Sucker Punch (2011)

Well this was a weird film, it’s not a horror or even a thriller in my opinion, more psychological, and I guess I understand what they were trying to do, I think, ok I’m not so sure. It was a film that was trying too hard, way too hard. It was a bit bizarre and random and it didn’t feel like it had a full storyline instead lots of little random storylines going on at the same time. All of these then didn’t feel fully connected or were never completed. I guess it was trying to portray the mental state of the main protagonist, but the audience don’t really fully get a sense of her, everything is quickly wrapped up and we’re in a confusion of why we’re jumping around places for not any reason in particular.

It took me quite a while to come to grips with what is happening and not in a good way. I wasn’t sucked into the film, wanting to uncover what was going on. It wasn’t intriguing for me. It all just came about a bit ridiculous and far-fetched. To be fair, the film started off good, I was so desperate for it to work and create a good asylum film, but then it escalated and escalated and escalated even more.

‘Sucker Pinch’ revolves around Babydoll (Emily Browning – Violet from ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’), who is sent to then Lennox House for the “mentally insane”. In order to escape from the torture and unbearable prison she’s been sent to, she instead escapes into her own mind. Due to the quick beginning, there is little emotion connecting the audience to Babydoll. This is a huge flaw in the film, we need to be able to connect to someone on screen and it was too fast pace to understand or get a sense of her character.

The trailer looks so promising. Taunting us with the idea of a thrilling mystery. Babydoll trapped inside Lennox House desperate to escape from the agony that is placed on her. Instead, her mind escapes to a fantasy world to try and find a way out. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t execute this as brilliantly as expected. It’s a shame, because the concept could have become a great one. But I just couldn’t relate to any of it watching, feeling rather disconnected from the screen. You definitely don’t want to be watching a film that you’re feeling disconnected from, finding it difficult to cling to some sort of element to keep you intrigued…

‘Sucker Punch’ has got a lot of fantasy action in it – although I can’t say I enjoyed much of that either… As a film altogether, it just seemed jumbled and hard to follow. It felt too disconnected and bizarre that just didn’t intrigue me. The acting isn’t amazing either, but a lot of it is delving into Babydoll’s brain anyway. It even has some recognisable actors in, such as Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung and Carla Gugino. But they aren’t memorable whatsoever. Finally, the film just felt stemmed from a Video Game, rather than a film in its own right. I guess it’s probably a film of certain taste, but it was a definite miss for me. Sadly, there wasn’t enough effort put into the actual story or plot.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

I remember when I was in secondary school, maybe year seven or eight, and was told to read ‘The Hobbit’. Until this very day, I declare it to be the hardest book I’ve ever had to read. I just found it so hard to get through, and after a year of putting it down, picking it back up, rereading and finally finishing it; I think I only remember maybe two things that actually happens in the entirety of the book. In which, none of what has been remembered happens in the film I’ve just watched… One thing the film did have in common with the book is that it does need a lot of attention paying to – it’s not the easiest film to sit and watch, especially if you plan to understand everything that is going on.

Nevertheless, I didn’t mind the film. It is definitely the scene setter of the trilogy, the beginning of the three to announce all the back stories and character introductions. It has a lot of history stories to explain the mission of the dwarves. This is the tale of 13 dwarves, 1 wizard and 1 hobbit on a journey to return the rightful land back to the dwarves, who lost it so many years before and now is guarded by Smaug, the dragon. It’s an adventure of meeting a lot of different creatures, and risking lives across the fantasy worlds. A long walk is ahead of this group.

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There are some fun scenes in this film. Well there has to be right? The action scenes are great to get lost into. They really are brilliant with effects as you become warped into this action adventure. I also really loved the scene with Gollum (Andy Serkis). Although, it does take a bit of concentration to understand all the words he is saying. But the whole scene was nothing I was expecting, I was absorbed into the character of Gollum, intrigued and left on edge throughout the whole thing. It was brilliantly executed and very intense to watch.

I do feel Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) didn’t have enough of an introduction to his type of character. I loved that is started from 60 years ahead, to return to the adventure story. But I didn’t really grasp the concept of why he was approached and I don’t think it was really explained. I couldn’t really tell you much of his character, but rather than that he just seems to collect artefacts along the way which become part of him (such as a sword and a ring). It did seem very random and out of the blue at the beginning of the film. Additionally, it has a lot of unnecessary talking where it just seemed to drag a bit too much. A film that was nearly three hours long, it is a long watch.

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Overall, this is a good introduction. I think the action scenes stand for themselves in the best parts of the film. Yes, there were parts that I didn’t enjoy, and three hours is so long. But I think when it comes down to it, this introductory film will add a lot of understanding to the other two films. Well I’m assuming anyway, as that must be its soul reason for release. I’m not put off by The Hobbit trilogy from this film and I will watch the second two to try and conclude whether my remembering of the novel was as difficult as originally believed.

Back to the Future (1985)

Took me a long time to see this movie for the first time! Call myself a film blogger and I see ‘Back to the Future’ for the first time at 21… Shameful! Not to worry, because now I have seen it! Even though it is one of those classics, I still was shocked at what was going to happen. It’s not one of those films that even though you haven’t seen it, you know everything that happens, because all I knew was that they went back in time. Of course, that is true, they go back to November 5th 1955: 30 years before.

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Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) was warned to stay away from the “crazy” doc, Dr Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), as he delves into wacky inventions. But Marty soon discovers that the Dr has sussed something brilliant: time travel! In a mass of worry and craziness, Marty McFly ends up travelling back 30 years before he was born, all the way back to when his parents were in high school. Things soon become clear of his parents’ past, but repercussions of Marty’s influence in 1955 starts taking effect in 1985. The goal is to get back to 1985, when Marty can return to his own life in Hill Valley.

The graphics are of 1985, don’t be expecting 21st century graphics because that just didn’t exist! They are good for what they are, and perhaps nostalgic. They create the classic feel of the movie, with the burning floor after the car has vanished. I do have to admit, the first gets extremely OTT by the end, all so very dramatic. But who cares? It’s a classic right, you need that dramatic build up. Will they, won’t they? Will Marty get back to the future?

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The actors are brilliant as you are taken back into the past. It actually took me a while to realise they were the same actors past and present, but I think that was just me being stupid. I was lost in the make-up and make-believe. You do get lost into this 1955 Hill Valley. It’s a great escapism film, enjoyable and fun. It did have some shocking moments, I didn’t think were going to happen, it wasn’t a film I could predict all the way through, which was a breath of fresh air. ‘Back to the Future’: classic as it stands, and classic is shall stay.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

The first of the Pirates of the Caribbean’s, one of the better ones in my opinion, however, might not be the best, as the second and third are fab. But this one is the introduction of all the characters, of the brilliant plots and the pirates at sea. You can’t watch the others without this great beginning! I showed my boyfriend this film for the first time the other day, declaring he hated pirate films, but by the end even he pronounced that he “liked” it and that he was glad to have seen it at least once: that’s a high compliment!

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To begin with, this is a paragraph dedicated to the amazing actor, Johnny Depp. Just so you’re pre-warned. I know all the other actors are amazing in this film as well, for the massive success they have to be, but for me Johnny Depp is what makes this film worth watching a hundred times over. Depp is definitely at his finest in this film. Throwing him straight in he makes a brilliant, yet hilarious, entrance; floating in on a sinking boat. He’s comical yet clever, his witty comments or stupid outbursts are enjoyable for the audience. I couldn’t imagine anyone playing the character better than him. There’s the right amount of comedy and action to his character. He’s also slightly ruthless in the way he is dishonest and will only do things for himself; like he said, “you can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest, honestly, it’s the honest men you need to watch out for”. The look of Johnny Depp as well is excellent. The costume is brilliant for everyone in this film, but Depp works the whole pirate look down to a T, he couldn’t look more realistic in everyone’s stereotypical eye of a pirate. His whole mannerism is excellent, the way he walks, yet his brilliant sword fighting, his clever mind figuring out his ways to get out of his tricky situations. He is one of the best characters every audience must love. Just remember it’s “Captain” Jack Sparrow, even without a ship.

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“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates’ life for me”. The music in the Pirates of the Caribbean films are classic! It just sets the scene for the whole movie, excellently executed and brilliantly creates the sound of these pirates on the Caribbean. As does the costumes and props, everything adds to the atmosphere to bring this screen to life. Even the graphics are great from 2003! It wouldn’t be the same without all these elements coming together to create an older time. Furthermore, all the characters are great, not just Captain Jack Sparrow. I love the evolution of Orlando Bloom’s character Will Turner as he learns more about who he is after being found floating in the sea eight years ago. Then there’s Keira Knightley’s character, Elizabeth Swann, who fierce, starts fighting alongside pirates no matter how much to her father’s distaste. There are even some great villains to enjoy. Two in particular which just have a comical energy between them, apparently named Pintel (Lee Arenberg) and Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook), but I didn’t know that were their names, you’ll know the duo if you’ve seen the film. “‘Ello there, poppet”. Finally, we cannot forget Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa, a fantastic villain of the film, and his adorable monkey sidekick!

Pirates of the Caribbean 1 - Barbossa and Monkey Jack

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ is quite a long film, however it is filled with lots of swash-buckling action and many introductions of new characters. Plus, many journeys back and forth, although somehow it doesn’t become confusing and you’re lost in this pirate world you hardly notice how long the film is anyway! Captain Jack Sparrow is on his own little journey to get his beloved ship back, The Black Pearl; Elizabeth Swann has been abducted by pirates hunting for gold, and Will Turner with a heart all loved up wants to save her. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy are on the hunt for any pirates to hang. That’s a quick plot summary, but there’s so much to it than just that! It’s an enjoyable escapism, and the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. If you haven’t given it a go, you’re missing out!

Slaughterhouse Rulez (2018)

Another Nick Frost and Simon Pegg film to add to the mass: ‘Paul’, ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’. ‘Slaughterhouse Rulez’ tells the story of Don (Finn Cole), a teen starting boarding school no matter how much he resists, he tries to fit in for his mother’s sake. This school is Slaughterhouse, with a headmaster called The Bat (Michael Sheen) and head boys that beat the young up, finally houses that categorise the students. The whole film is a bizarre micky take of everything, one inappropriate and violent, one odd yet different. A film not appropriate for younger ages!

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So I tried to appreciate this film, but I just couldn’t to the amount I wanted to. The trailer looks funny, but it seems to show all the comedy in the film, and I hate that. I just kept saying “it’s something different”, but in reality it was a bit all over the place. There were parts at the beginning which did make me chuckle and its supposed to be comical (obviously with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg). But then it all just got random and the plot was lost. There was nothing to the film, the characters could have been more interesting but it never got to the potential it could have. ‘Slaughterhouse Rulez’ seemed more important in trying to take the mick out of a lot of different films that actually having a plot itself.

You mustn’t go into the woods, wonder where we’ve heard that before? The woods has a huge sink hole, yeah I don’t really understand it either, something to do with fracking and the “evils” of Terrafrack, then some monsters come out of the hole and rip the school to shreds. The sink hole is a “gateway to hell”… Which, I have to say, is what the trailer tells the story of, but it actually took a really long time for the sink hole to appear and this part of the story to get going. I was enjoying the film more before the sink hole to be honest.

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Ok it wasn’t terrible, it was just all over the place. It is nowhere near as good as ‘Shaun of the Dead’ which has a comical storyline and great action scenes. ‘Slaughterhouse Rulez’ doesn’t actually have Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in it that much anyway as it more revolved around the children of the school. Additionally, I didn’t really like either of the characters they played anyway. Sadly, they weren’t in contact with each other either, so the Frost/Pegg classic relationship wasn’t present. I didn’t walk out of the cinema and I did want to watch it all, but I think the once was enough and this wouldn’t be one I would watch again.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

I love Disney films just as much as the next person. When this first trailer came out ages ago, it looked magical and intriguing. The more I saw in trailers, the less convinced I got. And the less convinced I was when I watched the whole film…

‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ tells the story of a young girl, Clara (Mackenzie Foy), who, coated in grief, goes on an adventure to find some connection to her recently late mother. Following a string around a house, she ends up in a completely different world, one of four realms. I loved this idea of following a string, it was beautifully done, and it brings a whole new dimension to a treasure hunt! Anyway, Clara falls into this new world of four realms, the lands of sweets, snowflakes, flowers and amusements. Clara is soon told that the lands are at war, and her mother used to be the Queen holding them all together. Now she must help the war between Sugar Plum (Keira Knightley) and Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren).

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There are some big names in this film. Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen and even Jack Whitehall. However, for some reason out of all the cast, the acting seemed forced and odd, it didn’t seem to flow. The best actor was obviously Morgan Freeman, but he was the one who was in it the least! I’m also a huge fan of Keira Knightley, who doesn’t love some ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’? But in this film, she was the most annoying character, Sugar Plum made this film difficult to watch, it might sound harsh, but it’s my truth. There was some comedy with the characters, Jack Whitehall did make me giggle.

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Sadly, the film didn’t feel harmonious. The characters were not very relatable. Falling into a world such as this one, just like to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ did, we need to feel the sense of confusion, of bewilderment. This isn’t a land we see every day, we are supposed to be amazed by the different lands, by the colours and the creativity. But Clara almost didn’t react, it didn’t feel believable, I couldn’t fall into these lands with her when her emotions were lost. Mia Wasikowska plays Alice in Tim Burton’s film, with all this confusion and oddities of this Wonderland, we explored the land with her. This was lost in ‘The Nutcracker’. We couldn’t explore, especially when Clara was there and in no time she was pretending to be Queen and ordering the soldiers in an “attention”. This was the thing that made the film fall short for me the most.

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Overall, ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ just didn’t seem to do it for me. It seemed all a bit blocky and bizarre. I couldn’t follow the characters, when I couldn’t understand them. I wished there were more to the characters, and the story wasn’t so predictable when there was a clear twist. I didn’t even get to enjoy the costumes! The ballet was good and mesmerising, I really did enjoy this part and I’m not usually a fan of ballet. Maybe I was completely lost with the concept of this film, but I don’t think it’s going to be one to remember, nor one to be buying on DVD to watch again.

Jurassic Park III (2001)

Jurassic Park lost it. First one: good, classic. Second one: exciting, good. Third one: uh oh. Steven Spielberg has gone and oh you can tell. I was a bit sceptical because of this, and I was proven right, it’s extremely difficult to create a sequel with a different director. Especially when the first is such a classic!

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Things got a little bit silly, all a bit stupid. It was a lot of things not making sense, and the thriller element disappeared. Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) returned with his obsession of the raptors, something we know quite well, although things didn’t quite make sense. We’ve been told of these raptors of what they would do, the realism (if you can say that with the falsity of dinosaurs and humans living as one) was unbelievable. We return to Isla Sorna, a restricted area, where Alan Grant has been duped in going there without his knowledge. All because a young boy, a son, has been lost on the island, an island where dinosaurs roam free. Obviously the parents are hysterical and worried, understandably as they’re son is in danger.

Explanation of dinosaurs was given in the first two films, there was recognition of who they were, what they were. Film one explained Jurassic Park, film two explained site B, film three explained nothing, although Isla Sorna was site B, there still needed to be some sort of scientific element especially when they were adding in new dinosaurs. There were ridiculous dinosaurs popping out of nowhere, with no understanding of what they were, it all became a little random and stupid.

Jurassic Park 3.

In place of thrilling moments and actual concern for characters, was replaced by convenient deaths, a lot of soppy talking and bad graphics that couldn’t quite be overlooked. It became more of a drama. I have to admit, there was one scene that was more thrilling and exciting, but then the unreality of it all just seemed to overcloud the could-be thrilling moments. ‘Jurassic Park III’ was just a bit all over the place, with a lot of talking.

Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997)

For some reason, I always had in my head that the other two Jurassic Park films after the classic first were rubbish. I don’t exactly know why since I hadn’t seen them. Although after watching this second Jurassic Park, I realise how wrong I was! It was a great film! Thrilling, straight in with the action adventure and exciting. I really enjoyed it! So if you had the same mindset as me and expected this sequel as a bit of a let-down, I will explain why I now disagree. To be begin with, you do need to watch the first ‘Jurassic Park’ as it explains the main protagonist Dr Ian Malcolm and why he is so negative about the whole situation.

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I actually thought this one was more thrilling that the first. It’s straight into the plot, throws you in immediately into this new island, Isla Sorna this time, site B, the site where the dinosaurs were bred. This island holds dinosaurs who are not bred into captivity, but in their own natural habitats. John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) plan is to send an exhibition to this island, to observe how these extinct creatures are reacting to a new world. Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) returns are he begrudgingly goes to the island, only when he’s told his girlfriend, Sarah (Julianne Moore), has already gone. Malcolm is haunted by his horrible memories of Isla Nublar, he is devastated at the cover up from four years before and is still trembling at the sight of dinosaurs, but again he goes to where they are situated, this time with no fences, no protection, just a jungle and many many dinosaurs. With them is the tech and weapons guy, Eddie (Richard Schiff) and finally a great character in Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn). The actors are of course great, with names such as these! Dr Ian Malcolm again was a great return of a character, as we got to know even more about him. I was surprised that it was Julianne Moore, she looks so different now! Vince Vaughn was fab, to be honest, usually I’m not the biggest fan of his characters, but he was probably my favourite in this one.

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We’re on the island pretty quick and as the others are amazed by the dinosaurs, Malcolm carries a ‘been there done that’ attitude. Soon, unexpected guests arrive on the island, hunting down the dinosaurs which takes a twist on how you see them, just as vulnerable animals. This is the introduction of InGen and we use discover what they are plotting. However, things take a turn of events when they take a T-Rex baby, something the mother and father T-Rex’s are not so forgiving about. The film then becomes very dramatic, however has a brilliant ability to build tension extremely well.

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Again, the graphics weren’t amazing, this was 1997. So not up to the standards of ‘Jurassic World’ clearly. However, I did think the graphics were better than the first ‘Jurassic Park’. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, I thought it was a good sequel to the classic first. It had action and thrilling moments and a good understandable plot from the first film. A lot actually happens in this film. There was familiarity in characters and new ones to get to know. If you thought this was a crap sequel to a classic first movie, I would beg to differ with Steven Spielberg coming back, why wouldn’t this one be great too?

Jurassic Park (1993)

A Steven Spielberg classic, this one has to be remembered as one of his top films. Obviously, with the likes of ‘Jaws’, ‘E.T’, and ‘Indiana Jones’. Actually, I feel ‘Jurassic Park’ has a few similarities with ‘Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark’, the costume and archaeological exploring have links throughout both films. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

I reckon most will know the famous plot line of the horrors of an experimental amusement park gone wrong: a dinosaur escapes. But actually there is a lot more to it in this original ‘Jurassic Park’. The incident happens quite far into the film; there is a build-up of characters and the potential of a phenomenon of a park such as this one opening. The reality of these extinct creatures bought back into human life, the dangers, the wonders, the fascination, the destruction. And whether it would be possible to bring this dinosaur park into human entertainment. Like a zoo, but with historic, extinct animals, ones potentially dangerous, ones beautiful, grand and harmless. All on one island, Isla Nublar. It is all about the spectacle.

Jurassic Park - ill dino

A year before John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) declares Jurassic Park open, he’s advised to get the guidance of those familiar in the particular topic of dinosaurs. Introducing archaeologists, Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), who spend their creative lives digging up dinosaur bones and learning all about them. And mathematician Dr of the Chaos Theory, Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who is the most negative about the whole idea of bringing animals which were wiped out back. The characters are all quite loveable, especially the development of Grant and his opinion on hating children to Sattler’s discomfort. Hammond is actually quite a complicated character, determined to make a spectacle of his new amusement park, to give people what they’ve never experienced before, but also conflicted by the agony of the dinosaurs’ dangers. We learn along with these specialists at what has been going on in Jurassic Park, so as they are bewildered by the spectacle, as are we, it’s very clever, how the whole park eventually comes to life.

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You have to keep your imagination open with a film from the 1990s. The graphics are never going to be what they are now, especially nowhere near the amazing graphics of ‘Jurassic World’. So the dinosaurs are not the most amazing looking, but that was always going to happen with technology not at the stages it is now. So please do keep that in mind. However, with what they’ve got, I think they have done it quite well. There are definite moments of not bad graphics and pretty bad, so just keep your imagination open to that. Another thing, I can’t say that tension is built up massively in this film, although there were definite moments where I was thinking ‘anyone could die, I’m not even sure who will survive’ etc etc. Although, tension wasn’t bombarded all the way through the film, ‘Jurassic Park’ is broken down into a lot of talking and understanding of this new park so it’s not as a thrilling film. Of course this isn’t a bad thing, just something I noticed rather different to ‘Jurassic World’. However, saying this, it makes sense to have these break ups in the original as technology wasn’t as good, so still now it doesn’t take too much away from the film.

Jurassic Park - Grant and kids

All in all, I do believe this to be one of the classic films of the 1990s and definitely one of Steven Spielberg’s classics. It is a long film, but it is a well done film. You have to watch the first dinosaur escape before the others right? They all have some connotations to each other, so why not start from the beginning!

Lucy (2014)

A film moving away from Hollywood, directed by the French director Luc Besson, this film stars two well-known loved American actors, Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. But also stars a collection of other actors to get to know. ‘Lucy’ tells the story of a young girl kidnapped by the vicious, brutal Mr Jang (Min-sik Choi). As Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is petrified, we struggle along with her at what is happening, when she wakes she discovers she’s been operated on with a pack of a new drug planted in her tummy. Attacked again, the pack breaks inside her and the drug enters her bloodstream. A drug which allows her to use the whole 100% capability of her brain, giving her superhuman mind powers, including telekinesis. So, yes, it does escalate quickly, but somehow this surreal sci-fi plot works, it seems to make sense. This is all due to the science explained behind it all by Morgan Freeman’s character, Professor Norman.

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This was a nice change from stereotypical Hollywood films. There were a variety of edits and camera angels which presented itself as different. Most predominantly, this was the use of jump cuts, the film did have many jumps to symbolism, especially at the beginning. Or jumps from Scarlett Johansson’s character in the thriller of her kidnapping to Morgan Freeman’s scientific explanation in a lecture hall. There are even flashes of percentages her brain is reaching to when she discovers new powers. This jumpy feel of the film does actually work, especially with her snap character change when the drugs start to affect her as that seems a jump from two different characters. ‘Lucy’ is also quite a quiet film, in regards to background music, there are some silent moments. The only thing with editing is that there are a few bad green screens, but maybe I can just notice them as I’ve studied film, it doesn’t ruin the film however!

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‘Lucy’ is extremely fast pace. There seems to be no character building as you’re thrown straight into the plot, however you are still able to build character recognition and favouritism with little background. Scarlett Johansson is obviously brilliant, and she plays the character extremely well. ‘Lucy’ has thrilling moments, a lot of action and is full of sci-fi. Lucy becomes a character that feels no emotion and has one goal, her own safety. There are many gun fighting scenes, and even a car race scene. Her new powers become interesting to find out what else she can do, as they reach high potentials, superhuman.

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There are no limits and things do get very surreal, although it becomes bewildering and spectacular. When it comes down to it, it is a very good film, interesting, I was hooked. Although it’s probably a film I’d watch once as once it’s watched it’s done really. But nevertheless, I didn’t regret watching it, in fact I enjoyed it.