Review Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Detective Pikachu’s bold attempt to craft an independent story out of an overly established franchise only results in a parade of cute pokémons with small flickering jolts and less exultation.

Warner Bros’ attempt to revamp the Pokémon franchise with an independently standalone live-action is simply a go-big-or-go-home move. While the story is based on a game of the same title, Detective Pikachu basically ditches most minor elements that usually made it into Pokémon movies—including the famous Poké Ball—into some distant properties. For fans of the franchise who subsequently follows the game, this might look like an attempt not to be a verbatim adaptation; but, for casual fans, the whole idea of relegating the ‘pocket monsters’ into non-pocket-sized sidekicks might be a new invention. So, is it a blessing or otherwise?

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Review The Wandering Earth / 流浪地球 (2019)

The premise and production value of The Wandering Earth is otherworldly stunning; while the well-intended movie isn’t without flaw.

Dubbed as the first ever ‘proper’ Chinese interstellar blockbuster, Frant Gwo’s The Wandering Earth flaunts more than just an ambitious spectacle; but, the entire industry’s pride in orchestrating a cinematic milestone. Adapted from Cixin Liu’s award-winning novella, this kind of “cancelling the apocalypse” (borrowing the term from Idris Elba’s character in Pacific Rim) can only be a massive production or nothing at all. And, this adaptation opted to go the former way and, since then, it becomes a mega-hit. Before long, Netflix picked it up and The Wandering Earth really wanders to flaunt its extravagant ambitions.

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Review Hellboy (2019)

Neil Marshall’s Hellboy is truer to the nature and style of the source materials compared to the versions it reboots; however, that doesn’t make it a better movie.

There is a common defense for the new Hellboy: it is truer to the nature and style of the source material, Mike Mignola’s Dark Horse comics. That argument seems to undermine how imaginative and romantic Guillermo del Toro’s idyllic 2004 fantasy-adventure, which also spawns a sequel in 2008. Fact is, the reboot by Neil Marshall is a darker R-rated rendition with more profanities, more binge-drinking and more blood-gushing moments.

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Review Shazam! (2019)

DC revamps their superhero rosters with Zachary Levi as Shazam! — a fun-loving, absurd icon with a highly uplifting twist of the tropes.

We all know that DC execs’ realization that their superhero movie does not need to exactly follow Marvel’s trajectory came very late and with a dire cost. Yet, slowly, the hope rises. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman has gone through a territory Marvel never ventured (at least until Captain Marvel); then, James Wan’s Aquaman, despite all the flaws, were an exhilarating, likable blockbuster. The breakthrough continues with Shazam!, a magic-powered superhero movie, which comes to fulfill childhood’s fantasy of those growing up with the lots of Power Rangers or BeetleBorgs.

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Review Dumbo (2019)

While Dumbo is visually likable, it wasn’t charming, let alone magical.

Call it Disney’s New Wave. As the Mouse House has been pretty busy in the recent decade with their project of revamping their classics into cash live-action adaptations, they have created an unwieldy atmosphere of family blockbuster. In terms of reception, their rosters of live-action adaptations had been hit-or-miss, even when most of them were box office hits. In this kind of atmosphere, visionary director, Tim Burton—who had previously worked in a loose adaptation of Alice in the Wonderland—returns for another gig: Dumbo, a live-action adaptation of the 1941 animated classic about a baby elephant that can fly. While his latest work is delicate, it belongs to the lukewarm side of Disney’s live actions.

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Review Captain Marvel (2019)

With fuzzy narrative and alienating plot-points, Captain Marvel can still deliver a blast along with profound empowering message.

Ever since Thanos wreaking havoc in Infinity War, the wave of expectation about the real ‘avenger’ to avenge The Avengers hasn’t even plummeted down. Audiences seem to take the thing seriously and, since that emotionally relieving post-credit scene of Marvel’s most emotionally draining movie yet, expectations are soaring high. Only if Captain Marvel—the studio’s first solo female movie—could level up to the altitude, will those expectations be quenched.

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Review The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

With crowded word-play, iconic comedic moments and stop-motion details as in the predecessor, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a solid proof that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are the new kings of FUN.

“Everything’s not awesome…,” half-way through the second act of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, some characters join forces in a choir to sing this bleak rendition of Oscar-nominated ‘Everything Is Awesome.’ At some points, the chant admits what might have gone wrong with the direct sequel of Christopher Miller & Phil Lord’s 2014 masterwork. However, the lyrics that follows—“…doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try… to make everything awesome…”—confidently shows how this sequel acknowledges its weakness and making a leap out of it, then moves on with its awesomeness that hasn’t rusted off.

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