Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2045 (Season Two) [REVIEW] | To Doublethink Outside The Cage

Yeah, let’s tackle something a bit more challenging before we once again dip our toes in braindead killer animal exploitation crap.

When i reviewed the first season of this new Ghost In The Shell series back in 2020, i wasn’t expecting it would take 2 years before the second part/season would finally air, not because these projects aren’t time consuming (they are), but the general lack of interest in this new 3D CG iteration of the franchise shown by fans and the lack of much news at all almost made wonder if Netflix didn’t consider cancelling.

But then again, in the meantime we saw that it would take a gargantuan dumpster fire such as the live action Cowboy Bebop to make the streaming giant go and actively go “yeah, we’re gonna make more of this trash but we actually decided not to”.

A rare move, given WHAT this company is usually okay with greenlighting in excess, while killing stuff people actually likes.

Still, after a while it became clear this second season wasn’t exactly making anime fans go in the streets to demand it big time. Riots were not made for SAC 2045 Part 2, that much is undeniable.

Eventually, in late May 2022 the second season dropped on Netflix, preceded by a compilation film of the first season, called – fittingly so – GITS SAC 2045: Sustainable Warfare, which we talked about in its EXPRESSO review, and overall served as a good refresher since 2 years had passed.

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[EXPRESSO] Lightyear (2022) | Space Mediocrity

Ok, let’s leave aside the whole “identity crisis debacle”, despite Pixar being outright silly in starting the movie with the premise that THIS is the movie that in 1995 spawned the Buzz Lightyear toy Andy from Toy Story got. Also ignoring the 90’s animated TV series that served as a backstory to the character, because it’s clear this is a different interpretation-canon.

WHATEVER, who cares, let’s move on from this non-sense.

Though i can understand it’s quite tempting to do so since the ludicrous meta footnote is ripe for lampooning, and the actual movie leaves very little to say for itself.

But first, the plot.

I has been described by many as a sort of rip-off of Interstellar for children, and i agree, as we see Buzz and company investigate a newly scanned planet that the ship flew by during their voyage.

This alien world immediatly reveals to be rife with hostile fauna and flora, and in attempt to escape, the ship gets damaged, forcing Buzz and all the other people on board to camp and live there, while they find a way to create the specific fuel need for lightspeed space travel in order to contact base and leave the planet. They do manage to create the special fuel, but things turn for the weird as Buzz keeps failing the lightspeed flight test and returns to learn that his minutes long voyages translate to years of time passing in his absence….

I’ll say that this ain’t bad. I didn’t expect much from the trailer, but sadly despite the plot having some potential to be better, it all comes off as a generic “origin story” through and through, from the action to the characters, everything it’s pretty mild, predictable and – again – generic.

Enjoyable, but sadly quite middling overall.

[EXPRESSO] Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) | Jurassic Mixtape Meatloaf

While i would have a lot to say about this one, i’ll reserve some of it for when we tackle the entire “Jurassic Park/World” series, so i’ll keep it brief.

While long overdue, it’s finally that time again. Time to go see the new “big budget Asylum movie equivalent”, i really go in these later Jurassic movies with this mindset, after Fallen Kingdom i don’t even entertain the idea that i might be too hyperbolical, given that someone greenlit that script.

Speaking of which, yes, the plot sees the fallout of that shit awful ending, leading to dinosaurs escaping free into our modern world, and the inevitable fight for survival that ensues. This also leads to Chris Pratt having to save the offsprings of Blue the velociraptor, the actual true protagonist of this new trilogy.

Like pretty much any other goddamn IP from decades ago that still receives installments, Jurassic World: Dominion treads heavily on nostalgia, even more than before, as it basically recasts all the surviving actors from the original Jurassic Park and “alluding” to that one a LOT.

Talk about a series that peaked so hard and so instantly, to the point nobody really cares anymore about anything that came after the 1993 original.

Even so, i feel this is arguably the best of the Jurassic World movies, thanks to a script that’s not fuckin tosh, despite trying to balance the “nostalgia mixtape best of 1993” of having pretty much all the original cast back, the callbacks (horror-style scenes included), more focus on story and the more chaotic dino bullshit from the other Jurassic World movies.

Honestly i’m surprised the final result isn’t a complete mess despite the movie wanting to compromise/squish together both the old and the new.

At least it’s entertaning big budget b-movie meatloaf funtime.

Touken Ranbu Warriors NSWITCH [DEMO] [HANDS-ON] | Bishounen Sword Boys VS History Revisionists

Well, that was kinda unexpected, i genuinely though that editorial-ramble earlier this month would be the last time i talk about Touken Ranbu Warriors, but a week before release they also put out a demo on the European (and i guess other territories) eShop, so let’s give it a try.

And say some words. I do mean “some”; because there’s actually very little to say, and actually the bigger news is that the game is also coming to PC in the west, as a Steam release (since the DMM platform isn’t available outside of Japan), with a demo also available for that version. And that version will run in 60 fps, unlike the 30 fps locked Switch release.

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Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998) [REVIEW] | Pizza Sentai Aliens To The Rescue!!!

Last year we ended Giant Monster March with Zarkorr!! The Invader, so it’s only right to end this year’s run with the other direct-to-video giant monster movie produced by Full Moon Entertaiment (under their Monster Island Entertaiment label) and directed by Aaron Osborne, Kraa! The Sea Monster.

Always gotta scream your title, to be sure.

The plot sees the intergalactic overlord Lord Doom, master of the Dark Planet, Proyas (likely still salty over Gods of Egypt’s reception), send the giant monster known as Kraa on Earth in order to destroy and conquer it. A squad of the intergalactic teen guardians known as Planet Patrol tries to intervene, but it’s attacked by Lord Doom and so they enlist the only available agent, Mogyar, to reach Earth and destroy Kraa at all cost, even with the help of the planet’s inhabitants if need be.

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[EXPRESSO] The Privilege (2022) | Frozen Daiquiri Horror Of The Chosen

More german teen horror movies via Netflix, this time with The Privilege.

A rich teen and his fittingly rich private school classmates uncover a conspiracy while investigating a series of supernatural elements.

What conspiracy, you may ask? Cannibals? Cultists sacrificing students to Nyarlatothep? Me trying to distract you from the obvious social commentary a horror movie with this title is going for?

Worry not, the movie itself will confuse you quite enough, as it’s admittely bonkers and ambitious, but not in a good way, as it throws too many sub-plots and ideas into the script, resulting in a hodgepotche that’s simply WAY too ambitious for its own good, all made worse by desperate attempts at jumpscares and shallow teen characters.

Demons, parasitic fungi, seances, creepy laboratories with corpse cultures, rites, hauntings, the movie has them all, even if leads to congestion more than fun.

It’s not bad or boring, there are some cool ideas, and it’s kinda unpredictable, but that’s also because there too much on the plate and no focus, so the movie shifts from supernatural horror to psychological thriller and even to science fiction horror, and you keep wondering how the hell this all connects together until the very end… which you will still wonder about, as the clearly rushed finale leads to the “please franchise” cliffhanger, for a movie that otherwise feel quite longer than it actually is, just isn’t scary enough and baffles more than entertains.

I don’t think it’s outright crap, but i will admit i really, really struggled to get all the way to the end of The Privilege, more frustrated and annoyed than spooked or creeped out, a real shame since its well shot, there are some good gore effects, some interesting moments and the german cast it’s quite good.

A real pity.

[EXPRESSO] The Last Journey AKA Le Derniere Voyage (2020) | Majora’s Musk

Talk about a surprise release, since this 2020 french scifi movie only now has reached theathers in “The Boot”, and i’m willing to guess it never reached US theathers, since i didn’t even heard about it via social media.

Not even a mention, despite the original french title being similar to Luc Besson cult classic Le Dernier Combat, also a sci-fi movie with Jean Renò.

Regardless, the movie its set in a not too distant future (2050, in this case) where humanity it’s on the brink of extinction, with a red planetoid knows as the Red Moon is now coming so ever closer to Earth, bringing desertification, unliveable temperatures, animal extinctions and an energy crisis..

Only one man, Paul W.R., can save the day as he’s only one able to survive and pass through the magnetic field surrounding the planetoid, but mere days before the mission begins, Paul escapes to get away from his responsabilities, making the authorities start hunting him down, and he happens to meet a young girl called Elma, willing to follow him in his uncertain quest….

I’ll say that the cinematography it’s very good, some of the sequences are entertaining, there are some ideas, but the execution it’s just so confusing in many ways, as in the mesh of road movie and action scifi elements in a way that tries to kinda go for a more american-international feel or the themes and character motivations often feeling at odds, if not almost random.

Add a mediocre worldbuilding with some plot points never properly explained to make a simple plot kinda hard to follow, and you have a movie that’s perfectly watchable, has some good acting, but from beginning to end will have you more confused and annoyed than engaged at what’s going on and why exactly.

EUNGH.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #12: Journey To The Beginning Of Time (1955)

It’s the final day of the 12 Days Of Dino Dicember, so let’s end it with a proper obscure gem, the Czech movie Journey To The Beginning Of Time. As in the original, not the re-cut, re-filmed version that reached US territories in 1966 under the same name.

Today thankfully you can watch it as it was released on a region-free Blu Ray by Second Run, which also includes the English version, but i’m not gonna bother with that for now. Sorry, but i simply can’t afford the time to watch that as well and compare the two.

This comes from Karel Zeman (no, not the soccer manager), nicknamed the “Czech Melies”, famous for his fantasy films combining live action and animation, and hugely influential, not surprising to fellow czech Jan Svankmajer (you can’t imagine how happy i am by just having the occasion of nominating him in any of these reviews, retrospectives, but beloved by many american directors, like Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, and serving as inspiration to Jurassic Park itself.

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[EXPRESSO] Matrix: Resurrections (2021) | Present Day, Present Time

An obligatory preface: i didn’t see the movies since i was Matrix Revolutions in theathers, but i remember the story more or less. I say this because the storyline actually continued from Revolutions into the videogame Matrix Online, but i never played that or cared to read its wikia.

And i also know this already proved to be very divisive.

I can see why, as Lana Wachoski uses the premise as a meta-manifest to lament the absurdity of these “decade laters” sequels , publicly venting how she was basically badgered for decades in making a sequel despite no real plans for it, as it happens to every franchise with any following or nostalgia brought back from the cold dark grave, regardless if there was any point, merit or reason.

We live in a post-Space Jam 2 world, after all.

I will concede that this movie it’s flawed, it is, and i kinda hate when it goes “remember that?”, but at the same time this movie has actually the balls to use this meta-context in order to to make a real sequel to the series with something to say, instead of working as a banal “series best hits”.

I can’t assure you’ll like it, but i’d say it’s worth watching nonetheless because it has the edge of actually having a purpose, a vision (the plot has a pretty smart way to “modernize/justify” a fourth movie), not just to exist in absolute and risk averse complancency, the action it’s great, and it has heart, even if it’s flawed and at times so excessively earnest it becomes goofy, but the confidence still shines through.

Though with it feeling a bit long and some of the meta “gags” being sometimes grating, i can’t fully say it’s “good”.

But i still recommend seeing it, absolutely.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #3: Jurassic Expedition (2018)

I don’t know what it was with late 2010s and the small resurgence of “dinosaurs in space” movies, but yes, that off handed comment i made when reviewing Jurassic Galaxy wasn’t for naught, that movie had a “buddy” of sorts, released a year later as… Alien Expedition?

It’s amazing how that was actually the original title, which was quickly changed in most releases because dinosaurs bring all the boys to the yard, after all. “Jurassic” is a palatable adjective, it is.

Seriously, how the hell do you make a low budget sci-fi movie about dinosaur planets and NOT put a dinosaur relevant word in the title? You want people to eventually watch your movie, right?

Even more amazing is that the two movies also share the “dual brothers directors”… just pulling your leg, it’s a guy that just happens to be named Wallace Brothers, and only having made a single film before this one, David And Goliath from 2016, never heard of it before myself.

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