4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Review

It’s time for one of those iconic films that is supposed to make you super emotional. If you don’t cry during the ending then your emotions might be broken. That was my general understanding on what this film is truly like, but unfortunately I didn’t cry at the end. Honestly, I never even felt remotely sad and the only emotion that I had at the time was disappointment. The film’s actually rather boring and there are no good characters. The soundtrack is the only real upside of the film.

It starts off with Elliott having a tough time at home. His brother is playing cards with a bunch of his friends and nobody wants Elliott to play with them. They send him off to go get a pizza instead, but then Elliott sees an alien run into the shed and promptly drops the pizza. Gee Elliott, if everyone was giving you a tough time before, it’s only going to get worse from here on out. Everyone blames Elliott and naturally nobody notices the alien. A lot of personal insults are thrown and the insults are pretty intense. I prefer milder insults so the film loses some props in the writing department for this. How can Elliott possibly bounce back from this? Hint: He can’t.

Long story short, the alien is called E.T. by the kid (Very original) and he just wants to go home. His family of other aliens ditched him to escape from the humans since it was a “Every man for himself” kind of moment. E.T. doesn’t take it personally at least since he is barely intelligent at first and only gradually learns how to communicate. You can’t help but feel bad for the guy since he doesn’t realize that the aliens aren’t the most noble of creatures. E.T.’s design isn’t one that I personally like, but I suppose it’s distinct. Whenever he stretches his neck I can’t help but feel like he is challenging the main characters.

As with most aliens he can be rather annoying. He makes a mess of Elliott’s room and steals food from the fridge. We even have a long scene where he gets drunk on beer. Hopefully that works as a nice PSA for other kids who are tempted to drink. Nobody wants to get drunk after all…hopefully. E.T. can use his TK abilities to fly, but he rarely does so. He spends most of the film getting scared and then losing to the government. He felt more like a liability than an asset to the main characters which you wouldn’t expect from an alien. I just never got around to sympathizing with him all that much.

Elliott is annoying as well though. He brings up the Mom’s ex husband for no reason other than to just get his revenge. Dropping the pizza was completely unnecessary and he pretends to be sick just to skip school. He also has no will power so E.T. is able to control him to make a move on one of his classmates. It was a rather terrible scene and maybe the worst one in the film. Nobody stopped Elliott and naturally they played it off like it was a happy event for both of them. I couldn’t buy into it at all. Elliott also gets a little too emotional at times and panics quite a lot. He’s not quite ready for an adventure like this.

I can’t say that I trust the government much either. One guy claims that E.T. came to him once, but I don’t believe him. They do try to keep him alive at the end, but likely to serve their own purposes. Why are they chasing the aliens? Perhaps there is no reason and chasing the aliens just seems like a good move, but they certainly are bad at their job. How could they lose him when they were so close at the beginning? Also, pointing shotguns at the kids is rather extreme.

On the positive side of things, the soundtrack was definitely really good. You can really hear a lot of Star Wars in it at all times which helped convey a sense of danger. The rest of the film didn’t really contribute, but at least the music tried. While the writing wasn’t particularly good, the music helps it get a little more bearable. Some reactions really were over the top though. The Mom panicking every time Mexico was mentioned or her quick laugh after Elliott’s insult before telling him off. The laugh was incredibly out of place. A lot of the film also just feels like filler as we have happy times with the alien. One positive of modern blockbusters that this film could have used was more explosions. Have there be an evil E.T. or something. Apparently the sequel would have had evil aliens so I have a feeling that this would have been a whole lot more exciting.

I’ll give the film some props in another scene. During the frog dissections I was worried that the film was really going to shoot itself in the foot. It did in a way during the random scene with Elliott’s classmate, but the frogs all got to escape. That was great. I personally do think that it’s very inhumane for schools to have kids murder frogs just to learn about anatomy. That’s what we have books for and realistically close to 0% of those kids are going to work in that field so the frogs are dying for nothing. Saving them was probably the most heroic point of Elliott’s life even if he didn’t do it willingly and E.T. was controlling him from afar. The dog that was in the film was also cool even if his role was rather small.

Overall, E.T. isn’t a very fun film. It has very bad pacing and nothing really happens until the government shows up near the very end. The film is over 2 hours I believe so it drags on immensely in the meantime. Also the annoying cast hurts. Lets put this into perspective, all of the main characters are kids. That’s bad news. I’m not a fan of kids being the main characters so when all of the main cast are kids, we’ve got a problem. The bullies turning over a new leaf didn’t count since they just wanted to defy authority. Elliott never became all that likable and I wasn’t sold on his brother either. The sister was quick to betray the others whenever she thought she could rat them out about E.T. so she was rather annoying as well. The film even messed up the ending as it should have been E.T. peddling away on his bicycle. Imagine the cool visual that would have been. It could have saved the film and made the whole thing more emotional. Anyway, I don’t think this film has aged well and I’d avoid it. If you want a better alien story, check out Man of Steel.

Overall 4/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Star Wars: Rogue One Review

All right, it’s time to take a look at the first Star Wars spinoff movie. This one helps to bridge the gap between film III and IV by showing us how the rebellion managed to actually acquire the plans to the Death Star. After all, how could they hope to get such secretive intel from the Empire? There’s a lot of action here and it’s always fun to see The Force move about. It’s a little hard to go back to the days when the Jedi weren’t fighting with their cool abilities, but Rogue One is a solid action movie. It’ll help get you ready for the Episode VIII movie which is coming soon.

Jyn is the main character of the film (Could have sworn that it was Jane) and she witnessed her parents get captured by the Empire. She escapes and was rescued by a tough resistance fighter. Many years passed and Jyn is now a very aggressive person who dislikes the Empire and the Rebellion. She is thrown back into the fray when the rebellion shows up and decides to use her to get to the resistance member. Jyn isn’t thrilled about this arrangement, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. Planets are on the line and the planetary destruction weapon is now complete so the clock is ticking.

The film gets to the plot right away as Jyn’s backstory flies by and her first big mission is upon us. There is no need for a super large build up and that’s really the point. In a war, you don’t have time to go to the local deli first, it’s just on to the mission. As soon as Jyn and Cassian are at the first planet, the skirmish between the Rebellion and the Empire begins. From there we get a lot of other action scenes and the big climax is certainly the largest scale one in the movie. When you think that the fight is about to end, it ends up continuing and continuing. The film doesn’t let up right up through the very end. Naturally I won’t go into any details at all about the ending, but it is quite great and the perfect way to end things on a high note. It also explains why a ship wasn’t pulled back with The Force. I suppose it may not have been the wisest move anyway. You’ll definitely want to watch Episode IV afterwards to put all of this into perspective.

The graphics are good as you would expect. Due to the layout of the Star Wars universe, we don’t get a chance to see many futuristic tech or cities lying about, but the heroes do go to one cool city. It’s a fun camera pan out as we see what the city looks like from afar and then see how desolate it really is when the heroes land. The lightsaber that Darth Vader has looks cool as always and I did appreciate the beam battles that we got as always. That being said, I feel like they heavily nerfed the blasters here. Numerous characters are blasted in the chest with no serious injury. I don’t really think anyone should survive getting his by a blast, especially considering that everyone had their phasers set to stun kill.

I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It was fun hearing the classical themes of the series. I also really like the death wail that all of the machines make when they’re about to explode. I’ve been hearing it more and more as I play the video game and it certainly is catchy. The film doesn’t really have any new tunes, but the classic ones are all that you need in the end. Also, there weren’t really any one on one fights so there wouldn’t be much of a chance to use any new battle music.

Before getting into the characters, I have to talk about one in particular. A guy runs off during the film spouting some nonsense about finding an ultra powerful Jedi warrior who could turn the tables. He said that he trusts her with his life before running off and now we know why. This would give him an excuse to escape before things got messy. What other reason is there for him dashing off and not returning? The Jedi warrior never got to show up unless she was a cameo somewhere and that was just mind boggling. Hardcore Star War fans may know who is was talking about and why it was significant, but for a super casual (At least that’s what I let people think!) fan like myself, it was just rather random.

Jyn makes for a good heroine. I do think that her personality was maybe a little too similar to Rey’s though. Both of them are really tough “Me against the world” characters who know hand to hand skills and dislike everybody. Both of them eventually mellow out though and learn how to be team players. A big difference is the fact that Rey knows the Force though. Regardless of comparisons, Jyn was fun to have around although she maybe became a nice person a little too quickly. Her character arc was a little rushed, but I’ll take action over drama any day so I’m pretty fine with it in the end. Cassian was the main guy in the film and I can’t say that I cared for him. He doesn’t mind putting aside his morals when in the line of duty and even though he got too scared to pull the trigger, it’s hard to put aside the fact that he was willing to do the deed. Jyn calls him out on it and Cassian basically runs off to sulk, after insulting everyone and trying to pick a fight. I know that Cassian’s supposed to be a likable guy by the end, but I just wasn’t buying it. He could fight, which is a nice start, but he was just very annoying.

Speaking of annoying characters though, one of the worst was probably Chirrut. I dislike this fan favorite because he got on my nerves immediately. His whole “I’m one with the Force” gimmick was boring and repetitive. He couldn’t really back it up either as he would have died several times without his generic partner. He came across as a fake Jedi and the only way that I would have liked him would have been if he had an actual lightsaber and used the Force to attack. If the film wanted to have a Jedi around, then they should have gone the whole way. Have him fight Darth Vader near the end or something like that. Yes, Chirrut would have certainly died, but it would have been a good fight and it would have been a way to actually cement the fact that Chirrut was a fighter. His character arc just felt very empty and while it’s cool that we had someone with powers, I was hoping that we’d have someone who knew how to use those abilities.

Back to cool characters though, I certainly enjoyed K2SO. He was a fun sarcastic version of C3PO and he got most of the best lines in the film. He can actually fight, which is a big improvement from C3PO and had some fun action scenes. He is very useful as an undercover robot since the Empire always thinks that he is one of them and the design is cool as well. The heroes would have been utterly doomed without his expertise. Another cool character is naturally Darth Vader. He gets a pair of pivotal scenes, which was nice for his fans. He’s definitely one of the biggest symbols in the franchise and any moment with him in it is always neat. I don’t think his very first scene was necessary as we see him in the water tank since it makes him a little less threatening, but I suppose it was to help acknowledge him as more than just a Sith Lord who wrecks everyone, but I’m actually fine with the latter. You definitely can’t escape from Darth Vader, as many of the characters quickly figure out. It’s why I want a proper light saber fight with him since today’s effects could make it quite epic.

One character that you’ll probably feel bad for is Bodhi. He’s a pilot who had an important message to give to the extremest rebel, but ends up nearly being brain fried for his troubles. It shows just how shady this rebel was and I can see why the rebellion wanted nothing to do with him initially. Not that the rebellion is a whole lot better either. While they aren’t evil like the other guy, some of their members aren’t very courageous. The fact that a lot of them wanted to join the Empire speaks volumes about their resolve. I don’t know how they got a seat in the council. The “It’s a Trap!” guy continues to be a great character though. Now that guy’s a true leader!

Orson and Tarkin are two fun sub villains to have around as well. They’re both political villains who talk a good game and hide in the shadows. They use mind games and overwhelming numbers to take the heroes on while they debate among themselves the whole time. They both have personality and are fun to have around so I actually enjoyed them. They certainly can’t fight all that much, but Orson did manage to take on Cassian in a gun fight so he does have some skills. That or Cassian just isn’t that good and the latter is a real possibility.

I’m probably one of the only ones who feels this way, but I felt bad for the Storm Troopers a lot of the time. They’re constantly defeated through cheap tricks and sneak attacks so it was always cool to see them land some counter hits. The Storm Troopers may be on the wrong side, but they have cool armors and they do try their best. Only plot hax is enough to stop them at times. Rebellions are built on that after all. This film was fairly reasonable on that angle though. There’s no way that the attack should have worked and the Rebellion should have been squashed, but it’s hard to realistically have such a small group attack a big army. The Empire just has too many options at their disposal.

In the end, this film is definitely better than I, II, V, and VI, but it loses to IV and VII. It’s pretty close with III though since that film had a lot more action and big fight scenes while this one leaves you with more of a “Feels Good” feeling. III’s ending is rather somber and dark. In the end, I suppose the epicness wins out so that still puts this film as the 4th best among the 7. 8 if we count the animated film, but it’s really been a super long time since I watched that one. That one could potentially be the best, but I remember always being annoyed that some of the fights are so close to happening and yet they don’t happen. They were probably saving that for the TV show or something.
Overall, Star Wars Rogue One is a fun prequel. It’s a good way of expanding the universe of Star Wars mythos and allowing us to see some classic characters like Darth Vader again. It’ll remind you that the rebellion certainly went through a lot of hardships before they got to claim some victories. The universe desperately needed some more Jedi. If you haven’t watched a Star Wars film before, then you can certainly jump into this one. In a way, it can be a new starting point for fans since it links into IV so well. I have always been with the crowd that says watching IV before I is crucial so this is the only exception to the original trilogy rule. The film accomplished what it set out to do here so I look forward to seeing if the next prequel will be as good. They definitely put a lot of work into these films so I’m confident that they will keep on checking through the script until it’s just right.

Overall 7/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Forbidden Planet Review

It’s time to look at a second rate Star Trek film with a crew that certainly won’t impress you. This film was so much worse than I had expected it to be due to the terribly written romance that was included. So, to those that say this is Star Wars IV level, I have to shake my head this time. I don’t think I want any big remakes of this film and I’d rather they adapt The Invisible Boy again. That review’s coming soon so prepare yourself for it. On that note, here we go!

John and his friends command a spaceship and have been sent to an alien planet to look for a researcher who vanished here many years ago. They find him all right, but the rest of the crew has been mysteriously murdered. Hmmm, is it possible that there was some foul play afoot here? The researcher refuses to answer any questions, but the team of space cadets is attacked by an invisible monster at night. After a few space cadets are murdered, John decides to not focus on the issue all that much and focus on romance instead. Does this crew really stand a chance at accomplishing their mission?

The rest of the film would have gotten a decent 6/10 ranking if not for the romance so let’s start with that. The main heroine is Altaira and the problem is that she doesn’t really understand human culture. She doesn’t know what a “kiss” is, etc. The group naturally takes advantage of this and several (perhaps all. Given that the film hints at this by having her say “Why don’t you kiss me like everyone else” to the main character) of them kiss her. The film uses this as an excuse to have her bathing without a bathing suit because she doesn’t know what one is along with fairly dicey forms of attire. You’d think that John would be above all this since he’s the commander, but he decides to get in on the fun as well.

It’s a terrible romance because Altaira doesn’t really understand what she’s doing. The men are just tricking her for their own pleasure. John even admits that they haven’t seen a woman in a very long time so the crew will all dash at her. John says it as a warning, and yet…he’s no better. Altaira essentially has the maturity of a child and so, this romance was never going to work and it obliterated any chance that the film had of being good.

None of the human characters were likable either so that didn’t exactly help the film either. John is a terrible captain and none of his men seem to have any moral values. Altaira is way too naive and her father is cryptic and shady for no real reason. He doesn’t warn the space cadets about the monster until it destroys a few of the members and he didn’t even realize that messing with futuristic tech could destroy his mind. He’s supposed to be some kind of genius right?

Forbidden Planet also goes to great depths to show off its equipment at the expense of destroying the film’s pacing. The pacing completely dies for nearly an hour as the characters slowly walk from room to room looking at just about every single piece of equipment. They even take a quick ride around the complex, which takes around 15 minutes of real time just for fun. Maybe if the effects actually looked good it wouldn’t drag quite as much, but compared to films like Tron Legacy…this one can’t hold up.

The effects aren’t bad though and apparently they were terrific for its day. I don’t think it justifies the incredibly long wait time though. There’s not really a soundtrack, but you wouldn’t expect one for a very old film like this one. There is one highlight to the film that I haven’t really touched on yet. That’s the famous Robbie the Robot. Rob definitely deserves all of the praise that he gets because the character is very enjoyable and a bright spot amidst my other complaints. He has a nice blend of condescending smacktalk with subtle sarcasm to make him a rather deep character. He’s certainly not two dimensional and he’s very loyal as well. He is powerful and I would have liked to have seen him fight the monster, but that’s all right. The insults all make up for it. It’s easy to see why he would later return for other movies.

The monster was also decently cool. The invisibility trick was likely to save the budget, but we got some glimpses here and there and even a quick shot towards the end. I wish the monster could have appeared for an extended amount of time though. Regardless, it broke the barriers made of pure energy which theoretically should not be possible. Who knows, we may have found a rival for Godzilla after all. It’s a shame that this action part of the film could not have been a bit longer because it was easily the highlight of the film. I’m always up for more action after all and the laser fights reminded me of Star Trek. It was certainly made in that kind of style and had the film gone this route, it likely would have been a lot better.

Overall, A terrible romance is what ultimately doomed this film. It could be drawn out and a little boring at times, but it would have still doubled the score that it ultimately got here. The laser action scenes and the giant monster would make sure of it. Maybe throw in a twist about aliens arriving as well for extra tension. If you’re looking for a retro sci-fi film, you should just go and watch Star Wars Episode IV. If you do plan to see the film, at least you’ll have Robbie The Robot to enjoy. His presence in the film does help to elevate it to a certain degree. This isn’t the last that you’ll see of good ole Robbie though as my next review will feature another big appearance of his.

Overall 3/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

2010 The Year We Made Contact Review

“It’s full of stars” is something that you probably said as you finished 2001: A Space Odyssey a while back, but little did we know that the line would be used to death in this film. It’s probably said like 5-10 times in the film. No worries, it’s a decent line….but it doesn’t really mean anything. Think of it as a red herring and then back away to the plot. This film plays is straight as opposed to the last one and it’s actually a decent film. It was much better than I could have hoped and it fixed just about all of the problems from the first film.

For starters…well, let’s talk about the plot first. Dave and his crew died/vanished so now Earth is sending in a new fleet. The Americans were slacking off a little this time so Russia builds the spaceship first. This means that three Americans have to join them on the journey. They are heading to where the black coffin was so that they can find the ship and get some answers. Once they restore Hal 9000, everything should be peachy..right? Let’s just say that the aliens are not done yet!

First of all, this film has no animal violence. That’s already a huge improvement from the first film. The start of this movie was so much more interesting that it was almost criminal. In the 5 seconds that 2001 needed to make me dislike the film, I was already getting ready for an epic adventure here. The difference between the two films is simply astounding and I’m proud of the fact that this film dared to be different from 2001. The beginning is very interesting because it plays out like a video game. We don’t know what happened to the previous crew, but the dialogue and pictures as pretty off so you suspect that aliens must have been involved.

To be honest, this is the kind of film that may be even more interesting if you had not seen the first film. The reason is that the beginning gets even more intriguing when they mention that the last line was “It’s full of Stars” before the hero vanished. That really hints that something major is going to happen. Unfortunately, the film drops the ball there, but we’ll get into that in a moment.

The film still doesn’t have the problem of being dragged out. A lot of the scenes simply last a little longer than they should and it’s noticeable. The dinner scene is definitely guilty of this as well as most of the space scenes. Even the beginning as the film recaps the last one, the text goes a little slower than necessary. Of course, it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been so this isn’t much of a negative.

After watching this film, I’m confident that the black coffin shaped objects are spaceships. The film alludes to this in one of the scenes as they believe that the aliens are warning them away from the planet. When you attempt to land on the object with hostile intent, then they simply blast you away with a cool energy blast. At the end of the film, all of the black objects head to one of the planets and the aliens claim that they will be peaceful so long as we never try to set foot there. I trust them about as much as I can throw the aliens, but there’s not much that the humans can do at this point. That being said, in the after ending scene, we see that one of the objects has stayed on Earth. Looks like the Extinction of humanity may be sooner than we had figured eh? It’s always a little sad to see the humans look so outmatched, but it’s not as frustrating as usual since we don’t actually see the aliens kick them around.

That being said, it is also pretty sad that we don’t get to see the aliens. We only see one of their people and it is the newly awakened Dave who comes to greet the heroes. It seems like his mind has been absorbed by the collective so he still remembers everything, but he is not actually Dave. His persona tries to emerge several times, but he has lost this battle. He definitely shouldn’t have decided to use the portal eh? His fate was certainly not pleasant, but at least he warns the heroes to leave. He was allowed to by the rulers….or so he says.

It’s fun to see Hal 9000 back on the big screen. He still seems like a likable character and the plot twist is pretty interesting. Was he really a bad guy? The film implies that he isn’t, but it’s still pretty intriguing to think about based on what happened last time. I like to think that he is still evil and he just let the humans live this time, but it’s definitely something to think about.

You may be wondering why I have not really mentioned the humans yet. Well, that’s because they really are not of much consequence this time around. The human sub plot simply isn’t very interesting and nothing really happens. The Russians and Americans learn to team up while they are stranded in space, but none of them ever become really good characters. I liked the overweight politician from the beginning, but then he was written out of the film before he really got to make some waves. The main guy isn’t bad, but he’s just pretty generic. Hal’s creator is someone that you probably don’t want to trust and the Engineer is afraid of heights. They’re not a bad crew and they do manage to avoid the romance angle, but that’s about all that I can say for them.

We don’t get any intense visuals like last time, but it’s certainly worth the trade off. Not a lot happens during the film, but it’s a pretty interesting ride while you’re experiencing it. It’s not the kind of film that I would care to watch again, but it wasn’t a bad film. It really made no mistakes and the one reason why I can’t give it a positive rating is because there wasn’t much to it. Not doing anything wrong can be tough, but it’s also important to do something right as well. Throwing in some actual aliens or some more likable characters could have helped push this to a 6. Still, compared to the first film, a 5 definitely isn’t bad.

Overall, 2010 is a pretty good sequel. It’s one of the few sequels that can say that it easily smashed the original. You have to admit that this is serious bragging rights when you really think about it. The atmospheare of the film is also a lot more intense than 2001’s as it feels like a horror/thriller at some points. When the aliens are typing “All your worlds…” a certain line will likely come to mind. Unfortunately, what they wrote wasn’t very cool, but it was still a moment where you may have to take a step back from the intensity of the film. I recommend checking this out if you want to see a dialogue based sci-fi film. It can be interesting just don’t expect the aliens to show up. On the other hand, I would sooner recommend renting Centipede Infestation for the Wii so that you can play it over the weekend.

Overall 5/10