Sadako vs Kayako

The name Sadako vs Kayako probably means nothing to you. But it might if I called it Ringu vs Ju-on (the Japanese films that The Ring and The Grudge were based on).

I did a review of The Ring several years ago, and I wish I could review the entire Ringu/Ju-on series. I’ve seen them, and they are all so good. Japanese horror is one of the best types of horror out there. If you think the American remakes of them are bad, you need to watch the Japanese originals.

But anyway, this movie combines the curses from Ringu and Ju-on in a really clever way. I don’t want to give anything away, because the film is still relatively new. I feel conflicted, because while I want to talk about the film, I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just use this post to tell people about it. It’s a Shudder exclusive. You can watch the film here.

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In defense of Solo: A Star Wars Story

When I heard they were making a Han Solo movie, I was a little annoyed. The first Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One, was an amazingly original idea. It’s one of my favourite Star Wars films. So I considered a Han Solo movie to be the Star Wars version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Then it released and everyone was bashing the film, saying it had terrible writing, it was cliché and boring, etc. I decided I was still going to watch it because it is a Star Wars movie after all (and I have seen this).

But to my complete surprise, Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up being one of my new favourite in the series. Since I have heard nothing but negative things about it, I thought I’d explain why I liked it so much.

First off, Alden Ehrenreich did an amazing job playing a young Han Solo. Sure, he doesn’t look like a clone of young Harrison Ford, which is one of the complaints I’ve heard, but he doesn’t have to be. It’s not like Rogue One where the events lead directly into the first movie. This takes place quite awhile before we meet Han in A New Hope. About ten years, according to this article.

That article was clearly written before the film actually came out, so that’d explain this paragraph:

A lot can happen in 10 years, and from what we’ve seen in the Solo trailer, Han’s boasting and bravado have been there since day one. What’s missing is more of his sarcasm and mercenary attitude. This guy seems too naïve and idealistic to be the kind of person who’d tell Leia, “Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.” So what happens between now and then to change things?

Actually, that’s exactly the sort of thing that he’d say in Solo. In fact, at the end he refuses to join the Rebels when they ask him. He just wants to be paid, and that’s all he wants. He’s so determined to live that sort of life that he tells Qi’ra (his lifelong friend, played by Emilia Clarke) that he’s an outlaw even though he’s not. He’d smuggled at that point, but he hadn’t been caught and no one even knew about him. The one person who knew, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), was dead at his feet. Killed by Qi’ra, not him.

I think part of the reason people didn’t like his characterization in this film is because we just saw how far Han had grown as a character in The Force Awakens. He’d gone from “There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny” to “The Force. The Jedi… All of it… It’s all true”. His arch had come to and end.

So to then watch him go back to being an obnoxious, arrogant douchebag kind of felt like going in the opposite direction. Which, to be honest, is the point! If he had the ideals of the later Han, then he’d have gone backwards going forwards. Meaning this is how you do a prequel! When watching the series chronologically, you’ll see Han grow as a character, and all of the changes will make sense through the films. Had he agreed to help the Rebels at the end of the film, why would he have refused in A New Hope? It wouldn’t have made sense.

I’ve also seen people take issue with the fact that he joins the Imperial Navy. But honestly, he didn’t have much choice. It was his chance to get off that planet. Plus, it’s not like he realised they were evil at the time, and if he did I don’t think he would have really cared. He was in it for himself. Plus, it explains how he knew so much about the Empire in A New Hope. So again, it remains consistent with his character.

One of my many issues with the prequels is that it contradicts things that were said in the original trilogy. This film did a great job at following things what were said in the original trilogy. Chewie is rescued by Han from the Empire, and stays with him as a result. In the original trilogy, Han said that he saved Chewie’s life and he feels he has a life debt to him.

In fact, pretty much my only gripe with the film is the famous Kessel Run. Han brags in A New Hope that the Millennium Falcon could make the Kessel Run in “less than twelve parsecs”. I was looking forward to seeing that scene. While the scene is exciting and action-filled, the Falcon only makes the run because of a special fuel. I mean, it still did it, but not because of it’s own ability. But even that adds to Han’s character. Of course he’d still brag about it anyway. He’s not lying, but he’s not being entirely honest either.

Speaking of the Falcon, Lando says in The Empire Strikes Back that it was his but Han won it from him gambling. That happens at the end of Solo, just like we were told it happened. Actually Donald Glover‘s Lando might be my favourite thing about this film. It’s good that they’re introducing the new generation to Lando, because it’s been confirmed that Billy Dee Williams will be returning for Episode IX.

Another of my favourite things about this film was something that was a surprise to everyone when it came out, but I already knew happened (because the internet loves to spoil everything). Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace makes a sudden appearance as the leader of a crime ring called Crimson Dawn. Ray Park reprised the role. I love this not only because Maul was the best thing about Phantom Menace, but also because it legitimizes the Clone Wars animated series.

Maul was seemingly killed in Phantom Menace, but in the Clone Wars is revealed to have survived. It’s a long story that’s best experienced yourself. But even though the show is canon, not everyone is aware that he lives. It likely confused all of the film-only fans who have never seen the show. So it’s nice seeing them basically acknowledge the Clone Wars in some sense. They did the same with referencing characters and ships from Rebels in Rogue One. It’s all canon, but I still love that they’re referencing each other instead of keeping everything separated. Like how the MCU movies rarely reference the shows (and vice versa). I mean seriously! They could have had a Daredevil easter egg in Spider-Man: Homecoming!

But I digress…

I know this movie is getting a ton of backlash, but I for one love it. It’s unfortunate that the negative feedback was so bad that Disney is rethinking it’s annual Star Wars idea, because I was looking forward to that. They’re still making them, but not as often. At least that’s what they’re saying. I’m really hoping they make an Obi-Wan Kenobi film. Even Ewan McGregor wants to do it. He played Obi-Wan in the prequels and would be the right age now to play a between-Episodes-3-and-4 Ben Kenobi.

But even I have to admit that they need to make some original stories eventually. Rogue One is the closest we’ve gotten to an original idea. It was new characters, but was still tied to the saga films. I’d love to see stories set in that galaxy but not tied to the saga films.

Hopefully that’s what we’re going to get.

Desolation of Blog: The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride

I recently “reviewed” The Lion King (if you could call that a review), and now I’ve watched the sequel. It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen it. I saw it when it first came out, which was twenty years ago this year, so I hadn’t seen it in twenty years. Wow, wording it like that really makes you feel old. . .

Anyway, since I hadn’t seen it since I was 10, I didn’t really remember much about it. All I knew was that so many people called it one of the worst sequels ever made and talked about how it’s a prime example of Disney cranking out pointless straight-to-video sequels. That’s part of the reason I’ve put off watching it after rewatching the first one for the millionth time.

But today I’m really bored so decided to put it in. I’m a member of the Disney Movie Club, after they do featured titles each month. If you don’t decline then they send them to you anyway and bill you for it. They recently had The Lion King II and The Lion King 1.5 as featured titles the same month. I forgot to decline. So now I accidentally own the whole trilogy on Blu-ray.

But is it as bad as everyone has been saying? You’d probably think that the fact I made this a Desolation of Blog post instead of a Casabloga post says that I think it is. But if it really was, I just wouldn’t post this at all. Just like with my Casabloga review of The Lion King, so much has been said about it that I couldn’t think of anything new to add, I just did that post because I wanted to add it to my Casabloga list. With Desolation of Blog, there is no list. SO much negativity has been thrown at Simba’s Pride that if I really thought it was that bad, I would just move on.

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride isn’t Casabloga good, but it is still good. It isn’t a pointless film, and it definitely furthers the story. You even get character development from characters you know well. Most notably from Simba himself. In the first film, he’s presented as a perfect king with no (or limited) flaws. He’s basically good personified. But in the sequel, he’s honestly a bit of a jerk through most of the film.

Between the films, he had banished Scars’ entire family to the Outlands. He now has a blind rage towards all of them, even Kovu, Scars’ chosen heir, though he had nothing to do with Scar and wasn’t even his son. Kovu rescues Kiara, Simba’s daughter, and he still doesn’t trust him. Granted, Kovu was part of a plot to kill him, but he didn’t know that.

It doesn’t take long for Kiara to melt his heart and they fall in love. Over the course of a musical number, you can practically see his heart melt. He goes from cold and calculated before the song, to loose and laughing at the end and stays that way for most of the rest of the film.

I think that the reason this film gets so much hate is because it’s unfairly compared to the original. It’s nowhere near as good as the original, and I don’t think it was meant to be. This isn’t as big of a story as that one was, and yet the outcome is the reunification of the Pride Lands. Not to mention that the songs aren’t as memorable as the first one’s, except maybe He Lives In You, which is so good that they used it in The Lion King Musical, which is based on the first film, not this one.

While this may not be as good as the original, I still feel it’s worth checking out. I give it a 7 or of 10.

Desolation of Blog: Geostorm

What’s more dangerous than weather? Evidentially, politics.

I’m oddly torn when it comes to Geostorm. It’s a great film masquerading as a terrible film. That’s the best way I can sum it up.

What I mean is that the film as a whole is enjoyable enough, and I had a great time while watching it, but it also suffers from plenty of cringe-worthy clichés. There were more than enough “fleshing out” elements, aspects to the story that really didn’t need to be included but kind of helps to flesh out characters and the world. But there’s also more “…they didn’t just” moments.

I know this film has been getting it’s fair share of negative reviews, and I think that all comes down to the trailer and marketing. It was made to look like it was going to be another Roland Emmerich popcorn disaster flick, like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. When instead it’s a character driven film that includes disaster film elements like Deep Impact. If you go in expecting nonstop destruction, you are going to be disappointed.

So while I can totally see why a majority of the people disliked it, I personally enjoyed it. If I were to give it a rating, I’d give it a 7 out of 10.

Desolation of Blog: Introduction

Feels weird calling this an introduction when there are several posts before this one. However, before this point in time, those posts were under the My Thoughts series. I had been saving my movie reviews for Casabloga, and I only added films I considered the greatest of all time in that series. But over the last few months I’ve been writing regular reviews for other films and putting them under the My Thoughts series. Tonight I decided to start a separate series where I review films I just don’t consider the greatest but still want to talk about. I’ll also be including shows into this, with the exception of my post on The Simpsons, because I referenced it in the introduction to the My Thoughts series, and it’d make that post not make sense. Basically, I won’t just be strictly doing reviews in this series, but that’ll be the main focus.

Desolation of Blog: Mad Max

I’m a little ashamed to say that I have never seen any of the Mad Max films before now. I’ve been putting off watching Fury Road until I’d seen the original three. I know you can enjoy it without watching them, but I still want to watch them first. So I’m going to write a short review of each one as I watch them.

 

Mad Max (1979)

This is the original film, the one that started it all. And it is…very boring. For a post-apocalyptic film, it didn’t seem very post-apocalyptic. In fact, he lived in a house with his wife in a city. How was this a post-apocalyptic film? While technically things happened throughout the film, I found myself extremely bored until about the last half hour. That’s when it started to get a little interesting. But the journey to get to the last half hour felt longer than the hour it actually was. I could have sworn two hours had gone by, only to check and find that I was only 41 minutes in. Hopefully the second one is better. If it’s not, I’m not even going to bother continuing.

 

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Oh, my! This film was so much better than the previous one! It didn’t even feel like it was a sequel to the same film. In fact, the first film isn’t even necessary at all. The opening explains how the world became post-apocalyptic, and the only interesting part of the first film is covered in the opening scene here. So just skip the first film altogether and start with the second one.

I can honestly say that this is perhaps the best action film I’ve seen in a long time. I got excited several times, and even found myself awed by the visuals. They used the Sun often, silhouetting characters and other things. The climactic chase scene was shot perfectly. I think it would be hard for them to top this one in the third film.

 

Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

As I expected, it doesn’t top the second film. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good movie, but not a great one like Road Warrior. It is definitely better than the first. Similar to how the second film was different from the first, the third film is different from the first two altogether. It actually kind of felt like two films. The first half in Bartertown and the second half with the kids. Then, of course, the two world collide (quite literally) at the end. It was done very well, although it kind of felt like the ending of Road Warrior.

Something I couldn’t help noticing is that in the first film, they used actual cars. In the second film, they used modified vehicles. In this film, they used entirely fictional vehicles that I thought looked more like makeshift vehicles. It actually works here, giving the film, and series as a whole, it’s own feel. When you see a shot of one of these vehicles, you know it’s a Mad Max film.

Now time to watch the newest film to see the story they came up with to bring the character back. I’m honestly excited to see Fury Road. Beyond Thunderdome ended in a way that implies that Max has a further destiny.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Right, so apparently Mel Gibson’s Mad Max story isn’t continued in Tom Hardy’s character. It appears to be a reboot, unconnected from the rest of the series. Which initially bothered me, but as I got into the film it didn’t as much. I ended up liking it about as much as I liked The Road Warrior. In fact, I can’t even decide which one of the two I liked more.

Supposedly this will be the start of a new trilogy. If that’s the case, it had a better beginning than the first trilogy. I honestly hope they do turn this into a new trilogy, because after watching these films I want more. Now that we know that with the modern technology they can make better Mad Max films, I want to see them.

What I mean by that is that while they definitely used practical effects in the film, they used CG sparingly, and usually only to enhance the scene. I don’t think the actors were standing in front of green screens in this film.

 

I didn’t make this a Casabloga because, like Star Wars, it has good films, but I don’t think it’s the greatest. I still highly recommend them, though. However, just skip the first film. It’s entirely pointless.

Desolation of Blog: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Wow, I forgot about the My Thoughts series on this blog. I didn’t want to make this a Casabloga, because those are films I consider the greatest ever made. While I love Star Wars as a whole, I don’t think any individual film in the series will made it to that list.

Anyway, I’m going to do this review in two parts. Spoiler-free and spoiler. I’ll plainly mark when the spoiler section starts.

To begin, I went in with very high expectations, and it far exceeded all of them. Although, admittedly, the first hour or slow was a little slow. But after that, the rest of the film is nonstop action. We finally got a few answers, while getting new questions. One of mine, and most people’s, concern would be that it would be an exact copy of Empire Strikes Back. It starts out that way, but it detours greatly.

[not a spoiler because it’s the very beginning] In fact, during the opening crawl it mentioned that the Resistance had been found and when we find them now they’re trying to evacuate. Just like the beginning of Empire, when they have to flee from Hoth. But it goes totally different.

Instead, it rhymes.

There’s a scene that I’ve heard people complain about, but I actually liked it. It’s when Finn and newcomer Rose Tico are on a new planet and go to a casino/horse race. It does kind of feel out of place in the movie, and doesn’t really feel like Star Wars. But at the same time, I loved that it’s in there, because it’s something different. It’s not the same old locations or scenarios we’re used to in Star Wars. They were willing to try something completely different for a scene, and in my opinion it actually worked.

I’m finding this hard to talk about without spoiling, so I’m just going to go to the spoiler section. To watch two spoiler free reviews (that also have a spoiler section at the end), check out the reviews by Channel Awesome and Cinemassacre.

***SPOILER SECTION***

The first thing I want to talk about is something that I’m surprised I’m not seeing others surprised about. I figured Supreme Leader Snoke would be the “new Emperor”, and he’ll have a final showdown in the third film of the sequel trilogy. Instead he was killed by Kylo Ren in a very clever way.

I can understand why, though. As Doug Walker and James Rolfe said in the two videos I linked to above, it’s obvious that the filmmakers are “killing off” the past and focusing on the future. After killing Snoke, Kylo Ren even tells Rey [paraphrasing], “Let’s forget about the Sith, the Jedi, Luke, the Resistance, everything, and start over fresh”. This sounds bad at first, but I’m excited about this. Instead of just repeating the same old stories and recycling the same characters, Disney is prepared to give us something new. At least, they’re making it sound that way.

Something that wasn’t brought up in either of the two linked reviews is BB-8. He has major character development here, and he becomes a true hero here. Heck, he falls apart at one point, which shocked me because I thought he was dead. But then a few seconds later he casually puts himself back together and keeps going. R2 has died several times and always needs to be repaired by someone else.

Speaking of BB-8, I want to talk about the overhyped BB-9E. He is basically the “evil version” of BB-8. BB-9E is black and red with a squared head. He was featured on all of the adverts and made to be a major new characters. You only see him two or three times. It’s implied that he can sense BB-8, because BB-8 was hidden and BB-9E actually stopped, turned around, and looked right here he was hiding. But other than pointing out the good guys, he didn’t really have anything to offer the movie.

After watching Rogue One’s climactic space battle, I was wondering how they were going to top causing Star Destroyers to run into each other, but they somehow pulled it off. The Resistance, in escape pods, were slowly being picked off by the Supremacy, Snoke’s “mega Star Destroyer”. Admiral Holdo stayed on the Resistance’s ship alone, turned it around, then goes into lightspeed, splitting the Supremacy in half. It’s an awesome scene. When it happens, all sound stops for several seconds.

One of the big questions everyone had was “Will Luke die?”. He does, but it was a little confusing as to how. One of the new things about the Force in this film is astroprojection. You can appear somewhere you’re not. Like appears where the Resistance is at, has a final conversation with Leia, then faces Kylo Ren. As Doug Walker pointed out, it was like a scene from a Western. At the end, Kylo Ren seemingly cuts Luke in half, but Luke is still standing. That’s when Kylo realises that Luke wasn’t actually there and you see the real Luke on the island.

This honestly didn’t surprise me much. You’ve seen Luke in all of the trailers and posters having a grey beard. There are a few flashbacks to the night Luke’s Jedi temple was destroyed, and he had a brown beard. That’s how Kylo Ren and Leia would remember him, so that’s how he decided to present himself to them, with a brown beard. It’s a little detail, but if you pick up on it the scene won’t surprise you or come out of nowhere.

However, the astroprojection apparently uses a lot of energy, because afterwards, Luke just dies. At the time I thought he just willed himself to die, but watching the two reviews linked above, I realised that he probably died from exhaustion or something.

There is a surprise appearance from an old character. Luke goes to destroy the ancient books filled with the knowledge of the Jedi, then Yoda appears as a Force ghost. Luke tells him that he’s going to destroy it, and Yoda casually does it for him. The two have a conversation, and everything about it is amazing. If you’d have told me before that Yoda appears, I’d have likely assumed it was going to be stupid. But no, it actually fits in perfectly. It also lead to something funny I didn’t see either video mention. Luke has been presented as the new Ben Kenobi. Old, wise, even a legend. The old whiney kid has been left in the past. But when Yoda appears, the old whiney kid reappears. It’s actually a really funny moment seeing him revert back to that. Amazing acting on Mark Hamill’s part.

Great acting from everyone, to be honest.

Finally, I just want to point this other thing that neither video brought up. There was a moment where you though Finn was going to die. He was willingly sacrificing himself to save the Resistance. He even closed his eyes and the music welled up, and I was preparing to mourn this character. Then at the last second he is saved by Rose. It’s a brilliant moment that plays with your emotions.

After The Force Awakens, I thought I had a general idea of how this trilogy would go. Now that that’s been killed (literally and figuratively), I can honestly say that I have no idea what to expect in Episode IX. Which is exciting!

Desolation of Blog: The Angry Birds Movie

[Note: This was originally posted in my Casabloga series, which are films I consider the greatest of all time. At the time I wrote this review, I felt that way about this film. But as time went on, I changed my mind. I still like it, but I don’t think it belongs in Casabloga. So instead, I moved it to my regular movie reviews section.]

 

In 2009, I played a little game called Angry Birds for the first time. It wasn’t entirely original (I’d played a similar flash game in high school with a bow and arrow), but it was an addictive take on the concept.

Over the years Rovio, the developer of the game, has released countless different versions of the game. There’s one based on Star Wars, there’s a Transformers one, and even one based on the movie Rio. Who can forget Space? There’s a racer game, an RPG adventure game, and a spinoff where you play as the pigs.

There were talks about a movie for years, but I always rolled my eyes because that’s taking things too far. Finally, though, they announced the movie. When I saw the initial trailer, I decided to pretend that it didn’t even exist. I mean, it didn’t even make sense! Now they have arms and legs and can talk? Rovio was obviously just cranking out random garbage to make a quick buck.

But then several of my friends saw it and suggested I give it a chance. Of course, I ended up giving in and forced myself to watch it tonight. And, to my surprise, I loved it!

They could have taken what little story the game had (pigs steal eggs, the birds are angry and go after the pigs) and made an equally flimsy film. But no, they expanded on what they had. In fact, the pigs appear to be friendly at first. Only the main character, Red, suspects anything. The eggs aren’t even taken until more than halfway through the film.

The humour was also something that surprised me. I was laughing through most of the movie. Especially at the Lake of Wisdom scene. That part alone gave me a headache from laughing so hard.

Let’s hope Rovio takes this success and makes more good decisions. I’d hate for them to ruin what they’ve done here.

Desolation of Blog: Star Wars Prequels

Some of you might be breathing a sigh of relief to find that this is a “My Thoughts” and not a “Casabloga”. No, I do not consider them the greatest movies of all time. Unfortunately, neither are the original trilogy, as none will be making my Calabloga list. At least not that I know of. I add to that list everyday. Now the future entries list is twice as long as the current posted list. I will say there’s an unexpected trilogy on the way. I hinted at that in my Back to the Future review.

Anyway, I must start this by saying that while I don’t find these movies to be the greatest, I don’t hate them as much as others do. I agree, they are terrible, but I don’t hate them. They could definitely be better. George Lucas should not have directed them.

I am here today to explain why they are not total garage. Well, not explain… I doubt I will convince anyone here tonight. But I will do something I never see anyone doing on the internet; I will be defending the Star Wars prequels

 

I grew up watching the original films. Even when I was little, I wondered what happened before them. Darth Vader kept making references to “last time” he and Obi-Wan met. So when I heard they were doing the prequals, I was excited. I was 10 when I saw Phantom Menace in theatre. I absolutely loved it, and I was Darth Maul for Halloween that year.

 

Darth Maul

That’s me, age 11, on Halloween 1999. It’s also a picture of the original because a few years ago all my old photographs received water damage. Some look really bad. Yes, this looks good in compared to this. And yes, Darth Maul is wearing a D. A. R. E. shirt.

Anyway, the point is that as a kid, I absolutely loved this movie. When Attack of the Clones came out in 2002, I saw that in theatres as well. I enjoyed it, but by then I was older and could tell that something was a bit off about it. I loved the scene when Anakin and Padme were in the factory mill place and they were dodging all the CGI. R2 flying made me go, “YAY!! I DON’T KNOW WHY HE NEVER DID THAT BEFORE, BUT YAY!!”

I didn’t see Revenge of the Fallen Sith in theatres. My sister bought the DVD that Christmas. The first thing I noticed was that Padme was reduced to an annoying whiny….annoyance. In the first movie, she led troops into battle. The second movie, she was in the front lines of The Clone Wars (well, the beginning of the war). In the first film she stays home and mopes. I hated that my first time watching it. I hate even more every time I see it. On top of that, Hayden’s dreadful performance as Anakin-turning-evil was….dreadful. Just….totally awful. “DON’T MAKE ME DESTROY YOU!!!!!!!!!”. My sisters and I watched it laughing,. That’s not the emotion we should be feeling in that moment on the lava planet (or was it a Moon?).

Or did it even happen? The way I see it, either the prequels were a bad dream or Obi-Wan is senile in his old age. When I watch the original trilogy, there’s things he says that make me go, “What?! That’s not what happened!!”. Like when he says, “Obi-Wan. Now that’s a name I haven’t heard since before you were born”. I’m paraphrasing, but the basic idea is that no one has called him Obi-Wan since long before Luke was born. Yet not only is that not true, Obi-Wan was IN THE ROOM as Luke was being born, and he is called Obi-Wan DURING THAT SCENE!! And the one after. He’s called that right through to the end of the movie.

Normally this could be blown off as “nerds nitpicking”, but the things don’t match up are things that are very important stuff. It’s almost like Lucas hadn’t seen those movies since they were made.

The prequels are heavily flawed, but I still find them enjoyable. Episode III is very dramatic when the Jedis are executed. And though it’s been made fun of too death, I fund the shot of a hooded Anakin turning and his eye all messed up is pretty awesome. As is the Birth of Darth Vader scene. Considering the major significance of that scene, they did it near perfectly. Even Hayden’s bad acting doesn’t ruin it for me. In fact, Samuel L. Jackson’s acting is worse than Hayden’s in that scene. Anyway, when Anakin cuts off Mace’s hand and Palpatine shoots him with lightening, it’s truly terrifying, the look on his face.

There’s a very big thing about the prequels that everyone talks about that I have obviously avoided mentioning here thus far. I don’t want to talk about it, but since I brought it up, I may as well talk about the  waterboarding justification known as Jar Ja–

No. I jus… I just can’t. I can’t. And I won’t. I still have a headache talking about what they did with Padme’s character. If I talk about that abomination, this will happen.

Desolation of Blog: Psycho’s Sequels

Now, I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” a couple days ago. One of the (if not THE) best classic horror film ever made. I’ve seen it so many times, I could quote it. I was going to re-watch it tonight. But thought I would do something different. Instead of watching the obvious choice, I went with Psycho II.

Not everyone knows that Anthony Perkins starred in three Psycho sequels, reprising his classic role as Norman Bates. I found out about them years ago, but I always avoided them because, I mean come on. A sequel to Psycho sounds like a bad idea. Much less three. Not to mention the third sequel is called Psycho IV: The Beginning. Yikes!

But about a year ago, I took a deep breathe and watched all four movies together. Right from the beginning, I was surprised. Psycho II begins with the [in]famous shower scene, in black and white. After that part is over, it continues the old footage of where the camera goes the bedside table with the newspaper and it says, “Universal Studios presents” and all of that. Then shows the old house with Norman screaming, “Mother! Blood! BLOOD!!”. Then the words “PSYCHO II” appear, and the rest of the opening credits play as the camera stays in that shot of the house as the sun comes up, in full colour. That, to me, is a perfect way to begin the first sequel to Psycho. It pays tribute to the original, as well as allows you to make the transition from black and white to colour.

I won’t go into the plot to much, because this is one of those films where I think the less you know going in, the better. I will say that after the opening credits, you see Norman Bates being released at a hearing, with Lila Crane, now Lila Loomis, as she clearly married Sam Loomis, protests his release. Lila is once again played by Vera Miles.

The only other thing I will say about the plot is that in the original film, there is a line when Marion first arrives at the Bates Motel where Norman tells her that there is a diner just up the road. Well, that diner is an important part of this film, and I love how they included it. They didn’t even make that connection a big deal. They easily could have had Norman saying something like, “I once told a girl who stopped by the motel that this diner was there”. But instead, it was like a silent nod towards the fans.

Psycho II is genuinely a great film. You don’t even have to pretend it’s not a sequel to such a classic, because it compliments the original film nicely. They didn’t make the sequel just to make the sequel. There was a reason for it, the story was furthered, and it even adds depth to the original film, because you go back and watch it and you remember some of the things you learned in the next film, like off-camera rooms in the Bates’ house, more details in the fruit cellar, and as I mentioned, the diner Norman mentions in that throwaway line.

Psycho III is also a great film, but it didn’t feel like they tried nearly as hard with that one. Where Psycho II was a direct sequel to the original, they just tried to find a way to have a new Norman Bates story. They try hard to link the original to it by having a character that reminds Norman of Marion Crane. There is a bunch of references to the original film, such as Norman saying “We all go a little mad sometimes”, and even re-does the shower scene, only with a twist this time. While it’s definitely my least favourite of the Psycho series, it’s still an interesting film, and I still like it just because it’s part of the series.

Psycho IV: The Beginning technically has a misleading title. Although it does go back and tell the story of Norman as a child, the story is told in flashbacks as Norman tells his life story to a radio station, Joe Dirt-style (only over the phone, not in studio). The ending to that film was a nice, concluding end. However, I am sure that had Anthony Perkins made further movies in the series, they would have been just as good.

Sadly, we will never know if he had another good Norman Bates story. On 12 September 1992, just two years after making Psycho IV, Anthony Perkins (A. K. A. Norman Bates) passed away. If he were still alive today, I may be talking about Psycho XI: Space Motel. And you know what? I’m sure it would have been good.