‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and the Death of Star Wars

Star Wars, Star War, Star Wars…what is there to say that hasn’t already been said a million times over. This post is going to serve a singular purpose: I’m going to highlight why ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ will be better than ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’, but still a bitter end to a rather disappointing and ultimately empty-feeling trilogy. We’ll have to consider the way this trilogy has been written (including structure and tone), the backlash of the middle movie, and the desperate grasping at straws that presents itself in the form of Ian McDiarmid i.e. Emperor Palpatine.

The Trilogy Structure

Jar Jar Binks Star Wars

image via Reddit

Star Wars as a cinematic universe has its fair share of problems, especially since being bought over by Disney. The ‘Disney Effect’, (similar to my ‘Sequel Escalation Theory’)which involves the churning out of as many movies as possible, has led to an oversaturation of Star Wars, live-action remakes, and superhero movies. ‘Solo’ is a bland, lacklustre disappointment. ‘Rogue One’, while unnecessary, at least packed a bit of an emotional punch. But ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ face a different problem. What’s that famous saying: Too many chefs spoil the broth?

When Star Wars returned with ‘The Force Awakens’, you had three writers behind the story. J. J. Abrams was arguably the driving force, but you also had Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt. When you get to ‘The Last Jedi’, you have Rian Johnson. This marks our first problem. A trilogy is meant to represent one larger story, typically the beginning, middle, and end of a character’s/characters’ journey or a plot, typically demonstrated through conflict and change.

For example: The prequel trilogy represents the three stages of Anakin’s journey from an innocent, hopeful slave boy, to an angry, stroppy, emo-kid, to a child murderer. It also shows the uprising of the Empire, the moving of Palpatine from out of the shadows, etc. You get the idea; you’ve undoubtedly seen the movies or at least understand how a trilogy typically works.

The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

image via YouTube

Abrams set the first part of this trilogy into motion by setting up various questions: who are Rey’s parents? Why is she so powerful with the force? Who is Snoke? How did Maz Katana get Luke’s lightsaber? How did the First Order get so powerful? Why is Luke in exile? This movie cut many corners without explanation, but in terms of setting up the direction of the trilogy (all be it as a hollow copy of the original trilogy), it did a decent enough job.

My main issue with ‘The Force Awakens’ is that it went too big too early. I mean the idea of them making another Death Star is even commented on by Han Solo within the movie. What will they build in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, a Death Star that destroys entire galaxies? The end of ‘The Force Awakens’ marks the downfall of this trilogy, in my opinion. We see the Death Star being destroyed, we see Rey beginning to beat Kylo Ren (after mastering her force abilities in a matter of minutes), and we see most of the First Order being destroyed.

So, what comes next? The movie ends with Rey handing Luke his lightsaber, and then the credits roll.

The Last Jedi

Star Wars The Last Jedi

image via Slashfilm

I’m trying my best not to rant endlessly about these movies, but ‘The Last Jedi’ was SO bad that I need to mention a few things. Firstly, I can appreciate what Rian Johnson was trying to do. Everyone enjoyed Game of Thrones because the unexpected could happen. Johnson’s aim was to subvert fans’ expectations. An admirable goal, one that he lacked the experience and knowledge to pull off.

Look at this way. Imagine Abrams is building a snowman. He builds the body, he gives the snowman a head and arms, but then his mother calls him in for dinner. So, he gives a box to Johnson which contains a range of hats, jackets, various items for facial features, and maybe even a couple of pipes. When Abrams comes back outside, he finds that the snowman is just a giant snow dick with misshapen, lumpy, cancer-ridden testicles.

Why? Because Johnson wanted to create something unexpected. He wanted to be funny (because we’re an immature species that for some reason laughs at cocks), but also serious (because cancer is a hard-hitting topic). That’s what ‘The Last Jedi’ is: a mismatch of dire, intense moments, with cheesy one-liners, out of place humour, and unexpected moments that are moronic rather than clever. Sprinkle in some unnecessary social commentary, and you’ve summed up the movie.

Who are Rey’s parents? Who gives a shit! Why is she so powerful! She just is. What is Luke doing in exile? Hiding for reasons that even Mark Hamill views as moronic. Where did Snoke come from? Fuck Snoke, he got killed by Kylo Ren despite being the most powerful person to appear in the Star Wars cinematic universe. Unsurprisingly, ‘The Last Jedi’ divided the fanbase quite drastically.

The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

image via Mashable

This brings us nicely to the upcoming movie ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. Disney has received a lot of backlash as a result of their recent Star Wars movies. But the only new Star Wars movie I want to see (an Obi-Wan spin-off) seems to have been put on hold indefinitely, most likely as a result of this. I haven’t heard anything else about Johnson’s own trilogy (which I won’t be watching), and the writers of Game of Thrones and their own trilogy (which I also won’t be watching).

So, why do I believe that ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ will be the best of this trilogy? Firstly, J. J. Abrams is writing and directing the final instalment. I don’t imagine that he would have accepted that role if he felt that the trilogy was doomed.

There is a lot of pressure on this final movie. Star Wars fans who feel let down by ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘Solo’ aren’t going to give Disney unlimited chances. I’m not even that big a Star Wars fan (unless you’re talking about Star War Battlefront for Playstation 2) and even I’ve found myself abandoning the series. So, given that Disney has just invested a lot of money into new Star Wars themed section of Disneyland, they need to keep the franchise alive.

However, this is also why I feel that ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ is going to be a bitter pill to swallow. The easiest way to explain this is to consider the Star Wars universe as a whole, and how the threads connect between all the movies.

Star Wars: Forcing Nostalgia

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

image via Wired

Once we move past the original trilogy, we rely heavily on the existence of already-established characters to make Star Wars movies feel connected. I’m not talking about main characters, obviously. We have Ob-Wan, Anakin, Emperor Palpatine, etc, who all appear in the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. However, we also get other characters pushed into the movies for the sake of making them feel connected, forcing nostalgia down our throats.

A prime example would be Jabba the Hut. There’s no reason that we need to see Jabba again, and yet he’s hosting pod races in ‘The Phantom Menace’. Speaking of which, Darth Maul pops up at the end of ‘Solo’. Why? Not to push storyline, but to add a sense of mystery that forces you to explore the non-cinematic sources of Star Wars storytelling. Through which you learn that Darth Maul didn’t actually die in ‘The Phantom Menace’. This would be all well and good if it led to an Obi-Wan spin-off, but as it currently stands its simply nostalgia, nothing more.

Why does Yoda appear as a force ghost in ‘The Last Jedi’ but not Obi-Wan? We’ve seen Obi-Wan as a force ghost too many times, yet Yoda only appears at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Chewbacca appears in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ for no real reason beyond fuelling fan theories. You get the idea.

What has this got to do with ‘The Rise of Skywalker’?

What We Can Expect

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

image via Geek Tyrant

For those of you who have seen the trailer (which I’m sure is all of you), you’ll already be aware of where I’m going with this. The trailer for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ ends with Luke saying, “we’ll always be with you. No one’s ever really gone.” This is followed by the unmistakable cackle of none other than Emperor Palpatine. This is where the dread I hold for this movie originates.

Hearing Palpatine laughing means one of three things: 1) He somehow survived the events of ‘Return of the Jedi’. 2) He is appearing as a dark side force ghost. 3) His consciousness has somehow been stored on some otherwise unheard-of Star Wars tech.

However, these three things combine into one reason why Ian McDiarmid has returned to reprise the role: they are grasping at straws. Disney need to drag everyone into this movie that they can in order to generate hype and reignite the passions of fans.

What can we expect? I’d imagine some ridiculously contrived story that aims to explain character actions and motivations in ‘The Last Jedi’ e.g. how Snoke was killed so easily, how Rey is so powerful, and why Kylo Ren seemed to be swithering between good and evil in ‘The Force Awakens’ before turning psycho in ‘The Last Jedi’.

Beyond how idiotic this will be for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, you also have to consider the larger implications of Palpatine being alive (if he is still alive). For starters, it kind of fucks up the entirety of Anakin’s redemption arc and the whole fulfilment of the prophecy. Sure, Anakin died saving Luke, which is lovely, but he wouldn’t have defeated the Sith.

The trailer alone suggests a near-endless string of call backs to the original trilogy. We have Billy Dee Williams returning as Lando Carlrissian. We see the medals that the heroes were awarded at the end of ‘A New Hope’. Some of the speeders resemble those used in ‘Return of the Jedi’. I could go on, but the worst part is that we’ll still get nothing from the new main character: Rey. Luke had more development in the first act of ‘A New Hope’ than Rey has had in this entire trilogy.

In Summary

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

image via Star Wars

Just to sum up this rather incoherent babbling: this trilogy isn’t really a trilogy, but rather a series of sequels that are connected through the use of the same main characters. It doesn’t perform the function of a trilogy at all, and we will see that this final movie will stoop to any low in order to desperately claw back any fans it can.


Thanks for reading! Are you excited for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’? What have you thought of the trilogy so far. 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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Top 10 Best Scottish Actors!

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

Honourable Mentions

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

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

Now onto the Top 10!

10-Rose Leslie

Scottish Actors

image via The Mary Sue

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

Favourite Role: Ygritte (Game of Thrones)

 9-Robbie Coltrane

Scottish Actors

image via BBC America

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

Favourite Role: Hagrid (Harry Potter series)

8-Brian Cox

Scottish Actors

image via The Independent

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

 

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

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

7-Billy Connolly

Scottish Actors

image via Pinterest

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

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

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

6-Gerard Butler

Scottish Actors

image via The Cheat Sheet

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

 

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

Favourite Role: Clyde Shelton (Law Abiding Citizen)

5-Karen Gillan

Scottish Actors

image via Inverse

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

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

Favourite Role: Amy Pond (Doctor Who)

4-Sean Connery

Scottish Actors

image via Evil Geeks

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

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

3-James McAvoy

Scottish Actors

image via The Hook Mag

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

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

Favourite Role: Kevin (Split)

2-David Tennent

Scottish Actors

image via Blogtor Who

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

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

Favourite Role: The Doctor (Doctor Who)

1-Ewan McGregor

Scottish Actors

image via Nerdist

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Peace!

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!

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

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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

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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

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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!

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Why I’m not a Film Theorist!

 

Who doesn’t love a crazy, yet bizarre film theory? Is Elf really a film about racism (or at least discrimination)? Why does Jack-Jack have the same hair as syndrome? Could the aliens from Monsters vs Aliens actually be part of a major conspiracy involving the infiltration of the white house? Is Tropic Thunder really the final film rather than the actual events that took place? Is Hot Tube Time Machine actually Lou’s second or third time travelling back to the 80s? What is the connection between Scooby Doo and Cabin in the Woods? Of course most of these films will have little to no evidence to support them.

These aren’t supposed to be super serious theories. This isn’t like the idea that Willy Wonka used children to make his chocolate or that all the Pixar films take place within the same universe. They’re just fun ideas I came up with (not remotely under the influence of marijuana, of course) and I figured I’d share them to see what you guys think so don’t take them too seriously and instead, just keep them in mind the next time you watch any of these films. Let’s dive right in:

 

Scooby in the Woods

This theory combines two ideas together: I’m sure all of you are familiar with Scooby Doo? Yes? Good! The live-action films will be the focus of this theory (although it does also relate to the cartoon). The other film that is involved in this theory is Cabin in the Woods. For those of you unfamiliar with Cabin in the Woods, it’s a sort of satirical take on the horror genre where the audience are represented by violent and cruel Gods who require human sacrifices to die in a terrifying and brutal fashion. In order for the sacrifices to count, the chosen 5 have to select their own death. In the film they choose a weird incest, red-neck zombie family to kill them. With me so far?

So there are 5 main characters in the film which relate to the 5 necessary sacrifices: you have the athlete, the scholar, the slut, the jester and the virgin. There are several rules that have to be followed in order for the Gods to accept the sacrifice, one of which being that the virgin has to die last. In Cabin in the Woods, there is a shady organisation that is essentially responsible for ensuring that the necessary sacrifices are made whenever the God’s demand it.

So how does all of this relate to Scooby Doo? Well the first thing that drew my attention to this comparison was the characters. Let’s look at the list of 5 suitable sacrifices: the athlete (Fred), the slut (Daphne), the scholar (Velma), the jester (Shaggy) and the virgin (Scooby). You may be wondering why I chose those roles for Shaggy and Scooby…well first of all, Scooby Doo does not have a dick (something my girlfriend pointed out to me) but also in the first Scooby Doo film, why is Scooby Doo chosen as a sacrifice? His soul is pure! Scooby is the virgin sacrifice who needs to die last in order for the Gods to be appeased.

That isn’t where the parallels end though. For starters, in Cabin in the Woods it’s the virgin and the jester who infiltrate the organisation where all the monsters come from. In Monsters Unleashed, the exact same thing happens. Shaggy and Scooby infiltrate the monster making factory in an attempt to put an end to the unleashing of the monsters. Furthermore, the athlete is taken down while on a motorbike which is true in both cases.

We can even take the entire comparison a step further. We can obviously view Mystery Inc as the chosen sacrifices. That much is clear. We can view the monsters as the monsters, again, a pretty straight forward comparison. What about the Gods? The Gods in Cabin in the Woods are supposed to be the viewers but in Scooby Doo its the public. We seen in both films that the public are very quick to appear whenever Mystery Inc are surviving/defeating the Monsters but when they are losing the Gods are hidden from view. So one could even argue that the “villains” who create the monsters in Scooby Doo are actually just trying to appease the Gods!

 

The Reproducing Man from Earth

I’m going to start off with a lesser known film: The Man from Earth. If you haven’t seen it before, you can find a trailer and some information (without spoilers) on my mind-fuck film list here! If you’ve seen it before then we can begin. So The Man from Earth follows John. He’s been many things throughout his immortal life (which I won’t list just in case someones eyes wander down here before they’ve seen the film. I can explain my theory without ruining the film anyway.

So John is immortal and he is asked about whether he has ever met anyone who is the same as him. He says he met somebody once and saw him again one other time but that he was lost in a crowd. When asked about love, John says that he has lost the capacity. I mean, after living thousands and thousands of years, how many loved ones has he lost? He’s lonely, even if he tries never to admit it, there are hints through his stories.

Eventually John must have grown sick of never finding anyone like him and so, he wondered if maybe his offspring shared his immortality. If he was an annomaly in nature, his offspring have an improved chance of also being the same. Even if the odds were low he had thousands and thousands of year to basically trial and error it. John had children, then moved away and then returned much later in their lives to see if they were old/dead.

How do we know this? At the end of the film we discover that Will (an elderly old man whose wife had died a few days previously) is actually the son of John the immortal man. It could just be coincidence that John ended up in the same place as his son…but considering how careful he seems to be when moving around, I don’t think this is the case.

So instead we have an immortal man who is travelling around impregnating women to try and find himself another one of his kind with whom he can travel and be less lonely. We see this idea being taken a step further when he allows Sandy to travel with him right after his son just died.

 

Elf

I have a couple of theories related to the film Elf. The much loved Christmas classic tells the story of Buddy the Elf. A human who was raised as an Elf before being sent back to New York to get his father off Santa’s naughty list. I’m not usually one for Christmas films (yes, I’m a Grinch!) but Elf is always highly entertaining!

So where does my theory begin? Well, right at the start of course. You may cast your mind back to similar stories such as Thor, where Odin take the child of a Frost Giant and raises it as his own son. There are slightly more sinister versions of the same story such as A Brave New World where a half-savage, half-cultured (if that’s even how you’d define him) boy is taken away from a world where he didn’t fit in…to a world where he still didn’t fit in.

I can’t help but think about the song “Half-Breed” by Blue Swede. The song revolves around a half-Cherokee, half white man who was never accepted by the Cherokee tribe he was born into but was always seen as a Cherokee by white people. I think this is a similar story to Elf. We view it as a ridiculous comedy about an Elf but what if there was a serious message behind it?

Buddy didn’t ask to be raised an Elf. He may have crawled into Santa’s bag but he was essentially kidnapped from the orphanage. He is raised in a world where magic is real and penguins and snowmen can talk. He grows up wearing the Elf attire, eating Elf food (mostly sugar), being incredibly friendly to everyone and helping Santa throughout the year so that he can deliver presents at Christmas. Yet when Buddy arrives in New York, despite the fact that he isn’t causing anybody any harm, he is ridiculed, belittled, treated like an idiot (he does essentially have the mind of a child) and struggles to fit in.

Think about it: he sings to his father because of a misunderstanding. He is told that that’s what is expected of him yet when he does it, he gets thrown out. He tries to make friends (with animals and people alike) only to be attacked or ignored. Smiling too much is even seen as annoying and soon he is instructed to do it less. The food he eats is seen as weird and bizarre, his excitement at Christmas seems over-the-top to the point that his “boss” thinks Corporate sent a professional. His friendliness is often seen as creepy (such as the shower scene) when really he just wants to spread happiness throughout the world.

So what is Elf? It’s the film about accepting those who are different than us. People may seem a little weird to you: their clothes may look ridiculous or rarely be washed, their food may seem strange or even inedible to you, their behaviours and attitudes come across as a little crazy but if we accept them as simply another human being trying to fit into our already crazy world then we learn the true meaning of Christmas and family.

I also had an idea that Buddy could perhaps have escaped from a cult or religion that he was indoctrinated into as a child. Perhaps there is no Santa or elves but these are just how Buddy’s child-like mind deals with the sudden return to reality. Nobody can really understand why he acts so strange but he’s been raised in “Elf culture” and after escaping, there was nobody to ease him back into the world. It’s sort of like that TV show where Amish teenagers go out into the world for the first time and have no idea what anything is or how to behave.

What do you think? Looking into a Christmas film a little too much? Maybe, but it doesn’t get any more sane from this point onwards.

 

Hot Tub Time Machine

My theory here is related to one of the main characters: Lou. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s a rather moronic tale of 3 friends and one of their nephews who travel through time via a hot tub to the 80s and proceed to interact with life then/there. I enjoy the film but it’s not great by any means and is mildly entertaining at best! That being said, the last time I watched it I noticed some very bizarre moments.

The main character Lou is seen as the deadbeat. His attempted suicide at the start is ultimately what leads to the group going on a skiing trip. My theory is this: Lou has been back in time this way before. If you’ve seen the film then this may sound a little ridiculous but bear with me!

Lou (we learn near the end of the film) is the father of Jacob. Jacob’s mother, also Adam’s sister is staying at the same ski resort as the guys. She’s in the same lodge as the enemy of Lou (Blaine). Anyway, for Lou to sleep with Adam’s sister and thereby create Jacob, he has to be at the same lodge as Blaine, who had just beaten Lou up twice (one of these times being slightly earlier that evening).

Lou is terrified of Blaine, even as an adult who has just travelled through time so in the original timeline he wouldn’t have been anywhere near that lodge and therefore nowhere near Kelly (Adam’s sister and Jacob’s mother). The only reason that they end up in the lodge is to get the Chernobyly (the energy drink that was basically responsible for sending them back in time).

This is what I think happened: I think Lou’s life was as awful as it appears in the film. He hates himself and everyone around him and comforts himself with drugs and alcohol (which is also a drug but I just wanted to be clear that alcohol was involved). Originally (let’s say in timeline 1) Jacob doesn’t exist. Lou, in a desperate attempt to reclaim his youth and reconnect with his best friends (only friends) tries to organise a ski. Adam is “super busy” (as is described in the film) and Nick doesn’t want to go without Adam (or alone with Lou) and so Lou, despite having booked the hotel room that was the same one they’d gone to before as young adults, takes the trip alone.

After getting drunk, taking drugs and ultimately ending up alone in his hot tub, Lou tries to drown himself. However, he wakes up in the 80s and comes to terms with the idea that somehow, he has travelled through time. In an attempt to change the future, Lou doesn’t walk into Blaine and therefore doesn’t get his ass kicked later that day. Lou parties hard, thinking that by changing this one moment of his past, he’ll have altered his life in the present drastically.

Eventually Lou ends up back in the present: nothing has changed at all (well, maybe some small things but for arguments sake, let’s say that this is still the same as timeline 1 i.e. Jacob doesn’t exist). He tries to tell his friends Adam and Nick about what happened, to bring them in so that they can explore the idea as a group again but they just don’t care. Lou angrily travels back to the 80s and goes around messing with the timeline. He convinces Adam to break up with Jenny, he sabotages Nicks performance and he sleeps with Kelly. Blaine, perhaps through jealousy decides to kick Lou’s ass because of this and when he returns to the present, a lot has changed.

This is timeline 2. He realises that Jacob exists in this universe and that’s why he hates Jacob so much. He resents this kid who is basically the symbol of his repeated fuck-ups. Jacob is a symbol of Lou’s guilt for ruining his friend’s lives (that’s why the film constantly asks the question of why Adam ever broke up with Jenny). In an attempt to change things, Lou travels back again but for some reason, whenever he travels back now the same events occur: Adam still breaks up with Jenny and Nick still performs poorly on stage. Lou doesn’t sleep with Kelly and as such, realises that Jacob is his son when he returns to timeline 3 which is another timeline where Jacob doesn’t exist.

In one final attempt, Lou travels back and sleeps with Kelly. He doesn’t consider staying in the 80s to live his life through to the present and as such, when he returns, Kelly isn’t a part of his life and neither is Jacob. So this time he is convinced to take his friends with him on yet another journey into the past. He knows from trying before that they won’t go willingly and so, he fakes a suicide attempt.

This is where we get into the events of the film. Lou doesn’t like Jacob, that much is true. He doesn’t want Jacob to come to the past with him because he’ll see how much of a loser his father was. He also doesn’t want Jacob being immune to any time changes. You’ll notice that his attitude starts to change towards Jacob once they are back in the 80s. They start to bond (yes, they almost have a threesome) but he just wants his kid to not be a loser like him.

Lou realises he needs to recreate the moment with Kelly which is why he starts laying groundwork early in the film. However, the mistake he makes is that he is convinced that his friends are on his team this time. They HAVE to help him fight Blaine this time. Don’t they? Lou thinks that Blaine is his demon that needs to be beaten. He can change his life around by not running and not getting his ass kicked. But Lou gets his ass kicked again and what’s worse, the chernobyly gets taken.

Lou has no plans to go back to the present and actually doesn’t really care if the guys go either. One thing he does know is that for his family life to begin, he and Kelly have to conceive Jacob. So when the others are busy searching for the Russian energy drink, Lou focuses on looking through Kelly’s stuff. He knows fine well that it isn’t there but assumes she will come back at some stage.

Everything else that happens is just what happens: Lou stays to spend time with Kelly, Jacob and to get rich (of course). He’s also helped the guys fix their mistakes and now he gets what he really wanted: his friends back.

 

Jack-Jack: Son of Syndrome

This one may sound a little whacky but it’s all just fun and games. I’m sure you’ve seen The Incredibles. If you haven’t then what are you still doing reading this? Go watch it…now! Anyway, you will of course be familiar with the Parr’s youngest child: Jack-Jack. We get to see some glimpses into his powers during the short Jack-Jack attack. However, I recently noticed that Jack-Jack doesn’t really look like his father. Instead, he resembles the villain: Syndrome.

We know that Syndrome has been watching a bunch of superheroes. We also know that Mr Incredible was his hero as a child. Essentially he was the reason that he went from being Incredi-boy to Syndrome. Why is this important?

Well, we have the scene where Syndrome acts surprised when he sees the Parr family all together. What if he wasn’t surprised? What if through his technology, Syndrome somehow planted his own DNA either into Mrs Incredible OR one step further: allowed the superhero genes of Mr and Mrs Incredible to merge to insure the kid had super powers BUT he also inserted his DNA in as well. Just look at the hair: Mr Incredible has blonde hair. Dash has blonde hair. Mrs Incredible has dark brown hair. Violet has dark hair. What about Jack-Jack? Ginger. Not only ginger but, look at the style. It is pointed up exactly like Syndrome’s. You may be thinking back to Syndrome as a kid when his hair didn’t look anything like that…but you have to keep in mind that his entire image was styled after Mr Incredible. So he flattened his hair in the same way.

Now this could just be a coincidence. Maybe they were just trying to cover as many hair colours within the Parr family to show that the powers are the result of a mutation and that the same mutations take place within other aspects of their genes. It could also just be a coincidence that Syndrome went home, collected Jack-Jack and planned to raise him as his own. It could even be that Jack-Jack is in some ways a clone of Syndrome but with the power-elements of Mr and Mrs Incredible. That way, even if Syndrome dies there will be a version of him with powers in the world. Something he’s always wanted.

 

The_Incredibles_-_Syndrome_-_Renderdownload

 

The Alien Conspiracy

Monsters Vs Alien is the exciting tale from Dreamworks about…well…Monsters Vs Aliens. This is a pretty minor theory but I think that it’s somewhat interesting. Ever notice that the symbol for the Monsters is the same shape as the alien spaceship? Interesting!

I haven’t fully developed this theory yet but I think it has something to do with Operation Bluebeam. What is this you ask? Let me explain. Operation Bluebeam is a conspiracy theory based around NASA. This theory relates to the use of hologram projections to convince people that the anti-Christ is taking over the world. Interestingly, there are variations of it with some conspiracy theorists claiming that the real plan is as follows:

NASA or their puppet masters (Operation Bluebeam is not something I buy into, I’m just explaining it the way that I heard it) would create an alien invasion through the use of projections. I don’t mean that they visually create an alien invasion…but rather they project holograms all around the world as if they are coming from a mothership. This “aliens” then threaten the destruction of Earth unless the human race agrees to be subservient. The nations that agree are then ruled through this method of projection. Those that don’t are destroyed through entirely terrestrial means.

In the film, the commander of the monsters has never had an opportunity to display their value. Much like the monsters, he has been locked away in a government facility until such a time as he is needed. As such, he convinces Dr Cockroach to assist him. In exchange for their freedom, Dr Cockroach must create the means to project an alien hologram around the world. He also has to create a mothership and giant alien robots. After all, Dr Cockroach has been locked up for decades at least. He can make anything out of anything.

The goal of this operation from the general’s point of view is to get into the White House. Not in as such (he can get in using codes and scans) but he needs a seat at the table, to be respected by his peers and to look good in the eyes of the president. (I couldn’t find a good photo of the alien space ship from above or below but i’m sure you see it from such an angle in the film and it looks exactly the same as the logo (left).

 

Tropic Thunder

This isn’t so much a theory as it is a realisation. Tropic Thunder opens with the information “…of the 10 men sent, 4 returned. Of those 4, 3 wrote a book. Of those 3, 2 were published. Of those 2, just 1 got a movie deal. This is the story of the men who attempted to make that movie.” We then assume that the film goes on to show the process of the film being made…BUT in actuality it’s the film of that film being made.

Everything in the film is dramatized for effect. The real director didn’t step on a mine, they just added that in. The war hero 4-leaf wasn’t a fake; they just needed a new twist. In the actual events of them making the film, chances are very little happened. A lot of money was wasted (similar to the start) and so the director takes them to the jungle and sets up cameras. The original film was filmed this way with 5 actors wandering through the jungle, trying to survive, acting out scenes as they went. Perhaps they get into some trouble but nothing to the scale of the film. When they get out, the film is a disaster.

Instead, they re-do the making of the film with all the drama and thrill and adrenaline pumping gunfights, drug addictions, deaths, character development etc. Focussing on the actors instead of the character they were supposed to be portraying.

 

Anyway, that’s my list of random “theories” that I’ve come up with. Pretty ridiculous, huh? I sometimes think it is fun to just randomly add a twist to films when you notice small details out of place.

 

If you have any of your own, feel free to post them below or Tweet me your ideas. Don’t forget to follow me here and on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with my blog posts, short stories and any updates on my novel! Peace!

Ghostbusters (2016): The Other Side

So after the complete hate and negativity the female led Ghostbusters trailer received a little while back, I wrote and shared my opinions regarding my expectations for the film and ultimately why I thought it was going to fail. This isn’t in any way a unique train of thought, neither was it some of one-in-a-million prophecy that just happened to come true. I think most of us knew that for whatever reason the Ghostbusters film of 2016 was doomed to fail. Now that the film has become available online I decided to give it a watch, putting aside my presumptuous hate, my knowledge that it had 5.5 on IMDB and lost $70 million in the box office. Here’s what I thought:

While I did go in with an open mind, I have to say that it didn’t take long for the film to annoy me enough that I started taking notes on my phone of exactly why it wasn’t an enjoyable film. What I found interesting was that on the run-up to this film being released when it initially received its first batch of hate; it suddenly became sexist to say that the film was going to suck. If you thought it looked shit you were automatically branded a women hating pig who thinks that they shouldn’t have the right to vote and only belong in the kitchen. Yet here we have a film that spends its entire two hours going out its way to try and make females seem superior to males. This is where I began taking notes. You see the film opens up with a male tour guide showing guests around some hotel. He gets chased by a ghost, screams and cries and as we learn later, he soils himself. Of course the ghost that does all this to him is a female. We then basically get introduced to three of the four “Ghostbusters” and are told how brilliant they are: Two of them have already published a book on ghosts and both now work at different universities (one is a particle physics professor while the other is some sort of supernatural scientist but still shown as being very intelligent). We then meet the third member who, and I quote, “she’s a brilliant engineer and very loyal, she would not abandon you. She also happens to specialise in experimental particle physics.”  We then meet our 3rd male character of the film. This character we encounter admits that he screams in a disturbing way and basically refuses to go back into the hotel. It isn’t long before we are introduced to the soon to be receptionist for the team: Chris Hemsworth’s character: Kevin. Kevin is literally the most moronic character in this entire film. He covers his eyes when he hears a loud noise, he took his glasses lenses out because they kept getting dirty, he doesn’t know how to use a phone, he doesn’t know how to be a receptionist, he called his dog Mike Hat (which sounds like my cat)…he’s an idiot and the whole team know it.

We are then subjected to a wide array of disturbing vagina, boob and dick jokes for all the 13 year olds who were watching this film. Not to mention that Melissa McCarthy as per usual talks about food for far too long in this film. I can’t help but think about a recent episode of South Park where Cartman gives a talk in front of his school about how women are funny and it’s time we accept it. He tries to had the microphone to various female characters, telling them to say something funny. When they don’t seem to have anything funny to say, he begins telling them “go on, talk about your vagina. Be funny!” When you have female comedians such as Amy “joke-stealer” Schumer who basically only talk about sex and their vaginas, you can’t help but see Cartman as having a point, especially in relation to this recent Ghostbusters film. Just to clarify: I’m completely for female comedians and find plenty of them funny. It’s just that these women in particular were not at all funny and actually just made me cringe for the length of the film. What does it say that during a female-led comedy film, the only times I laughed was because if male characters? Ozzy Osbourne’s random appearance where he thinks he’s having flashbacks was one of the few moments I actually enjoyed because it wasn’t a dick/vagina joke or a reference to Mellissa McCarthy eating. I mean sure, there is the famous moment from the original Ghostbusters where the sentence “Yes it’s true, this man has no dick” but I think we can all agree that it’s a step above someone talking about getting slime “in every crack”.

I’m going to conclude this post (yes it is drastically shorter than usual) simply by highlighting the overall issue with this film: This film isn’t a loveable throwback to the original Ghostbusters nor is it a original film. It is instead a man-hating abomination of nostalgia and special effects trying to convince us that female led films can be just as funny as their male counterparts. I think for me, I can sum up how I felt watching the film by explaining how it ended. After some ridiculous fight and blah blah blah, the Ghostbusters eventually defeat villain by hitting him in the balls. Yup, the female-led team literally saves the day by hitting someone in the balls. If that doesn’t drive the point home for you then I don’t know what will.

 

Mind-Fucks: My List of Thought-Provoking Films

For this list I will be ignoring documentaries (although I may pick that up again in a future post). I will be looking at entirely fictional films that leave you with questions in your head, perhaps of a scientific nature or maybe even in the form of philosophical questions and pondering. I won’t include any spoilers within this list so if you haven’t seen the film, this post will still be safe to read.

The purpose of this post is basically to be a list but I will include a very brief description with some pros and cons and in most cases I’ll mention some key elements to the film e.g. time travel. Some of these films might be somewhat slow to watch, others may have you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The purpose of this list is not to provide you with typical Hollywood films with crazy special effects, happy endings and a romantic storyline that makes you shudder with awkwardness.

Instead, this list will give you some films that will keep you up at night as you ponder their meaning and begin to question your place in the universe.Be warned: while I have included trailers for each of these films, I’d advise that you don’t base your decision of whether to watch a film or not on its trailer. Some of the trailers are just awful and really don’t do the film any justice.

 

The Man from Earth (2007) is a new edition to this list. I’d put off watching this film for a while because in all honesty, the story line just didn’t sound all that interesting. A man who has just resigned a few days previously abandons a leaving party and heads home to pack. Followed by his friend, he tells them the story of his life…on that has gone on for thousands of years. The film has no action, no special effects, nothing you’d expect to find in a typical great film but like many of those in this list: through a small cast and an incredible storytelling ability, this film leaves you thinking. I won’t give anything away so all I will say is that once you think that this film has blown your mind, it does it again! I’m also adding a theory for this film to my theory list which you can see here! Just make sure you’ve watched the film first!

Key elements: Immortality and philosophy.

 

Coherence (2013) isn’t a particularly widely known film and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have never heard of it but I would definitely recommend it. This film had a pretty low budget and most of the scenes involving the cast were improvised apart from some basic guidelines for conversation (which is sometimes far too noticeable) yet as this film begins to gain pace, you’ll find yourself concentrating on many other aspects of the film. Ever heard about Schrödinger’s Cat? Well you will have by the time you have finished watching. As a comet passes by Earth, a group of friends begin to experience some rather bizarre and sometimes unnerving events. Taking every precaution to keep themselves sane and with explanations flying left, right and center, this film reminds me of one thing in particular: ever play that game where you put a ball under one of three cups and move them around and have someone guess which cup the ball is under? If you ever wanted the same experience from a film then Coherence is the one for you.

Key elements: Multiverse theory and the many-world’s interpretation of quantum mechanics.

 

 

Primer (2004) is yet another low-budget film with surprisingly great work to show for it. I was put off watching Primer initially largely due to the quality of the film but after giving it a shot, I can’t help but recommend it to people. If you enjoy films that involve time travel, this is the one for you. There are no crazy Hollywood explosions or wild visuals; this film remains basic while requiring your undivided attention. I’ll admit that after my first viewing, I didn’t entirely grasp this timeline of this film but after a few google searches and a second viewing, I’m still completely amazed by the nature of Primer. If you could travel back in time by a few hours, days or weeks, what would you do? Perhaps you’d choose the winning lottery numbers or amaze someone with your psychic abilities? This films takes what I’d describe as a very real look at time travel in possibly the most realistic way you can in a sci-fi film. This film manages to make time-travel seem not only possible but actually normal.

Key elements: Time travel

 

 

I Heart Huckabees (2004) is nothing short of insane! Considering the pretty great cast involved in this film and its wild and whacky nature, I’m surprised this film doesn’t pop up on more lists online. Even if I wanted to describe this film to you, I’m not entirely sure that I could but I’ll give it a shot: After a series of coincidences, the main character hires “existential detectives” to tell him what these coincidences mean in terms of how he fits into the universe. This of course leads to a crazy series of events that just get more ridiculous by the minute. Other than being hugely funny and definitely entertaining, this film does propose some deep philosophical questions; all be it in a humorous and bizarre way. This film doesn’t require anywhere near as much attention as the previously mentioned films and it’s definitely a lot easier to watch.

Key elements: Our purpose in life and our connection to each other through the fabric of the universe.

 

 

Fight Club (1999) is perhaps one of the better known films in this list. I’d be surprised if anyone reading this post has managed to go through their life without at least one friend or family member pestering them to watch it. Fight Club ultimately follows a man who despite having all the Ikea furniture a guy could ever want, is beginning to feel like his life has no meaning. Every point in his life is just another fleeting moment that brings him closer to death. That is until he meets the infamous Tyler Durden which leads the pair to embark on an anti-capitalist and anti-consumerism movement that will have your blood pumping and brain thinking throughout the entire film. Of course Fight Club couldn’t have such a name without a being about a fight club and I’d love to tell you about it but there are rules in place that make talking about it impossible. Fight Club for a while now has been one of my favourite films and if you haven’t seen it, what the hell are you still doing here?

Key elements: Societal issues: consumerism, materialism, capitalism etc.

 

The Matrix (1999) is yet another film that almost everyone will have at least heard of, if not seen. Following the story of Neo, The Matrix plunges the watcher into a reality where everything is not as it seems. Proposing the idea that life is in fact just a computer program designed to simulate your entire existence, The Matrix is completely action-packed and has some incredible moments that will have your adrenaline pumping. Of course if this really is a simulation, then you’re watching a film about a simulation while in a simulation…sim-ception!

Key elements: Simulation theory (or at least some version of it)

 

Mr Nobody (2009) is a film that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on my blog (See: https://rantingravingblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/choice-can-we-make-the-right-one/) which compared to the other films is actually rather straight forward to describe: During the divorce of his parents, a young boy is faced with a difficult decision: To go live with his mother or go live with his father. What unfolds is a view at what each decision could result in and how these would in turn effect his life. Also touching on the many worlds interpretation, this films plays on the idea that for each decision we make there will be another reality where we chose the other option. I’ll admit, there are moments where this film feels incredibly slow but by the end you just can’t help but feel a sense of amazement.

As well as a trailer, I’m also going to include a video which you should view AFTER watching Mr Nobody. It’s a very well put together video which uses the voice of Alan Watts, music by Ludovico Einaudi and video from a wide variety of films (primarily Mr Nobody and actually ends with a quote from the film).

Key elements: Our choices and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

 

 

The Nines (2007) is a bit of a strange one. I can’t really describe why this film is interesting without giving away the entire plot of the film so rather than try and convince you, I’ll simply suggest you watch it. Similarly to Mr Nobody, this film does get a bit slow at times but the overall message and ideas within the film are very thought-provoking. I HATE Melisa McCarthy but I still managed to enjoy this film despite her being there every step of the way to piss me off!

Key elements: The multiverse and gods

 

 

The Prestige (2006) is an incredible film, nothing short of spectacular. I mean who wouldn’t want to see Batman and Wolverine have a magic showdown? There is something completely unnerving about this film and you’ll definitely be questioning it as you try to sleep at night. In a competitive battle of each magician’s capabilities, the lengths that each act will go to in order to out-perform the other becomes increasingly questionable. While this does feel like a long film, I assure you that every moment of patience is paid off as the film goes on.

Key elements: Magic (through science)

 

 

Honourable Mentions: These films while being thought provoking just don’t live up to the standard set by the films I mentioned above so I’ve put them in a separate category. I enjoyed all of these films but each of them had something that just let it down. I’d still definitely recommend them to people though.

Moon (2009) was a rather pleasant surprise. It’s another film on this list that just seems to fall through the cracks and avoid detection. Similarly to The Nines, I find it difficult to describe this film without giving too much away in terms of plot. This is definitely one of my favourite performances by Sam Rockwell and certainly one of the more emotional ones. Anyway, check out the trailer below and I’m sure you’ll be curious enough to watch the film.

Key elements: Morals and ethics

 

The Adjustment Bureau (2011): Ever wonder if the decisions you make are really your decisions? Ever wonder if things that appear random such as bumping into a stranger or spilling your coffee are actually random as opposed to pre-planned events? Adjustment Bureau leads the audience into a world where men in hats (who in the past have been referred to as angels) nudge certain people down certain paths in order to reach a particular outcome. I did enjoy this film and have seen it many times but there just wasn’t enough real substance to it. There aren’t many films where I can say I actually enjoyed the romantic storyline but this is one of them. That being said, many of the scenes in this film are over-dramatized and some of the more action-based scenes just make you cringe rather than feel excited.

Key elements: Free will

 

Source Code (2011) initially sets itself up as some sort of time-travel film (to some extent) in that the main character is forced to relive the same 8 minutes leading up to an explosion on a train. He has to try and work out who the bomber is in order to prevent another attack from happening in the present/future. What we soon learn is that he can in fact manipulate key elements of the past which lead to different events. My issue with this film is that while it does touch on a very interesting idea it was sucked into Hollywood’s “make-up” chair where it was soon pampered with unnecessary explosions, an awful romantic-element and just too many attempts to make the film appear exciting. What I’d prefer to have seen was a similar sort of film but with more meaning and character development as it had the potential to be much greater than it was.

Key elements: Time travel/multiple realities

 

12 Monkeys (1995) is a classic. I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a mind-fuck sort of film but it’s definitely bizarre and interesting. The story initially begins in the future, underground, where the remains of humanity have been living in order to avoid a virus that wiped out a large number of the population. The story follows James Cole (Bruce Willis) who is sent back in time to find the origins of the virus in order to aid scientists in the present with finding a vaccination/cure. Constantly jumping through time and challenging the viewers to ponder whether or not it’s possible to change events that have already happened, we watch as Jeffrey Goines (played by Brad Pitt and is also strinkingly similar to Tyler Durden in Fight Club) goes through the process of creating the extremist group: The Twelve Monkeys. There is a TV series that is based on this film but i’ve never seen it and can therefore not comment on it. I can however say that if you want a thought-provoking film that is highly entertaining to watch, you should give this film a go.

Key elements: Time travel

 

Not so honorable mentions (meaning these films are NOT mind-fucks!):

Predestination (2014): While I did find this film interesting and I did feel that from a moral standpoint, it raises a lot of issues, it was just far too predictable and ultimately felt underwhelming. Is it morally acceptable to blow up a building full of 200 people if it saves one thousand? This is one of the questions that Predestination raises but rather unfortunately, it doesn’t raise it until late in the film and doesn’t go into any depth with the idea. I only added this to the list because whenever I’ve seen a list of “mind-fuck” films, this one always appears there and I just don’t think it deserves such a title.

Key elements: Time travel and morality

 

Inception (2010) is an incredible film and the reason I have added it here is not to portray it as anything less than a work of art. I mean it’s incredibly appealing from a visual point of view and the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer is just wonderful to listen to. Not to mention that the cast are great and do an excellent job of making the audience believe they are travelling through the sub-conscious mind of an unaware subject…so why is it here? Similaraly to Predestination, I often see Inception on the “mind-fuck” lists and while it is a great many things, I certainly wouldn’t describe it as a mind-fuck. It may cover rather complex ideas but that doesn’t automatically make it a complex film.

Key elements: Questioning reality

 

Similarly to my other posts I welcome any feedback or opinions that you may have about this post. If you have any film suggestions that I haven’t mentioned here I’d love to hear them as I LOVE mind-fuck and/or thought provoking films.

 

Thank for reading!

 

 

Ghostbusters (2016): “See You On The Other Side, Ray”

After watching the recently released trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters (2016) film, I found myself shaking my head at yet another half-assed attempt to make money from nostalgic fans. I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about the idea of having a female-led cast replacing the previous Ghostbusters and personally I don’t see that as an issue at all…especially when you take into consideration everything else that is wrong with this film. Here is why I think Ghostbusters is going to be a complete and utter disappointment and disaster.

It’s difficult to look at this film objectively since I’ve been wholly against the idea ever since rumours of its planned creation spread across the internet like wildfire. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it until the trailer appeared on IMD. Upon watching it, my heart sank at how much worse this film looked than I had previously anticipated. The gender of the cast is not an issue but the casting itself is: Melissa McCarthy does not seem suited to a role in this film at all. I’m yet to find one of her films entertaining or even remotely funny and I could only guess at how many references to her weight we’re going to see throughout Ghostbusters. Her version of comedy typically resembles that of a spoof film such as Scary Movie or Hotshots. She’ll get hurt a lot and we’ll be expected to laugh at her pain. More than anything her voice is absolutely horrendous and seems to cause my soul to shrivel up in discomfort. I say voice but it isn’t really a voice, so much as a screech. It’s like she is constantly getting her toes crushed by a mousetrap every time she speaks; Leading me onto her co-star Kristen Wiig who I do find very entertaining…in minor roles such as her character Ruth Buggs in Paul (2011) or Paulette in Adventureland (2009). I even found her somewhat bearable in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) but only just. I just find most of her performances cause my head to sink into my shoulders in an attempt to escape how uncomfortable and cringy I find her acting. There are of course rumours that some of the original cast will be making cameo appearances in Ghostbusters which in most cases would be a positive thing. However, I feel that in this instance it will be similar to rubbing salt in an already very deep and painful wound.

Even just in the trailer you can see the thought process behind the movie: ‘We have better technology for special effects…so let’s go crazy and make as many ghosts as possible’…well look how that worked out for the prequel trilogy of Star Wars when they didn’t have the storyline to back it up. My concern is that they’ll go completely overboard with it, which is very much how it looked in the trailer. It reminded me more of Scooby Doo: Monsters Unleashed (2004) than a Ghostbusters film. It’s very possible that their plan is to just melt our brains with the over-use of CGI so that we leave the cinema not entirely sure how we felt about the film. The ghosts appeared to have this odd neon glow as if they had been covered in glow in the dark paint. In case I didn’t already feel like I was watching some sort of weird ghost rave, the issue of the music used during the trailer suddenly appears to add to that. Just in case there were still people out there who didn’t think that this film was being butchered alive, they unleashed this weird techno-style version of the original theme that we would all recognise anywhere. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during that discussion. “Should we use the original song?” “NO! We need everyone to know how modern and different this version of the film is in comparison to the original. So we’ll use the same tune but we’ll make it sound all sci-fi-ish with a techno spin to it”. In a way I’m actually glad they made this decision because if I’d had to listen to the original theme while watching this new trailer, I think my inner child would have killed itself.

Another aspect of this film that annoys me already is the general lack of originality. I’m not entirely sure if the purpose of this film is to be a remake or a sequel or a reboot. Apparently it takes place in a different universe to the originals (i.e. one where this is the first Ghostbusters group formed) but the trailer talks about how 30 years ago a group of scientists saved New York…clearly they just want us to take another moment to remember the cast of the much-loved original films before they crucify that memory with this abomination of a trailer. So since this isn’t meant to be in the same universe, did they have to make it so similar to the original? We have Slimer (the big, fat, round, green ghost) making a reappearance in this film (which again is weird due to the fact that it isn’t meant to be the same universe as the originals). Once again playing to the nostalgia of the potential-audience to make us feel connected to this film. It looks like we’re going to have the same general outbreak of ghosts “on a scale never seen before”. There will undoubtly be a love interest between one of the lead characters (I’m going to assume Kristen Wiig) and Chris Hemsworth’s character who I wouldn’t be surprised to discover is a client of the team. I wonder how long into the film we’ll have to wait before a twinky reference appears…probably as Melissa McCarthy eats one or comments on how she wants to eat one. I mean we even have the same library scene from the first film.Where the ghost appears calm and peaceful until approached by the team where it decides to turn ugly and angry. Do we really need so many nods to the original film? Why bother even writing a new script? Just give the new cast the old script and get it over with. I mean when making these new films, can we not just go with a completely original storyline that still plays a part in the same universe? We need only look at the other examples of this exact same thing that we’ve been exposed to recently: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Terminator Genysis, Jurassic World, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, even Independence Day. Most of these original films existed years before I was even born which meant I grew up watching them and now 20-30 years later (in most cases) we see the same heroes returning in order to make us feel connected to the new films, to make us feel like we are entering the same world we visited many times before. I mean I get it, I do, that’s how to sell films. I mean if Star Wars: The Force Awakens hadn’t had Han, Leia, Chewy, Luke (maybe Luke isn’t a good example) then the film wouldn’t have been hyped up nearly as much. Yet what we were given was pretty much the same film as A New Hope. I mentioned a similar issue in a previous post so I won’t go on about this too much but how many more Death Stars will we see by the time Star Wars films stop being made? Death Stars that are surprisingly easy to blow up, might I add. Jurassic World seemed like a new storyline: A genetically modified dinosaur, that’s pretty crazy stuff. Yet what we are ultimately given is the same storyline as the original. We even see the same T-Rex, the same buildings and cars from the original (all be it these were meant as nods to the original) but how many times can we watch as people try to interfere with dinosaurs only for it to go wrong and ultimately controlled? I’m sure that question will be answered over the course of the next two films. No doubt we’ll see a city being rampaged by dinosaurs like small version of Godzilla. I’d like to see one of these films just end with dinosaurs winning and eating the main characters. All of them! I won’t even get into Terminator or Indiana Jones…not to mention the Karate Kid film with Jaden Smith…Jesus!

Films (including their cast) are being recycled in such a way that originality no longer seems to play a role in these hugely popular franchise films. It seems that better special effects and a half-assed version of the original storyline are enough to warrant a new film. Throw in a few cameo roles from previous cast members as well as some vague and stretched storyline connection and Abra Kadabra you have a film setting new box office records. Having the idea to change the gender of the cast and make the film less entertaining is NOT a good enough reason to make a new film. I’m all for female-led films but destroying childhood memories is not going to help the idea of a female-led cast. Just saying. I can’t help but wonder if someone, somewhere, had the recent misfortune of being confronted by a powerful entity from another dimension before being told “Choose…choose the form of the Destructor”. Rather than thinking of Mr. Stay Puft the thought of a Ghostbuster remake slipped into their mind and before they could think of something else, the ball had begun to roll…

You can read my post-film follow-up here: https://rantingravingblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/ghostbusters-2016-the-other-side/

Fantastic 4 (2015): Wait…Was Doom the Good Guy?

Welcome to my Interpretation

As a victim of the previous Fantastic 4 films, I have to say that I was rather looking forward to this remake. I enjoy superhero films and felt that the Fantastic 4 might work better with a younger cast. The teaser trailer had me excited and the full length trailer only added to my anticipation. I should probably mention, that while enjoying comic book based films, I have in fact never read a comic book. So seeing the new interesting storyline (which is probably not new if you have read the comics, I would imagine) gripped my attention.

I mean creating a machine to travel to another universe definitely sounds like an interesting concept to me. So you can imagine my disappointment when before even seeing the film reviews start appearing everywhere about how much of a let-down this film was: Comments suggesting that the 2015 remake actually makes the previous films seem good, didn’t fill me with confidence.

I don’t usually check reviews before I go to see a film but I simply couldn’t avoid them in this case and my excitement began to lower and lower with each review I read. But still, one bored day I decided that I may as well give it a shot and see for myself.

Duration does Matter

In my personal opinion, the film wasn’t as awful as I had expected based on reviews. I mean there are definitely issues that stand out. The length of the film being the main one as no section of the film is as long as it should be. Our brief introduction to Reed Richards and Ben Grimm are the closest thing to character development we get, which is saying a lot considering that the other two members of the Fantastic 4 may as well have had no previous life history at all.

I mean sure, Johnny Storm’s “bad boy” attitude is highlighted by the fact he takes part in street racing, which leads to our introduction of the awkward father/son relationship he has with his dad, but overall some dragged out character development would not have been a bad thing for this film. There are of course plenty of other positive and negative aspects to it, but one thing in particular stood out for me: The thin line between the good guys and the bad guys.

Who’s the Bad Guy?

Let me explain what I mean by this (although I imagine that I’m not the only one to have noticed this and in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this angle of the film wasn’t taken on purpose). Going into this film, most people will be aware the Victor Von Doom is the villain of the story and obviously the Fantastic 4 are the heroes. Like many previous heroes/villains, we expect there to be a very clear line between the two. As an example, we need only look to the previous Fantastic 4 films with their version of Doom (2005).

Similarly to Norman Osbourne in Spiderman (2002), the previous Doom starts to drift into his role as a villain after investors pull his funding. Murdering these people crosses him over the villain line, as does Harry Osbourne in The Amazing Spider-man 2 (2014) when he is framed and kicked out of his own company.

The list could go on and on but I’m sure you see what I mean. In most cases, the villain is usually on the side of the shady government division, usually in order to become rich or moved into a position of power. On the opposite end of things, we expect the good guys, the heroes to be just that. So why is this not the case with Fantastic 4 (2015)?

Let’s look at Doom

In the first half of the film when we are introduced to Victor, we learn that he previously left the Baxter Foundation and set fire to their databases (or something along those lines) and Victor himself states that he doesn’t trust the employers of Dr Franklin Storm. This is taken a step further when discussing the use of this new world (Planet Zero) to save Earth when Victor states:

“Not that it deserves to be saved. I mean think about it, the people running the Earth are the same ones running it into the ground, so maybe it deserves what it’s got coming to it”.

It’s made clear early on that Victor does not have a huge amount of faith in humanity and the people pulling the strings. I mean it had been pointed out that Planet Zero may be in the same stages as an early Earth. Meaning there could be the possibility of life, especially with this crazy energy source it contains. However, the main moment that made me reconsider “Doom” as a villain, came just after the test run of the machine, when the group are informed that NASA will be the ones taking the first step in this other universe.

“Hey, why just NASA? Why not the army or the CIA? We could send our political prisoners there; waterboarding in the 5th dimension could prove very effective.”

A Villain who speaks out Against Water-Boarding?

 To me, this doesn’t sound like your typical villain. I mean Victor is against the involvement of the Army and NASA and not even for selfish reasons, he in fact understands that bringing these agencies in could be a huge mistake. He understands that their involvement could be detrimental to people of Earth or more accurately: detrimental to enemies of the US and Western society!

I mean let’s face it, the CIA aren’t exactly the sort of people you want to have access to super human individuals, not to mention the ability to travel to other universes/dimensions. We are used to many of our villains being money or power hungry. Not worried about the rights of political prisoners.

It becomes even more clear that Victor is not a typical villain (if even a villain at all) when he first returns from Planet Zero. When asked by Dr Allen, one of the shady organisation members (or at least foot soldier) what sort of power he was shown there, Victor replies “The kind men like you must never possess”.

So the villain in this film is the one making the moral decisions on who deserves power and who doesn’t? Could any of us actually argue against him? He’s not claiming it as his power, he’s saying that a man who has repeatedly displayed a lack of morality should never have it.

After all it is Dr Allen who we see convincing Ben Grimm that his best friend has abandoned him and is never coming back. All before sending him on black-op kill missions and flaunting his success to a darkened room of generals and officials while also making the claim that in the end they would not only control planet Zero: but also Earth. Victor even tells Dr Allen “It’s not enough to ruin your world, now you want to ruin mine. If this world must die so mine may live, so be it.”

Only a Villain in the eyes of the real Villains

Of course the argument for Victor not being the villain becomes less valid when he attempts to destroy the Earth for the survival of the planet that he comes to call home…but is he perhaps all too aware of mankind’s destructive and reckless nature?

Given the points Victor makes throughout the film we know he doesn’t approve of humanity and it’s imagined rights to Earth. Not to mention that we have no idea what Planet Zero is. Is it one giant, living organism? There is every chance that the being we believe is Victor is in fact the planet’s energy using him as a host, or perhaps in a similar way to Venom in Spiderman, this thing magnifies certain personality traits as the two life-forms co-exist.

I don’t think it’s at all a coincidence that Victor is the one of the four who dips his hand into the glowing, green energy saying “the energy, it’s alive!” He even describes it as being like a nerve. Victor is the one who makes physical contact. He is also the one literally grabbed by the energy when the team try to escape. It actually looks like it was reaching for him specifically. Was the planet choosing him? Had they made a connection?

Towards the end of the film we even hear Victor proclaim “There is no Victor, there is only Doom!” I’m sure this could be interpreted in many ways but I think the most likely explanation is that Victor is now one with this energy. Maybe it needed a physical host in order to unleash its power.

Perhaps Victor’s lack of faith in humanity (combined with a year of isolation while being physically and mentally invaded by an unknown energy) drives him to the conclusion that we have had our chance on Earth and now it’s the turn of his planet.

If this really is a Victor-energy combo and this green life force has some sort of consciousness, then isn’t it perhaps just defending its planet? If we assume that the two did combine. This life-force may have access to Victor’s memories and personality.

It would see the destruction that mankind did to its own planet; it would feel Victor’s contempt and hatred towards shady and untrustworthy organisations such as the ones now in control of the Baxter project. Wouldn’t you try to defend you planet if you thought these people were about to invade it? Victor the Defender sounds more appropriate in this case. Putting this aside for a moment, let us look at the Fantastic 4.

How Fantastic are the 4?

Upon escaping, we don’t learn a huge amount about what Reed gets up to, other than the suggestion that he was building a one man capsule to transport back to the other planet and of course the construction of his suit. However, we do get a good idea of what Sue, Ben and Johnny are up to during the year after their change.

While Sue seems to be trying to find a way to solve everything (through nudges from her father), Ben and Johnny seem a lot more content in their new jobs. Let’s assume that Victor is right in being suspicious of the “employers” of Dr Franklin Storm, which seems fairly accurate as they turn out to be some division of the army. Ben becomes a weapon; a human tank; a killing machine; completing assignments for this company with the understanding that they plan on helping him (although we never really find out why he puts his trust in them rather than his best friend).

We only see glimpses of the sort of activities Ben gets up to but without a doubt he kills many, many people. Johnny is also very keen to join Ben on these adventures and as we see, enjoys the challenge of blowing up drones.

So completing army contracts could of course be seen as a positive or negative thing, but I think most of us would agree that some shady American army division that likely has a similar role to the CIA is perhaps taking part in less positive missions.

We see “The Thing” ripping a tank apart before throwing it at a group of people where it then causes an explosion. We only have to look as far as “Operation Northwoods” to see how dangerous divisions of a government can be. The CIA is a perfect example of this. I mean think how chaotic our world would be today if the CIA had their hands on something similar to The Thing.

Besides, how fantastic are the Fantastic 4 if 50% of their team are completing military contracts for a sketchy division of the American government? Even if you view this organisation as being the good guys, you then have to deal with the fact that 25% of the Fantastic 4 are on the run from them out of distrust, while the other 25% doesn’t seem to want a huge level of involvement. I mean sure they do save the day at the end and in fact stop Earth from being sucked into some sort of wormhole that will lead to life on Planet Zero…and in the end they do cut themselves off from this shady organisation. But is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons really that heroic?

Was Victor Chosen?

I’ve been wondering to myself: why would the Planet Zero energy connect with Victor (assuming of course that that is indeed what happened) when there were three other candidates there? Was it simply because he touched it? I don’t think so. Let’s very briefly look at the 4 characters who took that “giant leap for mankind” to Planet Zero.

This is made more difficult by the poor character development within the film but anyway: First off we have Reed, the typical brain-box who from what we can see grew up in an average household with his mother and step-father. We don’t see much of them but what we do gather is that his genius is left unappreciated and his somewhat destructive inventions seem to annoy those he encounters. Typical tragic upbringing? Certainly not. If anything, he’s more like Sheldon Cooper.

For one thing he doesn’t grow up being a loner (at least after 5th grade) and as we see from his interactions with Sue, there is some sort of romantic element between them (Although this pretty difficult to see due to the lack of on-screen chemistry).

Next we have Johnny: while we get the feeling Johnny has been unappreciated by his father due the success of his adopted sister Sue, Johnny still has friends, he has money to build cars, he has a family and seems like a cheery fellow.

What about Ben? As we see Ben’s life, we get glimpses of a dysfunctional family with an abusive older brother and potentially an abusive mother who spend their days running a scrap-yard. Even Ben has Reed as a friend and while we don’t see much else from his life, he seemed to grow up fairly happy.

Finally, we have Victor: We first see Victor when Dr Franklin pays him a visit to convince him to join the team. He is living in a dark room behind a computer screen, CCTV cameras set up around his home and a rather sophisticated lock on his door. If this wasn’t enough to imply just how much of a loner Victor is, we have a glimpse into his past when he tells Dr Franklin “I was always alone.”

His feelings for Sue appear to be brushed off or non-mutual and nobody listens to his warnings about the government despite the later developments that highlight just how true they were. It seems to me that Victor is possibly the only truly moral member of the team (before the trip to Planet Zero at least) as he realised the dangers of providing governments with the ability to travel across dimensions.

He abandoned plans that would make him famous, successful and potentially rich because he knew what would happen should this technology fall into the wrong hands. He only re-joins the team when he realises that they have a new member who could finish his work. At which point all he seems to try and do is warn them of this shady government group. I think that IF we view the energy of Planet Zero as a life-force, it selected Victor not only because of his moral view on things but also because of sheer loneliness.

Is there a Conclusion?

I feel like this film can’t really decide the good guys from the bad guys. I mean we know that the Fantastic 4 are supposed to be the good guys and this film introduces the characters in such a way that you know they are villains. So who is the villain? Victor?

I guess that’s up to each of us to decide but if I had to choose a villain for this film, it would be the guys in the shadows, the organisation pulling the strings and sending ill and scared people out as kill-squads to obliterate targets who we have no information on.

I don’t believe Dr Allen to be some sort of mastermind but he is definitely involved and will have benefited from using The Thing like a walking tank. When it comes down to the final battle, the Fantastic 4 are just protecting their planet while Doom protects his planet. Are either of these really so evil?

I think that both sides are simply pawns in a larger game. None of them set out to benefit greatly from this mission, they didn’t want powers or riches they just wanted to go down in history. I also feel like if the group had actually listened to Victor earlier in the film then Ben, Johnny and Sue would have been more aware that they were working for a sketchy government agency.

I mean Reed had the right idea in bailing, he knew that the only way he could help his friends was out-with the prying eye of this group. They all think he abandoned them but the viewers know he was working on another machine. Would things have turned out drastically differently if Sue hadn’t found him? What if Reed had travelled to Planet Zero and found Doom and just talked to him? Could the Fantastic 4 have become the Fantastic 5?

Nearly at the End

I think it’s interesting to consider the possibility that this film could have been about a battle between a less traditional good and evil. In the end, it played out like a badly written superhero film but if they brushed on an idea that was certainly compelling: who is the bad guy?

There are times when we root for the villain or at least enjoy them as characters: Joker, Ultron, Loki, Joe Carrol, the dude from Psycho-Pass…I don’t think that’s what this is though. I don’t support Doom because he is a villain, I support him because he is the real hero and one of the view truly moral individuals within this film. I think the more interesting film would have been to flip this entire formula over on its head.

Imagine This:

Imagine everyone going to see the film, expecting it to be another superhero film. Oh it’s the Fantastic 4 origin story and Doom is the villain. I’m sure we’re all compelled as to how this will end…when BHAM! The film starts throwing these suggestions to you that perhaps Victor isn’t all that bad. He’s against shady government operations, he shares moral objections to water-boarding and the destruction of Earth and other planets…hmm!

This would all then be taken a step further when the Fantastic 4 starts being a US-owned kill squad; Sent mission after mission to hunt targets that ware enemies of the US. Then they manage to make it back to Planet Zero but this time they have a technology that will drain the planet of its power, despite the fact it showed signs of being alive.

Just as they are ready to do so, through steps a protector, a guardian of the planet, a hero…Doom! We would see a battle between the two and come to the conclusion that while the Fantastic 4 aren’t evil, they were easily manipulated into doing evil deeds. Victor was the only one who stood his ground and followed his moral compass.

The superhero franchise could have had a bit of a shake-up and ultimately the film could have ended with Doom dying protecting his planet only for the Fantastic 4 to realise their mistake and shut down the project, with the film ending pretty much the same way it did.