Alien:Covenant

This film has been on my mind a fair bit since its release. I had mixed feelings going into it due to Prometheus. Prometheus is a movie I think is very beautiful to look at and has some decent bits in, but overall is a bit of a mess. It feels like it’s trying to tell two stories by two different camps from the production standpoint. In one camp you’ve got the urge to make an prequel film for the Alien franchise, and the other camp want to make a film about creationism. Add in some daft elements in the script (run off to one side!) and we’ve got a film which is hard to love, also the technology is massively advanced compared to the other films. I know the Prometheus is an advanced space craft but they could have easily made the tech look like that of the previous films (Sorry, this is something that really bugs me!).

The problem of what film is being made carries on into Alien:Covenant. On one side we’ve got a story about colonists wanting to find a new world to settle on, then on the other side we have the urge to look at this creationist storyline. I’ve watched this movie maybe half a dozen times now and I really believe there is a good movie in here, if you take away that creationist element, and some of the dumb-ass choices the characters make. There’s a bit early on about a funeral that shows there is friction between the characters, but it feels ham-fisted. The funeral is forbidden due to repairs needing to be done, but the repairs could wait and the funeral is brief. It feels like it’s there just to create conflict.

If they took away the David storyline, the plot device of wondering off to another planet and just had a story about colonists arriving at a new planet to then find it was once inhabited by an alien race that died out. Then they find an egg and chaos ensues. Why couldn’t we have had that movie? Up until David shows up we’ve got the makings of a really good atmospheric horror movie and then it slips into a psycho-robot-with-delusions-of-being-a-god movie.

When I think about the original Alien movies they were pretty straightforward. Horror and action pretty much, what you saw was what you got. They never really felt like there was a grander story happening that needed to be addressed. They were just what they were. There was social commentary there, but it was subtle. You didn’t feel like you were being hit over the head with it. Maybe that’s what they need to get back to. Imagine the type of social commentary we could of had in this film if it had been about landing on a planet for colonisation only to discover these horrific aliens that had maybe already wiped out an alien species that had been on the planet before.

Where this series goes in the future, I don’t know. There’s rumours that this new generation of Ridley Scott Alien movies is a trilogy and there’s a third part coming, but this movie didn’t do especially well. So I’ve got to wonder if Fox will give it one more go, drop the franchise for the time being, or go in an entirely different route altogether.

Time will tell, but I know how I’d like it to go.

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Movie Monday: Battleship

Battleship is a film that I dismissed when I first watched it. I’d listened to a lot of people basically saying it was a bad film so when I watched it I only saw the negatives, but it’s been a movie that has kept popping into my mind from time to time and I knew I needed to watch it again. So when I saw it on offer at my local HMV I grabbed it.

The basic story is a screwball guy is forced to take responsibility and joins the U.S. Navy where his brother is a commanding officer of a Destroyer. While out on a joint international war games near Hawaii aliens come down, engulf a huge area in a big bubble and try to phone home. There are only three navy ships in this bubble and they have to fight the aliens and try to stop them phoning home.

That’s the gist of it, what annoys me is the daft Hollywood stuff in the film, mainly the screw up who has to step up and be the man he needs to be. There is also a scene where the protagonist has his face grabbed by an alien and has a psychic experience where he sees what the aliens are planning, I’ve seen this done a few times in movies now and aside from Pacific Rim it just feels like a cheat. The characters in the film need to know this is a hostile race of aliens and they will kill us all etc. They did this in Independence Day and I’d like to see some more thought put into how the aliens motives are revealed. I do wonder if it’s done to save time though, studios want movies to be a certain length so maybe that’s the reason. In Pacific Rim it was part of the story line and I liked how they done it.

There are some bits which you’d expect to see in a Hollywood movie which are not in there. We have the singer Rihanna and the model and actress Brooklyn Decker in this movie and at no time do I remember either having to wear something that is just there to get some flesh on show, this I applaud the makers for. Rihanna is kitted out in navy gear throughout the film and Decker is wearing shorts and a vest top. Neither are sexualised just for the sake of it and they are more characters then eye candy.

Taylor Kitsch is quite likable as Alex Hopper, our protagonist and seems to bounce off of Tadanobu Asano very well. Their two characters have a hostile beginning to the movie. I found Kitsch quite believable in the role and he didn’t seem scared to make himself look a fool.

I would have liked to of seen more of the aliens in the movie. We only really seem them from a human point of view, which is okay but the writer inside of me is keen to know more about them. Their technology is better then that of mankind’s but not to the point where they severely dominate the battle.

There is a lot of CGI in Battleship but it  looks very well done, I can’t recall any time in the movie where I was pulled out of it because of the CGI.

Overall on a second viewing I did really enjoy Battleship. Yes there are some clichés in it but it was a fun film to watch. Visually it was beautiful, the characters are pretty straightforward and the storyline is a little on the direct side but I didn’t find that a negative here. The Director, Peter Berg put together a very nice and tidy film that is entertaining, funny and easy to watch.

 

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Movie Monday: Pacific Rim

It’s been a while so I thought I’d write a Movie Monday post! Now how do I do one of these again…….lol

This Movie Monday post is all about Pacific Rim. The new movie by Guillermo del Toro where giant aliens on the scale of Godzilla are coming out of a portal at the bottom of the pacific and tearing cities apart. To solve this problem humanity came up with giant robots that are controlled by two pilots through neural pathways (I’ll admit I need to watch a couple of the details to be clear on them) this means the pilots are totally in sync with each other and feel the pain when the mechs are damaged by the Kaijus which come from the pacific. The film focuses on the attempt to shut this portal for good.

Now to me this sounded like Heaven! It has giant monster battling with giant mechs, not robots as I called them earlier (I can make excuses for wrong description 😛 ). What more could a geek like me want? A decent storyline for one and Pacific Rim has it. It’s not overly complicated which is good. The characters feel well developed and their back stories are dealt with well. Charlie Hunnam is very likeable as the lead but has great support from the deep Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, who looks like he had a lot of fun with this role and I especially liked Rinko Kikuchi who looked to have a lot of strength on screen. Burn Gorman and Charlie Day both deserve a mention as scientists who have differing opinions on the Kaiju.

The effects were great. All these battles were obviously CGI but not once did I think this was CGI because it was done that well. I would have preferred more of the action to have been in the daylight but that’s a minor quibble.

One thing I would like to mention is that this did not feel like a del Toro movie. I don’t mean that in a bad way but with del Toro you know what you as going to get and this surprised me because he’s taken a chance and pushed himself to do something that maybe is not in his safe zone. It has the depth that we expect and the right amount of humour with seriousness. The action scenes were just the right amount. Quite often I’m left feeling a little short changed with movies that have these sorts of CGI but Pacific Rim gave just the right amount of action.

All in all its a movie I really enjoyed and I will be buying the DVD when it comes out. If I’m honest I could quite easily go and watch it again at the cinema 🙂

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I would just like to make a quick mention about the 3D in this movie. I’m generally not a huge fan of 3D because it rarely compliments the movie. The best example of good 3D that I have experienced was the movie Dredd and this is probably the best use of 3D I’ve seen in a movie since then.

I Couldn’t Think Of A Title For This Blog Post

On Sunday I wrote a 900 word short story in about an hour, I did it in two sittings so its hard to be sure. Anyway I knocked it out in an hour, done an edit read on it in ten minutes and tonight I made my adjustments and sent it off to my awesome Beta readers.

That’s the biggest thing that has happened this week. The ideas are still flowing, my notebook I have with me while I’m at work is slowly being filled.

I went to see Man Of Steel last night and it was pretty good, albeit it a little drawn out. Saying that though they managed to squeeze in a hell of a lot of story into it and as it was Superman’s backstory it was quite important. I liked the sequence at the start of the movie where you see Krypton. I found that really fascinating. The cast was really good, even done to the minor roles I was recognising most of the actors in the film.
Was I blown away? No. It’s a good movie and I’ll buy it on DVD when it’s out but very little in it surprised me. I will admit to not being Superman’s biggest fan but it kept my attention and I was entertained by the film. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the next Superman film.

The next few days I’m going to be busy with the day job. I’m going to be putting in a few more hours so I can get some jobs wrapped up before my week off next week. So I won’t be getting much writing done over the next few nights. Next week though me and Owen have a day set where we’re hopefully going to tie down the final details for Project Apollo and hopefully we’ll be able to get that one wrapped up. Once that planning is down I can focus that part of my brain on brainstorming with Chrystalyn Hope on The Residents and get that one up and running too.

Hopefully I’m working to getting an idea of how to manage my various projects…Hopefully.

Movie Review: World War Z

***Minor Spoilers***

Hey guys I just thought I’d share a few quick thoughts on World War Z. It was good, but don’t go into it expecting to see a movie with lots of blood and guts and any real reference to the book. As I watched it I noticed a couple of minor references to the book. It felt like they were after thoughts to be honest. If you’ve read I Am Legend by the late Richard Matheson and then seen the Will Smith movie of the same name you’ll know what I mean.
They is no Raj Singh, no Yonkers or the floating cities. There is a snippet with a doctor examining a young man like in the book but I can’t really recall many other references to the book. I’m sure if I listened to the book again and watched the film a couple of more times then I’d notice a few more references but I’ll have to wait for DVD.

Enough moaning about the lack of reference to the book. It is a film I enjoyed, it kept my attention on the screen. The story is okay, although I won’t sure about the way it was wrapped up. The visuals are good and the characters are okay, if cliched. Brad Pitt is Brad Pitt, he does what he does best. I’m not his biggest fan but he is a decent actor and does a steady job here.
The movie starts off quickly before the pace eases off a little and then levels out okay. Brad Pitt’s character has to find the source of the outbreak but instead finds something else.

Do I recommend seeing World War Z? Yes. Despite the lack of reference to The book by Max Brooks and a weak ending its an entertaining movie, great for if you want to chill out and not think too much about it.

A Flash Post

Hey guys and gals I’ve not done too much writing bits in the last few days. I have made a couple of notes on The Residents and I’m looking at Project Apollo at the moment finding the spaces where I want to add the various bits that need to be added. This means another read through, but hey it’s all part of the process.
The last few weeks have been unsettled to say the least and fatigue has been hitting me harder then normal. I don’t think I’m personally going to be making a huge amount of progress for another couple of weeks. I have some time off next month and I’m going to chill out as well as spending a day or two working on writing.

I watched the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 which had John Hurt and Richard Burton in it. I really liked it. It felt like it stuck to the book quite well and seemed loyal to the message it was trying to put across.

I’m going to wrap it up hear and get some sleep. My dream is to have people enjoy what I write, I may not be where I want to be with it but I will be in time 🙂

Looking Back At My Week

Firstly I’m just going to say that I know I haven’t blogged much this last week but I’ve been struck down with a cold,again! And something has sprung up this week which has thrown me off my pace a little. Hopefully though ill be able to get back into my stride this coming week.

My writing has been non-existent this week. I’ve been at work all week so with this God damned cold I’ve been getting home and all but passing out. Work has been very busy so I’ve been saving my energy for that.

I have done a lot of reading though. I finished Haywire by Justin R. Macumber (http://www.justinmacumber.com/) I really enjoyed this one, it got a 4-Star review from me. There are some really good characters, the story is interesting and fresh. I’ve not seen much like this before. I found it slowed just a little in the middle a bit but not enough to pull out of the story.
I would love to see more from this universe because I found it really fascinating.

I was going to read the second Hunger Games book but I might dive into the first collection of the Judge Dredd Comics that Tracie brought me 😀

Movie wise I watched The Smurfs movie, which was a lot better then I thought it was going to be. In fact I laughed a hell of a lot watching it. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose was a totally different kettle of fish but what a movie! And last night me and Tracie went and saw Scary Movie 5, it was okay but nothing special. There were laugh out loud moments but nothing that was memorable, it was a very throw away movie.

I got hold of the Mass Effect Trilogy for Xbox 360 last week, I started playing it and got a little bit of the way through but then got that cold back but hopefully I’ll find a little time to dive into it again this week. It seems like it has a really deep and engaging universe to play in.