Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King (2002)

Director: Chuck Russell

Writer: Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, David Hayter (Screenplay) Stephen Sommers, Jonathan Hales (Story)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Steven Brand, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kelly Hu, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov

 

Plot: A desert warrior rises up against the evil army that is destroying his homeland. He captures the enemy’s key sorcerer, takes her deep into the desert and prepares for a final showdown.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: The Scorpion King starts in a world where tyrant Memnon (Brand) is taking over the land with ease, killing anyone who goes against him with his Sorceress (Hu) by his side everybody fears him. When the last remaining leaders Balthazar (Duncan), Queen Isis (Howard), King Pheron (Rees) Takmet (Facinelli) want to end his dominate destruction they hire Mathayus (Johnson) and his brother Jesup (Richmond) to kill the Sorceress who is helping Memnon on his rampage.

When Mathayus is betrayed the Sorceress spares him being killed at the hands of any of Memnon men’s hands, he finds himself in a sticky situation where trickster Arpid (Heslov) aids his escape. Mathayus sets out to bring down Memnon and save the land, the Sorceress while teaming up with a range of former enemies fighting the biggest common enemy.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is an elite warrior assassin, so basically nothing like the Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns. He has honour and will fight against all odds for his family, freedom and mostly money. Memnon is a hands-on tyrant warrior who kills anyone who doesn’t follow him, he is the lands best swordsman and we see this in his combat against Mathayus but his weakness is believing in a Sorceress visions. I liked that he is happy to fight against any enemy, this is rare in action adventure films. The Sorceress sees how the fights are going to end, only she doesn’t because her visions don’t come true. Balthazar is a strong leader who is willing to fight up against a worthy opponent. The rest of the character all fit what you expect, the comic relief, the crazy old guy, the betraying son, the henchman the list goes on.

Performance Wise, this film was designed to make Dwayne Johnson look like a new action star, Brand is good as the villain but isn’t the worst for the action genre, with Kelly Hu being the beautiful sorceress works for the film.

StoryThe story is easy to follow as long as you are not looking to learn more about the Mummy Returns character because this guy is a hero. When you look into just this story we get a basic action adventure showing the rise of a warrior uniting a nation.

Action/AdventureThe action is all fun with plenty of hand to hand, sword fights and stealth like action going on through the wild adventure. The fantasy side brings up the mythology behind how Scorpion King came to be, again going against the original idea behind the character.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a land of sand and Gods which works but doesn’t create anything iconic.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all fine but don’t get used too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun, easy to watch action adventure film that can be enjoyed as you see Dwayne Johnson on his first steps in leading actor.

 

Overall: Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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Before Christmas (2017) – Short Film

Director: Chuyao He

Writer: Chuyao He (Screenplay)

Starring: Jianchun Hao, Deyang Hou, Chengiang Li, Xianyuan Zhu

 

Plot: An 18-years-old Chinese teenager enters the merciless commercial world as a hard labor, where leads to the failure of his last struggle of innocence.

 

Runtime: 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Look Before the Curtain of Christmas

 

Story: Before Christmas starts as teenager Xiao (Hou) and his family father Lao (Zhu) & Mother (Hao) move to poor part of a big Chinese city where Xiao and Lao start working in a Christmas decoration factory, they must work long hours and reach the supply demand to get paid. Xiao dreams of being a singer and can’t remain focused in this job, but his family needs the money. At 18-years-old Xiao must make the decision to follow his dream or face the reality of his life in this factory.

 

Thoughts on Before Christmas

 

Characters – The characters show us the family and the change they must make, Lao has always worked and knows how the get and keep a job, the mother has always looked after the house, but Xiao must accept that he has dropped out of studying and will need to face this life to survive. Xiao shows us the character that will face many young men at this age, the reality of life over the dreams you are pushed to aspire towards.

PerformancesThe performances from the actors help paint this bleak future for Xiao, they show us just how you could see the lives of these characters suffer from day to day.

StoryThe story while short does follow Xiao needing to face the reality of life, while aspiring to be a singer. The reality is the family we need to work in a sweet shop style factory to supply the demanded for Christmas decorations in the western world. We see in jut the short time how the demanded rises and the workload goes past the possible achievement for a day forcing the people to continue on the work they are not prepared for. This shows us in a short story just how Christmas for everyone isn’t what we believe, we see how people must work in slave like conditions to prepare those material goods for that one month of the year, this does have the message for people to see and is one that will be important to the people who don’t understand or appreciate the meaning of Christmas anymore.

SettingsThe settings show us the world this family is going to be facing for years to come, the bleakness of the future of a family stuck in this labour demand jobs.


Scene of the Movie –
The date on the calendar.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would like to have seen what pushed them into this move in the first place.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that shows us the work people must put in, so the Western world can celebrate Christmas, not fair equal pay, or work level expected the people to do. It shows the hardship families will face meeting this demand.

 

Overall: Important look behind the curtain of people needing to learn about Christmas.

Rating

 

 

2018 Anticipated Film #2 Tomb Raider

2018 Anticipated Film

2017 was one of my favourite years for movies in years, so through the month of December I am going to look at 31 movies that I am looking forward to in the year of 2018, they are not in any order just 31 I want to discuss.

Tomb Raider

Main CastAlicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen

Plot – Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

Will I Enjoy It?This is based on the video game, it involved treasure hunting, so you know I am in and hoping it will be a lot of fun.

Will it be successful?  On paper this hasn’t gotten any reason to be a success, video games generally fail, Vikander while beautiful hasn’t taken on a lead action role before, but this could break all the trends you never know.

Release Date (UK)16th March 2018

Wonder (2017)

Director: Stephen Chbosky

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Steve Conrad, Jack Thorne (Screenplay) R.J. Palacio (Novel)

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Mancy Patinkin, Danielle Rose Russell

 

Plot: Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.


Tagline – Auggie Pullman will change your world

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotionally Moving

 

Story: Wonder starts as we meet the 10-year-old Auggie (Tremblay), he has had 21 surgeries to both save his life and rebuild his face after being born with a birth defect, he has been home schooled by his mother Isabel (Roberts) his whole life, with his father Nate (Wilson) and older sister Via (Vidovic) always there to support him, at home he is like no other 10-year-old.

Auggie is going to be starting middle school for the first time, this is a huge step for the young boy who is used to people staring at him, but now he enters school, where it is kids, who are less likely to accept him at first. Auggie hates school, he gets picked on because of his looks, but over time he learns to accept this and tries to let people in. This is where the story gets smart, we move away from seeing everything from Auggie’s perspective and follow of Via’s life has been affected by Auggie need the attention more, she is starting High School and is feeling just as alone in need of a friend. We follow fellow middle school student Jack Will (Jupe) one of the kids selected to try and help Auggie through school and how he feels about being pushed into being the friend. We finally follow Miranda (Russell) who was Via’s best friend and almost like a sister to Auggie too, she has become distant from Via and we learn her growth through the year.

We follow a school year for these people, the highs, the lows and the moments that will shape their futures.

 

Thoughts on Wonder

 

Characters – Auggie the 10-year-old born with a birth defect, that still has the scares from the surgeries to save his life, he learns about starting school, meeting new people who instantly question his looks, he learns a lot in this year, but most of all people learn a lot from his bravery. He dreams of space and loves Star Wars and uses it to help him through the difficult moments of his days. Nate is the father of the household, he loves his children and wants them to have the best future they can, he puts everything into a positive spin for Auggie. Isabel has home schooled Auggie for his whole life, she gave up her Masters to do this, with him starting school she can continue the work always worried about his well-being. Via the big sister, she does love her brother deeply, but we learn that she needs some attention too, she struggles inside with her problem, ones that aren’t shown, alone in her new high school, she does try to fit in and learns to break free. We do meet the fellow middle school students, we have the main bully who is a by the books character and we get the ones that want to accept Auggie, the ones that are brave enough to do this first, showing they accept the person other the look. Miranda was Via’s best friend, but this year she is different, we learn the reason for her actions through the film, but I do wish we spent more time with this character because of the moments we learn about.

PerformancesJacob Tremblay, you know the kid from Room, he is fantastic in this leading role again, showing us that was not a one off, this kid has talent. Julia Roberts is strong through the film, while I wouldn’t say the character is overly challenging to play I do think Roberts brings it to life in ways only she could. Owen Wilson, where has he been for the last couple of years? This shows that we missed him, he is a great father figure, he has a smile on his face hiding his own fears in every scene and the one scene he is broken, you join him in his tears. Izabela Vidovic mostly likely what get as many people talking about her performances, but don’t take anything away from her, she is great and at times you want to spend more time with her characters story. The rest of the cast do a wonderful job too as we understand every decision the characters are making.

StoryThe story does focus mostly on Auggie and his first day at school, leading into his first year at school, which on its own, is something we have seen before. It is a good go to story because it will teach about understanding people’s differences both physical and mental, this check all those boxes. Where this story is stronger than just that is following the lives of the people around Auggie, be it his sister who doesn’t get an equal amount of attention while having her own problems. A best friend that’s world has come crashing down and has pushed people away or the young boy that already has the pressure thrown on him, now needing to learn to accept an outsider, while he was once that outsider. I think showing how the lives of others have change is just as important for this story to show, the year these characters must go through.

FamilyI do think the family could enjoy this, I think it has enough to make you smile and laugh together and the moments that will make you cry too.

SettingsNew York is the setting, one of the busiest cities in the world and it shows how Auggie will need to get used to the crowds that are out of his control, where people will judge him unfairly, the school is the first steps for him.


Scene of the Movie –
Graduation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While diving into Miranda’s year, we miss that one scene where the two make-ups.

Final ThoughtsThis film will make laugh, smile and cry all the way through, it has so much about accepting people for being different both for their flaws and strengths.

 

Overall: Fantastic, moving, emotional and beautiful movie.

Rating