Thursday 24 August 2017

Movie Goofs - Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man is perhaps best known as the pioneer of the titanic Marvel Cinematic Universe, now officially the largest movie franchise of all time and one that continues to expand with more and more blockbusters as each year flies by. Their quality, in my eyes, has undeniably tanked somewhat recently, and perhaps this can be largely linked to how many films insist on cramming in multiple characters and insane amounts of plot threads to make even the standalone films almost feel like Avengers sequels.

It's why Iron Man is a satisfying watch; never does the film feel too obsessed with forcing more and more backstory into this shared universe, and instead it creates a compelling story of its own. It's helmed by a superb cast playing well developed characters, and boasts some masterful effects within its compelling set pieces. Amazing work, and it's why it remains my favourite of the franchise even a decade onward.

However, it's not without goofs and plot holes, as is the case with any film really...

  • Whilst the terrorists who capture Tony of course known nothing about how to build the Jericho Missile and so can't instantly recognise the robotic outfit Tony's actually constructing, it seems odd that considering how long he was in captivity for and how the terrorists continued to keep a close eye on him that they never once figured out that he was creating a weapon to aid his escape. Hell, perhaps they could've at least had guards standing in the room 24/7, instead of goofing around staring at god awful quality CCTV cameras that clearly didn't help in the long run.
  • When Tony finally completes said robotic outfit, he makes good his escape from the cave by taking off into the sky in a gargantuan field of flames. However, as we see clearly, his suit has two enormous eye sockets protected by absolutely nothing, and this raises a crucial question: how were his eyeballs not roasted to bits during his epic ascent?
  • On that subject, when Tony's flight is cut short by some sort of malfunction, he falls god know how many hundred feet and crashes into the desert below, smashing his suit into a million pieces, yet leaving him totally unharmed. I'm pretty sure such an impact would send his limbs flying across the wilderness along with the suit of armour.
  • Tony's mini arc reactor used to power his suit and keep him alive of all things is kept super secretive, with nobody except Pepper getting a half decent look at it. Yet, later in the film, Stane is able to create a tool used to remove said reactor from Tony's chest as if he had the chance to study its exact dimensions and features. Sure, he briefly saw it upon Tony's return, couldn't possibly have had enough knowledge of its size and features from such a quick glance.
  • The majority of this movie depicts Tony constructing his suit, going through all sorts of prototypes and beta designs, and requiring a lot of intense practice to master the art of flying. However, when Stane builds his suit based on Tony's scrapped plans and enters it for the first time, he is able to maneuverer around, fly, and fight with little to no hassle whatsoever.
  • On the subject of Stane's suit, it is known by the agents of SHIELD that he is building such a weapon and intends to use it for some epic destructive purposes, but they decide sending six or so agents armed with generic PG-13 pistols will be enough to bring a stop to his madness. Such silliness is what ultimately makes it so easy for some villains to achieve their sinister goals.
  • You could say it's primarily down to him just losing his marbles, but one has to question what Stane's plan is once he has defeated Stark in their final battle? Everyone knows it's him in the gigantic suit so him creating a lineup of similar ones isn't gonna happen as he'll be seized and imprisoned the very moment he exits his armour, which he'd certainly have to do at some point.
  • Tony demands Pepper to overload the reactor as one last effort to defeat an unbeatable Stane, but Pepper is reluctant to do so, insisting Tony will die. Tony seems to be aware and accepting of this, and it seemed so inevitable that you wonder how nobody questioned why it never happened, especially when Stane was so easily destroyed by it.

Still one of the best superhero films now and forever.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Movie Review - Annabelle: Creation

Supernatural horror is a mixed bag in modern cinema, with many entries ignoring core atmospheric traits and instead settling for samey jump scares. However, that doesn't mean well made films of the genre are absent in today's world - one such example is 2013's The Conjuring, arguably one of the best horror films in recent times. Following it's success, a series has kicked off, including a sequel last year and spinoff titled Annabelle in 2014 - and now arrives the prequel to the aforementioned Annabelle (a prequel to the prequel...), a film which was less than spectacular in the eyes of most critics - something that certainly isn't the case with this latest entry.

The Annabelle doll is often seen as one of The Conjuring's freakiest attributes, and now we're off to explore even more of it's backstory - beginning with the death of one Annabelle Mullins (Samara Lee) and the trauma it has on her parents Samuel (Anthony Paglia) and Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto). Soon enough their residence becomes a home for numerous orphans including disabled girl Janice (Talitha Bateman) whose curiosity quickly gets the better of her, leading to a number of unusual events which all soon add up to unveil the truth behind the Mullins' past and the mysterious essence now dwelling in their home.

Annabelle is arguably a mixed film in hindsight, craving rapid jump scares over genuine atmosphere, and thankfully Creation acknowledges this to provide much better results. It's largely well structured and establishes fear factor through tense atmosphere, many of which conclude with some thrilling jump scares that never usually feel too cheap or repetitive - this is all brought to life by a visibly passionate cast, especially the youngsters that make up most of it. The lineup of actresses portraying the numerous orphan protagonists perform wonderfully, especially lead Talitha Bateman as Janice and Lulu Wilson as Linda, Janice's closest friend. Both of them alongside the numerous supporting roles are not only relatable in how they convey their roles but also extremely talented when it comes to acting out the numerous horror sequences - the fear they convey never feels forced or cheesy, and blends superbly with the chilling atmosphere the film creates.

However, whilst their performances are largely spot on, it's hard to deny that most characters in the film lack much of the development they really need. Janice's disability feels forced in a lot of the time to make certain horror chase scenes more intense and little else - no overall narrative impact, which is a disappointment considering it had some interesting potential. The supporting actresses also lack much depth despite some strong performances, to a point where even remembering the characters' names is difficult. Said lack of depth also, in all honesty, applies to the overall plot - whilst it's still generally entertaining, it isn't without the handful of clichés and generic pieces of backstory that are often unveiled during abrupt conversations instead of over time in a clever, more believable structure. This doesn't rank Annabelle: Creation as a bad film by any means - just as a good one with some key flaws. Narrative hiccups aside, it's largely perfect in the way it conveys a scary essence and handles some exciting jump scares, making it a thrilling watch for that alone.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Movie Review - The Emoji Movie

Branded by many as one of the worst animated films to pop up in a long time, this year's The Emoji Movie was greeted with naught but hostility from the very second it was announced - and each trailer made it's fate more and more foreseeable. Indeed, reception has been so abysmal that it's box office results are looking as mediocre as anyone would expect and it's reviews so bad that Rotten Tomatoes couldn't even find a way to summarise it...yikes. But is all this negativity really deserve...oh, what's the point.

Within the phone of young student Alex (Jake T. Austin) lies Textopolis, a world comprised of the device's numerous apps and texting features and inhabited by the eponymous emoji's, whose roles within society are to simply pose appropriately when Alex utilises them in an SMS message. Though their role seems simple, one emoji, Gene (T.J. Miller), finds himself unable to adopt the preset "meh" persona due to his expressive charisma - something that jeopardizes his future within the city and forces him on a quest to become the emoji society needs him to be.

It's as ludicrous as it sounds, I won't lie. The concept isn't one that's automatically terrible - perhaps it'd work well as a silent short film, for example. But the writers are adamant to craft a story with the cliché themes of love, friendship, and being yourself - mix this with a very daft concept and you have an extremely awkward end result. Such awkwardness is then worsened by characters who are massively underdeveloped, forgettable, and frequently irritating; Gene's overall struggle to simply pull a miserable face is a desperate story arc that can't ever be taken seriously, whilst the corny antics of clumsy sidekick Hi-5 (James Corden) painfully blend an already unfunny performer with even less funny jokes, making you want to glue your eyes and ears shut whenever he pops up on screen.

There's also a romance in there somewhere between Gene and hacker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris), whose backstory was clearly pulled out of the filmmakers' asses at the last minute and who also seems to be capable of overcoming any obstruction with her 1337 hax skills, even if it blatantly contradicts some earlier moments and results in a tonnage of dumb plot holes. I won't be all negative - The Emoji Movie does have some funny jokes and pop cultural references, and Maya Rudolph's strangely committed performance as the villainous Smiler may generate a few giggles, but these are all built around a generic, soulless narrative that's even less tolerable within such a silly premise. The very young may have fun and will certainly admire the colourful visuals, but everyone else will find their faces colliding with those palms a lot.