Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Revisited

This is a revisited review, I first did this as one of my very first reviews in 2012.

 

Director: Simon West

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay) Sara B Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig, Chris Barrie, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artefacts.


Tagline – Who Is Lara Croft?

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun

 

Story: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starts on the anniversary of Lara Croft’s (Jolie) father death, with a once in a lifetime planetary alinement happening, Lara just so happens to discover the all seeing eye in her mansion and now she is involved in an adventure she is interested in. Lara’s connection lead her to Manfred Powell (Glen) a man assigned to locate the eye for secret society that want to use its powers for their own desires.

Once Manfred takes the artefact, Lara must go on adventure showing her tomb raiding skills hoping to stop them powerful device causing havoc on the world.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

 

Characters – Lara Croft lifted straight from the video game, the Lady of Croft Manor, she has found treasures all over the world becoming slightly bored of the popular location, getting a hidden message from her later father Lara’s interest spikes and soon she will be battle a secret society that are using her latest discovery to hopefully control time. We know she is the kick ass action heroine from the video games, calm through each situation, competitive rivalry with Alex West and the best in her field. Lord Richard Croft had died before the story starts, he appears in dreams guiding Lara as he was the one that trained her, he started learning about this event long before it started. Manfred Powell is hired by an underground society that want control of time, he will do anything to get what he wants to prove his value to the society and doesn’t lift a finger when it comes to searching for treasure. Alex West is the American rival to Lara, he works for money over desire to find treasure even if the two do just have an honest rivalry. Bryce and Hillary are the two most trusted people in Lara’s life, one works on her tech while the other looks after the manor.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie was the perfect choice in the year 2001 for this role, she was the best action heroine for the time, had the look of Lara Croft down to perfection as well as the swagger filled attitude. Jon Voight while only in a couple of scenes is good as the father figure needed for Lara. Iain Glen is good as the calculated villain who can kill just as quickly as Lara, he shows the calmness through the film to stay a threat in the film. Daniel Craig as the rival tomb raider is fine, his accent is his weakness though. Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie get most of the laughs which keeps the story on a lighter note.

StoryThe story gives us one of Lara Croft adventures as a Tomb Raider against the Illuminati. The story shows us an established Lara, accepting her place in the high society with connections in the antique world, we see she is trained in combat and this helps us get right into the story. the story shows us how Lara is almost bored of the generic treasure hunts and this knew one sparks her interest once again. When it comes to the story it unfolds as you would imagine, going from one location to the next location for the next chapter of the adventure as we get the different parts to complete the quest.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is set pieces set up on the different adventures Lara is on, be it in the tombs or in the manor which get bigger as the film goes on.

SettingsThe settings take us from the manor, to the tombs in the jungle and Siberia as well as Venice. Each place would be where you could imagine Lara going on her adventures.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mix of good and bad, for the time however they would have been excellent to watch, with the stone figures in the tomb sequence.


Scene of the Movie –
First Tomb sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain effects have dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action adventure bring to life one of the most iconic video game characters in Lara Croft.

 

Overall: Action adventure worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Dusty & Me (2018)

Director: Betsan Morris Evans

Writer: Rob Isted (Screenplay)

Starring: Luke Newberry, Genevieve Gaunt, Ian Hart, Lesley Sharp, Lee Ross, Ben Batt, Iain Glen

 

Plot: A feel-good, heart-warming film set in Yorkshire in 1977 about an adolescent boy’s big summer after leaving school. It’s about a boy and a dog, class and ambition, first love, and above all, family.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Coming of Age Film

 

Story: Dusty and Me starts when Dusty (Newberry) just turns 18 and finishes school on the same day with his brother Little Eddie (Batt) taking him for his first pint, meeting a greyhound that local trainer Mickey the Bubble (Glen) can’t train, he offers to walk and train while waiting for his results.

As the days turn into weeks Dusty starts getting involved with Chrissie (Gaunt) who becomes his first love as he continues to try and help Slapper the greyhound reach his potential.

 

Thoughts on Dusty and Me

 

Characters – Derek better know as Dusty to everyone else has been in private school, he has just hit 18 and is now returning home while waiting to receive his results. In this break he befriends a greyhound and meets a girl for the vital time in his life where he can find his place in life. Chrissie is the local girl that Dusty falls for, she has helps him come out of his shell, while we never learn where she wants her life to go. Big Eddie is the father of Derek, he spends his time down the pub wanting to be proud of his kids in his own way. Mickey the Bubble is the local greyhound trainer, he is known for his awful wigs and we see how he helps Dusty get the most out of Slapper, we do have the rest of the family with overprotective mum and fast-talking brother Little Eddie who gets all the laughs.

PerformancesLuke Newberry in the leading role is great, we see how he feels as innocent as he is meant to be at the earl stages of film before becoming more open as the film unfolds. Genevieve Gaunt keeps her performance a joy to watch, her ever positive character just makes us smile. Ben Batt will get the most laughs in the film as a character that wouldn’t feel out of place in ‘Only Fools and Horses’. When we see the bigger names Iain Glen and Ian Hart are both great in their roles too.

StoryThe story here is a coming-of-age tale about young Dusty an 18-year-old that has never has the chance of life experiences, the two months we watch we see him make new friends, both human and a dog and see just how much his family cares about him even if they don’t always show it. We go through a check list of coming of age movie which has sweet moments and shows the ups and downs in life which will only help make Dusty a stronger character for the world once he is finished.

Comedy/FamilyThe movie does have plenty of comedy in it, the funniest moments come from Little Eddie as he is the guy that seems to be able to get anything and the moments while he is away in postcard form telling Dusty what to do are funny. This is one that the whole family could enjoy even if all the characters are adult age ranged.

SettingsThe film is set in Yorkshire, England in the 1977, we get the sense of community because of this, we do get football references to show which part they are from too with them being Leeds United fans, this little bit will help the English fans of the film understand certain jokes more than non-football fans.


Scene of the Movie –
The race day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villains are slightly too comical.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice sweet coming of age movie, we have likeable characters and the simple story idea for Dusty to grow.

 

Overall: Coming of Age fans watch.

Rating

 

 

The Iron lady (2011)

Director: Phyllida Lloyd

Writer: Abi Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Richard E Grant, Olivia Coleman, Alexandra Roach, Iain Glen

 

Plot: An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Biopic

 

Story: The Iron Lady starts as we meet an elderly former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Streep) who has been having conversations with her husband Denis (Broadbent) while finding herself trying to escape the guards guarding her.

Margaret (Roach, younger Margaret) has flashbacks to the war time the lessons her father Alfred (Glen) gave her in life as she gets into Oxford. Getting through Oxford she meets Denis who loves her determined mindset on making change, we continue to watch in flashbacks as the elderly Margaret remembers her rise through political career to become one of the most famous Prime Ministers England has every had.

 

Thoughts on The Iron Lady

 

Characters/PerformanceMargaret Thatcher is easily one of the most iconic Prime Ministers England has ever had, seeing how her life from humble grocery’s daughter to leader of a country comes about, she was one of the strongest women in history taking on the world centred around men, but in her elderly age she looks back at her role in defying the country. Denis is her husband, we see how he keeps her grounded even after he passes on he plays a big part in what she sees when looking back. The rest of the characters are people from her life, her whole life which all have an impact on the decision-making process.

Performance wise, Meryl Streep is fantastic and you can see why she went on to win the Oscar. Jim Broadbent is fun in this role as the husband both alive and dead talking to Margaret. The rest of the cast all go great even if this is the Meryl Streep Show.

StoryWe all know that Margaret Thatcher is one of the most famous prime minsters the UK ever had. This film focuses on how Margaret was looking back on the key incident leading to her run to Prime Minister, through it and what led to the end of it. I really liked how we looked back without getting bogged down with the politics of her reign. The story is told as if a once great leader looked at what she sees as success and failure.

BiographyThis is a great look at Margaret Thatcher, a woman who came from a family of groceries to become leader of the Prime Minister, we see the good and bad moments of her life as well as paving the way for women in politics.

SettingsEach setting used fits the time we are seeing, nothing looks out of place for this great moment she lives through.

Final ThoughtsHaving a history lesson can sometimes get boring when looking at one person’s life, but this doesn’t focus on this too much instead looks at the idea of how she remembers everything.

 

Overall: This is a biopic with a difference and well worth a watch.

Rating

 

 

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

resDirector: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy

 

Plot: Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion

 

Story: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter starts with the real origin of the T-Virus as it was created to save the life of its creator’s daughter Alicia, but the side effects gave us deadly outcome of the zombie outbreak, with the creator’s partner Dr Isaacs (Glen) killing him. We continue the narration for 5 minutes before picking up in Washington DC in the aftermath of a trap with Alice (Jovovich).

We start the main story with Alice taking on a dragon like zombie because why the hell not, right? Alice gets a visit from the Red Queen who offers her a chance to end the zombie outbreak for good and revenge on Wesker (Roberts) who led Alice and her friends into the trap. The mission is to head back to Racoon City and back into the Hive where it all began to release an airborne cure. Along the road Alive finds an old enemy in Dr Isaacs who has been controlling things in what he calls a cleansing mission, leading an army of the undead back to Racoon City. Arriving back in Racoon City Alice finds a new pocket of survivors who Claire Redfield (Larter) has joined as the remaining humans go to war against Isaacs and his army of zombies before looking to finally put an end to zombie apocalypse.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

 

StoryThere are two ways I am looking at the story, the first is in all the positives and that is this does come back to tie everything together in the series and deliver a final instalment the fans can enjoy with plenty of throw backs to the previous instalments of the franchise. On the negative side of the story we don’t have the most original story because it is the same core Alice joins resistance group, ends up leading them in the battle before most die and she must fight an ‘unkillable’ enemy that she can kill. Yay that is the core story which is all fine when you switch you brain off but offers very little new.

Action/HorrorThe action is wildly over the top just like we know, we have bigger action set pieces while the horror side of the film is almost forgotten now in the series.

Characters/Performanceslooking at the characters we all know the Alice story by now, Dr Isaacs and Wesker are both franchise favourite villains and the returning Claire Redfield is all good. It is the new ‘disposable’ character which are mostly all forgettable as we have the tough chick, the one who hates Alice only to grow respect and the tough guy who you can replace with almost anybody.

The performances are all on a par with anything we have seen before with Jovovich showing she is the true star of the show, Gen adding the class in the villainous role with Roberts impressing once again as the emotionless villain. Looking deeper into the cast I felt Fraser James was doing his best Idris Elba impression throughout the film and it is getting worrying to see Ruby Rose continuing to look like she is take the role Michelle Rodriguez is best known for the bad ass chick which she is good at but this is the second time this year.

SettingsBringing all the action back to Racoon City I feel is a good thing, we get plenty of nods to the previous instalments along the way with the use of the settings, I feel this is a good way to end the franchise by respecting each location we have seen Alice must fight through.

Special EffectsWhen we look at the special effects we always find ourselves getting plenty of over the top sequences that all look good throughout as the film sometimes focuses on the effects over the story.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise will always end up going down as one of my guilty pleasures watches, I do like switching my brain off at time and Resident Evil is always going to offer that for me. This isn’t the most original but the action is pure madness so I am happy to enjoy that and paying respect to the previous films I am happy to see too, but I would have liked some of the other characters who were stood ready for war at the end of the last film with Alice appearing in the film.

 

Overall: Good mindless action film you can fully switch off and enjoy.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

resDirector: Russell Mulcahy

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke

 

Plot: Survivors of the Raccoon City catastrophe travel across the Nevada desert, hoping to make it to Alaska. Alice joins the caravan and their fight against the evil Umbrella Corp.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Extinction starts with Dr Isaacs (Glen) performing tests on Alice (Jovovich) only to learn he has a clone army of Alice’s looking for one that can meet the abilities of the original Alice.

We jump forward years now with the world destroyed left in a desert like state and Alice a lone traveller in this wasteland. Also, travelling the wasteland Carlos (Fehr) and Claire (Larter) lead a convoy of survivors around staying one step ahead of the undead using the safety in numbers idea.

When the two collide, they find themselves on the run from Umbrella as Dr Isaacs is searching to the original Alice to help complete his research in the hunt for a cure for the T-Virus.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil Extinction

 

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Alice and shows how Umbrella are still experimenting within this world. My issue with this story is the major jump in time, the first two are almost over two days but this jumps forward in years to the full destruction of the Earth that is covered with infected. This other problem with this story is that you can’t go back to fill in the gaps so the sequels after this must work around the world being in this condition which isn’t where the games are. For this franchise of films this is slightly out of character as a story but like the first two it is just a group of survivors trying to survive waves of the undead before Alice faces a big boss like enemy, not the most original but a tried and tested formula.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger once again, the horror is weaker once again but overall this is all you need from this video game adaption.

Characters/PerformanceAlice continues to show off her character’s true abilities which continue to get unlocked through the film. Carlos also returns but offers nothing new and we get another video game favourite Claire Redfield joining the survival, but she is written as a leader but isn’t as strong as Jill. We also have a new primary villain in Dr Isaacs who is working on Umbrella research and is mostly the same as we had last time.

As performances go Jovovich continues to make herself the icon of the series and she is good at this. Glen adds the class in the villainous role without excelling and Ali Larter does well but the character isn’t written well enough for my liking. The rest of the supporting cast are all fine and good for the few scenes they are in.

SettingsHaving the film set in the desert leaves me feeling slightly mixed because I do feel that is needed to be a slow improvement in size rather than going almost worldwide, but I also like the big environment because it offers the film a chance to go in a different direction.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all good but not the best they could be, because of the film you are willing to let things go in places too.

Final ThoughtsWhen you watch the whole franchise through this one does feel like the longest but is also does help take the series to a larger scale.

 

Overall: Opens the door for the franchise to become bigger.

Ratingcard