[Movie] Robocop (2014)

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IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1234721/

This 2014 remake of Robocop approaches the story from an interesting angle. We get to have a glimpse of the law-making process in the US and how mega corps manipulates their way into passing bills that benefits their bottom line – exploiting the media, using manipulative language (robophobic, ha!), bribes, clever marketing to swing public opinions and outright lies. This is the real drama. The other parts are pretty standard sci-fi – nothing groundbreaking. The casting didn’t really work for me here.

Overall rating: 3/5 stars

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[Movie] Elysium

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IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535108/
Date/venue: 24 Aug 2013 @ 112 Katong

Elysium has an interesting premise – one in which overpopulation becomes so severe on Earth that the very rich has gone on to build themselves a paradise away from Earth in the form of an orbiting space station. Short of a widespread disaster like war or epidemic, overpopulation does look to be one of the imminent outcome as humans live longer and mortality rate falls. So it’s interesting to examine the issues of such a scenario.

Matt Damon’s character, Max, is a child who grew up in such a dystopian world, and he aspires to be able to bring his childhood love to Elysium one day. Unfortunately he encounters an accident at work and is fatally contaminated with radiation. His only chance of survival is to somehow find a way into Elysium and use the medical pod to cure himself. The audience has to suspend disbelief here as the medical pod is almost magical in what it can do, but it’s a necessary plot device in order to advance the story.

Matt Damon and Jodie Foster gave their usual strong performances here. The story is interesting, the action is there, the sets are suitably well-designed, but somehow something feels lacking. It may be too much to ask, but perhaps given the director’s fame and stellar cast one hopes for something more.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

[Movie] Pacific Rim

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IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/

To be honest, I wasn’t attracted to the genre of the movie. Giant monsters battling giant robots? Sounds like a bad rehash of Godzilla and Transformers. But this is no Transformers. We are talking about building-size machines. The kinematics is totally different when you are dealing with such gargantuan scale. So I’m glad to see effort made to portray both the physics and the physical aspects properly.

Ultimately, this is an alien invasion movie. But unlike standard alien invasion storylines which place a lot of emphasis on the build-up before invasion, Pacific Rim cuts to the chase and neatly summarizes all that in the first 5 minutes of the show. That leaves a lot of room for character development and plot development post-invasion. Within the bigger plot there are a number of subplots that helps to flesh out the story and gives more depth to the characters.

The cast is made up of relatively lesser-known actors. The lead actor played by Charlie Hunnam is a deadringer for Heath Ledger. Other than budget reasons, I’m glad to see this trend ‘cos it removes pre-conceived bias from the viewer and helps to raise the visibility of more obscure actors.

Overall rating: 4/5

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