I watched Akira this past weekend and wow what a film. Long hailed as one of the greatest science fiction anime ever, I've really wanted to watch it for years now, and just recently got around too it.
I will say, the film didn't live up to all the hype I've heard, but I've been hearing about this film for years so it could really never live up to such hype. The characters are simple yet refreshing, and written in a timeless fashion. I look forward to breaking it down in a video essay format. The dialogue felt a little silly and straightforward at times. The cinematography told the story through various incredibly unique perspectives.
I liked how much of Tetsuo/Akira's powers are explained, it leaves a lot to the imagination and audiences intelligence.
As a huge power rangers fan growing up, this film has always interested me. I had no particular drive to see it in theaters, but reveled in the chance when I recently saw it on Hulu.
The film opens with some striking visuals and surprisingly hooks you into the story fairly quickly. The longshot police chase scene at the beginning of the film clearly stated that this film will indeed show off some style, even if its just a highly produced kids show. Over the course of the film though, the characters loose their realism and appeal. Billy Crantson, played by Rj Cyler from "Me Earl and the Dying Girl," and did a particularly good job playing a unique and likeable character. The film could have been a lot better if they went deeper into some of the themes they touched on, instead of harking on one central idea. The rangers cant morph into their armor for a majority of the film and eventually learn they must know and trust each other before they can morph. This is painfully obvious to the audience but seems to evade the characters. I thought the conflict could have been much better if they dove more into why the power coins chose who they did, and did they lead their masters their on purpose. This would have been interesting, because for the main characters to all end up in the same place at the same time, their lives basically had to be destroyed. It would've been interesting to see the team realize that all the drama in their lives had been caused by the power coins. This wouldve been a much more complex plot, with layers and meaning instead of the general "teamwork" message that the film relays. I couldn't finish the film, because it just slowly devolved from an interesting take on the story, to exactly what you'd expect.
For the last two days I've been watching Overlord on Hulu. The anime focuses on the hardcore gamer, Momongo in a full dive MMORGP on its last day. The servers for his favorite game are going down at midnight and he decides to stay in the game until the last seconds. When the clock reaches midnight, he's transported into another world with all of his items and underlings he accrued in the game. From there, Momongo is aims to conquer this brand new world.
Its good so far, however it falls victim to the same tropes other Anime seem to loose me on. The characters have wildly unrealistic reactions and over exaggerate everything done in each episode. The rules or internal logic of the anime also feel "loosey goosey" at some times. Momongo's inner thoughts are told to the audience in VO format, giving insight to his thoughts and motivation. At first he seems hesitant about his presence in the new world and wary of what information he should reveal to his underlings. But by the fourth episode, hes completely dropped the act and is completely transparent with his underlings. Also Momongo seems a little bit too over powered for it to be an interesting story.
Ready Player One released on March 29th 2018. The film wastes no screen time, and sets up the basis of the overall plot in the first few minutes in a simple five minute expositional introduction before the title card. In the world of Ready Player One, the oasis, an online VR connected universe of different locations, worlds, and experiences has consumed all of society. James Halliday, masterfully portrayed by Mark Rylance with only subtle hints at his characters presence on the spectrum, created the Oasis and filled it with his favorite pop culture references. After Halliday’s death, he announces via a pre recorded video that there lies a hidden easter egg within the oasis and whoever finds it will inherit the rights and ownership of the oasis. The film takes place five years after this, where only the most fanatic “gunters” (Egg Hunters) remain and large corporations devote hundreds of nameless drones towards finding the egg.
Tye Sheridan plays Wade Watts or Parzival in the oasis, a very bland yet cringey protagonist. Watts loves the oasis and all that it offers, instead of feeling like a genuine geek with specific interests - Watts reflects of all of pop culture, making him feel very disingenuous. Olivia Cooke plays Samantha Cook also known as Art3mis in the oasis. Samantha instantly falls for Wade, in a very unrealistically developed subplot. The character’s meet in the oasis, while competing for the egg.
Castlevania is a cult classic video game with a huge fan base. When it's Netflix adaptation was announced, many fans were filled with a cautious excitement - as film or TV adaptations of video games often fall flat and disgrace their source material. Luckily, the Castlevania series delighted and left viewers aching for more.
Set up as 4 part series with episodes maxing at 20 minutes, the series can easily be watched in a single sitting - and really should be. While the animation might put some people off, Castlevania could serve as a great introduction into the anime genre. The art style allows for creative and interesting visual storytelling. The plot contains multiple different perspectives and takes on the classic Dracula story. I've not played the video games, but apparently the show is incredibly faithful to the source material.
Altered Carbon tells a cyberpunk whodunit set in the distant future, when death no longer threatens humanity. Upon birth, everyone living in The Protectorate - all of the galaxies’ inhabited planets - receives a “stack” which stores the human consciousness, allowing one’s consciousness to slip in and out of different bodies or “sleeves.” The show tackles various aspects of humanity through the strong narrative and gruesome society that the show presents. I really enjoyed the first season and I'm currently debating re-watching it.
Great cinematography helps tell the story in a visual capacity, and Altered Carbon’s camera frames up amazing shots layered with meaning. Most notably, the show relies heavily on the power of the Kuleshov effect, or the audience’s association and their own interpretation of the shot and subsequent shots. This style of filmmaking establishes itself in the first moments of the show during Kovacs’s rebirth scenes, and carries Altered Carbon over the next nine episodes by keeping the audience engaged.
With film literacy at
Mostly written monday:
Over this past weekend I binge watched multiple different Star Treks and found a new love for the series. Of the different Star Trek series that I found on Netflix, I enjoyed Star Trek: Voyager the most and found it easiest to watch while I'm still breaking into the Star Trek Universe. The graphics aren't too dated and the characters are very like-able. The series breaks the traditional mold by forcing the Star Trek crew into a completely different unexplored part of the universe. On a mission hunting the Marquis, a rouge group against space fleet, the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager and The Marquis Ship are transported to the Delta Quadrant of Space and must together embark on a 75 year trip back home.
The characters are fun, and work well together. The captain, Katherine Janeway, is by far the most likable character of the cast and holds the crew together well through some troubling times. The series is infinitely clever in its single episode plot lines and characters experience a lot of growth over the entire series.
This series is pretty great. Currently I'm on episode 9/10 and will finish the season later today. Crybaby follows Akira, a teenage crybaby that sympathizes with almost everyone. Akira is possessed by a powerful demon named Amon, however because of Akira's pure heart, he retains his human personality and values and can now turn into Amon at will. The first part of the series is kind of boring, but about halfway through the season something happens that basically changes the whole concept of the show. Society breaks down to it's lowest after learning about the existence of demons, and Akira must fight for what he values most: the lives of those around him.
Definitely a heart breaker though. The series is over the top with graphic violence and nudity, but not to attract through shock value, in this story violence and nudity serve to show the demons that lie within human society. Also the series is visually stunning, the animation is 10/10.
Netflix released "What Happened to Monday?" on August 30th. The movie was beautiful in many ways. The storytelling, cinematography, world-building, and characters came together to create a fantastic journey. If you might at all be interested in this sci-fi masterpiece I heavily advise you watch it without at all doing any prior research.
The story set up a future in which global warming has basically made Earth barren. Scientists then start to develop more GMOs to combat the growing famine. The genetically modified crops cause women to give birth to multiple kids at a time. Twins is the new norm, and the global population has skyrocketed. To combat this, The Child Allocation Bureau is created, a force used by the government to make sure that people are following the new one child-policy. The story follows Karen Settman, or rather the multiple people that make up Karen Settman. Seven sisters, each named after a different day of the week, inhabit the character of Karen Settman on the day of the week that corresponds with their name. After Monday doesn't return to their apartment one night, the six other girls must combat the Child Allocation Bureau for their survival.
Why was it good?
Pacing - The pacing was awesome. The story was divided into chapters based on the days of the week and it helped break up and digest the story.
Deaths - I really liked how willing the director was to kill off multiple of the sisters. After they had generally served their purposes for the overall story, they pretty much died off immediately. Sunday dies early on, when the Bereau first invades their home. She dies slowly, with multiple of the other sisters watching. Thursday references that sunday was the biggest team player, but in her final moments, she states how little she enjoyed her life, and regrets that she has no idea who she really is. This was probably the most impactful death. Wednesday's death was by far the "hardest death."
The second to last episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones had me on the edge of my seat every second.
First off I need to address something that is pretty prevalent in the Game of Thrones community right now. This season has faced a lot of criticisms so far, all of which are to some degree understandable. First off, the style Game of Thrones from seasons one to six has generally been slow-paced and featured for the most part, people just talking with occasional high risk action, and this season has been much more fast paced and action packed. I can assure you, no one is complaining about the action, that's fantastic, but the fast pace is throwing some people off. The world of Game of Thrones is absurdly large, certain characters have taken whole seasons to reach certain places. However in this season, and in the most recent episode alone, the space between certain characters and the amount of time it takes for things to be put in motion have seemed to shrink. For instance in Sunday's episode Gendry ran back to the wall (approximately 50 miles from where they were) in a matter of on screen minutes, real time was much more. He also managed to send a raven halfway across Westeros and have Daenerys make it to the wall to rescue everyone just in time. So yeah, a lot of space and a lot of time went by pretty quickly in this one episode of this already fast paced season. But for a show of this scale we need to look at those first couple seasons as exposition. Those first season's set up the characters, plots, and ideas that are propelling this season. This is the first part of the final act, so a faster pace is to be expected.
Otherwise I thought this episode was amazing. The collection of characters that went north of the wall this episode was fantastic. We got to see so many characters interact on screen for the first time, and hear their points of view on whats happening in their world.
Jon and Tormund talked about Daenerys and what she had to offer them if Jon would only kneel to her and accept her as queen. Jon might've made an important decision in that moment. So far this season he's been really hesitant to kneel to Dany because he thinks it'll make him look like a weak Northern King. Tormund points out that Wildling leader Mance Raider thought basically the same thing. Jon might not of looked at it from that point of view and considering he was the one trying to convince Mance it might've opened his eyes to how irresponsible he'd be if he chose not to kneel to Dany.
The wight-bear was also just super cool. The fight was awesome and has definitely been a highlight of this season for me. At the end of this episode though we saw probably one of the most devastating things this season. Dany arrived with her dragons to save Jon and Co. from the Night King and his army. While everyone boarded Drogon, and the other dragons burned the army of the dead, the Night King got OP. One of his servants hands him an Ice Spear and with an all-star throw, he takes down Viserion, one of Dany's three dragons. RIP VISERION. It was heartbreaking to see his body fall from the sky as the other dragons roared in concern.
The episode ended with all the important Northern Characters heading south.
Overall I'd give this episode a 9/10.
North Cobb Magnet Senior. Senior Producer for Tomahawk Today. Secretary of the Senior Class. SkillsUSA State Champion and Chapter Officer. Most importantly and aspiring filmmaker. A couple of other things too.