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Rorschach Reviews Year 6: Return of the Zeroes

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4 minutes ago, Rorschach said:

I was waiting for the part of the film where he would open his mouth and accidentally suck all of Great Britain into it and slowly chew on it. Sadly, that never happened, but it definitely could have. 🤔

I was half expecting him to go "yo mama" during his last confrontation with Charles.

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Posted (edited)

No one:

Absolutely No One:

Spoiler

Michelle Haywood, CEO of Hourglass Pictures:

 

83d0a8a8da9f51a3c6af52abbcd1c1f3.gif

 

Edited by Rorschach
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Surprise Review #1: Chuck Norris and Liam Neeson vs. the Current Hollywood Landscape

 

The end of the gif was me at the end of the film:

 

VastPeriodicChinchilla-size_restricted.g

 

CN+LN 2 is not the kind of film you can easily slap a grade on and call it a day; it's a one-of-a-kind experience of its own. The action is insane, the comradery between our titular leads is on point, and both of those elements really feed well into the comedy – which the film knocks out of the park in that regard. I really don't have a whole lot to say about other than I wish it took more shots at the entertainment industry aside from just two of the existing studios but hey, that's what the sequels are for, right?

 

I honestly really enjoyed this film a lot with very little to say in terms of flaws, so I might as well give it the grade it certainly earns:

 

9/10

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Surprise Review #2: Bleach

 

Bleach is... interesting. The film is presented in chapters, which I'm assuming are based off either episodes of the anime or individual chapters of the manga. Either way, it's a unique choice of presentation, but one I'm not sure quite works with this film and its story material. Out of the 5 stories, 2 of them probably could've been excised from the film or at least have elements of them woven into other chapters. The third one in particular is a big example of this as the whole chapter feels like one long gag that only serves to set up a comedic character that only shows up for bits and pieces of the fourth chapter before disappearing entirely. I think the film definitely would've been much better if it had the three-act structure applied to it where you could take the overarching elements of the five chapters and weave out a story from all of the different elements. As is, the film feels more like a string of vignettes stringing 5 episodes of a show across a 2 to 2 and a half hour runtime.

 

Still, there's quite a lot to enjoy in the film. The concepts and world building the film has on hand are really interesting and the film benefits greatly from having a very likable ensemble of characters at its center. The camaraderie between Isaiah and Rukia is the film's highlight and James Ransone as Israel has a pretty nice scene towards the end of the film that was pretty touching. Timothee Chalamet comes in at the very last minute to act as a harbinger of conflict for our protagonists just so the film can have a climactic battle scene. Had his character been introduced earlier in the film, I probably would have a lot more positive to say about him (I do love me some hammy Timmy). 

 

Overall: I enjoyed it, despite its narrative faults. There is some fun to be had here and I hope future installments adhere to a more structured narrative as opposed to an anthology film.

 

6/10

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Posted (edited)

Spark review is coming this afternoon.


It’s pretty much turned into a full-fledged essay (it’s close to 1.5k at the moment and I’m not even finished yet). Lots to talk about.

Edited by Rorschach
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18 minutes ago, Rorschach said:

Spark review is coming this afternoon.


It’s pretty much turned into a full-fledged essay (it’s close to 1.5k at the moment and I’m not even finished yet). Lots to talk about.

The Spark: A Hero's Promise of movies demands the Spark: A Hero's Promise of reviews. :ph34r:

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Posted (edited)

M

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T

D

O

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N

 

 

T

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Edited by Spaghetti

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There is a reason I saved this one for the very last. I always knew from the start that this was gonna be my longest review to date and so I put it off to the very end. 3,492 words later...

 

Spark: A Hero's Promise

 

Review:

Spoiler

What is there to say that already hasn’t been said about the Spark franchise? It’s far and away the hallmark franchise of CAYOM 3.0 by far, helping kick off the 2nd reboot of the game in its first year. Spark: Rising is easily in the Top 10 best films in the game for me, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. The original film is a near-masterpiece in my eyes and one of the best crafted blockbusters of its kind. It introduced us to one of the best film protagonists in any media series ever (Alex Spark is just as iconic as other famous heroes like Luke Skywalker or Marty McFly, something I will happily stand by), a treasure trove of other memorable characters, an interesting expansive universe, etc etc. etc. It is quite honestly the perfect package of a film and a perfect franchise starter, one that was built from the ground up and managed to capture the hearts of everyone, forging its own path of its own. And, with the help of the first Voltron film, managed to kick off the space opera genre that has easily come to dominate the box office almost every year. The influence the series has had is undeniable and I imagine it will continue to inspire more franchises in the years to come.

 

After the first film came out, things got… er, pretty complicated, to put it mildly. Despite achieving major box office success, critical acclaim, and being nominated for over a dozen Oscars, the film failed to get a Best Picture nomination, something many have been baffled by and have called out years later as easily one of the biggest snubs in the game so far. Years later, I’m still shocked at how stupid I was for not putting it on Best Picture ballot. Easily one of the biggest regrets at the awards I’ve had looking back on it.

 

I suppose, following this, a lot of the newfound affection I had found for the original film was placed, very unfairly, on the preceding sequels, Spark: Homeward and Spark: Beyond the Sky, though this is more applicable for the former than the latter. The discourse surrounding Homeward and its troubled production is well documented, with both versions of the film garnering polarizing reactions from pretty much everyone. I never read the original version but know just enough to see where some of the negative reactions come from. The theatrical cut I really quite liked, though I definitely overblew how much I loved it looking back on it. Like I said, I might’ve just been on a high from loving the first film so much that, through my rose-tinted glasses, failed to really look at the second film with a bit more of an objective eye. I think looking back on it, the film is more of a 7 for me than it is a 9. I still enjoyed it a ton and I stand by that its a solid time at the movies… just not the one I made it out to be.

 

Spark: Beyond the Sky was definitely a step up from the second film. While not as good as the first film, it introduces a ton of interesting elements, such as a few new memorable characters as well as a new set of overarching villains who would set the stage for the preceding film. While it is a great film, like Homeward, it has quite a few detractors to it: for one, the pacing in the final act is a bit rough, which made for a confusing read at times. And second, the way it handles the demise of two of fan favorite characters of the franchise, Ezen and Katherine, did loom over my head long after I read it and it did not sit well with me looking back on it. My initial response to it was one of heartbreak (which was personified through that funny video I had in place of a regular review) but thinking back on how the deaths were handled… eh, I have to agree with @cookie that it wasn’t handled the best way it could be. Like the last film, my rating for BtS was a bit inflated as well, though not as much. 

 

So… with all of that out of the way, let’s get down to it. Spark: A Hero’s Promise is the long-awaited epic finale of the most beloved franchise in the game. Clocking in at 3 hours long, it’s truly a behemoth of a film: one that practically dwarfs The Odyssey: Homecoming in terms of size, scope and the huge ensemble of characters in it. I don’t think there has been another film in the game that has had this much hype leading up to it and I don’t know if there’s another film that’ll ever replicated that feeling for me. 

 

So finally, after months of having time to digest my thoughts on the film (as well as an excruciatingly long time of being coy about my true thoughts with poor Pasta-man) and now having re-read the film for a second time, where do I stand on the film. Does it reach the dramatic/ emotional heights of Rising? Or is it closer/on the level of Homeward and Beyond the Sky.

 

The short answer: it falls into both categories. The long answer: read the rest of this review.

 

I’ll be completely honest, when I first read this back in June, I was itching so hard to share my thoughts of the film with everyone else and also to hear what everyone else had to say because I had a lot of conflicting emotions about the film I wanted to know if everyone else had or not. I’ll admit, a part of the reason I held off from reviewing this for so long was because I wanted to see what everyone else thought of the film (and also because I was hoping to re-read all of the films in the series, which didn’t happen sadly). Having read the other reviews, I feel a lot more confident about my stance.

 

The film is… far from perfect. It packs a lot into its three hour runtime and by the end of it all, I did feel very exhausted, and at times a bit overwhelmed by it all. I think some other reviews hit it right on the nose that there’s a trilogy’s worth of material in here. Breaking it into another film probably would’ve been preferable. Hell, I wouldn’t have minded it all that much: one or two more films in this universe would’ve been a hell of a win if we did get them. 

 

Instead, it's all crammed into the break-neck but bloated three hour runtime. This isn’t inherently a bad thing since I’d prefer an engaging film to a boring one, but when a film like this is crammed in with as many characters, old and new, all vying to get an equal amount of spotlight, multiple subplots interweaving with each other, and, most importantly, trying to wrap everything up in a neat little bow at the end of it all, it's ... a lot. 

 

I think part of the main issue of this is that the film doesn’t really adhere to a tight-knit three act structure like Avengers: Endgame or The Return of the King. With those films, you could easily pinpoint the parts where you could break the film into three acts. With A Hero’s Promise, I’m not really sure to be honest. It might just have something to do with the film maybe having one extra battle scene added in there for good measure that throws me off a little bit. 

 

Having a couple dozen characters and subplots doesn’t really help all that much either. David Tennant’s character (who I got confused with Kyle McLachlan’s character quite often because of the similar sounding names, more so than Pfeiffer’s and Kikuchi’s lol) could’ve been cut from the film since he really doesn’t add much of anything to the plot. Altren, while a character that was previously introduced in the third film, could’ve been expanded upon had there been another film between this and Beyond the Sky and it kind of hampered my ability to really buy her transition into being a full-fledged antagonist at the end. Speaking of antagonists, the shifting of who was the main threat did through for a loop and kinda relegated the Soltarans non-threatening for me, looking back on it. 

 

Okay, so I’ve been going on about the film’s flaws for quite some time now, I think it’s only fair to shift into the film’s many, many positives because, for me, the film comes very close to matching the dramatic heights of Rising.

 

I will say now that the one thing that has never changed in quality throughout all four of the films are the characters and the interactions they have with each other. Like I said before, Alex Spark is one of the best protagonists in cinema and each subsequent film has shown her grow and mature. This film in particular shows her trying to move on past the horrific events from the third film and helping others to do so as well. Kozar and Aera have always been great characters, the latter always bringing a necessary amount of levity in a lot of the darkest moments of the series while the former has always brought a great deal of the series’ more emotional moments, though you can tell that the writers probably should’ve spent more time fleshing his character out.

 

While I did complain about a lot of the old/new characters having several different subplots going on, all of them are still executed very well and serviceable at the worst. Mevino is a wonderful younger-brother type character who works off Alex very well. Naryani’s growth from villain to hero from the first film to this film is believable, evolving from one of my least favorite characters to one of my favorites by the end of this film. Neishanu and Perthena’s romantic subplot, while it didn’t really feed in to the overall narrative, was cute and I like both characters quite a lot, so I ship it. Keryx is a fun, complementary character when interacting with Xevarre. Then there’s the shit-eating bastard known as Tarek, whose demise at the end of this film (which is easily a more gruesome end than the time Odysseus shot an arrow through his throat) easily ranks as the most satisfying moment of the entire series for me. And although I wasn’t a big fan of Altren, Sarah Paulson always brings her A-game in every film she’s in. In fact, all of the actors across the quadrilogy have done an amazing job, no matter how big or small their roles have been. 

 

Now Pasta is probably wondering why I’ve (barely) mentioned this character yet and that’s because I felt she deserved her own paragraph. That’s because I think, hands down, Xevarre is hands down the most compelling character in the film for me. I said an off-hand comment back in June about me getting Last Jedi vibes from something. Well much like Rey and Kylo Ren’s bridged connection was probably the highlight of that film for me, the relationship that develops between Alex and Xevarre is also the most fascinating aspect of the film for me. Xevarre’s outlook on the universe and her belief in Soltaran domination across the universe gradually starts to come more and more into doubt. We had a glimpse of this arc in the third film but it's one of the biggest focus points here and it's far and away the film’s most interesting subplot. The way the film wraps up Xevarre’s arc made me extremely happy, and one of the reasons I teared up a bit in the film’s epilogue (which, since I mentioned it, was a very beautiful and all-around satisfying). 

 

There really isn’t anything to be said about the film from a technical perspective because there’s not a single frame in the film that isn’t jaw-droppingly gorgeous or mesmerizing. I guess that’s another thing the series has never failed at doing: taking me to a whole other world, one that feels tangible, lived-in, and, most of all, real. The series has never failed to bring a smile to my face with each installment and, writing this now, I feel a tinge of melancholy that we won’t be going back to this universe, at least not for a very long time if Pasta decides he wants to do a spin-off in the near future. Which I would be all down for but I’m of the philosophy that every film series definitely needs to have an ending point. If this is truly the last time we’ll be seeing these characters and this universe, then it was one hell of a ride.

 

In regards to that feeling of melancholy I mentioned before, finishing this film on both watches made me think back to the finale of my own hallmark franchise: The Odyssey. I shouldn’t say “own” per se, given I never created the characters or the story for that film: I merely took what existed and molded it into something of its own while using the original epic poem as a detailed guideline to help me through it. 

 

Which is why I’m so thoroughly impressed with all of the other original franchises and original films in this game that have taken off. Spark, The Scavenger Wars, The Epsilon Syndicate, Numbers’ crime flicks, Blanks’ Chuck and Liam series, YM’s resurrecting of dead projects and making them his own, even Hiccup’s insane Poison and Wine trilogy, etc. etc. etc. have all left me with my jaw on the floor in terms of the heaps of imagination they’ve brought to the table.

 

Seeing such a treasure trove boundless creativity has been nothing short of inspiring to me and has made me feel all the more confident about venturing out into unknown waters and creating my own original film series from the ground up. All of the films in the Lager Pictures canon so far have been adaptations thus far and while I’ve enjoyed most of the ones I’ve done so far, the real ones I’m most excited for have been the original ideas that have been brewing in my mind. In my studio plans, in Y9, you can see a film called Star Reaper listed in that year’s line-up. That film in question is what I hope to be the starting point of a potential franchise that has been developing and evolving in my mind since I was in my late elementary school years. I’m aiming for it be a PG-13 sci-fi action film, whose main influences come from Dragon Ball Z, the Indiana Jones trilogy, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series. I’m simultaneously scared and excited about presenting it for everyone else to see but seeing original series’ such as Spark take off the way it has given me so much more confidence these past few game years that I’m ready more than ever to take a step in that direction.

 

Going back to the Odyssey for a minute, I’ll be openly honest that after finishing the last film, I was a bit lost on where to go from there. All three films had been my main focus each of the three game years they came out (hell, the second film was the only film I released in Y3) as I wanted all of them to be the best they could possibly be. With the conclusion of the third film and winning Best Picture for it, a goal I had so longed for and had finally achieved, the biggest question I had to face was ‘Where do I go now?’ 

 

Around the time I was trying to answer that question, @Spaghetti was hard at work on another franchise-starter, The Epsilon Syndicate: Union of Thieves, in-between both the third and fourth Spark films which he has stated he hopes to be his next flagship franchise following the conclusion of Spark. Seeing this and then reading the first Epsilon film was hugely inspiring to me in ways that I didn’t make vocal at the time but am revealing now. It reminded me that, as enjoyable as writing The Odyssey films were for me, I could never go back and relive that again; everything needs to have an ending, nothing can go on forever or else you run the risk of being stale and worn out (despite what the folks running the MCU will probably say). It also showed me that experimenting with different genres could be a lot of fun and help me grow as a writer and also act as a new goal for me after having achieved a Best Picture win, something that not everyone can say they’ve won. It invited me to push myself in different directions that I didn’t even know I was quite capable of doing. Next game year, I’m planning to write two family friendly films (Rescuers 3 and Danny Phantom), a huge diversion from my other darker, adult projects that have made up the majority of my film line-up so far. It’s crazy to me how far I’ve come as a writer since the sunset years of the 2.0 days to now and I’m still only really getting started on the films I plan to make.

 

The reason I’m saying all of this and why this review is more or less a personal essay than the other ones I’ve done is mostly to emphasize on how much the Spark films have meant to me and how inspiring they have been. I spoke from my own personal experience what the films meant to me but reading some of the other reviews for this film, it’s clear to see that I’m not the only one who has been heavily inspired by these films. I think that’s when you know that you’ve just experienced something very special, the kind of special that one doesn’t really feel that often.

 

With that, I’d like to thank you @Spaghetti for the amazing journey you’ve taken all of us on with this series. Through the highs and lows, you’ve never failed to capture my imagination and I feel as though the characters in the series have become real people for me as I’m sure they have for you. I know from my own experience that saying goodbye is often the hardest thing to do; it was tough for me after spending almost a year with my life with the characters in the Odyssey to let go of them and let them rest. I’m sure any writer or filmmaker who has made a series finale has had that exact same feeling. But in the end, moving forward is something we all have to do and accept. It’s not easy but it is inevitable (insert Thanos gif here), one way or another.

 

In a way, that kinda reminds me of both of the endings of Homecoming and A Hero’s Promise. The epilogues of both films take place after our heroes have gone through so much trial and turmoil. Their lives have been changed but they don’t let any of the bad stuff in the past get them down; instead, they look forward to a better future, one where they hope to rebuild and amend the things that were lost for them. For Odysseus, its re-establishing a relationship with his family and people that was denied for him for over 20 years, which he would never be able to get back but he hopes to establish in the future. For Alex and her friends, the intergalactic war that they faced that severed the universe will take them a long time to fix but as we see in the final ten minutes or so of the film, they are well on their way to a much brighter future. Despite all they lost, they managed to gain so much from their experiences: personal growth, new allies, new allegiances, etc. etc. and instead of dwelling on the past, they look ahead and hope for a better tomorrow. 

 

It’s really funny, thinking about it now, how much the media we love reflects our own lives in ways we don’t quite expect but when we look back, we’re able to see ourselves in so many of the characters we loved and grew up with. The Spark franchise is no exception to this. It’s a franchise I love so fondly and dearly and I’m sad to see end. At the same time, I’m more than ecstatic for the future that lies ahead and I will always look back on this films with cherished memories as I do with my own films. 

 

So from one veteran franchise finisher to the other, I salute you @Spaghetti, and I look forward to everything you do in the future to come.


source.gif

 

For those who don't want to read through the entire thing yet, my grade for the film:

Spoiler

8.5/10

 

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Holy shit, I legit teared up at this review.

 

I never imagined this franchise would go as far as it did. This was legitimately something I've been dreaming up since I was 10, and I'm promise that this won't be the last you see of this story. Whether in CAYOM or not.

 

The film is certainly flawed, I admit, and in a way that was kinda hard to see within my own mind. I definitely kinda think I overplayed my hand on a few aspects of the film. That said, as a finale, my biggest priority was to give a an emotional, cathartic feeling of closure, one that promised a true sense of hope, wonder, and joy in the future. I'm so glad that aspect worked for you.

 

It's something that's been so colossally important to me, even if I would not call it the best thing I've written. I'm over the moon for how it was recieved, and especially seeing the impact it's had on people. It feels real in a way I could only dream of.

 

Thank you so much, @Rorschach

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So these are all the films I have left to review (in alphabetical order):

 

The Academy

All-Nighter

Baseball Boy: The Base Thief

De Blob

Double Chronomance

Facepaint

The Feminist 

Forgiveness

The Girlfriend Hoax

God of War: Kingdom Come

Hired Guns

The Horn 

Jingle Hell

The Last Policeman

Live2ream

Mass Effect: Ascension

Off-Road

Schaedenfreude

Spirit Awakening 

Teyonnah and the Renegades: A Righteous Sextet

The Thin, the Phat, and the Felon

Tommy

The Trapped Keeper

U.S.S. Seawolf

 

As to when you can expect my Top 25... that is yet to be determined. This week is midterms for me and I expect that I'm gonna be up to the neck with stuff to do so I wouldn't expect to hear from me until probably next weekend at the absolute earliest. I'm gonna try and get through some of the longer films during my free time this weekend though (I wanna try and get Mass Effect out of the way so I don't have to worry about it later on).  

 

But yeah, just wanted to give you guys an idea of where I am in terms of progress.

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