Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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King Kong is one of cinemas’ biggest icons and I always have respect for any director willing to take on a remake or reboot of this kind because it has a lot to live up too. Most recently we have the 2005 movie ‘King Kong’, directed by Peter Jackson which was a very well made film in my opinion.  ‘Kong: Skull Island’, is a different take on the legend that is Kong and I didn’t really know what to expect from this film, I went in with a completely open mind and was pleasantly surprised.

We have some good actors in this film but I have just one complaint about the cast.  Some people may disagree but Samuel L. Jackson, for me was just too much.  Do we have to have the slow emphasis on almost every word he speaks in every, single, film he is in? Yes, it does work well in some of his other roles but I’m personally getting tired of it. The rest of the cast are great, no one else tries to ‘out act’ anyone else and John C. Reilly adds some subtle humor in the film.

The team are gathered too researched Skull Island and are led by John Goodman’s character Bill Randa.  To research this island they use explosives, a great idea yes? Enter a very angry King Kong, wanting to defend his territory and destroy the intruders. The team get split up from the battle and try to make it through the island towards the agreed meeting point so they can get back home.  This island doesn’t have just one large creature living on it.  There are other threats on Skull Island as well as a tribe of people that also live there in fear of ‘Skull Crawlers’.  Due to the explosives, the largest ‘Skull Crawler’ awakens and Kong goes on to fight the creature as it was responsible for wiping out his entire family.

The creature designs are very good, we’ve gone less modern ‘Planet of the Apes’ style and back to a more basic design similar to the 1933, wide eyed Kong. There’s a few scenes where the green screen back drops are noticeable but nothing too bad.

We all know what is coming, following the success of the 2014 ‘Godzilla’Legendary Productions are now working on ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’ which is set for a 2019 release. There’s no mention of Kong in the title or what little information is being given at the moment but Monarch are definitely going to be involved so you never know… 

Overall I enjoyed this film, even with Samuel L. Jackson’s fairly over-dramatic performance. There was plenty of action, great creature designs and effects and some good acting and humor!  There’s a lot of room now with the story of Kong after this film so I’m sure we’ll see him in the future.

Perfect Popcorn Score – I’m giving this a seven, it was a refreshing take on the Kong story and a pleasant surprise… 7/10.

Alien Covenant (2017)

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I’ll be completely honest with you, my hopes weren’t very high for this installment in the ‘Alien’ franchise.  I mean we’ve not had a change of director, this is still a Ridley Scott film but I just found the plot quite pointless.

We have a completely new crew although, Michael Fassbender is back as a new android called Walter. The crew are woken up early as there is a problem with their ship and the ‘Captain’, played by James Franco doesn’t make it. Their mission was to take their colony and start over on a new planet, that they’d studied in depth and decided would be the best place for them.  They then discover another planet which looks to be habitable for humans and a lot closer compared with their original destination. The crew decide to take a look at this ‘other’ planet and that’s when things get messy.   This ‘other’ planet is the crash site of ‘The Prometheus’, they find no survivors apart from David and they learn that Elizabeth Shaw was also on the same ship. As with all the other films, crew members get ‘infected’ and used too give the alien form, nothing new in this film at all really. There was a lack of suspense as well sadly, although Danny McBride’s character Tennessee was entertaining and pretty much made the film for me, it was refreshing to see not just a female human character survive to the end.

The so-called twist at the end of the film was very predictable in my opinion, you could just see it coming… Nothing is really explained in this film either, the same problem I had with ‘Prometheus’. You see a reenactment through Walter and David’s eyes of what happened to the previous race that inhabited the planet but there’s zero explanation as to why it happened and at this stage in the franchise it’s just frustrating. Will we ever learn who created the Alien and why?

Yet again, as with all Alien and let’s be honest all Ridley’s films in general the special effects were flawless. The character designs and environments for the film as amazing, probably the main reason I agreed to see it.

Overall it is a mixture of ‘Prometheus’  and ‘Alien’ however, it’s not got as much of a plot or any suspense as either film. I personally think if Ridley doesn’t wrap up the reason for Alien in the next film, there won’t be much point having one.

Perfect Popcorn Score – I’m giving it a six, it would have been less but the effects are too good for a lower score… 6/10.

The Mummy (2017)

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When I first heard about The Mummy, I thought ‘Oh dear, another remake of a classic!’.  This is not a remake of the 1999 film by any means so if you were expecting a family film you’ll be disappointed.

Tom Cruise plays the lead role of Nick Morton in this film and let’s face it he can do action roles pretty well… Unlike Wonder Woman I do have some complaints with the characters in this film.  Firstly, Jake Johnson’s character Chris Vail is that ‘funny guy’ that in my opinion after the first half of the film you just don’t need and seems to just get in the way (a lot). Don’t get me wrong, I like humor in an action film like most people but it just didn’t seem to work well in this one.  Then we have the Gladiator himself, Russell Crowe as Mr Jekyll and of course Mr Hyde.  His portrayal of this iconic character isn’t terrible but it isn’t brilliant either, I feel that Hyde could have been a lot better, I personally don’t understand how a cockney accent can make you more dangerous… I will be back to this in a future post as, after watching this film and being introduced into ‘The Dark Universe’ I really want to look more into actors that are being looked at or already now cast as other legendary ‘monster’ roles.  I do have to say though, Sofia Boutella plays Princess Ahmanet aka The Mummy, very well.  She’s very good at making you almost feel sympathy for her character but at the same time she’s just pure evil.

So, the story of the film is a princess that is set to rule has a baby brother and even though she is older and has trained to rule her whole life because he is a boy he will inherit everything. She makes a deal with the god of death and becomes an evil all-powerful ‘monster’ however, she is stopped and mummified alive then buried far from Egypt and erased from history. Then Nick Morton and co. discover her tomb/prison and he cleverly sets her free… Cue the curses and sandstorms and of course lots of scarabs (and spiders). The effects were pretty decent, clearly a big budget as with most Tom Cruise films.  The ending is the best part in my opinion and is something different which I liked.

Overall it’s a good watch, there’s not a lot you can do with The Mummy that hasn’t been done before but this film does try to give you something new with the Prodigium organisation which I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of.

Perfect Popcorn Score – I’m giving it a strong seven, plenty of action and a good and interesting ending however, it could have had more of a scare factor in my opinion 7/10. 

Wonder Woman (2017)

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I first learned that a Wonder Woman film was in the works a good few years ago as Joss Whedon was originally down to direct however, walked away from the project.  As much as I love Whedon’s work and he’s proven he can direct a strong female character very well, as he does in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, I’m actually glad he walked away. I feel that this film needed that female director as the one thing I was hoping wouldn’t happen in this film, didn’t.  We see female characters, not just superheroes in films and they’re sexualised constantly.  I mean take the disaster that was ‘Catwoman’, Halle Berry is an award winning actress yet this film was just her prancing around in a barely there outfit! Wonder Woman, on the other hand is strong, fearless and although she’s beautiful, not at one point does she use this to her advantage in this film and I think it’s brilliant and why this film works so well.

Gal Gadot is the perfect Wonder Woman in my opinion.  I first saw her portray this iconic character in ‘Batman Vs Superman’ and she was the best thing about that film. Gal does all her own stunts, although during this film she was five months pregnant so I’m not sure if she did everything stunt wise for this film which is understandable.

Wonder Woman goes back to the events before ‘Batman Vs Superman’ and tells the origin story of Diana ‘Prince’.  We first see a young Princess Diana, a curious and stubborn child that just wants to train with the other Amazonian women however, her mother forbids her.  Luckily for Diana, the General has other ideas and agrees and trains to fight…

We learn that she is not like the other women on the island and seems to have some sort of mystical power, there is a lot of whispering going on and hints that there is more to Diana than meets the eye.

Throughout the film Diana learns what man-kind is like and meets some interesting characters along the way.  Chris Pine’s character Steve Trevor is brilliant, he’s the perfect companion for her.  He has his own story to tell and reasons for his actions and you learn this throughout the film. I really liked how although you know they develop feelings for each other, this doesn’t distract you from the main plot of the film and become one of those ‘action rom-coms’.  I think this film was cast perfectly, I have no complaints about any of the characters as everyone fits in the film and has their own part to play.  You feel different things towards these characters, although it’s Wonder Woman she doesn’t steal all of the screen time in my opinion which is refreshing for this kind of film.

The effects were perfect, I’m assuming this film had a massive budget though but it was money well spent. The iconic Wonder Woman costume is flawless, so much less ‘cheesy’ than previous ones and I feel this adds to the authenticity of the film.

Overall I personally this this movie stands out as we live in a world where our comic-book heroes are coming to life on a regular basis in both film and television.  Wonder Woman is probably my favorite superhero film to date, move over Marvel, DC has done it with this film.

Perfect Popcorn Score – It’s got to be a ten, action, romance and a great story… Not to mention a catchy theme tune! 10/10.