Film Thursday: Spaceballs

Film Thursday

Genre: Comedy
Starring: Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman
Director: Mel Brooks
Year: 1987

Basically: A very silly but enjoyable old favourite, this spoof film takes on the sci-fi genre.

My husband and I have discovered a new hobby; watching films that were already funny in 1.5x speed. This fast forward viewing achieves two goals. One, it is funnier. Two, it is ideal if you don’t have enough time to watch the whole film in normal speed. We viewed Spaceballs on the PS3 and kept it at 1.5x speed the whole way through.

Pacific Rim Film Review

Description:
Planet Spaceball’s President Skroob sends Lord Dark Helmet to steal Planet Druidia’s abundant supply of air to replenish their own, and only Lone Starr can stop them.

The Good:
Like most of Mel Brooks’ films, Spaceballs is an amusing romp. It takes aspects of different sci-fi films to make a tremendous spoof. The story follows the rescue of a princess, with the idea probably originating with the rescue of Princess Leia by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in A New Hope. But this story is like a cross between fairy tale and sci-fi, which makes it more amusing. The acting is what you would expect of a good spoof – not overtly silly, but obviously not taken too seriously. The film has some wonderful concepts and great jokes. I like the fact that it is enjoyable for children as well as adults, with some of the more adult jokes being completely missed by youngsters. I think that my favourite line from Spaceballs has to be, “You idiots! These are not them. You’ve captured their stunt doubles!”

The Bad:
I would find it very difficult to say anything bad about a Mel Brooks film since it would seem akin to insulting a national treasure. The only thing I will say is that not all of the intended jokes were funny, but that is just down to personal sense of humour. Everyone finds different things funny and Spaceballs keeps a healthy balance of silliness that should appeal to a wide audience.

Overall Rating: 9/10
Plot, Storyline: 8/10
Graphics, Visuals: 9/10 (for the era)
Acting, Characters: 7/10

IMDB page

L.A. Miles
www.Goodreads.com
Latest Book: The Stone Dragon

Film Thursday: Pacific Rim

Film Thursday

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi
Starring: Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Year: 2013

Basically: Nice fight scenes but comedy struggles with sobriety

My husband and I get regular films from Lovefilm. So every Thursday, if we have received a film to watch, I will review it honestly. Please bear in mind that this is just my personal opinion.

Pacific Rim Film Review

Description:
As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

The Good:
Great graphics lend this film a sense of scale similar to Godzilla and King Kong, even if the storyline is just as far-fetched. The idea of two people working together so completely, in mind and in body, is a wonderful premise and I’d like to think that the world would pull together as well in reality if under threat of extinction. Some of the actors gave credible performances, there is a happy ending of sorts (spoilers) and who doesn’t like violence on a grand scale? Some of the fight scenes are awesome in magnitude and there are many amusing moments.

The Bad:
Most of the actors in this film did not take their roles seriously – which would be fine if four of the actors hadn’t been trying so hard to portray theirs with incredibly serious professionalism. The majority of actors having fun with their roles took it to almost bad B-Movie standards, which meant the attempts of the more serious actors did not mesh well. The storyline is not the most believable and has some fun elements, but I did find the plot a bit predictable.

Overall Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
Plot, Storyline: 7/10
Graphics, Visuals: 9/10
Acting, Characters: 7/10

IMDB page

L.A. Miles
www.Goodreads.com
Latest Book: The Stone Dragon

Film Thursday: The Great Gatsby

Film Thursday
Genre: Romance
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey Macguire
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Year: 2013
Runtime: 143 mins
Basically: After so much hype, I expected better

My husband and I get regular films from Lovefilm. So every Thursday, if we have received a film to watch, I will review it honestly. Please bear in mind that this is just my personal opinion.

The Good:
Visually bright and beautiful, the past is brought to life in a stunning vision of the American party scene. Ostentation and precision blended harmoniously in this era, but it is a strange setting for a love story. There was a decent plot, although not one which appealed to my personal taste. There were some very good descriptive phrases and the writing of this film has obviously been well thought through. The only curiosity I felt throughout the film centred on the character of Gatsby, since allusions were made that he was not everything he seemed. However, I think this seed could have been planted a little more subtly so that the eventual exposure of the truth felt more surprising and exciting.

The Bad:
I didn’t personally enjoy this film and would rate it as watchable. The storyline doesn’t immediately grab. It leads with the idea of someone reminiscing somewhat bitterly about the past, letting the audience know straight away that there is no happy ending. With this in mind, the love story between a bachelor and married woman seems doomed to fail and the audience, knowing this, don’t get behind the love story as they might have otherwise. The characters seemed over-flawed, each one of them being self-obsessed and unable to see the bigger picture. This made it difficult to relate to the characters, despite the acting being very good.

Overall Rating: 6/10
Plot, Storyline: 6/10
Graphics, Visuals: 10/10
Acting, Characters: 8/10

IMDB page

L.A. Miles
www.Goodreads.com
Latest Book: The Stone Dragon

Film Review: The Hunger Games

Overall Rating: 7/10

Plot: Good
Graphics: Good
Acting: Fairly consistent, good effort all round

The Good:
An enjoyable film which is full of characters that are believable and that watchers can relate to. I found this vision of another world quite interesting since it reflects many instances of our own history – lots of people have too little while some people have everything, rebellions are contained by fear and politicians desperate to maintain power. The actual Hunger Games remind me slightly of the Running Man show in the film of the same name, with the show-runners attempting to undermine the heroine’s efforts or trying anything they can think of to make the show more interesting. Altogether, I felt this was a very watchable film and I will at some point get around to watching the second one.

The Bad:
It seemed to take a while for the film to gain momentum. I felt the beginning was a little slow, although I understand that the explanations have to be made. The first half of the film was spent setting the stage for the Hunger Games to begin, yet when the Tributes (or contestants) were actually finally starting the game, there was no big deal made about this; it was sort of like, oh, they’re in the game zone now. Gently easing into this scene is a bit of a mistake, in my opinion, since the heroine would definitely not feel that events have flowed along to that point. This lack of dramatics left me feeling somewhat detached from the character and it took a while before that changed again. Also, if you don’t like seeing little children getting killed by other children, don’t watch this.

IMDB page

Halo 3: The Sun Temple

Halo 3 has to be one of my all time favourite games; I met my husband playing Halo 3 and many of my best friends, so it holds very strong sentimental value. Using the bumper jumper control setup, I was not bad at murdering people either.

I spent many hours happily toiling over new map variants to create interesting custom games. The one in the video was named the Sun Temple and had a story behind it. As any Halo 3 player will know, Sandbox is a brilliantly flexible map, but it is surrounded by a field of death. Giant pillars in the distance will fire upon (and usually kill) any player who enters the restricted zone, which gave me an idea for a story.

In the centre of a dessert valley, human explorers discover what they believe to be a temple, which has a holographic sun suspended at it’s peak. Inside the temple structure is a tunnel which leads straight down into a hidden underground cavern. Upon exploring, the humans discover many underground structures from a long-dead alien race. What they don’t realise, is that while traversing the corridors and investigating structures, they have inadvertently stirred up a contagion – a zombie virus.

The entire map was actually an ancient alien scientific facility, and the giant pillars were part of a quarantine program. As soon as the contagion was detected once more, the quarantine program kept all disease within the boundary to prevent its spread. This meant anything inside of the facility was unable to leave, including the human explorers. Slowly, they all became zombified and hid among the ruins for months.

The video shows the arrival of the Spartan rescue team. They enter the area without trouble, unaware that they will be unable to leave the quarantine zone. Upon investigating the disappearance of the exploration team, they come face to face with the zombies and the survivors are trapped underground. This is where players of the game would then be placed; they are the Spartan rescue team trying to fend off the zombie horde with limited ammo and supplies, with zombies dropping in from the surface.

It was a fun map – enjoyable to build, exciting to play and creating the video was a blast. It became a favourite map to play whenever custom games were on the agenda and was possibly the best map I created.

If you would like to download the map and try it for yourself, please visit my fileshare.