Sputnik

Vampire Owl: The title does remind everyone to get vaccinated.

Vampire Bat: It should originally inspire people to go to space.

Vampire Owl: It has surely inspired me to watch the movie.

Vampire Bat: Despite the name, this is a horror film.

Vampire Owl: So there is nothing about the achievements in space programmes.

Vampire Bat: Well, horror is the best genre for movies in space.

Vampire Owl: Horror is the best genre for vampire movies.

Vampire Bat: Horror is more effective in reality though.

Vampire Owl: COVID-19 had already brought that.

Vampire Bat: Doctor Frankenstein is already having new experiments regarding the same.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: In 1983, as the Cold War has reached its last stages, two cosmonauts who are exploring space come up against something strange on their way back. As there is some problem with their spacecraft, they crash lands in Soviet Kazakhstan. Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) is the only survivor of the crash, and he is taken to an isolated military facility for observation. Dr Tatyana Yuryevna Klimova (Oksana Akinshina) who is known for some unorthodox methods of psychological treatment including almost drowning a young boy doesn’t accept that she was wrong, and for the same, she is not considered a good choice. But that changes when she is given another mission by Colonel Semiradov (Fyodor Bondarchuk) who is in charge of the facility where Konsantin is kept. This scientific research facility is located far away from civilization, and she feels that there is more to this than what meets the eye, but in a different way.

So, what happens with the events here as some twist is coming up? :: The psychologists at the facility had already tried a lot with him, but there is not much progress about anything, and it is up to Tatyana to make a difference. She talks to the man, but doesn’t find anything out of the ordinary – yet, talking is only the first step, as she would realize later. It turns out that the cosmonaut has been affected by something terrifying, an alien creature which lives inside him. The creature has formed a symbiotic relationship with the man, and it comes out at night when he is asleep. It feeds on whatever he eats, and uses his body as if it is a spacesuit for survival. It had helped him to survive the crash, and helped him regenerate very quickly, making him fit in about two days. Her mission is to separate the host and the creature which lives inside him, and it has to be done without causing him any problems. The man never knew about such an existence inside him as he was feeling even healthier than before, and this seems to be an impossible task.

The defence of Sputnik :: The tension and anxiety is built from the beginning itself, when we see the film. The beginning scenes in space are reminders of what is to come, a foreshadowing of the monstrous entities to be unleashed later. Even though similarities with other alien films are there, this film doesn’t focus on the same, but generates its own monstrosity. The creature design is good, and the deviation from other similar aliens are managed well too. The environment here is also really good, and being at the Cold War Soviet facility does feel different from the usual secret scientific facilities. There is also some fine music going in the background that supports things on the screen, and we also see no shortage of blood and gore. There are also some interesting revelations made in between, and as a Russian film, it seems to have some tranquil quality which the loud alien films from Hollywood don’t usually display.

Positives and negatives :: The film stays further away from the Hollywood style, and therefore if you are looking for people to go around fighting aliens and defeating them in face to face battles, this will not be that much satisfying for you. This one is a rather slower thing, but it still has these moments to be enjoyed – the slowing down does add some beauty to it. You remember that it is usually the United States that is shown as experimenting with aliens, but here we have the change. It is to be noted the film also manage a certain amount of realism even with an alien at the centre here. It also has a small subplot with a child which was totally unnecessary in a film like this – the same was more suited to a flick like Proxima, and here it is out of bounds. One also wonders if it could have had a little bit of more time spent in space, with Gravity-like effects. The ending could have also been stronger, as there are ideas running through here too.

Performers of the soul :: Oksana Akinshina leads the film as a strong character who is more of a person than what meets the eye. She is steady in her role, and has some special moments in store too. The scene with her meeting the alien face to face, and her moments during the alien feeding all provide her with shots to remember in the film. Pyotr Fyodorov has some good work as the cosmonaut who was affected by the alien, and there are some solid moments with him and the leading actress. He fits into the role nicely, and each moment seems to have something for him. Fyodor Bondarchuk plays the antagonist who is planning something sinister with the alien inside human, and he has that determined soldier played to perfection. Anton Vasiliev’s character stand differently, and it is nice to see that one working on a divergent path compared to the others. If alien was more human in nature, that would have made a fine character too.

How it finishes :: This is one Soviet-age film with aliens from space, and that is a special change, unlike X-Men and Captain America which could be set in the same time period – horror has a certain advantage while dealing with the time period, and this Russian film make good use of the same. You can find similarities with another alien film from Hollywood, Life, and surely the references to Alien and its sequels can be seen, as that particular alien life-form has been the model for many more which followed. As sputnik means fellow traveler, the film nicely alludes to the alien as much as the successful Soviet space programme of the space race time period. Now, it has also come to refer to the vaccine looking forward to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and here it is the alien that needs to be taken care of instead of the virus. If you have liked films space travel films with aliens coming to Earth, this is another movie to grab your attention, and with this setting, it has much more of an advantage above the other movies.

Release date: 23rd April 2020
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Egor Abramenko
Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov, Anton Vasiliev, Vitaliya Korniyenko, Anna Nazarova, Aleksey Demidov, Aleksandr Marushev, Albrecht Zander, Pavel Ustinov, Natalya Shvets, Vasiliy Zotov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Color Out of Space

Vampire Owl: Does space have preference for any particular colour?

Vampire Bat: The colour here does look pink during the alien invasion.

Vampire Owl: Oh! I had considered it to be blue after the release of Avatar.

Vampire Bat: So, you didn’t think that it is black after Alien released.

Vampire Owl: No, blue just gave a better feeling, and nothing could rise over Avatar until Avengers: Endgame broke its box-office records.

Vampire Bat: But here, we have a pinkish colour which is almost pink.

Vampire Owl: We can take that for now, and leave it after the movie ends, because then it will always be blue.

Vampire Bat: Well, this one is from a story by HP Lovecraft, a master of horror. So, it is better to accept this colour as the alien shade.

Vampire Owl: I can’t do that. I have tried the same before with Stephen King.

Vampire Bat: Well, you can at least watch the movie and make the final decision.

[Gets an orange cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Theresa Gardner (Joely Richardson), a financial advisor has been losing her clients after she was diagonised with breast cancer, and had a long treatment. As she settled down in a rural are with a farm where the family attempted to grow tomatoes and have alpacas for milk, she also had limited access to the internet, leading to a further problems in her career. Her husband Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) had received the huge farm from his father, covering a grand area which extended towards the river on one side, and one the other side, it was almost impossible to find the borders. Their son Benny Gardner (Brendan Meyer) has been hanging around with Ezra (Tommy Chong) a local recluse who has been drinking a lot of alcohol and smoking weed all the time after he stopped being an electrician, and settled down in an area surrounded by woods. Nathan and Theresa are disappointed at the same, but there is nothing they can do.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Benny is not the only one affected by her mother’s disease and their move to the ancestral property, as their youngest son Jack Gardner (Julian Hilliard) is not even interested in talking to anyone else other than his pet dog Sam as he kept to himself all the time. Their only daughter Lavinia Gardner (Madeleine Arthur) becomes a Wiccan, and starts pagan witchcraft with the help of guides on black magic, hoping that one of those rituals close to nature can cure her mother’s remaining cancer cells completely. She keeps wearing strange and revealing Wiccan or Gothic clothing, and has coloured her hair in shade of violet, often traveling on a horse, much to the dismay of her parents. It is then that Ward Phillips (Elliot Knight) a hydrologist, surveying the water for an upcoming hydroelectric dam arrives there, and meets Lavinia in the middle of a pagan ritual involving a lock of hair.

And what else is to follow in this rural setting, making things different and divergent? :: One night, they are woken up by a Pinkish colour and a huge sound, which seems to be not of this world. While Lavinia feels it to be something magical, Benny finds it to be something from another planet, and they all finally agree that it is a meteorite after seeing a pink piece of the same lying on their lands. It is not exactly pink, with the colour feeling to be rather unearthly, and there is also a foul smell related to it. The very next morning, the meteorite is no longer glowing and is crumbling to dust. The mayor and the sheriff of the nearby town of Arkham also arrive to see it, followed by the television channels. But by that time, there is not much of the alien object remaining, seemingly having crumbled to death, leading to nobody taking it seriously. But on the next day, it is continuously struck by several bolts of lightning. Ward finds something wrong with the water there. How has the meteorite influenced the land, water and people around there? Is it safe anymore?

The defence of Color Out of Space :: HP Lovecraft is known to have blended science fiction with horror well, and it can be seen here too – use of science to reinforce the terror can be seen here, and it is displayed well in the movie. Use of recognizable monsters, jump scares and gory stuff is not longer the case, as a we go for the weird. It leaves a lot to be imagined too, as the fear feels more than what is seen here. The primordial forces from different worlds are stronger and beyond control, with no chance to escape, as no conceptions of reality can go beyond them. We are left with no power in front of things we don’t understand at all – it is the kind of horror from where nobody leaves alive. The colours are beautiful to watch on screen, adding to the lovely visuals of the countryside, but is supposed to be terror inside. Nicolas Cage does the usual job here and nothing more, but he is the one we trust every time. Madeleine Arthur remains cute even when going on the witch mode, and comes up with the next best performance, followed by Elliot Knight in this different horror thriller science fiction with colour itself as the alien life-form.

The claws of flaw :: As you already know, Colour Out of Space is not your usual type of horror thriller with a science fiction background present too – it is not for everyone, with all the weirdness, and a certain amount of disgust related to the same. The strangeness that one can feel in this movie goes rather too much for many people, and for Lovecraftian works transformed into movies, this might be found to be natural. This is the kind of tale which came before Alien and its sequels, and so, right now, we expect this movie adaptation to be even better – we don’t see that much of an extra effort which is put in here. The horror could have been added with something more, making it even more suitable for the age. There are times when one feels a comic effect, which should have been avoided, considering how terrifying, an inescapable this situation seems to be. One also has to doubt the use of Nicolas Cage here, who is not at his usual self. The final moments could have been better managed too.

How it finishes :: The movie is based on The Colour Out of Space, which is a science fiction as well as horror short story by the famous American author HP Lovecraft, who has come up with special interpretations in his tales regarding humanity’s place in the universe. His popular tales like The Call of Cthulhu, The Rats in the Walls, At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow over Innsmouth, and The Shadow Out of Time have all been needing film adaptations, due to them bringing something a lot different than what we have had during those times. There has been many previous adaptations of his works, especially this particular story, but most of them haven’t been that popular, at least at this part of the world. This one has the ability to be more popular, even after some time after its release, because it has Nicolas Cage at the centre of things, and supported well, this one will rise above the others – this surely is one interesting journey, and you can go through that Lovecraft divergence nicely here.

Release date: 7th September 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Richard Stanley
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Madeleine Arthur, Joely Richardson, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tommy Chong

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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.

Proxima

Vampire Owl: Have you heard about the vampire team planning to travel to Proxima Centauri?

Vampire Bat: No, such a plan was discarded after Doctor Frankenstein created a portal and ended up being crazy for three weeks.

Vampire Owl: It is depressing, because vampire space travel was only beginning to get popular.

Vampire Bat: You could have some temporary relief by watching a movie on space travel.

Vampire Owl: This one seems to be drama and not really science fiction.

Vampire Bat: Drama is more close to life than science fiction as far as humans are concerned.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. They always create some drama.

Vampire Bat: It is also the one reason why humans stopped evolving.

Vampire Owl: I do feel that they can still evolve like some of the alien species which we had met while traveling through one of those portals.

Vampire Bat: Well, lets see how far they can go and fight their own upcoming extinction.

[Gets a carrot cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Sarah Loreau (Eva Green) is preparing herself for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station, after different stages of training on Earth, and a final quarantine which would follow. She is very excited about it, as she finally had the chance which she was waiting for, throughout these years. She had kept so many things away just for this special opportunity which rarely comes to her field. But her daughter Stella Akerman Loreau (Zelie Boulant-Lemesle) is certainly not even close to being happy about it. She does like the idea that her mother is going to the stars, but hates the fact that she has to leave her for such a long period of time, first out of the nation and then far away from Earth itself. This would mean that Stella and her cat would have to stay in a new house in a new neighbourhood in a distant city, with her father Thomas Akerman (Lars Eidinger) as the parents had separated, despite falling in love while working at the same space agency.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But things have to go as planned, and they have to follow the procedure, as she has qualified with great difficulty, and now there will be no replacement in her place. Sarah leaves for further training, much to the dismay of Stella who is left to adjust with the new home and the new school were she keeps struggling with Mathematics and also in making new friends, being a new loner. At the same time, Sarah has some initial struggles with keeping up, and her colleague from the United States, Mike Shannon (Matt Dillon) considers her to be more of a space tourist, as he is a war veteran who has served in Irag and Afghanistan. But he does appreciate her hard work as time progresses, but as she develops an infection in a new wound, Sarah has further struggles to go with. At the same time, the bond between the mother and daughter which was very strong and special seems to be having some cracks here and there. Now, Sarah has to keep up both her lives going, and it is a question whether she can do the same.

The defence of Proxima :: As one would expect, the movie thrives in the work of Eva Green, who excels as the astronaut mother who struggles to keep the two sides of her life going. The movie serves as a reflection of anyone who is trying to seek new heights, but cannot let go of the old world to which the person belongs to. The training sequences are nice, and the emotional moments are all in control, with everything safely handled by Eva herself, for this is her movie. As the movie was shot in different original training facilities of the European Space Agency, everything feels more real, just like the feelings. The movie’s progress is also steady, even though we are given the idea of what to expect in the beginning stages itself. As the movie chooses to go realistic over everything else, we do have the interesting family drama which depicts the mother-daughter relationship without much of a trouble. In the same, there is quality guaranteed.

The claws of flaw :: Proxima had scope to be something more, with both its dramatic side and it could have been an action thriller of a lesser level too, with more twists being added to the training sessions and time of quarantine. People who are looking for some science fiction are going to be disappointed, because the same is not there, and we can say the same about the action and thriller side too. It could have also had more of emotional moments together, and there could have been more of bonding scenes between the astronauts in the facility. The fact that it keeps changing the language in between is a little bit strange, as it remaining a French movie with English subtitles would have been fair enough. It could have also used some flashback to add to the tale, because our protagonist here does seem to have had a long interesting past. If it had used all the elements perfectly, there was chance for a flawless film here, but Proxima does come somewhat close.

Performers of the soul :: With birthday on the 6th of July, it is a good time to give Eva Green some lovely birthday wishes, as she is one actress who has been special throughout her career, reminding us of some fine roles which she had played so well – this movie is not that much of an exception in that case too. The lovely actress has that kind of movies in her list which I have loved to watch, with the last few being my personal favourite Dark Shadows, the grand sequel 300: Rise of an Empire, the much different Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to be added to the list. She is fantastic in this movie, and we see the emotions running wild on one side, and the determination of the character on the other – Eva is delightful to watch in this film too, and she carries the movie on her shoulders with so much of ease. Zelie Boulant who plays the daughter also comes up with a fine performance. Matt Dillon does a fine job in the supporting role too. The rest just working along, as this one is indeed the Eva Green show from the first moment to the time when the credits starts rolling.

How it finishes :: It is no surprise that Proxima‘s biggest asset is Eva Green, and the same is reflected throughout the flick, with the focus never really shifting from her, as she brings the magnificent performance to elevate this movie to where it would have been, with another actress in her place. But those who watch this movie should note that it is not science fiction unlike some idea being given here. As the movie stays as close to a realistic world as possible even with an upcoming space travel, Proxima does deliver a strong drama which works with the mother-daughter relationship very well. It is the kind of movie that one can choose to watch during Eva Green’s birthday week, and the French actress’ work is reason enough to go for it. If you are going for science fiction in space or other planets, we do have those other titles, and expecting a Gravity, Interstellar or The Martian in this case will be wrong, as the tendency will be there as people see the lady wearing the spacesuit on the poster, but that is just one side of the tale.

Release date: 27th November 2019
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Alice Winocour
Starring: Eva Green, Matt Dillon, Zelie Boulant, Lars Eidinger, Sandra Huller, Aleksey Fateev, Nancy Tate, Svetlana Nekhoroshikh, Anna Sherbinina, Vitaly Jay, Lionel Ferra, Manuela Aguzzi, Gregoire Colin, Trond-Erik Vassal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wandering Earth

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Earth can wander?

Vampire Bat: I have never known about Earth being a wanderer. Can it go to tourist destinations and see places?

Vampire Owl: This movie has Earth wandering around with he help of human technology to escape the solar system to save all life.

Vampire Bat: So, you mean to say that extinction is delayed in this case too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, this time it is the Chinese that saves the day.

Vampire Bat: So, after The Monkey King 2 and The Mermaid, it is time for another full-length Chinese movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and we haven’t had something like Interstellar, Gravity or The Martian in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have missed space as well as the possible end of the world.

Vampire Owl: There are not many things that I have missed so much.

Vampire Bat: This one looks grand. So, it could assure fine quality science fiction during the possible end of the world.

[Gets a plum cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: The Sun which is getting older is about to turn into a red giant and would engulf Earth’s orbit very soon, and this realization forces the world nations to form a United Earth Government, an act of unity which never happened in the long history of humanity. The plan here is to take Earth out of the Solar System to the Alpha Centauri system which is many light-years away, so that mankind can be saved from extinction which seems to be very close. For the same reason, grand thrusters known as the Earth Engines, are built across the planet to keep Earth moving, after stopping its rotation. Many people die due to grand tsunamis that occured after the rotation stopped. As Earth moved away from the sun using the newly formed Earth Engines, the surface was frozen, forcing the remaining people to live in huge underground cities. These areas were built near the engines to make sure that there is enough power.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As this plan to keep Earth moving for many years, almost taking one hundred generations to finish the mission, a young man named Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao) takes his younger sister Han Duoduo (Zhao Jinmai) on a journey at the surface. It happens to be an unauthorized trip to the surface, but as they travel in a heavy transport vehicle using fake IDs from criminal gangs and also using their grandfather Han Zi’ang’s (Ng Man-tat) heavy vehicle clearance pass. But their journey is halted by the security forces who takes them to prison, and they are soon joined by their grandfather who tries to bribe the authorities to get them out. Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing), Liu Qi’s father is an astronaut who is at an international space station that is supposed to help navigate the Earth on its journey that would last thousands of years, and also has DNA of animals and seeds of plants stored to ensure better life in the next solar system.

And what is to follow later in this tale? :: Liu Peiqiang’s mission in space is finally going to end and is all set to return to Earth after the Chinese New Year, and meet his son who has been very unhappy about leaving him behind. Liu Qi’s only happiness in the world is his adopted teenage sister Han Duoduo who was saved during the tsunamis by his grandfather. But the plans of a possible family reunion is soon destroyed, as huge earthquakes occur on Earth, as the planet has a gravitational spike during its journey close to it, instead of gaining a gravitational assist, and the Earth Engines are disables as a result. This would get Earth much closer to Jupiter, setting it on a collision course with the giant gas giant, which is many times bigger, and would mean the end of human life on all cities. With all the destruction around, the family escapes from the prison along with a fellow prisoner named Tim (Mike Sui) who is half-Chinese and half-Australian, as they get caught in a mission to save Earth. But can they do it and move Earth away from the largest planet in the solar system?

The defence of The Wandering Earth :: The movie does manage to have some good performances from Qu Chuxiao in the lead, Wu Jing as the father figure, Li Guangjie as the captain, Zhao Jinmai as the sister figure, Ng Man-tat as the grandfather figure, and others who support pretty well. But the movie is never that much about people, even though the emotional side is awakened at times, especially related to the family relations – the big advantage of the movie remains with the action-filled adventure set in the future, nicely managed in a world which is very well designed. There is a fine world that we see here, giving our eyes some beauty which is there to stay even after we finish watching the movie. The post-apocalyptic world is among the best, and the designs of the underground cities, the grand engines with the view of Earth and Jupiter, the new frozen world on the surface, and the message of hope are all nicely delivered. The thrills are delivered well.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the emotional touch is surely there, the characters remain underdeveloped, and the sister character, even though becomes one that catches our attention, doesn’t have that depth – the father-son relationship also struggles to move on, and the final sacrifice is the one thing that saves it, as its background remains too strained to be likable. There is also a certain amount of predictability related to that, and even with a new idea of using the Earth to go to another solar system instead of a spaceship to take people to another planet, the idea is not that much explored to the full potential. Even with the final attempt being something of zero chance of survival, when people go for it instead of supporting the survival of the species, one has to wonder what kind of astronauts and scientists are these people. At least the Artificial Intelligence did loss hope in mankind by then. This one surely needs a sequel to let us know how it goes after that fine finish, and I hope that it arrives soon.

How it finishes :: The Wandering Earth is undoubtedly the best Chinese full-length movie which I have watched so far, but it has to be noted that I haven’t watched many of those movies. It is a visually stunning spectacle which takes you on an apocalyptic as well as post-apocalyptic journey through a world which needs to be saved, and this is where the science fiction wears it action-adventure boots, and gets you on a thrilling adventure. It might not make you feel that it is entirely new inside, but what you see on the outside with its idea, is innovative. It might feel familiar at times, but also impressive, when you witness this grandeur on the screen. It is China’s third highest-grossing movie of all-time, and it might be their first full-scale space adventure, with apocalypse written all over it. Loosely based on the 2000 novel with the same name by Liu Cixin, the movie has you immersed in that world from the future.

Release date: 5th January 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Frant Gwo
Starring: Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjiem, Ng Man-tat, Zhao Jinmai, Wu Jing, Qu Jingjing, Zhang Yichi, Yang Haoyu, Li Hongchen, Yang Yi, Jiang Zhigang, Zhang Huan

<— Click here to go to the previous review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Beyond Skyline

Vampire Owl :: What do you think awaits us beyond the skyline?

Vampire Bat :: The aliens. We know that from the first movie.

Vampire Owl :: Well, those creatures didn’t gain that much of a positive opinion that time.

Vampire Bat :: You know that all movies can’t be Alien Covenant or Prometheus.

Vampire Owl :: But movies certainly can be something in between them.

Vampire Bat :: An alien movie can still just be one, and not try for more.

Vampire Owl :: It is more or less like meeting the minimum requirements.

Vampire Bat :: Well, the minimum requirement for an alien movie is to have aliens.

Vampire Owl :: The need is more for having an alien invasion.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that surely works better in most cases.

[Gets three cups of tea with paneer puffs].

A flashback to the first movie :: The first movie told the story of Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and Elaine (Scottie Thompson) who had flown to Los Angeles for Jarrod’s best friend Terry’s (Donald Faison) birthday party. Celebrating with Terry’s wife, Candice (Brittany Daniel), and his assistant, Denise (Crystal Reed), blue lights came down from the sky, hypnotizing anyone who looks at them, and the same had them immobilized as if they were zombies to be easily collected by the machines from the sky emitting the lights. After a series of events and attempts at survival, Jarrod and Elaine were sucked into the ship too. Inside the alien spacecraft, she saw that human brains were taken into machines to power them. Jarrod’s brain, inserted into a new alien body, gained control of the body instead of working otherwise, and came to the aid of a pregnant Elaine and their unborn child. This was were the first movie ended.

What is the movie about this time? :: Mark Corley (Frank Grillo), a police officer, gets his son, Trent Corley (Jonny Weston), out of the prison after he gets into trouble again. The two seems to be sorting things out in the underground metro when something strange seems to happen. It is then, at the same time that the alien invasion takes place. One after the other, people are mind-controlled and taken into their spaceships by the aliens. They seem to escape, but after a tactical nuclear attack by the aliens, Mark, Trent, a transit worker named Audrey (Bojana Novakovic) and a blind homeless man named Sarge (Antonio Fargas) are all taken by the aliens into their spaceship. The machines inside the spaceship seems to work hard with taking the brains out from the survivors, and Mark goes on searching for son, while being hunted by the creatures all around.

So what happens next with this tale of alien invasion? :: Going further into the ship’s closed area, he meets Elaine and her transformed boyfriend Jarrod from the first movie. It seems that even though Elaine is just three months pregnant, her pregnancy has reached its end as she gives birth to a daughter while she dies. Now, the destruction of the spaceship becomes the priority. As Jarrod fights the alien creatures, Mark rescues Audrey while Trent’s brain is taken and Sarge dies. Jarrod is killed when he fights the alien leader, but successfully crashes the ship in the forest area of Laos. There, Mark and Audrey with the child comes across Sua (Iko Uwais) and his sister Kanya (Pamelyn Chee), who are escaping from both aliens and local military men who are trying to take advantage of the situation. They take them to an underground lair full of survivors, and there they find out that this kid might be the key to their survival against aliens.

The defence of Beyond Skyline :: The visuals are good; they are not perfect as a big budget alien movie, but they are nice to watch. The creatures remind us of Predators, and the insides of the spaceship looks better than the outside. Some good action sequences are also there, and the final battle is nicely done. The cast is one big positive of this movie, as the man who played one of the villains in Marvel Universe, was Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War, and the one who was the spine of The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year is at the top of the game here too. We saw that he could go through that action thriller with ease, and this is no different. Bojana Novakovic whom we had seen in The Devil, is not that far away here either. She is part of the action early itself.

The claws of flaw :: There is too much repetition in here, and there is no attempt to add something new here. The aliens could have had further detail, and something special could have added with an origin story. Some moments don’t really have the seriousness that they deserve, and there is a little bit more violence and gore than one would expect from a usual alien invasion movie. The energy as well as the feeling of danger and fear that an alien movie should display, is not always there either. It could have ended differently though, as the final scene predicting the next part seems to too usual – can’t people come up with something other than this to end a movie? Well, the plan seems to be to keep close to the usual alien stuff a little too much – it is surely the safer thing to do, but the question remains if we really need more and more movies doing the same?

How it finishes :: As a science fiction movie, Beyond Skyline will not contribute much to the scientific side or bring that much of a variety, but it is surely an improvement from its predecessor. We have better cast as well as a lot more action with this flick. It is that kind of a movie which provides you with a chance to use your willing suspension of disbelief again, and along with the same, it just keeps within the limit without going absurd. You might be able to find those bigger alien movies at higher budgets, but this one is not short of its fun and entertainment, with its aliens knowing where to head to, just like its humans. Maybe, with another movie in the franchise with higher budgets, we can have a lot more. It is what Beyond Skyline is about, to be bring the fun in between, with the resources that it possesses, never stepping back with the entertaining side.

Release date: 15th December 2017
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Liam O’Donnell
Starring: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Callan Mulvey, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Pamelyn Chee, Betty Gabriel, Antonio Fargas, Lindsey Morgan, Valentine Payen, Samantha Jean, Jacob Vargas, Jonny Weston, Joanne Baron, Karen Glave, Tony Black

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Valerian

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we went through space?

Vampire Bat: Yes, that was when the portal created by Doctor Frankenstein opened at the wrong place.

Vampire Owl: It is still a much debated topic. He says that the portal still opened at the right place, which has another portal as a connection.

Vampire Bat: There is no history of the existence of having a portal connected or placed within another portal.

Vampire Owl: He always makes new history. Last time he did something like this, it became a novel.

Vampire Bat: There is real debate on that, about his motives behind the same.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula trusts him more than anybody else?

Vampire Bat: Yes, just like the Frankenstein Monster trusted his monster. Where did it lead him?

Vampire Owl: Frankenstein Monster’s case is different. He was never really alive to be dead, and so he never really got out of life to die.

Vampire Bat: Life and death, they are just two sides of a leviathan’s coin, marked with the sign of the undead.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Krackjack biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A long way into the future, a former International Space Station has reached critical mass, getting relocated into deep space, being renamed as the city of Alpha, a space-traveling world inhabited by millions of creatures from many thousands of planets from different galaxies as humans build contact wit them. With the population going out of control, there is a special police force created to preserve peace as well as law and order, and it has Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who go on special missions all around the galaxy to make sure that everything works according to the plan. It is one of those days when they are having some vacation time that Valerian dreams about Princess Liho-Minaa (Sasha Luss) who is living in a planet with her peaceful group of people who fishes for pearls, but has their world destroyed by spaceships coming right out of the sky. But he is clueless about how the dream could be so clear, and it is as if the princess is calling out to him.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: It is analyzed that the message could have been from any time period and any part of the universe, and there is no chance of finding what could have caused the message to get through him, and the source remains unknown. At the same time, their next mission is on, with the need to get something that replicates almost anything in the universe – but it turns out that the same is with the black market dealer Igon Siruss (John Goodman) who is part of an extra-dimensional marketplace. There, Valerian and Laureline find the secret to unlocking something which has been troubling the government for a long time – Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) of something strange happening in the centre of Alpha, and that the troops sent into that particular area have not returned, and the area which is out of their control, is growing. Now, it is up to the two to find more of the missing links, and unveil the big mystery.

The defence of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets :: What you would notice as the first thing about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is that it is one of the most beautiful things that you can watch on the screen, as the space, the planets, the world of thousands planets, as well as the alien creatures and people, they all make it such a colourful world which has so much detail with everything. The skill is not limited to that, as there are those nice action sequences which go with them, and there is also one mystery to come to light. What you see on the screen is the marvel that you will need to keep watching again and again, as we are transported to that world which has no boundaries in extravagance. You might need this one to make sure that you can escape to that world, some place further away than any travel site can tell you, as imagination run high here, and there is a twist to be discovered, as one would expect with a movie like this, as dark secrets get out.

The claws of flaw :: There are moments when you feel that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has been focusing the most on its visuals – it is no crime, and we are invited into a wonderful feast on the screen, but you are certain to feel that there was scope for more with its story that goes beyond planets and galaxies. The last few moments take a little more time to reach the end unlike having a smooth run – there is a little unnecessary extension there without which the movie could have been smartly smoother. We also hope that the audience can grow up to this movie, instead of claiming that any fantasy movie without quality is so good just because it is from their industry – they were not looking for substance them, claiming that the over-hyped movies was something which it surely couldn’t go on to become. We have such shameless people around, and so, it is no surprise that the critics would also want to please them up to an extent.

Performers of the soul :: There is some good chemistry being shared by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in this movie which is about the two more than anyone else, except for a few aliens, if we look closer. Well, most of the Bollywood fans are not going to call this one chemistry for sure, and we can say the same about those critics who have been watching too many of those romantic melodrama nonsense for years. A good science fiction or action flick might be a long way out of their world. One might have still wanted more with the protagonists, but they are good, maintaining peace not just in the city of thousand planets, but also for the viewers. You remember Cara Delevingne from Suicide Squad, she made a wonderful Enchantress, a young archaeologist who was possessed by an ancient evil force – of course, critics took the right to be prejudiced then. Dane DeHaan was fantastic in A Cure for Wellness, if you have watched it, and when we consider the superhero movie stuff, it is The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s Green Goblin and Enchantress making a lovable no-longer-villain couple.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director of the surprise awesomeness Lucy, you will see that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is that beautiful world on the screen that deserved more than what it got – the same was the case with Jupiter Ascending and John Carter, both having some wonderful worlds on the screen, with tales that go the distance; but we know that the audience and critics cam both be the kind of people who got the history of not making excellent movies score with box-office collections or opinions. Well, at least movies like Pacific Rim and Terminator Genisys did well outside North America to get the attention that they deserved. Well, it is good to have divergent audience all around, and only then can we nullify the effects of prejudiced viewers. For the same reason, lets hope that more people watch this movie and come with the good opinions, inspiring a sequel to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – we can see that the scope is rather endless with this one, like in the game Mass Effect.

Release date: 21st July 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer, John Goodman, Elizabeth Debicki, Sam Spruell, Alain Chabat, Thom Findlay, Mathieu Kassovitz, Jonas Bloquet, Sand Van Roy, Sasha Luss, Louis Leterrier, Olivier Megaton

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Vampire Owl: Are they as cool as our guardians?

Vampire Bat: But we haven’t really appointed any guardian for the New Vampire World.

Vampire Owl: I was referring to ourselves as the guardians.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that we are qualified enough to take over as the guardians anywhere.

Vampire Owl: It is relevant that we refer to each other as guardians.

Vampire Bat: Does that accomplish anything?

Vampire Owl: Well, with great power comes great responsibilities.

Vampire Bat: You haven’t been responsible since the last red moon.

Vampire Owl: Which is exactly why I need this.

Vampire Bat: You really don’t need a reason for that, and there is absolutely no need for prior experience in the same.

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

What is the movie about? :: Star-Lord Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) have improved their positions as the Guardians of the Galaxy, and are more famous than ever. Due to the same, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) the leader and the high priestess of the golden people known as the Sovereign, assigns to them, the task of protecting their high-powered batteries from a monster out of space – she assigns the same to the Guardians as she hesitates to waste the life of anyone belonging to their high class species. In return, the high priestess had offered Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister who was caught trying to steal the same batteries. The Guardians are successful in stopping the monster finding its weakness, and are given the thief in return, along with a display of high priestess’ contempt for them. Nebula does maintain her hatred for her sister and continues to thrive on the same.

So, what happens next? :: But it turns out that they are chased by a group of drones remotely controlled from Sovereign, as Rocket had stolen a few batteries for himself, much to the dismay of Peter Quill and Gamora. They are very much in trouble, but are saved by Quill’s father, Ego (Kurt Russell) who destroys each and every drone before the Guardians crash on to a nearby planet. There, Ego accompanied by Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an alien with empathic powers, greets the Guardians and reveals to Peter who he is. Quill, Gamora, and Drax travels with him to his planet, while Rocket, Groot, and Nebula in bondage stays behind with the ship being repaired. Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) who is living a life in exile, is contacted by Ayesha to punish the Guardians for their crime. With his team, he makes a quick visit to Rocket and captures him, only to be replaced as the leader by Taserface (Chris Sullivan) in a mutiny supported by Nebula who gets herself free.

And, what is to follow next in the galaxy? :: Ego’s planet is revealed to be his own, and seems to have no other life form other than him and Mantis. He reveals himself as a celestial creature, something like a god, and shows his ability to manipulate matter to his son. He tells Peter that despite assigning Yondu to deliver him as a boy, that never happened, which is why their meeting took so long. Ego lets him know that he had been searching for his son all around for a very long time, but couldn’t find any success with the same until then. Meanwhile, Drax gets closer to Mantis who seems to have something to tell him. At the same time, at the other planet, Rocket, Groot and Yondu are imprisoned by Taserface as he kills the men loyal to Yondu. Nebula takes a spacecraft to go and find Gamora and kill her, while Taserface decides to finish off the executions on the next day. Gamora also feels that there is something strange about Ego – what would that be? Can the other guardians escape captivity in time?

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 :: The best thing about this flick is that it can stand alone, and not just as the volume two. The visuals are undoubtedly great, and the fact that it is in 3D adds to the same. The music is also really good, and it keeps the whole thing going along with the humour which scores even better than the previous movie. With some wonderful action sequences to go with everything else, you are certain not to miss the entertainment factor in this one. Running just over two hours and a quarter, this movie has absolutely no moment which makes you think about not having watched this one. The emotional side is also too good, and it is also another improvement from its predecessor. The most interesting characters in this one are Karen Gillan’s Nebula and Michael Rooker’s Yondu – there is no prize for guessing which one is the cutest one, for that one rules the poster at more than one place.

The claws of flaw :: One has to say that three years means a little too much of a gap between two superhero movies, especially with this tale and heroes not that much popular ones at least in this part of the world – people seems to have forgotten most of the action from the first part, but thankfully, this one can stand alone except for very few occasions. The regular viewer is certain to wonder who was defeated in the first part and for what reason was there for the same to happen. Also, the movie hesitates to explore the universe beyond, and it was something that could have been easily done with Sovereign added – more is always possible in this case when we see the premise again. We know what the game Mass Effect had achieved with a universe like this, and that proves the same – even though there is the comic book base, more could have surely been done differently in a world without boundaries.

How it finishes :: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is certain to be a very entertaining superhero movies to all kinds of audience, with the world or rather the galaxy needing to be saved once again. There are so many interesting superhero movies coming up, some of which we have already seen the trailer including Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman, we are certain to have a big year here. This remains one immortal genre, and with superheroes all around, we will keep having more movies to follow. As they keep coming, this movie improves on the original Guardians of the Galaxy, and becomes the entertainer that needs to be watched in 3D on the big screen to get the maximum effect. Visually too good a movie and with good humour and emotional side, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 becomes one the rare sequels which become better than the first movie – it is something which superhero movies have struggled to even as there are exceptions. Well, it is the time when Alien Covenant is running the show on other planets.

Release date: 5th May 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Alien Covenant

A Flashback to Prometheus :: The predecessor was set in the year 2089, when the scientific vessel named Prometheus decided to make a long journey to a distant moon LV-223 to find the truth behind the creation of mankind. Their ultimate aim is to find the ones called “engineers”, the humanoid aliens who are supposed to have come before humans who were created on their image. Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), a billionaire, founder and CEO of Weyland Corp is funding this journey. Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) is in charge of the expedition, and the archaeologists who found the signs for these, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are also part of the journey. Always helping them is the android David (Michael Fassbender). But things get messed up as they realize that there is some biological weapon at work and the engineers are dead, with some other strange creatures ready to be unleashed.

More of the Flashback :: There are just signs of what might have been a huge and thriving civilization a long time ago. But it is what lies beneath the same that bothers them more, as more and more members of the crew seems to be infected by some strange disease. Those who are not killed by one creature or the other, had to be killed due to the infection either by their own people or by creatures that came out from inside. Elizabeth herself who is sterile, is found out to be pregnant and she has to use an automated surgery table to take out a creature which has been growing fast, right from inside her. Everyone except Elizabeth and David have met with a terrible end as the movie finishes, and that includes Peter Weyland who was also in that spacecraft searching for an answer to live forever. There is only the search for that unanswered question about the origin of man that remains.

What is the movie about? :: It is the year 2104 and a certain colony ship Covenant is on a journey towards a distant planet Origae-6 with two thousand colonists and one thousand embryos aboard, all set to begin a new settement. There is an incident on the way, and affected by the solar flares, the ship sustains major damage and some beyond repair – a number of colonists are killed, and Captain Branson’s (James Franco) stasis chamber catches fire causing his death. This breaks his wife, Daniels (Katherine Waterston) who vows to stay strong despite the setback. The most senior officer in the ship, Oram (Billy Crudup) assumes the role of captain despite his own doubts about himself. But as the ship intercepts a signal which has human voice coming from a planet which is supposed to have no life, it is him who sees the need to help whoever is left on the planet.

So, what happens next? :: The new destination also seems to have a fine chance of being home to the new colony with its similarities to Earth. In their search for the signal’s location, two of the crew members are affected by an alien spore to which they make contact without knowing. One of them who reaches the landing vehicle has an alien coming off him, and the eventual result is the destruction of the vehicle. The other one has an alien coming out of him in the open space, and leads the group being attacked by more aliens from all sides, until David makes his appearance again with a gun. With his help, they contact the spaceship which responds and offers assistance in getting them back again. But there is more than what it meets the eye with David, who knows more about engineers and the creatures on the planet than anybody else, and has plans for everyone. Are they going to do humanity good or bad in the long run with necessary sacrifices planned?

The defence of Alien Covenant :: There is some nice use of darkness in this movie, and we also get to see the tale go nicely forward with hope for another sequel. We can also be sure about the presence of some nice scary moments, even though they are not that much lasting – the shower scene in which you had seen a screaming Callie Hernandez is certainly the scariest, followed by many scenes, but that creature in the end is certainly the reminder of how majestic a franchise this one is. With the performances, it is Michael Fassbender who excels as David and does a great job as Walter, with two androids being safe in his hands. Then there is Katherine Waterston, the real protagonist of this one replacing Noomi Rapace, and we hope that her character’s tale is not over with this title in the franchise, as we need Daniels to be there unlike Shaw who was gotten rid of. There are also some nice special effects to go with the same, and the creatures look great as usual – the visuals of the world also has your attention.

The claws of flaw :: We do miss the protagonist of Prometheus, and we also needed better explanations and more answers to how the creation was made. The possibilities were so much with how the earlier film had ended. There were mysteries going to come to light, and more worlds to be explored, but that doesn’t happen here. Except for the main characters, the rest are also rather less recognised, and even if some characters are intended to die early with smaller alien infections, or get into the shower and be killed by an alien later, memorable moments for all would have been better in a movie franchise which is supposed to go on and on – we need them to be distinct to know and understand when one dies, whether it is with an alien off the spine, stomach, chest or mouth. We could connect to Noomi Rapace’s character as well as Charlize Theron’s, and so being a sequel to Prometheus brings some certain damage to Covenant‘s journey, as it doesn’t build on what was left, and never tries to bring anything revolutionary to the franchise, and not even more of horror that could have been there.

How it finishes :: With a better explanation for its universe and its creatures, as well as more twists and terror from the creatures, Alien Covenant could have done even better, but it is a fine product as it is now, for it has something or the other from the previous movies of the franchise which have all entertained us in one way or the other. It has begun connecting things together, and is certain to finish the franchise some day as a complete product. As a whole, this one here is also a product that will make certain that there will another movie in the franchise, one that is even more interesting – you will know once you see how this one ends. The truth is that possibilities are endless with a franchise like this one, with the first Alien being the reason why I really developed love for alien movies when I was a child – I wasn’t born at that time, and it wasn’t the most popular movies among youth here, and so I had to wait more until I got to watch that – I hope that the next Alien movie doesn’t bring any more waiting.

Release date: 12th May 2017 (India); 19th May 2017 (USA)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Callie Hernandez, Demián Bichir, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, James Franco (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek Beyond

startrekbeyond-1

Vampire Owl: So where does it go beyond?

Vampire Bat: How can I know? I have only seen enough to know that it is Star Trek.

Vampire Owl: Can it be beyond the gates of hell?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is indeed possible.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that there are many other interesting gates which can lead to better places?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but everyone makes their own choices about movies, and we do go for this one!

Vampire Owl: And we do make some wise choices.

Vampire Bat: We made such choices for the previous movies of this franchise.

Vampire Owl: This should be the chance to make three out of three.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: As the USS Enterprise arrives at the space station known as Yorktown, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) has applied for a position as Vice Admiral because he can find no meaning to what he has been doing with the spaceship with endless journeys which had stopped making sense to him. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is to be the new captain of the ship according to him, but the man from Vulcan is also not without his problems as he wishes to continue the work of his own future self as the person has died. His relationship with Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) had become too strained that it no longer exists. Kalara (Lydia Wilson) who comes out of an uncharted nebula to Yorktown, seeks help to reclaim her stranded ship along with its crew. The Enterprise volunteers to be of use and is immediately sent on a rescue mission.

So, what happens next? :: The only place where USS Enterprise reaches is right into trouble, as an ambush awaits them led by an enemy called Krall (Idris Elba) who seems to be some kind of mutated alien creature from unknown space. Krall and his army search for a relic called the Abronath which the crew had as part of an unsuccessful diplomatic mission. As his search turns out to be unsuccessful, he takes most of the crew as prisoners instead, and the ship is destroyed. Only a few of them including Kirk and Spock manage to be free on the new planet. There, they would come across Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an alien scavenger and with Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), prepare plans to save their crew members and try to stop the dangerous villain from finding that relic to use it as a weapon which could destroy life on more than one planet.

The defence of Star Trek Beyond :: The movie looks really good, and the visuals effects keep saving the day again and again. We know that there are so many worlds, and this one makes use of such presence to bring some visual splendour on the screen. There are also some interesting action sequences to go with it, or rather a lot of them. We cannot question this movie’s skills as an action movie, as Star Trek Beyond excels right there, even though one might feel that it happens at the expense of other factors of the flick. With evil trying to destroy the whole world and our heroes trying to save it again, the thrills are there as expected too. There is also the message about unity in diversity, if you want to look at it that way. We also have all out interesting characters continuing to be here, except for the one played by Alice Eve, which is surely a bad miss.

The claws of flaw :: For some reason, this third movie of the franchise doesn’t make the best use of all those which are available. It had the opportunity to make us explore a new world with the protagonists, but they just choose to go normal, which is not that appropriate considering the kind of scope this franchise has. The villain is also not that powerful as the antagonists of the previous movies – we feel that he is stronger in the beginning, but as things progress towards the end, he becomes part of that twist which is not that effective. It is a lot like the ideas getting limited for no reason. There was so much scope with how things were going, but all of a sudden, people seems to be afraid to try anymore, and even when they have managed to keep this one enjoyable, we are always looking for more with a Star Trek movie – it is supposed to get better and cross frontiers to go beyond without being repetitive!

Performers of the soul :: This movie’s entertainment is surely not that much dependent on its performers who don’t get to do that much as they did in the previous movies, as the movie provides less chance with going for the visual effects and action instead of concentrating enough on the characters. The one person who impresses more though, is Karl Urban who gets to bring more fun to us than in the previous flicks. There is also Sofia Boutella playing an alien scavenger, and even though her character is more cliche and without providing us with the surprises, she is really good there – we had to get a good character in here, and here is one. Even with Idris Elba playing the villain, they just couldn’t get enough of that ‘evil creature trying to destroying the world’ idea. We surely had it working better in the previous two movies. Zoe Saldana does mostly nothing, and Chris Pine as well as Zachary Quinto are not that much fun as in earlier movies with the crisis in their characters’ minds.

How it finishes :: One does feel that the makers shouldn’t take this much time to come up with a sequel, as we know that three years is too much of a gap between movies in a franchise like this – they did the same with the first two movies too, but this time, the time period between the two feels even more. I have to say that even though this movie is not as good as its predecessors, it is still an enjoyable flick, and we can look forward to another movie in the series with better ideas. There is still one thing that I would hope for – for the space ship in this movie to not be destroyed partially or completely, and I would also make a humble request not to make the action take the centre stage – it should not get to become Fast and Furious or XXX in space, because Star Trek should always be more than that. We trust the franchise enough to hope for that.

Release date: 22nd July 2016
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Sofia Boutella, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Lydia Wilson, Sara Maria Forsberg, Deep Roy, Joe Taslim, Melissa Roxburgh, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Greg Grunberg, Danny Pudi, Kim Kold, Anita Brown, Doug Jung, Dan Payne, Shea Whigham

startrekbeyondd

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✠ 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.

Jupiter Ascending

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Vampire Owl :: So we are going to Jupiter. I have heard that Uncle Dracula has accelerated his teleportation abilities to find a method to travel to other planet. Is the procedure already popular?

Vampire Bat :: He is such a vampire mutant. No, we are not going to Jupiter yet.

Vampire Owl :: So, we are going to meet the god himself. Isn’t he still more popular as Zeus?

Vampire Bat :: No, we shall meet no god. We are going to watch the movie in which Mila Kunis is Jupiter, a janitor.

Vampire Owl :: Why would we watch it on a Friday when I have my undead policies to work on?

Vampire Bat :: Because it comes from the makers of The Matrix and the trailer gives the feeling of a spectacle?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, now I remember. This is the movie that made you wait so much that you became one year older.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I became an year older because it was delayed for about an year.

Vampire Owl :: Then, we should surely watch it.

Vampire Bat :: Let Jupiter ascend then.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) calls herself as an alien as she is an illegal immigrant to the United States. She spends her life a janitor and keeps hating her world until one day, she meets with some real aliens, except for the fact that this time they are after her and won’t stop until she is dead. But Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a hunter comes out of nowhere to save her and make her known that her genetic structure makes her alien royalty and the one to inherit Earth. The three siblings of the same royal house, Balem (Eddie Redmayne), Titus (Douglas Booth) and Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) do have different plans for her. There are also mercenaries after her, with some of them planning to capture her alive. But the question remains about who wants her alive and who wants her to be dead; if to be alive, for how long and what is the purpose for a huge challenge to the throne like her being left to live? Jupiter knows not much, and Caine can’t guess that much as he is a figher and not a thinker.

The defence of Jupiter Ascending :: Welcome to the new world, and this is a vast collection of planets among which Earth is just a part of, and therefore the scope was present for a lot of visual splendour, and there, we are not disappointed at all. You have to be stunned at the looks of different cities of this fictional universe and be amazed, and there are nicely designed spaceships, and those gadgets, plus those aliens, humanoids and the alien humanoids who never cease coming to the screen. There is a good idea here too, on which the world has been created, and the special effects are efficiently utilized to the needs of the movie. There is the abundance of themes and also some very good acting from the major members of the cast. The action sequences are really good and they are available in plenty. The costumes are impressive, and the idea is laid there for more movies, and a trilogy would be a nice option with this one as the origins story – there is a big universe out there and a story of mystery and deception has just started.

Positives and Negatives :: There are many movies which this one can remind you about, the last one being Guardians of the Galaxy, even as the plot stays different with its core elements. I would consider this superior to that movie though, and you can understand it by just looking at the artistic style that has been used with the detail. You might have been missing Star Wars or have been a fan of Mass Effect, this could work nicely with your ideas. The movie also takes too much time to get to the point, and almost an hour passes by when things get interesting – it is a sad miss there, as there was the scope to begin nicely right from the beginning with pace. There are some minor moments of dumbness, here and any fault that you can find with this movie is coated by the entertainer side, as the visual splendour, action and some humour keeps taking over. Among those space adventures, Jupiter Ascending has a major place, and no matter what the box-office results are, it shall be remembered.

Performers of the soul :: Mila Kunis takes the lead here playing the possible leader and the new queen of the universe, and undoubtedly the one to own Earth – she plays her character with all the possible features that are expected from someone like Jupiter Jones of Earth. You have to love how she says “I love dogs, I’ve always loved dogs”, and “I hate my life” again and again. Channing Tatum is the hero, and the one who saves the day, but there is almost nothing that revolves around him as Mila remains the key. From cleaning toilets, her character rises to the highest point, making the title perfectly relevant, as her ascension to the throne as well as that rise from being a nobody are concerned. Among the other royalty, the big antagonist Eddie Redmayne comes up with the worst performance, and it doesn’t matter what the Academy Awards are going to say. Douglas Booth is moslty good, but Tuppence Middleton is the most charming and the most interesting among them all with her character still remaining a mystery – she is also the prettiest on the screen. Do look out for Sean Bean too.

Soul exploration 1: The Other Side of the Coin :: Jupiter Rising is in many ways, the other side of the coin whose one side is Interstellar. If you liked Interstellar, and doesn’t find this interesting, I don’t see why. This one also entertains the existence of a certain other kind of human beings belonging to other dimensions, whose existence is further more than those of an ordinary human. Yes, such maker creatures were already there in Prometheus, and they continue to make appearances in the movies. The best thing about Jupiter Ascending is that it has no pseudo-intellectual nonsense. I have known rather too many people who thought that Interstellar was pure nonsense, and so if critics feel that this movie is bad, I would add them to the list made for this other side of the coin. Jupiter Rising is Interstellar‘s side of entertainment, and also having better visual splendour, world settings and thrills. So, I see no reason why I should rate this one lower than Interstellar. I also saw no reason why Guaridans of the Galaxy had too many positive reviews compared to this one either. After all, our movie here has a message and works so well on its theme.

Soul exploration 2: The Take on Human Desire :: The movie takes on the human desire to have those insignificant things, and their “wants” which takes over the “needs” of the rest of human beings, using them to their advantage. The rich only gets richer and feeds on the poor, completely denying their needs. Are the rulers that we see in the movie satisfied after inheriting so much? Absolutely not. The “want” only becomes more, and for the same, it is the common human population that suffers. The higher level of people only thrives by “harvesting” the labours of the common man, which related to the “harvesting of Earth” in the movie. The rich and powerful ones always need more, and for the same, they desire to exploit the poor further, and this is what is seen in the movie – sometimes, a champion can rise from among the oppressed, but the question if he or she will turn as another oppressor remains. Earth is refered to as “underdeveloped” – take that point. Nobody here even knows or cares about The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water which might never release, and Seventh Son has completely disappeared – Jupiter Ascending should do okay for the same reason, and a possible failure at this part of the world should be only because of the “A” certificate.

Release date: 6th February 2015
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: The Wachowskis
Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Tuppence Middleton, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Sean Bean, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Charlotte Beaumont, David Ajala, Doona Bae, Terry Gilliam, Vanessa Kirby, Kick Gurry, Jeremy Swift, Tim Pigott-Smith, Maria Doyle Kennedy, James D’Arcy, Christina Cole, Frog Stone

jupiterrising

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Guardians of the Galaxy last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but with Hercules being postponed for some dumb movies, this also seems to have been delayed.

Vampire Owl :: So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which was to release this Friday should release next weekend.

Vampire Bat :: And movies like Lucy will go missing.

Vampire Owl :: We have a long life-span. We can wait, may be it will release many months later.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with immortality having its glitches.

Vampire Owl :: Are we going for Into the Storm?

Vampire Bat :: May be no?

Vampire Owl :: Fine, I thought I would need that for the owlification list.

Vampire Bat :: It does have more shows, even as critics have annihilated it.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Twenty six years after he was abducted from Earth by space pirates, Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) steals an orb for which many others are making similar attempts. His successful stealing of the item meant that there was a huge bounty on him set by the leader of the space pirates, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and an assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is sent after him by Ronan (Lee Pace), a member of the scientifically advance war-loving race called Kree. Two bounty hunters – a humanoid tree Groot (Vin Diesel) and a genetically engineered raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are also after the man who stole the orb, but a complicated fight with Gamora and Quill leads them to prison from where they come up with a plan, and supported by Drax (Dave Bautista) who is looking for revenge against Ronan, break out of the prison. They would initially look to sell the device, but after knowing how dangerous it is, they will have to join forces to save the galaxy against the man who look forward to destroying it, as he take the orb from them.

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy :: This movie is all about the entertainment, and there would have been no doubt about that one. It is that fun ride which makes one laugh, go through the thrills and also add some emotions to the same. The characters are superb, and they remain interesting and most of the situations become further interesting due to them, and each has some special characteristic, and belong to a different species. That should remind us gamers about Mass Effect, one of those awesome games set in space, with the need to save the known universe from a group of alien invaders known as the Reapers (without that much detail and other stuff). But this movie is light and without the complications, and there it scores with the common audience. The visuals are great too, with the spaceships and awesome gadgets being used, and the world of space nicely using the power of technology to its advantage, and 3D is pretty much effective too. The computer-generated stuff rarely gets this good, one has to admit. You won’t need the super-powered heroes for this one!

The claws of flaw :: Guardians of the Galaxy has pretty much a predictable run with what is has, and it remains what we usually see. The movie has a lot more to do before it establishes itself completely, and I would guess that the same would be done in the sequel which is supposed to come out in 2017. There is a lot of background to be established, and this movie is without much power in its plot. The movie could have taken a few more minutes to establish a better universe and work on the worlds that exist within the same. The galaxy could have been better known before there were guardians for the galaxy, and these guardians themselves are misfits and outlaws who turn heroes, something which we have seen so many times. It has a good amount of silliness, which does work with its universe of aliens and spaceships, but not without them. This one has a long way to go before becoming something like the game Mass Effect with its character and universe. There is a lot of thinking to be done.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt makes his character impressive, no doubt about that one, but the one who struck me more was Zoe Saldana as the green lady Gamora. She was blue in Avatar and was in space before in both Star Trek movies, and here she is green, and she plays that character to perfection. Dave Bautista makes a very strong appearance here, and his quiting WWE drama was rightly for this movie’s promotion – and it is good to see him having such nice role which suits him, along with making another comeback to WWE some time later. Interestingly, there is also a funny side to this tough character. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel gives voice to the two other guardians, and Cooper’s Rocket might be the fan favourite in this movie with the funny lines and the interesting moments. Karen Gillan’s Nebula came up as another surprisingly interesting character. Lee Pace’s Ronan is a strong villain, and makes a powerful impact, but the character Thanos leaves us wishing for more which could come to us in an upcoming sequel.

Soul exploration :: The movie is all about saving the world from the evil forces, and there is not much to think about it in a complicated manner. There is the orb which gives great powers and the most evil of them all wishing to take control of it to cause destruction and chaos all around. The heroes are all former outlaws who have lost something and are not really good or bad, but capable of goodness. The movie is sure to leave the audience happy and with no signs of disappointment, and there its success lies. If you have loved The Avengers, there is not much doubt about falling in love with these heroes who are in no way super with their powers, but do take their chances. They make up a strange team and become the guardians, and with a little expansion of the world that was in this movie, that too in detail, would work wonders for this franchise in the next entry of the franchise. That should be the masterpiece.

How it finishes :: Into the Storm has more shows, but Guardians of the Galaxy should surely hold strong in this part of the world in the absence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is yet to find its release here. The demand for disaster movies is not that much as it used to be, and storms come nowhere near things like the end of the world and global destruction. The found footage category doesn’t add anything positive either to an already dying genre of movies which has nothing else to offer other than destruction. But Guardians of the Galaxy belongs to that immortal genre which can prove interesting even after a lot of repetition added to it. Because of the same, Marvel gets another movie and a beginning to another franchise which they can use nicely as the success of The Avengers has been repeated here, even as this one doesn’t seem to be good enough to break those records. This is another big superhero movie indeed, and that too in space.

Release date: 8th August 2014 (India); 1st August 2014 (US)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Mikaela Hoover, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Ophelia Lovibond, Gregg Henry, Peter Serafinowicz

GOTGx copy

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Gravity

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I have to agree that the wait for gravity has been much long, as the trailer came to the theatres quite early, with not much information available about it. No, it was not one of those movies which I was waiting for, but it became a movie worth waiting for, after having its own transformation from nothing to everything with those highly positive reviews and good word of mouth, and remained in the support of nearly 97% positive reviews in Rotten Tomatoes and 8.9 in IMDb, something which had to result in a rise in the number of viewers in the theatres, and because of that, we had to book our tickets online, not really something we had to do this year in spite of the fact that Iron Man 3 made us do the same, even as Man of Steel had threatened to do the same again and The Wolverine had succeeded in it. Yes, Gravity was to be watched at any cost, and we decided to waste no time, as we approached it the very next day after it was released here to positive reviews.

It has to be noted that the story for this movie is quite simple and lasts no more than one and half hours. We are introduced to Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) on her first space mission, and the veteran space traveller Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who have almost finished their job when the space waste from a destroyed Russian satellite hits them and everyone except the two are dead. Matt saves Ryan from being lost in the space forever with low level of oxygen, but cuts himself off from her when he feels that it will endanger them both. After getting into the semi-destroyed International space station from their damaged shuttle, she has to use one of the damaged modules to somehow get to a chinese space station, from where she can go back home in their modules. As someone new to the whole thing, and with no communcations to advice her, she has to use more than what she knows to survive and make it back to Earth. It is not the most interesting plots around, but you have to love it for what is shown on the screen.

In the world of extreme science fiction, all these would seem too simple, but not for the realistic environment that the director has attempted to create right here. In an extended world of reality, there would be questions about reality, and one might wonder if this is also real enough. None of us did go to space already, and so this is no lesser unreality than most of the other things which are exaggerated, but the helplessness of the man and the lack of the scientific “supernatural” keeps this close enough to be defined real, even as I consider this to be that much of a work of imagination as any fantasy movie around there, and the chance of all these happening is as much as that of a Hobbit helping a group of Dwarves and a wizard against a dragon, or a young wizard with a scar going to a school hidden from reality. The one thing that denies sorcery here is that there are no superhumans here, and there is no deus ex machina. There is certain amount of role that fate has to play, but more of the job is done by the humans themselves.

There are only two actors in the movie, who are alive and shows their living faces. There are other astronauts for sure along with the voices, and there are dead bodies, and we see one of them floating around in space with almost a transparent face and a few others inside the space-shuttle, providing some moments of small shocks which work quite fine. Sandra Bullock is there or almost the whole time, and she comes up with what might be her best performances so far. She makes this survival movie her own, right from the beginning to the end. The fact that her character is too simple and ordinary, and none of her decisions come from the text books, make this one a dynamic character of infinite proportions in the infinite space of nothingness. George Clooney’s presence is small compared to our protagonist, but when he is there, one can think about, and can feel the awesomeness. The one memorable thing about this character is that there is the knowledge about when to let go and how to make not only his fellow characters in the screen, but also those outside the screen comfortable enough.

The life in infinite space has immense possibilities, and the survival in such a world with nothing to hold onto and and no hope to call or inform anyone for help is more than just another usual distress situation. Open Water and Open Water 2: Adrift made such worlds possible with their protagonists left hopeless in the middle of the ocean, but Gravity takes further steps into such helplessness when there is not even water, earth or any living creature nearby, and there is not even that distant hope of someone coming to help or trying to swim in order to reach somewhere. So, here comes the use of 3D. The Hindi movie Warning which was inspired from Open Water 2: Adrift tried some luck with it, but as we have seen before, it is rarely used effectively. But Gravity scores there with its spectacular use of 3D and all the resources which are available. It creates that connection with the audience with its 3D and visual effects, and it is that beauty on the screen and the technology that makes this one close enough to a beautiful thriller.

It is an experience worthy of being watched on the big screen. It is indeed one of the best visually stunning 3D experiences ever. The first person shots and the detail of the world requires special mention, as it takes the viewers closer to that experience of space, its beauty and its terrors. The magic of cinema in the theatre begins here, again with this “cine-magic”, or rather it started with the trailer of The Hobbit: Desolation of the Smaug. In spite o all these, Gravity will struggle to impress most of the viewers if watched on television or DVD, and that is a sure thing. If I had waited and watched this on another smaller medium, I might have just given this something around sixty five to sixty nine out of one hundred. There is that need to watch this with all its powers, and a smaller screen and the lack of 3D can only create that situation of being handicapped, and I would wonder why anyone would wish to watch a movie that is restricted to being half the flick that it is, when all its power lies in something and is stripped of the same.

There are still more that the viewers can ask for. On the local level, it is the presence of more shows, as it was there in just two multiplexes here; not something expected for such a movie; may be they scrapped it for movies which had stars who were more famous in this part of the world. On a more global needed, there was the need for more of George Clooney, a little bigger plot and thus a longer movie. But those are more of desires rather than needs. Gravity is pretty much exceptional in what it has achieved, even if it has done so not in a way that most of the viewers might have wanted it to. The movie itself works on the lack of gravity than gravity itself, just like it denies itself the opportunity to be just another exaggerated science fiction or a violent thriller. It defies all conventions and keeps faith on technology and the magic that is cinema, and thus honours all its viewers as well as its predecessors. There is the need for movies like Gravity, as without it, we might fail to understand the power of a medium such as cinema.

Release date: 11th October 2013 (India); 4th October 2013 (US)
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney (+emptiness, darkness, void and corpses)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.