Tag Archive for 'Action'

The Maze Runner movie review

Last week I went to see the film adaptation of the book by James Dashner The Maze Runner. Having gone with someone who has already read the book, I received great insight. Overall I enjoyed the movie very much and would see it again. This film is a young-adult post-apocalyptic science-fiction story where boys are deposited into a community surrounded by a colossal maze after having their memories erased. The only way out of this community is through the maze.

The Maze Runner poster.jpg

The Maze Runner (2014) Poster

As I suspected in comparison to the book with this movie just shy of 2 hours in length, the film wastes a lot of time in the opening act due to a poor attempt to build curiosity in the viewer about the story by basically prolonging a question and answer sequence that explains the setting. A major drawback in this film adaptation is that none of the relationships were developed. It literally left the audience feeling that there is no investment between the individual characters.

As the story progressed, it truly explored very interesting symbols that represent life on many different levels. The sheer concept of running through maze, for example, is not dissimilar to the analogy of life for the common person is a “rat race.” How the boys built a society shows insight to the individual psychology of each boy because three years before the story begins there was only one boy who got dropped into the green glade that becomes the home base from which the boys try to run the maze. The boys established a democracy but where a hierarchy was respected. The hierarchy was segregated into functional areas, and a person from one functional area did not have direct influence over another functional area, including superiors, which was set by seniority. However, it was evident that the longer a boy was in the community, the less malleable his mind was.

As soon as the main character Thomas arrived to the scene, he immediately started thinking about how to get out of the community, and this drove the whole story. The creator of the maze and all evil things within it is the omniscient antagonist that has put all the boys into the glade, as well as, delivered any supplies over the course of the years. There is a stark contrast between Thomas and the leader of the boys who has simply accepted that life will always be as it is.

One of the most comical symbols in the story was when the antagonist dropped in a girl, which was the final delivery from the creators of the maze, meaning no further supplies would be delivered. It made me want to ask after the movie, “How can there be only one Smurfette for all of those Smurfs?”

Overall, it is not a movie that keeps giving over and over each time it is watched, but at least a few viewings could deliver some entertainment and discussions.

Lone Survivor movie review

Lone Survivor is one of those movies that exhibit just how tough our men in service are, and just how tough the human spirit can be. It always underlines my great respect for our service men and women. I love that. This film is based on a true story. It starts out somewhat slow, but hey, that’s life. A recon mission can be slow as hiking through nature can be. The fight scenes seemed incredibly realistic with flesh spraying from bullet hits. The sound was also very engulfing. The sound of the bullets hitting and where they where placed in the surround panorama really added a depth of engagement. It amazes me just how many bullets a human can take and keep going. Those guys must have been hit well into the two digits.

For the most part of the movie, I thought the leader of the team made a bad call letting those locals go without creating some sort of delay, but I turned out to be wrong. The film also showed how when senior leaders over-estimate the toughness of their troops that there can be serious consequences. That stuck with me, but I wish it stuck with me even more for my own career.

Another thing that got to me was that I didn’t realize under how much stress the peaceful Afghans live. Some villages just want to live their peaceful life with their goats and simple homes with no running water, and then these stupid Taliban hooligans from the next village over come and raid these villages. That’s terrible! These remote places with no police have to stand their ground with whatever weapons they have, and many die trying. I can’t believe a person with a goat and without running water has to deal with this Taliban crap on top of their already underprivileged life!

Not only do I recommend watching this film to anyone, but I would own this film.

Divergent movie review

I spent one of my days’ off from work going to the movie theater, and I saw Divergent. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was looking forward to it because the theme had to do with not fitting in and finding oneself.

The story telling was rather simple and linear. All of the facts were laid out one after the other. There was no active involvement required to get the story; in other words, I didn’t have to recall something from the beginning to get more out of the end. Nevertheless, it was nicely executed acting and cinematography. However, the one bad thing was the music. During certain scenes, I felt like I was watching a sappy Grey’s Anatomy episode because of how cheesy the pop music was. Then, sometimes the orchestra score contrasted this style so drastically that there was obviously a lack of continuous thought regarding the music.

I haven’t read the book and probably won’t has I have a backlog of more serious books to read, so I have no comparison for the characters. Probably the only real character development happened with the lead role of Tris, portrayed by Shailene Woodley who did quite a nice job displaying vulnerability and growth to the point it makes me wonder what her real personality is like.

Regardless of the simplicity of the plot, the symbolism made up for it. It’s quite clear that the story had a couple of main ideas to express. 1) the evaluation of classes, be it nations or classes within a nation, through the portrayal of factions as a necessary element of a dystopian society. 2) the various elements every ego encounters when defining its identity, elements such as judgment by others, fitting in while figuring out how to be unique, developing one’s fullest potential. 3) the evaluation of self-government and its relationship to the fundamental reason why to self-govern.

Overall, there are plenty of good big concepts to spark a good conversation after the movie, though this film did not evaluate each of these concepts in anything close to an entirety. They feel like that they simply have been considered by the author to be placed into the plot in fitting places. Overall, I’d recommend watching this film.

In Time movie review

Last night, we watched In Time, which is a retro-futuristic cyberpunk Robin Hood story. I don’t understand why it got so many bad reviews because it was actually a very profound concept that was explored in a very interesting and appealing way. One review claimed it was poorly executed. There was one car crash scene where the physics displayed with computer graphics looked very fake, so I’ll give them that, but the rest of the film was done well. Also, considering it was a fantasy, certain unrealistic moments can be overlooked as the film isn’t trying to be a thriller as much as it is exploring philosophy of money and time and the relationship between the two and the persons involved.

The world of In Time is set in the second half of the 21st century where everyone is genetically engineered to stop aging after 25 years at which point their clock begin to count down one year and where this time is the only currency of this world. People can make time by working, just like people today make money by working jobs. People can give time to one another either as payment or gift. Throughout the entire movie, the word “money” is never used. Essentially, one could replace the word “time” with “money”, and every sentence would sound like those we speak today regarding money.

Now, the only difference I see between this time-based economy and our fiat currency is that the time is created by the individuals’ 1-year after 25 years of age. The movie does not explain this, and such a fixed currency source would probably not account for the amount of time the rich have, which would amount to even more dead people than presented in the movie, or perhaps this implication is deepest point of the film. There are even time banks that charge interest for the time, which make the rich richer, but that there is no creation of time out thin air much like the Federal Reserve as the ability to create, which is what helps our economy grow so much.

Spoiler Alert: this paragraph contains some spoilers. Skip the next two paragraphs.
Contrary to common sense, giving time away is a worse crime than stealing time. The protagonist tries to steal a lot of time from the rich to give the poor, but the rich just respond by raising the cost of living (a totalitarian inflation in the capitalist world). So the efforts of the protagonists fails to make even a small dent in the world system, so they have to steal a massive amount, a million years, which is a metaphor that the rich are so rich that if you slightly raised the 99%’ers’ quality of living, it would not take away from the rich and might actually make them richer due to the extra currency in circulation. So, the protagonists had to set out to steal a million years from the rich that the antagonist keeps in a massive vault. When antagonist is held up at gun point when the protagonists steal his one million years, the antagonist says, paraphrased, “You may create an imbalance for a generation or two, but things will go back to how they were and you won’t change a thing. There will always be someone who wants to live forever.”

To this, the protagonist replied, “No one should be immortal if even one person has to die.” This concept basically states that no one should be overly rich if even a single person is impoverished in our world. The previous statement of “balance” is so ironic that it refers to the imbalance that the antagonist considers to be a “balance”.

The styles in the movie appeals to me. I think the design of the city architecture is relatable, and I enjoyed the futuristic electric cars are in an variation of 1950s style, and even the choice of dual-tone guns to make a point of contrast. It’s almost as if the nostalgia the old looking cars evoke speak to the how the conservatives would ideally want our world to return to the 1950s, but that they are electric states the certain types of progress is inevitable.

The film uses the term “time zones” similarly to how we use them today; however, they symbolize the different social classes in our society. Symbolism regarding individuals traveling between the zones implies the not only the difficulty of individuals trying to move up the class ladder today, but also that their are intentional obstacles to make it even harder than it already theoretically is.

The theme that a few individuals attempt to change a large system, and that at the end of the movie the system still hasn’t changed but the protagonists have makes this a cyberpunk theme sans all of the computers.

This movie would be a great subject for a college English course essay that analyzes every metaphor. I say the movie was heavier on the metaphor than on the development of characters and setting, and I imagine that this is a type of symbolized intended to speak those individuals who already know socio-economic elements and do not need them explained. Individuals with such knowledge simply hear what the writers portrayed.

Inception movie review

Inception was a phenomenal idea for a movie, although quite unrealistic in regards to real science of dreaming. This is one of those movies that requires the viewer’s full attention throughout the entire movie to absorb virtually every detail because any of those details just might be necessary for the viewer to figure out the movie.

I did research after the movie, and I found out that the creator was not so concerned with what was the final truth in its ambiguous ending. Instead, he focused on the emotional development of the lead character. That fine, but still disappointing that such a detail was not officially solvable. I still have my final opinion on what happened.

I admire that the creator, Christopher Nolan, finally created this movie after many years since he started thinking about this idea when he was sixteen years old.