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Jurassic World Review – Disneyland with Dinosaurs

Jurassic World is the fourth film in this franchise that has been laying dormant for over a decade. This time around we see the park that we was always promised in the previous films but this time it’s been a success for a number of years. For me seeing the full park in action with all the attractions, with John Williams’ incredible theme playing, was enough to put a stupid cheesy grin on my face and will likely do the same for any fans of the previous films.

Rawr-some!

First off this films looks spectacular on the big screen, which I’m sure you know considering this movie is the fastest grossing movie at the box office ever so you’ve probably seen it. The dinosaurs, characters, and environments all look brilliant and the action is easy to follow (something the transformers movies should take notes on).

Chris Pratt is quickly becoming my new favourite actor (pronounced “Man Crush”) with this film showing a slightly more serious character but keeping that sense of fun and humour we saw in Parks and Recreation and Guardians of the Galaxy. He is backed up by Bryce Dallas Howard who I liked on the film – i haven’t seen much of her before but she delivered a strong performance for me. The kids in the movie are both as solid as you’d expect. I did feel that some of the other characters were a little unnecessary but more on that later.

The “Indominous Rex” that acts as the main big bad Dino in this one is probably the scariest dinosaur we’ve seen in this franchise so far, at least it is until you actually see it. I do feel like that is an area American/western world movies could learn a bit from the Japanese & Chinese movies. The monster is never as scary if you see them all the time and i felt the movie was doing that well for the first part of the film by not showing the dinosaur in full just glimpses of its strength. There are a few scenes in the film which really did wow me, which it takes a lot to do nowadays. I won’t spoil anything but the “tracking beacon” scene was awesome!

“Just the parts they didn’t like”

The supporting roles played by Irrfan Kahn and Vincent D’Onofrio are both performed well enough but both, particularly D’Onofrio’s military stereo type, felt a little unnecessary given there was already plenty happening. D’Onofrio’s characters desire to weaponise dinosaurs is unbelievable (I realise we are talking about a dinosaur theme park.. but you’ll see what I mean) and did make me think “Seriously.. they’re going to go there?”.

Irrfan Khan plays the parks owner, which at first was fine but the things he does towards the end were not really giving anything and the running helicopter joke just didn’t work for me.My only complaint about the dinos was the overuse of the classic “dinosaur snout slowly entering shot and sniffing next to the character” which felt like it happened 4-5 times.

Final Thoughts

My experience with Jurassic World was pretty much exactly what I expected from it – that being really good fun with big dinosaurs eating people and Chris Pratt being all Chris Prattish. I got exactly that. If you like Jurassic park 1 or 2 you will have a good time with this return to form for the franchise. Here’s hoping they can keep it up.

8/10 – There’s Dinosaurs…Just go see it. 

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Mad Max Fury Road – What a Lovely Day!

In this day and age wowing an audience with action scenes is incredibly difficult. Mad Max Fury Road manages to do this multiple times throughout in what is essentially a 90 minute action sequence glued together by some interesting characters and a story that has more heart than you’d expect!

Fast and Furiosa

The main character in this film is not Tom Hardy’s Max, but is Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. She is an all round badass who can kick-ass as well as Max and the movie very much follows her characters arc. Her performance is fantastic and is backed up very well by Hardy’s Max whose character is more caught up in the middle of Furiosa’s story than anything else.

Another surprise in the movie is Nicholas Hoult’s Nux who is one of the main villains (Immortan Joe played by Hugh Keays-Byrne) minions. His character probably has the biggest journey from being a crazed minion to where he is at the end of the film. It’s a side I did not see to Nicholas Hoult from my other exposure to him as beast in the X-men movies, but its great to see an actor go to such an extreme.

Great Balls of Fire!

The action in this film is absolutely incredible. George Miller’s mix of practical effects and CGI is fantastic in this movie and really delivers a refreshing take on action. The core of the movie is made up of a chase through a desert wasteland which allows for some fantastic shots everything from the big set pieces to the close up hand to hand fighting is shot brilliantly.

There is a lot of action and could scare off some viewers, as might the insane and crazy style of the world. I personally love the style of the film and its refreshing for a movie to be this bold in choosing a style like this. For any gamers out there I would not be surprised to hear that the Borderlands series is influenced quite heavily by the Mad Max series as the feel and aesthetic are very similar.

Intimidating Joe

Only one thing i have to say that i felt could have been better in this film and that’s the main villain Immorton Joe. He looks fantastic and intimidating but he is not really developed at all. I feel the movie’s breakneck pacing and trying to keep it to around the 2 hours mark is probably the reason for the lack of development with the villain. We do get enough time with the main characters Max, Furiosa and Nux so i am really nitpicking here!

Verdict

I was incredibly impressed with this film and i would recommend it to the majority of movie goers and in particular action fans. If you’re not into action films or you haven’t been excited by the trailers for the film then it probably isn’t for you, but id give it a chance to change your mind

Mad Max Fury Road is a reminder of how awesome action movies can be!

9/10 – Get your tickets asap!

ChAzJS

Mortal Kombat X Review

First Impressions

Mortal Kombat has always been a bit like salad for me, something that seemed like a good idea, but I never took part in it. This year i decided to change that and give the game a try, and see if I could actually perform any of the moves in the trailers.

MKX is a very easy to pick up and play but incredibly hard to master game, which is a lot like the studio’s DC meets MK mashup game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. The fighting rewards you learning the actual moves and button bashing isn’t rewarded as readily as it is in some other games.

Gameplay

The core gameplay is really solid, and every character feels different which I was quite surprised by. There are some characters that immediately feel a little more powerful than others and sure enough in the online matches you will find yourself fighting a lot of Scorpion and Raiden, and in my case a lot of Cassie Cage, possibly just for the Nutcracker X-ray move.

Speaking of the X-ray moves, they are very easy to activate and once you learn where your opponent has to be you can hit them the majority of the time. One of my gripes with Injustice is that it was relatively easy to block most of the characters special moves, but that’s not present here.

Fatalities can be done using “Easy Fatality” short-cuts that you can buy (at a rather high £3 for 5, or 30 for a bit more money) to save you having to learn your characters complicated button combination. It does make you feel great when you pull of a proper fatality, but (possibly due to my own lack of talent) I found a lot of times fights would end with a disappointing fall to the floor from my opponent.

Presentation

MKX is a step up from previous version’s of the game even if they aren’t as amazing as some of the games we’ve seen on the new generation of consoles. The character will get covered in blood, and the cut scenes are well put together and give the games story mode a more cinematic feel. The Fatalities are gloriously gory, and the special X-ray moves look spectacular.

Overall the game looks fantastic, and I didn’t witness any glitches or pop in textures while playing. I was playing on Xbox One, and I hear the PS4 version is up to scratch as well. The PC version had some problems on launch but that has been patched since.

Content

This game offers a hell of a lot for your money, even if the story mode is a little short (took me around 4 hours, and i am not great at these games). Single fights which you can change variables on and give random boosts in, Tower modes, and the Krypt will soak up a few extra hours and then you can head online and test yourself against other players. I didn’t have many connection issues getting online, and private matches are easily set up to beat the hell out of your friends.

There’s a solid cast of characters to choose from, and each character has 3 fighting styles which each change a little about how they will fight. so in essence there’s over 70 variations of characters an styles to choose from.

I was a bit baffled by the strange decision to charge money for players to play as Goro when he is already included on the disc, and grayed out until you pay for him. There is a lot more downloadable content coming, with Predator and Jason Voorhees peaking my interest, but I’m not sure I will still be playing MKX by the time the DLC is released.

Finish Him

If you like fighting games, this is another entry in a series that fans will be happy with. If you’re more like me and are a novice to these types of games, the story might seem a little confusing, with a lot of what i assume are references to previous games.

Going in I was expecting a solid fighting game that will entertain me for a few hours, and that’s exactly what I got. It’s not revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t have to be.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t started eating salad yet.

Verdict – Buy it when it drops in price

7.8/10

ChAzJS

Daredevil (Netflix) Review – Better Than Affleck?

Daredevil has always seemed like such a cool idea to me. This blind guy who used his enhanced other senses and ninja like fighting skills to fight crime in the streets he’d lived in most of his life. It was a little more grounded than other comic book characters in the marvel world, there was no real superpowers just a heightened set of senses due to the loss of his sight.

I am sure you remember that awful movie that Ben Affleck played the lead in way back in 2003. I was 10 years old at the time and thought it was amazing. I also saw Star Wars Episode 2 twice at the cinema the year before, so there’s a little insight to my taste in film back then.

This new Netflix Series has brought this character back to the mainstream world, and put the Man without Fear back into the spotlight. This is a show that takes everything the film did wrong 12 years ago, and shows it how this character should have been treated. This is a gritty yet fun, hard-hitting and very entertaining first series of what i hope will be many more of the same quality. It’s not without its flaws, but its flaws are outweighed so heavily by the good in this situation.

Man Without Fear

There is a lot of good in this show, and for me the top of this is the characters themselves. Charlie Cox is brilliant as Matt Murdoch (sounds odd, but he is great at acting like a blind man). The supporting cast of good guys, his best friend & business partner Foggy Nelson and their assistant Karen Page are both great and Karen in particular has her own arc which has some shocking moments. Claire Temple (Night Nurse) is also well used and plays a key role in the early part of the first season.

Enough about the good guys, Daredevil’s real strength is in its main villain. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk is a fantastic character and his arc in the series (without any spoilers) show all sides of him, from a nervous socially uncomfortable man trying to woo a woman, to a harsh and terrifying monster that will stop at nothing to fix his city. They say the best villains are the ones who think they’re the good guys, and through the course of Daredevil you understand what his motivations are and why he does the things he does. Him, and his right hand man Wesley are a great foe for the Man Without Fear to face in his first season as he and you struggle to comprehend how he can stop Fisk without crossing the line and murdering him.

Daredevil delivers the action in a very visceral and real way. There is a fight scene in episode 2 of the show which is a real wow factor moment for me, and you will know when you get to that scene. He gets hurt a lot and the bruises and scars do not disappear between episodes. A particularly bad wound has a last effect on him through the rest of the series and its little touches like that make Daredevil feel a little bit more special.

There are of course some flaws in the show, a particular gripe for me was the stormtrooper-esque accuracy of everyone with a gun in the program. Often a fully automatic fun in a closed space will somehow miss everyone. I also felt that the series lost some momentum after a point. The story builds up to a crescendo and then kind of has a few episodes of what feels like an epilogue before a final explosive episode to see out the series.

Verdict

Overall this first series of Daredevil has taken me completely by surprise. Its a very well made, grittier look at the marvel universe and one which bodes well for the Defenders, AKA Jessica Jones and Luke Cage series we have to come. if you find yourself with a spare weekend to burn through, give daredevil a try.

9.0/10

ChAzJS

Age of Ultron Review – The Good, The Bad and The Ultron

First Impressions

Arguably the most anticipated movie of 2015 has finally hit, and it delivers exactly what you expected it to! and that’s kind of it. It is a Great movie, there’s no doubt there, and fans of the marvel films will eat it up. But somehow feels like a little bit of a step down after the incredible standard of Marvels 2014 offerings of Captain America Winter Soldier & Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Good
The chemistry between this cast is the main reason these films work, and that’s a huge credit to the actors themselves’ who all deliver solid performances, and Director Joss Whedon. The back and forth and dialogue is brilliant and the scenes with the group together are the best parts of the movie for me.

As you’d expect, the action is as perfect as ever, and this movie is full of action. The opening scene gives us a taste of whats to come with a brilliant opening with all the avengers involved. Every character has their moments, and even the new characters (twins Quicksilver & Scarlett Witch, and mainly The Vision) get their wow moments. Hawkeye is also redeemed from his Zombie role in the first Avengers and is one of the best parts of this film.

Age of Ultron’s secret weapon is Paul Bettany’s Vision. Now i am not going to spoil anything, but he is awesome in this film and as a comic book fan seeing such a fantastical character on the big screen and being handled so well was wonderful to see.

The Bad

The biggest problem i have with this film is a love story between Bruce Banner & Black Widow, which feels very forced and there isn’t really any chemistry that way. It took me out of the movie and did not work.

Aside from that, Tony Stark’s sudden return to being iron man after the events of Iron Man 3, Thor’s random excursion, and Nick Fury’s role in the movie were slight sticking points but any further exploitation on that would be entering spoiler territory.

The Ultron

James Spader’s Ultron is the only movie villain (Wilson Fisk in the Daredevil TV is up there too) that is on the same level as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. He can be menacing but the real surprise is the he is really funny. He has some of the best lines in the movie and him going toe to toe in a cussing match with Tony Stark would be just as entertaining as the fight scenes between the two are. I really enjoyed him on-screen and I’m hopeful they can continue with the strong villains. The main (arguably only real) flaw in the first 2 phases of the MCU is the lack of strong villains other than Loki.

Verdict

This movie is brilliant. Its more of the avengers, and that’s never a bad thing. This movie suffers from ridiculously high expectations, as well as it being impossible to capture the magic of the first avengers movie. That film had all the drama of seeing this team of individuals being smashed together to fight an evil they couldn’t fight on their own. This movie starts with that team already together and it delivers more of the same. And i think complaining about that is just a sign of how spoilt we have been with these movies!

8/10

ChAzJS