Wonder Woman (2017): So Long Lynda Carter, Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman

So here’s the movie official site.

Made to fill the gap that has beein left empty by the previous DC Extended Universe release, Wonder Woman is an estrogenic movie that looks like a muscular Sailormoon trying to end World War II. With Gal Gadot’s background as an Israeli ex-military, no wonder she got the look of the most iconic female superhero. I have no expectation seeing this movie, nor have read any of the comic books. However, I end up leaving the cinema with smile.

Tells the story of Diana (Gal Gadot), Princess of Themyschira, daughter of Hippolyta Queen of The Amazon (Connie Nielsen), and note this, until the end of the movie, no one have ever addressed her as Wonder Woman. Well-trained since her younger day by her aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright), Diana fulfills her fate to be the bravest Amazon warrior when she meets Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), US pilot and decides to follow him to leave Themyschira to kill Amazon’s archenemy Ares, the God of War.

Trevor then brings Diana to London, where he hands over the notebook of Dr. Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya), German chemist under General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston). In London too, Diana shows off her brilliance in front of British Officials and steals the attention of Sir Patrick Morgan (David Thewlis, our beloved Remus Lupin of Harry Potter franchise). Though being doubted by his superiors, Trevor realizes his promise to bring Diana to the warzone, alongside Middle Eastern agent, Scottish sniper, and Native American smuggler, who contributes little to none to the main story, more to just fulfill the “color” of another Hollywood movie. At the warzone where she believes she can find Ares to end this war, she finally shows her superhero moments on this man’s, man’s, man’s movie. Her shattered glass, blown up tanks, destroyed tower and her long-lasting make up seem like a show that this woman is again, a muscular Sailormoon who is going to make a statement.

For those who have read the comic books, they maybe are going to prefer the comic. However, after the disappointing Man of Steel (2013) and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice  (2016), this movie is satisfying enough. Playing the most iconic female superhero of all time, Gal Gadot looks tough, determined yet beautiful. I have never seen the satisfying Wonder Woman portrayal beside Lynda Carter, and yet Gadot’s performance is still stealing my attention. My most disappointment is maybe Chris Pine’s portrayal of her love interest Steve Trevor. As this world is a man’s, man’s, man’s world like James Brown sang, Trevor somehow always tries to shows his superiority over Diana by telling her what to do or what not to do, despite he knows that she is more capable, stronger and out of his worldly traits. The villain, Ares (I’m not gonna tell you who played it since it will spoil the entire movie twist), is nothing but an annoying man trying his best to be bad but he failed after all. As the God of War, and with his reputation told at the very first part of the movie, Ares should be a very good strategist, arrogant, cunning, despicable and formidable warrior. In this movie, yes, Ares is the main plot twist, but he’s lack of wittiness and reasoning, so the main villain is not working for me.

So, after all, I think this movie deserves a 8.2/10. A 0.2 extra is for Miss Gadot’s long-lasting make up style since World War II era until now. Haha.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017): Even Undead Javier Bardem can’t Save this Sinking Franchise

The official movie site is here.

When Disney first decided to bring one of its attraction to big screen with the first installment of Pirates of the Caribbean franchise: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), it was fun and appealing. Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow is funny, yet cunning and have strong determination, that convinced us why he is one of the most popular pirates on the Carribean sea. The addition of Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann makes this first installment more interesting. Will and Elizabeth is more than lovers, they have characters, and their characters somehow complement with Jack’s sloppy demeanor. 

On this fifth installment, Salazar’s Revenge, they seems want to reboot Will and Elizabeth’s addition into the body of their son, Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and young astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario from the Maze Runner franchise). To release Will from the curse of The Flying Dutchmen, Henry promised himself to find the Trident of Poseidon, which is believed to be able to release any curse of the sea. To find the Trident he must find Jack, since Jack owns the compass that would bring him to the location of the trident. 

While working with British trade union, Henry meets Capitán Salazar, Spanish captain of Silent Mary who has been cursed in the Devil’s Triangle since he lost the battle against Jack. Salazar makes Henry promised him to tell the world about his return from the dead world, especially to get some revenge with Jack. Shortly, Henry then meet Carina Smyth, who has been false accused as witch thanks to her intelligence. They stand side by side to find the Trident with The Map No Man can Read, alongside Jack who is now run out of his luck and has to find the trident in order to beat Salazar.

As I thought that they tried to remake the same formula of the first installment of this franchise, with Thwaites and Scodelario, I also thought that they are failed successfully. Thwaites is not charming as Bloom, and Scodelario has no wit of Knightley, and since their character supposed to balance Jack’S craziness, the movie becomes imbalance and Jack’s craziness sink to the bottom of the sea. Depp tries so hard to entertain us with his dry humors throughout the movie, and it turns to be perfectly failed. My heart is still jumping with Javier Bardem’s Salazar, who spills oil from his mouth while saying “Death”, but he also tries so hard to look frightening as the main villain. For me, he is more frightening in Skyfall (2012) than on this movie. Geoffrey Rush’ Hector Barbossa steal the spotlight, but the somebody is someone’s father moment ruined it all. I mean, now everything is trying to put Star Wars’ “I am your father” surprise in their movie? Oh, please.

This franchise is sinking, and Disney should consider to put it into an end, which I thought it would still be so far considering the extra after credit scenes showing that Davy Jones is back. I remember the old times when I enjoyed this franchise a lot, since it’s full of fun and games and interesting characters with beautiful CGIs, but this movie is a sign that probably this franchise has to remain with the dead. 

Oh, I do wonder. As long as I remember, Elizabeth Swann is the incumbent King of The Pirates on the third installment who has led the pirates to win the battle against the British trade union, right? Then Will Turner left his bride to fulfil his curse with the Flying Dutchmen crews and Elizabeth must be raising his son alone for ten years before Henry finds the location of the Dutchmen and promises Will he will release him from the curse. My point is, a woman with strong determination like Elizabeth and with her position as the King of the Pirates, will she just sit on the countryside for ten years instead of leading her pirates to release Will from the curse? Will she leave the duty on the shoulder of her 10 years old boy? That would be a more interesting storyline. Haha. Anyway, I give this movie 6.9/10.

King Arthur and the Legend of the Sword (2017): Not Good, Not Bad, Just Frustrating

Here‘s the movie official website.

After a lot of stories, books and movies about King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table, this movie probably wants to mix up the classic story with the taste of 2017. With lots of (ehem, useless) CGIs, grandeur scenes on trailers and Ritchie’s successful latter movies like The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015) and Sherlock Holmes (2009), this movie looks promising at the beginning, and turns to be a failed combination of the legend itself and The Lord of The Rings-styled CGIs.

Starts with The King Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), who successfully defended his fortress Camelot from the attack of the evil sorcerer Mordred (the real Mordred is actually Arthur’s illegitimate son, said the legend). Soon, Uther Pendragon is betrayed by his own ambitious brother Lord Vortigern (Jude Law) and drifted the young Arthur away Baby-Moses-styled into Thames. Here’s where I start to eat my popcorn and wonder why my popcorn tastes sweet although I’m asking for a butter popcorn from the cinema snack counter, since the movie is getting to ruin itself. 

So shortly the young Arthur grows up to a ripped (not-so) young man (Charlie Hunnam), who is capable to combat thanks to the training he got from his early ages from The Kungfu George (Tom Wu). He makes trouble with the Vikings and since the Vikings are supported by King Vortigern himself, Arthur should leave the town immediately. However, he is taken by Vortigern’s Blackleg army, who deemed he is “at the right age” to fulfill the prophecy of the right born King, the heir of Uther Pendragon’s throne and the only person who can pull out the legendary sword Excalibur from the stone. So he is taken to the sword area, supervised by the charming Blackleg captain played by David Beckham, and as you can guess, he can pull out the sword but he passed out after that. 

And I can’t push myself to continue my review since I really wanna cry. Omg I don’t have any idea why they did such things to one of the finest legendary King? Well maybe the legend of King Arthur has been too often adapted before and Guy Ritchie wants a slightly different adaptation with his patented projection montages. On the other hand, that projection montages where the character games out to us what situation should or could develop has been used too often and it doesn’t suit the movie like this. It probably suits Ritchie’s other movies, and I admit that it suits Sherlock Holmes very well, but it doesn’t suit this movie. And what’s the real meaning of King Arthur’s legend of you can’t meet Merlin? In this movie, Merlin’s role as Arthur’s mentor is substituted by a young and beautiful Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), who has casted out a snake (the last gigantic snake is overrated) a little bit too often. Charlie Hunnam feels nothing like royalty, actually can be understood since he is raised on the brothel, but the costume designer gave him clothes that makes him looked like a hobo ready to perform street arts. However, over all the bad things that came out from this movie, Jude Law plays his role believably good. His emotion and his ambition can be felt and convincing enough, but his script is totally garbage, so it wasted all the moods he has built perfectly.

So if you think that The Hobbit has been chopped out into a trilogy is overdone, you should think of what this movie would look like since Ritchie wants to make it into a six series movie! And I give this movie 5/10. 

Alien: Covenant  (2017): Nostalgic, but still Going Nowhere

Check the official movie site here.

When Ridley Scott announced the project of the next Alien movie, I have a special excitement. I love the original movie, after nearly 30 years (the first Alien movie was released on 1979, am I correct?), it still gives me goosebumps and still one of the best thriller movie I’ve watched. It still feels like a Friday the 13th movie on the set of Interstellar. The prequel, Prometheus (2012), have a really grandeur cinematic feelings, thanks to Michael Fassbender’s performance as a poker face android called David.

And this movie is the sequel to Prometheus. As you can see, Fassbender is returning as a slightly upgraded Android that claimed to be a better version of David, called Walter. He is now a staff to a giant spaceship named Covenant, that brings about 2000 colonies to a new habitable planet called Origae-6. One moment, the spaceship enters a space storm and he has to wake the whole crews before the actual time. The failure of the system caused some sleeping capsules to explode, including the capsule of Covenant’s Captain Jacob Branson (James Franco, that was the only screentime he had) and left the ship under the captainship of Christopher Orams (Billy Crudup). After the space storm, they find a new habitable planet and a sign of life. Tired of reaching Origae-6 and refused to get back asleep, Orams decides to explore the planet, though his second in command who is also Branson’s widow, Daniels (Katherine Waterston, The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)’s Tina), is against that idea.

The idea is, as you can guess, wrong. Some of them are infected with mysterious thing that turns out to be Alien’s seed. I don’t have to tell you their gruesome death, right? The thrill is starting, then the whole mood of the movie turns upside down since Fassbender is also reprising his android role, David. His best scene where David teaches Walter to play Flute, that somehow turns into a lethal weapon at the end of this movie, left me wondering how they make the scene of one person playing two different characters so beautiful to be watched. On that scene too, you can differ Walter from his “older brother” David, although they have an exactly same poker face. I then realized that maybe there’s just a few actors who can deliver the same performance as Fassbender in this movie, differentiating two characters that have the same face but one with the tricky mind and others with a tragic end.

The whole emotion of this movie is controlled by and laid upon the shoulder of Katherine Waterston, who plays Daniels. On her hand, Daniels is not just a smart woman, but also a decisive, tough woman who do her role effectively although she is just losing her husband. Some little details of the previous Prometheus can still be seen, like the photo of Noomi Rapace’s character Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, and younger look of Guy Pearce as Dr. Weyland, “father” of David and other upgrading versions of him includin Walter. This movie did give a nostalgic feeling of the first Alien movie, with the same gruesome deaths and same morphology of the alien itself. Scott feels like he is fully dedicated to this franchise since I can’t name any other franchise older than Alien that has been running for so long and have consistently given us thrills. Unfortunately, the nostalgic feeling is all that we have on this movie. This movie is just telling another episode of the existence of scary Alien, but lead the Franchise to nowhere. If they’re gonna make any other sequels, maybe they should decide which directions they’re gonna lead this whole old franchise.

This movie is rated R due to some gruesome deaths, so don’t bring young children to watch it unless you want to give them nightmares. I give this movie 7.6/10.

The Circle (2017): Probably the 2017 Greatest Letdown 

Here’s the movie official website.

So when we first saw the trailer of The Circle, we already know that the big theme of this movie is about the dystopian future where every person’s data is stored on the net (they call it The Cloud) and accessible to anyone. Goodbye privacy, huh? We have seen and known this theme since Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s A Brave New World, and some of the latest few dystopian movies. Enter those science fiction movies like The Social Network (2010) and The Net (1995) where even everything you share on the internet can be used by anyone. TV series Person of Interest (2011-2016) has better view of this kind of future, where the government can have eyes on every citizen and use their data on every single interest they need. 

That idea, where every data you shared on internet can be used for any purpose is what The Circle is really about. However, here’s we met Mae Holland (Emma Watson), a smart girl who has been recruited as customer service officer at Google or Apple-like corporation called The Circle. At first, Mae is living her life like usual, not long until two cheerful managers of The Circle come up to her and ask why she didn’t join their weekend activities? When Mae said she should help her mother (Glenne Headly) taking care of her sick father (Bill Paxton), the managers keep checking at their tablets and reveal that Mae loves kayaking and her father is having a multiple sclerosis. Getting creepy? 

The Circle, on the other hand, also has a culture of sharing on Friday, called Dream Friday. Their employees usually gather on a giant auditorium where there is sharing session of innovation by the company CEO, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks). At her first Dream Friday, Bailey is introducing their new technology called SeeChanges, a wireless camera that connected to the satellite and can see everything in the real time. Feeling unconfortable, Mae decides to go kayaking at the Bay. Unfortunately, the water starts to ripple and causes her to slip down her kayak. She is saved by the water patrol, thanks to the SeeChanges camera that put to actually watch the seal activity. The next friday, Mae is invited to Dream Friday session and she declares she wants to use camera on her shirt to start sharing her 24/7 activities.

The idea of poster girl in Mae really reminds me of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games series (2012-2015). However, this movie lacks its powerful moment, despite of their stellar casts. The Circle is trying to give fear to audiences that their data on the internet can be used to strip their privacy off themselves, but they’re completely failed. The story is going nowhere, doesn’t give us a proper climax, and the casts are giving a very bad script. Emma Watson did a great job with burying her British Accent, but she lacks of passion. She doesn’t even look smart, if you compare Mae to her Hermione persona. Tom Hanks doesn’t look like a villain, but after all, who ever thought Tom Hanks would be a proper cast for a villain? Under his smiley and charming face, he is adorable as the CEO, but he strikes nothing as a main villain. I thought he even didn’t get the stage to act villainous due to poor script. The whole movie should tell us about terrifying future, but it failed successfully. It even wastes their stellar casts.

I give this movie 5.9/10.

Unlocked (2017): It’s (Out of) A Man, Man, Man’s World

Unlocked-Banner-Poster

I’m sorry I can’t find any official site regarding this movie.

Okay. So when will we ever get bored with action movies with die hard protagonists? Maybe we never will. Name a few, all that JBS: James Bond, Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer (for me, he is eligible to include), Bruce’s John McClane, Jason’s The Transporter, Liam’s Bryan Mills, and the list still opens for suggestions. Now, mention female die hard protagonist character. Angelina’s Lara Croft? Milla’s Project Alice? Maybe, but I find there’s only few female character in the action movies that is hard to be killed, fully skilled as both assassins and agent. The action genre is likely has been told very well in James Brown’s song A Man, Man, Man’s World. This movie, however, is trying to give us a refreshment to that, with offering a female character in this male dominant genre.

You will meet Alice Racine (Noomi Rapace), a former CIA investigator who has retired since she thought she has failed to avoid terrorist attack on Paris and killed several citizens. She is now worked as a social worker for Moslem immigrants in London, still haunted by the tragedy she thought she can restrain. Reluctant to return to her old job, she is encountered by an CIA agent named John Sutter, who asked her to interrogate a messenger they had captured. The messenger, Lateef, is said to have the words from Imam Khaleel (Makram Khoury) that has to be sent to extremist David Mercer (Michael Epp). When Alice receives a phone call from CIA’s Director of Europeans Operation Bob Hunter (John Malkovich), she realizes that she has been recruited by counterfeit agents.

She tries to escape with the messenger, but death seems to follow her everywhere. After the messenger is killed, she runs into her mentor, Eric Lasch (Michael Douglas). Unfortunately, the gangs follows her too and killed Eric, left Alice to decide that she must investigate the motives behind all these. She is helped by MI5 edgy head Emily Knowles (Toni Collette). The movie is getting more and more thrilling until Alice encounters an ex-Marines Jack Alcott (Orlando Bloom). With his Cockney accent, Bloom’s Jack is ruining the whole thrill they have created from the start and the movie is starting to falling into pieces.

As I said before that the movie has potential to give refreshment on the genre that has been long dominated by male characters. Noomi Rapace plays Alice Racine with muscular and full determination we have seen her since her The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (2009), and Alice Racine can find her own way to be the next die hard character if the script of this movie had been written better. Alice Racine has a solid background story to make her a good agent, but the script is too easy to guess. The other big names helped the story to develop, unless Orlando Bloom’s Jack, but all have little to none character development. John Malkovich’s Hunter and Toni Collette’s Emily are supposed to be kick-ass characters and actually they’re fun to be watched, but they are given to petty script to develop their own character. Even Michael Douglas’ Eric has a potential to be a very good and surprising villain, but they give so little background story on his motives.

Fortunately, the movie has a very good message that sometimes, it is the extremist that made everything’s worse by turn the facts upside down. When the message is actually good, peaceful and kind-hearted, they turn it into a hateful message and create terror against humanity. I like this movie, and as the ending implies, there should be sequels to Alice’s next action. I just hope they’ll make it with better script.

I give this movie 6.2/10.