Blade Runner 2049 ****

You certainly get value for money from Blade Runner 2049, running at 2 hours 44 minutes.

Fortunately the director has filled that time to great advantage.  Weaving a complex and compelling tale, this story is set in same dystopian world of the original Blade Runner.

If you liked the original, this film answers many of the questions raised by the first.

Ryan Goslings performance is very good, encapsulating his character very well. It has to be said that the film only comes to life towards the latter part when Harrison Ford appears.

If you haven’t seen or did not like the original, I fear this would not impress you and probably leave you wondering why you bothered.

I would strongly recommend seeing the original first if you have not already done so or just to refresh your memory.

So this is a good, possibly great and definitely cult movie.

As a fan, it gets 4 stars out of five from me.

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The Dark Tower **

This film is based on the final book in Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series.

We are presented with the good guy Roland (Idris Elba) and the bad guy Walter (Matthew McConaughey) ready-made.  There is no real character building attempted so making it difficult to cheer for the hero or boo the baddie.

Neither appears to be totally good or evil, other than wanting to kill each other and destroy or protect The Dark Tower.

UnknownAll we know of this tower is that it is at the centre of everything.

Into this mix comes a troubled boy who has visions of The Dark Tower etc.

This is then all mixed together in a recipe of Sci-fi, Western and Coming of Age genres to produce a very bland, soggy bottomed, sponge of a film.

With little of Stephen King’s trademark horror or complexity, it has clearly been diluted to get a 12A certificate.

I hope the younger audience members will get more from it than I did, even be inspired to read the original stories.

Could easily have been a lot better. Shame.

Just 2 out of five stars this time.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ****

This is a grand scale Sci-Fi movie based on the French graphic novels “Valerian and Laureline“ and it reflects its origins very well.

The reviews for this film in the USA have not done it justice. However that is not surprising. With no American accents or big names and a complex, somewhat anti establishment story, it was probably too complex.

For a European audience, steeped in literature and especially rich Sci-Fi story telling, this is a very satisfying tale of high jinx and treachery.

It is not perfect by any means.

The Gallic humour is almost completely lost, with most of the humour coming from the comic appearance of most of the alien races (Is this racist if the race is imaginary?).

The two leading actors are somewhat young in appearance for the roles, as I had imagined them. Even so, they give lively and compelling performances.

The love story between them is a slow burn rather than hot affair, but doesn’t it make a nice change from having the characters immediately falling in love as in most films.

So I would recommend this for anybody who loves Science Fiction, enjoys complex story lines and interesting ideas. I award it 4 out of five stars.

Valerian