ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – I – Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019) Movie Review

Director: Timo Vuorensola

Writer: Timo Vuorensola, Dalan Musson (Screenplay) Jarmo Puskala, Johanna Sinisalo, Samuli Torssonen (Story)

Starring: Lana Rossi, Vladimir Burlakov, Kit Dale, Julia Dietze, Stephanie Paul, Tom Green, Udo Keir

Plot: A follow-up to the film Iron Sky (2012) in which Nazis plan to take over the world after lying dormant in a secret military base on the moon.


Tagline – Let’s make earth great again

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bonkers

Story: Iron Sky: The Coming Race starts years after the events of the first Iron Sky, both the Nazi Moon Base and Earth have been destroyed by nuclear war, with the remaining survivors living side by side in the former moon base, Obi (Rossi) loves her title and can fix most problems in engineering, being one of the few people that thinks what might be needed if they needed to leave.

When Vril Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Kier) is discovered by Obi, who explains the reason for everything that he had planned, his history and how to continue the human race despite the history of war between the people, leading to Obi needing to return to Earth with a team of Sasha (Burlakov), Malcom (Dale), religious leader Donald (Green) and his followers to locate an item, that could save the lives of the people.

Thoughts on Iron Sky: The Coming Race

Characters – Obi is the daughter of the hero of the last movie, she has always lived on the moon, working on using her skills as an engineer to try and find a solution to the people on the moon, which would see her return to Earth in search of the secrets in the centre of the Earth. She goes on this mission in an attempt to save her mother, while giving us commentary to everything that is happening. Sasha is the Russian that arrives on the moon with a ship that barely functioning, he helps Obi on her mission, knowing that if he helps it could give his people a chance to stay. Donald is the leader of a religious group on the moon, if you don’t fit into their perfect world he will kill them, he goes on the mission in hopes of being able to find the great hope for his people. Vril Wolfgang lives on the moon, he fills in the gaps in the world and what has been the plan for so long and how the remaining survivors could make it off the moon. Vril Hitler is still on Earth along with the other evil leaders from history, waiting for his chance to get back it his brother.

PerformancesLara Rossi does a great job in the leading role, we see how she makes us support her character, while keeping the idea feeling like a much more relaxed movie, almost like any reluctant hero in a film. Udo Kier is great to watch as always, while Tom Green doesn’t hit his comedy enough and Vladimir Burlakov does play against generic Russian figure well, but it is too much at times.

StoryThe story here follows up the events of the first Iron Sky by seeing the survivors needing to find a new source before it is too late, which sees them return to Earth and get involved in another battle which will put all the lives at risk. When it comes to the story, it feels like it is too long after the previous one, with the 25 odd years time jump, it does give us the next challenge, which does give us a simple sort of adventure story, which does feel like a Star Trek idea. Where the story might standout more is with the ridiculous ideas that are put in place with the dinosaurs, aliens and everything about this coming to life with a cult of Steve Job worshipers, this added together gives us plenty of bonkers material on the side to work with. It feels like a safe sequel, where you would only watch if you enjoyed the first one, but it won’t be considered bad in any of those conversations.

Action/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action might well use ideas from other films, but it twists them into a way that you haven’t seen before, including an alien Hitler riding a T-Rex. The comedy plays into joking about surviving certain situations that other films take for granted, which does work, but when we try to have other jokes, we do see them miss more often than hit. The sci-fi world created here is wonderful, the idea of aliens creating super villains in history, living in the Earth and with dinosaurs is fantastic and original.

SettingsThe film does make use feel like we are watching a Star Trek story in a Firefly world with the settings, with most places looking beat down, broken, while the Earth creates a paradise you couldn’t imagine.

Special EffectsThe effects are stronger than you would expect for such a low budgeted movie, they show great achievement, even if we can tell the green screen moments.


Scene of the Movie – Hitler riding a T-Rex

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy misses too much.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting idea for a sequel that is willing to break the ideas of the third wall, taking history and spinning it into a giant sci-fi twist on everything.

Overall: Crazy fun.

Ice Station Zebra (1968) Movie Review

Director: John Sturges

Writer: Douglas Heyes, Harry Julian Fink (Screenplay) Alistair MacLean (Novel)

Starring: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown, Tony Bill, Lloyd Nolan

Plot: USN nuclear sub USS Tigerfish must rush to the North Pole to rescue the staff of Drift Ice Station Zebra weather station.


Tagline – “Ice Station Zebra”… Remember The Name — Your Life May Depend On It!

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sizzling Tension Filler

Story: Ice Station Zebra starts after a British research facility in the North Pole gets into a position where it requires help, with the snow stopping any flights, Cdr James Ferraday (Hudson) is assigned to captain his nuclear submarine, with specialist David Jones (McGoohan) who is on his own mission to the research facility.

On route to the station the crew pick up Boris Vaslov (Borgnine) and Captain Leslie Anders (Brown), learning that somebody might be trying to sabotage the mission, once they hit the North Pole, the four are joined by a crew to finish the mission on foot across the cold arctic conditions.

Thoughts on Ice Station Zebra

Characters – Cdr James Ferraday is the man assigned with taking the submarine on the rescue attempt, he knows what he needs to, only he is joined with somebody who knows more, he must figure out how to get more information, while become suspicious of everything that he learns along the way, including the extra guests who join the mission, he wants to do the right thing and tries to make sure nobody gets in his way. Boris Vaslov is a Russian that joins the mission, he is friendly to everybody while looking to find the answers. David Jones is the man that joins the mission from the start, he knows what they are looking for and doesn’t want to give away everything unless it will get to a stage of life and death. Captain Leslie Anders joins the mission and is stricter in how he runs the soldiers onboard the submarine.

PerformancesRock Hudson in the leading role is strong, while we do have a well known cast in Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan and Jim Brown that all do a great job with their characters through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a crew of a submarine that must travel to the North Pole to rescue a group of survivors that are in need of rescue, while also waiting to see why other nations are so interested in getting there first. This starts of looking like it is going to be a standard rescue mission, only to turn into a story that revolves around the different nations that are all interested in what could be at the base, while it could have something much bigger for the world’s control over everything. We are kept guessing on who to trust through the film, which is interesting and does keep us on edge, even if most of the moments focus on the almost moments.

AdventureThe film does make us see this as an adventure with the characters needing to go on a journey to rescue people in need, even if not everybody is on the same page.

SettingsThe film is set in two primary locations, first the submarine, which is contained, then the arctic with the station which might be open, but is isolated.


Scene of the Movie – Showdown on the ice.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Doesn’t give us enough answers.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting thriller that feels like it is just ready to burst, only for it to end up fizzling out without getting to the top level we would look to expect it to.

Overall: Fizzling Thriller.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Director: Shane Black

Writer: Drew Pearse, Shane Black (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Warren Ellis, Adi Granov (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley

 

Plot: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.


Tagline – Unleash the power behind the armor.

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Superhero Movie with Consequences

 

Story: Iron Man 3 starts in the aftermath of The Avengers, Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is still dealing with the side effects from going through the worm hole, to make matters worse Pepper (Paltrow) is getting tired of his action, a new terrorist known as the Mandarin (Kingsley) is bombing the world.

After Tony challenges him to fight him, Tony finds his mansion destroyed, with Tony getting stuck in a small town, when the true identity of the Mandarin is revealed and the man who is controlling him Aldrich Killian (Pearce) a man that Tony once rejected working with.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 3

 

Characters – Tony Stark is back, this time he can’t sleep because of what happened in New York in the Avengers. He can’t cope with knowing he could know lose somebody he loves in Pepper, he keeps busy by improving his suits and challenge the new terrorist. He must go on a journey of self-discovery before fighting the latest enemy. This is one of the best character arcs in the franchise. Pepper Potts is still running the company, but is getting more distant from Tony, she learns how Tony feels about her by his actions in this film. Rhodey has become the lead guardian turned to for his newly rebranded Iron Patriot. He lets Tony get the important information required to learn the truth. Aldrich Killian is the man that Tony once forget or rejected, he has gone on to master a way to fix limp loss, which has helped him grow a group of soldiers that can explode if not treated properly, he has put a mask on his attacks making it seem like he had nothing to do with it. Maya is another lady from Tony’s past, she has her own reasons for returning, where she plays partly as a love rival for Pepper and somebody who still wants her work to mean something. Trevor is the Mandarin, through to be the big threat in the film, while we get a twist in his purpose in the film which has divided fans ever since.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr gives one of the best performances in the Marvel Universe because he must deal emotions unlike any other hero in the franchise to date. Gwyneth Paltrow gets to bring her own stamp to this role, getting more involved in the action this time around. Don Cheadle continues to make his character more likeable than ever. Guy Pearce does make for a strong villain, he keeps up guessing to what he will do next hanging on his words. Rebecca Hall struggles, but this is mostly because the character is written poorly. Ben Kingsley gives us one of the funniest performances in the franchise to date.

StoryThe story involves Tony Stark facing consequences of The Avengers, while dealing with a new threat terrorising the world. This way of looking at the story is impressive because we have seen many superhero films that have never looked at dealing with side effects of the previous films, this brings Tony on a character arc which is easily one of the best in the franchise. The idea a villain has created a way for people to recover from limp loss that could end up becoming deadly weapons is strong because it continues to show rival inventors in Tony’s world. This is one of the stories which does get questions over a certain serve in the story, but it only adds to the way we are getting too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is a terrorist that uses explosive to destroy or fight Tony Stark. Which does show us how the sci-fi world of technology is making a new threat to the world.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show Tony stuck in a town where he wouldn’t ever visit, the action scenes do take us to new settings though which does help.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film show how flawlessly Tony can get in and out of his suits, the way the characters look when they could look to explode or regenerate, which fits the style of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The plane save.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Failure to use Maya well enough.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best character arcs in the franchise to date, we see how he must learn from his mistakes and fight a new threat.

 

Overall: Best character arc to date.

Rating

 

 

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Director: Frank Capra

Writer: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra (Screenplay) Philip Van Doren Stern (Story)

Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi

 

Plot: An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.


Tagline – They’re going steady…straight to your heart!

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: It’s a Wonderful Life starts as an angel Clarence (Travers) is chosen to head to Earth to help George Bailey (Stewart), first we learn what left George in the state he needs rescuing from, the hardworking young man that doesn’t want to just have a basic job.

As the years pass George finds himself never leaving the town, marrying the girl of his dreams Mary (Reed), but not everything goes as smoothly as he had planned as he clashes with Mr Potter (Barrymore) on all business dealings.

 

Thoughts on It’s a Wonderful Life

 

Characters – George Bailey is a businessman that had always dreamed of getting out of his small town, he was destine for something big, but got overshadowed by his brother while staying and taking care of his family business. He has always been good to the people in the town over the ruthless Mr Potter, but he has reached his final straw, as we see how things lead to this moment of needing a guardian angel. Mary is the wife of George’s that stands by George through the differences they face during the time, knowing he is good man. Mr Potter is the ruthless businessman that has been after George’s family business for decades now, he tries all the tricks in the book to ruin them.

PerformancesJames Stewart was fantastic in this leading role, where he shows the calmness even with the frustration his character is feeling through the story unfold. Donna Reed is great too in the supporting role, while Lionel Barrymore is great as the villainous role.

StoryThe story shows how one man’s good nature can stop him living the life he had planned, but things do go in a good direction, to the level where he doesn’t enjoy. It shows how you could have someone constantly tries to put you down and you can’t give up on your own beliefs. It shows the meaning of doing the right thing in life, because it will reward you in the future.

Family/FantasyThe family could enjoy this every Christmas, it does take its time before getting into the fantasy elements of the film though, which only happens in the final quarter of the film.

SettingsThe town setting shows us the life George has found himself stuck in believing he could have done more. It shows us who knows who and how close the community is.


Scene of the Movie –
If he hadn’t been born.

That Moment That Annoyed Me George does seem to just snap on one night, there doesn’t seem to be a slow enough build up.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the Christmas movies that everyone will have heard of, it is one everyone should see at some point in their life too.

 

Overall: Must watch Christmas movie.

Rating

 

 

Invasion Planet Earth (2019) Movie Review

Director: Simon Cox

Writer: Simon Cox, Simon Bovey (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Haycock, Lucy Drive, Julie Hoult, Danny Steele, Sophie Anderson, Jon Campling, Toyah Willcox

Plot: After the death of his young daughter, Thomas Dunn is a man who has lost his faith. On the day he finds out his wife is pregnant again, aliens invade the Earth.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Thinking Sci-Fi Film

Story: Invasion Planet Earth starts as Dr Thomas Dunn (Haycock) and his teacher wife Mandy (Drive) are still dealing with the loss of their infant daughter and with the news they are expecting again, they might finally be putting the pieces back together in their lives, until a sudden strange vision of an impending alien invasion coming to Earth hits everyone, bringing a mystery about what might be happening next.

The visions continue to haunt Thomas, as he starts to see strange horrific events that are testing his own sense of reality, filled with the destruction that only an alien craft could bring upon somebody.

Thoughts on Invasion Planet Earth

Characters – Thomas Dunn is a doctor, husband and father, he has been dealing with the grief of losing an infant daughter and is prepared to start a new start with his wife and new pregnancy. His joy turns to panic when he gets taken from Earth with his patients and put through a string of events from their pasts, he tries to think of a logical reason behind everything, while getting a chance to exercise his own demons. Mandy is the teacher, wife and mother expecting her second child, after the death of the first child. She is in her classroom when the incident happens. Harriett, Floyd and Samantha are three of the patients that have different problems and get taken with Thomas and through the events of the film learn about how to overcome their problems.

PerformancesSimon Haycock in the leading role brings the most serious performance, which brings the calm required for his role. Julie Hoult, Danny Steele and Sophie Anderson all do the louder roles well, while Lucy Drive shows her strength even though she is filled with pain.

StoryThe story here follows a husband and wife that learn they are expecting a new baby, the day aliens arrive on Earth launching their own attack on the residents of Earth, leading to the people to go on an unexpected journey of self-discovery. The story here does lean heavily into the philosophical ideas of what would happen if aliens visited, while also showing how life can be turned on upside down by people that finally learn their place on the planet. We have a story that does give us moments of foreshadowing and everything does go in a direction, that you won’t see coming, which is a delight to see. The way certain parts of the story unfold might well leave us confused, though the truth will be the one thing that does come out by the end explaining everything we have seen unfolding.

Action/Sci-FiThe action side of the film is one of the weaker points, because the generic battles and shootings are everything we have seen before and does take us away from the more interesting side of the story. With the sci-fi elements of the film shining on the idea of a sudden alien invasion leaving the humans unaware of what is happening or why.

SettingsThe film does get through plenty of locations, with the spacecraft being one of the more uniquely designed ones, we do have the big cities which shows the scale of potential attacks.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we can see the heavy use of the CGI elements to create the worlds, mostly the spacecraft, they do work well enough for the pure scale of the idea involved here.


Scene of the Movie – The journeys through times.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The action scenes take away the thinking side of the film.

Final Thoughts This is a sci-fi film that does focus on the serious side of the world, taking on bigger steps than just being a generic action film.

Overall: Smart Sci-Fi