IT Review

 

Remakes/ reboots in modern day cinema are as common as a rainy day in the UK and so the Stephen King classic gets the same treatment from maybe his most famous book adaptation, but every so often there comes a remake that stands out above the rest…

it.PNGYes I’m talking about what may be the best and most sought after film of 2017, last night I took full advantage of Empire Cinema’s ‘cheap day’ to check out new release ‘IT’ and I give you my word, not a pair of seats were empty. People were filing in after 20 minutes of the film beginning which tells me people wanted to check this out, and nobody left disappointed. Not that I can speak for the masses but in a word this film was Fantastic!

As some of you know I try my best to avoid spoilers and give most films a review that looks mostly at the good parts, in fact there were hardly any bad at all but we shall get to that..

It’s late 1980’s small town america, Derry to be precise and immediately we are introduced to a harrowing set of eyes glaring out of a storm drain up into the grey rainy suburban street.”Pennywise’ is shown in all his quirky and sinister style with actor Bill Skarsgård bringing a departure to Tim Curry’s version of the clown in which I couldn’t help be fond of in a weird way. To me he was just interesting to watch with his aura of mysterious evil and of course the ability to produce a mouth full of shark like teeth in which he uses right away.

What impressed me the most about this clown character was his psychological element. Pennywise manipulates the minds of children through their own fears and lures them to a horrific end. Hence why the town Derry has 6 times the national average of missing persons.

The main characters of ‘IT’ are made up of a close nit group of friends who eventually self proclaim themselves as the ‘losers club’. They are your typical middle of the road school kids who all have different problems of growing up. Eventually they band together in what is a perfect mix of chemistry between a wide variety of kids all bringing something different to the table, all with a light comedic mix to lighten many of the tense horror moments. Their portrayal impressed me and didn’t feel pushed at all, this was a group that all individually played a part in the team which set out to discover more about this clown. In a way they reminded me of Stand By Me, the Goonies and of course more recently Stranger Things which ticked a box in a big way.

Personally, I felt this film wasn’t that jumpy, now everyone has a different tolerance but I probably flinched once of twice and that’s a good thing. Too many films rely on jump scares where as this one played with your mind more, true Stephen King style. Yes it’s scary but there are too many other good things going on to write it off for just being a horror film. And yes Pennywise isn’t the only horror in this film for the ‘losers’. You’ve got passive aggressive and somewhat violent bullies, abusive or over protective parents along with the many missing children that all fit in and play a part.

I enjoyed this film all the way to the end and to me it didn’t drag or get boring at all. The pacing for such a story felt just right and the modest surprise at the end told us that this was just part 1.

Overall the scary sequences were scary and unpredictable, the cinematography looked great and the effects were consistently real. It wasn’t that scary and definitely worth a look even for some of the laugh out loud moments in dialogue between the kids. I’m looking forward to Part 2 and IT is easily a candidate for film of 2017!

 

 

Alien Covenant Review

The Saturday morning blog is back! This time I am armed with a review of the new Alien film which was indeed a sequel to Prometheus which was indeed sigh worthy but I went into the cinema with partial hope.

covenant

First of all; I don’t listen to film review people, as far as I am concerned they are full of sh** , let’s face it they are. You know that and so do I, they are either so far up the rear end of a film or the quite the opposite. Here you will read an honest review with a focus on what was good and what wasn’t so good. I think we all owe Ridley Scott some respect for sticking to a series of films and his overall contribution to cinema should never be overlooked.

And that’s where we will start; Alien, Prometheus, Gladiator and now Alien Covenant to name a few. Ridley Scott makes some awesome looking films, you’ll never see him skimp out on production value and this especially goes for the world he has built with Alien. The industrious environment of spaceships and far off planets are always created with a realism in mind. I guess I shall have to nod towards production design as well as a director or writers vision. But in order to make a good film you can’t rely on visuals alone, you need story, performance, tone, theme and plot.

Quite honestly Alien Covenant ticked many boxes but it also fell short in some ways. For much of the beginning portions of the film I felt as if this was an Alien remake, and look we are in the days of constant recycling of material, stuff that works I guess and initally Alien Covenant worked.

First of all we are shown our first billed actor Michael Fassbender his performance as a robot is arguably the best we have seen in this series so far, without treading on the likes of Bishop (Aliens) and Ash (Alien). And a very strong theme in this film is robots or at least Fassbender’s character. So what seems like an intriguing start the main narrative of the film then begins.

A colony ship called the Covenant is on it’s way to a distant planet, events turn quite unlucky and dark at the very beginning so the crew are awakened out of hyper sleep. As they recover from the events and begin repairing damage there comes a distress type signal with it’s origin not far from them. Already this formula sounds rather familiar with some changes and of course comfortable stuff that stays the same throughout an Alien film. We see a diverse range of characters who make up the crew of Covenant including a Captain seemingly out of depth with the arising situation and some familiar faces from recent film which all put in believable performances.

Eventually the crew arrive at the source of this distress type call, that being a distant habitable planet. At this point the build up and introduction of the story is paced well with the ever important element of mystery in the story. What is this getting to? What’s coming? are the sort of questions you ask yourself at this point.

The unlucky element of this arriving crew strikes again with a sinister level of disaster. In moments everything falls apart for them, two members become infected with a new type of organism (which is very alien like) but not shown before or explored in this world and that’s what I feel Ridley Scott is trying to do here, he’s trying to bring his Alien story full circle and with this film we are only half way there.

Eventually the connection to Prometheus kicks in but don’t let that put you off, everything is explained with in this film’s narrative. Soon enough Michael Fassbender is face to face with the character David he played in the previous outing and this was done well. The whole robotic morality thing is touched upon here as they meet but the sinister edge turns even more as this crew are taken in by David.

As much as I would like to give the rest away, that’s not how we do reviews on here. So let’s cover the good and bad.

The good

This felt a lot more like an Alien film as opposed to Prometheus. There was suspense and real tension. The scenes didn’t jump around and most of the time Covenant focused on one story instead of trying to tell five. This means all of the scenes shown were indeed necessary. Prometheus didn’t know what it was but this one was a horror film.

The characters: many of these personalities we have seen before but they were great, Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts) and Danny Mcbride (Pineapple Express) all stood out to me.

It continued on from Prometheus and was way better than it. This time we saw an actual Alien we all know well and this time around it seemed more lethal than ever. This may have been due to the use of computer generation of the Alien but gave it an Alien Isolation (video game) feel.

The visuals and sets were awesome as always and kept to the theme of previous films.

The music choice this time was better than Prometheus, and nodded to Alien more.

Robots in this were more of a big deal and less of just a side threat.

The not so good

Bad is a big word to use for a film and Alien Covenant wasn’t. But there were things that weren’t so great.

It was predictable, most of the time we knew what was coming. There were only a few Alien related things we hadn’t seen before.

There were a few moments where things didn’t get explained or where they expected you to fill in the gaps ( don’t do that in a film).

The twists nearer to the end could have easily been called from early on. You could even say some twists just shat on the audience at the end.

This doesn’t wrap up the series: unfortunately we aren’t there yet folks!

Conclusion

For what felt like an Alien Remake to begin with this film took it’s own identity but continued to nod towards the original. If you use Jurassic World as an example, that film nodded to the original but cut its own path more. Alien Covenant just felt as if it was up Alien’s ass too much.

Most importantly for any Alien fan and to my conclusion its worth a look! Prometheus was a solid 3/10 this one is north of 5/10.

 

Any Other Business

Next week things are really going to hot up towards my next book arriving. Darke Blood should hopefully get a cover reveal at some point! I have also started a sale on my first book Open Evening which is available as an e-book for £0.99! 

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