(59 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Owen_Ward wrote:

I was actually considering starting a 'Where Are You Now?' thread with all the returning faces showing up lately.

I heard a summons?


(346 replies, posted in Off Topic)

So in about 27 days Elon Musk will reveal his big SpaceX plans for a whole new Mars colonisation architecture, with new rockets. Could be very exciting stuff.


(2,068 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Saw this Korean movie, Veteran.

Every now and then there's a film that makes me angry. It's not because it's a badly made film, it's because the story, characters, or themes provoke an almost primal response. I fucking hate the bad guy in this movie. He's a total shit in every sense of the word, and I found myself wishing his comeuppance would be the most painful thing ever devised. I wanted our hero cop who's chasing him down to break his legs and fuck him up.

I'm not going to say anything more about the story, as I believe Korean movies especially function best without any foreknowledge going in. Anyhow, the film is well made, has some interesting and varied characters, is actually quite funny at times, has some great fight scenes, and is surprising and unpredictable (like many Korean films).

But I'm not sure whether I liked or enjoyed the movie. Or rather, I should say that I'm not sure whether I enjoyed being manipulated to feel anger to such a degree.

I believe there's a line of dialogue in the film that implies the raid on Jakku was his first combat mission. We can deduce that the double whammy of seeing his friend(s) killed and being ordered to execute unharmed people is something that doesn't sit well with him. This is the first true test and he 'fails'. I'm not sure that that really requires further explanation or justification. After all, Vader kills the Emperor because the torture of Luke is the step too far in his eyes.

Finn's subsequent turn isn't instanteous if you remember, and I wouldn't call it based on a superficial whim, first he's merely running, then he meets someone that he likes enough to want to impress, and his going along to Starkiller base is part wanting to save that someone. I think the key points of his arc are all on-screen and well done, without needing to bring too much of your own concrete.

The most important aspect of the political situation TFA fails to establish is that the Imperial Remnants/First Order and the (New) Republic have signed a treaty. That's all we really to know.

The other two elements, that the First Order is working to undermine that by building a superweapon and the Resistance exists to fight against those efforts, is revealed in the movie.

That's enough for TFA. The conflict between Leia and the rest of the Senate over the course of action to take with the First Order may sound interesting on paper, it's not interesting to see a bunch of politicians debating and deciding to not take action or to take an action we as the audience think is stupid (because that's what it is - I can't think of any movie where this has worked, from 300 to Pacific Rim).

There are more episodes coming out and I would be surprised if the fallout from the destruction of the Hosnian system was glossed over in Episode 8 (opening crawl or otherwise). TFA was fast paced and based in the immediate aftermath, but the state of the galaxy now will likely serve as a key aspect of the story moving forward.

Star Trek is shock full of contrivances which are far more egregious than anything in TFA. Though it's ironic that one of my least favourite things in TFA is mirrored in Star Trek (characters seeing planets light years away getting blown up with the naked eye).

The scrutiny is a thing that only ever comes out when one dislikes a movie. None of the issues you mentioned are actually bad. You choose to highlight these trivial aspects to retrospectively justify why you didn't like the movie. That's fine to do. But they don't make TFA a really bad or broken movie. None of these are near the level of a villain whose motivations make no fucking sense (looking at you Nero).

... wait, how does TFA pull its punches in the third act? I don't think that means what you think it means  wink

Some of these are unbelievably nitpicky. No movie can stand up to this kind of scrutiny.

Writhyn wrote:

1) Despite Dameron being a high-value prisoner, after being shot down, nobody checks to make sure they're dead. Literally nothing was stopping a pilot from flying over and checking the wreckage.

The same wreckage that was swallowed up in the sand? And what about the stormtroopers they see at the settlement who immediately start chasing Finn? Why do you think they were there?

Writhyn wrote:

3) The first thing they run into after leaving the planet's atmosphere is Han and Chewie's barge (that DOES make sense, since the Falcon's beacon let him know it was flying again). Soooo....where is the First Order? They just lost fighters to the Falcon. They knew the droid was on the ship that just took off from Jakku, but instead of the Order meeting them with their whacking giant ships, it's Han and Chewie who find them. Then gangsters. The first order conveniently fade from the story.

That's like complaining that the Empire doesn't track Luke to Dagobah. How could they have followed from Jakku precisely? What's more, at the very next place they land, the First Order finds them (using their spies), so the complaint that they fade from the story isn't even true.

Writhyn wrote:

4) The lightsaber is on the same planet that Han goes to for information. Which allows Rey to find it. Please. MAYBE Luke foresaw that Rey would find it because Force, but that's iffy.

This assumes that the lightsabre was always meant to be in Rey's hands, and I'm not sure why you would think that. Maz tries to give it to Rey because she senses the force in her. Perhaps she also senses that Rey could bring Luke back and so having his weapon might help. Why would Luke have to foresee anything? He has nothing to do with where his lightsabre is.

Writhyn wrote:

5) The bad guys make the same damn mistake the empire made before. I've said this before, it makes for IDIOTIC, WEAK, LAME villains who build a bigger death star with a nearly identical weakness. Convenient. This, ultimately, is what broke the movie for me. I was willing to shut my brain off for the other conveniences, but this was too much. It's why the 3rd act is weak, because we've seen all this, but more importantly, because the villains are no longer a threat. It's even the perfect setup for a "gotcha" false-resolution, but nope.

Starkiller annhilated 6 planets with a single shot and ended the Republic. It worked. The First Order won. Why are they stupid for building it? You can't use the 'good guys win through pluckiness and outrageous luck' fairytale story that this is supposed to be as hindsight in why the bad guys should develop a more foolproof evil plan.

Writhyn wrote:

6) Phasma could have single-handedly prevented the entire mission from succeeding by pressing an alarm while she was in the computer. But she was afraid to die, I guess? Despite the years of conditioning (which failed on Finn, I know, but there was absolutely NOTHING to foreshadow Phasma being a pushover). Her complacency is a glaringly bad Deus ex Machina that allows the good guys to win.

Yeah, going to give this one to you. It's pretty lame. Mostly because Phasma looks so cool. But if she were Admiral Piett (or that panicked officer that flees during the destruction of the base) and we could see her face (and acting), this would actually work fine. But because her emotions are hidden, we can't see or empathise with the motivations of the character. As you say, is she afraid to die? We don't know. That's why it doesn't work.

Writhyn wrote:

7) The section of the map that bb-8 has is relatively a GIGANTIC CHUNK of the galaxy. There's no way the resistance couldn't have pinpointed exactly where luke was based solely on that section alone. That's like if the only info I had to find someone was an address on a map of New York state, but I couldn't find it because the rest of the USA wasn't on the map. Oh, and I can't use another map of the States because reasons.

I don't think your allegory quite fits though. If you didn't know that the address was in New York state, then how would you know where to start looking? How would you know that it's even in the US? That's the problem they have in the movie, as Han says they can't identify where it is. The map that R2 has allows them to figure out where the local map fits in to their overall picture of the galaxy. Unfortunately, they do that by showing the local map as a hole... and I think the confusion with the maps comes down to this simplified visual the movie adds in (which I bet was added late). Now, why no-one in the resistance or the Falcon's computer hasn't got this galaxy map anyway (and why R2 is needed) is the thing that doesn't make much sense.

Writhyn wrote:

But seriously, my opinion is TFA was very Star Warsy, but a really bad movie.

So you've gone from "TFA is just ok. It could have been great" to a "really bad movie"?

This is a pet peeve of mine, people saying good movies are actually really bad. Because then what the hell is a bad movie? Your whole scale is thrown off.


(346 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Lament with me my brothers, another (largely unsung) legend has died.

Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14) has passed away.

He was played by actor Gary Cole in the From the Earth to the Moon miniseris by the way. tongue

On side note, it's quite sad to realise that we may likely see all of the 12 men who have walked on the moon pass on before a 13th man goes back.


(16 replies, posted in Off Topic)

In no particular order:
Force Awakens
The Martian
Mad Max Fury Road
Inside Out
Avengers Age of Ultron

I also enjoyed Jurassic World and MI: Rogue Nation. Creed has only just come out in the UK and I haven't seen it yet, but I imagine that might have been on my favourites list as well.

Rey being powerful too quickly really comes down to differences in perception of the Force. TFA is a successor to ANH and ESB, where the Force was about feelings and instincts, not training and experience (which seemed to dominate the PT, the books, and the TV series). It ties into what Trey talked about as his main criticism on the ANH commentary way back when. In the original, you had Luke learning to use the Force very quickly and with actually very little in the way of training. He goes from knowing nothing about the Force to blocking blaster bolts blindfolded (in just two attempts) and using it to make a one in a million shot with torpedoes. Why? Because he reached out with his feelings and let the Force flow through him. Obi Wan and Yoda are not seen actually instructing him to do anything in a specific way. Yoda doesn't tell Luke the button combination to lift the X-wing. He just says to do it (and Luke fails not because he doesn't have x hours in jedi lifting but because he believes it's too heavy.)

Rey does the same. She lets the Force take over. So yeah, not a plot hole when Luke did it and not a plot hole now that Rey is doing it.

As for the rehash argument, it only really works when you distill a plot element to its most basic level. The ordering of the reused elements from ANH, for instance, occur in a different order and resolve under different circumstances. There's a 'lowering the shields of the enemy base' situation in TFA for instance, but it's not in any way similar to ROTJ. Vital information gets loaded into a droid and that droid does get captured by a desert dweller, but the manner in which that droid both gets captured and released are completely different. Their escape from the desert planet is also completely different.

It seems that many forget that TFA is a sequel, and sequels always rehash previously used elements. I just don't see why TFA is being held to a different standard. Why is Terminator 2, practically a remake of Terminator, not given this same criticism for example? I even see talk about how for all their craptasticness the prequels at least introduced new things, which is completely at odds with how they recycled planets, dialogue, shots, situations, characters and designs to the same degree. It's like a sudden collective amnesia has happened.

As for the film's success being due mostly to nostalgia? That's rubbish. The film is introducing a whole new generation to Star Wars (some of whom wouldn't even know who Han Solo is) and has broad appeal which is bringing in people of all ages, colours and sex. It's also a very entertaining, crowd-pleaser with lots of laughs and surprises with characters that you enjoy watching. People are not going back for multiple viewings because they want to see that moment when the holo-chess turns on again.

We may have to coin a new SW version of the save the cat phrase - 'repair a droid'. The moment that Rey fixes BB-8's antenna is so effective in making us like her, perhaps without us even realising.

It's really easy to nitpick this movie, but some of the issues being brought up (not just here, but elsewhere) are really trivial. Couple of thoughts below.

avatar wrote:

* So R2D2 had the map the whole time and was just sulking? Didn't anyone know that? And Kylo knew what piece was missing and couldn't figure it was the Jedi Temple?

R2 has the overall galaxy map which allows them to position the smaller map provided by Max Von Sydow. I think the system where Luke was found was uncharted. It's not like it was the Statue of Liberty and they wouldn't need New York to find it - they didn't even know if it was in the States or not (to continue that analogy).

I don't think the graphical puzzle bit at the end is very helpful on selling the logic behind the maps though and that's where the problem comes from. If you didn't have that and it was simply just a map or location, then it would be fine. But I guess they wanted that 'aha moment'.

avatar wrote:

* Is the Falcon a piece of shit or not? They want it both ways. Traders steal it off each other (so it must be in demand) then it sits under tarps collecting rust and is their second choice.

It's "garbage" at the time on Jakku, and it hadn't been flown in years, but that's not to say it didn't have trade value previously. It indicates the passage of time better than an 'as you know' scene.

avatar wrote:

* Why doesn't Chewie fire his bow several times when Han dies? Just one lame shot and a long pause and then turns to stormtroopers. His best mate just died. He should have been hammering Kylo with rapid fire as soon as the saber went through Han. And what's he doing during the whole duel scene? He could've helped them out. Lucky the planet took so long to explode as Poe blew up the thermal oscillator ages ago.

Chewie was surrounded by stormtroopers which were posing a more immediate threat and Kylo was a long way away. He was lucky he even made the shot that he did. He makes a run for the Falcon after he blows the charges and probably isn't even aware that there's a duel going on. Heck, he may not even realise that Kylo is still alive. In terms of storytelling though, what purpose would Chewie serve being there as well? It's a key moment in the arcs of Finn, Rey and Kylo. It would not do anything for Chewie's story that hasn't already been done with his almost suicidal rampage which has him blowing up the base that they're all still inside!

avatar wrote:

* Han seemed to frequent Maz's bar a lot but was unaware Luke's saber was stashed in the basement.

Why would he know what's in Maz's personal quarters or storage room? This seems an unrealistic expectation.

avatar wrote:

* Still not clear if the Empire is the same as the First Order and what the relationship between the Sith and First Order is (is one subordinate to the other?)

The First Order arose from the ashes of the Empire, it says as much in the scrawl. The relationship is presumably subordinate, but who knows at this point. Something to find out more about in the next movie.

edited to add - regarding the score. At first, I thought it wasn't particularly good but with successive viewings and the soundtrack itself, it's actually very good. Much better than any of the prequels stuff. It's possible that the film is so overwhelming at first that you just forget it in light of everything that is going on.


(4 replies, posted in Movie Stuff)

On my first viewing, I liked it lot. It's a crowd-pleaser of a movie, provoking laughs, ahs, cheers and shocks. The three new protagonists are utterly endearing and Boyega has superb chemistry with both Daisy and Oscar. I buy all the character moments and their motivations. It's like a modern superhero comic movie, firing on all cylinders.

Seeing it a second time, I loved it. I believe this is the kind of movie that may get better with every viewing. So much stuff to notice. So many great lines. I can't wait for the bluray. I have a hearing problem so some of the dialogue of the masked characters I found difficult to hear, so it would be great to read the subtitles for these parts. The sound volume did seem louder this second time, so I did hear a lot of things I missed the first time.

It's by no means flawless. There's a CGI character that likely won't age well and there didn't seem to me to be that many stand out new music themes. There are lots of key story and setting details that are left untold, but that's not necessarily a failing.

I also saw this at midnight last night and again today. I liked it more the second time actually, being less distracted by recognising trailer shots and oh yeah, the sound going out for several minutes at the beginning of a very significant Han scene.

All the actors are fantastic. There's not one dodgy person in the entire thing. The 4 young leads are amazing. I'm reminded a lot of Mad Max in terms of its relentless pace, marriage of old and new special effects techniques, and return to what worked best in establishing the franchise.

Also, fucking Luke Skywalker!


(2,068 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Is something wrong with me? I saw the new Fantastic Four movie and didn't hate it.

After enjoying Jurassic World, Terminator Genysis and, hell, even TMNT, I feel like something is broken.

Recommend me a bad movie guys, I need to recalibrate my sensors.


(2,068 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Inside Out.

This is a really good, fun movie with a great premise which it does exceptionally well. I'm surprised at how good this is. Please see it if you haven't.

Ok, so Hobbit 3 EE is 'available'. It's definitely a lot more violent, and the battle scenes are the most expanded element of the film (understandable given the nature of this one).

There's no fix for the Ravenhill scenes (obviously), and these are still probably the weakest parts of the film (it's needlessly convoluted and the whole 'Kili and Fili are sent ahead to investigate' stuff makes no sense).

It's also filled with humour that's a whole lot funnier than 99% of the Alfrid stuff. I'm amazed at how out of place his scenes are. He's Jar Jar Binks level awful in this.

There are a couple of scenes, including a bit with Legolas, which are absurdly ridiculous.

I'm looking forward to getting the bluray and listening to the commentary.

Me too on Casper! I also thought the thing on the wall was Zoolander and above that was Blues Brothers. Though both these turn up as errors. What's the yellow thing on the left side next to the wall? And the masked guy, is he supposed to from something?


(2,068 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Just come back from seeing The Martian. Great film, with fantastic cinematography, engrossing story and endearing characters. Doesn't hurt that it's hard sci-fi. It's my new favourite movie of all time - and yes, it's definitely a better story than Gravity.


(2,068 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Seen quite a few films recently, catching up on a few that I've missed.

I loved this, particularly its joyous and contagious optimism. The only negative I had was that they ended up resolving things through violence, I really think that the story they were telling was one that could have been wrapped up through talking and cooperation - indeed, I sort of figured that was the overall theme.

Jurassic World
Pretty much what I would have expected (and wanted) from this one. I enjoyed it. A few unresolved plot elements that are undoubtedly for the inevitable sequels but I didn't think any element was eye-rollingly awful. The corporate guy seemed straight out of a James Cameron script but he had very little nuance and missing such a crucial element of his philosophy that he just comes across as one dimensional. Overall though I though tt was better than the previous sequels (not a high bar I'll admit).

Terminator Genysis
I enjoyed this despite its glaring flaws. I liked the concept of playing with the 1984 events, but the moment it left that time it descended into plot hole after plot hole - and that it skirts around who sent the terminators back to the earlier time period I found borderline offensive. Arnold seemed back on form on this one too and he was a joy to watch again.

Mad Max Fury Road
Amazing. It's a good, simple story filled with lots of action and in this respect it was a refreshing throwback to films of old. Everyone behind and in front of the camera is giving their all, which I think gives it something that's missing from most action films of the day.

avatar wrote:

After taking a gigantic dump on science, scientists, and the scientific method in Prometheus, Ridley Scott tries to redeem himself with a movie honouring NASA, JPL, and hard, no nonsense science. And successful too. Good on him.
The movie has the same sentiments as Interstellar and Tomorrowland... Exploration, cooperation, solving problems ourselves without resorting to superheroes, the chosen one, or some supernatural mumbo jumbo. And a there's no punch-up next to a ticking bomb for a change. Recommended.

Great to hear the positive word. Going to see this on the weekend hopefully. Do you think this is worth watching in 3D?


(27 replies, posted in Creations)

Heyho, any updates on this one? It has been quiet for a couple of years now.

Fan edits have begun to emerge, there's the Tolkient Edit (about 4 hours) and There and Back Again (about 3 hours).

So far so good, with some interesting ideas to remove bloated or bollocks sections.

They're using ropey versions of Hobbit 3 at the moment, but I imagine that these will be improved with the release of the EE which will also hopefully provide some additional useful footage to add in, eg more Beorn laying waste to orcs.


(6 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I thought this was enjoyable but yeah, lots of plot holes. The largest is, of course, who sent the terminators back to 1973. The entire story rests upon this, and them leaving it open is either extraordinary lazy storytelling or gutsy. Though to be honest, how Skynet is able to send back the T-1000 is a plot hole in T2.

I love the concept of playing with the 1984 events, even reversing the roles, but the moment the story resolves 1984 it devolves into stupidity. There's a time machine, they travel more than 30 years into the future to mere days before the singularity, they have the same plan as Sarah had in T2, they meet Evil John Connor, and they resolve the conflict through violence which predictably doesn't work.

Also, how does Sarah know where the Time Machine is in the future, so that she can tell John? I've seen Terminator, and there's not lot of time for Kyle to give her that kind of detail.


(2,068 replies, posted in Off Topic)

They're mostly absent as well. The visual effects didn't quite work for them, so that's probably why they are hidden or sir not appearing in this film. I warm to the movie with each viewing, perhaps because I'm just a sucker for space combat movies. There are a few great scenes that I picture in my mind when I think of the movie - there's a great bit at the end I always like for instance. I like the cocky pilots bantering stuff too.