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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction

When one has faith on a franchise, one will see each film released hoping that for each installment it will be redeemed in one way or another. It has been 3 films. The first one is a breath of fresh air. The second was a clattering collection of junk. The third one is a moderate attempt to make the franchise redeem its glory. The fourth one? Well, the image of Optimus Prime riding a Dinobot in the trailer is more than enough to make go to the cinema and sit through its 160-minute run.

4 years or more has passed since the events that damaged almost half of Chicago, Optimus Prime goes into hiding as one by one the Autobots are hunted and destroyed by the humans. The reason is unclear until parts of Megatron is used to create another set of transformers. While the amount of Transformium are not enough for corporate moguls, they decided to locate "The Seed" that can make more Transformium, the element that makes the possibility to create the robots.

There is absolutely nothing new with the latest installment, except maybe the cast. Completely ignoring the fact that the Witwicky's exist, Michael Bay decided to have another set of human characters who are so shallow we don't care if they die or not. I care for the Autobots more than I care for the new human characters.

The action scenes are not even new. If you have seen the first film, you practically has seen the same sequences all throughout the franchise. The inclusion of the Dinobots, however, changed how I look at the film for a few seconds. Remember the scene where Yoda fought Count Dooku on Attack Of The Clones? That is how I felt when Optimus Prime rode one of the Autobots. When their exposure is done the film went bleak.

The trend of awfulness in the Transformer franchise may be associated not only with the Director but with the writer himself. Ehren Kruger has been writing the screenplay from Revenge of the Fallen to Age of Extinction and somehow you can actually feel that the plot is similar. Optimus wins, Megatron dies, then resurrected then dies again and then reborn. It feels like the franchise is going nowhere and for almost a decade, it did not.

The number of annoying ad placements could be one of the factors that made me cringe while watching the film. If there were a checklist, it will be filled out fast. This does not help either. I know Transformers 4 will make a lot of money, but to push us with ads like this?!

The Transformers franchise has been clinging at a very thin thread. Age of Extinction was the scissor that cut off the thread. Michael Bay should leave the franchise because obviously he is too tired of it.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Fault in our Stars

More than 10 years ago, A Walk To Remember was released in theaters which gathered a massive following from the hopelessly romantic crowd. This summer, another film based on a novel is released which also has a similar theme - Misery Porn (as how Philbert Dy would put it). Viewers has a different perspective with the film but did it live up with its material?

Based on John Green's novel of the same name follows the struggle of Hazel Grace's against Cancer and her untimely discovery of true love. Forced by her parents to join a Cancer Support, Hazel Grace attended one of the session where she meets Isaac and Gus Waters whom she had an instant connection. Each day led to a deeper relationship as they talk about life dealing with cancer and the true meaning of it and eventually oblivion itself. 

I have read the book and finished it after one day. While the book has rich details about the inner conflict that Hazel feels, the movie tried to capture those moments well. The book has its moments and so does the film. A non-reader will be able to appreciate it without reading the book. The book is mirrored in the film which is essential for the fans of the book.

The good thing about this film is that it managed to include the relationship of the lead characters with their family particularly in Hazel Grace's standpoint. There is good balance between their relationships without really feeling lost with Gus and Hazel's love story.

Shailene Woodley provides a well executed Hazel Grace while Ansel Elgort was able to capture the charismatic Agustus Waters. Josh Boone was able to capture those moments and marvelously translated in the screen creating a very poignant film of the things that mattered to teens with Cancer. 

TFIOS will stay and endure just like A Walk to Remember. This has been one of the most satisfying book adaptation even with the missed subplots. Surely, Woodley and Elgort's stars will shine brightly and be recognized as one of the actors that actually made you cry.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Edge of Tomorrow

When I saw the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow, it felt like a rip off of another film that similarly tackle the same plot - Jake Gyllenhall's Source Code. What makes this film different is Tom Cruise. While he has enjoyed success from his previous films such as Jack Reacher and Oblivion, there is a cause for hesitancy from the viewing public if The Edge of Tomorrow would be worth watching. But, is it?

Based from the Manga in Japan entitled All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the film follows Major Cage (Cruise), a US military officer summoned in London to join the battle against the Mimics who controlled most of Europe. Cage refused which caused him to be stripped off his title. He wakes up in the morning ready for battle. On the day of battle, they were practically wiped out by the Mimics. When Cage died, he woke up on the same day he was assigned as a Private. The time loop continues and so the great story unfolds.

Doug Liman directs this CGI-heavy flick with grace as he did with the first 3 Bourne Films. Liman was able to balance the action packed scenes with a smart script and great character development. None of the scenes felt rushed to tell the story, rather it takes its time to reach with the character's issue which eventually led them to the climax of the movie.

I'm the Full Metal Bitch, bitch!
I enjoyed the time loop as much as I enjoyed the sequences from Back to the Future series. The film's time loop may feel like yo are playing a videogame and that your character has unlimited lives. The downside is, you will have to repeat everything once you die and that is practically like Flappy Bird but with an end. 

Tom Cruise performance and caliber feels like his character in War of the Worlds, scared and unsure. This is one of the films where you get to see Tom Cruise in an action movie where he is not the usual Tom Cruise that we see in his previous films. Emily Blunt proves that she can live up the name of Full Metal Bitch/Rita and become a love interest to Cage and a kick-ass Soldier.

Let's park this thing here.

There is something special with the roster of action films this summer. They have solid script and engaging plots. One of my best reviewed films are in the action genre like Godzilla and X-Men, while some disappoint just a little bit (looking at you Spiderman). The Edge of Tomorrow is not new but how it was executed is worth every penny you pay at the box office.