ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – R – Robot Overlords (2014

Director: Jon Wright

Writer: Jon Wright, Mark Stay (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Gillian Anderson, Callan McAuliffe, Ella Hunt, James Tarpey, Milo Parker

 

Plot: Earth has been conquered by robots from a distant galaxy. Survivors are confined to their houses and must wear electronic implants, risking incineration by robot sentries if they venture outside.


Tagline – Robots never lie…….

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Young Adult 101

 

Story: Robot Overlords starts as the Earth has been invaded by robots and humans are confined to their homes, Kate (Anderson) has her own son Sean (McAuliffe) and adopted children Alexandra (Hunt), Nathan (Tarpey) and Connor (Parker). When the kids learn how to disable the electronic devices they venture outside.

Once outside the kids go in search of answers, keeping one step ahead of the robots one the chief Robin Smythe (Kingsley) who is working for the robots, they must learn the secrets of the invasion.

 

Thoughts on Robot Overlords

 

Characters – Robin Smythe is the zone chief, he works for the robots while keeping the humans safe when they could be in danger and are worth saving, he will not stop until he gets to be with Kate even if that means taking her son. Kate is the one that has taken in the orphans of the invasion and with her son she keeps them safe even in the battle against Robin. Sean is the eldest of the children, he leads the fight back once he discovers he has a very special ability in the war. The rest of the kids offer us comic relief when needed in the film.

PerformancesWhen we look at performances we must realizes Sir Ben Kingsley is in the film, this is the definition of a pay check performance from him. Anderson is good, but it is always hard to see her in any peril after the X-Files. The kids are good throughout never looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows the pattern of the young adult movies, we have a group of teens that are in a post-apocalyptic world (well nearly) that must rise up and become the resistance. That is the soft outer shell of this movie, going deeper into the story we do have an original idea by having the robots force the humans into staying in their homes over just having them hiding. For the most part this would pass as what we know, it is the main twist which makes zero sense, but what the hell it worked to save the day somehow.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the movie does have a unique style, but just doesn’t come off in the most interesting or entertaining way, the adventure side of the film gives us the standard children, teenagers are the ones that will be the ones to save the day and the sci-fi ideas do work with how robots have taken over the world.

SettingsThe film is set in a small English coastal town, it is nice, but if you took the robots out of the scenes it looked like just backdrop stock photos.

Special EffectsThe special effects for the most part look very CGI, everything looks like a robot placed into the world rather than a robot in the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ability seems very random.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic young adult movie, it checks the boxes but never becomes one that you will remember when talking about them in general.

 

Overall: Standard young adult movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – P – Piranhaconda (2012)

Director: Jim Wynorski

Writer: J Brad Wilke, Mike MacLean (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Madsen, Rachel Hunter, Rib Hillis, Terri Ivens, Chris De Christopher, Shandi Finnessey, Michael Swan, Noah Blake

 

Plot: Two piranha/anaconda hybrid creatures hunt down the scientist who stole their egg and a film crew; making a slasher film in the jungle.


Tagline – Part Snake! Part Fish! All Killer!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Trash

 

Story: Piranhaconda starts when scientist Lovegrove (Madsen) takes a new snake egg of a piranha & anaconda hybrid, the snake heads off into the jungle island in search of it killing anyone who gets in its way. Elsewhere on the island Mile (De Christopher) is directing a low budget slasher movie with diva leading lady Kimmy Weston (Finnessey), add into the mix the local gang that are kidnapping people for ransom, we have three groups that are being targeting by the snake who must now work together.

 

Thoughts on Piranhaconda

 

Characters – Lovegrove is the scientist trying to study the eggs of a piranhaconda which only disturbs them from their home, he somehow manages to elude the snake unlike anyone else on the island and fills in information. Talia is one of the kidnappers, she is the right-hand woman and that is about it. Jack is the stuntman that is dating one of the behind the scenes woman while batting off the interest of the leading lady, he kind of becomes the reluctant hero. Rose is the crew member that is starting to date Jack who gets jealous of the leading lady. We also have the director, the diva star and the kidnapping locals.

PerformancesTime to rant without insulting, Michael Madsen has been in Tarantino movies, how did he end up in this? He is clearly her for some form of pay check as he looks like he just turned on at the resort one day and was given the role. Rachel Hunter fills the quota of just having models in the film, she does absolutely nothing. Rib Hillis is the strongest of the performers in this film with Terri Ivens doing the second best, even though I did enjoy watching the diva actresses played by Shandi Finnessey. Most of the performers are women in bikinis running around Hawaii.

StoryThe story follows unlikely group of people needing to work together to escape a giant hybrid piranha anaconda mix, superfast, super hungry and super aggressive. This is simple enough and for sure this is easy to watch if that was all we had, we don’t we have terrible character development as we spend half the story seemingly meeting random people on the island that get selected to be the next victim, usually hot women. The science behind the creation is loose to say the least and to say the storytelling process is smart would be an insult to anyone.

Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe action gives us the shoot as many bullets at a creature whose skin just bounces bullets off with a couple of explosions. The horror would come off as the creature feature concept which has always worked well, but not this time. The sci-fi side of the film give us the idea of an unknown creature causing the problems.

SettingsThe film is set in Hawaii which looks pretty, but the reality is that it could be any jungle island.

Special EffectsThis is a sci-fi level movie, we know the level of special effects and this is particular weak because it just uses the same technique for every kill which gets boring quickly.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of Jack solo scene, because he knew what the tone of the movie is all about.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kill move.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those truly bad low budget films, it has weak acting, effects and storytelling with only one actor seemingly understanding the tone of the movie.

 

Overall: Not even so bad its funny.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – N – Neon City (1991)

Director: Monte Markham

Writer: Jeff Begun, Buck Finch, Monte Markham, Gus Peters (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Ironside, Vanity, Lyle Alzado, Valerie Wildman, Nick Klar, Juliet Landau

 

Plot: “Mad Max” clone set in the not-too-distant future about a group of people trying to escape to a safe haven called Neon City after a solar disaster that has decimated the Earth.


Tagline – Take a deep breath, it may be your last. Welcome to the year 2053.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Mad Max Rip Off

 

Story: Neon City starts in the 2053 as lone drifter Harry M Stark (Ironside) goes around the wasteland searching for the next payday, his latest was Reno (Vanity) being the choice in a hope to get to a place known as Neon City, a safe haven from the wasteland.

With the latest transport heading from Jericho to the Neon City, Harry is forced into the transport along with a host of colourful characters, but the journey isn’t going to be that easy for them.

 

Thoughts on Neon City

 

Characters – Harry M Stark is the lone drifter looking to make the money to head to Neon City to extract his revenge on the man that murdered his mutated son, he has nothing to lose but will make sure the transport gets to the city in the best condition possible. Reno is the latest criminal that Harry is transferring to jail for the murder of her parents, she is a fighter and will help the people in need on the transport too. Bulk is the old friend of Harry that is leading the transport, he knows his clients are the most valuable part of the transport and will do the right thing for the people he is transporting. The rest of the characters we meet are the different people with different stories to why they are on the transport.

PerformancesMichael Ironside is the biggest name in the film, he does a good job in the leading role and shows why he is the star of the film. Vanity is good for the supporting role showing enough fire in her performance and Lyle Alzado is good fun in the role he plays too and the whole cast does look like they are enjoying their roles enough to be good throughout.

StoryIf you don’t compare this movie to Mad Max, then you would be lying about knowing too much about film, the wasteland the concept and even certain styles are just what we have seen in those movies. The story does follow a group travelling across a wasteland in hopes of reaching a safe haven from the harsh conditions, each character has their own reasons for being on the trip which gives meaning to what they are willing to risk in the battle to survive. This is an easy watch with how the story flows keeps the pacing good throughout.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action follows the transport as they go from one city to the safe haven, we get the shoot outs from the vehicles which give us general explosion, this plays into the adventure side of the film as we see the obstacles they must face. The sci-fi side of the takes us to the wasteland where we see just what has become of the world.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just how the wasteland can look for the journey which can hold the problems they will be facing.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough, but never come off to standout for the film to great.


Scene of the Movie –
The final run in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It isn’t the most original.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable and easy to watch sci-fi movie in the same ideas as Mad Max, which can be fun to watch.

 

Overall: Fun and easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Chris Hemsworth Weekend – Vacation (2015)

Director: John Francis Daly, Jonathan Goldstein

Writer: John Francis Daly, Jonathan Goldstein (Screenplay) John Hughes (Characters)

Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Charlie Day

 

Plot: Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a road trip to “Walley World” in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons.


Tagline – What could go wrong?

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Boring Comedy

 

Story: Vacation starts the Griswold family decide to take a different family vacation, Rusty (Helms), Debbie (Applegate) children James (Gisondo), Kevin (Stebbins) head across country to Walley World, the journey will bring them to meet a string of crazy characters.

Along the way they spend the night with Rusty’s sister Audrey (Mann) and her husband Stone (Hemsworth) who have a happier time with their lives.

 

Thoughts on Vacation

 

Characters – Rusty is a pilot, but seemingly a big of a dumbass outside of the job, he takes his family on a vacation across America, he seems to get away with making bad decisions along the way too. Debbie is the long suffering wife that wants to do something different for her holiday, not seeing eye to eye with Rusty. James and Kevin are kids which are different than normal with the younger bullying the older. Along the way the different characters are crazy in their own ways, mostly offence though.

PerformancesWe have a mix of actors that have been doing comedy for a while, Ed Helms should be doing a lot better as do the rest of the regulars, the only person that comes out of this with any credibility is Chris Hemsworth who shows he can hit the comedy levels.

StoryThe story is a family travelling across America where things go wrong along the way as they meet colourful characters. Part remake, part sequel following the family just feel like every basic mishap possible along the way or even having the basic level not hitting home well enough.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure puts us across America to see which is fine, but never believable and the comedy misses more often than it hits.

SettingsThe settings takes us to location you would be used to see across America without them being anything you would need reminding about though.


Scene of the Movie –
Chris Hemsworth showing his early comedy level.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How is Rusty a pilot, he clearly is an idiot.

Final ThoughtsThis is just another offence comedy that misses more than it hits.

 

Overall: This is just another boring comedy that tries too hard.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – J – Journey to Dinosaur Island (2014)

Director: Matt Drummond

Writer: Matt Drummond (Screenplay)

Starring: Darius Williams, Kate Rasmussen

 

Plot: A vacation becomes the adventure of a lifetime as a boy finds himself stranded in a world filled with ghost ships and prehistoric creatures. He embarks on a journey that will change his future forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Educational Dinosaur Movie

 

Story: The Journey to Dinosaur Island starts as son of a palaeontologist Lucas (Williams) is on a holiday of a lifetime when his plane has complication leaving him to awaken on a mysterious island with Kathryn (Thompson) the only human on the island that is inhabited by dinosaurs.

As Lucas learns about the island from Kathryn the two must figure out what is causing the strange time events which seems to bring people from different time eras, objects to the island that time seemed to have forgotten.

 

Thoughts on The Journey to Dinosaur Island

 

Characters – Lucas is the son of a palaeontologist that lives in the present day but finds himself living in the era he likes to study and must work with another trapped person to survive, I do question a lot about this character because on minute he is designed to be the clumsy idiot the next he is the smartest one of the two. Kathryn is from the 1950s, she has been on the island for years and studying it in this time, her character arc starts smart before slowly becoming the damsel in distress.

PerformanceIt would be hard to say anything bad about the young actors, they both seem to be enjoying the film and doing the best they can with what they are given.

StoryThe story is another attempt at The Lost World theory where dinosaurs could still be living somewhere in the world with a twist on the time being everlasting. This does work for a family because the kids can enjoy the story unfolding, it doesn’t become complicated and is happy to leave educational material in the film even if everything is by the books.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiIf you are a fan of dinosaurs this is in fact a fun adventure movie that the whole family could enjoy the film. the sci-fi twist comes from a world that time never forgot where science fiction is steeped in trying to focus on the fact.

SettingsThe island looks beautiful even if it is mostly CGI and this makes for a wonderful setting for the adventure to take place on.

Special EffectsThe special effects are clearly all low budget but are constant through the film and do seem to fit the ideas behind the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is targeted only for kids.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good kids film, it is simple storytelling and dinosaur fans are going to enjoy themselves.

 

Overall: Dinosaur adventure, need I say more?

Rating