Monday, July 16, 2018

Lucifer - Season 1 (2016)

Nowadays network cancelling a show doesn't always mean end of the show. Lucifer is one of those shows which were picked up by someone else after cancellation. Same has happened to The Expanse and Brooklyn 99. Maybe some other shows too. This usually involves active fan base wanting to save their favorite show. Too bad this wasn't trend when Ascension and Firefly were cancelled. I decided to check what the fuzz was all about.

Lucifer tells about Lucifer who has come to Los Angeles to run night club. He starts to help police because he finds his powers doesn't work with one detective named Chloe. Another angel Amenadiet wants Lucifer to go back to hell. Lucifer's guardian demon Mazikeen doesn't approve Lucifer being so interested about Chloe. Other human characters are Chloe's ex-husband Dan and Lucifer's therapist.

Lucifer doesn't try to be too realistic but it doesn't go to comedy territory. It reminds lot about Joss Whedon's Angel in good and J.J. Abrams' works in bad. I don't want to diss Abrams all the time but this reminded me about his shows. Show was interesting when I watched it. When it was building up. Then things build up to be important weren't that important because that were easiest way to return things back to normal. Without going into spoilers there were two story arcs build to be important which writers decided not to matter because that was easiest way return everything almost as they were.

Amenadiet was introduces as one dimensional antagonist. He got bit more interesting later. Mazikeen had some sort of start of character arc. Lucifer's story arcs was learning to be more like human. Mazikeen started similar arc during later half of the season. I liked Lucifer, Amenadiet and Mazikeen being in human world part most. Mostly because Chloe's and other human's story arc was ruined in season finale. Therapist was only interesting human character in the end. I write this few days after watching the series and I have hard time writing anything about Chloe who was female lead. She had daughter, ex-husband and open case which was solved. I don't remember anything else. Why Lucifer's powers didn't work on her wasn't explained. They just didn't work on her and that was it. Maybe they get back to it on later seasons.

This was police procedural which meant murder mysteries on each episodes. I liked there being twists build around someone being gay or vegan without making big deal about being vegan or gay. What I didn't like was them realizing who the killer was out of the blue. It was often character who was cleared for some reason and then they found new evidence or someone said something which connected the dots. All twists weren't bad. I just remember bad twist better.

I don't know what to think about Lucifer. I watched all 13 episodes in one sitting but season finale left me disappointed. Part of me wants to continue to second season. Part of me doesn't. Season finale and first episode of second season had that effect. If you expected something to matter after first season first episode of second season took that away.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Watching Green Lantern (2011) after reading source material

I wrote long Green Lantern (2011) review about four and half years ago. Ryan Reynolds keeps this movie in our minds by joking about it in Deadpool movies. Maybe he wants us to check movie where his wife is acting with him. I had forgotten my review. I wanted to check the movie again to see if was as bad as its reputation. Since the review I have read some Green Lantern comics and am more familiar with the source material. I guess that is enough for second take on this movie.

This time I wasn't as confused with what was going on. I could pick references to source material like Amanda Waller from Suicide Squad being in the movie. I think this was supposed to launch DC cinematic universe. Maybe they planned to have Suicide Squad movie that time too. Knowing the source material didn't make movie better. It made me see problems in other places.

Parallax is the biggest problem. It should have been left into future movies. Movie starts and ends with it but Hector's story arc didn't need Parallax. Hector was main villain of the movie. His infection could have come from something else and very little of his story arc would have changed. Ending would have been changed to be about Hector instead of Parallax. Every Parallax scene took us away from main story. CGI looked quite awful but that wasn't the problem. Problem was the character being too powerful for the movie where Hal was learning his powers and character being too much of generic evil force.

Movie should have concentrated on Hal and Hector story arc. Hector was much better developed character than Parallax. Whole movie should have been about it those two. I liked Green Lantern Corp part but it took movie away from main story arcs. Sinestro and rest of the Corp were best part now when I knew the source material but it took the movie away from the main story arcs just like Parallax. Maybe they should have bring Sinestro to Earth to train Hal there and leave rest of the Corp and Parallax to sequel. Then leave Sinestro with yellow ring to third movie.

Movie wouldn't have been great with Parallax and Green Lantern Corp taken away. Hal's introduction wasn't that good either. He was too loose cannon before he got his act together as Green Lantern. Movie was set to be bad when you add movie started with introduction of Parallax. It took me a while to get interested. I was interested when it was about Hector and Hal on earth. It wasn't perfect but it would have been something like first X-Men movie without Parallax and Green Lantern Corp.

Green Lantern isn't as bad as its reputation. I enjoyed it at times. There was ok movie but like with DCEU movies it tried to have too much in one movie. They should have picked Green Lantern Corp or Hector story arc. Green Lantern Corp was better one when I knew the source material but maybe that would have been too much for those who didn't know the character. But then again Guardians of the Galaxy was popular introducing more obscure heroes and MCU's cosmic side. I would have liked to see teased sequel with Yellow Lantern Sinestro. They got Sinestro and Green Lantern Corp well. Having whole movie with them would have been interesting. Sinestro is one of my top two DC villains. Another one is Brainiac.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Anon (2018)

Anon is one of those movies where premise is better than the movie. It has interesting science fiction concept but it is content to be futuristic detective story without studying the science fiction concept. People's brains are like computers connected to internet. Everything is saved to files. People can send these files to each others. Files are used by justice system to define what really happened. This is how it starts. Later we learn brains can be hacked like computers.

This whole thing is treated like augmented reality. Only one guy sees ability to hack other people's brains as problem because it destroys the system which operates on everything to be transparent. If files can be hacked how you can trust anything any more? How everything being transparent and people sending their memory files to each others is affecting the society is studied very little. It would have huge impact on society and how people live in it.

Anon reminds me lot of Basic Instinct. It is detective movie at its core. It is detective movie where characters have invisible augmented reality helmets. Murder mystery and premise are best movie has to offer. Don't know if it is world building or bad writing but characters are really dull. Maybe recording everything and everything being transparent makes you tone down your personality. Even if that was the case there should still be reason why characters did what they did or characters to learn something.

Main character didn't change at all. Mystery was solved but everyone continued to be what they were before. They just knew to what extent brain hacking was possible but it didn't change them anyway. Privacy was one of the themes but movie comments very little about it or living without it. Main character lives without privacy. Anon character had it but both spent their time similarly alone in empty apartments. That was more than we got from other characters. There weren't any characters building the world. Characters were there to perform a function. Maybe society without any privacy turns people into that but it doesn't make movie more interesting if everyone is there only to perform a function without having any personality.

I thought this would be one of the best science fiction movie during first fifteen minutes. Premise was so interesting. There are clever ideas later but they were too few and far between. Biggest problem is there is almost no world building after the premise is set. It was like this is the world and now we got to detective story happening in this world. Second biggest problem is they don't give reasons for characters. Main character does something he really shouldn't at one point and it goes as you expect. At other point he knows something he shouldn't know at all and there is one twist where there is no build up before the twist.

Should you watch this? Maybe if you like the premise. Anon is not bad movie. It just isn't as good as it could have been.