Jungle Cruise

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we went for a cruise in the river?

Vampire Bat: Are you talking about the journey through the River of Blood?

Vampire Owl: No, that was only a temporary river caused by the war with the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: The river still stands strong with the result of the new battles.

Vampire Owl: The blood in there is not enough even for Uncle Dracula on an eventful night.

Vampire Bat: Still, it is a river with blood.

Vampire Owl: There are other rivers which hold interesting red liquids.

Vampire Bat: You do think about a water world much different.

Vampire Owl: Yes, you have to respect the tradition of the water world.

Vampire Bat: We respect just the tradition of the blood around here.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the sixteenth century, a group of Spanish conquistadors had searched the interior jungles of South America for something known as the tears of the moon, which came from a lesser known tree. It was a very long search which went on for so many years that people actually got too tired about it. The flowers of this tree is supposed to cure a good number of illnesses and heal injuries, while even believed to be lifting curses according to the locals. After many people die in search of the special tree’s flowers, the tribal people help a few of them with the unexpected medicine brought out of the flower. When the conquistadors force them to reveal the location of the tree and then burns the village, the chief of the tribe curses them before dying, and all of them are forced to live there forever – near the Amazon river, and under the power of the jungle which watches them at all times. This might not be the best known of the legends surrounding Latin America, but in 1916, seems to be the one which has the attention of a little too many people.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and MacGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) are searching for the same thing more than anyone else. MacGregor presents his sister Lily’s paper at the Royal Society in London, which the audience feels is rather dumb. But at the same time, Lily is searching for an artifact which might be the key to finding the tree. She hopes that the flowers of the tree can actually save millions of people all around the world. She finds the artifact within the society house, while MacGregor had created the diversion. She also manages to escape the area, but not without gaining a lot of attention. While the scientists continue to consider it as a ridiculous myth, Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) of Prussia is very much determined to find the tree for the Germans. He has also done a lot of research related to it, and spent a lot of money. As the youngest son of the emperor, he is determined to get what he wants, at any costs, and even has a lot of troops, ships and even a submarine ready for him.

And what is to be added to the adventures around here? :: The scene shifts to Brazil – Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) is someone who has been offering cheap jungle cruises to people, and he has also added some fake theatrical danger events to make things look more alive and interesting. When Lily asks, Frank is hesitant at first, but agrees later, as he is desperately in need of money and had also looked for the flowers by himself a long time ago, before getting stuck there. After getting back his boat’s engine from the man who had lent him money, the three start the journey together, after evading the German submarines which come at them. But it is only the first problem that they have, as more troubles await them. There are the tribal people that await in the jungles as well as the dangerous animals. Along with the same, there are also those Spanish conquistadors who are caught in the forests to live forever in a terrible state. The Germans would also make a grand return. Are these people ready to face all the troubles that await in the path?

The defence of Jungle Cruise :: This movie once again brings a world which is full of adventure, and we also have the environment to be really good and suitable for the situations shown here. There is one world belonging to the jungle and river, as well as another one which goes further as we get close to the tree that serves as the destination. This world is that kind of place which we would really wish to visit for the natural beauty – the green world which is provided here only gets better as the movie progresses further. The journey is more or less taking us there to travel through the river and the mysteries that lies close to it, related to a curse. There is also some fine humour to add to it, and we don’t feel that we ever come short of the same. There is no better guarantee for entertainment than this movie, and it is basically a safe path for fun, suitable for all ages, and a perfect one for watching with family. We also have that memories of playing Tomb Raider and other related games with artifacts in the forests coming back to us.

Positives and negatives :: Whether it is Jumanji, Hobbs & Shaw or the rest of the Fast and the Furious series, The Rock a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson is the one actor whom we look forward to bring all the entertainment. The action and the humour sticks perfectly to him this time too, as the adventure only gets sharper for his character. He remains the muscle of the film, as he has been with so many other movies too. Whether in Edge of Tomorrow or A Quiet Place, Emily Blunt has the skill for some serious adventure, even though this one surely adds a certain funny side to it. She becomes the Tomb Raider of this particular movie, and a character like this never losses the charm. Edgar Ramirez also comes in nicely as one antagonist of the past. Jack Whitehall is more or less about the funny side. This is the kind of movie which one would love to watch in 3D, as there are so many elements which qualifies in making things better with visuals. Yet, the movie could have gone for a smarter progress with its myth, and it could have had more dangers being shown as part of the world. Some of the dialogues also seem to have come unnecessarily.

How it finishes :: Jungle Cruise stays close to its strengths and makes this one a very entertaining ride. The movie does know where it can stand without troubles. It doesn’t really try to move away from the safe zone in working with the content. It stays simple, and with the same, would attract all the audience with ease. This one is also the classic family friendly journey to which Dwayne Johnson is not a stranger – Journey to the Mysterious Island had provided something similar quite some time ago, as we remember such mysteries and legends getting the due. Well, you can always trust the Rock with that. The transportation to this particular world is done in a way that no kind of audience is left behind. It is the kind of world which can surely have an attraction in a theme park with its name. As we have not travelled that much in the last few years in the name of Corona virus and its restrictions, we are all going to have this virtual one.

Release date: 30th July 2021
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Antlers

Vampire Owl: I haven’t seen a more interesting poster in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Horror does need such posters to show divergence in fear.

Vampire Owl: Fear should always be the same, right?

Vampire Bat: Unless you are a vampire, or maybe zombie.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about a different smell of fear.

Vampire Bat: You should be aware of the fear potions of the witches.

Vampire Owl: Those potions never really work.

Vampire Bat: I know that you trust the pseudo-scientific elixirs of Mr Frankenstein better.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has opened portals with elixirs.

Vampire Bat: Those were ancient portals found hidden in the caves beneath the castle!

[Gets a red velvet cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, there is a warning that Mother Earth has been pillaged, with her life’s blood taken away, and this terrible act has awakened a spirit which needs to be feared – it would seek the lost, frail and the depraved, and asks the viewers to hope and pray that it won’t take one among them. The scene cuts to Cispus Falls, a small town in Oregon which feels dark with an eerie feeling. There, in an inactive mine, Frank Weaver (Scott Haze) runs a meth lab within an inactive mine which used to serve the town’s economy a long time ago. Frank and his co-worker hears some strange noises from within the mine, and goes on to check the same. As they doubt that it is an animal and tries to escape, find themselves attacked by an unseen creature. Frank’s son Aiden Weaver (Sawyer Jones) waits for him outside the mine, failing to understand what has happened inside. His elder brother as Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T Thomas) is considered to be strange by his classmates and teachers, but Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) who teaches about myths and fables is determined to help him.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Julia remembers the abuse she suffered as a child in the hands of her alcoholic father who was also mentally ill – she feels that he is also suffering from something similar. Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons), her brother is the local sheriff – she had abandoned him a long time ago, but has now returned home from California following the death of their father. She feels that she shouldn’t have left the place, and tries to help another person as she can, this time, Lucas. She tries to bond with him, but there is no success at all – she tries to visit his house, but leaves after hearing some strange noises from inside. Lucas seems to have some some mystery locked within his house, and also takes dead animals and birds to his home. He stays awake at night and makes strange drawings. Julia feels that she really needs to get to the bottom of this, and also informs her brother, who reaffirms that Frank was considered fit to be the guardian of the two children after the mother’s death – now, what would she do?

The defence of Antlers :: It can be seen that Antlers does take the deviation from the usual horror, and this divergence is taken seriously throughout its narrative – it lets the surroundings contribute to the same really well. The environment and the setting serve effectively for the movie too. The small town with its dark and wet weather really suits the situation presented around here, and there is enough of the woods to keep one going in the mood of terror. The idea of the “diabolic wickedness that devours humans”, the spirit that takes many forms, makes a powerful myth around here. There is also a connection made to the destruction of nature which the humans managed to come up with. One wouldn’t be able to blame the monsters considering how evil the humans happen to be at every point. We also have the moments of scares, and that gets stronger with the understanding that there is a seemingly unstoppable force of nature at work. Add the performance, especially from children, and things only get much darker and scarier in nature.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Antlers had the premise to be something greater, but doesn’t use the same to the best of advantage. We do see the moments which we feel could have been better. When you have such a near-unstoppable monster at the centre, there are many things that can be done – it could have surely been designed better too. The emotional side doesn’t seem to work that much, even though we are waiting for those elements to be effective too. The myth could have also been given a boost with certain elements from the past, and a history to be remembered. One can generate enough fear out of that too. The scope for sequel at the end seems to be forced, as if there was a certain need rather than anything else. One can feel the need to remind the viewer of a myth that goes missing, but that requires more of a better origins story with roots in a mysterious past – let the horror run through there too.

The performers of the soul :: Keri Russell has been among my favourite actresses from a long time ago – she carries a certain amount of charm with her roles, even though horror hasn’t been the genre we would remember her the most for. She would make it to the list of performers who don’t seem to age much as years pass. She blends in really well as this protagonist who has her own problems from childhood itself. Jesse Plemons supports her really well as the brother figure and the policeman. Jeremy T Thomas gets his moments as the struggling child who is forced to make too many decisions at such a young age. Scott Haze gets into the terrifying moments around here well. Sawyer Jones plays the other child of significance in a role which brings a fair challenge to him. Amy Madigan ends up having a smaller role to work with than what was expected. Rory Cochrane’s work is another thing of support here. The monster when shown, works as a performer by itself.

How it finishes :: Antlers keeps on moving the world of horror forward in a different path for a change, and the world of fear continues to make its points in one way or the other. One does feel that the Malayalam movie Odiyan could have learned a few things from this one with the creature attacks and the atmosphere to make it darker – if you see the looks, there seems to a visual connection. The earlier divergent horror movies like Malignant, Lights Out, It Follows and Don’t Breathe had scored better, but this one tries to make it count. Maybe, something like the creature in this movie is the need of environment itself to take care of the humans who are destroying nature as we have known it. Well, Corona virus did try, but they were not successful in getting rid of humanity and its use of science to destroy environment. It does make us feel that there can be the moment when nature can get it back running – The Blackout surely made us think about human extinction. Until something like that happens, let us enjoy this horror out of nature.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Theatre); 15th December 2021 (Hotstar)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Starring: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Battleship

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What is Battleship? :: I have to admit that I had no idea that this was an alien movie mostly based on the sea before I went on to watch it. Yes, I found out that a Hollywood movie has released in the local theatre which would cost me absolutely no travelling charges and just the fifty rupees for the ticket, and wasted no time in looking for the plot synopsis or the reviews. Convert it, and it is not even one Unites States Dollar – too good for a movie with Hollywood effects. Thank God for the cheap tickets even in those multiplexes. Well, let me tell you that this is a confused movie, as it clearly wonders what is is supposed to do and why it is exists. In the meaningless or rather absurd world that it creates, the movie wonders what is it doing. But there is lot of entertainment in store in that world. If people can make Krrish 3 a superhit, why not this one? Always a better science fiction story than Krrish 3 – with better graphics, better story and a lot more. The best thing is that nobody really comes up and gives it a four out of five.

The Setting :: I always loved Battleship as the guessing game that it is. In spite of reminding me of that very old game called Minesweeper which I played while my computer lab hours of Plus Two, it was fun enough and may be one of those few games which I could just win by making some of the most stupid guesses. I didn’t know how to play the other games including Hearts, Solitaire and Backgammon and my only hope was to install Pinball or Allen Border’s Cricket – those were the days of floppy games, the memories keeping me nostalgic. So here comes Battleship as a movie, and I wondered how is it related to the game? May be because the makers were trying too much of a guessing game about the success of this movie, or may be our hero’s guess work has finally paid off and the alien invaders are defeated. There is indeed a lot of strange happenings in the movie, and I would like to guess that the aliens too guessed after having their own guessing game, may be named “Starship” – yes this has aliens and the military, and lots of battleships from both sides.

What is it about? :: Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is an undisciplined U.S. Navy officer who is in love with Samantha Shane (Brookyln Decker) who is the daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson) and our hero is just steps away from being discharged from the navy. But sometimes good things come in the form of an invasion and the best things come in the form of an alien invasion, that too concentrating in the ocean, thus giving him that opportunity to be the alien war hero. Well, five alien spacecrafts arrive, thanks to the curious Earthling cats trying to kill themselves with their space programs and their attempts to communicate and travel to the other world. The Navy fleet comes in contact with an alien fleet and gets most of their forces destroyed. With most of the people dead and Alex Hopper being the next person on charge, he has to take on the aliens with whatever crew he has left (which obviously includes Rihanna’s character) while his girlfriend who is with a U.S. Army veteran tries to take on some other aliens in another way.

The defence of Battleship :: It is better than the other two alien movies which turned out to be success at the box-office in the earlier years, Skyline (2010) and Battle: Los Angeles (2011), but this wouldn’t be that much of a box-office success, mostly due to the higher budget and secondly due to it coming later, after Cowboys and Aliens as well as The Darkest Hour, none of them creating that big impression which the alien movies needed. I don’t think that none of these movies are bad though. Well, I would say that this one needs to be watched just for its action sequences, well-designed alien spacecrafts and weaponry, the special effects and the well-designed alien creatures. We could take the virus-logic of the 1996 Will Smith movie which they decided to name Independence Day and most of the audience accepted the movie which one of the worst climaxes that anyone could think about, and so thinking more about this movie is vain, and one has to accept this one for the effort that was put into it and all that has worked.

The claws of flaw :: There is good design, but that mostly leaves the alien ships as transformers of the ocean (but still having their own style), and the movie concentrates rather too much on the navy which is rather an overdose which one could have avoided. They could have had it, but with lesser emphasis on the awesomeness of that navy or rather decreasing the screen-time. Yes, the name of the movie is Battleship, but it doesn’t mean that you have to praise battleships and show them again and again making us feel that it is the hero and the characters are not important at all. You have someone like Taylor Kitsch and someone as awesome as Liam Neeson, but where is the focus? On the battleships of humans and aliens. May be it can have a big basket to keep its collection of cliches. When a movie tries to claim that it is adapted from a game like Battleship, what can you expect? They can’t even copy the cutscenes or dialogues! Why water? Because they want to show battleships a lot!

Performers of the Soul :: Taylor Kitsch is there playing the protagonist (the one which is human), but doesn’t have that good a role which could prove his abilities, and is still good with the character. John Carter was awesome and his performance was great, and another thing that I appreciate about him is that he is ready to do a sequel to the movie which might be highly unlikely due to its previous box-office performance. I am proud of thee and Lynn Collins. He deserves better than this, just like John Carter deserved a lot more. I really don’t know why they had Rihanna in the movie, and it is a question better left unanswered. Brooklyn Decker has her presence, but one has to think that she wasn’t really needed in this movie, and this so much pales in comparison to how she has been in Sports Illustrated. Another question is that how could they waste an actor like Liam Neeson is such an insignificant role? Ra’s al Ghul and Jean Veljean should dislike that, and I am not even going to Oskar Schindler.

How it finishes :: Battleship is more of an excuse to make another alien invasion movie and get some box-office collection from it. People can watch it to stare at Brooklyn Decker, but it also gives us some reasons why the third movie of Transformers was not that good (as if the second was of any good). This movie also has the CGI and special effects which rival that series, and has Brooklyn Decker instead of Megan Fox and the other lady who was there for the looks. Battleship will not be a movie franchise like Transformers, and this might be the last time we see such an alien movie based on the ocean, but this movie can surely provide us with a lot of entertainment as long as one chooses to watch it. This is still a better movie than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon – if you ever come across these movies at the same time on television, watch this one; has more logic, common sense, style and even better characters and story than the mis-adventures from Bay, and not to forget the use of graphics and the right use of special effects on the explosions and stuff.

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Release date: 18th May 2012
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Jesse Plemons, Adam Godley, Gregory D. Gadson, Peter MacNicol, John Tui, Hamish Linklater

battleship! copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.