Welcome back to another instalment of Review Report, where I deliver a cluster of mini reviews of movies I wanted to talk about but couldn’t stretch them. Today we’ve got a theme of sorts, horror and action. I was going to leave this until the new Halloween movie comes out this year, but I decided to just go with it today. So on the chopping block today is The Predator, Venom and the original Halloween from 1978. With that said, let’s get into this.
I am a fan of Predator, not a die hard fan, but a fan nonetheless. I like all the predator movies and have a soft spot for Alien vs. Predator, so I was pretty excited to see the latest installment in the series. After watching it however, all I can say is…Good grief, what a mess of a movie. (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!)
- Story: 2/5 – This plot both feels old and new, retreading the idea of Predator showing up on earth and people being disemboweled, taking place in a populated area like Predator 2. However this movie tries to add more rhyme and reason to the predators actions, and it honestly ruins the mystique of the monsters for me. The story goes that the Predators are harvesting DNA to evolve themselves, which is why they nab their enemies spines. This isn’t a bad idea, but after all these years of having the Predator just kill for sport was always what made them so fierce and scary to me. The story is paced about as well as a game of What’s the time Mr Wolf, it stops, starts, stops, starts then explodes into uncontrolled madness at the end. This plot is so forgettable that the bare bones of it can be described as ‘Predator shows up, bigger Predator shows up, people die and they set up for a sequel, THE END.’ This plot is dreary, makes little sense and tries to add depth and meaning behind what was a simple concept of a monster showing up and killing people. I actually read somewhere that the original idea for the climax was that there’d be a bunch of mutated Predators, like a water variant, flying variant etc as opposed to just the big one, which I think would have been a much better climax.
- Characters: 1/5 – They said this movie went through A LOT of drafts, but why do these characters seem like they came from the first draft that took and hour to write? I’m sorry, but compared to almost every cast of characters from every other movie with the Predator in it, these are easily the worst characters for me. Boyd Holbrook plays the main character, and he’s Mark Walhberg Transformers levels of boring, cliché, overhyped and dull. He exists only to spout one liners and serve as the focal point in an already misguided plot. His kid is exceptionally annoying and is very hypocritical as well, calling out his dad for being a murderer despite murdering at least one person 15 minutes prior, which I might add was played off as a joke which I found quite off-putting. Speaking of jokes, the comic relief in this movie is also dreary, they all play ‘insane’ characters that seem like they took 5 minutes googling what insanity and other mental conditions are like and just rolled with them. I’ll talk about the predators themselves in a bit, but I want to end by saying these characters just sucked me out of the movie, they were beyond 1 dimensional, spoke in one liners and some of the worst jokes in a movie period, overall a disappointing cluster of characters.
- Presentation: 3/5 – This movie has decent effects on the normal predator, they look as good as you’d expect, but the Super Predator looks atrocious. I noticed that all its scenes took place in the dark, probably to mask its less than stellar CG. The movie has some decent action and some excellent gore, but that can only carry your movie so far. The rest of the cinematography is fine, it doesn’t really amaze me but I can’t really fault it either.
- Final Grade: 2/5 – I am sad that i had to be so negative with this movie cos I love the original Predator, like Predator 2 and have a soft spot for Predators. But while all those movies have at least one thing to like, this movie just doesn’t have that. If you’re in the mood for a senseless background movie, then it’s fine, but as a general viewing experience this is a weak entry in the Predator franchise.
Sony’s latest attempt at a superhero movie, Venom is the start of a new cinematic universe for Sony that aims to usher in lesser known heroes and villains into the spotlight. I want to point out that I’m writing this review as early as possible so as to not let the passage of time ruin my thoughts on this movie, I saw it literally 2 hours before writing this. My reason for this is that the movie has received A LOT of negative press, with many people calling it one of the worst superhero movies ever made in the last decade, on par with the likes of Catwoman and Ang Lee’s Hulk. But is it really as bad as people say it is? Heaven above NO, I thought it was a passable film.
- Story: 3/5 – The plot was way too large-scale for what it was trying to do. This movie tried to add a lot of science and a much vaster scope to Venom and the rest of the symbiotes than it needed to. THe plot was honestly kinda weak and didn’t really move at a decent pace, the pacing in this movie is pretty poor. But It’s not inherently offensive in how bad it is in fact there were still a lot of things to enjoy. The bare bones of the plot are that Eddie Brock is taken by a symbiote named Venom and has to survive while being hunted, the only problem is the story kinda meanders along at one point, and then rushes forward at the next point. So it’s really sub par but could have been a lot worse.
- Characters: 3/5 – I can’t talk about any character other than Eddie Brock, because they are all pretty superfluous and basic characters. Carton Drake is a dreary and dull villain, and everyone else just seems so pointless, even the symbiote Riot feels really boring despite his absolutely badass look. Tom Hardy is strong in this movie, he’s charismatic, wisecracking and wonderfully charming. The snarky Venom plays off of the timid and shaking Eddie in hilarious fashion and their sitcom level interactions are great moments. Venom is also pretty fun to listen to with his selfish yet earnest motivations for protecting earth and Eddie. So overall, with the exception of Tom Hardy as both Eddie Brock and Venom, this cast isn’t something to write home about.
- Presentation: 3/5 – I cannot think of anything to say here, the presentation was so average (hehe) that I cannot find the words to mention anything. The action for the most part was alright, despite the final fight looking atrocious and more like two blobs of Oobleck Slime slapping each other rather than two aliens. The symbiotes themselves looked great, Riot in particular who I thought looked awesome beyond compare.
- Final Grade: 3/5 – This is probably the most middling superhero movie for me in a while. It doesn’t quite have the same flare, polished edge or finesse of other superhero movies and it does have some bad pacing and a pretty ‘meh’ cast beside Hardy. But overall Venom is an enjoyable movie, that if you just turn your brain off for about an hour will be a pretty fun romp. is it great? No it isn’t. But is it as bad as others are saying? No and in fact I feel it is way better than people give it credit. if you were thinking of not seeing this movie, I’d still recommend you give it a watch.
With the reboot/sequel on its way, my friend wanted us to watch the original movie in preparation, so we did. I’d heard a lot of contradicting stories about this movie, some saying it’s fabulous, others saying it’s boring. Where do I stand… somewhere in the middle but mostly positive.
- Story: 3/5 – I think since I’ve seen so many other slasher movies before getting to this one, the story is very basic and nothing to get excited about if you’re a slasher fan. But what this movie makes up for in that regard is tension, the story is always really tense since the killer is on the loose from the get-go. Michael Myers doesn’t wait an hour before he finally kills someone, he gets straight to the slaughter and this raises the stakes a lot. I can’t really say much else about the story since it’s so bare bones and simple, but it does have some great tension and really works as a horror movie despite leading to a saturation of the genre in the future.
- Characters: 4/5 – Unlike most slasher movies later down the line, where the characters are all dumbfounded and stupid, this movie’s cast is pretty resourceful and are investing to watch. Lauri Strode is a great lead, showing terror as one does when faced with a man in a William Shatner mask, but also a level of bravery usually reserved only for the last part of a horror movie. The other cast members do die, so I can’t really say they did good, but they were fun to watch during their time on screen. Dr Loomis is a great secondary character, his unhinged dialogue, crazy obsession with Michael Myers and wild nature make him a Michael Myers (AKA The Shape) is also a fabulous antagonist and it’s clear to see how he helped pioneer the slasher villain genre. He does command an intimidating presence, but I do disagree with the inclusion of you being able to hear him breath. For me this takes away the ambiance of his character, while making him more human through breathing can add to the terror, it also takes away from it since it removes the mystery of who he is. Either way he looks scary, acts scary and set a precedence for future slasher villains.
- Presentation: 4/5 – This movie has some really impressive cinematography, an iconic score that I do admit is played s a bit too much for my taste, and great atmosphere. The way they hide Michael in the background for some scenes is great since it leaves you scared and always wondering if he’s going to pop up in another scene or not. The silence is eerie and the sudden movement and kills really create an intense mood that leaves you on edge. The darkness helps to conceal Michael perfectly, both hiding him and accentuating his presence. Overall this movie has some great presentation that drips with atmosphere and really lends itself to the fear factor of the film.
- Final Grade: 4/5 – Despite being 40 years old, Halloween is a great horror film. It might lose some of its edge to time, but that edge is still sharp like the side of a knife and much like that knife, is still dripping with fear, atmosphere and terror.
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