Monday, September 17, 2018

Beyond Skyline (2017)

I will spoil Skyline (2010) and Beyond Skyline (2017) more than I usually spoil movies I review. If you want to see them unspoiled you should watch them before reading this.

Skyline was zombie movie where zombies where replaced by aliens until the sequel bait ending. It had all characters dying or getting captured by alien and aliens winning all over the world. Then movie goes inside alien ship where we see male and female lead alive. Male lead's brains are put to alien body but he didn't become mindless slave like others. He fight other aliens and save female lead. Movie ends them still being inside alien ship. I liked movie before alien ship part. It didn't feel like it should have been in the movie.

Beyond Skyline shows why it was in the movie. It was main part of this movie's story arc. Movie starts showing group of other people during events of Skyline. Survivors end up in same space ship as first movie's male and female lead. Then aliens leave. David Zayas' plan was correct in first movie. If they stayed hidden they would have survived. Beyond Skyline goes down when they enter space ship. Just like in Skyline except this time it happens on first third of the movie.

Beyond Skyline doesn't bring much what wasn't introduced in Skyline. Beyond Skyline explains what we saw in Skyline. That is the problem. Aliens worked better as mysterious unstoppable force. Beyond Skyline explains them as ancient astronauts who created mankind. I am always lost when movie does this. Ancient aliens and intelligent design takes away science fiction credibility in my eyes. Beyond Skyline uses both of them.

Aliens created us to be harvested every two thousand years or something like that. That explains why aliens light make humans zombie like and why human brains fit to alien bodies. Problem is that aliens don't act like we are harvested every two thousand years. They try to catch everyone. It would create evolutionary bottle necks around the world when almost everyone is gone from different areas. There might not be anyone to be harvested next time. Before you say mankind have survived things like plagues, you have to realize plagues haven't killed over 95% of population like aliens do in Skyline movies.

It is interesting premise is based on intelligent design but evolution is main plot point. Mankind has evolved so that some of us can keep our personality when our brains are put into alien body. Skyline's male lead was one of those people. One character in this movie is another. Skyline's male and female leads' daughter is kind of chose one of this movie series. Yes, she was established in first movie even though it wasn't used much there. Daughter's blood can free human brains in alien bodies from slavery. If first movie is more like zombie movie this one was action movie where they escape aliens with daughter.

Beyond Skyline being action movie causes problems. It means characters can kill aliens easier than in first movie. Characters can do this because aliens forget to use their light several times when it would have been best option. Humans even go out doors to fight against aliens who can fly and harvest people from air using zombifying lights. Lucky for our heroes aliens didn't use light and fought hand to hand using human sized aliens. They used earlier much bigger aliens. Aliens aren't similar threat here. They are obstacles to overcome.

I am disappointed. Skyline made me care about boring and unlikable characters. Beyond Skyline starts with interesting characters and turn them into hero mode. If there is conflict between characters it is solved in next scene never to be returned. Conflict may not have any build up. It is brought up in scene and solved in next. I expected this to be better version of Skyline but got movie where worst of Skyline was boosted. To underline they don't know what they were doing movie ends with bloopers. They ended serious movie, where aliens harvested most of the human race, with bloopers. I guess both movies had to end disappointing way.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Skyline (2010)

When I said Extinction (2018) was practically Skyline with interesting twist I didn't remember much about Skyline. I thought I had reviewed it. I only remembered there was sequel bait at the end but didn't remember what it was. I was going to watch the ending before watching sequel Beyond Skyline since both were available for streaming. But because I had not reviewed it yet I decided to watch it and review it.

Skyline is zombie movie where zombies are replaced by alien attack. Zombie movies are not about zombies. They are about people trying to survive zombie apocalypse. The point is apocalypse. It doesn't have to be zombies. Alien attack will do fine. When I saw this first time I didn't realize how many beats Skyline took from Zombie movies. Aliens hypnotize humans to be easy prey. This could danger other people but hypnotized people don't attack other humans. That and ending are almost all the differences to zombie movies.

I won't spoil the ending. It is sort of sequel bait but not really. It should have been left to cutting room floor. It was tonally different from the rest of the movie and made no sense. Movie started bad but won me over when it took more beats from zombie movies. But this ending which came out of nowhere ruined the movie. It made me forgot how good the movie was just moments before.

Extinction and Skyline are about people surviving alien attack but there is one more thing in common. Both have one character which is on screen when movie is good and is away when it is not that good. In Skyline the character is David Zayas' character. His character doesn't get any build up but he is more interesting than any of the main characters we have followed from the beginning. Like he was only one knowing what kind of movie he was in or only one who could make script work.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Extinction (2018)

I am starting to feel Netflix pays people in social media for promotion of their movies. I have seen several movies get praise they don't quite deserve. Movies aren't bad but not worth the praise they get. Extinction is one of those movies. It is also one of Netflix movies which would have worked better as episode of anthology series.

I don't get into more spoilers than the trailer but if you haven't seen the trailer and want to watch this movie unspoiled I suggest you do it before reading further.

Extinction is pretty much Skyline (2010) with interesting twist. It is movie about how normal people would survive alien attack. Most of them wouldn't. This takes first hour of one and half hour movie. First twenty minutes are about man seeing visions of alien attack and introducing his family. Next forty minutes are said family trying to survive alien attack. Then there is a twist which makes this good science fiction movie for twenty minutes. Last fifteen minutes are credits and getting back to surviving alien attack.

I am not sure if that twenty minutes is worth watching one and half hour movie. It is weird everything good happens inside twenty minutes. Even weirder that it is almost the same time we see one character's face. Movie is good only when this one character shows his face. It is not because actor is so good. It is because everything interesting is revealed after the character showed his face and before he leaves the movie. Fact that they could tell everything interesting in twenty minutes tells this should have been under an hour episode of anthology series.

If you want to optimize your time usage and see that twenty minutes of good science fiction you can watch the trailer and start the movie from forty seven minutes. It is up to you if you want to stop around hour and twenty minutes mark. Talking about trailer. I think it revealed bit too much. It revealed alien attack was real. It ruined first twenty minutes little when you knew aliens would attack. Trailers have to show the movie but in this case visions would have been enough.

Extinction had good idea but they made wrong movie. If not the wrong movie time was allocated wrongly. Too much time was given to alien attack because there was actually more than just regular alien attack. Movie has more bad than good but bad is not really that bad and when it is good it is good.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)

First Ant-Man movie was ok entry to Marvel Cinematic universe. Nothing special but enjoyable to watch. I would like to say Ant-Man and the Wasp continues where the first movie ends but that is not the case. Comic books have events which mess individual heroes stories. Something happens outside comic book's continuity and heroes are in different position than in previous issue of said comic book. This is problem if you liked where the story was going to in said comic book. In Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers and Captain America movies are the events which mess individual character's movies' continuity. Ant-Man and the Wasp continues after events of Captain America: Civil War instead of interesting premise first Ant-Man left us with.

Interesting premise was Scott and Hope finding each other and probably working together in future. That was thrown into trash in Civil War where Scott was caught. That also made Hope and Hank Pym fugitives. Hank and Hope hated Scott but they had to work together because Scott had link to Hank's wife and Hope's mother, the original Wasp. Part of the story was Scott and Hope finding each other again. Then in end credit scene this was taken away because of another event, Infinity War. What happens in next Avengers movie might change Ant-Man's story again and we have two movies which tell partly the same story ending almost the same. And third movie will start somewhere else than where first two ended.

If we forget we might not have to care what this movie did to Ant-Man's story the movie is ok like the first one. It is more of the first movie. Enjoyable but nothing special. Lot of clever special effects but you forget what happened at which part of the movie because all action scenes are practically same scenes. Good guys try to get object important for the story while running away from the bad guys. Story itself is there to make movie to move from one scene to another. There is nothing annoying. It is just product of well functioning movie making factory. It is enjoyable while it lasts but you don't remember much about it after it is over.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Godzilla 2: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)

Godzilla 2: City on the Edge of Battle is second movie in anime Godzilla trilogy. First was Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters. This continues where Planet of Monsters ended. Humans did beat one version of Godzilla only to find out there is even bigger version of it. In first movie everything interesting happened in space when humans were not sure if they want to come back to Earth. Earth part was mostly fighting against Godzilla.

City on the Edge of Battle has similar structure. This time they start on Earth but there are similar discussions of what they should do until they figure out the way to beat Godzilla. However this time the fight against Godzilla is the interesting part. Mainly because there are character arcs and engaging conflict between characters. Different races didn't have much effect of what happened in first movie. Here different world views between races create conflict which was missing from first movie.

It is like someone told them what was missing from first movie and they fixed it for second movie. There are parts where dialog makes little sense but there is conflict between world views which makes some sense. Movie doesn't work on its own. You have to watch the first movie to know what is going on. There is lot of build up for next movie or movies and movie ends with cliffhanger.

I complained animation style in first movie. This probably has same problem but it didn't bother this time because story was more engaging. Characters are not as one dimensional this time. Movie don't try to rely too much on Godzilla. It is more like what the first movie's first half was. Next movie could pretty much go to any direction. I liked where this went but next one could go to different direction.

After two movies trilogy have had some good ideas but neither movie has been really good. Both have elements I wish they gave more time. I am still waiting for this to get really good. Second movie was improvement so there is still hope.