Cognitive dissonance is defined as ‘the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change‘.
With a lot of the reviews I’ve done over the years, I’ve tried different things with them – and have now stuck to a format I really liked, which is to avoid as much spoilers as possible while still providing thoughts on the film/series and still leave a lot of the judgment to anyone that watches it later on.
In my initial review of Squid Game, I talked about why the show had its flaws that really made the experience fail to meet the expectations I had. So, I felt like I should take a deeper look at it and explain a lot of why I only gave it a C+ in my review of the show.
Title: Squid Game Episodes: 9 Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
For almost a full week, I could not have gotten out of a conversation without the words “squid” and “game” thrown at me before it inevitably followed me onto social media as well. And so, to avoid the series getting ruined by spoilers, I reluctantly put down Mr. Robot (an excellent series BTW!) to watch Squid Game.
So what is Squid Game? It’s a Korean thriller drama series that tells the story of Seong Gi-hun, a chauffer and gambling addict, who owes not only the bank but also loan sharks large amount of almost impossible-to-pay-back debts. After a run-in with his debtors, he signs a contract that waivers his rights to his body. Later, he meets a mysterious businessman, who challenges him to a children’s game and gives him a large amount of money whenever he beats him. As the businessman leaves, he offers Gi-hun an offer to win his financial freedom back in a series of games that are childhood games that Gi-hun remembers from his childhood. The caveat? When you lose, you die…
Title: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones Runtime: 2h 22mins Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
It took a while, but I’m back to finish Part 2 of the Comprehensive Star Wars Review project I embarked back in July, following a watch order that covers both the movies, animated films, live action series that takes place within the Star Wars universe. Part 1, completed back in July, had me cover Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace and now I’m finally here to cover Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones, the second part of the Sequel trilogy.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones starts with Queen Amidala, now a senator within the Galactic Republic, voting on the creation of an army to protect the people but an assassination attempt brings her to once again meet with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, now a full-fledged Jedi. Obi-Wan investigates the assassination while Anakin is left behind to protect Amidala, with both of them falling in love. Meanwhile, the Sith finally orchestrate their next move to once again bring them control over the galaxy once more.
Title: Free Guy Runtime: 1h 55mins Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-fi
Video games and movies have had a terrible relationship together for decades – with almost every attempt at a video game adaptation into a feature film being either terrible or extremely subpar/boring. However, with Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu in the last few years finally breaking the streak, it seems that movies now only struggle with anime adaptations (that’ll be a story for another time…) and we’re onto a new lease of great video game movies, right?
Free Guy tells the story of Guy, a normal everyday person in a brutal world, which is actually set within the video game, Free City. He one day realizes he wants much more in life and decides to pursue it… all to make a girl he meets fall madly in love with him. However, this lady that’s caught her eye is one of the “sunglasses people”, who are characters that are controlled by real players in the world of Free City. And so, Guy now gives up his old life and now ventures into a new world he’s never known…
5 years ago, the original Suicide Squad (2016) movie, as part of the DCEU, was released to major backlash and criticism. I wanted to love it, and I did – not because I was blind to its flaws but because I could see bits and pieces of a wonderful film buried underneath it all, which I did write about here. So when The Suicide Squad (2021) was announced, it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, after all, they already failed once, can they actually do it right this time around?
The Suicide Squad serves as a soft reboot to the series, introducing a new batch of characters, but keeping Rick Flag and Harley Quinn from the previous entry in as well as the Squad is dropped off at Corto Maltese. Just like before, the Squad is made up of villain characters locked in Belle Reve penitentiary as part of Amanda Waller’s initiative of using them as a bunch of expendable super-powered individuals.
Title: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Runtime: 2h 16mins Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After a year and more worth of hearing how good The Mandalorian was, I finally found the time to check it out on Disney+ as it finally came to the sunny shores of Singapore. In that short time, I also wondered about a few things I’ve heard about the Star Wars franchise – namely the criticisms tossed at the Prequel Trilogy and much more. And so, I started a journey down Star Wars’ franchise as a whole, following the “The ultimate Star Wars viewing order“, including TV shows” found here.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace starts with the planet Naboo being blockaded by the evil Trade Federation, which is planning to invade the planet. The Jedi Order sends a young Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, to negotiate with the Viceroy, which ends up being a trap. The Jedi then take action to rescue Naboo’s leader, Queen Amidala, escaping to the planet Tatooine, where they meet a young Anakin Skywalker, who later helps them fix their ship. The boy then joins their group as Amidala goes to Coruscant to plead her case to the Galactic Senate. But is this conflict all as it seems, or is there some darker force behind it?
2020 has been one hell of a roller coaster ride, from the Australian forest fires (remember that?) to the #BLM protests, Trump’s end as president, and of course, the pandemic that’s still around even today. It’s been a tough year for everyone as well, but with a bit of hope and streaming services, video games, and our hobbies to help us, we managed to survive the terror of 2020 and made it to 2021.
With the year being already so negative, I thought of leaving out the bad, and just reminding us all of the good with what I felt were some of the best stuff I got the honor to watch and/or review over the year. So focusing on 3 categories: Movies, Drama Serials, and Anime, I’ll be crowning my favorites of the year, along with a runner-up with a few honorable mentions at the end. For this list, I also wanted to make sure all of these were released in 2020, so we can all be reassured that 2020 isn’t all bad. So let’s start the year and dive right in!
Title: The Promised Neverland (2020) Runtime: 1hr 59min Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
It’s always terrifying to hear that your favorite anime series is receiving a live-action adaptation especially when films like the Netflix’s Death Note adaptation and Dragon Ball: Evolution exist. Fortunately, with some recent ones like Detective Pikachu and Netflix’s Bleach adaptation, things have looked a little less horrifying. When The Promised Neverland‘s adaptation was announced, it was immediately on my radar as I loved the anime series when I watched it over Netflix, but was also wary it could easily end up as a terrible film.
So, what is The Promised Neverland (2020) about? It tells the story of Grace Field House, an orphanage where the kids and their caretaker, Isabella, live together until the children are adopted. However, the truth behind the orphanage is a much more terrifying one, as main characters, Emma and Norman find out after one of the children, Conny, is adopted – that Grace Field House is actually a farm and that the children are merely meat sold to the demons who reside on the outside world. The children must now race to prevent the other children from their cruel fate and free themselves from the terrors of the outside world.
Title: Violet Evergarden: The Movie Runtime: 2hr 20min Genre: Slice of Life, Drama, Fantasy
2020 has been a strange year, and for someone who loves anime and needed to just catch up on numerous series, it has been perfect for exactly that. I talked about Violet Evergarden a while back in a trio of anime recommendations on Netflix back in August and it’s truly become one of my favorites. I did mention that it was not perfect, but when it wants to focus on telling stories around raw human emotion, it truly goes beyond the medium in exceeding expectations.
The movie takes an incredibly interesting angle, looking at Violet Evergarden and her story but set in the future, with technology similar to what we have in the future, which means that the Auto Memory Dolls, people employed to help others write letters, have long become obsolete with the telephone and computers replacing them. The granddaughter of one of the characters Violet helped in the past chanced upon Violet’s story while looking through her grandmother’s belongings after she passed and we learn that Violet Evergarden left the postal service when she had turned 18, and we learn why through her investigation.
Title: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train Runtime: 2hr 06min Genre: Adventure, Action, Shounen
Anime films have grown in popularity in recent times, with films either being independent properties and stories, or based off an anime series franchise that’s garnered some mainstream success either in the Japanese markets or globally. It was pretty interesting to learn that the Demon Slayer anime, or Kimetsu no Yaiba for some, is using a movie to cover the events of the next arc in the story.
Just to catch everyone up to the same page, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train covers the events shortly after the end of Season 1, where our protagonists board a train for their next mission, which involves investigating mysterious disappearances on the titular Mugen Train, and to meet up with the Flame Pillar (or “Flame Hashira” as per some translations), one of the most elite swordsmen among the Demon Slayer Corps.