Shazam!

What is the movie about? :: In an ancient magical temple in another dimension, a powerful wizard named Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) has spent centuries searching for someone pure of heart to grant him his powers and make him his champion. The previous champion was corrupted as he had released the Seven Deadly Sins for personal gains which killed the rest of the Council of Wizards who shared space with him. The sins, pride, wrath, greed, envy, sloth, gluttony and lust are also looking to escape and find their own champion. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who had spent many years searching for the magical temple, manages to find the clues, and reach the place before the champion could be discovered by the wizard. He was someone who was forced to live in hope for finding the power, after being rejected at a younger age by the wizard due to his attraction to the temptations of the deadly sins.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Making his way to the magical temple, he steals the Eye of Sin, and the sins become part of him as they defeat the wizard. An angry Thaddeus uses his newfound power to kill his father, brother, and his own company Sivana Industries’ board of directors, as nobody believed what he described as a child, about the wizard and the deadly sins. At the same time, a fourteen year old foster child Billy Batson (Asher Angel) keeps running away from foster homes to search for his mother, from whom he became separated when they were at a grand carnival. Finally, he is put in a group home with five other foster children including Frederick Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) who becomes his best friend, the beautiful and academically driven Mary Bromfield (Grace Fulton), extremely loving and good natured Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman), gamer and technology expert Eugene Choi (Ian Chen) shy and sensitive Pedro Pena (Jovan Armand)

And what else follows with the happenings? :: The group home is run by Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa Vasquez (Marta Milans) who tries to keep the family together with great effort. But they are not really a family with differences showing up at all times, especially with Billy, who desperately wants to meet his biological mother again. One day, when Billy finally decides to stand up for Frederick as a brother as he sees himself in his position, he is chased by bullies to end up in a metro from where he is transported to the magical temple, which is known as the Rock of Eternity. There, the wizard chooses him to be his champion of the good against evil, and to save the world from the deadly sins which were unleashed, and the vessel which Thaddeus had become. A confused Billy reluctantly agrees, and on saying the magic word, is transformed into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) – but he is clueless about what happens next with the wizard gone. What can he do now?

The defence of Shazam! :: This is the movie when DC decides to go away from its darker and serious tone, towards a world which has common men and women with children having all the fun in the world, and at the same time, brings some fine jokes. Shazam! never really makes one feel that there is terror beyond words, and that the world is in peril – it is thus something which is best suited for children. The movies like Justice League, Man of Steel, Aquaman and Wonder Woman gave that feeling which made an apocalypse come closer, but in this case, with a continuing funny side and added kids, it never feels that the Seven Deadly Sins and its vessel will bring that terror. The movie’s superhero elements are usual, but well explored. We also have some kind of message about family, which feels too common and repetitive, but is there to be taken.

The claws of flaw :: Compared to the usual superhero stuff, Shazam! takes a deviation, and this sometimes works, and at times, it just doesn’t. Without the feeling of enough terror faced by the world, it struggles to keep up the momentum, even though it is never that foolish as Deadpool and Deadpool 2 even with that funny side which stays throughout the movie. It is still not that effective as Ant-Man and Ant-Man 2 managed to come up with. Starting from an idea which wouldn’t make sense even in the superhero world, the movie is more or less childish in nature, and for the same reason, it doesn’t work that well with the adult audience. Shazam! is best suited to be an animated movie, and the fact that they have managed this far is worth the applause, but it will not be something that will stay in our minds for long as it goes too childish at times.

The performers of the soul :: This movie comes from the director of Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation – doesn’t really carry that feeling of horror and terror into this movie, as he makes another one to work. David F Sandberg will also be directing the second film in the series too. Concerning the performances, the movie’s strongest point is its villain, Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana is a joy to watch as he becomes a controlled, evil villain whom we can admire. The kids led by Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer are pretty good, but nothing much for us to remember. Zachary Levi makes a pretty good impact as the adult version superhero. Grace Fulton is the next one whom we remember. She could have a bigger superhero appearance sooner or later as she seems to be very much suited for such a character. The Seven Deadly Sins could have had human forms too, as they would provide more to explore within them.

How it finishes :: Shazam! is the first movie which I watch during the Corona Lockdown, during its early stages. India went into a complete lockdown on 24th of March midnight, and it was supposed to go on until 14th of April midnight, a time period of 21 days. But our lockdown at home had started rather early, on 22nd of March, one day before the Janata Curfew and the lockdown of Corona infected districts and states. The situation has definitely changed now, and so have our worries. With the vaccine almost here, lets hope that we all survive this pandemic. We can only hope that there are no more big variations of the virus which would bring further trouble. This will also be the final movie of the year to be reviewed on Movies of the Soul, as we hope for a new beginning in 2021, with the expectation that it won’t be that bad as 2020, but you can never be so sure about it.

Release date: 5th April 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: David F Sandberg
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Charlie’s Angels

Vampire Owl: I remember having watched those two older versions.

Vampire Bat: You mean the movies with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.

Vampire Owl: Yes, during those times, it was a change from the usual action movies which we managed to get locally.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I watched the movie at a time when the CD versions were just getting to be popular, replacing the video cassettes.

Vampire Owl: We have to go, like twenty years backwards. We are really old, aren’t we?

Vampire Bat: It is still a very small number of years in vampire time.

Vampire Owl: That is true, but when we look at the actresses involved here, we know that there is more to it than just vampire time.

Vampire Bat: Unless they come with something like Charlie’s Vampires.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that they would want vampires doing this job.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not, especially if they start running out of the usual options.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: John Bosley (Patrick Stewart), a senior operative, plans and executes a mission with his angels perfectly, and soon, enters retirement, with a programme which appreciates what he had done for a long time during his stay in the organization. Meanhile, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), an engineer working under the millionaire Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin), wants to take a secret out regarding their new project Callisto, and their head of development, Peter Fleming (Nat Faxon) who is planning something sinister. She understands that the device which was supposed to be used for clean and cheap energy, has potential to be weaponized, and some people already have eyes on that. She has a meeting with Edgar Dessange (Djimon Hounsou), and the two angels operatives Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) has an eye on them in case something happens.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But, they are attacked by an assassin known only as Hodak (Jonathan Tucker), and are chased all around the city by him, until they end up in a river, and Edgar is dead. Rebekah Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) who is in charge, gets them together, and their injuries and troubles are taken care of by the person whom they referred to as the Saint (Luis Gerardo Mendez). They decide to sneak into Brok’s corporate headquarters so that they can steal the remaining Calisto prototypes before someone manage to use it, and make copies of it. Along with Elena, the other two angels also gets in using different ids, but despite their best efforts, they fail. Fleming has the only existing Callisto models, and they find him traveling to Istanbul, Turkey – they decide to follow them, with Elena also given the angel equipments, to serve as the electronics and computer expert, or rather the hacker. But can they find out the real villain here?

The defence of Charlie’s Angels :: Elizabeth Banks not only acts in this movie, but is also the director, and she has nicely managed to make this version of the angels a very entertaining one. There are some nicely managed action sequences, as heists, explosions and chases become just part of this movie which also manages to have a certain amount of humour maintained throughout its run, and its two hours of run-time ends quickly enough. Most of the credit for the same goes to Naomi Scott, both directly and indirectly. The visuals are good, with some interesting locations being explored by the camera along with the angels. It has to be said that was high time they had another movie in this franchise, as we always have space for films like these which takes things lightly, along with the serious ones which get all the sequels – Mission Impossible kind of stuff. This one is sure to make you ask for a sequel, not making one waiting too long.

The claws of flaw :: Considering the fact that this is a movie which has arrived years after the earlier version, there was a lot of time to bring some innovation, but there is no such thing being attempted here. The movie focuses more on action thriller cliches to make the best out of its material, but it should have opted for changes. The plot also has its own predictable elements, and the twist that it has is rather minute, and is not there to stay. As usual, there is the new recruit, the rookie who will learn things, and finally join the team, as beating up some evil men becomes a reason for them travel all around the world at a time when there was no COVID-19 – maybe they wouldn’t do that these days. You might also miss the great popularity of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, the three leads of the original version, as the actresses who play the same roles in this movie are those whom most of the film lovers of this part of the world might not be familiar with, except for Kristen Stewart.

Performers of the soul :: Elizabeth Banks, the director plays a major role in this movie, and does that well, and most people will always remember her for the role in the dystopian science fiction thriller, The Hunger Games, and its sequels. But the one who catches our attention the most is Naomi Scott, who plays the girl who changes from being clueless to becoming the angel. She was recently seen in Aladdin, and she was there in Power Rangers with Elizabeth Banks, playing one of the protagonists and the antagonist respectively. Ella Balinska is the next one to catch our attention, a relatively new face to most of us, who hasn’t really watched the movies in which she acted, and she makes one fine angel. Kristen Stewart was the one person whom I doubted when playing an angel because I had only seen her in the Twilight series and Snow White and the Huntsman, but she is surprisingly good here, and along with the other angels, she brings a lot of the funny side into action. Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Tucker are the appreciable male members of the cast.

How it finishes :: When we compare this new version of Charlie’s Angels to the old ones, this one seems to have a certain advantage with what seems to be a very energetic young cast and more fun than those which we had watched a long time ago, but we remember that we also loved them, and had that novelty with bigger names related to it. Not many movies which come back after a long time makes an impact, unless you have a Stephen King novel for support like Doctor Sleep. The movie is one light-hearted, quick, smart and humorous adventure which you will remember for long, and even bring a certain amount of nostalgia related to those older versions. There are only a few movies like Jumanji which can effectively use action and comedy, and Charlie’s Angels is a movie which has risen again to try and do that, and even though not as good as that movie on a game, this one is also a lot of fun to watch.

Release date: 15th November 2019
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Starring: Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Nat Faxon, Patrick Stewart

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain Marvel

What is the movie about? :: A few galaxies, away, on the Kree Empire’s capital planet of Hala, Vers (Brie Larson), a member of Starforce has a regular dose of nightmares every night, and it seems to be related to her memories, most of which she doesn’t have any more except in the form of quick shots. She is trained by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) who hopes that she can keep her emotions under control, and use her special powers only when needed. The same is asserted by Supreme Intelligence, an Artificial Intelligence which had command over the empire. At the same time, a war is going on, between the technologically advanced Kree and the shapeshifting Skrulls, happening on different planets. This war which has been going on for centuries, had Kree at the advantage, calling the Skrulls terrorists who are trying to take over different planets by force and leaving a trail of mass destruction and brutal murders.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During one of those missions assigned to the Starforce, Vers ends up being captured by them. A memory probe is conducted on her, and the Skrulls find many of the lost memories, but don’t exactly find what they were looking. As Vers manages to escape, she lands on the planet called Sector 53, Earth. Her presence in Los Angeles attracts the attention of SHIELD agents Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). The Skrulls lead by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) continues to chase her, and she discovers that she was an airforce pilot, and was working on developing an experimental engine with the famous scientist, Dr Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) before she was presumed dead in the failure of the effort and resulting explosion. But it is not the only secret that she would be bringing to light.

The defence of Captain Marvel :: There is some nice world detail in Captain Marvel, and the action immediately catches our attention. The journey through different planets, as well as the trip through the United States in the 1990s remain a joy to watch. There is also the presence of a lot of humour in this one, and that involves more of the unexpected. There is also a lot to expect with the new movie in the Avengers series, Endgame, with this new character being introduced into the scene. With this type of a strong superhero added to the roster like a Superman without Kryptonite, there are wonders waiting to happen. There are also some interesting questions being asked in the movie, about war and the need to end it. This movie could also go a long way with its main idea, and the journeys through different planets with more species to be there.

The claws of flaw :: Captain Marvel is no match for Wonder Woman, and that is indeed strange, considering the fact that even Black Widow and Scarlet Witch showed signs of doing that early – the female characters of Marvel had a certain amount of charm, but this new superhero who gets the first Marvel movie with a female hero lead, trails. She is also very late to arrive here, as a movie set in the 1990s. Captain Marvel should have been there before Avengers: Infinity War, and along with Ant-Man and the Wasp, these movies are not helping the upcoming big one that much as one would have expected. Regarding the introduction of such a powerful superhero late is not helping, and too much strength is also not bringing any advantage. This one needed a Kryptonite to keep the titular hero in control, as we no longer live in the age of invincible heroes, as we need the flawed ones more; it is not Superman that can do the job these days, but Batman and Aquaman.

The performers of the soul :: Brie Larson is indeed the person to look out for, and she handles this too strong a superhero with such skill that we feel closer to the character – the distance becomes less. You remember her playing a kidnapping victim in Room, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. The 2017 movie Kong: Skull Island was the one movie for which she has been known the most among the common audience around here. She doesn’t have the more close to life superhero like Gal Gadot had with Wonder Woman – that one had her closer to us with the role, and it is the presence of too much superpower that keeps this one away. Also having a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe, this one comes as no challenge to her, and it is her who makes sure that the superhero gets to the masses, and we can only be glad about the same creating a huge effect in the next Avengers movie.

Further performers of the soul :: Jude Law as Yon-Rogg here reminds one of Patrick Wilson’s character in Aquaman, as he goes on doing more and more in the name of the empire. He makes one strong villain here, even though the villainy is let down by having too strong a superhero at one end. From what he has displayed, we can be sure that there was more to be done if the villain was given some powers to match the glowing superhero. Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury is too good once again, and we have him handling the humour with a great amount of skill. Ben Mendelsohn as Talos on the other side of the war also has some fine moments to go with. Gemma Chan and Djimon Hounsou are notable as other members of the Starforce who tries to make things happen for Kree, but doesn’t have the power – once again the problem of too powerful a superhero and the absence of good enough supervillains comes up.

How it finishes :: It can be seen that Captain Marvel remains an entertainer throughout its run, with great visuals all around, and it even has a cat to steal the show along with those common humans. But with the overpowered superhero, there is a limit to how entertaining this one can be, and we all know how this will end, right from the beginning itself. A super powerful hero to use against Thanos is not that great an idea because that leaves whatever in Earthly, and whatever is human, out – we don’t want something like what happened with the final moments of Justice League, which had everyone other than Superman to be a waste. But we hope that Marvel can fix that well enough making this less repetitive next time, and until then, this one is a very entertaining movie set on different planets and between different species. The good 3D also helps the same, even though the world is no match for that of Aquaman and Thor: Ragnarok.

Release date: 8th March 2019
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aquaman

What is the movie about? :: A lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) comes up against Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who is the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis which had sunk under the Atlantic Ocean on one eventful day of ambition and hubris. He saves the injured princess and they fall in love. The unexpected sequence of events lead to the birth of Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) who shows the ability to communicate with marine lifeforms, and it is only one of his special skills. With the attack of the troops of Atlantis threatening her family’s life, she decides to go back to the city, hoping to come back on another day when the situation gets better. An Atlantean Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is assigned to train Arthur as he grows up.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Back to the events after the incidents of Justice League, the invasion of Steppenwolf had made Arthur further part of saving the world as Aquaman, a name with which he has been referred to by the media. He comes up against the pirate David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and his team while the group was trying to hijack a nuclear submarine – Arthur ends up defeating them, and leaves David’s father dead in the process, for which the young pirate wants revenge. Meanwhile, Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s younger half-brother and Atlantis’ king wants to begin a war against the people on the surface, as revenge against polluting ocean and causing the death of many creatures of the seas. Using an attack by David as the immediate cause, he seeks the support of the rest of the underwater kingdoms to go on war.

And what else is to follow here? :: He easily gets the support of Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), another king under the sea, and looks forward for more. The daughter of Nereus, Mera (Amber Heard) supports Arthur to become the king as the rightful heir to the crown. But at the same time, Orm wishes to get rid of Arthur, who is the first-born of the queen and therefore has a claim to the throne of Atlantis. Despite Orm sending huge tidal waves all around the world, the surface world remains ignorant about what lies beneath. Mera convinces Arthur to try and save both worlds and he agrees. But the fact remains that Arthur doesn’t have much of a chance against the power that Orm holds on his way to becoming the Ocean Master. But there might be one chance – the question remains if he can take it.

The defence of Aquaman :: One can appreciate Aquaman for its great fight sequences and stunning visuals more than anything else. It becomes a spectacle easily with these, and we just love to keep watching without taking eyes away at any moment. The visuals under the sea has all those fights happening underwater too. We have so many things to add to this visual extravaganza. Atlantis itself is a beautiful sight, and we see that even the people and their costumes are nice. There is a lot of world detail around here. The locations on the surface are also nicely chosen. The fight scene in Sicily is glorious, and the final combat is great to watch. There is also the allusion to the tale of the legendary British king Arthur, and the other reminder is related to Thor: Ragnarok which had the hero from Norse mythology fighting his sibling for control over the kingdom. Well, it even has some horror with its marine creatures – that reminds you who the director is.

Positives and negatives :: There is nothing special being added to the story, and there are no twists coming your way. The similarities to Thor: Ragnarok are many, with not just the sibling battle, but also regarding the early defeat, loss of weapon and arena battle, this time in the absence of the Incredible Hulk. But we see the cast, and most of the problems vanish with the beautiful visuals – Amber Heard does what Natalie Portman couldn’t do in Thor, as the action star on the lines of Kate Beckinsale of Underworld and Mila Jovovich of Resident Evil, as she does the same thing better than ever. A journey through the underwater world, and witnessing a city with so much detail can negate the negatives easily enough. There is some nice humour, and the emotions stay strong for most of the time too. It hasn’t been that easy going for DC, even though Suicide Squad was a movie I enjoyed a lot, personally. Aquaman makes it easy for DC to go forward now.

The performers of the soul :: Jason Momoa remains strong in this one, and unlike that Justice League role, this time, he brings more charm. He nicely gets into the mix of Justice League with this one, and it will be interesting to see how everything works out with another movie with a team of superheroes trying to match the Avengers in another universe. Amber Heard is amazingly good as the warrior princess from underwater. We remember her for her presence in the thrilling horror movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Ward and The Stepfather as well as the action thrillers like And Soon the Darkness, 3 Days to Kill and Drive Angry. This one will be the new way to identify her, as a character which brings the best. She is perfectly suited for action sequences other than being remembered as a scream queen, and it is something that she seems to reiterate here. Patrick Wilson from Insidious & The Conjuring fame becomes an extremely effective villain too. Nicole Kidman has some fine moments too.

How it finishes :: Aquaman might be that one movie which could rise its level to catch up with Marvel, and after Wonder Woman, we have one another movie which lifts the universe again, with hope for even more. On the lines of Thor and Norse mythology, DC has its Greek mythology and elements including Atlantis about which we have read about in Plato’s Republic right in place. The myth and the visuals here can be considered to be even ahead of Wonder Woman, even though the island its inhabitants had their own charm too – nothing matches some nicely created underwater visual splendour though. With the second part of Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel to do the job for Marvel, DC has surely made its move in a nice way, the director of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has made a point once again. Well, it is surprising that Aquaman about whom not many people know – the lesser known superhero now has a movie better than each and every better known superhero of Justice League.

Release date: 14th December 2018 (India); 21st December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Graham McTavish, Temuera, Ludi Lin, Randall, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, Sophia Forrest

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

King Arthur

What is the movie about? :: This is a tale which is only loosely based on Arthurian legends, even though the base pillars remain the same. For years, humans, the masters of the sword, and mages, the masters of magic have lived together in peace at the island of Britain, helping each other at times or adjusting to one another when there is a chance of conflict. But soon there is a shift of power and Mordred (Rob Knighton), a corrupt sorcerer alligned to pure dark magic decides to change this forever after commanding great power. With an objective which is nothing less than having complete dominion over mankind, his huge army that includes monsters and consistent spells lay waste to the settlements that stand before his powers of dark magic, and they attack the last human stronghold, Camelot. As the forces lay siege to his castle, the king of Britons, Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), manages to break into Mordred’s lair of magic and behead him, causing the end of his magically summoned creatures and the retreat of other mages.

So, what happens next? :: Even though the people of the kingdom are relieved, Uther’s brother Vortigern (Jude Law) is not a happy man, as he wishes for all mages to be hunted and killed, something which Uther doesn’t agree. This angry and jealous brother decides to get rid of the king and sacrifices his wife Elsa (Katie McGrath) to the sea witches who had promised to help him in return. As Vortigern’s men seize the day and unleash chaos, a demon knight kills Uther in combat, after killing the queen, but he misses a young boy who drifts away and is found by prostitutes who raise him. The boy who is named Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up to become a strong young man skilled in fighting, and loved by people around. One day, Arthur and his friends come up against a group of Vikings who had mistreated on the prostitutes, and they make the northmen pay for what they did. But as the Vikings were guests and under the protection of the king, it brings the king’s men to their small world.

And what follows the events? :: As a criminal against the king and his laws, Arthur tries to escape, but is caught by the troops who have been forcing young men to try and pull a mysterious sword known only by the name Excalibur from a stone, something which nobody was able to do successfully. When Arthur makes the attempt, manages to pull it off, only to be captured by the soldiers and brought before the king, who tells him that he is the son of Uther, and decides to execute him in public to make sure that there is no rebellion in the name of his dead brother or any prophecy related to a sword. Meanwhile, a girl, identifying herself as a follower of the great wizard Merlin (Kamil Lemieszewski), meets with Uther’s former general, Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) with whom she plans to save the future king of Britons – the plan is successful, as they take him to their hideout.

So, where are things heading to? :: But Arthur is reluctant to claim that he is the one true king destined for greatness. Despite being told the same again and again, he only wishes to go back to his life as it used to be. Whenever he takes the sword and fights with it, he only has the nightmares of his parents’ death and he collapses. It is then the girl who is known only as the mage, comes up with the idea to send the future king to Blacklands, where mages reigned, and where the greatest of wizards, Merlin destroyed Mordred’s tower battling against his dark magic. There, Arthur witnesses and battles more, and has more of his visions of that day, with his father, mother, the sword and the demon knight who battled the king. He would return wiser, but can Arthur really believe in himself and his destiny, follow the path and come out victorious?

The defence of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword :: Well, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword might be one of the most beautiful and stylish movie you will get to see on screen with its CGI and the surroundings, even though the same is not always there. It is evident from the first scene itself when the evil sorcerer attacks Camelot with his supporters and creatures. The 3D is also the best used in this scene; the effects make sure that watching this movie in 3D will be the right option. There are those action scenes which has stones, arrows, swords, ashes, fire, ember; all things that keep flying on and off the screen – the demon knight is the one who looks the best in this movie, and the whole design of him is the pick right here, and then there are the sea witches joined into one, another creature that will have your attention along with the less explored ones from the trees. There is also the highly sincere performances from Charlie Hunnam and Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, the former continuing the good work from Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak; there is even a strong villain in the form of Jude Law’s evil king. The music is great.

The claws of flaw :: Too many things in this movie seems too modern than classic, and the ancient tale would seem rather twisted in favour of modernity. There are no costumes or armour in the way that we had expected to see, and the story itself is so strange; it never really seems to get anywhere after a fine start. The quick talks and even quicker flashbacks don’t really help at all. The old classics shouldn’t give in to modernity, and if it does, there has to be a better story to support the same. Also, a more colourful world would have helped to elevate the level of 3D, or even a better distribution of darkness would have been nice. The tendency of the protagonist to keep running away, is also rather strange considering the circumstances – we shouldn’t really be judging a king, but for a strong young fighter, he runs too much from responsibilities and battles. There is also not enough of Merlin, and more display of creatures and huge battles like the beginning scene could have easily stolen many hearts.

How it finishes :: There was so much that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword could have achieved, for it had Excalibur, a Round Table, the Knights of the Camelot, the mages and creatures. But this one manages to give in to modernity, and be less connected to a rather classic side. This one does have its does of action and thrills, and an undoubted strength of style and visuals, and should work for a good section of viewers, but the possibilities are endless with this one, and we hope that the same can be achieved with upcoming sequels, if there will be any. Getting Petyr Baelish right out of Game of Thrones doesn’t bring the quality of the story in any way despite him being effective. There is not much that the actors could do to raise the level of this flick which will have a tough time ahead against not just Alien Covenant, but even when facing rather simpler movies. This is a tough box-office battle for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword from which no Excalibur or Merlin can save the king. A better sequel will do this one a lot of good, as long as it is really that better – with the reminder that this is no Sherlock Holmes.

Release date: 12th May 2017
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Tom Wu, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Mikael Persbrandt, Lorraine Bruce, Hermione Corfield, Annabelle Wallis, Katie McGrath, Poppy Delevingne, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Millie Brady, Michael McElhatton, Kamil Lemieszewski, Rob Knighton

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Legend of Tarzan

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Vampire Owl: I remember this particular person.

Vampire Bat: Did you read his story a long time ago too? There were so many available novels with him as the central character.

Vampire Owl: The Great Vampire Owl doesn’t read such things.

Vampire Bat: Then who are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the person on the dead tree near our castle.

Vampire Bat: Dude, he is the werewolf who was called to decorate our special spooky tree for the upcoming Vampire-Werewolf cultural fest.

Vampire Owl: So, he is not this Tarzan. It is disappointing, but the same does inspire me to throw a stone at that werewolf.

Vampire Bat: One stone means nothing to a werewolf. He won’t even know about it.

Vampire Owl: For my health to remain good, I hope he won’t know about it ever.

Vampire Bat: You are lucky to be alive with such plans going on in your head.

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

Flashback to the tale :: We remember this character from our childhood, don’t we? There might have been many more at a more English kind of a world of books and comics, but here the main characters were The Phantom, Mandrake and Tarzan, a group which was challenged only by those superheroes with names ending with men – Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and He-Man; that was all for my childhood. Edgar Rice Burroughs was known only to us for writing Tarzan during those days, but after watching John Carter, my favourite character from him did change. There were a good number of translated Tarzan novels available in Malayalam during those days, and I grew up reading them, while the rest of the superheroes came in comics and rarely on corners of newspapers. This tale of the child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani great apes was a fascinating one for a long time.

What is the movie about? :: In the year 1884, at the Berlin conference, the colonial powers of the world had decided to divide Congo, the area that has most of the River Congo flowing through and around it. King Leopold of Belgium claimed the the bigger area, that should be mostly the Democratic Republic of the Congo of these times or as earlier the Republic of Zaire, which includes the vast Congo Basin, rich in ivory and a lot of minerals. With an intense ambition to exploit his new colony and its resources, he uses all his power for control as well as building the infrastructure for his forces, but five years later, he only ends up in debt desperate for money to pay for his army stationed there. With his reputation fading infront of the other colonial powers, he sends his most trusted follower, Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) the the Congo to find and gather the legendary diamonds of Opar.

So, what happens next? :: Leon and his group of soldiers are ambushed and except him, each gets murdered by the tribe that guards the diamonds. The leader of the tribe, Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou), has a discussion, and offers him the diamonds in exchange for an old enemy whose death is considered as his salvation, Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard). But there is no longer a Tarzan, as he is now John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård), who has settled down at his ancestral home in London with his American wife, Jane Porter (Margot Robbie) with no more of the thoughts related to Africa. Even though his tales have a certain kind of legendary status in the city, he doesn’t intend to go back to the forest and has managed to blend into what all were part of the civilised life there. With his adaptation of the Victorian lifestyle, there would be no man who would identify him as not part of London.

So, where does the twist happen? :: Through the British Prime Minister (Jim Broadbent), he knows that he is invited by King Leopold to visit the Congo and see its development. An American envoy, George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) also requests him to have a look to see how the native population is treated there, as he feels that the king’s men have enslaved them terribly – finally Tarzan agrees. After being persuaded by Jane, he allows her to accompany him along with George. As they arrive at Congo and rest at a tribal village with the inhabitants being known to them from their earlier stay, they are captured by the troops of Leon, but Tarzan and George escapes. Tarzan will not rest until he finds Leon and finish him after rescuing Jane. But with the guns of the Belgian troops and mercenaries against him along with one ferocious tribe looking for his blood, can he accomplish the same?

The defence of The Legend of Tarzan :: It always good to have a new take on the tales that we have read as children, and this movie also provides the same, and works as a nice sequel for the people who have lived through this man’s tale. There are some very nice action sequences in this one, and the best of them should be Tarzan traveling on the ropes, and fighting his ape-brother. There are some really good performances to support this too, with Alexander Skarsgard leading the way as Tarzan, a role which he seems to have taken in as the way it is supposed to. Meanwhile, Margot Robbie excels as Jane, with her character seemingly having more dimensions than a usual fan would have thought – something which we saw more intensely with her Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad; the two characters are poles apart, but she has nailed them both, without leaving one with chances of questioning – unless there are some dumb questions to ask, for which there is no shortage as long as there are people.

The claws of flaw :: The flashbacks in the story are not really that good, as it comes at those times when we are going through the flow of the proceedings, and the journey back only breaks it. There is also some slowing down in the pace of the movie, and there are times when it makes us wait rather too much for the next thing to happen. More firepower could have been used, and more beautiful shots were to be used in the jungle which had so much possibilities – they have had the basic material about Tarzan for such a long time, and there is this technology, and they could have easily made this one without the slowness and the dull moments which come in here and there. There is also no doubt that Tarzan could have used a better thought process behind it, but as it is now, it remains an interesting action-adventure that takes you back to the childhood days – it is never really away from the movie that we wished to watch in the childhood.

Release date: 1st July 2016
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent, Christoph Waltz, Casper Crump, Hadley Fraser, Genevieve O’Reilly, Yule Masiteng, Simon Russell Beale, Matt Cross as Akut, Madeleine Worrall, William Wollen

thelegendoftarzan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Vatican Tapes

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Vampire Owl :: It has been a long time since some horror, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, there are not many horror movies releasing here these days; sometimes, there is just none at all.

Vampire Owl :: The world was so much better during The Conjuring days. There was abundance of horror then.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, after that, a lot of horror movies didn’t release here. I have a long list of that.

Vampire Owl :: And there were a few which released too late.

Vampire Bat :: And also the rest which came to some theatres only; those multiplexes – only those where we couldn’t go.

Vampire Owl :: And there was like one show at times when it was not comfortable for us.

Vampire Bat :: And they got cancelled or disappeared completely just too soon.

Vampire Owl :: This is why we should find out own horror.

Vampire Bat :: Exactly! Otherwise, how can we recharge our strengths?

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is it about? :: After showing a few videos with shots of possession and exorcism, we are taken into the story. A young girl, Angela Holmes (Olivia Taylor Dudley) begins to show some strange behaviour after cutting her finger with a knife during a birthday celebration. Her father Roger Holmes (Dougray Scott) and boyfriend Peter Smith (John Patrick Amedori) are concerned, but it seems to be more of her fear for the hospital as she hasn’t been there since her early childhood. But one day, she is bitten by a raven while traveling inside a bus, and it makes the injury even worse. Her weird behaviour just continues. One day, she doesn’t wake up at all and had to be taken to the hospital again only to cause a car accident. With that, she slips into a comma and doesn’t wake up for a long time, and in the end, the doctors decide to declare her dead.

So, how and where does things take a big turn? :: Roger meets a priest Father Oscar Lozano (Michael Peña) who used to be with the army earlier. The priest becomes suspicious of what has happened with Angela, but as the hospital declares her case hopeless, he decides to provide her with the last rites. But as he begins the same, it turns out that she is not dead at all. That surely makes everyone happy, but things don’t remain the same after her return to the normal life, as it gets worse. The hospital cameras identify her trying to hurt a newborn, and after seeing and questioning her about the same, a detective murders himself with two bulbs. She is moved to the asylum, and things don’t get any better – murders happen and so does chaos. The hospital abandons the case, and now there is only one chance left.

The defence of The Vatican Tapes :: There is a story smoothly told here, and there is no rush with its idea. The ending also signifies that there is scope for something bigger with a possible sequel. The Vatican Tapes also doesn’t go with the cheap scares, and uses it central idea to generate the fear. There is nothing jumping out of darkness, and there is no manifestation of the demons. Instead, what happens here is the realization of the horror that is warming up, and the unlimited terror which is going to be unleashed later. The usual horror characters, especially the annoying ones are missing, and the movie finishes with the rather realistic end to what could happen – a possible end of the world coming closer rather than the exorcists saving the day. The horror in this movie is more on the background and getting right into the viewer with the basic idea!

Claws of flaw :: The movie hasn’t really used its video footage to its advantage, as most of those videos could have been shot just like the rest of the movie. The exorcism scene also doesn’t bring that much strength as expected, and won’t satisfy people who keep seeing the same thing all the time. Something more brutal, or shocking; even something at least surprising was the need of the times considering the number of exorcism movies and the rest of the horror which have come to us in the recent years. There is also not that much information about the demon and the possession, except for bringing that Anti-Christ idea up – a better explanation was a lot in need here, especially with experts in such matters already there as characters; it was never going to be that difficult. Maybe, the sequel, if there is one, can solve some of it.

Performers of the soul :: Olivia Taylor Dudley is the big asset for this movie, as she comes up with some very nice and creepy moments with her performance as the one coming back from the dead, as well as the fully possessed person. We would remember her from the lesser known horror movie Chernobyl Diaries and the more recent Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. The Vatican Tapes has what might be one of her best works among those popularly known – there are those points which you will want to recollect. She will have a bigger job there if there is a sequel for this one. The next notable performance is from Michael Peña who plays the priest who comes to know about this particular possession. Peter Andersson has a smaller, but nice performance here, and lets look out for Djimon Hounsou in case of a sequel.

How it finishes :: The Vatican Tapes is surely an interesting movie, and it will appeal to those who like the movies concerning possession and exorcism. It might not be everyone who are looking for some terrifying events throughout its run, and it is surely better than how it is rated at IMDb and what the critics have said about it. There is also the presence of evil portrayed well enough without adding those ghostly or demonic images, and the connection there with the horror is really well-made – it is gloomy, and hope of something better is not easy to have in here. It does try to be different than a usual exorcism movie, as this one doesn’t end with evil. Yes, it is horror, and is not a pretendor to the genre like some movies which get heavy critical appreciation as horror or superhero movies, but in reality, they are not.

Release date: 24th July 2015
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Mark Neveldine
Starring: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Kathleen Robertson, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, John Patrick Amedori,Peter Andersson, Tehmina Sunny, Noemi Gonzalez, Bruno Gunn, Ashley Gibson, Daniel Bernhardt, Alex Sparrow, Jarvis W. George

thevaticantapes

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious 7

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Vampire Owl :: Its been quite a long time after the release. What took you this many days to watch this one?

Vampire Bat :: I just couldn’t get the tickets, even at the more local theatres where audience usually avoid the English movies.

Vampire Owl :: I thought so. After all, this was a much expected movie of the year, not as much as Jupiter Ascending for you, but still you seemed to avoid this one.

Vampire Bat :: I waited for the queue almost everyday for the first show, but couldn’t manage to get a ticket, only now I managed it now because they changed this movie to the bigger movie hall switching places with the other one.

Vampire Owl :: Well, there were other ways, but I know that the Vampire Bat never do a ticket reservation. He just stands in the queue everyday.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, all this for the privilege of watching this movie with such an audience who turns into chaotic people when the lights are switched off.

Vampire Owl :: The darkness of the theatre is scary, I mean it is not even the real darkness but created by man.

Vampire Bat :: It is a dangerous place indeed; strange beasts roam around, some of them howl, others whistle and few others talk in a language which comes out as abuse.

Vampire Owl :: So, it has worsened. This is why we should watch movies more at home rather than anywhere else.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but I have already watched this one and is ready with the review.

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: With Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his team defeated, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew might have thought that life was going to get simple and without problems, but they were wrong. It comes to light that the old villain had an older brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who hopes and strives for revenge on the crew who put his brother in a terrible position, and for him, vengeance is beyond that word – he is like a man custom made for things like these. After Han-Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang) is killed, a bomb explodes which puts Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) as well as their child in a precarious situation, and the protagonist decides to take things into his own hands. After the funeral of Han, the team will return for their final mission, but that won’t start with the attempt on taking the big Shaw down; there will be more to it.

The defence of Fast and Furious 7 :: The action is fast and furious, thus posing no scope to bring any challenge to the name of this movie. The movie is more action than any other element, and wastes no time in getting to it; the vengeance element stays strong and so does the tendency for turning into a heist movie in parts. The comic side also work, just at times. The cast stays strong, and the power of the action sequences can never be questioned. There are also some free lessons for Bollywood if they are making any disgusting sequels to Krrish or Dhoom – they should learn something and not copy – don’t go down to the abyss while making the next movie in one of these two ridiculous sequels.

The claws of flaw :: We can’t have this one at the top if we consider the other movies of this genre or those of the same franchise. The transformation into a full action movie with revenge as central theme might bother some fans, and this one is also free of any possible racing elements which some people might have wanted. The action sequences do ask for a lot of willing suspension of disbelief, even more than you used to do, with this franchise. May be there was the need to set a limit, but being fast and furious should go beyond the limits, if we go into deeper thoughts about it. Another problem might be about the story going predictable, but that also just comes with this one.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is a fine tribute to Paul Walker, and it was good to watch him doing what he always did the best. We will surely miss him if a sequel or a reboot for this series will ever come to us. Vin Diesel is fine as usual and continues his good run in the series even though I have always liked him more in Riddick as the titular character. Still the best moments of the movie goes to Dwayne Johnson who has more awesome seconds in the beginning and end, making so strong an impact. You will know that he is the one true cavalry. Jason Statham wasn’t that much of an interesting villain here as expected, even though he does deliver a punch or rather a number of them. I would say that a different “type” was needed here with the character. Nathalie Emmanuel looked amazingly good in the movie, and was a very nice addition to this one.

Soul exploration :: This certainly works as that wonderful tribute to Paul Walker as his final movie. There are some very nice stunts featuring him, and the final few scenes which provides a beautiful farewell to him. This was never going to be an easy job after his demise, but they have surely managed well. Once again, the movie itself is all about family and brotherhood – something that continues with the same power. Fast and Furious 7 has its heart and soul right there. The emotional moments are all about supporting the same, and there is very fine success there. There is something clearly for the soul there, and it feels so good.

How it finishes :: Fast and Furious 7 is that movie which had a wonderful reception here, far beyond the expectations. I waited so long to get a ticket not in the malls, but at those local theatres, and finally got lucky on a Thursday just because the movie was changed to a bigger movie hall. This is actually expected to do more here, as it is the final movie Paul Walker, and the cast includes people like Dwyane Johnson the Rock, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham. Yes, add them to the cars and we have a lot for the audience here. The next week also has some holidays in the form of Ambedkar Jayanthi and Vishu, and after the big Easter weekend success, this will only earn a lot more, and may be go on to become the biggest grossing Hollywood movie at this part of the world.

Release date: 2nd April 2015 (India); 3rd April 2015 (US)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, John Brotherton, Ali Fazal, Noel Gugliemi

ff7

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Guardians of the Galaxy last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but with Hercules being postponed for some dumb movies, this also seems to have been delayed.

Vampire Owl :: So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which was to release this Friday should release next weekend.

Vampire Bat :: And movies like Lucy will go missing.

Vampire Owl :: We have a long life-span. We can wait, may be it will release many months later.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with immortality having its glitches.

Vampire Owl :: Are we going for Into the Storm?

Vampire Bat :: May be no?

Vampire Owl :: Fine, I thought I would need that for the owlification list.

Vampire Bat :: It does have more shows, even as critics have annihilated it.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Twenty six years after he was abducted from Earth by space pirates, Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) steals an orb for which many others are making similar attempts. His successful stealing of the item meant that there was a huge bounty on him set by the leader of the space pirates, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and an assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is sent after him by Ronan (Lee Pace), a member of the scientifically advance war-loving race called Kree. Two bounty hunters – a humanoid tree Groot (Vin Diesel) and a genetically engineered raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are also after the man who stole the orb, but a complicated fight with Gamora and Quill leads them to prison from where they come up with a plan, and supported by Drax (Dave Bautista) who is looking for revenge against Ronan, break out of the prison. They would initially look to sell the device, but after knowing how dangerous it is, they will have to join forces to save the galaxy against the man who look forward to destroying it, as he take the orb from them.

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy :: This movie is all about the entertainment, and there would have been no doubt about that one. It is that fun ride which makes one laugh, go through the thrills and also add some emotions to the same. The characters are superb, and they remain interesting and most of the situations become further interesting due to them, and each has some special characteristic, and belong to a different species. That should remind us gamers about Mass Effect, one of those awesome games set in space, with the need to save the known universe from a group of alien invaders known as the Reapers (without that much detail and other stuff). But this movie is light and without the complications, and there it scores with the common audience. The visuals are great too, with the spaceships and awesome gadgets being used, and the world of space nicely using the power of technology to its advantage, and 3D is pretty much effective too. The computer-generated stuff rarely gets this good, one has to admit. You won’t need the super-powered heroes for this one!

The claws of flaw :: Guardians of the Galaxy has pretty much a predictable run with what is has, and it remains what we usually see. The movie has a lot more to do before it establishes itself completely, and I would guess that the same would be done in the sequel which is supposed to come out in 2017. There is a lot of background to be established, and this movie is without much power in its plot. The movie could have taken a few more minutes to establish a better universe and work on the worlds that exist within the same. The galaxy could have been better known before there were guardians for the galaxy, and these guardians themselves are misfits and outlaws who turn heroes, something which we have seen so many times. It has a good amount of silliness, which does work with its universe of aliens and spaceships, but not without them. This one has a long way to go before becoming something like the game Mass Effect with its character and universe. There is a lot of thinking to be done.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt makes his character impressive, no doubt about that one, but the one who struck me more was Zoe Saldana as the green lady Gamora. She was blue in Avatar and was in space before in both Star Trek movies, and here she is green, and she plays that character to perfection. Dave Bautista makes a very strong appearance here, and his quiting WWE drama was rightly for this movie’s promotion – and it is good to see him having such nice role which suits him, along with making another comeback to WWE some time later. Interestingly, there is also a funny side to this tough character. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel gives voice to the two other guardians, and Cooper’s Rocket might be the fan favourite in this movie with the funny lines and the interesting moments. Karen Gillan’s Nebula came up as another surprisingly interesting character. Lee Pace’s Ronan is a strong villain, and makes a powerful impact, but the character Thanos leaves us wishing for more which could come to us in an upcoming sequel.

Soul exploration :: The movie is all about saving the world from the evil forces, and there is not much to think about it in a complicated manner. There is the orb which gives great powers and the most evil of them all wishing to take control of it to cause destruction and chaos all around. The heroes are all former outlaws who have lost something and are not really good or bad, but capable of goodness. The movie is sure to leave the audience happy and with no signs of disappointment, and there its success lies. If you have loved The Avengers, there is not much doubt about falling in love with these heroes who are in no way super with their powers, but do take their chances. They make up a strange team and become the guardians, and with a little expansion of the world that was in this movie, that too in detail, would work wonders for this franchise in the next entry of the franchise. That should be the masterpiece.

How it finishes :: Into the Storm has more shows, but Guardians of the Galaxy should surely hold strong in this part of the world in the absence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is yet to find its release here. The demand for disaster movies is not that much as it used to be, and storms come nowhere near things like the end of the world and global destruction. The found footage category doesn’t add anything positive either to an already dying genre of movies which has nothing else to offer other than destruction. But Guardians of the Galaxy belongs to that immortal genre which can prove interesting even after a lot of repetition added to it. Because of the same, Marvel gets another movie and a beginning to another franchise which they can use nicely as the success of The Avengers has been repeated here, even as this one doesn’t seem to be good enough to break those records. This is another big superhero movie indeed, and that too in space.

Release date: 8th August 2014 (India); 1st August 2014 (US)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Mikaela Hoover, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Ophelia Lovibond, Gregg Henry, Peter Serafinowicz

GOTGx copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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Vampire Owl :: I have always preferred dinosaurs and Godzilla to dragons, wyverns and all kinds of flying machines.

Vampire Bat :: What about the Golden Dragon Restaurant?

Vampire Owl :: With that chicken and noodles which should not be named?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that variety which we tested and tasted.

Vampire Owl :: In that case, I guess I will have to make an exception.

Vampire Bat :: Let’s train a dragon then.

Vampire Owl :: As long as it is not named Fernando Torres. I need it to score when opportunity comes.

Vampire Bat :: It is not easy to make the sequel to one of the best animated movies of all time. Still, the reviews are great and lets hope for the best. After all, there is no strong opposition this weekend.

[Reaches the multiplex].

The day of the dragon :: The past goes back to 2010 when the first movie was released, and at that time in the movie, vikings and dragons have been fighting each other. The battle was something which defined their lives and seemed to go on forever. The chief of the group is Stoick who is a firm hater of the dragons. The son of Stoick and the heir to the title, Hiccup is not having a good time with his Viking blood, but happens to capture a blue dragon whom he couldn’t make up the mind to kill. This rare Night Fury dragon and the boy becomes friends and is given the name Toothless for its retractable teeth. The boy would no longer find killing the dragons an option as he feels that it is not right. Even as it did infuriate his father and most of the other vikings, this would lead to a chain of events which will finally lead to the end of war between vikings and dragons. The first idea would be that this is the end of the story, as everything seemed to go on happily ever after. But the need for the sequel comes up and it takes off from here, as this had gone on to become one of the more popular animated movies at that time.

What is it about? :: As the peace has been established and the dragons live happily with Vikings, it seems that nothing bad can happen. Close to taking over as the new chief of his village, Hiccup goes on random adventures with his dragon and best friend, Toothless, as they discover and add to the map lots of unexplored lands and the water-bodies which surrounds their island, as the assistance of flying creatures have made things easier for them. On one such day of exploration, he encounters a dragon catcher and knows about his boss Drago Bludvist who is building a dragon army. Hiccup decides to get to the root of this and find the one who is taking the dragons for himself. Even as Stoick tells his son that the new villain is a mad man and it is impossible to prevent a war and their only possible defence was being inside the walls of the city, Hiccup continues on his path to find the enemy. But on the way, he will meet another dragon rider who will bring some changes to his plan. At the same time, he is chased by dragon catchers as well as his own people who are trying to bring him back. It is to be seen how things will go on.

The defence of How to Train Your Dragon 2 :: The movie takes us into the world of vikings and dragons again, and begins another saga of awesomeness which is a great continuation of the previous one. It is connected quite well to the first part. The story has nice new elements even as some part of it is undoubtedly predictable, but that is to be expected in an animated movie. There is some good 3D, nothing special though. There are moments when nothing special happens, but no boring moment. The Vikings are nice to watch and the dragons are glorious fun; for there are so many of them this time with even two alpha dragons fighting with each other. The villain characters is nice, and the father and mother characters are lots of fun along with our hero’s friends, girlfriend and the friend of the chief. But the best thing is still the relation between the hero and his dragon, followed by his relationship with his father and his mother. The environment of the movie is nothing less than a Avatar in animation as far as the whole visual splendor is concerned, and the dragon designs are nice even as some of them might seem a little too funny for some – well, this is a movie for the kids too and so such things were to exist somewhere.

The claws of flaw :: If we take the major characters out, the movie is centered around dragons and it is their existence that defines this movie, and vikings come only next. There is less about the lifestyle and more about exploration. The Vikings and their way of life takes second place and becomes something based on the existence and presence of the winged creatures. The only other creature which we see is the sheep in a world which seems to be shared by just two creatures. Some of the dragons are actually too cute even for the bigger kids. It was already cute with everything and this gets further. Even as the story is nicely done, there are some areas where it gets predictable. It will also be difficult for those who haven’t watched the original movie, as those incidents have quite a lot to do with this movie, and the characterization is also dependent on what happened earlier. Therefore, the connection will obviously be weak for them, even as the same can’t be said about the fun. The emotional and dramatic scenes often go out of hand, and they are rather far-fetched and still not that effective as Frozen or Mr. Peabody and Sherman. The talks about this being the movie of the year or the best animated sequel won’t work.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s most important theme is co-existence. The lack of tolerance has been something which has been hurting more than just one race of people. Well, if dragons can co-exist with a race like Vikings, anyone can do that. This is the age when hatred is spread through Facebook, as people come up with some random post which has no truth in it, and present it as fact just to degrade others and their political, social and religious beliefs. It is a shame that some of these are actually learned men with good status, and in that case they are able to make the fools share what they share. It is quite difficult to reason with people who pervert history for the same, and come out with nonsense to support their cause. In the outside world, there are always wars, but they are all the products of the hatred that is burning in the minds because of the greed or personal agenda of some people. The Vikings had their own purpose and the dragons think only of their major needs, but lets experience this movie and learn something about co-existence not only with other people and creatures, but also with the environment. Avatar did the same, and instead of the tree at the centre, we have the alpha dragons which controls them all.

How it finishes :: The original movie was a smart one, and it was surely not going to be easy to make a sequel to the same. But this movie has accomplished something which only movies like Kung-fu Panda 2 and Despicable Me 2 have achieved, and Rio 2 came pretty close to doing until losing its way. This one becomes a very good sequel to the first movie, and there are occasions when it seems to rise above the first movie. It has all the ingredients to rule the box-office; a strong base which is already constructed by its predecessor, the absence of any better movie in the theatre and some good developments of its own. The only remaining challenge is from what is left over by Edge of Tomorrow, but that should be no real problem considering the kind of audience targeted by the two. It is surely leading the weekend until now. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the second best animated movie of the year after Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and the same can be said about the fun that it carries. There were expectations and this one meets them steadily. Watch this one on the big screen and nowhere else, and it won’t really matter if you are an young man, an older person or a kid, this one is going to make your one hundred minutes count.

Release date: 13th June 2014
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Starring (voice) : Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

howtotrainyourdragon2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.