Tag Archives: reboot

My Thoughts on Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Yesterday morning I was searching my phone during second period and saw the news I thought would never come. At long last Sony and Disney have made the deal of the year: Spider-Man will be added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I’m going to just place all other posting plans aside for now so I can focus on this one post. I’ve been saying I was going to post something on the subject since around August. I’ve yet to do so as you can see. Since then we’ve entered a speculation period prompted by the infamous Sony hack of 2014, where we learned that talks between Marvel and Sony have existed and continue to. Now that the information is official, it’s now or never to bring this up; and that’s what I’m going to do finally.
Continue reading My Thoughts on Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

My 2014 Movies: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (#14)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a movie that exceeded my expectation a couple years ago. I was, and still am, unfamiliar with the original Planet of the Apes films, but was blown away by its rebooted counterpart. And for all these years after seeing that film, I’ve been patiently waiting to see where they can possibly go from there. Moreover I was hoping the sequel could somehow surpass this great movie. Dawn ended up being that better movie- slightly but surely.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the sequel to the 2011 Planet of the Apes reboot. Taking place a couple years later, the mutagen has taken over the world and killed most of the human population. Adversely, the apes have grown smarter are now becoming the more prominent species. A percentage of the human population has proven immune to the specimen and live in colonies, squandering for resources but surviving nonetheless. Meanwhile the apes live peacefully among themselves, holding a code of loyalty to all apes.

One day a band of humans search the woods for resources when they come across the apes for the first time. When they report back to their human colony, the citizens receive the information with disbelief until the apes, lead by Caesar from the first movie, arrive. Caesar makes it a point that the two species must be separated to avoid war with each other. Amidst a power crisis, the human leader sends another group to negotiate with the apes to allow the building of a dam. Caesar agrees and now must try to coexist with the humans temporarily.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was an excellent work of film through and through. Where can you possibly start with a film like this?

I guess I’ll start with writing. For a film called “Planet of the Apes” this is a pretty deep and well-written film. This isn’t just some action film with a forced story as some may initially dismiss it as. This film is only an action movie during the last third. The majority of the film is spent analyzing the human condition and comparing it to one of our close specie relatives.

The general theme of the movie is whether or not the ape culture when matched with humanlike intellect is capable of being better than the human species. Say the human’s take a step down on the dominance chain, is human nature flawed. You see two sides of the argument more notably with Caesar and Koba. Caesar has experienced the loving side of human nature while Koba knows them for their cruelty. And both perspectives have shaped how the apes live.

Even Caesar knows what humans are capable of and makes a constant effort throughout the film to both be like the humans but unlike the humans at the same time. Their community is based on loyalty and peace among all apes; in the words of Caesar, “Ape no kill ape”. Caesar begins the film feeling his system is superior to that of the humans, but upon interacting with his human guests starts to realize they aren’t too different after all. And this revelation is epitomized by the film’s latter events.

The point is that Dawn (my shortened version of the title) has an incredibly thought-out and compelling narrative. Furthermore the screenplay and script are well done, even when dealing with the apes’ dialect. Some may be turned off by the use of subtitles for many ape dialogue scenes, but they aren’t as longwinded and monotonous as you’d think. Even if you aren’t accustomed to reading foreign films I think you should be fine here. After all, the monkeys do talk as well.

Acting is well-done from everybody. The apes have incredible voice work going for them. Caesar is voiced by Andy Serkis, who provides an epically deep voice; and yet he is still able to pack a large range of emotion and wisdom in his performance. In fact, all of the voice performers do a great job with that. The humans also gave great performances. Granted, their particular personalities are hard for (at least me) to remember long-term, but Jason Clarke, Ellie Russell and Gary Oldman’s performances stand out in my mind nonetheless.

Now for the visual effects which will lead into the action. Hands-down and not a single person can take this away from Dawn, these are the best effects of the year. The CGI used in this film is seamless and perfect. It sounds cliché to say “I really thought the apes were actually there” but I freaking mean it this time! The apes are so realistic that I immediately forget that Caesar isn’t really talking to Malcolm. I’m talking Sméagol levels of realism.

I’m really hoping this film wins that Oscar for Best Visual Effects. It earned it in spades!

Then you have the action scenes, which when matched with the already great-looking ape models are a recipe for pure awesomeness. Anyone who has ever witnessed the way a monkey or ape fight knows that they brutal in combat. They’re blunt, powerful, persistent and manic creatures. You simply don’t mess with an ape! If you want further proof, this movie will reinforce that semi-loyally. By that I mean that you won’t find apes using weapons like they do here. Other than that, the apes’ choreography is pretty spot-on, making for intense and crazy action sequences.

The movie’s score is also great. It can be calming and serene, but also vengeful and warlike. And they never overdo the music either. Many scenes aren’t accompanied by music, which gives it a very Animal Planet feel. It builds up the emotional tension a bit in scenes.

And of course the traditional production values are present and well-done: camerawork, editing, lighting, etc.

This film is a must-see. I would recommend watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes before seeing this just to give you a bit of background, but it’s not entirely necessary for enjoying the movie. There really isn’t much reason to not watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at least once. Whether you come for the action or come for the drama, it satisfies anyone’s standards.

View #13 here!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

My 2014 Movies: Robocop (#17)

I have never seen a Robocop film before. My extent of knowledge of the franchise borders between the realms of seldom and none. That is until I saw its recent remake with a couple of friends in February. Now I can at least tell you who Robocop is and how he came to be. More importantly I am interested enough to know more. I can’t say if the film was a worthy remake of the original film, but it was worthy enough to turn a newcomer to the series. In my book, that’s a remarkable thing!

The film takes place in the year 2028, where military force has since been assisted by mechanized soldiers. These military robots are produced by a company named OmniCorp, who wishes to sell his technology for use in US law enforcement. Such a concept has been considered unconstitutional and unlawful. Still, it remains a topic of debate in the States.

Alex Murphy is a police officer of the time. He lives a normal, happy life with his wife and son. One night, a bomb was set in Alex’s car which detonated leaving him mortally injured and on life support. The only chance he has involves an experiment OmniCorp is conducting in order to combine the robotic technology with an everyday policeman. This in theory would convince the public to accept robotic law enforcement as lawful. His wife agrees and the experiment is successful.

Murphy returns to his life and job while being overseen by the research team and OmniCorp. Along the way alterations begin to take place which may compromise Alex’s humanity. The ethical question arises about how much of him is man and how much is machine. And how far will OmniCorp go to turn Murphy into a means to a financial end.

As I previously said, I have never seen the original 1980s films. So I won’t be able to tell you how much of the source material translated faithfully from those movies. All I can properly comment on is this movie as an independent piece. With that said, this movie is very good.

I’ll tackle the story first which I found surprisingly in-depth. I wasn’t expecting a movie called “Robocop” to make me think. However, it’s a topic worth discussing as this concept of android technology isn’t too far into the future. Once the technology is within our means, how far can we go? Is it morally sound? How robotic can someone be until they’re no longer human? Do androids have human rights or not? Would robotic law enforcement be constitutional?

These are all issues that are discussed throughout the narrative. The film’s overriding theme is human vs. machine. It’s a constant struggle that this poor man is caught in the middle of. It’s a struggle that has many factors to consider, from his family to the greater good. You can really get invested in a concept that truly is just one technological advancement away from being reality.

The bottom line is this isn’t just a mindless, senseless action movie. There is a genuinely good story here to go along with those great action scenes. I’m not trying to say it’s this super deep film, but it is at least thought-provoking. The writing of this movie deserves a lot of credit. It’s execution of this interesting plot hits just the right note to be both thought-provoking and fun at the same time.

Of course we do have to discuss the action scenes since that’s the reason most of us will see this movie. Thanks to stunning CG effects this movie packs a good amount of great action to satisfy the explosion-lust within us all. It isn’t until the second act that you’ll finally see Robocop taking out baddies with his high-tech gear and superhuman abilities. Even then, the film provides smaller sequences in the beginning to act as appetizers for what’s to come.

Then there’s the acting which is incredibly well-done. You have Joel Kinnaman as the main star, who personifies the struggle and tragedy of Robocop. His performance give genuinity to the character, which makes it heartbreaking to see him go through this internal and external struggle as he lives life as something completely else.

Gary Oldman plays a scientist who represents the ethical side of the argument and is immediately effective at portraying the good guy. Michael Keaton is the head of OmniCorp who reciprocates Oldman’s character. I’m glad to see Keaton make a little comeback this year with this and Birdman (which I didn’t see). I never knew he was so good at being despicable and diabolical. Performances by the Murphey family, the fellow scientists, and Samuel L. Jackson as a TV show host are excellently portrayed.

All that remains are the production values such as camerawork and cinematography which are stunning as expected. The POV shots of Robocop are definitely worth noting. The slightly futuristic Detroit sets make for some great metropolitan scenery. And the music is also as epic and thrilling as needed for an action film.

This film will be an excellent choice for any action movie fans young and old, casual or hardcore. I believe this film went beneath many people’s radar, but rest assured it’s a good flick. The only people who may have any issue with the movie would be fans of the original films. Even then, you’d be a fool not to at least give the film a fair shot. It may not be as witty or satirical, but you may be surprised with the alternative.

View #16 here!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

SBox Soapbox: What I Want From a New Crash Bandicoot Game

The reason I play video games is because of Crash Bandicoot. More primarily, Crash Bandicoot 2 is the reason I play video games. It was the first game I have ever played back when I was just 2 years old. Because of that game, I would stand here today a 17 year old gamer, whose love of gaming would leak into his actual life, the friends he would end up making, the games he would end up playing, the skills he would end up wielding, and the passion he would end up expressing on a blog such as this. It doesn’t take long to find out I’m a gamer if you talk to me, and this is the game that started it all.

For those of you unaware, Crash Bandicoot is a series of 3D platformers. Not just any platformer, though. This was one of the first, and one of the first to get it right. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: What I Want From a New Crash Bandicoot Game

SBox Soapbox: Should the Rugrats Come Back?

My older sister and little brother have been recording and watching a couple of TV shows that air on TeeNick’s “The 90’s Are All That” block, and one of them is Rugrats. Seeing the Rugrats again in my current age is always a lot of fun. It takes me back so far I get flashbacks of crawling on the floor. What a show that was! I don’t think there exists a soul on the planet who watched this show and hated it, especially if you’re a 90’s-born. It’s one of the most likable shows ever made, and one of the best cartoons in my personal opinion.

This got me to thinking about how awesome it would be to have this show on today. I started thinking about if it could work today, if there is reason to do so, and how would a show like this come back. A quick search on the Internet shows that there seems to be a demand for and rumors of this comeback.

Continue reading SBox Soapbox: Should the Rugrats Come Back?

Analysis: The Mighty Morphing Power Rangers movie remake

Recently I was perusing some movie news and noticed a headline that took me back 10 years. A new Power Rangers movie is in the works, but not in the way you expect. Instead of picking up from the more recent incarnations of the Rangers, this is actually a reimagining of the series that started it all. Back when teens took orders from a big talking head with the voice of God. Back when the color of your Ranger uniform was coincidentally the same color as your skin. Back when even the biggest threat to our planet could be horribly dubbed. Ah, those were the days.

I may be too young to have watched this part of the series when it was new, but my introduction to Power Rangers was, in fact, the Mighty Morphing series. I went on to watch every other series up to Mystic Force. I have a terrible soft-spot for Power Rangers and was ecstatic when I heard this news. And though there is something to be said about how Hollywood does nothing but remake nowadays, I’m actually all for this.

It’s been a couple of months, and we have some details surfacing: some rumors, some confirmed. So, let’s first go over what we know.

This movie is being made by Lionsgate in association with Saban Brands. Lionsgate has a healthy backlog for the most part and does hold promise as the distributor of The Hunger Games. They also distribute The Expendables movies. When you think about it, this combo of epic adaption-work and over-the-top action would fit a Power Rangers movie perfectly. With Saban providing the basis of what Power Rangers is and Lionsgate providing the basis for modern-day quality films, this is promising.

The writing staff also shows promise. Ashley Miller and Zach Stentz, who are writers of X-Men: First Class, were recently confirmed to be writing the script. Additionally, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Thor writer Robert Orci will act as executive producer. I think that there is no better group of people to have their hands on this license. These people know how to properly adapt a classic license and make it accessible to both general audiences and hardcore fans alike.

And so far, the rest are rumors. The cast, director, and synopsis are currently unknown. All we can do now is speculate, and that’s what we’re going to do.

I think the choice in cast is going to be the most controversial part of this movie. We already have a feeling that the original cast will not be reprising their roles, or at least won’t be in the suits. That leads us to 2 options: a cast of unknowns or a cast of A-list actors. My preference would be to cast fresh talent to play the Rangers.

There are already rumors of well-known actors being in the film. The ones I’ve heard going around include Taylor Lautner, Liam Hemsworth, and Chloe Grace Mortez among others. It’s not that these are bad actors. It’s just that these characters are so hard to cast for in the first place. It doesn’t matter who you put there, I won’t take them seriously. I’ll immediately associate them with prior works and it will take me out of the film. With a cast of unknowns, you don’t have that problem. All you have to worry about is whether they give a good perfromance or not.

However, these aren’t the only characters who need representation in this movie. You still have Zordon, Alpha, and whichever villain they chose to be in this movie to consider. For Zordon, all you need is any deep voiced actor. Given the fact that Zordon only needs voice work, this performance can be given by a well-known actor without much controversy. Imagine Zordon played by James Earl Jones. That would be pretty cool. There are so many candidates for this role that even Tay Zonday doesn’t sound that bad of an idea.

Alpha can be played by anybody. I’m not sure who would play him, but my preference would be that whoever it is maintains Alpha’s personality.

You also have Bulk and Skull, who we aren’t sure will be in the movie at all. I’m really iffy about how they would go about this. To me, there is only one Bulk and one Skull. I can’t see anyone else taking their place, and I doubt that the original duo could reprise the roles. It would be silly to see these teens getting harassed by grown men. Then again, they were a big part of the show; several seasons of it to be exact. I’m not sure who would be a candidate for these 2. I predict that if they get in, they’ll be side-lined majorly. Kind of like Easter eggs in the background with a couple of lines.

Then there are the villains. Will it be Rita or Zedd? It would make sense to make it Rita because she was the villain during the first season and plays a big part in the story. However, Zedd has the most potential for a movie in my opinion. His design alone has a lot of possibilities. I doubt that it’ll be both, because this movie’s success would guarantee a sequel, and they’d probably save Zedd for that sequel. So my money is on Rita, if they even go with an already established villain. I don’t know who the hell would play her. Rita is such an animated and over-the-top character that casting her is an unbelievable challenge.

The last thing I’ll touch on is the story- primarily whether or not we’ll see the Green Ranger. Well seeing that this is a reimagining, we very could see a lot of changes. To me, the Green Ranger is contingent on which villain they choose. If it’s Rita, then yes. Keep in mind that the Green Ranger was one of the earliest plotlines of the show. (Second episode of the show to be exact). It would make a lot of sense to establish this into the movie. Besides, the Green Ranger is a crowd favorite.

Let me know your thoughts on the Power Rangers movie, and what you want to see from it. Is there any aspect I didn’t touch upon that you want me to? Do you agree with my opinions or do you feel differently.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!