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Warcraft: Review

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First I must confess I am not a big gamer. I am basically still into all the Super Mario games and a couple of 1080 Snowboarding games. I am however, familiar with massively multiplayer online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft and EverQuest. Having seen both of these games played I was very eager to see this movie, plus, I love fantasy films.

I was not disappointed.

Warcraft (alternatively known as Warcraft: The Beginning) is a 2016 American action-fantasy film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen. It is based on the Warcraft video game series and novels set in the world of Azeroth. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu. The film portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs and takes place in a variety of locations established in the video game series.

Its movies like this that make me love being a nerd! It’s escapist fun like this is why such movies are being made. This movie actually did poorly with the critics and at the Box office. It has a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although 73% of the viewing audience liked it. On Box Office Mojo it did only $47 million domestically on a $160 million budget. However, it made a further $386 million over seas for a grand total of $433 million world wide. That will give the film a profit and hopefully a sequel will not be out of the question. I think the poor performance sadly demonstrates that movies like this do need to reach out beyond their fan base and find a way to appeal to a broader audience.

I think I will eliminate my pros and cons because I didn’t find much about the movie I didn’t like…except for one thing. Although I enjoyed the story and the characters greatly the story was a bit confusing at times and my unfamiliarity with the story/game made it difficult for me to always understand what was going on and who some of these characters were. I’m sure on repeated viewings I will comprehend things better.

I want to conclude this by talking about the CGI in this movie. The Orcs are done with motion capture and while there is a lot of blue screen CGI there are also practical effects woven into the movie. I have heard complaints that the CGI isn’t always that great. I did enjoy the effects and I love movies like this because they do such a great job in creating a fantasy world.

I see many people comparing this to other fantasy movies such as Lord of the Rings or Avatar. While I think the CGI is of the same quality, I think the end results are different. That difference is that Warcraft does look like the how the video game it is named after would look like had it come to life. In other words, it still rightfully maintains a look or verisimilitude that exemplifies and represents a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, but on a larger life-like scale. In my view the look of the movie is the best of both worlds, life-like fantasy elements married to video game elements and along with an engaging story are the reasons this movie is very enjoyable.

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Random Meanderings…

Here are just some thoughts running through my brain today…Godzilla starts shooting in two days. Yesterday actor David Strathairn signed on. He will join Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen in the cast. Academy Award Winning actress Julitte Binoche is rumored to have joined the cast but has not been confirmed yet. This is a movie I will really struggle to stay spoiler free. I am such a huge fan of the genre that I have a desire to know almost everything! I hope that the design of the monster gets either officially released of leaked somehow. But I am not holding my breath waiting for it. Sometimes scripts get leaked but if Godzilla’s script gets leaked I won’t read it. I don’t mind certain spoilers but I wouldn’t want the entire movie spoiled for me! I am sure at some point soon photos from the set will leak out. Those I am eager to see. I am following some of the stars and crew on Twitter and Facebook so I am sure some news will break.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson played the lead actor in Kick-Ass and its coming sequel.
Bryan Cranston was in Argo and is also in the show Breaking Bad. Elizabeth Olsen
is the younger sister of the famous Olsen twins and recieved rave reviews for
the movie Martha Marcy May Marlene. Juliette Binoche won an Academy Award
for best supporting acrtress for the 1996 movie The English Patient.

In a few day, March 19th to be exact, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray. I have heard so many mixed reviews on this film. I think I have read an equal amount from people who loved the film, hated it and were ambivalent. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was certainly darker in theme than the Hobbit and from my readings this movie was more whimsical that the Rings Trilogy. I am alright with that I know at the heart of the story it is a children’s book, a magical adventure. The Rings trilogy is a darker story so I am not expecting the Hobbit to be dark. Darkness had not crept into Middle Earth at this time. I have faith that the time all three movies are done the Hobbit trilogy will weave nicely into the Lord of the Rings. I will give my review as soon as I see it!

The Blog/Message board and internet world is still full of rumors for the 2015 Justice League movie. Several sites have stated that Christopher Nolan will be producing all the future DC related Superhero movies for WB and that the Justice league movie is being tailored for Christian Bale’s return as Batman. You know what? I am not buying any of that. I do think the Justice League movie is struggling but I do not think these rumors about Christopher Nolan & Christian Bale are true. My understanding is that they want to move on to other projects. If the rumors turn out to be true, I will be the first to admit it!

May will be here before you know it and next month will be my one year anniversary of this Blog. So right now I am gathering up a list of the big summer movies due out this year.  So stay tuned to this channel!

It’s Not like the Book!!!!!!

I love to read but I do not read novels. I read strictly non-fiction. I guess that is one of the reasons I enjoy movies so much. Even though I do have a good imagination I still like the visuals of movies. I guess that is why I call myself a special effects junkie.

One of the complaints about movies based on novels is that the movie is not the same as the book. Well, not having read the books that most movies are based on, I avoid this dilemma. I can empathize with those that feel that way to some degree. People get attached to the stories and certain aspects of these stories and if a film deviates too much from the book or changes a beloved scene or character, or omits it all completely, I can see how that would be upsetting.

I also understand that books and movies are two entirely mediums in which to tell a story. With that in mind there will naturally be differences between a book and a movie. Whether or not a viewer likes how a director has changed the story will be subjective. Some people don’t mind the changes and some people do mind a great deal.

As I mention, not having read the book, I do not suffer from this issue. Today I will list my 6 favorite sci-fi and fantasy films based on books that I often read or hear the most complaints about.

1. Starship Troopers

Based on the novel by Robert A. Heinlein, the major criticisms I have heard is that the book seriously discusses the political issues such as war and fascism and while some have complained that the novel was too pro-military, others complain that director Paul Verhoeven went too far in the other direction and made a movie that is more of a satire of the themes in Heinlein’s book.

2. Lord of The Rings Trilogy

This is the one franchise I have heard the most complaints about. Peter Jackson made an epic series of movies from Tolkien’s stories that many said would never be successfully made into a film. The major complaints are that Jackson changed the order of many events in the book and omitted characters that many fans loved.

3. I Robot

The major complain of this movie was that the only thing it had in common with Issac Asimov’s book except for the title. From what I understand there is a lot of truth to this complaint. The writers of the script did borrow the title from Asimov, some themes, such as the Three Laws of Robotics, some character sketches from across many of his short stories but the robot uprising is not found in his writings. I really like the movie anyway.

4. War of the Worlds

Although both the 1953 and the 2005 movie depart from the book by HG Wells in major ways I really haven’t heard too many complaints from people because both movies are very good. The book is set in the 19th century and neither movie adopts that setting. The walking tripods are not in the first movie but are in the second movie.

5. John Carter

Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs series of novels, the movie John Carter is based on the first two novels A Princess of Mars and The Gods of Mars. Although many complained that the title was too generic and that other movies have gutted the themes that were in this old story, some complained that the story deviated too far from the books.

6. The Hobbit?

This one is just speculation. The Hobbit is a book that is geared more toward children than the Lord of The Rings Trilogy and fans fear that Jackson will change the story too much to fit it in with the Lord of the Rings. Fans were also worried that he was making this movie into two parts given the fact that it isn’t really a long story to begin with. Now that Jackson is adding a third movie to tell this story some fans are trembling in their boots! I have the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the extended versions of King Kong, so I am not worried one bit and look forward to all three movies.

 

Top 15 favorite movie monsters!

Top 15 movie monsters.

My criteria for this was pretty simple. I like the Giant movie monsters the best so that ruled out monsters such as Frankenstein, Werewolves, Dracula, the Creature From the Black Lagoon and my ex-wife. I am sure in another series I will include these humanoid monsters.

So my criteria is that they are animal like and that they are big. The reasons why I like them basically is their design. I will say more about each as we go through them individually. There is actually 17 on the list. I lumped a couple together. 🙂

15. Destroyah. From the Godzilla movie, Godzilla vs. Destroyah. A strange spelling for the name. Was Toho trying to appeal to the hip-hop audience? I don’t know but he was a formidable opponent. 

14. Rhedosaurus. From the movie, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and this guy was one of the first giant monsters. Basically he is a large four footed mythical dinosaur. Usually monsters on 4 legs don’t work but this time it did. It worked because it was a model and not the man-in-a-suit type from Toho studios. These men-in-a-suit type of 4 legged monsters are generally on their knees which is the reason they don’t work for me.

13. Gorgo. From the 1961 movie of the same name. The only British monster on the list. The roar they use for this creature is still pretty haunting and the destruction of London is well done. Good job Gorgo! Oh, this movie also has a happy ending….for the monsters at least.

12. The Kraken. From the 2010 movie the Clash of the Titans. With apologies to Ray Harryhausen who designed the first Kraken from the 1981 original movie, I like this design much better because he was gigantic and much more threatening looking.

11. The Balrog. From the first Lord of the Rings movie. More demon than anything else but I loved the design but wish I could have seen more of him.

10. Mothra. From the Godzilla franchise and his or her own movie. I always liked Mothra as a kid and even though she isn’t scary I still think it is rather cool design.

9. Xenomorph. From the Alien franchise. Scary looking and as tenacious as a pit bull.

8. King Kong. From the 2005 remake by Peter Jackson (director of the Lord of the Rings). Sure the movie could have been shorter and a little tighter but someone finally nailed the design down! Giant kudos to Andy Serkis for the acting and depicting him as an actual Gorilla. He no longer looks like a man in a suit but an actual Gorilla! Did I mention what I like about this version of Kong is the fact that he is depicted as an actual Gorilla?

7. King Ghidorah. From the Godzilla franchise. I really like this monster but one thing bugs me. His lack of arms. I understand that he has wings instead of arms but it still looks like there is something missing. But I can’t complain too much about Godzilla’s number 1 nemesis.

6. Zilla. This is the creature from the 1998 American version of Godzilla. He is still owned by Toho studios and since this guy was easily defeated Toho removed “God” from the name and just dubbed him Zilla. I actually really liked the movie and even though I do have a hard time seeing this monster as Godzilla, I do think it is a very well designed monster in its own right.

5. Rodan. From the people at Toho studios. Like Mothra, Rodan originally had his own movie and then became a regular feature in the Godzilla franchise. I always found him to be a menacing monster.


4. T-Rex & Spinosaurus. Both of these “monsters” are the only ones on my list that actually existed. Both were also featured in the Jurassic Park franchise.

3. Gaira & Sanda: The Gargantuas. From the Toho studios. Outside of the Godzilla Franchise, War of the Gargantuas,  is one of my all time favorite monster movies. I was 4 years old when I saw the trailer on TV for this movie and it scared the crap out of me. My parents wouldn’t let me watch this on TV until I was older.


2. Cloverfield.  From the movie of the same name. This creature was excellently design by Neville Page, one of my favorite creature designers. I do like the movie but just wish that we saw more of him in the film. I hope we get a sequel to Cloverfield, I would hate to have that one movie be the only one this creature was used in.

1. Godzilla. Was there any doubt as to who would be number 1? Godzilla has been designed and redesigned multiple times so here are a samples of my favorites. I love the dorsal spines on his back. The bigger the better!