Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Review

In the three years since the events of Jurassic World and the fall of the theme park, Owen (Chris Pratt), has moved to a forest somewhere to build a cabin, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), has started up a Dinosaur Activist Group and oh, yeah, the Dinosaur island is about to blow up. A once thought dormant volcano becomes active again and all of the poor, helpless, man-eating dinosaurs are in trouble! And just like with every other film in this franchise, the dumbest line in the tv series LOST comes to mind again, “We have to go back”. Not only are we going back to Isla Nublar, oh no, we’re going to do something even dumber… remember how cool it was when we brought a Tyrannosaurus Rex to San Diego in 1997? Well, what if we brought more dinosaurs to the main land?

So yeah, that’s the premise for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. But is the film any good?

Yes and no.

The film is full of action, things blowing up, people getting ripped to shreds and, of course, the scary dinosaurs that we all line up to see. It’s a fun popcorn movie that isn’t and wont be the worst sequel to come out this year. The film isn’t as good as JurassicWorld, but they have improved the character dynamics between Owen and Claire, not by much, but it makes moments between them a little easier to watch. If you just want to watch people get ripped limb from limb by dinosaurs – have at it.

From a story point of view, how any one in the audience can relate to characters by this point, I have no idea. I’m sure, even the most reckless people in a cinema wont watch this movie thinking, “I would do the exact same thing”. And I think that’s a problem. Yes, people want to be entertained, and entertainment requires suspension of belief, but if you want me to believe for one second that people that are smart enough to create dinosaurs from fossils think bringing those dinosaurs (after everything going wrong so many times) to a populated landmass is a good idea, then you are asking way too much.

The writing is average and predictable. There was probably two-too-many uses of our favourite T-Rex, who seems to be a good guy by now – despite having a brain the size of a peanut and most likely no long-term memory, she likes to swoop in at the last minute, save everyone, pose and roar. We also get a similar treatment of Blue from the first Jurassic World film, if it’s not the T-Rex saving everyone, it’s Blue. There’s a little reveal in the film too that is signposted a little, revealed in the middle and then verbally spelled out at the end, which felt like a ‘just in case you didn’t get it’ sort of a scene. The editing in the film in some places felt a little off pace, certain things seem to come out of nowhere or happen a little too quickly. It all just felt a little lazy.

Chris Pratt plays the action hero well in this franchise but I wouldn’t be giving him any awards for acting or anything, there’s the occasional joke which pulled off fine, but that’s his wheel house. Bryce Dallas Howard confuses me a bit, I can never tell whether I like her or not. The only thing of note I can say about here in this film is, she has ditched the heels and they make sure you know, with many shots of her boots as she jumps out of trucks etc. Rafe Spall plays an ‘ambitious’ character (if you know what I mean) who is the right hand man to James Cromwell’s character, who used to be good friends with John Hammond (creator of Jurassic Park). Cromwell plays the sort of character who could have easily appeared in the original films (I found myself trying to remember if he was or not). There’s a little girl in the film, Maisie (played by Isabella Sermon) who wasn’t very good, this is her first role and I feel like it was more down to direction than it was her lack of talent. The two other ‘good’ characters (played by Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda) are your typical throw away ‘screaming all the time’ characters that you get in every movie like this, you know, first big break sort of roles.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom tries to further a story that really shouldn’t be furthered, at this point they are making these movies so people can see dinosaurs. That being said, this franchise is in no way as bad as Transformers for example. The story if just following characters that are choosing to make bad decisions that tend to lead to getting eaten. Unless there’s a whole meta-commentary here saying that humans really are that dumb, I just don’t buy it anymore, I stopped buying it a while ago. I’m never not going to see a Jurassic Park movie. I just feel we’re doomed to follow the same dumb storylines. Although, keep an eye out for Jurassic World 3, where the dinosaurs are no doubt going to attempt a casino heist.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a fun film that will hold you over until the next one in 2021. I’m not ever going to say don’t see a Jurassic Park/World movie. I’m probably not ever again going to say that it’s one of the best movies ever made (the first one is definitely up there). But what I am going to tell you is don’t expect too much. If you buy your ticket wanting to see people getting chased and eaten by dinosaurs then this movie is 100% for you! If you are looking for some detailed, methodical science triller/horror where characters understand that dinosaurs will kill people, be more like the first people.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Average

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Incredibles 2 – Review

After fourteen years Disney and Pixar finally deliver on the sequel everyone wanted (sorry, not sorry Cars 2), Incredibles 2! Taking place straight after the end of The Incredibles feturing the newly assembled super-hero family face-off against Underminer, it feels as though we never left (that maybe because I watched the original the night before seeing this film). Incredibles 2 shifts focus from Robert Parr (aka Mr. Incredible) to his wife, Helen (aka Elastigirl), as she is now the bread-winner for the family aiding a corporate attempt to make super-heroes legal again. But in order to appeal to the public, she must go up against a new and mysterious threat, Screenslaver. (I would just like to take a minute to mention how awesome the super-villains names are in these stories, Bomb-voyage being my absolute favourite!)

Almost everyone involved in the original film returns, from the voice actors (with the exception of Spencer Fox, who voiced Dash, now voiced by Huck Milner, cause puberty sucks and Bud Luckey, who retired from acting in 2014 and died earlier this year, his character, Rick Dicker is now voiced by Johnathan Banks), to the producers, the composer, the editor as well as the writer, director and voice of Edna Mode herself, Brad Bird. I hope for many of those involved had a great time re-igniting the world of The Incredibles, because I know the audience will!

Speaking of that world, I adore the retro-futuristic style in this film more than in the last one. The animation is just so much more refined, a lot more depth in the image and everything is sharper. This is a given because Pixar has evolved in leaps and bounds but it might be a little jarring if your were to watch the movies back to back, and this movie is made for watching back to back. Its so refreshing to see a long awaited sequel to follow-up straight away and not take a ‘where are they now’ sort of storyline.

The film’s story is a little more complex then the last one with the B story taking more of a front seat. But the two stories are equally as interesting. Elastigirl’s story was interesting and rather intellectual despite the a pretty signposted and not very surprising twist and the rest of the family’s story, Robert trying to take care of all the kids problems, is the comic relief interwoven between. The cutting between some parts of the story were a little awkward towards the tipping point, almost like the changes between the stories didn’t work. But ultimately that was one of my only issues in the film.

Incredibles 2 is a sequel that was worth the 14-year-long wait. I wouldn’t say it is better than the original but as far as sequels go, it’s a lot better than most! The original characters are great, the new characters are so-so (cementing my love for the classic heroes), and the story is a fun, fast-paced continuation of the from The Incredibles. For any fan, its a must see. It again tells a better ‘Fantastic Four’ story than Fox Studios ever could.

Incredibles 2: Above Average

Dumbo – Teaser Trailer

Disney have just dropped the teaser trailer for their live action Dumbo remake. In what looks like The Greatest Showman minus show tunes and adding a flying elephant it looks like they are steering away from the grim story set out in the original.

The teaser shows Colin Farrell as a returned war veteran hired by Danny DeVito’s character to take care of a newborn elephant. He and his children seem to form a bond with the elephant. This plot is a far cry from the tormented titular character we saw in 1941 and will be much more appealing to modern audiences. They pretty much took the ‘young elephant with big ears who can fly’ and left the rest in the past.

‘From the Imagination of Tim Burton’ has become a bit of a red flag for me for a while now (the last film I really enjoyed from him being Sweeney Todd in 2007). However, the teaser trailer looks like it might have a little hint of Big Fish (one of my favourites) mixed in with that Disney vibe, which will hopefully be better than Alice in Wonderland.

Will this appeal to the mass audience? Not sure, Disney’s live action adaptations have been pretty hit and miss lately, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella working very well but Pete’s Dragon, Maleficent and the Alice films not performing as well.

What do you think? Are you going to see Dumbo when it comes out in March next year?

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Trailer

And another one! DreamWorks rounds out the week with a trailer for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World!

This trailer doesn’t show off anything all that different compared to the first two films. How to Train Your Dragon and its sequel are quality stories that are animated beautifully. The Hidden World seems like it will continue that quality and end it! There are few franchises these days that are brave enough to stop at a trilogy and I’m looking forward to a confident and fantastic ending.

The trailer mostly shows a few new shots of yet another undiscovered part of the world and another Dragon hating bad guy to fight. The trailer also focuses heavily on Toothless’ interactions with a White Night Fury (so they call her a Light Fury… Original) whom he tries to impress. As I mentioned before, nothing that will grab new audiences but that might just be the point. This film will most likely serve as a satisfying ending for fans of the franchise.

Are you looking forward to How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World?

New trailers out this week

On top of the trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 this week (you can find that review here), we got a few more trailers for movies coming this year and next year. I thought id take some time to sit down, check out these trailers, and see what we’re in for.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

So, for those of you who don’t know, there has been for a few years now, an other Spider-Man. In an alternate universe, the ‘Ultimate Universe’, Miles Morales was bitten by the same species of mutated spider as Peter Parker but refused the call to be a super hero, that was until Peter Parker died and the world needed a new Spider-Man. From the trailer it looks like a lot of that is being changed but it looks like Sony Pictures is going full alternate universe on us! (Unless this movie doesn’t make the money they were expecting and they abandon the idea completely). The trailer gives off a modern, comic-book-like art style that features a lot of weird background effects that make it look like it should be in 3-D (it’s not, I used all the varieties of 3-D glasses I have) which is a little off-putting. Besides the background the animation looks awesome! Now to the story, in this version, Peter Parker isn’t dead, he instead takes Miles under his webby-wing and teaches him how to use his powers. There’s a shot towards the end where we also meet Spider-Gwen (usually from another alternate universe where Gwen Stacy is bitten by the spider) who could also be from this universe or they are actually pushing forward with many different universes and many different Spider-People. (I really hope Peter Porker shows up at some point.) I’m really looking forward to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse when it comes out towards the end of this year.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

Yeah, original name for a movie right? This trailer did not do anything for me. It felt like a bit that could have been tacked on to the end of the first LEGO movie. We find ourselves ‘a lifetime’ from the events of The LEGO Movie in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max inspired Bricksburg, where everyone has become grittier and gruffer except for Emmet, who still thinks ‘everything is awesome’. The character’s lives are interrupted by an alien robot bringing Beastie Boys beats. The robot kidnaps Wyldstyle, Batman and a bunch of other characters from the first film and transports them to the Sis-Star System (a reference to the addition of the real-world boy’s sister being included in the LEGO room seen previously). Nothing looks that new or different, it certainly doesn’t have me as excited as the trailers for the first film.

Bumblebee

THIS CHRISTMAS… (Oh god here we go.) EVERY ADVENTURE… (Please don’t say ‘has a beginning’.) HAS A BEGINNING… (Great…)

That’s right everybody, your favourite Transformer (which is apparently Bumblebee) is back! But this time, it’s an origin story! The only thing that jumped out at me is that there might only be two Transformers, and they are well coloured so we might be able to differentiate between robots this time! I think the jet in the trailer might Starscream who was one of my favourites when I was a kid so that’s cool. I can only hope and assume it’s going to be better than the utter waste of time that was Transformers: The Last Knight (Reviewed Here). Hailee Steinfeld might bring a decent human character and a bit of heart to the movie but I wouldn’t start handing out the awards just yet, the Transformers films have a history of producing good trailers and terrible films.

Mortal Engines

This one was interesting… When it says from the filmmakers of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit they mean producers and screenwriters – Peter Jackson is not directing this film. Christian Rivers, the director has been Jackson’s protégé since he was 17. He has worked in all sorts of departments (primarily special effects) and this is his first film directing by himself, not a massive undertaking at all… So I was expecting a LOTR sort of feel. Instead, I was given flashbacks to (shudder) The Matrix sequels and (shuddering intensifies) Jupiter Ascending. Maybe this film will turn out alright but the trailer has lowered my expectations.


But, what do you think of these trailers? Are you excited to see any (or all) of these movies? Sound off below and like Average Film Blog on Facebook!

Melody Time – Review

Melody Time is one of the last ‘package films’ that came out of Disney Animation Studios during the 40’s, its the first I’m reviewing, and one of the best, short of Fantasia. (Yeah, that means we’ve got the bad ones ahead of us… Woo Hoo!) The film is broken up in to eight different segments. I’m going to review each of them and the final rating will be an average of all the ratings. Films like this don’t have much to go on with very little acting and story etc. but I’ll do the best I can to give you a good idea of this film.

Melody Time

An opening segment that features masks being painted that establishes the bookend theme. It’s simple and effective. Hardly enough to actually review but worth mentioning.

Once Upon a Wintertime

A story about two young lovers in December who skate on a frozen lake and throw snow at each other. The woman gets angry at the man, storms off and almost falls off a waterfall. She is saved by the couples’ horses and the two are reunited. Their story is mirrored by two rabbits. The music in the segment, performed by Frances Langford is a forgettable slow Christmas tune. The animation is pretty crude when it comes to complexities of the character’s faces.

Rating: Well Below Average

Bumble Boogie

A Jazz interpretation of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ gives the backing for an animated battle between a solitary bee and a possessed piano. The animation isn’t as tied to the music as in Fantasia segments and so didn’t do that much for me.

Rating: Well Below Average

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

One of the longer segments in the film, The Legend of Johnny Appleseed is pretty much what it says on the tin. The story of John Chapman, an American Folk Tale about a man that went around the country planting apple trees. The segment is performed mostly by Dennis Day he narrates, voices the characters and sings the two songs. It’s a pretty decent encapsulated story. The animation in this segment is true to Disney’s style for that time. Traditional human characters looking the way they do as well as the anthropomorphised animals.

The original plan for Melody Time was to feature entirely American Folk Tales and if this was an example of what it could have been, it might have ended up better than what we actually got.

Rating: Average

Little Toot

A segment based on ‘Little Toot’ by Hardie Gramatky, a story about a troublemaking tug boat that eventually tugs a ship out of danger. The animation in this segment features some pretty cool water effects but what really raises this segment on my list is the song by The Andrews Sisters.

Rating: Average

Trees

Trees is a sung version of a poem of the same name by Joyce Kilmer. The segment isn’t overly exciting but it does bring nice frosted cell animation to the film. The segment is closest in style to Fantasia with the animation closely matching the music.

Rating: Below Average

Blame It on the Samba

The segment sees a return from Donald Duck and José Carioca, two of The Three Caballeros as they are returned to good spirits by Samba music. They are then tormented by the Aracuan Bird, a mischievous bird who traps them on some weird Samba infused acid-trip. Blame It on the Samba features a blend of animation and live action as the organist, Ethel Smith interacts with Donald and José. The blend and the animation style in the segment is very nicely done and its good to see characters that we know and love however, the story is lacking.

Rating: Below Average

Pecos Bill

Another Disney re-telling of an American Folk Tale about a famous Texan hero named Pecos Bill. It tells a highlight story of the life of Bill in song form. They cover many of the legends about the character, his horse, Widowmaker and the love of his life, Slue Foot Sue.

While it is the longest segment in Melody Time it has been edited and censored to remove all parts with Bill smoking a cigarette and almost an entire scene that included Bill rolling his cigarette with only his tongue and lighting it with a lightning bolt.

Pecos Bill also included a live-action segment to set up the telling of the story. The animation wasn’t too bad again, similar to the classic style of Disney with a little less care and detail.

Rating: Below Average

Melody Time featured introductions by Buddy Clark who provided simple set ups to the segments, the ideas behind it and introduced the artists involved. In total, the film clocks in just over 70 minutes. It’s an alright film when viewed as a whole. Almost all the segments were subsequently released as a stand-alone short sometimes many years later.

Rating: Below Average

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 – Trailer

Start churnin’ butter and put on your Church Shoes little sister, ’cause we’re about to blast off!

The full trailer for the newest entry from Disney Animated Studios has dropped and it takes us on one of the most meta journeys yet. What seems to be Disney’s answer to The Emoji Movie, the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph sends the main characters, Ralph (John C. Rilley) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) to the Internet. The our heroes fly through the information super-highway past major net brands like Google and Amazon before they head to the Disney website. We see quick shots of the Disney Princesses, Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh), Iron Man and a few X-Wings and some Stormtroopers before we are given the scene that is sure to generate hype and get bums on seats this November… Vanellope meets the Disney Princesses.

In a scene straight out of a Pocket Princesses cartoon Vanellope glitches into the private suite of the Princesses and startles them. Jasmine holds Genie’s lamp like a gun, Pocahontas readies a wooden club, and (my absolute favourite) Cinderella smashes her glass slipper on a chair and points the half shattered shoe at Vanellope (ready to cut a bitch up). The dialogue that ensues is priceless as the Princesses try to determine what kind of princess she is. She doesn’t have magic hair or magic hands, animals don’t talk to her, she wasn’t poisoned, cursed, kidnapped or enslaved. Vanellope starts to worry about these women and askes if she should call the police until she is revealed as a Princess because people assumed all her problems were solved because a big strong man (Ralph) showed up.

Its a fantastic scene that has me wanting to see more of the Princesses interactions. If this hits, expect to see a web-series or even a series on Disney’s new streaming service about all the Princesses living in one big castle or something.

The trailer closes with a meta interaction between Ralph, Vanellope and Taraji P. Henson’s character, Yesss an algorithm that determines the trending videos on ‘BuzzTube’. Stating that ‘Breaks the Internet’ is more of at thing than ‘Wrecks the Internet’.

It’s a good trailer, it has me interested, the storyline is a natural progression from the last film. Wreck-It Ralph referenced a lot of classic video games while this one will be much more modern in its references. Finally, that Princesses scene is going to pull a lot of people who wouldn’t have given much notice to Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

The Emperor’s New Groove – Review

The Emperor’s New Groove was a switch to a new, modern direction when it was released in 2000. We have the film that we have, because a decision from the head of Disney at the time, Michael Eisner. Now I’m a little hot or cold on Eisner and I will probably go deeper in to why in a later post. But for now, a bit of history and a review of a much-loved Disney film.

The story that became The Emperor’s New Groove started out as ‘Kingdom of the Sun’ a ‘traditional’ Disney, Incan themed version of The Prince and the Pauper. It featured a greedy and selfish emperor (still voiced by David Spade), a peasant who looks just like the emperor (in this version, voiced by Owen Wilson) and an evil witch also named Yzma. The two main characters would switch places, so the emperor could escape his boring life. Yzma wanted to destroy the sun to regain her youth and wanted the emperor out of the way so she could achieve this goal. She discovers the switch and turns the real emperor in to a llama and threatens to reveal the peasant’s identity unless he obeys her. The real emperor learns humility as a llama and falls in love with a llama herder. He and the llama herder set out to stop the witch and undo her plans.

After the box office performances of Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were underwhelming, Eisner gave the development team two-weeks to completely overhaul the film, adding more comedy and lightening up the overall feel of the movie. By reading the plot of the original story, its clear that much of the original content was kept, the main changes added modern references and changed the character of the peasant, aging him up and giving him a family. So there’s your quick history of ‘Kingdom of the Sun’ now let’s talk about The Emperor’s New Groove.

–_–_–_–_–

Set in the Incan Kingdom the story revolves around Kuzco (David Spade), the egotistical emperor who is turned into a llama after he fires is adviser, Yzma (Eartha Kitt). Yzma, along with her (fan-favourite) henchman, Kronk (Patrick Warbuton), plans to take the throne for herself and attempts to kill the llama. Llama-Kuzco finds himself on a cart belonging to a peasant named Pacha (John Goodman) and after a series of events that teaches Kuzco humility and friendship, the two attempt to stop Yzma and return Kuzco to the throne.

The characters in the film are fantastic, despite Kuzco’s selfishness he is relatable to most of the audience. Yzma’s overacting and her reactions to Kronk are fantastic and one of Eartha Kitt’s best roles, she continued to receive praise for her performances of Yzma in the follow-up tv series, The Emperor’s New School. Kronk, as mentioned before, is a fan favourite with people falling in love with his simple mind and his kind demeanour. However, the internal debate with his conscious personified by angel and devil versions of himself is my favourite part of Kronk’s character and the film.

The Emperor’s New Groove is arguably one of the funniest films in Disney Animation Studio’s repertoire and is one of the better films to come out of the post-renaissance era. The script is tight and the performances of Spade, Warburton and Kitt add to the film’s greatness. A perfect example of this is Warburton’s Mission: Impossible-esque theme music for Kronk being ad-libbed. So yeah, I’m sure you’ve worked out who my favourite character of the film is. Wouldn’t it be great if Kronk had his own movie? Turns out no, the direct-to-video Kronk’s New Groove received nothing but negative reviews.

The Emperor’s New Groove did it’s best to change the direction of Disney Animation Studios away from the classic way of story telling and update it to make it more relevant to the audience. This helped pave the way for the rest of the post-renaissance era films for better or worse. The film was an attempt for Disney to show that they were in touch with modern audiences. But it failed. The Emperor’s New Groove was a Box Office disappointment, it performed worse than Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the films that caused the massive retooling of the script. Despite this the film has become a cult-classic and often features middle to high on many top Disney movie lists.

Personally, I think The Emperor’s New Groove is a good film, it’s very funny however the story is shallow. The characters are what makes the movie memorable. Could ‘Kingdom of the Sun’ have performed better at the Box Office and won over more people when it was released? Who knows. Can we say that The Emperor’s New Groove was ahead of its time due to the cult-following it has today? I think, no. The following around this film can be drummed up to two things, nostalgia and Kronk.

Rating: Average

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Review

The gap between the prequel and original trilogies gets a new entry in an origin story for one of the galaxy’s most notorious scoundrels. Solo: A Star Wars Story gives us an action-packed tale of a young Han Solo set around ten years before Star Wars: A New Hope. The film is full of speeder chases, heists, explosions and blaster fire it barely stops to take a breath, but it is a great ride!

The story starts on Corellia, Han (Alden Ehrenreich)’s home world where we are thrown in to the action straight away with a familiar scum and villainy vibe Han squares off against a weird looking crime boss followed by an American Graffiti like speeder chase with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) by his side. We then see Han’s time working for the Empire, and his escape while meeting Chewbacca and his new mentor, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) along with his crew. A job the crew picks up sends them to Kessel aboard Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover)’s ship the Millennium Falcon. We see Han’s confidence shine through these adventures however, we start to see the toll these series of misfortunes takes on him as he goes from a hopeful and naive young man become the scorned scoundrel that we came to know and love.

The film looks and sounds beautiful! The different planets we visit, separated by scenes in the immaculately kept Millennium Falcon provide a stark difference and shows that not all the Star Wars universe around this period was worn and lived in. The film feels very much like a combination of the prequel and original films the music, sound effects and action come from The Phantom Menace through Revenge of The Sith while the grit and realism come straight out of the classic films.

Alden Ehrenreich delivers a pretty good portrayal of a young Han Solo. I can see this character becoming the man we see in the Mos Eisley cantina in about 10 years. His speaking Shyriiwook left a little to be desired by other than that I thought he was good. Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian is pretty spot on for the most part. There was one or two times where I felt he was being too formal/British for my liking, there was a slight feeling of ‘Would Lando say that?’. But again, these two actors did a good job of bringing younger versions of Han and Lando to big screen. Most of the other members of the cast performed to a good standard but there wasn’t much of a stand out. I could tell Paul Bettany was enjoying himself playing a crime lord, but other than that no one stole the show. Chewbacca is always great and its good to see Joonas Suotamo continuing his fantastic performance.

After the bizarre events surrounding the production of this film, I am happy with how it turned out. I was worried that Lord and Miller were going to make it a little too campy for a Star Wars film and while Ron Howard was a safe replacement. There are a few of his movies that I really enjoy and I knew he was going to do right by Johnathan and Lawrence Kasdan’s script and make a good film. Speaking of the script, I think character wise, the knocked Solo out of the park.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a good movie. It was familiar and predictable for the most part, very fan-service-y, but a very enjoyable action-adventure movie. Honestly, I think that was the point. If they keep doing a few simple but fun movies like this people might not need to take every entry in the Star Wars anthology too seriously. We can go back to a time when just being in the universe was enough. While a Bobba Fett movie or an Obi-Wan story would be interesting, I think Lucasfilm need to step out of their comfort zones and find a story that can feature nothing we’ve seen before but still be interesting and maybe even profitable.

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Above Average

Ready Player One – Review

Ready Player One is a fun, fast-paced and family-friendly movie that is a must watch for people this school holidays. While the film is a significant departure from the book, it is a fantastic adaption of the core concepts and it’s almost as if the author and (co-screenwriter) has taken a second chance to improve and refine his story.

Set twenty years into the future, the world is a different place, poverty is rife, but people have an escape, the OASIS, a virtual reality world of huge proportions where anyone can be anything. A few years prior to the story, the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, passed away leaving the ‘keys’ to become sole owner of the game and claiming his fortune to a lucky gamer who follows clues and completes a series of tasks. While many have given up in competing for the prize, our main character, Wade Watts an eighteen-year-old player of OASIS, along with a few friends are some of the players still committed to finding the clues and completing the challenges. Ready Player One pits this small band of teenagers against a computer game based mega-corporation known as IOI who are also seeking to gain control of OASIS.

For reference, I have not read the book ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline. I have had it recommended to me since something like 2012 (I just never got around to it). From what I have heard the film is a very loose adaptation of the book, where the general plot is the same but things like the tasks our heroes had to complete, and the order of events have changed. A friend of mine (a big fan of the book) said to me that he ‘wasn’t happy with the changes they had made, a lot of parts were cut’, to which I replied, “How long did it take you to read the book versus how long it took you to watch the movie?” It’s the problem you will always face when adapting a much-loved piece of fiction, you may open the story up to more people, but you risk alienating your existing fan-base.

That being said, as someone who had not read the book, I really enjoyed the film. The adaptations that have been made from the source material have made the story more linear and approachable. It doesn’t assume any previous knowledge (although if you were immersed in popular culture between the 80s and now you will enjoy yourself a lot more) and explains everything required to progress the story. The story is very basic but does enough and is supported by ‘Easter Eggs’ a-plenty and beautiful visuals.

While we’re on the topic of visuals, after watching the trailers, I was a little unsure at first that the film was going to be an over-the-top mess of CGI and corny visual gags. Now, there were a few corny visual gags but the CGI was beautiful and blended really well with the real world actors. Tye Sheridan is not a great actor yet but he is starting to get there, and his performance of Wade Watts wasn’t too bad. Also in the cast is up-and-comer Olivia Cooke as Wade Watts’ love interest, Art3mis, the always villainous, Ben Mendelsohn as the head of IOI and Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg as the co-creators of OASIS. The cast were good and reasonably interesting, but no-one stands out in this film.

Steven Spielberg has an uncanny ability to be able to create Oscar-bait in The Post and directing a high-concept blockbuster like Ready Player One in the same time frame. He knows how to ‘give the kids what they want’ and this film is another great entry into the blockbuster genre he helped start almost 45 years ago in Jaws.

Ready Player One is a good quality popcorn flick that is easy to follow and does not require prior knowledge of a universe (unlike many films coming out this year). If you’ve read the book, go in to this film with an open mind. Yes, you will be disappointed if you think the book is the best version but if you are more of a fan of the themes and the concept you may even find this a more streamlined version. This movie is one to check out!

Ready Player One: Above Average