Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Day The Earth Stood Still Review


It’s time to look at a really retro Sci-Fi film that would change the way we all looked at the genre…forever. It’s a title that you’ve probable heard many times even if you’ve never watched it before. It’s definitely a solid movie that has aged well. The monster is good and the effects actually aren’t half bad. It may have been the first big Sci-fi classic of the 50’s since it even came out before Godzilla.

The plot is relatively straight forward. A mysterious object shows up on the scanner and everyone starts to panic. It is moving too fast to be a ship and it’s unlikely that it’s a bomb. Either way, the army gets set to fend off whatever lands. A human walks out of it and reaches for his gun so the army sends him to the hospital. His pet Robot disarms a lot of the guards, but the human stops him. After a brief rest, the mysterious being reveals himself as an alien named Klaatu. Klaatu is here to wipe out the threat that the Earth poses to the universe. He’ll blow it up if necessary but he wants the world to abandon their space program otherwise. If they do that, then Earth can continue to exist. America knows that the Soviets won’t be on board with this so they prepare for the biggest fight yet!

Klaatu doesn’t actually state his mission for quite a while though. He wants to talk to everyone at once which isn’t really possible and you can’t help but feel bad for the army at times. Klaatu really doesn’t make it easy for them with his large demands and the guy should realize that humanity can’t unite on a whim. He basically states that their affairs don’t affect him in the slightest, but they kind of do. Ah well, in the meantime, Klaatu will hang out with a kid and learn more about human customs. He learns that not everyone is ruled by fear, just most of them.

Klaatu is very annoying, but hes a good character. At his core he seems to be a nice guy who really doesn’t want to destroy Earth. The fact that he came here at all supports that since he could have let Gort go on alone to destroy everything. He seems to possibly have some abilities as he escaped a hospital room quite easily. He also carries around sand that speeds up the healing process and a ray on his ship that can help to stall death. It’s all pretty useful when you’re in a hostile environment. He’s a nice guy and always stays polite to the rest of the cast. Here’s why he is annoying though.

Klaatu just can’t take a hint. He constantly asks the impossible and then ends up going with threats by the end anyway. He basically took it out on the scientist I felt and while he doesn’t fly off the handle, he’s a little unfair to the humans who are actually trying to help. He’s not supposed to be perfect though and those laws I can live with. He’s a fun lead and takes things in stride a lot better than most aliens. The rest of the cast isn’t quite important as they are merely around to help fill in the plot. The main kid gets a pretty large role as he isn’t yet old enough to fear Klaatu and instead enjoys all of the cool new inventions that he finds out. The media also does a good job of burying the story as per usual.

Helen is the main heroine and she is all right although a little slow to act. She is glad that KIlaatu gets along with her son so well at first, but then her friend shows up and tells her that it’s a bad idea. She ends up just listening to him even though the guy seemed very selfish and uncaring. Their romance falls through anyway as he chooses riches over her in the end. It’s hard to see how they ever gt together in the first place since the movie does its best to write him as a very unlikable guy. He never leaves a positive impression on you. Helen cuts it a little close when delivering her final message to Gort, but she gt the job done in the end so that worked out.

It’s always fun to see everyone talking a good game about the alien while sitting at home and drinking coffee. You probably wouldn’t see that much paranoia in real life if an actual alien showed up as here even the radio kept having people talk about how they needed to destroy it. It was all handled so casually which made it all the more fun. The few dissenting opinions were quickly dodged so everyone could be in unison.

Of course, while Klaatu may have barely been an alien, Gort certainly was one. He has a cool laser blast that can disintegrate whatever it touches. That makes him a very formidable threat in this film and he looks good throughout. He comes across as a very reliable friend that you can count on and it’s never personal with this guy. He just destroys people as part of his job. No apologies accepted and none given. It would have been neat if the film ended with him firing off one last giant energy blast to destroy the world, but I suppose that would have been rather dark right?

As expected, the writing is quite good. I can’t really think of any bad lines here and all of the characters looked pretty good. Even the unlikable ones were written well as they weren’t too exaggerated. They simply went into their roles and did a good job. The film’s pacing is also rather good. If I have one complaint, it’s that the middle of the film starts to clue you in on how nothing is really going to happen. After Klaatu is rejected a few times and goes to meet with the first scientist, you know that he’s doomed. There’s no way he’s going to get his audience because the film has already told us what his goal is. By that point you can figure that he’ll never get his audience but at least he’ll get to hurl a few last insults before leaving. It may not have been the most satisfying way to end the plot, but it was still an enjoyable ride throughout.

Overall, The Day The Earth Stood Still is a good film. It reminds us that paranoia is no good and you’re better off sticking to more productive things like making memes with good messages at the end. The climax/ending of the film may not have been all that satisfying, but the build up was good and it’s still a really good premise. The opening act was probably the best part of the film and it usually is in a film like this as I love the opening reactions from everyone. Klaatu will have to work on being more subtle about his alien knowledge if he ever returns for a sequel. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then you should definitely fix that as this is a must watch for Sci-Fi fans.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Return of the Fly Review


It’s time for the sequel to the original Fly movie. For the most part it’s not bad as the film goes on. The pacing is decent and the plot is fairly good, but the film ends up falling into a massive pot hole with an animal violence scene. Beyond that, it can also be annoying to see the heroes lose so badly to one opponent the whole time. It’s certainly a rather unique film and while you feel bad for the main character, you also can’t help but wish Francois could have said “I told you so” at one point.

Phillipe is in shambles over what happened to his father. After all, how can anyone take the fact that their father turned into an insect and died? Francois warns him not to go down the same path, but Phillipe laughs him off and decides to rebuild the experiments room and do the exact same things his father did. He wants to prove that the concept is sound and his father grew careless. He hires Alan as an assistant and they decide to live in the house of his child hood friend’s house and they’ll work in her basement. She doesn’t seem to mind and even though a romance may be lightly hinted, the film never takes that anywhere. I was pretty impressed although, that’s probably because the main heroine and her mother barely appear at all. They’re in the film, but their role is quite small. You wouldn’t be wrong to say that they were filler characters.

So, lets get the elephant out of the room first since it is of massive importance. What destroys the film is a scene with the rat as he grows human hands and feet. Alan ends up crushing him in a very long, drawn out death scene that is shown to be exceptionally painful to the rat. Animal violence is one thing and animal death is another, but a scene this intense and long is something else altogether. The film was in the grave from this point on in the film and it’s not as if anything could possibly save it. Even if the film was decent otherwise, it was doomed at this point.

Still, lets look at the rest of the film. The Alan subplot felt wildly out of place to be honest. He’s actually an international fugitive who earns money by ripping off inventions and giving them to local crooks. The cops have been after him for years, but the guy is too slippery. Fortunately he got a steady job over here just in time to rip Phillipe off. One of the cops did a good job of finding him, but ended up choking his accomplishment away by getting shot so easily. That was definitely not a great moment for him. It’s too bad since the cops never seem to win in these things. Ah well, at least he tried. Things don’t end well for Alan in this film but he still looked a little too good during the middle. He took down the cop, Francois, and Phillipe back to back to back. It was a little too much hype for one guy, but I can see why he evaded capture for so long.

Phillipe isn’t a very likable main character since he intentionally decides to bring the experiments back. He knows that they were the end of his father so why go through it again? It seems to be more about pride than anything else so it’s hard to say that his soul was really in it from the start. As such, it’s a little hard to sympathize with him at times. I suppose he gets his revenge and a pretty happy ending though so he probably won’t regret it much. On that note, the ending was surprisingly happy. I certainly wasn’t expecting that, but it’s a good thing I’d say.

The film didn’t really have a role for the two heroines or Francois. Francois offered words of advice, but Phillipe ignored them all and then Francois spent the rest of the film getting wrecked and blackmailed. It wasn’t a very flattering appearance for him. The design for the fly monster and the mini fly wasn’t bad. It’s certainly interesting even if it doesn’t make for a downright epic design. I suppose we’ll take it since it’s fairly unique although almost the same as the first film.

Return of the Fly’s main issue aside from the animal violence is pretty much that nothing happens for large chunks of the film. It’s very dialogue based which isn’t a bad thing, but it comes across as more uneventful than deep. We didn’t need more action, but more likable characters. All of the dialogue just doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere and since none of the characters are developed, we don’t need to hear about their childhoods. I also don’t get why Phillipe is so scared of flies when he didn’t actually live through the events of the first film. It would have made more sense if Francois was the one who was scared of them.

Overall, Return of the Fly suffered from one major scene. It’s a bit of a shame for it since it probably could have scored a 5 or a 6 otherwise. It can be a little dull, but the writing was still fine and it didn’t make a bunch of mistakes. It could just be a little annoying to watch Alan trick everyone, but seeing Phillipe connect the dots was fun. That would certainly have helped to an extent. Still, the rat scene was in very bad taste and one of the worst animal death moments I’ve seen in a very long time. That sunk the film all the way to the bottom. One scene can absolutely change a film and this one is living proof of it. I highly advise staying away from this film and never looking back!

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Great Wall Review


It’s time to check out a monster film that didn’t stay in the spotlight for very long. The Great Wall had some potential as the trailer was fairly solid and the locale looked surprisingly good. Unfortunately, it ended up missing many of its objectives and the film fell flat. It has some good ideas, but fails to utilize them well which hurts the whole package in the end.

William and Tovar are shifty business men who steal stuff and make a profit. It’s rather vague what they are actually doing or the film just breezed by that description. Either way, their party is picked off by monsters and they are forced to surrender to the Chinese army as they were being followed by a pack of bandits. It was certainly a rough start for the heroes, but they were able to help fend off another monster invasion which earns them into the army’s good graces. General Lin in particular is impressed with William’s archery after initially wanting to kill him on the spot. William takes this in stride with casual insults and passive aggressive lines being thrown around by both characters. Can William survive the rest of the monster attacks or is he doomed?

As seems to be the case a lot of the time, William and Tovar aren’t heroes. Even though they were saved by bandits, they want to steal the army’s gunpowder so they can sell it off for a high price. William starts to drift away from this plan when he becomes attached to the war cause, but Tovar won’t be dissuaded. He never becomes a good character and does go as far as to betray the army and steal it anyway. He may be a bad apple, but William has influence so no harm ever really comes to Tovar nor does the guy ever learn his lesson. He surprisingly didn’t have any character development. Lin

William is a fine lead. He’s a super tough fighter who can be considered a prodigy and he accomplishes more than scores of other warriors right away. His skills are so legen…dairy that he becomes a hero rather quickly. That still doesn’t prevent him from getting knocked out by sucker hits and not making up his mind at times, but nobody can be perfect. Surprisingly the film didn’t go for a romance between him and the main heroine which was realistic for a change. They’re in the middle of a war so I’d like to think that romance wouldn’t be the first thought in their minds. I would have liked to have seen William do a little more as he never really becomes that notable, but he’s probably the second best character here by default.

After all…the cast is basically just 3 characters. We have an old guy who’s also a traitor and a tactician who isn’t bad, but their roles are very minor. Lin is the final main character and she’s a solid fighter. She’s clearly high ranked in the army and moves up quite a bit by the end. Her armor looks pretty cool and on the whole I liked the blue color scheme as it reminded me of Mega Man. I do have to say that her method of fighting in the army is rather in efficient though. Her duty is to jump from the roof, slash a few monsters and then get pulled back by the rope. The problem is that it only lets you hit 1-3 of the monsters and there is a high chance of dying instantly. Since the monsters are numerous in number, I can see why the humans are losing the war. It’s just such a terrible tactic and it’s too bad she was saddled with this job. She was instrumental in the climax though and at least mastered her duty.

Here’s where the problems start. First of all, I didn’t like it when China appeared at the end or when William admits that the rest of the modern world exists. At the start this feels like a fairly apocalyptic type film where there are just ravagers left and monsters all around. If not that drastic, then the heroes are at least deep in the past so everyone is primitive. No, apparently China just blocked itself from the outside world so they don’t really know what basic things are like magnets and gunpowder. Fortunately, William has been around the block a few times and tells them about the modern world. Personally, I’d say that it wrecks the atmosphere completely and just really changes the film.

Another issue is with the monsters. Don’t get me wrong, the actual monsters are great. They show exceptional teamwork and intelligence. They stay one step ahead of the army throughout the whole film and it’s quite impressive. The fact that they also look after their injured made me root for them instead of the main characters the whole time. By the same token, they felt more like animals than monsters the whole time so seeing the heroes stab at them was pretty gruesome. The fights are intense and the only weak point for the monsters is naturally the eye. This makes the whole thing that much worse. As a result, the action scenes were the weakest part of the film for me and pretty much single handily drop the score all the way down. It’s just not fun to watch as the monsters should have won. It doesn’t help that the humans are just generally unlikable aside from William and Lin, but those two are just yes men so it’s not as if they will stop the others.

The visuals are definitely nice in this film though. I like how all of the groups are color coordinated. The armor designs are really on point and are probably some of the best ones that I’ve seen in a film in quite some time. The monsters also looked acceptable for me. I don’t care for the third eye stuff but a monster is a monster at the end of the day. I would have preferred a large city backdrop like NYC, but the Great Wall works well enough as well. The wall is definitely large though and it’s easy to see how traitors can hide around. Nobody knows what the other is supposed to do after all.

Overall, I can’t help but feel that the film and it’s entire premise are ripped off from Attack on Titans. It is a fun plot to play around with though so I can see why films would borrow from it a bit. This film isn’t bad for the most part. The writing isn’t anything special, but it’s all right. The main leads are good and help to make up for the rest of the cast. The fights are just a downer since you’ll be rooting for the monsters the entire time and once the main part of China gets involved, things get a little sour as well. I gotta give props to the monster queen’s body guards. Those guys did a pretty good job throughout. You can certainly do better with monster films and I’d recommend one of the new Godzilla’s. It has the right blend of humor and action.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Mad Ghoul Review


It’s time for a film that tries to play out like Frankenstein. In its defense, it’s far better than Frankenstein, but that’s not saying a whole lot. It’s a pretty short film with a small cast so it never drags on or anything, but it doesn’t try to do anything exciting either. It’s a movie that simply happens and there isn’t a whole lot more to it. It would have ended up with a more decent score if not for the animal testing at the beginning. Why do so many of these films have to start off by testing on animals? It’s not right and the film should feel bad.

Alfred is a psychotic maniac who wants to see what various old gasses can do. He experiments on some animals and finds that they can completely paralyze you. (and then kill you) He then finds out that by stabbing someone in the heart and giving the liquid (Wouldn’t it just be normal blood?) to the dead person who was hit by the gas would revive them. Ted is a student who becomes an understudy to Alfred. He’s impressed as well, but just wants to hang out with Isabel as he plans to propose to her. She comes over for a visit and explains to Alfred that she no longer loves Ted. Alfred quickly assumes that he is the rebound guy so he tricks Ted into the experiment room and hits him with the gas. Ted now becomes a mindless servant for a while. He’ll regain his consciousness for a bit after getting a heart, but then he’ll be knocked out again. It’s a vicious cycle, but somebody’s got to do it. Can Ted get out of this loop?

In case you’re curious, the rebound guy is Eric. He’s not a bad character, but he’s definitely way too cocky for his own good. He agrees to meet Ted in a dark alley in the middle of nowhere by himself and he gets very close to being murdered. I like the confidence I guess, but you think that he’d be a little more alert right? It’s also hard to like the character since he may have known that Isabel already had someone, but maybe he didn’t know. Isabel certainly changed her mind suddenly, but I suppose that happens. Still, she should have worked up the courage to tell Ted instead of dragging it out and messing with him. That certainly didn’t help the situation and I definitely can’t say that I was a fan of her here. Isabel certainly didn’t act like a great heroine.

Next up is Ted and he has definitely got to be one of the more naive and gullible main characters out there. He should have suspected foul play the instant he was trapped in the room with the gas. How could that have been an accident? He believed Alfred for some reason which was pretty dicey and then he could never put the pieces together when he would regain consciousness. The guy was just way too dense and I couldn’t take his monster form very seriously at all. It’s like he had a bad hair day every few minutes or something. Not very scary or intimidating if you ask me.

Alfred is basically your average mad scientist. He wants revenge on everyone who has spurned him and he’ll make the world burn. There’s not much to the guy and old scientists rarely make for very interesting villains. The guy’s love for music is probably the only interesting thing about him since we don’t get enough musical villains. That being said, it’s not as if it ultimately turns him into a very good character or anything. He’s still the same unoriginal villain that he always was.

The best character in this film was a detective. Unfortunately he didn’t get to live very long. Still, he was able to figure out that it was no coincidence how Isabel would perform somewhere and then a murder would occur. He knew that the Mad Ghoul was following her around. The problem is that he used a very risky plan and ended up paying for it. At least the cops got a little more serious after this and decided to make their move. It’s too bad that the detective had to go though since he had all of the good one liners. He didn’t take orders from anyone and loved to get the last word in.

One thing that could have helped the film would have been to have actually had a good monster suit at the ready. Messing with Ted’s hair wasn’t all that scary to be honest. I wanted to be scared, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy into it. The monster also doesn’t really do anything very impressive as he just walks around and tries to look scary half the time. Still, I wouldn’t call the film boring or anything. It’s reasonably entertaining as it flies by, but I would have liked a little more excitement or some good characters to deliver some banter for the film. Without that…it just doesn’t work.

Overall, It’s not as if this film makes you perform a lot of logical leaps or that there are a bunch of negatives to be found here. The film just didn’t do much to make you engaged with what was happening. Add to that the quick animal scene and it was absolutely curtains for the film. If you like watching retro monster films, I’d recommend checking out Gamera instead. The actual monster there is a little more notable and the character roster is better. When the only good character is a detective who doesn’t live for very long, you know that there’s a problem.

Overall 4/10