Category Archives: Movies

Thor: Ragnarok, A Mediocre Marvel

Dante Troina
Staff Writer

Film: Thor: Ragnarok
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo

Highlight of the Movie: The film starts out on the right foot, with a hilarious bit of dialogue and a great action scene which results in Thor (Chris Hemsworth) slaying a powerful demon, and setting up a triumphant return to Asgard with a return of Tom Hiddleston as fan-favorite Loki to boot.
This is easily the best part of the whole movie, starting everything off perfectly and getting the audience excited for the two hours yet to come. The dialogue in the first fifteen minutes of the film are easily the most clever and polished bits throughout the two hour and ten minute runtime.
The re-introduction to Asgard is also wonderful in these scenes, the floating sky fortress has never looked better, showing a natural evolution from the first two films, and showcasing how much better Marvel has gotten at utilizing their settings over the last six years.
Worst Part: Twenty minutes in, the film makes its first clear mistake in killing-off Odin without having much emotional weight or payoff, the death feels brushed over and doesn’t have as much effect on Thor as a father dying should have. Shortly after, Cate Blanchett makes her first appearance as Hela, as much as she nails her role, Blanchett’s introduction is rushed. Hela quickly says her cliche villain introduction lines, and defeats Thor and Loki in an instant; the scene where she destroys Thor’s hammer is in the film, but because of it being shown in the trailer, the destruction isn’t a wow moment, it’s expected.
The biggest problem with Hela’s quick defeat of Thor is that even though it’s a handily defeat, there is no lowpoint or feeling of absolute hopelessness from Thor, but instead the plot just keeps moving, which is one of the most critical flaws in this movie, director Taika Waititi doesn’t take his time and ever look at all that has just happened, but instead just keeps moving in full gear into the worst section of the movie.
Sakaar may have beat Ego for worst planet to base a Marvel movie on, whereas Ego was unpopulated and boring, Sakaar is just bland. Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster was just a complete miss, plain as that. The sci-fi tone that the movie shifts to isn’t warranted, and takes away from the very interesting side plot of Hela retelling Asgard’s history.
Best Character: With Tom Hiddleston (a guaranteed hit) as Loki, Chris Hemsworth returning as Thor, and six time oscar nominee Cate Blanchett, this film has a stacked cast. As much as those three nail their roles, Tessa Thompson steals every scene she’s in. Valkyrie is easily the most interesting new character in this film, and her backstory is a great segway to get out of Sakaar and back into the rich history of Asgard.
Worst Character: Jeff Goldblum. There isn’t a right place to start when analyzing his performance. The jokes written for him are awful, and the ‘ooo I’m crazy’ villain stereotype doesn’t fit his character at all.
Biggest Takeaways: Loki is the ultimate plot device for Marvel. His double-crossing nature can come into play for whichever side the plot requires it to in order to create a better story.
Valkyrie is much better and more interesting than Jane Foster was as Thor’s love interest. She isn’t going to be a damsel in distress all the time, and feels so much closer to Thor already; instead of being a painful reminder of how inhuman he is, she’s a great connecting bridge to the Asgard side of Thor that is much more interesting.
Marvel needs to abandon the sci fi tone that it had for the middle of this film, it doesn’t fit. This world is outlandish and just plain fun. Exploring Asgard’s mythology has always been the strong point of the Thor films, and the more that appears in the future, the better.
Rating: 82/100

 

Netflix: A successor to movie theaters?

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A poll from the Kayhi Journalism Twitter account

Liam Kiffer
Staff Writer

This week, Netflix is releasing the long anticipated season two of the hit show Stranger Things. On the big screen, Thor: Ragnarok will be hitting theaters all around the world on November 2nd. There was probably a time when the box office wouldn’t have paid much attention to the release of a show, but now streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are proving to be a threat to movie theaters everywhere. It’s no secret how popular streaming shows and movies have been in the last few years. Netflix has recorded $178 million in revenue in 2017 alone. Streaming services like Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix have made huge profits in the last year, while movie theaters across the country have steadily declined in attendance and revenue.
Junior Maya Parker said she doesn’t attend as many movies as she used too.
“I only go the movies about once every two months,” said Parker. “I used to go to the movies just about every week with my family, but now I watch everything at home on Netflix or Amazon Prime.”
Netflix started as a service that sent videos to customers in the mail in 1997. In 2007, It expanded to streaming movies and television shows online.
Kenny Gross, who is the corporate manager for Gross Alaska Theaters, believes Netflix has an impact on his annual revenue.
“Netflix obviously affects our income. It’s no secret that if someone could choose between paying to watch a movie in public, or watching one in the privacy of your own home, people are going to stay home,” said Gross. “I won’t disclose our total income to the public, but clearly we’re still around, so we can’t be doing too badly.”
Gross Alaska Theaters has three locations in total. One in Ketchikan and two in Juneau.
Candice Jenkins, who is the manager of the Ketchikan Gross Alaska Theater said that she has noticed a steady decline in the attendance in the last few years.
“I’ve worked for Gross Alaska for about five years now and I’ve certainly noticed a minor decrease in the attendance in the past few years,” said Jenkins. “No one’s done a survey or anything to really be sure if Netflix is really the cause, but I’m not sure what else would be.”

March Madness of Superhero Movies

Dante Troina
Staff Writer

Many brackets were made and broken last month, but not even one is more important than the hypothetical bracket of superhero films. Doing a solid forty minutes of research to come up with the seeds, and being faced with the question of which film is better, the fan of both superheros and film in me has never been happier while being put to a challenge.

Method of Seeding
The seeds for this tournament are based off numbers, combinations of the IMDB score, Rotten Tomatoes Meter, fan following for the film, and box-office revenue all went into consideration when forming the seeds. The Dark Knight is the top dog here, having the fourth best rating for any movie ever on IMDB, a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and being a billion-dollar box office movie. Films such as Deadpool and X-Men: First Class received lower seeds, while Deadpool has a cult following, it was reviewed as a good-but-not-great film, whereas First Class was reviewed well, but didn’t have a huge box office or cultural impact.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
16) Thor (2011)

8) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
9) The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

4) Spider-Man 2 (2004)
13) Deadpool (2016)

5) Captain America: Civil War (2016)
12) Watchmen (2009)

6) Logan (2017)
11) X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

3) Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
14) Doctor Strange (2016)

7) Iron Man (2008)
10) Batman Begins (2005)

2) The Avengers (2012)
15) X-Men: First Class (2011)

Sweet 16 Matchups
Thor is good, but The Dark Knight obviously cleans it up in the matchup. The higher seed wins almost every matchup, with the two exceptions being Deadpool and Batman Begins. The first thirty and final twenty minutes of Begins is what overpowers the original Iron Man; both of which are under-seeded in my eyes. Deadpool beats Spider-Man 2 because of its re-watchability and stronger action sequences. Guardians of the Galaxy and Logan both win close matchups against films that are arguably as good as them.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
8) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

13) Deadpool (2016)
5) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

6) Logan (2017)
3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

10) Batman Begins (2005)
2) The Avengers (2012)

Elite 8 Matchups
The Avengers in this tournament is comparable to Duke in the NCAA Tournament; an over-placed seed with a lot of style, but not that much substance. Don’t get me wrong, Avengers is a solid, fun, action packed movie, but the middle hour of setup feels like an eternity, whereas Batman Begins sets a pace from the start and all around out does Avengers in pulling together as one movie. Ask anyone to recite the plotline of Avengers, and all they’ll bring up is the crazy end fight, ‘cause it’s cool!’ The Dark Knight blows past Guardians of the Galaxy, because as much as the mainstream audience loves it, it’s just a good movie with a couple solid one-liners, and some above average action sequences, not to mention that the villain is complete garbage when compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker. The Winter Soldier squeezes past Logan, because of its faster pace and better plot; and Deadpool barely beats Civil War, because of its simplicity and enjoyment factors, whereas Civil War has a tone that can feel unnatural at times.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
13) Deadpool (2016)

3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
10) Batman Begins (2005)

Final Four Matchups
Batman Begins’ luck has run out. If I were making my four best superhero movies, the first of The Dark Knight Trilogy would’ve been an outsider to the list, but, just like in the NCAA Tournament, there are seeds that get lucky with matchups and win over higher ranked seeds that it is better than. But The Winter Soldier is not overmatched by the underdog; the pacing of the film is key, action is used perfectly to advance the plot, and the villainous Winter Soldier keeps the film thrilling throughout. The thrill ride that is The Winter Soldier is just too much for Begins to handle. The other Batman movie on this list wins sparingly though, Deadpool is a great movie, but The Dark Knight is an all-time, once in a lifetime kind of movie. Knight wins again because of its villains, and the better, more broad plotline.

Matchup:

1) The Dark Knight
3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Final Matchup
The Dark Knight was given the number one seed in this tournament for a reason. Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.9 on IMDB, billion-dollar box office showing, and Oscar win are very hard to argue against. The one movie that is capable to stand a chance against that on this bracket is The Winter Soldier. The second Captain America film has been given much praise for its complex plot and more personal story than the first. Having Bucky Barnes as a villain also creates an internal conflict that few superhero movies have. The final conclusion, however, is that The Dark Knight is just too good for The Winter Soldier. Captain America’s second crusade seems like a story trying to emulate the themes, tone, and plot of The Dark Knight. Batman’s war with The Joker, the mob, and his city itself doesn’t just make for one of the best superhero films, it makes for one of the best films of all time.

The Book is Better… Most of the Time

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By Dante Troina
Staff Writer

The Golden Compass was such a terrible movie, I didn’t bother reading the book. That is the problem often times when a book is turned into a movie. In most situations, movies don’t live up to expectations created by the book. There are many prime examples of books that have been turned into terrible films.
For every book that is made into a great film, such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or The Harry Potter Series, there are just as many that are adapted to screen, and don’t share the same success.
Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief was everyone’s favorite book in my fifth and sixth grade elementary school classes, and I remember going on a field trip to the theatre as a class to go see the first film when it came out. What I remember most however is leaving the theatre and, for the first time, I’d had a terrible experience. The mess of the movie that is The Lightning Thief made me realize that not all great books are as great in movie form.
English Teacher Linnaea Troina believes that the film wasn’t even comparable to the novel.
“I was very excited to take my fifth and sixth grade class to see The Lightning Thief, but after seeing the movie, I didn’t even feel like I had just watched a film based on the book,” said Troina.
Junior Largim Zhuta, who loves watching and analyzing films, thought that The Lightning Thief didn’t capture the world in the same way the book did.
“There’s something about the movie that just doesn’t make you care as much, it doesn’t set up or get you interested in the world.”
There are many other films that pale in comparison to the book.
Junior Sarah Kuharich claimed that Ender’s Game film lacked value in characters.
“When I watched the movie, I was immediately turned off to it, because of the fact that it didn’t have the same characterization that the book did,” Kuharich said.
Some books turn out as better movies, which people mainly seem to think is a direct result of great characterization, but also, it’s a result of movies sticking to the books. Films often get criticized for not developing the characters as well as the books do, and also not capturing what the novel was about.
Junior Luke Reynolds, who wants to be a scriptwriter in the future, gave many examples about books that have been adapted into films very well.
“Obviously there are films such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Harry Potter Series that have done it better than others,” said Reynolds. “But there are more examples, like The Martian and The Wolf of Wall Street that are very great adaptations.”
Zhuta and Reynolds also gave insight on what makes a good film.
“What makes a good book into a great film is likable characters, while having them look and act accurate to what their on page counterparts do.”
Reynolds agreed with Zhuta, then talked about how the setting is important as well.
“Also, what is important is the universe around the characters, because if you don’t care about what is going on around your protagonist, or if it is a dull setting, then you don’t get as invested in the film,” said Reynolds.
Some luxuries that books have is that they don’t have as much time constraints when creating a universe, the author can spend as much time as they need creating a setting and evolving characters. An average length of a film is 146 minutes, which is two hours and twenty-six minutes. That means that the director has to sometimes squeeze up to ten hours worth of story and turn it into a two hour film.
Add that on top of the pressure that a fan base of a good book can generate, and that’s what an average novel-turned-film faces. There are many reasons why some films haven’t been as successful as their on page counterparts.
Taking all of this into account, it is a difficult task to turn a novel into a film, and not all novels are meant to be turned into great movies.