Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Don’t let me catch you giving any muffins to those little beggars outside!

Year Released : 1985

Director : Jim and Ken Wheat

Cast : Warwick Davis, Wilford Brimley, Aubree Miller, Paul Gleason, Carel Struykcen and Sian Phillips

Another VHS that I found at my parents house whilst I was clearing out some old belongings, “Ewoks : Battle for Endor” was the first film from the Star Wars universe that I ever actually saw. Obviously this isn’t part of the main film franchise, but it can still be considered canon for the universe given that it was written by George Lucas, so was part of the intended set up.

Unlike my last review for “Mac and Me“, I have actually seen this in the relatively recent past before I rewatch for reviewing purposes, and I seem to remember enjoying it when I watched it in my late twenties. However, as I mentioned during the aforementioned review, I now don’t view films in the same way that I did before due to reviewing them as a hobby just under three years ago. That’s the one thing that they never tell you about film reviewing, it soon becomes very difficult to watch a film without being able to notice all of the little errors. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sit back and just enjoy a film.

But away, time will tell if this film is what I remember it to be.

Plot

Some time after crashing on the moon of Endor, Cindel (Miller) has befriended the Ewok community that helped in the Battle of Endor several years before, especially Wicket (Davis). Just when their ship is close to being repaired they are attacked by a group or marauders and all of Cindel’s remaining family are killed because of a power source, as well as her and a large group of Ewoks being captured by Terak (Struycken) and his witch Charal (Philips).

Cindel and Wicket escape and are greeted by a fast creature named Teek that helps them find a cabin the woods, helping themselves to the food inside. Noa (Brimley), the owner of the cabin, soon returns and is far from happy but eventually agrees to house them for the night. Noa reveals that he has a ship that could get them off the planet, and when Cindel is tricked into being kidnapped by Charal, it’s decided to double the efforts and get the power source that Terak stole.

It soon turns into a much later battle between the Ewoks and the race of marauders.

As good as I remembered?

It’s hard to really say whether it was as good as I remembered because I recall it being fairly decent, and whilst I didn’t dislike it on this viewing, it felt somewhat humble to the point that you couldn’t ever really get into it.

The problem is that you are literally following a child, several puppets or people in costumes, and only two adult characters, one of which isn’t given any development whatsoever. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot to really get invested in because let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a film in which a small child went on a mission and didn’t achieve it? It makes it a bit uncompelling in that sense…..but it’s not a bad film.

I think the best word to describe it would be “quaint”. It’s a nice little science fiction film, with a bit of fantasy thrown in, but one thing that it definitely doesn’t feel like is a Star Wars universe film, that despite being set in the same universe. It’s hard to really call this a Star Wars film because there is very little that it has in common with the rest of the franchise, other than the Ewoks and the odd sign of technology from the series. In many ways this is more of a fantasy film given that Tarek’s army looks more like a bunch of half decomposed dead bodies, and the addition of a witch that can turn herself into a bird at any point.

That’s not to say that it’s not a bad thing that it’s not like a lot of the Star Wars films as I’m not a big fan of that franchise. I like them, but not to the point where I think they deserve the praise that they get so easily in the media.

This is a much darker film than you would expect for most other kids films. Granted, this was the 1980s and standards back then for children were less strict, afterall, the original Star Wars franchise were Universals and yet had people stabbing each other, cutting arms off, etc, but “Battle for Endor” could in some ways be considered a horror-fantasy for kids. The design of the marauders is off putting, you have very dark and unsettling environments, and the character of Noa, who I would remind everyone is a protagonist, is quite a scary (well, by the standards of films aimed at kids) old man at various points. Granted, at times Noa is also a very friendly man in his grandfather style role and relationship with Cindel, but even so.

Visually the film is reasonably quaint considering the low budget and time in which it was made. It has a pleasant enough soundtrack and as I say, certainly isn’t a bad film in how it’s been made.

Summary

Just because this is part of the “Star Wars” franchise, don’t go in expecting it to be anything like that main series as it is anything but. It’s certainly not a bad film and is a quaint science fiction film that borders on being close to a horror movie for children.

As this was apparently made for TV, don’t go in expecting a top of the range film, it isn’t. Whilst not awful, there are a few minor issues that whilst I can overlook, certainly mean that I can’t give it the approved stamp.

Not sure what else to say really.

Year Released : 1988

Director : Stewart Raffill

Cast : Jade Calegory, Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Ward, Katrina Caspary and Lauren Stanley

I’ve mentioned a few times during this site that I do find it odd when I watch films that I saw when I was young, mainly because they’re often not even close to being as good as I remembered. This has happened with numerous films that I’ve reviewed on this site, but I get the feeling none will come as close as this.

My parents are currently downsizing and therefore I’m currently on holiday so I can go through a lot of my old stuff to help them save space, and I found a VHS of “Mac and Me” (as well as a lot of older films, expect quite a few reviews of older films coming up), a film that I enjoyed a lot in my youth, but I haven’t watched it in what I estimate to be around 25 years. Since then I’ve regularly seen this film on many countdowns of the worst films ever made, including many saying that it’s a glorified McDonalds advert, so when I found the VHS I decided that it was time to relive this and see if it didn’t hold up anymore.

Hopefully this will prove to be as enjoyable as it was during my youth, but I very much doubt it as I’m now in my thirties and I’d like to think my tastes were better than back then.

Plot

A family of aliens are going about their everyday lives on their home planet when a NASA rock sampling machine accidentally sucks them up. When the machine returns to Earth the family is able to escape, but they get separated from their infant son, who finds his way into the back of a family car.

Eric (Calegory) is the youngest of the family and they’re moving from Chicago to California to make it easier for his spina bifida, but as soon as they arrive at their new home the alien starts causing trouble. The first morning sees Eric accidentally going down a hill in his wheelchair and crashing into the lake at the bottom of the cliff. He is rescued by the alien, although his family refuses to believe that this happened and gets him professional help as his mother thinks it might have been a suicide attempt.

Eventually he and neighbour Debbie (Stanley) catch the alien, which he dubs MAC (mysterious alien creature), and this proves it to Michael (Ward), but as more people find out about MAC’s existence, the more his life is in danger.

Is it as bad as people have said it is, or is it actually reasonable?

Well I’ll say one thing, it definitely wasn’t as good as I remembered it being.

Let’s start with the main point of contention that the majority have for this film, the product placements. During all of the ridicule for it I thought that the comments on product placement were exaggerated, but they really aren’t. During my viewing I noticed skittles, Gatorade, McDonalds and Coke on such a regular basis that it did start feeling like a feature length advert. I would love to know what amount of the budget was dedicated to Coke cans because they are in nearly every scene. One of the common jokes with “Fight Club” was that there was a Starbucks cup in every single scene, and I think “Mac and Me” does the exact same thing with Coke.

Having said that, it’s not as sinful as the constant references to McDonalds get in the second half of the film, including a full on dance scene in a McDonalds restaurant that just appears out of nowhere. I’ve worked in McDonalds twice during my life and can assure you that there are no dance contests, not even at kids parties. The McDonalds references aren’t even subtle, including below conversation;

Michael : ‘So, McDonalds huh?’ (Referring to Katrina’s uniform)

Debbie (Katrina’s little sister) : ‘Yeah, why don’t you stop for a Big Mac?’

And the next minute, literally the very next minute;

Michael : Know what I feel like?’

Eric : A Big Mac?

Michael : You’re a genius!

If you must insist on forcing product placement down our throats then please don’t make it so unsubtle. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can definitely see why this has caused a lot of people to criticise the film. I realise that these films have to get their money in some how, but to do it to this extent is just beyond defensible. I can’t think of a single reason to stick up for the film in this respect.

Had this not had the product placement then I think it would have certainly had more of a chance with critics and the general viewing public but I found myself unable to stop laughing at how poorly it was made in that sense. I notice product placement a lot more than I did before I started reviewing films, but at least other films try and integrate it subtlety, something which doesn’t happen here.

So ignoring the product placement, to be fair it’s not actually an awful film, it’s passable in a small way. It does contain a LOT of cliches, but this was released in the eighties so it would be unfair to criticise it for cliches by the standards of today given that a lot of them did actually start in the eighties, and wouldn’t have been regarded as cliches at the time of release.

The acting is fine (considering what they had to work with) and the characters are likeable, if a little one dimensional, but it doesn’t surprise me that not a single member of the principle cast had a lasting career in Hollywood.

To put this in some sort of context, the film currently has a rating of 3.4/10 on IMDB. Had it not been for the product placement then I’d say it was a solid 5/10, albeit slightly generously.

I’m really struggling to come up with a true positive from the film, other than the exceptionally laudable decision to actually give a role of a kid with spina bifida to a young actor that actually had that condition himself. It would have been far too easy to give it to just anyone, so to give an opportunity to a disabled actor is commendable.

 

Summary

If you can get past the multiple product placements then you might enjoy this as it’s a nice enough little sci-fi film, albeit without being spectacular. I really wanted to say something nice about a film that I loved when I was a child, but unfortunately I couldn’t think of something that was noteworthy in a positive sense.

I really can’t think of anything majorly positive about “Mac and Me” and in many ways I wish I had left it in the past. If you’re going to put this on for your young children then yes, they might enjoy it, but anyone over the age of about seven or eight might start to notice the things that would stop this being a fun film.

It’s not something I would urge you to avoid, but it certainly isn’t one that I can recommend that you watch.

What’s it like when you look back at Earth from further out than anyone has ever been?

Year Released : 2016ApproachingTheUnknown
Director : Mark Elijah Rosenberg
Cast : Mark Strong, Luke Wilson and Sanaa Lathan

There are a few things that are rare in the movie industry, some of those that you’d expect, such as people pretending that it’s impossible to have a poor Marvel film, or that Force Awakens didn’t have a lot of issues, but one of the ones that people don’t really talk about is that Mark Strong rarely plays a protagonist.

Strong plays antagonists expertly in a variety of different films, and the best part about it is that he roles are often a variety of genres and with very different types of characters. This ranges from Pinbacker, an astronaut who found religion after his spaceship was cast adrift in “Sunshine”, or the ambitious Septimus in “Stardust”, mob-moss Frank in “Kick Ass” or the treacherous Sir Godfrey in “Robin Hood”. His adaptability has made him a very likeable actor.

It will be interesting to see him play a protagonist for a change. I’ve just looked through his filmography and I can’t recall many/any of his roles that I have seen in which he hasn’t been the bad guy.

Plot

William Stanaforth (Strong) has successfully managed to invent a process that produces water out of nothing more than dirt, because of this he is authorised to go to Mars and start the first colony. The first few weeks of the mission go without any issues, other than Stanaforth making it clear that he no longer has an interest in talking to anyone other than Skinner (Wilson), his friend and colleague at mission control, and Maddox (Lathan), who is following him three weeks later and will be the second person on Mars.

Stanaforth soon learns that Maddox has drifted off course, but he helps her get back heading towards Mars. However, he soon encounters his own issue as he accidentally short circuits the equipment that transforms dirt into water, and he struggles to get it back working. Any time that he thinks he has fixed it, he makes the situation work. He survives on condensation from the heat from the air con system.

As he approaches Mars, can he give himself and humanity a chance by getting the machine fixed in time?

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As good as it should be?

Honestly? No, not really. I had high hopes going into the film after being impressed by the trailer and the mostly one man show from Mark Strong that was promised, but instead I got a film that started off very promisingly, only to then just never get going. The film can really be divided into two halves, but the problem is whereas most films have a much stronger second half than the first, “Approaching the Unknown” has the complete opposite approach.

During the first half of the film I was engaged with what was happening and was excited about it. Early on it has very similar stylings to “Sunshine”, another film set in space that features Mark Strong, but the problem is that the film never seems to move out of second gear, and the second half of the film feels like a car that is rapidly running out of petrol and you’re trying to make it to your destination on fumes. The film never really seems like it’s going to reach a natural conclusion, or at least a conclusion that will leave the audience convinced that they’d just watched a film that they enjoyed.

This is in no fault down to the cast and as expected, Strong delivers a great performance in a film where he is largely on his own. You truly believe in the character and how driven he is to complete his mission one way or another, but later on in the film the character falls into the picture of loneliness and insanity that you predict from watching the trailer and the general storyline.

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That is the biggest disappointment for me, there’s nothing truly unique or groundbreaking about the film. I was sat there for it’s 90 minute run time (one of the things that the film did get right) and didn’t see anything that I hadn’t already seen in other films of a similar nature. The best films, in my opinion, are the ones that offer you something that you haven’t seen before during your life, or at least offer enough that’s original enough that you can ignore borrowed parts, but “Approaching the Unknown” doesn’t do that, and other than some decent visuals, it is a largely forgettable film.

In many ways that is the worst type of film that you can have, something that isn’t really worth remembering. Despite enjoying the first half of the film, I couldn’t really tell you that much that happens other than him having a few talks with children and him spewing out a lot of monologues.

I don’t really have that much more to say about “Approaching the Unknown”, I’ve really struggled to get this many words out.

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Summary

“Approaching the Unknown” starts off promisingly, but it starts getting less and less engaging as it goes on, and by the end of the film I had lost most of my interest in the film.

Mark Strong gives a very decent performance, but he is one of the few positives about a film that is otherwise largely forgettable. I wrote this review two days after watching the film and that’s because I felt very little urge to write the review.

There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes, but there are a many better ways as well.

The fugitive returns with me or dies on your ship. I don’t really care which!

Year Released : 2016Untitled2
Director: Tommy Kraft
Cast : Paul Lang, Marc Bowers, Ryan Webber, Callie Bussell, Jeannine Thompson, Ashley Croft, Tom McClure, Tom Kaiser and Ryan Husk

There are few better moments as a film fan than when a film that you’ve been looking forward to for a long time gets released. To sum up how long it is since I saw the trailer for “Star Trek : Horizon”, if you had gone to the Youtube playlist that I created of the films I wanted to see (it be be gone by the time you read this), you would see this as the second entry on the list. Given how much I chop and change the list (I’ve had about 70 movies on there over the last year or so) on a regular basis, it says it all that this was number two (please note that it is based on when I added the video to the list, not the films actually in order of when I’d like to see them).

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Now there’s one thing that you may have learnt about me from my “Star Trek : Renegade” (which isn’t linked to this film) review, I grew up as a Star Trek fan. It was one of the few things me and my dad actually did together when growing up, it was our thing (by the way, before anyone thinks it, he was, and still is married to my mother, we just didn’t do a lot together), and I grew to love the franchise. In recent days I have also been watching the two JJ Abrams reboot films again, as well as the trailer for “Star Trek : Beyond”, and it has gotten me excited to see this, even though I didn’t even know it was out at the time.

The reason I mention this is that because I am a fan of the franchise, I will be a lot harsher on this film than normal. I go into most films open minded, however, much like comic books films and their fans, there is a certain standard to be met. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that this is a low budget film and required crowd funding to get going, but that counts for nothing in this review.

Plot

Set early on in Earth’s early adventures into space, long before the days of Captain Kirk and the Enterprise, Captain Hawke (Lang) and his crew barely survive an attack by three Romulan warbirds, all lead by Admiral Verak (Husk). They are saved at the last minute by another Federation ship. The crew spend several days mourning their dead, but they are quickly sent back out to investigate a weapon that the Romulans are alledgely building two light years from Earth.

They are also assigned a new crew member, T’mar (Bussell), a woman who has spent the last 17 years helping the Romulan Empire before betraying them. Tensions are high as many of the crew blame T’mar for the death of their friends, but they begrudgingly admit that they need her knowledge of the empire. When they arrive at the station, they use new torpedoes to destroy it, but in doing so they disrupt a temporal rift and they are flung to a galaxy several million light years from Earth.

Stopping near a planet, the crew decide to investigate it as there is a huge power source emanating from the planet, however, it turns out that it is an ancient weapon that can be used to destroy anything and anyone, and at the controls is a 28th century Romulan with a grudge against Earth.

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So, did it make me into an angry Trekkie?

No, not particularly, whilst I wasn’t massively impressed by “Horizon” (I’m simply going to call it that), it’s certainly not a bad effort by everyone involved.

I’m going to start with the negatives and my main gripe with “Horizon” is that it feels lazy in places and recycles plot points from the previous movies and the TV shows. For example, being flung to a far away place in the universe is a key plot point in the “Next Generation” episodes “Where No One Has Gone Before” and the excellent “Q Who” (most notable because is was the first appearance of the primary antagonists of the Star Trek franchise, the Borg), and it was also the main plot point of the whole run of the “Voyager” series. Many aspects of the film feel recycled, right down to the part of the film which lens flares are also heavily feature.

You’ve also got a Romulan from the future determined to destroy Earth because he feels that the Federation did nothing to protect Romulus (the Romulan home world for you non-Trekkies) after the local star went supernova (what could they do), and the captain must do what he can to protect Earth, which is near enough the EXACT plot of the JJ Abrams reboot in 2009.

I’ve always personally felt that the Romulans were always generally poor antagonists. They’ve never felt like a genuine threat in any element of any part of Star Trek, with the exception of the JJ Abram’s 2009 reboot film. The main antagonist (arguably) is Admiral Verak and he never feels like a genuine threat. Even when delivering the line at of dialogue that I have posted at the top of this post, I still never got the feeling that he was a genuine threat. I know that given the time setting, the list of potential enemies would be limited, but surely it would have been more interesting to come up with a brand new species to serve as the main antagonists.

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In more ways that one, this feels like nothing more than a tribute to the other aspects of the franchise, although to be fair that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’d just be nice if there were more original ideas.

The performance by Callie Bussell is also questionable as she often delivers her lines with what could best be described as the manner of a disinterested bystander. She just doesn’t look invested in her character or the story at any point. There is a scene at the 1:07:45 (I’m re-watching the Youtube video of the film as I type this) in which she is asked if she can do something to help the trapped crew on the planet, and her response is “I can try,” and it’s delivered in such an unenthusiastic/couldn’t care less manner that you wonder how bad the actresses that didn’t get the role must have been.

Her’s is by far the least convincing performance in the film, which is a shame as to be fair to the rest of the cast, they do a reasonable job considering the obvious low budget. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly aren’t a mainstream quality in terms of performance, but other than Bussell I can’t overly criticise any of them. Whether any of them will ever progress into mainstream films is exceptionally unlikely, although Marc Bowers certainly had a likable quality to him.

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In all fairness to the filmmakers though, this is a commendable effort and one of the most convincing (visually) low budget films that I’ve ever seen. The look feels very genuine to the nature of Star Trek and the production values used throughout are surprisingly high. Granted, it does feel more like it should be a pilot for a new TV show rather than a feature-film. The shots in space are exceptional and beautiful, and to be fair they wouldn’t look out of place in one of the main franchise films.

 

It’s hard to really summarise why it’s not that bad when I have written more about the negatives as opposed to the positives, but this film is certainly not a bad movie. It isn’t great by any shout, but it’s certainly not as bad as you would expect from a low budget science film.

Considering how little they had to work with, you have to commend them on the job that they have done and whilst I don’t give it the approved stamp, I would actually recommend watching it, which might sound a bit strange. I think this is mainly because the truly successful sci-fi films transcend genre and have a universal appeal, for example, the mainstream Star Trek films, Star Wars, Marvel films, etc, but “Horizon” doesn’t. It is definitely a fan-made film for fans, I don’t think those who aren’t fans of the Star Trek franchise would enjoy this.

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Summary

It’s certainly a bit better than “Renegades” and isn’t bad at all for a low budget science film. It feels like it is missing something that takes it above the slightly-above-average mark, which is why I haven’t given it the approval stamp.

There are more positives than negatives, which is something that I don’t often say on this site, but

I would definitely recommend watching it if you’re a Star Trek fan, however, if you’re not I don’t think this has the universal appeal that non-Trekkies look for.

We’re going to get killed if we sit here!

Year Released : 2016profile_logo
Director: Michael Shumway
Cast : Blake Webb, Tatum Langton, Jaclyn Hales and Jack Diamond

I’m going to start this in a very different way than normal by stating that the IMDB rating of 2.8/10 for this film is undeserved. I normally write this section before the film, but I have waited this time and whilst I wasn’t planning on writing about the IMDB rating, I was genuinely surprised when getting the cast data that the 118 people that have rated the film on that website have ranked it as 2.8/10.

That is comfortably the lowest ranked film that I have reviewed for this site, but I do feel it is somewhat unjustified. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to get the approval stamp at the end of this review, and my rating wouldn’t be much higher, but I do feel that ranking it so low has been a little unfair, and don’t worry, I will go into why.

However, did you notice how I only said it was a little unfair? Yeah, don’t be fooled by the trailers, this isn’t a typical alien invasion movie and in this specific example, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Plot

Please note that whilst the film isn’t presented in chronological order, the below is written in when they would have happened as it would get too confusing to describe the constant back and forth nature.

David (Madison) and Amy (Langton) are in a loveless marriage and both have been unfaithful. Amy becomes frustrated when David agrees to go to a meeting in Denver with Ryan (Diamond), backing out of a wedding he’d agreed to go to. Whilst there David and Ryan see news stories of planes going down all over the world, and their phones soon lose signals. David decides to go back to Amy and leaves Ryan behind.

As he struggles to find a way home, he encounters a very strange man who seems like he’s stoned, but David soon abandons him after seeing a strange light surrounding a petrol station that they stopped at. After almost hitting another person with a similar condition, David is taken in briefly by a man as his home is about to get invaded and he barely escapes with his life.

David continues his journey home and finds another group of survivors, including a woman called Sam (Hales), and the two survive an alien attack by hiding in a tree. At this point, David realises how unlikely it is that he’ll get back to Amy, but he is determined to do so.

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So why is it worth more than 2.8/10?

Well let’s start this by saying that I really struggled to make the plot sound interesting whilst writing the above part, and this is mainly because of  how the film is presented. It’s constantly flipping backwards and forwards between the past and present, and this causes a lot of confusion and kills the pacing of the film right off. There are moments when David is on the verge of being found by the aliens, only for it to then flip to a conversation between he and Amy that is irrelevant to the scene.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this technique, but in other examples, such as the TV show “Lost” it is used to effect in each episode and isn’t rushed like it is in “Alienate”.

The pacing is off throughout the entire film and whilst I wasn’t bored for the most part, it was hard to really get invested in the characters because of the pacing, and the lack of development, that in the end I didn’t really care if David makes it back to Amy. It’s a bit strange that in a completely loveless marriage, in which he openly admits that he has had an affair and has confessed to Ryan that there are big problems, the first thought when his flight is cancelled due to planes going down is to rush home to be with her again. And the weird thing is that Amy, who again has been having an affair and has shown very little affection to David throughout the past scenes in the film, suddenly only wants to see him.

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David and Amy certainly isn’t the only storyline that doesn’t make a lot of sense when you think about it. Ryan’s mini-storyline, in which he says to Amy that he’s alone and has no-one, ends up with him literally picking up a small child and saying he’ll help her find her family….and that’s it. You never see him again and it’s just like “oh, well what was the point in that?”

Aside from the characters and the odd storylines surrounding them, there are just such basic errors, for example, towards the end Samantha is begging David to join her in the helicopter….whilst she is strapping herself into the seat where you enter the helicopter. If he is to join her, he would have to climb over her to get to the empty seat, which is a very strange way of showing someone that you definitely want them in the helicopter with you.

Then there is also the time when they run over an alien and despite it being pitch black, with no lighting whatsoever in the area, David is driving without his lights on.

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I suppose I should list some positives and the main one for me is that it would have been too easy to copy all of the other alien invasion style movies and just shown constant death and destruction. Reading some of the IMDB reviews that appears to be the main reason that most didn’t like it, the fact it’s presented like a traditional alien invasion movie, whereas the aliens aren’t really featured that much and you never really get a good look at them.

Despite the characters not being very well written, and being contradiction filled, the writers have at least tried to add some depth to them and not just have them as part of massive body count. There is at least some attempt to have them be deep characters, even if it isn’t executed brilliantly.

The acting isn’t awful, it’s passable, even though it’s not brilliant, then again, what do you expect from someone who looks like a discount Jesse Eisenberg as your main character?

And finally, probably my biggest positive about “Alienate” is that despite it’s flaws, I wasn’t bored during it. Even though you don’t really care about the characters, can’t believe how stupid they are and the oddities surrounding Ryan disappearing with a small child, never to be seen again, you’re not really bored.

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Summary

It’s not as bad as 2.8/10 suggests, but it’s certainly not a good film. The characters are moronic in many ways and despite the best intentions of everyone involved, it’s hard to really care about them. You don’t really care if Amy and David are back with each other at the end of the film because it is presented as a completely loveless marriage that wouldn’t realistically be saved by an alien invasion. There was no emotional impact when *SPOILER ALERT* David does eventually find Amy and she is shot dead by an alien before they’re even near each other.

If it just wasn’t careless with certain plot points then it wouldn’t have been too bad, and whilst 2.8/10 is harsh, I certainly wouldn’t give it more than 4/10, and even then I’m being somewhat generous.

In short, I wouldn’t waste your time.

She’s a cancer in my life!

Year Released : 2016aimy1
Director: Hooroo Jackson
Cast : Allisyn Ashley Arm, Crispin Glover, Terry Moore and Paz de la Huerta

So I’ve now fully moved into Leeds and in the first few weeks I met a rather unusual girl that is obsessed with Alice in Wonderland. She loves the chaos that ensues and the array of unusual characters, and after two or three times of hanging out with her, she invited me around to watch a new film that she said reminded her a lot (from the trailer at least) of her favourite film.

So before heading round to her’s I caught the trailer of “Aimy in a Cage” and my first thought was that this seems like a film that is desperately crying for attention, and I mean that in the sense of that it’s almost trying to be random and off the wall for the sake of it, rather than actually having some substance behind it, but to be fair, after my two favourite films of 2014 and 2015 were both films that I didn’t expect to like, I decided to give it a shot.

So I’m about to head out of the door (for those that haven’t read this site before, I write this opening segment before actually watching the film) with a sense of dread at what I’m about to watch. You never know though, I could be completely surprised and end up loving it.

Plot

Aimy (Arm) is a girl with some sort of hyperactivity disorder and this has caused a strained relationship with her entire family. They send her to have a surgery, almost like a lobotomy that will make her more civilised. Although the operation is a success, Amy’s behaviour only slightly improves, much to the disappointment of her family

Meanwhile, a virus is……

You know what, for the first time ever on this site, I’m not even going to finish the plot. Just don’t waste your time watching what I could quite easily class as one of the biggest pieces of crap that I have ever seen in my life.

1

Is it really that bad?

I’m going to put it this way, even after just five minutes it was taking every single ounce of my being not to get up and walk out. After ten minutes I was twitching, after twenty I was questioning my friendship with this girl. Putting it bluntly, “Aimy in a Cage” is one of the worst films that I have ever seen. To expand on it slightly, I am angry at myself for watching this!

Infact, I only made it to the 35 minute mark of the 75 minute run time before I had to stop. It takes a lot for me to actually not finish, or even attempt to finish, a film that I am watching, regardless of how bad it is, and yet this achieved it. With it almost reaching it’s half way point, I just couldn’t take anymore of this. I don’t often swear on this site, I like to think that I’m normally quite refrained, but this film has actually pissed me off and I would go as far as describing this as a clusterfuck of nonsense.

I could chuck a load of random words into a fish bowl, draw them out like the FA Cup, and I would still come up with a sentence that made more sense that this film.

2

This is the sort of film that you would show to someone you didn’t like and they were contemplating suicide. It’s almost wrist-cuttingly diabolic. There is a speech from the film “Billy Madison” (also awful might I add) that goes…

“What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.”

That, in a nutshell, is this film.

I don’t even know where to begin putting together a review that might actually help you decide whether you want to watch this or not because it is so bad that I can’t even begin to think of anything positive about it. It’s visually and acoustically hideous, and the dialogue feels so forced and unnatural that the film loses any mild credibility that it has. It is trying to be random for the sake of being random, there is nothing even remotely resembling something beliveable in this film, other than the fact that grandmother has enough of Aimy’s shit.

What little semblance of a plot that is hidden like a needle in a haystack in this complete and utter waste of 75 minutes of your life, and every remote sense of mild curiousity you have is lost in the desperate attempt for them to pay homage to films such as “Alice in Wonderland” and yet it lacks any of the charm or intelligence that both the original tale, or indeed the film version (the original, not the terrible Tim Burton film) came with.

The quote I have put at the very top of this review, “She’s a cancer in my life,” is exactly how I feel about “Aimy in a Cage”, it’s a cancer. It will make everyone who watches it regret many decisions in their life and more importantly, it will make you question what ever drove you to watch a film that is so bad that it could make someone angry enough to start a World War!

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Summary

If I was to rank all of the films that I have watched for this site, there is a good chance that out of the near 200 long list, this would be bottom. It is that bad.

I really can’t express just how bad this film really is, and everyone associated to this monstrosity should be ashamed of themselves for it.

If you even waste your time with this after reading all of the above, you might as well never come back!

I wake up screaming!

Year Released : 2014ejecta-poster
Director: Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele
Cast : Julian Richings, Lisa Houle, Adam Seybold, Mark Gibson, Ry Barrett and Ari Millen

Around 18 or so months ago I started writing film reviews on this blog and the first film I went with was the excellent “Exit Humanity”. It is one of my favourite zombie films and one of the main reasons for that is the characters. They are all played excellently by their respective cast members and it brings you into the story. So whilst scanning through the channels the other night, I noticed that it was on and I started watching it, even though I have it on Blu-Ray and could watch it anytime I want.

Whilst in the middle of watching it I started wondering what the cast members had done since. Whilst I’ve seen Bill Moseley in other films, namely the poor “Old 37”, I hadn’t seen anything from the rest and therefore I looked into their filmographies, and was surprised to see that three of the cast members had been in another film together, with Seybold, Gibson and Millen all working together again on the poorly rated (IMDB rating of 3.7/10 at the time of writing) sci-fi film “Ejecta”.

Instantly I was fascinated, and watching the trailer I was more than a little curious as it looked to basically be an episode that was rejected script from the X-Files or Outer Limits. I still decide to watch it, mainly because I haven’t reviewed a lot recently…..so here it is.

Plot

William (Richings) claims to have been abducted by aliens nearly 40 years ago and has since become one of the most controversial online bloggers, spouting conspiracy theories. Believing him, a secret agency kidnaps him and tries to force information out of him through torture, lead by Dr. Tobin (Houle). She and the agents around her use various alien devices to try and force information out of him, but all fail and even attempts at outright killing him end with nothing more than a shrug. Dr. Tobin even kills several of her staff when they fail to get the information, however, they soon discover home-made videos that were filmed 24 hours prior that might give them answers..

The videos chronicle William being visited by conspiracy-theory nut Joe (Seybold) after he was invited via email, although William can’t remember writing that email. Joe struggles to get information out of William, they eventually see a space-ship crash and Joe in particularly is violently pursued by the creature that was inside.

As the night progressed, Joe struggles to fight off the alien, and Dr. Tobin can’t help but watch in fascination as his fate is revealed, not knowing that by torturing William she has actually sealed her own fate.

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Is 3.7/10 justified?

No, not really. Now I’m going to come right out of the bat and say that this will not be getting the approval stamp, whilst “Ejecta” is better than a 3.7/10, it’s definitely not worth more than a 5/10.

I’m going to start this with the main problem with “Ejecta” and that is that the film doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. One minute it is a torture film in which information is trying to be extracted, the next it’s a found footage film, then it’s back to torture before going into a covert-ops style hunt, it’s very inconsistent and it all feels very distorted. With the camera work constantly changing, it’s hard to find your feet as the film progresses as one minute you’re watching what looks like a very professional film, and the next you’re looking at something that could have easily been filmed on a low budge phone.

The soundtrack and the use of it certainly don’t help this situation as the music is played so loudly at times that you can’t understand what the characters are trying to say. You’ve got the film-makers trying to create tension with the music in situations that don’t deserve it and films such as The Thing work so well because it doesn’t try to force the music to create the tension, although it definitely helps augment the sense of fear and stress that it already there.

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William just becomes boring as a character. Julian Richings plays him very well, but that’s not a hard push when the character barely says anything during the film and after a while, especially in the torture sections of the film, you don’t really care that much about what happens to him because it’s just dragged on and on and on. There’s no real engagement with him as a character because other than what happens to him in the end in his final interaction with Joe, you don’t really get to see anything other than a guy who speaks in riddles, if indeed he speaks at all, and just mopes around.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that a character that goes through something like this would be traumatised, but it just doesn’t make for a good film or character. Then again, I preferred his character to that of Dr Tobin, a character that is written to show pretty much every emotional state, but just isn’t that interesting in the long run and without telling you what her final fate is, when it came to it I really wasn’t that fussed about it because her character was just an awful antagonist. She’s not engaging, or entertaining, and this isn’t helped by a largely forgettable performance from Lisa Houle, who, to sum up her level of performance, has only had two film roles since the turn of the millennium to accompany a sporadic array of TV shows here and there.

I briefly touched on the acting of Richings there and he is one of the several competent acts throughout the film. Adam Seybold is excellent as a sci-fi fan and fellow conspiracy nut, and even though his presence on screen doesn’t last that long, Ari Millen’s showing as Agent Rudder is memorable, if for nothing more than when the camera randomly pans to him and and shows his reactions to something that doesn’t involve him. Unfortunately Mark Gibson doesn’t contribute to a decent trio of showings from the members of the Exit Humanity cast as he is largely forgettable in his role as Agent Brinkman. Now don’t get me wrong, he does nothing wrong, but the character is practically pointless and is never seen other than brief glances through a night-vision camera.

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Summary

Ejecta offers precisely nothing that you haven’t already seen before and feels lost on a regular basis as it tries to desperately draw you in as an audience member….and fails miserably. You can’t have your main character mope around and barely say anything in the film as it just becomes tired and you stop caring about them. It’s definitely not helped when you don’t care about the antagonist either.

Whilst the acting is relatively decent throughout by the majority, they are let down by an inconsistent plot, tone and a soundtrack and makes you want to mute the whole thing.

It’s not as bad as 3.7/10, but it’s definitely not much better.

Stay on the path, or you will die! If you are lapped twice, you will die! Race, or you will die!

Year Released : 2013The-Human-Race-Poster
Director: Paul Hough
Cast : Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eddie McGee, Fred Coury, Trista Robinson and T. Arthur Cottam.

As you could probably tell from a few of my reviews in the past, I love watching films that are pretty much presenting original ideas, and whilst everyone fighting each other in order to survive is a story that’s as old as time, literally racing against each other is a completely new idea as far as I am aware.

I’ve reviewed a few films in the past, such as Circle, in which everyone has to work together whilst ultimately knowing that only one of them will survive. I loved the whole aspect of people having to deal with that ultimately consequence, whilst ultimately trying to prolong their own survival. It was a great look at Darwinism, i/e survival of the fittest.

That being said, a lot of other films that I’ve seen of a “everyone for themselves” style film have been very sketchy. “Battle Royale” is comfortably the best in that category, hence why the Hunger Games franchise ripped it off, but other than that I can’t think of too many films in the category that would fall into the “good” side of the argument.

Plot

Eighty people wake up to find themselves trapped in an unknown environment and with a message playing that states that they are effectively in a race, and only one person will get out of the race alive. The contestants aren’t evenly matched, with some being elderly and/or disabled, and others being athletically built.

War veteran friends Justin (McCarthy-Boyington) and Eddie (McGee) stop several times along the way to help those less fortunate than themselves, such as Asian children and an elderly man (J Louis Reid). Upon finding the elderly man, they realise that he is about to die and try to keep everyone else from lapping him, although a cycling champion (Coury) tricks them and ends up killing a significant number of the field by lapping them.

It’s not just him though, with another group using the sign posts to kill anyone who they encounter. With only one winner and the field dwindling, to what lengths are some people willing to go in order to survive.

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Worth the watch?

I’m just going to get this out of the way now, this will not be getting the approval stamp.

Whilst not an awful film at all, there are a lot of issues with the film itself, but I’m going to start with the aspects that I did actually like.

I love that the first few minutes of the film are focused on one character in particular and right there and then you think that she is obviously going to make it to the end….but as soon as the race starts she is killed, infact the race hasn’t even technically started yet and she steps on the grass, killing herself.

There are many examples throughout the film of characters who you thought would survive right until the end before then dying around half way through. I love the unpredictability of the whole thing in terms of when certain people would survive.. Having said that, I did manage to predict how the film would end. I obviously won’t go into it but what happens to the winner was kind of obvious and reminded me of the ending of how a film called “The Killing Room” ended.

It’s also very interesting that people are put in there that are quite clearly not evenly matched, such as a man who has to use a zimmer-frame in order to walk (he can’t even get off of the start line by himself), deaf people who obviously can’t communicate with other people, and various other little things like that. Much like the aforementioned “Circle”, it is an interesting look at society and the blatantly obvious way in that everyone could have survived if they had simply worked together reminded me a bit of the otherwise shockingly bad “Saw 5”.

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However, almost ironically, for a film about people racing against each other there is a distinctive inconsistency with regards to pacing. In a very similar fashion to the TV show “Lost”, The Human Race spends a lot of it’s early time committing itself to telling you of the final few minutes of a person’s life before they were zapped (for lack of a better word) into the race.

Don’t get me wrong, establishing your characters is very important and arguably the main thing that I look for in a film, but even then they completely kill the momentum of the film by constantly going back to the flashback scenes. One in particular comes when the deaf couple are flashbacked, and all of a sudden you’ve gone from watching people race against each other to watching a deaf couple having a sign language conversation for a few minutes.

The best thing about films such as “Circle” was that the characters were developed without a need for flashbacks, yet “The Human Race” ruins it’s pacing throughout. The deaf pair, whilst not awful characters in any sense, kill the momentum whenever they are on screen.

The deaf couple are very unusual in the sense that they often sign to each other….even when the other person isn’t looking. If they’re not looking at you, and you can see that they’re not looking at you, what’s the point of signing when you know that the person you’re signing to won’t see it? There is also a strange moment when the deaf woman feels responsible for the death of another contestant and the subtitle reads “She died because of me”….but she’s not actually signing at the time. There is also a conversation about masturbating to porn in which there are subtitles…but neither of them are signing. It’s all very bizarre, especially when you see them having a very angry conversation after he attacks her with a hammer and then tries to rape her.

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“The Human Race” also is very unclear on a lot of aspects, for example, one woman is shown walking in a daydream state, and yet she is comfortably ahead of people who set off before she did and were actually running, how did that happen? It just makes no sense that a woman who isn’t even really trying can someone outpace those that are clearly shown on numerous occasions to be running consistently. She should have died a lot time before she eventually does.

And the very aspect of the rules is also a bit unclear, it states that “if you are lapped, you will die,” however, it also states that various parts of the course are safe, so I would assume that that would mean that even if you’re lapped twice, if the second time comes whilst you’re one of the safe locations, that you remain alive. This turns out to be a lie as the athlete in the yellow shirt runs past a pair of Japanese kids, killing them.

It just shows that the rules are confusing and contradictory, something which some of the characters also point out, because you could in theory just keep everyone alive by all going to a safe location (which they attempt to do at various points), taking it in turns to do a lap, therefore the race is still theoretically going on and everyone survives.

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Summary

“The Human Race” had the potential to be a very interesting film, but ultimately it is let down by it’s remarkably unclear nature, inconsistencies and the bizarre nature in which the deaf couple kill the momentum of the film whenever they are on screen.

Don’t get me wrong, “The Human Race” isn’t a truly awful film at all, I’ve seen far, far worse, but there are just too many issues for me to actually get anywhere near considering it for the “approved” badge.

If you’re going to watch it, go in with low expectations.

 

I am the captain of my fate!

Year Released : 2015Icarus_Attacked_Poster_Logo_350w
Director : Tim Russ
Cast : Adrienne Wilkinson, Bruce Young, Walter Koenig, Manu Intiraymi, Edward Furlong, Sean Young, Robert Picardo, Tim Russ and Corin Nemec

I was not one of the popular kids in school, I was, and am, a self confessed nerd and am proud of that fact. Being a nerd isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it just means that you’re passionate about a particular subject, or indeed a group of subjects. Being a nerd isn’t a bad thing and I would rather be an unpopular nerd than fit in with the so called popular kids that are sheep and follow everyone else in doing the same tedious activities.

That’s what I told myself when I was 15.

I’m now 30 years old and whilst I still enjoy things that would be defined as nerdy, my tastes have moved on somewhat and I am now of an age where quality means more to me than it did when I was literally half a lifetime ago. Whilst poor quality CGI, scripts and acting were more acceptable to me at that age, my standards have certainly increased since then.

It’s safe to say that I don’t have high hopes for this….

Plot

Ten years after the events of “Star Trek : Voyager” Starfleet has noticed that planets have started disappearing, all after the appearance of Syphon, a planet that had seemingly never existed until three years prior. To investigate what is going on, Tuvok (Russ) frees Lexxa (Wilkinson) from prison and encourages her to rejoin her former crew. She reluctantly agrees under the promise of information from Tuvok regarding her previously thought dead mother.

Lexxa catches up to her old crew and they all begin to hunt down the Syphon species, only to be taken hostage when they eventually find them. They are lead by Borrada (Young), a man who is determined to make Starfleet pay for their role in the destruction of his home planet 300 years prior, but it is only when Lexxa kills his son that he decides it’s time to destroy Earth. He initiates his weapon and forms a time-based shield around Earth that prevents any sunlight getting to any part of the planet, giving it just weeks to survive until it falls to the same temperatures of space.

Can the crew successfully stop Borrada and remove the shield around Earth?

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Worth the watch?

I’m going to start this by putting it in the simplest form possible, if you are not a Star Trek fan then you have precisely zero chance of liking this because people who are fans of the franchise have described it as awful. That is not a good sign when even the most basic need of a movie based on a TV show is to impress those that are already fans.

It’s difficult to know where to go from there as there are numerous problems with the movie and I suppose I should start with the script and storyline, and to describe both as very shoddy would be an understatement.

The problem with introducing so many new characters to a loved franchise, especially in a made-for-TV movie, is that you have to get the characters and storyline spot on, and this fails. This starts right from the simple premise of the antagonist being pissed off at Starfleet for not preventing their planet from being destroyed, whereas in reality Starfleet couldn’t do anything about it. That is also pretty much the absolute basic plot of the reboot of Star Trek in 2009. The only difference is that in 2009 it was because a sun went supernova, and in this the alien race blames Starfleet for a disaster that happened 300 years ago….even though Starfleet didn’t exist at the time. Obviously that last bit could be thrown away with the space-time theme of the movie, but that’d be extremely lazy writing.

Even the basics, such as the make-up, are completely wrong. The Syphon species have been designed in such a way that the actors struggle to talk due to the lack of movement of the prosthetic jaw that’s been attached to them. The actors are barely understandable because of this and they are unable to convey emotion through their eyes due to the restrictions of what has been applied to their face. It’s like watching someone who has had so much botox in their face that they’re only able to move their tongue.

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This is in no way a criticism of the acting skills of the actors playing the members of the species, but unfortunately they are the only ones who get a reprieve in that sense because the acting from the rest of the cast is laughable, and that’s putting it nicely. Edward Furlong’s performance as Fixer was an example of why his career has seriously floundered since films such as “Terminator 2” and “American History X”, but even then he somehow manages to escape being tagged with the worst performance award.

That goes to Crystal Conway as Chekov’s great-granddaughter. Whilst I am not entirely convinced that her voice hasn’t been dubbed over, her lack of charisma is only overwhelmed by the stench of being someone who wandered onto the set one day and being given a part. She is just a terrible and in a movie full of lackluster and laughably bad performances, she somehow manages to surpass everyone at warp speed and get to the wooden spoon first.

Much like several other films I have reviewed in the past, films that are part of a franchise will automatically be compared to the previous entries in that franchise and when you do this, Renegades fails miserably, but I’d be saying that even if it was a standalone film. There are some films which could be part of franchises and be poor by comparison, but still be classed as a decent film if you look at them as if they were standing alone, that doesn’t apply to Renegades.

Visually the film is ridiculous and there are numerous times where you could tell just how low budget this was. There is a scene right at the start of the film with fire effects that looked like they came straight out of the early 1990s, characters are teleported to locations off screen (you hear the teleportation noise and then see them walking around the corner, saving money on not actually showing it) and many other things that show just how low budget that the film is. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with low budget films in general, hence why I review them, but it has to be made with at least some attempt to look believable.

Renegades feels like a movie made for the SyFy channel rather than a serious addition to the franchise and the inclusion of characters from previous additions to the Star Trek universe doesn’t change that. Characters such as Echeb were barely interesting during the television show, so why would I care about them in a movie? There were initially a lot of the cast from Star Trek Voyager attached at one point, so surely that they only ended up with three (and one of them made the film) should tell it’s own story.

There are a few similar films coming out for the Star Trek universe later on this year that are also fan-funded and I don’t have high hopes for them based on this.

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Summary

When people who are already fans of the franchise aren’t a fan of this, you’ve got no chance if you’re not a fan. Even as a Star Trek fan, I couldn’t find a single positive after watching the film and that’s never a good thing. I’ve watched plenty of crap when it comes to Star Trek, including some horrendously bad episodes (usually the ones revolving around the characters of Troi in the Next Generation and several characters in Voyager….and the whole of Deep Space Nine), but this is probably the worst of the worst.

The characters aren’t compelling, the acting is laughably bad and there’s not even a decent storyline to make up for all of the inadequacies, and don’t let that it’s funded by fans fool you, this is a bad movie.

Avoid.

Year Released : 2013gaten_ragnarok_ver2_xlg
Director : Mikkel Brænne Sandemose
Cast : Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjørn Sundquist, Sofia Helin, Maria Berglyd and Julian Podolski

I’ve had a fascination with Norse mythology for some time, certainly long before the Thor movies came out in the Marvel film franchise and much like Greek mythology, I like to take in as much as I can. This started in primary school, was back in the late 80s and early 90s, where we briefly learnt about the folk from Asgard.

In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is a great battle that ends in the death of all of the major Gods, including Odin, Thor, Feryr, Heindall and Loki, followed by the beginning of the new world. Don’t be fooled though, despite the name this film has nothing at all to do with the aforementioned Norse Gods, instead it’s effectively a monster film.

I must admit to being a bit sceptical about this because any Norwegian film that I have seen hasn’t exactly been as good as I had hoped, including Trolljegeren (Troll Hunter), however, it would be harsh to judge every movie coming from one country simply because you didn’t like another.

The one thing I would highly, HIGHLY recommend is that if you are going to watch this, watch it with the subtitles as the English dubbing is diabolically terrible.

Plot

Following on from an unsuccessful demonstration to his museum’s funders, Sigurd (Hagen) receives a visit from fellow archaeologist Allan (Broch) after he has found a rune from northern Norway that could prove that Vikings did indeed visit that part of Scandinavia.

The pair, accompanied by Sigurd’s kids, tour guide Leif (Sundquist) and fellow archaeologist Elisabeth (Helin) travel to Finnmark, one of the most north-eastern parts of Norway, and explore an island in a restricted area of the forest. The group soon finds a plethora of Viking artifacts and plan on taking them back to the museum.

As they prepare to leave, they are betrayed by Leif as he steals all of the artefacts. He is soon killed by an unseen create when trying to re-cross the lack. The rest of the group soon realise that something is trying to keep them from escaping and it becomes a battle to survive against an ancient creature.

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So, is it any good?

Ragnarok is one of those nothing films really. It’s there. In some aspects I did like the film but in others I found it a below par, but I’m going to start with the positive aspects.

The story itself isn’t that bad to be honest, it’s one of the more original monster movies that I have ever seen and to be honest, right up until when the monster, which resembles a mix of a dragon and a snake, kills Leif, you don’t get any clues that there is anything unusual going on. Up until that point I was actually enjoying it for the most part and if I’m honest, as soon as it turned into a monster movie I lost a lot of interest in the film. That’s not to say that the monster isn’t good, it’s one of the most vicious that I can recall seeing in a movie in recent times, but at that point it just lost something.

Aside from that the only positive I can think of is the casting of Hagen and Broch as Sigurd and Allan respectively. Both actors approach their role in a calm way and this laid back approach comes across really well, with a particular highlight being their excitement when they find the Viking artefacts actually feeling very genuine. Hagen in particular impressed me as what I can best describe as a mellow-Indiana Jones approach.

That’s where the positive part of this review ends.

From being impressed with Broch and Hagen, I go right to the other end of the scale with not only the character of Ragnhild, but Berglyd’s portrayal as her. Child actors have a habit of near enough single-handedly ruining the movies that they are in, Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds springs straight to mind, and whilst Berglyd doesn’t reach that same level of annoyance, she runs it pretty close. The only reason I don’t class it AS annoying as Dakota Fanning was because Fanning always has a smug “I’m better than you” look on her face in any film she is in, she’s under the impression that she’s an amazing actress. She isn’t.

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There are a lot of aspects that this film steals from the Jurassic Park franchise  (more on that in a minute) but the most relevant to this point is that no female character dies (seriously, none of the female characters in any of the three Jurassic Park films has died) and nor do any of the children, regardless of how irritating they are. I really wish the character of Ragnhild would have died….early. She almost single handedly takes this film from being a 6/10 to a 2/10 due to her constant nagging, pessimism and being a selfish, little twat.

She irritates throughout and it’s summed up with an incident right at the beginning of the film when she ironically calls her father selfish for the simple fact he wants to discover something incredible for his country rather that taking her to Spain on a holiday. Throughout she is entirely negative, adds nothing but a nagging voice and I would go as far as saying that I have now reviewed more than 50 films for this site and I’ve not hated a character as much, not even in Frank.

But anyway, I mentioned two paragraphs ago that this film steals a lot from the Jurassic Park franchise, but there are two major plot points from Jurassic Park 3 that Ragnarok outright steals. The first of which is that Allan decides to steal an unhatched egg of the monster and not tell everyone, and (SPOILER ALERT) at the end the monster has no interest in eating the protagonists, but instead leaves them unharmed when they return the now hatched offspring (END SPOILER)

The film is full of clichés and you can call things happening before they have actually happened, such as when the characters are traversing a wire to cross the lake and one slips half-way through. I knew as soon as they started going across that that would happen, but the one thing that I would see in the scene’s favour is that when the monster is coming up to snap at the dangling person, the water pressure and swirl changes as it speeds up, whereas in most Hollywood films they just appear without it affecting the water.

My final point is the pacing of the film and that it’s all wrong. There are some moments where nothing happens for a long time and then there is non-stop action for long time. Whilst the film isn’t supposed to be an outright thrill ride throughout, and it doesn’t claim to be, it’s lack of correct pacing means that when something does happen, you don’t feel the sense of urgency that the situation warrants, and just as you start getting that adrenaline rush, it’s right back to the slowness.

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Summary

I can see why this film has been rated as average by so many. I, like many others according to the reviews and posts on IMDB, were completely mislead by the title and the film has precisely nothing to do with Greek mythology. The only thing about lying about what your film is actually about is going to do is piss people off. I first saw this in a local Asda store a few weeks ago and they were charging £10 for it. Imagine buying this for £10 and then find out that even the description on the back was incorect.

Infact, it’s like a ying-yang, every positive is countered with a negative. The good acting of some actors is outweighed by the terrible acting of others, and scenes where something genuinely interesting happens is countered by long, drawn out sections of the film that don’t move the film along at all. It’s 85 minutes of nothing in many ways.

I’m not even entirely sure what to rank it as because it’s not a horror film and it’s not really science fiction.