BARE BONES: CHAOS WALKING (2021)

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CHAOS WALKING (2021)

Sci-fi adventure finds Todd (Tom Holland) a young man among colonists on another planet in a village called Prentisstown. This planet has a strange effect on the males of the species, where their thoughts are heard and seen outwardly. It’s called The Noise. A war with the indigenous peoples of the planet cost the lives of all the women of Todd’s village, or so he’s been told, including his mother. This changes, when a young woman, Viola (Daisy Ridley), crash lands on the planet. Todd must now protect Viola from the village’s mayor (Mads Mikkelsen) and preacher (David Oyelowo), who seem to have ill intent towards her. The two flee to find sanctuary in another far away village, with the townsfolk in hot pursuit.

Film is directed by Doug Liman from a script by Patrick Ness and Christopher Ford, based on the first book of Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy. The whole “Noise” story element not only doesn’t seem to work all that well on film, but doesn’t really seem to add much to the story. As an adventure, it’s fairly standard chase fair, with the science fiction elements played down, almost to the point of also not adding much to the story. The cast try hard, especially Holland having to portray a young man with conflicting emotions who has to try and control his every though from appearing in front of everyone. It is also nice to see Ridley in a non Star Wars role, though sadly Mikkelsen and Oyelowo make for very standard villains. The Scotland and Iceland locations also do not evoke another planet, so we never really feel like we’re on one save for a one-time meeting with one of the native beings the colonists call Spackles. Overall, it’s a routine action adventure whose most imaginative elements are rarely an important part of the story. Guess you have to be a fan of the books.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018)

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THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018)

Another flick bearing the Cloverfield name and while also not a direct sequel, it is better connected to the original Cloverfield…in ways I won’t spoil…than 10 Cloverfield Lane. This flick has a six person team on board an orbiting space station trying to prevent global war by initiating the Shepard Particle Accelerator and bringing unlimited energy to an Earth fighting over fossil fuel. The activation of the device causes a dimensional disturbance hurling the station across dimensions and space and endangering the world they set out to save.

Written by Oren Uziel and directed by Julius Onah, this is an OK sci-fi thriller. It has a few of it’s own ideas, but sadly would rather fall back on the clichés and familiar tropes of previous flicks. The effects of the dimensional disruption never seem to make sense, as they sometimes appear random and other times occur just at exactly the right…or wrong time. Basically they are just plot devices to hinder or help our beleaguered crew depending on the needs of the weak script. Sometimes they don’t make any sense at all, like a dismembered arm delivering a written message. It’s just silly, aside from being contrived. The cast handle their two-dimensional parts well enough, though it seems like a waste of talent for a few familiar faces. The FX and sets are top notch and while it is better connected to the original film, the previous installment in this universe was a far better movie.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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