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Pacific Rim – GateFans Member Review (Joelist)

I have been looking forward to Pacific Rim ever since the film was first noised around a year ago. When the news broke that Guillermo Del Toro was directing and wrote the story the excitement level went up a notch. Why you might ask? 

First, I am a fan of Kaiju (Giant beast/monster) films going back to the seminal Japanese film Gojira in 1954. Sadly the genre has been badly underserved in recent years, with the only efforts in it being in anime style (and bad efforts at that). So the prospect of a new take on them perked up the interest.

Second, Guillermo Del Toro has a reputation for imaginative films. Granted sometimes he lets his imagination get the better of him and the resulting film is murky (Don’t be Afraid of the Dark) but he also has created some excellent films (Hellboy II: The Golden Army). He is known for films featuring intricate clockwork type mechanisms and bizarre monsters frequently from fairy tale type backgrounds. 

So with the background, let’s take a look at Pacific Rim.

To summarize the film at a high level, it is about the struggle to defend humanity from an onslaught over several years of creatures called Kaiju in the film (yes they are actually called Kaiju). In desperation as normal defense methods prove fruitless, enormous combat robots called Jaegers (Hunters in German) are built to combat the creatures. The film focuses in on two Jaeger pilots and on the end of the war with the Jaeger corps down to its last strength.

So, after all that does it work? I say yes it does. Here are some of the reasons I liked it.

1.It actually has a humanity about it. This is typical for Del Toro and in such a large, epic story I questioned if he could bring it off and he did. The Jaeger pilots feel like real people and the fleeing masses in the cities under attack are also handled well, giving a real feeling of mass panic. Which lead to point #2…

2.The city attacks are VERY well executed. They really feel like a city is being torn apart with people trying to just hide and survive. This is an area where (for example) the Transformers movies failed miserably. Those movies made cities under attack feel like a soulless video game not a real place under devastating attack. 

3.Ron Perlman did a GREAT turn in a supporting role as a sort of “smuggler”. Likewise most of the cast managed to inhabit their characters well. And most important, no one stunk the place up. 

4.The Jaegers actually have personalities too, which is difficult to do for a machine. Their personalities don’t come from them talking or other such but rather how they are used in combat. For example, one of the Jaegers emphasizes speed and agility and has three arms all with sharp bladed weapons. Meanwhile another one is basically a battering ram. The “star” Jaeger is an older, refitted machine called Gipsy Danger. The way it fights and looks bring it across like a grizzled tough old warrior – it fits beautifully. 

5.Like the Jaegers the Kaiju have personalities. Even better they adapt to the Jaegers over the course of the film. These factors make the fights much better – when a Kaiju goes down or a Jaeger goes down it actually has some impact. That is another area the Transformers films failed in – seeing a bot in those get destroyed had no impact.

6.The film does a good job at not having unexplained plot elements. For example, the reason Jaegers need two crew is cleverly explained. Along the same lines, we learn a lot about WHY the Kaiju act like they do and so on. And the film stays consistent with its own internal logic and setting. 

For example, the two Jaeger pilots are joined together in a “neural handshake” while controlling the machine. It is explained that this interface was needed to give the Jaeger a fast enough reaction time and also that the resulting neural load was too much for one person – hence the two people joined. What is even cooler – and typical Del Toro – is that he uses this basic plot point in more than one place in the film to great effect.

7.This film does a superb job at correctly setting TONE. The lighthearted moments are properly setup in every way even down to the musical score (which by the way is great). Likewise the epic battle scenes are setup with momentus visuals and music that is a sort of throwback to the Ifubuke scores in the 1954 Gojira – the correct tone is set. Why is tone important? Simply put, inappropriate tone or wild fluctuations in it at wrong times can take the viewer right out of the film. Ask Bay and the Transformers gang – they made getting the tone wrong a trademark.

I know at this point it sounds like I think the movie is literally perfect. Well, there are a couple of places where to me it could have been better. For example, in a way the sound is almost too loud at times and got a touch thunderous. Also, there are more characters (both human and Jaeger) than the movie can adequately service in its running time. As a result, some characters get well developed and others are pretty much ignored. For example, it would have been nice to know a bit more about the Chinese and Russian Jaeger pilot teams. But these are minor gripes.

At the start of this review I called Pacific Rim “a love letter to Kaiju film fans”. That is because at its heart, this is a true Kaiju film in the Ishiro Honda “Gojira” tradition. The “feel” is right and it truly respects its source material (unlike the American Godzilla film some years back). And with that it is still pretty original – kind of a fusion of “Destroy all Monsters” with elements of Neon Genesis. I really enjoyed it – I hope you do also.

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Elysium – GateFans member preview commentary (mzzz)

This Elysium Trailer looks kinda ok, I like social commentary disguised as sci-fi. This is still gonna be one I’m looking forward to.

Article:

http://screenrant.com/elysium-movie-preview-neill-blomkamp-district-9-sequel/

 

Excerpt:

“I’m painting ridiculous ideas with a brush of reality,” said Blomkamp of Elysium. “Proper science was thrown out of the window a little bit. Building a space station with marble and slate is semi-not-that-smart. It’s not really something that you want to do. But the metaphor of Bel Air in space is correct, so you just work towards that. So my approach is: start off with something ridiculous, and then try to use the most realistic portrayal of the ridiculous as you can.”

 [youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIBtePb-dGY"]

Still, Blomkamp stressed that Elysium wasn’t directly inspired by current events like the Occupy movement. “It’s just being interested in the world,” he said. Plus, he recognizes that $100 million movies aren’t the most-straightforward way to change the world. “You can put ideas in there that are real issues,” said Blomkamp, but added that if he really wanted to affect the global conversation, he’d make a documentary. “That would be the closest I could come to trying to make a difference.”

 

As for if the much buzzed-about District 9 sequel is still on the table, Blomkamp merely said, “I think the world of District 9 had a lot of very interesting race and oppression-based ideas that I would still like to explore,” before talking cryptically about the “iconic characters,” he’d love to take his own crack at. Alas, Disney isn’t likely to invite him to turn Jar Jar Binks into a metaphor for global inequality.

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World War Z – GateFans Member Review (Paragon Pie)

So here is the inevitable compare/contrast of book to movie.

I will always admit that taken anything from the page to the screen (being either movie or TV) there will always be something lost, however in that they do have the advantage of telling a story within this universe that has been established. Sadly this rarely happens. Anyway!

The first issue is one of speed. In the book it too many years for the zombie threat to become known to the general public, since the plague originated in China, the Chinese government had to mobilize its armed forces but had to create a false impression as to why (masking their general health and safety sweeps to nearly invading Thailand). Intelligence was a huge factor and even with the processing power of the NSA or CIA combined there was too much going on in the world for people to take notice let alone take seriously of the threat that was building.

The Movie on the other hand takes a Dawn of the Dead 2004 approach where everything happens way to quickly, there is very little time to react to the threat which does mimic some form of tension but it makes the objective of the main character obsolete within the first 10 minutes. The idea of finding patient zero is unreachable from the get go, since there is a huge mass and you don’t know any method detection without a huge selection of medical means, which they clearly do not have. Brad Pitt is only really the leader or has relevance because of default, such as the plot demands it to people accidentally killing themselves.

Side note. Basically this movie is huge on the contrivance or as I call it, the God hand. The scene in the beginning shows the directors incompetence in the matter of going from scene A to scene B, there was no need to the garbage truck to literally appear out of now where (like God placed it down and said, now Brad Pitt you can progress in the story!) to the Soldiers who didn’t instantly blow his bloody brains out when he charged a military check point (seriously in that situation he would of been dead, the soldiers went weapons free).
PS the Israel part was full retard. Full. Bloody. Retard.

The zombies. Now this isn’t a case of slow versus fast but again on what the book did to the movie.
In the book the zombies were slow ‘shambler’ types, the virus or whatever infecting them was an unknown type, the media in the book (from the government and other sources) to mask the truth state that it is a new strain of rabies and a drug was developed (specifically for rabies) for this giving a false sense of hope and protection. Time from infected to reanimated took several days.

Now the movie sort of declares this is a form of rabies. Again it shows how they didn’t clearly read through the book, they just cherry picked words and discarded the rest. The incubation period went from a literal twelve seconds (there was even a timer) to “Oh wait it can take several days” it is mind blowing how even in their own fantasy world they can’t keep consistency.

How we succeed.
In the book it is matter of us coming to terms with the threat and nearly losing it all, its only through human ingenuity (The Redekar plan) and determination do we succeed in gaining victories against the zombies. The issue raised is in how we fight wars, all of our gear and technology is opposed to fighting one threat, humans when faced with a zombie (en mass) most of that is redundant. The battle of Yonkers shows how both unprepared the US Military was but also in the nature of soldiers training (aiming for center mass) coupled with stupid higher up command decisions.

The movie doesn’t take anything of this sense, instead it simply has a David ‘I’m a retard’ Lindelof type endings in which he clearly doesn’t understand anything of subject matter viruses or even basic high school genetics/biology.

Read more »

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Falling Skies Gets Fourth Season

Well, it appears that TNT has decided to renew Falling Skies for a fourth season. This is great news for those who have been following this show through the first three seasons. We have seen this show and it’s characters evolve over the course of the story, and the ratings average 5.8 million viewers and it is ranked as the number one basic cable scripted series in the magic demographic of adults 18-49 and 25-54. Considering the other shows which have had bigger budgets and more expensive special effects, this says a lot for the show. 

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DEFIANCE game and TV show – sink or swim?

The closer this show gets to premiering the less I have hope for it. The game tie-in seems gimmicky. From what I understand the PC version of the game is rather lousy and the console reviews haven’t been that stellar either. One has to wonder if either the show or the game will survive for very long:

 http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/04/09/defiances-game-tv-crossover-is-disappointing

 

It’s a shame, then, that throughout the opening hours the potential scale of the concept is matched only by the magnitude of its failure to convey any of its rich fiction or deliver on its grand plans. …muddy textures, lackadaisical AI, thinly veiled fetch quests and monotonous point-defence missions do little to inspire confidence…

 

Defiance should have been aiming for dazzling first impressions in order to inspire confidence in its long term future. Instead, its game initially offers a clunky and aesthetically unappealing end-of-generation console experience while the pilot episode of the TV show carries an inelegant and laborious script that its recognisable cast struggle to sell…

And here’s more:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/defiance-the-tv-show-review/

[quote]If Defiance continues down the road it is on, it will remain an average show, as many of SyFy’s show’s tend to be. But if it decides to truly embrace the uniqueness of its setting and premise, then Defiance could be something special. Until then though, it remains an enjoyable, but uninspired show.[/quote]

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Men in Black 4 In Production

Scifinow is reporting that the hugely popular TV movie Men in Black, is now in development. Scifinow reports that Will Smith has not been confirmed for the 4th instalment. However, let’s hope that he is in the movie though.

Via – Scifinow

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The Wachowskis Team Up With Netflix to Launch a Brand New Show.

Deadline has reported that ‘The Wachowskis”, have signed an agreement with Georgeville TV, Reliance Entertainment/Motion Picture Capital’s TV studio,Straczynski(Babalyon 5) and netflix, to bring us a brand new tv series called, Sense8. The Wachowskis, they described the series as, “a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted”.Sounds Pretty vague if you ask me b.The 10 part miniseries is expected to hit netflix sometime in late 2014.

More at Deadline

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Riddick (2013) New Badass Official Teaser Trailer

Enjoy!

 

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Ridley Scott Working On 12 new,Short sci-fi Films

 Ridley Scott, has announced that he and Machinima, have both teamed up to air and produce, 12 new science fiction movies. Not much more has been disclosed of what the projects will be about but given that a lot of the sci-fi projects have been quite successful for machinima, it’s possible that science fiction belongs on the web.

 

More at Collider

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Thunderbird Returning To The Small Screens

Thunderbird, the classic 60s British science fiction show, is returning to the small
screens. Deadline reports that the show is going to take a slightly different approach by
“using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets while also
paying tribute to the legacy of model locations”. 

It also reports that, 26 half hour episodes being ordered and is expected to debut on ITVand CITV in the UK, around 2015. 

Read more at Deadline 

 

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