Since Finding Nemo was released in 2003, the character of Dory was somewhat one of the most beloved. Here in 2016, she is given her own story. The basic synopsis follows Dory on a journey to find her parents, who she remembers, thanks to strands of memory. It's a year later since Merlin found Nemo, and now Dory finds herself taken to the Marine Life Institute, which is where she was born.
There is certainly bucket fulls of comedy, mainly from Dory, as her ramblings never seize to entertain! She meets a grumpy red octopus, called Hank who helps her in exchange for an orange tag that will take him to Cleveland, where he can live out his days in peace.
New characters; a whale shark and a beluga provide some fresh interactions between Dory as she uses them to navigate her way through the pipes of the establishment. For younger viewers, the twists and structure of the plot won't really mean much to them, but for the older viewer, there are definitely enough layers of story to keep you engaged. For example, the main basis of the plot is Dory wanting to find her family, but then she thinks they're dead, which we are led to believe.
However, there was a heartwarming twist as she found them when she least expected it. Once she does find them, the story takes another turn as Dory has to now try and stop Merlin and Nemo from being taken to Cleveland, where they would never be released into the wild.
More so, the concluding chapter is incredibly funny as Hank the octopus finds himself driving the truck that is transporting all of the marine life. Animators of the film have to be applauded with their amazing skill at portraying an octopus' movements so authentically, in a rather unrealistic situation.
With most Pixar films, there is mostly a positive ending to their stories. Finding Dory's is rather more poignant as it brings the focus right back to Dory and how her short term memory lose affects her. She simply looks out into the vast ocean, and describes it as "Unforgettable".
Finding Dory is a moving, funny, full of adventure and twists. It certainly lives up to the quality of Finding Nemo!
Saturday, 18 June 2016
The sequel to Alice in Wonderland definitely provides a more complex and layered story that explores the characters of Wonderland in a deeper context. Alice through the looking glass begins with a grand sea battle as Alice leads her team through the ocean, avoiding a collision with an huge rock.
It was wonderful to see Alice's character explored further, in terms of how determined she is to take the lead of her father's boat and wearing an awesome Chinese dress at a ball, even though she knew she would be looked at as strange being, was very inspiring due to the time period in which she would have lived.
This relatable streak to her character is a very engaging asset that the film succeeds in. Alice's loyalty to Hatter as she travels through time to try and find Hatter's family, as he believes they survived. Hatter's little hat that he made as a child was found by older hatter which leads him to believe that his family is alive.
The introduction of time himself was really cool, particularly his costume and the whole setting of time headquarters was beautifully unique and weird. As the film goes on, it was a rather clever twist to his character that his motivation is revealed to be one of protection to save time. At the beginning, I felt his character was portrayed as a rather dangerous and scary opponent for Alice.
But there is another thread to the plot which involves the White and Red Queen that delves in an event that happened in their childhoods. Alice follows them and discovers that the White Queen ate the last jam tart, dropped some crumbs near her sister's bed and blamed it on her.
For this fantastical universe, this idea to explore how the Red Queen became the horrible and selfish character that she has was a really quirky addition to the story. Essentially, the Red Queen simply asks why nobody loves her, her sister replies she does. It was a bittersweet moment for the two characters and their evolution was rather heartwarming and appreciated one.
More so, Danny Elfman brings such sparkling fluidity in his music with epic action sequences to the more emotional and intimate scenes, played beautifully with piano and flute to emphasis the magical quality that imbues this world.
Conclusively, Alice and the Hatter finds his family but time is running out and Alice doesn't manage to save it. However, there is one tiny spark that kick starts time again which wraps up the story elegantly and imaginatively.
This is an engaging, strange, magical and layered film with the most exquisite music, costumes, effects and animation that brings this world to life with grace and love.
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
Absolution provides a strong and multi-layered finale to what has been an incredible season.
Instantly, we are right in the middle of Shield's plan to defeating Hive. Shield and the Inhumans finally worked together to momentarily stop the warhead and contain Hive.
I really loved the layers and little twists to this story. The use of the jacket and necklace being laced around to keep us guessing who the fallen agent was very a literal way to keep us engaged.
Also, I think that Daisy's battle with the guilt and pain she feels was a way to keep her separate from the mission and I liked seeing the tormented side to her. It makes her decision to fulfill her so called destiny as a way of fixing her mistake.
Hive has been one of the most complex villains the show has had, as he believes that turning every human into primitives is somehow peace, which is kind if disturbing. It was a nice progression of events to see him experience all of his victims memories at once.
The siege of the base was a perilously tense and dramatic aspect to the finale as it allowed the team to be separated and it emphasized the terror of the primitives.
Daisy asking Hive to infect her again gave me a new perspective on their connection as I'd never seen the infection being an addiction before. The fight between them was really dynamic, directed really creatively and was gripping. I could really see the desperation on Daisy's face.
I wasn't too sure who the fallen agent would be at first as I thought that Daisy sacrificing herself would have been too predictable and it certainly wouldn't have made sense for Mack to fall.
Therefore, I think it was the most logical and satisfying end to the season that Lincoln was the one to sacrifice himself. I wasn't really invested into his death in an emotional way but seeing him and Hive float contentedly that they were about to die was a moving sequence.
Fast forward six months later, Daisy is now Quake and got a cool makeover, Fitz is working with Ratcliff and Coulson has stepped down as Director. Maybe we'll see May sitting in the Director's chair in season four?
Season 3 has been full of new allies, aliens, farewells, reunions, deaths and major character developments. With Daisy now rogue and the team having a whole new dynamic, I look forward to fresh and engaging stories in season four!
Wednesday, 11 May 2016
It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to collectively bring the whole season to a tipping point, with a great twist and some old snippets from old episodes, making a prominent figure in the conclusion of this episode.
Hive's plan falls into place as Daisy is drained of blood. General Talbot gets a better understanding of what is actually happening with Hive as well as his persuasive action for the Inhumans to register, being a significant asset to the episode.
Daisy continued to lie in order to do Hive's will as she tricks Lincoln into coming to her. However, a sneaky plan was in operation as Lincoln that escaped is revealed to be Lash.
Lincoln believed that Lash was meant to kill Hive but in actual fact, he was meant to save Daisy by removing the infectious parasites from her brain. There was certainly a feeling of disappointment that Lash died, but the emotional impact just wasn't there.
I think there was a lot of mini fights going on which I think prevented this episode from feeling tense or gripping. The energy felt quite weak and after a while, I did find Talbot to be quite annoying as he kept on rubbing his head and his naivety made the pace feel slow.
However, I enjoyed seeing Hive's experiment take a new turn as the Watchdogs were turned into primitive Inhumans. Ratcliff is becoming a bit of a sour character too. Just stick up for yourself!
The resolution was enticing as Fitz revealed that Hive could turn a large population of the human race into the primitive Inhumans. I forgot about the warhead that he had collected earlier in the season, so it was nice to see those threads tied up.
The third installment to the Captain America franchise is an explosion of action, tense and gripping emotional scenes and an accumulation of superheroes to make you salivate like a Newfoundland dog!
When I saw this film, I admit I had some quibbles and I wasn't that sure why at first. To me, it didn't feel like a Captain America movie because Iron Man featured so heavily in the narrative.
However, after some serious thought, I have come to the conclusion that I was in initial shock at Steve's actions. But that is a very positive and vital aspect that the film explores.
Captain America has always been the most reliable and morally confident out of the Avengers and that's why he's one of my favourite heroes.
Except that he couldn't stay in the same place. He always have the same morals and beliefs that resided in the 1940's period. He had to show more flaws and layers.
This is what Civil War captures and channels brilliantly. The groundwork being that the new Avengers cause more damage but save the day and the government wants them and all super-powered individuals to be registered so that they work on a limited amount of power.
At first, I sided with Captain America as I didn't believe that any superhero should be tied down to the government or have to reveal their identities. Then as the film went on, I saw Iron Man's views and began to think that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to have the superheroes working within limits that would ensure precision in their outcomes.
But then, towards the end I changed my mind again when I saw most of the Avengers locked up because they stood up for their rights. I think to a degree if any superhero wanted to register then they should be able to but if others believe they should remain in the shadows, then that should be their choice also.
There was certainly a lot of multiple threads in this film and I didn't quite understand why Cap had such a dedication to his friend- Bucky.
I know that Bucky couldn't control what happened to him but to cause so much chaos just so that he could be frozen. It confused me a little. Also, when Bucky was revealed to be the assassin who killed Iron Man's parents, and Cap knew about it! I was very shocked at Cap's betrayal.
I certainly felt quite disappointed in Cap about his decision making. But these decisions and choices that Cap made in this film is exactly why it succeeds. Finally, we saw a hero who isn't a hero in retrospect.
He has done terrible things himself and put a lot of people's lives at risk to save his friend. I think Cap has always tried to do his best but that doesn't make him a hero, it makes him someone trying to do the best he can.
All of these heroes we have to come to know are so full of flaws which was evident here. Iron Man became quite hypocritical when he broke his own law to help Cap out.
I would've liked to have seen more of Black Widow as I feel like she was used more as sparring unity between Cap and Iron Man.
More so, I really loved Tom Holland as Spider-Man! He brings a lot of youth, an adorable intelligence but teenage embarrassment and verbal cues, 'You have a metal arm, that is so cool, dude'! being one of them.
Lest we not forget- the funeral of Peggy Carter! I was quite disappointed that she wasn't given more of a send-off. Peggy is such a formidable an important character to Cap and the Marvel universe.
To see that her last outing lasts for only a few minutes and receives a couple of words from her niece- Sharon Carter felt like she wasn't given the time she deserved. It felt like because she has such a strong connection with Steve that they had to feature her death in the film. But I don't think they should have used it for just that reason.
Overall, Civil War achieves some groundbreaking character development for all characters involved. Cap almost killed Iron Man and vice versa. The whole of the Avengers are either fugitives or feeling betrayed or lost.
The actions scene were mind-blowing, tense and brutal. Black Panther's introduction was definitely a highlight. I really think his history is really interesting and a great contrast for the Marvel universe to explore.
Who knows where this leaves the Avengers, but they're going to have to work out their differences if they are to defeat Thanos in infinity war!
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
As we gear up for the two hour finale, Failed Experiments reveals Hive's plan to turn humans into Inhumans and we finally see the Kree make their way to Earth.
I really liked seeing how Hive became an Inhuman and that they shows how the whole Inhuman history began, all those generations ago.
Firstly, I felt like Lincoln volunteering to be a host for the possible cure was just something to give his character something to do as I can't see him becoming a committed Shield agent after this season.
I did think that the explanation in the lab scenes with Radcliff went on for too long and didn't add much to the story.
He doesn't seem like he has much depth to him as his whole existence seems to be revolving around Daisy and there's no proof that he even loves her.
Additionally, I'm still very much compelled with how Daisy is evolving under Hive's infection. There is a complex notion to her character now as she wants to make her team mates understand by making them Inhumans.
I liked that there was a slice of comedy with May going undercover when trying to get information from Annihilation. I think using Mack as a catalyst to show that Daisy cannot be helped but needs to be stopped. I couldn't believe she was actually going to kill Mack!
The Kree reapers were an impressive addition and it really cemented the connection between this universe and the films. Their alien technology looked really cool.
I completely forgot that Daisy had Kree blood running through her and I thought this was a solid end to the episode.
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
The Singularity is already another one of my favorites as Daisy's thrall is actually more complex than originally thought. She's biologically addicted to Hive because of the amount of Dopamine (which is a happy chemical in the brain) that Hive's infection has given her.
I found this development very compelling and refreshing to see rather than her stereo typically just being controlled and forced to take destructive action. Daisy still seems to be herself but is so consumed with having a family and being happy that she almost kills Fitz!
Also, the episode allowed some hidden conflict between Coulson and May to rise to the surface as May feels like he can make everyone else take the shot but views himself as clean. It was great to see May actually show a little emotion; we got a smile and I saw her eyes fill up with tears when she admitted she cares for Daisy.
Lincoln had an effective role as well as he almost killed an Inhuman when his rage nearly overloaded. I think Daisy is definitely his weakness seeing how much he needs her to keep stable.
I loved that Fitz and Simmons got their own mission to try and track down the one scientist that could find a cure for Daisy. Their relationship is so adorable, truthful and sweet and it felt a nice subplot to have running alongside the chaos and destruction. This was probably a signal that something terrible will happen..... again.
So now Hive has a cool looking Kree experiment contraption that will ultimately turn humankind into Inhumans. What I like about Hive is that he's always so calm and relaxed like he's so confident that he doesn't need to rush.
The threat is really starting to boil now to a point where I honestly don't know how the team can stop Hive. They haven't got the scientist to cure Daisy and they have no idea about the Kree technology.
Hopefully, they can retrieve the scientist.... somehow, but not without a sacrifice.
Friday, 22 April 2016
Season 3 enters a groundbreaking and compelling four story finale as Hive plans to form an Inhuman army to destroy humankind.
The Team is the beginning of the Secret Warriors and the end of them apparently. The takeover of this new team was really thrilling to watch as each character really kicked some Hydra butt with their cool powers.
Daisy has a great line,' For one reason or another, we were each given a gift, let's put them to good use' was a really heroic moment for the Shield agent.
With the Shield team saved, Fitz/Simmons begins examining the Inhuman with the eye paralyzing power who has Hive's parasites embedded in his brain. I loved seeing these two back in the science environment and being themselves again.
It was fascinating to learn more about Hive's powers but also gross. Applause for the production team for making him truly unique in his grotesque ability.
Coulson now has Malick in his custody and asks for his help in stopping Hive. He is then killed and Fitz and Simmons are blasted by a bomb that was left by his body. All of the Inhumans are in the frame.
I felt particularly disheveled when Coulson told Mac to shut down the base because of them had been infected by Hive. I think the conflict between Shield and the Secret Warriors was very relevant and complex within the Marvel Universe.
There was still room to explore Fitz and Simmons relationship. Simmons anguish at not being able to help her friends makes her even more amazing and I thought the progression of their relationship took a lovely and heartwarming turn as Simmons says, 'Too fast, Fitz it's been ten years'.
They are both magnificent and I hope that they can have some happiness but with the fallen agent phrase embedded in the four part finale, I can't see much happiness to come.
For a moment I thought that Hive's parasites were causing everyone to pull on each other's weaknesses. They were such a strong team and to see them being pulled apart was difficult. I certainly thought it strange for Daisy to try and escape with her team.
However, it is revealed that she brings them to Coulson and Lincoln is the one infected. But the twists don't stop there, Daisy asks him to leave with her and I couldn't understand why at first, she didn't seem in love with him to strand her Shield team.
All is revealed- Daisy is actually the Inhuman who was infected by Hive. It happened at the Hydra base just before she makes her way back to the team. Also, she killed Malick, his blood dripping from his eye sockets and mouth. I was truly gobsmacked and thought this development was extremely smart and compelling.
Chloe Bennett's performance really engaged me with how she played on how she has felt different from the Shield team since her transformation and truly believes that what Hive is doing is beautiful. That word in itself is quite disturbing.
The drama didn't stop there though. She steals the Kree orb and all of the Terragin crystals, framing Lincoln and then crumbling the Shield base with her powers. I felt so betrayed by her but couldn't help but be fascinated as to what she and Hive will do next.
The last episode of Supergirl explores her relationships with family but bluntly deals with the villain of the season. But I think that this was intentional as the season wanted to focus more of how Supergirl deals with these threats with the help of her human family.
I really liked the beginning where Alex reverts back to herself with the some wise words from her mother. It emphasizes how important family is to the show and how powerful they can be. The resolution to Myriad was done with grace and science as Supergirl pleaded to her friends and the citizens of National City with hope and strength.
It was even more exciting to see that Myriad was amplifying a signal that will cause everyone's brains to explode. The enormous danger surrounding the situation was made clear as Kara made subtle goodbyes to her loved ones.
The battle between Supergirl and Non finished too soon but was pretty epic in the short amount of time. I felt really proud of Supergirl when she lifted the ship that contained Myriad into space, with no doubt for own survival.
She has developed a great deal in this season and her strength, bravery, kindness and determination was presented in fine form. I honestly didn't see a way back for her but then the pod she traveled in was driven by Alex.
The relationship of these two sisters has been such a focus for the whole story arc and it was very fulfilling to see them back together.
It was really special and moving to see Kara among her family and her and James in a contended place..... for now.
But there was a surprise when an identical pod to Kara's crashes to Earth, Supergirl opens it and utters, 'O my god'........... I wander who it could be?
Sunday, 17 April 2016
With many adaptations of The Jungle Book ranging from the 1967 classic animation to the 1994 full cast with Brendan Fraser, this story has always been taken in many media platforms.
The latest re-telling beautifully captures the characterization of Mowgli and his animal friends. There is a stubbornness to Mowgli but his kindness is what ultimately makes his story all the more heartwarming.
Visually, the cinema-photography and animation is so intricate and striking, that there was always something to engage with on the screen. The colours were greatly realised with the greens, pinks and browns of the jungle enraptured with creative and dynamic direction.
I really enjoyed Scarlet Johannson as the snake as there was a real creepy, playful and terrifying tone to her voice. Again, the animation was really astonishing with the scales easily visible.
However, I think that the casting of the other characters could have gone to less well-known actors because sometimes no matter how much work they put into creating a character with their voice, all you hear is the famous actor talking which distracts from the fictitious world.
Also, the pace was really strong as each famous scene from the book is given commitment to portraying the characters with heart whilst bringing something fresh with the latest technology.
King Louie was a really visual treat with his facial expressions and movement perfectly realised. The theme of the film is held throughout as Mowgli uses his tricks to defeat Khan the Tiger.
It really promotes how individuality should be encouraged and that family is extremely important and that you don't have to be blood related to have one.
The music score gave a unique twist to songs like, 'I wanna be like you', given a drum and percussion sequence.
I think this has to be one of the best adaptations of one of the best loved stories; the script is full of love and friendship, the direction is imaginative, characters are played with energy and flair, the music is really uplifting and the animation is quite extraordinary!
Friday, 15 April 2016
Paradise Lost explores Lincoln and Malick's characters, an mysterious Kree orb is retrieved by Daisy and Lincoln, we discover the morality of Coulson's decision to kill Ward and the team needs the Secret Warriors to save them!
This episode conjures an interesting backstory for Malick as he sees Hive kill him in a vision and we discover he betrays his brother in their family tradition of blood sacrifice. I thought it was very clever for the episode to take another twist when Hive kills Malick's daughter to teach him about sacrifice.
However, I was confused when Hive started talking like Malick's brother. Is he just playing games or is he actually the brother that was lost, and if so how can he be the ancient Inhuman that Malick has been striving to bring back?
Anyway, a part from that I thought that the progression of Coulson exploring whether his decision to kill Ward was right and he admits that by killing Ward, Ward won, was certainly a positive element to the story arc. I think it was really great to put Coulson in this position and show some vulnerability and instability in his role as Director.
Also, it was really cool to see Daisy explode multiple landmines in a pose that looked awesome! I was fascinated to learn about the history of the Inhumans and the Kree orb. The idiot that was the Australian Inhuman was definitely used to bring some of Lincoln's past to the surface.
Finally, I actually found him interesting and it was effective to see Daisy tell him that someone on the team is going to die. Another part I felt was tense and exhilarating was the fight between May and Malick's right hand man.
He is a really dangerous opponent and seeing the whole plane being taken down with some quick shots and slow motion sequences was really effective in creating the danger, tension and limitless safety of the team.
Hive was a strange addition to this episode as I'm still not quite sure what his goals are but the scientific explanation of what his powers actually do was interesting and really disgusting which makes him all the more fearsome.
The cliffhanger has to be my favourite part as Daisy says, 'Let's call them in' as Lincoln suggests the secret warriors are the only people who can save the team from Hydra. Secret Warriors unite!
Myriad succeeds in setting up the last episode with Non's plan revealed- save the Earth from the Humans by making them zombies who can't think for themselves.
Supergirl has to try and find a way to stop Myriad but of course there is no easy way to achieve a positive solution. I think this episode manages to portray the unimaginable decisions that Kara has to make in this situation.
There were definitely some great realism aspects to how the episode was structured. Supergirl doesn't know whether to agree to Maxwell Lord's plan because she can't think of another way to resolve the situation but she doesn't want to make the same mistake her mother did.
One of the highlights was the conversation between Supergirl and Cat about what Supergirl means to her and that hope is more powerful than fear was a moving addition to the story. But Cat has to know that Supergirl is Kara, right? Surely, being that close to Supergirl has to show correlation to Kara's personality?
In addition, I think James and Winn jumping to their deaths was a really shocking twist and I definitely felt like it brought some real danger and unpredictability to Non's power. The loss of one of Cat's workers was quite powerful in showing how helpless Supergirl was in that she can't save everyone.
However, I don't feel like Myriad has brought the ambition and almighty force that I expected but I was glad to see Alex and J'honn again which led to a surprising cliffhanger as Non fitted Alex with a Kryptonian suit to send into battle against her sister.
Supergirl was certainly faced with some challenges in this episode as her loss of hope and fear making the ultimate fate of the world unknown. An entertaining, dramatic, tense and powerful lead up the the last episode.
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Spacetime delves into the fourth dimension, visions of the future and moving developments for Daisy and May as Daisy jeopardizes her own life to save the life of an Inhuman, used as a pawn by Hydra.
The episode begins with an homeless man, an Inhuman who can show the person he touches a certain death from the future. A beautifully lyrical opening with the wooden robin. This provides subtext for this new character, is it for someone or a representation of someone he loves?
There is a great pace to the episode as the team immediately arrive on the scene, the man who knew Daisy is thrown into a war zone, Daisy doesn't even have time to save him as he's shot by Hydra.
They feel like an ever dangerous threat here as Hive sets his plans on taking over a company and giving Malick as sense of real power, killing the head of the company to give him some sort of higher status.
I loved the sequence where Daisy realises the homeless man is the Inhuman but is too late to save him. It was brilliantly directed with lots of great angled shots to emphasis the chaos.
Also, the conflict between the team and Fitz when he believes what Daisy saw cannot be changed allows room for the audience to feel anguish that he may be right but still hope that Daisy can save the new Inhuman.
There were some great comedic moments when Daisy orchestrates the team through how she saw her vision, each member slowly falling to the ground was hilarious. I think the slices of the May and Andrew thread that were placed in between the main plot was really effective because it made the reappearance of Andrew more surprising and out of character.
It meant that what Daisy saw actually came true although Coulson doesn't shot at her but at a mirror, Charles (Inhuman) is there to save her from Malick and the snow that falls over FitzSimmons is actually ash. I loved the Simmons line, "I think this is the part where we hold hands" was so adorable and romantic in amidst the amount of death and fire.
I think this episode was a fantastic exploration for Daisy because she has to tackle her own insecurities about whether she is unstoppable and follow this desired path that she seems to be leading into. Her powers seem to be a design for something which is really interesting.
Another effective aspect was May and Andrew finally discussing everything that has happened and conclusively, I did wish that he could have been cured because yes, he did kill people but even he felt like it was for a reason.
In the end though he did the right thing by handing himself in to say goodbye to May, I felt very moved when I saw his last shred of humanity just disappear, I could in May's face as well, she was utterly destroyed emotionally.
Spacetime explores how and if futures can be changed, there was action, deep emotional scenes, comedy, twists, romance and a lovely theme of the robin that gave Charles the new Inhuman an important weight to the story.