Doom: Annihilation

Vampire Owl: Do you remember Doom? The only and only Doom?

Vampire Bat: Doom is not one and only. There are many Dooms.

Vampire Owl: What do you mean? How many do you know as of now?

Vampire Bat: I played the video game named Doom, in the 1990s.

Vampire Owl: Okay, the game which you played before you had Unreal Tournament, Warcraft, Age of Empires, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Hitman and Need for Speed.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and then I had a little bit of Doom II until it was replaced by Unreal Tournament and later adding some Quake 3 Arena.

Vampire Owl: I remember you having said something about Quake and Quake II. You had quite a metamorphosis with the computer games then.

Vampire Bat: There were others from the same video game developers, id Software including Wolfenstein, Heretic and Hexen.

Vampire Owl: So, your memories go beyond The Rock starrer movie of the same name.

Vampire Bat: Yes, those PC gaming memories are beautiful, and there was no reason why I wouldn’t watch this particular movie. Doom is like a legendary game during those days when I first had a computer. It was first love.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: United Aerospace Corporation (UAC) has established a base on Phobos, the innermost and the larger one among the two natural satellites of Mars. Dr. Malcolm Betruger (Dominic Mafham), after years of research, tries to teleport a volunteer from a UAC lab in Nevada to their lab on Phobos by using teleporters. Even though the experiment seems to be successful in the begining, with the subject travelling all the way to Phobos and returning in one piece, there seems to be some problem with him – there are some deformities with him, not just outside, but also inside, with nothing much normal about him. Against the wishes of the other scientists inclduing the senior Ahmed Kahn (Hari Dhillon), Malcolm decides to make one more teleportation, this time with himself on the portal. But things don’t go as planned, and there is a problem with the power supply, and things don’t go as planned.

So, what happens with the events here? :: On a UAC transport vessel, a group of Marines on a mission to guard the Phobos base wakes up from cryo-sleep. Joan Dark (Amy Manson), a disgraced lieutenant is among the first to wake up and go through the procedures. She is someone whom nobody in the team wants to work with, except for her former boyfriend Bennett Stone (Luke Allen-Gale), a scientist who is excited to be sent to that high tech facility on a moon far away from Earth. The team is led by Hector Savage (James Weber Brown) who is not happy about the fighting going on inside the team, and hopes that they will work together well during their next mission on Phobos, which could be more or less about making sure that nobody steals from the high-tech facility, as almost everything in there is supposed to be worth millions of dollars. Unable to communicate with the base, they enter through the emergency entrance only to find trouble. Can they survive the horror inside the facility and restore it, or will they perish?

The defence of Doom: Annihilation :: This movie brings that long gone video game feeling back, as it is something that we fans of the first person shooters have always wanted, getting that much needed nostalgia too. Even with a low budget, the movie has brought the looks of a moon and space station into believable mode. With the usual first person shooter look written into it, there are maps in the helmets of the marines which they can access, and the characters move accordingly – they also have different access cards, and entering some areas are prohibited just like in those good old video games. This movie is more or less deserving a gamer’s love rather than of the others. Still, you can’t deny its quality shooting sequences, creatures attacking all of a sudden and continuing to create a world of terror, simple but effective work of a facility in space, a hell being designed and looking pretty effective and above all, the idea which we know from the game itself. The movie also has its heart and soul at the right place, while it also adds some humour and hope for an even better sequel.

The claws of flaw :: Doom: Annihilation does suffer from the low budget, and the signs can be seen here, and with some of the demons and places showing missing links in the design. It could have actually had more demons, with some more locations inside the facility – each creature and space could have been different, with one grand antagonist in the end. But the movie doesn’t try that, and neither does it have as many weapons as the game, only trying to get one big gun before the ending moments. They could have brought some fine effects into place here with variety in demons and also the action sequences. Instead the movie chooses to go the straight path, which was too easy, considering the fact that a good number of games established the path a long time ago. It also has to be noted that some people had already declared this to be a bad movie because they didn’t like the previous movie, and because this is based on a video game, especially a first person shooter – that seems to have affected the number of people watching this.

Performers of the soul :: When a movie tries to live by the name of the highly successful, magnificent, nostalgic first person shooter gaming franchise, it would provide more action, thrills and even horror than dialogues, and we have the same here. The Scottish actress Amy Manson is in the lead here, and she has undoubtedly done a fantastic job here, as the marine punished for disobeying a direct order from the higher authorities. From the moment she gets out of the cryo-sleep chamber, we know that she is to play the determined marine is a very much believable manner – she keeps that level throughout the movie’s run. She has an emotional side, and is perfectly suited to action, making us hope that the movie’s possible sequel would also have her in the lead. After Amy, Jemma Moore is the next one we see early, among those marines, but she is not there to stay, while most of the marines follow the same pattern, except three who stays further, and you know who has to survive till the end, as it is no surprise. Dominic Mafham reminds one of Event Horizon, and does well.

How it finishes :: If you have played any of the games in the Doom franchise, there is a certain amount of nostalgia related to this particular movie. As far as I can remember, Doom was the first of the first person shooter games which I had played. There we fought our way through demons from the other world, playing the game which would be considered as a pioneer among the titles of the same kind. It had also inspired me to buy Quake, another video game built on the style of Doom. For all of us who have played computer games in the 1990s, this is a dose of nostalgia, and for others, there is that memory of the 2015 version – the one which had quite a star cast including The Rock, Karl Urban and Rosamund Pike. With the negative reviews all around, it was not quite a success, and even with a cast which is not that famous, this one manages to be a better adventure. It might have something to do with my love for the game franchise, but I did enjoy watching this movie very much.

Release date: 1st October 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Tony Giglio
Starring: Amy Manson, Dominic Mafham, Luke Allen-Gale, Nina Bergman, Katrina Nare, Clayton Adams, James Weber Brown, Jemma Moore, Gavin Brocker, Amer Chadha-Patel, Chidi Ajufo, Hari Dhillon, Arkie Reece, Louis Mandylor, Cassidy Little, Plamena Bozhilova, Lorina Kamburova, Nathan Cooper

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Life

Vampire Owl: This looks like the tale of someone new to life.

Vampire Bat: Not just life; something extra-terrestrial in nature.

Vampire Owl: You mean like aliens returning once again to get rid of humans from this world for everyone’s good.

Vampire Bat: Extra-terrestrials are kind of better than humans, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I recently met an alien who also gave me the idea to get rid of these humans and save Earth.

Vampire Bat: Absence of humans actually proves to be better for all other life-forms, I wouldn’t deny that.

Vampire Owl: There is no point in denying the same, because it is the truth. We should have actually finished them off when we had a chance.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you remember that it was a team decision to let them not become extinct, as we needed them to write stories about us?

Vampire Owl: But we have been trying to get the voters against the same after they decided to come up with Twilight and its successors. The current voting status in the vampire imperial chambers against human extinction is 591 against 409. It was 880 against 120 earlier.

Vampire Bat: Well, humans are becoming so evil that everyone except them want them extinct. They are giving competition to even the demons.

[Gets three cups of Munnar tea with a piece of pineapple cake].

What is the movie about? :: A probe which was collecting information about possible existence of life in Mars has returned from the planet, with something that is to prove the same and change the future of humanity forever. Even though it strays of the path, the same is intercepted by the crew of an International Space Station. The exobiologist of the team, Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) is successful in reviving a dormant cell from this sample received from Mars after repeated attempts and failures. This new organism fascinates everyone among the crew who belongs to different nationalities, including the medical officer Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), quarantine officer Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), systems engineer Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), pilot Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the commander of the space station, Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya).

So, what happens next in the movie? :: One day, this organism which was named Calvin, seems to be dead. While trying to revive it, Hugh is attacked by Calvin who escapes by smartly using the electric shock tool used on it. Rory who gets in to save him, gets killed by the creature which keeps getting bigger and bigger. As it escapes through the vent, the rest of the crew are concerned about what is to happen next. Calvin also gets to Katerina, who is also killed, but leaves it outside. Despite the crew trying their best to keep Calvin outside and launch it into deep space using the thrusters, it manages to get through. The International Space Station, after having used so much of fuel through the thrusters to attempt to kill the creature, keeps getting closer to Earth, and seems to be slowly getting into the planet’s atmosphere to get burned. They come up with a plan to finish off the creature, but this one is a lot smarter than they think, and will adapt to anything they can bring – so, what will follow?

The defence of Life :: You have the feeling of going through something close to the Alien franchise with its creature. The execution is also very nice as we can see this one progress. This has its elements of mystery and horror working during the early stages itself. The creature itself develops steadily, and we see it through the different stages of evolution. With Mission Impossible‘s own Rebecca Ferguson and Jake Gyllenhaal around, this also well-acted without causing any change for doubt. The special effects are really good, and we see the space and the ships looking really good. There is also nobody to be the star here, except the alien, with a name, manages to be the one who controls things all the time as an intelligent life-form just recently born. Life surely provides the entertainment with its memorable moments, and the final scene surely brings a nice twist, and is better than what most of the people might expect for a movie like this.

The claws of flaw :: The similarity with Alien franchise is there, which doesn’t really give that original feeling with this one, especially considering the fact that Alien Covenant shares the same year of release with this one, and happens to be a better movie than Life. We have actually watched a little too much of Alien franchise to easily like another one so similar to it. Maybe, it is more like Alien combined with Gravity kind of feeling with its mood. You do have so many space movies with big ideas, like Interstellar, The Martian and Passengers – well, this one comes below them all as far as the rating is considered. As you go on, you will see that this one can’t be considered that evolved with the creatures like Alien, as there is one thing here, which is not that huge, but that could change with the possible sequels which look a little bit too far away right now. Ryan Reynolds disappears too early into the movie, and it is a sad thing for the fans of Deadpool. Maybe, they could have brought some big scary moments with the alien attacks, while using the setting of space along with the same.

Soul exploration :: As the title suggests, the movie is about “life”, but not of humans or any species on Earth, but rather on what exists outside. This search for life which has been going on for many years, seems to land humanity in trouble without doubt, and with no chance for redemption, as you witness how it ends here. Life tells you that there are some boundaries which are not to be crossed. With so much to do otherwise for your own fellow beings, this is not something which is urgent, as references are made to the situation on Earth too. But as with all those big inventions of science for the rich, making life better for the common man is not the first option. The rich always have the first chance at science and its inventions. It also makes too much of curiosity, which surely kills the cat, the reason for all the terror which is to follow. The crew, with its partners on Earth just crosses a line, and understands the consequences of what they had done. Also, a human life is more important than any other creature, and so one should understand.

How it finishes :: There is also that kind of ending which will ensure that “life” goes on, and it can be taken through more than one meaning. The option for sequel is left open there, and lets see if this can develop into a franchise like the Alien series, even though the box-office collection doesn’t really point to the same. Still, you can’t deny the fact that this could be a franchise that has the potential to give the Alien group of movies a challenge for supremacy. With Prometheus and Alien Covenant, that franchise has started exploring further, and Life could just do the same thing. One has to think that this movie has just begun its adventure, and its alien life-form has more and more to do with its humans. A good science fiction horror movie in space is often too hard to find, unless there is a future when something like Event Horizon or Pandorum are to be found here and there, all the time. But for now, Life is indeed the fine addition to the list which is rather small.

Release date: 24th March 2017
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Alexander Nguyen, Hiu Woong-Sin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Martian

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Vampire Owl: I have always wanted to have a pact with the Martians. The Earthlings are too evil for our taste.

Vampire Bat: Well, Dejah Thoris has been a fine Martian.

Vampire Owl: I hope that the presence of an Earthling on Mars will mean that he is free of the ambitions of Earth.

Vampire Bat: It shall be so, as there is no real need for money and power on Mars as of now.

[Gets the tickets and cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1115-the-martian-movie-review

Based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name from 2011, The Martian is a much awaited movie which has already received a lot of positive opinions. The stories of survival outside the planet Earth has had the attention of the audience with Gravity and Interstellar, and The Martian tries to make further impact in the same area during this weekend. Directed by Ridley Scott and having Matt Damon in the lead, the movie is sure to attract the audience of all types, as the trailer did manage to catch the attention, bringing it to a large number of screens on this October 2nd.

A human mission to Mars goes terribly wrong and the astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed to be dead and left on the planet as commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) has to make the choice not to risk the return of the whole crew for searching for him. But he is alive and has become the first lone man on a planet seemingly without life. The first and the best option for the astronaut would be to wait for death considering how difficult or rather near impossible it should be to survive in Mars without any contact with Earth and possessing not enough supplies until the next mission can arrive. But Mark decides to try, and make that attempt not to die.

As Mark is a botanist, he finds a way to grow some potatoes inside, after creating a favourable atmosphere for the plants. The chances of survival still remain too low, until NASA engineers Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis) find out from the photos of the Mars station taken, that he is alive. They communicate using a Mars Pathfinder which Mark finds on the planet, and NASA begins the programs to send him supplies and get him home. But it is not that easy, as the probe which they sends explode and Mark himself has his own disasters at his place decreasing his chances of survival by many days.

Matt Damon is the man to look out for. He was also there in the last year’s space movie Interstellar, in a role which included being rescued from a planet too. But it never really had much there, and the planet sequence itself was more like a need to have a human character that is somewhat closer to the villainy. But here, there are no heroes and villains, and there is just the need for survival, that too in a fair way. The movie focuses on him, and so do the viewers, and he delivers an outstanding performance as the lone man who fights to survive where a normal person would have lost all hope. He has the most screen time, and makes a very fine use of the same.

The Martian remains ahead of both Interstellar and Gravity in many ways, making things more entertaining for the audience. The 3D of this movie might not be that heavy, but with the other aspects, The Martian clearly rises high. The environment is also a joy to watch. There is a perfect blend of emotional, intellectual and funny side here, the final side which was completely absent in Interstellar. The Martian is also straight to the point, but it never really fails to touch the audience. The movie knows where to stop being too much scientific and weird. It is the strength of the movie that the main character of the movie always remains someone whom the audience can connect with, instead of being someone special.

There is a strong, inspirational message in The Martian, and it is something which never lets go. It is the adventure that inspires the viewers never to lose hope, and it is also the kind of path which Interstellar could have followed. Another interesting thing about the protagonist of this movie is that he finds a lot more than just hope – he takes the opportunity to take the optimism to another level and even have some fun with his situation. The Martian has laughter, and that too when facing the possibility of death in a world far away from Earth. It is an adventure without any trace of pessimism, and almost everyone associated with it believes in their optimism, and this is a strange fact as the present world clearly lacks it, with so much of evil prevailing around the wars, terrorism, racial and religious hatred along with the other terrible things.

The Martian clearly has what it takes to be the big winner, and this is a good weekend to score among the viewers. This battle for escape from Mars is something that the fans of science fiction and survivor movies shouldn’t dare to miss. This has enough entertainment; some nice intelligent ideas and philosophy, along with making sure that the common man can easily understand the science here, as well as avoid whatever scientific term which they needn’t follow. The Martian is that kind of a movie, and by being the same, it will be a better, smooth experience for the brain and the heart than Interstellar, and easily overtakes the previous movie from Ridley Scott, Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Release date: 2nd October 2015
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Benedict Wong, Naomi Scott, Lili Bordán, Nick Mohammed

themartian

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Carter

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The story goes an year back, when I felt the horrible lack of respect to one movie which was better than another movie which was released in 2009. This better movie was John Carter and the inferior movie was Avatar. Even as the box office results and the critics say the other way around, the truth is not to be hidden. John Carter is superior to Avatar in each and every aspect, and unfortunately, the brainwashed audience go for movies reading the biased reviews of the so called critics. Well, how many times do someone have to tell these movie fans who read the fake paid reviews and look forward to to the hype, to listen to themselves and the less-hyped movies? For the same reason, I shall give this movie a little more in its ratings, for what it lost in its box office collection and the critical reviews. Seriously, why Avatar? What has it done other than building on the Pocahontas story and even becoming incredibly similar in theme to the Malayalam movie Vietnam Colony? Didn’t Avatar also get enough from this movie’s original story, A Princess of Mars, the science fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs? Still, it is hailed as the epic and became the highest-grossing film of all time, as well as of the United States and Canada; it is such a shame that there are two ways of treating the same material, the inferior one getting all the applause.

John Carter is more original than Avatar, being the right adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1917 novel, A Princess of Mars. It works as a perfect interplanetary adventure rather than a predictable world where one of the attackers get a candle lit in their brains and decide to get on the side of the helpless defenders. It has a dry and rather dark environment compared to Avatar which works very positively. Even the story is set in a more admirable world, with teleportation being the method rather than those giant space ships which repeats themselves in each and every movie, as the number of science fiction movies featuring space ships and the end of the Earth has reached a new record, as if they are too much interested in ending the Earth with that Voluntary Retirement Scheme which features the world’s most interesting voids which keeps creating more of themselves and call it science fiction, when they are actually confused what kind of creation they have actually given to the viewers. One has to wonder how much satisfaction they get by creating the same thing again and again.

After the sudden and unexpected death of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), his nephew Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara), attends the funeral. As per Carter’s instructions, the body is put in a tomb that can be unlocked only from the inside, and Burroughs is left with his journal to read and know more about what has happened. It tells his epic story when he is accidently transported to what seems to be a dying planet, Barsoom, a name which is used by inhabitants for what is known to Earthlings as Mars – with a harsh desert environment deprived of vegetation and even water on most of the areas. Because of his variable bone density and the planet’s low gravity, Carter is able to jump very high. But he is captured by a group of Green Martian creatures, called the Tharks and their leader Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). Meanwhile, the princess of the city of Helium, Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) escapes from a possible marriage to Sab Than (Dominic West), the leader of the city of Zodanga who is armed with a special weapon obtained from the Therns, the creatures who take the role of the gods of Mars and control the world through manipulation.

After Carter and Dejah unite in the Thark camp, they escape with the leader’s daughter, Sola (Samantha Morton) after being sentenced to death for entering their sacred temple. They decide to get to the end of a river sacred to the Martians in an attempt to find a way for Carter to get back to Earth. Instead they obtain information about the ninth ray, a source of poweful, infinite energy which only the Therns can use to their advantage in a variety of ways, the same thing which they used to strengthen Sab Than, so that Helium would be taken over and may be even destroyed, as Dejah herself was so close to unlocking its secrets; something which would have threatened their own existence as gods, knowing, controlling and manipulating everything on Mars. But before they realize anything else, But they are attacked by the Tharks who are manipulated by the Therns. After Helium troops arrive for help, Dejah agrees to marry Sab Than. So, it is upto the Earthling to save the day, but he is captured by the Thern who tells him how he has manipulated civilizations around the world for centuries in what he calls restoring balance in the world is theirs to control. This leaves Carter with more to deal with other than just a cruel, mindless ruler.

He was very good as Remy LeBeau a.k.a Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but this one is undoubtedly his best role ever. It is with amazing skill that he has changed from the former soldier to the defender of Mars; from John Carter of Earth to John Carter of Mars, from John Carter of Virginia to John Carter of Helium, from just a cavalryman on Earth to the saviour, redeemeer, hero and the prince on Mars. Adding Daryl Sabara as Edgar Rice Burroughs seemed like another brilliant idea which helped the movie to become a complete whole, both as a film and a literary adaptation. Lynn Collins looks incredible, outdoing the Kayla Silverfox of X-Men Origins: Wolverine; the two has united for good in this movie, it seems. If there is any doubt if she isn’t a princess of Mars, that would be a clear case of blasphemy in its purest form as long as all the concepts of a princess are concerned. She looked so immersed in that character, and if someone says there is no Helium nor Barsoom, she would be surprised. Strong in will and strong in combat, and surely not trailing in beauty to any other soul around her. It is good to see James Purefoy after watching two of his great movies, Solomon Kane and Ironclad, even as it is in a minor role.

John Carter has the advantage over Avatar in its pacing and characterization, and its environment, even if not too bright and heavy with so much unwanted elements of nature, gives a good effect on the screen – it looks real, unlike the all-time box office topper. Just like a university topper, college topper or class topper is not the best or not even near the best, Avatar can bow down to this movie in that alternate reality which would never come to existence in this world. Well, people are slowly coming to know about this one and how awesome it is, and thus John Carter will be hailed much later at least by a few sensible people. The lack of mechanized warfare, and the absence of blue people can be added as that advantage, but still there are the green ones who live a similar subaltern life as the human-like creatures fight each other and cause collateral damage. If we look closely, it is the species looking closer to humans that are always causing trouble – not really a thing to be proud about, I guess.

John Carter is actually a movie of a revolutionary in many ways – and that man is Carter himself who fights for the people to whom he doesn’t belong, the land to which he is not part of, and brings justice and equality not only to the human-like Martians, but also the oppressed subaltern in the form Tharks. The enslavement by the Therns will be also almost over with his success. He is that Earthling who changes a world for good, thus becoming a man of the cause. If there is any story that can inspire one, this is it. With that ending which the movie has got, there is no reason why one wouldn’t watch it on Star Movies, every time it makes an entrance. On a parallel Earth, this would have been a grand success, but in this world of prejudice and the love for nonsense movies, one has to ask an impaled dead body for truth and the right facts about a movie; for there is not much that one can gain by reading the reviews – never to believe what is written out there, as they misguide you and lead you to the wrong movie, which is why every movie missed is a grand tragedy!

Release date: 9th March 2012
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Willem Dafoe, Daryl Sabara, James Purefoy, Thomas Haden Church

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.