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Ready Player One Movie

I adored the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, so I have been eagerly looking forward to the adaptation of the movie. But books are always better than the movies and this continued to be the case, although the movie was solid. There were some significant changes between the movie and book and usually I would be in an uproar about this, but the author co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, and thus he himself tweaked some scenes to better fit an action movie. These changes worked, and gave it a better narrative flow.

**In tribute to the premise of the book and movie, I will be sending you on Easter Egg hunts. Follow my links to find other awesome bloggers out there who have a connection to the Ready Player One movie and the word I hyperlink it to. Enjoy their blogs!**

We first meet Wade Watts aka Parzival in 2044 living in a trailer park wasteland.   Much of society is in shambles, but people can escape from their mundane lives by entering the Oasis, an online massive multiplayer simulation game.  The founder James Holloway has died, and he has created a hunt for control of the game and it’s profits, and players need to embark on a journey to find three keys, each that would unlock puzzles or a riddle with a clue to the location of the next key.  Wade is an expert on 80’s nostalgia, as Holloway based the quests off the games of his youth.

The first key was obtained by participating in a huge car race. Right away this is a major change, but much better suited to film than the original fun (but long and drawn out) scene from the book. We begin to truly see pop culture references here, with vehicles and characters  you will recognize from other franchises. Director Steven Spielberg refrains from referencing too many of his own previous film’s but we still see a DeLorean car, King Kong and a T-Rex. We also eventually spot Batman, the robot Gundam, the Iron Giant, and Chucky in future scenes.  Unfortunately, licensing prevents some classics such as Star Wars or the Avengers heroes from being used.

For the second key, Parzival had to reenact word by word the movie WarGames, but this this movie switches up the film he needs to immerse himself in. This new film was actually a nice surprise. If it was going to go off-script from the book, why not give the viewers a chance to experience an iconic horror movie and some key scenes that will give you the chills.

As an evil corporation honcho tries to win at all costs and has endless money and workers at his disposal to win the game. Parzival is helped greatly by a fellow online avatar Art3mis, who is established as a love interest early on, and his best friend Aech.  Yet another change is that the movie shuffles some timelines with Art3mis and other online friends, before they arrive at the final gate. An epic showdown occurs, and (come on, this is no surprise) Parzival wins the game and the girl!

All in all, this was a fun movie and I look forward to watching it again on DVD so I truly can catch all the shout-outs from movies, music and tv that was embedded in scenes. However….this was no blockbuster and it really didn’t do the book justice. If I were watching it with no preconceived notions, I would have enjoyed it even more. Yet on the other hand, the movie was strong enough and made some interesting cinematic choices that let me enjoy it even as it diverged greatly from it’s source material. My advice is to read the book if you truly want the grand adventure!

-Nancy

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! Hope you’re all having great dates ;D

This past weekend, as those of you also residing in the Midwest know, was a nightmare! All the snow we got on Friday made my work close, which was awesome, but left me at home shoveling and throwing snowballs for the dogs. It also almost left me without a Valentine’s day date – it was doubtful my fiancé would be able to come visit, but he managed to on Saturday after the weather blew out. We spent that afternoon out and about playing PoGo and it was the best time we’ve had together in a while. Sunday, though, we stayed in, baked, and watched this movie we didn’t get to catch in theaters.

Professor William Moulton Marston is being interviewed by the Child Study Association of America about the moral integrity of his creation: the comic called Wonder Woman. As he defends the themes and images in his work, he also reveals his life story and the inspiration behind the character. In 1928, Bill and his wife, Elizabeth Marston, are teaching at Harvard University and developing the lie detector test. Olive Byrne, daughter of Ethyl Byrne and niece of Margaret Sanger, becomes their teaching assistant and helps them develop the test. The three become close, and it’s soon clear that their feelings for one another go deeper than any of them expected them to. Once their relationship is revealed, the Marstons are fired from Harvard. Adding to their struggles is Olive’s pregnancy. How can the three possibly rebuild their lives after their scandal, let alone build a family together?

I’ve read The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore, so I knew already about the man behind Wonder Woman and his family. I would say a good bit of the film was built from speculation because, due to the taboo behind polyamory and discussing sexuality at the time, there probably wasn’t a lot of primary sources from the subjects of the film to draw from. Still, the story is crafted well, and I was able to suspend my disbelief easily enough to enjoy it.

One of the things that surprised me the most was the emphasis on Elizabeth and Olive’s relationship rather than either of the women with Bill himself. Though he is part of the title and one of the main characters, Professor Marston was almost a secondary character in his own film. Thinking back now, it seems as though we the spectators were watching the film unfold mostly through Bill’s eyes. Many of the scenes place him in the background, with Elizabeth and Olive in the spotlight. Sometimes we see them from far back, as if we were Bill watching from the corner of the room. We are spectators too, but we are also Bill the spectator, watching these two powerhouse women fall in love with each other. I certainly hope it opens the door to more romance movies with same-sex or polyamorous couples in the future!

To the eye, every detail was perfect. The costumes and sets were fantastic. To both casual fans and diehard Wonder Woman fans, there are tons of cameos to pick out. The soundtrack was also very good, especially in the romance sequences.

It was an enjoyable film. There is a greater emphasis on the women who inspired Wonder Woman than on the creator himself, which opened the door to a romance film between two women. If Diana wouldn’t be proud of that, I don’t know who would be! It’s crafted well, from the costumes to the music. For reading with your viewing, I recommend either The Secret History of Wonder Woman or Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine by Tim Hanley to learn more about Bill, Elizabeth, and Olive, and how their dynamic shaped Wonder Woman!

– Kathleen

Robinson, Angela. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. 2017.

Justice League

*Spoilers ahead*

I took opening weekend off to go visit my fiancé. I desperately needed to get away. Honestly, I was so excited to go be visiting him for the first time in way too long that I kind of forgot we were seeing this movie XD So I got comfy in the theater chair and hoped it wouldn’t be terrible. Obviously nothing DC can do will top Wonder Woman, but I figured the rewrites and reshoots they did would bring more of the heart and soul elements that WW had into JL.

Superman is dead. The world is left without hope. And in the place where there might not have been any hope in the first place – Gotham – it just got worse. Batman has been tracking and trying to capture these mysterious beings: bug-like creatures who feed on fear, but they keep exploding whenever he gets near. Amid all the green goo, they leave a mysterious pattern behind. Three boxes in a triangle formation.

Diana Prince knows exactly what the symbol means. The Amazons have lit the beacon as a call to war. She reveals to Bruce Wayne that the Amazons had been guarding a device called a Motherbox on Themyscira. Steppenwolf had tried to conquer Earth once, thousands of years ago. Together, the Amazons, Atlanteans, and tribes of men defeated him, and he retreated. Each tribe was charged with hiding and guarding one of the three Motherboxes. If the Amazons have lit the beacon, it means that the box has awakened, Steppenwolf has returned, and he’s gained the Motherbox the Amazons had been guarding.

They will need help to stop Steppenwolf from recovering the other two Motherboxes. Luckily, they have a few in mind. Barry Allen, also known as the Flash, in Central City. Arthur Curry, the Aquaman, and one of the Atlanteans that have been guarding the second box all this time. Though he’s presumed dead, Victor Stone, or the Cyborg, may be of some help as well. His father used the energy of the last box to integrate his body with machinery and bring him back to life after a terrible accident.

Even with all this power, they need one more. They need Superman. Bruce theorizes that with the power of the one box they have, they can bring Clark back from the dead. Some on the team think it’s worth a shot, and others think it’s a terrible idea. What if he comes back and doesn’t know who he is? What if he comes back totally changed? But Steppenwolf will not wait around until their minds are made up: they need to come to an agreement, and fast.

I genuinely enjoyed the movie. It was no WW, by any means 😉 But for the first time in a long time, DC put out a comic book movie that actually FELT like a comic book movie. The characters were compelling, and most of the fun is watching these big box heroes interact on the big screen for the first time. Casting for the most part was spot on! Each character felt plucked from the comics and placed directly onto the screen. None of them act in a way that you wouldn’t expect them to.

The story, though a little predictable, was written very well. It’s accessible, too! You don’t have to have watched the previous DC movies to understand what’s going on. They do reference some past events, but it’s always with a little context so new viewers aren’t left totally in the dark. Kind of smart of them, since I’m not sure I’d recommend any of the past DC movies that directly relate to this timeline!

There were moments that were touching and genuinely funny, and the movie lets itself be funny and a little lighter. We’ve come a long way from the tones of Man of Steel and BvS here, and it was refreshing – and relieving. I don’t think I could have sat through another one of those.

I have one huge complaint, and I called it when the first trailer dropped. Ezra Miller as the Flash. It was, by turns, better than and worse than I thought. He is the obvious comic relief for the movie, and he somewhat succeeds. Sometimes he really is funny! But most of his one-liners were so cringeworthy! It was so… UGH!!! FRUSTRATING!!! My fiancé, who had a much more open mind about this Flash than I, agreed that sometimes it was just too much. The Flash’s special effects were among the best in the movie (excepting probably Cyborg – holy cow! He looked great!!!), but that really is his only saving grace.

My two most favorite parts of the movie are actually the biggest spoilers, so I will save those for when enough of you have seen it >:D

Overall, Justice League is a great movie. It’s a little serious, but seriously playful – just what a comic book movie should be. The acting (save one) is spot-on, special effects are awesome, and the story is accessible and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Most of all, the characters feel genuine and true to their comic book counterparts. This is up there with the better DC movies they’ve put out in a very long time. Skip Man of Steel and BvS. WW and JL is where it’s at!

– Kathleen

Last JL Trailer!

YEEEEEEEE

Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince are rounding up more metahumans – superheroes – to save the world. Someone’s got to, now that Superman is gone, right? The world needs a hero like him… but why have one, when you can have five? =P

The thing I liked most was we finally got to see some more Cyborg. Most of his costume was likely done in post-production, so we haven’t seen much of him until this trailer. I like what I see!!! I do hope he plays a bigger role in the movie than has been shown in the trailers so far =D

Speaking of liking what I see… Jason Momoa as Aquaman… perfect casting, in my humble opinion ;D

Bruce’s face at 2:48 tho… being so done with Ezra Miller Barry… I feel you, Bruce. I feel you.

Justice League hits theaters November 17th! My fiance and I have the whole weekend blocked off for it and making Bob’s Burgers >:D

Yes, you read that right… my boyfriend is now my fiance! He proposed while we were in Amsterdam, after the concert. I was waiting to post to all social media until we were able to tell and celebrate with our families in person. We are so happy and excited to be entering a new chapter of our lives together ❤

– Kathleen

The Dark Tower

Now, I want to preface this review with a confession.

I’m not a Stephen King fan.

I just can’t read horror! I can’t! I spook wayyy too easily. But the man has written some incredible work and accomplished a great deal and for that I tip my hat to him.

A friend tried to get me into the Dark Tower series ages ago, and to be honest, I was turned off partially because Stephen King wrote it. Anything he writes has to have large quantities of blood and creepy crawlies in it, right??? So I tried The Gunslinger, but didn’t get too far before I called it quits.

Then… just a few weeks back, I read the graphic novel. AND IT WAS AMAZING. It was so good I immediately picked up The Gunslinger again. I wondered why I ever put it down the first time!!! I devoured it in three days (the fastest I’ve read a book in a long, long time), and I’m currently on the second book. I was interested in the movie from the start because it stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, both great actors, but I was more keen than ever to see it. So I roped my friend who’d tried to get me to read the books into seeing the movie with me =P

The movie starts with a boy named Jake Chambers. He has some disturbing dreams, and he draws all of them: a commune where children are gathered, a dark tower, and most frightening of all, a man in black. New York City has been suffering from quakes, and no one knows why. Experts are baffled. Jake does know why, though. The man in black is using the children to attack the dark tower, and if it falls, the world will end in darkness and fire.

No one believes him. His mother sends him to shrink after shrink, thinking he’s suffering delusions brought on by the grief of his father’s death. His stepfather wants to send him away to a special school for troubled kids. But Jake is not crazy, and he is telling the truth. In fact, he’s just found a house in Brooklyn that he saw in his dreams. Inside, he finds a portal. He steps to the other side to find himself in the world of his dreams – as real as he knew it would be. He sets out to find another man he’s seen, someone whom he thinks might be able to help – someone called the gunslinger.

The movie is only based on the novels, so there are inconsistencies between the two media. I only caught a few, while my friend who’s read all the books caught more. There were a few elements of the story that could have used tightening or reworking, especially near the end. Roland’s character seemed off to me, but that was due more to the writing of the movie vs. the books then Idris Elba’s performance.

In fact, my favorite element was the dichotomy of the gunslinger and the man in black as portrayed by Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Both are incredible actors, and brought force to both their characters and the eternal clash of good and evil they are caught in. Their performances were stellar.

I was a bit pleasantly surprised to see minimal special effects. Well, they are there, but only a few sequences used them heavily. I guess I would say… this movie wasn’t in your face about the special effects like a lot of other movies are these days. Probably not a big deal to a lot of people, but I thought it refreshing and worth noting.

Overall, it’s still an enjoyable movie. I wasn’t awed by it, but I definitely wasn’t bored, either. I do agree with my friend, who said that if you had little or no previous knowledge of the books, you’d enjoy it more. As a standalone title, it does the job. If you think about it as a tie-in or continuation of the books, you’re taking a lot of the enjoyment out of it for yourself.

– Kathleen

Arcel, Nicolaj. The Dark Tower. 2017.

Power Rangers (2017)

Long ago, in the Cenozoic era, an epic battle was waged for all life on Earth. A group of warriors called the Power Rangers have been betrayed by one of their own – Rita Repulsa – and must stop her from stealing the Zeo Crystal they’ve been tasked with protecting. Zordon – the Red Ranger and the leader – managed to subdue her, but at the cost of his own life. He died burying the coins that are the source of the Rangers’ power, and whispers to them, “Find someone worthy.”

Fast forward to modern-day Angel Grove. Three high school students who normally wouldn’t be in detention find themselves there. Jason Scott pulled a prank that got him caught by the police, and as a consequence, he got kicked off the football team and has been placed under house arrest. Seriously! He has to wear an ankle monitor and everything. Billy Cranston, the school’s biggest nerd, offers to disable the ankle monitor in exchange for a lift to the abandoned mine nearby and some excavation help. They also notice Kimberly Hart, a cheerleader, in detention as well, but she won’t talk about what she did. That night, Jason and Billy run into Kimberly and two other kids, Zack and Trini, and what they discover is about to change their world. Power coins, a spaceship, a man named Zordon talking to them through the walls of said spaceship, even a talking robot, all pointing them to one destiny: they are the new Power Rangers, and they have to defeat the risen Rita Repulsa. Can these five kids – who know nothing about each other, who aren’t even friends – learn to work together to save their town, and the world?

I was a huge fan of the TV show when I was a kid. The Power Rangers were so cool! I haven’t watched the show in a long time, but I remember the campy action, cheesy dialogue, and overall ’90s Saturday morning goodness fondly. The movie did not disappoint in any fashion. Too many superhero movies today try to be dark and gritty, but not Power Rangers. There are serious moments, but overall the tone is light due to the funny dialogue and lovable, relatable characters. The kids are as diverse here as they were in the show (though some of their colors got switched – there’s a joke about that!), and we also see for the first time on screen an autistic and a queer superhero. Though Jason and Kim are star quarterback and cheerleader, respectively, we also see them screw up and try to fix their mistakes. Teens will see themselves in each of these characters. There’s also action aplenty, both of the human and Zord variety, including a bit where they use the original theme song during a fight sequence. I really regret not seeing this movie in theaters for that part alone! Overall, Power Rangers is a fun retake on the original series, with plenty of humor and action.

– Kathleen

Isrealite, Dean. Power Rangers. 2017.

First Reviews for WW!!!

After seeing a Facebook post with a screenshot of a 95% Tomatometer for Wonder Woman from Rotten Tomatoes, I absolutely had to check for myself.

OP was wrong.

Wonder Woman has a 97% APPROVAL RATING!!!

And is the only DC Extended Universe movie (Man of Steel on) to be CERTIFIED FRESH!!!

For comparison:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with a 28% critic approval rating, 63% audience score.

The only closest rating from DCEU? Man of Steel, with 55% critic approval, 75% audience approval.

But wait? What about Marvel, who’s movies even I admit are generally better than DC’s? The highest rated Marvel film was Iron Man, with 94% of critics approving and 91% of audience members loving it.

In fact, the only other superhero movie with a 97% critic approval rating isn’t from Marvel or DC, but from Pixar! The Incredibles holds that honor.

I’m so incredibly excited for this weekend when my boyfriend and I will see it!!! BvS didn’t sit right with me the more I thought about it and Deadshot: The Movie Suicide Squad, while better, was still not as good as it could have been. I’m still cautiously optimistic for Justice League, but right now, as far as my girl’s concerned, all caution has been thrown to the wind! BREAK OUT THE TIARA AND BRACELETS THIS HYPE TRAIN HAS LEFT THE STATION

– Kathleen

Revival Movie!!!

 

Last Friday, when I reviewed the last volume of Revival, I said “My love affair with Revival has come to a close”. Little did I know that I was wrong- dead wrong. It was announced at the C2E2 Revival panel on Sunday that a live action film is in the works!!!  Tim Seeley and Sarah Fisher are writing the screenplay, and Luke Boyce will be directing through Shatterglass Films. Production starts in 2018, with no release date yet.

I am so very excited at this development, and am eager to hear who they will cast for Dana and Em. As for the pivotal role of Dr. McKay, I happen to know the perfect person to play her.  I shall patiently await a call from the director 😉

In the meantime, enjoy this teaser trailer that sets the tone for this outstanding supernatural thriller.

-Nancy

Justice League Trailer #1

***Spoilers for BvS and Suicide Squad ahead***

YOOOOOOO

After the death of Superman and the post-credits scene between Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne in Squad, the age of heroes does indeed need to come again. There is a new threat to the earth. What it is isn’t clear yet, but it’s a thing and it’s coming. Bruce and Diana are gathering what metahumans they can from Amanda Waller’s files. So far they’ve got Arthur Curry, Aquaman; Victor Stone, Cyborg; and Barry Allen, the Flash. Together, they kick some serious butt while listening to a hard rock Beatles cover.

(Sorry, I am soooo incredibly tired… don’t mean to sound so salty. Guess that’s my attempt at a literal trailer =P )

The part I liked best was actually how prominent Aquaman was. He seems like a cool guy! Scary but cracking jokes (the whole trailer was more lighthearted, kinda like Suicide Squad, though the color palette is a little darker. Guess they’re going for dark humor?). It really seems like we’ll get to see how powerful he is! Wish there was more Cyborg, but hopefully in a future trailer. I am so not sold on Ezra Miller’s Flash. Grant Gustin is my Barry Allen 5ever!!! ❤

Of course… my very favorite part… is at 1:58 when WW lands in front of Aquaman and he steps back all startled… that’s right you best get out the way for my girl 8D XD

Who else is hyped???

– Kathleen

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