Jumanji: The Next Level

What is the movie about? :: Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman), Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner) and Anthony Fridge Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) have gone separate ways after that one adventure with the Jumanji video game where they returned the Jaguar’s Eye, a magic jewel to the shrine where it belonged. They had saved the day, and then did decide never to go back to those video game avatars again. After a long time, they plan to meet up in Brantford, and everyone except Spencer is very much interested in seeing the team back again. He had put his romantic relationship with Martha on hold, and was living a rather dull life, as this call for a meeting reminds him not to see his old friends, but to go back to Jumanji, where he was special, and could save the world – that was the only way for him to become important again, with three lives inside a video game, fighting evil and making a difference yet again.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Fridge, Martha and Bethany meet up at the cafe sharing some happy moments of re-union, and are concerned when Spencer doesn’t show up, not even bothering to leave a message for them. This leads to them going to his home, and meeting Spencer’s grandfather Eddie Gilpin (Danny DeVito), who is currently recovering from hip surgery, and his former friend Milo Walker (Danny Glover) with whom he has issues over their former partnership cafe business which is no more. The three friends realize that even his grandfather has no clue where he is. But then they hear the drums of Jumanji, and down in the basement, everyone in the house except Bethany are sucked into the video game as the playable character while she is left rejected. The other four reaches inside the game, confused with their avatars, except for Martha who manages to get her same character as in her previous outing inside the Jumanji world.

And what else is to follow in this adventure beyond? :: So, as the four people become characters in the video game, Eddie becomes Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Milo becomes Franklin Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart) and Fridge becomes Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black). Martha continues to be Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), the martial arts expert. They are confused about the change of situation, and the new location while the non-playable character Nigel Billingsley (Rhys Darby) briefs the new and advanced mission to them. He informs them that a ruthless warlord Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann) has stolen a magic necklace called the Falcon’s Heart. The land is in drought in its absence, and there is an immediate need to bring it to the sun so that everything can be restored. Without it, the whole of Jumanji would turn into a cursed land with no hope. Now, with a few confused people, the question remains if they can succeed in this and bring Spencer home.

The defence of Jumanji: The Next Level :: Jumanji and its related movies have always entertained us, and this film is no exception. The coordination here is wonderful, and the world created here is also worth our attention. There are some fine scenes of action and adventure that can be seen here too. The humour is also nicely created, and the comic side gets a boost on many occasions. There are some scenes that will stay in the minds, one including a series of moving bridges and a group of monkeys, and another one is about body switching between characters. The humour doesn’t begin and end at exact places, as it is present throughout the film. It does know where to place all these, and in the end, the movie is never long, and never does it drag – with its shorter length, it makes a fine watch with ease. The audience for this movie could only increase in the next few days.

The claws of flaw :: There might be the feeling of repetition for some, even though the difference is certainly there. Any feeling of not liking this movie is mostly linked the absence of an understanding of it, as the crowd seems to be less for this one in this part of the world. Still, there is no doubt about the fact that this could have had even more adventures with extra additions of traps here and there. Light-hearted fantasy adventures can never have more, and this one limits its collection. Also, I have always had the opinion that this one should have had one more female playable character in the game. Here, it doesn’t have a competitor from Hollywood, and so, the flaws will most probably be forgotten. Anything missing can be added in another possible sequel, and we would definitely need one with the same cast returning, and bigger adventures happening.

The performers of the soul :: This is certainly a movie of fun performances. Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. the Rock is once again fantastic in this kind of role, and he brings a lot of fun as well as action in the best possible ways. We had just seen him, the man who has been Hercules, in Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw were he excelled. Karen Gillan who is best known for playing Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers series of movies, is seen in an even better avatar, something which can make one recommend her for a Tomb Raider movie over all other actresses. The way she swings on the ropes and poles, and jumps on the walls reminds one of those Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia video games – she is one perfect video game character and is joy to watch. The looks support what she does. Jack Black brings a lot to the funny side. Danny DeVito and Danny Glover makes a fine combination too. Kevin Hart makes a fine avatar too. Morgan Turner leads the way with real-life forms of the young game characters.

How it finishes :: I remember having loved the 1995 movie of the same name, and then the 2005 movie Zathura: A Space Adventure, both having children in trouble when they are playing board games which are more than just games. I had missed Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and it is something that I regret after watching this sequel which is one interesting adventure, rising far above what was shown in the trailer. It is the kind of adventure that anyone would love to watch, and The Rock has always been good with this kind of movies, with an adventure having a funny side, and just like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island which was an adaptation to remember. Many of us have wanted to be a part of a video game, living through them as if the character which we play are us – it is more applicable in the case of Role Playing Games, and this movie lets us live through one of such games, and it is a very enjoyable ride.

Release date: 13th December 2019
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Edge of Tomorrow

edgeoftomorrow (2)

Vampire Owl :: So it is about going to the past again and again, right?

Vampire Bat :: No, there is also the thing about changing past and thus alter the present. Ask Wolverine.

Vampire Owl :: What about planting an idea in a dream which also alters the present? Or try it the H.G. Wells way?

Vampire Bat :: That would need scientific equipment. For now, I think the driver of this bus also thinks that he can go back to the past and start it over when he dies. This is too fast.

Vampire Owl :: As there is no alien invasion yet, we should be safe; unless the aliens started with his house this time instead of the United States of America.

Vampire Bat :: I can only hope that aliens look like mutated vampire bats.

Vampire Owl :: I would prefer demons.

[Reaches the destination].

What is it about? :: The humans and the alien forces called Mimics have been in war for quite a long time now. United Defence Forces (UDF) has been created for the same purpose, and with new inventions and some inspired leadership, the humans have been able to score some victories. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is also asked to join the fight, but when he disagrees and tried to get himself out of it, is deprived of his current military rank and is sent to the military base of the Heathrow Airport to take part in the upcoming battle against the aliens. But when the attack begins, he realizes that the creatures know about the attacks and the plans of the human opponents. He is also killed, but not before destroying a Mimic and getting coated in its blood. Then he wakes up at Heathrow Airport yet again and goes though the same things again. He goes through the same things and gets killed again only to wake up again at the same time. He tries to tell the soldiers that the invasion will be failure, and also tries to save a few of them, but the restart continues until he saves the life of Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who knows about it and asks him to find her when he wakes up. From here, he is turned into a weapon, and the objectives change.

The defence of Edge of Tomorrow :: The movie has absolutely no drag, as it keeps itself to action throughout. The action sequences are impressive, and so are the special effects. The aliens are nice creatures and are mostly a form of spider-octopus hybrid, closer to the creature from the water. The first few attempts in this reset are actually funny, and there are some indirect comedy that the movie has. The movie never losses its power to entertain and never does it get much emotional. The absence of the horrible emotions which comes in each and every alien movie actually becomes a plus point here. The movie has awesome electronic devices, not only with the stylish gadgets including weapons, but also the sight of the airbase which has lots of interesting stuff around. The movie also reminds us of the flick called Source Code, but in a nice way. Edge of Tomorrow has an idea, and it might not have been the most original ones, but it is surely interesting and the way in which they have presented it needs a lot of appreciation. This is a science fiction and an action thriller and remains so throughout, and now that is often more than enough.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is based on the Japanese All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka about which I know less about. I might just try to read a translated version some day, so as to know if it is any better than the movie itself. The movie has a better first half than the second, but the latter is not far behind. The climax fails to be special as the movie though, but that is mostly because the expectations were too high considering what kind of a ride the movie had provided us with. The ending is also less interesting, and it also leaves room for ambiguity. There is another awakening that happens in the end, and we are not sure why it actually happens or why it happens that way, but the bigger question will be about the state of aliens which is also kept in the dark. It was indeed on the weaker side, and the weakness of the movie comes in the end. There is a certain amount of laziness that comes in the end and leaves with a little less satisfaction. Didn’t this movie deserve more? A better ending could have made sure that the movie had started well and finished nicely too, but this one wants to win in a super over and lets see if they have made it so hoping to make a possible sequel in future. But that is just a minor thing.

Performers of the soul :: Tom Cruise comes up with a great performance right here. Well, he is surely the reason why most of the people actually decided to go into the theatre, and it is a fact that he is one of the popular Hollywood stars around here. We remember seeing him in the other alien invasion movie which was Oblivion, going back to 2013. It was rather emotional and slow while this one rarely has the time to work to work on such stuff as it goes on with all the action right from the beginning to end, and it is safe to say that he excels in both. He still seems to have the energy that he always had. The more interesting character here should be Emily Blunt as Sergeant Rita Vrataski or “the Angel of Verdun” and “the Full Metal Bitch” as she plays a very special soldier, a heroic figure in this one. Her character is not just strong, but also smart and selfless as the super-soldier who massacred a huge number of aliens and brought her people close to victory. She doesn’t just look like a beautiful soldier who goes on destroying the aliens, as she steals the show when she gets into the act. From that shot when she is taking push-ups, we can be sure that she means business.

Soul exploration :: Live; Die; Repeat – now that is something that reminds me of my golden age of computer gaming. It is what we all do, in a game as we load the saved game and go back to where we had that opportunity to save our progress. We can see the parallel in this movie also, as the protagonist go back to a certain point instead of a long way back, and he tries again and again to alter the situation doing different things or rather doing things in a different way. He is desperate to change the fate of the world each time he goes into battle only to die again, as we gamers attempt to clear a stage of the game. The one game which this movie reminds me of, should be Crysis and its expansion Crysis Warhead. It was the game in which I lived, killed aliens, died, came back and killed aliens more than any other. I can also recollect a certain amount of similarities in the looks of the aliens, especially of the alpha creature. So, it is indeed the game mode revisited without control over anything on screen. For me, it was Crysis, and even when it was not it, still there was the game element in it. Not everyone has a life to loss to regain it again, only a gamer does; unless you are one mythical creature.

How it finishes :: Edge of Tomorrow has already managed to get some nice opinion from the critics and the audience – I shall also agree to the same. This should also be a great time to release this one, with Maleficent weakening significantly, and the multiplexes having The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla and X-Men: Says of the Future Past giving the competition. Bollywood’s Holiday doesn’t seem to impress much, and the Malayalam flick Bangalore Days is not for the same kind of people. May be this is the science fiction movie you have been waiting for, and I have heard a lot of positive opinions about this one from the sources which I consider to be of great value. There is Tom Cruise who can bring a lot of audience to the theatres without playing a superhero or fairy tale character, and this support that he has, will be significant in its success here. I would recommend it as the movie of the weekend, as well as the second best of 2014 after Captain America II: The Winter Soldier. With a better climax and ending, Edge of Tomorrow could have got a clear lead.

Release date: 6th June 2014
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Riley, Kick Gurry, Dragomir Mrsic, Jonas Armstrong, Franz Drameh, Masayoshi Haneda, Tony Way, Noah Taylor

edgeoftomorrow copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Resident Evil V

residentevil5 (3)

It is should be the right thing to say in this redundant flashback – that Resident Evil, in both its forms, as the movie and as the game, have been an integral part of my alternate reality. Thus this flashback to a few months ago is clearly justified. There are so many things that this one prepares us for, and the most important thing is to be prepared for a zombie apocalypse, and that a virus is the most evil and the powerful thing which could be created and manipulated by man in a zombie fiction, and proving it with a series of arrows from its quiver which is the game and movie collection. The addiction with this movie made my download even another movie The Resident by mistake, which was pretty good too, and being such a master in action-horror genre, our series makes such an impact on everyone who is not faint-hearted in an anti-gore manner, that the need for more of it arises. It is from this need that the game series has reached its peak, and the movie series has reached what is called Resident Evil: Retribution, and is going to reach that stage which is called Resident Evil: Armageddon which should be the last movie of this series unless they change their mind or do a reboot. In this world of pseudo-experts growing dislike for this movie, what you need to do though, is accept this movie with its flaws which are not really “the flaw” considering its origin.

As a continuation of the story, Alice (Milla Jovovich) and he friends are attacked by a group of airships led by Alice’s former ally and friend, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), who has been brainwashed by the Umbrella Corporation through a red scarab device attached to her chest, a battle which results in an explosion which knocks her out and throws her into the water. Alice awakens as a prisoner in an Umbrella jail. Jill tortures Alice, but she escapes and fights through another world, the Tokyo simulation of the original outbreak and encounters Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) who has changed sides leaving the Umbrella Corporation behind. They go on a mission to save whatever is left of mankind, but before that they have to get out. They have to go through a number of artificial worlds though, the different virus outbreak simulations which are meant to test her clones and may be she can even encounter a few other faces of herself. As there are many simulations and recreations of outbreaks, with so many basic models in such testing environments with different roles assigned to the same Alice, as she might be a businesswoman in one, a housewife in another or even a soldier working for Umbrella Corporation in the next. It is another centre of pure scientific evil through which they have to go through to get out into the real world.

Resident Evil series can never be included in the list of pure action nor pure horror movies. It is a clear mixture of both, and what is has produced is a group of powerful female protagonists who are also incredibly good-looking in their attires, and comes up with breath-taking stunts. There are a few male characters who supports, but still fails to create the much needed impact. To add to it, the human villains remain the men, and zombies have to be considered beyond them. There are basically five female characters who have created a huge impact within the series, and among them, one is the main protagonist and two of them can be considered as her perfect partners in action. The other two also make a powerful impact upon presence. This is more of an improvement from both Underworld and Kill Bill series, which had such protagonists, but just one female in all cases, and so is the case of Alien series. What Resident Evil has done is that there are so many characters who have filled this apocalyptic future with their own style and characteristics, and they all have their significance in the future.

Milla Jovovich as Alice Alice, is the main protagonist of the Resident Evil film series. The story of each film is mostly about her own struggle with the Umbrella Corporation. She starts as lady wearing nothing other than two pieces of paper supported by a small thread, which is more like a superior fashion design which Umbrella seem to be interested in giving to their captives and research items from the number of movies she wears it – in the first movie, she starts under the shower with amnesia. This repetition of paper-clothing and her words about her name being Alice are the two things which seems to reiterate itself without any sense. But what is to be noticed is that she evolves into a highly efficient killing machine and more of a bio-weapon which is stopped from unleashing itself only by her conscience. Alice would seem to become more and more efficient throughout the series. It is even seen in her clothing, as she seems more like Underworld‘s Selene (Kate Beckinsale) in this movie, close to being the best female action protagonist. Alice’s superhuman abilities which she has achieved with the successful bonding with the T-virus which has negatively affected others, makes her more of a superhero character – she even has psychic abilities. Considering the number of clones of her which the Umbrella Corporation produces, one might even end up doubting if she who is depicted in the movie might be really that Alice of the first movie.

In the last movie, we saw that her superhuman abilities have been taken away by the disabling of her T-virus affected cells. Still, we can see that she is still strong enough in this movie as she comes up with those breath-taking stunts. But, at the end of this one, her powers are back with another injection as it is needed as the last hope for humanity. She is referred to as “Alice in Wasteland” in the posters of this movie, more of a combination of Alice in Wonderland and The Wasteland, thus combining the feelings of being in a different world of strange characters as well as feeling the disaster of the world. Li Bingbing as Ada Wong has run away from Umbrella to save the remnants of mankind in this movie, and she serves as support for Alice in Resident Evil: Retribution. She could be seen as another version of Alice itself, without the T-virus and involving in all the action and adventure with what seems to be her highly trained abilities. She could be another perfect clone of Alice with all that she seemed to be doing in the movie. Even in her first appearance in the movie series, she has created an impact which is on par with her character in the video game, and that is perfect.

Alison Elizabeth “Ali” Larter as Claire Redfield is first seen as the leader of a convoy of zombie apocalypse survivors in Resident Evil: Extinction. In Resident Evil: Afterlife, she is captured by the Umbrella Corporation and manipulated by a device that controls her mind before reuniting with Alice and her brother Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller). Claire did not return in this movie despite of the popularity of her character. Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine, is back in this movie after being a major character in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. This time, she no longer is with Alice due to the mind-controlling device placed on her. It is upto Alice to bring her back to her side. These two characters would be needed as the main protagonists of a possible reeboot as they might be able to surpass Alice in creating a better impact on the viewers as they did in the game series. Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo is introduced in the first Resident Evil movie, where she works for the Umbrella Corporation’s commando division. In this movie, there are many of her, as good and bad clones are used as test subjects in the simulated environment, but they are all killed. So there is doubt if there would be any more of her in the next installment unless another return occurs for Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast & Furious 6 style.

I have believed in Resident Evil just like I believed in Silent Hill, as a computer game, and it is the same with the movies too, and I have never really tried to separate one experience from the other. The former had been with me till Resident Evil 4 and has been my favourite video game adaptation so far along with Hitman and Tomb Raider, and the latter is more of memories, mostly of Silent Hill 3. For me, this genre of fear was mostly about Undying, the first graphically good enough horror game which I had played. Well, these three games together make such an impact which nothing else can; the horror is possibly better than most of the horror movies around. The world of gaming has almost ended for me, even as there is a little dose of Age of Empires, Age of Wonders and Unreal Tournament at times – No true gamer with faith in computer gaming can forget the classics, right? I would wait for the release of the games based on Need For Speed, Deus Ex, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed though, for they have more and more memories of another world, of that reality where I spent a good amount of my life. Here, the movie is strong in its action sequences and moments of horror and surprise supported by great 3D effects and awesome CGI with all the needed special effects. You can try to be pseudo-intellectual and dislike this movie, but it has continued to do what is expected of an action-horror video game adaptation.

Release date: 14th September 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Li Bingbing, Kevin Durand, Aryana Engineer, Shawn Roberts, Colin Salmon, Johann Urb, Boris Kodjoe

residentevil copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.