Sunday, March 27, 2016

REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness

And here we stand, at the end of the road at the present moment. We've talked about the magic that the original six movies could portray, we've talked about the new edge, and fun that the Next Generation films could pull, and last week, we talked about how I personally really like the first reboot film. Despite what others will continue to say, I rank it as my third favorite Star Trek film, and despite what others say, yes...I call it a Star Trek film. So you can imagine that I was very excited for the potential of the sequel.  What was J.J. gonna do to keep this magic up?  What sort of potential was he gonna unleash with this alternate universe now fully at his command?

Well...I'll admit that when I first saw it, I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  But I have to admit, having watched all the Star Trek films now, and having been getting in touch with a lot of the series lately...rewatching Into Darkness...I wasn't as impressed as I once was.

Last December, some of you may have read my review for The Force Awakens, which was also directed by J.J. Abrams. Some of you may remember that I took criticism to the movie mainly because there were times in the movie where it really literally felt like J.J. Had a checkbook of scenes from the first movie that were iconic enough to include in his film.  From the Cantina scene, to the Trench Run Scene, to the info in a droid scene, to the hero getting killed scene, to...look you get the idea.  There is a LOT of retreading in the Force Awakens, and it got to me. If I were to re-rate the film, I'd almost be tempted to rate it a three star rating instead of the original three and a half star rating, but I gave it that original rating because it was still a very fun movie.  Watching it, I could say that this was Star Wars.  Is it flawed?  Yes.  But it holds to that legacy of being just a fun fantasy space adventure, without needing to go into too much complexity that the prequels tried to do (though ironically, a little political explanation was kinda needed here).  Well...enter Into Darkness, a film three years older than Force Awakens. know...J.J. Abrams is a director I kinda like. I loved things like Cloverfield, and whatnot...but...with Force Awakens...and now Into Darkness...why am I seeing a troubling pattern here?

Now I can't exactly call this a retread of Wrath of Kahn,'s not.  It does have a different plot.  But it leans so much on Wrath of Kahn, holding to that checkbook of similar scenes, or exact lines from certain characters and other things that as much as I love Star Trek, I am gonna get even harsher on this film than I will Force Awakens, despite it being the older film.  Why?  Because at least with Star Wars?  The legacy was upheld.  Here?  Yeah...I will sympathize with a few of you who call these films glorified action films. Because...that's what this is.  It is the most action packed Star Trek movie out all the wrong ways.  And it absolutely breaks my heart to say that, because there are some scenes that I actually REALLY really like.  And the first scene that ultimately comes to mind when I say this is that...absolutely wonderful to watch warp battle between the Vengeance and the Enterprise.  That is a real treat to watch to this day.  Just a monster ship tearing apart the Enterprise at's a wonderful scene, and has wonderful tension.

But...that's really the only action scene I really liked.

While the film is set up good with an attack at Starfleet in London, the film just quickly descends into this action packed mess that holds little to no honor to the Star Trek name. Starfleet officials are killed when Kahn attacks their exposed headquarters (because Kahn is in this movie), they ATTEMPT diplomacy with the Klingons, before Kahn just jumps in and it's a shootout all over the place, we have another space jump which honestly isn't as impressive as the jump in the previous movie, we have chase scenes, space battles, and brawls and it just doesn't stop.  Heck!  I'd say that the action keeps going until maybe...five minutes left of the movie.  FIVE!  WHY? And that's another thing, the ending of this movie feels like it's just getting shoved out the door.  "Action's done, you guys can go home now, here's you half-assed ending."  Just...WHY?

I'm not even focusing on the mirroring of Wrath of Kahn any more, we all know the problems there, from Kirk replacing Spock as the guy to save the ship, only to be brought back miraculously to life. Before this movie was even released, rumors were all over the place to the point where we could pretty much see Kahn coming in a mile away. And though the previous film had some genuinely funny moments, a lot of the comedy in this film falls flat.  It revolves around Scotty running from one end of the ship to another, or Spock and Uhura uncomfortably arguing in front of everyone. And even smaller elements of this film...from a very forced and non-impressive cameo from Leonard Nimoy, to a cheap lowest common denominator shot of a woman in underwear, just feel unnecessary and add absolutely nothing to this film. And I hate highlighting all these problems, because the film does have some genuinely stong moments.

The story is easy to follow, and when Kirk and Pike argue, or share their final moments together, it does show some very decent character bonding. I love character development!  But it's few and far between in this film.  Kahn isn't portrayed. half-bad either, and I dare say that Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Kahn on a level very near that of Ricardo Montalbán. I'm not joking, he doesn't try to impersonate Ricardo's performance, he does his own, and he does have a very menacing feel in that performance. And despite what other say, I find that dark side of Starfleet to be rather interesting.  You can say it doesn't fit the picture but...remember Undiscovered Country?  There were people in Starfleet conspiring to keep the Klingon Empire as an enemy.  Officers in Starfleet, a Romulan, Klingons, even a Vulcan. So I'm not gonna accept the argument that this doesn't fit Starfleet.  Compared to Undiscovered Country, this little conspiracy in Starfleet is a walk in the park.  But these few good things just failed to hold this movie up for my recent viewing. It makes me kinda happy that Abrams isn't exactly calling the shots anymore for the upcoming film, because as fun as the action can's not at all very Trek-like.

Star Trek Into Darkness is another film that is hard to rate. But after hard consideration, I am giving this film a final rating of a two and a half star rating. It's not...bad. It holds more water than other stinkers like Final Frontier, The Motion Picture, and Insurrection. But compared to other mediocre films like Nemesis or Generations, this one just doesn't feel as Trek-like as the rest of the group.  The constant action makes you forget that you're supposed to be watching Star Trek, and the fact that out of all the potential, Abrams decided to just experiment with Wrath of Kahn, I can't help but feel that one too many corners were cut here.  And I hate saying that, because I feel it's this film that has made so many people question the quality of the reboot films, and with some warning signs already up for Star Trek Beyond, I have a feeling that a lot of them won't go see it...even if it's good.  Speaking of which, I will be going to see that film, and it will get a review.  I still hold hope to it, because despite what others think, I do know that Simon Pegg, the film's writer DOES in fact hold a high respect for the franchise, and he's not disappointed me before. Can he write a good film?  I fully believe he can.  Yeah, Justin Lin is a questionable director (and I've not even seen the Fast and Furious movies), but if anyone can give these reboot films a good name, I fully believe Simon can.  Time will tell.

Please feel free to request any film you wish for me to look at.  Leave a comment down below telling me your own personal thoughts on the film, and as always, thanks for reading.

Final Verdict: 2.5/4

Thank you all for reading through my Trek-a-then film reviews, but it's not done yet, and won't be done until July hits! Hopefully Star Trek Beyond will help ease some pain from Into Darkness, but we won't know for sure until we get that final product.  But until then, I say that I am happy to be a Trekkie for the franchise's fiftieth anniversary, and only hope for the best to come up ahead.  But now...I think I got another anniversary to uphold...I think I gotta review the Pokémon movies now...oh boy...

Monday, March 21, 2016

REVIEW: Star Trek (2009)

Do you guys have any idea how stoked I am to finally be writing this? Honestly you don't. I love talking about controversial entertainment like this. Let's dive right in!

For those who have absolutely no idea, the Star Trek reboot films have been the talk of the Star Trek communities nowadays. It has completely split the Fandom right up the middle. You either love them, or you hate them. I've encountered one too many discussions about how people love the darker tone which can reflect our post-9/11 country right now, or how people absolutely despise the..."J.J.-verse". Well where do I stand? I'm not entirely sure myself. Each film has their strengths and weaknesses. And each one has given me something to enjoy. 

But to avoid ten paragraph reviews, I'm going to get a few of the more common debates out of the gate right here, right now. Whether you agree with these points or not...well...I'm not gonna debate too much about them. HERE WE GO!!!! I like the new layout of the Enterprise, I think the new cast does a great job at portraying their roles, I don't at all mind all the lens flares, while it seems to be the most controversial topic, a lot of the action is very well done, and finally, I really don't give a damn whether or not you think it fits the vision of Gene Roddenberry. Because let's face it, if everything everywhere had to fit the original vision of their original creator, a lot of franchises like Star Wars or Stargate would straight up suck- Have I pissed anyone off yet?

Okay let's get serious. In all seriousness, Star Trek needed the little break it got after Nemesis, and Enterprise. While I've yet to see any Enterprise episodes, I've heard enough fanboy hate to know that Trek needed a break. Some new blood. Enter director J.J. Abrams who came up with a little idea of creating an alternate time line, which in all honesty....I'm all for. Now before I get too many hate comments, let me just say, that no, I don't hate the primary time line. I'm just a HUGE fan of alternate realities, time lines, and I won't lie, the plot of this movie is the ultimate story I can think of when time travel goes horribly wrong. I find it really kinda cool to see that the hero fails to fix it. This new dark tone does in fact mirror a lot of what our country felt in the post 9/11 days, and correct me if I'm wrong, but Star Trek kinda likes mirroring recent events. From the Klingon Empire mirroring Nazi Germany of the Original Series, to Undiscovered Country mirroring the end of the Cold War, just to name a relative few. I've heard people call this reboot mirroring "exploitation". So what do they call that other stuff? And again, don't even bother bringing up "oh it's not Roddenberry's vision". Refer to the previous paragraph. 

Now I will say this, that yes, fans do give this and the next film legitimate criticisms that I actually kinda sympathize with. Whether it's a relative few plot holes (all of which are explained in deleted scenes or the prequel comic....come on J.J.), or how the amount of action just doesn't fit at times, or how Starfleet doesn't quite act like Starfleet  (more on this point in the next review). One point I've heard is that these films don't reflect Star Trek spirit in terms of moral standpoints and whatnot, and all I'm gonna say is this.  Leave that stuff to the show, because I pay to watch a movie for a fun adventure. Nearly every Star Trek movie or there has been based on an adventure, and those that tried to be something else kinda failed. Wrath of Kahn, Search for Spock, Voyage Home, First Contact....all adventures. I guess you can say Voyage Home had a moral, but everyone seems to criticize it. In fact the ONLY film I can say has both a good adventure and moral standpoint is Undiscovered Country. So what do people have against this adventure? Because I can easily follow it, I have a lot of fun with it, and while it's not perfect...I'm glad it was the first Star Trek movie I saw in theaters. 

The only thing I really have a problem with in this particular movie, is the fact that write quite frankly, I'm kinda done with Kirk and Spock. They had their time in the limelight. But even this isn't do much a hindrance with this movie, because this story that was given was just way too fun not to enjoy. Each cast member portrays their character very well, even if there are a few moments I still kinda scratch my head at (like the Spock Uhura relationship). And despite everything, this movie does portray a very fun new beginning for Kirk and his crew, from Kirk cheating at the Kobayashi Maru, to the intimidating Romulan/Borg ship (comic expansion), to Nero, who is one of my favorite Star Trek villains to this point. The action in this movie is spot on, and even if it's a little excessive, it at least fits, unlike some of the action in Nemesis. 

But for me the films strongest point comes from Leonard Nimoy, in a performance I like to call the ultimate finale (if not for his rather forced cameo next film). Once you see him on screen, you immediately smile, you immediately sit yourself down, and you love each and every second he's on screen. Like I said, if it wasn't for his forced cameo in the sequel, this would have been the perfect performance for him to leave the franchise on. Especially in the films final scene, which is easily one of my favorite scenes in all of Star Trek, when we see the Enterprise boldly going where no one has gone before, to Nimoy excellently voicing that iconic monologue. It left me on a high, and only wanting more. Whether I got more? I guess you'll have to check in next week for that answer. 

But when all is said and done, this is a film that is easily one if my favorite films of the franchise, and honestly I feel the reason it gets so much hate, is the fact that people will worry that the future of Star Trek will be based on this new time line. Well after doing my own research, all answers point to no. This seems to just be a fun little trip, so all I'm gonna say is sit back and enjoy the ride while we wait eagerly for our new series in 2017. But for this movie, this reboot, Star Trek earns a three and a half star rating out of four. It's flawed, but it does so much right that I can forgive said flaws. The acting is good, the story is great, the visuals are easily amongst the best out there, and the music is absolutely phenomenal. Massive points to Michael Giacchino for the musical score here. If you don't like it for some of the reasons I've stated above, there are some of those I can relate and sympathize with, but I'll quote a favorite critic of mine here. If you're gonna hate something for the sole reason of it being different, I kindly ask for you to go beck to your corner of the room that remembers your Utopian time period which never existed. Star Trek is, and always has been a flawed but enjoyable series to follow, and this film was absolutely no different. 

Boy I can't wait to see the hate come pouring in here. 

Please feel free to request films you'd like to see reviewed. Leave a comment down below expressing your own thoughts and opinions on this movie, and as always, thanks for reading. 

Final Verdict: 3.5/4

One more guys. One more film before July. We're wrapping up ourTrek-a-thon next week, hope you'll read then!

Monday, March 14, 2016

THROWBACK ALBUM REVIEW: St. Anger by Metallica

What is the worst album you've ever heard?  That's a hard question to answer, because there is a LOT of bad music out there, all for different reasons, under different genres, by different artists, with different traits that make it awful.  One of the things I've learned in my time of writing critiques, is that certain things that are bad, have a certain amount of enjoyability perhaps buried in them.  A bad movie can be fun to watch for hilarious acting, or ridiculous story, or whatnot.  A bad video game can be enjoyed after popping open a beer and watching a glitch fest of hilarity ensue.  However, I've been reviewing music for a very long time now.  I don't do it as often nowadays, but I used to review music a lot, in my post High School years.  Music was my life back in the day, and I loved recommending music to others, or warning others to stay away from certain music.  And that part of me still lives today.  I make plenty of mixes, in hopes of showing off good music to other people, and of course, I spotlight old music every Thursday for the Throwback Thursday Ressurection Jukebox special thing I do on Google+. In my experience of music...I can tell you that bad music is not so easily enjoyed. You can't just pop open a beer, sit back, and listen to a bad pop album. You're still going to hate it. Which brings me to one of the most controversial albums of all time, by a band I used to absolutely idolize.

Metallica in high school was life.  They were in many ways to me...the band that could do absolutely no wrong. And I'll go ahead and admit that when I was in high school, it was a good time to be a Metallica fan.  My sophomore year, they released Death Magnetic. That album, though not perfect, remains one of my favorite albums they've done, and to me, one of their best. However before that, there was a lot of bad aftertaste from the album that came...beforehand...and that was the infamous St. Anger album.

I used to defend the hell out of this album, and it was dumb fanboy love at it's absolute finest. Growing up, not only have I drifted away from Metallica as my music taste broadened a bit, but I've come to realize...hey...St. Anger ain't all it's cracked up to be. But listening to it again, is it their absolute worst?'s always Lulu to lower the bar even further, but even without Lulu I won't call it their worst.  Honestly I don't know where to rank it.

Now...I will say this.  The production of St. garbage. Attrocious. Pitiful. I can go on, but I won't. But combined with the frustrating tone of this album the frustrating lyrics, and the times that Metallica was going through, it strangely...produces a unique charm.  And I don't like putting it that way because I feel as if those who detest this album are gonna accuse me of being a fanboy...guys I haven't listened to Metallica in full for a while now.  I'm too busy fanboying over Pink Floyd or some other old band.  So hear me out.To fully understand this album, we need to go back to the early 2000's, and take a look at what exactly Metallica was going through...

Band therapy, Jason Newsted's departure, James Hetfield's rehab, the drama between them and Napster, and in many ways, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Watch the documentary, Some Kind of Monster, and you can see a bit more what exactly each member was thinking.  So when I hear James shouting off key, I'm wondering if he's even singing.  It sounds like he's just raging.  The lyrics to some of these songs, when delivered right in songs like Frantic, St. Anger, or even songs like Shoot Me Again, can be pretty...intimidating. Now that's not to say that there isn't a fair amount of...crap.  Because though I used to really really relate to songs like Invisible Kid, I've come to realize that coming from a band like Metallica, they're fucking silly. My World has some cool moments, but overall, it's a knock-off song.  And Purify?  I'll rip more on this song later, but those lyrics don't even make sense.

More on the production. From note one you can likely hear the problem.  I don't really mind the down-tuning so much, as it does give the overall album a darker tone, but they don't really experiment much with it, and when they do experiment, the results can be atrocious, such as the infamous loosening of Lars' snare drum.  A fatal mistake, Lars.  Being a drummer myself, saying the drum heads aren't in tune is an understatement. There are times that snare is just wailed upon, and you cringe at each and every hit. Purify.  Remember that song I was just talking about? A few seconds in, Lars is only hitting that hard as he can.  I'll give you a moment to rub your faces. Another common complaint is the lack of guitar solos.  Now this is something I wouldn't mind so much, again if they did something to compensate or experiment with. Songs like Frantic don't need solos.  And the song Some Kind of Monster has some jam sessions that aren't too bad to listen to. But as you go further and further into the album, you begin to hear a sense of repetitivity, and that's because there is no solo.  And exhibit A....fucking Purify. There is a section of this song where a certain riff is repeated over 20 to 30 times.  I'm not exaggerating.  That is ridiculous.  Okay I'll stop ripping on's too easy.  It might as well be said, it's pretty much the absolute worst Metallica song they've put out.  So what other song can I rip for repetitivity?  How about the album's final which for the last few moments of the song, James decides to shout the single word "Kill" I'm willing to bet over 40 times. 

Put all this together with atrocious production (and thankfully this would be the final project with Bob Rock), mediocre lyrics, and frustrating times, I have only one thing to say.  Why was this album released when it was?  I ask this because there is material here that isn't half bad.  There's a lot of material I actually really like, but if Metallica really wanted this album to come out on top, if you ask me, it really should have been delayed.  Had this album come out a year or two later, perhaps the results would have been better.  Instead, the pros are outweighed by the cons.  But I will say this...despite everything I've said negative...I can still listen to it in full. Now, I'm not gonna say it's a favorite album, because I gotta pace myself, but I find this album strangely satisfying to listen to when I have a shitty day.  And this is kinda how I feel Metallica felt when releasing this.  Dealing with all the shit they were dealing with, I feel that St. Anger was the album that they just poured everything...all that negativity into, and just gave it to us.  Did they care?  I don't know.  But I think of it as a necessary evil because Death Magnetic certainly kicked ass.  Listening to St. Anger on a downer day can be...strangely...cleansing I feel.  At the end of the day, a shitty day is a shitty day, but I like to think of this album as a ritual to exorcize those demons I have that build within me when I feel only rage and frustration at the world.  That aweful production, those angry frustrated lyrics, darker tones in guitar, and aggressive play style strangely helps me cope.  From beginning to finish.

I may just be in the minority there, but with this element, I cannot in my right mind, condemn this album as a failure in full.  That gets reserved for other albums.  While St. Anger isn't exactly on the money, I'm not going to say that it missed the target completely.  Even if it just grazed the outside of it. While it's not for listening on a casual level, it is an album I'd recommend if you just gotta rage a bit.  Because St. Anger DOES live up to it's name.  Metallica's return to its thrash roots does provide some emotionally raw anger that is easily heard in this album.  Give it a listen once in a while before you shelve it or return it to the library or whatever.  It's safe for the occassional listen.  Nothing more, nothing less. Or don't. I don't know anymore. 

Album Grade: C

Monday, March 7, 2016

THROWBACK REVIEW: Star Trek: Nemesis

We did it!  We're through the Next Generation films! Yup, unlike the crew of the original six movies, Picard's crew only got four films to wrap up their series, and on some levels, that's probably for the best. Unlike the Original Series, which only got three seasons (including that God-awful third season), The Next Generation remained on the air for a whopping seven seasons, all of which were pretty dang good. Yeah the first couple seasons weren't as good, but compared to Season Three of the original series? It's gold. And no, I will never get tired of ripping that third season a new one. Back on track, with such a big series, I don't think Picard's crew needed six films to wrap up their series. Heck, I'm not sure they even needed four, but here we are. Is Nemesis a worthy send-off?

Well...yes and no. Now I will get this out of my system now, this is a film that some people will compare to the Final Frontier, as yet another bad bad bad Star Trek film, and all I have to say to that is.....really? I mean, granted it's not perfect, but I had a lot of fun watching it. It's a bit of a mixed bag, but honestly, I think it gets way too much dirt than it deserves. There are some things here that don't belong. But there are a lot of things here that hit right on the money. And the thing it does decent at right up front is.....I'll be honest, the action. Now before I get too many angry fans tearing me a new one, I will say that some action doesn't fit. And the scene that immediately comes to mind is the ATV action scene in the first act. I still don't get why they added it. It really adds...nothing to the film. It could have been cut, and nothing would have changed in the film. I mean granted we get a couple of cheesy, but likable lines in the scene (I don't care what others might say, unsafe velocities had me chuckling), but the Reman attack was completely unnecessary. And a few of the shootouts....probably could have been edited down and whatnot (a shuttle flying through the halls of a warbird seems a little over the top). But one thing I absolutely love in this film is the space battle, which is absolutely phenomenal. Easily amongst the best of the franchise, and I've yet to get to a personal favorite space battle. It's paced wonderfully, visually appealing, and at times, even intense to the point where you're wondering if it's scary (God I love hull breach scenes). And the fact that the Romulans....long time enemies of the Federation, aid the Enterprise in this battle, only strengthens this battle. It's a real treat to watch.

The concepts of Nature vs Nurture are also a concept I found somewhat interesting, though not so much emotionally gripping as one would hope. Here you have a concept never before explored in Star Trek, where Picard is facing his own clone. You'd hope this would have a bit more of a payoff than what we got. Instead we just get a few scenes of them together, in which the clone just kinda drops the whole "If you were in my place, you'd do the same thing!" a couple times, before we get our eventual climax, and that's that. Honestly, it kinda felt a little anti-climactic,and if it weren't for the....spoiler alert....death of Data giving it a more serious emotion to the overall scene, the whole thing would have felt rather mediocre.

Which leads me to discuss the biggest factor of the movie, the send-off. Let's compare the send-off of the original crew to the send-off of the Next Generation crew.  Minor note, this paragraph includes spoilers.  If you don't wanna be spoiled, skip ahead to the next paragraph. The original crew's send off was as such.  With peace talks now beginning with the Klingon Empire, the Enterprise is ordered to immediately return to Starfleet where it will be decommissioned, and the crew will mainly retire.  So...the crew takes their ship out for one last ride to wherever. It's a fantastic, glorious ending that is still every bit as awesome as it should be.  Picard's crew?  It's...much more somber. Here, Data is dead, Riker and Troi are getting transferred, and while peace talks with the Romulans are beginning, there's not a lot to smile about, because the crew is just...going through such a tough time. I mean sure, the original crew saw the death of Spock, but he came back. And though Data's memories start to resurface in the memory banks of...B-4...(who I won't dedicate a paragraph to, but let's just say I don't like this character at all), we don't get another movie to see Data return.  For all we know, he may be gone...forever. Seeing the crew, standing there in near silence, reflecting on Data is truly sad to watch.  And it doesn't help that Riker and Troi are leaving the beloved crew of the Enterprise.  The send off of Picard's crew leaves so many holes in the crew we have come to know and love.  And honestly...that's a really gutsy move. It's not the glorious "everything will be okay" ending that Kirk always seemed to get.  Here...things have happened, that have caused a lot of pain.  Whether you approve of this or not...I'll let you decide.  For me personally...I think it's pretty dang strong.

But I think the biggest reason that Nemesis can get the flab it gets is mainly because for the time it came out...Star Trek was running on fumes.  It needed a break, and I'm glad it got one. Whether you criticize it for too much action, or issues in continuity, or anything else...I mainly get the feeling that while it knows what to do in a lot of areas, it gets too distracted with other scenes.  I asked about it on G+, and found that roughly 70% of fans liked this movie. There are so many things that I absolutely love about this film, that hit the bullseye, but there are a lot of things also that just didn't need to be there.  And the fact that this can happen...continuously, I think is the film's biggest fault.  If it were just one or two elements, I wouldn't mind, but it just resurfaces one too many times. While I love the ending of this film and the action, it needed to focus more on those concepts it was trying to introduce, and less on B-4's character, and the very unnecessary action scenes. It's a big mixed bag, but it's still an enjoyable mixed bag.

Star Trek: Nemesis is a film I'm unsure how to rate honestly.  I wanted to give this film a three, because by most means, I njoyed this film from beginning to end.  While there were elements that I don't care for, not once in the movie did I say, this isn't how I remembered it, or that it was a bad film.  It has bad moments, but moment's don't condemn a film for me. However thinking harder on it, I'm going to issue this movie with some tough love, a two and a half star rating out of four. While enjoyable, the film's easy distraction, and whatnot distracts the viewer, and can at times make you question why it was in the film.  Is it a perfect send off for Picard?  No.  Is it worthy? can be the judge of that one for yourself.  But as distracting as it can be, I still very much recommend a viewing of it.  THe good that is in this just too good to not recommend it.

Please feel free to suggest any movie you might want me to look at in the future down below.  Leave a comment telling me your own personal thoughts or feelings about this film.  Agree?  Disagree?  I want to know! And as always, thanks for reading.

Final Verdict: 2.5/4

We did it!  The Next Generation films are complete!  But...there's still two more Star Trek films out there that I must tackle.  Films that I know, not everyone will agree with me on.  It's time to tackle the infamous reboot films.  See you next week.

Friday, March 4, 2016

REVIEW: Zootopia

I'm a huge fan of anthropomorphic characters.  I think they can capture the imagination in more ways than one, they have tons of potential, and they can tell a story in ways human characters just cannot do.  I enjoy anthropomorbphic characters so much, that in my free time, I've personally created a few of them, and even in my free free time, made a cheesy story for them. And there are times, I feel these characters get way too much negative rep.  No doubt some of you have heard many of the stereotypes surrounding furry fandom or whatnot, and I will say from experience, a lot of these fans are very nice people.  But I digress.  I'm here to talk about a movie.  And I hope you don't mind my sudden intermission from my Star Trek reviews.  Insurrection will be out Monday. Let's talk about Zootopia.

How do I begin this review?  Screw it.  I love this movie.  If I remember right, It's the first movie in Disney history since Robin Hood to have a full character lineup to be completely anthro (Not counting Pixar films). But unlike Robin Hood, Zootopia takes advantage of this anthro lineup in so many clever, fun, and downright funny ways, that it's impossible not to love.  Each and every character for the most part has a very fitting personality, from the sly fox, to the stern bull, to the slow sloth.  And even when the personality doesn't seem so fitting, it's executed in a manner so very clever, that it's just impossible not to like.  Yes, character in this story is a strength, I dare say, one of the strongest character movies that DIsney has ever done.  And you can try and argue that they only seem fitting due to silly animal stereotypes and whatnot, and I will just say that it doesn't hurt the overall experience this film has.

And ironic enough, while the story continues, it actually plays with these stereotypes in some very surprising ways.  There are a couple jokes I won't lie that make me raise an eyebrow, such as when our lead character, the rabbit Judy, who dreams of being a police officer, says that rabbits are "Good at multiplying". Ha ha.  But it's these silly jokes and the overall surprisingly darker tone that this movie starts to take on at the end of the film that gave me the feelings I got when watching Pleasantville for the first time. There is some simple, yet clever social commentary here, and even if it's not exactly relatable to us as a society, it can very much resemble certain things that are growing issues right now. Looking back, I'm wondering if some things in this movie, were on purpose meant to symbolize the behavior of our society when thinking of groups of people in our country, such as Muslims. With the whole Trump drama and his plans on dealing with Muslims, part of me wonders if this was in fact trying to show a potential dark message for us.  Am I overthinking things?  I don't know, but that is a gutsy move by Disney.

As far as the actual story is concerned, I was surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did. I went into this theater, not exactly sure what to expect.  I didn't know what I was going into. does the story hold up?  It's a traditional buddy-cop story, but man is it told well.  In fact, in many ways, it reminded me of the cop-comedy Hot Fuzz, which is a favorite film of mine.  Now granted, it doesn't get anywhere near as ridiculous as Hot Fuzz, but the twists that come up in this film are twists that I didn't always see coming.  Was I able to predict a few things? Sure.  But there were twists and turns in this movie that I legitly didn't see coming, and it kept me guessing! If you're able to do that, I have a lot of fun! And while it does pull out some of the typical clichés you've come to expect from Disney, I barely noticed, because they were just executed so well, that I kinda find it hard to hold against this film.

You know, I'm trying to find a problem with this film...but I can't.  While I could nitpick certain things, like for example, I feel the Shakira cameo seemed forced in areas, and whatnot, the good in this film just heavily outweighs anything bad, and if there is anything major that would have hindered my experience....I can't find it.  From the fun characters, to the exciting adventure, to the absolutely incredible animation.  If you get a chance, IMAX this movie, it's well worth the money. 

Disney's newest film surprised me in more ways than one, and gave me fun that I didn't think I'd have. It's filled with adventure, action, comedy, and nonstop fun.  Disney takes advantage of this material in ways that will have you laughing with the rest of the theater, and will make you want to see this again, which is why I am pleased to award Zootopia, with the fullest rating I can give.  Zootopia earns the ful four star rating out of four.  This is a film for all ages.  Fom the young minds to the more adult minds, there is something for everyone in this film.  It captures the imagination in more ways than one, and the result is beyond satisfying.  I'm already trying to find people to see it again with.  That should say something.  If you are trying to find a movie to go see, put this on the list, because's well worth the money.

Please feel free to suggest any films you would wish for me to take a look at.  Leave a comment down below telling me your own thoughts on the film, and as always thanks for reading.

(Star Trek: Insurrection will be out Monday)

Final Verdict: 4/4