-Wan ends up fighting Ventress inside the monastery. Anakin and Ahsoka get the old spice freighter started and make their way to the Republic cruiser but when it comes under too much fire and some droids breach the hangar, they are forced to take the freighter to Tatooine themselves. Ventress and Obi-Wan both sense that Anakin has left the planet and Ventress decides to escape, and contacts Dooku, who has her tell Jabba that Anakin killed Rotta and is now coming to kill him. While making the hyperspace jump, Ahsoka is able to find some medicine to give to Rotta, then helps Anakin work on repairing the ship’s systems in case they find trouble waiting for them. When they reach Tatooine, they are attacked by two droid ships and are able to take them out but not before their ship is damaged and they end up crashing in the desert. Obi-Wan contacts Palpatine, Yoda, and Mace, explaining his thoughts that Ventress and Dooku are trying to make it look like the Jedi kidnapped Rotta in order to get the Hutts to align themselves with the Separatists. When Padme arrives Palpatine dismisses the Jedi and tells her what is going on and Padme offers to negotiate with Jabba but Palpatine tells her that Jabba won’t accept any communication with them so she says she will go see Jabba’s uncle Ziro, who has a club in Coruscant, and see if he will help them get contact, with Palpatine warning her to be careful. Padme heads to the club and attempts to persuade Ziro of the Jedi’s innocence but Ziro refuses to believe her and has her thrown out of the club. Padme sneaks back in and learns that Ziro was working with Dooku to overthrow Jabba but she ends up being captured but is able to get a message to C-3P0 as she is locked up. On Tatooine, Anakin and Ahsoka make their way to Jabba’s palace when they sense Dooku approaching them. Anakin gives Rotta to Ahsoka, telling her to keep going to Jabba’s palace while he faces off with Dooku. As the two fight, Dooku shows Anakin footage from his Magnaguards, who are battling Ahsoka, and Anakin manages to push Dooku back, then takes Dooku’s speeder and heads off. Back on Coruscant, Padme is rescued by some clone troopers and they capture Ziro, who tells them he was forced to help Dooku kidnap Rotta. Back on Tatooine, Ahsoka was knocked down an embankment by the Magnaguards, so Anakin doesn’t see her when he arrives. When Anakin enters the palace and finds Ahsoka isn’t there, he questions Jabba, threatening to kill him and Jabba claims this is proof that the Jedi were here to kill him. Ahsoka finishes off the Magnaguards and arrives at the palace and returns Rotta to Jabba but Jabba still orders them killed. Suddenly, Padme contacts Jabba through Ziro’s communication device and explains how Dooku and Ziro were behind the kidnapping. Jabba says that Ziro will be punished by the Hutt Families and that the Republic forces will be able to use the Hutt’s trade routes to move their ships. As Obi-Wan and Yoda arrive to pick up Anakin and Ahsoka, Dooku makes his escape and contacts Sidious, who says that things are still going their way in the war.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was panned by the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Mechanical animation and a less-than stellar script make The Clone Wars a pale shadow of George Lucas’ once great franchise.” During one scene in the movie, there is a pink R2 droid called R2-KT. This is a reference to Katie Johnson, the daughter of Albin Johnson (the founder of the 501st Legion), who died of cancer when she was 7 and the costumers built a pink R2 droid to keep her spirits up during her final days. The movie was a box office hit, earning $68.3 million off of an $8.5 million budget and spawned an animated series which lasted for 6 seasons.

This is a pretty entertaining movie that is a nice fit into the Star Wars franchise. The voice acting was pretty good, with Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, and Matthew Wood reprising their roles of Mace Windu, Count Dooku, C-3P0, and the battle droids respectively. The story was pretty interesting, with the idea of Anakin Skywalker having a Padawan making for an interesting story as you are left to wonder what happened to her after he became Vader. The interaction between Anakin and Ahsoka was very well done, with both of them playing off of each other’s impulsiveness. The CGI animation was pretty good, though some characters looked a little too square for my liking but over all, the lines were pretty smooth and well created. A great movie to watch and a nice pause in the Anakin Skywalker saga before he turns into Darth Vader.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

November 12th, 2017 Movie – Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones

star wars episode II - attack of the clones

Ok, so we have the next entry in the prequel trilogy and the only thing I was honestly excited about regarding it was the introduction of Jango Fett. I honestly felt it was a little bit poetic that Boba Fett was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, the second movie in the original trilogy, and now we get to see his father in this movie. While that was my main reason in this movie, I will admit that finally seeing the Clone Wars, which was mentioned was back in the original Star Wars. So let’s see how this story progresses as I watch today’s movie, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones.

The plot: Ten years after the Trade Federation’s blockade of Naboo, thousands of systems are considering leaving the Republic, with a former Jedi named Count Dooku leading this Separatist Movement. Padme Amidala, the former queen of Naboo now turned Senator, arrives on Coruscant for an important vote when an attack occurs when her ship lands, but the attack kills her decoy instead. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is meeting with several members of the Jedi Council about the Separatist Movement and the possibility of war arising when Amidala, and other members of the “Loyalist Committee” arrive. After speaking about her attack, and Padme voicing her belief that Dooku was behind it, Palpatine suggests that Obi-Wan Kenobi be assigned to protect Padme and the Council agrees. Later that day, Obi-Wan and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, arrive at Padme’s chambers and Padme is shocked to see how much Anakin has grown. Anakin and Obi-Wan argue on their course of action, then later discuss Anakin’s dreams concerning his mother and his feelings towards Padme. Meanwhile, the bounty hunter assigned to kill Padme meets with his associate, Zam Wesell, and hands her a tube filled with venomous centipedes to use in another attempt on Padme. Zam gives the tube to a droid, which flies to Padme’s window and unleashes the centipedes into Padme’s room while she is sleeping but Anakin and Obi-Wan sense the centipedes and Anakin is able to kill them before they attack Padme. Obi-Wan spots the droid and leaps through the window, grabbing onto the droid as it flies away while Anakin grabs a speeder and chases after them. The droid heads back towards Zam, who shoots the droid out of the sky but Anakin catches Obi-Wan as he is falling and they continue chasing after Zam. The eventually catch up to her at a night club, where Obi-Wan cuts off her arm when she tries to shoot him, but as they take her outside to question her, she is killed by the other bounty hunter, who uses his rocket pack to blast off into the night sky. The next day, the Jedi Council assigns Obi-Wan to track down the bounty hunter and has Anakin escort Padme back to Naboo for safekeeping. suggesting Anakin speak with Palpatine to convince her to go. Anakin speaks with Palpatine, who says he will order her to leave, then congratulates Anakin on his first solo assignment while elsewhere, Obi-Wan voices his concern to Mace Windu and Yoda about giving Anakin the assignment. After Anakin and Padme leave, Obi-Wan heads to a diner run by his friend Dexter Jettster and asks him about the dart used to kill Zam. Dexter tells him that it is a Kamino Sabre Dart and tells him where Kamino is, saying that the citizens there are cloners and are friendly enough if you have a big enough pocketbook. Obi-Wan searches the Jedi archives but finds no record of it in their system so he interrupts Yoda, who is teaching a class of children, about the matter. Yoda uses it as a teaching exercise for his pupils and they determine that someone had erased the information from the Archives, and Yoda says he will check on it as Obi-Wan heads off to Kamino. Meanwhile, Anakin and Padme, along with R2, arrive on Naboo, and Padme discusses the current situation with the new Queen but as Padme’s security arrangements, Padme overrules Anakin’s suggestions, which upsets him as she seems to be treating him like he is still a child. Obi-Wan arrives on Kamino, where he is greeted by Tuan We, who says that he was expected and escorts him to the Prime Minister Lama Su. Lama Su tells Obi-Wan that the Jedi’s order of a clone army is on schedule, with 200,000 units ready now and 1 million more underway. Obi-Wan then learns that the order was placed by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas 10 years ago, which startles Obi-Wan as Sifo-Dyas had been dead almost 10 years, the Lama Su invites Obi-Wan to inspect the clone army being built for the Republic. As he is shown the clone army, Obi-Wan learns that the genetic template for the army came from a bounty hunter named Jango Fett, who asked for an unaltered clone as part of his payment and Obi-Wan asks to meet him. Meanwhile, Anakin and Padme arrive at Padme’s island home but as the two spend time together, they start to become romantically attracted to each other, with Anakin kissing Padme at one point, even though romantic love is forbidden in the Jedi Code. As they have dinner later that night, Anakin speaks about his feelings for her and suggest they can keep their love a secret but Padme says that they would be living a lie and she couldn’t live like that. Back on Kamino, Obi-Wan meets Jango and his “son” Boba Fett and questions him on if he has been on Coruscant recently, then asks if ho knows Sifo-Dyas but Jango says he was hired by a man named Tyrannus and after Obi-Wan leaves, Jango tells Boba to get ready to leave. Obi-Wan returns to his ship and contacts Mace and Yoda, explaining what he learned and asking them if the Council had authorized the creation of the army. Mace tells him no and Yoda says to bring Jango back to Coruscant for questioning and after ending the communication, the two Masters discuss telling the Senate how the Jedi’s ability to use the Force has diminished but Yoda fears that the knowledge will increase their enemies. Obi-Wan confronts Jango as he is about to leave and the two fight but Jango, with the help of Boba manning his ship’s weapons, manages to get away but Obi-Wan manages to throw a homing disc onto the ship, Slave 1, as it lifts off. Back on Naboo, Anakin has a dream concerning his mother in great pain and tells Padme he has to abandon her to go find out if she is ok but Padme says she will go with him. The two travel to Tatooine and go to see Watto, who tells Anakin that he sold Shmi to a moisture farmer named Cliegg Lars, who freed and married her. Meanwhile, Ob-Wan follows Jango to the planet Geonosis and after tricking Jango into thinking he was killed, follows him down to the surface, noting the large amount of Trade Federation ships in the area, before he lands and goes to explore. BAck on Tatooine, Anakin and Padme reach the Lars’ farm and are surprised to see C-3P0 working on the vaporators. After 3P0 introduces Anakin and Padme to Cliegg Lars, his son Owen and Owen’s girlfriend Beru, Anakin asks about his mother and Cliegg explains that she was kidnapped by Tusken Raiders. Anakin leaves Padme with the Lars and heads out to find the Tusken Raiders, eventually finding their camp. Anakin locates Shmi and frees her but she ends up dying in his arms, and in his anger and grief over not being able to save her, he slaughters all of the Raiders in the camp. Back on Geonosis, Obi-Wan sees Count Dooku working with the Trade Federation to enlist other planetary groups to the Separatist Movement, promising that their droid army will be able to overpower the Jedi. Obi-Wan tries to contact Coruscant but he is too far away so he contacts Anakin, leaving a message for him to relay to Coruscant only to be attacked and captured during it. Back on Tatooine, Anakin returns with Shmi’s body and as Cliegg, Owen, and Beru prepare it for burial, Anakin tells Padme what he did, upset over his inability to save his mother and how he slaughtered the Tusken Raiders. As they funish the funeral, R2 approaches them and informs Anakin and Padme about Obi-Wan’s message and they relay it to the Jedi Council. Mace orders Anakin to stay where he is and protect Padme while they help Obi-Wan but Padme says the Jedi won’t get there in time so she decides to head to Geonosis to help, with Anakin, R2, and 3P0 going with her. On Coruscant, Palpatine is given emergency powers to deal with the Separatist Army, and Mace heads out to help Obi-Wan while Yoda heads to Kamino to take command of the clone army. On Geonosis, Count Dooku speaks with the captive Obi-Wan and tries to convince him to join him, saying that the Senate was under the control of a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious, but Obi-Wan refuses to believe him. When Anakin and Padme arrive, they attempt to sneak into the droid manufacturing plant but they are soon captured. As they are taken to the arena to be executed, Padme tells Anakin that she loves him, wanting him to know before they die, and they share a kiss. The two are chained up to poles next to Obi-Wan, and the Geonosian leader orders their execution, having three creatures released to kill them. Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme manage to free themselves and attempt to fend off the creatures just as Mace Windu arrives with the other Jedi to rescue them. Dooku summons the droid army, including the new Super Battle Droids, and they begin fighting with the Jedi, with Jango attacking Mace but Mace decapitates him. As the Jedi begin to get overwhelmed, Yoda arrives with the clone army to rescue the surviving Jedi. As the two armies clash, Dooku and the Separatist leaders plan to retreat, with Dooku taking the plans for their ultimate weapon with him. Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme spot Dooku leaving and go after him but when their ship is attacked, Padme is knocked out of the ship and falls to the sand below. Anakin wants to go back for her but Obi-Wan convinces him to help him and Anakin reluctantly agrees. When they reach the hangar that Dooku was heading towards, Anakin rushes in to attack him but is knocked back by Dooku’s Force lightning. Dooku attacks Obi-Wan, first with lightning and then with his lightsaber, eventually scorching Obi-Wan’s arm and leg to cripple him. As Dooku goes to finish him off, Anakin recovers and stops him, and Obi-Wan throws him his lightsaber to use as well but Dooku easily defeats him, severing his right arm and shoving him aside. Suddenly, Yoda appears and begins fighting with Dooku and the two end up evenly matched but when Dooku causes a pillar to start to fall on Obi-Wan and Anakin, Yoda is forced to let Dooku escape in order to save them. Dooku makes his way to Coruscant, where he meets up with Darth Sidious, who refers to Dooku as Darth Tyrannus, and says everything is going as planned. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan speaks with Mace and Yoda about what has occurred and wonders if Dooku was right about a Sith Lord controlling the Senate, as Palpatine and the Loyalist Senators watch as the Clone Army boards the various ship to head out into battle. Meanwhile, Anakin has escorted Padme back to Naboo, where the two get married in a secret ceremony.

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones met with mixed praise from the critics, holding a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones benefits from an increased emphasis on thrilling action, although they’re once again undercut by ponderous plot points and underdeveloped characters.” When Jango is boarding Slave 1 after fighting Obi-Wan, he bangs his head on the doorway, which was intentionally done as a nod to the infamous goof in A New Hope, where a stormtrooper hit his head on a doorway. The movie was a box office hit, earning $649.4 million off of a $115 million budget, however it was the first movie in the franchise to not be the top box office hit of the year, being surpassed by both Spider-Man and The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers.

You know, this was a decent movie all in all. The acting was ok, with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee doing good jobs in their roles of Obi-Wan and Count Dooku respectively. Now, I know this is going to sound somewhat blasphemous, but after watching this again a little more objectively, I do think that Hayden Christensen did a good job in his role as Anakin. Despite all of his powers and abilities, Anakin was essentially a teenager trying to act like an adult and getting frustrated by all the rules and responsibilities he is forced to follow or when things don’t go the way he wants. This is pretty much what a lot of teenagers go through in life and this is exactly how Hayden played the character. The story was honestly a little weak and while it essentially had two main parts to it, Obi-Wan’s mission and Anakin and Padme’s romance (which both tied together to start the beginning of the Clone Wars), the back and forth between the two plot lines felt disjointed and they could have done a better job with the transition between them. Added to this was the fact that the dialogue honestly sucked, with Anakin’s soliloquy on sand just sounding stupid. The special effects were pretty good but I have to admit that the coolest effect was something that wasn’t actually an effect. On Tatooine, when Anakin talks with Padme before he leaves to find his mom, his shadow against the building resembles Darth Vader and according to the DVD Commentary, this was entirely a coincidence. A decent entry in the series but it could have been done better.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Standard
action, crime, fantasy, movie, movie review

October 30th, 2017 Movie – The Spirit

the spirit

Ok, back to the comic book movies. Now this is one of those movies that looked interesting on a couple of different levels. I mean, it is a Frank Miller movie and since Sin City and 300 are both some of my favorite movies, you would think that I would be all about seeing this movie in the theaters. However, I honestly had no interest in seeing it, and this was before I heard the critic’s reviews or my friend’s comments about it. So if I had no interest in seeing this movie and my friends who did see it said it was bad, why would I even buy this movie, you ask? Well, I have to blame a random Blockbuster trip for the fact that I own today’s movie, The Spirit.

The plot: Denny Colt is having a dream about Lorelei, the Angel of Death, who says that he escaped her grasp but she will always be nearby, when he is woken by a call from Detective Sussman, who says something is happening in the swampland that could involve the Octopus, Colt’s nemesis. Donning his garb as The Spirit, he heads out to meet with Sussman, but stops to rescue a woman who is being mugged. The Spirit checks on the woman to see if she is ok, removing the knife one of the muggers stabbed him with as she watches, then continues on his journey, stopping a patrolman named Liebowitz to catch a ride. At the swampland, Sussman is looking around when a woman rises up out of the water and points a gun at him and shots are fired. When the Spirit and Liebowitz arrive, the find Sussman dying from his gunshot wounds and a flashback shows that as he was facing the woman, the Octopus shot him in the back. The Octopus then continues firing at the woman, who dives back into the water to meet up with her partner Mahmoud, who had found two chests in the water. The Octopus continues firing into the water, hitting Mahmoud and severing the rope tying the two chests together as the woman tries to swim away with them. The Octopus then dives into the water and retrieves the other chest and as he surfaces, he sees the Spirit and Liebowitz tending to Sussman. As Liebowitz leaves to radio for help, The Octopus attacks the Spirit, telling his cloned henchmen to take the chest to the truck, driven by his assistant Silken Floss, while he deals with the Spirit. The two men beat each other to the point of exhaustion until one of the clones shoots the Spirit as he starts to get up again. Octopus calls an end to the fight and as he leaves, tells the Spirit that they are alike, asking him if he knows why he can take so much punishment.As the Octopus leaves, the Spirit passes out and he regains consciousness to find Dr. Ellen Dolan, his lover, tending to his wounds. As the two start to argue about his recklessness, Ellen is called away to tend to Sussman and as she works on him, Sussman motions with his eyes at the Spirit, who grabs the locket that Sussman had grabbed off of the woman. As the Spirit goes to leave, Commissioner Dolan talks to him, arguing with the Spirit about his obsession with the Octopus. After leaving the scene, the Spirit looks at the locket and realizes it came from Sand Saref, his childhood sweetheart, and he decides to go look for her and find out what she knows. Meanwhile, the Octopus opens the chest he grabbed only to discover that it contains the fabled Golden Fleece, and not the Blood of Heracles that he expected. Killing several of his henchmen, the Octopus realizes that Sand must have the Blood and decides to arrange an exchange. Meanwhile, Sand and Mahmoud approach the dealer that sold them the Fleece and after taking back all of their money, plus all of his, he explains that he had no choice but to let the Octopus know about the shipment, then kills himself after they leave. The next day, Ellen is checking over the Spirit, who has healed from all his wounds, and they start kissing before Dolan and rookie cop Morgenstern show up and pull the Spirit away. As Dolan and Morgenstern take him to the dead fence’s office, they tell him about Sand Saref, who is suspected of killing the fence but the Spirit doesn’t believe she killed him as she had never killed anyone before during any of her heists. The Spirit goes to look for Sand and finds out where she is staying approaching her in her penthouse as she steps out of the shower. She tells him to mind her husband, who died while sampling the blood in the vase, and the two end up arguing over her actions. As the Spirit brings up her past and childhood dreams, she tells him that only one person knows about her dreams and she pushes him out the window. The Spirit plummets towards the street but is saved when his jacket snags onto a statue on the side of the building. He receives a call from Morgenstern, giving him a clue to the Octopus’ whereabouts and he heads to a nearby salt factory. As he makes his way to the Octopus’ lair, he is confronted by Floss, who kisses him before injecting him with a sedative. When the Spirit comes too, he finds himself tied to a chair and is confronted by Plaster of Paris, an assassin that the Octopus hired to kill the Spirit. The Octopus and Floss then arrive and explain how they created a serum that brought him back to life, then the Octopus injected himself with it. However, the serum is unstable so the effects could fade at anytime, which is why the Octopus wants the Blood of Heracles in order to become immortal. The Octopus orders Plaster to kill the Spirit but the Spirit is able to seduce Plaster into freeing him and he attacks the Octopus and drops a statue on him. The Spirit and Plaster escape but then Plaster stabs the Spirit out of jealousy in hearing Sand’s name. The Spirit stumbles to the water’s edge and falls in, where he is approached by Lorelei and he starts to embrace her but as he thinks about the women is leaving behind, he pushes Lorelei away and swims back to the surface, where he blacks out and is taken to Ellen’s hospital. The Spirit recovers and heads off with Dolan, Morgenstern, and the other police. Sand attends the meeting with the Octopus and tells Floss that she should leave before the Octopus kills her too. As the Octopus approaches the vase, the Spirit shows up and the Octopus starts firing at him, while Floss decides to leave the scene. The Octopus continuously fires at the Spirit, pulling at increasingly larger guns, until he finally knocks him down. At that point, the police head out and begin attacking the Octopus and his henchmen, eventually bringing him down. As he starts to regenerate and reaches for the vase, Sand shoots it before he can drink from it. The Spirit then gets up, revealing he was wearing a bullet proof vest and jams a grenade into the Octopus’ stomach. The Spirit pulls the pin, intending for both of them to die in the blast but Sand uses the Fleece to shield them both from the blast. As they recover, the Spirit hands Sand back her locket and she puts it on, then recognizing the Spirit as Denny, she kisses him before leaving. The Spirit approaches Dolan, who wants to arrest Sand but the Spirit convinces him to let her go for her part in saving them. The Spirit then approaches Ellen, who is upset at seeing him kissing Sand but he explains that Sand was an old flame but she is the one he wants and she forgives him, though she is still jealous about the effect he has on women while elsewhere, Floss finds one of Octopus’ toes crawling towards her and she picks it up and leaves with the last two clones, Adios and Amigos.

The Spirit was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though its visuals are unique, The Spirit‘s plot is almost incomprehensible, the dialogue is ludicrously mannered, and the characters are unmemorable.” Based on the 1940’s comic strip, Frank Miller decided to omit the character of Ebony White, the Spirit’s sidekick, partially because Miller felt the Spirit didn’t need a sidekick but largely due to his being typically portrayed as a 1930’s racial stereotype.

Yeh, this was a pretty disappointing movie. The acting was ok, with Samuel L. Jackson giving a pretty funny performance as the Octopus, but I was kind of unimpressed with everyone else. Actually scratch that. I also really enjoyed Louis Lambardi as the Octopus’ cloned henchmen and thought they did a great job of showcasing the whole “copying something too many times makes for copies of a lesser quality”. I also thought it was funny that all of their names ends in os, but the last scene with Adios and Amigos was a bit much. Having never read any of the comic strips, I have no idea how closely the plot followed the source material. I do think the story was kind of a mess, mainly with the pacing, while the narration was a little too over the top. I will say that this movie did have a good sense of visual appeal, similar to how Sin City was shot but with more flesh tones to the characters which just added to the noir feel that the movie was going for. As for the special effects, they were pretty good, being over the top in a comic book fashion several times, but I felt they could have done more with them. Honestly, I was disappointed with it but others might find it entertaining.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard