Category Archives: Rebourne

Rebourne: Power Rangers (2017)

This understated early poster is pretty cool.

“It’s Morphin’ Time”

Directed by Dean Israelite
Starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks

The Original

After astronauts on the Moon open a space dumpster and release the space witch Rita Repulsa, space wizard Zordon and his irritating robot sidekick recruit five ‘teenagers with attitude’ to become the Power Rangers and battle Rita, launching a multi-series franchise which worked by revamping many largely unconnected Japanese super sentai series through a mix of voice dubbing and new footage for the Western market.

Spandex!

The Reboot

On primeval Earth, a team of armoured, alien warriors led by Zordon (Cranston) are killed battling an enemy named Rita (Banks), but drop a rock on her before she can seize the crystal she was pursuing. Millennia after, the town of Angel Grove has grown up over the site. High school football star Jason Scott (Montgomery) wrecks his future by sneaking a cow into a rival school’s locker room then crashing his car while fleeing police. He winds up in long-term detention with disgraced cheerleader Kimberley Hart (Scott) and autistic tinkerer Billy Cranston (Cyler), and the three of them end up at the town’s gold mine at the same time as the rebellious Trini (G) and reckless Zack (Lin) when Billy unearths a wall of volcanic glass from which they remove five medallions which quickly prove to have mysterious powers.

Continue reading Rebourne: Power Rangers (2017)

Rebourne – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

We’ve got a real Apocalypse Now vibe going on with this movie.

“All Hail the King”

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly

The Original

The faces of Kong

1933’s King Kong was a black and white movie about a movie crew looking for a lost island, finding a giant ape which is in no way a grotesque caricature of a black man. The ape, Kong, falls in love with the starlet – on some level or other – and the crew catch him, then bring him back to New York, where he escapes and is shot from the top of the Empire State Building by biplanes. It was remade in a contemporary setting in 1976, and again in its original era in 2005 by Peter Jackson.  In 1962 Kong was added to the Toho studios kaiju universe in Godzilla vs. King Kong.

The Latest Remake

During WWII, American and Japanese pilots crash land on an island where their attempts to kill one another are interrupted by the appearance of a giant gorilla. In 1974 the island is picked up on satellite imagery. Bill Randa (Goodman), biologist San Lin (Jing) and geologist Houston Brooks (Hawkins) of Monarch tag along with a Landsat survey team to look for monsters. They recruit a helicopter platoon on the way back from Vietnam, lead by Colonel Packard (Jackson) and professional tracker and ex-SAS badass Conrad (Hiddleston), while anti-war photographer Mason Wheeler (Larson) gets herself attached to the survey.

This may seem like a lot of characters, but wait; there’s more. Captain Chapman (Kebbell), a major heading home to his family; Landsat official, Nieves (Ortiz); and members of the platoon including Mills (Mitchell), Cole (Whigham), Slivko (Mann) and Reles (Eugene Cordero).

Continue reading Rebourne – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Rebourne – Dad’s Army (2016)

dads-army
This is one of the least accurate taglines of recent years, given that the film concerns a purely defensive and domestic force.

“The British Empire Strikes Back”

Directed by Oliver Parker
Starring Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison, Daniel Mays, Bill Paterson

The Original

Dad’s Army, by Jimmy Croft and David Perry, is perhaps the most beloved and enduring of Britain’s classic sitcoms.

The originals: Arthur Lowe, John le Mesurier,
The originals: Arthur Lowe, John le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, Arnold Ridley, Ian Lavender and James Beck

Set in the seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea, the series told the story of the local Home Guard platoon, who for nine years engaged in scrapes and shenanigans more or sometimes less war related, from camouflage exercises, to hunting down escaped IRA operatives, to capturing enemy parachutists and submariners. The writers and the characters became national treasures, the series continues to be repeated long after the morbid passtime of calling out which of the actors had since died during the closing credits became monotonous, and a scene in which a German prisoner asks for the name of the youngest platoon member, only to be cut off by Mainwaring’s sharp “Don’t tell him, Pike!” was voted the nation’s favourite comedy line over many more recent offerings.

Often conceived as ‘cosy’, Dad’s Army was pretty racy for its time, with about half the characters engaged in extramarital affairs. It revived the Home Guard in the national memory, launched a thousand catchphrases and while ostensibly focused on the comedy of old men and boys playing soldiers, never failed to present its protagonists as intelligent, good-hearted and courageous. With a run almost unprecedented in the history of British sitcoms, it established unusually rich characters in a full and developed world.

There was also a 1971 film, which remade the early episodes about the formation of the platoon, and added a hostage rescue with German airmen invading the church hall.

The Remake/Sequel

The new bunch:
The new bunch: Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Tom Courtenay, Bill Paterson, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison and Daniel Mays

In 1944, the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon still diligently guard their little stretch of the south coast, under the command of Captain Mainwaring (Jones) and the leadership of Sergeant Wilson (Nighy). The arrival of glamorous reporter Rose Winters (Zeta-Jones) throws the platoon into a spin, provoking the jealousy and ire of the women of the town as the men prove once more the claim of Cleopatra, that all men are fools and what makes them so is beauty like what she has got.

Continue reading Rebourne – Dad’s Army (2016)

Rebourne: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

fantastic_beasts_and_where_to_find_them_ver4_xxlg
Naturally, while the home of the Ministry of Magic looks like a train station, that of the Magical Congress is a skyscraper. Oddly, neither really looks like a government office.

“From J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world”

Directed by David Yates
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo and Colin Farrell

The Original

Harry Potter. Seriously, if you’ve been sufficiently living under a rock to not know, I can’t remotely do it justice here, but I will pencil in a massive rewatch and review sometime after I find the time for my Jackson-Tolkien extended editions marathon.

The important thing, vis a vis Rebourne, is that after seven books – made into eight movies, because the last book is always two movies – JK Rowling swore up and down that she was done with the boy wizard and off to writing grim and gritty detective fiction. And technically that still holds, as someone else wrote the script for the two-part stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and this film is actually a prequel without Harry or any of his immediate relatives (the nearest it gets is a photo of his godfather’s aunt.)

The Totally Unexpected Prequel

In 1926 the US magical establishment, headed by President Picquery (Ejogo), is in turmoil as a series of seemingly magical events, and the actions of dark wizard Gellert Grindlewald, threaten to reveal the magical world to the No-Maj (American for Muggle) community. Unto this came Newt Scamander (Redmayne), a hapless-looking chap with a suitcase full of magical beasts. A series of accidents lead to Scamander crossing paths first with No-Maj wannabe baker Jacob Kowalski (Fogler) and then with ex-Auror Tina Goldstein (Waterston), and his case being swapped for Kowalski’s.

Continue reading Rebourne: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Rebourne: The Producers (2005)

producers_ver2

“Come see what all the furore* is about.”

* The poster with a tagline was quite small and hard to read – it seemed to spell this ‘furor’, so I guess it was intended as a play on ‘fuhrer’.

Directed by Susan Stroman
Starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, 
Will Ferrell, Gary Beach, Roger Bart

The Original

A failing producer and an accountant team up to produce a deliberate flop, realising that they can make more money by overselling the show and failing than by having a hit which needs to repay its investors in the first and arguably the greatest film of Mel Brooks’ directorial career. When their deliriously tasteless bomb arrives, however, it crosses the line twice and becomes a runaway success, bringing about their downfall.

Before the new film version, the musical adaptation played on Broadway with much of the same cast.

The Musical

Max Bialystock (Lane) is the falling star of Broadway, producer of flop after flop reduced to romancing little old ladies for funding. When public accountant Leo Bloom (Broderick) looks over his books, he realises that it should be possible to make more money with an oversold flop than a tightly funded hit.

Continue reading Rebourne: The Producers (2005)

Rebourne – Jason Bourne (2016)

This looks familiar...
This looks familiar…

“You Know His Name”

Directed by Paul Greengrass
Starring Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles and Riz Ahmed

The Original

Based – really loosely – on a novel by Robert Ludlum, 2002’s The Bourne Identity kinda sorta changed the nature of the espionage action movie… I won’t say completely and forever, but substantially and in ways that are still felt today. It brought a harder edge to action with its brutal fight scenes and jarringly intimate, naturalistic camerawork. The franchise made star Matt Damon into a megastar as Jason Bourne, an amnesiac assassin turned into the perfect weapon by a CIA program called Treadstone. It was followed by the increasingly loose adaptations The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) and then in 2012 by The Bourne Legacy, with Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross replacing Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in what was intended to be the start of a new chapter in the series. After the lacklustre box office and critical response of Legacy, the series returned to type, lead and director with 2016’s Jason Bourne.

The Late Sequel

Series veteran Nicky Parsons (Stiles), hacks a CIA black ops database for information on its ongoing program of superspies and other shenanigans. With cyber-ops supremo Heather Lee (Vikander) on her trail, Parsons contacts Bourne to arrange a meet in Athens during a riot.

Rebourne

Continue reading Rebourne – Jason Bourne (2016)

Rebourne – Last Knights (2015)

Does anything really 'star' Clive Owen.
Does anything really ‘star’ Clive Owen.

“A battle for honor. A bloodshed for vengeance.”

Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya
Starring Clive Owen, Morgan Freeman, Cliff Curtis, Aksel Hennie, Ayelet Zurer and Tsuyoshi Ihara

The Original

The Ako incident was a historical event in feudal Japan, in which the forty-seven surviving retainers of Lord Asano Naganori took bloody revenge on the Imperial courtier who had their master dishonoured and executed. Fictionalised accounts of the event, known collectively as Chushingura, are a staple of Japanese literature, to the point that the true and fictional versions are difficult to disentangle. Hollywood finally copped to the story in 2013’s 47 Ronin. This film starred Keanu Reeves as the obligatory white character, although the rest of the cast was Japanese, and added fantastical elements. In 2015, a reimagining of the story was produced, with few Japanese cast and a mediaeval European aesthetic, but a Japanese director.

The Reimagining

After a great war, an order of warriors emerged to protect an Empire, the Knights of the Seventh Rank.

Led by Commander Raiden (Owen), the retainers of Lord Bartok  (Freeman) exemplify the code and honour of the knights in a time when they are in decline, with the Empire increasingly under the grasping hand of corrupt Minister Geza Mot (Hennie). Denied a bribe, Mot goads Bartok into striking him in order to have him executed and dishonoured, his retainers scattered and his family dispossessed.

Rebourne

Continue reading Rebourne – Last Knights (2015)

Rebourne – Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

hitman_agent_forty_seven_ver7_xxlg
This poster is actually much cleverer than this film deserves.

Directed by Aleksander Bach
Starring Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto and Ciaran Hinds

The Original

Hitman began life as a series of successful computer games, in which the player controls Agent 47, the ‘perfect assassin’; six-four of shaven-headed, barcode tattooed white beefcake with the ability to disguise himself as a Chinese waiter. Using said mastery of disguise and an arsenal of weapons, the player must plan and execute an assassination to meet the terms of a contract.  Some of the games have an ongoing plot i which a series of unconnected jobs add up to a conspiracy, but some are just a series of jobs, and their appeal is not story so much as the replay value inherent in trying various approaches to perfect each kill. The game series was first adapted into a movie in 2007. Hitman was a frankly appalling film in which 47 – played without engagement by Timothy Olyphant, fresh from critically acclaimed yet cancelled TV series Deadwood and with payments due on the mortgage – is betrayed by his superiors as part of an insanely moronic plot to seize control of Russia by treating the entire world as if they were idiots.

Rebourne

The Reboot

So, apparently someone at 20th Century Fox really believed in the potential of a Hitman movie, because despite a modest commercial success and critical mauling, and Timothy Olyphant going on record on the Nerdist podcast to confirm that bit about the mortgage, the collapse of a planned sequel, and the death of intended new Agent 47 Paul Walker, just eight years later they decided to reboot.

In this version, Agent 47 (Friend) is sent to assassinate the founder of the Agent programme, Petr Litvenko (Hinds) and his daughter, Katia Van Dees (Ware), for reasons that are never adequately explored, but possibly as part of a shadow war between two ideologically indistinguishable conspiracies. Katia is initially protected by international man of mystery John Smith (Quinto), before he is revealed as an agent for the Syndicate, the enemy of 47’s International Contracts Agency.

Continue reading Rebourne – Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

Rebourne – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

rs_634x939-140324091106-634.jennifer-lawrence-x-men.ls.32414

“The Future Begins”

Directed by Bryan Singer
Starring Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Jame McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Nicholas Hoult and Peter Dinklage

The Original

Almost a decade before the Marvel Cinematic Universe struck gold, the company’s go-to allegory for prejudice hit the big screen with X-Men (2000). The property had gained considerable traction thanks to an acclaimed 1990s animated series, and in the hands of The Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer, mutants took the world by storm (almost literally, as the release coincided with co-star Halle Berry’s Oscar, resulting in a much larger, if somewhat inconsistent, role in the sequel.) A direct sequel – X2 (2003) – was widely held to be even better, but 2006’s disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand squandered the goodwill – save perhaps for the little bit that was then pissed away by X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – and threatened to kill the series dead.

The Reboot/Late Sequel

The actual reboot of the series came with 2011’s X-Men: First Class, a 1960s set Cold War adventure, with McAvoy and Fassbender as the younger versions of feuding leaders Charles Xavier and Magneto, previously portrayed in their more patrician years by Stewart and McKellan. First Class did a lot to win back fans with its portrayal of the early years of the X-Men and the break between the two men, and hopefully I’ll get to reviewing that, but then Days of Future Past appeared in 2014 as a late sequel to the original trilogy, as well as a reasonably timed sequel to First Class and so converted the straight reboot into a Star Trek-syle in-universe soft reset of the series as a whole through time travel shenanigans.

Rebourne

Continue reading Rebourne – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Rebourne – Star Trek Beyond (2016)

startrekbeyondposter
“Let’s make the poster look like the one for the dullest of the original movies.”

“This is where the frontier pushes back.”

Directed by Justin Lin
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella and Idris Elba

The Original

Technically, Star Trek Beyond is not itself a reboot and follows only three years behind the last entry in the ongoing series, but until I get around to reviewing 2009’s Star Trek, this will be the placeholder for the ‘alternate timeline’ series. The new Trek continuity pretty much typifies the in-universe, soft reset school of franchise reboot also used by the X-Men series. Faced with the leviathan that is Trek fandom and its understanding of the original series timeline, JJ Abrams sent a Romulan dreadnought back in time to knock down that sandcastle so he could start over. The result was well-received; 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness less so, with its white Khan and murky, grey Federation. Star Trek Beyond is, however, the film that takes the Enterprise back to its original five year mission, so in that way it is its own sort of reset.

For the handful of readers recovering this from the unearthed servers of the Wayback Machine in 2263, Star Trek began life as a three season TV series about the crew of a starship, exploring the unknown frontiers of the galaxy on behalf of the United Federation of Planets. After its cancellation there was an animated series, then four movies, and then a second series set about a century after the first, with two more movies produced concurrently with that series. Then a third series spun off from the second, and after The Next Generation ended that crew headlined four more movies while two more series – the last set a century before the original were made. Small wonder that Abrams, charged with reviving the now flagging franchise by replacing the beloved but rapidly dwindling original series cast, chose to nuke the timeline.

The Film

The Enterprise and her crew are three years into their five year mission, and beginning to get a little stir crazy as they approach the advanced outpost Yorktown, a space station with an artificial sky and a stardock inside its graceful, curving boulevards and canals. Here, as Captain Kirk (Pine) and his first officer Spock (Quinto) consider their futures, one faced with the anniversary of his birth and the death of his father, the other with the news of the death of his Prime Universe counterpart, they are mustered for a mission to rescue a science team stranded on a planet within an unstable nebula.

Continue reading Rebourne – Star Trek Beyond (2016)