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Archive for 'Gary Westfahl'

Starshipboard Romance: A Review of Passengers

Special to Locus Online


There are several reasons to admire Passengers: it addresses a topic that is usually avoided in science fiction films — how humanity might colonize the galaxy without the magic of faster-than-light travel; its starship is filled with imaginative visual touches; and its story is genuinely unpredictable, consistently holding one’s interest despite a small cast and limited sets. And yet, there is also something strangely incongruous about the film, as its uneasy blend of disparate elements sometimes makes it seem like a film at war with itself.

“I Have a Bad Feeling About This”:
A Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Special to Locus Online


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story provides precisely what it promises — a professionally-rendered, authentic Star Wars story — and enthusiastic devotees of the Star Wars universe will probably be pleased by the results. However, filmgoers who are not diehard fans… may be bored and appalled by this latest installment of the venerable franchise.

Two Thousand Translations: A Speech Odyssey: A Review of Arrival

Special to Locus Online


Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is a film that will be properly praised as an unusually intelligent and sensitive science fiction film, derived from an unusually intelligent and sensitive science fiction story, Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” (1998). In many respects, it is faithful to Chiang’s novella …. However, as invariably happens when Hollywood adapts even the finest science fiction literature available, certain aspects of the source material are, well, lost in translation.

Another Day, Another Dinosaur: A Review of Shin Godzilla (aka Godzilla Resurgence)

Special to Locus Online


I hoped to report that, after American producers had for the second time abused Godzilla in a disastrously awful film, Japan’s Toho Studios had triumphantly reclaimed its iconic character in a classic addition to a venerable franchise. Instead, however, they have merely produced what Japan has long been noted for, another mediocre Godzilla movie. Still … there is something to be said for films of mediocrity, as opposed to films that are atrocities.

Dawn of Injustice: A Review of Suicide Squad

Special to Locus Online


David Ayer’s Suicide Squad strikes me as a very meh kind of film — a hodgepodge of characters and moments that work, and characters and moments that don’t work, tossed together in a story line that sometimes makes sense and sometimes doesn’t. [Still,] in contrast to Batman v Superman, [this film] is truer to both the contents and spirit of the comic books it is adapting…

Steady As She Goes: A Review of Star Trek Beyond

Special to Locus Online


To a remarkable extent, Star Trek Beyond is a film designed to appeal to aging fans of the original series [yet] also includes ample doses of the explosions, fistfights, and chaotic chases that are said to most entertain young filmgoers, though these scenes invariably bore and confuse this no-longer-young reviewer. It is thus a film that is likely to appeal to a wide variety of audiences, albeit for different reasons.

The Fogeys of July: A Review of Independence Day: Resurgence

Special to Locus Online


Although I was bored and appalled by the original Independence Day (1996), and utterly baffled by its tremendous popularity, I somehow found its belated sequel to be surprisingly engaging, even moving, despite some obvious issues in its logic and plausibility. Perhaps it is simply a better film than its precursor, the theory that merits some extended exploration.

Alice the Great and Powerful: A Review of Alice Through the Looking Glass

Special to Locus Online


The visual effects are regularly creative and engaging, and there are lines here and there that might make you laugh, but overall, anyone looking for 153 minutes of entertainment on this Memorial Day weekend would be best advised to read, or reread, Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) instead of watching this film, which borrows its title but none of its unique wit and charm.

“No One Stays Good in This World”: A Review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Special to Locus Online


It should be obvious by now that I disliked this film’s approach to Superman and Batman and generally did not enjoy watching it; yet, after two hours of routine violence and tedious exposition, there comes a time when this misbegotten film suddenly sputters to life and becomes a satisfying viewing experience — and that is when a third hero, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), finally appears [and] for the first time in the film, we are presented with a hero that we can actually like.

A Divergent Hunger Maze Game: A Review of The 5th Wave

Special to Locus Online


I really didn’t enjoy watching The 5th Wave, though it is hard to explain why, for by any conventional evaluation, it qualifies as a well-crafted diversion, not unlike many successful films of the recent past. Perhaps the problem is that the film is artfully following an overly familiar, even an exhausted pattern…


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