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“Rogue One, May The Force Be With You”… Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Russian teaser posterI will say upfront, I was not as hesitant to see this Star Wars film as I was about Episode VII, probably because the expectations to carry on the legacy were so much higher and demanding (which VII, in a few ways, failed to meet), however I was gung-ho for ‘Rogue One’.  I went in blind, with little expectation and wasn’t disappointed.  It isn’t a ‘great’ movie, but as an entry into the Star Wars universe, it certainly is good.

A hybrid between Star Wars and WWII (which I think George Lucas on some level would appreciate), Rogue One helps tie a few of the loose ends that Episode III left hanging in the minds of the fandom, at least in immediate relation to Episode IV (I realize that statement nearly pulls a string that may not ever stop unravelling in fandom circles…) in terms of place setting for ‘A New Hope’.  Ah yes, hope.  If it isn’t a word you appreciate, cover your ears because it will be hammered into your brain for the next two hours.  Yes, ‘Hope’… we get it.  The usage of hope is one of say, less than a handful of things, force-fed to the viewer as reminder that EPISODE IV FOLLOWS THIS..!! Again, we know and we get it.  Even the most common of movie layperson who may have only seen Episode IV in passing a time or two will know the common ideas and the familiar thread.  *SPOILER* When a certain Senator begins reminding us of a certain Jedi Master and what he’s been doing for 18 years… we know.  A great fandom scene, over talked and poorly set for the sake of pushing the next chapter in case you weren’t familiar with it.

rogue-one-rebels

Now, if you can get past the swiftly changing settings of the opening twenty minutes and forgive a bit of the cardboard dialogue… you’re in.  The film settles in and unfolds fairly well, sure there are a few dragged transitions, more for fitting periphery story / characters in (Vader Vader Vader) but it does work to progress into Act Three.  Now technically, you know how this ends, don’t kid yourself or you’ll be sad and sniffling like a few of the other theatre goers.  We all know who the man in black is and he’s as badass as ever.  On a happier note, it was very cool to see old Star Wars faces in new places even if some were unexpected and others a little creepy (not Grand Moff Tarkin… that was cool).

vader-milk-bath

Pretty good once it gets rolling, fairly well paced and with enough characterization to be more than a mere place mat for Luke, Rogue One supplies a bit more setting and angst for our lovable, desperate yet hopeful rebellion.  Sno-Caps or M&M’s, no bathroom breaks.

4 Stars

 

The Sorcerer Supreme… Doctor Strange (2016)

doctor-strange-teaserThis was a film I was a bit hesitant on…  Not because of Benedict or the cast or the ramifications of placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but just because it was Doctor Strange.  Now granted, those were the same feelings I had about the original “Iron Man” back in 2008, the film which of course kicked off Phase One… Why?  ‘B’ tier character on the big screen.

For all the magic that Marvel has woven over the last eight years, there is bound to be a hiccup at some point (or, as it known in geekdom circles… a DC-like event) however this psychedelic romp through the inner-cosmos wasn’t it.  Marvel has made a great success of their ‘B’ Tier line-up while stalwarts such as X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man (until this lastest re-boot of the re-boot) have suffered… but this was Doctor Strange.  For many moons, Johnny Depp was penciled in as “negotiating” for the title role, however I think Benedict and his Cumberbitches did an excellent job bringing the vivid and resourceful Sorcerer to brilliant Technicolor as did the well-rounded supporting cast who shine beyond the sometimes cardboard dialogue (and No, I don’t have a problem with the Ancient One being a Celtic woman).

The film embodies the acid-tripping, Beatlesesque mind expanding world of the late 1960’s that Doctor Strange traveled in the pages of “Strange Tales” (alongside Bondian 60’s Icon Nick Fury) and that is what makes it work.  Sure, it could have been Marvel invades Hogwarts and been just terrible, but luckily for us there is still some originality coursing through Marvel Films (even if none of it rubs off on the X-Men Fox franchise).  Updated for modern times, little is lost in translation which is a hallmark of the greater MCU as the script is fluid combining great elements of the visual as well as the subtly comedic (even if a spot or two seemed a bit forced).

Strange Tales

Now, I’m a little off put by the inner MCU timeline as Stephen Strange was previously referred to in “The Winter Soldier” yet the events of the film unfold AFTER Civil War… oh well.  It’s also good to know, thanks to the dual post credit scenes *Semi-Spoiler Alert* that the Sorcerer Supreme will be making multiple future appearances other than just the forthcoming Avengers Super-Duper-Super Friends sequels of Avengers 3 & 4 or “Infinity War” also known as “How to Snuff Out DC and kick them while their down”.

See it in 3D.  Popcorn, SnoCaps and no bathroom breaks!

4 Stars

 

Battle of the Heavyweights

From Yahoo:

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

The iconic superweapon from Star Wars has to be the Death Star, a moon-sized orbiting space station with a literal death ray attached to it. A single blast is all it takes to destroy a planet, and there exists no greater power in the universe.

Unless we’re talking about a multiverse. Other famous planet-destroying entities include Galactus and Unicron, and if all three were to meet in a battle of cosmic proportions, who would win this Royal Rumble? This debate has raged for eons (well, maybe close to three decades) in geekdom, and has been known to cause ferocious flame wars across the Internet. Let’s take a look at our combatants.

Death Star

We’ll take Death Star II (in Return of the Jedi) as our example here, since it’s larger and newer. It measures 160km in diameter, and carries an entire fleet of starships and firepower. Specifically, it has 15,00 heavy and standard turbolaser batteries along with 7,500 laser cannons and 5,000 ion cannons (as stated by Wookiepedia).

Of course, its planet buster is its most deadly weapon, which was used to destroy Alderaan, described as an Earth-like planet. From this we can conjecture that the Death Star is more than capable of destroying anything the size of Earth, and probably more than that given all its additional firepower.

Unicron

Unicron is an evil god from Transformers, who transforms into a devil planet with actual horns. He eats planets, although not by opening his mouth and chomping down on them. There are no definitive sizes for Unicron, so we have to extrapolate it. Unicorn is about the same size as Cybertron (who is actually a Transformer that’s Unicron’s good twin brother), which in the cartoon is about the same size as the Moon, placing it at a diameter of 3,474 km.

In “Transformers: The Movie” (1986), Unicron’s goal is to eat Cybertron, so we can safely assume that he can destroy something the size of the Moon with ease. He has some trouble handling attacks from the Transformers though, with one of his eyes getting shattered during the fight (and another one after his demise), so we know that smaller foes can hurt him. But since he is a deity, it is possible that such attacks mean nothing to him.

The only thing that Unicron fears is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, but that can only be opened by the Chosen One, who is in all likelihood the current or next Autobot leader.

Galactus

Galactus is a cosmic entity in the Marvel Universe that has to eat planets for sustenance. He’s generally depicted as 18 to 25 metres in height, which makes him tower over virtually anybody else. But he wields a force known as the Power Cosmic, which effectively allows him to do whatever he wants. Since he wants to devour Earth in his first appearance, we can safely say that he can destroy anything Earth-sized with ease.

His only fear is a weapon called the Ultimate Nullifier, which can eliminate any target it chooses, and has been shown to destroy an entire universe. Hence, the only kind of power that could hurt Galactus would weapons that deal damage on a universal scale.

Fight!

So, size-wise, Unicron wins, hands down, followed by the Death Star and then Galactus. But then, since Galactus has the Power Cosmic, he could use it to become larger than the other two, and trump them in the size department.

In terms of sheer power, Galactus would be able to do the most destruction, followed by the Death Star and then Unicron, going by the size of planets that they have attempted to destroy in the past. In all likelihood though, since Galactus and Unicron are both deities, their damage output would be pretty similar. Unicron might have a little bit more trouble handling the starships that the Death Star would send his way, but Galactus is also smaller than say, a Super Star Destroyer, so that might pose some inconvenience as well.

However, in terms of resilience, the Death Star would be the first to go down, since it doesn’t have any specific weaknesses. It’s as vulnerable to conventional attacks as any other planet, and it also has a nasty habit of hiding its planetary shields on nearby moons or have crippling design flaws that allow a well-placed shot to blow it up. So despite its destructive ability, the Death Star can’t take it as well as it can dish it.

Galactus vs Unicron

So it comes down to the two cosmic deities. Since their power level and toughness would be at the same godlike levels, it comes down to whose specific weaknesses are easier to exploit.

Galactus’ Ultimate Nullifier is pretty easy to get a hold of — nearly everyone in the Marvel Universe has held it at one point — and it’s also easy to use, since hardly anyone has trouble activating it. In fact, Galactus is scared off in his very first appearance when Mr Fantastic wields it against him. Kind of shows how conspicuous the Ultimate Nullifer is, eh?

Unicron’s Autobot Matrix of Leadership is a bit more difficult, since it’s usually contained in the chest cavity of the current Autobot leader, who’s usually a formidable giant transforming robot of war. In addition, only the Chosen One can use it, which means that you need to find and convince a specific person (or Transformer) to use it against Unicron. So when it comes to exploiting weaknesses, Unicron has the more difficult one.

Unicron wins!

So there you have it — an evil transforming robot god trumps a celestial force of nature and an orbital space station with a death ray. I’m all ready to be hunted down and drawn and quartered for having proven that Unicron would win, and having added to this endless debate.

Who do you think would win?

 

~In the grand scheme of things…. I agree.  The Death Star, be it version one or two, is a small moon in the hands of these titans of the stars.  Yes, it could unload the planet buster, but I’m sure Unicron and/or Galactus could easily dodge or misdirect it.

Unicron also has the  ability to re-create and re-format matter at least on a small scall as he recreated Megatron and his troops as well as create their ship.  More-so in the comics, he is a God, where as in the cartoon his origin was never given much attention.  For sheer size and power, I still give Unicron the edge as Galactus has often been beaten by the superheroes of Earth with a variety of weapons and ideas where Unicron, even after his destruction in The Transformers: The Movie continued to function in his ‘escape’ pod of a detached head…. and yes, the Autobots needed the Matrix, a calling card of their deity Primus, to do the deed.~