The Lost Village

Vampire Owl: I was looking for blue creatures in our realm. There has been none.

Vampire Bat: After orcs had chosen green and goblins also choosing the same, the popularity for blue has been decreasing.

Vampire Owl: And these werewolves always come in black.

Vampire Bat: Just like those Batman gadgets.

Vampire Owl: Even Mr. Luttappi is just red, you know.

Vampire Bat: Do you even remember having watched these Smurfs movies?

Vampire Owl: Yes, I can clearly remember that I have watched them both.

Vampire Bat: Okay, then talk about something that you remember more than the rest.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that there was anything in particular – there was the village, blue people, bad wizard with a cat…

Vampire Bat: It was the main problem. They were not at all memorable.

[Gets three cups of strong tea with Mariegold biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In the secret Smurf Village, the Smurfs continue to live a happy life, hidden from the evil that await in the outside world. Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin), their leader takes care of them as a fatherly figure, and things go on quite normally through times. Among those Smurfs who are given names according to their character or purpose are Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer), Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi), Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello) and many others, with even the strangest of names. It is only Smurfette (Demi Lovato) whom, despite being admired by all other smurfs as the only girl smurf around, seems to have no sense of purpose. As she was created by the evil remorseless wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) from a lump of clay to use as the means to catch other smurfs, now she has no meaning of life, transformed into one of them, and out of the evil ways. It keeps bothering her most of the time.

So, what happens next in the adventure? :: With Gargamel on a mission to capture the Smurfs, steal their blue essence, and become the strongest wizard in the world, Smurfette and her friends sneak out of their village. Gargamel’s pet cat Azrael (Frank Welker) and his pet vulture Monty (Dee Bradley Baker) are also on the look out for any sign of a smurf in the woods. Smurfette comes up against a blue creature hidden by leaves, which runs away into the Forbidden Forest, and leaves a hat behind. She as well as the hat is taken by Garamel, who uses it to discover the location of a new group of smurfs with his magic. She is rescued by her friends, and all of them get grounded by Papa Smurf for disobeying him. But she is determined to save these lost smurfs from the evil wizard, and with her friends, set out for Forbidden Village, no matter how forbidden it is for her people. At the same time, Gargamel, Azrael and Monty also set out in search for the new village.

And what is to follow with the blue people against a wizard and his minions? :: The smurfs are attacked by Gargamel and his team, and is presumed dead by the evil wizard, but they escape with the help of a few bunnies. It is quite the dangerous mission that they are up against, as they have no idea what dangers lie ahead in a world which has been forbidden to them for such a long time. There they come up against animals and plants which are not normal, and soon they would be on a race against Gargamel, Azrael and Monty who are also traveling on the same route. Surprised to find each other again, they race, only to have Gargamel drowning in the river. After Hefty and Smurfette support the idea of saving him, he throws the smurfs down the waterfalls instead of thanking them. But they survive, and travel on land. They are soon trapped by the blue creatures under the leaves. They are supposed to be smurfs aren’t they? If they are smurfs, they are surely in danger, right?

The defence of Smurfs: The Lost Village :: There are good visuals for this one, that is for sure, and we get to see some nice animation not just with the characters, but also with the world. There is no more the mixture of the real world and the animated world, which is also a nice thing – also, there are no humans in this one except for the big evil wizard; it is another positive thing, as the mixture can have big problems with working. This is indeed cute and sweet too, and with all the colours around, the kids are going to enjoy it without doubt, and everyone else is going to have their childish side awakened. There are occasions when you feel that this is the kind of movie which you would have loved to watch during your early childhood, but wasn’t there; we are always happy that we had those Doordarshan cartoons like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Ducktales, Talespin and Tom and Jerry, but we imagine ourselves having such a treat, but childhood is long gone, a sad thing indeed.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is without doubt, predictable from the first moment itself. It is not like the same becomes a big problem in an animated feature film which is prone to the same. But you know that there have been exceptions like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, Inside Out and others which have deviated from the expected path during the journey more than once. Smurfs: The Lost Village never really stands a chance against the animated movies of our times, with How to Train Your Dragon 2, Finding Dory and Kung Fu Panda 3, all being pretty cool sequels inheriting the original’s qualities. Just like its predecessors, this one has predictability written into it. The movie also has too much focus on one character whose search for her purpose gets rather repetitive. There is also the inability to capitalize on a funny side which always had the chance to be better. It even has a villain who is not even half smart as his cat, and that is not used to bring enough laughter. Better and smarter story in also not on cards.

How it finishes :: Smurfs: The Lost Village can be seen not to deviate, not inside the movie, and also not within the franchise. But it surely manages to be one of the most appropriate movies for the kids, with not much left to ponder about except for finding one’s purpose in life, and it leaves the message that being good will bring that meaning of life on this day, or at some other point – there is only the need to wait for the same. During these time when the life as well as the movies are so complicated, this kind of cuteness becomes rather necessary, and let the simplicity of this one save us from the complex evil of a world which is slowly and steadily being taken over by those who have no heart. The Smurfs franchise is becoming more interested in being the brand which has movies to add to it rather than flicks with big tales. Well, there is more than one than one way to go around with things, and cute little creatures are more than just fair for children.

Release date: 7th April 2017
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Kelly Asbury
Starring: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Jake Johnson, Mandy Patinkin, Julia Roberts, Gordon Ramsay, Tituss Burgess, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Kelly Asbury, Bret Marnell, Melissa Sturm, Frank Welker, Dee Bradley Baker

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Last Knight

Vampire Owl: This particular alien species seems to have too many movies about them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, these days, they have a lot more than vampire movies.

Vampire Owl: They even have so much of box-office collections.

Vampire Bat: It is strange, isn’t it? We, vampires have existed on Earth long before these people, and nowadays, we rarely have movies.

Vampire Owl: Some time ago, we were the trend. Even my zombie minions were trending.

Vampire Bat: That age seems to be gone. Even local superheroes trend more these days.

Vampire Owl: Even people from myth, like Thor are converted into huge box-office success.

Vampire Bat: Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman – they are all success; even as the teams of Avengers and Justice League.

Vampire Owl: Even X-Men with their Wolverine, Deadpool and more.

Vampire Bat: We should be back soon, and take whatever is ours.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Nice biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The last Transformers movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction had ended with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) ending with sending a message to his creators that he was coming for them. Lockdown (Mark Ryan) as well as Galvatron (Frank Welker) were defeated, but things haven’t really changed much. Transformers continued to be declared outlaws by human government, and a new military wing known as the Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) is now in action against all those new transforming robots, both autobots and decepticons which keep falling on our planet. There is the possibility of an alien invasion being asserted by all governments, and there is nothing more than a threat as far as the alien transformers are concerned. With Optimus Prime having left to meet the makers of transformers, things are the worst situation for his kind that are left on Earth, being hunted and destroyed by humans and their drones at will.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: An orphan Izabella (Isabela Moner) tries to save a few transformers in between, with Sqweeks (Reno Wilson) as the last one left on her side. They are about to be captured by the human troops, but are saved by Bumblebee (Erik Aadahl), Hound (John Goodman) and Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) who are leading the resistance of autobots, hiding themselves far away from trouble, with Crosshairs (John DiMaggio), Drift (Ken Watanabe), Wheelie (Tom Kenny) and the randomly visiting scavenger Daytrader (Steve Buscemi). A talisman is attached to Cade by a transformer knight before dying, while they were trying to save Izabella in the area which was more like a transformer graveyard. The team of decepticons are aware of the same from Barricade (Jess Harnell), and comes looking for them at their hiding place, a junkyard, as Megatron (Frank Welker) with his team, launches an attack which pushes the autobots out of hiding.

And what is to follow next in this adventure? :: At the same time, there is the history of humans coming together with that of transformers on Earth. Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), the twelfth Earl of Folgan, who is an astronomer and historian, is one of the experts in the same. There is the unknown tale of King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and his knights struggling in a terrible battle against the Saxons who got them almost defeated. Edmund’s version of history says that it is the Knights of Iacon, a team of twelve Transformers who were hiding on Earth that helped Arthur and his knights to triumph over the Saxons as they transformed together into a dragon. But what remains from those days is an ancient staff which holds unlimited power. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime meets their maker, Quintessa (Gemma Chan), a Cybertronian Sorceress who brainwashes him into destroying Earth to rebuild their home planet of Cyberton. So, with enemies all around, can autobots and Earth make it to a safer situation?

The defence of Transformers: The Last Knight :: You are going to praise the visuals of this one too, as that quality is maintained with ease here – all that you see on the screen will have your attention. The universe of this movie is nothing less than breath-taking, as we have all those things which could light up the screen with ease. There comes the question about what you really need with this movie, and if it is this escapism into a world of chaos and destruction which looks great on the screen, with big action sequences, there is not reason why you shouldn’t choose this movie. These movies will not be banned here either, as nothing from Indian history is made to be related to the Transformers – lets hope that the other movie makers also take a lesson from the Padmavati episode, and deviate, combine or transcreate through history, myth and fiction. You will notice that Mark Wahlberg is very good in this avatar, and Laura Haddock is lovely, and she might be the best leading actress in this franchise so far as far as acting is concerned. Isabela Moner is good young talent while Anthony Hopkins is once again joy to watch.

The claws of flaw :: Transformers: The Last Knight needed more ideas, and a better tale to go with this kind of a thing which has existed for so long. But here, they have added so many things without taking much of care about dealing with them in the better ways. It is as if they are attributing everything to Transformers, and the victory of King Arthur or Saxons is just one of them – there are the wars, discoveries, inventions, assassinations, mysteries, and all that have important places in history being credited to the Transformers and their actions. The movie is long, rather too long, and there are so many moments which could have been cut off from this one. We are also tired of having this Optimus Prime saying the same thing again and again, and Bumblebee being a special Transformer for no reason – at the same time, Megatron goes through varying degree of powers; there is no consistency at all, with this one. They used to have a weapon specialist called Ironhide giving him the best moments of the first movie, and then they successfully kill him in a dumb sequel.

How it finishes :: Transformers: The Last Knight never really makes the franchise any better. It is not better than Transformers: Age of Extinction, and is only better than Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which is undoubtedly the worst movie of the whole franchise which seems to continue to try for more of similar kind of movies without focusing on anything new. The first movie had everything going in the right direction, but for some reason, the franchise refuses to go any higher or even keep the same level. You will find this movie in the Transformers franchise to be an entertaining one too, but there is that certain question about how far the series can go, as there seems to be the problem of running out of ideas. If we think about it, that would be kind of depressing, and so, lets go on watching these movies, and hope that there would be change with one of those movies, and Transformers would get bigger with the story rather than anything else. You can actually watch this one as a stand-alone flick without having watched any other flick from the series.

Release date: 21st June 2017
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins, Jerrod Carmichael, Santiago Cabrera, John Turturro, Glenn Morshower, Liam Garrigan, Mitch Pileggi, Tony Hale, Gil Birmingham, Peter Cullen, Jim Carter, Erik Aadahl, Ken Watanabe, Omar Sy, John Goodman, John DiMaggio, Reno Wilson, Tom Kenny, Steven Barr, Steve Buscemi, Mark Ryan, Frank Welker, Jess Harnell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.