Greetings, ParaNorman is a 2012 animated film mixing the elements of humour as well horror fit for family viewing. Despite attempting to be a family orientated movie, the themes and the story in general are reasonably darker as well as rather complex than the black and white scenario you would expect. Some of the more prominent cast members include John Goodman, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Bernard Hill. It was created by Laika, which is mostly known for the 2009 movie Caroline.
The plot is centred in a fictional Massachusetts town called Blithe Hollow. During the 1700s as the Puritans began to colonise the area and in their attempt to keep it holy, they executed a local who was charged with the crime witchcraft. Before the witch was killed she cursed those who judged her to walk the earth as the living dead. Most of the plot is set in the present day around Norman, the protagonist of the story, who has an obsessive interest in the deceased and the ability to interact with ghosts. Of course nobody believes that he has these powers which has lead to his ostracism from the town’s community and even emotional isolation from his family.
It isn’t long before Norman is contacted by his estranged uncle, who also has the same paranormal abilities and is the most recent generation of his family to ensure that the witch and the zombies never rise from their graves. The uncle, realizing that his own life span was about to end had to ensure that Norman would take over his duties of reading a book at the witch’s burial site and thus protect the town from the curse by preventing the witch from awakening. After his uncle’s death, Norman decides to believe him after the current visions he had been having and attempts to read the book. However, he is too late and the witches curse begins. Therefore Norman has to stop the spell with an ill prepared team consisting of his uncaring sister Courtney, his socially rejected friend Neil, Neil’s older brother Mitch and Norman’s bully, Alvin.
Overall, it is a really good film that actually contradicts well known tropes by flipping them against themselves and balances the humour and emotional scenes nicely. While it may not have the most notable cast, the actors and actresses certainly deliver their parts perfectly. I don’t recall ever watching another Laika film before this one, but I will keep an eye out for their latest projects and might watch Caroline at some time.
Quote of the day
It's ok to die Bats, I'll be here to protect Gotham! I'll do a real good job
Batman: Arkham City
Greetings, RED 2 is the sequel to the 2010 film Retired and Extremely Dangerous, bringing back a good portion of the actors and actresses that stared in the first movie as well as introducing a few that are new to the series. New members of the cast include Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lee Byung-hun. I enjoyed the original set up due to its successful blend of colourful characters, humour and action scenes but couldn’t really follow the plot that well. However that isn’t a problem in this movie that has a simpler storyline despite being set in different locations around the world, instead of just America again.
The story is set after the events of the first RED in which retired CIA agent Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis, tries to settle into a normal life with his girlfriend Sarah portrayed by Mary Louise Parker. However their lives are interrupted by an old friend and ex-special agent Marvin, John Malkovich, warns that their lives are once again in danger due to a leaked document that involved both of them in an operation during the Cold War. Frank doesn’t listen to the warning and Marvin is forced to fake his death by blowing up his own car.
Once Moses is at his colleague's funeral, he is forcibly taken to a location for interrogation about Operation Nightshade. However, he manages to escape the facility with the help of Marvin and begins to unravel the reasons for his planned interrogation. Helen Mirren’s character, Victoria is threatened into finding and killing Moses or else by killed by her MI6 employers as she had worked with him in the first RED film. Notorious Contract killer Han played by Byung-hun is also hired to pursue and assassinate the targets of Frank and Marvin
Overall, it is a humorous and enjoyable movie with interesting action as well as plot twists but it doesn’t quite stand on par with the original movie in my opinion. However, it is still definitely worth watching. There are plans to make the series into a trilogy which should hopefully keep up the same standard as the first two. I look forward to how they are going to conclude the story and what other notable celebrities will be included.
Quote of the day
Roz, my tender, oozing blossom, you're looking fabulous today. Is that a new haircut? Tell me it's a new haircut. It's got to be a new haircut. New makeup? You had a lift? You had a tuck? You had something? Something has been inserted in you that makes you look like...Listen, I need a favor.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Greetings, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the prequel to the original Deus Ex video game, which was released in the year 2000. Human Revolution is an open world game with two major maps that the player can explore if they wish and will be rewarded with money as well as other items including weapons if they search the area. The use of stealth is one method of progressing through the plot and can be lethal or non-lethal depending on the choice of the player. While it is more time consuming there is less chance of raising alarm by using stealth if done effectively. It is possible to complete the game without killing any of the enemy AIs with the ability to knock out, stun and shoot guards with tranquilizers.
The plot is set in the near future, in which society is being sharply divided by those who wish to advance humanity by replacing human limbs with mechanical ones, to those who believe it is unethical. To make matters worse, those who don’t augment themselves are falling into poverty as corporations are starting to employee those who have changed themselves. The storyline begins with an unprovoked attack on Sarif industries by an unknown enemy. In the assault, the chief of security Adam Jensen is fatally injured, several scientists who were on a breakthrough of augmentation technology including their lead, Megan Reed disappear and are thought to be dead. In order to be saved Sarif, Adam’s boss, augments Jensen with top of the line technology and in the end saves his employees life. Months later, Jensen starts investigating and gets entangled in a conspiracy.
The game itself is quite deep and intelligent with interesting and well developed characters to spur it forward. The moral dilemmas are also a big part of the appeal, especially the choices that the player has to make at the end as there is no clear cut answer. A few side missions can be found at various parts in the plot, scattered throughout the two main maps, and while they don’t have an effect on the plot it does help create the atmosphere of a crumbling world. Overall, it is definitely a game to buy even if you haven’t played the original Deus Ex as it isn’t heavily involved with the original storyline.
Quote of the day
The Enrichment Centre reminds you that the Companion Cube cannot speak. In the event that the Companion Cube does speak, the Enrichment Centre urges you to disregard its advice.