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Category: 2018

Ready Player One Movie Review (2018) | Gamers Assemble!

If you are a gamer, you are going to absolutely love Ready Player One movie. Even if you are not, don’t worry, it is a spectacle for sore eyes. Will still leave you wonderstruck. The flick is a pageant of allure carefully crafted to make you feel exhilarated at every juncture. Built on a gaming spindle, it’s a wild joyride that should not be missed for the world.

Steven Spielberg weaves a deserving film to an extraordinary story written by Ernest Kline. Who doesn’t dream of living under a different skin, of being someone else? Ready Player One movie channels that fantasy in the form of OASIS, a place where you get to be someone else. How cool is that!

Theme and Direction

Built on the concept of VR, that teleports you into a different world (the one that doesn’t suck), you can be whatever you want to be. Just imagine yourself as a creature from your favorite flick, or a character from a game or movie you loved, or simply create your very own avatar and start living it. It is as simple as that.

People come to the OASIS for all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be.

Camera movements are simply next level, and you can’t help but think how much of incomprehensible work it might have undergone to ace a rad scene. The action in Ready Player One is fast-paced so much that you want to stop the whole thing for a second to go back and watch it all slowly. It’s just downright orgasmic. You feel the same amount of, or maybe more, adrenaline rush just as you do when you are playing one of your favorite games. It’s simply overwhelming and intensely satisfying.

Ready Player One Movie Wallpaper

The Plot of Ready Player One Movie (Spoilers)

Ten minutes into the movie and it is already spilling visually striking juices that are too hot to handle. You are hit by a conglomeration of characters that are out of the world, each having their own unique and specific characteristics. And such beautifully have they been put together in a single frame that you can’t help but appreciate the effort of the VFX team. How meticulously every frame has been painted!

There’s a race in the very beginning that will simply leave you in awe. It is just mind-numbing, one of those high tides that will prepare you for what’s to come. It also quickly fills you in on the story of Ready Player One Movie. James ‘Anorak’ Halliday played by Mark Rylance (Spielberg’s favorite), has placed an Easter egg in the OASIS, to be opened with three keys that are hidden. The finder is to inherit ownership and full control of OASIS.

In the form of my avatar, Anorak the all knowing. I created three keys. Three hidden challenges test worthy traits, revealing three hidden keys to three magic gates. And those with the skill to survive these strengths will reach the end, where the prize awaits.

Gunters (Egg Hunters) have completely dedicated themselves to finding the key. There is also a fully dedicated organization called IOI, headed by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), who has hired researchers, top gamers, and Sixers to get the job done.

First Key

So far everyone has been unsuccessful until the protagonist Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a 17-year-old lad, understands the first clue to figure out the whereabouts of the first key that was hidden at the very beginning of the race. It’s like a cheat code that delivers you directly to the exit. It is brilliantly thought of and pulled of.

His avatar Parzival befriends Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) when he saves her life from getting “zeroed” (a surefire death in OASIS that takes away all your avatar progress in reality) by the hands of a King Kong.

Parzival: Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story…
Art3mis: Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.

He has Aech (Lena Waithe) for a companion, whom he has never met in person but has built up an online bond with. Players Daito and Sho are also kind of like his clan. So he tells them all the clue to finding the first key as they follow suit. Together they top the scoreboard and become famous as the “High Five”.

i-R0k (T. J. Miller) is a mercenary hired by Sorrento to find out the true identity of Parzival. In an OASIS dance club, Parzival makes that task easy as he tells Art3mis his real name, in an attempt to tell her how he felt. Parzival is identified as Wade Watts by Sorrento who then tries to convince him to join IOI. When Wade refuses, Sorrento bombs his ‘stack’ with the help of F’Nale Zandor (Hannah John-Kamen) believing him to be there. In that process, Wade’s aunt dies.

Second Key

Waking up he meets Art3mis in the real world – Samantha. Together they hunt for the second key figuring out the fact that Halliday was in love with Kira, who later went on to marry Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg), his best friend.

She wanted to go dancing, so we watched a movie.

They end up in a horrific recreation of The Shining movie where the second key is hidden. That part is absolutely stunning, almost puts you back in time and ravishes it with a twist of course. Art3mis is the one to retrieve the key.

A creator who hates his own creation. A hidden key: a leap not taken. Retrace your steps, escape your past. And the key of Jade will be yours at last.

Meanwhile, Zandor tracks Wade to the hideout but Samantha lets Wade escape allowing herself to be captured. She is turned into a Sixer for exceeding her family debt.

Wade meets all the real world avatars of Aech, Daito, and Sho and is surprised to find them all different than imagined.

She could actually be a 300 pound dude who lives in his momma’s basement in suburban Detroit. And her name is Chuck.

i-R0k meanwhile creates a force field using the Orb of Osuvox around the final key which is located on Planet Doom. Wade tricks Sorrento into revealing Samantha’s location and helps her escape. With her help, Wade invites all the OASIS players for an all-out assault against the Sixers and Sorrento. Samantha deactivates the force field suited up as a Sixer, allowing OASIS players to carry on a fully fledged attack on Sorrento’s army.

It’s fucking Chucky!

Sorrento surprises everyone with his MechaGodzilla avatar but is attacked by Daito’s avatar of Gundam. The fight is just brilliant as Art3mis is the one who puts MechaGodzilla down allowing the rebels to win. Sorrento mad as hell searches for Samantha amongst his Sixers, but she narrowly escapes when Wade zeroes her Sixer avatar and asks her to meet the team in the real.

Third Key

Parzival and Sho discover that the last key revolves around a game from Atari 2600. They find out that no matter which game the Sixers try their luck on, time expires for them. Even when a Sixer beats the game of Adventure he still loses. Pressed in a dire situation, a fight ensues between Sorrento and Parzival as the Cataclyst (a kind of bomb) zeroes everyone on the Planet Doom.

Luckily Parzival is revived with an extra life that was given to him in the form of a coin by the curator of Halliday’s museum when Parzival had won a bet against him. Eventually, Parzival figures out that the clue is not to win the game of Adventure but to find its very own Easter egg. He finds out the easter egg hidden in the Adventure game and obtains the last key.

The Ending

Anorak gives Parzival a contract to be signed which  he refuses believing it to be a test, since a similar chapter had happened in the life of Morrow when he had signed a contract that had dissolved his partnership with Halliday. Considering that decision to be the correct one, Anorak metamorphoses into Halliday providing him with the Golden Egg and declares him the winner.

I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I just didn’t know how to connect with people there. I was afraid for all my life, right up until the day I knew my life was ending. And that was when I realized that as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place that you can get a decent meal. Because, reality is real.

The police arrests Sorrento and Zandor after they receive Aech’s tape that has recorded Sorrento’s conversation with Wade that had resulted in the stacks attack. Wade shares his award with the High Five hiring Morrow as his consultant, who is revealed to be the curator who had given him the coin. OASIS once again begins its operations giving Tuesdays and Thursdays off to allow people to stay more in the real world.

All the Easter Eggs

Ready Player One movie builds up itself on nostalgia as it brings to forefront characters from the past. It is like a fully loaded movie having a bazillion Easter Eggs per se. You have got to have its Blu-ray or something just to literally stop each frame to find characters hidden inside the movie.

Here’s where you can order Ready Player One movie from:

Ready Player One movie milks them all aplenty with cameos from a T-Rex, King Kong, R2-D2, X-Wings, Harley Quinn and the Joker, Chucky, Tracer, Chun-Li, Ryu, Deathstroke, El Dragon, Blanka, Battletoads, Ninja Turtles, Halo, Freddy, Jason, Batman, Mach 5, Bigfoot, DeLorean, Banzai, The Iron Giant, Battlestar Galactica, Alien, Aliens, Clark Kent, Hulk, Marvin the Martian toy, Goro, Beetlejuice and what not.

What aces them all is the recreation of The Shining. It is gory and scary, probably the most entertaining and cherishable part of the entire movie. It literally puts you inside the movie with different camera angles that Stanley Kubrick hadn’t picked. What is wonderful is that it becomes something more, and something else entirely as even more formidable elements lurk in its climax.

Aech: I’ve never seen the Shining. Is it really scary?
Sho:  I had to watch it through my fingers.

The Final Verdict

Ready Player One movie stands as an exemplary paragon of what technology can do. And if you hand over that technology to someone like Steven Spielberg, you get something entirely out of the box. If you wish to experience what gaming is all about and what it is to become in the long run, the cinema hall where this movie thrives is a perfect place to visit.

It is a movie that might not do as much justice to the book as we expect, but it does far more justice than you expect from an adaptation. Ready Player One movie gives you everything that you get when you play a really good game.

Check out our other Steven Spielberg movie reviews as well.

Peter Rabbit Movie Review (2018) | Plainly Made For Kids

Peter Rabbit Movie is an entertainer alright, and it does try to resuscitate the age-old story by Beatrix Potter which is great, to be frank. Long lost tales should show up every now and then because I highly doubt Millenials would ever hear about them otherwise.

Sadly this new adaptation by Will Gluck isn’t really as humorous as it was supposed to be if you look at it with a critical eye. How can the James Corden voiced bunny not be funny? Everything boils down to the writing, of course.

There are so many moments in the flick that will give away the fact that the writers were trying really hard to deliberately make the conversations funny. Unfortunately, they didn’t know they were simply worsening things.

Peter Rabbit movie is ridden with so many flaws that you can’t stop yourself from shaking your head every now and then. Apart from the bad writing, even the direction fails to impress you. In a world where live action-computer animated movies, like Ted and Paddington, are doing so well, the rabbit fails to win the race yet again.

A Movie For Kids

Looking at the bright side, which we should always practice, Peter Rabbit movie amuses you nevertheless and brings a smile to your face. It is supposed to be a light movie that should be enjoyed for its characters (I am afraid there are only a few that are memorable). The presence of great actors Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson even though how comic they become at times, their characters have been made really brittle.

Peter Rabbit Movie the rabbit kin

But I get it. It is supposedly made for children. If you take that quotient into account, you will realize that kids are going to love it. And they absolutely do. But if you take into consideration minor aspects of the flick, you will begin to see so many pointless things lurking that it is downright painful.

In the animation front, it does great. The CGI of Peter Rabbit is just brilliant. Expressions are very careful capturing even the minutiae of fauna. They have merged the frames quite meticulously, and the flow seems proper.

The Plot of Peter Rabbit Movie

Peter Rabbit, his cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody) and sisters Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cotton-Tail (Daisy Ridley)are on constant war with Mr. Joe McGregor (Sam Neill) when the latter meets a heart attack.

Peter Rabbit, now claiming that he has murdered him, invites rest of the jungle creatures to McGregor’s, having a party rampaging his garden. It is when an uptight estranged nephew of the deceased McGregor, Thomas played by Domhnall Gleeson, inherits the house and shows up at their gates when the war between the rabbits and Thomas McGregor begins.

The War (Spoilers)

Thomas used to work in Harrods from where he was fired for losing his temper when he wasn’t promoted – a McGregorian curse.

Bea (Rose Byrne) is a next door neighbor to McGregor’s newly inherited house. Thomas’ intent is to sell the house and open a rival shop next to Harrods. For which he begins to build a wall to keep the menacing mongers out, even though Bea objects to it. Having a soft corner for her makes hurting those rabbits a difficult task even though on one occasion he nearly drowns Benjamin, PR’s cousin.

Bea and Thomas begin to fall in love and that’s probably from where the movie starts to become a tad indigestible. Up until this point, the movie feels great but it begins to lose its validity when you see the rabbits constantly involved in the life of what Thomas and Bea do. It’s like a cinema that they are constantly watching like they have nothing else to do. Their routine life changes from stealing vegetables from Thomas’ garden to becoming all about what Bea is doing.

I miss being helpful. A parent or grandparent comes into this shop looking for a gift for the child they love. I ask a few simple questions and know exactly what they need. I love helping people get what they want. Especially when they don’t even know that they want it. Those are the best.

The real war begins based upon that element of jealousy that Peter Rabbit houses and transforms into something ugly. When the intent of killing Thomas takes another form, Thomas returns the favour by filling their tree-house with dynamite. One freaky accident avalanches erupting the tree which falls on Bea’s art studio. Seeing through the cover, and judging Thomas for who he really was, she ends the relationship.

Going Back to London

Thomas goes back to London to work for Harrods again while Bea is ready to leave her house. Peter Rabbit feeling bad for what he did since he was responsible for the detonation that caused the tree to erupt, decides to visit London to apologize to Peter and bring him back to stop Bea from leaving. Benjamin and Peter both end up at Harrod’s and convince him to return.

In the nick of time, Thomas returns apologizing to Bea, whilst Peter Rabbit comes forward to show that he was the one who had detonated the dynamite and that Thomas was innocent. A snobbish couple walks in to live in Thomas’ house since he had already sold it to them despite Thomas’ refusal. Peter Rabbit and his friends then show them that the house was infested with living creatures and that it was simply unlivable.

The Roots

The intelligent bits lie in how the bookish elements are preserved without blemishing it. Like the part where Peter Rabbit asks the portrait of his parents about what needs be done, and they reflect Peter’s imagination. Also, the part where they show how Peter Rabbit’s dad had died was brilliantly illustrated reviving the book once again.

Peter talking to Thomas as the latter admits how highly improbable it was, is that subtle hint at human fancies that winks at wishful thinking and what makes human brain all the very much interesting.

Peter Rabbit Movie Wallpaper

The Final Verdict

Peter Rabbit movie is alright if you look at it from a child’s perspective. But for a purist, it might not be. For kids, it helps them put a face to a story, understand that a character as interesting as him ever thrived in a book.

Check out other movie reviews where Gleeson was a part of.

Pacific Rim Uprising Review (2018) | How to Shut Down a Franchise

Pacific Rim Uprising is an utter waste of resources, and above all, of a good storyline. We had such a great Kickstarter with Guillermo Del Toro painting the benchmark for Jaegers and Kaijus with the badass flick Pacific Rim that we had witnessed in the year 2013. He had a genuine story to tell as seen in the interviews back then. I still remember the mark of conviction and hope in his head as he wished to narrate the Kaiju part of the story in years to come.

Somewhere along the line, it got lost. It all got lost. With Steven  S. DeKnight stepping over to steer the Pacific Rim ship, that hope turned into despair. With a pointless and stale movie that we got today, we have just lost the sequel. I repeat, we have lost a good franchise.

Pacific Rim Uprising overlooked the whole reason it stood for in the first place. It felt more like Transformers now, the last one to be accurate. With Kaijus in a supporting role, no wait they were barely there more like a cameo in the end, the movie drifted from its very purpose. It doesn’t have a good screenplay to bank itself on, the worst part being that it tries to poke fun at the previous run.

“That canceling the apocalypse bit was intense.”

The plot is something that would remind you of another debacle of a flick that we saw in 2016 called Independence Day Resurgence. It is weirdly similar. Somehow Scott Eastwood as Nate Lambert does it worse than Liam Hemsworth.

You pick up either Transformers or Independence Day, Pacific Rim Uprising feels like it has been spat out after they have been churned together. The way the Kaijus have been introduced feels daft as if ample thought hasn’t been given to anything in the script.

Pacific Rim Uprising Plot (Spoilers)

For its main plot, a legend’s son is created, for Pentecost, as we had seen in the prequel, was already lost. Jake Pentecost played by John Boyega who tries to be funny, only tries, plays the son to Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba).

Pacific Rim Uprising happens 10 years after the events of 2013 where we see Jake trying to live on Jaeger scraps. He runs into teen Jaeger fanatic Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny)  who has built her own single pilot Jaeger and named it Scrapper. They get caught by Pan-Pacific Defense Corps as the prequel girl Pentecost’s adopted daughter Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) gives Jake a choice – prison or return to base as an instructor with Amara as a recruit. Such great options!

On returning Jake runs into his estranged co-pilot Nate Lambert and Jules Reyes (Adria Arjona). I have no idea why the latter is in the movie.  Jake learns about Shao Corporation’s drone program which is on its way to take over their Jaeger program at PPDC. Shao is headed by Liwen Shao (Tian Jing)  and Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) from the prequel.

During its final assessment, a rogue Jaeger Obsidian Fury shows up and kills Mori in a theatric display of power. Failing to save her just in the nick of time, it weighs heavy on Jake (well it doesn’t feel like it).

Gipsy Avenger vs Obsidian Fury

Before Mori dies she successfully transmits the location of a Jaeger production facility in Siberia. Jake and Nate take their Gipsy Avenger Jaeger for a ride to check it out. Obsidian Fury shows up once again and a battle ensues. Gipsy Avenger destroys Fury but on bursting it open they discover a Kaiju brain inside.

Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) finds out that the brain was grown on Earth. Cloned Kaiju brains attack PPDC destroying almost all of Jaegers. Gottlieb approaches Geiszler for help without the knowledge that Geiszler was the bad guy. Geiszler’s brain had been affected by the Precursors (the alien race who created Kaijus) due to regular drifting with Kaiju brains.

With ulterior motives to destroy the planet, Newton Geiszler commands those drone-Kaijus to open breaches all across the world. Shao destroys the drones in nick of time, however, three Kaijus:

  1. Raijin
  2. Hakuja
  3. Shrikethorn

manage to escape. As all three Kaijus reunite to meet in Tokyo, the PPDC team realize that their intention was to detonate Mount Fuji by reacting with it using their chemically reactive Kaiju blood. It was to release toxic gases into the air destroying all life thus allowing the Precursors to terraform Earth for their very own colonization.

Pacific Rim uprising movie wallpaper

The Final Showdown

With the help of Gottlieb’s invention of Kaiju blood-powered rockets, four Jaegers leave PPDC for Tokyo to attack the Kaijus. They are able to repel them for a while when eventually they get their asses kicked when all three Kaijus are metamorphosed into one huge Mega-Kaiju by Newton. Failing to overpower the beast, as a last resort Gipsy Avenger rockets into the sky with the help of Shao’s operated Scrapper and drops down, head on, the Mega-Kaiju as the pilots barely escape.

They kill the Mega-Kaiju as Nate captures Newton Geiszler. Eventually, we see him babbling that Kaijus will keep coming, as Jake responds that this time it would be them attacking their home ground.

You can order Pacific Rim Uprising from here:

The Final Verdict

Pacific Rim Uprising is nothing but a waste of a good story. What it had originally planned on becoming, it only ended up drifting away from its primal plot. To worsen other things there is no good screenplay to keep it engaging, no good fights to make you jump on your seat.

Yes, there is ample destruction but you can’t help wonder what would have happened to all those people even though they were presumably safe under the bunkers? The destruction feels somehow more like what Superman ended up doing in Man of Steel. Somehow this movie failed to bring goosebumps, but only concern for life trapped underneath.

The story of Pacific Rim 2 feels like a juvenile plot. If I try hard to remember the good, the only thing I can come up with is its visual effects.

With such a pointless flick in its baggage, there’s no coming back from this. Can we reboot this already?

Tomb Raider Movie Review (2018) | How a Game Movie Should Be Adapted

Well, to be frank, Tomb Raider movie is basically a lot like the reboot game of Tomb Raider that we saw in 2013. It is heavily influenced by it, yes, but the latter part of the plot has been morphed enough to present us something different and new. The good thing is that it eliminates everything unnatural, thus winking at the plausibility. Ergo becoming a flick that’s a lot more relatable.

All myths are foundations of reality.

It is one of those rare flicks made on a popular game that happens to be pretty good. That being said, it would be safe to say maybe the curse has been lifted. But is it really that good? Well, to be honest, that territory is a tad debatable.

Tomb Raider movie feels like a game, so much that it almost feels like you are supposed to press a button on your console. There are moments that are slapped directly from the game. Like that plane bit sequence – a series of unfortunate events that wouldn’t let you catch a break. You almost blurt out why are things going so downhill for Lara all the time? Then you remember because Roar Uthaug, the director, wished it to be more game-like.

tomb raider movie

There are instances aplenty wherein you will feel how Lara keeps getting lucky all the time, narrowly escaping death on countless occasions. Her life is the perfect literal paragon of ‘living on the edge’. There are so many situations deliberately put in that it makes you question – is it all for real?

Tomb Raider Movie Plot (Spoilers)

The nice thing about the flick is its plot. However, it barely scratches the surface of the Himiko storyline. that we had seen in the game. The good thing is that it takes that story and turns it into something delectable nevertheless.

Tomb Raider starts off with a grown-up Lara Croft trying to earn a living as a bike courier despite she being the daughter of Richard Croft (Dominic West), the business tycoon who went missing on one of his adventures. Left with no choice but to claim her inheritance (or her father’s estate would be sold off) Lara returns home.

She finds a recorded message of her father telling her about his research on Himiko, a Yamatai queen who had power over life and death. In the video message, Richard asks Lara to delete and destroy all his research work so as to stop it from falling into wrong hands. She doesn’t comply and decides to further the research.

The mystery of the disappearance of Richard Croft leads Lara to Hong Kong where she tracks Lu Ren (Daniel Wu). Lu’s father had been missing too. Lu steers his ship ‘Endurance’ into the sea cutting a deal with Lara to help her reach the Island of Yamatai.

Mathias Vogel – The Antagonist

Washed ashore after their ship is annihilated, Lara wakes up in front of Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) who bluntly claims that he had killed her father. He unravels his intentions to locate Himiko’s tomb and with Lara literally bringing her father’s work to him, the job becomes much easier. Lara discovers that the mission is funded by an organization called Trinity that wished to harness Himiko’s power.

Finding their moment, Lu who had been captured too helps her escape. A series of events wash her down as she ends up finding none other than her father in a cave. Convinced to retrieve his research from Mathias she goes back despite her father trying to stop her. She infiltrates the Trinity camp and retrieves the research. The chaos that follows as she tries to save the local fishermen and Lu draws out Richard in front of Himiko’s tomb.

Left with no choice but to save her father she agrees to help Mathias into opening Himiko’s tomb. As the world beyond unfurls Lara and the crew faces challenges that they overcome one by one until they end up right next to Himiko’s sarcophagus. The theme of Tomb Raider movie suddenly becomes darker as if a ghost is about to jump them any second.

Himiko

There they discover that Himiko’s true power is nothing but a disease that spread with her mere touch and that she had deliberately decided to put herself in a tomb so as to save the outer world from getting infected. Two Trinity soldiers get infected immediately upon touching the corpse and the disease starts disintegrating them like wildfire. Vogel decides to not remove the body but take a finger instead which he seals in a pouch.

A fight ensues and Richard becomes infected too. He chooses to stay behind and destroy the whole tomb to stop the virus from infecting the rest of the world. Before the bomb goes off Lara fights Vogel feeding him the finger he had so carefully removed from the tomb before kicking him into an abyss. She somehow manages to escape as she, Lu and the remaining fishermen hijack Trinity’s extraction helicopter to escape the island.

Back in London Lara accepts her inheritance and discovers that one of Trinity’s company was Patna whose name was slapped on the crates that Mathias and his men carried around. Figuring out Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) to be Trinity’s agent who lured Lara into signing the inheritance to hold the company’s rein, Lara gets ready for the next mission wielding her signature dual pistols.

You can order Tomb Raider movie from here:

Hits and Misses

While there were a lot of hits in terms of what Roar chose to depict, there were plenty of misses in the movie too. If you take a look at the father and daughter relationship shown in the movie, even though milked enough, it all feels somehow contrived and deliberated. You feel the absence of real emotions with Dominic West failing to live the moment.

Being a gaming movie it tries to cut down on the emotional quotient beyond limit, and focuses more on instances and challenges that keep Lara constantly on the run. Tomb Raider movie decides to finish its run inside the tomb which feels like a smothered world. We could have done so much more had they taken the aftermath outside.

One of the biggest downsides is that it becomes utterly game like. You can feel as if you are playing a game on countless occasions. Like all the problems Lara faces trying to track down her father, or the time she gets washed up at the shore, or that escape, it all insinuates that you are indeed playing a game. Somehow I feel that’s not a bad thing. But there’s just too much of it. The way ugly things keep happening to her takes away realism even though it is understandable.

The good thing is that the movie literally revives everything we had loved about Lara Croft’s game growing up. The mission doesn’t feel like a mission more like something that befell Lara’s life. It has been well weaved into its alluring storyline. It doesn’t play on the supernatural herein and makes the world a lot more believable which is something that was immediately admirable.

The Final Verdict

Tomb Raider movie is a new take on what we had grown up playing. It is simply amazing that we have a great actress Alicia Vikander playing Lara Croft who does proper justice to the role of the protagonist. You can read all the emotions on her face that make you relate to the character more. She isn’t as stylish to look at as Angelina was once, yes agreed but that has and should never be the point of a hero. Everyone can be a hero, and that should be the point.

Here the pain feels real. The suffering feels real. That Lara was just a girl caught in a whirlpool of mishaps. That’s what makes Tomb Raider movie thoroughly enjoyable.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that we have finally found a movie that has been brilliantly adapted from a game. A rare vault from last year’s debacle Assassin’s Creed. Don’t know why I brought Michael Fassbender up here. 😉

At last, I guess it would be safe to say that the curse has been broken.

Maze Runner The Death Cure Review (2018) | Finding Minho and The Cure

Surprise! Surprise! In a world where book franchises aren’t doing so great, stands out Maze Runner with a steady record. Maze Runner The Death Cure is as brilliant as its prequels, continuously thriving on an amazing storyline that has been written by James Dashner. The good thing about it is that the franchise keeps rolling up unnerving moments for its protagonist Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and seems to be putting him at strange crises.

I am afraid the immense downside of this part, in particular, is its tragic plot that hides not just one but two big moments in its womb. It was an unnecessary stretch the end of which we could have used in a separate part itself. But Dashner chose to compile all of the heart-rending moments he had in his head in a single novel.

Direction and Writing of Maze Runner 3

Wes Ball is really getting there with his direction, creating some amazing scenes, experimenting with his frames. You can literally sense how he has grown as a director. The story of Maze Runner The Death Cure kind of feels complete in itself, but you know it’s open-ended given what Dashner has already accomplished with the books.

Whilst Maze Runner The Death Cure movie remains as action-packed as its prequel Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, it somehow turns out to be better than it. There are plenty of enjoyable moments in it that make you appreciate the filmmaking. Dylan has been downright outstanding as Thomas once again. He looks intensely invested in his character.

All the supporting actors are dead serious about their bits too with Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) getting a lot of focus. The best thing about the flick is that it milks on in the tension between Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) and Thomas. The villainy that Jansen (Aidan Gillen) brings in to the table, however, supersedes everything. He just reminds you of how badass he was in Game of Thrones. He makes you realize why he is such a good actor.

Maze Runner The Death Cure Plot (Spoilers)

The plot is basically a mission to extract Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and his friends, trying to save them from WCKD‘s captivity as we had seen blooming from its immediate prequel. Unfortunately, it is a wild-goose chase for Thomas as Minho is held captive by WCKD as they are trying to use him (since he is a Glader immune from the virus) for a cure.

Unable to find Minho, Thomas risks his life as Newt and Frypan (Dexter Darden) accompany him alongside. They are saved by Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and Brenda(Rosa Salazar) as they head towards the Last City where WCKD’s headquarters are located.

Three years we spent behind those walls, trying to break out. And now you want us to break back in.

The Last City in Maze Runner The Death Cure

The city awaits with raging guns as they discover it is impossible to get inside. There are sentinels opening fire every now and then to disperse the crowd. Some masked men capture the group identifying Thomas. It is later revealed that it was Gally (Will Poulter) who had refused to die in the prequels.

Enter Lawrence (Walton Goggins) the Voldemort of Maze Runner franchise. The difference here is, we can say his name, and he is not a bad guy. He is the rebellion leader of all those who have been denied entry into the WCKD’s city. With his permission, they are allowed a covert entry into the city. Despite their differences, Thomas works together with Gally who knows the way in, as he accompanies them on a deadly mission to save Minho.

The mission remains the same, however, it passes through Teresa now as Gally suggests them to capture her since she has top clearance. Little does anyone know, that it is hard for Thomas to stay around Teresa and not have feelings for her. There is this intense emotional tension that’s tearing him apart, and you can sense why and how Thomas is in a constant churning machine of pain.

Do you regret it? What you did to us?

Teresa in Maze Runner The Death Cure

Teresa as a Bait

Using Teresa to get inside, Thomas and Newt bump into Janson who sniffs them out. A fight ensues as they run further into the maze. Gally is looking for a serum to treat Flare as he chooses to stay with the Immunes. He is able to find one.

Turns out Newt is not an Immune and he is gradually succumbing to the effects of the deadly Flare virus.

Thomas: There’s no guarantee we will make it back from this.

Newt: But we started it together, we might as well end it that way too.

Meanwhile, Teresa had a plan of her own as she takes Thomas’ blood to run her own tests. She is able to make a serum through it that treats the Flare. His blood is the cure!

One of the most absurd scenes is that of Brenda being saved by Frypan using a crane. Literally, nobody even tried to shoot her or take a step forward to stop her. It was weird how all the hooligans became the spectators themselves and let all of it happen.

Amidst all of it, a rebel war is about to go down as Lawrence the Voldemort is busy delivering the speech of his life outside the city. They destroy the sentinels and head inside the city with every means to seize it and bring it to rubbles.

Brenda: You can’t save everyone, Thomas.

Thomas: I can try.

The Showdown

Minho is saved as the trio theatrically jump into a swimming pool and are saved by Gally in nick of time. Newt is on his way to becoming a zombie when he hands him over his pendant.

Minho, the fastest runner, he is, runs to Brenda and Jorge who have a Flare treating serum with them.  Newt has already become a zombie and he attacks Thomas. It is a painful transitioning of emotions that makes the whole scene simply epic. It is that same old churning that we have often watched in movies aplenty that turn a friend against a friend.

Newt is going through a lot, asking Thomas to leave or he would kill him. Thomas doesn’t want to leave his friend alone. Eventually, Newt kills himself left with no choice.

Teresa announces through a transmitter throughout the city that it is Thomas who could help people get rid of the virus.

You can save your friends, or you can save us all.

For the Cure

Thomas finds Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) who tells her that WCKD’s intentions were good even though its name meant something else. Jansen shoots Ava and hits Thomas on the head making him unconscious. It is revealed that Jansen is turning into a Crank himself. He straps Thomas on a stretcher alongside Teresa who is busy taking out his blood.

Jansen, the loud mouth he is, reveals that his intentions were to give the cure only to those who could afford it. Teresa turns on him hitting him on the head. A fight ensues as Thomas releases zombies on Jansen killing him for good. As the world around them is falling and burning to cinders, Thomas and Teresa head towards the rooftop with no hope when Vince (Barry Pepper) and Jorge show up in their aircraft asking them to jump.

You already know how it’s gonna end. Thomas makes it but Teresa fails to, and she disappears into the swallowing fire.

The world is dying. If we find a cure that’s the only way all of this was worth it.

So Thomas is 2-0 down when he tries to find a happy ending in a life that fails to give him any. He loses his buddy and his love in Maze Runner The Death Cure. You can only imagine the pain.

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Epilogue

As an epilogue that could have been made shorter, we find Thomas waking up in a base led by Immunes and the Right Arm. Together they have found a safe haven as was pointed by Ava. Thomas discovers the pendant Newt had given him and finds a note in it that has, to be honest, nothing useful in it suggesting another part. But it has warm words.

I want you to know that I’m not scared. Well, not of dying, anyway. It’s more forgetting. It’s losing myself to this virus, that’s what scares me. So every night, I’ve been saying their names out loud. Alby. Winston. Chuck. And I just repeat them over and over like a prayer, and it – And it all comes flooding back.

Just the little things like where the sun used to hit the Glade at that perfect moment right before it slipped beneath the walls. And I remember the taste of Frypan’s stew. I never thought I’d miss that stuff so much. And I remember you. From the first time you came up in the box, just a scared little Greenie who couldn’t even remember his own name.

But from that moment you ran into the Maze, I knew I would follow you anywhere. And I have. We all have. If I could do it all over again, I would. And I wouldn’t change a thing. My hope for you: when you’re looking back years from now, you’ll be able to say the same. The future is in your hands now, Tommy. I know you’ll find a way to do what’s right. You always have. Take care of everyone for me. And take care of yourself. You deserve to be happy. Thank you for being my friend.

The Final Verdict

With that ending of Maze Runner The Death Cure suddenly you realize you have never really paid as much attention to Newt as you had in this one.

There have been some amazing moments shared whenever Thomas and Teresa are together too. You can literally feel the emotions venting out and the discord trying to keep them apart even though they are dying to be together. I think there was some brilliant emotional turmoil scooched in Maze Runner The Death Cure.

There were problems with the flick in the plot department, yes, with Dashner aiming for a double headshot in the head. The fact that Wes failed to address logical things and the way the movie ends up stretching even after the final jolt. But overall it has been brilliantly packed, and you know that it truly deserves to be cherished.

Good thing is that the franchise is doing great with beautiful winding stories and we are having a great time watching them. Who is complaining?

Black Panther Movie Review (2018) | Wakanda Forever!

Marvel ups their level! Black Panther is what Marvel had been scared to do hitherto. That is lower the humour throttle and become really serious with the filmmaking. Bringing Ryan Coogler into the vanguard who had directed the brilliant film Creed in 2015, I think they made a pretty good call.

Black Panther is everything we wanted from a superhero movie, maybe a little bit more action but the exceptional story compensates for it. It has an appreciable plot that gradually unfurls into bigger intricacies.

What happens now determines what happens to the rest of the world.

The African Touch

Wakanda the fictitious city of Marvel is built on a culture that’s centered somewhere in Africa. Ryan made sure that the Wakandans were heavily influenced by the mannerism and style thus successfully painting a next to real picture about a place that doesn’t exist. It’s like moulding a comic impeccably into a reality.

Wakanda

Wakanda puts something contrasting about the image the world holds about a place like Africa. It is like a poor child’s dream who wishes to roll the dice and change his fate. It is the ultimate contrast where the less fortunate are extremely blessed. All they are trying to do is hide what they have from a ravenous world.

I have seen gods fly. I have seen men build weapons that I couldn’t even imagine. I have seen aliens drop from the sky. But I have never seen anything like this.

Whilst Wakandans have a hard time grasping the concept of sharing, it is understandable why someone would keep something so powerful as Vibranium for themselves. The Black Panther movie still, however, tries to change that by showing this transformation of ideologies by delving into “why the good in the world should be apportioned”.

For a threat that is imminent in the form of Thanos, it only provides an icing of perfection to what is about to go down. It was an ingenious build up and you cannot write it off as mere luck.

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger (Minor Spoilers)

Black Panther movie becomes more thoughtful and cognitive as it proceeds. There is something insanely sympathetic about its antagonist Erik Killmonger portrayed by Michael B. Jordan that would leave you feeling sorry for him when the movie actually fades.

Wronged by T’Challa’s father sat a poor child in Erik who only had his father’s stories for conversations. Bereaved of a childhood with no one to care for, becoming a villain was inevitable. You don’t know that but you see that gradually happen when he shows up at the door of Wakanda asking for his birthright.

 I’ve waited my whole life for this. The world’s going to start over. Imma burn it all!

Was he capable? Yes! He defeats the king in a fair fight, announcing his arrival as the new king of Wakanda. The only problem being his motives were ulterior. He wished the world to get a taste of what Wakanda was trying to hide. If you rule that out, you realize Killmonger was too good a villain. The one who had capabilities to drive his claws into superheroes and bring them down.

The most crushing moment is the tete-a-tete with his father N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) where he transforms into a kid trying to reason with his life. There is so much hatred in him for the Wakandans that it is futile for N’Jobu to make him understand that the path he had set out on only houses destruction. That child had carved a purpose for himself that avenged not only his father but a deprived life. Michael B. Jordan, by the way, is outstanding as Erik Killmonger.

Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage.

T’Challa

Whilst there are reasons enough to go gaga over the villains, nothing compares to what T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) was dealing with. He held immense veneration for a father who did something terrible to Erik as a child. He is fighting his father’s image, literally boiling his insides up trying to make sense of why T’Chaka (John Kani) left the poor child behind. That has clearly crushed him mentally making him more susceptible to enemy attacks.

You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.

T’Challa’s revival has been beautifully timed when the world is about to go down in cinders. As he is about to metamorphose into the Black Panther, he once again encounters his father’s soul. This time with tons of questions in his head.

A man who has not prepared his children for his own death has failed as a father.

T’Challa resuscitates with a clear conscience focusing on what he has to do wiping off his slate of anxiety.

Black Panther fight still T'challa vs Eric Killmonger

I did not yield! And as you can see, I am not dead! The challenge continues!

The end result this time boils down to simple awareness and he becomes successful in stopping Killmonger from spreading his perversion. He does the right thing eventually opening gates of Wakanda’s knowledge for the rest of the world.

The illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.

Other Characters

M’Baku (Winston Duke) comes strong as a helper from a mountain tribe Jabari, even though the entire tribe is not on good terms with T’Challa’s people.

If you say one more word, I’ll feed you to my children! I am kidding. We are vegetarians.

Andy SerkisKlaue is another one of those brilliantly executed villains. He lands in a rabid colloquy in place filling up the screen time with extraordinary delivery. You know whenever his bit comes, there’s something interesting about to go down. His fate, even though magnificently fills in the plot, appears like a cheap shot.

I made it rain!

Bottom-line – Serkis deserved more screen time, the villain was yet to showcase his skills for crying out loud. With Black Panther his fate was sealed with Marvel, and that I think was a huge bummer.

Another one of those roles that matter the most is that of Shuri (Letitia Wright), sister of T’Challa. Her scientific creations are next to none. The brother-sister relation between them puts a smile on your face. You instantly know she is very important, proven thus by that Winter Soldier (Bucky) cameo in the end.

Another broken white boy to fix.

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Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), T’Challa’s ex, brings home that emotional angle to the story providing him the mental support he lacks.

You cannot let your father’s actions define your life. You get to decide what kind of king you want to be.

Her wisdom supersedes people which is her true strength. Lupita fills Nakia up with realism.

Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) is that eye who brings home that third-party perspective to an ongoing resplendence. It is like a marveling eye that reflects ‘us’, the spectators, in those frames.

Okoye cannot be forgotten either. She makes her presence felt by being one of the finest warriors of Wakanda. Her loyalty to her king and her allegiance to what is right, comes under the cross-hair when she finally decides to take a call.

You are so full of hatred, you will never be a true king!

The Final Verdict

Black Panther’s true strength lies in its ability of story-telling. Ryan Coogler wasn’t afraid to experiment even though it stretched the story a tad too much, like by showing the ancestral meeting (the process right after consuming the heart-shaped flower) thrice in the flick. It was crucial to the plot and he made sure that he took his time with it. It is beautifully done and literally fills the movie with emotional substance.

Its action is a tad less when you pick up all the prequels and line it up against Black Panther. It is a little bit slow paced as Ryan Coogler prefers it. But I don’t think it has affected the movie at all by the way it has been wrapped.

There are barriers it breaks, lives it affects with its storytelling as it packs in hope building that staircase to the upcoming spectacle Avengers: Infinity Wars.

Padmaavat Movie Review (2018) | You Can’t Sunder a Movie From Its Audience

What could you possibly say for a movie that’s dying to be seen? Trying to breathe in a world that is not of its time. Padmaavat movie tried hard to be seen, finally battled its way to fruition and was successful in slapping itself on the big screen, to the very place where it belonged. A movie should be watched because it is meant to be, just like a book that always manages to find a reader. We understand the very purpose of it, the very essence of its creation. You cannot stop what’s destined.

Padmaavat was a fully flawed movie with plenty of mistakes. It housed issues aplenty but did it deserve all the hate even before it made its way to the theatres? All I could remember is resonance. People who did not even know the supposedly esteemed woman, resonated at the same frequency of the mass. A perfect paragon of what our society is – a brainless resonating blob. Incapable of thinking their own minds out loud. We are not afraid of what we might say, but how one would react to it. And if we are on the same pedestal then we have a means to rise up strong.

Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmaavati in Padmavat

Why does it affect us? Why does any of it affect us? If a person whom we haven’t seen is revered so much, why not a person who we see deserve our reverence? Are we supposed to wait for our veneration, say about a generation? Are we supposed to wait for our voice to echo and be effectual, about a lifetime? Can we only talk about the dead when they are gone so that they don’t have a say in what we do?

It goes without saying that a billion of us wouldn’t even know who Padmavati was unless someone either wrote about it or made a movie on that topic. I think to remember is to pay tribute, and that should be it.

The Brilliance of Padmaavat Movie

Before getting into what issues Padmaavat movie had, I would like to celebrate it, not only for coming out strong from a place of death and destruction but also for standing tall as a victor. There are no Senas capable enough to fight the educated part of the country, who are aware of the rights, and who stand by the constitution and respect it more than an unfortunate story. Those who have watched it despite the threats are the true victors. You showed ’em, alright!

What truly stands out in Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s movies is its screenplay and its dialogues. I was looking forward to that bit in particular. And must I say, I wasn’t at all disappointed. They were extremely well written by, apparently, a poet who understands what it is to bind a word. His words have been well converted and they feel music to the ears. They are very descriptive and poetic in nature.

Ranveer Singh as Khilji

SLB scores yet again in theatricalization of even a normal conversation. But sometimes he overdoes it, which I would talk about in the next section. The next big thing about the flick was, hands down, Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji. He recreated the magic that he had created in Bajirao Mastani. His acting is by far the best we have seen, and it is amazing that he has fallen under SLB’s stamp. He is one of the only great things about Padmaavat movie. He literally makes every scene lively.

Ranveer has been branded and presented as a mad dog whose hunger for winning wars was peerless. If there was a better actor he would have probably failed to give Khilji that touch of finesse that Ranveer so brilliantly aces. He has that natural knack for it, that getting into the skin of Khilji didn’t seem like much of a problem for him.

still of Ranveer Singh as Khilji in Padmaavat movie

One cannot also overlook his energy which is simply hard to match. Even with its songs that play as celebrations, he is so committed to the role that you don’t see him fidgeting at all, even when you realize that SLB has deliberately asked him to look at the camera while dancing. A well-choreographed move to instill immediate intimidation and admiration for all those frantic moves. (Okay, they were maybe a tad funny!)

Funny reminds me of Jim Sarbh‘s performance as Malik Kafur. Somehow his being out of place fitted him extremely well in the Padmaavat movie. He aced his performance as a man trying to find his ground despite being invariably close to Khilji.

Then there is the presentation which as a matter of fact stands precariously at the edge of good and bad. There were some epic scenes that make you marvel at SLB’s creation. But then again there were some scenes that you somehow know could have been shot better.

Issues with Padmaavat Movie

While there were a lot of things to mesmerize you in Padmaavat movie, there were many that leave you pointing fingers at the filmmaking. Cinematography, for instance, wasn’t that great, to be honest. You don’t see the cinematographer panning with characters, or experimenting with the edits. It is kept fairly simple and distant. The latter is something that is quite frankly miffing. Like a scene at the beginning where Ranveer walks in dancing, the camera has been kept really far that takes away the life from his dancing. Sadly, that has been done throughout the movie. Bottom-line, the judgment of cinematography was really poor.

Then there is that bad VFX that literally pops out and pricks your eyes. I mean how hard is it for a widely popular director to hire someone from Hollywood to get it right? Don’t tell me he was running low on resources. That ostrich looked like an unreal animated snake!

Then you cannot overlook the evident set in the first meeting of Padmaavat and Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor). You could literally feel the floodlights illuminating the make-believe jungle. A laughable mistake is that Deepika Padukone has been deliberately “painted” white by the VFX team. In every scene, since the talk is about how beautiful Padmaavat is, she has been intentionally shone like a star. It is alright to stay human, you know! 😀 There is one scene where there is a fire burning in the room which is clearly hitting Shahid’s face but not a flame of warmth or light hits her face. She appears dead white! Ah! the obsession with being fair continues.

Lack of Chemsitry

While there is something really soothing about watching Padmavati slap colors on Ratan Singh in an unearthly artistry and fashion, what you cannot overlook is how hollow it feels. It appears as if there was someone watching them do it and they are supposed to be as presentable as they could be. They cannot be themselves. In doing all of that, both the actors miss out on their chemistry. They look not in love rather like robots put in a scene to enact the presentable. In their endeavour to remove the uggos, they become unnatural.

Shahid Kapoor as Ratan Singh in Padmaavat

Then it was Shahid Kapoor himself who felt like a robot Ratan Singh. He was impossible to believe. Apart from the parts where he had had sudden outbursts at Khilji and Padmavati, you don’t see him acting really. He was just standing there trying hard not to screw up and mess his perfect mustache.

Misplaced Poetry in Padmaavat Movie

The final moments where Padmaavati decides to burn herself along with hundred others, that scene I think ended up losing its gargantuan import. There is something huge about voluntarily putting yourself into the fire. Not only does it take balls to do that but it also walks in with apprehension. The audience couldn’t feel their skin tingle as she made her way into the pyre, I think the whole point was lost if you fail to elicit gasps.

You have to make them believe it is fire. (VFX guys you screwed it up again!) What it could do to you, despite that knowledge you are plunging into it, it is something inexplicable. With SLB’s version of showing Padmavati walking into it with Khilji failing to catch a glimpse, felt all theatricalized for cheap thrills. The whole point of the end, the real substance in it went missing. It should have torn us apart, but unfortunately, it didn’t.

Like too much of theatrics at times messed with the flow. Like how the figurative became literal when the Pandit picked up the fire (weird looking fire of course) and swallowed it. It was like….whaaaaaaat? Why do you have to actually do it to prove the heft of your words?

Prior to the final war, when Khilji couldn’t sleep and he decides to wait for Padmaavati to show, there was something poetic about that scene that unfortunately wasn’t milked properly. That wait, that imaginative wings Khilji might have fluttered for an unseen face, I felt a poetry lingering in those frames. To put a face to a name, to paint a picture in your head of a beauty one has only heard praises about. I think that were some of the important junctures that were overlooked.

Wars Taking Lives Forever

How hard is it to see that war was never good? That nothing of value ever emanated from ashes. The very hypocrisy of it drapes all those who have decided, influenced by the brainless, to not watch a movie. They chose to pick their weapons as if war is still a solution to everything. Those who don’t have a voice, they are the ones who pick a sword because it is easier to pluck one out of their time-loop than to go through all the trouble and embarrassment of facing them. Isn’t that right?

The reasons on which wars were fought were never fair. It isn’t still. Why should a soldier fight for a cause that’s written on something so petty as one’s desire? How could one possibly fight for something so trivial?

Ranveer Singh as Khilji in Padmaavat

Was Amir Khusrow just a poet who did not understand the pointlessness of war? Or was he just as rabid as Khilji who chose to suppress his emotions for the crushed? Padmavat isn’t interested in that answer. It is just interested in how a man was unable to see a woman, as he lived unfulfilled. That she chose death over becoming someone else’s plaything.

The Final Verdict

Padmaavat movie is a victim of time. It could have been just in its own period. Maybe if they recreated a scene from it back then, maybe it would have made the mob happy. But why are we concerned about what a group of people think, right?

Why is Padmaavat so revered into the heads of the people that they have decided already to severe heads of those who even tried to project a mortal as a mortal? Then why is the Ramayana still celebrated through Ram Leelas all across? Why are heads not rolling for that epic story? Is it because it’s not a victim to groupism?

India is a land of constant struggle. Was that just independence that we craved for? Or was it something more? Maybe a little bit education to understand what’s beneath us. What’s beneath us is just ground. You think we have learned to think broad, but we haven’t. It is just the attire we copy from the West. Our minds are decadent, still reeking of stories from the past. It wasn’t our time, and yet we live it as if it were. That whatever happened, whatever mistakes people, who roamed the earth like dinosaurs, committed, were all just.

They were wrong, maybe in their time they would have been right, but they would still be wrong in choosing to take lives even if it wasn’t theirs to take. The flick lives you with a dozen questions until you start questioning your very own conscience.

The Commuter Movie Review (2018) | Finding Prynne

The Commuter movie is a fast-paced thriller that somehow runs on similar rails of Murder on the Orient Express sans the visuals of course. I know it would be wrong to compare the two, that they are set in a whole different universe, the similarity might amuse you.

What kind of person are you?

The Commuter movie brings home real tension that Liam Neeson perfects once again working on the lines of all his previous action ventures like Unknown, Run All Night and Non-Stop. Hold that thought! It is the same director.  Jaume Collet-Serra is known for making movies that stars Liam in his action avatar. If he hasn’t milked him enough, I don’t know who has.

The Commuter Movie Plot (Spoilers)

Even though The Commuter movie carries a questionably built plot, it goes on to feel better as it unspools. The flick kicks off with an ex-police officer, Michael McCauley (Liam Neeson) commuting in a series of frames to his daily life as a life insurance salesman. One day he is fired from his job, and the whole world comes crashing down on him as he sits in a bar with his friend Murphy (Patrick Wilson) confiding in him how life is fickle.

On his way back home, his mobile gets stolen. Entry Joanna (Vera Farmiga) (team Conjuring…Yay!) who cracks a conversation with him. Hypothetically proposing a situation:

What if I asked you to do one little thing?

Her terms being it would affect only one individual on the train, in turn, offering the needy Michael insane amount of money.

Someone on this train does not belong, all you have to do is find them.

In an age where it is hard to afford a reliable detective, bumping into Liam Neeson seems like a much cheaper alternative.

Liam Neeson handling wads of cash in The Commuter

Finding Prynne

As per Joanna, the mission is to find a person called “Prynne” who doesn’t belong and plant a bug tracker on him/her before he/she gets off at Cold Springs stop. Michael ends up finding the bag realizing her terms weren’t hypothetical after all.

When he tries to get off, he is stopped by a girl who hands him an envelope with his wife’s wedding ring.

If you haven’t already figured it out, they are watching you.

Michael asks one of the regular commuters Walt (Jonathan Banks) for help by writing it in a newspaper. Joanna already knows. (How?) She gets Walt killed.

Finding a man suspicious, he tags him with the tracker after getting into a fight with him.

Michael calls Murphy to ask him about Prynne. He is told that Prynne is a key witness to a suicide case of Enrique Mendez. Figuring out that Joanna is after Prynne because she wishes to kill him, Michael restarts his search. But he finds the same man he had tagged dead inside the train. He figures that the dead man wasn’t Prynne but an FBI agent who was killed because he had tagged him.

Who is Prynne in The Commuter Movie

Michael shuts down the AC forcing everyone into the same compartment. There he speaks loudly proposing the same hypothetical case that Joanna had presented him with. A man leaves the compartment making Michael smell something fishy. In an attempt to find out if he was Prynne, he follows him. He realizes that the man wasn’t Prynne but an assassin named Oliver hired to kill Prynne. Oliver (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) demands Michael to tell him who Prynne is. But he refuses and a scuffle breaks loose as Michael throws the assassin out of the window.

Later in the compartment, Prynne is revealed to be a girl called Sofia. She had a flash drive with information that would have affected some really powerful people, and was going to witness protection at the final stop (Cold Springs) of the train. On being asked why she did not go to the police, Sofia said that it was the police who had killed Enrique. She had heard the killer say:

You tried to do the noble thing, but there’s no such thing as noble.

The Final Showdown

Joanna calls Michael once again threatening to kill his family if he doesn’t kill Prynne. Michael refuses. Overtaken by madness Joanna derails the train. Bad CGI btw. The train looks like a toy when that happens.

Michael unhooks the final car from the train saving all the passengers. However, Michael warns them from getting out that their lives were still at risk. He asks them to stick newspapers on the windows.

Patrick Wilson in The Commuter movie

Captain Hawthorne (Sam Neill) approaches with his cavalry convinced that Michael has gone rogue and is holding the passengers as hostages inside the compartment. Murphy is sent as a negotiator. There he uses the same ‘noble’ phrase making them figure out Murphy to be Enrique’s killer.

Murphy asks Prynne to step out but everyone starts to claim themselves as Prynne. He shoots a random guy when Michael engages in a fist to fist combat with him. He then removes the police tracker from Murphy making the Police Sniper consider Michael as friendly. Murphy is shot.

Outside Michael meets his family as Sofia tells the police what she knows. Hawthorne tells Michael that he misses him on the force.

In a sort of an epilogue, we see Joanna commuting in a train when Michael shows up in a similar manner. She defies him saying what’s going to happen when Michael shows her his police badge.

Just one little thing.

the commuter movie scene liam neeson and vera farmiga

Issues with the Flick

Vera Farmiga feels like the devil, somehow knowing everything upfront with little plausible explanations.

The VFX department in The Commuter movie suffers too during the final moments when the train derails. Even though it’s something manageable and you can overlook it, the plot goes on and on. It is in those final moments that it tries to tell its story. Well, somehow I am still convinced that we could have used some of the important bits surrounding the climax in the prologue itself. For instance, the audience really doesn’t care who Enrique is. So a frame to show what had happened would have been good in the beginning.

Liam Neeson does a great job as a confused and helpless Michael. Both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are amazing at their bits. You see the climax coming from far away, although it boils down to words and only words. If you don’t theatricalize it, people often lose interest.

The Final Verdict

The Commuter movie is a good thrilling entertainer. It will keep you on your toes as you keep guessing. It isn’t, of course, on the levels of extraordinaire but it still manages to tell a tale by keeping things under wrap. I still think it could have been made better. Can be watched.

Insidious The Last Key Review (2018) | Is the Franchise Losing its Mojo?

Another mediocre horror movie in the Insidious franchise. Insidious The Last Key felt as if I picked up a book based on its cover and its age-old legacy and ended up feeling not so good. Dejected, primarily, because it was bland, not properly directed and somehow felt further away from the Further.

I miss what Insidious used to be. It has been reduced to nothing but a comic adventure now that capers with Elise Rainier‘s character always bolstered by her sidekicks Specs and Tucker. Earlier, at least, there used to be that element of surprise forcing us to nibble our nails, constantly worried about the lead characters. Now it’s replaced by that surety that nothing bad is going to happen to the franchise’s successfully running trio.

Overlook that fact and you will still find Insidious The Last Key not up to the mark. Not only has its horror quotient degraded immensely but it has also become less appealing visually. Ghosts no longer scare you, and the element of surprise prepares you upfront. That are just among some of the apparent issues Insidious The Last Key has.

Contradicting all of it is Insidious The Last Key’s plot which is actually good. I guess maybe it needed a better director than Adam Robitel. Whatever issues it had, as long as Leigh Whannell has stories to tell, the Insidious franchise will keep on milking its concept of the “Further”. That’s how it is I suppose. Maybe it’s high time he found a director who could really make its horror appeal better.

Plot of Insidious The Last Key (Spoilers)

To start with, we are taken back to 1953, in New Mexico, where we witness a young Elise Rainier being punished for her ability to see ghosts by her father Gerald (Josh Stewart), who was an executioner in a nearby prison. Elise claimed she saw ghosts of the prisoners who were executed in the electric chair. Furious by Elise’s claims Gerald locks her up in the basement despite what her mother Audrey has to say. There she hears a voice summoning her to a door which she unlocks releasing a demon named Key Face. It possesses Elise and kills her mother who comes to help.

In the present world, Elise (Lin Shaye) is contacted by someone called Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo) trying to hire her for paranormal investigation. It is revealed that it’s the same house that she used to live in growing up. Reluctant at first, she accepts asking her crew Spec (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker(Angus Sampson) not to come but they come anyway.

Insidious chapter 4 key face

In Nex Mexico

The trio who have now officially branded themselves as Spectral Sightings end up at Garza’s house or Elise’s old house. Trying to investigate it she comes across a whistle which belonged to her younger brother Christian lost in 1953. There she is attacked by a ghost who takes her whistle away.

Help me!

She remembers seeing that same ghost from her past in their laundry room when she was a teenager. Gerald had claimed then that he hadn’t seen her. Scared that she would be once again beaten for her abilities, Elise had decided to leave her father and Christian behind.

The next morning the trio stop at a diner where they run into Christian, and his two daughters Melissa (Spencer Locke) and Imogen (Caitlin Gerard). Christian still taken up by the pain of abandonment refuses to talk to Elise, and storms out. However, Elise manages to pass a photo of the lost whistle into the hand of one of her daughters for their father to see in hopes to repair the damage.

The Whistle Calls

The same night they hear the whistle blow. As Elise and Tucker follow the sound they end up behind a secret door in the wall. There they discover a girl with a chain around her neck. Garza shows up locking them all in, and then goes for Specs. Specs outwits him smashing him underneath a bookcase. The police take Elise in for interrogation.

Whilst interrogation Elise gets an inkling that something bad is going to happen when she witnesses Melissa’s ghost for a split second. At the house, Elise, Imogen, and Christian are trying to find the whistle when Melissa ends up being lured into the basement.

In comes, Key Face who attacks her when she is all alone. The demon’s fingers are shaped like keys which he pricks inside her flesh.

  • The first key takes away her voice.
  • The second key takes away her soul putting Melissa in a coma.

Elise and Christian arrive to find her in the basement, but Christian asks her to stay away from her.

insidious the last key basement scene

The Further

Convinced to help Melissa, Imogen stays with them, who confides in Elise saying she could astral project too. The same night Elise and Tucker start looking for the ghost to enter the red door in order to venture into The Further while Specs and Imogen look for the Bible that Garza held dear.

What? I get the death chamber and he gets bible camp with the most beautiful girl on earth? That’s not a democracy.

Prodding into the basement, Elise encounters a nightgown in the exhaust vent, of the same ghost. She finds out her name to be Anna. We see a flashback, where it is revealed that her father Gerald had held Anna captive in the basement just like Garza, and that at that time when Elise had claimed seeing a ghost in the laundry room, Anna was alive and deliberately overlooked by Gerald. Gerald had later killed her.

Soon Elise runs into more boxes of belongings of all the girls that were held captive all these years. The resemblance of the acts of the horrible men who had lived in that house insinuate at yet another ghostly activity that we are yet to put a pin to. Just a thought!

Just then Key Face shows up taking Elise’s soul into the Further. In the real world Spec, Tucker and Imogen are left with no one to guide them. Imogen steps up to help with her ability to visit the Further. She ventures into the Further guided by Anna’s ghost to a prison where souls of Melissa, Gerald, and Elise are held captive by the Key Face.

The Final Ending of Insidious The Last Key Explained

The reason Key Face has been so powerful is because he had been feeding on the hatred produced by this despicable act of kidnapping women in the basements. Men like Gerald and Garza are in the wrong, on the receiving end, and are being punished by all the souls who wish to right the wrong. As a result Key Face is becoming powerful. There is this immense hate in the atmosphere that’s making the demon strong.

When the demon offers Elise a chance to get back at her father, Elise refuses to hit him, thus seeing through the Key Face’s ploy. An angry Key Face attacks Elise but is stopped by her father Gerald who is stabbed. Killing in The Further means vanishing forever so Gerald disappears. Imogen ends up being no help as she is captured alongside Melissa by Key Face and fettered.

Melissa is stabbed which causes her body in the real world to start dying. The demon attacks Elise using the first key on his finger to silence her. To fuel the metaphor, Imogen flings the whistle at Elise which she then uses thus finding a voice of bravery in fear.

insidious the last key inside the red door

The whistle has a huge import in the tale since it was given to Christian (and Elise) by their mother Audrey (Tessa Ferrer) to be used whenever they were afraid, that Audrey would show up to help. That’s what happens in the Further too with that figment of imagination and hope moulding itself into a form, summoning Audrey’s ghost for help. Audrey defeats the Key Face and the mother-daughter reunite. Elise asks for forgiveness but realizes Audrey has already forgiven her.

Realizing Melissa’s body still dying all of them head out quickly in the nick of time to save Melissa. Elise is forgiven by Christian when she delivers him the whistle.

Dalton

In the flick’s final moments we see Elise being stirred up awake by an image of Dalton and the Lipstick Demon. It should be noted that she had already seen Dalton once in the Further in a room (with the ladder). She knows that trouble looms over him. Just then she receives a call from Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) explaining that Elise had seen Dalton some years ago, and those same symptoms had returned. Elise agrees to meet them in the morning thus setting up the events of the First Chapter.

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The Final Verdict

Insidious The Last Key had plenty of issues, no doubt about that. But it scores well on the plot card. That’s its only strength. It doesn’t have enough chills to give you goosebumps. Adam Robitel underperforms especially at the moment where it all mattered the most – the final showdown. It felt rushed, and unexplained, and above all not at all scary.

Editing and Screenplay seemed impoverished as well. Whatever humor Spec and Tucker brought to the table, seemed deliberate and so not funny. The music seemed to be absent on a lot of occasions where we could have really used it.

I guess we need to find a good director to revamp the series, throw in some extra chills bringing everything to the level of The Conjuring. If not then it would be really sad to see it slowly pass away to a place from where there is no return.