Category Archives: Movies

Oblivion Review

Oblivion

Oblivion looks good and the story it is trying to tell places it in a genre I love – intelligent Science Fiction. You know, shit that makes you think. Stuff like: 2001, Moon, The Matrix, Solaris, even Total Recall. Sadly, although I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t quite succeed.

Here’s Oblivion’s plot: Tom Cruise and a ginger English lady are the last people on Earth and live in an awesome flat high off the surface. Previously there had been a war with some aliens called ‘the scavengers’ and we won! Yay us! Unfortunately, in order to win we had set off a load of nuclear bombs and fucked up the planet. Boo us! Consequently, everyone has legged it to Titan for some reason. Also for some reason we need to hoover up the oceans with giant machines in order to get hydrogen or energy for fusion or something. Which is weird as Titan probably has water already and space has loads of ice. Maybe I missed some bit of the explanation. It doesn’t really matter though.

In addition to the big ocean sucking machines, there are also scary, slightly psychopathic robots flying around that attack the remaining ‘Scavengers’. Tom and the ginger lady are there to make sure all the robots are working ok. They are a bit like Wall-E but without the rubbish or charm. Tom also has a lot of flashbacks to a woman on pre-war Earth, which is pretty baffling for all involved. Especially when he finds a pod with the woman inside.

THEN IT TURNS OUT THINGS AREN”T WHAT THEY SEEM! Oooooh…

That is pretty much all I can tell you without ruining the film.

Oblivion looks great and is well made. It is also fairly slow but I didn’t mind that. In fact, there could have been slightly less action and I would still have enjoyed it. At times the action felt like it was there because the test audiences wanted it to be 10% more exciting so they just whacked a few more explosions in. I guess the problem with the film is that I felt like I had seen a lot of it before. To be fair, I have read and seen a LOT of science fiction, so maybe it was just me. Also, the way Tom behaves toward the ginger lady and the way she behaves generally, struck me as a bit odd.

I forgot to mention that Morgan Freeman is in the film, but he doesn’t really do much. Which is a shame as I like Morgan Freeman.

Oblivion is a good film but not a great one. It’s well acted, well directed, and looks superb. I like the fact that it is trying to be a smart, thought provoking science fiction film. It’s just a shame that it feels a bit derivative of lots of other smart, thought provoking science fiction movies. It’s worth a watch though and there are some good bits in it. Here’s the trailer. Enjoy.
http://youtu.be/V_PBWtV1kRI

Elysium trailer

I seem to be posting a lot of trailers recently and for that I apologise. In my meagre defence I am currently on holiday. Also in my meagre defence this trailer looks like it might be brilliant. It is by Neill BlomKamp who made District 9. Which was brilliant. So here you go. Enjoy:
http://youtu.be/oIBtePb-dGY

Purge trailer

Here’s the idea. In the near future, America has near full employment and hardly any crime and everything is generally pretty ace. This is all because once a year, for one night only, nothing is illegal. So you can smoke weed, jaywalk, sleep with prostitutes and generally behave badly. Except for all the murders, it basically turns into Amsterdam for an evening.

Interesting premise, even though almost everything about it sounds massively unlikely. The trailer looks good and it has a great cast, so I suspect I’ll be watching it. Enjoy.
http://youtu.be/_eFmi1E3s3w
 

NEW STAR TREK TRAILER!

Ok, sorry to shout that but that was how it emerged from my fevered brain. This doesn’t actually show much, except that the film continues to look like it will be brilliant. So here you go:

 

R2D2 in Star Trek (2009)

Holy crap! I thought this was an internet lie but I actually got round to checking it out and it’s real! In the last Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams there is a scene where the Enterprise drop out of warp into a debris field above Vulcan. In part of the debris some eagle eyed viewer spotted R2D2 floating in space.

I guess someone did it for a laugh. Or it was Star Wars fan who has now been fired. Or Abrams hid it there to show what a Star Wars fan he is so he can direct one of the new ones. Or something. First I will post a clip from youtube. To see it you have to maximize the screen and put the picture on its highest setting. Even then the pause function is probably necessary. As further proof, there will be a screenshot from my own TV (which is all in high def and very clear and incredibly awesome).

Here’s the clip:
http://youtu.be/Ob90h-Juvqo

Here’s the screenshot from my TV:

R2D2 in Star Trek.

How clear is that?
 

The Hobbit Review

The Hobbit

I saw this a few weeks ago but might as well review it in case you are toying with watching it at the cinema before it disappears. To make it easy for you – go and see the Hobbit now. It’s great fun. It isn’t up there with Lord of the Rings, but if you had seen this first you would have been well excited.

I saw the high frame rate IMAX 3D version. So the full whammy. As futuristic and hi-tech as a visit to the cinema can be at this moment in history (what happened to smell-o-vision?). To be honest, you didn’t miss much if you missed this version. In fact the 2D version with the old frame rate is probably better. The main problem with the Hobbit, for me at least, was that the picture so clear, so 3D, and generally just so perfect, that the first part of the movie in Bilbo’s house looked like a set. You know when you see a ‘making of’ featurette and you see them filming something that looks really crap and fake but then you see what the director sees on his little viewing screen and it looks pretty cool? It is like that but without the latter part. Everything was so clear I was permanently aware that they were acting on the set of the Hobbit.

It’s a small gripe though. Once the adventure begins everything just looks epic and awesome. It’s not just the picture that improves either. The opening scene (like the book) is a bit silly and a reminder that the Hobbit was a kid’s book. When Bilbo sets off on his ‘adventure’ however, it all comes good.

The Brown Wizard. Played by an old Doctor Who.

The acting is good, the set pieces are incredible, the baddie is pretty cool (although not as powerfully evil as in LOTR). In particular, the scenes where Bilbo plays the guessing game with Gollum and the dwarves  fight goblins in an underground kingdom, are superb. Pure Jackson gold. Other scenes though, felt added for no reason. I haven’t read the book since I was ten, but there were a lot of scenes that I don’t remember. Apparently they used a lot of material from books like The Silmarillion, so I guess that is where the Brown Wizard’s story must come from. The problem is, quite a few bits just felt like unnecessary padding. Almost as if they took a shortish book and tried to make it a nine hour epic for purposes of greed.

The Hobbit is great fun though and you really should go and see it in the cinema. It won’t blow you away, but you will definitely be entertained. Which is the point. Recommended.

 

First nine minutes of ‘Star Trek into Darkness’

Go and see ‘The Hobbit’ at your local IMAX cinema now. If you do, you may be lucky enough to see the first nine minutes of Star Trek into Darkness. As a bonus, The Hobbit is pretty fun too and I’ll probably review it at some point.

This film looks like it will be incredible. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a Trekkie (one of the cool ones though), and I’m loving what Abrams is doing with the franchise. I am also a fan of excitement, spaceships, exotic locations, and attractive women in tight futuristic outfits. All my Trek boxes have been ticked.

The extended trailer starts with Micky from Doctor Who and his Mrs waking up in a futuristic London. They go and visit their sick daughter but things all seem pretty grim and she’s in a coma or something. Then Benedict Cumberbatch comes in and says he can help Micky’s daughter. Predictably Micky asks who are you? To which he gets the reply: I AM KHAN! Actually not really. Sorry. Just kidding. He doesn’t say anything.

The film then cuts to Kirk and Bones being chased across a cool alien planet by some primitive looking fellows in white. In the background a volcano starts to explode. In 3D this equals lots of ash floating in front of your eyes from which native arrows and spears shoot out at your goggling visages. In all, it is very exciting indeed.

The action then cuts to Spock, Uhura, and Sulu who are in a shuttle that is going to lower Spock via a flimsy wire into the volcano.  Things don’t go totally according to plan…

More things happen but apathy and the risk of ruining your enjoyment prevent me from continuing. Let me just say that if it were any more exciting, they would have to issue a warning.

You can see the 9 minutes online at a few dodgy sites BUT DON’T. The clip I checked out was awful and roughly a billion times worse than the real trailer. For one thing, it’s 3D so the shakily held camera recorded blurred images. I could have embedded it here but I don’t want to support that kind of behavior and hope that Abrams may read this site and invite me to the premiere. (Even just the London premiere would be fine.)

So go now and watch it in the cinema! Engage!

Trailer Bonanza! Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim

I normally post trailers sporadically as they come out but as I have been stupidly busy they have been piling up. Apologies. I am a lot more free from now on. As a responsible Scifi webmaster I feel that you need to see these trailers.

Superman, Man of Steel

First up we have Superman. I’ve always preferred Batman and Spiderman to Superman but Zack Snyder tends to make visually kick-ass type movies so this might be good. In case you are wondering why I’m not a fan, it is because I don’t think Superman lives up to his potential. He can fly, is impervious to weapons, can shoot lasers from his eyes, and can see through things. He is only vulnerable to Kryptonite, an incredibly rare rock. He should be a beneficial ruler of mankind. As it is, he is constantly almost defeated. His nemesis? A clever human. Still, the trailer looks good and the enemy is General Zod. So it might be ok.

Star Trek Into Darkness

This is what I am most excited about. I love Star Trek and I love what Abrams is doing with it. Given the scene with Spock in a glass room I suspect the baddie will be Khan. Plus, I read the line ‘the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few, or the one’ features. If none of this makes sense to you then just enjoy the pretty pictures and explosions.

Iron Man 3

Everyone loves Iron Man, so not much needs to be said. This one seems a bit darker than the previous two.

Pacific Rim

Here’s the premise: giant aliens come out of the sea and start giving us shit. To retaliate we build giant mechanoids and punch them in the face. I know what you are thinking: that sounds fucking awesome! Think Kraken Wakes meets Transformers. Thankfully it is directed by Guillermo del Toro, who is usually pretty good value, as opposed to Michael Bay. So it might not be crap. The trailer does hint that there might be a slight cheesiness creeping in. I couldn’t help but shudder at the recollection of the president’s speech in Independence Day while watching a scene in this trailer. Apart from that, it looks cool.

Star Trek into Darkness, who is Cumberbatch playing?

Star Trek 2 Into Darkness

I guess it’s not surprising for someone who writes a science fiction site but I am a bit of a Trekkie. I don’t dress up and I can’t speak Klingon but I do like the show and have done since I was a kid and Kirk was snogging and punching everyone in sight. I have mentioned that I frequently work for the Syfy channel and we are currently showing The Next Gen in HD, which is pretty damn cool. It’s probably my favourite of the Trek TV shows. After the TV show Enterprise finished humanity entered a dull existence where there was no Star Trek being made for TV at all! The world has become a worse place as a direct result of this.

Thankfully though, there are at least some utterly brilliant films coming out thanks to JJ Abrams. Well, so far one utterly brilliant film but at least 1 minute’s worth of Star Trek 2 is great. As you will see in the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer below Hollywood has done something unusual and unique: cast an Englishman as the baddie. The big question on the net is who exactly is the memorably named (and brilliant) Benedict Cumberbatch playing? Two favourites have emerged.

Gary Mitchell

The first is a character called Gary Mitchell who appeared in the original series. He was a friend of Kirk’s who developed telekinetic powers (and general psychic stuff) and went a bit mental until James T had to slap him into place. Arguments for this include the fact that Mitchell was in Starfleet, he isn’t Indian (see below), and Abrams is more likely to follow stories from the TV show as opposed to the movies as it allows him more scope.

 

Khan Noonienh Singh

The second – Khan Noonienh Singh. Khan (according to backstory) controlled a quarter of the planet during some far off war in the 1990s. He is genetically engineered to be brilliant at everything. After the war he is put into suspended animation until brought back by Kirk and crew. He tries to take over the Enterprise until Kirk slaps him into place. THEN, in Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan, he comes back and tries to get his revenge on Kirk. In a mad twist of events, Kirk slaps him into place.

Watch the trailer and see what you think. To me, the action seems a lot more like Khan. But how will they do the backstory? Also Cumberbatch looks, well, like a pasty Londoner as opposed to an Indian. But, as some have pointed out, if you can be bothered to find the very slightly longer Japanese trailer there is an extra scene of Kirk and Spock holding hands up to opposing sides of a glass wall. Like the end of Wrath of Khan when Spock dies. Personally I find it unlikely that they will follow the original Star Trek 2 so closely. 

Keep in mind that in the last film Abrams blows up Vulcan, so maybe this story has nothing to do with any of the original tales. Maybe Cumberbatch is just an angry fellow.

See what you think. Here the trailer or possibly the teaser for Star Trek 2! Engage!