SF Signal A community for science fiction fans! http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal <![CDATA[ Not a Promising Start to a Series]]>
Flash ahead many hundred years to the present. An archeologist has deciphered the scrolls and goes looking for the secret entrance into the mountain and locates it. He goes in and finds the healing sceptre but also hits the wrong combination of buttons and kills his companions.

An agency of the United Nations becomes very interested in the Belize site and sends an archeologist John Henry Morgan and his female assistant to investigate and work with UN Security to secure the site. A Chinese operative in Belize also gets very interested after learning about the site and he starts to plan his own strategy for protecting China's interest before the UN takes over.

The book evolves into a "slow" action thriller where there is way too much narrative while the reader is waiting for something to happen. John Henry is a good character and I would have liked to see his history developed more. The book has several parts where it seems like it will take off and the reader's curiousity is prodded but it never seems to deliver the big moment. There is some interesting new technology introduced by the author and he does a good job of describing some of the glitches that would occur with that technology.

There are several parts that take place in New York and the descriptions of New York are very flawed. The author constantly has international flights going in and out of La Guardia airport (only JFK is international) and then he describes John Henry walking around Manhattan where he is at places like Central Park and then walking a few blocks to get to the United Nations.

The opening to the mountain is from a tree that was described in the Mayan scroll about 1,300 years earlier and is still there and apparently unchanged as it is easily still recognized. I find it hard to believe that even if the tree were still there, it would look the same.

A good first try but the author needs to really hone up if he is planning a sequel to this book.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Mountain_Place_of_Knowledge-680-1899361-248894-Not_a_Promising_Start_to_a_Series.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Mountain_Place_of_Knowledge-680-1899361-248894-Not_a_Promising_Start_to_a_Series.html Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:03:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ Brilliant!]]>
I was so lucky to find this well-written and captivating tale crafted by an up and coming SciFi writer.  This is as well written as anything by Robert J. Sawyer (Mindscan) or Orson Scott Card (Enders Game). 

Roughly 250 years into the future the world is different.  Under the guidance of powerful businessman Edgar Prince, humanity have left their corporal bodies to live in android-like form.  Their new bodies are virtually indestructible and only need to be periodically hooked to the Net for recharging and software upgrades.  Everybody has what they need and go about their lives happy and use virtual reality and enhanced nerve sensors in their artificial bodies to stimulate their pleasure.  The world is governed by a World Government that controls the global network that powers all the eHumans in all the world's cities.

eHumans sometimes go through a process of getting a new body called a "jump."  The advantage is that they can have any type of body they want but they will lose all memories of who they were before.  Over the two centuries of eHumanity just about everyone has jumped at least once so it is like they have been reborn to start over each time.

Adam Winter is a "Newreel" reporter, happily reporting on topics sanctioned by the World Government.  One day he is given an envelope with some very disturbing pictures.  He is then met by a beautiful eWoman named Dawn who explains the nature of the pictures and reveals that the World Government is not the benevlolent organization that everyone thinks.  If Adam doesn't join with Dawn, not only will his life be in danger but everything he knows may be destroyed.  Adam may actually be someone else and he may have something inside him that can save everyone.  Dawn and her organization of rebels hope that Adam is the one they are looking for.

To tell more of the story would cause too many spoilers.  This book had me hooked very early on and I virtually couldn't put it down until the very end.  Adam's character is very intriguing

Ms.  Anderson looks to be an extremely talented writer and I hope she has more books to be written.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-eHuman_Dawn-680-1897359-247557-Brilliant_.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-eHuman_Dawn-680-1897359-247557-Brilliant_.html Wed, 25 Jun 2014 12:02:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ Ancient Evil Released From The Ice]]> This review is based on a free copy received directly from the author but reflects my own personal opinion.

Four human bodies are found buried in ice in Siberia. They are flown to the US for study by a group of scientists, including the narrator Dr. Frederick Orville. His job is to observe and record everything that happens. The bodies are very well preserved and the scientists conjecture about maybe finding a secret to prevent aging or other scientific benefit.

Not long after the bodies are thawed out, they are re-animated with incredible powers. They seem bent on destruction and are able to levitate and destroy things by pointing at them. They also have a hunger for human flesh and those that get bitten by them turn into a type of zombie.

The only hope to defeating the Tetra (the name given to the four) lies with Frederick's daughter, who has been having strange dreams regarding the Tetra. These dreams may tie her back to the beings that originally froze the Tetra many centuries prior.

This book is a relative quick read and has some nice points. Frederick was so dedicated to his work that he estranged himself from his wife and daughter and now with the crisis looming he is able to reconnect with his daughter. He is also a very likable character and based on some of the notes that the author included in the mailing to me, I suspect he is a relection of the author himself.

Even though the book was so short I thought the story could have been told in a better way. The Tetra are just this mindless band that just destroy everything in their path and it may have worked better if the author told their story up front (The Krypton story in the Man of Steel film really set the tone for the film and who General Zod was). I have seen several authors go back and expand on their books or short stories (Arthur C. Clarke and Robert J. Sawer come to mind) and have made those stories into nice full length stories. I also had some difficulty with the zombie aspect of the tale.

I give this one a little bit more than 3 stars.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Evil_Is_Under_The_Ice-680-1897080-247381-Ancient_Evil_Released_From_The_Ice.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Evil_Is_Under_The_Ice-680-1897080-247381-Ancient_Evil_Released_From_The_Ice.html Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:05:30 +0000
<![CDATA[ Is Teaching Still a Respected Profession?]]> This review is based on an advanced reader copy (with many typos) received from the author but still reflects my own opinion.
 
In the near future (2033), John Sinclair is facing the turning point of his life.  He is one year from retirement age and has two options.  He can retire and live out his life (to about 80).  He can also accept “rehabilitation,” whereby he will receive treatments to extend his life to 160 and be retrained to start a new career.  He has to decide soon and as his last high school teaching semester unwinds he is tasked with mentoring a new teacher named Sanchez.
 
Sanchez is hoping to be accepted to law school but has begun teaching to have a profession in case he doesn’t get into law school.  It is hard for him being in class because students basically use on-line lessons and have minimal interaction with the teacher.  Sanchez wants to make a difference during his time at school and hopes that he will be allowed to lecture, so he can help pass his own ideas onto the young minds.
 
The other main character is Smith, a school janitor who is also in his last year before possible rehabilitation.  Smith loves the opera and to brew his own tea from his electric samovar.  He pines after Helen, a fellow janitor and a very “mysterious” personality.  All the while he has to cope with Rubio, his abusive boss.
 
The book shows how the teaching profession morphed from a thing of honor, to a profession that the government would throw anyone into just to have teachers.  Sinclair has mostly liked his role as a teacher and is not sure if he will be able to learn a new career.  He is estranged from his wife (who has apparently left him to take a job in Japan) and spends his free time trying to repair an old motorbike.  The early treatments of his rehabilitation have given him a lot more energy and he keeps remembering the woman he was in love with before he met his wife.
 
There seem to be a lot of similarities between the government’s rehabilitation program and the current mandated universal health care.  It is told to Sinclair that once the country voted to have rehabilitation, their constitutional rights were voided.  (it should be noted that in this future world guns are illegal).


I generally liked this book and it was a very fast read.  Sinclair’s character is very likable (he seems that the type of high school teacher everyone wishes they had) and the reader really feels his frustration over his impending decisions and his sadness over the love he had lost.  Sanchez also faces tough decisions and he has to decide if teaching is really the profession he wants or should he do what his husband wants him to do.  The typos were sometimes annoying and they sometimes made me pause and reread some sentences to figure out what they were saying.  Hopefully, all is corrected with the finished copy.
 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-I_Have_Three_Things_to_Tell_You_My_Friend-680-1893642-245282-Is_Teaching_Still_a_Respected_Profession_.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-I_Have_Three_Things_to_Tell_You_My_Friend-680-1893642-245282-Is_Teaching_Still_a_Respected_Profession_.html Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:31:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ Is Hollow World The Ideal Society or "Hollow" When It Comes To Ideals?]]> I usually love a good time travel story and this one is right up there with some of the best. Ellis Rogers is dying from an incurable lung disease and enstranged from his wife after their son Isley committed suicide. Ellis came across the theories of a scientist on time travel and figures out that some of the calculations were wrong and he is able to correct the math and contruct his own time machine in his garage. He is eager to leave his unhappy existance, especially with a death sentence hovering and escape to the future where there is probably a cure for him.

He goes a lot further forward than anticipated and ends up in Hollow World. It is a Utopian society where disease is unknown and people generally live forever and live under the Earth's surface (thus in a "Hollow" world). All is not what Ellis had envisioned as residents strive to be different and admire Ellis for his "uniqueness." Ellis longs for the things he left behind and the main thing that makes Hollow World tolerable for him is his new friend Pax who has a knack of always knowing what will please Ellis.

Some things that Ellis left in his past seem to come back and want to change this "perfect" world. Pax seems to have insights as to what those things are but Ellis is not so sure if Pax is right or just a bit crazy.

The book is a testiment to the individual. Having read the author's bio at the end of the book it does mention that he was influenced by Ayn Rand. I enjoyed the book all the way to the end and wanted it to continue! I hope the author is planning a sequel.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Hollow_World_a_book-680-1893571-245085-Is_Hollow_World_The_Ideal_Society_or_Hollow_When.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Hollow_World_a_book-680-1893571-245085-Is_Hollow_World_The_Ideal_Society_or_Hollow_When.html Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:28:25 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Next Step for Reality Entertainment?]]> My review is based on a reviewer copy received directly from the author but reflects my own personal opinion.

It is the very near future and for some reason society has gone crazy for a new game they can bet on. Played in a stadium, the players jump from a high platform. If their rope breaks they die and if not, they continue on to the next round. This continues until only one is left alive.

In a society that is so ensconced in reality television and the next "shocking" thing to see, this is the next level in the evolution where the viewer will witness "reality" death and can bet on it. The author uses this venue to build a backdrop with numerous supporting characters. The main ones seem to be Cassandra, a makeup artist and Alessandra, a woman who get trapped in the stadium where the Suicide Game is happening. Along with these we get to meet the seven (the book is loaded with many things that are seven) finalist in the game as well as the Council of Seven (the members whose names are colors that decide what will happen at the game), a hostess who calls all action and a band that performs throughout.

Players are all made up by professional make-up artists before their jumps and "diggers" have to work furiously after each jump to remove dead players and clean up. The Council of Seven need to vote on everything they decide and instead of a majority vote they use a crystal to "randomly" pick the council member's vote that will decide. Thus letting fate decide what will happen. (note: there is a hint that this procedure is rigged to favor certain council members).

The story is interesting throughout and there is a hint that there will be a terrorist action at the games with seven bombs involved. There is a lot of repititous dialogue throughout and my copy did have a lot of typos but overall a quick and entertaining read.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-SG_Suicide_Game_a_book-680-1893102-244745-The_Next_Step_for_Reality_Entertainment_.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-SG_Suicide_Game_a_book-680-1893102-244745-The_Next_Step_for_Reality_Entertainment_.html Tue, 4 Mar 2014 13:11:19 +0000
<![CDATA[ Are They Angels or Dark Creatures?]]> My review is based on a reviewer copy received from the author.  However, the views expressed here are soley my own.

I was intrigued by this tale right from the start.  The author gives us a little tidbit as a man escapes from an underground place and is almost run over by a trucker.  The man is delirious talking about angels and singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot.  The trucker obviously thinks the man is some kind of nut.

The story jumps ahead to a military assault on a tower that has been discovered sticking out of the ground by leading underground to a catacombs of tunnels.  The assault is led by Special Agent Dane Coles who is attempting to rescue a team of scientists that had gone in earlier.Dane's team find most of the scientists dead and they then encounter some female creatures that seem to have superhuman abilities.  The creatures can easily deflect bullets and move at superhuman speed.

Dane's team is easily beaten and they retreat while Dane follows one of the creatures, away from his men.  Rather than kill Dane, the creature (named Asia) does something to him so when Dane gets later rescued, he seems to have some kind of connection to Asia.

Dane is an intriguing character and I wish the author had given us more about his life, growing up and such.  Later Dane will find out that he is not the only one with a connection to the creatures as his friend Ivan Steel had an encounter five years prior and has a connection to Mariah (another of the female creatures.  Dane will also learn that the agency that hired him is maybe corrupt (Think Treadstone in The Bourne Identity) and is run by a very evil man who also does not like Steel.

Asia will later visit Dane and literally drink blood from him making the reader not exactly sure of what she is and maybe she could be a type of vampire.  All will become clear and it will be up to Dane and Steel to go up against the agency and to protect Asia and Mariah.  The author gives us some clues as to how the world was created and may change the reader's view on what we think of Angels.

The book is a fairly quick read and the author keeps the reader engaged throughout.  The copy I got was obviously not a final product as there were many typos, sometimes bad types (ex. words like "pitcher" were presented as "picture") and there were some places where there should have been chapter ends as the story shifted from one sentence to another.  I was easily able to get around these annoyances.  I give this book a solid four stars.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Daughters_of_Twilight_a_book-680-1890542-243371-Are_They_Angels_or_Dark_Creatures_.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Daughters_of_Twilight_a_book-680-1890542-243371-Are_They_Angels_or_Dark_Creatures_.html Thu, 9 Jan 2014 14:28:10 +0000
<![CDATA[ World War of the Worlds]]> history and science and got alternate history science fiction.

Aliens invaded during World War II.  So we get historical figures like FDR, Hitler, Stalin, Enrico Fermi, General Groves of the Manhattan Project and of course General Patton fighing aliens from outer space.  It is a hoot, if you like it.  Of course a main character is a science fiction reader.  Who else knows what to expect from aliens?

The aliens have previous experience with this, having conquered two other species before.  Of course you can't trust humans to do what you expect.  That would not make for good science fiction written by a human.  At least I presume Harry Turtledove is not a member of THE RACE.

This series is rather long, taking up 8 books.

The aliens take over half of the planet in the first four books.  Then a second fleet comes, the colonization fleet.  That makes up the next three books.  Then the last has humans with their own star ship going back to the alien home world.

This series is definitely epic with lots of characters in lots of places.  And plenty of historical puns.

Fun if you like it, though I expect not everyone will.  Check out the first book to decide.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-In_the_Balance_by_Harry_Turtledove-680-1888982-242361-World_War_of_the_Worlds.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-In_the_Balance_by_Harry_Turtledove-680-1888982-242361-World_War_of_the_Worlds.html Sun, 8 Dec 2013 18:08:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ Can One Escape Reality Permanently for Virtual Reality?]]>
Raymond is extremely talented with knowing everything about computer security and how to get around controls and hack systems. He goes to work for a wealthy elderly man (Tate) and is able to hack into the systems monitoring Tate"s health. When the Tate starts having a medical episode, his monitors fail to work which Raymond immediately knows. He is afraid to call for help because the police will find out that he tampered with the monitors. As a result Tate dies. Raymond pretends that Tate didn't die and covers up his death that Tate had run off with a woman to live on an island.

Raymond uses the man's wealth to finance his own virtual world research. He eventually gets to work with a group on a project to upload life to virtual worlds with the ultimate goal of being able to upload a human. On the project he meets Anya, who is the first real woman that Raymond has ever wanted to have a relationship with.

Anya is attracted to Raymond too but his poor social skills (think Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory) get in the way every time. Raymond's ultimate goal in life is not to have the real Anya but to upload himself and to get Anya to join him to live in a virtual world.

The book is interesting throughout and constantly raises the question as to whether digital life can be considered real life and does digital life have any legal rights? I generally liked the book and found it hard to put down. I think that anyone with any computer background or one that has played some of the fantasy video games would like it. It is hard to say what prevented me from giving it the full five stars without creating spoilers. Let us just say that later on Raymond will find himself in situations where the explanation for what is going on was a little difficult to tie back or for me to accept as totally plausible. Also, I found it unreasonable how Raymond is able to bypass so easily some computer security.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Upload_a_novel_by_Mark_Mcclelland-680-1888109-241757-Can_One_Escape_Reality_Permanently_for_Virtual.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Upload_a_novel_by_Mark_Mcclelland-680-1888109-241757-Can_One_Escape_Reality_Permanently_for_Virtual.html Wed, 13 Nov 2013 12:16:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hammaren var förde ner men inte strejk hårt nog]]>
Thor: The Dark World begins by telling the tale of how Thor's grandfather Bor, brought war to the Dark Elves to stop them from destroying the Nine Realms with the Aether, a liquid like smoke that can be used to harness evil powers.  5000 years later though, the Aether has crept out of it's seal and is being sought after again by the Dark Elf King who has returned as well for another attempt at cosmic destruction.  The Aether has found it's way into the body of Jane Foster (Portman) who is brought home to Asgard to be tested to see if the Aether can be removed, this attracts the elves who attack Asgard.  The elves are routed, but Thor knows the battle must be taken to the Elves but Odin, Thors father forbids it.  This leaves Thor and his friends the difficult decision of disobeying his Father's orders and escape to the Elve's realm, but Thor will need help from a unlikely source.

Thor: The Dark World certainly gives us more of Asgard, it's people, it's technology and of course Thor.  The action is ramped up and the story focuses on a big event that is theatrical: (An evil King wants to destroy the cosmos vs Thor losing his powers and banished to New Mexico) 
On the other hand though, some of the first movie's issues are still an issue:  Some things like the Asgard's powers and the realms are left a little foggy at best in they're explanation.  Characters like Kat Denning's Darcy  and Stellen Skarsgard's Selvig get more screen time then any of the Warriors Three.  Every time it jumped to one of Jane's friends it felt like the Michael Bay Transformers movies where as soon as something cool is going on, it jumps to scenes with Sam and his parents.  The Warriors Three are still are just window dressing sadly and the finale in London with the portals through realms being controlled by a remote switch is weird and hard to follow.  I like that with such a fantastical character like Thor the idea was tried out but the execution just left me a little annoyed to keep seeing people pop in and out of places.

Thor: The Dark World is a lot of far out fun but following every little intricacy in what the Aether is, the Realms and others leaves a little to be desired.  The other Marvel movies didn't have so much trouble in establishing it's main characters but Thor still didn't master it yet.  It's another one of those tricks that Thor still falls for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241704-Hammaren_var_f_rde_ner_men_inte_strejk_h_rt_nog.html Sun, 10 Nov 2013 22:47:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Barely Felt Like a Movie About Marvel's Norse God of Thunder]]> Movies based on Marvel comics have been such an easy way to make a quick buck for filmmakers. The recent splash of the Marvel comic book adaptations in recent years have been more or less based on the Ultimate line of comic books with some alterations to fit the original 616 universe. True, those who follow my reviews know my dissatisfaction with most of the movie franchises, but I cannot deny the fact that they were made for commercial viewers and so, despite their weaknesses they do come together nicely as one whole.  Following 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s successful “The Avengers”, Marvel Studios are trying to continue the box-office successes they had with this year’s “Iron Man 3” and now, “Thor: The Dark World”.  

               Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I suppose to appreciate this film, one needs to accept that all these Marvel films are tied together, and while each part is weak by themselves, they do fulfill some kind of universe. Following the events of “The Avengers”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has brought Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to face judgment and has been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to pay for his crimes. But things have just started to heat up as something is poised to threaten reality and the walls between the Nine worlds, and in the middle of it all is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A threat from the past has risen again and its name is Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor must form an uneasy alliance with his step-brother Loki to face this threat. 
 
The story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat weaves a tale of revenge and ancient secrets. The screenplay itself is driven by what has been established as “Marvel movie formula” meaning great visuals, outlandish action and subtle humor. It does somewhat work from an entertainment standpoint, but (watch people call me a geek again) the overall experience feels a little hollow. It isn’t that it is empty, but the way the film flowed lacks that needed sense of suspense, that feeling of urgency and the feeling of excitement amidst all the action and stunning visuals. I am not sure, while admittedly there were some nice touches and surprises, the emotions just could not hit home. While the first “Thor” film was no means an ambitious undertaking when it came to its screenplay, it tried to be clever to its comic book references. This sequel further lacked the feeling of majesty and grandeur that I had hoped for and barely felt like a film about Marvel‘s god of thunder. 

             Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
Perhaps I expected a little too much, but there was just so much room for improvement in the 2011 film. Here, the film felt like another one of those alien-invasion film with all the ray beams and spacecrafts, despite the attempt to envision something like “ancient power”, it felt like a movie about aliens fighting aliens who wanted to look like Vikings. The way it wanted to mix science and magic had its good points when it came to Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), but the film left so many devices undeveloped and several things undefined. Malekith here looked like a reject from “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”; no “The Wild Hunt”, no vulnerability to iron, no ’shadow power’ and he had little skills in sorcery. Here, Malekith was a villain without any personality and he was very boring; he was just another one of those would-be conquerors that you know the hero would stomp out in the finale. The film tries to tickle the comic book nerve by incorporating an underdeveloped Kurse into its screenplay, and while there was indeed a battle between Thor and Kurse, it proved a little too underwhelming for my tastes as it also opened up two plot missteps. (remember the enchantment that Mjolnir will return to its master’s hand no matter what bars its way?- meaning nothing save a another creation of Odin or himself could stop it). Odin here is reduced to a stereotype, a king with a duty with no how of the Odinforce. Sure it was fun to see Mjolnir being swung and thrown, but I have to tell yah, there is nothing magical and amazing in the film’s screenplay. 
 
I also wasn’t too pleased with the screenplay’s portrayal of Thor. Perhaps it was due to its budget constraints, but this felt like a weaker version of the thunder god. I know the writers probably wanted to focus on the Shakespearean themes such as sibling rivalry and the developing ‘triangle’ between Thor-Sif-Jane Foster, but it just fails to sell the threat of Malekith and the dark elves. The battles were alright, but far from the Godly battles that a Thor fan would expect. The visual effects were pretty and the film is a handsome one, but somehow, I was not too happy with the camerawork since it made the battles feel a little too animated and choreographed. They lacked the emotional drama needed to inject suspense and excitement, as the viewer knew that the heroes were going to win out in the end, just a matter of how and when. 

              Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Rene Russo as Frigga in "Thor: The Dark World."
 
I do have to admit that the humor this time around was cleverly timed (unlike Iron Man 3), director Alan Taylor was smart enough to place the giggles in-between the action and drama. It did have some nice surprises that added some ‘punch’ in its narrative, so there were some things that it manages to do correctly. The performances were decent given the shortcomings of its script. Sif (Jaime Alexander) was still a presence to behold and was convincing as the one goddess that Thor could one day love. Portman is her usual self, full of charisma with her usual acting chops. Hemsworth was satisfactory with his portrayal but Hiddleston did somehow steal the show. Hopkins was a little underused in the screenplay and Frigga (Rene Russo) made a mark in the script despite her limited screen time. 
 
Yeah, some may say that I am a “Thor fan boy” and a comic book geek. But remember, geek means a passion to a hobby or an interest. One can be a ‘car geek‘, sports geek or a ‘book geek‘, so I wear that badge with honor, and the hell with those who uses that word as an insult. I am not the fan boy who likes anything comic book related, but rather, I tend to scrutinize, and ask for more respect for the source material as Nolan did with his “Dark Knight trilogy”. “Thor: the Dark World” is not a horrible movie, but a film that lacked ambition and inspiration. It does have its entertainment value and is aimed for commercial viewers (kids and teens), but movies like this are easily forgotten. I just feel that Marvel’s Thor character deserved a better movie, but then again, this could have been worst. It just seems like director Alan Taylor and company did not research their characters more thoroughly, or is this just Marvel being “Disney-fied”? Probably so. RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Teaser poster for "Thor" The Dark World." Poster art for "Thor: The Dark World."

           A scene from "Thor: The Dark World."

            Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor: The Dark World."
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_the_Dark_World-680-1891326-241676-Barely_Felt_Like_a_Movie_About_Marvel_s_Norse_God.html Sat, 9 Nov 2013 05:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/website/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World-680-1895810-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Sith Lord Guide to Life]]>
Naturally, I'm open to any new insight on the Sith the Star Wars expanded universe has to offer me. Naturally, I was intrigued when I saw the Book of Sith in the local Barnes and Noble. This book doesn't have the name of the actual author anywhere inside it. It's made up to look like some kind of important lost text - hardbound, with no other wording anywhere on the outside except for the title Star Wars Book of Sith and the name of the publisher. The Star Wars Wiki says the author is Daniel Wallace.

The Book of Sith is written as a series of journal entries from the various notable Darths who existed in years past. It's presented by Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine), who tracked down the pivotal texts of five highly regarded Sith Lords and wove them together in a single volume. He is also one of several Star Wars characters to add occasional footnotes, along with Luke Skywalker (who is chronologically clearly the last character to have read it), Yoda, Mace Windu, Darth Vader, Asajj Ventress, and Quinlan Vos.

The Book of Sith goes by in six distinct texts, each with different page designs, calligraphy, and character footnotes. They're presented in chronological order. The first is the exile journal of Sorzus Syn, the original exile to Korriban who conquered the Sith purebloods and became the first Sith Lords. That's followed by a war journal from Darth Malgus during the Great Galactic War. Following that is a journal from Darth Bane, arguably the most pivotal figure in Sith history, the man who took down the Brotherhood of Sith, took the movement into the Shadows, and enacted the Rule of Two and Sith master plan. After that is an instructional manual from Mother Talzin of the Nightsisters, exploring her peoples' use of the Dark Side. Afterward is a scientific journal from Darth Plagueis which details his experiments with midi-chlorians, the tiny beings which enable Force Sensitivity. Finally, Darth Sidious adds his word about political manipulation. It might sound a little overwhelming, but this entire books clocks in at just a little more than 150 easy to read pages.

Some of the major Darths who are missing from the compilation are Darth Revan, one of the most interesting characters in the expanded universe; Darth Gravid, who was drawn toward the Light Side of The Force and tried to weave some of the teachings of the Jedi into Sith philosophy; and Darth Ruin, who initiated the New Sith Wars against the Jedi.

The first the parts are the most interesting. Sorzus Syn and Darth Malgus both write about important events in the history of the Sith, and Darth Bane writes what became the defining philosophy of the Sith for all time; his section includes several aspects of the Star Wars universe that people unfamiliar with anything about it outside the movies know. On the downside, Mother Talzin's section about the Nightsisters feels like a real waste. The Nightsisters come off as sort of Dark Side users, but sort of not. Mother Talzin writes them almost as if they're practitioners of one of the Earth religions - I mean REAL Earth religions; there seems to be a real influence of Wiccan philosophy in her writings - but with a slight edge toward evil. Then Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious both get their writings in.

Without doubt, Darth Sidious comes off as the most evil by far. And that's saying something, because Sorzus Syn isn't exactly a bringer of world peace. Sidious is also the most overconfident, cruel, and the closest to some of the worst dictators Earth has ever seen. Not only does he promote a political philosophy hinging on instilling fear into his subjects, but his footnotes - which appear in every section - show him to be a supreme egotist as well. He believes with with great haughtiness and a frightening absolute certainty that he's going to use the scientific midi-chlorian experiment advances to become immortal, and so he repeatedly writes about his refusal to name a successor.

If there's any kind of theme within the Book of Sith worth noting, it's how sinister the Dark Side can really be. In many sections, the Sith finally come off as a true evil. I've been saying for awhile that the Jedi are just as bad as the Sith, except unlike the Sith, they lie to themselves about who they really are. The Book of Sith makes it clear how cruel Sith philosophies are. Sorzus Syn approves of slavery and writes prominently about using other beings. Darth Bane states that, without any exception, every Sith Master will eventually be killed by their apprentice. Darth Sidious wants to make sure his people live in perpetual fear.

Star Wars Book of Sith isn't a bad look into the Dark Side of The Force, but I'm a little disappointed, because of its potential. It could have been much more. I still don't know why later Sith Lords have reverence for Darth Revan, a man who was only a Sith Lord for a few years before redeeming himself as a Jedi. I would love to know more about Sith Alchemy and more about the rise and fall of the Sith Empires. Book of Sith will do for now, but I'm hoping there's much more on the horizon.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Star_Wars_Book_of_Sith-680-1886373-240947-The_Sith_Lord_Guide_to_Life.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Star_Wars_Book_of_Sith-680-1886373-240947-The_Sith_Lord_Guide_to_Life.html Sat, 28 Sep 2013 20:11:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Elysium (2013 film) Quick Tip by Creamtrumpet]]> District 9 (2009), and his short films, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Elysium. Though it's not a total disappointment, Blomkamp's sophomore effort unfortunately doesn't match the brilliance of his debut.
There's much to like and admire in the film. The visuals are gorgeous, thanks to some impressive design and special effects work by Syd Mead, Image Engine and Weta, and there are lots of clever and interesting ideas and concepts in the film. Where Elysium falls short is in story and narrative. The plot is paper thin and riddled with inconsistencies, and themes and character motivations feel sketchy and undeveloped. Characters who should be interesting, layered and nuanced simply come across as two dimensional archetypes, with the possible exception of Sharlto Copley's Kruger, who pretty much steals the entire film. District 9 was edgy, intelligent, witty and subversive. Elysium feels slightly bland, clunky and lazy in comparison. Even the score, by newcomer Ryan Amon, feels overly familiar and clichéd.
I can't help feeling that what's ended up on screen is a compromised version of what Blomkamp originally envisioned. It seems like he had much more to say on the themes of class division, immigration and universal healthcare, but poor judgement, cold feet or studio pressure forced the excision of political and character based material in favour of action sequences. As a result, the film feels shallow and unengaging on an intellectual level.
What we have here is two thirds of a great movie. The skill behind the camera and the artistry on display raises it above most similar Hollywood fare, and it still proves that Blomkamp is one of the most promising young directors working today, but without the spark, invention and wit of his debut, Elysium remains a well made, above average sci-fi action movie and nothing more.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-13-1877691-240033.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-13-1877691-240033.html Fri, 30 Aug 2013 00:35:07 +0000
<![CDATA[ Neil Blomkamp Delivers More Social and Political Commentary in a Futuristic Action Film]]> District 9”, I thought it was a good interpretation of just how an “Alien Nation” would affect a modern human society in a way that almost feel rather similar to a “Hotel Rwanda”. It was a valid attempt to be original and to be imaginative, with a direction that blended stunning visuals, a ‘mockumentary’ style of storytelling along with the usual conventional form of direction. So I was waiting for its sequel, but Blomkamp appears to feel that he needed to do something yet different with his 2013 film “Elysium”.

Elysium or Elysian Fields in Greek Mythology is a conception of the afterlife that evolved over time and was maintained by certain Greek religious and philosophical sects and cults. Initially separate from the realm of Hades, admission was initially reserved for mortals related to the gods and other heroes. Later, it expanded to include those chosen by the gods, the righteous, and the heroic, where they would remain after death, to live a blessed and happy life, and indulging in whatever employment they had enjoyed in life.

The year is 2154. Earth has become over-populated, over-polluted, that most of its population had become riddled with disease. The wealthiest of the population have retreated to an orbital world called Elysium, while the rest of humanity suffer, work for minimal wages and live with their potentially fatal diseases. Sad, since the key to every cure is available, but the rich would like to monopolize its benefits.

                         A scene from "Elysium."

The film is pretty darned entertaining with the action sequences and the display of futuristic gadgetry; but it is also rich with social and political commentaries. Despite a futuristic setting, the screenplay by Blomkamp speaks a lot about today’s modern times. There is the rich getting richer;  the 1 % against the 'poor' majority 99 %, as Blomkamp creates a world where social class have become the definition of ‘citizenship’. He does not take it easy with the metaphors of illegal immigration, health insurance and the current situation in the economy. In this world where the wealthy lives in a place in space, the rich feel that they have the right to play God, decide what they are entitled and just how to separate from those that are less fortunate. There is very little revealed as to how this futuristic world came to be, but then Blomkamp really does not need to. If one just takes a look at our environment and the economic crisis being faced by the world today, Blomkamp’s Earth of the year 2154 may not feel too far-fetched.

The first two acts of the film focuses on the Max character as we get to see his background through flashbacks, and just how he develops into the man he is in the film. Max is a man who has dreams of coming to Elysium, and he took several bad turns that he tries to make amends for himself. He is your regular hard-working joe who is struggling to make ends meet, and in many ways, his past life of crime becomes his own personal demon. Max may be the film’s lead character, but he really isn’t your usual heroic character. The man just wants to have a better life, and he is afraid to die; in many ways, Max is just trying to do what is best for him, and his dreams to stay connected to a woman named Frey (Alice Braga) appears to give him something to cling to. Frey is the woman who represents his youth and his innocence, before Max becomes exposed to the harsh realities of his world. Blomkamp does a good job encouraging his audience to become invested with the Max persona, it is a tale of just how a man changes, from someone a little cynical and frankly a little selfish, into someone who finds something different from his current perspectives in life.

                  Diego Luna as Julio, Matt Damon as Max Da Costa and Wagner Moura as Spider in "Elysium."

                 Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley in "Elysium."

I also enjoyed what Blomkamp brought forth from the orbital satellite called Elysium, as the writing gave a glimpse just how any society created by human beings, no matter how rich, no matter how smart will always have problems within. When the greedy lead the greedy, the politicians going for more clout with the masses, then things will always begin to collapse on itself. It is almost as if life may be harder for the poor, but their lives are also simpler; unlike the rules of the rich where everyone seems ready to backstab the other. It is almost as if the writing is trying to express the notion that the poor works hard to attain material wealth, all the while having it kept away from their grasp as the rich does whatever they can to maintain social status. It is an idea presented in a subtle way, and Blomkamp does not really go deeper into this area, but the message does linger around its narrative.

The film has some heavy themes but it is also visually arresting. Blomkamp and company did manage to create a world that very much looks like a view of the future, as well as something so familiar that the viewer could easily be enthralled by them. Blomkamp did a splendid job in maneuvering the camera to bring the viewer right in the middle of the action. The devices, gadgetry and weapons all had that sense of familiarity and yet they were something more advanced than what we were used to. With some practical effects in blood and gore, Blomkamp did not allow his film to be another one of those 'overdone' cinematic CGI effects, as he maintained an almost B-movie charm. Exo-suits, robots and computers that dictate a lifestyle could also be a warning about man’s over-reliance to technology, as Elysium and Earth were both controlled by such things. The set designs and cinematography were spectacular; from the slums of the Earth to the extremely high-tech world of Elysium, the characters did come alive around the set pieces. The character designs were simple, and yet they were fitting to Blomkamp’s creation.

                   Alice Braga as Throws Frey, Emma Tremblay as Matilda and Josh Blacker as Crowe in "Elysium."

                   Matt Damon and Jose Pablo Cantillo in "Elysium."

While “Elysium” is indeed an action film, and the tempo is dictated by Max’s many encounters. But I felt that the final act of the film is the part where everything that Blomkamp was trying to say becomes a little hazy. From what had been established, and how things moved on Earth, Blomkamp seemed to abandon the workings of the Max character and the political overtones presented by Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) to turn its focus on the fighting between Max and the mercenary agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley). Max and Delacourt never met, and yet they made an impact in each other’s lives, it was a bad move to underutilize the potentials of Foster’s character just so the Kruger character could take the spotlight. Not to say that the fights weren’t good, but Kruger’s cheesy lines could definitely become annoying the more Copley delivers his lines. He was a one-dimensional villain that did not match the intricacies and the themes in the rest of the film.

Being an action-sci-fi film, Blomkamp does not really present many opportunities for his performers to shine, but Damon does an exceptional job even in his case. He portrays his character with such natural, realistic zest that it wasn’t hard to become invested in what he was going through. Alice Braga may play a character that may feel like a stereotype, but really, much of the roots of Max’s personality were formed around her. Jodie Foster is her usual self; she was able to command the scenes she was in, that her character became an excellent element in its story. Copley was alright in his performance but …well, he wasn’t the villain the narrative deserved.

                   Jodie Foster as Secretary Delacourt in "Elysium."

I enjoyed “Elysium” but somehow, somewhere, Blomkamp seemed to stop short with the expression of his modern world commentaries and he began to be a little safe with his storytelling. I found the first two acts of the film to be its strongest points, and unfortunately, the way everything was wrapped up wasn’t as bold as its core premise. It was a shame that the film became predictable in the third act. It was almost as if the writing wanted to have a happier ending, that it lost much of its intended power. Still, “Elysium” is a film worth seeing. It is highly entertaining and the action sequences did provide that significant emotional feeling of urgency. Yes, the final act could’ve been a lot better, but it wasn’t enough to ruin its overall experience that “Elysium” is a film that I would definitely recommend. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]


                           Matt Damon as Max Da Costa in "Elysium."

Poster art for "Elysium: The IMAX Experience." Poster art for "Elysium: The IMAX Experience."
 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-680-1877691-239333-Neil_Blomkamp_Delivers_More_Social_and_Political.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-680-1877691-239333-Neil_Blomkamp_Delivers_More_Social_and_Political.html Sat, 10 Aug 2013 01:05:27 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Original Darth]]>
Apparently Karpyshyn has a great fascination with the canonical history of the Sith, because he sure seems to write a lot about it. After writing the story to the Knights of the Old Republic video game, it seems like Karpyshyn wanted to give gamers at least a little bit of a sense of closure. Revan is a sort of sequel to the legendary video game. Karpyshyn had a lot to live up to in trying to fill in some of the gaps to the story of Revan, because Knights of the Old Republic is considered the best Star Wars game available bar none, and one of the greatest video games ever made. Fortunately, anyone familiar with Karpyshyn's work in the expanded universe knows the author is easily up to the challenge. Karpyshyn's books tend to vividly depict the worlds inhabited by the characters, and Karpyshyn does more than a lot of the other Star Wars authors to fill us in on the backgrounds of The Old Republic's history, current events, and culture. Karpyshyn's books have always been engaging and quick reads.

With Revan, Karpyshyn succeeds in nearly every way. However, while the book may have Revan's name and image slapped on the cover all by himself, Revan actually presents us with two main characters. The first is Revan himself, and the second is actually a Sith Lord by the name of Scourge. If you peruse reviews of Revan, a lot of them make the argument that Scourge is actually the main character of Revan, and it's certainly easy to understand that assessment; Scourge gets at least as much coverage as Revan. The story feels like it's going to be two different stories through the first half of the book, as Scourge and Revan spend the entire first half alternating chapters before Karpyshyn finally brings their intersection into the book, thus making his point.

That means a lot of the narrative is nonlinear, but I actually like it better that way because it allows Karpyshyn to introduce to us a wider expanse of The Old Republic series universe. He gets to expound on little details of the Mandalorian culture, the Mandalorian Wars, the Great Hyperspace War, the background of the Sith Emperor, and the Sith Empire.

Revan's story begins with him having nightmares. He's married to Bastila Shan, still part of the Jedi Council but only in title, and pretty much a pariah with no trace of exactly what happened beyond the Outer Rim which turned him into Darth Revan for a brief period. He's dying for answers, and the members of the Jedi Council who are still pissed off at him aren't much help. So he seeks out his friend Canderous Ordo to help, hoping to find answers by seeking out an ancient Mandalorian artifact he had buried in order to destroy their culture. In the process, he finds the lost Jedi Exile, Ordo's rightful place in the universe, and the memories the Jedi Council stubbornly refuses to let him in on.

Scourge starts out turning himself over to the employ of a Sith Lord called Darth Nyriss. He basically begins as Nyriss's little errand boy, there to gather information. Nyriss wants a certain Sith Lord wiped out, Scourge does the job with the assistance of a non-Force Sith named Sechel who managed to attain a high rank despite his lack of Force sensitivity basically making him an untouchable among the Sith castes. He learns that Nyriss wants to knock off the Sith Emperor, and after being taken to a planet which is devoid of any sense of The Force, he gets disgusted and joins the cause…. Only to get disgusted at Nyriss because she's inactive and scared to death to actually go through with anything. He eventually throws his lot in with the one person he believes may be powerful enough to destroy the Sith Emperor.

While Revan is one of the greatest characters in the expanded universe, this book is placed in his timeline in such a way that the different sides of him can't be explored in much detail. We get his love for his wife and how he's disturbed by his lost memories and his understanding of the way The Force works, but considering that the book only covers a relatively brief couple of events in his life after the, ahem, interesting parts, there's not much Karpyshyn can do with him in the general timeframe without taking him out of character. Scourge, on the other hand, starts out as a regular old Sith Lord, but he begins to show an extra dimension later in the book. In particular, he wants to learn the ways of The Force the way Revan knows them, and his pure fascination with what he is as compared to what he could be leaves him with an open end which makes readers believe he may have a real capacity for change.

I can't say I was especially wild about the twist ending, but I was satisfied with it, because it fit the ethos and left a few things wide open. I would have also liked to see more about Canderous Ordo. I've also noticed in my expanded universe readings that the legendary Jedi Council - originally depicted as a group of wisdom seekers on high who always knew what the light, moral path was - is really fucking corrupt, full of petulance and petty grievances, more concerned with its own self-image that anything, and frequently not at all concerned with justice for those beyond the Republic. In Revenge of the Sith, Darth Sidious tells Anakin Skywalker that the Jedi and Sith are alike in almost every way. Mainstream audiences, of course, brush this off as a lie Sidious is telling to lure Anakin to the Dark Side, but expanded universe patrons see a lot more truth in that statement than movie watchers would realize. The only notable difference I can consistently see between the Jedi and Sith is that the Jedi use their credo to be smug and self-satisfied while the Sith make absolutely no bones about what they really are.

Still, though, I'm not complaining about anything. Karpyshyn does more than any other Star Wars author I've read to satisfy my curiosities about the expanded universe of Star Wars, especially The Old Republic Era. In the original movie, Obi-Wan spoke wistfully of a time "before the dark times. Before the Empire." More and more, readers of the Star Wars expanded universe are learning that there was no time before the dark times. They were pretty much always hanging around. Thank god for that, though, because without that, The Old Republic just wouldn't be as interesting.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Star_Wars_The_Old_Republic_Revan-680-1877964-239293-The_Original_Darth.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/d/UserReview-Star_Wars_The_Old_Republic_Revan-680-1877964-239293-The_Original_Darth.html Thu, 8 Aug 2013 16:16:32 +0000
<![CDATA[Elysium (2013 film) Quick Tip by KingreX32]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-13-1877691-239276.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-13-1877691-239276.html Wed, 7 Aug 2013 22:52:46 +0000 <![CDATA[ 'Elysium' An Exciting Sci-Fi Action Film With A Message (Video)]]>

By Joan Alperin Schwartz

Neill Blomkamp, writer and director of the critically acclaimed, 'District 9', once again brings us a thought-provoking, sci-fi, fantasy, action film.
                               

       
'Elysium' starring Matt Damon, takes place in the year 2154. Earth is polluted, overpopulated and crime ridden. The rich have long ago abandoned the planet for Elysium, an orbital space station, a 19 minute shuttle ride away.

But those 19 minutes, might as well be several light years. The space station is protected by a killer security force run by Jodie Foster, who will do anything and everything to keep Elysium safe for the wealthy.

Matt Damon, plays Max, an ex con on parole, who lives and works in Los Angeles, which is now a getto. That's right folks, the homes of the 'rich and famous' are now a thing of the past...And I don't think Universal Studios is conducting any more tours in the city of Angels

Max is just an ordinary guy trying to do the 'right thing'. He's put his days of stealing cars behind him. Now, his time is spent working at Armadyne, a corporation specializing in defense. Important to note:

The company is run by John Carlyle (the wonderful William Fichtner) a man who cares about 3 things...Money, money and more money....

Okay, back to Max...who winds up having an on-the-job accident. He gets a lethal dose of radiation and finds out from a robot...seriously, a robot, that he only has five days to live...

Max is not at all thrilled with the news and decides, his only chance to survive, is on Elysium.

It seems that every home on the space station, not only comes equipped with a washer and dryer, but also has a machine that can heal any disease in seconds...Only catch...You must be a 'citizen' of the Elysium for the machine to work.

So since Max doesn't have the billions it costs to become a 'citizen' of Elysium, he has no choice, but to contact some of his old criminal buddies, including... 

Spider (Wagner Moura) a very creepy dude, who helps illegal immigrants get to the space station (which unfortunately doesn't always turn out too well)

He's also quite adept at turning people into Cybourgs, which comes in handy for Max, but that's all I'll say on the subject. Don't want to spoil the fun.

And 'Elysium' is fun... a lot of fun. It also has a great message and for a sci-fi film, that's rare.

Rounding out the cast is Alice Braga, who plays Frey a childhood friend of Max, who has her own reasons for wanting to get to Elysium and Sharito Copley (District 9') who's excellent as the villaninous, Kruger, Jodie's pet operative/assassin.

I gave 'Elysium' which opens in theatres Friday August 9, 2013, 4 bagels out of 5. John however, had a different take on the film. 

Check out our video for his bagel score and for more of our musings.
                                                     


Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.

Thanks everyone and let us know what you think about 'Elysium'.

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http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-680-1877691-239218-_Elysium_An_Exciting_Sci_Fi_Action_Film_With_A.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Elysium_2013_film_-680-1877691-239218-_Elysium_An_Exciting_Sci_Fi_Action_Film_With_A.html Tue, 6 Aug 2013 06:10:47 +0000
<![CDATA[Colonial battlestar Quick Tip by KingreX32]]>
But even though all those ships are cool, they cant stand up to the coolness of a Colonial Battlestar. While not as technologically advanced as the other ships mentioned above, (This quick tip is about the Re-imagined Battlestars). The Battlestar in its own right is one of the Coolest.

The Battlestar is like a Space going aircraft carrier depending on the Class they can have anywhere from 40-120 Vipers on board, and launched in a matter of minutes from thier massive flight pods. Battlestars where also build for the long hual, with high efficiency water recyclers and air purification units a battlestar could remain deployed for years. They also had munitions production facilities, and some even Viper production facilities.

Because Re-imagined Battlestars were more conventional than thier 70s counterparts, instead of energy shielding they had extremely tough armour plating capable of withstanding Cylon weapons fire, missiles and even Nukes. Instead of being armed with Laser turrets and energy weapons Re-imagined battlestars were armed instead with Nukes and missiles and massive ship to ship bullets.

A battlestars Faster than light drive operated differently than the FTL drives in other Sci-fi series. Instead of getting from point A to B very fast, it worked by imputting a set of coordinates into a jump computer, then instantaneously jumping the ship to those coordinates.

With all that being said, afters seeing them in action in the TV series, Battlestars in my opinion are the coolest and most badass Starships I've seen in any sci-fi series.

Well this is a pretty long Quick tip. So goodbye.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Colonial_battlestar-1706774-238974.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Colonial_battlestar-1706774-238974.html Fri, 26 Jul 2013 22:34:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Pacific Rim (2013 film) Quick Tip by Creamtrumpet]]> This is a film painted in broad, operatic, comic book strokes with a very pulp sensibility. While many modern blockbusters these days tend to be cynical, calculated and dour, Pacific Rim has a genuine warmth, enthusiasm and honesty. It reminded me very much of the kind of fun, imaginative and innovative movies I grew up with in the 1980s. Not a perfect film by any means, but it's a brilliantly crafted, highly entertaining, thrilling and even occasionally touching piece of movie making. If I'd seen this as a ten year old, I think it would've blown my mind.
If you have any love for Japanese anime, monster movies and sci-fi, or you just love to be entertained, be sure to catch this one. The most fun I've had in a cinema for a long time.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-13-1857284-238893.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-13-1857284-238893.html Mon, 22 Jul 2013 22:16:54 +0000
<![CDATA[ Guillermo Del Toro's Love Letter to Japanese Mecha-Anime and Kaiju Films!]]> Cronos”, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone” have made him to be one of the better storytellers in the horror and fantasy genre that he became one of the more influential names in Hollywood. While his American films have been a mixed bag with films such as “Hellboy” and “Blade 2”, you would be very hard-pressed to find a cinema fan who could deny that despite their flaws, his movies always carried a style that made him stand apart from the rest.

                    Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi in "Pacific Rim."

Surprisingly, Del Toro now appears to have made a love letter to Japanese Mecha-Anime with his latest film “Pacific Rim”. The film’s core plot (that he also co-wrote) is admittedly pretty thin. The film begins with a quick narration as to how legions of monstrous creatures that had come to be known as Kaiju, come rising from the sea. This brought forth a war with millions of casualties that would consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat something that conventional weaponry have little effect on, the world creates gigantic robotic warriors called the Jaeger, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. The massive robots manage to hold their own for awhile, until the Kaiju begins to evolve into more powerful, bigger and more dangerous monsters. This brings the Jaeger forces on the verge of defeat, that they must hatch up one final push for victory. And somehow, only a former Jaeger pilot, Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) may be the last chance to turn the tide and claim victory.

                 
       
            

             A scene from "Pacific Rim."

With nods to Japanese anime, yet none of its imagination and depth in storytelling, “Pacific Rim” boasts of stellar visual effects and impressive robot-monster fights that have not been made before by American filmmakers (nope the Transformers franchise does not count). Del Toro handles the material quite well and I do have to say that the film was competently directed. The life of “Pacific Rim” stems from the action set pieces and the battles between machine and monsters. The viewer could easily feel the impact, the crunch of metal against monstrous flesh, the intensity of the explosions because the battles were incredibly shot and executed. From a live-action standpoint, “Pacific Rim” may be one of the most awesome robot battles ever shot on film (but not in animation). Del Toro knew how to shoot the scenes and it was easy to follow what was going on on-screen, the screen never felt confusing or too busy and maintained its intensity with creative angling, close ups and posturing. The viewer could really feel the 'hugeness of the designs" that the film was very impessive from a technical standpoint. It was obvious that the director did his research in shooting such robotic-monster battles, as several shots looked like they were ripped from Japanese Mecha-Anime. The intensity, the power and the excitement were all there, the viewer could easily feel the power of the blows that made them carry an exhilarating tempo in the struggle.

I felt like I was watching a live-action film of Japanese mecha-anime, as Del Toro channels the excitement of the battles in the anime hit series “The Big O”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, “The Heroic Age” and sometimes even “Broken Blade”. Even the look of the machines, even though not entirely obvious, had the influences of Japanese anime. But as tough and cool as the robots looked, they lacked the personality of their Japanese anime counterparts. See, what made mecha anime special is the way that it makes the machines characters, rather than simple machines of war. I thought the film could’ve done a better job in defining the strengths and the weaknesses of the robots, and just how man and machine could really become one; with their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, the robots in “Pacific Rim” were insanely cool, but with the way they were defined in the narrative, such details would’ve made them even cooler and they would been crucial factors to advance its plot.

           Rob Kazinsky and Max Martini in "Pacific Rim."

           A scene from "Pacific Rim."

          

I do have to admit that while I thought the monster designs were clever and one even had a homage to “Godzilla” (the one with the illuminated scales-spikes), they looked rather familiar. I am sure with Del Toro at the helm, that influences of his works with “Hellboy” would come to bear, and they do. The colors and the textures used were undoubtedly meant as something inspired by those films. The monsters do look formidable in their own way, but they also lacked personality. They seemed to have the same approach to their attacks, save for the one that could fly and the one that spit acid, the creatures were simple brutes with hardly any intelligence or differences in attack. I also thought that the so-called “Level 5” monster should have been a lot more intimidating, but it was just a bigger one with more of the same. Huge roar and incredible strength, the battles could’ve been a lot more suspenseful if it took the time to develop both monsters and robots so that strategy and smarts played more of a factor than just trying to pound each other into dust. I mean, this is the beauty of Japanese Mecha-Anime, it gives the villains a personality by creating them to have weaknesses and a way of attack, while the robot tries to find those weaknesses and plan accordingly; and sometimes plans work and often they don't. It would've brought a lot of suspense into the mix. (viewers of Japanese anime would know exactly what I am trying to say)

I know, the screenplay in the film wants to take the viewer right in the middle of the action, but here lies the weaknesses in the screenplay. I thought the characters in the film were mere caricatures to those anime series; they lacked the depth, the dimensions to make the narrative much more compelling. The potentials were there, but they were merely imprints of what they were supposed to be. The former warrior (Becket), the problematic trainee (Kikuchi), the determined commander (Idris Elba) and even the two technical specialists (played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman) were all staples of anime, but this time, they lacked the essential dimensions to bring a much stronger narrative. Despite their challenges and personal issues, the characters weren’t exactly as compelling as I had hoped for because of the way the story was structured around the robots. Ron Perlman does provide some needed humor even with his limited screen time.

            

              A scene from "Pacific Rim."

I know some of you may be thinking that I have a lot of possible negative comments, but really, “Pacific Rim” is awesome if one is looking for raw entertainment. The film’s intention was to bring forth astonishing giant machines against gigantic monsters and on this part, it was impeccably executed. If you look deep into its plot, you would realize that it had a lot of missed opportunities, but really, once Del Toro has you by the neck with the incredible battles, you would easily forgive the shortcomings in its screenplay. It kicked the “Nuts” off Michael Bay’s “Transformers” franchise, and proves to be a step in the right direction if America wishes to adapt Japanese Mecha-Anime in the future. “Pacific Rim” may feel a little superficial, but hey, what it wanted to do, it did very well. It is awesome popcorn entertainment. Guillermo Del Toro scores “Huge” that “Pacific Rim” gets a Recommendation from me. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

              A scene from "Pacific Rim."

Poster art for "Pacific Rim 3D." Poster art for "Pacific Rim 3D."

                                       Poster art for "Pacific Rim 3D."

           

            
 
 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-680-1857284-237434-Guillermo_Del_Toro_s_Love_Letter_to_Japanese.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-680-1857284-237434-Guillermo_Del_Toro_s_Love_Letter_to_Japanese.html Sat, 13 Jul 2013 06:49:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Loud, fun and silly beyond all reason]]>  
In 2012 a riff opened up at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean through which monsters of enormous size called Kuaji entered the earth and wreaked havoc on our major cities. First San Francisco was destroyed. Six months later, Manila. As time went on more and more Kuaji emerge from the riff to wreak havoc on our shores. In response to this threat humanities governments rallied together to create the Juager program (perhaps after taking too many Juager Bombs) and begin construction on a series of giant robots to battle the Kuaji. And for a while it works. More and more monsters come out of the riff with less time between attacks, and every time they are destroyed by the Juagers. But things have changed. The Kuaji are coming more and more frequently, and the Juagers are being overwhelmed. Twelve years after the initial breach humanity has placed all its hope in a gigantic sea wall around all its shores (which is exactly as stupid an idea as it sounds) and given up on the Juagers. With only four Juagers left operational, and extinction knocking on humanities doorstep, a last ditch effort is made to close the breach once and for all and end the Kuaji threat for good.
 
What follows is a disjointed, cheesy, fun as hell mess of a film that at the same time is one of the corniest films of the year and one of the most entertaining. Let me get the negatives out of the way now, and please hold off on the crucifixion if you can. The movie spends way too much time focusing primarily on the characters in the film, which would be great had there not been such terrible character development. Okay, that's a bit harsh. They aren't THAT terrible, but with so much time and effort given to them when we could have been watching a giant monster bash the very least Del Torro could have given us was compelling characters and convincing acting. A character driven story of the world’s desperate fight against unstoppable odds is not a bad idea, in fact it was done quite well when it was called Neon Genesis Evangelion (for those of you who don't know, it’s an anime mech series that has achieved legendary status), but Pacific Rim doesn't even do a passable job in developing its characters into people we’ll care about. We do get a couple of touching moments, esp when it comes to female lead Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi) but all that is done in flashback and very little is done with her adult self. All the other characters are cheap one dimensional card board cutouts with no depth, little personality, and nothing at all compelling about them.
 
“But it’s a monster VS robot movie!” you say. “Why would you go see this film if you wanted three dimensional characters?” Well, you have a point.  I didn’t go to the movie to see a character driven film. And that’s the problem. Pacific Rim tries to be more than that and does focus on its characters a lot more than other movies of this type. It TRIES to be more then Star Trek, or Iron Man, or any of the other mindless summer fare we’ve seen this year. It just fails at it, and fails badly. EVA this is not. The script is full of pointless tension, cheesy one liners, and wasted characters. It really needed to go through another draft or two before they started filming.
 
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s get on to what the film did right. For a film like this they really only had to do one thing right and one thing only, and that’s the fights. And yes, I’m glad to announce that what fights they did have were actually quite good. Though I do have quibbles with how the monsters were designed, that was quickly forgotten the first time a Juager punched a Kuaji in the face. Such scenes of epic awesomeness are just too much for the human brain to comprehend. The robots are amazing, reflecting their countries of origin in both design, functionality, and tactics. Whereas the Russian Juager is built like a tank and fights in similar fashion, the Chinese Juager is a lot sleeker and uses its speed and many bladed weapons to their advantage. The tech is also interesting as well as the Juagers require two pilots to operate as it would kill a lone pilot. It may seem like a stretch to give a movie three stars for fight scenes alone, but come on. It’s a giant monster movie. THIS is what people are paying for, so this is clearly the most important aspect of the film. And Pacific Rim blows it out of the water. I’ll call it right now; Pacific Rim is the best live action American movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. Hands down.
 
So is Pacific Rim worth seeing? If you want to see robots battle monsters in one of the most epic battle royals of the year, then yes. If not, nooooo. It’s a fun movie, with a good deal of action to keep people entertained for a long time. Though the silliness, the bad character development, and the cheesy script hold this film back it does the battles right and that’s all people really wanted from this film anyway. Is it a masterpiece? No, not even close. Is it a fun romp of a film with fun battles and amazing effects? Hells yeah it is.
 
Replay value, high. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-680-1857284-237432-Loud_fun_and_silly_beyond_all_reason.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-680-1857284-237432-Loud_fun_and_silly_beyond_all_reason.html Sat, 13 Jul 2013 00:31:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Pacific Rim' awesome robots, vicious monsters almost make it work (video)]]>

Here's all the important things you need to know about director Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi, action film, 'Pacific Rim'...

Planet Earth has been invaded by the Kaiju...Super sized monsters that have risen from a portal underneath the ocean...Millions of earthlings have died and things are not looking good for humanity.
                                                                 



Our only hope for stopping these monstrous creatures are the Jaegers...a special type of robot which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots, whose minds are synched via a neural bridge, called 'The Drift'. 

Unfortunately, the enemy grows more powerful with each attack, so even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju.

And lastly, like in most sci-fi action flicks, everything comes down to one or two dudes (or in this case, one dude, one dudess) who will try to save mankind.

So to sum up...It's monsters vs robots...and that's it.

Yes, the plot as well as the characterizations are thin...The film is all about the special effects and they are spectacular.

In fact, the visuals are so spectacular that they make it worth the price of admission...Especially if you are a teenage boy/gamer.

However, even though I'm very far away from that demographic, I really enjoyed this film. It was very entertaining and well cast...

Charlie Hunnam, (t.v. show 'Sons Of Anarchy) Rinko Kikuchi ('Babel'), Ron Perlman, Idris Elba ('Thor), Charlie Day ('Horrible Bosses'), Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini and Clifton Collins, Jr. do an excellent job bringing their thinly developed characters to life.

For that reason, I gave 'Pacific Rim' which opens in theatres, Friday July 12, 2013, 31/2 bagels out of 5. Oh and definitely see it in 3D...

Check out our video for John's bagel rating and of course, for more of our witty banter.
                                           


Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.

Love to know what you think. Thanks everyone.

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http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-680-1857284-237415-_Pacific_Rim_awesome_robots_vicious_monsters.html http://www.lunch.com/SFSignal/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pacific_Rim_2013_film_-680-1857284-237415-_Pacific_Rim_awesome_robots_vicious_monsters.html Thu, 11 Jul 2013 00:40:26 +0000