• Aquaman (2018)

    Aquaman is another exchangeable superhero movie but it's so dynamic and visually stunning that you won't care about the insultingly predictable plot and the repetitive superhero tropes.

    The movie has a short and appropriate introduction before the epic adventure unfolds and ends on a concise positive note going back to its opening sequence. The underwater world looks fantastic and especially the animals like sharks are lovely. The quest that leads the main character and his female sidekick across the planet includes stunning locations like Sicily and Morocco that offer a welcome change from the seas. The settings are carefully chosen and cleverly mixed with computer animations. Director James Wan filmed everything calmly, extravagantly and precisely. Even the dramatic action scenes like the breathtaking escape sequence in Sicily avoid shaky cameras and exaggerated special effects which makes the film enjoyable to watch from start to finish. The final duel between the courageous half-breed protagonist and his sinister half-brother is visually spectacular and emotionally engaging.

    You will get exactly what you expect from this movie: shallow but gripping entertainment for the whole family with a big budget. It's pleasant while it lasts but also quickly forgotten because of predictable tropes, an overall tiresome story and mostly average acting performances. Up next, let's create another exchangeable superhero movie called Airwoman, Earthtransgender or Firetiger.

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  • Mortal Engines (2018)

    Mortal Engines is yet another dystopian science-fiction franchise consisting of four novels and this is the first movie of said franchise. This first entry in the franchise tells the story of an apprentice historian called Tom Natsworthy who lives in the mobile city of London and gets involved in a conflict opposing a mysterious fugitive assassin named Hester Shaw and the Head of the Guild of Historians called Thaddeus Valentine.

    The movie convinces with gorgeous high-quality visual effects that find the right balance between a realistic touch and splendid imagination. The idea behind moving cities that are destroying smaller towns to take their resources is quite creative. The different vehicles and planes are as imaginative as the strange creatures and machines in this world. Still, the film is profoundly human at heart and deals with topics such as family, freedom and loyalty. The film has solid pace and never gets boring as especially the vivid introduction makes it easy to empathise with the futuristic world and its characters. The story is somewhat predictable but still nicely executed thanks to likable characters like the naive historian, the resilient fugitive and the megalomaniac antagonist. The action sequences aren't too exaggerated but rather executed with care, drive and precision. Another advantage is that the movie has a proper conclusion despite being part of a franchise and you could stop following this franchise without any questions left unanswered after having watched this single film.

    Mortal Engines is a movie that should appeal to young teenagers and adults. Despite its dystopian setting, the movie isn't as brutal as The Hunger Games franchise, the romantic love story isn't as exaggerated as in Divergent and the language is more elegant than in The Maze Runner franchise for example. This movie could be described as a dystopian fairytale. Those who are looking for more sinister entertainment should watch Battle Royale and similar franchises instead. Mortal Engines is a film that is worth being watched at your local movie theater because of its astonishing visual and sound effects. It's a movie that could literally be interesting for the whole family except for very young children. Mortal Engines offers a nice occasion to escape a cold winter day and spend some quality at the cinema again.

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  • Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

    Fahrenheit 451 was an imaginative dystopian science-fiction novel written by visionary Ray Bradbury. Despite its age, the content of the novel in times of omnipresent social media and overtly influential politicians has become more important than ever. The idea to merge the core idea of the novel with our contemporary society sounds like an exciting idea on paper. However, the movie is only good at best and doesn't capitalize on its enormous potential.

    On the positive side, the movie evokes a realistic near future with social media and modern technology that look rather close to what we already have nowadays. The film evokes a constantly gloomy atmosphere that suits the sinisters topics that are dealt with. This movie has enough similarities to the novel yet adds a few fresh ideas here and there to make it stand on its own. While this has been criticized by fans and critics alike, I prefer a cleverer and more free-spirited adaptation of a novel than a film that blindly follows a story written half a century ago. Being creative and pushing the boundaries are key messages of the source material and it would have been ironic if the movie hadn't respected these by just projecting the actions and dialogues written such a long time ago onto the big screen. Those who criticize director and writer Ramin Bahrani that he hasn't understood the novel are actually quite wrong and have probably not understood the novel themselves.

    Still, the movie has enough other flaws to discuss. First of all, the story is lacking depth and details. The explanations about the background story leading to the events portrayed in the movie remain vague. The personal story of the protagonist could have been a little bit more fleshed out to make him more sympathetic. The love story between him and the female lead character remains shallow and just ins't credible. The acting performances are at times lacking depth. The protagonist could be a little bit more profound and emotional. The female lead character is less developed than certain side characters. One could have expected more stunning special and visual effects from a movie that takes place in the future but the modest budget might be to blame here. The soundtrack could have also been more impressive and memorable. One shouldn't ignore the fact that the market has been flooded with dystopian science-fiction films since the beginning of the millennium and a movie of this kind needs to be particularly well-executed to leave a mark. This one here doesn't leave a mark.

    In the end, Fahrenheit 451 is an entertaining movie but will soon be forgotten because it fails to add anything fresh to a genre which I adore but that has been overtly popular over the past two decades. If you look for a movie with similar motives that has more depth, you should watch Equilibrium instead.

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  • Kin (2018)

    Kin is a dystopian science-fiction movie and coming-of-age drama. This interesting genre combination has recently been working quite well for a number of great movies like The Giver. However, it isn't the case for Kin. The film wastes a lot of potential and is average at best.

    On the positive side, the characters and settings are solid. Eli comes from a broken home with a criminal stepbrother and a single dad which makes him already more complex, intriguing and realistic than most protagonists in similar films. Eli lives in a city that is as broken as his social life as he strolls through junkyards in Detroit and is already involved in minor criminal activities despite his young age. On his journey across the country to run away from criminals of all kinds and protect a mysterious weapon he has found by coincidence, Eli finds himself in strip clubs, prisons and casinos where he meets more mysterious and sinister characters. These locations certainly aren't appropriate for younger audiences and one has to wonder whether this movie has a target audience at all.

    On the negative side, the movie has a dull pace and uninteresting story that leaves many unanswered questions. Despite its short length, the movie feels stretched and especially the exposition and rising action take too much time to unfold. As soon as the movie gets more interesting, it already ends and hints at a possible sequel. If you don't want to watch a movie without a proper conclusion, you shouldn't give Kin a chance in the first place. The story seems intriguing at first but leaves too many questions unanswered. While the movie has an overall gloomy and realistic touch, the last fifteen minutes drift so much into the realm of science-fiction that it makes the film inconclusive or even confusing. The film also seems to be build upon cameo appearances as interesting characters are introduced, have a few minutes of screen time and vanish soon after or are only shown in a few unimportant scenes. Eli and his stepbrother are followed by a group of thugs, a pimp and his associates, a group of people with seemingly supernatural abilities, the police and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After a dull start, too many things are crammed into the film's second half and the rapid storytelling just isn't satisfactory.

    Kin would have had the potential to be an above average or even great movie if it had taken its time to build upon the different characters, groups and stories. Instead, everything is thrown into a melting pot and unfolds as a film that goes nowhere and fails to offer a proper conclusion. Kin isn't the worst movie of its kind but painfully average despite its initial promise. I wouldn't watch it again and wouldn't recommend it either.

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  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

    Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the third and last part of the trilogy centered around a group of teenagers immune to a virus that has decimated mankind who are hunted down by an organization that wants to conduct brutal experiments on them. I have read quite a few negative reviews about this film but let me tell you that this movie is very good conclusion to the franchise and if you liked the first two films, you will certainly appreciate this final installment as well.

    Everything isn't perfect of course. The story is very predictable. Obviously, one could blame the source material here. However, some twists are foreshadowed in a way that anyone will see through them. To give you one concrete example, there is one character who is constantly looking at his arm, rubbing it, sighing, feeling weak and looking around gloomily. When it is revealed that this character is infected by the virus, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone since the foreshadowing was completely overacted.

    Other than that, the movie is great from start to finish. Some people claim it was overlong but I never felt bored and thought it was entertaining from start to finish. The action sequences are truly intense and make for a worthy Hollywood blockbuster. The special effects are more present than in the first two films but they have the purpose to make for a bombastic finish and especially the final third of the movie is absolutely breathtaking and epic. The acting performances are as solid as in the first two installments and the protagonist has a really strong moral compass as the movie teaches us to never leave your friends behind and always believe in yourself.

    To keep it short, Maze Runner: The Death Cure might be the most spectacular action-thriller of the year. The special effects and action sequences are extremely strong. The acting performances and the characters are also above average. Only the story is a little bit predictable and simple. If you have the chance to enjoy this vivid film at your local cinema, go for it as it will help you get into this bombastic finale. Another option would be to watch all three parts and see the development of the different characters and the story line. Ignore the overtly negative reviews and enjoy this blockbuster for teenagers and young adults.

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