ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – M – Meteor (1979)

Director: Ronald Neame

Writer: Stanley Mann, Edmund H North (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard, Richard Dysart, Henry Fonda

 

Plot: The USA must join forces with the USSR in order to destroy a gigantic asteroid heading straight for Earth.


Tagline – There’s No Place On Earth To Hide!

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical 70s Disaster Movie

 

Story: Meteor starts when a gigantic asteroid is discovered in space, heading straight to Earth, now Dr Phil Bradley (Connery) is bought in to use his design of Hercules as a defence to eliminate the threat from space, the problems come from the idea the military have turned his idea into a weapon hovering over Russia, which brings the Russians into the mix with Dr Dubov (Keith) needing to work with the Americans to stop the threat.

As the two superpowers start to put their differences behind them, the threat needs to be addressed and the question remains how the world will prepare for any failure in the missions.

 

Thoughts on Meteor

 

Characters – Paul Bradley created the defence operation in space for any potential threats coming from out of space, he isn’t happy they were used to place missiles on enemy countries and now he must fight to get his ideas used the correct way once a threat from space comes to light. Tatiana is the translator between the two nations, she must help build the bridges between the two sides who are aiming for the same thing. Harry Sherwood runs the operations from the American side as he works to help Paul get his ideas out even if it means going against the higher ups want. Dr Dubov is the Russian with his own version of Hercules, he will help even if it means not everything is working for him.

PerformancesSean Connery gives us the performance we would expect from him, he is good without standing out in anyways.  Most of the performances are just fine, there are a lot of military performances we would expect and power struggle needing to be played out.

StoryThe story here shows how the world first started facing the fact their destruction could come from space, while also balance the idea of the superpowers of the world trying to stay ahead of each other even defending the Earth. When it comes to disaster movies, I feel like I have seen them all, the good, the bad and the ugly of the selection the world has given us. If I was to compare this to a more modern one, it would be Deep Impact as they both show the scientific side to defending the Earth and are not afraid to have the destruction from small asteroids. Everything does play out smoothly enough and with the boom in disaster movies it follows the typical clichés previous movies have offered too.

Action/Sci-FiWhen we look at the action the film gives us, we are looking at destruction caused by the falling asteroids, while you can tell most scenes are miniature modals of city, they do come off good when it comes to the destruction where of course its only major locations that get hit. The sci-fi side of the film shows the focus on the idea that an asteroid could come and hit Earth and offers ideas to prepare for it.

SettingsThe film mostly stays in he science facilities only leaving to show us the destruction to the typical location we always see get destroyed in the disaster movies.

Special EffectsThe effects I believe were good for the time, even though they have dated with how they achieve certain destruction sequences.


Scene of the Movie –
The destruction scenes are the best ones to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The awkward tidal wave scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid 70s disaster movie, it checks the boxes well and shows the possibilities Earth could face with an asteroid strike.

 

Overall: 70s Disaster movie 101

Rating

 

 

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The Meg (2018)

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Writer: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber (Screenplay) Steve Alten (Novel)

Starring: Jason Statham, Ruby Rose, Jessica McNamee, Rainn Wilson, Bingbing Li, Cliff Curtis, Masi Oka, Winston Chao

 

Plot: After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.


Tagline – If you see her coming…It’s all you’ll have time to say.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Massively Entertaining

 

Story: The Meg starts as we learn just how skill and how many difficult decisions expert rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) has made leaving him out of the water. On the other side of the story 5-years-later billionaire Morris (Wilson) has assembled a team run by Dr Zhang (Chao) including marine biologist Suyin (Li) Mac (Curtis), Jaxx (Rose) DJ (Kennedy) Heller (Taylor) The Wall (Olafsson) Lori (McNamee) and Toshi (Oka) to see if there is anything below the bottom of the ocean.

Once they breach the line they believed to be the bottom the submersible comes under attack and is in need of rescue, the only man to have rescued people that far down, Jonas Taylor, now he must rescue them crew and face the monstrous megalodon which ruined his career before it becomes a threat to anybody or anything in the ocean.

 

Thoughts on The Meg

 

Characters – Jonas Taylor is the expert rescue diver, disgraced for a job he made the right decision on, forced to come back and save a new crew which includes his ex-wife. The reluctant hero is this character and the only that will do anything crazy enough to protect human lives. Suyin is the marine biologist who also has her daughter Meiying on the research base, this research could help define her career and she will play to the side of nature rather than shooting first. Morris is the billionaire financing this research, it just so happens to be his visiting day when they break through, though when the Meg is loose, he sees everything as a potential PR opportunity or disaster. Mac runs the operations on the crew, an old friend of Jonas’ he pretty much just relays the instructions for the film. Dr Zhang has worked his entire life on the theory of the bottom of the ocean only being layer that can be crossed to go deeper, the discovery would change how the world see him, though he would never risk human life for science. Jaxx is the computer expert, she designed the base and like DJ is here for moment of comic relief. Meiying the daughter of Suyin just roams the base, unlikely most children in films this is one of the strongest and best characters in the film.

PerformancesJason Statham a former Olympic diver turned action star, could you have written a more perfect role for him? He is great as the action lead and this is easily one f his best solo roles in years. Bingbing Li is our leading lady and she is great to watch, gets put in just as many action sequences as Statham never looking out of place, while handling the emotion moments too. Rainn Wilson is good for a laugh, the occasion good idea and showing us just how crazy billionaires can be. The rest of the cast are good, they give us good moments to laugh for the most part with Page Kennedy taking over large part with his normal person reaction to everything.

StoryThe story here comes from the popular novel of the same name, we have a crew that must try and stop a megalodon from causing problems to the rest of the world after they discover it and accidently release it. Did we really think this was going to have the deepest story, no, did we just want to watch a megalodon eat stuff while human try to stop it, yes. This sums up the story perfectly, we never get anything complicated, we do touch on the idea of science versus survival which is important, but also gets answered rationally. We are saved a lot of the science talk which could have clouded over moments and even though most of the character are generic they fit the pieces together for all we wanted in the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action, well this is big, the shark is 70-foot long, we know we are going to have destruction and what we got in the final sequence is just what we wanted. The horror is difficult to get work in this movie, partial because of the rating 12a in England, and you can’t really build suspense when the shark is that big. The sci-fi side of the film shows what would happen if we found a real megalodon being released in the eco-system.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the wide ocean, this makes sense, you won’t bump into the shark at the supermarket, the idea this megalodon would out swim most boats adds to the idea running isn’t going to help and for the feeding ground we know we are in for a treat, or it is.

Special EffectsWhen you have a budget this big you expect the effects to be top of the level, for the most part they are, the scale of megalodon makes everything seem life or death and the crafts created feel fresh for the underwater experience.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act of the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Parenting question most, while Meiying isn’t an annoying kid, surely with the money this family has it would be better to keep her on land or a nanny.

Final ThoughtsThis is everything you wanted for a giant shark versus Jason Statham movie, you know moments are going to be dumb, but they are fun.

 

Overall: Big, dumb and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Murder on the Reef (2018)

Director: Allen Dobrovolsky, Alex Fitzwater, Nicole McCuaig

Writer: Nicole McCuaig

 

Plot: For the past 4 years, scientist Dr Allen Dobrovolsky has been testing the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Concerned with the degradation in water quality, his research has led him to believe that the reef could be facing an environmental disaster of enormous proportions.


Tagline – A Natural Wonder of the World brought to its knees!

Runtime: 1 Hour

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important & Impactful

 

Thoughts on Murder on the Reef

 

ThoughtsIn England we have one of the icons in nature in Sir David Attenborough who for over half a century as been giving us warnings about human involvement in the destruction of nature, in 2015-2016 he did his own warnings over the Great Barrier Reef, now we look at the political side of the destruction. Two years later we learn how scientist Dr Allen Dobrovolsky continued to share this message with his own research after his own 4 years of research.

We get to head to the tourist sites along the Great Barrier Reef, that has been giving the profit needed to keep the tourism an achievable business. The problems came from increased industry along the coasts which have caused long-term problems, climate change and demand on job security that is running through Australia.

We focus on searching for the people who won’t help rather than looking for a sensible answer for a solution to the constantly decreasing health of the Reef. The government’s different attitudes toward whether saving the Great Barrier Reef compared to continuing to increase profits coming into the country only lead to petty arguments instead of ideas.

The documentary wants to send a message, it achieves that and now the simple question must be, Can people work together to find a solution before it is too late?

The one thing that must be noted about this documentary, is that you won’t be getting endless beauty shots of the Great Barrier Reef, we are only looking at the worst moments surrounding it and seeing interviews with people trying to look for solution mixed if parliament discussion.

 

Overall: Sir David Attenborough showed us the visual destruction, Dr Allen Dobrovolsky showed us the political cause of the destruction.

Rating

 

 

Mission Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Writer: Christopher McQuarrie (Screenplay) Bruce Geller (Television Series)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley, Alec Baldwin

 

Plot: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.


Tagline – Some missions are not a choice.

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Adrenaline Blast

 

Story: Mission Impossible: Fallout starts when Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team Luther (Rhames) and Benji (Pegg) have a mission gone wrong with plutonium falling into the wrong hands. CIA director Erica Sloan (Bassett) wants it back and her team to do the job, but know Ethan has everything lined up she assigns them her best man August Walker (Cavill) to join the team.

The mission is to retrieve the plutonium which leads them to cross paths with old allies and enemies before they can be used as a weapon that would devastate the Earth.

 

Thoughts on Mission Impossible – Fallout

 

Characters – Ethan Hunt is the man, agent the leader of the group, he will go into any situation with a plan, trusting the people behind him, this time his loyalty puts the world in peril and his must prove he can find a way to save the day without comprising his position. August Walker is a CIA agent, a fixer if you like, he will get the job done by shooting first asking questions later, which has led him to clash with Hunt, they have both made mistakes which could have got the job done earlier and now he is the one man you don’t want to fight against. Luther and Benji are the key components to Ethan’s team, they have the know how to get the job done and are two of the only people he will trust. Ilsa Faust returns and this time she crosses paths with Ethan turning up at the same locations on her own mission, still deadly and a figure that you will be on the fence about what side she is fight for. We have our authority figures in Alan Hunley and Erica Sloan who of course are clashing, as well as other figures that would be in the criminal world.

PerformancesTom Cruise, what more can say about this guy, when it comes to action he commits big time and this is no different, the action sequences he puts his body through and even the emotional factors included in this film show just how talented he is, with this easily being one of his best action performances of his career. Henry Cavill, I haven’t always been a fan of because Superman is kind of boring, in this film however, we get to see that this man is a talent, we believe he will kick your ass if you crossed him and the moments of emotionless moments are key to his character. Pegg and Rhames do have great chemistry and the comic relief, while Ferguson returns to keep enough mystery about her character for long enough in the film. Bassett and Baldwin will always make good authority figures and to see Vanessa Kirby fresh from The Crown in a big movie, she is great to watch here.

StoryThe story here follows Ethan on his latest mission, this time we get to see what could happen if the by the book mission goes wrong for his own personal reasons over a traitor in the group like the normal opening. The idea he needs to work with an outside isn’t new, the idea that he could be the traitor in the eyes of the authority isn’t new, but it has been tried and tested. Making this feel like a direct sequel is new though, the previous instalments have always felt like, just another mission, this one references previous stories and that increases the peril even if everything plays out to not completely mock certain aspects, but poke a tiny bit of fun at them.

Action/AdventureThe action, the reason we go to these films, while you do get a glimpse of nearly all the sequences in the trailer, the length and intensity to them isn’t shown there and you will be watching from the edge of your seat just to see where or what Hunt does next. The adventure side of the film does take Ethan across the world to save it before it is too late.

SettingsThe film uses key locations, with have Paris, London and Kashmir, each one offers a different action sequences to take place.  

Special EffectsThe effects show us just how committed or crazy Tom Cruise is, while they are prepared stunts everything is practical and looks it in every single scene.


Scene of the Movie –
London chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening credits give snippets of the action we are about to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is another quality addition to the Mission Impossible franchise, it is going to go down as one of the best usages of practical stunts for years to come and shows how they can still be used to this day.

 

Overall: Pure rush of an action film.

Rating

 

 

Mad to Be Normal (2017)

Director: Robert Mullan

Writer: Robert Mullan, Tracy Moreton (Screenplay)

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, David Tennant, Gabriel Byrne, Michael Gambon, David Bamber, Olivia Poulet, Trevor White

 

Plot: During the 1960s, a renegade Scottish psychiatrist courts controversy within his profession for his approach to the field, and for the unique community he creates for his patients to inhabit.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average History Lesson

 

Story: Mad to Be Normal starts in the 1960’s R.D. Laing (Tennant) fills out lecture halls with his methods of battling the mentally impaired patients, with his methods refusing to give medication which strikes up an interest of fresh out of education Angie Wood (Moss).

R.D. offers a community home where the patients can be themselves asking for help when they require it, with his team of doctors ready to listen whether they need to be around, though when people start questioning his behaviour and methods he must prove with his results.

 

Thoughts on Mad to Be Normal

 

Characters – R.D. Laing was a psychologist in the 1960’s he tackles dealing patients problems in a different way compared to the electro therapy, he has them in an open house environment where he can support them as they are given a normal life. Angie Wood seems to be the one we follow as she enters his life at the start of this story and we follow their romance and respect. Jim is one of the patients that seems to be calmer than the rest even though he can be the closest to being a danger.

PerformancesDavid Tennant is easily the star attraction in this film, we get to see how he plays the laidback, while serious doctor searching for solutions to the problems people have. Elisabeth Moss does go toe to toe with Tennant for the most part with the supporting cast giving us good performances too.

StoryThe story here follows the experimental treatment that R.D. Laing in the mid-60’s. It showed how his vision was different to the rest of the people in his field which helped changed the ideas of treatment once it was complete. We do follow his personal life with his relationship with Angie Wood and get to see how his own tragedies in life may have affected his decision makings. While this is a history lesson on this man, we just don’t get sucked into everything that we go through as it does feel like we needed one big moment to happen.

Biopic/HistoryThe man R.D. Laing was a leading man in his field, we see his experiment which changed how treatment could be receiving, though this is a great moment from history we don’t get a chance to see just where everything could have been, how he got to this stage of his career and miss big parts of his career.

SettingsThe film shows us where the experiment took place which tries to give the patients everyday life over being locked away from the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The night it goes wrong.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t learn enough about how he got to the position he is in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid biopic that doesn’t hit the high points it should have.

 

Overall: Biopic that does enough of a job.

Rating