In the past few days, I have watched a lot of movies, some recent, some older, which I had never got to see before. I find it funny how one can see bits and pieces of some productions but never the whole thing until much later. Anyway, here is the reviews of the 8 movies and the 1 TV show pilot I caught up with.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li: I had heard brief mentions of that movie when it came out a few years ago. I remember being curious about it, because when I was a kid and played Street Fighter, I always loved picking Chun-Li. Even back then, I preferred playing a female character when I could and she was the one I was able to control pretty decently. Since I really like Kristin Kreuk, I was twice more interested in checking the movie out. The movie wasn’t stellar, and had some (many?) weaknesses, but I liked Kreuk’s portrayal of Chun-Li and I was also happy to see Moon Bloodgood in it, so in the end, it was an entertaining watch. It also gave me one of my recent better ideas for a paper project. I just need to find a suitable call for papers!
Robocop Trilogy: I read about the original Robocop movies more than I had seen actual scenes from them. With the release of the remake and that Science Fiction remakes and re-imaginations are part of my field of research, I thought it was time I sat through the Robocop Trilogy, prior to watch the new movie. The first one confirmed that I am not a fan of Paul Verhoeven cinema. I don’t enjoy his style and tend to be bored and annoyed with his films, Robocop included. There were good elements in it, but I didn’t enjoy the first movie much. The trilogy isn’t something I would rewatch unless for work, but I much preferred the second one and even the third one. Irvin Kershner did a good job with Robocop 2 in my view. The story was pretty classic – much like in the whole trilogy – but it was better executed in my view. The third one, directed by Fred Dekker, really had some interesting development and characters. Just like with the Matrix Trilogy, the first opus of the Robocop one is my least favorite.
I am curious to watch the remake, though I was surprised that they switched the main character’s partner from female to male. Officer Anne Lewis is my favorite character in the original trilogy. Yet, I’m not throwing tomatoes at the remake yet. After all, it isn’t the first time a character’s gender is changed in a remake. I like both Boomer in the Battlestar Galactica franchise equally, despite how different they are from each other. So, I’m in a wait and see mode. I think that the original Robocop trilogy had some pretty interesting female characters, especially in the third movie, with the hacking genius child Nikko, the resistant Bertha and scientist Dr. Marie Lazarus.
Star Trek Into Darkness: I’m not a big Star Trek fan. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the various TV shows and the previous movies. Yet, I have some knowledge of the universe through readings for my research and friends. The original movie traumatized me when I was a child and it took me more than ten years to realize it was actually the first Star Trek movie. I saw the 2009 reboot film when it came out on DVD. I had found it good entertainment and was open to see the sequel. Yet, I wasn’t excited to the point I had to go watch it at the movies. That is why I only saw it this last week. I liked it a lot, even more than the first one I think. The visuals were stunning, the action was great, the music was inspiring and the team spirit got me.
My one huge problem with the movie is Cumberbatch. I know this actor has a lot of fans, but I don’t get why. I know everyone has different tastes, but I don’t find he has great acting skills at all, and I don’t understand why he was picked to portray Khan. That just goes way over my head. I was relieved that he had less screen time than I first worried about when starting the movie. The rest was a good watch, but I couldn’t find Khan the villain he should have been, because of the casting choice.
Battlestar Galactica Blood And Chrome: It was the last missing production from the Battlestar Galactica Franchise, original and re-imagined versions, I hadn’t seen yet. I think that it makes a great “missing” link between Caprica and the 2004 Battlestar Galactica show. I admit that during the first thirty minutes of the movie, I was a little unsure I would really like it. Sure, it had the stunning space opera visuals, and familiar music I loved, but there was something amiss to me. Then, everything fell together after a slow exposition and boom! It was Battlestar Galactica all over again and I was enthralled in it until the end.
The story was interesting and made a lot of sense to relate what came before and what came after. It still poses the important questions and showed aspects of the first human and Cylon war we didn’t get to see previously. It had good heroes and villains, complex characters and the “Are you alive?” scene towards the end was a great wink, including given the special someone who did the voice acting, to the miniseries opening. The ending with between Adama and Coker was one of my favorite scenes.
World War Z: I don’t like zombies (the only movies I enjoyed from that genre are the Resident Evil ones) and I’m not a huge Brad Pitt fan. So why did I bother watching that movie in the first place? I kind of asked myself the question the moment I hit “play” to be honest. One this is sure: I didn’t regret checking this movie out and it went beyond the expectations I had based on the trailer. I got sucked into the movie right away. I love that they didn’t feel the need to have loads of gore and horror. They worked a lot on angst and to me it makes the movie stand out. I don’t like/care for gore and horror. So seeing a movie which doesn’t need that to make its point is always a treat.
Brad Pitt did a great job and I like how his character being the hero had a lot more credibility than I thought (I didn’t read the book the movie was based on so I walked int spoiler free). I liked that he use to go to war zones for the United Nations and thus has the experience to be tossed into the new crazy field again. I like that he does that for his family and not for the glory. I also liked the female soldier Segen. She was a great character. The movie had some very suspenseful moments and I liked the way they figure out to be able to fight the undead. There was a little “Independence Day” feel to the movie, notably the end, which made me love it even more.
Helix: I had very little interest in this television series; but I decided to try out the two part opening episode just in case. After all, this is Science Fiction so it fell in my genre of predilection (though I have eclectic tastes). I really needed determination to sit through the two parts, because I was bored from start. I didn’t care for any of the characters and if any of them died out of the blue, I wouldn’t care. The execution wasn’t mind blowing at all. Even seeing references of previous shows didn’t make up for my boredom. I didn’t expect much but I found it even more disappointing that Chris Carter’s recent The After new show.
I, Robot: That’s an other movie I had seen bits and pieces of, and read about, but never seen fully. Now it’s done! All my favorite Will Smith movies are Science Fiction ones (After Earth, Independence Day, I Am Legend and now also I, Robot) though I don’t like the Men in Black ones. I have never got into Isaac Asimov’s writing. I recognize his contributions to Science Fiction, but I never really managed to read through a complete book of his. Yet, I was curious to check the movie out. And yes my main reason was the Will Smith / Science Fiction combo.
I enjoyed the movie. It was classically done, and the execution wasn’t mind blowing but it was good regardless. I don’t need to watch only movies and television shows that I consider as the top of their genre. There is a lot more to be seen and enjoyed in my view. Will Smith was great, and the delivery of some of his lines was as awesome as he can be. There were many aspects in I, Robot that were compelling. So I’m glad I got to watch it at last.