Moonfall: The Height Of Originality

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

There is an evil alien force inside the moon that is pushing it out of orbit and onto a collision course with the Earth, however, have no fear as there are a group of Americans ready to save the planet.

I think it is nothing short of the best joke of the year so far that the director of this film Roland Emmerich had a go at the MCU for lacking originality, and then made this film. A highly derivative disaster film. What makes this lack of originality even worse is that this doesn’t even seem to be Emmerich ripping off other better films, no, he is ripping off his own films. How lazy can you get.

Moreover, the pacing of the film is awful. It is so littered with sub-plots and pointless characters that you almost forget about the moon stuff half of the time. There are also constant references to ‘our friends the Chinese’ which feel quite clearly forced in to pander to the China market, as no studio in Hollywood has a soul.

However, the film is saved somewhat by being so dumb that you just have to laugh. More often than not the film is unintentionally hilarious, and John Bradley shines as the comedic standout here with a few deliberately funny lines of solid cringe comedy. I also thought the film nailed emotional impacts when it went for them such as in the final sacrifice scene.

Another thing I would give this props for is it’s unhinged third act that takes all the conspiracy theories you are likely to see on your parent’s Facebook, now Meta, page and crams them all together to create something that whilst being a mess works for the sheer strangeness of it.

Overall, it is watchable but not good. Quite a mixed bag.

Pros.

Bradley

The cringe comedy

The ending and wider third act

Cons.

It is dumb

It panders to the Chinese

It has awful pacing   

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The Book Of Boba Fett: From The Desert Comes A Stranger

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Mandalorian season 3 continues on with a silent cameo from Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison.

I think this may have been the best episode of the series yet. Admittedly much like with last week’s episode it is concerning that the episode without Fett in them pretty much at all are the best ones, considering this is Boba Fett’s show. In my mind this has now just become The Mandalorian but under a different name.

I think this episode does a lot right, I enjoyed that it brought back Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth, Olyphant can do no wrong and he was on fire in this episode. Likewise I thought they nailed the emotional reunion between Din, played by Pedro Pascal, and Grogu: though not much of a reunion took place. I thought the episode’s cliff-hanger cruelly played with our emotions in the best way, though I have a fairly good feeling I know where it is all heading.

The things I don’t enjoy about this episode all come back to the same thing, the effects. Ashoka, played by Rosario Dawson makes a return to the show and continues to look like a cosplayer, there is something deeply uncanny about the way her character looks as she moves, especially when there is a focus on her talking. It is quite jarring. Moreover, the bad effects continue with the return of a de-aged Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, and the less said about this the better. What I will say is that every time the character talked or we got a close up of his face it looked like a video game cut scene from over ten years ago, there were major issues with the dubbing. The de-aging tech clearly isn’t there yet and I really don’t think they should be showing this much Luke Skywalker if it is going to look this bad. In a final example of horrendous special effects this episode marks Cade Bane’s, played by Dorian Kingi and voiced by Corey Burton, first appearance in live action and my word does he look terrible.

Overall, in terms of emotions and action this episode is ahead of the pack sadly the tech and the effects really stop the episode from being perfect.

Pros.

More Mando

The emotion

Bringing back Olyphant

The ending

Cons.

The effects and the look of some of the characters   

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The Book Of Boba Fett: Return Of The Mandalorian

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Mando, played by Pedro Pascal, returns in search of a new ship and a new purpose.

This is a good episode, perhaps even the best of the series so far, sadly it doesn’t even feature Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, thereby side-lining him in his own show. Really this episode reminds us all of how much we have missed Mando and how poor of a replacement Boba is for him. The scene in which Mando despatches a large group of enemies in a brutal fight, woefully contrasts with the moments in prior episodes when the weaker Fett gets beat up and has to use his minions to fight on his behalf.

Though I liked seeing Mando again, and found it heart warming to see him set off on a new quest to give Grogu some beskar armour, it did all feel a bit like filler. The latter half of the episode when Mando is just looking for a new ship drags on and on and eats up runtime. Moreover, the Mando storyline is only used to kill the remaining episodes until we get to the final as clearly they have realised people don’t want any more boring flashbacks from Boba.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode more than a lot of the others, but after I finished it I was sad as this really shows the failure of the series as the best episode didn’t feature the protagonist at all.

Pros.

Mando is always great

The edge and the violence is back

It actually feels like Star Wars

The new Grogu quest

Cons.

It feels like filler

It highlights how The Book Of Boba Fett has failed

It doesn’t feature Fett

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The Book Of Boba Fett: The Gathering Storm

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

An almost entirely flashback set episode, that explains how Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, and Fennec Shand, played by Ming-Na-Wen, came to be associates.

For the most part this was an enjoyable episode, I liked most of the flashback stuff and it was nice to see that journey come to an end. I would have liked to see Boba do more during the reclaiming of his armour and ship action wise, but the show seems to only allow Fennec to do the action set pieces. She is cool, but this is supposed to be a Boba Fett show. That said I thought seeing Boba gun down the bikers who killed his Tusken tribe was a nice moment, and showed the character’s harder side better.

I can’t quite move on from the flashback scenes until I talk about the return of the horrible cyberpunk elements. So during the episode Boba takes a near death Fennec to a modifier to try and save her life, whilst there he is surrounded once again by bad cyberpunk cosplayers that remind you of the budget for the show. To make matters worse they play some god awful techno during this scene which feels incredibly out of place in Star Wars.

The present day stuff is all a big tease, but an exciting one at that. We see the character preparing for war with the pikes and see a familiar face return. I enjoyed all this well enough and hope that the next episode is truly crazy in order to make up for the tameness and general lameness of the series so far in most aspects.

Overall, a nice episode though it would be better if Boba actually did something and didn’t just let Fennec do everything.

Pros.

Ending the flashbacks

Teasing the war to come

Seeing how Boba became the crime lord

Boba breaking bad slightly

Cons.

Boba does nothing during the action scenes and is further watered down

The cyberpunk elements  

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The Book Of Boba Fett: The Streets Of Mos Espa

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, hangs out with some poorly designed cosplayers, gets beat up whilst in his underwear and the Pikes invade.

My, my just when I thought the series was heading in the right direction we get this.

So the Tusken Raider plot line ends very abruptly and with no real closure…. What was the point of building it up so much over the last few episodes if you were just going to have them massacred off screen? I suppose it is leading to some kind of showdown between Boba and their killers but honestly it just feels like it took a moment that could have been really emotionally important for the show and chose to cut it out.

Moreover, everything about the new rainbow vespa gang that Boba Fett befriends this episode is embarrassing. Their design is awful, they don’t look like they fit in the universe, they don’t advance the plot, the CGI used for them isn’t up to snuff, I could go on. It just seems like these characters were forced in so Boba could have underlings and as an incredibly cynical and cheap attempt to boost the shows diversity.

I have written at length about how this show is far too family friendly and is seemingly scared to have Boba Fett actually behave like himself and fight back or even kill, he is only allowed to kill monsters by this show’s rules, and this episode proves that to a tee. Not only is Boba depowered here, we watch this master of hand to hand combat get whooped in his underpants needing to be saved by his new cyber punk friends and honestly it makes the character some what of a joke.

Don’t get me started on the emotional support rancor.

The only reason this episode isn’t getting lower is because I am interested in the Pike war to come and I like the tease of that.

Overall, this show is really starting to show its cracks.

Pros.

The Pikes both in the past and present

The tease for what is to come

Cons.

It almost character assassinates Boba Fett

It wastes the build up of the Tusken storyline

The cyberpunk cosplay biker gang

It has pacing issues and is again too short

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The Book Of Boba Fett: Tribes Of Tatooine

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Boba Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, faces challenges to his rule and plans a Tusken Raiders upgrade.

So this episode was better than episode one in that it felt properly paced and had stakes, two very basic asks I known. However, that is not to say it was a strong episode rather that it advanced the show in an uphill direction, hopefully next week can continue this.

I enjoyed Fett’s tense standoff with the Hutt Twins, I thought it was nice to see the coming conflict and the whole scene felt suitably tense, they did a good job with the effects as well here which was nice. However, I would say that the present timeline could have done with a little more, because from here the rest of the episode continues on with the Tusken flashbacks, which are fine but maybe starting to run out of steam at this point.

I also liked the feel of this episode as it felt more grimy and underworld esque, which is how the show should always have been. I still feel like Boba is pulling his punches and the lack of blood is still dampening the action sequences for me though, this needs to change in the next episode.

Overall, better but still not what you would want from a show about the Star Wars criminal underworld.

Pros.

The Hutt standoff

A nice pace

A sense of coming conflict

Cons.

The Tusken flashbacks are getting a bit much

It still feels too family friendly  

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The Book Of Boba Fett: Stranger In A Strange Land

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Temuera Morrison returns as Boba Fett, with Fett now becoming a Tatooine crime lord.

For a show supposedly about the gritty underworld of the Star Wars universe this was disappointing. I understand it is a Disney property so we were never going to get anything too hardcore, but the toned down bloodless violence really hit me here and put me off. The violence does not feel real or impressive as it is so clearly forced into a family friendly lens that it is afraid to show anything.

Furthermore, as many people have commented the pacing in this episode is not good, for two very different reasons. Firstly, not a lot happens there are some flashbacks and a few minor events here and there yet this is stretched out for just over half an hour, the pace moves so slowly it feels like they are trying to kill time. Secondly, and somewhat contradictory the episode needs to be longer, though as I say nothing really happens something could have, had the flashback sequences been given proper time to explain Fett’s backstory rather than no doubt splitting it between episodes to fill time, then this episode could have been better.

Finally and perhaps worst of all the look of some of the alien races herein look like cosplayers trying there best to win a convention competition rather than makeup effects, prosthetics and design  that properly reflect the budget of the show.

Overall, a deeply underwhelming start to the series.

Pros.

Morrison is trying

The western feel is well done

Cons.

The pacing

The alien design in live action

It is too short  

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Matrix Resurrections: Taking Everything That Worked And Flushing It Down The Toilet

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Yet another franchise is brought back from the dead only to be dissected, demystified and reinvented in a new trendy way, without seemingly understanding what made the first few and its later sequels, to a lesser extent, work.

The first ten minutes of this film gives you enough reasons to turn it off. The dialogue is terrible, this is a problem for the whole film, and seems to think it is saying something deep when actually a lot of the deeper philosophy of the series seems to have been carved out of it. Pair this with a group of new characters that look, act and feel like cosplayers doing their best to make a fan film and you are given your first red flag.

To make matters worse the whole meta idea of Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, being a games developer who made the Matrix as a game and in this world everyone knows about the events of the trilogy not as events that really happened but as sections of a popular game is just awful. In this early part of the film they make funny meta comments about how WB is forcing them to make a sequel to it, and about various elements from earlier films, this does not come across as funny or deep it comes across instead as smug, pretentious and up its own arse. They also manage to throw in a good number of left wing talking points during this early section of the film seemingly for no reason other than to be trendy and have certain parts of Twitter praise them.

Honestly the way this film recontextualises the other films it makes them borderline unwatchable, and hence forward I will pretend like this film doesn’t exist.

The only reason it has got a one is because Reeves is trying and is allowed to have some fun with the role.

Overall, please save your money.

Pros.

Reeves

Cons.

It ruins the previous films

It is too meta

The writing is awful

The new characters look and feel like cosplayers

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Mother/Android: The YA Genre Just Can’t Seem To Die

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Chloe Grace Moretz tries to break free of the YA market by making a science fiction film that feels remarkably YA. Moretz plays a young woman who must navigate an AI uprising in order to get to safety so she can give birth.

It is a shame this year has been so mixed for Moretz she started off with the underappreciated Shadow In The Cloud, and then went on to make Tom And Jerry, a sequel to the animated Addams family film and then this, further and further from grace. This film is by no means terrible, there are some interesting concepts here, however, it never does much with them. Instead it seems content on making this film a depressing melodrama with a YA dystopian setting and a front and centre romance.

Even when the film gets gritty the violence is either not shown or it is surprisingly bloodless, which I guess makes sense if you are fighting robots. However, it just makes this film feel like yet another poor YA film.

Moretz is trying her best however, she doesn’t really bring enough resonance to the part and as such the big emotional twist at the end doesn’t work as much as the film needs it to.

Overall, yet more weak science fiction.

Pros.

Some interesting ideas

It is relatively well paced  

Cons.

Moretz can’t land the emotional delivery

Surprisingly bloodless

It feels like an edgy YA film

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Encounter: The Strangest Father Son Roadtrip Ever

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Malik Khan, played by Riz Ahmed, a decorated marine must go on a daring rescue mission to save his sons from an otherworldly threat, however as the film progresses the alien threat seems to become more and more farfetched and Malik’s own traumas and fractured mental state start to become the real threat.

I thought this was easily one of the best film’s I have seen in a while. Ahmed was really good and sold both the crazed paranoia as well as the love for his sons really well, you both empathised with his character as well as felt slightly threatened by him. I thought Ahmed balanced both of these sides of his character really well and kept him complexed and nuanced.

The emotion in this film is powerful and resonant. Especially towards the end of the film when Malik starts to realise what he has done it breaks your heart, I would have liked the ending to be a bit more polysemic however, I do think there is some wiggle room for what if Malik was actually right all along.

Overall, a compelling film boosted by a magnificent performance from Riz Ahmed.

Pros.

Ahmed

The emotion

The threat

The twist

Cons.

The ending is a little too clear cut for my taste

They wasted Octavia Spencer  

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