Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Deadpool 2 (2018)

When I walked out of Infinity War I thought it will be my favorite movie of the year. It won't be. I liked Deadpool 2 more than Infinity War. Infinity War is better from cinematic point of view but Deadpool 2 is more entertaining. When I walked out of theater I checked other screenings in case I could go to watch it again. I have never done that before. I have seen few movies twice in theater but I have never wanted to go straight back to next screening.

At the beginning I started to wonder if movie about guy who can't die will be interesting. Movie starts with Deadpool killing lot of people. It was just opening and then movie changes the tone. Movie gets better as it goes one. It was refreshing to see superhero movie which doesn't take itself too seriously and was aimed for adults. It was going to be censored in more conservative countries so it could have first LGBTQ+ superhero couple in big budget movies and Deadpool himself isn't too straight either. Other superhero movies don't dare to go there because it might mean less money.

Story is all over the place and there are lot of plot holes.There is some effort put into story but this is more about interesting characters being funny and doing outrageous things. Every joke doesn't  hit the mark but there is so much of them and most are clever for you to stay entertained. I wanted to see this again because I wanted to see more of these characters. Domino and Cable were good additions to Deadpool family. Domino's solo movie could be hit. She has the attitude and cool powers. Her character would work even without Deadpool in more serious movie. Cable needs Deadpool. He is just too grumpy and one dimensional character to work alone. He was elevated by Deadpool because characters worked well together.

I wanted to see more of Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio. If there is next Deadpool movie I want it to be about Deadpool, Domino, Cable, Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio. This movie will make money but rights are going to Disney who might not want to have Deadpool like this in MCU. I hope they keep making Deadpool movies even if they don't include him in MCU. Deadpool is something superhero movies need to stay fresh and it is only thing really competing against MCU in the genre.

Deadpool 2 is not a perfect movie. It is highly entertaining if you are fan of superhero movies and this kind of movies. All the promotion done for Deadpool movies is good reason enough for the third movie. It just has to be rated-R like first two are. Not taking anything away from MCU but Deadpool is more interesting as a whole at the moment.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Serial Experiments Lain (1998)

When I looked anime similar to Psycho Pass I found Ergo Proxy. When I looked anime similar to Ergo Proxy I found Serial Experiments Lain. I went deeper into rabbit hole. I don't want to go any deeper if that is even possible. It is understatement to say Serial Experiments Lain is weird. However it still doesn't lose its focus.

Serial Experiments Lain starts as story of lonely school girl's internet addiction. She isn't that much into computers until others in her school get email from dead girl. She wants to know if she too got email. First she start to build bigger computer but then everything goes deeper and deeper in every way.

It is not completely clear what actually happened by the end. Surreal stories need ending which gives satisfactory explanation what happened. Serial Experiments Lain almost has that except I think it has plot holes. I am not sure if everything was meant to make any sense at all. There is story which make sense but everything around it might not.

I watched Nordic dvd release with Japanese audio and Finnish subtitles. Something might have been lost in translation. Still I enjoyed the surreal trip this series is. They say you have to watch it few times to understand everything. Writer understand how computers and internet works on technical level to some extent but not completely. Serial Experiments Lain was ahead its time. It predicted where internet would go and is current still today. It gave nostalgic feel of good old times when internet was more text and hypertext based.

If this sounds interesting you should watch Serial Experiments Lain. If you can't take challenging surreal storytelling it is not for you. Serial Experiments Lain is cult classic. You either get it or don't understand why others like it so much.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ergo Proxy (2006)

Now I have something not boring to say if someone asks my favorite anime. Before this it would have been Ghost in the Shell (1995). Ergo Proxy is not as well know as Ghost in the Shell but it still got dvd release in Finland. So it can't be that obscure.

Ergo Proxy follows inspector Re-l of futuristic domed city Romdeua. Her world changes when monster attacks her at her flat. Another main character is Vincent who is hunted by monster and is losing his grasp on reality. Child like android Piko starts to follow him. Series start like regular cyberpunk series. Main story seems to be robots and androids becoming self-aware and killing humans. Other theme being life in highly controlled society with refugees trying to be come citizens. Story takes turn to different direction after first few episodes.

Ergo Proxy is not easy to watch. There is on-going story but episodes can start weird places and you have to figure out what has happened since last episode and what is going on. In one of the best episodes literally nothing happens. It spends time showing how one of the main characters grow when they wait for something to happen. Some episodes feel like complete fillers until after you have finished watching the series you realize why those episodes were important showing what is going on in the world. There is one episode after half way point which don't seem to make any sense at all. But later you realize it actually told what had happened before.

Ergo Proxy doesn't tell everything. You have to figure it out yourself. I won't spoil the story. So I can't tell you what this is all about. It doesn't have clear good guys or bad guys except Piko who is child like android. Re-l is one of my favorite fictional characters. She had best moments and her character arc was most interesting. Vincent lacked personality. He didn't know what was going on. He just wanted to know what happened to him. Re-l and Piko carried his character. Re-l was ready sacrifice her career to know the truth. Vincent was more or less expecting someone to tell him the truth.

I can understand why someone might not like the series. It has lot of slow moments. It challenges its audience. There are many episodes which feel like fillers at first and too many dream sequences. Last episodes weren't as good as episodes before it. It felt bit like they ran out of time. I might have missed something which is why I didn't like the ending as much as the story leading to ending. It didn't ruin the series. I wanted to learn more what happened and why it happened. There was more story to be told.

It is hard to say why this was so good without spoilers. First it was mood and art work. Then it was characters. Romdeua was interesting place. I was disappointed when story went outside Romdeua but it only meant story went to different direction. Best moments happened outside Romdeua. I will watch this again. Another time probably reveal many things I missed first time. I almost missed few hints first time. I realized them later after I had seen the whole series.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Akira (1988)

Akira is said to be one of the best anime and science fiction movies. It is always hard to adjust your expectations when you watch something which should best thing ever. You expect it to be something and might be disappointed when it is something else. Usually it is something else if you manage see the movie unspoiled.

Akira happens in Neo-Tokyo where society is almost collapsing. There are massive protests. Bike gangs fight on streets. Violent police tries to keep it all together without thinking too much about collateral damage. Almost everyone seem to be on the edge all the time. Bike gang crashes into weird kid. One of them them is taken by military and others by police. Story gets really weird by the end. Telling more about the story would be spoiler.

I can see why Akira has its reputation. It won't got to top of my anime or science fiction lists. Maybe it would be there if I saw it when it was released. It is still good movie but it has too many flaws to be on top of the lists. Main flaws is ending being too weird and some characters not being given any backstory even though they had some affecting the movie. You had to guess what it was. Worst was long death scene for character we saw briefly couple times before. The death scene happened when main story was shifting gear. It was payoff for something which didn't have any build up.

Akira is based on manga series by director of the movie. Maybe he thought we knew the characters better than what we learned from the movie. Many open questions were probably answered in manga and build up for the death scene was there. There were few characters who needed more backstory. It was clear characters and world had more to give but this movie didn't have time for them.

Akira looks really good. It reminded me of comic books with really good art work. Until the end it doesn't go too weird. It is worth checking to know what the movie actually is. It is not perfect movie but it does many things really well.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thor: Ragnarök (2017)

There are two reasons why I didn't like Thor: Ragnarök as much as I should. I saw it first time day after I saw Infinity War. I saw Thor's character arc from this movie onwards which set some expectations for this movie. Planet Hulk is one of my favorite comic book stories. This movie means we don't get proper live action Planet Hulk movie. This movie took Sakaar setting and some story elements from Planet Hulk. If you take what happened in Sakaar here, mix it with Game of Thrones and add lot of space zombies you have some idea what Planet Hulk is. If you don't want to read the comic animated movie is good option. What was in this movie doesn't spoil Planet Hulk. It is much more than what this movie had.

Thor goes Guardians of the Galaxy or is it Marvel Cinematic Universe space? There are lot of jokes and everything is bright and colorful. Some jokes felt forced and there were too many of them. Like Marvel Studios knew what was coming next and wanted to make this fun colorful action movie. Movie doesn't have good villain or villains. In Asgard it is Hela who had much better premise than what we got. I don't know what went wrong. Her backstory was interesting. Cate Blanchett was miscast. She lacked something role needed. She looked cool in photos but something was missing.

Grandmaster was Roman emperor like ruler of Sakaar. He was different kind of Roman emperor than leader of Sakaar in Planet Hulk. I can't stop comparing this to Planet Hulk. This is like watered down 70's disco version of Planet Hulk. Valkyrie was shining light at Sakaar. She wasn't from Planet Hulk which probably was reason I could enjoy her. Loki wasn't in Planet Hulk either but we have seen him and Thor so many times before. There wasn't much new this time.

End battle had moments but ending was too convenient. Movie was all over the place and then they brought coolest or should I say hottest plot device to save heroes and heroes got go straight to beginning of Infinity War.

My enjoyment was affected by expectations of darker movie. Even the name hinted darker movie. This is fun colorful action movie. It uses too much comedy tropes. Some of those are hilarious. Most not. I probably like this more next time when I know what kind of movie this is. Same happened with Blade Runner 2049. I can see this is not bad movie even with it flaws. I had wrong expectations when I saw it first time. I assumed in Infinity War review you should see this before Infinity War. I was right. Not only because Infinity War starts where this ends.