Top 10 Most Exciting Films of 2017 (First Among Lists)

4 01 2017

star-wars-episode-eight (Lucasfilm - 2017)

Jasper Fforde is a British bestselling Author whose selected works include the The Eyre Affair, The Last Dragonslayer and Shades of Grey.  He is something of an inspiration to me and someone I have not just met and had books of his signed, but have had the fantastic opportunity to have my work looked at and even edited by him; it was a wonderful opportunity and moment for me and still ranks as one of the best moments in my writing career to date. Anyway, I have been thinking a little bit about Jasper Fforde recently, mainly because of The Last Dragonslayer being shown on Sky 1 on Christmas Day, a book which was one of my favourite reads a couple of years ago.

The Last Dragonslayer (Hodder and Stoughton - 2011)

Anyway, to get back on topic, one of the books in his Thursday Next series is called; First Among Sequels. Well before I began writing this; (having awoken from a small nap on Boxing Day) I thought that it could be fun to give a personal touch to one of my early blog posts, in particular one of the early Top 5-ish posts where I talk about last year and this year in films. I was thinking that I should call it First Among Lists. Then I thought that this could be rather confusing for anyone who came along looking for a post on films, as the tile does not suggest anything along those lines. Then I thought; ‘why not’, and added it in brackets after writing this sentence. See. Just thought I would do something a bit more fun and a lot less like written uniform.

split (Universal Pictures - 2016)

2016 has passed, and 2017 has begun. Yes, it’s that time of year when we can break those freshly made resolutions and convert the newly acquired weight’s beach into a clothes horse. I prefer not to make such resolutions as I don’t see any real point in them. Why not, instead of making pathetic New Year’s Resolutions which you’re not going to complete, find something to look forward to instead, like; I don’t know – movies to be released this year? There are quite a lot of good-looking films to be released this year, including the possibility of a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, something to look forward to for many I’ll bet. As is something of an annual tradition for me and my blog now, I have had a good look through the (Wikipedia) movie release schedules and found a whole load of good-looking films to look forward to this year, and am keen to share this information with you all, including which are the Top 10 films I personally am looking forward to. Now there is quite a lot this coming year I have found, and not all could end up on my Top 10, so I just want to give a shout out to the following films: Wonder (the book is really good), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Alien Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Geostorm, Despicable Me 3, Split and The Great Wall. If there is anything you in particular are looking forward to this year but is not mentioned on here, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know; but for now, here is what I am looking forward to this year.

dunkirk (Warner Bros - 2017)

10. Dunkirk – Films set during World War II don’t really get my interest. World War 2 is an important event during the entire history of this planet of course, but the use of the subject matter in the media I feel has been rather overdone; you only need to look at Video Games set during WW2 to see what I mean. Why am I interested in this then, well because Christopher Nolan is directing it, and I feel that that is a good a reason as any to not write it off as of yet. A trailer has been released which I have yet to give a proper look at, and will probably do so when I edit this post in WordPress, the one thing we have to hope for of course is that the film is done right, and does not replace the British, Belgian and French Soldiers with American Ones for the sake of the film (America was actually still one whole year away from joining WW2 during the events of the Dunkirk Evacuation).

return-of-xander-cage (Columbia Pictures - 2017)

9. XXX: Return of Xander Cage – I am surprised how long it has taken to get this film made, as this should have been done nearly 10 years ago. The first Triple X film starring Vin Diesel, Marton Csokas, Samuel L. Jackson and Asia Argento was a film I really liked and was hoping for a sequel. A sequel was what we got, but without 3 of the previous mentioned cast members, try to guess which ones. The first one was a unique blend of modern and traditional spy films with the added bonus of extreme sports and stunts, creating what I think is still quite a cool little film. While this new one may be missing Asia Argento (and Csokas of course for those who have seen the original), I still feel quietly excited by this, and hope that the juices that flowed in the original will blossom once more and possibly create an interesting franchise; 14 years late.

thor-the-dark-world (Marvel Studios - 2013)

8. Thor: Ragnarok – The first Thor film was something of a surprise to me, as I had no idea what to expect, but absolutely loved. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has the feeling about it that it might have begun to start to come to a close as the series for one feels like it’s beginning to drag and feature less of its more prominent characters. I do feel sort of glad though that Thor gets one more solo outing before that happens, but it does come with a bit of un-nerve. I have not really been tracking its production, but it feels wrong that Natalie Portman is not going to be in it. I don’t know as to the why she is not in it, but when you have been using two previous films to create a romance between two characters, only for one to leave with no real reason and probably to be replaced, I feel that is something of a bad idea, because, that previous romance has been developed, this new one won’t be to an audience point of view and will come across as more confusing, than heart-warming. It has been done before, just look at Transformers: Dark of the Moon as an example. Anyway, I still have hope for Thor, as I want it to be just like the previous two films; proper fun, enjoyable films. While the love life maybe completely in the air, what isn’t is the male cast which still includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins, as well as newcomers to the Thor films in Avengers regular Mark Ruffalo, and more interestingly; Jeff Goldblum.

war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes (20th Century Fox - 2017)

7. War for the Planet of the Apes – The new Planet of the Apes film series has become one of the standout heavyweights of cinema, and has achieved this with only 2 films released so far. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a wonderfully thought out and brought together film which created truly marvellous moments (including the death of Draco Malfoy), this continued on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which set man and ape against one another in a brutal fashion while also weaving in a thought-provoking plot. Now, things are set to get even deeper, as audiences have a heavy minded choice to make, as they decide whether to fight with humanity, or with the apes in a battle to decide who will be the new dominant species. Regular ape cast members are set to return, while humanity is represented by former District 12 Winner Woody Harrelson…..should be pretty interesting.

the-shape-of-water (Bull Productions - 2017)

6. The Shape of Water – In all honesty I don’t know much about this film. Wikipedia says its: “An other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963”. Why do I take an interest in this film you ask? Because Guillermo Del Toro is directing it! While it’s plot is currently vague with not much known about it other than production details including cast members such as Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones, it is hard to expect what it could be, but considering what this film sort of suggests, part of me wonders if this could be Del Toro’s next Pan’s Labyrinth?

the lego-batman movie (Warner Bros - 2017)

5. The Lego Batman Movie – When I went to see The Lego Movie, it was clear to me who the real star of the show was: Batman (voiced by Will Arnett). I loved the portrayal of Batman in the Lego movie, just could not get enough, so was super excited when I found out that he was getting his own movie, and this year it gets released. I can still hear his awesome self-crafted theme tune going through my head right now. Have seen a couple of trailers so far, and it’s hard to work out where it is going or what it is going to do, but as long as Batman is the Lego Movie Batman (which is by far the best Batman to date), then it should be awesome (pun intended).

Power Rangers (Lionsgate - 2017)

4. Power Rangers – Is it excitement or hope why I have put this film so high in this list? I am not going to get too detailed here about this; I made my views very clearly detailed back in September. What I do want to say is that I am excited but still very nervous about the Power Rangers movie due for release in the coming months. The film is not too far from release and the trailer does look pretty promising, but given what we have seen in the past when Power Rangers have taken to the big screen, I think my nerves are a reasonable reaction. I do want this film to work, and do feel that in the right hands and with the right execution, this film could become a worthy rival to the Transformers film series. The trailer and shots from production do look pretty good, but I don’t think any of us who intend to see this film can really hope to relax until this film actually gets released, then we can find out if a third time can be some kind of charm for the Power Rangers.

transformers-the-last-knight (Paramount - 2017)

3. Transformers: The Last Knight – I have been a fan of the Transformers films from day one. It is a series I have enjoyed throughout and have continued to do so to the present day. When Age of Extinction came out in 2014, I was unsure of where the series was heading for, but was blown away by a powerhouse of a film, my favourite entry to date and have been super excited to hear there is not just going to be a sequel, but also returning with the fantastic new cast of Extinction. While Nicola Peltz is a no-show at current, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Josh Duhamel (from the first 3 films) are all confirmed for what is so far looking to what could be the most ‘confusing’ entry in the series to date (and I can’t help but wonder if the title is a reference to something that happens in the film, or is a reference to the status of the series director).

kong-skull-island (Legendary Pictures - 2017)

2. Kong: Skull Island – Soon after the release of Godzilla in 2014; Legendary Pictures announced that they were going to make some more Godzilla films, as well as possibly creating a shared universe which would also include King Kong. Well; King Kong is set to return this year with his very own reboot, as a stellar cast of actors including (but not limited to) Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman decide to explore an uncharted island occupied by a variety of horrific monsters, all of it overseen under the might of the Great Ape known mainly as KONG. So far the film is looking really good; Kong’s design especially looks terrific and while details of the story are still relatively unknown, the current premise looks pretty cool. How it will turn out is another thing, but so far, I am really excited for this one (let’s just hope Peter Jackson didn’t accidentally walk onto the set during production).

logan (20th Century Fox - 2017)

1. Logan – A lot of things have happened in cinema over the last 17 years, but one of the very few constants is the portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men Film Series. Since the series began, Wolverine has been portrayed by Hugh Jackman, and has helped not just kick-start his movie career, but made him a household name. “But all good things must come to an end” many pessimistic people have said, and this appears to be true for the relationship between High Jackman and Wolverine, but the animal is not going to bow out without one last bloodbath. Set for release this year: Logan looks to tie up the loose ends of the series so far, as the X-Men head to bold new directions (especially with Deadpool looking set to become the series main star). Expect possible tears, as well as a lot of blood as Wolverine bows out in more ways than one, delivering potentially his final chapter, with support from his long-time friend and series heavyweight Patrick Stewart returning once more to play Charles Xavier, as they face one last enemy together, possibly in the rumoured form of Mr. Sinister.

GENEPOOL (Well that is my list, what movies are you looking forward to this year?).





A Big Red Right Hand – Hellboy

7 09 2016

Hellboy (Revolution Studios - 2004)

A few weeks ago while dining at a church fellowship meal, someone on the table remarked at how everything on TV and at the Cinema all involved Super Heroes. Now while this is something more of a cliché possibly or more likely an over exaggerated statement, there is a lot to be said about the number of Super Hero based things on TV and at the Cinema at the moment. Things like Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow on TV, whereas cinema this year has had several comic book related films like Captain America: Civil War, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, X-Men Apocalypse and of course Deadpool. The reason for all of these of course is that right now they are very popular franchises, plus more importantly..…they make money. Super hero/comic book/graphic novel based movies are nothing new, they have been around for a while, its only in the last 8 years or so that they have really gained much in the way of traction; however, it should be noted that not all comic book/graphic novel interpretations are about super heroes, I mean, would you call V for Vendetta a Super Hero Movie?

V for Vendetta (Warner Bros. - 2006)

Released in 2004 by Revolution Studios, Produced by Lawrence Gordon and Directed by Guillermo Del Toro; Hellboy is a comic book adapted movie based on the Dark Horse Comics character of the same name by Mike Mignola and released by Dark Horse Comics. This is by no mean Del Toro’s first foray into making movies based on comics, as 2 years previously he directed Blade II.

H6

In 1944, The Nazi’s with the help of Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden), build a machine off the coast of Scotland to create a portal in the hope of releasing a group of monstrosities called the Ogdru Jahad to aid them in winning the war. Rasputin opens the portal with help from Ilsa Von Haupstein (Biddy Hodson) and Thule Society member Obersturmbannführer Karl Ruprecht Kroenen (Ladislav Beran), who is also Hitler’s top assassin. A group of allied soldiers arrive just in time guided by Trevor Bruttenholm. The German team is defeated and the portal is closed, sucking Rasputin in, in the process. As the allied soldiers search the grounds however, they discover that an infant demon with a big right hand-made of stone did travel through the portal. Bruttenholm decides to adopt him, and the soldiers call him Hellboy. Sixty years later, in the mountains of Moldova, Kroenen and Ilsa resurrect Rasputin, while in America, young FBI agent John Myers (Rupert Evans) is transferred to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) at the request of Bruttenholm (John Hurt), where he meets the amphibious humanoid Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and the now grown up adult Hellboy (Ron Perlman), who has grounded off his horns. As soon as he meets Hellboy though, they get a shout that something is going on at a local Museum. Inside the Museum, Rasputin has unleashed the monstrous Sammael (Brian Steele) and bestowed upon him the power of reincarnation. Hellboy fights with Sammael, defeating him after a long lengthy fight, before then disappearing to see Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), a former BPRD member who is now residing in a mental hospital hoping to gain more control of her pyrokinetic abilities. After Hellboy is gone however, Rasputin visits, and mentally activates her powers which in turn burns down the hospital.

H10

Back at the BPRD HQ, the team discovers that a creature from Sammael laid eggs into Hellboy while it was attached to his arm. Whilst John goes off to visit Liz and encourage her to return to the BPRD, Hellboy, Abe and a team of guards including Agent Clay (Corey Johnson), head to the subways to find and destroy a nest of eggs belonging to Sammael, into which Hellboy discovers has come back to life, while Abe fights with another. Abe is severally injured in the fight while Hellboy dispatches with the other. Several BPRD Agents are killed however by Kroenen, who then shuts down his clockwork body so he can be taken into BPRD HQ. FBI Director Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor) is not too pleased with Hellboy’s actions. John takes Liz out for Coffee, while Hellboy who has romantic feelings for her, stalks them. In the Bureau HQ, Kroenen re-animate himself, and both he and Rasputin make themselves known to Bruttenholm. Rasputin reveals to him, that Hellboy is the agent that will reopen the portals and destroy the world. Bruttenholm who is dying of Cancer, and who has raised Hellboy like a son, believes that Hellboy in the end will make the right choice, and Kroenen stabs him in the neck.

H11

Manning takes over the BPRD after Bruttenholm’s funeral, and leads a team consisting of agents, John, Liz and Hellboy to Russia in hope of finding Rasputin’s Mausoleum. With help from a local cemetery corpse resident Ivan (Guillermo Del Toro), they find the mausoleum, but get separated once inside. Hellboy and Manning find the lair of Kroenen and quickly defeat him, while Liz and John find Sammael’s eggs, where there are no quite a few of them. Hellboy arrives and does battle, but its Liz who saves them as she sets fire to the lair, killing all of the Sammael’s and his eggs, meaning he can no longer be resurrected. The group though is captured by Ilsa and Rasputin. Using Liz’s soul as a bargaining chip, Hellboy reveals his true power as Anung un Rama, with his horns growing back and begins the ceremony to release the Ogdru Jahad. Myers quickly breaks from his restraints and reminds Hellboy of what Bruttenholm brought him up to be. As such Hellboy breaks his horns, and kills Rasputin before the creatures could be finally released. Rasputin, revealing to have had one of the Ogdru Jahad possessing him, releases the tentacled monster. Hellboy defeats the creature by blowing it up from the inside. He then returns to Liz, whispering into her ear, threatens to go to the other side unless her soul is returned to her, as such Liz is revived instantly and the two share a kiss.

H5

Hellboy isn’t what you would exactly call a Super Hero Movie. It definitely shares traits and themes to films of this Calibre, but in all perfect honesty, Hellboy is not really a Super Hero, he is more an Anti-hero. He saves the day and the world on a regular basis from threats and monsters from the other side, but when he goes back home, he doesn’t live a life of obscurity or simply puts some glasses on, he returns home and does what he wants when he wants. In a way, he is more a mirror image of the human condition and what most of us are likely to do if we were super heroes, and want we would want out of it, not what is right, but what is desire. He wants fame, he wants fortune, he wants food, he wants love, don’t we all deep down? Yes, he is a super natural force from a world that is not this one and is employed to defeat the forces from beyond, to protect this world from the greatest threats not of this world or even this reality, but he is given a pampered life to make up for the life he simply cannot have as to who he is. If you look at other super heroes (except for maybe Deadpool), and what they do, and how it drives them, Hellboy is not in it for that, and when he does go in for a fight, he makes it as big, as loud and as exciting as possible, just because it allows him to go outside once in a while. He is less a Super Hero, more just like you or me, in it for a kick, but secretly desiring more.

H4

As a film, the tone and ideas are a little bit off-putting, there is no middle ground in explaining, this film is based on subjects about the dark arts, and the grim dark and horrid after life that is in the lead’s name. But through all that though, comes this incredibly well thought out and well created mythology and ethos surrounding the characters, what they do and who they fight. It’s very similar I think to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as it’s setting and mythologies are all based on well documented ideas and beliefs, but brings them into the here and now rather than through some old age orientated may centuries ago fantasy world. This is the kind of Fantasy that should be explored more often, because it makes it more apparent, believable and interesting to a more modern culture and audience. I can see why Del Toro did this film in the end, it works perfectly to the style of films he started out doing and continues to create (Fantasy Horror). The setting is of course our world, but it goes on to suggest a dark uncertain future, including the possible apocalypse, and through its ideas creates some visually stunning moments. We are not talking Independence Day like scenes here; we are only talking a small fraction of visuals, but still aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also amazing and horrifying to believe. It all works well into this well created and wonderfully designed setting while also providing everything else a film needs to grab the attention of the audience. It’s visually stunning, with grips of an enchanting and horrifying storyline while also adding a well-researched and believable mythos.

BPRD logo

It’s interesting to note the strong calibre of movie industry veterans cast in major roles in what is really such a small comic book movie, but I bet that comes more from the established director. Jeffrey Tambor is someone I have had little exposure to in the past and before seeing this, the only role I have seen in him was Muppets from Space. In that he had a high seniority role which came with a lot of pressure and a lot of stress, but overall was an incredibly funny role. Here we have something somewhat similar minus the comedy. He comes in as something of a corporate/political nemesis whose only concern is really himself and his position and finds that while the BPRD has its uses, he considers them overall a joke and a waste of resources. From his first appearance onwards he presents himself as someone who does not at all care for Hellboy, and his immediate introduction is shown of someone with a lot of power and whom carries a large level of intimidation. This carries on, showing his more demanding, not necessarily selfish side, but one who wants and demands respect; although how he reached his position could be questionable. He however, like a good scripted character, does show his uses and redeems himself in a flat second by showing his thanks to Hellboy for saving his life, and shows him how to light a cigar. Similarly there is of course John Hurt playing the adoptive father of Hellboy and head of the BPRD. He presents himself on a more caring but still serious note and overall rather than being a head of section comes more across as that chemistry/history teacher that we all come to be fond of and respect. His father figure like stance has its moments and the story of him dying ensures to enrich the plot and reason for Myers existence in the film, all which leads to a revelation point as to the true meaning for Hellboy, but still his ensured faith as to that Hellboy will make the right choice.

Jeffrey Tambor and Ron Perlman

While this film is primarily about creatures/monsters, there is of course a lot of human interaction. Some of these have been allowed very little screen time but are presented enough and are performed brilliantly enough for them to remain a key part. Characters like Ilsa are a good show for this. Someone who is a high officer in the Nazi Party and the key love interest for Rasputin, who, slowly but surely begins to reveal a sort of near psychopathic and heretic side, someone who believes in the cause no matter how it comes. She is very old-fashioned and also en-richly disciplined given her growing up and position, and keeps to this even after 60 years have passed by. Kroenen meanwhile is more a Monster than a human, and becomes a key villain from start to finish, even if he is just a puppet in the end. He too shows an incredible dark side, killing without mercy and has even showed some remains of being human showing traits such as laughing; however his body is less the case. Rasputin is something of a cross between Dracula and Darth Vader I find. He is presented more as a prophet and is unwieldy fiendish, but for him it’s all been planned out, and if it’s not part of the plan, he has no motive for it and will either order it dead, or just not think about it. He uses as much as he can to get what he desires and will maintain a level of control to keep the plan ripe and eventually fruitful at all costs. He is an interesting villain, but you get this feeling though that he is not the puppet master either, like there is someone else pulling the strings, but it’s never really shown (also, he has this weird change of voice before he turns into the monster).

H7

Myers comes across though as a young man in his prime excelling and desiring to do what is right in what is already a stressful job. He does not get on too well with Hellboy, and it feels like he is side-lining himself just so he can work on/with Liz, either because working with her feels more normal, or because of another reason. He continues to try and work with Hellboy, but while he is supposedly the lead human in this film, it feels like his point or part just gets more and more obscure and less needed other than to help Hellboy make the right decision. Other than that, he has almost served his purpose already. Maybe he is just an Introduction to the world of the BPRD, for the sake of the audience, as while he is a key feature for the first act, and a bit of the second, by the third, it feels like he is not even there. Agent Clay I find is a lot more of an interesting character than Myers, as he comes off a lot more strongly to begin with, and his compatibility with Hellboy comes off immediately as the two respect and care for each other even if their position does not require it. He shares very few scenes, but when he is in them, it feels like he is a much stronger lead in comparison to Myers, and that deep down, Clay should be the lead, but I don’t see how that could work either, as it’s clear he has been around a while.

Corey Johnson

The one theme this film tries to tell and thoroughly resonates, is what it takes for someone to become a Man. It gets mentioned start to finish and in the end becomes the story. This theme though really does work well for Hellboy. You need to remember that Ron Perlman is playing a very demanding and physical role, but in reality is the only real actor who could play the part, as the character needed someone physically big but also who could act, not like hiring an actor who is big but is only hired for physical capability. But despite the experience and wisdom of Perlman, it should be noted that Hellboy is actually a much younger character than Perlman is. In reality, Hellboy is actually very childish; a spoiled brat who gets more than he deserves but still demands more. He is like an over pampered cat, receiving so much food and attention, but still desires and believes he needs more. He is also something of a smitten lover, desiring Liz, even though she would rather lead a more normal life. He shows this by endlessly talking about her and trying to visit her/bring her back to the BPRD then eventually stalk her when she goes out with Myers. Like the average action hero, he does in the end ‘get the girl’, but it’s not through his childish ways, it’s when he grows up, becomes more respectful, and then threatens to fight tooth and nail for how much he loves her, therefore going from a childish brat, to a man, even if he is not human.

H8

Abe Sapien I find is something like a rabbit in a field of cats. This film’s ideas and premise surrounds a demonic identity, then in the meantime there is this character who is not that in anyway shape or form. He is less an alien, nor a demon, he is more in fact a natural mutation with a human life. He is more a book work than a man of action, less likely to get into a fight and more read his way out of a battle than throw a fist. He however though carries the trait of a group counsellor. He carries a lot of wisdom even if he could be considered a little young; he comes packed with knowledge, but still packs a little attitude. But in the end knows his place and where he belongs and knows the importance and vitality of the groups function and works to act as a mediator in-between the heat. He may feel less than respected or a part of the group, but he believes in it. Liz Sherman for me though is the one who stands out the most. She comes across as this shy, and vulnerable character, who is scared as to who she is and what she can do. She carries a real fear for it, and though while not a monster in appearance, feels on equal footing to the others in what she is. She desires a more normal human life, feeling more like an outcast in all walks of life. She has power but looks human. She wants to be human, but knows that humanity won’t give her credit as to what she looks like given as to what she can do. I do feel this really affection for the character, and really come to know who she is and how that affects what she desires. She then starts to build confidence thanks to Myers and receives the opportunity to lead a more normal life thanks to him, but then, upon the death of Bruttenholm comes to the knowledge that the ‘freaks’ need to stick together, and that Hellboy needs her support in what is a hard time for him. She grows and grows, becoming a tough fighter in the final battle escapades and even something of a leader, showing great deals of professionalism while also still coming to terms with whom she is and what she can do, which she then discovers, and comes to less fear it, more embrace it. Selma Blair plays what is for me, a very identifiable role and one whom I somewhat can’t get enough of, and come to anticipate with joy her next appearance.

Selma Blair (I know it's from Hellboy 2)

The film being one that is filled with many marvellous and very imaginative creatures will of course come packed with the not so original assortment of special effects to make these things come to life. It should be noted however that a great deal of special effects in this film are not necessarily the work of CGI or Computer Generated Imagery, in fact for the most degree, many of the needed special effects more take the form of make-up, masks and costumes. It should be noted that in his early life, Del Toro actually studied and worked for 10 years in special effects and even started his own company. It is obvious to note then that when it came to Special Effects needed for this film, that he already had it planned out early one. For the actual shoot and filming of scenes, Hellboy, Abe, Sammael and Kroenen are actually costumes and or models when needed. CGI is only brought in when they needed to use them for a scene that would require CGI and when a Suit/Mask/Makeup would not work. Scenes such as creatures in Water, Sammael’s resurrecting, and the giant portals and monsters. This allowance but also reduced requirement for Computer Graphics means that there is a lot more involvement between characters in certain scenes, and makes the fighting look more fluid and dynamic, because the fighting is real. The other thing is though, that you can actually see the difference, as when the costumes are in shot, because the physical entity is living you can see it interact, but also, it looks fresher. When the computer animated imagery is in place, there is a feel that some of it is rather unfinished. Don’t know if you saw my review on the film Mimic (also by Del Toro), but in that the CGI was easy to be seen as not good or possibly unfinished, there was a direct correlation between real life and fake quality. In this you get a similar feeling, and it only really works for the CGI when things are happening quickly, like a fight scene or a chase as it blurs in and you don’t spot it, but then when you get it standing still, it’s very noticeable, that more could have been done in that department.

H9

Special effects are not everything in a film like this, because in order to convey the right feel to such an imaginative thing, you need a good quality soundtrack (composed by Marco Beltrami) to back it up. Hellboy does have a sort of strange mix of pieces of music, ranging from the dark and mystical, to the old-fashioned with a bit of attitude. Pieces of music in those areas include when the portal is opening near the end, when Liz’s power is awakened in the hospital, to pieces like the BPRD theme when Myers turns up, Bruttenholm’s funeral, to the more modern sounding music as Myers and Liz go for a ride, then intermixed you also have the one of piece that sounds just sort of added and silly, but not in a bad way. But for me I want to highlight 3 distinct pieces of music. Now the third one I should note is only available really with the Director’s Cut of this film, but I would like to point out here and now (if I have not already) that this film’s Director’s Cut is where this film is at. It really enhances and includes and builds on from the original cut and though while its original cut is pretty good; to get the full experience, watch the DC. Anyway; the first piece is really this film’s main theme and you hear it the minute the credits are about to roll. It’s sort of twisted and sinister, that’s how it comes across anyway; and intermixed has a romantic track line, but for the most part is this dark and twisted tone that really sets up what you have been watching for the last 2+ hours and sort of puts it into a level of context, while also providing a mystical identity.

The next two pieces are more sort of added as to enrich the soundtrack but by adding pieces that were already made but not necessarily for this film. The first is Red Right Hand (I wonder why) by Nick Cave and the Dark Seeds. It only gets played after Hellboy’s introduction to Myers as the gang go to the museum in a bin lorry. However, well in the film plays as a really groovy soundtrack that just dominates most of the sound and works well to present the scene as best it can, especially when you see the agents marching in front of the bin lorry as the doors open. It’s a dark, twisted tune, but comes with a sort of light listening punch that you can’t help but sing a long too (much like the third song). The piece is actually very different in presentation to how the film puts it in, but either way, it’s still good.

Then you have this song by a band called Forseps. It’s just called Hellboy, but that is something of a lyric. It’s very different to everything else as it’s more heavy rock with a twist of a groove packing mystery and excitement as the song builds, explaining who Hellboy is, but then it hits this Lyric ‘HELLBOY’ and into that we get a lashing of attitude, the attitude this film has included, but only really feels now is the time to unleash. It’s mainly just a nice, interesting, but also levelly piece of fun on which to end the film on.

I really like Hellboy, both as a film and as an idea, especially the character. I consider him definitely worthy of equal footing in comparison to the other big super hero movie boys out there, if not a greater footing than them, it’s definitely more interesting and fun than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here you have very human like characters, even if some of them aren’t. You have these well thought out and researched ideas, enriching a really cool but also big plot and it comes packed with everything in between to male what is a very enjoyable film. While its mythos and ideas will put some people off, for everyone who does (‘dare’) to see it, there is a lot to like and a lot to enjoy, and in the end while such ideas are present, they are not the be all and end all of the tale, in fact it sort of goes beyond that and goes into other ideas and mythology, springing out-of-bounds to other locations and interests. Packed up with an incredible cast, touch-able-worthy special effects, and a mystically dark soundtrack that packs a punch, altogether Hellboy is a very magical film, and while I would not necessarily consider it a Super Hero Movie like the other adaptations of this sort, when you do think about it in league with those films and series: While it may currently only have 2 films in a potential trilogy, it still packs more and is generally more entertaining than many others. Yes, there are a lot of Super Hero Movies and TV Shows right now, but spare a quick thought for those that dare to do something different.

GENEPOOL (Also, quick shout out to Ivan).





Trailers – Jurassic World, Star Wars Episode 7 and Terminator Genisys

10 12 2014

Jurassic Star Terminator

A couple of weeks ago, two of Cinema’s big blockbuster heavyweights released trailers for their long-awaited return to the big screen. Now while I wanted to do a comparison or look at the trailers type post for both Jurassic World and Star Wars Episode VII, I didn’t quite get round to it, but after the release of the Terminator Genisys trailer this past week, I decided to do it, and combine all three. First off was the trailer for the new Jurassic Park film, Jurassic World. It has been over 13 years since a Jurassic Park film has come out, and while there have been a couple of re-releases of the original film, it has been quite a while since a new film has been made. Jurassic Park, originally based on the book of the same name by author Michael Crichton has had 3 films so far. A fourth has been in the works for a number of years now but finally it appears that there is light on the horizon. Next up was Star Wars Episode 7 (or VII if you want to be specific). Once again, it has been a while since a new film has been released; the last one being in 2005 (if you don’t include Episode II.V which was more an animated film, not a live action film). In 2012 when Lucasfilm was bought by Disney, Disney announced that a string of new Star Wars films were to be produced with Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be the next film in the series. Finally, there is the next film in the Terminator series. The last time the Terminator was on the Big Screen was in Terminator Salvation in 2009. While the previous 3 films in the series looked at the events leading up to the war against the machines, Salvation finally set itself in that war. Well after 5 years, Terminator is back (no pun intended). So, let’s now look at these trailers. I thought, for a bit of fun I would organise them in a similar manner to how I do my Top 5 posts. So I’ll put what I think is the best looking last, and build up to it, with third first and second…..second.

Star Wars Episode VII (Lucasfilm - 2015)

When Disney first made the purchase and the announcement was made about new films, I was undecided. First it sounded like an interesting idea, but I had this feeling that Disney was just going to end up milking the franchise for all it’s worth. Even when J.J. Abrams was announced as the Director, while a little alleviated I was still unsure. The problem I had been them referencing the original films over and over again. Not do anything new, just re-do old storylines and characters. No new story, or characters or items. Just old stuff 24/7. So eventually I just put it to the back of my mind, not really thought about it, just mildly forgot and take an interest every now and then. Well, the new trailer was released, and I was right. The trailer begins with a scene that looks like Tatooine, not a new planet, an old favourite. It shows images of Storm Troopers, X-Wings and the Millennium Falcon. Like I said nothing much new. Yes, there are new cast members and a new robot. The villain that appears is one ‘supposedly new’ thing that I do like. The lightsaber is more orangey than red, and the flaming handles are a nice touch. I mean the trailer isn’t all that bad, but given the prequels are set something like 30-40 years before the main trilogy, I’d thought that 30 years after the events of the original trilogy that there would be new bits and bobs, not old stuff. The trailer isn’t that bad, the little robot looks kind of funny, and the shots of Storm Troopers and X-Wings do look interesting. But I still think that Disney are relying too much on the previous films. It’s like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is right now, the way that they are constantly reminding the audience of The Avengers movie, instead of allowing the standalone films like Thor and Iron Man the opportunity to stand on their own two feet. While it does look pretty exciting and has raised my expectations a little more, the thing is, it’s still just a teaser, when a main trailer gets released, we should be able to see more. While I am still unsure about this new film, the trailer has made me a little (just a little) bit more excited about it, and it’s mostly due to the flaming lightsaber.

Terminator Genisys (Skydance Productions - 2015)

Next up, it’s Terminator. I really liked Salvation, I liked the cast, Sam Worthington and Moon Bloodgood were both really enjoyable to watch and I liked the setting and premise. The original films originally didn’t really work for me. I have not seen the first one; I have seen the other two. I originally didn’t like number 2 but more recently I have grown quite fond of it. A new Terminator film is always exciting and I have followed (on and off) the production of 5 for a while. I was hoping for another film set in the future during the war. Possibly more like the war shown at the beginning of judgement day with lasers than the bullet filled world of Salvation, but the chance for a Salvation sequel was always on my mind. This new trailer however, is quite different. The trailer does show the future war against the machines, with battle sequences and terminators, but it also travels in the past with the character of Kyle Reese being sent back in time to when Connor was just a child and is being raised by a Terminator. It looks like instead of doing either or, it is doing both, showing the war and the past. The initial trailer cast looks pretty good and the setting and action scenes look pretty exciting, however I get this feeling that the film looks a bit like Twilight, like it’s designed for that market and audience. While the costumes are definitely more like Kate Beckinsale in Underworld, the cast together look like they were filming another Twilight film, this time with robots in it. It’s just the cast and the light uses and points where they are together look like the twilight trailers, and the posters, same goes for Genisys’s posters, it looks like Twilight. While I still have my little worries about it, I am really excited about this new film in the series, it looks brilliant.

Jurassic World (Universal Pictures - 2015)

Finally, it comes round to Jurassic Park. I have been following the production on Jurassic Park 4 very closely for a number of years now. When the film finally went into production I was pleased, I have been wanting to see a new Jurassic Park film more than a new Star Wars film. Recently I read the book by Michael Crichton and really enjoyed that too. So when the trailer came out, I was so excited to just see it. Firstly, it should be noted that this is not a remake or reboot, it is a sequel and it is set about 22 years after the events of the first film. The new trailer shows a lot, and it shows a fully working safari park for dinosaurs. The trailer also shows dinosaurs, in particular a brilliant shot of Liopleurodon/Predator X depending on what the producers are classing it as. The trailer also reveals plot elements and reveals the idea of a hybrid dinosaur. Now while I am a bit worried at the sound of that, the trailer does not show the creature and so no spoilers are given. The idea of the park working and accepting visitors is brilliant, but the inclusion of the genetics which the book and first film explore combined with the working park make it look like the park (when finished) represented in Crichton’s original story. The inclusion of the hybrid also brings a level of mystery and jeopardy to the trailer which makes you want to long for more. The effects look brilliant, and the dinosaurs as well as the human cast look great too. While it may still be a few months away from being released, Jurassic World looks Fantastic.

GENEPOOL





When Is The Hulk Getting A New Film?

18 06 2014

Hulk

After the success of the Avengers movie back in 2012 and with a sequel coming out next year which I am only very partially excited about for several reasons, many of the films cast and characters have been getting more and more movie parts with the recent conclusion to the Iron Man series, the brilliant sequel to Thor in Thor: The Dark World as well as the recent Captain America and the Snowmobile Driver. Since then of course further films have been announced into what could quite well be the most unbearable film series on the planet since Harry Potter with the announcement of films including the up and coming Guardians of the Galaxy, the quite idiotic sounding Ant-Man, a third Captain America film and other potential film ideas including a third Thor film (at last, some good news), something involving Doctor Strangelove…..sorry…..Strange no love, The Runaways, Iron Fist (who?), Nick Fury, Black Panther, a stand alone project for Black Widow (who has not been the same since after Iron Man 2), Inhumans and Ms. Marvel. While it has also been announced that a new Blade film is in production (which has been way too overdue seeing as none of these current Marvel films wouldn’t even be happening if it wasn’t for the Success of Blade), I really do hope that it shares no connections with the Avengers film series as Blade is not like that and he is not exactly the kind of person to team up with other super heroes, and if he were to join up with the Avengers, the character would be ruined, just like Doctor Who is right now.

The Avengers (Marvel Studios - 2012)

Now while all this is (supposedly) good, isn’t it strange that the real star of the 2012 Avengers film has yet to have a film announced, and by that I mean a standalone film, however none of the films since the release of the 2012 Avengers film have been actually standalone films and have had to include at least one reference to the 2012 Avengers film, which by and large has sort of lowered the tone of expectations from all of them and have started to make me wonder if there is any point to these films at all except for the studio to make money out of them. But yes, the real star of the 2012 Avengers film or Avengers Assemble as it was called in the UK for some unexplored reason, seriously though why was it? Anyway the real star of Avengers Assemble has yet to have any sort of potential but unlikely standalone at all film to be announced and as yet there is no real reason except for maybe some connections with a couple of films released 11 years ago and 6 years ago respectively. Yes as given by the title of this post and referencing both those films I am talking about The Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk (Marvel Studios - 2008)

While the last Hulk film entitled The Incredible Hulk and staring Edward Norton in the lead role along with Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt does actually contain one of the very early references to The Avengers, it’s still not exactly had a sequel yet, even though in relative terms it was a sort of sequel and a reboot to the previous Hulk with Eric Bana (probably chosen because Bana is pronounced the same way as Banner in Bruce Banner) along with Jennifer Connelly (who I thought was definitely better in the role as Betty than Liv Tyler, although Tyler was a good choice if it was the case that Connelly was not available) Nick Nolte and Sam Elliott which in all fairness means that it has about an equal number of films as the others. But when you think about how good a performance Mark Ruffalo gave as Bruce Banner and The Hulk and the possibility that the Avengers wouldn’t have been as good without him in it, why hasn’t there been at least the possibility of a development of a Hulk film. It has been stated that negotiations are underway for such a film to be made, but that does not mean in any way shape or form that one is going to happen at all and if any character in Avengers Assemble should get one, it’s the Hulk. If you look at Avengers Assemble UK, the character shows so much detailed emotion in both living with himself and persecution and bullying (particularly from Black Widow) that his character connects more with the audience compared to a billionaire playboy, a mythical entity, an athletic spy, a non-Olympic gold medallist and a frozen selfish full of himself soldier. So if Marvel are looking for a touch more drama in future films, I would gladly suggest a new Hulk film as the character is just that, along with being green, tall and angry. Even though it was sort of annoying that his catchphrase was used by someone else in UK Assemble.

Ok, while it is true that Hawkeye has not had one yet, given that Jeremy Renner has become a big action star, the production of such a film possibly cannot get underway until he is actually available to do such a film, but also with the brilliant series Arrow on at the moment, a Hawkeye film could be seen as just as either a relation to those who don’t know the differences between Marvel and DC or as just a copycat production. The character possibly could be used in a supposed Black Widow, which could be possibly set in Budapest?

Hawkeye

While Hulk is set to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, or Avengers: Age of Ultron Assemble as it will probably be called in the UK, it’s still not the same as a proper film, but it does mean that along with two other characters (Thor and Iron Man) that the film is worth being excited about along with the arrival of two other characters who are technically X-Men characters with relation to Magneto (hmm, interesting?) with one of them (Scarlet Witch) being played by the terrific Elizabeth Olsen and the other having already appeared (Quicksilver) in X-Men Days of Future Past but this time being played by another Godzilla cast member and Super Hero veteran Aaron Taylor-Johnson means that the film does have some credit already but given what the cast apart from the terrific Cobie Smulders in the previous film means that I am still only very partially excited about it bar the previously mentioned cast and characters. But who knows, maybe this one might just work out and also we have more Avengers spinoffs to look forward too including Iron Fist (whoever he is?) and a potentially ruined Blade film; things to look forward too, although with the recent Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there could be a second series of Blade: The Series,which would be nice, provided it is associated with that series and has the cast used in that series.

GENEPOOL (This has gone from a post about a new hulk film to other up and coming Avengers films, primarily Blade and some guy called Iron Fist).





Forget The Avengers Sequels, I Want A New Blade Film

29 04 2013

Blade Trilogy

With the recent release of Iron Man 3 and the upcoming release this year of Thor: The Dark World, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is beginning to expand beyond its original conception; and why not, it is a successful series. Add to this other successful Marvel Franchises like the X-Men and Spiderman and it is clear to see that Marvel are not leaving any stone unturned within any of their franchises when adapting into films……….except for one, and it is a big one. It is the franchise that kickstarted all the Marvel Films all the way back in 1998, BLADE.

Blade Trinity - Biel, Snipes and Reynolds

Blade is a Vampire Hunter as well as one of the most interesting characters in all of the Marvel Franchises. He is a dangerous person, no doubt about it, almost indestructible, but he is also cold, does not show much (or any) emotion. He is the kind of guy who would go into an enemy stronghold, through the front door and into reception before killing everybody (who is a threat that is). In terms of his movie career, his first film was back in 1998 followed by two sequels in 2002 and 2004. The films starred Wesley Snipes in the title role and Kris Kristofferson playing the part of Blade’s Mentor. The films also starred many major actors and actresses around today including Udo Kier, Ron Perlman, Danny John-Jules, Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds. Following on from the film series was also an Incredible TV Series starring Kirk Jones as Blade along with Jill Wagner and Neil Jackson. So with all this success, why is it that the Last Blade film was released back in 2004 while all the other Marvel Franchises have received constant attention?

Since Blade Trinity was released there has been an assortment of films:

So with this Great assortment of films (19 in total), I continue to ask the Question, Where is Blade?

It is even more interesting considering the success that Vampire based films have achieved in the last few years. I am of course talking about films like The Twilight Saga starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson which as a whole has grossed over Three Billion Dollars Worldwide. As well as the Twilight Saga you also have the Underworld Series starring Kate Beckinsale which also includes Vampires. So once again I ask the question, Where is Blade?

Underworld and Twilight

In terms of how the film’s were presented, they were different to every other Marvel Film. The Blade series had a dark tone to it while also having a lot of action too, but not just that, it had great characters. The film’s were involved in their own storylines and had no connection with other Marvel Franchises, something it shares with the X-Men series. By being contained, it does not explode and can keep its quality at a high standard. You as a viewer are not having to think about a lot of things and can enjoy the film more as a result as you are only concentrating on the here and now instead of the when. Blade also targeted the more mature audiences and so was able to have an exciting story along with huge amount of action as well live up to its dark depiction in the comics as well. So why is Blade not getting any attention like every other Marvel Character?

Blade

All of these things aside, I would love to see a New Blade film, and I don’t mean a reboot, I want a sequel. I want Wesley Snipes in the lead role, I would quite like to see Jessica Biel make a return too. You could have Guillermo del Toro return to direct it. What is stopping Marvel? They have the movie rights to produce it. The Avengers films are sure to both be good and produce lots of money, stop worrying about them and bring back the one responsible for starting Film Productions back in 1998 (Don’t put Blade in the Avengers though, it won’t work, I will say why later). It has been far too long (About Nine Years) since the Best Vampire Slayer in Movie History last made an appearance. Marvels continued success at the box office proves that now is the right time to bring Blade back. Forget the Avengers, it’s time for a New Blade Film.

GENEPOOL








%d bloggers like this: