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.

It

Vampire Owl: It has been a dangerous thing throughout the ages.

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The one thing which is mentioned by the name “It”.

Vampire Bat: Are you referring to a certain clown like in this movie?

Vampire Owl: Only the humans are afraid of clowns. We have no clowns here; nobody has ever heard about a Vampire Clown.

Vampire Bat: Well, with this movie based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King, the horror has shifted to the clowns.

Vampire Owl: You mean no more vampires, zombies, ghosts, demons and others?

Vampire Bat: I am afraid that humans keep moving from one supernatural creature to the other.

Vampire Owl: We need our own clowns then, and we can refer them by the name “It”.

Vampire Bat: Can you adjust with some fan boys and girls instead?

[Gets three cups of iced tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In the 1980s, we see a little boy being gifted with a paper boat, which he tries to sail through the water on the road, on a day of heavy rain and possibility of storm arriving. As the boats speeds up and goes down a sewer, the boy, George Denbrough a.k.a. Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) looks down only to find a clown that introduces himself as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard) from the circus which closed down due to the storm. As the boy gets closer, the clown wastes no time in biting his arms and dragging him right down inside. Later, William Denbrough a.k.a. Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), his elder brother can’t just stop looking for Georgie. He along with his friends, Richard Tozier a.k.a. Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Edward Kaspbrak a.k.a. Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Stanley Uris a.k.a. Stan (Wyatt Oleff) keeps getting bullied by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his gang.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: They are joined by two other outsiders, Beverly Marsh a.k.a. Bev (Sophia Lillis) who is considered immoral by the students, and Benjamin Hanscom a.k.a. Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) who is the new kid around spending most of his time in the library with the less interesting books. As the town has had a history of disappearing children for a long time, the team decides to find the secret behind the same. They figure out that something strange has occured in every twenty seven years, and this is the year that the same is to happen again. They remember that they have all been frightened by one thing or the other, and a clown was the common thing in their visions – a headless person, a fountain of blood, a zombie-like man, a painting coming to life, and the ghost of Georgie are just more of their worst fear coming true.

And what is to follow next in this adventure? :: They come across another outsider, Michael Hanlon a.k.a. Mike (Chosen Jacobs) who also had visions of a clown and burnt people. They figure out that the creature is using sewer lines to move around, as they check where all the children went missing – all these sewers seem to lead to a well currently under the creepy, partially ruined, abandoned house at 29 Neibolt Street. Now, with the elders not ready to believe in the supernatural, the kids decide that it is their turn to do something about this menace of the clown. But the creature will only be happy to have the children visit his lair, and even they don’t, he is ready to come for them. So, what fate awaits the children as the clown has decided to open the circus again, to feed on enough children before he is ready to go back to sleep for twenty seven years?

The defence of It :: We were waiting for this for long, as the 2014 movie, Clown brought some idea about what we can expect with a movie which has a clown from circus and a kids in there. The scares are abundant with the clown around, and the first appearance of the creature might be the best of them all, as it is not just terrifying, but also disturbing with the attack on the little kid from beneath the sewers. Then there are many moments which contribute to the scares, one after the other, making a series of moments of terror, most of which are to be appreciated for being different from what was shown before. The child actors are too good too, especially Sophia Lillis who is a level above everyone else. Jaeden Lieberher is surely the right choice to play the lead character too, while the support never fails to do what they were to do. Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns can be a nice thing to have with this particular flick.

The claws of flaw :: It could have surely been scarier with the depth of its clown character though, as there could have far more terrifying illusions and hallucinations to go with him, and we could have also had something to take home as scares for the every day life – some interesting horror movies do come up with the same or a rather huge divergent idea. This one won’t claim that, as Lights Out would with each and every moment of darkness. This won’t be that big as Don’t Breathe and The Autopsy of Jane Doe became, redefining horror last year. The bullying also takes a little bit of too much time away from this movie which is already too long with its not that scary moments, going further than two hours. Well, they call it Chapter One, and so there could be more. Let the clown be more next time, with tricks that we can never imagine, raising the sequel to another level.

How it finishes :: We have always loved to watch a Stephen King novel on the screen, and it has been something which gives us assurance about horror, as well as the quality. The movies The Shining, The MistThe Running Man and 1408 keep coming to my mind more often than the rest. This one here is no exception, and it will be there to satisfy our need for a wonderful movie experience, as long as the expectations are not at the top of the peak. You are not going to regret your choice to go for this particular horror movie, as the clown is no usual ghost or demon that you come up against in most of those movies. You will also feel that a sequel will do so much more that, a better equipped, returning clown is all that a horror fan can dream about, or rather have some wonderful nightmares about. So, watch It, and get ready for more in a sequel.

Release date: 8th September 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Chosen Jacobs, Jackson Robert Scott, Stephen Bogaert, Molly Atkinson, Geoffrey Pounsett, Pip Dwyer, Stuart Hughes, Steven Williams, Ari Cohen, Joe Bostick, Megan Charpentier

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.