Category Archives: Free Time

All kind of things I do in my free time

Movie of the Week: Ender’s Game

When I was looking for a book to read a while ago Silke offered me her copy of Ender’s Shadow. Unfortunately she couldn’t find her copy of Ender’s Game, the first novel in the series. As a result I never read any of these books despite her recommendation. But when I saw the first trailer for the film adaptation I remembered the title and decided to watch the movie.

In the year 2086 a strike force of an alien insectoid race called the Formics attack Earth and kill millions of humans. Only when the desperate kamikaze attack of a single commander destroys one of the enemies carrier ships the invading force is somehow stopped. Ever since humanity almost lost this war they are preparing for a final confrontation with the Formics. To gain an advantage over the enemy humanity has started a program to find a new brilliant commander who will lead their forces. As children can process information much faster and more natural than adults young teenagers are trained as soldiers in a merciless regime designed to find the smartest leader among them. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is one of these child soldiers. His tactical skills are amazing, because he can sense how to break an enemy to avoid all futures confrontations. But Ender is greatly troubled by his own abilities because in the process of understanding an enemy he always develops sympathy for them. When Earth’s military forces are approaching the home world of the Formics Ender’s superiors have to decide whether Ender is the commander that they are looking for who can save humanity from this threat once and for all.

Ender’s Game is a well made Science Fiction movie with excellent special effects and an interesting story. At the same time Ender’s struggle with his own daemons adds a human aspect. I definitely enjoyed watching it and will try to get my hands on the book.

Movie of the Week: Pacific Rim

As a kid I loved movies with giant monsters, in particular films with Godzilla. My favourite among those movies was Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, which featured a fight between giant monsters and a giant robot. After seeing the first trailer for Pacific Rim I was hoping for a modern version of these monster movies with up-to-date special effects.

In Pacific Rim humanity is under attack by giant sea monsters, known as Kaiju. Every time one of them emerges from the Pacific Ocean it causes massive loss of life and destruction when it reaches populated areas. As conventional weapons like tanks and fighter planes don’t prove very effective against the Kaiju humanity builds giant robots, called Jägers, to defend itself. This plan proves effective for several years until the increased frequency and size of the Kaijus slowly wear down the Jäger forces. When it is clear that humanity is losing the war the commander of the pilots of the Jägers pulls together the remaining working robots and the surviving pilots to launch one final assault. His plan is to close the portal at the bottom the Pacific Ocean through which the Kaiju get to Earth. But it is a desperate plan which has been attempted before and has always failed.

Pacific Rim is exactly what I was hoping for: a lot action and excellent special effects. The Kaiju are fast and maneuverable and look nothing like the rubber monsters of the past. In between the action there is still room for the human aspects of the story: a washed-up Jäger pilot who gets a second chance, mad scientists which try to unravel the mysteries of the enemy and a rookie pilot who wants to prove herself and avenge the death of her family. Fortunately the story is told without the military pathos that you often find in apocalyptic movies.

If you like action movies you probably want to watch this movies, if you like giant monster movies you must watch it. I definitely got what I was hoping for. 🙂

Movie of the Week: Star Trek Into Darkness

Four years ago Paramount Pictures successfully rebooted the Star Trek franchise. J.J. Abrams‘s movie Star Trek raised the bar with more speed, action and drama than in any Star Trek film made before. Silke and I were therefore really looking forward to the sequel.

Star Trek Into Darkness tells the next chapter  of the adventures of the original Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk. After two devastating terror attacks on the Federation Kirk and the Enterprise are sent to hunt down the former Starfleet agent John Harrison, the man behind the attacks. During this manhunt the crew of the Enterprise is pulled into a dangerous conspiracy which could cost their lives and lead to a galactic war.

As its prequel Star Trek Into Darkness features action, drama and bits of comedy at a high pace. But there is still room for character development and good acting. I was particularly impressed with Benedict Cumberbatch who gives an excellent performance as John Harrison, the movie’s main antagonist. His character is ruthless, cunning and charismatic. Long term Star Trek fans will also like the homage to the original TV series and movies. Star Trek Into Darkness tells one of the original stories in a new and exciting way. The movie even re-enacts one of the most memorable scenes but with a new twist to it. All in all Star Trek Into Darkness is as brilliant as its predecessor and definitely worthwhile watching.

I really hope for another Star Trek movie with the new old crew, even if J.J. Abrams is busy with the new Star Wars movies.