‘Outlaw King’: A Missed Opportunity to Remove ‘Braveheart’ as THE Scottish Wars of Independence Movie!

If you haven’t seen Outlaw King yet and wish to read a spoiler-free review rather than an analysis, click here!

I’m sure most of you have heard of Braveheart while less of you have probably heard of Outlaw King. The latter is a recent Netflix movie that in essence continues from where Braveheart ends: Robert the Bruce and his battle for Scottish Independence. The problem that many people face is that there knowledge of Scottish history is lacking. Don’t get me wrong, that’s completely understandable for those of you who don’t have any ties to the country. However, the problem is doubled by the fact that Braveheart is often referred to as a historical movie. As I’ve said before, Braveheart is only beats Inglorious Basterds by a small margin as far as historical accuracy is concerned. So let’s briefly discuss why that is the case and how it relates to Outlaw King!

Click here to check out the trailer!

The Flaws of Braveheart

Outlaw King

image via History vs Movies

I don’t want to spend too much time picking away at the inaccuracies of Braveheart. If you’re interested in reading a more thorough explanation then feel free to check out my article on the matter. However, I am going to briefly summarise some of the more major deviations from historical fact. I feel like bullet points will suffice:

 

  • 14th century Scots did not paint their faces blue. This is something that the Picts did many centuries earlier but not during the Wars of Independence.
  • 14th century Scots didn’t wear kilts, particularly into battle. Kilts, while being associated with Scotland, didn’t become popular for another 500 years, around 1720.
  • Edward I didn’t die before William Wallace. In fact, they didn’t even die in the same year: Wallace was killed on August 23rd 1305 while Edward died on July 7th
  • Prime nocta (the idea that English nobles would sleep with Scottish women on the night of their wedding) didn’t exist, or certainly there isn’t any evidence to suggest that it did.
  • The Scottish Wars of Independence didn’t start because Wallace wanted to avenge his wife. While legend does speak of a Marion Braidfute, there isn’t any supporting evidence of her existence.

These are just a few of the major points that I wanted to bring up. Why are they important? It’s long been my opinion that when it comes to matters like this, the truth is far more interesting than fiction. Braveheart robs the Scottish people of their motivation to rebel against the English crown: it wasn’t over some lassie, it was because they had finally grown tired of being oppressed and essentially enslaved.

I can give a pretty good example of moments where fact beats fiction. The hanged, drawn and quartered scene in Braveheart is pretty brutal, right? Would it shock you to learn that the true events are in fact much worse? Wallace was stripped naked, dragged 6 miles by horse, had fruit, stones, and shit thrown at him, was hanged until he almost died, had his cock and balls cut off, his intestines were then pulled out of his body, he had to watch as his intestines were set on fire, had his heart removed, all before finally being beheaded. His body parts were then scatted across the country as a warning to any would-be rebels.

Outlaw King

Outlaw King

image via Den of Geek

Outlaw King begins just before the ending of Braveheart. The nobles of Scotland have accepted defeat and have made an arrangement with King Edward of England whereby they will return to their lands and begin paying taxes again. At this point in time, Wallace is in hiding and hasn’t been captured by the English. The movie demonstrates a really important aspect of history: The Scottish Wars of Independence were initially unsuccessful not because of the English, but because of the divide between Scottish nobles and their desperation to wear the crown. This is something that Braveheart does touch upon. However, Outlaw King also highlights the divide between the common people: many are sick of war but most are desperate to make the English pay.

 

There are many things that Outlaw King does perfectly that I simply couldn’t criticize it for. For starters, the attire worn by the characters is spot on in relation to what people wore in the 14th century. Chris Pine was OK; I’m still on the fence about his performance. However, Aaron-Taylor Johnson was the star of this movie, in my opinion. He plays James Douglas A.K.A The Black Douglas and he does it incredibly well. I was also impressed by both their Scottish accents which was one of my major worries when I heard they’d be starring in this movie.

Another aspect that I loved was that this movie plays on real emotions. Braveheart makes up nonsense for drama and effect but most of the emotional connections within Outlaw King are based on truth. For example, the deaths of Robert the Bruce’s brothers, the capture of his wife, the stabbing of John Comyn, the motivations of James Douglas, all of these things are true. These moments in the movie feel powerful and I have to congratulate the writers, director, and cast for that.

Similarly, the movie really makes you feel like you’re one of the people in 14th century Scotland. The death of Wallace fills you with rage, betrayal at the hands of your own countrymen fills you with hate, and the appearance of allies fills you with hope.

However…

Outlaw King

image via Choice.NPR

Unfortunately, despite being on the path to success, Outlaw King makes a few mistakes that really lower its value as a historical movie. Personally, I have no idea why these flaws weren’t noticed prior to filming but I play no role within the industry and so can’t comment on the process. The first issue is one scene in particular. I’m going to put it in a separate paragraph so you can avoid it if you don’t want to hear spoilers. The other is the ending of the movie. Well, not so much the ending but rather the content that they chose to include in the 2nd half. So let’s explore each of these and see how they could have been improved to make a GREAT movie. We’ll start with the latter of the two. Don’t worry, this one won’t contain any spoilers.

 

The Ending

Outlaw King

image via Film Goblin

I’m not actually going to discuss how the movie ends, but I am going to explore why it lacked flare. Outlaw King is a very different, and more intimate, movie than Braveheart. We’ve all seen Mel Gibson charging into many battles as the blue-faced William Wallace and so that’s almost what we expect in Outlaw King. However, as the name suggests, Robert the Bruce was an outlaw and during the start of his campaign he didn’t have massive battles in the same manner as Wallace. Instead, we see a more covert and tactical side to his attacks. I personally found these to be incredibly entertaining.

However, towards the end we needed a major battle scene and what the movie gives us just doesn’t feel like that. As I said in another post when reviewing this movie, the ending feels anticlimactic and inconclusive. When it ends, we get text across the screen which explains how events developed afterwards. I compared this to Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ending with “…and then Frodo took the ring to Mordor and destroyed it”. That’s essentially what happens with Outlaw King. The set up is perfect but they don’t give us that all-important ending.

I think there were two ways to solve this problem. The first would have been to extend the movie’s run time to maybe 2 hours and 30 minutes. All we needed was one final battle, one major victory that demonstrated where the events of the movie led to. The other option would be to scrap the battle we get and replace it with a battle that occurred later in time. Alternatively, you could do both. Let’s explore the other issue I have with Outlaw King. This next paragraph will be comprised entirely of spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Spoilers!

Outlaw King

image via Roger Ebert

In the final battle, at Loudoun Hill, the Scottish army is victorious and the English are retreating. Of course not all of them, not yet. Edward II rises up from the mud to try and kill Robert the Bruce. We all knew a scene like this was coming because they foreshadowed it at the start in the cheesiest possible way (which now that I think about it was the only other major flaw of this movie). We then watch as Edward tries desperately to kill Robert, failing miserably each time. He then starts crying, is sick, and runs away. Why would the Scots let him leave? Robert the Bruce knows that the English have his wife and child and yet he lets the best bargaining chip he could possibly have escape?

 

You also have men there whose family and friends have been killed through the orders of Edward II and his father. Yet none of them try to kill him, seriously? I was fully enjoying this movie right up until this moment and then I felt like the experience shattered. It’s like if you were meditating and you’d reached this great space, then your friend grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you violently.

Final Thoughts

Outlaw King

image via Hollywood Reporter

In summary, Outlaw King most definitely had the potential to be a better movie that Braveheart. From my point of view, it still is. The fact that is stays closer to the real version of events automatically makes it a far more interesting portrayal of Scottish history. I also liked that this movie had a dirtier feel to it: characters are flawed, they aren’t miraculously saved, there are more defeats than victories, and even though the romance in Outlaw King is still a bit over the top, it feels a lot more realistic. The movie also managed to have some incredibly hilarious moments that didn’t feel remotely out of place. Where it lacks relates largely to the ending. Braveheart ends with you wanting to scream “FRREEEEEDOMM!” whereas Outlaw King just doesn’t have that effect, despite setting the emotion up perfectly.


Thanks for reading! What did you think of Outlaw King? Does it compare to Braveheart? Let me know down below! 

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

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

Peace!

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Has Nick Fury Been Preparing for the Events of Avengers 4 All Along?

So let me preface this post by mentioning that I do not read comic books. I love comic book movies, I love the animated TV shows, and I even love the games, but I have probably read about 4 comics in my life and only one of them was about superheroes. The reason I mention this is because my theory may or may not be explained within comics and similarly, it may be completely contradicted by comics. Anyway, this theory is going to revolve primarily around Nick Fury and the upcoming Captain Marvel movie and Avengers 4. You don’t need to worry about spoilers because everything I will be discussing has either been mentioned in previous movies or was in the Captain Marvel trailer.

Let me just also mention the intention of this post. I’m not simply implying that Nick Fury has been preparing for ‘a’ threat but rather a specific threat. My concerns with Captain Marvel (given that we’ve had 10 years worth of movies) is that it takes place in the past and yet she hasn’t been directly mentioned at all, only hinted at during the post-credits scene of Infinity War. My theory (or observation) is that Captain Marvel will still make complete sense in relation to the events and characters that we’ve already seen within the MCU (which will take place in the future in relation to Captain Marvel).

Background

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wikia

It’s probably also worth mentioning that I was slightly under the influence of marijuana when this idea popped into my head. I was watching Avengers: Assemble (which I believe is just called Avengers outside of the UK) and it took me about an hour to get through the first 15 minutes because I created about four separate word documents covering random shit. I created character profiles and discussed the motivations of certain Avengers, and I started compiling evidence of how Iron Man is a hypocrite in every single movie he is in. Maybe these will float to the surface at a later date but today I’m going to focus on a theory that took up less than 2 lines of one of the word documents.

So what is the theory? In order to understand that, I want to discuss a very clear problem with the Captain Marvel movie: it takes place in the 1990s, so why have the events of the movie never been mentioned within the MCU? We know that Nick Fury was there, we know that Phil Coulson was there, and we know that Project Pegasus (the name of the base that gets blown up at the start of the first Avengers movie) was also a part of it. These could be inconsistencies but there is also a larger issue at stake which leads us to question the motivations of Nick Fury, but before I discuss that, I need to explain what Captain Marvel is ultimately going to be about.

The Skrulls

Nick Fury MCU

image via Screen Rant

So just to reiterate, I don’t read comic books. So if my information in this part is wildly off, I do apologise. As far as we can tell, Captain Marvel will cover the invasion of the Skrulls who are essentially an alien species that can shapeshift (or something similar) in order to look like anyone. Outside of the MCU in Agents of SHIELD (which is still the same universe but just isn’t “cinematic”) the Skrulls are mentioned during a storyline involving the Kree. Just in case you need a reminder, the Kree are the big blue fucks e.g. Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy (a character also listed as appearing in Captain Marvel). Anyway, the Kree and the Skrulls were at war which is why the Kree begin creating Inhumans on Earth as part of an army that will fight the Skrull.

Arguably, this is a storyline that has been running for almost as long as the Thanos one. I think the Kree and the idea of Inhumans started back in season 2 of Agents of SHIELD, so about 4 years ago. This raises another problem with Captain Marvel because Inhumans haven’t so much as been mentioned in the movies and yet it seems like they play an important role in both the Kree and Skrull storylines. It’s somewhat annoying because there is no way that the Agents of SHIELD characters (such as Daisy Johnson) will ever make an appearance in the MCU.

Anyway, I don’t want to delve too deep into the MCU lore. I just wanted to cover the basics here of who the Skrull are and what their motivations might be within Captain Marvel. If these creatures can take on the shape of any person, you can understand why they pose such a major threat. I’m pretty sure I read something somewhere that one of the main characters in the comics turned out to be Skrull. It might even have been a few of them but I can’t fully remember. Anyway, that’s all you really need to know about the Skrull in order for my theory to make sense.

Phase 02

Nick Fury MCU

image via The Film Geek Blog

As I mentioned already, this theory popped into my head while watching the first Avengers movie. There were two moments that made me stop the movie so I could type some notes.

  1. Why would Nick Fury (and SHIELD) be hoarding Hydra weapons with the intentions of making weapons of mass destruction?
  2. Why would Nick Fury go along with Project Insight?

I want to discuss each of these questions because when you begin to explore them, they actually make sense when you consider the Captain Marvel movie…and only when you consider it, otherwise they are completely illogical.

So why would Fury and SHIELD by hoarding the Hydra weapons from Captain America: The First Avenger? I know he gives an explanation (he essentially blames Thor and the events in New Mexico) but it seems a little weak, especially when you consider that Fury has been through the events of the Captain Marvel film, whatever they may be. We know from Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Fury has a history of ignoring commands in favour of what he deems to be the right decision. Even in the Avengers movie he goes against the wishes of the Council at literally opportunity.

Secondly, why would Nick Fury, a man completely against widespread destruction and unnecessary death, be in support of Project Insight? He knew how deadly they would be, he knew that in the wrong hands they would be devastating, and yet he took the risk. Why?

Project Insight

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel-Movie Wikia

Project Insight is one of the more important aspects of my theory. I know that Project Insight isn’t a major story arc until The Winter Soldier but it’s actually mentioned in the first Avengers movie…at least that is my understanding of the scene. When Phase 2 is discovered and Cap, Tony, Thor and Bruce confront Nick Fury, Natasha mentions something. She says that SHIELD has a watch-list that includes the people in the room. Bruce asks her “And Captain America is on that list?” clearly questioning why SHIELD would have the most moral person on the carrier on a watch-list. Natasha replies with “We all are!”

It would seem like a pretty huge coincidence if the same watch-list that is in SHIELD’s possession in Avengers just also happens to be the list used by Hydra when commencing Project Insight. I mean as far back as the post-credits scene of the first Iron-Man movie, Nick Fury asks Tony “you think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it.”

Arguably, Fury and SHIELD could have that list entirely for the purposes of recruiting certain heroes to the Avengers and keeping an eye on the others…or, alternatively, this list could exist in order to monitor the largest threats. If the Skrull can impersonate anyone, certain individuals are going to pose a larger threat than others. How do you deal with an invasion that is taking place right under your nose? You build helicarriers that scan the DNA of the population of the world in order to determine whether they are human or Skrull…unfortunately, Hydra derailed this plan.

The Theory

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I propose (and I’m not saying that this was purposefully done by Marvel, don’t believe they had this level of foresight) that Nick Fury has been preparing for the bigger threat all along. During the invasion of New York why wouldn’t he have paged Captain Marvel? The world wasn’t at risk, just New York and perhaps he had faith that the Avengers could fix things. When Ultron hijacks the internet, intent on eradicating humanity, why doesn’t he page Captain Marvel? Again, perhaps he thought the Avengers could handle it. These are just excuses though and don’t actually relate to my point.

So why would Nick Fury risk hoarding Hydra weapons and creating mass-murder helicarriers with certain individuals being kept on a watch-list? Could it be that he was preparing for the Skrull invasion? Could it be that during the events of Captain Marvel, Nick Fury witnesses first-hand how insane the universe really is and so he takes it upon himself to try and prepare for another incident of that level? We can only assume that since her movie, Captain Marvel has been away fighting Skrull in the same way that the Avengers were still wiping out Hydra cells in Age of Ultron.

Avengers 4

Nick Fury MCU

image via the Shittest New-Outlet in the Universe

So why wouldn’t Nick Fury tell any of the Avengers this? There is a scene in The Winter Soldier that answers this question. Early in the movie, Cap confronts Fury about not sharing the details of the operation. Fury says “the last time I trusted someone I lost an eye” which happens to be something that will take place in Captain Marvel (given that he has both eyes in the trailer). A coincidence? I think not! I think that the events of Captain Marvel give Fury enough reason to assume that potentially everyone is a threat, that potentially everyone is a Skrull.

We know that in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he expresses several times that he couldn’t risk certain key details being discovered by the enemy. Sure, he was probably referencing Hydra but if his character is consistent then we could assume it would apply to a larger threat as well.

However, an important scene takes place in the lift. Nick Fury tells the story of his grandfather who used to carry a gun in his bag and how he would simply show it to anyone who tried to rob him. Is this the purpose of Fury’s actions? Is he trying to give the world a gun to show the universe?

Of course there is one character who we can assume Fury did confide in: Hawkeye. We know that Fury and Hawkeye have been working closely together ever since the latter was recruited to SHIELD. In Age of Ultron we get that super boring family story and we learn that Fury helped him keep it all off the grid. We also know that Hawkeye has been aware of Fury’s plan on more than one occasion, including in Age of Ultron. So where was he during Infinity War? I think it is highly likely that he was fighting Skrull invaders. Apparently his storyline in Avengers 4 is related to fighting the Yakuza, an organised crime syndicate in Japan. Of course this would seem like a bizarre priority given that half of the universe has just been snapped out of existence. Therefore it seems more likely that his mission is related to carrying on where Captain Marvel left off.

In Summary

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I believe that Captain Marvel will set up Nick Fury’s motivations for the rest of his timeline i.e. the MCU movies we’ve already seen. Thor and the events in New Mexico won’t have hugely threatened Nick Fury because he knows there is a larger and more pressing matter at hand. The same goes for Loki’s invasion of New York, the same goes for the fall of SHIELD and Hydra, and the same goes for the rise of Ultron. To quote Tony Stark’s opinion of Nick Fury: “He’s a spy. Captain. He’s THE spy. His secrets have secrets.”

That’s why I think Hawkeye is on a secret Skrull-killing mission. Not only that, it’s why SHIELD were so insistent on making weapons based around those used by Hydra, the Destroyer, the Chitauri, Ultron, and more. It’s also why Nick Fury was willing to risk an idea as dangerous as Project Insight become a reality. Provided the Captain Marvel movie doesn’t generate any major plot holes, everything else within the MCU in relation to Nick Fury’s plan still makes sense.


Thanks for reading! Does my Nick Fury theory make sense or is my inner-fanboy clouding my vision? Let me know down below! 

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

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

Peace!

The Franchise Problem: My Sequel Escalation Theory!

The Franchise Problem: Even before you read this article, you probably have a rough idea about what I’m going to say. We’re all very much aware of the fact that Hollywood, as a representative of the movie industry, has churned out some absolute monstrosities over the years. This is particularly true of movie sequels and in many cases it leads to disappointed fans, a decrease in profits, and the plummeting of a franchise into the dirt. Unfortunately, this is rarely the end as usually such a dive simply leads to a reboot, prequel, or something else entirely indicative of the money-hungry ghouls working behind the scenes to push garbage down our throats for £15 a ticket!

The Problem

Sequel

image via YouTube

So let’s not waste time! The problem is quite clear and we can see examples of it literally everywhere! What is that problem? The drive for money calling shotgun instead of creativity or storytelling. Not sure what I mean? Allow me to list some examples and see if you can spot the connection between them all:

  • Paranormal Activity
  • Mission Impossible
  • James Bond (exclusively Daniel Craig’s Bond)
  • Fast and Furious
  • The Purge
  • Alien and Predator (specifically related to Prometheus)
  • Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick
  • Transformers
  • Terminator

Notice anything similar between all of these franchises? No? They all fell into one of two franchise traps: Trap 1: This is where one movie succeeds and so they make another one, then another one, and then another one. It’s sort of like making a TV series but episode by episode instead of with some overarching storyline. Trap 2: This is where a company commits to far too many movies without having a chance to see whether the audiences like them or not. Think Marvel but less successful. Marvel has the next 20 or so movies already planned out. Don’t believe me? OK…let’s take a look at some of the examples.

Before we do, let me share with you a revelation I had with TV shows. I used to love shows like The Flash, Elementary, and The Mentalist (just to name a couple of examples). What did all of these shows have in common? Despite having an overarching story they all followed the same pattern. Say an episode was 50 minutes long with 20 episodes per season. The first episode would reel you in with some compelling storyline. Episodes 2-18/19 would contain 45 minutes of almost the exact same thing every single episode. Some characters would change, there would be different lessons, and sometimes we’d learn something new about the main characters. Then in the last 5 minutes would reveal some shocking detail that added to the overall story. Sound familiar?

Paranormal Activity

Sequel

image via Ranker

By the 5th movie, the scariest thing about the Paranormal Activity movies was the fact that they were still being made. I can’t claim to have any insight into the overall plan for the franchise. Maybe they set out to make as many as they did. I’d be inclined to believe that they didn’t. The first movie was pretty freaky, it was original, and it did a good job of scaring moviegoers. Then they did the same thing again with the sequel but people were still entertained, then they did it again, and again…

What changed? Well, the characters changed but ultimately the goings on stayed almost exactly the same from one movie to the next. Yet at the end of every single movie, some “Earth-shattering” detail is revealed. “Oh my God, it’s the same family” or “Oh my God, that’s the creepy cult discussed in the previous movie” or “Oh my God, those are the sisters we saw in the first couple of movies and this dude has travelled through some wormhole…or some shit”. I sort of lost interest in the movies and I can’t really remember all the details. I just remember some magical door that led to a creepy cult house.

With each new movie they had to up the ante though something that I’ll dub “sequel escalation theory”. Each ending became more intense, the stakes became more “real”, and new details are revealed which are supposed to lure us in and make us crave another sequel. There are 6 of these movies in total…6! After the first one, nothing new is added…at all. This could be an example of a Trap 1 movie but I think it’s more likely that they just enjoyed the success of the first movie and rode it for another 5.

Mission Impossible and James Bond

Sequel

image via Screen Rant

Mission Impossible is, without a shadow of a doubt, an example of a Trap 1 movie series and finely details sequel escalation theory. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mission Impossible franchise (or at least I did until Fallout). With Mission Impossible, the stakes were already incredibly high by the 2nd movie whereby the mission is stopping a biological weapon. The third involves stopping the mysterious “rabbits foot” from falling into the hands of a dangerous arms dealer. Number four involves nuclear bombs. Five relates to an underground terrorist organisation made up of ex-agency personnel. You get the idea.

Ultimately, these movies (similarly to Bond) largely work because there doesn’t need to be any storyline from one movie to the next. That’s the point! That’s exactly why it works. There may be the occasional nod, there may be characters the stay constant throughout the series (particularly the central characters), but that’s it! We don’t need huge intricate storylines connecting one movie to the next. This is where both these franchises fall and why I’d label them Trap 1 movies (although in a slightly different sense to the rest of my examples.

If we look at Spectre or Mission Impossible: Fallout, we see the exact same problems popping up. Villains from previous movies whose stories have already been told reappear to suggest that the new movie and a previous movie (or movies) are connected. In both cases the writers failed miserably. I was so excited to see Christoph Waltz as a villain and yet the actor was wasted on connecting the imaginary dots of a convoluted story. Similarly, Sean Harris was excellent as Solomon Lane…but he’d been defeated and we didn’t need some absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable (even by Mission Impossible standards) plot about his continued role as the villain.

Fast and Furious and Transformers

Sequel

image via YouTube

Once again, we can see examples of Trap 1 movies. Do you remember when the Fast and Furious movies were about illegal street races? I know that seems unbelievable now when you see where the movies have ended up these days. It’s only a matter of time before they are in space! Each movie had to be an escalation of the previous one. We went from street racing to bank robberies to weird revenge stories tied up in huge government conspiracies…again, I lost interest by maybe the 7th one…the one with the 7,000 mile long airport runway. You eventually reach a point where the escalation has just become too much and then the movies manage to lose everything that people once enjoyed about them while also offering nothing interesting to fill in the gap. Then they turn to either a prequel or a spin-off (Hobbs and Shaw).

Transformers works even better as an example because we can use the plot to highlight just how poorly planned the franchise is. So Transformer was pretty awesome: I loved the show as a kid and Shia LaBeouf is entertaining to watch. The story was pretty open and closed so there was no real reason for a sequel (of course we all knew one would be on its way). After all, the villain was dead, the hero got the girl, and the government learned to work with the machines.

Yet Rise of the Fallen opens with a new backstory that reveals new information. Suddenly, the machines had been on Earth long before originally suggested. They didn’t come searching for the cube (which we were led to believe had landed on Earth by chance) but rather because our sun needed to be harvested. The pyramids hide crazy sun-eating machines and Sam literally dies…what? The third movie once again rewrites history by telling us that a special ship escaped Cybertron and just so happened to land on the moon. Now the overall plan wasn’t related to the all-powerful cube or the sun-eating machines but magical cylinders that teleport planets!

I did watch the fourth one but for the life of me I cannot remember the plot. I think it had something to do with cosmic hitmen or bounty hunters? I remember dinosaurs appeared as some stage but that sums about all of my Transformers 4 knowledge. I literally just discovered there was also a 5th one that involved Transformers being on Earth during the Middle Ages whereby they give Merlin a magical staff? Fuck knows…

Suffice to say that Transformers is also an example of how thirsty the Ghouls are. There is a Bumblebee spin-off movie coming out next year (I believe) with the entire franchise being rebooted in the not so distant future. What’s the lesson here? If you lack consistency and forward-thinking then you can just scrap all the previous movies and start over. This takes us nicely to Terminator…sigh…

Terminator

Sequel

image via Hollywood Reporter

Now before you get ahead of yourself, the first three Terminator movies are perfectly fine (in terms of story consistency) in my opinion. I mean we can clearly see the gears turning as far as the plan to churn out more movies but hey ho…the point being that we then got Terminator Salvation which was absolutely dreadful. This was followed by the equally as disastrous (actually, it was definitely much, much worse) Terminator: Genisis…Genysis? Genisys. James Cameron wants to make a whole new trilogy, for some fucked up reason and it will be entirely female-led (with the exception of Arnold, of course)…because that worked really well for Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8!

It seems that ultimately, no idea stays original for long. Undoubtedly the franchise is going to continue screwing with the timeline in order to try and make up some nonsensical story. It didn’t work with Genisys and I doubt it’s going to work for any future movies. The truth is that they’ve taken a turn in the wrong direction. AI and crazy ass robots are practically nearing Terminator levels and yet the movies barely touch on that. They could really send a message regarding the future of AI research instead of making stupid-ass upgrades to time traveling robots!

Honestly, I feel like this is another example of a franchise that is already dead. I don’t know a single person who is interested in seeing the series continue. They must have Schwarzenegger’s nuts in a vice to be convincing him time and time again to return for these shit movies!

The Purge and Riddick

Sequel

image via UpRoxx

I’m not going to spend too much time discussing these movies as I feel like if you’ve ever watched them then you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Let’s start with The Purge. I have to admit that his franchise was original…at least the idea was. The first movie became exactly the same as any other home invasion movie that has ever been made. However, the sequel was excellent. They managed to create this deeper layer for the movie that touched on the political side of the purge itself. We got to see this idea unfold that the purge benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.

However, the third movie took this too far and became incredibly boring. We again found ourselves faced with new characters whose backstories need a prologue just to make them seem relevant, with previous characters being dragged back into the mix for no real reason. Of course they realised that going forward wasn’t going to work anymore and so The First Purge was born. They stuck to their guns with the political aspect of the movie and once again failed. Can people not be content with having one successful movie?

This takes us to Riddick. Pitch Black introduced us to the character and told a rather self-contained story that didn’t need a sequel by any means. There was a time in my life when I actually enjoyed The Chronicles of Riddick (although that time has long since passed). However, a movie I enjoyed much less was Riddick, the third movie in the series that seemingly brushes off the previous movies by literally giving us the exact same story as Pitch Black. I mean the similarities were beyond ridiculous and they STILL managed to make me hate the character. Of course what do you do when the franchise begins to decline? You do a spin-off…or in this case, a reboot!

Alien, Predator and Prometheus

Sequel

image via Inverse

This example is arguably the most frustrating as there was real potential to create some great movies. However, it also demonstrated my escalation theory (and it’s following “solution” perfectly). Alien was once a truly intriguing movie franchise: a grizzly combination of horror and sci-fi. Then you had Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection…we also had Predator and Predator 2. By the time we got to Alien vs Predator (which also had a sequel: Alien vs Predator Requiem) we had seen every possible combination of what had ultimately become a played out, repetitive and tedious franchise.

Here we can see a fine example of the escalation I was referring to earlier: They have to add more and more content that they believe to be compelling and intriguing. Alien was about an alien on a ship. That was practically it! Predator was about a Predator. These movies were simple in their idea but worked well. Now what are we doing? The aliens got bigger and apparently, according to the trailer for this year’s new ‘The Predator’ movie: they are evolving into some sort of stupid-ass ultra-predator. C’mon Ridley Scott, where is your imagination and creativity?

Eventually, in rolls Prometheus…and I am literally shaking my head as I write this! Prometheus was exciting (or could have been), it offered new ideas (or could have) and explored concepts of human creation that are deeply rooted in some of the oldest mythologies (or at least it briefly touched upon them). Instead, Prometheus turned into a fucking Alien prequel! Not only that, but it turned into a whole “why would our creators care about us?” lesson. I mean it doesn’t shock me. I love Damon Lindelof as a writer but he needs to mix things up a bit. I kept waiting on a well scene like Lost and The Leftovers.

Still…Prometheus set itself up for a sequel and it ended on an intriguing note: a woman and her robotic travel companion are heading to the home world of their creators. Wrong! What should have been Prometheus 2 ultimately became Alien: Covenant. A movie that repeats the exact same story we had literally just watched in Prometheus but with new characters. As far as I’m concerned, the franchise is dead. I already wrote about Alien: Covenant before so I won’t go into another rant about it here. Suffice to say that we see the escalation: more evolved creatures doing the exact same thing as the other creatures, and the solution to the decline: prequels.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Sequel

image via New York Sight Seeing

This is sort of a bonus section (as are the two that follow) that popped into my head a couple of days after writing this post. I realised that while I’ve discussed some pretty popular franchises here, but not the most popular. I mean Harry Potter is a franchise, right? I thought to myself: there aren’t really any flaws with the Harry Potter franchise because it’s following books and so the storyline is there to follow. From the first film, they’ve known the direction the films were headed in. Does this world put an end to my escalation theory? Actually no, quite the opposite. The Harry Potter universe is the icing on the cake.

How come? Well, while the Harry Potter movies themselves work as examples of how to make a franchise, what follows them is the undoubtedly a trap 2 mistake. We know this because there are already 5 movies planned. In my opinion, 1 movie would have been bad enough. Granted, the movie was slightly more enjoyable than I imagined but that really isn’t saying much. These movies are nothing but a soulless cash grab. Just like the Harry Potter mobile game.

I mean maybe I’m wrong…maybe they have an incredibly coherent story that needs 5 movies…but considering that it’s already been announced that the final film will take place in 1945 and end with Albus Dumbledore defeating Grindelwald in a duel, resulting in him becoming the possessor of the Elder Wand, I don’t see how they can stretch the content that far. Especially when you consider that Grindelwald will be a major player in the 2nd movie and that they are limited by Voldemort being known (in the future) as the most evil wizard to have ever lived, and one of the most powerful.

I mean, we can already see the escalation theory at work: Fantastic Beasts is a spin-off and they will, through one form or another, need to escalate the storyline from where it’s already set e.g. Harry Potter level and that of the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Just look at that crazy-ass creature that existed in the first film. What the fuck was that?

DCEU

Sequel

image via Geeks.Media

I’m not going to badmouth Marvel in this article for two reasons: 1) I’m a marvel fanboy and I think they are great movies and 2) I think Marvel is what all these other franchises look to. They see the success of this massive, decade long, 20+ movie universe and they want to get a piece of it for themselves…all unsuccessfully. DC would be a prime example.

I’m purposefully referring to the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) because the movies before that were great. Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy nailed it! I mean I don’t think anyone can criticise those movies with any objective flaw. So the DCEU starts (and potentially ends) with Superman in Man of Steel. I could write a whole article about that movie because it should have and could have been awesome, certainly the trailer made it look that way.

I’m going to list and rate each movie from the DCEU so far: Man of Steel (6.5/10), Batman V Superman (5/10), Suicide Squad (4/10), Wonder Woman (I haven’t watched) and Justice League (3/10). DC was so thirsty to copy the success of Marvel that they jeopardized the story and characters in the process. I’ve never met a single person who enjoyed either Batman V Superman or Justice League. Yet DC manages to fall into the trap 2 category as this is the line-up of their upcoming movies: Aquaman, Shazam!, Wonder Woman 1984, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, The Flash, Birds of Prey, The Batman, Black Adam, and a number of other movies including not one but two Joker movies (played by different actors).

This is all made dramatically worse when we learn that the recently resurrected Superman will likely be killed off as the actor, Henry Cavil, is stepping down. This is largely related to DC moving its Super-person focus to the opposite sex in the form of a Supergirl movie (although I wonder if her name will end up being changed to Superwoman). This is probably due in large A) The success of Wonder Woman (particularly in comparison to the other DCEU movies), B) The success of the Supergirl TV series, and C) The strive for more diversity within the movie industry, particularly the superhero franchise.

Star Wars

Sequel

image via StarWars

Now, I’ve discussed the various failings of Star Wars before but as far as I can recall, I’ve stayed relatively quiet on the subject since the disaster known only as The Last Jedi. I love the Star Wars universe (in the sense that it’s a cool idea and some of the characters are awesome) but the movies are somewhat “meh”. I can always watch the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy appears on more rare occasions, this current trilogy can get to fuck, and the Anthology series has been somewhat hit or miss.

Here’s what we know so far about the future of Star Wars: Of course we will get episode 9 which will have to try and clean up the mess episode 8 made, this will be followed by another Anthology movie (I’m hoping Obi-Wan but it could be Boba Fett). We are then getting a trilogy from Rian Johnson and another from the writers of the Game of Thrones TV show. So at least 9 more movies.

Yet again, we encounter a trap 2 franchise. Even before they have a story or a sense of direction, Disney (who own Star Wars now) are commissioning many movies. It is possible to nail these upcoming films. I mean if the Obi-Wan movie tied into the end of Solo, that too could link into a Boba Fett film. Will it? Probably not. The only way the other two trilogies will succeed, in my opinion, is if they are completely, 100% disconnected from the previous movies. Go back 500 years or go forward 500 years but escape all these fucking characters! Please!

Final Thoughts

Sequel

image via Deviant Art

I’ve touched on a lot of these issues in the past. I’ve mentioned Star Wars at least once or twice, I’ve talked about the Fantastic 4, I’ve talked about Avengers, Ghostbusters, Ocean’s 8, Happy Feet, The Maze Runner trilogy, Annihilation, and more…I can hold my hand up and admit that many of these posts are me basically saying that the story could have been better. However, I’m not claiming to have better ideas than the writers. These people are paid (very well) to write and direct these movies and the movies themselves make millions. So my critique is just my own opinion as I have neither the real-world experience nor the professional status to claim to know better.

However, I can’t be alone in thinking that many of these examples do show the downfall of various franchises, usually due to the Ghouls craving money and caring little about the storyline. I mean take Transformers. Michael Bay is all about his explosions and special effects. There are 5 movies and every single one of them the army try to fight Transformers despite the fact that their weapons are useless every single time. Why? Explosions…that’s why!

In this post I’ve proposed my ‘Franchise Escalation Theory’. This is the idea that movies, in an effort to continue making big bucks, will escalate each sequel to a point of ridiculous proportions and will ultimately fall into one of two traps. I went off on a few tangents (to say the least) but hopefully I still explained myself properly.


Thanks for reading! Am I being unreasonable? Do you have any other franchises that you feel went down the same route? Let me know down below! 

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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!

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Peace!

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! 

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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! 

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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! 

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!

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!

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!

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

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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?”

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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.

Rick and Morty

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!

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!

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

Peace!