Terminator:Dark Fate

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a few years you’ll know my opinion of the various Terminator films we’ve had to date. Just briefly though; the first two movies are two of my all time favourite movies, with Terminator 2: Judgement Day being my favourite all time movie. The third film, Rise of the Machines is just about okay. I liked the idea they had but thought it was poorly executed. Terminator:Salvation is a much better film than people give it credit for. It had its faults but I think director McG had a vision, but it feels like he didn’t get his way with much of it. I don’t really want to talk about Genysis.

To Dark Fate though. I was more than a little anxious about this movie. I was comforted that James Cameron was involved, and that Linda Hamilton was coming back to reprise her iconic Sarah Connor role. I liked that Tim Miller was directing it, but I was still anxious. Genysis has left me with a bad taste in my throat and I was scared that my favourite movie of all time was going to be pissed on again. I liked that Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna were both in this movie. I liked Luna’s time on Agents Of Shield, and the two films I’ve seen Davis in (The Martian and Blade Runner 2049) I’ve liked what I’ve seen. I think both of them were good fits for the film and brought their characters to life. Luna’s REV-9 was just badass. He gave the machine an attitude that we’ve not seen from them in these films before. Davis had a desperation to her that worked well with what she was capable of doing. Natalia Reyes was good as Dani. She had a fight to her that worked and developed well as the film progressed.

Linda Hamilton brought her A-game with her like she always does in these movies. Her story starts hard and she is as much of a badass as she was in the first movie. Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s okay. I’m not really sold on his backstory in Dark Fate, but you know what, I can live with it.

We’re heading into spoiler territory now, so here’s your SPOILER WARNING!!!

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A random picture of Dizzy to prevent accidental Spoilers.

The big spoiler, John Connor getting shot dead in the first few minutes of the movie. I mean how it was all done was stunning to take us back to a moment that could have only been weeks after Judgement Day, but it was still a major slap in the face that changed the entire timeline. But I think to rejuvenate this universe it was needed. It’s not like Genysis where they pissed all over the first two movies. What they did here was much more respectful to what had come before.

Is this my Terminator universe? No, but you know what I can get on board with it. I liked the nods to the first two movies, Sarah Connor’s actions from her past do catch up with her at one point which gave me a smile, and I hope they make more. It is, in a way a retelling of the original film, although I’d guessed that Dani was the saviour of the human race and not an unborn child a while before it was revealed.

They’ve set up a new universe here, I’ll watch more if they make them (bring back Luna though. I’d like to see Davis again in the role but she’s the Kyle Reese of this movie), but the original two Terminator films are still above and beyond for me.

The Next Terminator Film

The second trailer for the next Terminator film, Terminator:Dark Fate, has gone online over the last couple of days. I had a look at it today during my lunch break and i still have some major reservations, but I’m not quite as anxious as I was.

A little background. Terminator 2: Judgement Day is my favourite movie of all time. I saw it at just the right time for it to embed itself into my DNA. It blew me away! After seeing The Terminator I found I loved that one as well. Terminator 2 is still my favourite movie, but The Terminator is a fantastic movie. Then Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines came out. If I was listed top to bottom my favourite Terminator films this would be second from bottom. I love the concept, showing how Judgement Day went down should have been a wet dream for me. It wasn’t. It tried to be too funny, I think the casting was off and I’d have liked to have seen it having a bigger scope to it. This was the film that should have sown the rise of Skynet. It should have detailed it and given us an epic movie showing this all happening. It didn’t though.

After Terminator 3 we had Terminator:Salvation. Now I like Salvation a lot. I was super excited with the thought of a movie showing us what we’d only seen in flashbacks before. I’ll admit I was worried about McG directing it. I’m also not the biggest Christian Bale fan, but I do enjoy it. I didn’t really care for the Marcus Wright storyline, and I’d have liked to of seen the piles of bones you saw in the flashbacks from the first two films. I didn’t like how Connor became the leader of the resistance. It felt lazy and has been done repeatedly on screen. It did have strong points though. Anton Yelchin was fantastic as a young Kyle Reese. I loved the fact that so much of it took place during the day. So many films nowadays have to have all the action at night. The visuals of the film, and the score, were really good.

Ugh, I suppose I ought to address Terminator: Genisys. Okay. I like Emilia Clarke a lot, but I’m not sure this was the role for her at this time in her career. I’ve a lot of respect for her for giving it a go though. Jai Courtney is a good actor, but he isn’t a leading man in my opinion. Just look at how good he is in Suicide Squad. Jason Clarke didn’t sell me if I’m honest. Arnold Schwarzenegger was good, but he was born to play this role. I wish they wouldn’t keep trying to make him comedic in these films though. What they did with him in Terminator 2 worked for that film. It hasn’t in any of the rest of these films. The storyline wasn’t great and had some huge plot holes in. What I really hate about this film though is it erases the first two films from the existence. That and the fact they waste Byung-Hun Lee, J.K. Simmons, and Matt Smith. You just have to watch Matt Smith in his few scenes in the film to see the quality he has. Why wasn’t he Kyle Reese? But that wouldn’t solve the plot problems. Something that also annoyed me was the big reveal about one of the main characters in the trailer! Like really? Don’t you think that would have been better to reveal when people are in the cinema!?!

Terminator: Genisys feels like a slap in the face of the fans who love this world. They tried to take away the two best films in the series, and I still don’t understand why?

Right, I’m going to (try to) stop ranting.

On to Terminator: Dark Fate. I’m comforted by Linda Hamilton returning. I’m a little anxious about Schwarzenegger though. Is he playing another old terminator? Will he be the comic relief? I’m 50/50 on James Cameron’s involvement. I seem to recall him praising Terminator: Genisys. I like that Tim Miller is helming the film. I liked what he did with Deadpool and I hope he pulls this off. I like the look of Gabriel Luna, he was really good as Ghost Rider in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I like that Mackenzie Davis is in this. I’ve only seen her in The Martian and Blade Runner 2049 but thought she was good in both, especially Blade Runner 2049. I’m looking forward to seeing what they both do in this movie.

There was what I think of as a reveal in the trailer. I’m not sure it’s a big one but why not keep it vague so people learn it when they see the film for the first time? This isn’t jut a problem with Terminator films, its something that needs to be made extinct.

I am anxious about this movie. I want to go into the cinema and have all my sweet spots hit with it, but I’ve been burned before (damn you Genisys), so I’m not going to let myself get too excited about Terminator: Dark Fate.

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.

DC Cinematic Universe

My buddy Stefan and I went to see Justice League last Tuesday (21st November), and I left feeling a touch unsatisfied. It’s got some great moments in it, particularly Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash. I’m not overly familiar with The Flash so can’t say how accurate a portrayal it was but I enjoyed it a lot. He was funny, a little unsure of himself but still had conviction and stood up when he was needed to. I like Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Gal Gadot is just awesome as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. I liked Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone, although I was put off a little by the CGI on his body here and there. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman was pretty cool as well. Like The Flash I’m not that familiar with Aquaman or Cyborg, so I can’t say how these versions of the characters compared but I liked them.

I like Henry Cavill as Superman, but I don’t really feel like we’ve seen him as Superman yet. I liked Man Of Steel, but that was an origin film and he didn’t really get the chance to be Superman or the Clark Kent we know. With Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice I don’t feel like we really got much of the character in that either. To be honest we barely saw him in that movie, and in Justice League he’s in it about the same amount of time as he was in Batman Vs. Superman.

I’ve been trying to put my thoughts straight on the DCCU for a while. I will admit to being an unabashed Marvel movie fan, but I’m also a big fan of Batman, well the whole of the Gotham setting and characters, to be honest. I grew up watching the animated series in the 90s along with the Spider-Man and X-Men animated series (He-Man, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before that). I love the Tim Burton/ Michael Keaton Batman movies as well. I liked the Nolan films okay, but they always felt to much like they were in the real world too much, and I’m not the biggest fan of Christian Bale. The other DC based movie in that sort of time bracket was Green Lantern, which I thought was pretty decent. I didn’t find it as bad as everyone seemed to make it out to be.

***Potential Spoilers From Here***

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, there are parts of the Justice League that I liked. I’ve mentioned the actors, but one scene that I found extremely pleasing and fun was when Steppenwolf is taking on the Amazonians, Atlantians, and Man, with a little help from the Lanterns. That scene was amazing. It heaved with energy and purpose. I got a mega kick out of seeing the Lanterns in the fight (I’m kinda disappointed Green Lantern didn’t show up to help them defeat Steppenwolf at the end of the movie).

There are two cut-scenes after the film ends. One light hearted one just at the start of the credits, and a bit more of a serious one right at the end. I won’t spoil either of these, but the final one got me more excited for future DCCU films than most of Justice League.

With this new DCCU Warner Bros. seem to be trying to build, I’m not really sure what they’re aiming for. As I said, I liked Man Of Steel. I thought it was a very good origin story, especially the opening sequence on Krypton which gave some great context for Zod’s motivation and how Superman then dealt with him and his plans. The only real issue I had with it was the score was too loud, and the dialogue was too soft. When I watch it I have to turn the volume up when characters are talking, but then turn it down when there’s a big action sequence and the score kicks up. Which is a shame because that score is amazing, but that’s a technical problem. The film itself was good. I got a kick out of the couple of easter eggs I noticed during the movie and was looking forward to what came next.

Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This movie felt overloaded and could have been resolved by Superman saying to Batman what was happening. I can understand why Superman might be going after Batman, a masked vigilante who is spreading fear. Before their big fight if Superman had just said; “Dude, they’ve got my mum, and will kill her if I don’t kill you.” that would have solved a tonne of problems. I can also understand why Batman would be going for Superman; anyone with a lot of power isn’t normally someone you want in that position. So Batman assuming the worst of Superman has roots, despite Superman’s clearly good intentions. People do change though, and with the history that Batman is hinted at having then he has good reason to be assume that Superman is a threat. In Batman Vs. Superman there is only Batman and Superman. The other heroes in this universe don’t exist yet, or haven’t made themselves known. So all of the people with any kind of superhuman power he’s come up against have been villains. We also can’t forget that he could still be dealing with the death of Robin (I’m assuming its Jason Todd). We don’t know how that’s affected him. That raises another question, if it is Jason Todd, then can we assume Dick Grayson has become Nightwing? if yes why didn’t Batman call him up for the fight with Steppenwolf? But I think I’m nitpicking there.

Another issue I have with the DCCU is does everybody know the secret identities of Batman and Superman? Lex Luther knows who Superman is, in Suicide Squad Amanda Waller knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and Lois Lane is just calling out ‘Clark’ willy nilly when addressing Superman in Justice League. There’s also no explanation on why Clark Kent has suddenly reappeared after being thought dead. Surely there should be a line there somewhere to address this.

I’ve got a quick few words I want to share on Suicide Squad. It’s not a great movie, but its one I do enjoy. I think they made a huge misstep when they didn’t focus on the Joker as the main villain of the piece. I like Jared Leto’s Joker, I thought he worked incredibly well in this era and was genuinely creepy. The first Suicide Squad trailer is amazing, for me it’s up there with the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. What really sold me on it was when we first see and hear the Joker, that cackle and his voice made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Throughout the film he felt creepy to watch. Kind of how I’d expect the Joker to be. What I enjoy the most about Suicide Squad is the characters. Aside from Slipknot, you get a decent feel for them all and each of the actors seem to hold their own very well in the film. The plot didn’t really excite me too much, especially after having seen the animated Suicide Squad movie Assault on Arkham. That I would have loved to have seen live-action on the big screen.

Movie fans will know that Kevin Feige is the man at Marvel Studios. He’s got a vision that has been in place since the start. With DCCU it doesn’t feel like that’s the case. You can see how they’re trying to keep everything in the same universe, but it doesn’t feel like they’ve quite got a handle on it yet. I’ve heard that Geoff Johns and Jon Berg are overseeing the DCCU, but I believe thats a recent appointment. So I’ll be interested to see if they can pull all the different teams working on different movies together.

I am going to compare the DCCU to the MCU, simply because I think it’s a good comparison. Both universes deal with people who have abilities that don’t exist in the real world.

I do think DCCU have made a misstep with putting Justice League so early in their line up of movies. With the MCU we had five movies (Iron man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger) that built up to The Avengers. We knew each character, we were invested in them. So when they all came together we not only knew them, but we’re rooting for them. After The Avengers was done I was satisfied, okay I wanted more but I was still fulfilled. I didn’t feel that with Batman Vs. Superman, nor with Justice League. I’ve seen The Avengers countless times, the same with Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America:The Winter Soldier, Deadpool, Mad Max:Fury Road, Dredd, Terminator 2. All those films leave me feeling satisfied. The only DCCU movie to give me that level of satisfaction and desire for more has been Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is the shining light of the DCCU. I can’t think of anything in that film that I didn’t like. It’s a film that is exciting. It is engaging. It left me feeling satisfied and wanting more. This is a movie done right, I don’t just mean a superhero movie, but a movie done right. Gal Gadot really is Wonder Woman. I remember when she first got cast, all I knew her from was the Fast and Furious movies. I remember her being good in those, but not much else. When she appeared in Batman Vs. Superman I was taken with her straight away, but in Wonder Woman she really gets to show her acting chops. Naive but confident at the start of the film and at the end she knows what its like to loose someone and to have seen the brutality of what the first world war was.

DC should be looking at the elements that made Wonder Woman work. The feeling I get hearing rumours about DC is there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Hopefully Johns and Berg will be able to right that, because otherwise we won’t have the rich DCCU that we could have. If you just look at Gotham City and the rich tapestry of characters that live in that city, then DC and Warner Bros. have a tonne of material to play with and build from. I think they just need to get the right people in place.

Wonder Woman was a huge step forward, I think Justice League might be a step back but hopefully a small one.

Changing My Viewing Habits

I am a big movie and TV fan, but something I am guilty of is not watching enough shows and movies that I haven’t watched before. Especially with movies, I’ll throw one on I’ve seen more times than I can count for ease. So from here on out, till the end of the year I am not going to watch anything I’ve seen before.

There are exceptions to this, if I’m at a movie night with friends. If I haven’t seen the movie/TV show within the last five years, or if I’ve only seen the movie/TV show once. A prime example is the movie, Stargate (which I’m watching now). I haven’t watched this movie in many years. It’s not a favourite of mine but it’s a movie I like all the same.

I don’t re-watch TV shows as much as I used to, mainly because it’s a bigger investment of time to commit to multiple seasons of a TV show than it is for a movie that may be a couple of hours.

Now I’ve decided to do this, I’m quite excited by the prospect. The next couple of months are going to be fun.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day. On The Big Screen

My favourite movie of all time is Terminator 2: Judgement Day. I saw it when it came out on home video and I was just at the right age for it to have a lasting effect on me. It blew me away. Everything from the story, to the acting, to the special effects. Everything about this movie I love. It is my Star Wars.

So when I saw it was going to be in the cinema’s again for one night only I was there. Seriously, the zombie apocalypse could have been erupting and I would still have been there.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of 3D but that wasn’t going to stop me either.

*****Spoiler warning*****

Was it good? YES! It was awesome! Seeing Schwarzenegger, Hamilton, Patrick, Furlong all on the big screen was fantastic. Everything that I love about this film, the T-800 against the LAPD place department at the Cyberdyne building, Sarah Connor’s nuclear  apocalypse dreams, the chase through the Los Angeles River. The T-800 with the Winchester shotgun and how he’s cocking it during that chase. Damn, there are so many scenes that seeing for the first time as a teen opened my mind up. The helicopter going under the overpass, the T-800 being lowered into the steel at the end of the film. Pretty much any scene where the T-1000 is killing someone, or rising out of the floor or walking  through iron bars.

The whole concept of time travelling cyborgs was fuel for my imagination as well.

With the sound system the cinema has that industrial beat the soundtrack has was brilliant. A few times it felt like it was vibrating through my bones.

I struggle to put into words just how much this movie means to me, so being able to see it on the big screen was very special and I’m so glad I did. It’s great watching it at home, but it is a film that is at its best on the big screen.

Beyond Skyline

All the way back in 2010 a movie called Skyline came out. It was an alien invasion movie which I felt had a lot of potential but it really didn’t live up to the potential it had. Skyline didn’t do well, but the directors, The Brothers Strause, said at the time there would always be at least one sequel. Now, after seven years it looks like that is finally happening. Beyond Skyline is listed on IMDB as being released in 2017, and is being directed/produced/written by Liam O’Donnell. Produced by The Brothers Strause and Matthew Chausse. It’s also starring Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, The Purge:Anarcy).

Now, I have a real love/hate relationship with the first movie. Skyline was a film that as I watched it I could see a lot of potential in it, but it never fulfilled that potential. I’m hoping the sequel does go some way to building something special with what was created in the first film. The fact that Frank Grillo is in it does go a long way to assuring some of my fears. I’ve not seen Grillo in much more than I’ve listed above but he definitely demands attention when on screen. I am worried that Liam O’Donnell has no other directing credits on his IMDB page, but I’m not writing him off just yet. Everyone has to start somewhere, and he did write the first film, and produced it. So he’s been around this world and these aliens for some time.

I’m not someone that likes to see people fail, and I really want to go into this film (when it’s released) and enjoy it, and have that side of me that loves these alien invasion sorta films/shows satisfied.