Tag Archives: genre: sci-fi

Fast Five Review: Blade Runner 2049

bladerunnerblogbannerfinalBlade Runner 2049
Science Fiction | 2017 | Reviewed by Michelle | Released January 24, 2018

Thirty years after the events of the first Blade Runner film, K is a new Blade Runner; a replicant tasked with tracking down and eliminating older model replicants. When he makes a shocking discovery that could cause widespread chaos between humans and replicants, K is determined to find out the truth – not only about replicants, but about his own life as well.

1) Did you like the film?

Yes, but with reservations. I’m a huge sci-fi buff, and obviously, a fan of the first movie. But the thing with Blade Runner is that it’s 35 years old, and feels awkwardly dated to rewatch. And while the new Blade Runner film is utterly lovely to look at, it’s still bogged down with the same problems as Ridley Scott’s film – issues that a film released in 2017 really should have tried harder to avoid.

2) Why?

Let’s start with the positive stuff first. Blade Runner 2049 is dazzling in so many ways. The world-building at work here is on an epic scale. The opening shots, combined with the nostalgia-heavy score is enough to make a fan of the first film weak at the knees. The word “iconic” is used for pretty much everything these days, but there are so many scenes in Blade Runner 2049 to which the word comes to mind easily. Overall, this is a fascinating, atmospheric film that’s almost-as-good-as-the-original good. Well, almost.

bladerunnerThe problems? What’s with the way this film treats women? No spoilers, but the number of female characters who wind up dead in Blade Runner 2049 is staggering. Women are revered in Blade Runner 2019 – they’re angels, miracles, supersized goddesses. But at the same time, they’re disposed of with an alarming, brutal efficiency.

And then, there’s that nearly three hour runtime. Spare a thought for those of us who saw this at the cinema. At least on DVD, there’s always the pause button…

3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

You’re a big, big fan of the first movie.

4) This film made me think about…

How can a film be so brilliant and so flawed at the same time? Like I said, this is a great film, but it’s 2017 – why can’t films about the future be…I don’t know, a little more futuristic in their outlook towards race and gender?

5) Overall rating?

4-stars

Fast Five Review: The Expanse – Season One

theexpansebanner

The Expanse: Season One
Science Fiction | 2015 | Reviewed by Michelle

Hundreds of years in the future, humans have colonised the solar system. In the asteroid belt beyond Mars, a washed-up detective is tasked with tracking down the missing daughter of a powerful Earth businessman. In space, the first officer of an interstellar ice freighter witnesses a Martian attack on his ship. And on Earth, a ruthless UN undersecretary is desperate to prevent war. These three strangers are about to uncover a conspiracy that will bring them together – and change the galaxy…

1) Did you like it?

Confession time: I’m a bit of a sci-fi buff, and I really enjoyed The Expanse.

2) Why?

This is great big futuristic sci-fi at its great big futuristic best – and the kind that we haven’t seen on TV for a while now. If you’ve got fond memories of Battlestar Galactica, or maybe even (nerd alert!) Babylon 5, clear your calendar and microwave some popcorn, because I reckon you’re going to love The Expanse.

theexpanse23) You’ll enjoy this series if…

The Expanse isn’t just great sci-fi, it’s great television. In the same way that many Game of Thrones fans wouldn’t necessarily call themselves epic fantasy buffs, The Expanse has the potential to appeal to anyone who likes compelling characters and a fast-paced plot. That’s pretty much everyone, right?

4) This series made me think about…

Also like Game of Thrones, The Expanse is based on a series of books. I’m impatient for more, and wondering if I should just read the books (and know what’s going to happen in advance) or just be patient and let it be a surprise…?

5) Overall rating?

4.5-stars

 

Fast Five Review: Colossal

colossalbannerColossal
Science Fiction | 2017
Reviewed by Michelle

Gloria is an unemployed, thirtysomething blogger living in New York and teetering on the verge of alcoholism. When her over-it boyfriend kicks her out of his apartment, Gloria moves back to her hometown and reconnects with Oscar, an old friend who now owns his parents’ bar. Also, in the meantime, a giant monster begins to appear in Seoul, South Korea at the same time every morning, laying waste to entire neighbourhoods. Eventually, Gloria becomes convinced that she and the monster are somehow connected…

1) Did you like it?

I have to admit, I’d never heard of Colossal, but the brief description I read intrigued me and I decided to give it a watch. I’m so glad I did, because I loved this film!

2) Why?

Giant monster movies have been done to death. And, let’s face it, so has the “odd but troubled woman moves back home to get her life together” genre. But this movie is something different. It mashes these two completely disparate stories together – and the result is totally unique. And just when you think you have an idea where Colossal is going, the plot kicks into overdrive and it goes somewhere else entirely. And in the best possible way.

colossalThat’s all I’m going to tell you about Colossal. It’s funny, terrifying, quirky – and probably a cult classic. Just watch it.

3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

Hmm. It’s difficult to say. If you’re expecting something along the lines of Godzilla/Pacific Rim/Cloverfield/Kong – you’re probably going to be disappointed.

4) This movie made me think about…

We need more female film critics. I looked up a few reviews before writing this, and pretty much every professional review I encountered was written by a man. I’m not saying that guys won’t, or don’t get this film – it was written and directed by a man: Spanish filmmaker, Nacho Vigalondo. But so many of the reviews of Colossal I read missed the point entirely, while the reviews I found by women saw this film for what it is. Female critics, represent.

5) Overall rating?

Yep, it’s that good…

5-stars

Fast Five Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

guardiansofthegalaxy2blogbannerGuardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2
Science Fiction | 2017
Reviewed by Michelle

After saving the galaxy, the Guardians are in demand. But when a deal goes wrong and they’re pursued by an armada of deadly drones across the universe, the Guardians are rescued by a god-like being who holds the secrets to Peter Quill’s true parentage. As Peter comes to terms with his identity, the Guardians struggle to keep the team together.

1) Did you like it?

If you’ve ever read any of my Fast Five reviews before, you’ll know that I’m really suspicious of sequels and I’m not a fan of comic book movies. Uh oh.

The good news? One of the very (very) few comic book films I’ve seen and enjoyed was the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. The not-so-good news: Volume 2 is a good film, but it can’t quite capture the irreverent spirit of the original.

2) Why?

What I liked? Guardians Volume 2 has the same humour the first film, not to mention a cracking soundtrack that will have your toes tapping. Plus, it’s got the same group of (sometimes) lovable characters and introduces a few fun additions to the team.

gotg2

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed Volume 2. However, what I loved most about the first film was its distinctive, snappy charm. The sequel has that charm too, except here, it’s been cranked up to eleven. There are no less than five scenes during the credits. Volume 2 is an enjoyable film, and a good sequel – but it’s overblown. Somewhat ironically, it has an Ego problem.

3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

If you’re into action films that will make you laugh. Seeing the first film will help you get these characters better though.

4) This movie made me think about…

There’s clearly going to be a third Guardians film. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the team next.

5) Overall rating?

Hmm. This is a tough one to rate…

3-stars

Fast Five Review: Ghost in the Shell

ghostintheshellbannerGhost in the Shell
Science Fiction, Action | 2017

Major Mira Killian is the first of her kind: a perfect, cybernetically enhanced soldier, designed to hunt down the world’s most dangerous criminals. When a new terrorist threat arises, Major is the perfect choice to stop it – but as she prepares to face her enemy, she uncovers secrets from her past that leave her reeling.

1) Did you like it?

Well look, it’s complicated. I came to this film with not much in the way of previous knowledge of Ghost in the Shell. This live action film is a reimagining of the classic 1995 anime version, considered a classic of the genre, which is in turn based on an earlier manga version.

What I do know about Ghost in the Shell is that casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead role – a character who was originally Japanese – was never going to be a good idea. And, without giving anything away, the film’s attempts to correct this misstep only make the problem so, soooo much worse.

Let’s just say right from the start that this is a movie with some pretty irredeemable flaws. There are brief glimpses of brilliance, but they’re few and far between.

2) Why?

One good thing about this film? It’s visually stunning. The opening sequence depicting the rebirth of Major Mira Killian – that’s Johansson’s character, by the way – will take your breath away. The world in which this film is set is one of holographic advertising, vying for space with towering skyscrapers and ordinary people trying to make a living. It’s all very pretty. And pretty familiar.

ghostintheshellagainThere’s more to world-building than just throwing in a tonne of CGI. Compare this movie to The Fifth Element or Blade Runner, for instance – they’re also films set in sprawling metropolises, but they actually made you feel what it was like to be a part of that world. That’s the thing with this film – there’s not much in the way of atmosphere. Oddly, for a movie about ghosts and shells; souls and machines, Ghost in the Shell often feels as hollow as a chocolate bunny. Ironic, huh?

3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

Fans of The Matrix are going to love this film. Consider this The Matrix re-Reloaded.  Action lovers will also get a kick out of Ghost in the Shell. Its action scenes are slick – and frequent.

4) This movie made me think about…

When’s the new Blade Runner film coming out again? Is it soon?? I hope they don’t mess it up. Will there ever be a Neuromancer film? Also, how amazing is Scarlett Johansson’s hair?

ghostintheshell3 ghostintheshell25) Overall rating?

Five stars for Scarlett Johansson’s hair…two for the film.

2-stars