Warcraft – Review

I should probably start this review with my familiarity with the franchise going into this movie. I’ve never played the original Warcraft but did play a free trial of World of Warcraft several years ago which I enjoyed but didn’t feel the need to continue after the trial ended. Through playing that trial and being exposed to the franchise a lot through online media I have a basic idea of how the world (of Warcraft) works. I’m also aware this movie wasn’t very successful but friends of mine who are fans of the games enjoyed it so while looking for movies from this year to catch up on I was curious how I’d feel about this one.

And of course my opinion falls somewhere in the middle. I think this movie was alright but I can tell this is a movie more for fans and from what I could tell the movie does a very good job at that. I’m not the target audience but I can still appreciate the effort that went into making this film appeal to that audience and even enjoy it myself.

qmpaiwq9ufe6zwaui7hecb-970-80

As I expected the most interesting characters were the main Orcs. Some of the best scenes were those where two or three Orcs are interacting. In fact I’d argue this film’s biggest weakness is that these characters don’t get enough focus compared to the main humans.

Film Title: Warcraft

That’s not to say the human characters were boring though. I was expecting them to be and as far as the kingdom itself goes if you’ve seen one fantasy human kingdom you’ve seen them all but the main characters that protect it are alright even if most aren’t very interesting. It helps that one of the main humans is magic user Khadgar preventing them from just being a bunch of regular humans.

warcraft-garona1

The human side also has the benefit of spending a fair amount of time with half-Orc Garona who represents both sides of the conflict. She and Khadgar are the most interesting characters in the human army and I do wish they’d gotten more attention than the generic knight main human but they’re not underused like the main Orc Durotan.

warcraft-movie-images-hi-res-1

So while I didn’t enjoy this as much as some of my friends did I still think it’s a decent film that doesn’t deserve the hate it gets. It has problems sure but honestly they’re problems that are common in fantasy media.

Advertisements

X-Men: Apocalypse – Review

When I watched Days of Future Past I felt the film had a great book end to Fox’s X-Men films. It annoyed me then when I found out that they were already planning on making another one and originally I didn’t plan on watching this one (some of you may remember in June I chose to watch Angry Birds instead of this). Then I saw the trailer for Logan which does look like it’ll be a good movie so I decided I should give this film a chance.

But my original view on Days of Future Past was correct, but while I’ve seen a couple of good follow ups to satisfying book ends this year with the Rocky films this just feels forced. It’s clear Fox need to either fully reboot the series or give the rights to Marvel.

xmen2

The biggest problems with this movie are how they force the cast of First Class into the spotlight again. I get why they want to keep big stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender around but they just shouldn’t be the main characters any more. I’m not even saying they need to recast anyone, just have a movie that is actually about the X-Men.

xmenapocalypsekodisophietye-0

The best scenes in the movie are when we actually do get to focus on the young Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler. The movie really should have been about these three. That deleted scene that was popular earlier this year really showed what this movie could have been. The only one to really get any spotlight is Jean and it’s not for a good reason.

jean-grey-phoenix-x-men-apocalypse

Once again the Phoenix is Jean’s hidden power instead of the Phoenix Force. Once again Fox are refusing to use all the alien content they own through the X-Men movie rights. I don’t mind if Fox keep the X-Men movie right but can they either give all the alien races like the Shi’ar to Marvel Studios or actually use them in their own movies. It annoys me that we’re probably never going to get an X-Men movie with Gladiator, Lockheed or the Shi’ar and Cyclops will probably never meet his space pirate father.

x-men-apocalypse-left1073_2_rgb

So looking back I made the right choice in going to see the Angry Birds movie in June. Maybe Logan will be as good as it looks and there is a second Deadpool movie to look forward to but unless they make major changes to their approach to the main films I have no interest in their next film to have X-Men in the title.

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – Review

Turns out I hadn’t seen all of this year’s DC movies after all. This film also means I’ve seen the same amount of new films as I did last year.

This film does exactly what it sets out to do. It recreates the silly nature of the old Batman TV series right down to the ridiculous stretches used to work out riddles and clues. It’s also great to hear Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar reprising their roles giving it that genuine 60s Batman feel. Then throw in a story that seems like it came right out of an old Silver Age comic and that iconic fight music and you’ve got this movie.

b-rotcc-9

As someone who has gotten tired of the super serious approach to Batman this film is a breath of fresh air. It’s especially amusing when the film actually pokes fun at the darker interpretations of the character, especially considering DC and WB are the ones who made this movie. After having mixed opinions on most of DC’s movies this year (and flat out hating one of them) I’m glad I saw this one.

batman-return-of-the-caped-crusaders-catwoman

If you’re only going to watch one DC film from this year it should be this one. I’m looking forward to seeing what the sequel will be like, especially knowing it’s going to have William Shatner as Two-Face.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – Review

This year we’ve see the return of the Harry Potter franchise. Cursed Child came out earlier this year and now we have a brand new film exploring a new area of the Wizarding World.

I really liked this film. While I did enjoy Cursed Child and have plans to include it in my art project it mostly centered around familiar territory with very few new elements. Fantastic Beasts on the other hand makes the Wizarding World feel fresh again as we see a completely different culture and time period with a few familiar elements.

ar-161119551

The creatures themselves really are fantastic beasts that make the creatures Harry encountered in his school years seem like regular animals. The fact the lead characters are an animal lover and a Muggle allow for some truly stunning shots of these creatures, the film is worth watching for these scenes alone.

newt

On that note Eddie Redmayne does a great job playing Newt Scamander. This is only the third film I’ve seen him in (the other two being The Theory of Everything and Jupiter Asending) but his performance is very different in each of them. Out of the three performances I’d say this would be my favourite, I like the differences in the way he acts around people and the way he acts around animals.

lego-dimensions-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them

I also played the LEGO Dimensions Story Pack based on the film when I got home. I did this with The Force Awakens and its Disney Infinity playset last year too. It’s fun getting to play through the movie you’ve just seen only now characters like Holtzmann and Marceline the Vampire Queen are along for the ride. I also like the fact that several of the main cast reprise their roles for this pack, as much as I liked the Ghostbusters Story Pack I was disappointed to learn the lead actresses didn’t reprise their roles.

niffler-fantastic-beasts

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter you’ll probably like this movie. I’m glad we’re getting to see more from this universe and am looking forward to seeing the other films WB have planned. Until then I need to start catching up on a few of this year’s film’s…

Star Trek: Nemesis – Review

And so both Star Trek marathons have come to a close. While the TNG movies haven’t been as good as the best of the ToS movies they’ve still been enjoyable. I guess my controversial opinion with this series is that I don’t dislike any of them.

So like with most of the Next Gen movies this was just alright. The film has some well written scenes and some scenes that really don’t work. Once again focus is the issue with the film. But when the scenes work they work really well and there’s a heartbreaking section of the film which has the impact that it was going for.

star-trek-nemesis

The antagonist being a clone of Picard is an interesting set up and the scenes where each call himself a mirror for the other are some of the better moments. The only issue I had was Shinzon as a character doesn’t really feel like an evil Picard. Maybe it’s the fact he’s not played by Patrick Stewart (though Tom Hardy gives a great performance).

janeway

The film isn’t a bad ending to the Next Gen series. It works just fine but when you compare it to the end of the show and The Undiscovered Country it doesn’t have the same impact. And I’m not even saying because of the sad nature of the end either because as I said it had the intended impact. I’ve heard that one of the main issues people had with this film is that characters besides Picard and Data didn’t have all that much to do. While I don’t think they were completely shafted I do think they have a point because while it works well as an ending for Picard and Data it doesn’t feel like the right one for everyone else.

nemesis696

So it’s time for my final ranking of the entire film series from The Motion Picture to Beyond.

The Voyage Home > The Undiscovered Country > The Wrath of Khan > Star Trek > Beyond > The Search for Spock > First Contact > The Final Frontier > Nemesis > Generations > The Motion Picture > Insurrection > Into Darkness

I’ve really enjoyed getting to see these movies, especially when comparing my opinion of them to those of my friends. I look forward to my next movie marathon, whatever it turns out to be. Until then I still have other movies to watch both old and new.

Star Trek: Insurrection – Review

So now that I’ve seen all the odd numbered Star Trek films I have to say their bad reputation really has been a bit of an exaggeration. While most of the odd numbered films have been the weaker films in the series I don’t really consider any of them to be bad.

This is another film that is just alright. It has some decent character interactions but the plot itself is underwhelming. I said Generations felt more like an extended episode than a movie, this feels more like it should have been an episode instead of a movie. The story itself isn’t bad, it just doesn’t seem like one worth dedicating a movie to and not the best follow up to a movie about The Borg.

f-murray-abraham-as-ruafo-in-star-trek-insurrection

It doesn’t help that the villains themselves aren’t interesting. They could have been if there had been a real conflict of morals of who is right with both sides doing what they believe is right but that only really happens in one scene between Picard and the Admiral while the actual villains of the film have selfish motivations.

star-trek-insurrection-2

So while it’s still not a bad movie it is one of the weaker films in the franchise. I’d say it should have been an episode but if it had been it wouldn’t have been a very memorable one. Apparently the next film is also one of the films that people don’t really like but based on the way the infamous odd numbered films have been the worst I’m expecting it to be is just ok.

Star Trek: First Contact – Review

In my Generations review I said it felt more like an extended episode than a movie. First Contact actually feels like an actual movie. It also gives the impression a lot more time has passed between movies with new uniforms and Geordi switching out his visor for some sort of cybernetic implants.

It’s also a much better film than Generations with (for the most part) more focus on its story arcs. The Borg are also the perfect TNG villains to center a movie around being both a powerful enemy and a personal one.

star-trek-first-contact-borg

The scenes on the Enterprise and the attempts to fight back against the Borg as they take over are the strongest part of the film. It shows just how deadly the Borg can be. It’s also where the majority of the film takes place which unfortunately does have a side effect.

zefram_cochrane_makes_first_contact

Despite being a time travel movie not nearly as much attention is given to the actual time period they travel to. This is the one story arc that gets underused and while it does have some good scenes and the idea of a time travel movie where the past is still our future is an interesting on there just isn’t as much of an impact on the story that the time period had on The Voyage Home. It feels like this could have been its own movie rather than part of this one.

picard_und_thompson

It’s a good film, just not a great one. I did like how this year I’ve seen both halves of a silly gif in their original context for the first time in the same year. Only two more films to go now and I’ll have seen every Star Trek movie.