Category Archives: Film Bocugu

Better Than Best! – Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The adorable catchphrase offers you a spectacular wonder of the action movies of all times: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”.

The sixth installment of the famous spy action series Mission: Impossible – Fallout is playing in theaters in Istanbul as of 27th of July 2018 after only two weeks of its world premiere in Paris.

It would be pointless to go back to 1996 and start reviewing all the way from the initial Mission: Impossible that was adapted from a TV series by Brian de Palma. However, it is certainly noteworthy that the franchise was born to be a sparkling star of its kind from the very first and advanced itself on each “+1”.

The brand-new picture welcomes the audience with a bad dream sequence at a safehouse in Belfast. The dream starts with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) getting married to Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan) after which yields to be a nightmare since this dreamy marriage turns out to be conducted by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the anarchist Syndicate criminal that Ethan imprisoned in Rogue Nation, the former of the series. Lane says to Ethan “you should have killed me” while an explosion is fading Ethan’s face off as he holds Julia.

This tricky opening whispers gently what the theatergoers will be witnessing on the silver screen for about two and a half hours time..

Ethan, then, wakes up and receives his “mission” hidden under the cover page of the Odyssey by Homer for sure which has been concluded to lay another cue before the audience..

Actually, two years after Ethan’s capture of Lane, other Syndicate villains, so-called the Apostles, have continued their terrifying events including the release of a smallpox outbreak in Kashmir.

But.. the worst always happens!.. Their recent plan is to use three nuclear plutonium cores to blow up the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca. And it is all tied somehow to a mysterious client named John Lark…

The mission is to prevent the Apostles from having the plutonium for evil purposes. And here we go then!..

The next scene takes Ethan to a dark Berlin night with Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) at the front and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) back in the van. They are so close to making a trade for the plutonium. However, when Luther is taken unexpectedly by one of the Apostles, Ethan has to make a quick decision either to choose one life right over there or millions of others’ for the future. He chooses Luther… In the meanwhile, the plutonium cores are completely stolen.

Ethan meets Impossible Missions Forces (IMF) Secretary Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) to discuss on an alternative plan. The next plan accordingly is to meet the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) in Paris at a party at the Grand Palais, to introduce himself as Lark and to get the plutonium.

Every mission has its thorn, and CIA comes up the stage during the discussion of the plan! Echoing our daily jobs, Ethan is blamed for his “weakness” in Berlin by the IMF competitor (sort of) CIA. CIA Director Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett) exhibits a straight lack of confidence in IMF for this operation. Because the mission in Berlin was not accomplished. Sloan does not let IMF operate on their own, and hitches her agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) to go with Ethan to make sure that the mission is completed. Neither Alan nor Ethan is actually blissful for that…

It will be unfair to give away any spoilers regarding the rest of such a fantastic piece! Therefore, the plot is ending here slightly!… And the role of the critic starts…

It is a great opportunity to have such a structure-minded script writer and director, Christopher McQuarrie for the recent Mission: Impossibles. There is not even one tiny unaddressed point in the scenario which is extremely exciting (and rare) nowadays!..

McQuarrie routed the ship

  1. through a predetermined route (dramatic actions with several climaxes moving all in the same direction)
  2. by strengthening and expanding the adventure with emotional touch
  3. and keeping the integrity of the theme safely during the loading and unloading of passengers (as characters) and surprising pieces (as events).

The audience is proposed to more metaphors than one can imagine in an action film (e.g., mission delivery within a Greek myth; choice of the plutonium – Pluto’s Gate or Gate to Hell; physical appearance of Lane; naming of the remaining of the Syndicate; masks – trick or treat! etc.). Furthermore, these are placed so calmly (not being heard interruptingly) and leave an extra-delicious flavory taste…

One of the major characteristics that differentiates it from the other spy action settings is that it does not depict a flawless and obsessively mission oriented motif. Indeed, all these characters have their own flaws which are actually their capabilities. This has also made the plot unique to create its own intensity and depth.

The argument that credits a visionary directing and script is proven in Mission: Impossible – Fallout once again!…

Before telling about the cast, a respectful silence is what we all may need to talk about the incredible acting of Tom Cruise. Exclusively, he may be the most handsome man in the world & apparently at his twenties! However, apart from this physical advantage, he is Ethan Hunt, not more – not less! A perfectly performed Ethan Hunt, and doing all these stunts himself – leaping off rooftops, commands any vehicles including a helicopter, climbing up a rope attached to a helicopter and flying over thousands of feet, skydiving, signs the best running scene in a movie!… Unfortunately, he was reported with a broken ankle last August during filming which should conclude eventually that he deserves each and every compliment on his acting again and again!..

Keeping the cast from the previous series including Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) and other IMF team has also brought a good deal of familiarity and continuity to the flow. This surely has facilitated a conceptual coherence among the actors as well. Having all the cast concentrate on this emphatically real-time fifteen minutes countdown and pass it directly to the viewers is an obvious example to that!..

Cruise is leading the game, however the others do definitely belong to the game!.. (hey Cavill, sorry but, at the end of the day, there is no other super-hyper man than Tom ;))

I liked the CGI devoided (to its best) cinematography (BAFTA awarded Rob Hardy). Especially, nothing could be thought better than a running ground level drone presented in 3D! It is also notable to acknowledge the camera operating for all the chasing through Paris streets, and surely another appreciation for the bathroom fight.

The score (Lorne Balfe) is also well-balanced or served vis-á-vis details of the plot. I must add that my favorite soundtrack song will be the epic version of the original theme (Lalo Schifrin) at closing.

The production companies Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Alibaba Pictures, and Bad Robot must be smiling gladly as well. Because, within three days of the opening, Mission: Impossible – Fallout delivered the franchise’s highest-gross with $61.5 million via topping the weekend box office charts (US, Canada). A total worldwide gross of $153.5 million is reported just for now… It is now playing in 37 countries in RealD 3D, IMAX and my favorite IMAX3D.

Last but not least..

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a very exciting and surprising action film with a high quality of technique embedded into a great flood including outstanding performances.

It is also a gentle and intimate sigh perhaps: There can be peace without great sufferings if we may recall the human parts of ourselves… We sleep well at our homes due to some other unrecognizable fall out masks in the field, and those some others sleep well due to our timely realization of our daily tasks even if there is a blinding fallout…

Oftentimes, our weaknesses turn out to be our strengths; and as Ethan is appreciated by IMF “we need people like you (Ethan) who care about one life as much as they care about millions of others!..”

Hard to Trust in a Lawless Time – Solo: A Star Wars Story

“It is a lawless time” a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away -ouch maybe not that much far-  where “Crime Syndicates compete for resources – food, medicine and hyperfuel”. Untraditionally, this opening crawl is not followed by a panning movement from the space in the recent Star Wars anthology Solo: A Star Wars Story (or Solo in short).

Finally, directed by American filmmaker Ron Howard, it is now being screened in Istanbul at the same time with US (as of 25th of May, 2018) with the highest quality of IMAX 3D.

Lucas himself started to work on a young Han Solo film in 2012, and he warranted Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathon Kasdan to write the screenplay. Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) started filming by January 2017. However, Lucasfilm and these two prior directors parted ways due to “creative differences” as announced. Howard took over the directing by June 2017, and reshoot almost 2/3 of it. Likely and in that means, Bradford Young as the cinematographer is the least quoted name among the major skeleton.

This spin-off brings out clarity to young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) some of which are: the story of ‘Solo’ as his last name, the first time he met Wookiee, Chewbecca (Joonas Suotamo), his girl friend Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke), and all the story around his criminal hinterland – a gang of criminals led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a smuggler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), the crime boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), Vos’s superior (Darth) Maul (Ray Park & Sam Witwer [voice]), and the lovely democratic droid L3 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). The audience is also introduced to the born of the rebellion Enfys (Erin Kellyman) when the reign of lawlessness is prominent in an environment of despotic governance.

Similar to other Star Wars theme since 1977, the main flow withstands the questions such as how cruel a galaxy (!) can become when it is short of fuel (coaxium), how it can cheat to win, how the perception of ‘being hostile’ can be altered when an imperial power invades a place far far away, how it can all turn out to be an evil, how the negligible ones can serve the evil to raise themselves as the new villain, and how the word of trust is deleted from the dictionaries: “Assume everyone will betray you. And you will never be disappointed”. Apparently, Solo is based on that aforementioned tagline for this anthology.

Not too much to talk on the directing as explained in the introduction. However, not making a Star Wars film as a high-ranking comedy is a smart and favorable conclusion indeed. It would only be advisable if the story included several tight junctions or binding points to the current Han Solo for a catchy excitement. Nothing to talk much about the acting either as Star Wars was never on the acting predominantly. One thing can be that the visual effects and 3D technology could have been emphasized more significantly. And although the music by John Powell is not that crummy, it will always be a glitch not to hear the striking classical sound of John Williams’ Star Wars high notes.

After five months from “The Last Jedi”, Lucasfilm (producer) and by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (distributor) released Solo which has been already reported to gross $83.3 million in the US and Canada, and $65 million in the other territories as of May 27, 2018. The estimated production budget being around $250 million figures out that it will need to gross at least $500 million worldwide to meet the expectations.

A living story, nicely shoot, and not in a galaxy far far away.. It is only a few miles away in a theater to your home. Highly recommend you all to see!…

The Shape of Water – Who is the Monster?

Being not quite sure if The Shape of Water, which is leading in 90th Academy Awards with 13 nominations, will be withdrawn from the competition due to strong plagiarism allegations;  apparently a disastrous Oscar drama in itself… Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro’s work show systemic similarities to Pulitzer-winning Paul Zindel’s play “Let Me Hear You Whisper” (1969). It is utmost ironic that one of those nominations is Best ORIGINAL Screenplay for its co-authorship with del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.

The story is set back to 1960s Cold War era. A mute cleaning lady, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), working in a highly secured US government lab finds out a secret ‘thing’ (Doug Jones) that is kept in a water tank in there. She is attracted to this Amazon river origined ‘asset’, and tries to rescue him from this research facility where he is being exposed to harmful experiments which paves the way to death. It seems to emanate from a glorious goal of establishing superiority over Russia, and do not take care of the experimental ‘object’ whether it is a living thing or not.

While Elisa is trying to save the thing, she is surrounded by the bad and the good, surely to balance the tension of the plot. The bad is that ambitious and unethical agent Robert Strickland (Michael Shannon) who is the one that trapped the creature in its homeland and brought him all the way to the lab. The major good ones are her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer), and Dr. Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) who has some complicated relations with Russians to enhance the battle if not yet.

Floating camera, color palette, warm light, diffusion filters, dry-for-wet techniques, fish-eye lenses and all the vehicles such as dollies support shooting the 1960s in a fictious way (Dan Laustsen). Since del Toro’s style is making it shot-by-shot, it might have helped Sidney Wolinsky’s job  for the editing.

It would have been better if the volume of the music and photography were more aligned. Furthermore, it is too much Yann Tiersen rhythms heard around although the music was by the French Alexandre Desplat. There, for sure, is a La La Land effect too, especially towards the end.

Such screenplays drawn with thick lines including the events and characters are mostly challenging to move the feelings. The more it becomes thicker and predictable, the less excitement it creates. However, there are still several scenes that make it going: e.g., upon thing’s rescue plan and argument that it is not a human, Elisa’s response in sign language ‘if we do nothing, neither are we’; or ‘positive thinking’ book read by Strickland; or Spencer’s fascinating acting overall.

“If I spoke about it, if I did, what would I tell you? I wonder..”

I wonder if I could tell you that it was a tale of love and loss and a monster (monster as not the ‘asset’, but the bad Strickland) who tried to destroy all.

Or I wonder if the plagiarism accusations are too big to swallow indeed.

Zindel’s play is about a cleaning lady working in a lab, communicating to a dolphin, and trying to rescue it. To summary, The Shape of Water is about a cleaning lady working in a lab, communicating to an aquatic creature and trying to save him. At least, the idea is purely not original.

I also wonder how the nominees are selected for US-based Academy Awards since Zindel holds a Pulitzer prize and his Let me Hear You Whisper play is dated back only to 1969. Unfortunately, this nomination can be interpreted as a pity for the intellectual members of the Academy.

Certainly, it is not nice to behave oddly to orphans, disabled people, colored people, in other words to be a monster; and it is also not nice to be remembered with the Best Plagiarized Screenplay news.

If one wonders this Fox Searchlight Pictures (as one of the production companies) movie, and only has nothing else to do better…

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Disturbing but Not Taking Sides

British-Irish playwright and film director Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has earned seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture (interestingly, not Best Director) in 23rd of January 2018. This is his third silver screen piece written and directed by him, also nominated for the Best Original Screenplay in the same 90th Academy Awards.

A neurotic mother Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) whose young daughter is raped and killed feloniously seven months ago feels defeated by the lack of any progress on the case and no arrests by police. She believes that police department is too much busy with arresting and torturing colored people rather than solving her daughter’s murder. Therefore, she makes her way to the local advertising agency of the town, and hires these three billboards that are located right out of the town across a God forgotten traverse. And here starts the movie then! She puts up the following three sentences in three billboards separately:

“RAPED WHILE DYING”

“AND STILL NO ARRESTS?”

“HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?”

They are emphasized by a striking black, bold, all caps text on a blood-red background which look quite odd and disturbing against the pastoral tones of the sky and trees, as intended plausibly. Moreover, the selection of the billboards and these particular colors are the main metaphors of the movie itself.

There is nothing surprising from the point of the writer (and director) McDonagh since The Beauty Queen of Leenane, his play in 1996. There is this apparently neurotic lady in the front and a story around that. However, when digged, the underlying problem comes to light in several aspects:

Sometimes what we see on the surface is different from what others may feel in depth…

McDonagh has strengthened his proficiency in asking questions during all these years and all the way from his plays. Although there is an important weak point in the plot (cannot give a clue not to spoil), his noteworthy success in writing is his ability to get the audience to ask questions about the situations and people’s reactions to them in a neutral manner.

The tone exclusively is rough but not tiresome. Probably, Ben Davis (cinematography) has a major and positive impact on that. A flavor of “A Serious Man (Coens, 2009)” can be sensed overall. It may be due to these photography comparison as the latter was by Roger Deakins with whom Davis had the opportunity to work in the past. Slow tempo songs and predominantly The Last Rose Of Summer performed by Renee Fleming can also support this similarity for its resemblance to the Coens’.

McDormand’s acting is flawless as always. However, it is not very much clear whether her perfect voice and pronunciation -as not expected from such a character- is either part of the directing or an unscheduled left out.

Both Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell are performing very well. In terms of cogency, Woody Harrelson was one step further.

This Oscar nominated movie written, directed, and produced by McDonagh is made available under the wings of Fox Searchlight Pictures within Fox Entertainment group owned by 21st Century Fox (such as the competing 90th Academy Award nominee, The Shape of Water).

One can feel uncomfortable while watching this film, however cannot judge either of the parties or take sides since there is always this distance kept in the script. Worth seeing!..

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Episode VIII is the second movie made by Walt Disney in the Star Wars series. Its name is Last Jedi. This time, it is not a very similar copy of the previous episodes, where in The Force Awakens, nearly everything was like a carbon copy of the previous movies.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

We already met the new characters in The Force Awakens, so I will not get into details. We have a new Jedi Candidate, Rey. A new Darth Vader: Leia’s son Kylo Ren. New R2D2: BB-8. Of course we have characters from old series as well, e.g. Leia, Luke, Chewbacca. So, you have the copyrights, you have the characters, let’s make money! Sorry, let’s make the movie 🙂

When you talk about Star Wars, you must be careful, because there are millions of fans. They know every detail of the Star Wars universe. I am sure the writers are also one those fans. (I say writers, because although there is only one author credited, I am sure many people contributed to the final script). However, it may not be sufficient to be a fan of the Star Wars. You must have a good story to tell, because original Star Wars had a descent one. Just imagine, your father is on the dark side, and you convert him into the light, the good side of the force. There are space ships everywhere for the nerds, force for the spiritualists, a fight for freedom and peace for the activist, Yoda for the conservationist. You have lots of new stories in the emptiness of the space. You have nice visual effects.

So, what does the new Star Wars have in it, or does not have in it? Again it has a bad character who is on the dark side, Kylo Ren. WE don’t know if he will convert to light or not. There is balance or Ying Yang for the interested spiritualists. The last jedi vs darkness. The rebels fight for their freedom against the evil forces. Of course again we have Yoda and the old books of Jedis. We have better visual effects. Wait, did you realize. We have everything that we already had! It seems like a rephrasing of the old star wars series. The new series does not have much novelties to tell.

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything worth to see. First of all, this is a big budget movie, which means that technical issues are correct. The scenario also doesn’t have big problems, except not being creative. There are some details which will be probably explained later, e.g. Master Codebreaker‘s role, who is advised by Maz Kanata. It is also worth mentioning that there will be new Star Wars spinoffs including Solo, which is based on Han Solo. So, if you like Star Wars, keep tuned in!

MEF – Martıların Efendisi (Lord of the Gulls)

Mehmet Ada Öztekin’s first long-métrage movie (literally long, lasting about 120 minutes) “Lord of the Gulls” is playing in theatres as of 22nd of December. Centralizing the naïve,  schizophrenic character (Lord of the Gulls [MEF]) and setting the story around this core, the script (Meriç Demiray) is consisted of crowded and scattered pieces which are not difficult to follow, however causes a superficial narrative.

The story starts in June 16th, 2013. We see MEF (Mehmet Günsür) by the seaside (Tuzla, Istanbul) talking to the gulls, pretending to be accompanying them with his long-sleeved open cardigan. He yells at his caretaker, Suphi (Barış Yıldız), via imitating the voices of gulls. He says that they should be prepared that night. MEF is so excited, because he is expecting a dreamy assisstant to show up from the sea to help him in achieving his secret mission in the hidden land.

Indeed, a semiconscious young woman (Bige Önal) who attempted an unsuccessful suicide is washed ashore coincidentally that night. MEF goes almost to an euphoric state. He names her as Ms Dream, and starts to train her for this delusional mission.

In reality, Ms Dream’s name is Birgül. She is a run away bride who has thrown herself into the sea at her wedding night due to an unwanted marriage with Cafer (Nejat İşler).

I will let you follow the rest of this intersection on the screen, mainly via the MEF’s axis.

The cast almost always becomes more than important when a disability is the fact. Mehmet Günsür is indisputably the most beautiful face and look in the silver screen. His rounded-brown eyes are sufficient to grab you into a hearty character even if he does not make a single move or say a single word. However, given the complexity of this particular cast, my impression is that he should have done more observations with real patients or had a closer attention over credible past imitations such as Jack Nicholson. Some recommendations could have been less eye blinking during the ocular movements, or looking with pinched but exophtalmic eyes unfortunately which might not be easy to manage with such close ups…

Having acknowledged the shots, frankly speaking, I might have not seen such a close shooting since Joan of Arc in 1928. For instance, I had difficulty in understanding like-15 times changing camera movements during a phone conversation of Birgül with his boyfriend. If shots and light were aligned accordingly, the acts would definitely appear more convincing and powerful. More on the cinematography, I wish that filters or light would be reflected in a more standardized way so that we could automatically get into the themes. One more thing completely from my point again, I found this time lapse effect totally unnecessary. I may find it useful to an extent in the advertising industry but not in the movies.

To close the cast; Nejat İşler shines in all scenes, starting from dropping his cigarette from his mouth at first until the very final appearance.

I can interpret the plot, as have also been mentioned above, superficial and full of a little bit of everything. Though not remembering in details, I think that there may be some referrals to Kosmos (2009, R.E.) as well. MEF is quite a long movie for its duration however still one-dimensional. I felt overall like that the script had to walk in hurriedly before a final adjustment. I was curious about the  characters that were not expanded, and wonder why one or one-and-a-half conflicting point was not selected or scraped out deeper. Several matters to close the loop, for example, are what happened to the other members of the MEF’s family that he hallucinated during one of his psychotic attacks, or why MEF was shown like coming from an upper family standard after which we did not see any hints of it, but almost the opposite.. Putting everything in one plate is always susceptible to leaving open gates for the audience behind..

Last thing regarding the score (Toygar Işıklı): it was remarkable and in line with every bit of the created atmosphere.

This drama would have been a milestone if the plot and other technical aspects were overseen in a more technically accepted way. Agree it or not, cinema is an art of a very technical kind; and has its own mathematics…

One tag line that I could capture in between is: MEF suggests that everyone is a run away at some point of his/her own life. If you have time and do not raise your “like” bar to the stratosphere, you can have a little break for 120 minutes of your life and see MEF…

Mr. Robot*

Mr Robot is a TV show about a hacker who tries to make his own revolution. Although it seems like a technological show, it is much more related to politics. I would classify it closer to Continuum with less science-fiction. However, I must admit that most of the hacking staff in the movie is science-fiction. You must be psychic to be able to hack all of those passwords with a good guess.

The series has a good connection with the audience because the characters in the show are from daily life. They work in an office with many personal problems. Elliot works in his boring cubicle just like Mr Anderson from Matrix and does hacking at nights. Of course he is 100 times more talented than regular hackers, otherwise why would this be an interesting story? Indeed, the story begins when he decides to do something to make the world a better place.

Until now I have given similarities to Matrix, so if you are fan of Matrix, you will probably like this one as well. But this is not all. The series have many references from Fight Club to Clockwork Orange. So if you like to discover all the details, you will like it because each scene has a special item to discover. But more importantly, the series has its own style. It is very dark and depressive. Unlike awaken Neo, Elliot is always in a state of depression. To overcome his problems, he is deciding that the world is the reason of his and everybody’s problems and he tries to change the world to make it a better place for everybody.

This is where the main question of the show starts for me: should you change the world starting from yourself? Would this mean a solution or a surrender? Or should you change the world? Elliot selects the latter one. But will it bring happiness to the world or should he undo everything for a new start? Since the show is highly political, this brings some questions from the real world. For example what would happen if the greedy companies are destroyed. Does it make the world a better place? If no one has any debts, would this solve the problem? Although the show is negative to these questions, we should remind that the real world is negative to the other case where the governments back up the big companies after the crisis. It has been a long time and still there does not seem to be a solid exit from the economical crisis.

Official Poster of the show

I will not get into details about the lack of the correct economic views in the show. But one thing is that it is trying to say to the audience that it does not matter what you do about the evil corporations, there will be another monster waiting for you under your bed. Indeed it says that control is an illusion, which is equal to saying “Don’t try to struggle. You will lose anyway”. This is not the only political message, also there are messages related to Trump (do I need to say that it is anti-Trump?), China (indeed many details from dark army) and many other small details. I believe that they have a good collaboration with experts in their fields. If you know the technological investments of intelligence organizations, you will realize that this show is doing a good job. I think Robert Redford should be a guest star in at least one of the episodes as a tribute to ‘Three Days of Condor’ .

Turkish room in Mr Robot

A final note about the co-producer of the series. Kor Adana is Turkish and probably inspired the team about the room with a Turkish flag and Ataturk statue where the scene was related 2015 G-20 meetings. They are doing a great job and taking care of every detail. I guess this is one of the reasons why techno geeks are really into these series. They really make everything seem like real.

I am not sure what was the initial expectation for the duration of the series, but currently it seems like it exceeded the expectations and the story is expanding a lot more than necessary. Although it is a great story I believe it is time to wrap up the it. Otherwise the story will flow even slower which will make it darker and more depressive or the stories will become unrelated, e.g. go more into real life politics which is good when you see the actual president of US in one scene, but I don’t think favoring one politician for another is a good idea. They may embarrass you when they have power, so it is best to keep a distance to all of them unless they are retired 🙂

  • Caution: This review is written in the third season, so it may contain some spoiler about previous seasons/episodes. Read it at your own risk!

Thor: Ragnarok – Is it Asgard or Asgard beings?..

After six years, a new Thor-titled series has been released as Thor: Ragnarok, this time presented by Marvel Entertainment overwhelmingly. For those who are curious, Paramount Pictures‘ support seems to have been replaced by Walt Disney Pictures in the current one.

This piece brings us back to the holy nine realms where Thor, Odinson, king of Asgard (after the former ruler Odin) and god of thunder, is defending against his sister Hela, goddess of death, in order to preserve peace (or questionably his power maybe) and to protect people.

Until Thor and Hela meet for the struggle to boost, here we go with

  • the introduction of Thor in a cage captured by the fire demon Surtur foretelling a dreadful prophecy, Ragnarok, which will be revealed at the end of the sequel for its becoming true or not;
  • Thor‘s interim beating Surtur for the crown of Surtur to prevent his resurrection by the Eternal Flame; and
  • exclusive referrals clearly to Greek mythology (rather than pure nordic myths) such as grape eating Odin watching a classical tragedy in pleasure / the B.C. costumes though all is appearing in smart tech times with various models of space ships that travel at the speed of light etc.

One can even say that the plot is a modified version of the classical Hellenistic plays in terms of design. Just, it likely varies for its complicated frame of the characters: mighty Thor, seemingly peaceful and encouraging Odin, tricky Loki, saviour Heimdall, and she-evil Hela. The main characters are surrounded closely by stronger side ones or villains as mostly intended in Marvel comics: Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) being a prototype for that, there are also some greyish ones like Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) or Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) which serves to add further complexity to the cinematic universe.

The overall flow is well-put. The plot’s dynamic and professional structure pays for the high technology used in shooting. In other words, Taika Waititi‘s directing and the adaptation can be concluded as to cover the expenditure finely.

Cast can be interpreted as pretty much successful as well, in particular having those great actors in place, i.e., Anthony Hopkins (Odin) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange). For instance, a lesson-wise intonation of Odin makes the scene unforgettable during the following conversation with Thor:

Thor (Chris Hemsworth): ”I am not as strong as you!”

Odin (Anthony Hopkins): ”No, you are stronger…”

Or it all changes when the camera is in 177a Bleecker Street, Dr. Strange‘s house in Midgard (Earth) where Cumberbatch shines with his hypnotic ability of acting. Once again, it is proven that the magnitude of acting is not counted by the number of minutes that an actor is on screen, however it stands for the emotional and intellectual impact after the movie ends.

Chris Hemsworth, physically, draws a very American Thor at first glance with a narrow forehead and small eyes. It can be teased as the irony of evolution like what happen to Norse Gods when they come to New World.

I do not want to mention Cate Blanchett as Hela since I am personally more than fed up with her unchanging alto timbre, more or less with the same resonance, for years…

However, aforementioned two gigantic actors and glazing visual effects still save the cast, I can say. Only few comments both to that overused blurry background whilst aiming to emphasize the characters in the front, and the unproportional images of Surtur shots. The idea to exaggerate Surtur versus Thor seems a little bit ”pretended”, unfortunately due to a perspective trap.

In a nutshell, Asgard as the head of nine realms where peace was known to be brought by Odin encounter a ”to be or not to be” problem in Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor: Ragnarok asks: will Asgard kneel before the queen of death or will it fight for survival? Furthermore, is Asgard a place to be saved but the people, or is it the people?.. Or should the enemy that was created somehow be destroyed at a price of smashing Asgardians’ land, perhaps?..

Including the revolutionary IMAX 3D optics, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) holds its own specialties worth seeing.

BladeRunner: 2049

BladeRunner: 2049

Do androids dream of electric sheeps? It is a novel written by Philipp K. Dick in 1968, and yes, the name of the android in the movie is “K.”. So, do you still wonder about the relation between the movie and the book? You are right, BladeRunner: 2049 is a sequel to the movie made in 1982, BladeRunner directed by Ridley Scott, which was based on the novel “Do androids dream of electric sheeps?”.

The original movie was in a near future after the 2019 nuclear war. In that movie, the duty of our cop Rick Deckart (Harrison Ford) was to distinguish the androids from the humans. Again we have a cop (K.) whose duty is to find the illegal androids and to terminate them. Like many of the sequels, there are many similarities between both of the movies. Afterall, if you have a good formula, why not use it? Indeed, this is what I don’t like about sequels, they use the successful formula and forget to create a new story. We should also remind that the initial movie was a great success in becoming a cult science-fiction movie. But id did not have the same success for its performance in the theatres.

There are some serious differences from the original BladeRunner. First of all, BladeRunner:2049 has much more psychological explanations. The original movie had more action thanks to Ridley Scott. In the new version the characters have more time for thinking. But the plot goes very similar to the previous one.

Relation to the book?

Another important difference is that in this one, we are faced with a Pinocchio. The main character of our movie, police K., has a deep desire of feeling like a real human. You feel like he is searching for his magical fairy. If you look at the movie from this window, then you may say that Jared Leto is Gepetto. You can even find a whale where Pinocchio manages to run away from it. Furthermore, it is not only officer K., who wants to become like a human, but all the androids have this hope. They want to have similar rights to humans, because they believe and want to prove that they are similar to humans. Although this is different from the  idea of the original book, it is interesting. But, it is not emphasized strongly.

In the original book, the question was not that whether the androids can have similar properties with humans or not, rather it was even if they have very same properties with humans, does it make them conscious entities. Do we have the right to shoot them if they are conscious entities? I see the new movie as simplifying this question to a level where the androids can also have same properties with humans, and so they are conscious entities, we should not shoot them. While it is simplifying the problem, it shows as if it is more sophisticated by introducing more psychological motivations with respect to the first movie.

I think there will be even further sequels to this movie if the performance in theatres is successful. This movie is not as influential as the first one, but probably it is more successful in terms of numbers. Probably we will see further in the next movie related to the independence movements of the androids, and probably they will live in peace with humans by missing the main point of the original book.