Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VII: Generations (1994)

Director: David Carson

Writer: Rick Berman, Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Malcol McDowell, William Shatner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton

 

Plot: Captain Picard, with the help of long presumed dead Captain Kirk, must stop a madman willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter an energy ribbon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining But Confusing

 

Story: Star Trek Generations starts when the Enterprise is having its first outing without Kirk (Shatner) as the captain, he is there as a guest for the grand launch along with the press who take the ship on a small galaxy tour only to find themselves needing to respond to an emergency call, do the best he can Kirk saves the day but is believed to have been killed in the incident.

78 years later, Picard (Stewart) is now captain of the Enterprise with his new crew including Riker or Number One (Frakes), Data (Spiner), Geordi (Burton) Worf (Dorn) and Beverly (McFadden) who answer another distress call from Soran (McDowell) a survivor from the opening incident. Soran has a plan to destroy a star to head back to Nexus a place where his people were taken from and only Picard must stop him from cause a devastating effect on the galaxy.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek Generations

 

Characters – Picard is now the captain of the enterprise, he is less flamboyant that Kirk but equally as strong in a leader role, but the problem with everything involved Picard and his crew is that unless you have seen the series most elements just seem to be continuing life aspects we learnt from them. Kirk only gets involved in the opening and final moments of the film, this gives us a chance to see the big leaders a chance to be on screen together. Soran does seem to become the most intense villain since Khan, he is a broken man wanting his peace in life but it will cost millions of lives to get.

PerformanceThe performances from Stewart and the rest of the crew are good even if Brent Spiner is trying too hard for comedy. Malcolm McDowell makes for a good villain with a constant look of menace in his eyes through the film.

StoryThe story does feel like an extension of the Voyager television show, we have the new established crew taking on a villain who wants to put his personal gain over the lives of the many. The idea works fine if you are a fan of the television show but if you have never seen the show you will be left wondering why Data acts the way he does, why suddenly Picard has a family he is caring about and a few other dynamics between the crew.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure the crew goes on does take the crew to a new species of aliens in the galaxy to save but otherwise it is more of the same, the mystery comes from what Soran wants from the Enterprise crew and his great plan in the mission.

SettingsThe settings once again offer us nothing new, spaceship and dusty planet, been here seen this.

Special EffectsThe effects have improved since the last outing and actually look like part of a sci-fi film now.

Scene of the Movie – The Nexus vision for Picard.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understanding the characters personal backstory.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the franchise that is mostly for the hardcore fans of the show and films though.

 

Overall: Clash of captains worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King: Quest for Power (2015)

Director: Mike Elliott

Writer: Michael Weiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Victor Webster, Ellen Hollman, Will Kemp, Barry Bostwick, Rutger Hauer, Michael Biehn, M Emmet Walsh

 

Plot: When he is betrayed by a trusted friend, Mathayus must marshal all his strength and cunning to outwit a formidable opponent who will stop at nothing to unlock a supreme ancient power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flat-Out Comedy Now

 

Story: The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power starts with Mathayus (Webster) and his apprentice Drazen (Kemp) looking to steal an ancient artefact which will give whoever holds it great power but Skizurra (Ferrigno) proves to be formidable opponent for Mathayus, but he finds himself betrayed by Drazen.

Failing his mission Mathayus is sent by King Zakkour (Hauer) to offer a peace agreement with King Yannick (Biehn) the father Drazen. When the king is murdered with scorpions, Mathayus must go on the run with Valina (Hollman) to work with her father Sorrell (Bostwick) to stop Drazen from unlocking the secret ancient power that can bring down the kingdoms.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is now once again a warrior for hire, we learn no reason or story to how he lost the kingdom he earnt at the end of the last film. he gets betrayed again before going on the mission. Valina is the feisty woman this time trying to go against tradition and be a warrior leader with Drazen being the power-hungry villain. The fellow character all add laughs without doing too much for the story.

Performance wise, Victor Webster has made this role his own and hands the comical side of this film, Ellen Hollman is fine in the leading role but it would be say she is the weakest of the leading ladies of the franchise. Will Kemp does bring certain credibility back to the villainous role but how can anyone be worse than Billy Zane. The rest of the cast all do well throughout.

StoryThe story is good even if they do forget to explain why Mathayus is no longer king again, we get everything we need for an adventure but the biggest positive for me was the balancing of science version myth which I have found other films have attempted and failed, this film gets it about right.

Action/AdventureThe action is fine just lots of hand to hand combat which is fine without being anything impressive but the adventure does feel like a lot more fun.

SettingsThe settings confused at times because we seem to have got past the idea of sand and heading into the woods because filming in Romania is cheap.

Special EffectsThe special effects are weak through the film which does take certain moments away from the final film.

Final ThoughtsThis film was better than certain comedies I saw from this year and the adventure is fine but it just doesn’t feel like a Scorpion King movie anymore.

 

Overall: Comical sequel that should be fun to watch if watched as a comedy.

Rating

 

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Director: Jake Kasdan

Writer: Chris McKenna, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas

 

Plot: Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.


Tagline – The game has evolved.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Blast

 

Story: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts as we follow four teenage high school students the geek Spencer (Wolff), the social media diva Bethany (Iseman), the start American football player Fridge (Blain) and the hard-working studier Martha (Turner) who are all sentenced to detention for different reasons. While in detention they find an old video game, an evolved version of Jumanji, to which they all get sucked into.

In the game the students become the characters they selected, Spencer becomes Dr Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), Fridge becomes Moose Finbar (Hart), Bethany becomes Professor Shelly Oberon (Black) and Martha becomes Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan). Each character they are playing as is completely different to their human characters and now they must use their newly found strength to save Jumanji and return home.

 

Thoughts on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

 

Characters – The students first Spencer is a geek, loner who has lost his once friendship with Fridge because of how they went different direction, he does try to help Fridge with his studies and is a video game expert. Fridge is the star American football player of the school, we don’t learn too much about him other than he is struggling with his studies. Bethany is the diva of the school, she is glued to her phone, not caring about anybody else in the world. Martha is a student that is desperate to succeed in her studies, adding unneeded pressure on herself to achieve as much as she can.

The players, Dr Smolder Bravestone is a born adventurer, strong, fast and full of smouldering intensity, this gives Spencer the physical strength he never had against Fridge. Ruby Roundhouse helps turns Martha into a bad ass fighter, this gives Martha a chance to break out of her shell. Professor Shelly Oberon becomes a nightmare for Bethany, an overweight middle-aged man, a true teenage nightmare. Shelly is the only one that can guide them through Jumanji, this gives Bethany a chance to realize there are people outside of her phone. Moose Finbar is a zoologist, that shows Fridge what life is like from the point of view of someone without muscles, this is one of the only weak points in the movie, that is because we haven’t learnt enough about Fridge before hand and now he isn’t on the same learning level the other three are.

PerformancesThe performances of the four in the game are great, Dwayne Johnson continues to show us why we love him as an actor, he can step into any fun role and make it his own. Karen Gillan had to spend time defending her characters wardrobe, but for the character shows that she is one of the action-packed actresses to watch out for. Kevin Hart is entertaining, but he is too different from his human character. Jack Black is the true star of the show here, he gets the best lines and is the best performance of a teenage girl you will see this year.

StoryThe story does play out much like the original only we enter the game because it has evolved into a video game. We have a Breakfast Club feel to why the characters are in detention and needing to learn that however different they may seem on the outside, inside they are similar in many ways. The story does get plenty of escapes too by being a video game, we have built in characters who only have certain responses because of programming over the idea of poorly written characters, we have lots of fun with how it all unfolds with each stage becoming more difficult as they go on.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action does feel like a video game which is fine because it entertains throughout, this plans into the adventure through the jungle for our characters. The film is set with a comic tone which likes to poke fun at body-swapping, which does become a fine balance through the film.

SettingsThe high school settings is what we have seen before, but the jungle becomes a character of its own with the beauty of the landscapes out characters will find themselves in.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the most part, though we do see the green screen moments and CGI animals too often.


Scene of the Movie –
Introduction to Shelly Oberon and the reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel that Moose is written for Kevin Hart rather than to be an opposite to Fridge.

Final ThoughtsThis movie is a lot of fun from start to finish, you can forget this is a remake sequel because of the nods to the original, you will find yourself enjoying nearly everything in this fun movie.

 

Overall: Truly fun adventure movie.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (2012)

Director: Roel Reine

Writer: Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn (Screenplay) Randall McCormick (Story)

Starring: Victor Webster, Billy Zane, Ron Perlman, Selina Lo, Dave Bautista, Krystal Vee

 

Plot: Since his rise to power, Mathayus’ kingdom has fallen. Now an assassin for hire, he must defend a kingdom from an evil tyrant and his ghost warriors for the chance to regain the power and glory he once knew.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funnier Sequel

 

Story: The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption starts where a disgraced Mathayus (Webster) is in search of a worthy death not that he has lost his kingdom and love, now he fights for money and honour with Horus (Perlman) hiring him to take out his brother Talus (Zane) a man trying to conquer the land. Mathayus is sent with European warrior Olaf (Christopher) who helps save a princess Silda (Vee) for King Ramusan (Morrison).

But this easy looking adventure takes a turn in the search for Cobra before Mathayus must come up against ghost warriors in Argomael (Bautista), Zulu Kondo (Ferguson), Tsukai (Lo) to free the kingdom from war.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is now older which is good because now this is a sequel to the original as we see how he has fallen from grace but is still a brilliant warrior. Silda is the plucky warrior woman starting her own revolution against the evil ruler. With Talus being the over the top cowardly ruler that will never get his hands dirty. Olaf adds most of the laughs in this film with the ghost warriors all have a great look about them.

Performance wise, Victor Webster is solid in the leading role being an improvement on the last outing but never reaching Johnson level. Krystal Vee makes for yet another beautiful warrior but Billy Zane is way to over the top for this role. The early role for Dave Bautista does show how far he has come though. If you are looking to see a lot of Ron Perlman you will be disappointed.

StoryThe story follows what happens once Mathayus has fallen from the top returning to his warrior ways for money. Finding him stuck between two sides in the battle also works and it could be argued that this is the best story yet from a Scorpion King film.

Action/AdventureThe action is almost painfully choregraphed with the adventure side of the film going the wrong direction. The fantasy side does work in places with the ghost warriors.

SettingsThe settings once more could have just been anywhere with no location sticking out.

Special EffectsThe special effects are fine as the film cuts back on them mostly returning just to hand to hand combat.

Final ThoughtsThis story is good but the poorly directed action, poor acting and repetitive action gets tiresome quickly.

 

Overall: Another part of this franchise where you don’t need to see anything else beforehand.

Rating

 

 

Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Director: Nicholas Meyer

Writer: Leonard Nimoy, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Kim Cattrall, Christopher Plummer

 

Plot: On the eve of retirement, Kirk and McCoy are charged with assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor and imprisoned. The Enterprise crew must help them escape to thwart a conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the last best hope for peace.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Addition to Franchise

 

Story: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country starts as the Klingon race is facing extinction after a mining accident, Spock (Nimoy) and the federation have looked at options to create a peace agreement and Spock suggests the near retirement Kirk (Shatner) to escort the Chief in Command of the Klingons for negotiations.

When the escort goes wrong all clues point to the Enterprise attacking and members of the crew boarding the ship to assassinate the Chief in Command, this leads to Kirk and McCoy (Kelley) being arrested for the assassination, leaving Spock to uncover the truth during this delicate time between the space races.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

 

Characters – Kirk is on the verge of retirement and reluctantly accepts an escort mission searching for a chance of peace even against his own dislike towards the Klingons after their hand in his son’s death. Kirk is framed for the assassination of the Klingon leader and joins McCoy in a mining prison hoping his crew could turn around the conviction. Spock is the one trying to put together peace treaty and must take control of the Enterprise after the assassination and the investigation from within the ship to who was really behind it all. Chang is the Klingon general that believes himself and Kirk are both great warriors and he also isn’t supporting the peace talks, he is quick to point the finger at Kirk for the assassination.

PerformanceBy now we what performances we are going to get from the crew, with Shatner and Nimoy both doing what we expect now. Christopher Plummer is the biggest addition to this cast and he does well even though you could question an actor as respected as him joining in this late in the franchise.

StoryThe story shows the point of the Federation, looking for peace between all races but the crew must deal with the few extremists that don’t want the peace in the galaxy. This does play out as a strategical part of the series as we learn more sides to the overall battle which makes everything feel a lot more interesting. If you are going into this looking for big battles you won’t get that one though.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure does take a step back in this story as we are left to focus on the mystery behind who is against the peace talks.

SettingsThe mostly just spend the time on the ships which is fine because this story focuses on the idea of peace in the galaxy over a battle there.

Special EffectsThe effects are good without being great through this film.

Scene of the Movie – The assassination looks great.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of use of the supporting crew.

Final ThoughtsThis is another nice addition to the Star Trek franchise which shows even after 6 films you can still enjoy the film.

 

Overall: This is a nicely built up film in the franchise.

Rating