Why Sense8 is a Great Show!

Sense8, beyond being a truly interesting premise, tackles a wide number of issues. It touches on homophobia, transphobia, mental illness, abusive relationships, drug use, poverty, crime, violence, government corruption, morality, love,  I mean it casts a wide net but not in a way that removes anything from the story elements (apart from a few times in the 2nd season). So for once on this blog I’m going to have a positive rant. The focus being on Sense8 and why I love it. For the most part, I’m going to focus on the first season as I’ve just re-watched it whereas I haven’t seen the 2nd season since it was released. There are likely to be spoilers here and there but I don’t focus too much on the plot as a whole.

The Basic Premise

Sense8

image via Netflix

Sense8 is sort of hard to explain but I’ll try my best to cover the overall idea. The show follows 8 main characters who all share one consciousness hub (so to speak). They can learn from each other’s experiences, connect to memories, experience what another member of their “cluster” (the word used to describe each group of 8) is feeling and much more. The first season essentially covers the group getting used to this new part of their lives. It also introduces us to the villain of the show: Whispers.

The 2nd season isn’t as great as the first (in my opinion) but tensions are certainly higher and with much more at stake. The 2nd season of Sense8 is more of a battle against Whispers. One important aspect of the show is that while there is this threat casting a show over the group’s lives, they all have individual battles to face as well.

Sense8 was cancelled after the 2nd season…but fans rallied together (myself included) and signed a petition to the Netflix to continue making the show. Unable to make an entire season, Netflix will be releasing a finale episode which will be two hours long. Essentially fans are getting a Sense8 movie that doesn’t have to appeal to a wider audience. Personally, I think this adds merit to the benefits of Netflix (I’ll be posting an article soon about my predictions for the future of the company). I’ve lost so many shows to cancellation…like so many. Most of which ended on cliffhangers, leaving questions unanswered and essentially opening up a door in my mind that will never be closed. So while I would have preferred a full season, I’m just happy that the show will be wrapped up.

Interesting Characters

Sense8

image via YouTube

One thing that makes a great TV shows is the characters. Whether you watch Game of Thrones, Lost, Rick and Morty, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Criminal Minds or Still Game, what makes these shows great is the characters. If the characters in a show suck or aren’t consistent (for example, The Path) then no matter how good the premise of a TV show is, you’ll never get hooked on it.

Luckily, Sense8 has a character for everyone. Whether you like Riley (Tuppence Middleton) the Icelandic DJ, Capheus (Aml Ameen/Toby Onwumere) the legendary Van Damme bus driver of Nairobi or Sun (Donna Bae) the bad-ass martial artist from Seoul, there is someone who we can all relate to in some form or another. Some characters are funny, some are romantic, some are brave, some are smart…the whole purpose of Sense8 is that while all these characters may be one, they are still unique and individual in their own ways.

Sense8 has characters (or more importantly, actors) who are able to portray all the necessary emotions. No matter how tense the situation is some moments are funny not through forced comedy but actually just by characters being themselves. Like Sun who responds to the news that there are 4 guards on that floor with “is that all?” It’s hilarious because she’s totally right. 4 guards to her is nothing.

Unique and Interesting Storyline

Sense8

image via Market Watch

I think that Sense8 really does add something to the world of television and for the life of me, I have no idea why it isn’t more popular. As soon as I heard the plot for it, I was hooked. I think I binge-watched the entire season in one day actually. You get all the drama and thrill you would from any other show but with such a compelling idea, I think it’s great.

One thing they do really well is explain some of the science but never all of it. Many characters even describe what they are doing or feeling in such a vague sense as to leave something to the imagination. So while they touch on theories as to what sense8’s actually are, they don’t go too far down the rabbit hole which I think is important. I mean we don’t want another mitoclorian incident, do we? Or even worse: Lost, where there are too many loose ends to keep track of. I think for the most part they make you feel like you are indeed just watching a phenomenon that is completely legit.

The Issues

Sense8

image via Hollywood Reporter

Sense8 very much plays into the social commentary domain and sometimes it’s a bit on the nose. I think this might be why the audience doesn’t grow. I happen to think it works really well because you feel a certain realism inside this fictional world. For example, you can believe that in parts of the world, being gay could end your career. You can believe that cops are alienated for helping gangbangers or that Gods and religion are standing in the way of a marriage. I wouldn’t question someone telling me that gangs are a problem in Africa or that being a woman in the business world can start you off disadvantaged. It is this level of realism that allows the fiction side to seem possible.

I think they tried to top Game of Thrones for sex scenes which by the 2nd season had become a bit stale. Sense8 tries a little too hard to shove certain views down your throat (no pun intended). I personally don’t care, as long as its consensual, I don’t care who fucks who. It’s a free world and people should do whatever makes them happy. That doesn’t mean I want to watch a gay sex scene every episode.

Drugs also play a major role in the show. Riley seems to be the main consumer: weed, ecstasy and DMT are some of the substances she takes on-screen. I have to admit that I love a show’s willingness to show drugs in a positive light. I mean I wish the DMT scene hadn’t ended in a bunch of murders…but it did work very well. I think one base idea the show tries to push is acceptance: accept people regardless of their sexuality, regardless of their gender and regardless of what drugs they use.

Controversy

Sense8

image via Alta Peli

It did appear that there was some controversy on set. Aml Ameen who plays Capheus in season 1 was traded out for Toby Onwumere in the 2nd season. I’m personally a big fan of Aml Ameen’s acting. I remember watching him in the film Kidulthood when I was younger but he’s great in Maze Runner as well. It seems that he didn’t agree with certain scenes: whether it was gay scenes, trans scenes or just the group sex scenes in general is anyone’s guess. Many entertainment news sites were eager to label it but as the full picture is being kept under wraps (for the most part) we can only make assumptions.

Given that the show is so open in terms of sexuality, it sort of makes sense that showrunners wouldn’t keep Aml Ameen on if anything homophobic or transphobic was going down. Given that Jamie Clayton tweeted about it, we can only assume she was involved to some extent.

I think it always sucks when an actor is switched in a show or movie. Some of the time it doesn’t matter greatly: Game of Thrones or Harry Potter but other times it’s more noticeable: Dumb and Dumber (the prequel). While I don’t think that Toby Oneumere is a bad actor by any means, I think the character of Capheus has changed drastically between seasons.

Summary

Sense8

image via Variety

Overall, when you include the excellent direction of the show and the limit of 12 episodes per season (which stops things getting boring), you get is a great show. I think season 2 should have been a bit more story driven than it was but overall I still thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for the finale! If you have some spare time and need something to watch, I’d recommend Sense8. Give it one episode and if you’re not remotely interested then you’ve wasted less than an hour of your life and it’s no big deal.


Thanks for reading! Are you a fan of Sense8? Who is your favourite character and how do you want the show to end? Let me know down below! Similarly, if you’re not a fan, let me know why!

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

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Top 10 Best Scottish Actors!

I feel like the world sometimes forgets about Scotland when it comes to the big screen. This surprises me given the wide range of A-list actors who frequently appear in top films. As an ode to Scottish actors, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top 10 favourite Scottish actors. I’ll count down from 10 to 1, tell you some of the films they’ve been in and highlight my favourite. It’s going to be difficult!

Honourable Mentions

Before we dive straight into the top 10, I feel like it’s necessary to acknowledge those who didn’t make it onto the list. A top 20 list may have been more appropriate but “top 10” has more of a ring to it. I’ll just mention the actor and my favourite role they played.

  • Richard Madden (Robb Stark, Game of Thrones)
  • John Hannah (Holden Radcliffe, Agent’s of Shield)
  • Peter Capaldi (The Doctor, Doctor Who – although the storyline sucked)
  • Laura Fraser (Lydia, Breaking Bad)
  • Alan Cumming (Floop, Spy Kids)
  • Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond, Lost)
  • Iain De Caestecker (Fitz, Agents of Shield)

Now onto the Top 10!

10-Rose Leslie

Scottish Actors

image via The Mary Sue

I have to admit that I had absolutely no idea that Rose Leslie was Scottish, and from Aberdeen no less! She was initially number 9 on my list because I loved her character in Game of Thrones and Rose Leslie did an excellent job both with the accent and just the role in general. I then realised I’ve only seen her in one other thing: The Last Witch Hunter which was a below-average magic/monster film that barely held my attention. She’s in Morgan though which I do plan on watching at some stage but hopefully she’ll make an appearance in some more films in the coming years.

Favourite Role: Ygritte (Game of Thrones)

 9-Robbie Coltrane

Scottish Actors

image via BBC America

From Still Game to Blackadder to Ocean’s Twelve to James Bond, you’re probably most familiar with Robbie Coltrane as the “I shouldn’t have said” that groundskeeper himself: Rubeus Hagrid. Robbie Coltrane has played a vast number of roles in his life, most before my lifetime and yet he is still a major player in the world of cinema. One of his more recent appearances was in the Scottish tale by Pixar: Brave as Lord Dingwall.

Favourite Role: Hagrid (Harry Potter series)

8-Brian Cox

Scottish Actors

image via The Independent

Not to be confused with the keyboard playing physicist of the same name, Brian Cox has been involved in a wide range of movies: Super Troopers, RED, Troy, X-Men 2, The Bourne Identity, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and of course: Braveheart. He was also in Morgan alongside Rose Leslie. Brian Cox has even made appearances on popular TV shows such as Doctor Who and Frasier.

 

I became to truly admire this man when he returned to Scotland during the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2015 to show his support. With people like J.K. Rowling as opposing celebrity forces (why celebrities involve themselves in the first place is beyond me), someone had to appear at debates to highlight why independence is the right way to go.

Favourite Role: Ward Abbott (The Bourne Identity/Supremacy)

7-Billy Connolly

Scottish Actors

image via Pinterest

Granted, Billy Connolly is more well-known as a stand-up comedian actor but that’s not to say he isn’t capable. He’s appeared in films such as Muppet Treasure Island, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Garfield 2. As well as The X-Files: I Want to Believe, and even The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. He’s also voiced hilarious characters such as Fergus in Brave and McSquizzy in Open Season. Not to mention his brief appearance in House as Thomas Bell, one of the potential fathers of the diagnosis genius!

For me, Billy Connolly will always be the man who was not afraid to shout and swear at his audience. He would scream at everyone to hilarious comedic effect. If there is ever a man who says what’s on his mind (whether it be on stage or in interviews) it’s Billy Connolly. I could watch the man talk for days and still find him incredibly entertaining.

Favourite Role: Fergus (Brave) – Although, his stand-up is my favourite aspect of his work!

6-Gerard Butler

Scottish Actors

image via The Cheat Sheet

Gerard Butler may not be the best actor in the world but he is far from the worst. Certainly he appears in many, many outstanding movies. It’s hard to say what role you may know him from: Perhaps as a dragon tamer or alternatively a dragon fighter? Perhaps you remember him as a simple law-abiding citizen? We all know the tale of the Spartan army and its 300 soldiers, right? Maybe you know him as the slick One Two?

 

Whatever you know him from; the man has covered a wide range of roles. Granted, I still hear his Scottish accent whenever he shouts “This is SPARTA!” If we ever get a better William Wallace movie than that Braveheart garbage then I’d vote for him to play the Scottish hero!

Favourite Role: Clyde Shelton (Law Abiding Citizen)

5-Karen Gillan

Scottish Actors

image via Inverse

It’s impossible to discuss Scottish actors without mentioning the red-headed Karen Gillan. I first witnessed Karen Gillan on-screen as Amy Pond, the bold and brave Scottish sidekick to Matt Smith’s Doctor. She’s without a doubt my favourite Doctor Who companion and her storylines covered some of the darker aspects of the series.

Of course, she’s now up in the big leagues alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy as Nebula. As well as running through the jungle with The Rock and Jack Black. I think this is an actor we should all keep an eye on.

Favourite Role: Amy Pond (Doctor Who)

4-Sean Connery

Scottish Actors

image via Evil Geeks

The man, the myth, the legend: Sean Connery. This man is a globally recognised success who will definitely go down in the history books. He’s been a double-O agent, a Crusader, a dragon, and an author. He’s been in romances, action films and comedies. Now, he’s in his late 80s now and as the original James Bond, there’s not much one can say about his career.

Favourite Role: Professor Henry Jones (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

3-James McAvoy

Scottish Actors

image via The Hook Mag

I think I first noticed James McAvoy in as Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe but he’s come a long way since then. Having starred alongside names such as Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Radcliffe his career is still on the up and up.

Next year James McAvoy will be retuning as Kevin Wendell Crumb alongside Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in Glass. I think that Split was an excellent presentation of James McAvoy’s ability to act. I genuinely felt like I was watching someone experience many different personalities. We’ll also be seeing a further exploration of the X-Men universe which could be interesting!

Favourite Role: Kevin (Split)

2-David Tennent

Scottish Actors

image via Blogtor Who

When it comes to notable Scottish actors, I think we can all agree that David Tennent is pretty fucking awesome. I think I probably first became aware of who he was in Doctor Who when he replaced Christopher Eccleston as the time lord. Of course since then he has appeared in Harry Potter as Barty Crouch Junior and voiced Spiteloud in How to Train Your Dragon, among other appearances such as Broadchurch and Kilgrave in Jessica Jones.

David Tennent is also set to appear as John Knox in the upcoming film Mary Queen of Scots (so at least there is one Scottish actor in it. I have a real issue with historical films having main cast members who have nothing to do with that history…a rant for another time).

Favourite Role: The Doctor (Doctor Who)

1-Ewan McGregor

Scottish Actors

image via Nerdist

When it comes to my number 1 favourite Scottish actors, there is really no competition. Ewan McGregor has been playing major roles in movies all through my entire life. From Jedi to clone to heroin addict to robot to a Vatican priest to tsunami survivor and even a sentient candlestick. Ewan McGregor is truly a Scottish icon and a talented actor.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for his re-appearance as Obi-Wan Kenobi in coming years in a Kenobi stand-alone movie. Unless of course Rian Johnson is set to direct it in which case I never ever, ever want that movie to be created!

Favourite Roles: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars Saga) and Bob Wilton (Men Who Stare at Goats)


Thanks for reading! Do you think I missed anyone out? Who are your favourite actors from your country? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Remember: For this month only you could win yourself a $20 Amazon gift card!

Peace!

Annihilation Review and Explanation!

If you haven’t seen the Netflix Original: Annihilation then I suggest you stop reading immediately. Go watch it and come back when spoilers aren’t going to impact your viewing of the movie. Like seriously, as soon as this paragraph is finished, I’m going to be diving face-first into spoilers and there are moments in this movie that NOBODY should be prepared for prior to watching it.

Quick Summary

Annihilation

image via Digital Spy

With most of my reviews for films, I spend far too long summarising a movie that only those who had seen the movie in the first place would be reading. So i’ll try and keep this short.

Annihilation is many things: a commentary on human biology and nature for one. It’s also a bit of a mind-fuck in some scenes. Not so much that you leave with your mind blown but rather you feel just as confused as the characters. The film follows Lena (Natalie Portman) who after assuming her husband has been killed on a mission, finds him wandering up the stairs followed swiftly by a rushed ambulance journey. Lena learns of “the shimmer”: a bizarre anomaly that is infecting a swampland area of the US and has been for the past 3 years. Upon learning that this was the mission her husband was on, Lena volunteers to join a task force heading into the shimmer in order to reach the point of origin: a lighthouse.

What follows is a trippy journey through a beautiful yet terrifying forest that has creatures and plants that appear to have been thrown together, almost like Frankenstein’s monster but of nature. The film isn’t particularly tense or scary but the fucking human-scream bear is one of the most chilling scenes I have seen in any film in years. I’ll admit that even though I knew it was a trick of some sort, I was not remotely prepared for that thing walking in and making that noise.

As character’s are knocked off one by one, the movie ends with Lena encountering her husband’s corpse (a twist I think we all knew was coming) and a double of herself. This is another chilling scene. Something about a humanoid yet metallic creature imitating human movements while being higher, stronger and more agile is creepy as shit! The final moments of the movie show Lena hugging her shimmer-husband as both of their eyes shimmer…I’ve said shimmer too many times but it’s the best word to use here.

Review

Annihilation

image via Film Crit Hulk

Honestly, I was pretty impressed with this movie. I think it’s fair to say that Netflix have hit the nail on the head with this one. With Hollywood forcing out female-led movies and failing (particularly awful reboots like Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8), this film was incredible. I don’t mean that in a patronising way, I’m not suggesting that women aren’t capable of being the leads in movies. What I mean is that when it’s forced, it tends not to work. This movie on the other hand worked wonderfully.

I was even doubtful going in because Natalie Portman has never impressed me with her acting before. Similarly, I’m not a huge fan of Tessa Thompson mainly because of comments she made regarding Thor: Ragnarok but also because she’s just never shone out as an actor in my eyes. I’m happy to admit that both of them did incredibly well in this movie and the acting is part of what was awesome about this film.

Actually, every aspect of this film was superbly done: the special effects were crazy, the soundtrack was awesome, the ending of the movie was a bit “meh” but not bad by any means and it certainly left questions open, hence why I’ll be doing my version of an explanation now.

Ending Explanation

Annihilation

image via Syfy

I’m completely winging this. I watched the movie less than 20 minutes ago so don’t take my word that this is actually the explanation that the creators were going for. If you’ve read any of my other theories, such as my Pokemon one or my journey through Happy Feet, you’ll know that usually I clutch at straws to make a theory sound a little more compelling. In this instance, I’m going solely with what I just saw in Annihilation.

Shimmer Children

Annihilation

image via Elpais

So throughout the film we hear about cells. The film opens talking about cancer cells, we hear the team discuss the suicidal nature of biology (i.e. that at a cellular level we are self-destructive). There were two things that stood out to me in the movie: 1) The idea that anyone going into the shimmer must be suicidal or at least self-destructive on some level and 2) That each person in the final team has nothing to go back for (apart from Lena). We learn that each member has an issue. Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is dying, something we don’t discover until near the end of the movie. Anya Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez) had a drug issue (I think). Cass Sheppard (Tuva Novotny) lost her child to leukemia (along with part of herself). Josie Radek (Tessa Thompson) used to self-harm.

Lena is there for her husband who she cheated on and now feels guilty about his current state. I mentioned these characters for a reason and I will circle back to it but first, here’s my main theory in regards to the shimmering eyes at the end. I think that Lena and her shimmer-husband are almost like Adam and Eve. Everything else within the shimmer caught fire and burned yet Lena walked away unscathed and shimmer-Kane recovered. I think this moment symbolises a rebirth of sorts. Lena’s DNA has been altered through her time in the shimmer and Kane isn’t even Kane. I think they lost that self-destructive aspect of themselves and their children will go on to pass it on. We know from the crystal trees, the tree people and other aspects within the shimmer that this anomaly or being was trying to create life.

Cellular Self-Destruction

Annihilation

image via Scleroderma News

As for the other characters, I think they died in ways related to their “cellular self-destructiveness”. Josie had cut her wrists but never committed suicide. It’s theorised by Sheppard that she was trying to feel alive. When we last see her, she is becoming a plant just like the tree people. Dr. Ventress is dying and has no partner, no children, no friends, no family as far as anyone can tell. She becomes one with all life in the shimmer and passes her genetic make-up on. Sheppard talks about a part of her dying and how losing that aspect of herself is akin to losing her daughter. Yet when she dies, all of her goes, apart from the terror and fear she felt before her death: no happiness, no joy, only darkness.

Anya is the character that sort of throws my theory off a little bit here. If it was drugs that were her self-destructive tendency then it could relate to a lack of control. She said that her hands moved when she looked at them. This is sort of a way of saying that she isn’t herself which is a common saying by people who have been in dark and deep drug addictions. They lose themselves much in the same way that Anya was losing herself. She wanted to cut someone open to prove that it wasn’t just her.

Lena

Annihilation

image via Bloody Disgusting

Lena, as the main character, plays a more interesting role in this theory. It’s mentioned several times both by her and other characters that she had something to go back to: her husband. She isn’t being suicidal by going into the shimmer, she’s actually on a mission. Yet when she enters the lighthouse she has to face the reality that that isn’t her husband waiting for her. This is perhaps something she has considered before the lighthouse as she looks worried when she starts playing that camera, long before it shows him dying and his double walking in front of the camera.

Lena isn’t fighting a creature or an alien but rather part of herself. This thing is more than just a double, it’s more like her shadow. I think that this thing was supposed to represent her self-destructive tendency. When she tries to escape it’s her desire to die that stops her. She’s literally stopping herself from escaping and by killing it, she’s freeing herself. She leaves the shimmer without that self-destructive tendency at a cellular level. Leading to my explanation as to why neither her nor Kane burned like the rest of the shimmer shit.

The Tattoo

Annihilation

image via Mythologian NET

One aspect of this film that I can’t get my head around is a recurring tattoo. At first I thought is was a number 8 but it’s actually the eternal serpent/infinity snake. It’s an image of a snake swallowing its tale and it’s a symbol of rebirth. I guess this would apply to the idea of rebirth of Lena’s character and of the human genome. It isn’t the symbolism I have a problem with though.

What I don’t really understand is why it kept appearing on people. I mean we could assume that it was on a person’s arm from a previous mission into the shimmer but tattoos aren’t genetic. I mean this life-force/event/being can replicate dripping blood, as it does with Lena and it does the same with sound so the refraction must not be limited to DNA. I just don’t get why that tattoo would appear on people’s arm but not others. I mean sure, we could just accept that it’s being used as symbolism for the movie but I feel like that’s a bit on the nose, so to speak. I mean we know that everything inside the shimmer is being reborn as something else but I’m sure there must be a better explanation out there. Annihilation doesn’t seem like the sort of film to throw a tattoo in just for symbolism without any real explanation.

One meaning behind the symbol relates to the serpent Jormungandr who, in Norse mythology, guarded the tree of life. Maybe nobody had the tattoo at all and it’s actually a mark from the being/event/life-force. Here’s a wild theory: what if the shimmer was no accident. What if some aspect of Norse mythology is based on fact (which is interesting considering Natalie Portman’s Thor connection) and life on Earth is threatened by humanity and so, this guardian or whatever is sent down to correct things.

Nah…


Thanks for reading! What did you think of Annihilation? Do you enjoy seeing reviews on this blog? If so, what else do you recommend? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Remember: For this month only you could win yourself a $20 Amazon gift card!

Peace!

10 Movies We Don’t Need In 2019

2019 is set to be a great year for films: Avengers 4 will end a decade long saga, we’re getting a host of book to film adaptations, Robert Downey Jr will be talking to animals and Deadpool will be voicing a detective version of Pikachu (in a manner of speaking) Let’s take a look at some of the films coming out in 2019 which we perhaps wish weren’t. Of course we will look at some of the reasons why these films just shouldn’t exist or at the very least are treading on thin ice.

Untitled Terminator Reboot

2019

image via IGN

Terminator has had a bit of a rocky decade or so. Terminator: Salvation and Terminator: Genisys were average movies at best with the latter being somewhat nonsensical. Considering all the areas that could potentially be explored within the universe, it seems a shame that the films don’t branch out a bit. This movie will be the 6th in the series.

These films are being released largely in relation to the film rights which will soon transfer. So to cut a long story short: in a desperate attempt to make money they are releasing awful and badly written films. Hardly a shocking thing in Hollywood these days but I guess there is always hope. With AI reaching somewhat terrifying levels in the real world, maybe there is scope for an interesting commentary.

Hobbs and Shaw

2019

image via Car Throttle

With 8 Fast and Furious films (which some would argue is at least 5 too many) and another one on the way in 2020, it may shock you to learn that there is a spin-off coming out next year. Hobbs and Shaw will follow the characters (Hobbs and Shaw…obviously) played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham. The film itself is surrounded in in controversy, beyond the milking of a dead cow.

Co-Stars of the previous Fast and Furious films Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel appear to have fallen out. Rumour has it that during the shooting of The Fate of the Furious, the pair wouldn’t even be in the same frame. This was taken a step further when the spin-off bumped the 9th Fast and Furious film to 2020. Personally, I stopped watching the franchise after Bard the Dragon Slayer was killed during the 400 mile long airplane runway!

Top Gun: Maverick

2019

image via Screen Rant

With nostalgia-fuelled reboots and sequels still very much on the rise, it was only a matter of time before someone set their sights on Top Gun. Having been released in 1986, it will have been over three decades since we last saw Tom Cruise take to the skies as Maverick. Yet we have to ask ourselves, is this film even remotely necessary? I mean with Independence Day, Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park, Jumanji, Star Wars and more all getting reboots or sequels, do we need another?

Apparently the sequel has been in the works for some time with Tom Cruise being one of the few committed to the movie. Cruise will be playing an older Pete Mitchell who struggles to adapt to the more modern U.S Navy all while training new recruits. With a new love interest and children of other main characters showing up, I can’t imagine there is much more story to explore. We can all get excited about war movies but in an age where sci-fi and WW1/2 movies seem to harbour all the success, I think this is one film that should have been left in the 80s!

Bond 25

2019

image via El País

Don’t get me wrong: Bond movies are awesome! I would love a new Bond movie but…I’m sick of Daniel Craig as Bond. Especially after that abomination they call Spectre! I mean how can you turn Christoph Waltz into such a mediocre villain? After seeing him in Inglorious Basterds, I was completely set for him to become my favourite Bond villain, possibly my favourite Bond character…but the convoluted storyline combined with what was a poorly written character just ruined the Daniel Craig bond series in my opinion.

So on that note, I was set for the reset button to be hit: a new bond (I was hoping Idris Elba), maybe some new characters, a new story, new villains, just a whole new feel. So hearing that Daniel Craig is returning worries me a little. As great a Bond as I feel he was (up until Spectre), I feel the series is in need of a change.

Frozen 2

2019

image via YouTube

Now the first Frozen isn’t really my cup of tea but I’m accepting enough to understand why people enjoyed it. It was entertaining, the singing was pretty good, the messages it sends to kids were fairly positive and the animations were done wonderfully. It was commercially successful and sing along versions have been released since and the merchandise is still selling everywhere. Here in Spain they market bottles of water by printing Frozen characters on them.

One of the many issues in Hollywood these days relates to the idea of making a sequel simply because the first was successful. I mean Interstellar was successful, it’s potentially one of my favourite films, yet I wouldn’t wish for a sequel at all. It’s a one story film and a sequel would be incredibly forced. I mean there may be plenty of directions that a Frozen sequel could take but in my opinion, it’s just unnecessary.

Alien Covenant Sequel

2019

image via MovieWeb

You may have read my take on Alien Covenant. The alien films are great and contrary to popular opinion, I quite enjoyed the combination of aliens and predators. Even when we got to Prometheus, I was completely ready for an awesome film….but all they have been doing over and over again is regurgitating the Alien formula: a group arrives on a spaceship, something goes wrong, some get face hugged and then the newly birthed aliens stalk the team, leaving a survivor or two. It’s pretty lame considering how awesome the potential of these films is. I mean Alien Covenant even hinted at a better storyline, the one they didn’t show us.

So why is it that rather than doing a proper Prometheus sequel or prequel they are instead going to follow on from a storyline that I don’t think anyone cares about? The issue is that sci-fi films are always going to make money. I think people are just in hope of finally seeing an awesome sci-fi film and there is even a nostalgia element from the previous films. So I can’t say that this sequel should exist, especially considering how lame the first one was. They are too focussed on creating this larger universe that each film is ultimately shit!

Minecraft Movie

2019

image via MineCraft.net

I’m not going to say much for this. The idea of creating Angry Bird movies, Minecraft movies, ETC is ridiculous. I mean I’m a Pokemon fan and that stemmed from games and I loved the TV show and films that followed. Yet Pokemon had an incredibly interesting premise. I don’t think a game about firing birds at pig structures requires a movie. Minecraft is a little different because the premise itself is actually pretty cool: a story of surviving the arrival of nightmarish creatures at night such as skeletons, Slenderman-like beings and exploding zombies. Creating voids to alternative dimensions that allow for different speeds of travel across the map, if you can survive the abominations that lurk in this hellish zone.

The issue stems from it being aimed at children. If they made a horror film following the same idea it could be super cool but an animated story probably following goofy characters doesn’t really sound that compelling. I also think that Minecraft has certain stereotypes regarding its fan base. This is another problem that I believe a Minecraft movie present: why would anyone who doesn’t play the game go and see the film?

Angry Birds 2

2019

image via i09 – Gizmodo

Speaking of which, why the fuck does anyone need a sequel to some piece of shit angry birds movie? The game was average at best. It was addictive, don’t get me wrong, but so was flappy bird and I don’t think we need a movie for that either. I can understand that these are films at kids but c’mon, they are moronic. I mean I watched shit like Spy Kids when I was growing up and there were 3 films of that (I know there were 4 but I don’t count the final one). Yet at least these were empowering kids and showing them that they could be the heroes, it had cool gadgets, promoted creativity and family values…what do the Angry Bird films promote? That you’re right not to trust the foreigners with the large families, weird traditions and beards?

Suicide Squad 2

2019

image via DC Comics

Do I really need to say anything at all here? Suicide Squad was a disaster. Usually, I’d say that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that people love films I hate and I love films they hate, all of which is fine. But if you liked Suicide Squad then your future is bleak and the smartest thing you can do is leave me everything in your will before rolling under a bus! I mean what an utter pile of shit that was! What annoys me most about Suicide Squad is that even though I don’t read comic and knew little to nothing before the film’s release, I understood the premise: villains forced to work as “heroes”.

That isn’t what the film was though. It was villains pissing around and being besties. I half expected them to be braiding each other’s hair and making friendship bracelets by the end of the film. Don’t even get me started on the Joker. What a disaster! They tried so hard to make him unique (there may be a comic book version exactly like that) but I felt like I was just getting a glimpse of John Travolta’s heroin-fuelled mental breakdown. I could write a whole post about why Suicide Squad was a monstrosity but it just continues the streak of shit to average films that DC are releasing.

Now you see me 3

2019

image via MovieWeb

I loved Now You See Me. I have to say that I was a little disappointed that it turned out to all be tricks and not actual magic but in a way, that was an awesome reveal as well. The sequel…wasn’t great, if we are being honest. It felt forced and unnecessary, it added twists to try and keep up with the first film (which didn’t work) and the finale at the end was super lame. I was a little worried about the switch from Isla Fisher to Lizzy Caplan as the main female role (both are great in my opinion) but actually the drastic change in personality was one of the great qualities the sequel had.

That didn’t make up for the rather unrewarding storyline though which appears to be the majority opinion judging from review sites. With no cast currently confirmed and it seems no plot disclosed as of yet, I’m not holding my breath. I think if they find a way to make it original then it could be great because magic is awesome! I especially loved the appearance of Harry Potter in the films. That was amusing. But repeating the same idea for a third time isn’t going to win them any prizes. Unless something stands out in the trailer then I’ll be watching that one when it’s available for free!


Thanks for reading! Are you looking forward to any of these films or have some that should be added to the list? Let me know down below! 

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The Future of Star Wars

I’ve made my opinion on Star Wars quite clear in the past: I enjoy watching the films, I think the universe is awesome but for the most part they are just generic sci-fi films. The new trilogy has added very little to the saga in my opinion. As is usually the case with the other Star Wars films: the actors are great (obviously there are a few exceptions), the special effects are awesome, the premise is cool as fuck…but  the storylines are incredibly meh! I may not be a shiny ball of optimism but I do happen to think that there is hope…a new hope!

Rian Johnson

Star Wars Game of Thrones

image via Digital Spy

Rian Johnson (not the new hope) destroyed the new trilogy as far as I am concerned. Certain question work as a lure into the storylines: Where does Snoke come from? How is he more powerful than anybody else we’ve ever encountered in Star Wars? Who were Rey’s parents? Questions that Johnson quite happily demolished in order to make his film seem more unique. As I’ve said before, I appreciate what he was trying to do: the franchise was getting stale and needed a new take…but he fucked it up! I’m not going to sugar coat it.

I have three major issues with The Last Jedi that I want to just beiefly touch one. Firstly: What is the point of making Snoke incredibly overpowered just to have him be killed by someone we already know isn’t that powerful…Secondly, making Luke a coward who dies for no real reason was just silly. He could have died after training Rey but everything to do with that sort of went down the drain. Lastly, I think most of the storyline of the film was boring, irrelevant or spent too much time forcing social commentary down our throats.

Sadly, it seems that Johnson is getting his own trilogy. To be fair, maybe when he has control over the start, middle and end, his story might make more sense but that doesn’t mean I’m even slightly looking forward to it! When you kill off Luke Skywalker in such a moronic way after turning him into a coward who uses too many on the nose jokes, you’ve lost all credibility as far as I’m concerned. But my post today isn’t about Johnson’s failures but rather why the future of Star Wars looks a little brighter!

Obi-Wan

Star Wars Game of Thrones

image via YouTube

We’ll start with the less recent news: the Obi-Wan solo movie. Very little has been confirmed as of yet. What we do know is that production is set to start in 2019 and so far, it seems that Stephen Daldry is set to direct. Ewan McGregor has expressed interest in returning to the role and in my opinion, if for whatever reason they can’t use McGregor they’d be better off ditching the project.

Needs:

  • Ewan McGregor (this one is important so I’m mentioning it twice
  • A good stand-alone story
  • Consistency
  • Force ghosts (Liam Neeson in particular)

Should Avoid:

  • Being a prequel to the prequels (more on that in a moment)
  • Too many references to Luke
  • Being unoriginal
  • Too many cameos

There are a lot of pitfalls than an Obi-Wan film could fall into. Let me use Rogue One as an example: it was a great film in terms of being a bit different to the others. Yet, they tried WAY too hard to fill it to the brim with references to every single other moment in Star Wars. For example, Cornelius Evazan who is a wanted man with a death sentence in 12 systems. I’m curious how he walks away from the Death Star blast!

Personally, what I as a fan of Star Wars, Obi-Wan and Ewan McGregor want to see is an exploration of Obi-Wan’s continued training. We’ve seen very little in terms of Jedi training beyond the occasional moments in the prequels and the running and forward flips under Yoda’s tutelage. Let’s see a deeper exploration of the force through Qui-Gon Jinn as he guides Obi-Wan as a force ghost. We don’t need to make Obi-Wan more powerful in a traditional sense as we know where his path leads…but we do need to make him more knowledgeable

Star Thrones

Star Wars Game of Thrones

image via YouTube

For me, the most exciting news in recent months is in relation to the writers behind Game of Thrones: David Benioff D.B. Weiss. The two of them are set to create their own series of Star Wars films. With the success of Game of Thrones soon to be another notch on their belt (with the final season airing in 2019) the pair have expressed their excitement in getting started once Game of Thrones is completed.  I for one cannot wait!

Whether you are a fan of Game of Thrones or not, there is no denying how incredibly successful the show has become. I’ve never read the George R. R. Martin books which the show is based upon but once the final season airs, I do plan on starting. For me, I hope that Benioff and Weiss bring some of the ruthlessness of Game of Thrones with them. I think one thing the Star Wars universe needs is some darkness.

The Star Wars Death Problem

Star Wars Game of Thrones

image via Far Far Away Radio

I mean sure, plenty of characters die. I mean just look at the numbers:

The Phantom Menace: Qui-Gon dies followed swiftly by Darth Maul

Clone Wars: Anakin’s mother dies (followed by a ton of Tusken raiders)

Revenge of the Sith: Padme dies, Count Dooku dies, Mace Windu dies, General Grievous dies, most of the Jedi die

Rogue One: Like pretty much every character dies: Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, Chirrut, Baze Malbus, Krennic, Saw Gerrera, Bodhi Rook, Galen Erso…

A New Hope: Obi-wan dies, Luke’s aunt and uncle are burnt alive (or disintegrated if you believe Boba Fett did it)

Empire Strikes Back: Strangely the film where the empire supposedly strikes back has the least number of main character deaths. I mean Han is tortured and frozen, Luke loses his arm and C3PO breaks like a Lego character.

Return of the Jedi: Boba Fett dies, Jabba dies, Yoda dies, The Emperor dies (along with the Empire for a few years until the First Order takes its spot) and of course Darth Vader dies.

The Force Awakens: Han Solo dies

The Abomination: Luke dies (as does what little faith I had left in this new trilogy) and so do some very minor characters like Holdo, Phasma and Snoke who apparently isn’t a major character at all thanks to Johnson. Presumably Leia dies sometime between episode 8 and 9 unless they choose to just CGi her face in.

Problem Solved

Star Wars Game of Thrones

image via YouTube

Yet, none of these deaths were really surprising, shocking or dark in any way. Even the inherently evil characters never seemed to be truly merciless in Star Wars. There are always moments leading up to one of these characters dying where you just know it’s going to happen. Maybe the force is telling us it’s about to happen?

Game of Thrones manages to keep you on the edge of your seat and with the exception of perhaps Jon Snow and Dany, any character could die at any time. I think we need that sort of risk. We don’t need more Han Solo characters who defy all odds. We need characters who don’t have luck or aren’t that gifted with the force, or are but just aren’t a match for genuinely powerful dark side users.

The Dark Side

Star Wars Game of Thrones

image via Top Backgrounds & Wallpapers

What I would love to see is a dark film. But will Disney ever allow their family-oriented films do become darker? Yet, it’s what needs to happen. We need a Star Wars film with a proper villain. Darth Vader may be an incredible and iconic villain but he’s not twisted or even inherently evil, he’s simply misguided.. I want to see a force user with the personality of the Joker. Someone who perhaps isn’t wreaking havoc on a galactic scale but rather a planetary one. Let’s get a film where the good guys lose and not just as the mid-way point of a trilogy but rather they get well and truly defeated!

We see cities and planets getting destroyed (sometimes several at a time) by giant Death Stars in most Star Wars films. We’ve watched numerous heroes fall at the hands of evil characters. Yet Vader is really the only half-decent villain and he was basically a henchman despite his apparent power. I’m so sick of stroppy children like Anakin and Kylo Ren. I want a Game of Thrones version of Star Wars.

Anyway, that’s what we have to look forward to from the Star Wars universe (provided they don’t fuck it up even more). We need something to reboot Star Wars and give it a fresh take. A Kenobi film might not do that but we all love the character and the actor enough to look past that (at least I do). Hopefully Benioff and Weiss will kick Star Wars in the ass and give us a film series that we can all truly appreciate. Perhaps even something that’s a but of a mind-fuck!


Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed my rant on Star Wars. Do you think that combining Game of Thrones and Star Wars would work? Do you agree that Star Wars needs more of a dark side? Let me know down below!

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date!

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23 MIB: The Men in Black-Jump Street Crossover and Why We Need It!

21 Jump Street (2012) is unique in one way: the sequel is better! 22 Jump Street (2014) saw Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as Schmidt and Jenko, once again trying to find and take down a drug supplier. The credits of the film took us through the future films (considered canon) which included 29 Jump Street: Sunday School (with a hilarious switch of Jonah Hill for Seth Rogen), 30 Jump Street: Flight School and even 2121 Jump Street which sees the duo in space! Not long after the film aired, rumours began of a Men in Black crossover movie, presumably titled something like 23 MIB. Sadly, this no longer seems to be on the cards. So instead, I’m going to tell you why it would have been awesome!

Men in Black

23 MIB

image via MovieWeb

The Men in Black franchise started off as a book series but is more well-known for the 1997 movie starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. This led to a pretty entertaining sequel followed by one that was less so. Personally, I got the feeling that Will Smith’s involvement in the storyline led to the clichéd father/son arc which literally ALL Will Smith films seem to have (I’m not even kidding: Focus, After Earth, Men in Black 3, I am Legend, The Pursuit of Happyness, Shark Tale, Independence Day (I know he wasn’t in the awful sequel but it did follow his character’s son)…just for the record, I love Will Smith as an actor. This isn’t a criticism, simply an observation.

Anyway, doing a Men in Black 4 would have been ridiculous. We all know the films as having Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith so without either, it’s probably going to be a bit of a let-down. That is until 2019 when the movie gets a spin-off. With Chris Hemsworth set to take on the male lead (alongside an older male and a woman lead) the franchise could get a much needed bump. It could also crash and burn, further driving the franchise into the dirt like most reboots, spin-offs, sequels and prequels have in recent years…but I’m happy to be a glass half-full guy in this instance.

The point being that the Men in Black franchise is hardly up there with Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. It’s a fairly entertaining movie with pretty ridiculous concepts, clichéd storylines and actors who add the charisma (or lack of it in K’s case). My point being, they don’t have much to lose!

Jump Street

23 MIB

image via Moviefone

In comparison, the Jump Street films did an excellent job of jump-starting the franchise. I’ve never watched the original movie (which I believe is based off a TV series) but I could appreciate Johnny Depp showing up. The films themselves make fun of sequels and reboots. Every joke is completely on the nose which in most cases would be a bad thing but for these films it just adds to the humour. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t describe these films as works of art…but they can be incredibly entertaining. I for one have watched 22 Jump Street high more times than I’m willing to admit.

My point in all of this is that Men in Black could use a helping hand while Jump Street needs that boost into new levels of ridiculous. If the MIB spin-off is a success then it could even be incorporated into the film. Seeing Chris Hemsworth as a sort of K-like character could be pretty hilarious (as long as it wasn’t exactly the same as K).

My Take

23 MIB

image via SlashFilm

Now my opinion on this matter isn’t hugely relevant to the world. I’m just a movie fan who would love to see something ridiculous but hilarious finally come out of Hollywood. I’m sick of all these movies being taken so seriously that nobody takes any risks. The same formula for every movie is used time and time again and quite frankly, I’m getting bored of it. It’s rare that I see a list of upcoming films and don’t let out a sigh!

So what do I think 23 MIB would look like? Great question!

Premise

23 MIB

image via Tenor

In the same way that 22 Jump Street opened with the characters essentially narrating what had happened since the last film, 23 MIB could do the exact same thing. The film could even open with the pair landing back on Earth after their space mission which would already set up the story for aliens. They could explain all their missions and how they are ready to take a break…when suddenly, they are carted off to a secret location with bags on their heads.

When the bags are lifted, they are facing Chris Hemsworth’s character from the spin-off. He informs them that there is a mole in MIB and that he needs both of them to go undercover as MIB agents to find the mole. Alternatively, the fact they just landed on Earth would be a good opportunity to give them weird features and have them go undercover as aliens, perhaps trying to find a weapons supplier or a crazy drug (again, it would be so ridiculous that you’d just say “c’mon!”) This could lead to scenes of hilarity whereby the duo have their eyes opened to the world of extra-terrestrials.

The film would start off like the other two, seemingly heading in the exact same direction. Perhaps they even go to some sort of MIB academy and follow the same sort of scenes as last time but with sci-fi shit! They could solve the case pretty quickly when some crazy shit happens: Some sort of covert alien invasion whereby aliens are undercover among the human population, the complete opposite of the previous films.

The Jokes

Related image

image via Imgur

Again, this film would be very simple to add humour to. It would already be crazy so just add some of the Schmidt-Jenko relationship to the mix and you’re sorted. For example, there has always been the divide in fitness and intelligence. In the first film, Jenko was strong and dumb but managed to use his intelligence to save the day. Schmidt was unfit and smart but despite freezing under pressure, managed to pull the trigger and shoot a dick off. We’d simply take that up another step: have Schmidt become strong and fast through alien technology while Jenko gets some sort of alien implant that makes him a genius. It wouldn’t have to be a running gag through the whole movie but certainly a few scenes. Think Scooby-Doo 2 when Shaggy and Scooby drink the weird chemicals.

Ice Cube could even have a funny role in the films again. Perhaps it turns out that he is in charge of MIB and has been training the pair for this very purpose (or he’s a recruiter or something). Hell, maybe he’s an alien and it’s revealed that his daughter is as well (obviously) which could lead to more jokes. Fuck it, make him the evil overlord!

Jokes Aside

Image result for tumbleweed

image via Tumbleweedhldgs

I think that when it comes to films like this, we need to realise that they aren’t supposed to be serious. As long as it makes some sort of sense then people should just go for it, man. I mean I may have absolutely despised what Rian Johnson did to The Last Jedi but I admire him for trying to do something different. I don’t think Star Wars needed more films in the first place…but if they are going to do it, they need to do it well. That’s why I’m incredibly excited by the idea of the Game of Thrones writers getting their hands on their very own Star Wars trilogy!

We need a satire such as 23 MIB because every film showing in cinemas these days lack imagination. Those that do have imagination have no storyline. That’s why films like 21 and 22 Jump Street are so entertaining! They highlight to us just how ridiculous the film industry has become. I mean 2019 will bring us the 7th Transformers film! THE 7TH! Not to mention a Fast and Furious spin-off film that has literally nothing to do with the Fast and Furious films beyond using the characters! What the effing fuck are we doing? Marvel, DC and Lucasfilms (2 of which are Disney) have over 60 films planned for the next 5 years or so!

If we have learned anything at all from Ubisoft and the Assassin’s Creed series is that WE DON’T FORCE THE RELEASE OF TITLES SIMPLY TO MEET SOME IMAGINARY QUOTA!!!!! Come up with ideas first, work on them, find the perfect cast, the perfect director, do re-writes if necessary. Why are we hiring writers who submit their first draft as ‘it’? I mean I am awful at doing drafts but only about 10 people see each of my articles! I’m not crushing a fan-base or crumbling an empire!

Laughing Hysterically

Image result for 22 jump street laugh

image via Perez Hilton

I feel that while 21 and 22 Jump Street and entertaining films, they remind me of a moment in Rogue One. Yes, I did just criticize Star Wars a couple of paragraphs back. There is a moment in Rogue One when some of the characters are on the base that is just about to be hit by a blast from the Death Star. They know they are about to die and yet they look up and see this space station eclipsing the sun. Total destruction is about to occur and yet there is a beauty in that moment. Almost like a sparkle from an asteroid just before it hits Earth or the immense sight of a 300-foot wave as it envelops a city. A moment where the chaos is almost paused to allow for appreciation of just how fucked up things are.

I think this is the same idea with these films. Making 23 MIB would be ridiculous. You’d be marketing what was once a family-friendly movie to adults and stoners (sort of like Adventure Time which is marketed for ages 10+). In a way, maybe the MIB spin-off needs to flop HARD for this crossover to ever take place. We’d stand and look out the window as the film industry collapsed around us with 23 MIB doing a backflip off one of the buildings as it crumbles to the ground.


Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed my exploration of just some of the theories surrounding Rick and Morty!

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment down below!

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Peace!

Rick and Morty: Aw jeez, not another theory!

Rick and Morty: The animated adventures of a genius, egomaniac grandfather and his insecure, idiotic grandson. Challenging morals, scientific principles and philosophy, there is something in Rick and Morty for everyone. I understand that many people view the fan-base as being inherently toxic so you can relax knowing that I won’t be making the claim that “only smart people understand Rick and Morty”. You may be unaware of the underling stories and theories surrounding the show so this post will take a quick look at the main story, some smaller theories and, of course, provide evidence for all. So grab your portal gun as we jump right into another dimension!

Background

rick-morty.jpg

image via Complex

So before we start throwing the main theory out there, we need to cover some background information. It is stated throughout the show that Beth has abandonment issues due to her father (Rick) leaving her and her family. We know he wasn’t around for the birth of Morty (at least). There are varying theories as to why Rick left (some of which we will explore later on) and even the death of Rick’s wife/Beth’s mother is somewhat of a mystery. We see a fake memory in The Rickshank Rickdeption (S3 E1) but many believe this is based on a memory while others believe it is based Simple Rick’s memory. Rick and Morty regularly refer to themselves as being from dimension C-137 (which is the world from Rick Potion #9 (S1 E6)).

The Theory

If you haven’t seen the show then this theory will probably make little to no sense. Even if you do watch the show, my explanation is most likely going to be atrocious. So, this is it: Rick is not originally from C-137. Morty C-137, as a result, is not his original Morty. This theory suggests that when Rick first returns to the family, he is taking the place of a dead Rick (similar to what Rick and Morty do in Rick Potion #9). Why would he need to do this? Good question.

 

Rick and Morty

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

What if a Rick lost his Morty in his original dimension? I say lost when what I really mean is abandoned and left for dead. Assuming that his Morty wouldn’t survive, Rick quickly moved across into another dimension and returned to the family he hadn’t seen in however many years. This Morty became his new Morty and nobody ever caught on. So how do we know this? Well, as we know that Rick has been away for at least 14 years, how could he have memories of a young Morty? In Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind (S1 E10) we see that Rick has memories of Morty as a baby. It’s one of the few times we see genuine emotion from Rick. Perhaps mourning the loss of his previous Morty?

Rick and Morty

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

You can see further evidence of this in Get Schwifty (S2 E5) when Bird Person rescues Morty. While explaining the “good” in Rick, Bird Person points out some photos: One of which shows a younger Rick holding a baby Morty. Morty even comments something along the lines of “who is that baby?”

BHcQtAg

image via Reddit

Abandoned Morty

 

Rick Intro

image via Gus Calvo

The theory doesn’t end there though…no, sir! Remember the Morty that Rick left behind? The one he assumed (or simply didn’t care enough to check) was dead? Well he fits into this theory as well. In fact, this theory suggests that you’ve seen this Morty several times. During the intro to all three seasons, we see a 3 second or so clip of Rick and Morty running. Rick portals away leaving Morty trapped as big green, frog-like creatures approach. We assume that this is just a typical Rick and Morty moment where Rick thinks only for himself and abandons Morty. The fact that this is one of few recurring intro scenes makes a lot of sense. All the others also reflect a larger storyline e.g. Cthulhu.

Opening_morty_stuck

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

Yet we know from many episodes (e.g. S2 E1) that Rick would sacrifice himself for Morty. We also know that he’s seen as a “rogue Rick” (S3 E1) due to his emotional attachments to his family. Not to mention that in Rest and Ricklaxation (S3 E6) Rick tries to purge his toxins, which to him includes his emotional attachment to Morty. So what if there was a reason for leaving this Morty behind beyond the idea of ‘Rick being Rick’?

Evil Morty

Eyepatchevilmorty.jpg

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

This is where we welcome in the infamous Evil Morty. A fan favourite from the show, we were first introduced to the character in Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind. Evil Morty was after “our” Rick and had gone out of his way to frame him for the murder of other Ricks. I won’t explain the entire episode but Rick says something rather interesting at the end:

Morty: “The Mortyest Morty”

Rick: “Just don’t get too big for your loafers, Buster Brown. A cocky Morty can lead to some big problems. It can be a real bad thing for everybody.”

Morty: “Oh yeah? How’s that?”

Rick: “U-Uh, I’ll explain when you’re older.”

rick-and-morty-quotes.jpg

image via Smosh

The idea being that the Morty Rick left behind had become “a cocky Morty”. Perhaps he’d found a way to increase his intelligence or maybe he was just learning too much from Rick. In Vindicators 3 (S3 E4) Morty displays a wide range of skills that he’s picked up from Rick. Many of these simply relate to understanding Rick’s mind but others are technical such as defusing a neutrino bomb. After being left behind by Rick and somehow surviving, Morty started down a path of revenge. He found a way to control a Rick, he started kidnapping Mortys and killing Ricks (hiding himself and framing Rick C-137 in the process) all to get his revenge on Rick. He extracts the memories from Rick but the reason for doing so is never explained. Is he looking for something in particular: Perhaps a specific invention or a specific memory?

Season 3 Finale

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image via Rick and Morty Wiki

Fans loved seeing Evil Morty return and become President Morty in The Ricklantis Mixup (S3 E7): Leading us to speculate whether this had been his goal all along or simply another step in a larger plan. Season 3 was supposed to be 14 episodes long as opposed to then 10 we received. The episode we got as the finale, The Richurian Candidate, didn’t pack much of a punch and left many fans disappointed. It’s possible that if deadlines had been met and the full 14 episodes had been aired, we may have seen Evil Morty’s plan unveil itself as the real end of season episode. With the Citadel of Mortys up and running, it’s more than likely that season 4 will show us the Morty!

Bonus Evidence

There is some more evidence to display. Not so much in relation to the whole Evil Morty theory but simply in support of Rick not being from dimension C-137 originally. We often see Rick reference songs or movies that don’t exist. This is often chalked up to him being a bit crazy and having travelled across the universe and into other dimensions. Yet it also seems likely that had he originally existed in another dimension, there could have been different music, movies, TV shows, ETC. This evidence isn’t concrete and is actually a bit wishy-washy but I figured it was better to mention it all the same!

Alternative Rick and Morty Storylines

Fans often assume that when they watch Rick and Morty, they are watching the same Rick and Morty. Yet, the creators of the show have left breadcrumbs for us to follow that suggest otherwise. The first example of this would be the pilot episode. Not so much the episode as a whole but rather the opening scene with the neutrino bomb. There’s no reason to believe that Morty was able to do anything about the bomb which had already started its countdown. Yes, we could assume that it didn’t go off (perhaps a joke by Rick) or that Rick regained consciousness just in time to stop it…but why? Doesn’t it make more sense that the bomb simply went off but it was a different Rick and Morty? Of course this is only a very minor example of this. So let’s fast forward to Mortynight Run (S2 E2).

Mortynight Run

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image via SciFi Stack Exchange

In this episode, we follow Morty (and a reluctant Rick) away from Blips and Chitz in order to help FART escape. Turning out to be a pro-genocide multidimensional being with the plan of wiping out all carbon-based lifeforms, the episode ends in the deaths of a lot of innocent people. This is the first of two episodes which sneakily show us the lives of an alternative Rick and Morty. How do we know this?

At the start of the episode, Rick checks Jerry into Jerryboree (a care centre). We can see on the form that Rick has put C-137 as his dimension (although puts N/A for Jerry) and in return they are given ticket number ‘5126’. So we know at this point they we have been following the usual Rick and Morty.

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image via Reddit

Yet, at the end of the episode, having followed a Rick and Morty on their FART journey when they eventually go back to pick up Jerry, Morty, being Morty, has lost the ticket. This doesn’t seem to matter too much…until another Rick and Morty (quite separate from the Rick and Morty we followed in this episode) ask of they have 5126, holding out the ticket we saw Rick and Morty C-137 receive at the start of the episode.

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image via Geek

Total Rickall

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image via The Daily Dot

So we followed a different Rick and Morty, big deal, right? That is until two episodes later in Total Rickall (S2 E4). At the start of the episode, we see Rick throwing out glowing green space rocks which leads to the murder of Uncle Steve (who is really an alien parasite that came with the space rocks). We then meet Mr Poopybutthole who appears in the intro alongside Rick and Morty. This isn’t just a joke about Mr Poopybutthole being a parasite (as we learn at the end of the episode that he isn’t) but rather it points to a different reality. This is a world where Mr Poopybutthole really does travel around with Rick and Morty.

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image via Reddit

How do we know this? Well, we can actually trace the “glowing space rocks” back in Mortynight Run (above). As we know that this is a different dimension and therefore a different Rick and Morty, it makes sense that Total Rickall is the home of the very same Rick and Morty. We later see Rick disposing of the same rocks (below). You may notice that the same purple dots that appear on the rocks also appear on the parasites.

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image via YouTube

Bonus Theories

These are some smaller theories to explore as well. I mean these are probably more akin to Easter eggs rather theories but here we go.

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image via YouTube

  • The “tall Morty” we see in The Ricklantis Mixup isn’t a Rick who was born that way. The reason he looks like a normal Rick (as opposed to Dufus Rick) is because he is from a reality where Rick used the microscope given to him by the devil (S1 E9). The microscope made him mentally retarded.
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image via Den of Geek

  • Rick’s genius actually comes from the seeds we see in episode 1 and this is true of all Ricks. We see the effects of the seeds on Morty at the end of the pilot episode which then puts him into a paralytic state for a few days. We also see these same trees being grown at the Citadel of Ricks/Mortys. This could simply be due to their value but what if rather than being an alcoholic, Rick keeps a seed-juice in his hipflask in order to top up his genius.
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image via Uproxx

  • In relation to the larger theory, one piece of the puzzle is a smaller theory regarding Rick’s suicide attempts. We see the “suicide helmet” in several episodes and at the end of Auto Erotic Assimilation (S2 E3) Rick nearly dies. What if this suicidal tendency exists in all Ricks, including the original C-137 Rick who actually went through with it, opening up a spot for “our” Rick to step into.
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image via Aficionados

  • Rick is Morty and Morty is Rick. There are two theories: one that Morty is actually a clone of Rick. This isn’t a huge leap but there also isn’t much evidence for it. The opposing theory is that Rick is an older version of Morty. This ties into the idea of the seeds being used to provide a genius level intellect. It also explains how Evil Morty could become so intelligent as to defeat Ricks.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed my exploration of just some of the theories surrounding Rick and Morty!

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If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment down below!

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Peace!

 

 

 

Pokemon: The Great War Theory

We all know Pokemon in some form or another: Some of us played/watched it as kids, some of us have kids who play/watch it…some of us are adults who play it and watch it in Spanish to try and help them pick up the language…let’s not focus too much on that for now. Regardless, we all know the basic premise: the story of a kid in a world where pets (“friends”) fight to earn their owners money and fame. Ignoring the violence and enslavement, Pokemon tells many stories of friendship, heroism, altruism and is often fairly heart-warming. Even the regular villains in the show, Team Rocket, aren’t heartless and often support team good to fight the real team bad.

But what if I told you that there is a dark theory to Pokemon that often goes ignored? No, I’m not referring to the creepy Lavender Town music from the game that made people kill themselves or the seriously creepy Cubone story but rather the disturbing level of evidence that Pokemon takes place during or after a major war…

The Theory

I’m going to approach this one a little differently to my other posts. I’m going to lay the theory out at the start and then go on to explore some of the evidence afterwards. So the theory goes something like this: the game and show take place in a world where animals are far more intelligent (in comparison to our animals), have “abilities” and can actually evolve instantaneously after reaching a certain “level”. That’s the basics of the Pokemon world laid out without any storyline. In this world, you still have the same politics, the same human emotions, the same wars that we face in our world and as such, Pokemon became seen as weapons (think of anti-tank dogs, messenger pigeons, and war elephants but with abilities). So the battle for powerful Pokemon seems all fun and games in the show/game but there is more to it.

Sometime before the events of the show/game a war broke out between nations and as such, the men and their Pokemon were called to war. We never see any guns in this world and other than some makeshift bombs from Team Rocket, warfare is limited to Pokemon. Where duals or sword fights would take place in our world, Pokemon battles take place in their world. Some of these Pokemon have insanely powerful abilities and as such are better suited to war. Think Game of Thrones but with Pokemon instead of dragons and dire-wolves!

It’s hard to say whether the war is still going on or has already taken place. If it’s the latter, then the evidence certainly suggests that it was recent and that the nation we see in Pokemon is still preparing for a follow-up. So let’s take a look at some of the evidence to support this theory from the game and the TV series (I’m referring to Pokemon: Indigo League specifically)

Game vs Show

I first heard this theory in relation to the game only. However, as I started watching the show again (just yesterday), I noticed many startling moments that add evidence to this theory for the show as well. We’ll begin by looking at certain aspects that exist in both worlds (I refer to them as different worlds purely to avoid confusion because Pokemon Indigo League is loosely based on the original Pokemon game). Just keep in mind that this first section is just a very vague synopsis of the more specific evidence that exists within each world.

The Population

One thing you notice within the Pokemon world is how the population is divided: there are a lot of children (more on that in a moment) and a lot of old people but there seems to be drastically less middle-aged people. Now that on its own is fairly normal, I mean most developed populations are weighted this way. Yet it’s the sheer number of each. You’re constantly running into children everywhere and old people almost as much…women drastically outnumber the men and this is particularly true within the game world.

The Children

So what of the children? If you’ve ever played or watched Pokemon, you must have found it a little weird that children are literally being sent out into the wilderness at the age of 10. Most children in the show and game don’t have parents: Ash/Red doesn’t have a father, Gary/rival has no parents at all, Brock has no mother, and Misty doesn’t have parents. You encounter a number of children in both worlds who either live alone, are travelling alone or are living with grandparents.

The Adults

One thing you notice with many of the adults is that they serve some sort of purpose. For starters, most of the men in the Pokemon world are scientists such as Professor Oak (although he’s also elderly) and his aids. The rest either live in caves, up mountains or run gyms. The reason I suspect that the war may still be going on is that there are mostly old men and as such, it makes sense that these men were too old to go to war when it broke out.

Technology

We also have to acknowledge the incredibly advanced technology that exists in this part of the world and perhaps wonder if that has something to do with the cause of the war. Modes of transport, for the most part, seem to be rather out-dated but other areas are incredibly advanced. Let’s start off with the Pokeball: it is literally capable of turning Pokemon into energy or converting them into some sort of electronic data in order to store them inside this ball. Yet as is demonstrated in both worlds, these Pokemon are still conscious while inside and can choose not to leave or fight to escape. This is stepped up further when we witness the Pokemon transportation system which is used early on in the series to transport Pokemon (inside Pokeballs) to a different Pokemon Centre but is also used in the game to trade Pokemon. We’re literally talking about some Star Trek style teleportation of matter!

The in-game technology differs slightly in comparison to that of the show but we can all agree that it’s advanced as shit! Can you imagine just pointing an empty-looking ball at your dog and it suddenly being transported into the ball as some sort of red energy? If someone invented that technology today, we would be at war almost as soon as it was made public, if not before!

Mewtwo

We’ll look at Mewtwo in more detail later on but let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Mewtwo is: a clone! OK, that simplifies the situation drastically as there are two areas (both of which appear later) we need to explore in relation to Mewtwo.

  • Mewtwo marks a revolutionary step for science as the first successful clone of Mew along with gene splicing and DNA engineering to make him in theory the most powerful Pokemon (as far as anyone is aware). His psychic abilities, his level of communication, his intelligence all outrank his fellow Pokemon.
  • Mewtwo’s existence isn’t solely so someone can win badges and battle children on the side of the road…no. We know from both worlds that Pokemon often serve a function: Pikachu’s are used for power, Chansey’s work in hospitals, ETC and so it is hardly surprising that during or after a war, a nation would want to create the most powerful weapon. Think about how countries advanced their weaponry between WW1 and WW2…and how it’s advanced since. Mewtwo is quite simply an attempt to create the weapon to end all weapons, maybe even a deterrent.

Mewtwo goes on to become smarter than humans (arguably) and is certainly more powerful than any other existing Pokemon.

The Anime

We’re going to take a look at the anime first and explore some of the new details I’ve noticed and some of the theories I’ve concocted since. Some of these I will admit are grasping at straws slightly but it’s all just fun and games…mostly.

THIS IS SP…PALLET TOWN!

We’re going to start off with a pretty brutal fact: In ancient Sparta, boys as young as 7 were taken from their mothers to start their training. In Pallet Town, they are a little more lenient and waited until the age of 10 but the fact still remains that they are leaving home to go off and train animals for battle. It’s seen as an honour to be the most powerful Pokemon trainer in the world and it seems to be how one earns celebrity status in Pokemon.

This isn’t anything new though as in the show, Ash’s mother even comments on how she remembers it taking Ash’s father 4 days (or something similar) to reach the next town. So this is a tradition (or law-mandated) that certainly dates at least a generation back. This seems like a pretty barbaric situation if there wasn’t a war or the fear of one. Children aged 10 are given their “weapon”, they then head out and train themselves and their Pokemon in order to be the strongest. The way they test this is by fighting gym leaders. Tournaments are held for “fame” but in reality are just part of a never-ending series of training through which Pokemon just get stronger and stronger.

Brock and the Rock

Fairly early on in the show we encounter Brock who is the leader of the Pewter City gym. Not much is known about Brock (I had to do some research) but we do know from the early episodes that he cares for his numerous brothers and sisters due to his parents not being around. Ash and co encounter his father selling rocks near the entrance to Pewter City. It is his father who tells Ash all about Brock’s life. This is my theory as to how Brock’s father fits into this whole war scenario:

When the war was taking place, Brock’s father was called to action and had to leave his family behind. His wife not only has responsibility of the children but also of the gym (we learn in the show that she was once the gym leader and she even takes control of the gym again). Brock’s father even says himself that he was never a very good Pokemon trainer so he clearly didn’t have control of the gym before. This explains why Brock’s father was called to war while other gym leaders weren’t. I think that while at war, Brock’s father was bested in battle and as a result all of his Pokemon (rock types) were either captured or killed (it’s obviously unclear what the Pokemon war etiquette would be). When Brock’s mother leaves (probably due to the strain of having to raise 11 kids, Brock’s father returns to look after his family but suffers from PTSD and can’t manage it and so Brock steps in. Brock wasn’t surprised to see his father, meaning that he had been back home regularly enough to be known to each other. As a result of the PTSD, Brock’s father collects rocks to remember his fallen Pokemon but has no choice but to sell some (unsuccessfully) to try in his own way to provide for his family.

Missing Fathers

Fathers and in fact father figures are frequently missing from the show. You have Ash, Gary and Misty for starters. If we expand our search a little, we find that Jessie (Team Rocket) lost her mother in an avalanche but her father is never mentioned. I even expanded my search to main characters from later versions of the anime (who I had literally never heard of) and found that Serena (apparently one of Ash’s travelling companions) had a mother but no mention of a father; Clemont and Bonnie do have a father who is an engineer (the best in the city); Dawn also has no mention of a father; neither does Iris; Clemont and Bonnie have a father but he was also a gym leader.

This adds more evidence to the idea that all the men from this nation (other than those serving a scientific role or one essential to the upkeep of society e.g. engineer or a gym leader (training future soldiers and their weapons)) are away fighting or have died fighting in a previous war. There are of course those within organised crime but I feel like that’s a topic for another time. But speaking of families, let’s move onto the next bizarre piece of this puzzle.

The Clone Wars

Early on in the show we meet several of the “sisters” who are all identical and share the same name in the form of Officer Jenny, the collection of same-named identical sisters in charge of law enforcement and Nurse Joy, the separate collection of same-named identical sisters who cover healthcare. This is just part of a running gag within the show but what if there is a more sinister reason? We know that cloning is not only possible but has been done before (Mewtwo). However, Mewtwo wasn’t the result of simple cloning: it actually involved gene splicing and DNA engineering which was one of the reasons for so many failures. We’ll soon look at a theory which also explains why cloning a pokemon may be more difficult than cloning a human but I think the Jennys and Joys of the world are evidence enough of its existence.

You may be wondering why such an experiment would ever have been carried out. Well, during war you would need two majors function of society to remain intact above all others: law enforcement and healthcare. The men are sent to fight, the women raise their children (future Pokemon masters/soldiers) and as such, other positions needed to be filled. This is particularly true if this is a post-war situation.

Panspermia

In case you’ve never heard the term before, panspermia refers to a theory about the origins of life on Earth (or other planets). It suggests that bacteria capable of surviving extreme fluctuations in temperature and the vacuum of space could be moved from one planet to another by an asteroid or meteorite. Imagine that the Earth explodes or is victim to a giant asteroid impact and chunks of it fly through space for hundreds of years. One chunk could contain such life and may land on a planet where this bacterium thrives and evolves. You’re probably wondering what the fuck this has to do with Pokemon. Well, that’s where the moon stone comes in.

In the early episodes, the group meet a man (a scientist, shockingly) who is studying the moon stone. He believes that Pokemon came to Earth on this rock. While he describes it as being a spaceship, it’s not ridiculous to believe that a meteorite brought early Pokemon bacteria to Earth. Due to their rapidly evolving nature (which can be seen through both their own evolutions and the difference in generations that span across one human lifetime) this bacteria soon birthed the Pokemon we see in the show.

This idea goes a step further when we look at the abilities of the Pokemon as it explains why they can do the things they can do. We also know from early episodes that animals and Pokemon are not the same thing. We see a Pidgey eating a worm from the ground that isn’t a Pokemon. Misty also says that she hates bugs and doesn’t care if they are Pokemon, implying that there is a difference between bugs and bug Pokemon. It’s possible that Pokemon arrived on Earth a very long time ago (but after humans) and wiped most native animal species from the planet other than those that are at the bottom of the food chain.

Mew is seen as the ancestor of all Pokemon but this is just based on the human history of things. It’s completely possible that Mew was simply one of the earlier more advanced forms of Pokemon and due to its incredible abilities, ancient humans worshipped it and added it to art and stonework. Bonus theory: there is an idea that Ditto is simply failed attempts to clone mew. True story!

I’m going to keep adding to my evidence and theories for the show as I continue to re-watch it (I’m only on like episode 5 now). For now, let’s run through the original theory and how the game has evidence of a war.

The Game

As I mentioned before, I originally heard this theory in relation to the game and not the anime (while the theory is not mine, all the evidence I mentioned above and all the theories within it are my own). I won’t repeat any evidence that I’ve already mentioned for the show (such as lack of male characters, the population being mostly children and old people, ETC), however there are some points to be made in similar areas.

The Population

The population issues mention previously exist even more so in the game world. The player finds that as they enter cities with gigantic stores, houses, casinos, ETC there are almost no people. You find that other than casinos which seem to provide entertainment to the elderly part of the population, there isn’t much else to do other than gyms. You never see any cinemas, football pitches, parks, or anything that would be seen within a normal society. This is because the children can’t get distracted from their training, the adults can’t be distracted from their caring and as such the elderly and the useless are the only groups allowed to take life less seriously.

Lieutenant Surge

This character deserves a section all to himself and while he does appear on the show, it’s not so much who he is but rather what he says in the game that matters. In the show, Lt. Surge looks pretty much the same as the game describes him: tall (gigantic even), muscular, short and spikey blonde hair, he wears military clothing (jacket, trousers and boots) and even has dog tags. In the game, when approached by the player Surge says: “Hey kid! What do you think you’re doing here? You won’t live long in combat! That’s for sure! I tell you what kid, electric Pokemon saved me during the war!”

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Final Notes

So we can see that there is certainly some supporting evidence of this theory…although this is all entirely confirmation bias and obviously it isn’t likely that the creators had this Pokemon war in mind when creating the game and anime. It’s certainly fun to think about though and as I continue to play the game (again) and watch the anime (again), I will continue to add any evidence I find to this post.

If you have any comments or opinions, be sure and share them below! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with various blogs and announcements!

Film Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy

It’s pretty rare for me to be able to write a positive post about a film or TV series. I recently wrote about The Cloverfield Paradox (which I’m still unsure about posting or not) and how it had so much potential but just didn’t deliver. It seems over the last year or so there has been disappointment after disappointment. Even films where I expected absolutely nothing (The Last Jedi) I still ended up being let down. So it was with a sigh of relief and satisfaction that finally, not only just a film but a film series has been worthy of a thumbs up. This post will be exploring what was great about the Maze Runner trilogy, particularly The Death Cure.

It should be noted that I haven’t read the books and as it stands right now I really have no intention to do so. Just keep that in mind as you work your way through this post as all my comments are entirely based on the films and having zero background knowledge about the plot or characters. I’m going to do a quick summary of each film and then explain why they were great, my concerns at the time and ultimately what made the trilogy as a whole brilliant.

The Maze Runner

So of course we will start with the first in the series. Nothing about this film appealed to me. I think we were all sick of teenagers/young adults in dystopian futures where the oppressed rise up against the elites. It was a formula that had been used over and over again in previous years with Hunger Games, Divergent, ETC. I was curious about the maze aspect though and eventually I did watch it.

The Maze Runner follows a bunch of kids (I’m not sure how old they are meant to be) who are trapped at the centre of a changing maze with no memory of life prior to it. Some of them have been in there for three years. Every day runners enter the maze (which opens in the morning and closes at night) to try and map the maze. The film starts with Thomas arriving and ultimately being the trouble maker: running into the maze, taking risks, questioning everything. Thomas discovers first hand that the maze at night is full of Grievers (strange mechanical spider-like cyborg monsters). After being the first to kill one of these creatures, Thomas and the others start experiencing strange things. First of all people start going crazy (which can be attributed to a virus: the flare) and the first girl ever is sent up into the maze: Teresa. She knows Thomas and explains how they used to work with the people controlling the maze.

One day the walls don’t close and the group has no choice but to head to one of the potential exists they’ve found. Here they discover the base of operations that the controllers of the maze have been using. There’s a dead woman there who appears to have killed herself, leaving a message revealing that WCKD (World in Catastrophe: Killzone Department) are responsible for the mazes when suddenly a team of soldiers comes in to rescue them, taking the surviving kids to “safety”.

Review

After seeing this film, I was intrigued but also didn’t really understand it. Very little of what I had just seen made sense to me and even after a couple of viewings, I just didn’t get what was going on. If this had been a standalone film then it would have been awful. Side note: The music for this film is excellent! Anyway, as it turns out this was actually an incredible introduction to the series if you have the patience to bear with it. For me and possibly others like me, it wasn’t until the sequel that the pieces started to fit together.

The Scorch Trials

The middle film of the trilogy picks up right where the first one ended: the kids are being taken away in helicopters to some secret location with a dude named Janson assuring them that they’re all safe now. Upon arriving at this complex, they meet kids from other mazes. Pretty quickly Thomas begins to realise something suspicious is going on and once Teresa is taken, he has no choice but to investigate. This reveals that Ava Paige (the women who killed herself in the first film) is not only alive but is running this operation: it’s still WCKD. The group escapes with some new members and head off into the scorch (the name given to the now desert-like world outside).

A lot goes on in this film and I don’t want to describe every single detail but essentially the group comes face to face with cranks (infected people) and soon learn that despite their previous thoughts, not all of the maze dwellers are immune to the virus. The group searches for a rebel group supposedly hidden in the mountains and after encountering (and aligning with) Brenda and Jorge, they eventually find this group who it turns out are mostly escaped kids. Here we learn that Thomas’s reason for being thrown into the maze was that he sent out the maze locations to this group so that kids could be rescued. This film ends with Teresa betraying the group, most of the kids being recaptured and Teresa and Minho being taken by WCKD (Teresa voluntarily).

Review

By the end of this film I was hooked! It goes onto explain pretty much everything about the first film that didn’t make sense. It reveals details from the past that explain what is going on in the world and ultimately, it ends on an amazing cliffhanger (of sorts). This film manages to be a rebellious, sci-fi zombie film all in one…and it nails it! The flare virus is a constant factor within the film but it’s not the motivation behind the main characters actions. Ultimately, they want freedom. They hate WCKD for capturing kids like them and draining them of their virus-fighting anti-bodies.

The new characters added to this film are awesome (I’m always going to be a fan of Giancarlo Esposito). As this was the middle film, you have to acknowledge the expected change in tempo. The film only slows down a couple of times but it’s to delve into the plot and ultimately the character development and personally, I think it was a great film as far as part 2 of 3 films go. The character development in particular was something I could totally get behind. It left me desperate to see the final film.

The Death Cure

Let me start this off by clapping my hands. I was so relieved to hear they were keeping it a trilogy instead of simply following suit and doing a part 1 and a part 2. The Death Cure starts off X amount of time after the previous film (I’m not sure how long but enough time has passed that a whole new base of operations is in use and prisoners of WCKD are being transported by train. This film essentially follows the group trying to rescue Minho from WCKD. After locating the last city, they head there and infiltrate its high walls with the help of an old “friend”: Gally, who “died” in Maze Runner.

After kidnapping Teresa who claims she sometimes regrets what she did but would ultimately do it again, it is revealed that Thomas’s blood doesn’t just treat the flare virus, it actually heals it. Teresa helps the group into the main medical building of the city where they free the kids (including Minho) and escape. Their plan works almost perfectly but Newt, who has the flare, turns and has to be put down just before a cure is available. The rest of the group escape in a helicopter thing while Thomas heads back to the main building to confront Teresa. Ava is killed by Janson and he plans to use Thomas as his own money-printing machine (or power printing I guess, I don’t think they use money anymore). Just as Jansen is killed, Thomas and Teresa have no option but to climb to the roof as the building begins to catch fire and collapse. The helicopter squad comes to the rescue but only has time to save Thomas.

Review

I was nervous watching this. There are so many ways they could have ruined it but honestly, I think they did a great job. I think the problem with films is that it can be hard to show how much time has passed and I think the trilogy as a whole feels sort of rushed: not in the sense that they should have dragged it out with more films (God no, they nailed it) but just that so much happens and changes in such a short amount of time. Regardless, I think they did an excellent job with it!

Even as I was watching it, I was worried about certain clichés taking place (this was the case in some instances). I find that films like this often have a bittersweet ending but what they really need is a dark ending. Think Hunger Games where Rue dies (along with many other characters) but there’s still a happy ending. Divergent is the same: bittersweet but still on a happy note. You often don’t get the satisfaction of certain character deaths that you were hoping for and I worried this would be the same. Remember when Bane died in The Dark Knight Rises? It was the least satisfying thing in the world. We’ll explore the death of certain characters in a moment but let’s focus on the ending first.

The Ending

By the end of the film, we know that Thomas has unique blood that actually cures the flare virus. Let’s look at the situation in the final moments of the film: most of the main characters have died. Alby and Chuck die in the first film, Winston dies in the second film, Newt dies in the third film. The only main characters left from all three films are Thomas and Minho (and some guy called Frypan but I honestly didn’t notice him at all until this final film). Teresa has just died (thank God) and while she does redeem herself, her dying had to happen in my opinion.

But let’s focus on the bigger picture. Thomas may be the cure but think about what has just happened: the flare has become airborne and most of the people in the LAST CITY are now infected; assuming any of them survive the rebellion attack that has led to the destruction of the city at the hands of already infected people. The group escapes to an island somewhere on their boat but what about the rest of the world? This isn’t a happy ending by any means. The rest of the world is literally populated by cranks that within a few days, weeks or months will have completely turned into mindless flesh-hungry monsters. I’m not sure how long they live for but only the people on that island are left and they only survive as long as Thomas does.

I think that’s a GREAT ending. You get the satisfaction of certain characters surviving and the ending isn’t completely bleak which for a film aimed at teenagers, probably makes sense. The world ends though and most of the characters die which for a film like this is entirely necessary. They could have ended it with Thomas and Teresa working on a cure to save the world and that would have completely ruined the tone of the film, in my opinion.  There are some very minor details I perhaps would have changed but overall I think they did an excellent job. So let’s take a look at the character deaths quickly.

Character Deaths

Let’s take a moment to explore some of the characters I wanted dead. The main one (believe it or not) was Teresa. The emotion I felt at the end of the Scorch Trials was unbelievable. I can’t think of a time when a character in a film made me feel so angry. I thought maybe in this film they would send her character on a path to redemption (which they did slightly) but she ultimately sat by as Minho was tortured, all the time preaching about how it was necessary. Yet wasn’t she immune as well? Why wasn’t her blood being used? Even when she admits that she would betray them again, I felt happy that she didn’t regret it. All the time her focus was on finding a cure which in a sense is admirable…but it was at the cost of her friends lives. Not even just their lives, if they died that would be one thing but they were literally being tortured.

We also had Ava and Janson. Ava was doing bad things for the right reasons but she wasn’t by any means a good person. I think that’s the one flaw with this film. I would have loved for Thomas or another character just to shoot her, no emotion, no drama, nothing. There was the perfect moment when they encounter each other during the rescue of Minho where everything seems to pause for a moment as Thomas lifts up his gun. I just wish he had pulled the trigger. This sort of happens at the hands of Janson but I think that robs the satisfaction from the audience.

Janson’s death both nailed and ruined what I’d hoped for. The way he dies was a little annoying but at the same time, it was just. Thomas essentially kicked his ass and my hat goes off to everyone involved in those scenes because you really felt the anger. Every single punch to Janson made your heart sort of race with excitement. His death seems to be a bit of an Ex Machina and I’d much rather Thomas has drove a knife into his heart or perhaps trapped Janson in a room with cranks only to give him the finger and bail, not even watching as the cranks tear him apart. I’m not sure the word evil applies to anyone in this film because there is always a reason for someone’s actions but Janson was a selfish dick with little to no empathy, so he’s probably the closest.

Final Thoughts

That is one thing that I love about this trilogy. Every single person in these films, no matter their actions, believes they have a reason for it. They might do things they regret, they might hurt, anger, kill other people but it’s never out of hatred (with the exception of Janson perhaps). WCKD is seen as this evil group who experiment and torture children but at the end of the day it is their last hope to find a cure for a virus that by the end of the film has become airborne. They are just people grasping at straws in an attempt to stop the extinction of the human race.

This film is one of the better dystopian survival films I’ve ever seen. Could have been a bit darker? Perhaps…but for what it is, I think the hit the mark. There is mystery through all the films but no questions are ever left unanswered by the time the credits roll in the final film. They could easily have made 4 but chose not to which in itself is admirable.

As always, leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Do you agree or did you find this trilogy was just the same as any other? Be sure to head over to Twitter and follow me there!

Happy Feet: The Cheerful Commentary on Religious Indoctrination

You may be a little surprised to see the words ‘Happy Feet’ and ‘Religious Indoctrination’ in the same sentence. What may ultimately seem like a warm-hearted tale of a handicapped penguin’s quest to discover the interruption in his colony’s food chain is actually a layered tale of environmental damage and religious indoctrination (and the challenges one faces in trying to escape it). In today’s post we will be exploring that connection and cracking the case wide open for all to see.

Basic Summary

For those of you who haven’t seen Happy Feet, you’re missing out on a rather entertaining film. This post is unlikely to make much sense to you otherwise but allow me to quickly summarise it for you, just in case. Happy Feet follows Mumble, a slightly handicapped penguin who lacks the ability to sing (an essential part of the mating process) but can instead tap his feet in a rhythmical manner (although not always on purpose). This is due to his father, Memphis, dropping the egg during one of the coldest winters. Being continuously alienated by his colony, Mumble eventually stumbles across a different penguin colony where singing is seen as a hobby rather than an essential part of life. Here, they collect pebbles in an attempt to woe the females.

Mumble and his “amigos” are eventually banished from his colony due to his “dangerous ideas” and so set out on a quest to find the fish (the lack of which has been blamed on Mumble and his feet). Eventually Mumble finds a giant ship that is collecting all of the fish and taking it away and so he follows it until he eventually passes out and lands on a beach. From here, Mumble ends up in a zoo, does a dance, humans put a tracker on him and send him back to his colony and eventually everyone lives happily ever after….typical children’s film, right? Wrong!

Religion

The religious element of the film was nothing new to me and I’d always intended to write a post about it…but as time went on it became less and less of a concern and I figured that it wasn’t worth the effort. That is until a couple of days ago when I re-watched Happy Feet and noticed a bizarre aspect that had eluded me in the past. The word “penguin” can be perfectly switched out for any religion (I chose Christianity).

One thing you have to keep in mind is that the colony worships the mighty “Quin” (I’m not sure how you spell it exactly as it’s taken from the end of the word “penguin”). So there is already a very open religious element to the film but it’s the underlying element that I find so interesting. Let me give you some examples that I noted down. These were all the times after the first few instances where the word penguin was used and could be perfectly swapped for “Christian”.

“…it’s not Penguin”

“…hardly a Penguin at all”

“…it just ain’t Penguin”

“…he’s a regular (something, I missed the word) Penguin”

“…ancient Penguin wisdom”

“…brave Penguin nation”

Tell me that none of these have a solid meaning when the word Christian is switched in. There is a reason I chose Christianity as well which I’m going to explain in more detail later on but I’ll share one very specific quote that I believe highlights the reason. During a scene where Mumble is tap dancing and others are joining in, one of the elders says this to him: “that kind of pagan display” and then goes on to blame him for the food shortage. Of course one famous religion has been known to deal with Paganism in such a manner…

Memphis Drops the Ball…or the Egg

In order to delve deeper into this bizarre underlying commentary we have to examine key moments in the story. We’ll start with Mumble’s father, Memphis. During the winter when the females head off to collect food, it is the responsibility of the males to shelter the eggs and also each other. They create a sort of wall and take it in turns to face the cold. During this time, the elders lead chants to the great Quin/Win (I think Quin but I couldn’t find a solid source) which all the penguins are supposed to follow. They even show a giant penguin in the sky who is almost being formed by all the chanting penguins.

Unfortunately, Memphis is too distracted by his own singing (specifically the love song between him and his partner) and almost as a sign of his lack of faith and commitment to the great Quin, he drops the egg. Doing so for even a few seconds is enough to literally freeze it and kill the offspring inside. Memphis sees the resulting tappity feet of Mumble as being a curse or punishment for his distracted mind and lack of Quin-worship. Something that is evident throughout the film.

“Aliens”

Mumble was always a curious little fella and during his early years he finds himself victim to some hungry birds looking for roaming penguins to snack on. One of these birds has an identification bracelet (if that’s even what they are called) around his ankle which he goes on to explain was put there by aliens after being abducted. This highlights two key issues within this films:

1) Mumble now has more information on the outside world than any other Penguin within his colony, all of whom conform without question and aren’t curious about life beyond their grounds and 2) Lack of information on a subject leads to ridiculous conclusions. It highlights a very noticeable train of thought within religion where if something can’t be explained in terms we already know then it must be something completely “out there”. This can easily relate to the idea of filling all gaps in knowledge with God.

The Elders

Within Mumble’s colony there is a small group of elders who are part of some sort of council. They are responsible for guiding the beliefs and opinion of all the conforming penguins. They are essentially the Vatican to the colony’s Catholic Church with the leader being the Pope…who for some strange reason is Scottish. There is an Italian member as well though. This group denies the existence of any aliens because it goes against the narrative they’ve been pushing.

They are also the ones who label Mumble’s dancing as “that kind of pagan display” and it is they who alienate Mumble by forcing his own parents to talk him out of his mind set. While Mumble’s mother stands her ground and defends Mumble, his father who is still guilt-ridden from dropping Mumble feels he has no choice but to support the council. When Mumble refuses to conform and support the Elder’s point of view, he is banished from the colony. This is where Mumble’s journey to find the fish begins.

Connecting Theme

One thing is evident between all belief groups within the film. Whether it be Mumble’s colony and the mighty Quin, the amigos and Lovelace, the predatory birds or the elephant seals, they all view humans as being alien. Each has a unique view of “God” but all view the one thing they have evidence of but can’t explain as being alien. I think this is an interesting parallel to the religions of the world. They may all have one theme running through them e.g. God. Yet all have different opinions on themselves and their interactions with their God. This is just a minor point but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Heaven

Upon chasing a fishing vessel, Mumble ultimately washes up on a beach and is thrown into a zoo. Here he meets seemingly braindead penguin who refers to him as Dave. “Try the fish, Dave”. This is Penguin Heaven. To the penguins it is heaven because they are rewarded with all the fish they can eat (something that was running out at home) in exchange for doing nothing and having zero responsibilities or goals. Almost like some higher power granting them wishes. When speaking to one penguin in particular, Mumble asks him if its anywhere near Emperorland to which he responds that it’s “anywhere you want it to be”.

Of course the reason that it is named Penguin Heaven is due to it being based on an exhibit in Sea World, Orlando, Florida but I think it also has a deeper meaning. Heaven is often  seen as exactly like Penguin Heaven: you’re free to enjoy yourself, you don’t have to worry about responsibility, you can be happy and get all the food you want, but I think it raises a darker issue. What if you get to heaven but none of your family do? What if you’re up there enjoying all the bounties that heaven has to offer while your family starve? Is that heaven? We see Mumble attempt to throw fish to his hallucinated family (who also refer to him as Dave). Not to mention the other key issue: boredom. Without any purpose, without the freedom to explore, the risk of death, the challenges that normal life throws at you, you become a zombie and end up braindead like the only penguin Mumble communicates with.

Final Scenes

The film ends with mumble being returned to Emperorland where he is greeted by Gloria but told to leave by the Elders. Mumble explains his story and tells them about the aliens which the Elders outright deny. Mumble’s experience is irrelevant to them because they have a narrative that needs to be maintained and despite the fact that it is in reality a far more realistic explanation for the famine than one penguin’s tapping feet, the Elders stand their ground.

Upon revealing that he has alien technology attached to his back, the Elders then label him a traitor for leading the aliens to Emperorland. This of course raises questions as moments ago they were denying the existence of such beings altogether. We then see a battle of sorts between the old ways and the new: the archaic chants and singing of the elders and their supporters vs Mumble and his tapping feet. Eventually the aliens arrive and out of fear of death (or something similar) the elders eventually follow Mumble and support this new approach.

I think this in itself also highlights an aspect of religion: fear of death is not only the cause of most religions (in one form or another, I’m not saying people are religious because they fear death) as is fear of the unknown. Put into a situation where all the evidence is piled against them, religions will stand their ground until such a time that their destruction seems imminent, at which point they will follow the masses. Think about all major theories that have come into existence throughout human history: the order of the solar system, gravity, evolution, the big bang theory, ETC. The more that science explains, the more that religions adapt their beliefs to fit around the evidence. Very few people view the bible as being 100% literal and that is because more and more of it makes less and less sense in relation to history and science…but also morality.

Even the Pope’s throughout history have had drastically differing points of view: from supporting fascism, to hating gays, to saying evolution was God’s work. We end up with thousands upon thousands of different interpretations of the Bible (through Christianity’s denominations, of which there are 40,000 or so).

 

Anyway guys, that’s my say on the film Happy Feet. I hope that you enjoyed it and as always, leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Peace!