Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Terminator Genisys

Title: Terminator Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Released: 2015
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Lee Byung-hun

Plot: When Kyle Reese (Courtney) is sent back in time to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Clarke) only to find himself on an alternative timeline were Sarah is already a capable warrior and even has her own terminator “pops” (Schwarzenegger) while the threat of Skynet remains ever more present than before.

Review: Since the release of the phenomenal “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” the Terminator franchise has found itself for the most part floundering and in dire need of some kind of direction to drive the franchise forward. True these attempts have meant that we got to see Judgement day happen (Rise of the machines) as well as a disappointing attempt to set an entry in the post apocalyptic future (Terminator Salvation) whose scripts from its troubled development promised more than we ultimately got, but then what can you expect when you allow McG to direct the movie.

Now rather than doing the logical choice of just driving a dump truck of cash to James Cameron’s house and beg him to return to the franchise instead this time Alan Taylor steps up to direct who is best known for directing TV with his most noteworthy film credit being “Thor: The Dark World” which now the fans of the Marvel cinematic universe have gotten over the initial shine of getting comic book movies and proclaiming their love for everything the studio puts out regularly rank it as one of the worst films to come from the studio. So hardly the most reassuring credential going into this film, but hey Arnold was returning so that’s a postive….right?

Knowing what the fans had made of this entry ahead of time my expectation was kind of at a low, especially when the trailer had hardly done anything to grab my attention. Of course it was a big suprise when 40 mins into the film I found myself really enjoying myself as we got to see the final battle against Skynet being won and Kyle being set back in time, all things we’d heard about in the previous films and only now were getting to see actually happen. Even when we get into the alternative 1984 and see an older version of Arnold’s terminator battling his clone I was digging the homage, especially when so much care was being taken to replicate the scenes from the original film. And then we time travel again to 2017 and things started to become unglued.

For some reason once we take that leap forward the film really starts to fall apart and almost feels like the first half was directed by someone else and that Taylor was brought in by the studio to finish the film as its almost jarring how suddenly the quality of the film drops and all we’ve done is make one jump in time.

One of the biggest issues comes with the latest Terminator development which this time sees John Connor being replaced by a nanobot Terminator the T-3000 which might have worked a lot better as a plot device had the trailers not given away this major twist and as such it ends up coming off flat and devoid of any kind of emotional response that might have been there. As a villain though he brings nothing new to the table outside of having some slightly different abilities and when the end game is to blow up Cyberdyne again you can’t help but feel alittle frustrated to see the franchise still going in circles.

On the plus side Arnold is still as fantastic as ever in his iconic Terminator role even bringing a few new elements to the role this time as this time he plays Sarah Connor’s guardian Pops, perfectly working in the fact that he is much older than the last time he played the role, as its revealed that the flesh covering his robot exoskeleton can age, a concept which came from James Cameron when the producers approached him about rebooting the franchise. This is further added to by Pops showing signs of old age as his joints start to seize and give out and it really adds to the character while proving to be the one thing to justify all this timeline hopping madness.

The action is fun as always with Arnie showing that despite his age he can still throw down with the best of them as we get plenty of terminator on terminator violence with Pops saving the pair from a variety of terminator models including a new version of the T-1000 played here by Lee Byung-hun who even mixes things up slightly by including the ability to throw metal spears which makes for a nice touch especially when so much of his scenes feels like we are watching a rehash of Terminator 2 which also rang true during the helicopter chase. The T-3000 meanwhile gets old quick especially not having any real powers compared to the previous terminators we have seen. Yes he’s good as the unstoppable presence, but compared to Byung-hun he just falls flat when you compare the two.

The other issue here is that Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney have zero chemistry together which is already supposed to be akward from the start seeing how they are destined to be together which certain parties know from the start with Pops amusingly asking Sarah if they’ve “bred” or not. But looking at this pair you can see them never getting together, while the introduction of the adult John Connor on their timeline just comes off confused and akward with a stupid plot idea only seeming the worse as this pair attempt to interact with their adult child.

Its frustrating as this film certainly has its moments with the first 40 minutes really being promising. It’s just a shame that it all falls apart from there. While it might be an improvement over parts Rise of the Machines and Salvation this really could have done with a stronger script let alone not feeling like it was borrowing from the second film so much. As such approach with caution.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

American Ultra

Title: American Ultra
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Released: 2015
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman, Tony Hale

Plot: Stoner Mike (Eisenberg) is content with his life in the backwater town of Liman, West Virginia were he works as a convenience store clerk with plans to propose to his longterm girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart) despite his plans being constantly self-sabotaged by his panic attacks. Little does he know that he’s also a sleeper government agent, whose just been reactivated when his former handler (Britton) learns that he is to be eliminated by her rival Yates (Grace) as part of a clean up program. 

Review: What is it about Max Landis that seems to instantly irk certain members of the critical / blogging community? Is it because he’s perhaps had more doors opened to him due to his father being cult director John Landis or the fact that he so openly flaunts this blood connect rather than taking a pen name like Joe Hill (Son of Stephen King)? What ever the reason the mere mention of his name being attached to a project for some reason seems to raise the same kind of destain that M. Night Shyamalan or Eli Roth being attached to a project does.

Personal gripes aside though its hard to see why Landis creates this kind of reaction, especially considering how his body of work as both a writer and director of the rather fantastic shorts “The Death and Return ofSuperman” and “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling” have shown him to be one of the more original if occasionally unfocused minds currently working since he burst onto the scene with his script for “Chronicle” and this is what we find again with this film.

One of a number of scripts sold on the back of the success of “Chronicle” here he teams up with Director Nima Nourizadeh who previously directed the millennial party movie “Project X” and this time gets to build upon those brief moments of chaos and carnage with the first stoner action hero who might also be the most dangerous man with a spoon!

An interesting concept and one certainly added to with Landis’ unique style as we are introduced to Mike who despite being a stoner isn’t exactly a slacker as he holds down a job working at the local convenience store working on his comic aswell as towards being able to propose to his girlfriend Phoebe who he sees as being the best thing in his life, who he is also paranoid will leave him especially when he self-sabotages their planned trip to Hawaii with his panic attacks.

While the expected path for the film to take would be to have Mike suddenly turn into a badass once he’s activated and all his skills implanted in him by the Ultra program become available to him. But unlike the likes of “The Long Kiss Goodnight” what we get instead is Mike suddenly finding himself able to defend him using his implanted skills and knowledge while at the same time having no clue as to why he is able to do any of it. This was something I found to be kind of jarring the first time I watched the film were for some reason it didn’t seem to sit with me. Upon re-watching it though this time with knowledge of what to expect I found that the experience this time much more enjoyable.

Of course Eisenberg himself much like Topher Grace is far from your traditional action hero and that itself is part of the charm here to see him utilising household objects to maim opponents or pulling off far fetched trick shots using a frying pan to ricochet a gunshot into his target. Its outlandish for sure but there is something so enjoyable in watching these action scenes unfolding, especially with Eisenberg able to tap into this cold and unflinching side whenever his training kicks in and he enters into what could almost be considered a badass autopilot. Balancing out these burst of violence though is his believable relationship which sees him reuniting with former co-star and onscreen love interest Stewart which was certainly welcome after how well they played off each other in “Adventureland” and it was great to see them being able to recapture that chemistry here aswell.

Topher Grace gives a fantastic villainous turn as CIA Agent Yates whose Napoleon complex has him acting the tough guy by hiding behind the many resources available to him, while certainly riding on a power trip gain from his position. This means that we get to see him flying off the handle frequently while refusing to admit even to himself that the situation is quickly escalating out of his control, let alone the clean up operation is really a thinly veiled cover for him wanting to get back at his rival agent Lasseter.

The action throughout though is fantastic especially with Mike often switching off as his training takes over, while the bursts of graphic violence scattered throughout certainly keep things interesting while reminding the viewer that Mike isn’t doing a lot of these things because he can, but because its been what he’s been re-wired to do. At the same time Yates has his own group of killers to match Mike’s skills including Walton Goggins aptly named Laugher who constantly giggles to himself as he goes about his work. Still like we saw in “Chronicle” and “Mr. Right” Landis really knows how to write an original action sequence and this is once again the situation here, though the black light room fight was probably a misstep as it soon becomes something of a migraine to sit though.

Despite having some colourful characters the film does at times feel like it pacing is more plodding than it should be, especially when it comes to the sections based around Mike’s past which certainly could have benefited from being more streamlined than an excuse for trippy visuals. This kind of distracted writing has plagued a lot of Landis’ scripts and again its the same case here but when this film is working its a lot of fun. Perhaps if Nourizadeh had been able to clean up Landis’ script this might have been something a lot more special than it ultimately ends up being but at the same time there is still enough there to make it worth giving a watch even if its not the film it could have perhaps been.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Willow Creek

Title: Willow Creek
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Released: 2013
Starring: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson, Laura Montagna, Bucky Sinister, Peter Jason, Timmy Red

Plot: Jim (Johnson) is a Bigfoot believer keen to capture footage of the mythological creature and now dragging his non-beliver girlfriend Kelly along for the ride they head for the town of Willow Creek.

Review: Despite being best known as a director more for his warped comedy movies in tone with his unique comedy style, this film marked a rare venture into horror for Bobcat Goldthwait as here he turns his focus to crafting a found footage horror which in turn might be one of the best offerings from the genre since “The Blair Witch Project”

Starting off light-hearted as our film making couple roll into “Willow Creek” which is not only seen as the Bigfoot capital of the world but also home to the Bigfoot festival, though judging by the amount of cash-in’s on the myth are scattered throughout the town from wood carvings to stores named after the creature it would seem that its a festival that runs all year round. Still as we soon discover the locals all have their stories to tell or even a song to offer on the Patterson-Gimlin footage that I’m sure we are all familiar with showing the Sasquatch striding along the sandbar and to Jim serves to fuel his belief in the creature while his girlfriend continues to defiantly deny that it could be real.

This gentle start to the film might be a little off-putting to some viewers, its worth sticking with as Goldthwait seemingly establishing the background colour is infact just luring us into a false sense of security which is slowly peeled away when the couple head off into the woods to shoot their own footage and choose to ignore the stern warning by the man they meet at the entrance to the woods to head back to town.

Once we get into the woods the real horror vibes start to come quick and fast as the couple soon find themselves quickly out of their depth with the tension being cranked up to an all time high during the 18 minute scene of the couple in the tent while something lurks outside the canvas walls and which was shot in one take and works perfectly to put the audience completely on edge as all we can hear are strange whooping noises, wood being knocked together and the occasional rock hitting the side of the tent that leave you expecting something to burst through at any moment.

It's simple concept for sure but one which works well here, largely thanks to Goldthwait avoiding all the usual pitfalls of the found footage genre, such as shaky camerawork while characters remark about things we would be able to see if someone wasn’t shaking the darn camera! Instead the camerawork is crisp throughout which really takes us on the journey with the couple especially as they enter into the woods which seem to envelop them much like the audience.

Okay minor spoiler time but I feel its worth noting that this is a bigfoot movie were you don’t get to see a bigfoot, which might be something of a blessing considering some of the monstrosities this frequently overlooked subgenre has produced over the years. This might be seen as a disappointment but here somehow it works with the noises we hear and general taunting conjuring more horrific imagery than perhaps the budget would have allowed.

Considering Goldthwait’s background in comedy its surprising to see him being equally effective as a horror director and as with Kevin Smith’s “Red State” it leaves me wanting to see work more in the genre if only to see what else he would bring especially in these times were the horror genre is crying out for new ideas and fresh takes which this certainly provided, even though this might not be so apparent to those going in expecting something more visual and less subtle than we ultimately get here.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Big Game

Title: Big Game
Director: Jalmari Helander
Released: 2014
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Felicity Huffman, Victor Garber, Ted Levine, Jim Broadbent, Ray Stevenson

Plot: When Air Force One is shot down by terrorists President Moore (Jackson) his only hope of survival lies with the 13 year old Oskari (Tommila) who is on a hunting mission to prove his maturity to his kinsfolk, only not to find himself instead aiding the President to escape the terrorists now hunting them.

Review: After giving the world a truly unique take on the Father Christmas mythos with his debut film “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” which itself built on his short films “Rare Exports Inc.” and “The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions” Finnish director Jalmari Helander shared with the world his unique world view were Santa was less the jolly fat man but rather a horned beast incased in a block of ice, while his elves were a bunch of naked old guys. Now four years after his memorable debut he takes a stab at the action genre while still carrying across many of the traits which made his debut so memorable.

The most expensive film to be produced in Finland with a budget of $10 million this is a film which for whatever reason seemed to disappear as quick as it appear on the release radar leaving me entering into this film with a sense of trepidation, especially when compared to “Rare Exports” which it seemed the blogging community were keen to discuss unlike this film which no one seemed to be talking about. Thankfully I shouldn’t have worried as Helander once again has delivered a film which is similar to “Rare Exports” in so many ways as Helander gives us his take on the action genre.

In much the same way that his take on Christmas was unique the same could be said for his take on the action genre which not only gives nods the action / adventure movies of the 80’s and early 90’s which arguably shot through what almost feels like the lens of a family film, alas one with terrorists and gunfights. Still thanks to a committed cast which see’s him bringing back cast members from “Rare Exports” aswell as casting American actors like Jackson who arn’t afraid to work with more unique material like this.

Opening to Oskari as he stands before the hunter wall of fame, showcasing the boys who’ve take the same right of passage he’s about to embark on were 13 year old boys from the village are sent into the Finnish wilderness to hunt by themselves, the photos all showing his predessorts all proudly posing with their kills including his father he idolises. Oskari on the other hand is not quite the hunter as we soon discover as he struggles to pull back on his bow a worrying sign when the trail is designed as a test of proving a young boys maturity into manhood. This kind of tough upbringing we saw in his previous film and once again its the same relationship we see between the gruff father figure who hides a softer side and his son which might be off putting to some, but this is the enviroment in which Oskari is growing up were life is tough and childhood fleeting as young boys are expected to be able to hunt skills the trial is designed to test.

It’s certainly far from your usual setup for this film, especially when you consider that featuring kids is usually the kiss of death for most action fans enthusiasm, but perhaps because of how Oskari is introduced its certainly less of an issue here even though Oskari still gives us a few moments of being a wise ass kid, using a cup and string phone to initially talk to Moore in a scene which actually was pretty charming and no doubt equally has a lot to do with Jackson’s ability to commit to the most random of material as highlighted by the 174 credits he currently has on IMDB at the time of writing this review.
Jackson’s Moore himself is an interesting character racked with concerns over his declining popularity, let alone his own concerns over being able to perform as a president and while his character might have benefited from more development the charisma of Jackson once more carries the character across. At the same time he’s played off against Secret Service agent Morris (Stevenson) along with the pychotic and insanely rich Hazar (Kurtulus) whose schemes are less about holding the President hostage and in keeping with his personality is more focused on hunting Moore for sport with the intention of having him stuffed and mounted as the ultimate hunting trophy.

While you might expect to know the direction the film will be heading, throughout the brisk run time Helander constantly manages to catch the audience off guard, which might be slightly disapointing to those who saw the trailer and went into the film expecting more of action fest, when here the action comes more in bursts with the focus being largely on the friendship between Moore and Oskari, while the frequent switches between humour and drama happen so often it can be hard to really latch onto any one mood for the film. The action scenes we do get though are enjoyably outlandish including a refrigerator escape sequence which makes the much lauded one from Crystal Skull seem quite plausible in comparison as we watch Oskari and Moore tumbling down the mountainside following the exciting chase through the woods as Hazar attempts to transport his prize off the mountain side inside said refrigerator. The ending though only up the ante further with Helander ending on a huge setpiece involving an ejector seat, a bow and arrow and an exploding lake!

While the action might be kept to the most part to the mountain side we do get the obligatory cuts to the pentagon crisis room were an enjoyable Victor Garber does a lot of hand wringing as the vice president and Jim Broadbent basically steals every scene he’s in as the head of the Terrorist Intel Unit while somehow managing to make a sandwich last the whole film, let alone showing a rare darker side we haven’t seen since “Art School Confidential” and one I would love to see more of. Yes at time these scenes can feel like throw away exposition but thankfully they do lead up to something bigger by the finale in a rather shocking twist that comes seemingly out of nowhere.

As with “Rare Exports” its hard to say who exactly the audience is for this film and with such a strange family adventure vibe running throughout the film, combined with Helander’s general refusal to commit to any one tone I’ve found myself refering to this as a “Starter Action Movie”. The kind of movie you could show the kids as a gateway into the genre before you show them the Schwarzenegger / Stallone / Van Damme classics. More so when this film is free of the usual bad language and ultra-violence you might not want to expose the kids to, still if we can have starter horror movies why not the same for action movies?

Sunday, 6 August 2017


Title: Symbol
Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Released: 2009
Starring: Hitoshi Matsumoto, David Quintero, Luis Accinelli, Lilian Tapia, Adriana Fricke, Carlos C. Torres, Ivana Wong, Arkangel De La Muerte, Matcho Panpu, Dick Togo, Salam Diagne

Plot: A Japanese man wakes up in a plain white room covered with phallus like switches which cause random events to happen within the room, while I attempts to find a way out. At the same a Mexican luchadore called Escargot Man prepares for his match despite being concerned that the fact his opponent is much younger than him. At the same time the worlds of these two men are surprisingly connected.

Review: Director Hitoshi Matsumoto might be a director whose work I never intend to seek out and yet our paths for some reason keep crossing, first with the Kaiju parody “Big Man Japan” and later the delightfully perverted “R100”. This time though its a lighter tone that Matsumoto brings to this film of two randomly interconnected tales even though from the start they couldn’t seem to be further part.

Of course surreal worlds have always been one of the trademarks of the comedian turned director and here that’s certainly the case for at least one half of this film as Matsumoto plays the unnamed man who wakes up in the plain room devoid of any colour bar his garish poka-dot pajamas. He has no idea how he got there or why he’s there and certainly by the end of the film we are arguably none the wiser, but it certainly doesn’t stop it being fun to see him being put through the slapstick ringer like your watching “Saw” with jokes.

The main humour of the film comes from him trying to figure out his new surrounding which seem to have designed to purposely test him at all times. The main one of these challenges being the phallus like switches which at one point turn into cherubs which emerge from the wall before disappearing again. Each switch causes something to happen or appear in the room, be it a plate of sushi, a pair of chopsticks or even cause a Zulu warrior to run through the room and this is the challenge which he is faced with let alone the fact that they all look identical.

Just seeing Matsumoto try and find a solution of each problem as he encounters is facinating to watch and his background in comedy only helps further sell even the simplest of jokes such as counsuming a small pile of sushi after resigning himself to the fact that there is no soy sauce only for the next switch he presses to produce the much desired soy sauce. Often these problem solving sections are presented with comic book storyboards while he stares at the viewer just clicking his fingers and the trail and error of the situation is designed so that you want to see him succeed yet at the same time the pay off for each failed plan is so amusing your equally wanting to see him crash and burn aswell.

The second story involving our ageing masked Mexican wrester is a much gentler far and works well running parallel to Matsumoto’s tale. Escargot Man loves his craft as a wrester yet at the same time he’s worried that his age is meaning that he is almost out of the game, especially when faced with competing against a pair of wrestlers half his age. Seeing him permanently wearing his mask regardless of if he is wrestling or not felt like a fun throw back to the likes of “Santo” while at the same time keeping in with the traditions of Lucha Libre. Over the course of his story we see the impact it has on family, including his son who is see defending his father’s in ring ability when two of his classmates make fun of Escargot Man.

Compared to my previous encounters with Matsumoto’s work this one surprisingly didn’t have a darker edge to it, or even go anywhere remotely downbeat in its tone. True instead the finale is a random mish-mash of ideas which includes a Kiss tribute act, ascension and a rather unique ending to Escargot Man’s match. True by the end of the film I might not have been any the wiser as to what I was watching than I was at the start but the ride is so unquestionably fun you really don’t care, while for those willing to take a few risks with their movie watching then this is certainly worth checking out, especially as a more gentle introduction to Matsumoto’s work.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A.C. Film Club #4 - Chungking Express

On this latest episode myself and Stephen (Gweilo Ramblings / Eastern Kicks) take a look at Wong Kai-Wai's "Chungking Express", a film comprised of two rather untraditional love stories as Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a cop who finds himself caught up Brigitte Lin's mysterious drug smuggler. At the same time Tony Leung (also playing a cop) who in attempting to get over the loss of his girlfriend (Valerie Chow) attracts the interest of the quirky snack bar worker Faye (Faye Wong) who has become determined to improve his situation

Music podcasts - Music podcasts -

We also share our Asian cinema shames as we take a cue from the "Cinema Shame" project and reveal the films they perhaps should have seen but for whatever reason have yet to, while also taking a look at the films of Kim Ki-duk

Further Watching



Fallen Angels
Samaritan Girl

A full list of films covered on the show can be found here

Monday, 24 July 2017

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Released: 2016
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot: When his grandfather is mysteriously murdered Jake (Butterfield) travels to an island off Wales in search of answers only to find a time loop which hides a school for extraordinary children who he is destined to protect from the evil Hollowgasts.

Review: It’s been a rocky road for the last decade or so with “Sleepy Hollow” marking the end of what we could consider his golden period as he instead went off to play around in the studio system, remaking his childhood favourites. However with the release of “Frankenweenie” and the overlooked “Big Eyes” it would seem that cinema’s weird kid is keen to get back to his roots.

Adapted from the novel by Ransom Riggs who constructed the story around unusual photographs he had collected with the end result playing in many ways like a 1940’s set version of the “X-men” and making it all the more fitting that the script was written by Jane Goldman who previously worked on both “X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. Of course this story is seemingly written with Burton in mind as it celebrates the abnormal and bizarre to create a “Freaks” like family.

A pipe smoking Eva Green (something we didn’t know we wanted to see until now) plays a Ymbryne here which basically means she has the ability to change into a peregrine falcon aswell as minipulate time which might be one of the more unusual combinations of powers we have seen, but it does enable her to hide the home in a continual time loop of September 3, 1943. Here she is essentially a Burton vision of what “Mary Poppins” might have turned out in his hands and here heads up this unusual children home which brings together children of exceptional abilities.

The so called “Peculiar children” are unquestionably the real draw here as they all come with their own unique powers ranging from the aerokinetic Emma (Purnell) who is forced to stomp around in lead shoes to stop her from floating away, the super strong little girl Bronwyn (Davies) and the invisible boy Millard (King). At the same time we also have the kids who might have come from the mind of Burton had this not been an adapation with the human beehive Hugh (Parker), a pair of masked twins and Enoch who can resurrect both the dead and inanimate object all come with an air of classic Burton to them. The only one who didn’t work was Horace (Keeler-Stone) whose ability of being able to project his dreams like a human projector ends up coming off kind of pointless and more whimsical than anything close to an essential character.

While this was sold a family fare, there is certainly a dark vein which runs throughout the film be it Enoch using his powers to orchestrate his own fights to the death between his twisted doll creations or the Hollowgasts who are the twisted mutant forms of the evil wrights who battle their mutation by consuming the eyes of Peculiars a grotesque spin on the book which saw them consuming the souls of the children. As such in many ways it feels like the kind of family movies of the 80’s and early 90’s such as “The Dark Crystal” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” which weren't afraid to throw in some darkness in with the fun.

Another aspect of the film which stands out is with the design work for the characters and locations throughout which sadly loses a lot of its charm during the modern day segments with those set in the 1940’s being packed with interesting details especially the Wrights whose flashback to the experiments which caused their mutation dripping in steampunk fantasy while Samuel L. Jackson clearly is having a blast as Mr, Barronthe leader of the Wrights. Of course this is a world were the kids can take a sunken ship and magically make seaworthy by combining their abilities and as such works best when your not questioning the fantastical logic it runs on.

The downside to the film though comes when we get into the modern day which are painfully bland and uninteresting compared to those set in the more colourful and generally more interesting 1940’s sections. Even when we get into the final showdown which see’s an army of skeletons battling the Hollowgasts in modern day Blackpool, the best parts are filmed in Blackpool tower whose styling makes it also seem like the 40’s setting despite being modern day, but then as someone who spent their childhood summers in Blackpool I can confirm that this is no doubt pretty accurate considering how they love nostalgia and why the place hasn’t really changed in the last 30 years.

A fun ride throughout despite the departure of Eva Green earlier than I would have liked, the pace is kept brisk throughout while for the fans of Burton’s earlier movies, this will no doubt feel like him getting back to making the films we’ve been wanting to see from him. I can only hope that he comes back for a sequel as there is clearly more to explore in this world and with the books currently set to be joined by a forth novel in the series it would seem that there is still plenty of material to draw inspiration from still.
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