Monday, November 27, 2017
Plot: Arnold and Gerald plan to make a humanitarian video during the summer, an attempt to win a trip with their classmates to San Lorenzo, where Arnold's parents were last seen nine years ago. Their plan backfires, but when Helga discovers Arnold's real reasons to go to San Lorenzo, she makes a humanitarian video of her own of all the things Arnold has done for other throughout the show and their class wins the trip. When they arrive, Arnold tries to find his parents' good friend, Eduardo, but discovers that there might be more behind what happened to his parents than he is aware as it turns out an evil mercenary named La Sombra is after Arnold because he's the key to something his parents were working on that La Sombra wants for himself.
To say that this movie even exists is a miracle for any Hey Arnold! fan to behold would be an understatement. Since before Hey Arnold!: The Movie came out, the creator of the show, Craig Bartlett started writing the original script for Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie, making it the official sequel to tie up loose ends with the show, namely with finding out where is Arnold's missing parents and whether or not we will see him and Helga get together. Unfortunately, due to Hey Arnold: The Movie rightfully bombing for being (in my opinion) the bland, unenergetic and rushed piece of crap that it is, The Jungle Movie was never greenlit, and so with the end of season 5 fans were left unsatisfied for the way things ended with one of Nickelodeon's best shows. Thus for the past 15 years, people have been dying to find out what happens in The Jungle Movie even to the point of Craig Bartlett considering turning it into a comic book so that fans can at least learn what happens that way, and people created petitions trying to save the movie. Finally, Nickelodeon made the announcement a year ago that they are finally making the film and fans were ecstatic that their long-lost childhood dream was about to finally come true. The movie aired on November 24th 2017, and having just seen the last night what do I think of it? Well, while I am not even a fifth of the Hey Arnold! fan that this is intended for, this film is a million bazillion quadrillion times better than Hey Arnold: The Movie and is definitely the satisfying series final/potential intro to a possible season 6 that even I wanted to see as someone who only went through the show on Netflix a few years ago.
The first 20 minutes of this movie alone has so much more heart than the previous film. Honestly, it's like an extra episode of the show, and I mean that in the best way. You have Arnold trying to figure out something that involves him helping other people, you have Helga stalking him, and when we see the video that Helga, Gerald, Pheobe and the rest of the kids made in order to win the trip to San Lorenzo, we see a lot of familiar characters and lookbacks on past stories from the show that is touching to see. It's like the first third of the movie was practically designed to ensure the audience that it has much more thought and focus on the source material compared to the last movie where it practically rushed into the conflict without even introducing the main and supporting characters to both fans and moviegoers who haven't seen the show. To say the very least, it's a heartwarming little segment before we go to the meat of the story.
The characters are displayed a lot better than they were in the first movie. While not every single character has a special amount of time to shine as some fans probably feel like they should, I think most people agree that there still is a very serviceable amount that will give people the right amount of nostalgia for each character. Whether it's main characters like Arnold, Helga, Phoebe, Gerald, or supporting characters like Harold, Brainy or Rhonda, they all have a moment to shine in some form or another. Even though some characters like Arnold and Oscar now have new voice actors for the movie, the voice actors give the characters the right amount of familiarity that you can barely notice the difference.
The story is probably what most people have come to expect it to be if you've been anticipating this movie for so long. Whether you've seen the trailers or you're familiar with what they've been trying to do with this movie for 15 long years, you probably have a good idea of what's going to happen throughout most of the film. But thankfully, the film is not without its few surprises and changes to what you might expect. For example, I as a fan of Helga was pleasantly surprised to see how they made her a little more determined to try to listen and understand what Arnold is going through. It isn't just her struggling with her feelings and pretending to be mean every single time she's anywhere near him, she's literally trying to grow to show that she's a real caring person underneath her rude demeanor. (On a side note, it's both creepy yet freaking hilarious how she has her own "Arnold signal" and a secret lair under her Arnold shine.) Even the villain, La Sombra was a little more interesting than I thought he would be. Don't get me wrong, his motivation and evil plan are pretty recycled, but he had one maybe two funny moments and gave the movie a little more edge then you would expect including committing deeds like using his henchmen as bait for booby traps resulting in their deaths And think about i,t, we're talking about a Hey Arnold! movie where people are legitimately dying. Was anybody who was begging for this movie to finally come expecting to see so many characters die because of the main villain? I mean granted, only less than a dozen people died so the body count isn't as gruesome as something like The Transformers: The Movie, but still, for something like Hey Arnold!, this gave The Jungle Movie a somewhat darker edge. It's a little messed up, but at the same time, it's kind of nice that they gave us something like that, not unlike the Storm King's last scene in My Little Pony: The Movie. At the very least, it makes La Sombra a much more interesting Hey Arnold! villain then some big corporate guy in the last film.
The climax in the movie might be the most interesting part for me personally. Even though you have a pretty sharp idea of what it's going to happen, it still had some nice twists and turns to get to the two big things that people have been dying to see. It isn't spoon-fed to you what exactly happens, it resolves the matters of Arnold's parents and his relationship with Helga in a way that's somewhat different than what you might expect yet at the same time give us generally fitting conclusions.
If I had any major problem with the movie it would have to be that a lot of fit feels very rushed, which is apparently a very common complaint among fans. Even if you take out how not every beloved character gets their proper time to shine, there are some scenes containing certain details that don't feel like they were given the proper time they should have been given. Like it's unclear how Arnold has been chosen to do this special deed, we never find out what happens to Big Bob's Beepers outside of the fact that it's losing business, and a huge chunk of the cast is almost never seen again during the last 23 mintues. We see Arnold's grandparents and Helga and Olga's parents help the rest of the class escape La Sombra's camp, but then we never see Helga's family again and we never see Arnold, Helga, and Gerald's friends again until literally during the last 20 seconds of the movie before it cuts to the credits. Most of this, however, is because of time restraints. According to Craig Bartlett, they wrote about twice as much material as there is in the film, but because they could only show so much in an hour and a half plus commercials, a lot of scenes and extra details were cut. So everyone now is hoping that when the film comes out on DVD and blue-ray, there will be a director's cut where we will see much more.
And that's my review for Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie. The villain is not someone particularly special and it does have some serious pacing problems with the story because of time restraints, but when it's all said and done this is still a very heartwarming, fun and exciting possible conclusion to the Hey Arnold! series that people have been eager to see for so long. If you've never seen the show, you probably won't understand enough to enjoy what's good about it much like with My Little Pony: The Movie, but for many loyal fans of the show, November 24th, 2017 will be a day long remembered where a piece of their childhood finally began to rest in peace. Buy it on YouTube or Google Play if you're eager to see it now or wait until it's out on DVD and Blu-ray and give it a rent and see for yourself.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Plot: Set two years after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor has been traveling through the realms looking for infinity stones. Along the way, he finds out that Ragnarok is coming and he comes back to Asgard to find Loki posing as Odin. He forces Loki to help him find Odin, only for both of them to discover that Odin is dying and that his passing will free his evil firstborn child, Hera to escape her prison. When Odin dies and Hera appears, proving to be a match for them, Thor and Loki attempt to flee from her via the Bifrost but she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. So Thor and Loki must find a way back while Hera begins to rule Asgard with an army of the undead.
When I left the theater with my family after seeing Thor: Ragnarok, we all agreed on one thing; that this was a very fun movie. Is a terrific film? No, but while I have a softer side for Thor: The Dark World because for all its faults, it was still giving us an expansion of Marvel's version of Norse mythology with the dark elves and the Aether and things like that, this is most fun,Thor movie that we have to date.
A lot of the strength into this movie really comes from Marvel just doing what they do best: they mix a good amount of good action, character development and comedy. You have Thor who is appearing to be a bit smarter and more clever than he has been the past, you have Loki who is still as manipulative as ever, you have the Hulk who talks a lot more than he has in any film before which is a little hard to swallow at first but it's still likable, and while Cate Blanchett doesn't appear as much as I personally would have liked, she still has an imitating presence as Hera. We also get some side characters that have their moments here and there like Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Karl Urban as Skurge and even Anthony Hopkins gave us a pretty funny scene early on the movie as Odin. Jane and her scientist companions are never seen in the movie, but as cute as her relationship with Thor is, I think Marvel knew that they would’ve been dead weight for a story as big as Ragnarok.
The action is still a lot of fun, but like the Guardians of the Galaxy films, the thing that sticks out the most for most people is the comedy. There are a couple of jokes that you can tell a mile away that they're going to happen, but they still deliver the punchlines so well that they still makes you laugh. That's the very admiral thing about Marvel: they seem to have figured out exactly when to make jokes whether you can predict them or not and and almost always hit them at the right moments. I don't know how they keep on doing this, but as long as they are still giving us some memorable, funny moments five years after The Avengers, it's all the more welcoming.
Most of the film takes place in a planet called Sakaar which looks more like it's in a Guardians of the Galaxy location than a Thor location. The majority of the movie takes place in this planet which kind of drags the movie down if you want to see more of just Asgard and Hera causing trouble, but again, they really make it worth your while by making it fun with Thor and Loki interacting with Valkyrie, The Grandmaster, and of course Hulk whose payoff in being in the same scene with Loki for the first time since The Avengers is even better than I expected.
Honestly for me, the best part of the movie is the climax. I won't go into too much detail given that this is spoiler territory, but a lot of what happens is stuff that I didn't expect. It has a couple of good twists that are almost as good as the twists from Captain America: Winter Soldier. But for me, it's not just that it's so exciting that there are so many big twists that makes the third act stand out, what makes it significant is that everything that happens in the movie is permanent. When I came into this movie, I expected that the ending would give us an ending where everything is fixed by the end - somewhat similar to what Doctor Strange does with the Time Stone when he saved Hong Kong in the end of Doctor Strange. But instead, I found myself leaving the theater realizing everything bad that happens to Thor and the Asgardians is there to stay. All the destruction that has been caused, all the characters that are killed off, any physical injury that's been done to one of the main characters; all of them are permanent. So for me the real strength is that his knowing that every terrible thing that happens to Thor and Loki and all of the people of Asgard it's there for good.
If I had any major problem with the movie outside of the fact that we don't get as much attention on Hera as I feel we should have, it would be that the story in terms of its structure felt very recycled. That is to say there are a lot of things that I didn't know what happen like I said when discussing the climax, but the situation that Thor goes into is something we've seen before: he loses some of his power or something very important to him and he finds himself stranded in to a place far away from his home and has to go on this journey to rediscover himself. So in other words, he's basically going on a journey very similar to what Iron man and Batman go through in Iron Man 3 and The Dark Knight Rises respectfully and that kind of hurt the film for me personally. After Marvel just gave us such an astounding superhero threequel with Captain America: Civil War, it's kind of depressing that they decided to give Thor's threequelequal hey story structure that's been done a couple of times already with other superheroes. But this is kind of a nitpick.
And that's my review for Thor: Ragnarok. While I would have liked to see more in terms of story and character development with Hera and Ragnarok itself, what Thor: Ragnarok gives us instead still is a lot of fun, it's very action-packed, it's humorous, and it has some welcoming twists and turns. Personally I still kind of enjoy Thor: The dark World more but this is still an enjoyable threequel. If you haven't seen it yet but want to definitely take a look
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Well, there's no doubt about it; I love Amourshipping. For those of you who don't know, Amourshipping is the shipping name for pairing Ash and Serena from the Pokemon anime as a romantic couple and I'm crazy about it. They're my ultimate OTP (one true parring), Amourshipping is the main reason Pokemon X&Y/XY&Z is one of my favorite shows and as I've established in my top 15 favorite animated female characters list, Serena is one of my favorite characters of all time. While they haven't become a couple in the show (so far,) the mere idea of them getting together is something I personally think gives fans like me a lot of hope on the simple concept of love despite the fact that Serena's the only one with official feelings and Ash has some hints of liking her but is still completely dense on the idea of romance. Seriously, I get they're still trying to make us buy the nonesense that he's still ten years old, but even I was able to pick up on a girl's feelings at that age, and I sucked at social interaction as an autistic person back then. Anyway, Serena is currently out of the show while Ash's adventures continue with Pokemon:Sun and Moon which is...well to be fair, not a horrible series - in fact it's way more entertaining than Pokemon:Black and White, but it's a very hit and miss take on the anime that nobody really asked for. But even with Serena's role in the anime currently over, many of us still strongly hold on to hope that the two of them will reunite and live happily ever after no matter what haters online say. So with so much love (pardon the pun) for this particular pairing, I'm going to count down my favorite moments between Ash and Serena in the Pokemon X&Y and XY&Z series. Now it goes without saying, but there are some major spoilers on this list and if you are a Pokemon fan and haven't watched the series yet, I strongly recommend it. It's considered by many to be one of the best if not the best series in the entire anime. With all that said, these are my top 10 favorite Amourshipping moments.
#10) The Second "Date"
Even though Ash and Serena never go on a real date what with Ash being so dense and all, there are two moments in the anime where they do spend quality time together that the fandom considers close enough to call dates. Please don't try to argue with fandom logic, it's not worth it. Anyway, this takes place in the third to last episode in the anime. After recently saving the world from Team Flare and Serena just held a Pokemon performace with Shauna and Jessie to cheer up the people of Lumiose City, Ash and Serena's friends go their own way, leaving the two of them alone. During this time, Serena has been debating where to go now that their journey is sadly over. She appears stuck on whether or not to take on Palmero's offer to train her to become a better Pokemon Performer. Ash notices her acting so sad and deep in thought and he decides to try to cheer her up. Thus we get a brief montage of them exploring the city and looking at dresses for Serena and grabbing snacks from local restaurants, but nothing seems to have any effect on what is on Serena's mind. Finally, Ash suggests they have a Pokemon battle, saying that it always helps him when he's worried. The battle is nothing too grand, but it leads to Ash saying some encouraging words that help Serena make her decision on whether or not to take Palmero's offer. What makes this moment so great is how determined Ash is help Serena. Even though he has no idea what is troubling her, he didn't hesitate to take initiative and attempt to ease her mind. Plus, unlike the first date (which I will go more into later,) this feels closer to acting like they actually are on a date. From admiring the city when they go on their walk to looking at their stores and restaurants, all that's missing is either of them saying it's a real date. It's one of the shorter Amourshipping moments, but it's still wonderful to see the two of them spend such quality time together and especially so see how much Ash cares for Serena even if he doesn't think of her that way.
#9) Wishing On A Shooting Star
This is a very brief moment that only lasts seven seconds during the end credits of Pokemon: Diance and the Cocoon of Destruction. As the credits roll, we have a montage of what happens to many of the characters that appeared just for the movie while Ash, Serena, Clemont and Bonnie continue their journey. About an minute and thirteen minutes into the sequence, however, the group is lying down on the grass and Serena spots a shooting star and thus proceeds to make a wish. We never find out what she actually wishes on that star; her lips don't move and even if they did, all he are hearing is the end credits music. For all we know, she could be wishing for suceess as a soon-to-be Pokemon Performer, she could be wishing good health and safe journey as they travel to whatever town they're heading to next, she could be wishing for diamonds and pretty dresses to fall out of the sky. But if you ask any fan of the series, most of them will say their interpretation of that moment is she's really wishing for something that involves her feelings for Ash. Likely, she's wishing something along the lines of having the courage to confess her feelings thus leading to the two of them to get together someday. What makes the moment even more charming to fans is Ash watching her making her wish, likely curious of what she's wishing for, not knowing that it's a wish for his heart. It's a brief moment that is left to interpretation, but that's how many people like me see this moment and why I like to watch this moment on repeat every time I watch the movie or watch the end credits sequence on YouTube.
#8) Serena Seeing Ash Again
This is the very first scene in the anime where Ash and Serena are in the same location and it's another moment I like to watch repeatedly whenever I watch episode 5 of Pokemon: X&Y. At this point, we know very little about Serena's feelings for Ash other than the fact that she apparently met him before and she started her Pokemon journey just to finally see him again. As Ash is on his first gym battle, Serena is heading toward the gym, enthusiastic to find him. As the gym battle rages on, the camera pans to the entrance and then cuts to a shot of just the door opening and we see Serena's legs enter before the camera tilts to her face, looking for him curiously. When she sees him from a distance she is so excited that she starts running over to him before Alexa stops her from interrupting the battle. A couple episodes later, we find out that she knows him from summer camp when they were little and he helped her when she was lost and injured in the woods and she wanted to see him again since. There's not much else to explain why I like this moment except that I simply love that while Ash is having his gym battle, the girl after his heart walks in and happily sees him for the first time since summer camp all those years ago and it is only the first of many moments that shows what he means to Serena. It's another brief moment, but I never get tired of seeing Serena so excited to see the boy of her dreams again.
#7) Serena's Transformation
I've talked about this moment before when I talked about Serena herself in my top 15 favorite animated female characters list, but it includes a moment between her and Ash that no fan of Amourshipping will forget. As I discussed on that list, Serena gets disqualified on the first round of her debut as a Pokemon Performer. At first, she acts okay to her friends, but very early the next morning she takes a moment at the docks to break down - a scene that contains one of the best voice acting performances I’ve ever heard. Shortly after words, she cuts off her hair as a way to start over and makes a new outfit for herself complete with the ribbon Ash gave her. When she presents herself to the group, Clemont and Bonnie are shocked and disapproving of her haircut, but Ash agrees with Serena that it looks cute, and when he sees that she's wearing the ribbon he gave to her, he's happy to see that she is, which makes her blush. It's one of the few moments that implies that Ash might develop feelings for Serena partly because he's complimenting her so much but mostly because he's never been so supportive of his past female companions when it comes to their looks before. He might have a moment where he says that they look nice or when he checked Misty out when she was wearing a swimsuit once, but with Serena he looks at her adoringly in a way that shows how he cares for her and encourages her. While there's nothing in this moment that shows that he thinks that way about her in a romantic way, his adoration and support in this moment is one of the major hints that he might think of her as something more someday. Serena's transformation is a wonderful moment for her as a character, and even if nothing is official, Ash's reaction shows the possibility that Amourshipping may not be as one-sided as it appears to be.
#6) Ash Giving Serena The Ribbon
From the episode right before Serena's transformation, we have the moment where Ash gives Serena the ribbon. This takes place during the end of their first "date" where it turns out Courmarine City is holding a festival that's kind of similar to Christmas where trainers put presents for their Pokemon under the city's giant tree called the Pledging Tree to celebrate the bonds between them and their Pokemon. The group decides that Clemont and Bonnie will look after everyone's Pokemon while Ash and Serena search for gifts. Most of their time together involves Serena trying to spend quality time with Ash while Ash just runs all over the place looking for gifts even to the point of just deciding that they should split up even though Serena clearly doesn't want to. Later that day, the two regroup and while Serena has found gifts for her Fennikin and Panchum, Ash hasn't found anything for his Pokemon. Suddenly, as Ash enters the monorail station ahead of Serena, he is approached by workers at the station and congratulated for being the millionth visitor to the monorail and is given a long blue ribbon as a prize. On the ride back to the Pokemon Center, Serena gives Ash good advice of what kind of gift he should give his Pokemon and that helps him find it just in time for the festival to start. Later when the festival is ending with a fireworks show, Ash thanks Serena by giving her the ribbon. This isn't just a big moment because the ribbon is a significant part of Serena's new outfit the next episode, but loosely similar to Spike giving Rarity the fire ruby in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, this is the moment where the ribbon became a symbol of their possible relationship. But while you can make the very easy argument that Rarity pretty much used Spike's crush on her to her advantage so that he would give her the ruby, therefore making that moment less meaningful for that particular ship, here it's Ash's own decision to surprise Serena with the gift making the gesture more meaningful and thus making the ribbon more valuable to the point that she promises to always treasure it.. Even if their first "date" didn't go the way Serena would have hoped, it's uplifting that it ended with a moment that both she and the fans will always remember.
#5) The Fight
While the least cheery moment between the two of them out of all the moments on this list, it's no less significant. In episode 28 of Pokémon:XY&Z, Ash runs into the forest alone, frustrated and confused after losing his gym battle against Wulfric. Pikachu, Clemont, Bonnie and Serena find out and Serena leaves to go find him without the rest of the group knowing. She finds him and tries to cheer him up by explaining how she understands from her experience as a performer, but then he blows up at her claiming she has no idea what he's going through and wants to be left alone. Serena gets so upset that she starts throwing snowballs at him yelling at how he's not acting like himself before she leaves in tears. In the original Japanese, she almost admits that he's the boy she loves before she angrily leaves. Now don't get me wrong, I can totally understand why some people are not overly fond of this moment. For a while, Serena has been the only female companion that Ash never gets annoyed with much less get in a fight with unlike Misty, May, Dawn and Iris and it is kind of sad that Serena no longer has that advantage over the other girls. But it's also great that it did happen because A) while Ash's fights with the other girls were more childish and petty (especially Iris,) this fight is much more serious and dramatic and B) it makes the idea of Ash and Serena as a couple feel more real because like any real couple, they're capable of giving into fights despite their feelings/possible feelings for one another. And while Ash's past arguments with his female companions involves them talking down to him, Serena actually tells him what he needed to hear to pick himself up. They also regret yelling at each other to the point that Serena feels guilty when Ash gets trapped in a terrible snowstorm later in the episode thus making it more meaningful when they make up in the end. Love doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be real, and this is a great moment to make the two of them feel more real than anything Ash as expereinced before. A bittersweet moment, but one that I admire.
#4) Serena Reaching for Ash's Hand
As much as I enjoy all the other moments of their first "date," the very beginning of it is my faovirte part of that episode. Ash and Serena have just left the Pokemon center to look for gifts for their Pokemon and Serena realizes how the fact that they are all alone to do something together is almost like they're on a date. She ultimately has to restrain herself from trying to take his hand so she can hold it like they actually are on a date. There's not a whole lot to say about this moment except the shyness yet excitement of the voice in her head when she restrains her hand just makes me wish she actually succeeded in grabbing his hand or he notices and decided to take her hand even if he doesn't understand what that would mean to her. It's a couple of seconds to both love and feel sad for how much she still needed to grow and how much I and many other fans wish she could have taken his hand.
#3) "I-i-iron tail, Pikachu"
This takes place in episode 22 of XY&Z which many praise as their favorite Amourshipping episode in the entire series. In this episode, Ash gets out of his tent sick which no one realizes it until he starts walking to the dining table weakly until he collapses in front of Serena and holds on to her. This is already a very bashful moment for Serena because he's so close to her, but then Ash starts looking at her and starts saying "I...i..." which sounds like he's about to say "I love you" in both the English dub and the Japanese translation. According to a friend of mine from DeviantArt, it sounds like he's about to say "Aishiteru" which means "I love You" in a romantic sense, and you could interpret it as him saying "Ai" which means "Love" in Japanese. Either way, Serena blushes fiercely almost afraid to hear him actually say the words she wants him to say but then he says "Iron Tail, Pikachu" instead and collapses. I ennoy how no matter which version you choose it really does look like he's about to say "I love you." Plus, it's cute to see Serena blush so much with Ash so close to her. Also, like her reaching for his hand on the "first date," it's a moment where you wonder what would have happened if he actually said the words. What else can you say except...well..."Iron tail, Pikachu?"
#2) Serena Disguising Herself As Ash
This is a Serena moment rather than a both Serena and Ash moment, but it's still the best part of episode 22 of XY&Z. After Ash collapses and the group discovers that he is sick, Clemont and Bonnie travel to a nearby town to buy medicine while Serena looks after Ash in his tent. But then suddenly a wild electric guitar player named Jimmy: The Pikachu Trainer comes to the campsite with his Pikachu, Spike and starts playing his music loudly, demanding a battle with Ash. Serena tries to tell him to stop playing so that Ash can rest, but eventually she claims Ash will accept his battle just so that he can stop. Because she said this and she knows Ash would want to battle if he find out even though he's sick, Serena is left with no choice but to disguise herself as Ash with his clothes and battle Jimmy with Ash's Pikachu. What follows for the majority of the episode is about as exciting, strange, and funny as you can imagine. Not only is it enjoyable to see Serena show how much she's learned about Pokemon battling from observing Ash despite the fact that she is a Pokemon performer and so doesn't partake in many Pokemon battles apart from fighting Team Rocket, but in the English dub, the voice actress for Serena, Haven Paschall does a both amazing and hilarious job of Serena trying to impersonate Ash's voice. It's also cool to see how Serena uses some of the moves and techniques Ash uses in battle with his Pikachu like using iron tail on the ground to force SPike out of hiding. The moment where her secret is almost revealed by Clemont and Bonnie and Bonnie teases Serena about it later is also pretty funny. The only downside is obviously Team Rocket trying to capture Pikachu and Spike which interrupts the battle. I mean who doesn't want to know how that battle would have ended if Team Rocket didn't interfere? Well whatever the case, it's still fun, it's still memorable and...well I hate to admit it, but Serena looks cute in Ash's clothes.
And the number one Amourshipping moment is....
#1) The Amourshipping Kiss
Because...how the dickens could it not be? Even though this moment was accidentally spoiled for me before I could watch the episode by the cover of a YouTube video discussing the moment, it's still wonderful that Serena did in fact kiss Ash. You see as the series progressed, a lot of people were becoming hopeful that Pokemon:XY&Z will give us the two things fans have been dying to see for ages: seeing Ash finally win a Pokemon league and falling in love with one of his female companions. With Ash become so powerful and so skilled with his Pokemon team and all the moments he's had together with Serena, it seemed downright stupid that the studio wouldn't grant us either of those things after almost 20 years of Ash's adventures. But after the studio used different writers so that Ash would forcefully lose the Kalos league despite EVERYONE including the official writers and animators of the show saying he should win, people grew scared that we might be supporting Amourshipping for nothing too. As the show continued after that dark day where Ash's defeat aired on August 18th, 2016 (fubar,) I became more and more worried about what was going to happen to Ash and especially Serena. After a while, I accepted the likelihood that she was not going to Alola with him in the Sun and Moon anime and started to hope that she would at least either admit her feelings for Ash in some way and/or kiss him on the cheek. I became less worried about her after episode 45 where after the second "date" she made the amazing decision to make a new path for herself thus showing that she isn't trapped with either going to Alola with Ash or taking Palmero's offer to be her only choices. And then came the last episode; episode 47 where before Serena left for Hoenn, she told Ash that he is her goal and when she grows up to be a more beautiful and mature woman, she'll come for him. Even though he doesn't understand what she's saying (man, they made that boy way too darn dense), he smiled and that was that until Serena decides to do one last thing in order to make her point clear and kisses him. At first it was left into interpretation as to whether she kissed him on the lips or the cheek because we only see their feet when it happens, but then the director of Pokemon XY&Z, Tetsuo Yajima confirmed that A) she did kiss him on the lips, B) they would have shown it if it wasn't for censorship and C) the moment is meant for viewers to understand that they aren't a couple but they will probably become one later. Regardless of whether or not we see the kiss, though, the fact remains that Serena showed how far she's grown and how determined she is to make Ash hers someday and even though Ash doesn't get it, you can tell by the smile on his face and the gleam in Serena's eyes that there's hope for them yet. It's up in the air right now as to whether or not the two of them will officially get together or if we will ever see Serena again in the anime, but while we're dealing with the mixed bag that is Pokemon:Sun and Moon, this scene will remain in the minds of me and other Amourshippers everywhere because it shows that the possible romance between Ash and Serena is still alive, strong and is something and will continue to be worth rooting for, for a long, long time.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Every time I reach another hundred reviews, I like to make my next hundredth review to be on a movie that I already know and love/admire, or movie that I've been long anticipating at the time, or a movie that I know is one of the greatest pieces of cinema. But this time I wanted to take a different route. This time I wanted to review purified crap. This time I wanted to review a movie that is so bad that in a way it's actually good. So a couple of months ago, I posted on Facebook a poll for what so-bad-it's-good movie I should review as my 700th review. After about a week or so voting, the results are in and now it is time to talk about a film that I've wanted to look at for many years but have never got around to looking at until now. So at long last and by popular demand, this is my 700th review: The Room.
Plot: Johnny is a successful banker who lives in San Francisco with his fiancee, Lisa. Despite having an intimate relationship together, Lisa has become dissatisfied with her life and no longer loves Johnny. Rather than - oh I don't know, talk to Johnny about this like adults, she starts having an affair with his best friend, Mark. Mark is constantly reluctant to sleep with Lisa, but he always gives in to her advances. Eventually, Johnny finds out about Lisa's infidelity and plans to capture her in the act with a tape recorder.
You know it's been a month since I finally got around to watching this movie so I could finally review it, but despite all my determination, I didn't know what to say about it. It's not just bad, it is painfully bad. I can say with certainty that it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my entire life. I have seen many bad movies in the past, but the extent of how this film was so poorly put together, made no sense, was poorly acted, had the most funny yet utterly ridiculous approaches to be artistic and interesting made it one of the hardest movies I have ever had to watch. Are there moments were it is so bad that it's actually entertaining? Yes, but for me personally I found it more painful than amusing to watch this glorified, incorrigible crap.
Where do I even start with this movie? What could I say that countless people have already expressed online whether by video or by blog? Well the first thing that comes to mind is all the technical problems with this movie. The editing, cinematography, and most notably (in my opinion) the sound editing/mixing are done poorly. The editing feels like the kind of editing you would expect to make in film school or even a multimedia class in high school where you have to work on these exercise projects they give you in "How to" CDs for Final Cut 7 and X: plain, dull, and does not have any special sense of emotion, pacing or rhythm. The cinematography looks just as plain, except for when they decide to shoot characters or certain actions in angles that don't make any sense. They do have some decent shots of San Francisco in the beginning, but having gone to San Francisco myself for a Brony convention last year, I can say that's not that hard to do. I was only at the city itself for one day while the convention was at a hotel a little ways from it, but I saw enough to say that it's so unique with its hills, buildings, trolleys and so forth that it's not hard to make some camera shots of the area look at least kind of nice. Heck, if even Tommy Wiseau could manage to give us that, then you know it's not a difficult task. So much of the dialogue if not ALL of the dialogue is done in post-production and it really shows. Hardly any of the dialogue sound like they were recorded from the location and some of it don't even match the lip movements of the actors. In fact, the editing of the sound is so bad that I can hear when the audio tracks start and end in the sequence with no sound mixing to make them flow with the other audio. To put that into perspective, I didn't watch the movie with a surround sound system coming from the TV to notice this, I watched it on my desktop computer. So if I can hear it with my desktop computer's sound system that's no IMAX high-definition sound system, then you know they screwed up.
The story is beyond dull. Not only to we have story lines that go absolutely nowhere like Lisa's mom having fatal breast cancer or Danny owing a guy money for drugs, not only are there scenes that add absolutely nothing like Johnny and Mark going to get coffee or...pretty much every sex scene in this film, but the main story is so plain that it works better on paper for a short film rather than a heaven forsaken 99-minute feature length. It's literally just about a guy whose fiancee is cheating on him with his best friend and virtually nothing else changes throughout most of the film. It's is only 99 minutes long because they stuff all the pointless storylines in and whenever we get back to the main story it's mostly just repeating the same thing: Lisa telling her mom that she's not in love with Johnny anymore, Mark constantly saying no to having an affair with Lisa but ends up either kissing or sleeping with her anyway, and other characters - including Mark, constantly telling Lisa not to do cheat on Johnny for fear of what he's going to do but she just stubbornly cheats on him anyway with without a care. In fact, this leads to the one aspect of the film that pisses me off the most: Lisa herself. Even though I have little to absolutely no care for any of the characters in this movie or what happens to them - least of all Johnny, I cannot remember the last time I've hated a character the way I hated Lisa. She's so cruel that she just goes ahead and betrays her fiancee not caring about what devastating (according to the film) effects it could and did bring. In a way, this is an example of how Bella from Twilight could have been a good Shakespearian villain with how she toys with the two men she sleeps with. Every time she's on screen trying to shame Johnny while also pretending to love him or makes moves on Mark I wanna smack her. I have no doubt that if I look back and think hard I'll realize how I've seen characters so much worse than her in film, tv, book or any form of media, but the consistency of what she does just irritates me so much. There are no redeeming qualities to her at all.
Many of the other characters range from boring and add nothing to the story to ...um...weird. Lisa's mom mostly exists just to tell Lisa that she needs to marry Johnny and to announce that she has breast cancer before Lisa rebukes the news. Denny is an odd teenager whose parents we never see and says lines like asking to go upstairs with Johnny and Lisa who are about to have sex and supposedly does drugs. (I say supposedly because there's literally no indication that he does drugs other than the one line where he confesses he does to Lisa and her mom.) There's this couple who are friends of Lisa's who randomly come to sneak into her apartment and have sex halfway or so into the movie. They mostly just flirt and make googly eyes at each other, and yet somehow they technically have more chemistry (loosely speaking) than anyone in the whole film.
And then you have Johnny himself. Holy crap, can I not believe Tommy Wiseau's acting in this movie. He has this...interesting way to say even the most simple of lines of dialogue wrong. From the accent, to the tone of his voice to his facial expressions to his body movement, nothing about his performance seems natural in the slightest. Not to mention he has this annoying habit of chuckling every moment he gets, even if he's laughing at something like Mark telling him a story about a girl who dated a dozen guys and one of them found out and beat her up so bad that she went to the hospital. I don't know why in the world anyone would do something like that; it's all just horrible acting choices that seem to only make sense in Wiseau's mind. Doug Walker says in his Nostalgia Critic review that this is the kind of acting that people say can never exist and there are middle school plays that give better performances than this, and he's right. Even the dullest performances I've ever seen seem normal compared to this guy's acting. It's especially incredible how hard the movie tries to display Johnny as the most wonderful person on the planet. Practically every person whether a main character, supporting character or some extra that gets only one line has something to say that tries to make Johnny look like a saint. Even the scene where Denny runs in with an armed drug dealer is clearly there to make Johnny look like a hero who saves Denny's life and has all the answers. It is important to address how much you want your audience to like your protagonist, but it's amazing how obvious they're trying to make him seem so wonderful when we're clearly not buying it.
The dialogue as many of you know is one of the most entertainingly bad aspects of the movie. From lines like "I did not hit her. It's bullsh*t, I did not hit her. I did naaaaht," to "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" These are some of the stupidest lines that are done so comically wrong that you can't help but want to quote this movie just to make fun of how bad it is. Most of the really bad lines come from Wiseau, but the rest of the cast have an odd line every now and then. It's my understanding that some parts of the dialogue had to be rewritten in the middle of shooting scenes and it explains a lot.
The film is of course littered with some of the strangest and most awkward scenes you'll ever see which also part of why it's so beloved. From Johnny acting so broken hearted that he starts humping a dress, to four guys throwing a football dressed in tuxedos to some of the most uncomfortable sex scenes you will ever see. Now I'm not normally someone who's into watching sex in movies, but I am aware that even some of the most pointless sex scenes in film have to show there's some kind of chemistry between the two people and at least look pleasing to watch for the demographic of people who actually want to watch people having sex in their movies. But every sex scene in this movie just looks weird, awkward and ugly - especially given how Wiseau does not have an appealing body. And again, I don't usually pay attention to this kind of stuff in movies, but when practically the first half of this movie is on these long scenes of couple dancing, playing around, showing Wiseau's butt and showing us the most uncomfortable positions like having sex in a spiral stairway or Johnny looking like she's screwing Lisa's bellybutton than having actual sex, it's really messed up. It also doesn't help that half of the sex scenes are of Johnny and Lisa, making it even more pointless when we're watching them knowing that their relationship is one-sided.
And that at long last is my review for The Room. Is it as stupid and poorly made as everyone says it is? You bet every single review and list I've ever written it does. From terrible writing, to terrible acting, to some of the most bizarre and pointless scenes you will ever see in a movie, it is one of the worst movies that has ever existed. Do I see why people would find it to be so bad that it's good? Yes actually. While I found it more painful than amusing to watch, I can't deny that this film is surrounded by problems that people would and do love to make fun of. It's both painful yet fascinating how a movie like this came to be. While I'm giving this movie a zero percent in terms of its quality as a "movie," I will say that it's worth checking out. I knew long before I started writing this review that no words of mine can express how incredibly bad this movie is. It's truly something that has to be seen in order to be believed. In fact, there's a movie called The Disaster Artist that's based on the book of the same name written by the actor who played Mark, Greg Sestero, and coming to theaters in December. It's about Sestero's experiences in first meeting Tommy Wiseau and the behind-the-scenes drama in creating The Room. There's already a teaser for this movie on YouTube with James Franco as Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco as Greg Sestero. The teaser looks promising, so if you have not seen The Room yet, I recommend that you go see it now while The Disaster Artist is still months away.
And that guys is my 700th review. Thank you for reading as always. I know I haven't reviewed as much as I used to, but I hope to catch up in the future. Until then, here's to another 100 reviews.
Friday, July 21, 2017
Plot: Set sometime after the events of the last film, the Transformers have been outlawed by most governments of the world. Cade Yager has been hiding Autobots while a military force called TRF is hunting them and the Decepticons down. When Cade is given a metal talisman from a dying Cybertronian knight, Megatron and a band of released Decepticons chase after him, leading him to flee and come across an astronomer and historian named Sir Edmund Burton and his Autobot butler, Cogman who informs him that he has been chosen to be the last knight and thus must protect an Oxford professor named Viviane who is the last decendant of Merlin the Sorcerer who must find Merlin's staff to protect the world. Meanwhile, Optimus Prime finds the remains of Cybertron where a Soreceress named Quintessa informs him that Earth is the Chaos Bringer himself: Unicron who is asleep and must be stopped before he wakes up. Optimus Prime decides to go back to Earth, hypnotized by Quintessa thus becoming Nemesis Prime. If any of this makes sense...good for you.
When this movie kept getting closer and closer, I cringed. It was so painful to know that Michael Bay is continuing to make these movies that have little to no devotion to the source material whatsoever. It especially hurt that this contains good ideas for a story like Optimus Prime becoming bad because he became possesed by Dark Energon (or so I thought was the reason), and we were going to see Unicron who is basically the devil in Transformers mythology on the big screen and all of that was ineviteably going to be wasted by a director that wants to focus on unecesary explosions, women and racial sterotypes. It angers me how a franchise that has so much potential for the big screen is being wasted for the stupidest of things, and what's worse is that by the time its rebooted to be done right, Peter Cullen and Frank Walker could be dead or retired. So after finally going to see this sucker with my dad, how was Bay's fifth abomination? The honst answer is that it's as horrible as you would expect...but not without some very minor posititves that at least makes it better than Age of Extinction.
Let's get the most obvious problems of the film out of way first. The story is still a whole bunch of crap and silly ridiculous nonsense that has a good bajillion plot holes and storylines that lead absolutely nowhere. But to the film's credit (for lack of a better term), this plot is slightly easier and more interesting to follow than in Age of Extinction. Age of Extinction was mostly giving us just the same plot as the first movie excpet it was also throwing a bunch of things together that make you lose track of what was happening. This at least had the interesting aspect of trying to save the world from Cybertron, Unicron and Optimus Prime turned into Nemesis Prime. They still do a whole lot of ridiculous stuff that makes no sense and it's still a disgrace to the franchise as a whole, but as a Transformers fan there's still some aspects that look a little interesting. I do like the idea of how Optimus is tricked by Quintessa to become Nemesis Prime as opposed to simply becoming possessed by Dark Energon a.k.a. the blood of Unicron like I thought was going to happen. And we get the "twist" that Unicron is actually Earth itself falling asleep just like in Transformers: Prime. I will admit that as much as I would have liked to have actually seen Unicron as himself, I didn't expect them to take a similar direction from what I consider to be the best Transformers TV series. All that said however, the structure and world building is still completely nuts. We have the rewriting of history from both the age of King Arthur and a moment in World War II where somehow Transformers played a part in both of them, and somehow the world is supposed to be really screwed up and treating everything like the Transformers are invading Earth and yet at the same time life is still kind of treated like normal to the point that Cade can still watch Nascar at home and people still play golf or his daughter will still go to college even though she knows that all this is still happening. Also slightly similar if not worse than the whole NASA conspiracy in Dark of the Moon with Soundwave and Laserbeak, there are some plot points concerning Cybertron and Earth that will leave you asking yourself, "Where was this new lore during the events of the other films? What were these new characters doing during the battles of Chicago or Egypt or anything like that?"
The human characters are about as stupid as you expect them to be... mostly. Mark Wahlberg is mostly being just Mark Wahlberg which isn't necessarily a bad thing. He at least is an entertaining actor even with a Michael Bay directing the film, and it's not like we're getting any performances worse than his role in The Happening. The 14-year-old girl that you've seen the trailers has virtually no point in the movie after the first 10 or so minutes. Valerie's point in the plot is completely forced in that she is only special because she is someone's ancestor and legitimately nothing else going for her except for arguably being brave enough to try to complete the quest while Decepticons are trying to kill her. Anthony Hopkins probably brings the most likeable aspect of the movies for simply no other reason than being Anthony Hopkins saying dumb exposition in a way that makes it cool just because he's Anthony Hopkins. That said however, he falls flat on some moments where he is trying to make some of Micahel Bay's "comedic" dialogue funny but failing miserably. There's a specific moment when he meets Cade Yager and Anthony Hopkins keeps talking about whole bunch of mindless stuff for good minute or two and it's and he's trying to be funny but it's just painful to watch. And that is so sad that I actually have to say that about watching Anthony freaking Hopkins of all people. Simmons is in this movie once again for literally no other reason than to bring some mindless exposition that you will forget before the movie gets to the climax. The only other actors that I like seeing in this movie was Lennox. As stupid as a lot of the characters are from the first three movies, he at least had a character that you sort of admire for literally no other reason than being the soldier who bravely fought alongside Optimus, Bumblebee and the other Autobots.
The Autobots have almost have has little purpose to be in this movie as they did in the last three sequels. A lot of their scenes are them saying a bunch of dumb Michael Bay humor or showing whatever stereotypes they are. What pisses me off the most about the Autobots is that Grimlock briefly appears in the beginning but has virtually no other purpose outside of that. To give a real middle finger to some fans like me, Wheelie is alive. So not only did Brain survive the ship crash in the end of Dark of the Moon which I thought was one of the best aspects about that movie but even Wheelie survives even though they clearly made it look like they both died which was great because a lot of people hated both of those characters. But nope, now we have to continue these movies knowing that both of them survived and are as annoying as ever. That is really dumb! Bumblebee as usual has the most attention and they try to go over this whole thing about his missing voice which had a little bit of potential but gets wasted almost as quickly as it was the first time at the end of the first movie. Optimus Prime surpisingly rarely appears in this movie. Much like in Revenge of the Fallen, he's there a couple of times in the beginning, he is nowhere in the second act, and then just appears again just in time for the entire climax. But the biggest insult to me personally was Hot Rod. Now I'm not going to pretend that I'm a big fan of Hot Rod as a Transformers fan, in fact I sort of sympathize with people who dislike him because he replaced Optimus Prime in the animated movie. Having said that, when I heard that he was going to be in his movie I expected him to play a fairly similar role to what he had in the animated film. But literally all we get from him instead is that he has a gun that controls time and gravity and that he speaks a French accent. I'm not even a fan of him and yet that was such a big insult that I flipped off the screen.
Sadly the Decepticons had just as small amount of screen time is that usually do in these movies. But the same time it's all for the best when you get moments like a montage of Megatron demanding the release of some Decepticon that is a total tone shift of the movie. What makes it even worse is that some of the Decepticons are human stereotypes. I'm not going to defend that the Decepticons have had the best track record of being represented correctly in these films in the past, but they at least had a menacing presence of some kind in the first three films. And to have them change that so that some of them have annoying stereotypes including a small Decepticon that turns into a motorcycle that has a mohawk who is litteraly named Mohawk, that pissed me off so much that I flipped off the screen with both fingers. Thankfully, characters like Mohawk did not get as much as attention as I was afraid they would, but they still left it in an annoying impact. How about Megatron himsel? You know sadly the thought has occurred to me between Age of Extinction and now how Megatron has never truly been leader of the Decepticons. I mean he appeared to be the leader in the first movie, but then that is immediately botched in the second film when we find out that he was working for the Fallen, and then in the third movie he gets kicked down by Sentinel Prime and then the fourth film he actually does become the leader of the Decepticons, but he specifically becomes the leader of the human made Decepticons that he easily reprogrammed with his random psychic powers. Now in this film he is really nothing more than just a scoundrel of sorts. He doesn't appear to have any plans for world/universe domination, he has no real desire to destroy the humans, and when you get to the main plot of this movie, he turns out to be working for someone else AGAIN. Who should have been one of the most intimidating and compelling sci-fi villains you could ever put in the silver screen has become one of the most pathetic and useless characters in the entire live-action Transformers franchise.
So with all these negative things to say, is there anything remotely likable in The Last Knight? Well, there are a couple of things, surprisingly. As I said before, I do like that we get some aspects of the franchise that fans like me are more likely to recognize like Earth turning out to be Unicron and Optimus becoming Nemesis Prime. As pointless as Megatron is, I do like his new design where we finally see him wielding his arm cannon. Although the first scene with they were he shoots fire at a random spot while he's talking to Barricade looks so stupid that it's a little funny. And we also have Frank Welker finally voicing as Megatron and in his Transformers: Prime voice specifically which is welcoming. And while the action itself is nothing specia,l we do somewhat get new locations for where the action takes place. Yeah, you have a car chase in the middle of a city and things like that, but then you have the climax where there is an air battle between the autobots, the humans and the Decepticons, and then they're fighting each other on what's left of Cybertron. None of these fights really stand out as cool or interesting, but they at least feel a little more epic than the final battle in Age of Extinction and we at least see Transformers fighting in new locations. And believe it or not, there are a couple of times for the humor is actually funny. Don't get me wrong, the poor humor that you would expect is there on a silver platter just as you would expect, but every now and then they pull a joke that surprisingly is a little funny. There's a scene with Anthony Hopkins and the Prime Minister of Britain that is well-timed, and his Transormer butler, Cogman has a K-2SO kind of personality who is annoying at times but how does a few jokes that resulted in me as well as some of the other people in the theater room laughing out loud.
And that's my review for Transformers: The Last Knight. Is it as pointless, stupid, and as big of a disgrace to the franchise as we have come to expect from these movies? Oh yes, no doubt whatsoever. The plot makes no sense, the world-building contradicts itself, the human characters have no interesting qualities outside of Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins simply for the sake of being Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins, and the Transformers themselves are poor representations of the characters that a lot of us know and love. Is it worse than Age of Extinction? No, that movie was a more remarkable mess in how it had little to no effort in what it was doing and it was a complete fetish film for everything that we know about Michael Bay. This film is a complete mess as well, but it at least had the decency to have a couple of jokes that actually worked and some fan service that's poorly done but enjoyable all the same. In fact at this point, I'm beginning to sense a odd pattern with these films. It seems like the odd-numbered films are the ones that have the least unpleasant jokes and put the most effort in giving us some fanservice whereas the even-numbered films give us no real effort or passion and us are the bigger disgraces of the Transformers franchise as a whole. The first movie at least made the experience of watching live-action Transformers epic and had nod offs like Optimus saying "One shall stand, one shall fall." Dark of the Moon at least gave us glimpses of the ARK, Shockwave, the Matrx of Leadership in its rightful place, Energon towers, Optimus' trailer, Soundwave and Lazerbeak spying on people and space bridges. And now with this film, we at least get Megatron having his arm cannon at last, hints of Unicron emergings (though I'm not optimisitc), Nemesis Prime and Walker finally giving Megatron his rightful voice. Revenge fo the Fallen and Age of Extinction may have had some likable moments that fans would like, but they're better known for being true disgraces of the franchise as well as cinema as a whole. At the end of the day, I hope Michael Bay will stay true to his promise that this will be his last film or the poor box office results will be the key to make him stop making these films anyway. What else can a Transformers fan say except I hope that we're not far away from seeing everything that he's done with the franchise finally crash and burn.
BTW, stay turned as I soon makea movie that I've been meaning to see for a long time become my 700th review.
Friday, April 14, 2017
Plot: Desmond Doss grew up in a seventh-day adventist church which leads to him strongly believing in the commandment "Thou shall not kill" after he nearly kills his younger brother during a fight. He becomes interested in medical work after he falls in love with a nurse named Dorothy and decides to become a combat medic. He becomes an outcast among his fellow soldiers when he refuses to train on Saturdays or pick up a rifle. Eventually, he is allowed to be a medic without a weapon and thus faces the challenge of trying to save lives with being able to defend himself.
You know, it's stuff like this that is why World War II is my favorite time period. It's the time in our history that's so rich with stories of different kinds and from different perspectives during a war that we tend to romanticize as a great fight between good and evil even if that's not necessarily how the entire world sees it. Right down to the concept that this is about someone who specifically wants to be a medic during World War II without carrying a gun, I was immediately invested in the story and from there Hacksaw Ridge just got better and better and better.
I'm not going to beat around the bush here, let's start off with the strongest aspect of the movie, Andrew Garfield. I love this guy in both Amazing Spider-Man films and even though I look forward to what Tom Holland has in store for Spider-Man: Homecoming, I do wish we got a little more of Garfield as the infamous web-head, and it's stuff like this that gives me more reasons why. I love how devoted Andrew Garfield is to his role and how it's a story about sticking to your beliefs. He's not insane, he's not doing it out of pride - though at one point he considers that it might be the case, he's sticking to his beliefs as a Christian and is willing to do his part in the war no matter the risk, and to a Christian like me, that is nothing short of awesome. When I came home from watching this movie and I was talking to my brother about it who saw it weeks before I did, he asked me if Andrew Garfield is a Christian and I told him no but his performance is so good that it kind of makes me believe that he could be a pretty good Christian if he opened his heart to Jesus like that. Now obviously that's a subject that's a matter between Garfield and Jesus, but you get the idea that he makes the idea of sticking to your faith so awesome and inspiring. It also helps that is not a simple decision for him to not pick up a gun. Everyone including his fiancé, Dorothy, tells him to do it, he has a nightmare where he gets shot and is defenseless to stop it, and we even have a back story that goes further into why he refuses to carry a gun which was great.
The other actors are pretty good too. I was really surprised that Sam Worthington is actually in this film. Truth be told, I thought he practically disappeared from the map after movies like Terminator Salvation, Avatar and a couple other films, but he's in here to and he gave a nice performance. It was also kind of a nice surprise to see some other actors like Vince Vaughn and Hugo Weaving perform, and I honestly wonder if the relationship between Desmond and Dorothy was as strong and challenged in real life as they make it out to be in the movie.
One of the main reasons why I really wanted to see this movie was because of the action. Like I said before, my brother saw it before me and he said that the battle scenes are just as good if not arguably better in the Omaha beach scene in Saving Private Ryan. Immediately, that got me interested because we and the rest of our siblings we're pretty much raised to hold Saving Private Ryan in such high regard to the point that it's tradition in our family to watch the movie on June 6th as a way to pay our respects to the men who fought and died at Omaha Beach. So I was eager to find out how exactly did Hacksaw Ridge meet/exceed the gore and the emotion that Steven Spielberg brought in Saving Private Ryan. When I got to the first battle, just the mere setup exceeded my expectations with the soldiers looking at corpses that have been destroyed and some are even getting eaten by rats and it sets the mood perfectly. Jeremy Jahns said it best in his own review for the movie when he said that they set it like the soldiers are in a horror movie. The action itself is full of so much action and gore that looks so realistic and sometimes hard to watch. It establishes perfectly how anyone can die in any possible way. Now you could make the argument that it's potentially too gory if for no other reason than the fact that this is directed by Mel Gibson who does have a reputation for being considered, shall we say, a little too interested in bringing in gore to his films. I'll admit that sometimes I did think that way while watching the film knowing that he directed this too, but it doesn't hurt the movie. I think similar to Braveheart and at least most of The Passion of the Christ, he brings the right kind of violence to capture what happened at that time period.
The last third of the movie is the most emotional part of the movie. I won't go into details for those of you who haven't seen it, but it's the heart of what makes this film different from other WWII films. It's thrilling, it's suspenseful, you don't know for sure what's going to happen and when the end credits hit, I was starting to cry, the ending was so incredible.
And that's my review for Hacksaw Ridge. If your not interested in gore Mel Gibson style or something like that, I understand, but to me, the action was great, the emotional moments where powerful, and Garfield gives a wonderful performance that tells such a remarkable story. I'll admit that I'm biased seeing as I am a Christian myself, but I think this is such a moving film regardless. It probably stood no chance in winning best picture, but it's still a film that I recommend.