“His Dark Materials” Season 2 – Increasing the Stakes and the Problem of Middle Books in Trilogies

“His Dark Materials” Season 2 continues the great quality from the 1st season and I can’t wait to see how they adapt The Amber Spyglass for season 3. This season adapted The Subtle Knife for the better, fixing one of the events that happens near the end and the only weakness it has comes from the weakness middle books in trilogies face, as it ends up being setup for the final book. So, the action is better, we see more worlds and our characters have arcs. I recommend this season.

Lyra (Dafne Keen) and Will (Amir Wilson) find themselves in crossroads world of Cittàgazze and must work together as forces of he Magisterium are at play and Marisa Coulter (Ruth Wilson) uses all her influence to hunt for Lyra.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Magisterium Threat – The Magisterium is powerful in this as we see them destroy the homes of the Witches, imprison Lee and even send forces through the Portal to hunt for Lyra to stop the prophecy she is key to. Their power increases over the course of the show and we see that in their world their agents are everywhere.

The Spectres – We finally see the spectres and how dangerous they are as we witness them turn many into empty shells as they feed off dust. Mrs. Coulter an control them though and uses them to find capture Lyra, killing the wtiches who were protecting her.

Lord Boreal – We finally get Lord Boreal’s motivation and is to hold knowledge and items and power for himself. He is unable to see beyond himself and this lack of empathy and listening leads to his end as he attempts to court Mrs. Coulter, which she manipulates and poisons him. He was a great threat prior though and nearly outsmarted Will and Lyra at one point. Ariyon Bakare did a good job in the role.

Dr. Mary Malone – Simone Kirby is wonderful as Dr. Mary Malone, the character who trusts Lyra and learns how to communicate with “Dust.” This leads to her leaving her life at Oxford behind as she travels through a tear in dimensions and helps some of the orphans of Cittàgazze after how she had helped Lyra and even helped Marisa Coulter realize her value as a person. She is one of the few truly good people we meet and her inquisitive nature drives her arc which remains open at the end as she has left her own world behind.

John Parry – Andrew Scott is great as John Parry. An explorer filled with regret at the family he left behind who learns as much as he an to help as many as he can. He calls Lee to him and he is the mysterious traveler through most of their interactions as they seek the wielder of the knife. In the end he learns it is his son and is able to save him from Magisterium forces, who kill him as he defends Will.

Lee Scoresby – Lin-Manuel Miranda continues to own this role and I love Lee’s friendship with his daemon. This season we learn about the abusive father he grew up with and how his daemon Hester was his only friend and ally through it all. Lyra is a daughter to him and his motivation is protect her above all else. This motivates his quest where he finds John Parry and his last stand against the Magisterium forces, as he dies defending Lyra.

Marisa Coulter – Marisa Coulter is easily the most compelling character this season as we see her shape who leads the Magisterium before searching for Lyra. This leads her to Will’s world where she sees what life she could have lived (in her world she can never be a doctor or publish papers under her name) and after entering Cittàgazze to find Lyra kills Lord Boreal after taking control of the Spectres. She is a force of nature in this and defeats all her enemies while still having moments of kindness, such as when she frees Lee and we learn about the abuse she grew up with and blames herself for. Her drive above all else is to protect Lyra, and by the end of the season she has captured Lyra once again as she promises to take her somewhere safe from all.

Will – Will’s arc in this is learning to trust in others and himself and this comes through getting and learning to use the subtle knife, his getting to know Lyra and finally meeting his father and learning about what happened. His goal is to protect Lyra and his leaving to find his father and losing them both in the process will no doubt lead to facing that guilt next season. Amir Wilson does a good job as Will is a passive character in the books, especially compared to Lyra but he at least shows him making choices.

Lyra – This season we learn Lyra’s other name is Eve and she is the one who can shape what happens to all universes. She can’t know the prophecy though or else she’ll fail so that adds a dimension to her interactions with Witches especially. She is the driver of the plot like last season and is why Will finds the subtle knife and why they need to use it after Lord Boreal steals her Alethiometer. Her arc is learning how to trust as she and Will need each other to succeed. In the end they find that though but as all forces converge to protect or kill Lyra, Marisa Coulter steals her away. Dafne Keen once again is great as Lyra.

Facing Abuse and Trauma – One of the strongest arcs of this season are characters facing heir abuse and trauma. Lee does and it inspire Mrs. Coulter to save him. Mrs. Coulter faces it leading to some healing with her daemon and Will and Lyra do leading to them becoming best friends.

Okay:

The Witches – The witches lose their home, fail to protect Lyra and stand with Lord Asriel. They spend most of the season losing and I wish we’d seen more of their magic. They felt so under-developed.

Cittàgazze – This city is supposed to have a rich history but we know nothing about it beyond the Guild creating the Subtle Knife. You have orphan kids and spectres as a threat to Will and Lyra but nothing happens beyond getting the Knife. It isn’t until the forces in Lyra’s world enter that this place starts feeling like it matters. I wish it had been developed further and we’d learned more about the guild.

The Cons:

Cliffhangers and the Problem of Middle Books in Trilogies – Lyra is captured by her mother and though her mother says she will be safe, we don’t know how it will be and don’t even know where she is going. Will’s father is killed by a Magisterium soldier (Better than killed by a Witch in the books), Lee is killed by Magisterium forces and Lord Asriel recruits the angels in his war. Will and Lyra’s stories feel open still and that is the problem of cliffhangers as quite a few of these stories are complete but the open ones leave the narrative open and hanging.

Season 2 feels much more focused than season 1, but there aren’t as many compelling characters who have focus. Like in the books Lorek is only around for a cameo and the Gyptians aren’t in it all. I was hoping more could be done with the Witches to make up for that but they just aren’t as compelling sadly. Will’s world and Cittàgazze are also not nearly as intriguing as Lyra’s world and all the different politics and factions. Cittàgazze is especially lackluster in development. Still, this season was great and I can’t wait to see how The Amber Spyglass is adapted.

Final Score: 9 / 10

“His Dark Materials” Season 1 – The Strength in Adaptation

“His Dark Materials” is an example of how to adapt a series to live-action. In this case it incorporates story elements from both The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife which was a good way to do it as it sets up both of our heroes and what they are up against. This is one of my favorite trilogies since I was in Middle School and it wonderful to see it adapted so faithfully. I think having one writer helps in this case too as you get a singular rather than competing visions of adaptation.

The series is written by Jack Thorne.

The story follows Lyra (Dafne Keen) when she searches for her kidnapped friend whose kidnapping is tied to a mysterious substance known as “Dust” while in another world Will (Amir Wilson) faces the mystery surrounding his father’s disappearance.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Premise – The idea of multiple dimensions and political factions vying against a power they don’t fully understand is compelling. Lyra and Will are compelling protagonists as talented and flawed protagonists.

Having Will and Lyra’s Stories Mirror – Both Will and Lyra’s story mirror each other as they end with a leadup with them both entering portals to a new world and each are completely alone and driven in their quest for truth tied to “Dust.” This was smart to do as Will’s perspective comes out of nowhere in the Trilogy as his story begins in the second book. Connecting their stories gives the chance to get to know Will while we are getting to know Lyra.

The Magisterium Threat – The Magisterium believes “Dust” is exists due to original sin and does everything to suppress all knowledge of it or to cut people from via the General Oblation Board (GOB). All they do is to hold and keep their power or extend their control over others. All they do is in the name of the Authority and we see how devoted most of the populace is to this religion as only the outcasts stand against them. Their greatest agents are Lord Boreal their assassin and Mrs Coulter, who drives their research and experiments and enforces their will upon the populace and scholars. Lord Boreal’s aims are his own and I’m curious to see what they’ll be in the show. He like Mrs. Coulter is what makes them intriguing as a faction.

The Gyptians – The Gyptians are the only wholly good faction of people in Lyra’s world as none of them serve the Magisterium. They are lead by Farder Coram who brings Lord John Faa leader of the Western Gyptians to find the kidnapped children the Gobbles have taken. They are the ones who aid Lyra in her discovery of Mrs. Coulter’s aims and they discover the children have been taken North. Ma Costa is the glue of the group as her son Billy is taken by the Gobbblers and we learn she was Lyra’s nurse so knows that Lord Asrael and Mrs. Coulter are her parents. She, Farder Coram and John Faa bring truth to each situation and their drive and people are the first force standing against the Magisterium. In the end they find the stolen children though not before Billy dies. After this their story ends in the show as they take in all the stolen children and promise to help them find their parents.

The Armored Bears – The Armored Bears are such a great faction. They are a people based on truth and battle leading to tragedy as their false king Lofur who wants to be human so is easily manipulated by the Magisterium and Mrs. Coulter. It takes Lorek’s armor being restored with help from Lyra and Lyra tricking Lofur that lead to Lofur’s final defeat and Lorek restored as the Armored Bears now stand against the Magisterium and free Lord Asriel.

The Daemons – The Daemons are amazing. The notable ones are the Golden Monkey who reflects how abusive and self-hating Mrs. Coulter is to herself as anything done to a daemon is done to the person and she is always abusing it. Pan who is the cautious side of Lyra and Stelmaria voiced by the amazing Helen McCrory who is just as committed as Asriel in their quest. Daemons are one of the coolest things in the world of “His Dark Materials” and it is great seeing them portrayed so accurately.

Will – Will is the main character of The Subtle Knife, the second book in the Trilogy and I’m glad we get his perspective now. Reading the books his perspective came out of nowhere so the show was smart to establish his importance early. In the show we learn his dad crossed over to Lyra’s world and he left notes for Will about the different worlds. His leaving broke will Mother’s though and Will cares for her through the show. In the end he is called to action when he realize they are being stalked by Magisterium agents and he takes the letters and in the end finds the tear in dimensions that the Magisterium agent Lord Boreal has been using to stalk him and his mother. Amir Wilson is good in the role at capturing the weight of responsibility Will feels caring for his mother.

Roger – Lewin Lloyd is great as Lyra’s orphan best friend from Jordan College. His arc is finding his courage as he goes from being happy where he is to a leader and fighter against the Gobblers and aid to Lyra. Sadly like the book his story ends in tragedy as Lord Asriel kills him by splitting him from his daemon to open up the portal to another world. R.I.P. Roger. This death hit hard like the books.

Lyra – Dafne Keen is fantastic as Lyra. She is an agent of chaos bringing down all of the plots around her be they those of her mother Mrs. Coulter or the Magisterium and their attempt to kill her father Lord Asriel. She is a chosen one type character as she is the one to shape the world to come, according to a prophecy but only if she doesn’t know about the prophecy. Power is in choice and agency and she demonstrates that in how she stops the authorities who attempt to stop her saving the children from Mrs. Coulter’s lab or the Magisterium’s attempt to stop Lord Asriel when she and Lorek’s Armored Bear forces stand against them. Twice she experiences tragedy and the loss of friends. First Billy and second in her best friend Roger all while her abusive parents try to keep her away from it all or use her. I can’t wait to see how the show continues her story.

Lee Scoresby – Lin-Manuel Miranda is much more young and attractive than he is in the books but Miranda’s performance makes it work as he becomes one of Lyra’s protectors and mentors. He is there to comfort Lyra after the death of Billy Costa and we see how he is able to rad others to give them space to mourn. He initially is driven by loyalty to his friend Lorek but soon finds himself pulled into the larger conflict at stake and is making sense of what that means as he contemplates his future at the end.

Marisa Coulter – Ruth Wilson is fantastic as Marisa Coulter. Her drive to achieve her ends and her abusive relationship with herself in her contemplations of suicide and hitting of her daemon golden monkey. She is a broken person and an amazing antagonist as the only one she cares about Lyra but is incapable of living that love because she has none of herself and only ambition and survival. Her story ends with her possibly knowing Lyra is on the mountain Lord Asriel was on and letting her pass through the portal. For what ends remain to be seen as at this point she refused to join Lord Asriel in his mission against “The authority,” saying instead she will stay for Lyra.

Lord Asriel – James McAvoy is brilliant as Lord Asriel and carries the complexity and guardedness of the character so well. He is driven to stop “The Enemy” at any cost and refuses to reflect on what he is doing, even if it is murder. In that way he is much like his wife Mrs. Coulter. He only ever shows a moment of empathy twice and it is just to explain his mission to Lyra and later to Marisa Coulter. His is a fascinating character and I’m curious how the show is going to show him as a commander in his war against the Magisterium and the Authority. McAvoy captures his drive and sociopathic disconnect from others so well.

Tragedy Captured – This is a sad series and The Golden Compass especially as so many lives are lost in the war and the experiments of Marisa Coulter and actions of Lord Asriel and the Magisterium. The Gyptians, the Armored Bears and the Witches are caught in the middle of it all too as we witness many deaths over the course of the book and show with the saddest being those of Billy and Roger.

The Cons:

The Witches – We only see Serafina Pekkala and she never interacts with Lyra. She had a good scene with her ex Farder Coram but we only ever really see her. The lack of Witches is felt given how much they know about “Dust” and the other worlds and how many appeared in the books. There lack of physical prescense was felt in the show.

The Missing Creatures – We never see the spectres that feed of Will’s mother this season, while in the book they are established from the moment we meet Will. This was a shame as they are haunting and establish a permanent threat that Will is facing.

This is such a great adaptation and I can’t wait to see more. I’m also going to be reviewing “The Golden Compass” film to see how it compares since it has been a long time since I saw it. So much worked about this and I think having Philip Pullman as a producer is a major reason why. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the Trilogy is adapted.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

Dr. No (1962): Action That Still Holds up Today With Major Problematic Elements

“Dr. No” is one of the few classic Bond films I have no memory of watching when I was growing up. My Dad used to rent Bond films so I tons of memories of the Roger Moore and Brosnan era but not really any memory of the Connery era. Without going into spoilers this is a film with problematic elements that still holds up as an action thriller. Racism is always wrong and here in the 60’s when it was filmed it is blatant and I want to call that out now before I go further, but if you are curious about it and the rest of the film feel free to read on. Connery also died this year and I want to respect that while also calling out the harm and immorality in his words in regards of abuse towards women. I plan to review one film from each Bond Era as well for the overall picture of my upcoming reviews.

The film was directed by Terence Young with the screenplay by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather and based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming.

The story follows James Bond (Sean Connery) as he investigates Dr. No’s (Joseph Wiseman) plans in Jamaica.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Core Mystery – The core mystery is handled really well. I was curious to see what Dr. No’s plans were and it doesn’t give you the answer or make the the reasons behind it obvious. This is a strength to the film as Bond is being targeted the moment he arrives in Jamaica keeping the stakes high.

The Cinematography – Tom Moore did a fantastic job on the cinematography. The cinematography highlights the action and stakes and we see just how powerful Dr. No is as well as how James Bond, though he is crafty is the underdog overall.

The Action – The action is the thing that stands out the most as the strongest aspect of the film. You have Bond tricking a poisoner, you have a car chase and also quite a few gun fights and standoffs. You aren’t barraged by the action either so it has time to rise for prime confrontations.

Quarrel – Quarrel ends up being Bond’s primary Jamaican contact and ally and he is the one to get Bond to Crab Key, where Dr. No’s base is located. He is a fun character and saves Bonds life multiple times. Sadly he dies against one of Dr. No’s weapons and when he is killed Honey and James are caught. John Kitzmiller did a great job in the role.

Honey Ryder – Honey Ryder is the primary love interest and active force against Dr. No that we meet in Crab Key. She collects shells there as her father was a Zoologist killed by Dr. No. She holds her own really well and actively tries to defend Bond from No’s forces when they are caught.

James Bond – I can see why Connery’s Bond became so iconic. In this film we see that Bond is a man who tricks his enemies, does not have any powerful weapons and wins entirely through skill and investigation. This eventually leads to his confrontation with Dr. No where he spends the conversation getting under Dr. No’s skin before he escapes imprisonment and destroys Dr. No’s base. In this film he is also respectful too as we see even the enemies he fights being treated with a level of deference. There are some jokes though after some villains are defeated.

Dr. Julius No – Dr. No is SPECTRE’s mad scientist seeking world domination after the Eastern and Western powers reject his offer to work with him. He was born from a German missionary and wealthy Chinese woman and uses his gangster connections and connections to SPECTRE for his plot. Joseph Wiseman gives him a calm, cool and threatening demeanor. He is a fun threat with the most distinct aspect of him being artificial hands that are black gloves that contrast with his white suit. I wish we’d gotten more of his backstory as he carried the scenes he was in.

The Cons:

M and Bond Allies – M and the CIA ally are just exposition dumps. We learn nothing about them and who they are which makes them boring. This is a shame as I know in later film the roles get better explored. Honey and Quarrel at least work as allies but MI6 is bland as hell.

Racism and Yellow Face – I hated this the most in the film as you have Joseph Wiseman, a talented actor playing a half-Chinese man when he has no Chinese heritage at all. Same goes for Zena Marshall playing a Chinese woman when she has no Chinese heritage at all. This was the most abhorrent aspects of the film easily and could have been solved by just having them play who they actually are and working with the Chinese Gang rather than putting them in yellow face.

Colonialism – The colonialism is impossible to escape as well in this film. You can see why so many of the Jamaicans are working for Dr. No given Jamaica being occupied by the British and a colony and because of the nature of the book you won’t find that lens critiqued. I’m unsure if even later Bond films have really done that. This undercurrent could easily be a constant con through all of the films potentially.

This was a great, flawed and problematic film. I’d say it is worth checking out if you are wanting to see this part of history and a pretty solid story but know the problems going in. As someone who has a passion for history these films are like a time capsule that in the problems of the past can help illuminate the problems of the present as they never really went away, they simply changed.

Final Score: 9 / 10

“Altered Carbon” Season 1 – A Great Exploration of the Self and Identity

Altered Carbon (2018) | Carbon tv, Altered carbon, Tv series to watch

“Altered Carbon” is a great cyberpunk show. This is a show that explores fascinating ideas of the mind and identity and gives great characters to explore it through and their interconnected stories. I recommend checking this show out to any sci. fi. or cyberpunk fans. I plan to check out the novel that the story is adapted from after this.

The show was created by Laeta Kalogridis and based on the novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan.

350 years into the future humans have colonized the galaxy and can live through their minds being downloaded into stacks. The story follows Takeshi Kovaks as he must uncover the mystery behind the murder of one of the wealthiest men in the galaxy, Bancroft. From here the story unfolds as his past life comes back to him and his history as the last of the rebel Envoys.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The World – This is a world with advanced military, revolutionary groups, A.I., clones, body swapping, robot bodies and a colonized galaxy and ancient alien technology. It is a fascinating advanced future.

The Bancrofts – This corrupt Meth (immortals) family is the basis of the drama and their dysfunction drives the story as family members are revealed to be abusive and murders. It was great seeing Takeshi bring them down.

The Envoys – The Envoys are the revolutionary group seeking to stop the Meths and end immortality. They are small but successful through hit and run tactics. In the end they fail only due to betrayal from within.

Quellcrest Falconer – Falconer is the revolutionary and leader of the Envoys. She inspires Takeshi’s empathy and growth and eventually they fall in love. Goldsberry does an amazing job playing her as her death inspires Takeshi’s nihilism and sorrow and hope when Reileen reveals she still lives and is backed up elsewhere. She also invented the stacks and lives with the regret of her invention as she had only meant it to explore.

Ghostwalker – Ghostwalker is scary and is Reileen’s religious devotee and enforcer. He is one of the biggest threats and brings so much loss in his wake. I loved that Ortaga got revenge for her family against him.

Lizzie – Lizzie was driven to madness by Miriam Bancroft when she kills Lizzie’s baby (who Lauren’s Bancroft was responsible for) and leaves her broken in the virtual world. It takes healing and time with Poe that she finds herself again and gets revenge against Reileen and the Bancrofts. Hayley Law did a great job and her parents are Ava and Vernon are great too in how they are there for her and bringing down the Bancrofts and Reileen with Takeshi.

Kristen Ortaga – Martha Higereda is fantastic as the driven detective. Her passion and following every lead leads to her teaming up with Takeshi and solving the murders. Sadly she loses so much along the way including her mentor and family. She is a great secondary protagonist who helps Takeshi find hope again in people.

Edgar Poe – Edgar Poe is one of the best characters in this show. He is a take on Edgar Allen Poe and runs the hotel known as the Raven. He is kind and Kovak’s first real friend. He also helps Lizzie heal from the trauma she faced and is the constant for all our allies. His story sadly ends with Ghostwalker wiping him.

Reileen Kawahara – Reileen is Takeshi’s sister and their story involves abuse from their father that ends when Takeshi kills him. Sadly their tragedy does not end as Takeshi is put into the military and Reileen is sold to the Yakuza. We can assume horror happened from the gang as she and Takeshi turn against the Yakuza and military when they are finally reunited. From here she is transformed though as we learn she betrayed the Envoys and is a sociopath who uses people for her own financial gain and only cares in a twisted way about her brother, everyone else is expendable to her. Dichen Lachman is great in this villain role.

Takeshi Kovaks – Takeshi is played by a few different actors that capture the different places he is in his life. He is played by Joel Kinnaman when he is wearing the police Riker’s sleeve (and ends up romantically with Kristin Ortega because of that connection). In the past where he was a soldier and Envoy he is played by Will Yun Lee. It is here we see how the Envoys shaped him and his love for Falconer and her mission of ending immortality. In the beginning he only had his sister but he builds community wherever he goes and these relationships drive the story. Unlike his sister he has empathy and does care and that is how they end up at odds as he investigates and brings her down for her crimes.

Mind and Identity – One of the core themes of the show is the issue of self and identity. Characters have different bodies over time and those bodies can be clones or hold memories. All these change how they relate to themselves and the world which lends strength to the characters and how they develop.

The Interconnected Mysteries – This show works because of the mystery and how they all come together. Riker’s investigation, Bancroft’s “Murder” all are revealed to be Reileen using everyone for leverage and power as she gains wealth and power. In the end all who she was connected to are brought down with her.

The Cons:

The Wedge Operations Time Jump – We don’t see Takeshi as part of the elite Wedge, which is a shame given how much this time as a child soldier clearly traumatized him. This was needed given how core it is to his arc and joining the Envoys.

Why Reileen Went Evil and the Missing Time – Like Takeshi’s missing time we are missing Reileen growing up Yakuza and how that made her evil. Given she is the main antagonist this was a huge misstep.

This is a really great cyberpunk show. You have a solid noir style mystery and all the characters are interconnected leading to an amazing reveal. The characters drive the story and the world is really well explored. Suffice to say, this is a show I’d recommend.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10 This season was great and I’m curious about the other works in this universe as well as the original novel.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): Carried by a Strong Cast of Characters

Amazon.com: Wallspace Bram Stoker's Dracula - 11x17 Framed Movie Poster:  Posters & Prints

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” was the first “Dracula” film I ever remember loving. It was years ago that I first saw it so I realize now how much of that was nostalgia but the film does still hold up, even if it is not as great as I believed it to have initially been. What really makes this film work is the presentation and the great cast as this time around the theme didn’t work as well for me.

The film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and written by James V. Hart.

The story begins with Dracula (Gary Oldman) returning home to Transylvania after victory over the Turks to find his wife has killed herself based on a lie planted the enemy. He curses God and drinks blood from a cross he stabs. After we get a time jump where Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) must go to Romania to complete the deal with Count Dracula that Renfield (Tom Waits) was unable to complete.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

Cinematography – This is a beautiful film with tons of practical effects. Michael Ballhaus did a great job of bringing this world to life. It feels like an epic fairy tale.

Dracula’s Curse / Origin – The idea of Dracula turning on God and that is why he is turned into a demonic creature is fascinating. You can see why someone who already didn’t care much for humanity beyond his country would go full bad. It works and is a strong start to the story.

Framing the Story – I love how the film captures the essence of the book in how the story is framed. We have Mina’s diaries, Jonathan’s letters and also Van Helsing’s words as well. This was how the book was told and this film pulled it off as a narrative and framing device to let us know more of the characters.

Renfield – Tom Waits is wonderful as the crazy Renfield who above all else just wants immortality from Dracula. It is fascinating to see as he seems to be analyzing the world around him in as the manic being he has become. Any scene he is in, is strong due to the performance.

The Brides of Dracula – The Brides in Dracula have a purpose in this and aren’t just display! In this they are first introduced when they try to prey on Jonathan. All the actresses are charismatic and they are the ones who hold Jonathan hostage after Dracula travels to England and they are the ones who attempt to turn Mina and stop Van Helsing from destroying Dracula. This is easily the best portrayal they’ve had in any adaptation. Bellucci, Bercu and Kendrick did a great job.

Lucy – Sadie Frost does a wonderful job as Lucy. In this she has 3 suitors and each are compelling in their own ways. You can see why they are drawn to her as she is confident in herself and dreams. This is really where the tragedy comes in as like in the books she is one of Dracula’s victims, though she advocates for help before her death and is nearly saved. Lucy like the Brides, have their best portrayal in this film.

Lucy’s Suitors – Lucy’s suitors and friends are Quincey Morris from Texas, Dr. Seward and Arthur Holmwood. Each is unique in their performance and take an active part in the story and stopping Dracula. With Morris dying in the final attack against Dracula.

Dr. Jack Seward – Richard Grant imbues Jack with empathy but also a bit of madness too. You can see how Van Helsing has rubbed off on him and also his care for Lucy. He sees logic in Renfield and it is thanks to his getting Van Helsing that Dracula is stopped. He is the best version of the character put to screen thus far.

Arthur Holmwood – Cary Elwes gives us the best version of this character. He fights for Lucy, loves her and joins Van Helsing in the fight. I almost wish Elwes had been cast as Harker, as Keanu didn’t cut it where Elwes elevated a minor role.

Dracula as an Antagonist – Dracula is a great antagonist. You have this powerful night demon that still feels empathy and sadness and is extremely dangerous. is human and monster design are amazing too as one is classy and cool while the bat-demon form is almost wolf-like. He never doesn’t feel dangerous which makes him a great villain in a role Oldman owns.

Professor Van Helsing – Anthony Hopkins gives us a smart, crafty, and slightly mad version of Van Helsing. It is great and works. This is an old man who has been defined exploring the strange and supernatural and the film is made better when he shows up.

The Cons:

Dracula’s Roma – Dracula has a bunch of Roma followers and it is never explained why they follow him. They are also racistly referred to as Gypsies throughout the film so there is that negative too.

Keanu’s Performance – Keanu’s portrayal as Harker is so wooden and his English accent is bad. He isn’t a bad actor but he should not have been cast in this role. He like so many Harker’s prior, just ends up empty and bland.

Mina’s Role and Adapting “Dracula” – Winona Ryder is a good actress but her role in this feels ill-defined. She is a fridged character motivating Dracula so her role as Mina never fully exists as her being Dracula’s reincarnated wife defines their interactions. So Dracula gets away with murder and she becomes one willingly wanting to join. I hated this. There is no Mina, only Elisabeta in a universe where the rules of reincarnation aren’t even explained. Mina and Winona deserved to be full characters not Dracula’s motivation.

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is a beautiful and flawed film that I highly recommend. For all the flaws, the story is solid, the cast is amazing and Dracula is an awesome film that still holds up as a favorite.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10

“Dracula” Season 1 Retrospect – Solid Stories That Fail at the End

Dracula: Critics applaud 'energetic and fun' revival of vampire classic - BBC News

     Moffat and Gatiss have a pretty mixed record when it comes to ending shows. “Sherlock” went from one of my favorite shows to having one of the worst endings of any show I have watched. Moffat also was this way in how he handled Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor’s run and the show “Jekyll.” Thankfully this time though the show doesn’t stick to landing it is overall a stronger story than the ones I have mentioned above. It never reaches the greatest episodes of “Sherlock” or “Doctor Who” but it doesn’t have to and I’ll get into what works and doesn’t work within each individual episode. Overall I’d say if you are a fan of “Dracula” the first 2 episodes are at the very least worth checking out.

As stated above, this was a Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat project.

The premise is a modern adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic Novel told over the course of 3 episodes.

SPOILERS ahead

1 – The Rules of the Beast

“The Rules of the Beast” is easily the most straightforward adaptation of the Novel, with the biggest change being Van Helsing being a Nun, Sister Agatha Van Helsing. Her role is still the same though as the story starts with a undead looking Jonathan Harker who she is trying to learn about Dracula from in order to find his weaknesses. Things escalate when Dracula shows up and threatens the Nunnery and after the reveal of Jonathan’s fiancé Mina we see he has been made Dracula’s creature and tries to kill himself. He doesn’t succeed and it is the weakpoint in Van Helsing’s defenses as Harker invites Dracula in, in order to die. It is only through Van Helsing’s bravery that Mina is saved and the story ends with Dracula taking Van Helsing hostage.

There was a lot that worked about this episode as we Dracula become bats and wolves and seek a victory through fear. We also see when he was dying and how he twisted Jonathan into the near dead form he is as Jonathan’s strength is now his. This story overall worked and was nearly great, here is what didn’t work. The cinematography at Dracula’s castle and the Nunnery are also fantastic.

Jonathan had no free will in the end. In the end he stopped fighting and was willing to forsake all the innocents just so he could die. This didn’t fit the man we had met who was willing to die to protect Mina. The role of the brides didn’t make much sense either. We get hints at who they were before, but it is never explored which wasted a way the story could have gone in a different direction and added depth to characters who are usually just minions of Dracula.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10 Little more than solidly good. Enough of the story works, even with the cons.

2 – Blood Vessel

“Blood Vessel” involves Dracula traveling to England with Sister Agatha Van Helsing in tow. The story is framed as him telling her the setup of everyone on the vessel and their relationships. The mystery is good as the situation is almost like “Alien” as the crew must battle against this unknown supernatural terror, with the only one that can help them, locked up by the very thing they are fighting.

We meet a lot of fascinating characters on the ship and seeing how they deal with the terror as people end up dead and how prejudices interplay among them makes for some great drama. This was all largely solid as was the fear factor in regards to Dracula and how the ship is shot.

What doesn’t work is that it starts out really slow. This was an episode I had to go back to because many of the characters Dracula frames in the narrative initially just aren’t interesting. It is the already established members of the crew who really make the drama work and I wanted more of that. The fact that Sister Agatha isn’t an active factor for a while either also hurt the narrative as her interplay off Dracula in episode 1 was one of the strongest parts.

Final Score: 8 / 10 This was a solidly good horror story.

3 – The Dark Compass

In “The Dark Compass” we jump into the future where Dracula is captured by Dr. Zoe Van Helsing and her organization that was founded by Mina and Van Helsing’s relatives in honor of Jonathan Harker. Dracula soon gains his freedom though when his lawyer Renfield arrives on the scene.

Dracula in the modern day world is such a cool idea. He is seeing all this technology that is beyond his imagination and he has all the wealth that has been growing since he’s been gone. Fighting Dracula with science rather than religion is also a really cool idea too. Sadly these are the only compliments I can give it.

It is in modern day we meet our Lucy who is a party girl who Dracula decides to make his bride. They have a cool conversation about immortality but that is the only compliment I can give. Her ex Dr. Seward is a creep and stalker and is made out to be a hero and in the end Dracula decides he will die because it is the one thing he can’t defeat and I guess he loves Van Helsing? It is a mess and hurts the strong first 2 episodes.

Final Score: 6.5 / 10 The setup was great but Van Helsing and Dracula are the only real characters this episode and the premise of Dracula in modern day is completely wasted.

“Dracula” was an extremely flawed show and like Moffat and Gatiss’s other projects, it does not stick to landing. Overall it is stronger though because it never gets as bad as those, and since we only have one season they aren’t given the chance to make things worse. If you are a fan of “Dracula” I’d at least recommend the first 2 episodes but you can skip the third. I’d only recommend the third episode if you are completionist.

Final Score for the Show: 7.6 / 10

Ready Player One (2018): When the Film is Better Than the Book

It has been some time since I’ve watched a Steven Spielberg film. After seeing this film, I really should change that. He really is one of the best living directors today, as this is a film that could have been a cringe-worthy mess. First, I was a fan of the book, even though this film gets away from the book in some ways it still keeps the core spirit of the book. This is a film that celebrates video games and nostalgia while doing it well, even though the main characters are flat. My non-spoiler thoughts are: if you liked the book, you will probably enjoy this film too.

The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline (the author of the book).

The story takes place in the dystopian future of 2045. The world has fallen apart and everyone lives in the Oasis, a virtual reality world created by Halliday where you can be anyone and do anything. Wade Watts is the main protagonist who is trying to find the 3 Easter Eggs that Halliday put in the game as a way of passing on ownership after his death. From here Watts and his friends must find the keys and beat the game before the evil corporation, Innovative Online Industries (IOI), lead by Nolan Sorrento.

The Pros:

The Dystopian Reality – The dystopian reality of the world outside of the Oasis is a tragic place. You have debt slaves to IOI, cars and houses stacked on each other in the Stacks, a militarized police force and drones everywhere. I wanted to learn more about this world and spend more time there as the human connections we see are made primarily in the Oasis. For me, one of my favorite parts was seeing the characters outside of the game working together, having to depend on their brains rather than how awesome they were in the game. I wanted more of this and to hear more of their stories.

The Oasis – The Oasis is really cool. This is a VR world where you can make yourself into any avatar you want. You can also build robots, tanks, cars, etc. It is a huge modding community where you can do PVP (Player versus Player) and PVE (Player versus Enemies [AI]) combat. It is the endless possibilities of imagination and gaming combined. I really hope we can make something like it, someday.

i-R0K the Mercenary – i-R0K is the mercenary Sorrento, and his evil corporation IOI, uses to hunt our heroes. He is a funny guy, as he is only in it for the loot. He’s a huge threat, and also, very human as he talks about how bad his back is and needing physical therapy. He has more character than our heroes, and I would watch a movie just about him.

The Tone – The tone is one of wonder and imagination intermixed with sorrow and desperation. Spielberg owns the tone, and it pervades the film giving weight to everything that happens and the actions our characters take.

Okay:

Flat Heroes – Wade is an orphan who lives in the stacks who comes off as a bit one-dimensional, as he only lives for the game and has no real defining character traits. Samantha is the love interest who thinks she’s ugly because she has a birthmark on her face, and her dad is enslaved by IOI. The Japanese Brothers are an older and younger brother duo. The younger brother is an 11 year old who doesn’t like people thinking he’s young, as he fears they’d mock him in the Oasis. Helen is an African-American woman who plays a troll-like, tough character, called Aech. These characters aren’t bad… it’s just that there isn’t more to them beyond the descriptions I gave. They are all heroes who do the right thing, always, and have no inner conflict or aims. This was a missed opportunity. They are this way in the book, but we do get into Wade’s head which makes him more compelling. These characters work within the story, but they really deserved much better development.

Idealization versus Reality – Oasis is a giant gaming community, so where are or what happened to all the toxic trolls? The racists? The sexists? As far as we know there isn’t a moderator who kicks players out, so how did this reality become perfect? This is where the stories fantasy element really came out. The film could have critiqued itself, or shown us how to get to the ideal reality the Oasis community seems to be.

The Cons:

The Villain and Predictability – Sorrento is a cliched. corrupt businessman. one-dimensional villain. He’s just greedy and selfish, having no greater depth. He was that way in the book too, which is a shame as he knows Halliday and it could have been Halliday who brought out his worst self. He’s entertaining, but there is nothing there. He is flatter than our heroes, and their presentations aren’t great.

Overdependence on Nostalgia – The Oasis is full of references, and it is fine up to a degree, but in a game you’d expect more original content. Why is everyone so focused on creating things that already exist rather than things that don’t exist. Some moments of nostalgia are cool, like the T.Rex  and King Kong in the race at the beginning, but the old arcade game at the end felt unneeded and could have been adapted into a better trial.

This was a film that missed opportunities to critique the culture of gaming, and nostalgia found in the modern world (they could have shown how we got past toxic troll culture, etc.). The flatness of the heroes and  the villain didn’t help the film… but the world, the world carried it for me. This is a good film that could have been great if it had dared to observe and critique itself. Once more, if you loved the book or love Spielberg, you will enjoy this film.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10

 

The Langoliers (1995): A Good Idea that Didn’t Need the Monsters

   “The Langoliers” is an infamous Stephen King film. The Nolstalgia Critic did an early takedown of some of the more hokey aspects of it. This is not a good film, the acting and writing are awkward and it could have been cut way down in length. The thing is though, I don’t hate this film. The core idea and the tone are actually handled really well and the Stephen King theme of people being our own worst enemies is done beautifully given the other limitations listed above. I’ll get into what I mean deeper into the review.

The mini-series was directed by Tom Holland who co-wrote it with Stephen King. The film is inspired by Stephen King’s short story Four Past Midnight.

The story involves a bunch of passengers who find themselves trapped on a plane in which all the passengers have disappeared. From here they must find out what is going on, where the other passengers are and where they’ve been transported to.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Tone – The tone of this tv show is actually pretty great. There is a sense of foreboding, isolation and paranoia. The characters are trapped and it pervades the piece in how the music and scenes are presented. We get scenes of silence where we are in the head of our characters and the mystery author being a major character leaves the trap as something to be un-weaved, increasing the sense of isolation and paranoia.

Isolation and the Consequences of It – Stephen King loves exploring what fear does to people, especially when people are cut off from society. “The Mist” film did this extremely well and the book “The Stand” and even aspects of the Gunslingers world encapsulate this too. This theme is handled decently in this film. We see how isolation drives our characters insane and causes conflict between them, eventually leading to one of the folks who is already unstable, going off the deep end and breaking down, becoming a threat to everyone else who is still alive.

Unseen Terror – We don’t see the Langoliers (the time monsters) until the end and it is the fact that we don’t see them that really helps increase the foreboding tone and sense of isolation. We see time collapsing on itself at one point and that is terrifying enough as our characters are in a race against time and don’t even know if they have a way out. It is in the fact that we don’t know what these creatures are that keep up the tension, we hear them approaching and see how it makes the characters afraid and that is enough.

Exploring the Nature of Time – At the end of the day this is a time travel story. Our crew passes through an event where they find themselves in the past and learn that time gets destroyed by the Langoliers as it catches up to the present and as they pass into the future they realize they can get ahead of the present as well.

The Cons: The Writing – The writing is not very good, it is actually kind of bad. The characters are all tell and no show and it is a major thing that brings the story down. The best parts of this film are when characters are silent or the moments of implication in a backstory. A character not sharing their backstory is when this film is strong. This was co-wrote by Stephen King, but that couldn’t save the problems in the script.

The Performances – The performances are a bit stilted (this is made for television) but some characters are great in just how hammy they are. Bronson Pinchot is enjoyable in how over the top he is and I did enjoy Stockwell’s mystery author. He was the only one who seemed to know what he was doing. A lot of the others felt like they didn’t really know what they were doing.

The Langoliers – The Langoliers are a joke. Special effects of this era in television weren’t good and these creatures are a shining example of it. They clearly look like bad CGI and they aren’t scary in the slightest. The thing is this could have been easily avoided, we should have never seen these things or not had them at all. Time become erased as it comes to the present is a scary enough concept as is without adding badly done teeth monsters. When they popped up on screen I burst out laughing….that’s how bad they look and how all the tension and build up was immediately canceled out.

This was a film that could have been good if it hadn’t shown the Langoliers (or gotten rid of them all together) and with some better casting and writing decisions could have even been a great mini-series. Sadly this is not the reality we are in and it was the length, performances and finally the Langoliers that made this film merely okay. I’m not ready to write it off as I did enjoy the idea and Bronson’s over the top performance coupled with Stockwell’s exploration of unraveling the premise was enjoyable. So I didn’t hate this film, though there is so much that doesn’t work. If you like Stephen King and his works, this is worth checking out for how he explores time but besides that…you have to really enjoy King to get enjoyment from this work. I understand the infamy of this film, even if I don’t share the hate.

Final Score: 6.5 / 10 Not good, but fun.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017): A Sci. Fi. Exploration on the Purpose of People and the Individual

    “Blade Runner 2049” is a great sequel. I want to get that out of the way right now. This is the way to properly do a sequel as the world still feels like the same world, the new characters are interesting and the themes in the first film are explored…though a bit more blatantly than the first film. You also do not need to have seen “Blade Runner” to appreciate this film. The main character and his arc stands strong on it’s own and there are entirely new factions than existed in the first film. Before I get into spoilers, you should go see this film. Seriously, the main flaws that bring it down are how some of the female characters are handled and the fact that it is much longer so there are points that it does drag. Besides those factors, it is a favorite sci. fi. film of mine now, just like the first film.

“Blade Runner 2049” was directed by Denis Villeneuve, written by Hampton Fancher (who co-wrote the original) and Michael Green and was produced by Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud and Cynthia Yorkin.

The story takes place 30 years after the original “Blade Runner.” Worldwide famine hit and it was thanks to genetic engineering by Wallace Corp. who rescued humankind and bought out Tyrell Corp. They than created new replicants that were docile and would not rebel, though Police still hunted down past models and “retire” them. These police are still known as Blade Runners. K is a new replicant hunting down past models and must unfold the mystery surrounding the past models agenda.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Universe – The universe is expanded upon in this film. We see the irradiated city beyond Los Angeles, we go to Las Vegas and see what future Vegas was like as a dead city and of course the nitty gritty of the poorer areas of the city that K travels to and lives. We also see how technology has advanced as Wallace Corp. has invented holograms with complicated A.I. and of course the difference between past and current replicants.

The Factions Vying for Power – There are quite a few factions vying for power with the largest being the Replicant Rebellion, the Police and Wallace Corporation who sees themselves above the law. What comes of the struggle is still open as the CEO of Wallace Corp (played creepily by Jared Leto, who gives the guy a major God Complex) but the mcguffin is never discovered and the pin drop hasn’t happened. War has not come yet, there has only been movement.

The Replicant Military Squad – I wanted to watch a movie about these guys. There is Batista who was their combat medic and helps Rachel have her child, there is the replicant rebel leader Freysha who is waiting for the right time to reveal the child so the replicants can become free and a few others we do not meet. They were so cool and they are the ones who help K find meaning beyond himself when he realizes his memories belong to the child and not himself.

Personhood, Identity and Joi – In the past film personhood and identity are explored through replicants, in this their humanity is known and the question is brought up with Joi an A.I. designed to keep whomever bought them happy. We see her have agency through the film but all the things are to make K happy so the question is whether she does it out of programming or out of genuine desire and love. The film leaves it ambiguous, which makes it one of the more stronger arcs of the story.

Lt. Joshi and Moral Complexity – Robin Wright owns it as Lt. Joshi. She’s presented as prejudiced initially and barely treats K as a human being and talks about her fear of the replicants rebelling but we see her defend K against the Wallace Terminator and we see that even though she isn’t good, she valued K as more than just an asset of the police force.

K’s Arc – K’s arc is finding meaning beyond himself. He first finds meaning in his relationship with Joi, until he fully realizes she like him was designed for others…he finds it in memory, believing he is the child, until he learns from the rebel faction that those memories were implanted and after he is alone he saves Deckard so Deckard can meet his daughter and the rebellion remain protected. He finds meaning and dies, no longer being a tool of the police force or his own desires.

Okay: Deckard – Deckard is the weakest part of this film. Harrison Ford does a good job but he wasn’t needed. The point was the child and the replicant rebellion, and he is a part of that but not the whole part. There is one part I actually wanted him to die since after you find out that K isn’t his son, his arc felt played out. If they make a third movie I hope we don’t see him again. He wasn’t bad but I’d have rather more time was spent exploring the rebel leader or Lt. Joshi.

The Cons: The Women Who Serve – First, there are a lot of women in this film and some of them like the rebel leader and Lt. Joshi are in powerful roles. The other part is women are mostly sex objects in this . I get that this is part of the world but the first film had more self awareness along those lines and it is never really addressed. The role of Jois in this reality is only seen through one who fell in love with one and because it goes unaddressed it became problematic. Doesn’t keep it from being a favorite film or a great film but it was a missed opportunity given personhood is such a major theme of the story.

If you enjoyed the first film you will love this one…if you enjoy meditative sci. fi. like the first film, you will enjoy this film. This is smart science fiction that treats the audience seriously and expects you to pay attention. There is so much going on and the mystery, though a tad predictable is a lot of fun because it is driven by K’s story. This is a focused narrative, which the first film really didn’t have. I still prefer the ambiguous nature of the first film, and I think the replicants are more intriguing. I’d take the 4 who Deckard is hunting down over any of the replicants in this film…but this film is still a beautiful work of art that is well worth your time. In the end, it is worth watching to return back to the Blade Runner universe and see just how many more layers are given to this wonderfully complex world that is so much like our own.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

Blade Runner (1982): A Beautiful Sci. Fi. Meditative Exploration of Justice and Identity

   “Blade Runner” is one of my favorite science fiction films of all time. It is also a film I had not seen for years until I saw that “Blade Runner 2049” was coming out. The last version I saw before this was “The Extended Cut” and in the future I plan on doing a comparison of all the different versions, but for purposes of this review, I’m just sticking with the original Theatrical Release. “Blade Runner” is a film that brings so much depth through ambiguity, it doesn’t tell you what to think or to believe but from character actions we can infer greater meanings and truth. This is where the film thrives and what I’ll be analyzing more fully in my review, as the larger ideas aren’t spelled out, they hinted at and let you put the pieces together.

The film was directed by Ridley Scott, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples and produced by Michael Deeley. The story is based off of the Philip K. Dick book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick is an author whose books have been adapted into many of my favorite sci. fi. films.

The story takes place in a futuristic dystopic 2019 where the Tyrell Corporation has invented Replicants as slave labor to do dangerous jobs or the populace and government. They were given a short life span and for those that manage to escape, police known as Blade Runners hunt them down and “retire” them. This story picks up with four escaping to Earth and their attempts to infiltrate Tyrell Corp. as Deckard, a Blade Runner, hunts them down.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Universe – The Universe is easily the richest part of it all. This is a version of Earth that could happen. We have a crowded, dirty city full of adds and neon lights where the rich live above the sky and the poor live stacked on top of one another. This is also a world of indifference as watching a replicant get killed means nothing to the everyday people, just like what we see today with how people react to shootings and usually find it justified when an authority figure of some sort (police, military, etc.) is the one doing it.

The Replicants – The replicants who escape are the best part of this film. Whether it is Zhora just trying to live her life as a dancer and isn’t involved in the plots of the other 3. Leon and his desire for justice, especially after Deckard kills Zhora, Pris and curiosity and fun nature and Roy with his desire to understand and to live, a character who wants justice and to be fixed since he was made a slave and made to die. They were the best part of this film and I would’ve have watched a full length film about any of the 4. They were complex and weren’t bad beings, they were seeking freedom and justice in a world that only saw them as monsters and treated them as slaves…and they found meaning beyond that. They were so much more than how others saw them.

Human or Replicant Ambiguity in Deckard – One of the running themes of the film is what makes a person human and Deckard is used as that base, as many times it is hinted that he might be a replicant hunting his own people…as Rachel asks if he’s ever done the test and his avoidance of it shows there is more going on with him. The fact that Rachel is able to fool the Replicant test is a good example of this too and how Deckard could have been designed simply to kill. This ambiguity lends power to the narrative at it humanizes all of those in the world and shows just how unjust what Deckard does is.

Memories and Identity – Another theme that is explored is that of memories as they relate to identity. We see this when Leon is asked about his mother in the opening scene, as he knows he’s a replicant and the memory he’s been given is false and Rachel who believes her memories to be real and shares those memories as a way of getting to know Deckard. Even after she knows they are a lie they still shape her and how she relates to others, unlike Leon who’s actions come from knowing the lie and reacting to the present.

The Means of Justice – There are a few ways that justice happens in the film. Whether it is the Blade Runner Gaff, played by Edward James Olmos giving time for Deckard and Rachel to escape, or the killing of Tyrell by Roy. Tyrell didn’t care about his creations and upheld the system where they would be hunted down. Roy killing him is around the time that he finally finds freedom in what time he has left to live.

The Cons: Deckard, Rachel and Consent – The one con that keeps this film from being perfect is the scene after Rachel saves Deckard from Leon. She is troubled, doesn’t know who she is and Deckard just forces himself on her. If it isn’t rape it is the same kind of evil. I wanted Roy to kill Deckard after this as even though I think it showed that Deckard didn’t see Rachel as a person yet, it is never called out in that way and can only be inferred. Deckard never faces any consequences from Rachel from it and they still fall in love. I hated this scene and it is the one thing that keeps this film from perfection.

“Blade Runner” is a film that has had a lasting legacy and far reaching legacy on science fiction. It helped bring about some of my favorite shows like the new “Battlestar Galactica” as replicants and cylons are pretty similar, the dirty advanced sci. fi. futures of “Cowboy Bebop” and “Ghost in the Shell,” and countless other works that explore self, personhood and greater themes. I’ll be exploring “Blade Runner 2049” after this but I wanted to go back to this classic first. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. This film is a work of genius and if you are a fan of sci. fi. you will most likely enjoy this film as much as I did.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10