Journey to the West, or 西游记 in Mandarin, is an extremely popular folktale. It has a long history of being adapted for both TV and movies and has even been an inspiration for several video games such as 2003’s Between Good and Evil and 2010’s Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. And since it has stayed within the public domain for such a long time, the character Sun Wukong, the Great Sage That Equals Heaven, has also been appearing in video games unrelated to the stories such as Dota 2, League of Legends, and even in Warriors Orochi, a spin-off series that mixes the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors franchises.
The point is that the story has seen so many remakes that it’s pretty much ‘remade’ every few years or so due to its popularity and Sun Wukong has appeared all over popular media. Is Wu Kong (2017) a good retelling of the well-known story? Let’s find out.
I was contemplating writing a review for Spider-Man: Homecoming just days after watching the film but it’s already garnered the praise that it deserves (awesome movie BTW!).
But there’s a battle that’s not being shown that is actually going on for a while now, and while that fight does include Spider-Man, it’s not him facing off anyone from his rogue gallery but instead, it’s a fight between Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland. And in this opinion piece, it’s time to share my pick and justify why!
This will be my first foray into reviewing games. I have covered video games in one of my older opinion pieces but it was barely scratching the surface and revolved around the storytelling tools that video games could have through its gameplay mechanics.
For this review, I’ll be covering a game I recently played a full play-through of in light of its sequel being announced, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, and is the first in its series, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. So let’s dive right in.
DISCLAIMER: Spoilers ahead!
And so it begins… the first film in Universal Studio’s Dark Universe franchise, the 2017’s The Mummy, a remake of the 1999 film that starred Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. While the original was a strange but somewhat effective mix of horror, comedy, adventure and corny one-liners, the 2017 remake kind of tries to do the same but takes its own twists.
It’s been a while since I last saw Tom Cruise star in a bad film, but I guess no actor or actress will be able to escape from having a few bad films under his or her belt. Remakes tend to do much more poorly than its original and it did not help that it was released during the week Wonder Woman was also released. But let’s dive in to see what it’s about, shall we?
Disclaimer: SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Ahh.. Resident Evil aka RE. One of the most beloved franchises in gaming history that revolutionized the Survival Horror genre hasn’t done as well when we look at its film counterparts (arguably, the games have also sucked since RE4 but hey, that’s not what this article wants to discuss). The live-action films were… mediocre at best, mostly action films that took inspiration from the source material and left me always desiring for more.
But the live-actions lacked one very important thing: character. And that’s where the story from the games deliver well (once again, let’s focus on RE 1-4 for discussion’s sake).
Then I met this gem of an animated film: Resident Evil: Damnation.
And I fell in love. It was like watching a cutscene compilation of whatever the characters from the games would do, such as crazy feats of slaying zombies and saving the world from B.O.W.s (Bio-Organic Weapons) once more, along with the campiness the series was known to have from the original games. So what did it do well? Let’s take a look.
DISCLAIMER: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!
I’ve got a confession. It’s a really awkward one to share but today’s the day I’ll spill the beans. Trilogies, when done right, can take a special place in a person’s heart; just look at how many fans the Star Wars original trilogy had and you’d have a pretty convincing example. And my secret is… my trilogy of choice will have to go to the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It just has that perfect blend of campiness, strangeness and charm that only a trilogy of pirate films can give you.
After the extremely disappointing 4th film in the franchise which steered away from the narrative they concluded in the trilogy, my expectations were honestly pretty damn low. I won’t go into detail why the 4th film was horrible for me but it just felt like the formula was messed with; there were many elements that I loved in the original 3 films that On Stranger Tides just lacked. So when the teaser for Dead Men Tell No Tales finally hit mainstream media, I couldn’t help but be excited for the franchise again… in the hopes that this time, they’d hit the mark like the did once before.
Disclaimer: SPOILERS AHEAD!!
I’ll be honest straight off the bat: I’ve never had good experiences with arthouse films. They sometimes lack the subtlety in trying to send a message to their audience, almost giving it the feel of a Matrix Revolutions, with awkward scenes that seem to dwell too long on a closeup just to set up an ’emotional scene’.
However, Personal Shopper was a… surprising entry that intrigued me by its plot that failed horribly when it came to execution, with its only saving grace being Kristen Stewart’s performance in the film.
Disclaimer: SPOILERS AHEAD!
“… as the red mist slowly dissipated, everyone in that room moved towards the Shogun’s room, and his body was rested against the wall, where his crimes were written out in blood. And in his hands, the Shogun’s head laid, cleanly cut from his neck.”
Silence swept across the tavern as the old man finished his story, a claim he had witnessed the mythical Lady Crimson, a killer that has slain hundreds of evildoers across the lands. There were many claims of encountering her but all of them had the same cliches: a red mist that filled the air and some evildoer losing his life. Theatrics were added to spice up the stories in some recounts and her legend continued to grow among patrons of the taverns across the kingdom.
Just a little update for the blog.
It’s been a lot of less movies and more writing for me recently. It’s also mostly due to busier schedule at the moment…
But less talk and more content! Here we go, (2) more of my posts from /r/writingprompts:
War is and will always be the darkest moments of human history. World War II is probably the darkest among the wartime periods mankind ever faced especially as a Singaporean growing up. Singapore, as a tiny island nation, also was involved in that war and the stories of the war atrocities the Japanese have committed during that time is neither forgotten by us or by the rest of the world.
And Hacksaw Ridge was released with Andrew Garfield holding the lead and telling the story of a medic that didn’t use a weapon during the war but saved 75 other soldiers during one of the battles. So let’s move right into it.