Author Archives: ward

Blade Runner 2049

I wasn’t going to post the Blade Runner 2049 official trailer as it has been out for almost a day and is all over the internet. But then I thought that someone may have missed it and that would be a shame because it looks incredible.

It is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has proved he can do thoughtful and evocative sci-fi with the superb Arrival (go and watch that if you haven’t seen it yet). Plus Gosling and Ford are generally pretty reliable and I am a sucker for cyberpunk.

Check it out the official trailer. Ideally on a big screen:

The Dark Tower official trailer

I wrote relatively recently about the Dark Tower book and how good it was. As I said in my review, the Gunslinger was damned enjoyable and I wanted to read it before the film came out. I’ll be honest though, I thought it was going to be a series of films but now it just looks like a one-off movie. Which is a shame but what are you going to do? The casting is great though –  I am a big fan of both Elba and McConaughey and can easily imagine them in the roles. I seriously doubt that I will read the next six books in the Dark Tower series before this comes out in August, so the film had better be good.

I think the Dark Tower official trailer looks great but then trailers nearly always do these days. See what you think…

Babylon’s Ashes: Book 6 of the Expanse

This review of Babylon’s Ashes: book 6 of the Expanse will only be of interest if you have read the first five Expanse novels. Which is an obvious thing to say but you may have stumbled here by accident.

I love the Expanse, the books as well as the TV show. Again, this should be apparent given that I am now eagerly awaiting book 7. Babylon’s Ashes continues telling the story of the crew of the Rocinante and increasingly, the story of a shitload of other people. The cast is seriously ballooning, which is generally a good thing although it can be hard to follow if, like me, you have time away from the series.

I read somewhere that the series is supposed to be 9 books – 3 duologies and a final trilogy. Babylon’s Ashes was a great read but it did read a little like a “book 6” (if you know what I mean) while at the same time wrapping up the events of book 5. I do find the Free Navy, (and to a lesser extent the OPA,) a bit like an angry teenager banging on about stuff not being fair. This book deals with the Free Navy a lot. In the last book they trashed the Earth, in this one, they mostly act petulant and try to fight a lot.  There are some great set pieces though and a load of awesome space battles. There are also some other more mysterious alien elements developing in the background, in case you forgot.

So while Babylon’s Ashes is a great story, it deals more with the OPA/Free Navy and less with stuff I want to read about – aliens, the rings, the new planets, Miller, etc. There is a feeling that it is finishing off some storylines and setting the scene for the epic final trilogy. As such, it wasn’t one of my favourite entries in the Expanse series but I still enjoyed it and I am totally on board for what will hopefully follow. Go Expanse!

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin VR review

I have been plowing through VR games in the £15-20 range recently. I recently finished Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and then, grateful for the complete change of scene, I thought I would try Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. Until Dawn was a horror shooter on a roller-coaster with a ton of jump scares, whereas Psychonauts is a humorous and mostly stationary adventure game. I highly recommend doing things this way round.

In the Rhombus of Ruin you play Raz, the newest member of the team of Psychonauts. I haven’t played any of the other games in the series but it really doesn’t matter. The characters are fun and the story is standalone. If you are new to VR and are worried about motion sickness, then this is highly recommended for reasons that are best explained by the plot.

The team is on a plane and as Raz, you are still experimenting and learning about your psychic abilities. Because you are on a plane, this is done from a seated position. The plane crashes and the team is scattered and when you awaken you are strapped motionless to a chair. Fortunately, your psychic abilities allow you to transport your conscious into the various minions and creatures you see and you can get them to press button and so on. Essentially, this is a puzzler and as everything is viewed from within stationary minds, there is no threat of dreaded VR motion sickness.

At first, your abilities are essentially mind jumping and psychic prodding. As you release other members of the psychonaut team, you get better abilities like being able to blast stuff and set things on fire. You also travel around quite a bit and soon find yourself jumping into things like jellyfish, rats and all sorts (mild spoiler: you are underwater).

I really enjoyed this game and highly recommend it. It’s fun and the VR is top notch. The only real negative was that it was short. I finished it in about 2 hours. So while the story was enjoyable and the characters were great, it felt slightly perfunctory and never really had a chance to go anywhere too deep. The fact I wanted a bit more is a good thing I guess, it just depends how much action you want for £15 (roughly).

Personally I loved Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. It could have been longer and I will never play it again but if a sequel came out I would definitely get it. Recommended.

 

Thor Ragnarok looks like a Guardians of the Galaxy crossover

The last two Thor movies have been ok. Not great but entertaining none the less. Ragnarok seems like it is going in a very different direction and looks like it could be a shitload of fun. Fewer plotlines about people being tricked by Loki the Trickster and more space adventure goodness. In fact, as the trailer went on I was fully expecting one of the Guardians of the Galaxy to pop in and say something witty. I will be surprised if that doesn’t happen in the Ragnarok at some point.

I think this looks great but that could just be I have been in a long excitement build up to Guardians 2 and this feels like a crossover. Plus – Led Zeppelin. Zeppelin rule. Enjoy.

 

 

Justice League official trailer

I’m a very forgiving soul so I am allowing myself to get fairly excited about both a DC film and a Zack Snyder film. I enjoyed Watchmen and I waited till the extended BluRay version of Batman vs Superman came out and enjoyed the hell out of that too. So bollocks, I am looking forward to Justice League.

Suicide Squad was crap, so I won’t go full on “Star Wars” excited yet. DC have yet to find their feet. I know trailers mean bugger all these days, so for what it is worth, here is the Justice League official trailer. I think it looks great! Woohoo DC!

Geostorm trailer looks like lots of other trailers

I grew up watching disaster movies in the late 70s and early 80s and they were great. The Towering Inferno, Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and so on. Then there was a lull before they got popular again in the mid to late 90s – Independence Day, Armageddon, Deep Impact. Since then, there has been the occasional one like 2012, ID2, and San Andreas. Now there is Geostorm.

The first batch was great as they told personal stories and didn’t rely too heavily on special effects. The second ones were ok purely because of the special effects which were amazing for the time and they thankfully overshadowed the cliched and crap story telling. The more recent ones are ok but we have seen everything before so, you know, meh. Geostorm definitely seems like it will fit in the latter category.

The modern master of the disaster film is Roland Emmerich, a frequent collaborator with co-producer/writer Dean Devlin. Geostorm was directed by Dean Devlin who, for his directorial debut, is clearly sticking with what he knows.

Except Geostorm is slightly different in that it is set in the future where satellites control the weather. (I said slightly.) So when the satellites go wrong and tons of storms hit the Earth, it is up to top scientist Gerard Butler to fly into space and save the day. Oh, and there is some kind of threat to the president. Unbelievably Ed Harris and Andy Garcia are in it too.

Maybe I am being mean to Geostorm but I watched the trailer and felt like I have seen everything in it already. Like 2012 and San Andreas, I suspect it will have great special effects and I will watch it when it comes on TV and I have a hangover and can’t be bothered to change channels. I’ll probably enjoy it too. It comes out in October.

Here is the trailer:

Kong: Skull Island trailer is great!

My favorite trailer of all time was Mad Max but this new Kong: Skull Island trailer is definitely up there. It starts off pretty standard lay for a great trailer but then just keeps going in what almost feels like an overload of fun. I was going to post the new Alien Covenant trailer today but I think it would be sad indeed if anyone missed this one, so I might as well post it. There is also quite an enjoyable Kong 360 video out there if you are lucky enough to have VR.  Kong has to be pretty big if the much rumored Godzilla crossover is going to happen and this doesn’t disappoint. He’s huge predictably angry.

I am suddenly quite excited to see this now. Check it out:

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword trailer 2

I was fairly curious about this film as the first trailer seemed quite fun and King Arthur is generally an enjoyable legend. As a science fiction fan I am also obviously into fantasy, swords and magic etc, because that is just the way the universe works.

The best film about Arthur is Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Special Edition), followed by John Boorman’s Excalibur, but there is certainly room for more. I even enjoyed Clive Owen as Arthur. Some of Guy Ritchie’s films are better than others but they are all pretty watchable.

So this is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’s second trailer and this one uses Led Zeppelin’s music. Zeppelin rule, so it is a better trailer than the first. I remember reading a couple of years ago that this film was the first of a series but I guess the studio is hedging its bets on that front. Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) stars and it comes out 12th May 2017. Here’s the trailer: