Friday, 27 June 2014


"How many more of my kind must be sacrificed?"

          On its own, you can always find a flaw within a 'Transformers' film. But as a 'Transformers' film...and one that's directed by Michael Bay...Age of Extinction puts more focus on the plot, while still delivering the explosive thrills we all came to see. It is indeed the best outing in the franchise so far.

          So what places this film ahead of the rest in the franchise, is the focus of the plot. Previously, they were all about Autobots versus Decepticons, with typical human involvement in the war. This time, though, they moved further beyond that classic battle, and, (without spoiling anything), more forces are involved in the main conflict, with interests of their own. Even when the movie starts, things are different, and that sets up the table for a new kind of narrative progression. A much more complex story & vast array of characters are played out, for both humans and Transformers, which is something that its predecessors sorely needed.

          No questions supposedly with the action sequences, but more than the casual robot fighting that we've seen in the past three films, this film introduces new kind of characters and new features of Transformers, for an all new exciting battle sequences. Furthermore, there seems to be more at stake, and more of a challenge for our beloved Autobots to overcome. Being the movie it is, Michael Bay succeeded in giving us the thrills of awesome action sequences, with new surprises along the way. The visual effects, on the other hand, were not that great. The style and presentation of the visuals were great, but the quality of the render and detail is what lets them down.

          The human characters in this film are much more likeable (as compared to the annoying presence of Sam Witwicky and family) and the cast is just great. Stanley Tucci just never disappoints and he just have that charm as a character that we can laugh along with in the ride. The soundtrack is awesome, giving the action sequences a more thrilling and epic feel, while the new song "Battle Cry" by Imagine Dragons, is just a glory to behold when listening to it again. 

          As a film that aims to bring explosive thrills, it works, and that's all you need to know!

Good: More focus on plot, Amazing action sequences, Awesome cast & characters, Brilliant song & soundtrack

Bad: Typical plot, Poor visual quality

SCORE: 7.5

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

SPOILER Discussion - Maleficent

This post will not be discussing spoiler details, but instead re-iterating why I really like this film, with the help of the story...



          What I mentioned in my review post, is that this film did boldly smart to twist the facts for the sake of a better story, and that every detail in the plot works great for the one big character moment. And so here's why.

The Beautiful Moments 

          Note that the moments that touched me include the time when Maleficent help raised Aurora from behind the scenes, and the times they spent together in the moors, culminating in the touchiest moment when Aurora called Maleficent "Fairy Godmother", and when Maleficent professed her true love & kissed Aurora.

          These moments I mentioned above alone was enough to (almost) make me shed tears. And all of the details combined work for the best. To start with, the interactions between Maleficent & Aurora from the first day in the house (through the window), and then when Aurora (as a kid) is lifted up, and when she nearly fell, and also when finally spending time together and having fun together in the moors, are all so touching & provide us with a sense of how Maleficent's character change with her relationship with Aurora.

How the details worked

          The ignorance & incompetence of the three fairies served for the purpose so that Maleficent could be given the opportunity to be the one to raise the child. More and more she does this, and her heart began to change. Maleficent's initial reactions towards Aurora, even calling her beastie, and when rescuing her off a cliff, and lifting her up, are all just so adorable. The way she interact with Aurora & Diaval throughout provides a very much smooth & natural humour.

          The culminating moment when Aurora claims Maleficent as her Fairy Godmother and that her shadow has been following her shows how much Maleficent have cared for Aurora, and that she acknowledges that. Following this is just some excellently sweet moments of them spending time together, before finally Maleficent realized her love for her and tried to break the curse.

          And finally Phillip's arrival (though sudden) also served the purpose of showing what true love is. Though very Frozen-esque and a bit too obvious, the moment when Maleficent rushes with the boy so that Aurora may get a kiss shows it all about Maleficent. So that final moment when Maleficent confesses & professes her true love (one of a mother to a daughter), with a kiss that breaks the spell, becomes that magical moment the film has been leading us to.

Why the ending is better than Frozen... 

           Somehow, even though this is a reminiscence of what happens in Frozen, when it happened here, it was more touching for me, because of what had happened before. In Frozen, it was just Anna from the start doing her best for her sister. Here, Maleficent changed from bad to good, and it was all from the relationship with Aurora, all the time spent together, which made it happen. This is why I really like the way they set up the story & the unfolding plots, all the little details of the fairies, Diaval, (and yes the acting highly contributed to the scenes), and the humour makes these moments wonderful. All this, to help make that moment of character change of Maleficent to become Aurora's Godmother a particularly beautiful & magical moment.

As a summer blockbuster this film still lacks...but what it does is hit hard with an untold story that catches audiences to re-live the tale from the side of Maleficent...

Friday, 20 June 2014

Looking Forward: JULY 2014

The less exciting month of this summer, with just the few movies to really look forward to...

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11-USA, July 17-UK, July 10-Singapore)

          Three years back, and its predecessor was a big hit with both critics and movie-goers alike, and successfully launched a reboot of a well-known franchise. This time around, the story is set 8 years after, and from the trailers, we can already feel the post-apocalyptic setting. Though the human cast are entirely different, the apes are reprised from the first film, and it will be interesting to see where they take the story next. With strong casts, and boasting excellent looking visuals & action, let us hope that this film will provide our dose of blockbuster in the month of July.

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2) (Final Trailer)

Planes: Fire & Rescue (July 18-USA, Aug 8-UK, Sept 4-Singapore)

          Planes isn't a particularly strong outing by Pixar, yet they had utmost confidence even before it was released, and planned a sequel for just a year after. It's a bold move, and one where I feel a bit critical, and now even more so. Here's why. Firstly, its predecessor wasn't particularly very good, so there is a weak justification to come out with a sequel immediately. Secondly, the story suggests the main character leaving life as a racer (because of damaged engine) and go into firefighting instead. This again, is a very drastic turn, and one that I don't really fancy. Firefighting doesn't seem to provide a potentially good narrative, and not even a possible villain I can think of, which could ultimately be a huge letdown for the story. It's unclear as of now, but if this film is to work, they'd better bring a strong dramatic narrative to sustain the film.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #2) ("Thunder" Trailer) (Extended Trailer)

Hercules (July 25-USA, July 25-UK, July 24-Singapore)

          I don't have a lot of comments for this film as I don't have insights about them. But based on what I know and what I see in the trailers, this film is looking cool with the action & visuals, but I doubt the credibility of the director, as well as some of the actors too. This movie has potential, but as of now I am a bit skeptic about it. I do hope they prove me wrong, and again, give us some extra taste of blockbuster for a rather quiet month of July. One thing though, we have already seen a failed Hercules film earlier this year, so surely this film could do no worse than that.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #2)

Other Movies:

Earth to Echo (July 2)
-An adventure film with intriguing plot...(oh, and it's handheld perspective)

Lucy (July 25)
-A supposedly "superhero" film, by French director Luc Besson, and starring Scarlett Johansson...

Monday, 16 June 2014


"You have the heart of a chief...and the soul of a dragon!"

          One of the best animation movie in recent time, How to Train Your Dragon 2 possesses high quality in nearly all aspects of the film, making it the perfect family time at the movies. With strong visuals & action, decent comedy, and quite the narrative to sustain the whole world with dramatic moments, this movie is an all-round great animation movie, and a great sequel at that.

           In terms of narrative, it is good that they are able to expand the world, both in terms of space and time. They expanded the world to different new locations for our heroes to explore, yet also looking back in time to show some origins of why things are so in the present. Furthermore, they are able to fill in some of the gaps left behind in the first film (like the story of Hiccup's mother), which is smart move for a sequel to put to use these kind of plot that can just slip in and work perfectly.

           The action is as good as it can get, much like the first film. But the visuals, more specifically on the direction and flow of movements, is just a joy to behold. And with the help of a great soundtrack, it makes some moments just a wonder to behold and experience. My favourite scene in the film was when Hiccup and Valka was flying around on their dragons, which is just a visual spectacle, yet furthermore, the story made the scene much more meaningful and touching (if you have watched it, you will know what I mean).

           Other aspects are good, just as its predecessor is. The comedy is good, and fitting for both kids and adults alike. The characters are fun and easy to follow. But this is where I was a bit let down, as most of the supporting characters (Hiccup's friends) felt less integral to the story, and was just there for the sake of being there since they were in the first film. It could have been more if they give a little more story and impact on these characters. It would be much better then. But otherwise, it is still a highly enjoyable great quality animation film with special moments that made it a wonderful family experience at the movies.


Good: Strong visuals & action, Smart narrative, Decent comedy & drama, Great soundtrack

Bad: Less impactful characters

SCORE: 8.5

Thursday, 12 June 2014

SPOILER Discussion - X-Men: Days of Future Past

It's been 3 weeks since the release of the new X-Men film, and I haven't really had the chance to give my deep thoughts of it, so here goes...
A lot have changed in terms of the story for the franchise based on what happened in Days of Future Past. And here are my thoughts on them...



Future Sequences

           I did say that the future sequences felt less at stake and lacks the emotional depth, and I can't really divulge without spoiling bits and pieces. First things first though, Bryan Singer did bravely at portraying some excellent deaths in the decapitation of Iceman and even Colossus (both at ice and steel form, respectively, for the sake of PG-13), which is just gruesomely brilliant. But my main point is, despite their cruel deaths, and even when Magneto and Prof X are on the brink of death, there is just no stakes left knowing the past could change that, without giving direct implication or directly showing what will happen should they die and fail to protect Wolverine. Furthermore, there isn't enough things happening beforehand to make us feel the value the things that future Prof X and Magneto have really done, so, all in all, it kind of feels less powerful in terms of drama.


          It feels great to see the way this film acts as the centre of the web and connects all other films in the franchise. But more importantly is the way it changes the past to change the future, well, in the end we get to see Prof X, Beast, and even Jean Grey and Cyclops all well and alive and together running the school again. With a good sense of perception, this is as good as a happy ending can be. It makes us wonder how much the present have changed to lead to that kind of future, but then it also begs more and more question like, did the story of X-Men or X2 ever even happened. Truth is, it might not, and it tickles to feel that Bryan Singer may have just eliminated the story of his own films, so to speak. But it also means that The Last Stand may not have happened, so it opens a bigger question to what really happened, and if and will time travel ever be used again to change the dynamics of the X-Men storyline. Okay, that is a lot to take in. Which is why I had demanded a bit more explanation in the ending, but for now, I guess we'll just take it as it is.

Apocalypse? Future Instalments?

          If you had stayed to the very end, you would have seen a post-credits scene that can be no more direct in stating that Apocalypse will be in the next movie. He is a very powerful mutant and one of the X-Men's greatest foes, so I just can't wait to see him in the cinematic world. It feels a bit funny that I never thought of him after seeing all these X-Men movies, and just realized that this one major villain never appeared at all, so I would really relish the moment he does.
          Meanwhile, still concerning the ending of Days of Future Past, knowing that all those characters in the end are alive, will it leave future instalments with less intensity and drama, if we recall to ourselves that those characters will still be alive. This film actually kind of sets a different perception, at least for me, towards the whole franchise. But I still love the whole theme and story and I just want more and more X-Men films to come in the future.

Friday, 6 June 2014


"Is it true? Are you maleficent?"

          Maleficent is a surprisingly very good movie. In essence, the story told and the events that happen all serve to lead that one big moment of character development for Maleficent herself, and all the little details work all for the best of that purpose. Yet it still has lots of humour & visually impressive action, and along with some great acting & drama out of the characters, this is really one surprisingly good blockbuster.

          Without spoiling any of the story, all I can say is that I'm grateful they were brave (and smart) enough to twist some known facts of this classic story, for the sake of a better story in this movie. And every bit of the things that unfold in this film serves towards the main goal of developing the character of Maleficent herself. Every little details works well for this, and I'm surprisingly amazed how well they did this. It may seem a little vague through my words at first, but I might soon make a spoiler review to explain further of this. And a hard truth to admit, but I was very close to shedding tears at one point in the's true.

          So the paragraph above should state quite clear how strong the drama is, yet this film boasts tons of humour, most of which seemed naturally smooth & funny, and some even served for the purpose of this film as well. Furthermore, the action sequences employs such impressive visuals too. Some minor let downs include the time & place jumps in the earlier minutes, which could have been made smoother & clearer. And some details of the story could have been expanded for more drama & development.

          Oh, and Angelina Jolie is awesome as Maleficent!! Not to forget Sharlto Copley who was also great as the king, and Elle Fanning as Aurora is also surprisingly good. Some of the touchy moments in the film is due to the acting of Jolie herself, and some others too, which is due more than what my credit is worth.

          In the end, if any film could almost made me shed tears (which I have never done in the last 3-4 years for a big budget blockbuster), and yet still employs amazing visuals, brilliant acting, and boasts tons of humour & great drama, then you can bet it is worth the watch, and I highly, highly recommend you to watch it.


Good: Great drama, Tons of humour, Amazing visuals, Brilliant acting, Smart plot

Bad: -

SCORE: 9.0

Monday, 2 June 2014


"How many times have we been here? many times?"

          As far as summer blockbusters go, this is one of the most complete mix of a movie to provide entertainment for the masses. For starters, it has cool visual effects & awesome action sequences throughout. It flourishes with humour every step of the way, and with a strongly built setting, is enhanced with rich drama among the main characters. All in all, this is a complete summer blockbuster for all range of audiences.

          The visual effects, especially of the alien race, is very cool in appearance, and by the looks of it, the team really put in one hell of an effort for that one. This in turn impacts the action sequences in a positive manner. From being an amateur to a trained warrior, the movie brilliantly presents the way Tom Cruise's character deals with these aliens in wonderful, fast-paced battle scenes. Some credit is due to the sound effects and also the soundtrack for adding in that extra suspense. And further credit due for the actors who did such wonderful job, especially Mr. Cruise himself.

          The plot, in my opinion, is not very strong. It is, in fact, rather simple & predictable, but the setting of the rules, and the established background is really powerful and sets up for an amazing adventure. With that, as well as frequent mixes of humour and quite some drama between the main character, this film has all the qualities of a true summer blockbuster. The plot is not all bad as it is easy to follow, but with a more complex plot, or with the involvement of more twist & turns, it may well be the perfect blockbuster.


Good: Cool visuals, Awesome action sequences, Great acting, Excellent mix of humour & drama, Decent sound effects & soundtrack

Bad: Simple plot

SCORE: 8.5