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Apollo 18 [2011] Review

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment

On December 17, 1972, NASA launched the Apollo 17 shuttle. According to records, this was the last manned mission to the moon. In 2011, we have found footage from the secretly launched Apollo 18 mission funded by U.S. Department of Defense in December of 1974.

The film follows three astronauts who are sent to the moon to place transmitters that monitor Soviet signals. The team splits, leaving one astronaut aboard the orbiting shuttle, as Capt. Benjamin Anderson (Warren Cristie) and Cdr. Nathan Walker (Lloyd Owen) explore the dry dunes of the moon’s surface. Their search soon becomes diverted as creatures buried within the shadows of a deep crater forces them to retreat to their pod. After contacting Earth, the two astronauts realize the U.S. government never planned to bring them home. As stated by the movie synopsis, this footage signifies why humans never returned to the moon.

This isn’t the first science fiction movie to be adapted to the low budget form of found footage films. Take a look at Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity 1&2. If you are akin to these films, then you’ll recognize why Spanish film director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego chose to allow his audience to walk on the moon alongside the astronauts. This buddy-buddy viewpoint allows for some adjoining shots that we could never witness unless the astronauts were filming themselves.

I give the writers, Brian Miller and Cory Goodman, credit for the premise even though a lot of what the film had to offer was widely expected. Though the mystery behind the alien creatures was never truly revealed, being left out created loads of emotional tension. The best I could figure out was that they were some sort of troglobites, roaming from the shadows whenever they sensed food.

The film managed to rack in around 17.5 million to date. My advice, see the film if you want a trip to the moon. I sure got one.

Thor [2011] Review

September 29, 2011 1 comment

Okay, so this by far, is my favorite super hero of all time. Though, it could just be my interest in Greek folklore, or level of knowledge in their gods. Who knows. This films was a must see for me.

I tried to disregard all familiarity with the character’s back story, and watch the film with a fresh conscience. Something we ALL have to learn to do when watching super hero flicks. This lowers the heartbreak when you see that the director and writers have destroyed the history and plot. (Holding chest)

While director Kenneth Bragnah adapted this film for 3-D viewing, he shot the movie in 2-D. I don’t know why there’s such a high demand for 3-D films, especially when you’re not preparing the script for these types of conversions. I guess the films transformation was sheer marketing. Obviously it worked. The movie racked up over 150 million at the box office. (Thumbs Up)

Like other superhero films, the writers managed to chop the original 1960’s back story to accommodate for time. The only real connection I seen from the comics, is when Thor is ready to become king of Asgard. The plot takes a large turn afterwards and during this time, The Frost Giants invade Asgard. Thor disregards Odin’s orders, and attacks the Frost Giants’ realm. The attack leads to a dispute between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and as punishment, lands the god of thunder in New Mexico on Earth. (In the comics, Thor wasn’t simply cast down to Earth. Odin placed him into the body of Donald Blake. It wasn’t until Donald found Thor’s Hammer that he was able to transform into the God of Thunder.)

Thor is found in the desert by three scientists, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), whom were researching occurrences of worm holes. Okay, so all is well until I realized that Thor retained all his memories of his life back on Asgard. It isn’t a real problem, but when the writers made this choice, it took away from Thor’s and Jane’s relationship, which is much more believable  in the Thor comics.

I won’t complain as much, because the casting choice was perfect. Chris Hemsworth couldn’t have been a better Thor. Natalie Portman’s role as Jane Foster would have been better if the writers made different choices, but overall she nailed the character alteration. Tom Hiddleston, the antagonist in the film, adapted well as the jealous, snide brother Loki. His acting ability gave me strikingly familiar feelings as I watched him betray Asgard.

Largely, the film scored high points with Thor’s natural ability to create action packed fight scenes. And for that reason, I’d recommend seeing this movies. Just don’t expect a close comic book adaptation.