Gundala

What is the movie about? :: In a world of corruption, poverty, exploitation and income inequality, people struggle to keep their lives going forward despite working so hard throughout the day. None of the hardworking people earns enough to provide to their family members. A number of factories in the city make their workers continue their jobs under terrible conditions without paying them much. A boy watches as his father leads his co-workers in protests against the low wages of the factory where they are working, leading to violence beginning between the people and the security guards employed by the corporates. But the workers bribed by their bosses kill the leader, much to the dismay of the son who witnesses the sequence of events. The worst is that the boy is also struck by lightning and develops a fear for the dark clouds and rain – along with the same, his mother who had left for the city also doesn’t come back, leaving him to live in the streets with no hope to pay the rent for the house. There, he is regularly attacked by other street children.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The boy who is consistently beaten up for trying to help others, finds a helper who teaches him how to defend against others, an advices him to stay out of others’ business, and in a world like this, not minding one’s own business can get the person into big trouble. Even though they decide to catch a train and leave the place, the boy is not able to get to his teacher who boarded the train as he can’t run fast enough to reach the train’s door. Many years later, Sancaka (Abimana Aryasatya) works as a security guard as well as a part-time mechanic in a printing factory, while trying to keep away from trouble as much as possible, due to his experiences during the childhood. But when the girl living next door, Sedhah Esti Wulan (Tara Basro) and her little brother are threatened by a group of thugs, he interferes and throws them away from the apartment. Later, the thugs retaliate as a group, and after beating him up, throws him down from the top of a tall building.

And what more is to follow in this superhero world? :: But Sancaka is hit by lightning on that rainy day, and he awakens, even healing himself completely with the power of the lightning which had struck him. As he saves the helpless Wulan and her friends in a market from the same thugs, she asks him to join her as well as the many poor people who are under threat from the thugs. But things are not that direct as it would seem there. A legislator and crime lord named Pengkor (Bront Palarae) has everything under his control in the lower level of the city, with a gang of orphans under his command. He knows each and every crime which has happened in the city, and is planning to come up with something huge to create chaos and destruction in the city. With a scar and a limp which he had from his childhood, he would stop at nothing to hurt anyone who stand against him. Sooner or later, Sancaka will have to become Gundala, while his friends including Wulan who is falling in love with him are also under threat. Can he live up to the expectation and be the symbol of hope for everyone?

The defence of Gundala :: We have always been in need of superheroes, especially those who are not from Hollywood, especially not from Marvel or DC. We have always loved Shaktimaan from our childhood, and so the need has always been there. With Avengers finishing the job, and the biggest superheroes Iron Man and Captain America out of he equation, we are always looking for possible alternatives. We can gladly say that this is indeed one, and this time, we have a realistic one in a believable world, with less use of powers and more of martial arts. The action is all done in very well, and there is enough of it, especially when we consider this as an origin story. The dystopian setting is also really well done, and we get to be with the people who undergo the struggle against those people who forces them to stay at the lowest level. In one way or the other, these people are having their own Batman, but with some superpowers – maybe he is a little bit of Captain America with the ideology he later develops, but these are all nicely evolved, and developed to fit our interests here.

Positives and negatives :: This is not to be checked out like you do for those big CGI filled movies like Avengers and the others, because of its existence closer to realism. It has to be noted that Gundala Putra Petir was also the first comic book adaptation in the nation, and it dealt with the same superhero in 1981. Indonesia is supposed to have a superhero movie franchise like Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) called the BumiLangit Cinematic Universe (BCU), from what we read about them, and with one more superhero introduced with our main hero, we can be sure that there will be more to come in the next few years, even though the Corona Virus delay could still be there. We haven’t really been aware of the same, but there are some fine superheroes who could come to be big screen, and it would be nice to watch them all, just like we had supported the heroes of Marvel and DC. If they are to be like our hero here, we can be sure that all of them can feel close to our lives than the extra dose of metahuman-alien stuff that Hollywood has been providing with the CGI. Here, the nicely created world works with minimum CGI, and connects so well.

Performers of the soul :: Tara Basro played the protagonist in Impetigore, and she is here too, as the actress who has just turned thirty and also got married this year, brings another fine performance to her credit. As we look at it, we know that she is also supposed to play a superhero which she is to become in another movie in the franchise. She has already done enough to prove here as the Hollywood style scream queen, and here, her existence in the action movies seems to be able to provide the same wonderful effect – we would need to see her as the superhero soon enough, along with other popular names who are to be part of the upcoming projects of this franchise’s universe. Abimana Aryasatya is a solid superhero here, and he makes the Indonesian Batman in Jakarta City instead of Gotham City, taking on crime and saving innocent citizens. He makes us go through his emotions and ideology as we wealk his path. We also have some strong villain with Bront Palarae being very much menacing, along with assassins including Kelly Tandiono, Asmara Abigail, Hannah Al Rashid and others. Ario Bayu whom we had seen in Impetigore is also here, making an impact.

How it finishes :: This movie comes from Joko Anwar, who is the same director that brought us, the high quality horror thriller named Impetigore. Even though this movie belongs to a completely different genre, we can see the director’s skills at work yet again. We have known many superheroes already, and this one is based on the Indonesian comics character Gundala created by Harya Suraminata in 1969 – it is nice to know that we do have more of superheroes with variety in store. It is always great to have some home-grown superheroes, but not like that ridiculous thing called Krrish which doesn’t feel Indian, original or really heroic in any way, but Shaktimaan type are always welcome. Indonesia has achieved that so well, and this movie is also fine work, not just as an entertainer, but also in many other ways, as this is more than your usual superhero movie. After my last visit to Bali, this is the closest that I have managed to get to loving Indonesia, and we are to fall in love with Indonesian movies if there are more films like this one. After all, this one stays closer to the values of the common man that even the Dark Knight could ever do.

Release date: 28th August 2019
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Joko Anwar
Starring: Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Ario Bayu, Rio Dewanto, Lukman Sardi, Fariz Fadjar, Aqi Singgih, Marissa Anita, Hannah Al Rashid, Asmara Abigail, Daniel Adnan, Cornelio Sunny, Kelly Tandiono

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

MI: Fallout

What is the movie about? :: Two years ago, the Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) had come face to face against a secret criminal organization called the Syndicate and its leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), defeating them against all odds with the help of Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), former MI6 agent and his own team. But the situation doesn’t get any better even with Solomon in captivity, as his idea of creating a new world order lives on through the free members of his organization who have transformed into a new terrorist group known as The Apostles. Ethan receives his new mission regarding the same, which includes preventing the sale of three plutonium cores to members of this group, who have an unknown leader going by the name John Lark – this shadowy figure plans to use it to cause the maximum suffering on most number of people.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: His IMF team members Benjamin Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) are with him on this mission, but the same doesn’t become the success that they expected with the loss of plutonium cores, as he chooses to save his friend’s life instead. The team manages to get some information regarding the Apostles, but it seems that IMF won’t be the only group involved in the mission. Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett), Director of the CIA, has Special Activities operative and Assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to go with Ethan. Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), the IMF chief reluctantly agrees to the same, and the two makes an unusual combination with their own problems even in being together on a dangerous mission.

And what is follow with the tale? :: They reach Paris, and finds John Lark who is about to buy the plutonium core from White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), a black market dealer. But things go further complicated as John Lark is murdered by Ila Faust who is also there on a mission, and Ethan has to take his place to make sure that the deal happens. It turns out that there is more than money involved in the deal, and Ethan is also suspected to be the real John Lark. There is more than one twist ready to happen, and Solomon Lane is not finished yet. Ilsa also has her own hidden agenda, and August Walker has his own motives. With Ethan being caught in the middle of all these, will there be chaos and anarchy from the Apostles reviving the Syndicate or can there be temporary peace with another impossible mission nicely completed by Ethan Hunt and his team?

The defence of Mission Impossible: Fallout :: Here is one more of the Mission Impossible movies that keep you on the edge of the seat. We have so many things happening here, and some nice twists are always there. The action sequences continue to be exceptional with car chases, bike chases and even helicopter chases, all of them not requiring that much of a willing suspension of disbelief from us – the franchise does know where to draw the lines, and it is something that not many movie series can do with their flicks. Well, the hand-to-hand combat scenes are also excellent as we look at them. The final moments of action are too good, and we feel so immersed in it that every second counts. There is no reason why any lover of action movies should miss this – Mission Impossible is that kind of a franchise that makes the best of its resources.

The claws of flaw :: Once again, Mission Impossible has the idea at the core, with one man being the key to saving the world, even though not without some help from his people. There is that feeling here that at some point, this series is going to run out of ideas like Transformers franchise has been threatening to do. Well, every movie can’t go on doing this, as the similarities do remain; Marvel and DC might be able to do that with endless possibilities for future, as superheroes are so many, and Justice League and Avengers will keep producing more. The Indian version has too many cuts too, with the word Kashmir never used – figuring that one out needs the help of the internet. We also miss Jeremy Renner in this movie, and we hope for more of his work in the next possible Mission Impossible movie.

The performers of the soul :: The franchise continues to be the grand Tom Cruise thing even after so many years of existence – he is the one who holds everything high here too. As expected, he excels in all those action sequences, from running, climbing, fist fighting, shooting and racing to even flying a helicopter. Rebecca Ferguson excels once again, even though not with that much charm as we had seen in the previous movie. It was joy to watch her in that flick as she lit up the screen so well. She is still the best heroine in a Mission Impossible movie without doubt. Henry Cavill brings something special here, as he did with his Superman roles in Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, or in The Man from UNCLE. Vanessa Kirby is a lovely addition to the movie too. Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg are perfectly suited here.

How it finishes :: Mission Impossible movies have always been joy to watch for the action sequences. It is more or less about mission being successful no matter what kind of obstacles are there – we enjoy the same without doubt. Among all those movies, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation has been my favourite, and this one is a big entertainer like all those other movies of the genre. The thrilling experience that this movie provides with all those action sequences will be difficult to forget. One will keep searching for more Mission Impossible movies, and hoping for the franchise to never end, it has the kind of success story that everyone needs with a movie franchise. Here, we get the success with both the critics as well as the box-office collections; never really the easy thing to do.

Release date: 27th July 2018
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirby, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Paippinchuvattile Pranayam

What is the movie about? :: Very close to the city, but still, very far away from the urban setting, there is the small island which is known by the name Pandarathuruthu, and the first half of that name itself is enough to know how that place is considered to be, by not just the people from outside, but also those who live there. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge has said in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the people of the island also faces the same situation – “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink”, surrounded by salt water, and having only a few boats – as all roads lead to Rome, all of those boats get them to the city, and nowhere else. This is the tale of the simple people in that particular place, where everyone spends more time waiting for water in a long queue in front of the common tap at the centre of the island, rather than doing anything else. The rest of the people do simple jobs, including fishing, painting and also a little bit of farming which doesn’t need much of fresh water.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is around that place of local gathering around the tap meant to collect water, that Govindankutty a.k.a Govutty (Neeraj Madhav) and Teena (Reba Monica John) falls in love. While there is the scarcity of water there, one can see no difficulty in getting some love, as far as these two are concerned. Govindankutty leads a happy life with his good friends Ayyappan (Sudhi Koppa) and Bashi (Rishi S Kumar) earning enough through painting work and a few dance performances when opportunities are available. There is not much of a complaint from them about their lives, despite the unavailiability of water bothering them all the time. They know that people have tried to bring better facilities to the island before, but nothing has happened with those politicians who keep making excuses, and life goes on. Any further attempt would be waste of time, according to them.

And what is to follow in this small adventure at the island? :: Babumon (Dharmajan Bolgatty) is the one to suffer the most, as no girl wishes to get married to someone without access to drinking water. Teena’s parents are also not ready to get her married to Govindankutty, and they are also looking for someone who got access to clean water, from anywhere outside the village. Despite his mother (Sethulakshmi) asking for the bride, Teena’s parents (Jaffer Idukki and Thesni Khan) are not ready to accept the proposal. It is more or less the reflection of their realization that nothing good can happen in Pandarathuruthu and the people of the island will never have access to clean water. But when one tragedy strikes, they have to think differently, and understand that it is the time to act. It is upon the youth to make the difference, but are they up to it? One journalist named Shyam Prakash (Aju Varghese) is ready to help them, but will that be enough?

The defence of Paippinchuvattile Pranayam :: There are moments in Paippinchuvattile Pranayam that keep rising like the certainty of tides – we see them coming and going. The humour is present here and there, and the lead has a good chemistry going on in movie’s favour. Some good visuals of the place will have our attention, and we see the huge buildings of the city on one side and this small world on the other. The music is good, even though they are used without care at some places. There are messages in store, and we have social issues being discussed, after the lack of availability of clean water in many areas. There were those islands around Cochin which had problems in getting drinking water, something we have been reading about since childhood. Even though a lot of problems have been solved now, it remains something that is present at one place or the other. Paippinchuvattile Pranayam adds something there.

The claws of flaw :: With a little more than two hours of length, some parts of the movie do make us feel a certain amount of drag. There is also the whole thing not used to its advantage, as this one could have been funnier, as well as having a thrilling end which could be a lot more of a difference maker with its ideas. The final moments could have been polished to bring an effect which would have made this one a social thriller with romance to go with it. The romantic side also makes way for the rest of the things too easily – there is not that much of strength with it if we consider the fact that the title Paippinchuvattile Pranayam as well as the expectations were all related to that only. There is also the need for the ability to relate to the problems of the common man, without which, this movie can go flying far away; this one would be more for the common audience, the everyman who can reflect these elements better as well as the invisible villains.

Performers of the soul :: Neeraj Madhav right out of Lavakusha and Oru Mexican Aparatha this year leads the way, and he is comfortable in being this kind of a hero, as all things are in control here. Reba Monica John seems naturally suited for this role, and is there throughout, winning points with big smiles and enchanting expressions, unlike that small presence which she had in Jacobinte Swargarajyam despite being the leading actress there too. As one might have figured out with the trailer and songs, she fits in, even without that many dialogues. Sudhi Koppa is the one actor who supports so well as he rises to the occasion, and he does a fantastic job with those emotional side, more than that comic side which was there earlier. We already saw him in Alamara, Lakshyam and Udaharanam Sujatha in notable roles this year among the others, and he gets his best here. Dharmajan strengthens the funny side, which would have struggled a lot without him. Aju Varghese has a smaller role which is managed easily. Sarath falls prey to a badly written negative character.

How it finishes :: Among those movies about common people made with what seems to rather lower budget, Paippinchuvattile Pranayam will surely have a good position. It is always nice to see tales being made about common men and not those money laundering bourgeoisie class attached to pubs and parties. It can’t claim to be perfect or close to being perfect in what it deals with, but it is as close to reality that we can get, and it is close to the heart of everyone who feels for those who are in need. But concerning others who have no heart for the sufferings of others, this wouldn’t be the movie. This is the age of superheroes with Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League running in the theatres, and one can go for them without thinking too much, for the big entertainment. But if you care, try giving a chance to the smaller movies about everyman, like Paippinchuvattile Pranayam. In simple words, call it “Love, water & other social issues”.

Release date: 24th November 2017
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Domin D’Silva
Starring: Neeraj Madhav, Reba Monica John, Aju Varghese, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sarath Appani, Sudhi Koppa, Sruthy Jayan, Jaffer Idukki, Rishi S Kumar, Tesni Khan, Sethulakshmi, Indrans, Anoop Chandran

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Power Rangers

Vampire Owl: I don’t really know these people. Are they from the shooting range?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you haven’t watched the 1995 Power Rangers movie? I thought we all had.

Vampire Owl: I already have too many superheroes, and they all have better names.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you don’t remember Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Dulcea.

Vampire Owl: Who in a ranger world is she?

Vampire Bat: I believe that you liked her a lot.

Vampire Owl: You talk about the girl in green.

Vampire Bat: Yes, she is the one. I see that you remember now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that she was no Poison Ivy of Batman.

Vampire Bat: Your superhero encyclopedia surely needs some special attention, and so does your memory.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A high school football star Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) gets dismissed from the team and has to go for detention after a prank fails miserably. It disappoints his father Sam Scott (David Denman) that he wasted his opportunities and reached this miserable state of life. There he comes up against Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), a nerd whom he saves from a bully. Billy asks for his help, and offers to deactivate his ankle monitor as well as lend him his van in return. Jason decides to help him even as he is doubtful about it. There, after providing some help to him at an old abandoned gold mine, he runs across Kimberly (Naomi Scott), his crush from the school, who is taking a bath in the nearby river – she tells him that she often goes through the place, as her home is on the other side. At the same time, Billy uses some explosives to break part of the rock in the quarry.

So, what happens next? :: The blast gets the attention of Jason and Kimberly, as well as two other students, Trini (Becky G) who is spending her lone time away from the family, and Zack (Ludi Lin) who lives nearby, taking care of his sick mother. There they pick up five pieces of rock, each having a different colour. They are chased by the mine’s security, and their car gets hit by a train, but they wake up at their houses, feeling different, and rather a lot powerful. They five teenagers return to the mine to find answers to what they are going through, and they find a space ship and inside, Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), a robot. He introduces them to the consciousness of the person known as Zordon (Bryan Cranston) who is supposed to have been a power ranger until he and his team of rangers were betrayed by another team member, the Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who is also on Earth. He tells them that they are chosen.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: With the new power rangers being chosen, he tells them that it is only a matter of time until Rita finds her full strength, gets to the Zeo Crystal which will help her to destroy all life on Earth. The teenagers leave, but reluctantly come back as Jason convinces them that they need to try so that their powers don’t go wasted. They keep training with Alpha 5 and the simulations of Rita’s minions, but they are unable to morph, which means that they will have no power ranger suit or armour. Zordon is disappointed that the chosen ones are acting more like kids, and have no sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Rita awakens and goes on a killing spree, collecting all the gold that she can on the way, looting people and places, hoping to summon her favourite minion, the giant winged monster known as Goldar (Fred Tatasciore) made of gold. Can the rangers be good enough to stop her before she gets what she wants?

The defence of Power Rangers :: The new version is surely an improvement from the tales which have been going through, and with the improvement, this brings the nostalgia from the childhood, when we watched the rangers and felt that they were so good. The movie is light-hearted, and would appeal to kids more than anyone else. The movie does have the right cast at the top though, with Dacre Montgomery as the hero and leader, bringing the charm, while Naomi Scott, brings a beautiful presence supported by the right performance – we see more of Power Rangers in these two than anywhere else. RJ Cyler provides the comedy along with an emotional side. There are some nice action sequences, especially in the end, and we see another grand battle between the good and evil, with destruction all around. There are also some messages in the movie about superpowers and responsibilities, like the ones you find in an earlier Spider-Man, a later Iron Man, or even in the ideology book of Captain America.

The claws of flaw :: One has to admit that the nostalgia related to Power Rangers is applicable to less number of people. Not many people were qualified enough to get this deep into superhero stuff of Hollywood during that time, as some thought that it was for children, and other felt Hollywood to be clearly beyond them. This movie also has a tale which has been going on and on with not just this movie, but also with many others, whether it is of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or that long list of superheroes from Marvel and DC – Power Rangers won’t sound that good, and will never be that effective with lesser known cast and teenagers there in the suits. When Avengers and Justice League will fight to save the world from alien trouble with better budget, one has to feel that this one will struggle forever – to go with it, the yellow and black rangers are not likable at all. The villain also seems to have replaced her fiery elements with something else – wonder what it is.

How it finishes :: The world has surely changed from those times when Power Rangers were there earlier. Now we have a long list of superheroes, and there is no shortage of people with superpowers wandering around on the screen – this would be the cause of Power Rangers no longer being an effective franchise at the box-office here. There is the nostalgia for sure, but this is just one of those lesser group of heroes to whom people have that feeling for. Power Rangers: The Movie of 1995 might be the one thing which would have gotten these superheroes those fans, especially considering the fact that this along with Starship Troopers, Waterworld and Vampires were a few of those Video CDs available during those times – also, a lot of the youth of that time liked Gabrielle Fitzpatrick more than the movie, as for some, she was more joy to watch. Therefore, Power Rangers had that less power here, but it is an entertainer, and can be watched without going too deep.

Release date: 24th March 2017 (US) 31st March 2017 (India)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Becky G, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, David Denman, Caroline Cave, Anjali Jay, Patrick Sabongui, Erica Cerra, Kayden Magnuson, Fiona Fu, Sarah Grey, Emily Maddison, Jaime Callica, Matt Shively, Garry Chalk, Fred Tatasciore

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Monkey King II

Vampire Owl: I have this name wandering in my mind somewhere.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that you have known many kings and monkeys during your life-time.

Vampire Owl: Yes, the most recent acquaintance being the Lich Queen with her undead minions.

Vampire Bat: What? You met the Lich Queen? It is forbidden for a vampire to meet an undead queen sorceress.

Vampire Owl: She is not that undead, you know, and she is a good host.

Vampire Bat: Whatever. That doesn’t explain how you met the Monkey King though.

Vampire Owl: Well, I was reading this classic, and the pages came alive.

Vampire Bat: And they attacked you?

Vampire Owl: No, then I realized that I was tearing the pages apart. Then I took some glue and fixed it back to its place.

Vampire Bat: The imperial librarian won’t be that happy this time. You should get a few zombie minions to cover it up.

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

What is the movie about? :: A young Buddhist monk, Tang Sanzang (Feng Shaofeng) is on the journey to the West, to the Thunder Monastery in India to collect some of the valuable scriptures of Buddha. But the soldiers who were meant to assist and protect him during his journey leaves him when a white tiger attacks them. Trying to protect the horse, he ends up being under attack from the tiger, only to get into a cave and save himself. As he is followed by the tiger, he sees Sun Wukong a.k.a. The Monkey King (Aaron Kwok) who was imprisoned under the Five Fingers Mountain as part of his five hundred years of atonement for the trouble which he had caused in heaven. The awakened and released monkey soon deals with the tiger, but that only begins in new life, as the Goddess Guan Yin (Kelly Chen) has instructed him to protect the monk throughout his journey.

So, what happens next? :: Wukong is not someone who likes taking orders from anyone, but he is bound to stay close to the instructions made by the goddess, as he is wearing a magical headband which can’t be removed, and will cause him pain if he acts like a bad monkey. He finds his life connected to the monk’s, and decides to finish this job as soon as possible, and get back to his usual, mischievous life. On the way, Wukong defeats two other immortals looking like monsters – Zhu Bajie (Xiaoshenyang) and Sha Wujing (Him Law) who joins them in the journey as atonement for their sins, as the monk gets protected from three sides. Both of the new travelers consider Wukong as their big brother, and approves of his superiority in skills. They have some interesting moments during their travel, and reaches Yun Hai Xi Kingdom, which is ruled by a king (Fei Xiang) and his people living in fear.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: The kingdom is terrorized by the White Bone Demon (Gong Li), a powerful demoness who is known to take away children from everywhere, and she is supposed to devour them to keep herself in this world. As the demoness learns about the arrival of the young monk, she decides to eat him, and thus get more powerful, without no reincarnation, being an eternally unstoppable demon who could challenge even heaven and hell. She, along with her three demoness minions (Lu Weu, Xi’er Qi and Miya Muqi) get the four to their house in the middle of the forest, where they offer all of them a place to rest. She tells them the story of her past as a young woman, which had Sanzang in tears. The two monsters fall into the seductive trap of the demonesses posing as beautiful girls, and Wukong seems to have some problem with his eyes – so, will the demoness and her minions be successful in using the young monk to expand their evil? Or will the Monkey King be able to save him?

The defence of The Monkey King 2 :: This movie is visually excellent with its creatures, surroundings and magic having our attention, and has those action sequences which will immediately ask for your attention. There are also the messages about forgiveness, and the reflection of the fact that humans are so capable of being more evil than the demons every time. There is also some humour present here, and the comic relief is very much useful in this movie. It actually combines nicely with the adventure as well as the spiritual side, making this package whole. Everything is so simple in this movie, and this simplicity in fantasy is something that we can cherish, and the same makes sure that this movie is for everyone – kids are certainly going to love this one as much as any animated movie. Even though there are not that many reviews of this movie in English, the ratings received, including those in Rotten Tomatoes make nice example of how well this has worked.

The claws of flaw :: Maybe, a more serious version of the classic might have been expected by many, and also this one happens to be a sequel rather than the original story, which could have also kept some people from watching this particular flick. There is also more needed of action from everyone other than Monkey King whose action scenes never cease being delightful – the fans from everywhere will always look for more from him, as I had wondered more about this particular character than anyone else. Also, despite having a very strong female villain there with minions, her manipulation or the fighting skills get quite less attention than we would have expected to witness. Looking silly at times is not something that one would expect from this movie, as there is enough depth all the time, as long as you have a classic in your hands, and got hope of everyone who has read or has read about the work expecting a lot. Also, despite the movie being a visual treat, there are moments when the CGI looks too much and strange.

How it finishes :: Those who have read the novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en, are sure to love this movie adaptation of the tale – there are so many version of the same, and many translations. This tale is actually something that needs to be read by everyone, and this movie will help in attaining that for sure. As more people get to read Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature, adding the other three, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dream of the Red Chamber and Water Margin to their list of books to read, we can safely say that this visual extravaganza of an action movie is successful in doing the right thing for literature. Even if you haven’t watched this movie’s predecessor, or never known about the novel, it is still okay to watch this movie – this one is a rather stand-alone work, and things really can’t get any simpler than this as far as fantasy movies are concerned. Then, the messages are also straight-forward with nothing there to bring a message out of a message. Also note that the actor who played the antagonist in the previous movie plays the protagonist here.

PS: For more on the movie of the week here, read on – Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

Release date: 6th February 2016
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Cheang Pou-soi
Starring: Aaron Kwok, Gong Li, Feng Shaofeng, Xiaoshenyang, Him Law, Fei Xiang, Kelly Chen, Lu Weu, Xi’er Qi, Miya Muqi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Despicable Me 3

Vampire Owl: I would like to use this particular title for myself too.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to be called the vampire deserving hatred and contempt?

Vampire Owl: Because I am going to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: You have had that thought since you became a vampire apprentice for the first time. It is not real.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has always believed in alternate realities.

Vampire Bat: But you don’t believe in Mr. Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is just not part of my reality. But his methods surely are.

Vampire Bat: You cannot pretend to put things into different realities, and speak as if you are from one reality in which is independent of the others when all of these is just one reality.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that with regular practice and with finding inner peace, we can create our own realities with our minds?

Vampire Bat: This is exactly why I feel that zombies without brains are awesome.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Felonious Gru (Steve Carell) is spending some nice time as a secret agent of the anti-villain league along with his newfound love, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) who is also trying hard to be a loving mother to the three adopted kids, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel). Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a supervillain obsessed with the television character that he played, has become Gru’s biggest opponent, and even evades him and Lucy on so many occasions. After the last encounter between the two, Gru and Lucy end up being fired from the league by the new chief of the league. Now left without any job, the minions led by Mel (Pierre Coffin) wishes for him to go evil again, so that they will all have something to do. But Gru doesn’t want go back to be the villain again as it would be against all he had hoped for, and so the minions just decide to quit, except for two.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, Balthazar continues to have more and more success with his evil plans, stealing world’s most precious diamond without even having to think twice about it. It is during those times that Gru comes to know that he has a twin brother named Dru (again Steve Carell), who seems to be rather a successful businessman with his pig farms. They had separated when they were kids, as Gru was taken by his mother and Dru by his father, both not knowing about each other until now. When it is revealed, Dru does invite Gru and his family to his special place, where they are given a grand welcome. With golden hair on the head and being a more cheerful and successful man, Dru does make Gru jealous, but it is not the visit is more about. Dru reveals that Gru has always been a role-model in the form of a master villain, even with his failures – he claims that it is Gru who has kept the family tradition going.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Meanwhile, minions end up in prison, and come up with some special plans to get back with Gru due to the nostalgia keeping on troubling them. Dru wants Gru to go back to crime with him, as he feels that both of them could get the family crime legacy to the next level. Gru who is now married to his love and being the father of three adopted children, doesn’t really want to do the same, but wants to get even with Balthazar. He plans to get the diamond from the criminal, and get it to the anti-villain league along with the villain himself, so that he could find him and his wife back in the job. But his brother is interested in this because they could get their hands on the most valuable diamond in the world, and the heist would thus go down in history. But our evil villain does have other plans starting from Hollywood, and going on for mass destruction. Will Gru be able to stop him this time?

The defence of Despicable Me 3:: There is the focus on laughter here, and attempts are regularly made at the same. With the attempt to bring in more action sequences, and situations made for comedy, we are surely seeing an entertainment which finishes without taking that much of our time. It also leaves things open in the end which means that we can have something to go for with a fourth movie which will be something better if good imagination gets the right inspiration. Minions, even though out of the main tale, making almost no impact, are still fun to watch – there are some rare cases here that has repetition being fun. The kids are surely going to love this one a lot – there is no reason why they shouldn’t, as silliness is written again and again on screen with this movie around. Everyone from that age really wants to be Gru or at least with him in an animated world full of action and minions, don’t they? Well, be there early as this one released in India before it did in the United States of America.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is just too childish – surely more childish than the first movie as well as Despicable Me 2. There is almost no thinking regarding the story-line here, as we get to know that quite early. We see not much happening here, and even the usual messages are not present. With what seems to be a random mixture of things, the emotional side is rather lost, something which can be rather catastrophic of an animated movie – the kids have almost no significance in the tale along with the minions who are just there for the laughter, and there are the two brothers whose story just seemed to have been brought for the sake of the adventure, and there is the villain who seems to have the appeal rather too much on the kids rather than anyone else. You would also realise that there have been two movies before this and a spin-off, and a better result still evades the makers and the fans alike. 3D is also not that much of a difference maker.

How it finishes :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is fun for sure, even though it seems to trail behind Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 without even trying well enough to make much of an impact. Maybe, everyone have already felt that this franchise is in an eternal safe zone, like Ice Age, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda series might have been thinking already. But, if we compare the number of screens and the number of viewers for Cars 3 and this one, it is clear that safe zone is slowly and steadily becoming a myth – there are always new movies which are not sequels made out of special creativity, like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen and Inside Out, ready to conquer the animated area. They will surely have to put the extra effort for the next movie, if people are going to continue believing in the same – this will work as of now with its comic side and how good it looks on the screen, but an animated movie is going to require more than that in order to have a long and better run.

Release date: 16th June 2017 (India); 30th June 2017 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, Jenny Slate, Pierre Coffin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.