How to destroy your cinematic universe

The concept of a shared cinematic universe where a series of movies would be connected with each other with its own individual plot and an overall arching story that would lead to big pay off in another movie down the line was created by Marvel Studios with the after credits of 2008’s Iron Man.

This paid dividends for the then fledgling and now the juggernaut in the Cinematic World.

With success comes a host of competitors that will try to give a shot at the successful idea.

However other than Marvel and in a much smaller capacity The Conjuring movie series, no one has been able to crack the code for a successful cinematic universe.

Whether due to sheer incompetence, greed, not understanding the strength and weakness of the properties and just not having a plan, there are a number of factors studios can cause for a studio’s cinematic universe to crash and burn even before it lifts off the ground.

Overestimating your strengths

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public

One of the fundamental reasons why a cinematic universe blows up is because most studios do not evaluate whether or not their properties, for example, can be adapted into a cinematic universe format.

The properties must have enough depth and characters that could be organically be stretched out into multiple movies without feeling forced. Marvel, DC and even Star Wars can pull this off because there are numerous stories written about those characters from many different writers in many formats, that the studios can simply pick and choose which one to go for.

For most studios they don’t have that luxury and instead of creating a traditional good first movie and then follow up with great sequels, they announce a cinematic universe with whatever IPs they have. The biggest example being the Universal Monster Dark Universe Cinematic Universe that was poorly thought out and it crashed and burn with only one movie in its slate. The 2017 reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.

Time will tell whether the planned WB Godzilla Kaiju Universe, Hasbro Transformers and their other toy line up universe will meet the same fate.

Not having a plan or direction

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public
Credit: SyFY Wire

One of the most baffling events that came out of the entertainment world is the DCEU or as it is now known Worlds of DC in general.

From hiring directors and them leaving midway through production, from Zack Snyder’s total control of it and then the Execs of WB taking control from him, from various movies being announced that no one asked for and then getting cancelled these developments clearly shows that WB never had a solid game plan for their cinematic universe and that indecision clearly shows in their movies as well.

With the exception of Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam, all the Worlds of DC branded movies either underperformed in terms of critically and commercially or both and generally they are seen as inferior to the MCU.

Read more: Shazam is the new magic word for DCEU!

The planning and the logistic behind the MCU is something that most studios don’t take any heed to it. That is one of the core reason why cinematic universes crash and burn even without getting a chance to fully form because the studios expect to land on the moon first before properly figuring it out how to get out of earth’s orbit in the first place.

Pacing and patience

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public
Credit: USA Today

For the all the talk about the MCU success most fail to see the one crucial step they took that no one up to now did. They never announced from the get-go that the First Iron Man movie was gonna be the start of their cinematic universe. They focused on making a great movie that can stand on its own first and then gave the small teaser of their plans in the end credit scene.

Read more: A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

This was done so that they can create goodwill at first with the general audience and then in the subsequent movies slowly start to reveal their master plan cumulating in the First Avengers Movie and now their phase four.

Compare this with DCEU BVS which was tasked the monumental task of Introducing Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor and the entire Justice League in one sitting and also other numerous Easter eggs that were supposed to lead into other movies.

Sadly what resulted is a bloated mess of a movie that didn’t have any direction and character motivations and some scenes were done purely to tease the other future movies which created a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie that lacks focus.

Not exploring alternate options

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public

This article already talked a great length about the MCU when it comes to cinematic universes, however, there is another name that can be added to that list, The Conjuring Universe.

Rather than making the mistakes above they simply went on a different direction than all of the rest of the Marvel Imitators. They simply made one good movie and then created a sequel and based on the audience reaction on the sequels secondary villains or tertiary characters they made spinoffs about it and slowly in a matter of years created a cinematic universe of their own.

While the Conjuring Universe cannot be compared to Marvel in terms of financial and critical and cultural significance, at least that cinematic universe is done right.

The Lesson that can be taken from the conjuring universe is that other than the previous lessons above is sometimes a cinematic universe from the onset is not a must. You can simply create a good movie, have goodwill and slowly from there through sequels or spin-offs or prequels organically have a cinematic universe.

Not every series of movies need to have all the characters team up, in the end, to fight a big bad in the ultimate team-up movie.

Hellboy reboot is a stinker, but David Harbour shines bright

Clearly, the world was not anticipating a R-rated Hellboy reboot weeks before the release of Avengers: Endgame. Based on Mike Mignola’s terrific comics, Hellboy (2019) is the third attempt of the series. Despite its Deadpoolesque (or lack thereof) wit and gore, the David Harbour starrer bombed at the box office upon its release last week. We haven’t seen a comic book movie fail in this proportion for a long time. Seriously, what went wrong?

The 2019 version of Hellboy is starkly different from the previous two instalments directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Neil Marshall steps into the shoes of Del Toro and crafts a shamelessly violent yet wisecracking version of Hellboy. Marshall is known for horror and action movies and he orchestrated two Game of Thrones battles. His GoT connections justify the gorefest in Hellboy.

A brief (and digestible) origin story

At the height of world war 2, the Nazi’s initiated project Ragnarok, which brought the demon Hellboy on earth from the depths of hell. Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), the chief of B.P.R.D adopts and raises him to fight against the dark forces.

A below average villain

Mila Jovovich plays the role of a 5th-century sorceress (Nimue-the blood queen). She was defeated and dismembered by King Arthur in the ancient time. In a wicked turn of events, her disjointed body parts are retrieved from different corners of Britain in order to resurrect her in current time. Nimue and her pig giant henchman bring wrath upon the earth and she also has a crush on our main man Hellboy.

Nimue miserably fails to impress as a villain. She might have a similar agenda that of Thanos’, but her character lacks any kind of persona a baddie should possess.

Forgettable cast

This movie has an ensemble of forgettable supporting characters. There’s M11 special agent Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) who can evolve into a wolf by injecting a super serum. Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a medium who can foresee the future teams up with Hellboy but for us she was a sidekick reject.

Only acting that warrants respect in this film is Ian McShane’s Bruttenholm. David Harbour is unquestionably the heart of this film. He delicately portrays a funny yet ruthless demon beneath the layers of his brilliant makeup.

The worst comic book movie of the decade (probably)

Ron Perlman and Del Toro’s Hellboy was not something we will root for in the future. Both Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy: The Golden Army (2008) were average flicks and earned passable box office money. But at least they were miles ahead in comparison with the reboot version. Lionsgate is going to lose a lot of money as the film fell flat at the theatres.

Another great comic book character wasted on the silver screen.


Watch Hellboy if you love the comics. There is an MCU style post credit scene which hints a sequel (which we don’t want for God’s sake). The soundtracks are cool. Check out the Smoke on the water cover by 2WEI.

Hellboy is now running in STAR Cineplex. Get your tickets from here.

Shazam is the new magic word for DCEU!

First, they tried too hard to not be Marvel. Then they tried too hard to be Marvel. Turns out all they had to do was say the magic word. The DC Extended Universe finally gets it all right with “Shazam!”.

A refreshing break from the bleakness

For a long time the consensus was that the DC movies are to be significantly more dark and bleak than contemporary superhero films. The darkness was supposed to inspire a more realistic outlook. If done right, that could have turned out well. But it wasn’t executed right. So the DCEU tried to move on to a more cheerful theme, evident in the Justice League movie. Unfortunately that also didn’t turn out great, as perhaps the most awaited film ever had measly returns from the box office.

With Aquaman, the DCEU showed signs of vitality. And they have finally perfected the formula with Shazam. The most family friendly movie from the DCEU so far, Shazam attempts to inspire every adult to embrace the child in them. And every child to unfold the hero in them. The DCEU displays it’s knack for consistency, comedy and timing in this exhilarating Boy-of-Steel film.

A well told origin story

The most difficult part of a Superhero story told on the big screen is often the origin. Origin stories are a dime a dozen, and many of them are as good as one would imagine can get. While Shazam isn’t innovative, it is near perfect in execution. The film tells the story of 14-year old Billy Batson gaining the powers of the “Seven Elders” and his subsequent adventures in a simple and carefree fashion.

While it is easy to assume from the trailers or this review that the film is specifically kid-friendly, such is not the case. It explores dark aspects of the regular lives of people with straightforward realism. But unlike many contemporaries, the film attempts to teach the audience to deal with life’s many problems with a smile.

A genuinely good time

At its core, Shazam is a cheerful superhero tale, told with remarkable simplicity and style. It doesn’t try too hard to be something it is not. And that sets it apart from many of its contemporaries. Instead of pushing an overreaching theme or straining to set up some elaborate tale (it does that quite naturally), Shazam just offers its audience a good time at the theater. All the actors involved perform perfectly on their roles, especially the younger actors and Zachary Levi. Mark Strong’s acting is as strong as ever. Most importantly, everyone seems in touch with their characters.

So go watch Shazam in the STAR Cineplex. And let the magic entangle you for a good time.

Get your tickets here.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Only a few works can be compared to the new release of Netflix titled as Love, Death, and Robots. It was expected that a series produced by David Fincher and created by Tim Miller would be pretty good. But no one expected that it would be this amazing.

This anthology series has crossed boundaries among genres like Comedy, Animation, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction etc.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

If you are still wondering whether to try out this gift or not, then here is your spoiler-free review.

Different people seek different things in a series. Some, care for the story while some carefully scrutinize the animation. We’ll cover it from different angles.

Ratings

There are people who think the series quality is solely tied to its ratings. If you’re one of those people, then here are some of the fresh ratings for you.

IMDB: 9.1/10 –

There is a high chance that you might not take this rating seriously. This much distrust is legit I believe. So, let’s move onto the next rating.

Rotten Tomatoes: Average Tomatometer: 75% –

Although it is a bit early to rely on the Rotten Tomatoes ratings still 75% on the average Tomatometer is pretty decent. Moreover, 94% of the users have rated it over 3.5 out of 5.

Metacritic: 8.6/10 –

Based on 61 ratings Metacritic gave it an 8.6 out of 10. Only two critic reviews have landed till now. Of these two one is positive, and one is mixed.

Heaven of Horror: 4/5 –

Heaven of horror covers horror, thriller and sci-fi movies & TV shows. They are more like an expert in reviewing the creations of these genres. So, when they give it a 4/5, you should consider watching it.

Animation is outstanding

Each of the 18 shorts from this series has its signature animation style. While watching the first episode you will discover yourself watching gameplay. On the episode titled as Beyond the Aquila Rift it is easy to get confused. In fact, the super realistic animation of this episode will easily bewilder you.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

In one subreddit post, one animator cleared out the mystery behind this hyper-realistic animation. Everything on this episode is motion captured. All the body and facial motions were first captured form the actors and then transformed into CGI. In fact, the performers had to wear helmets and other gears that could capture their motions.

Besides this episode, there are other notable animations in other episodes. On the third episode, the animation is more like comics strips. Remember the animation from Into the Spiderverse? Well, here you will see something close to that. In other words, frame rates are manipulated to show speed in this episode.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Like me, many people have agreed on the fact that the best animation of this season was on the episode ‘The Secret War’.

Moreover, there will be times when you won’t be able to differentiate between motion captured animation and VFX. Even the hand-drawn episodes are pretty stunning. In truth, no matter which episode you start watching, it is inevitable that you’ll be in for a surprise.

Story quality varies a bit

The creators have rounded up some great flash fictions. These stories have explored the sci-fi as well as supernatural genre. In some episodes, characters are well built in spite of the short duration. Even though the stories are sci-fi, you will be able to relate to the characters.

John Scalzi, Joe Lansdale, Ken Liu, Claudine Griggs, and Alastair Reynolds. These names belong to some of the most prominent writers all around the world. These writers were the source of some of the best episodes of this series.

John Scalzi is the former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Joe R. Lansdale has won the British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, and several other awards. Ken Liu has won in the World Fantasy Awards. Alastair Reynolds is a former space scientist who has now published over sixty short Sci-fi stories.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

The adapted screenplays from the flash fictions of these writers have generated something really ‘Cool’. Furthermore, many episodes have given tribute to other great movies and tv shows. With one episode you will find the resemblance of 127 Hours. Similarly, In one episode you’ll find easter eggs from Dr. Manhattan. Also, the name of Rear Window (1954) has come up in the discussions. Many have reviewed that this season is a mini version of Black Mirror, but we think this goes more with The Animatrix

In fact, the episodes are well organized throughout the season. If one episode gives you dread, the next one will lighten up the mood with absurd humor.

Ranking the best episodes

Just like any other Tv shows this too had great and average episodes. Here are our ratings for 5 of the best episodes out of 18 shorts.

  • Beyond the Aquila Rift – 9.7/10
  • Good Hunting – 9.4/10
  • The Witness – 9.3/10
  • The Secret War – 9.1/10
  • When the Yogurt Took Over – 9/10

Verdict

In short ‘Love, Death, and Robots’ is an out of the world experience, thanks to its awesome storyline and animation.

David Fincher and Tim Miller’s latest masterpiece easily gets 4/5 from us.

If you are still confused about watching it, please don’t be. Take a leap of faith and experience what both modern technology and creative mind have accomplished by working together.

The Three Colors Trilogy: A series of masterpieces from Krzysztof Kieslowski

Blue, White, Red.

Liberty, equality, fraternity.

Chronologically these are the three colours of the French flag and the national motto of the French Republic. But these six words have a different meaning to film lovers. Yes, I am talking about the three colors trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski. The films titled as Three Colors: Blue (1993), Three Colors: White (1994) and Three Colors: Red (1994) are supposedly based on the three mottos of the French Republic. Though Kieslowski has declined this possibility, one can loosely connect the mottos with the films.

Should you watch these films? Are they worth the time?

Let’s dive into further discussion. (I’ll try to make it a spoiler-free review)

Awards and Nominations

To some people, movie quality is largely tied to its achievements. Well, for them, this trilogy is also heavy in awards and nominations.

Three Colors: Blue was awarded the best film in the Venice Film Festival of 1993. It was nominated in three categories at the 1994 Golden Globes. 

Kieslowski won the award for Best Director for Three Colours: White in 1994 Berlin Film Festival.

Three Colors: Red had a total of 18 wins and 24 nominations. It was nominated for Palme d’Or in the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The winner of that year was Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino.

You can get further details about the awards in the IMDb pages of these movies.

Now let’s stop judging art in a materialistic way and start appreciating its beauty.

Three Colors: Blue (1993)

The first of the three films are written and directed by Kieslowski has shown one’s redemption from grief. The film shows us the emotional and mental state of someone grieving deeply. Even so, the filmmaking is melodic, expressive and sympathetic. The colour blue can be related to a lot of things. From cheerfulness to the distance to sadness, it can symbolize a range of emotions. The film takes this into account and it seems like the central character of the film bounces from one emotion to another. The talented actress Juliette Binoche gives an amazing performance. In several brilliant close-up shots, her expressions almost transcend emotional boundaries. The film puts a lot of emphasis on music. There are times when the colour blue merges with symphonies.

There is a lot that can be talked about this film that too in an unspoiled way. One can talk for hours just about the ending scene of this film.

I guess this would inspire you to watch this film. If not, then we have two other movies in our bag.

Three Colors: White (1994)

This film is based upon the most highly valued idea of the modern world, Equality. Unlike the previous film of this trilogy, this film falls more under the black comedy genre. White can be divided into three parts.

First is the shame of inequality. The central character here faces inequality and experiences a pitfall in life. From a dream of having everything to a reality of having nothing. Then comes the second part or Transformation. The character here faces something that changes his view towards life and he starts to transform. The third and final part of the film is the blissful revenge or being equal. Through a set of well-planned acts the central character here recovers the inequality of the first part.

This film is also seen as a critic and satire towards post-communist Poland.

It also questions our morality. To what extent are we willing to go in the name of equality? Where do we draw the line between getting even and vengeance?

With these complex thoughts, the film gifts us a brilliant acting, powerful dialogues, and obviously good cinematography. Just like Blue, this film has a lot of white in its scenes.

Three Colors: Red (1994)

Just as the color suggests, this film is the warmest of all three of the films. This intellectual puzzle gifts and confuses us with various depictions.

In both the art direction and photographic design, the dominance of the color red is easily noticeable.

It is set to stand for both danger, anger, love and passion throughout the film. Also, at the end of the film, one can easily understand how it is linked to Fraternity.

Red has its storyline revolved around three characters. One model, one retired judge, and one young lawyer. The model runs over a dog and this leads to a series of twisted and unpredictable events. When two of the three characters meet at first it is easily assumed that something bad is about to come.

The events throughout the film make us question about the exitance of three characters. Some might wonder that one character might be the younger version of another. While others may relate one of the characters with god. God who knows all and who orchestrates the lives of people.

The wonderful presentation of this film gives us the experience of being an eavesdropper.

We see how people with negative traits recover themselves with a touch of friendship and start to do wonderful things. The final moments of this film truly shock us with the connections from the two previous movies. Red goes short in emotional deepness compared to Blue and lacks the black comedy of White. But it makes up everything with its story and stylistic fertility.

Sadly, this movie will never be nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscars because the country of origin Switzerland has decided to reject it.

The takeaway

I had so much more to write about these three films, but I think it would be best if you give these three a watch and reveal by yourself. I’ll end with a quote from the director:

“All the films that I make are about the need to open up. About the need to communicate on another level rather than just talking about the quality of wine, car prices, flat prices or the best bank deposits.”

A Noob’s guide to the horror universe

You know the weekend is just around the corner when you’re mindlessly staring at that desktop calendar and daydreaming about what to binge-watch on Netflix or getting that much-needed good night’s sleep when Friday strikes.

Speaking of Netflix, when was the last time you saw a good horror film with your friends?

It’s not surprising that some of us are afraid to watch horror movies, especially at night when we get this sudden burst of paranoia and last minute jitters as soon as the lights darken in the hall and our anxiety levels peak right before that first jump scare.

That being said, this particular genre is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re new to the world of horror I suggest we balance out the “fear metre” by starting out with the nail-biting popcorn flicks and then gradually moving on to the grittier stuff that causes trauma-inducing nightmares.

1.The Shining

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If you’re fascinated with the occult and supernatural themes then this timeless classic should be #1 on your watchlist!

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Stephen King, The Shining tells the story of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who becomes mentally unstable after moving in with his family to an isolated hotel that is seemingly haunted.

As Jack grows more psychotic, his wife and son desperately try to escape the hotel while fleeing from a murderous Jack who relentlessly chases after them.

Watch this cinematic masterpiece at your own risk! Or better yet be smart and don’t watch it at all.

2. The Sixth Sense

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If you felt The Shining wasn’t supernatural enough for you then this pick will definitely make your skin crawl!

The Sixth Sense is a nerve-racking movie that’ll leave you feeling more disturbed than scared.

This nostalgic classic from the 90’s tells the story of a gifted, but troubled boy named Cole Sears (Haley Joel Osment) who has the ability to see and converse with the dead and an equally troubled child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) who tries his best to help him.

If ghosts give you the creeps then I recommend you stick with this movie till the very end and spoiler alert! There’s more than one twist to this story.

3.  The Ring (2002)

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Since we’re moving along with the supernatural horror category, I’d say it’s only fair we add The Ring to the list.

When I mentioned earlier that horror is not for the faint-hearted I really meant it! If this film doesn’t send chills down your spine then the scream of the person sitting next to you will.

A remake of the 1998 Japanese movie of the same name, the story of The Ring is about a mysterious videotape that leaves a deadly curse hanging onto whoever watches it, eventually causing that person to brutally die within 7 days.

Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is a journalist who attempts to uncover the truth behind the video and in the process ends up fighting for her own life and her son’s.

If you’re bored on a Friday night and got nothing else planned then you can trust this film to liven the atmosphere. But be warned though! You might get more than what you asked for.

4. Get Out

Coming back to the more grounded and realistic movies, here’s an off-beat story that’ll certainly give newcomers a few goosebumps.

While ghosts and haunted houses are recurring themes in the horror universe they aren’t necessarily the most frightening.

Sometimes the best dread comes from psychological horror and that’s exactly what Get Out is all about.

The film centers around a young African-American named Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) as he accompanies his Caucasian girlfriend to meet her parents at a secluded estate in a remote countryside. But Chris soon encounters unusual occurrences within the isolated community; particularly the strange behavior he receives from her parents.

This movie isn’t your typical screamer; it’s a weird mix between satire and psychological thriller infused with some old school horror clichés but with a storyline that’ll keep you invested at all times.

5. Hush

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Now let’s take a look at a film that takes horror back to its basics: “blood and gore”

If there’s one film that today’s generation can relate to on a personal level it might as well be Hush.

This heart-pounding slasher pick will raise your anxiety levels to unexpected heights as you struggle to keep your eyes open without gasping every few minutes.

The plot follows a young female author named Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) who retreats to an isolated cabin in the woods after a failed corrective surgery resulted in the loss of her ability to both hear and speak.

As night falls, a masked figure quietly stalks Maddie from outside the cabin, stealing her phone and threatening her by sending photos of her typing on the computer using her own social media account.

Once Maddie realizes she’s in danger it quickly becomes a cat-and-mouse game, as she attempts to survive the night by searching ways to outwit and ultimately escape her potential killer.

If you want the full jump scare experience then this is it! But that’s only half the horror the other half is realizing the fact that sometimes the best person to protect you is yourself.

6. The Conjuring

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Warning! Don’t watch this movie alone unless you’re planning on getting a series of panic attacks.

Circling back one last time to the supernatural theme leads us to The Conjuring.

Loosely based on historical events, this sinister tale follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they attempt to help the Perron family understand the increasingly disturbing incidents which plague their rural farmhouse in Rhode Island.

As the story unfolds, more light is shed on the history of the house and the gruesome details concerning the previous family who resided there.

RECAP

All things considered, the horror genre is pretty unique in the sense that you never know what to expect.

Follow this guide and take the baby steps or puff your chest and go straight for all the A-list titles if you think you’re strong enough to survive one heart attack after another.

 

 

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Days up to Alita’s release has been surprisingly underhyped considering that it’s an adaptation from a manga classic. Mangas such as Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, that has previously received live-action adaptations were huge disappointments. So, when media moguls James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez announced that they’re going to be giving it a book to film adaptation, maybe not everyone was budged. However, Alita did not really disappoint and watching it on the big screen at Star Cineplex was a worthwhile experience.

Staying true to the source content

Most commonly the complaint from loyal fanbases after a book to film (or manga to film) adaptations starts from the story not being true to the real canon. In this case, the film’s producer and co-writer James Cameron is actually and fan of the original manga created by Yukito Kishiro. Cameron has planned to create an adaptation of Alita for over a decade so it only makes sense that he stayed true to the original content.

Outstanding visuals

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 1

Since the protagonist of this film is a female cyborg, it called for extremely polished and high-tech CGI. This meant that they had to spend a staggering 200 million dollars just to make the movie. This did not leave much to spend behind actually promoting it. The visual representation of the character Alita is extremely realistic, sans her eyes. Those were left exceptionally large to stay true to the manga.

The manga actually provides an explanation for why her eyes are so huge in proportion to the rest of her face but since the movie takes on so much story and condenses it into a two-hour show, it is understandable that it didn’t explore much of her origins.

The action

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 5

The action sequences of sci-fi films can be turned legendary if put in the right hands. James Cameron has explored such aspects in his previous works such as The Terminator. Much of the action in Alita: Battle Angel is surrounding a sport they play called Motorball. It’s kind of an amalgam of roller derby and rugby that is mainly played by the cyborg inhabitants of their fictional world.

The fluid action sequences and incredible motion capture could’ve only been possible with a significant budget.

Alita moves through the air with ease, and many of the cyborgs fell organic to the proceedings.

Motorball becomes one of the more thrilling elements of the film. Among many action-packed scenes, the one in which Alita encounters Nyssiana stands out.

Nyssiana is a cyborg assassin who ruthlessly pursues Alita in the film. She is a film-original character and resembles a minor antagonist who appeared in the first volume of the manga.

The Plot

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 4

The whole movie is essentially a buildup to a much bigger battle of sorts. The movie begins with cybernetics physician Dyson Ido(Christoph Waltz) finding the remnants of a cyborg under a fabled floating city called Zalem. Ido rebuilds the cyborg and gives her the name Alita. Alita is amnesiac at first but like all movies that feature characters with memory loss, certain situations trigger flashbacks.

Since, Alita: Battle Angel movie is only based on the first four volumes of the manga, so several plot lines and characters were not adapted for the film. Dr. Ido’s story differs a bit in the movie because he is not the main character in every arc of the manga. The name of his manga counterpart is Daisuke Ido. Rosa Salazar characterizes Alita as someone who is just discovering a magical world, but who also has a lot of command over her life. She’s innocent but not afraid. And when the time comes to protect those that she loves, she is ready. The only element in the plot that didn’t play out that well, was the romantic element. Character dialogues and moments of climax had scopes of improvement too.

Complexity in character building

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Once Alita begins to unlock her potential as a Battle Angel, the movie has an awful lot to juggle. Not only the origin of her advance-tech heart (so powerful it could power the whole city for a year!) but the people who seek to steal it for nefarious purposes, including Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), another cybernetics doctor who works with Vector (Mahershala Ali) to create superpowered cyberathletes to compete in Motorball.

Alita and her romantic counterpart Hugo have an instant connection with one another and that plays a vital role in the story up to the very end. The revelation of Desty Nova in Alita: Battle Angel was one of the biggest surprises in the film. Desty Nova is a mysterious figure who is central to the final arc of the Alita: Battle Angel film. He possesses several bodies during the film and appears to Alita in flashbacks.  Nova is also a major figure in the manga, and he becomes the main antagonist of the story.

The verdict

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Whether you think the storyline of Alita: Battle Angel is special or not, the movie in its entirety keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Despite its long duration of run time, It doesn’t drag and leaves you wanting more.

Since the movie ends on kind of a cliffhanger, we can only hope that the directors and producers will come up with a sequel. In the meantime, you should watch this one while it’s still running in the theatres because it’s a sensational experience whether you love futuristic sci-fi or not. Get your tickets from here.

The Beatles doesn’t exist…in the movie ‘Yesterday’

‘Yesterday’, the Danny Boyle movie due this June, is about a world where ‘The Beatles’ doesn’t exist. By the looks of its first trailer, the musical-comedy promises to rock.

Directed by Danny Boyle, from a screenplay by Richard Curtis and a story by Jack Barth, ‘Yesterday’ centres around a guy named Jack Malik. Jack is a run of the mill musician. He fails as a performer, but his girlfriend comforts him assuring ‘miracles’ do happen. One fateful night, a global power outage occurs. Following the worldwide load-shedding, Jack succumbs to a road accident. He survives but loses a pair of front teeth. As soon as he recovers and returns to normal life, he realizes nobody in this world recognizes ‘The Beatles’ anymore, except him. The Fab Four is completely erased from history, even from the internet. But Jack remembers all of their songs and can play them as well!

Jack is bewitched to see that John, Paul, Ringo and George are completely forgotten, but he also unleashes opportunity to reintroduce Beatlemania to the new generation. Willingly or not, Jack becomes a superstar by singing songs of ‘The Beatles’. His fans and critics commend his godsend songwriting ability (!) which Jack denies to be credited for. Meanwhile, he soars to stardom and eventually gets alienated from Ellie, his love interest.

What happens next can only be known when ‘Yesterday’ releases in June 28th. Jack Malik is played by Himesh Patel. Ed Sheeran makes a guest appearance as well.

Chris Hemsworth wraps up filming “DHAKA”, the film not filmed in Dhaka

Chris Hemsworth released photos and videos straight from the set of “Dhaka” on his Instagram account recently. The Australia-born star has apparently wrapped up filming his parts in the movie.

No, you probably will not run into Chris this week

To clarify, he was never in Dhaka, the city itself. The movie was filmed in Thailand and India. Those who ventured into Chris and the rest of the crew’s Instagram saw rickshaws and trucks with Bangla written on them. That was just part of a great set building.

An action thriller

In “Dhaka”, Hemsworth plays a mercenary called Tyler Rake. His character is hired by an Indian businessman to retrieve said businessman’s kidnapped son, who is held in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh in the action thriller. Hemsworth’s character is described as a physically competent man of vulnerable emotional state. And Hemsworth isn’t the only familiar face from the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise in the movie. Sam Hargrave makes his feature directorial debut with this film. For those unaware, Hargrave is MCU character Captain America’s stunt double. Stranger things star David Harbour is also one of the supporting casts in the movie.

The “Marvel” factor?

The Russo brothers, directors of several MCU movies including Captain America: Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity war, are producing “Dhaka” through their independent production house. Although Hemsworth’s parts in the movie have been wrapped up, the production is expected to continue at least until March.  We don’t have a concrete release date as of right now. So we’ll just have to wait and see how a depiction of our capital city pans out in a Hollywood film.

If you think about it, Dhaka is a character in the film too, since it’s being portrayed by some other, flashier, perhaps better looking city.

What sets Brooklyn Nine-Nine apart from contemporary sitcoms

After nearly getting cancelled by Fox following their (incredible) fifth season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is making a comeback tonight for season 6, thanks to NBC! The show has evolved so much in the past five seasons that the description on Netflix almost feels terribly inadequate. It is no longer a show about “brilliant but immature detective Jake Peralta learning to follow rules”, but rather about a precinct full of people who are all individually quirky and complex, and together, a wholesome family. So in celebration of getting some more Nine-Nne in our lives, let’s take a look at all the things about this show that we love so much.

The diversity

While there exists many shows of the same kind – Parks and Recreations, New Girl, etc – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one that shows off one of the most diverse casts. Of all the seven main characters (not counting Hitchcock and Scully), only two of them are white males. Two are black males – both of them in roles that are superior in rank to the white males – and two thirds of the females are women of color. This certainly makes the series all the more appealing to a wider range of audience, and is a major win for women and people of color everywhere!

The wholesomeness

There are shows where characters do horrible things to their loved one and are genuinely terrible people sometimes. In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, however, there is nothing of the sort. Each character is unique and yet all of them are essentially good people. While characters do hurt each other occasionally, and there are ups and downs in their relationships, it is usually minor things and they do their best to correct their bads. In summary, this is one of the most wholesome shows, where all the characters are genuinely loving in their own ways and trying their very best to be good people and to be good to each other.

The complex and well-developed characters

Nine-Nine is one show that definitely does not care about gender stereotypes. Of the two male characters, Charles Boyle is explicitly feminine at times and incredibly emotional and caring – something we rarely see in male characters. Jake Peralta is constantly trying to better himself and take accountability for his own actions. One of the black male characters is openly gay and in a loving marriage with a white man, and yet the show does not exploit his sexuality for humor or storylines.

The other black male character is a loving father who proudly bonds with his daughters and spends time with them without making that seem like a big deal. Rosa Diaz is a bisexual woman of color. Her parents reject her sexuality at first. Amy Santiago is a badass woman on her own and in one of the Halloween Heists openly challenges the idea that she is “Just Jake’s girlfriend”. When it comes to creating characters who challenge all kinds of stereotypes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done an incredible job!

The contemporary relevance

Why we love Brooklyn Nine Nine 1

Even as a comedy TV show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done a lot to highlight contemporary issues. In recent times of racial profiling and police shootings, the show had Terry go through a horrible experience of a similar incident. The show didn’t even try to sugarcoat that reporting these things – as Terry did – can actually harm the survivor’s own career prospects at times. Captain Holt being an openly gay black man is very open about both the administrative and personal hurdles he had to face for it. In one episode, Holt actually refers to a recent incidence of an overachieving minority student who had made a clock which was thought to be a bomb. So Brooklyn Nine-Nine not only outdid it in terms of humor, but it has been incredible in terms of starting conversations about contemporary issues across the U.S. – where the show is based.

The cold opens

The biggest debate across the Nine-Nine fanbase – after “Is Kelly Scully’s wife or dog?”, which cold open is the best? Is it the one where Jake does the full bullpen? Is it where Scully drinks his own goldfish? What about where Charles gets a “Diane Wiest” infection? Or – my personal favorite – the one where all the perps sing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys? Brooklyn Nine-Nine has given us some of the best cold opens, and there are plenty of compilation videos of them on YouTube to prove it.

It feels like fans have been waiting forever for season six, and the day is finally here! So tonight, we are staying in, we are popping some corn and putting on our pajamas for the long awaited sixth season. I’m so excited to see more development on these characters, and I hope the nups are getting even more toit this season.