Solo – A Star Wars Story

solo

Solo, a beverage and a man. A man who was given his iconic name not through simply being Han Solo, but because an Imperial bureaucrat lacked imagination. Solo, the delicious Norwegian soda, was famously the drink that only did one thing: satisfy your thirst. Solo, a Star Wars story, does not satisfy. Solo, the heist/adventure movie, manages a soft “meh.” This angered me more than I expected as I left the cinema. I’m usually not one to care that much. What struck me constantly during the film was how little I cared for anything. Let’s try to find out why, shall we?

Han Solo is the quintessential rogue character. What satisfies me about his character will not be the same thing that does it for you. My main concern is what can his origin story even be when the ending must birth the character we all hold so dear? The task seems impossible.

This review contains all the spoilers

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Ready Player One

posterReading the novel by Ernest Cline felt a bit like watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory – not necessarily in a bad way, but more in the way that I wasn’t exactly sure who the book is written for. The book is, at first glance, for young and old geeks who like geeky things and aren’t opposed to a bit of pulp in their fiction. That’s definitely me! But at the end of the book, I didn’t really feel anything, and it had not felt like an adventure. Maybe I’m just not of a “good enough” nerd, you might say. If you do feel inclined to say that, maybe the book’s for you.

The film, on the other hand, does away with a lot of the American Psycho-esque listing of esoteric knowledge and keeps the story grounded much more in reality, both in the reality of the characters and the reality of, well, actual reality.

Some spoilers below.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

jediWe waited until Boxing Day to see The Last Jedi, but long before that I had heard – or rather felt – disturbing rumours. I’ve yet to read other reviews, so I am still not quite sure what people are all up in arms about. This review might not touch on any of the so-called “issues” people had with the film. I can see that some might find a few things hard to swallow, but this review has a lot of stuff to talk about, so I’ll save the in-depth discussion of Luke for another time. Let’s get into it.

SPOILERS DOWN BELOW

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Blade Runner 2049

bladerunnerCan the Uncanny Valley ever be overcome? The line between a computer simulation or robot, and a real person seems like a great chasm today, but once we get closer and closer, will the line blur, or will we become hyper-sensitive to the minute differences? Will we ever need to have a debate over a “grown” human’s rights? Are they the same as a robot? A fleshy version of Commander Data? Can an automaton have a soul if it passes an emotional Turing Test? Is it different if it bleeds? Do tests even really mean anything when we’re looking for a soul? We could sit here and have ourselves a podcast’s worth of questions, but let’s talk about the movie instead. Is it a good movie?

Blade Runner officer “K” (Ryan Gosling) goes out to a protein farm outside Los Angeles and “retires” one of the old replicant models. The replicant was hiding a secret so powerful it might “end the world” as officer K’s superior, Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) explains it. It is up to K to unravel the mystery.

This review contains SPOILERS

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Independence Day on Brexit Day

independence-day-resurgenceToday I watched the news as Britain declared their “independence day”. I then went to the cinema to watch a movie about the whole world coming together, putting aside their petty grievances, and defeating a real threat to earth. No one can predict what will happen as we live through these interesting times, but I’m pretty sure I can predict that Independence Day: Resurgence won’t last long in cinemas.

I’m coming at this film with nostalgia goggles at coke bottle thickness. I was ten when I first saw it, at a time when nothing like it had been seen before. I’m sure many of my generation remember the absolute awe at seeing the White House destroyed in the promos. Could a movie even do that? When our dad installed a new sound system a few years later, we knew exactly which movie we wanted to test it with, because the sound of those ships coming overhead was seared into our brains. Thankfully, I wasn’t all that hyped for the sequel. Considering the too-late-sequels and reboots we’ve gotten over the years, absolutely nothing could get my hopes up.

I’m not going to whine about how this ruined the old film’s legacy, because it wasn’t offensively bad by any stretch. But there is really no way around the fact that the sequel fails to live up to the original. There were certainly moments I liked. There was some great design here and there. I had a few laughs not based on referencing old material, but it wasn’t enough. The movie doesn’t work as an Independence Day sequel, and it doesn’t work as a sci-fi destruction-porn movie.

What follows below has ALL the spoilers, because I want to explain exactly what I mean.

SPOILERS

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Tomorrowland Review

When Tomorrowlatomorrowlandnd – A World Beyond was first announced I, like many others, became excited. The project had a lot of good and interesting names attached, I was a fan of Brad Bird, and it seemed like it could show off everyone’s creativity. When it hit theatres, however, I was surprised at how “meh” everyone reacted. So much so that I decided to skip the cinema experience and let everything stew until it came out on Netflix (or in this case Viaplay). I think this was the right decision as it put distance between me and the initial reactions. I found the film surprising in that it took a few turns I did not expect (mostly because of the reviews I had read), and because of the creativity I could plainly see. Although, there is a lot of “meh”-ness as well.

A few spoilers follow.

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Interstellar Review

interstellar3As the spaceship Endurance inched towards the horizon of the wormhole, I felt that bottomless “whoop” like when you’re about to go over the edge of a roller coaster’s first drop. My stomach clenched, and then we were through, now faced with visuals somewhere between a kaleidoscope and a hall of mirrors, both in deep space.

Interstellar is the long awaited next Nolan feature, and as with all long waits you really want the payoff to be everything you hoped for and more. With this in mind, I’d like to try to be a little more forgiving, and not factor in anticipation into this review. That said, Interstellar is not without its problems.

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