The BFG

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Vampire Owl: Is it like LPG and CNG?

Vampire Bat: You seriously need to work on your studies about abbreviations.

Vampire Owl: So, it is not another kind of dirty fuel that humans use to destroy nature?

Vampire Bat: No, it stands for Big Friendly Giant.

Vampire Owl: Now, that is new. I am BFVO then. Big Friendly Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat: Everybody knows that you are not friendly. You are surely not big either.

Vampire Owl: Come on, it is one of those lies spread by Werewolf Anger. He is just angry at me for no reason.

Vampire Bat: But I witness your lack of friendliness everyday.

Vampire Owl: You, sir need to check your vampire mind for hallucinations.

Vampire Bat: This is a Steven Spielberg movie. Will you just watch it?

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a ten year old orphan girl spends her nights at an orphanage at London by reading books, as she has a sleeping problem. She is more of a loner and has less number of friends there. Even though it is not allowed, she manages to stay awake at night all the time. One night, at three in the morning, which she herself calls the witching hour, she sees an old giant (Mark Rylance)outside through her window and the creature sees her too. It captures her and takes her to the Giant Country which is a secret place. As he establishes himself as a friendly giant and doesn’t want to eat her, she asks him to let her go, but he tells her that she has to stay there forever as she has seen him and now knows that the giants exist, which she will tell the other humans causing trouble for them. He also adds that if she tries to escape, one of those non-vegetarian giants will eat her.

So, what is it really about? :: There she understands that none of the giants really like the one she has named BFG a.k.a. Big Friendly Giant, starting with their leader, the Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) who thinks that he is good for nothing as he eats those which he considers as pathetic vegetables. The Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) doesn’t fall behind in hating the giant who doesn’t belong either. The list is long with the rest of the giants, the Butcher Boy (Michael Adamthwaite), the Bonecruncher (Daniel Bacon), the Manhugger (Adam Godley), the Gizzardgulper (Chris Gibbs), the Meatdripper (Paul Moniz de Sa), the Childchewer (Jonathan Holmes) and the Maidmasher (Olafur Darri Olafsson). All these giants are bigger and stronger than the BFG, and are not hesitant in making fun of him each and every time they meet.

So, what happens next? :: The special thing about the BFG is that unlike the other giants who spends their time in laziness, he is more of a scholar who can not only read, but is also skilled in many other fields. What he does with most of his life is to capture the dreams from Dream Country and send them to little children. With one of the giants getting hold of Sophie’s blanket, the BFG realizes that she won’t be safe anymore, anywhere in the Giant Country and tries to get rid of her – but she doesn’t agree to it, and soon, all the giants are at BFG’s place looking for the little human being for dinner as they can smell her. With all the destruction they cause at his place, finally the two friends decide that enough is enough, and these flesh-eating creatures need to be taught a lesson. But shouldn’t their preference be to survive rather than anything else? How can they do anything to the group of powerful giants?

The defence of The BFG :: The visual treat is the one thing that makes The BFG score really high, and there is absolutely no fault in that – the world of giants, dreams and everything is nothing less than that enchanting fairy-tale that we hope to see waiting for us. There is no dark shade to this tale either, even with those giants looking for humans to eat whenever it is possible – this is why there is so much of a magical effect which goes right into one’s heart to satisfy a childish side which rests there. The child takes over, and we can only see how satisfied that one is. The visual beauty is one thing, and the strong emotional side just gets right into us with Mark Rylance as the good giant making us feel amazingly good. The kid, Ruby Barnhill doesn’t stay far behind either, as this combination works like magic for all of us who have been looking for more and more of beautiful feelings within us. You are going to leave this one with a smile on the face, that stays.

The claws of flaw :: When you consider this one only as a Steven Spielberg movie, one is sure to expect more from The BFG. No, this is not going to stand that kind of an expectation, with our movie coming from a 1982 children’s book which was written by the British novelist Roald Dahl. Also illustrated by Quentin Blake, it is supposed to be an expansion of a short story from Dahl’s own 1975 book Danny, the Champion of the World. The first live-action adaptation of the same is this one, and so what we need here is to accept its childishness – otherwise, things are not going to work. This is the kind of movie which would have become my instant favourite if this had released during my childhood – still, it is surely not without its flaws, as rarely does it try to rise above what seems to be in the material; there is no attempt to make it bigger, as there was scope without doubt. The repetitions could have also been avoided.

How it finishes :: Even those adults who feel that there is nothing serious happening in a children’s movie will agree that there is fun in this one, and there was surely a visual treat that nobody can miss. There are those moments which come up with positive messages, and there is the funny side. Friendship is found when it is least expected, and the same is the case of courage and wisdom – you will know when you watch this movie. The sweetness in this movie will surely make you feel good, and wish that there was one big friendly giant who could bring a better meaning to your life – it is that much which the child in you will ask for, and it is what this movie delivers visually. It is your inner child and the misfit in you that wins this battle to choose the movie to go for, as I checked for some of the movies in my favourite genre, and still got attracted to this one more than those first choices on the list; your case will be no different.

Release date: 1st July 2016
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader, Michael Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Adam Godley, Chris Gibbs, Paul Moniz de Sa, Jonathan Holmes, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Marilyn Norry, Chris Shields, Matt Frewer, Geoffrey Wade

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Battleship

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What is Battleship? :: I have to admit that I had no idea that this was an alien movie mostly based on the sea before I went on to watch it. Yes, I found out that a Hollywood movie has released in the local theatre which would cost me absolutely no travelling charges and just the fifty rupees for the ticket, and wasted no time in looking for the plot synopsis or the reviews. Convert it, and it is not even one Unites States Dollar – too good for a movie with Hollywood effects. Thank God for the cheap tickets even in those multiplexes. Well, let me tell you that this is a confused movie, as it clearly wonders what is is supposed to do and why it is exists. In the meaningless or rather absurd world that it creates, the movie wonders what is it doing. But there is lot of entertainment in store in that world. If people can make Krrish 3 a superhit, why not this one? Always a better science fiction story than Krrish 3 – with better graphics, better story and a lot more. The best thing is that nobody really comes up and gives it a four out of five.

The Setting :: I always loved Battleship as the guessing game that it is. In spite of reminding me of that very old game called Minesweeper which I played while my computer lab hours of Plus Two, it was fun enough and may be one of those few games which I could just win by making some of the most stupid guesses. I didn’t know how to play the other games including Hearts, Solitaire and Backgammon and my only hope was to install Pinball or Allen Border’s Cricket – those were the days of floppy games, the memories keeping me nostalgic. So here comes Battleship as a movie, and I wondered how is it related to the game? May be because the makers were trying too much of a guessing game about the success of this movie, or may be our hero’s guess work has finally paid off and the alien invaders are defeated. There is indeed a lot of strange happenings in the movie, and I would like to guess that the aliens too guessed after having their own guessing game, may be named “Starship” – yes this has aliens and the military, and lots of battleships from both sides.

What is it about? :: Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is an undisciplined U.S. Navy officer who is in love with Samantha Shane (Brookyln Decker) who is the daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson) and our hero is just steps away from being discharged from the navy. But sometimes good things come in the form of an invasion and the best things come in the form of an alien invasion, that too concentrating in the ocean, thus giving him that opportunity to be the alien war hero. Well, five alien spacecrafts arrive, thanks to the curious Earthling cats trying to kill themselves with their space programs and their attempts to communicate and travel to the other world. The Navy fleet comes in contact with an alien fleet and gets most of their forces destroyed. With most of the people dead and Alex Hopper being the next person on charge, he has to take on the aliens with whatever crew he has left (which obviously includes Rihanna’s character) while his girlfriend who is with a U.S. Army veteran tries to take on some other aliens in another way.

The defence of Battleship :: It is better than the other two alien movies which turned out to be success at the box-office in the earlier years, Skyline (2010) and Battle: Los Angeles (2011), but this wouldn’t be that much of a box-office success, mostly due to the higher budget and secondly due to it coming later, after Cowboys and Aliens as well as The Darkest Hour, none of them creating that big impression which the alien movies needed. I don’t think that none of these movies are bad though. Well, I would say that this one needs to be watched just for its action sequences, well-designed alien spacecrafts and weaponry, the special effects and the well-designed alien creatures. We could take the virus-logic of the 1996 Will Smith movie which they decided to name Independence Day and most of the audience accepted the movie which one of the worst climaxes that anyone could think about, and so thinking more about this movie is vain, and one has to accept this one for the effort that was put into it and all that has worked.

The claws of flaw :: There is good design, but that mostly leaves the alien ships as transformers of the ocean (but still having their own style), and the movie concentrates rather too much on the navy which is rather an overdose which one could have avoided. They could have had it, but with lesser emphasis on the awesomeness of that navy or rather decreasing the screen-time. Yes, the name of the movie is Battleship, but it doesn’t mean that you have to praise battleships and show them again and again making us feel that it is the hero and the characters are not important at all. You have someone like Taylor Kitsch and someone as awesome as Liam Neeson, but where is the focus? On the battleships of humans and aliens. May be it can have a big basket to keep its collection of cliches. When a movie tries to claim that it is adapted from a game like Battleship, what can you expect? They can’t even copy the cutscenes or dialogues! Why water? Because they want to show battleships a lot!

Performers of the Soul :: Taylor Kitsch is there playing the protagonist (the one which is human), but doesn’t have that good a role which could prove his abilities, and is still good with the character. John Carter was awesome and his performance was great, and another thing that I appreciate about him is that he is ready to do a sequel to the movie which might be highly unlikely due to its previous box-office performance. I am proud of thee and Lynn Collins. He deserves better than this, just like John Carter deserved a lot more. I really don’t know why they had Rihanna in the movie, and it is a question better left unanswered. Brooklyn Decker has her presence, but one has to think that she wasn’t really needed in this movie, and this so much pales in comparison to how she has been in Sports Illustrated. Another question is that how could they waste an actor like Liam Neeson is such an insignificant role? Ra’s al Ghul and Jean Veljean should dislike that, and I am not even going to Oskar Schindler.

How it finishes :: Battleship is more of an excuse to make another alien invasion movie and get some box-office collection from it. People can watch it to stare at Brooklyn Decker, but it also gives us some reasons why the third movie of Transformers was not that good (as if the second was of any good). This movie also has the CGI and special effects which rival that series, and has Brooklyn Decker instead of Megan Fox and the other lady who was there for the looks. Battleship will not be a movie franchise like Transformers, and this might be the last time we see such an alien movie based on the ocean, but this movie can surely provide us with a lot of entertainment as long as one chooses to watch it. This is still a better movie than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon – if you ever come across these movies at the same time on television, watch this one; has more logic, common sense, style and even better characters and story than the mis-adventures from Bay, and not to forget the use of graphics and the right use of special effects on the explosions and stuff.

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Release date: 18th May 2012
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Jesse Plemons, Adam Godley, Gregory D. Gadson, Peter MacNicol, John Tui, Hamish Linklater

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.