Review: “The Vampire Diaries” Season 8

First came the Vampires, then the Hunger Games and as the dystopian genre slowly comes to an end, so does one of the first vampire-related productions in the US entertainment industry of the 2000s: “The Vampire Diaries”.

During ComicCon 2016, we, loyal fans of TVD had to accept the painful message of our favorite brutal and murderous series ending 2017. But this means in no way that TVD doesn´t end on a high note.

At the end of Season 7, we got introduced to a new villain, a somehow monstruous being whose nature we only discovered in the (last) premiere episode of the eight season: the siren.

Even I have to admit that on the one hand, the siren is a supernatural being which fits TVD´s primary requirements for a villain – charming, brilliant and absolutly evil -, but on the other hand, it is a little bit ridiculous to speak it out loud.

Sybil the siren is able to exercize high control via mind on people. One of those people is Damon who´s so scared to land in hell that he becomes the puppet/slave of TVD´s newest monster. That´s a point which I have to criticize slightly as I believe that it´s a little bit out of Damon´s character to get easily afraid of something. However, it is a good storyline to bring back the old habits of Damon which many viewers missed in the past seasons.

But what about the regular cast? Stefan and Caroline – or Staroline – seem to be at the best of places in their relationship. Ready to be married to eachother for the rest of their lives (which is pretty long in case they don´t get killed by someone – oh wait, they get killed all the time, but somehow they manage to survive for eight seasons, so I think they´ll be good), I believe they symbolize a new favorite couple viewers have to ship instead of Delena/Stelena. Though, nothing will ever replace TVD´s authentic love-triangle and basic storyline.

And poor BonBon: She never seems to get her happy ending, even though she´s probably the one who deserves it the most. I only hope TVD will finally grant her this little favor. The same goes for Matt who´s not only responsible for killing his fiancée, but also all by himself – now with his estranged father on his back. Wait a minute: Why did no one think of a Bonnie/Matt-ship? Wouldn´t that be great? Because let´s be honest: Enzo is just really annoying. He lost his wit and…wait: that was all he had. So, yeah, that makes him pretty unnecessary and boring. And Alaric? Well, once thought and described as a “genius” professor, his fatherhood seems to have drawn out every single IQ point left in him…

So what should I advise you to do, little ducklings? I, myself, watched “The Vampires Diaries” ever since the pilot aired and never missed an episode. It would be really sad if I gave it all up now. But for those of you, who haven´t had such a “close” relationship with the show, I think it´s already time to say goodbye, because all you will see for the rest of the season is more blood and less true and interesting storylines.

My grade for “The Vampire Diaries”´eight season is therefore: “eh, it could be better”.

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Review: “Supergirl” Season 2

Aaand she´s back! “Supergirl” flies high during the premiere of the 2nd season in her new home, the CW. But: she´s not alone.

“The adventures of Supergirl” – this name might fool you, because who´s getting all the attention? The new superhuman addition Superman. Though, one has to admit that a too great predomination of his character was nicely avoided. So, let´s sum it up:

Supergirl, aka Cara Danvers, has it all: a great career ahead of her, the man of her dreams and … well, actually every other possible thing in the world, as she´s Supergirl and can therefore do … anything and everything she wants to. But, somehow, she still finds a way to be unhappy, especially when she compares herself to her cousin, Superman.

Point given to the writers: Even though Superman is a character that has been portrayed countless times throughout TV and motion picture history and still has layers to uncover of his personality, the creators of “Supergirl” did well by not going into deep. As far as the viewers know, Superman is at the point of his life in which every fan wants him to be: no enemies, happy and together with the love of his life and pleased with his job. But, what I do see is his typical characteristic that he wants it all and tries to manage it all at once. Cara however doesn´t want that. Throughout the first season – as she very well states at the end of the episode – her primary goal was to handle being/becoming Supergirl. And now it´s all about being Cara, but does she really want to be that weaker and self-conscious person anymore?

I personally think that this major difference between Superman and Supergirl should have been more highlighted, but it´s only the first episode and there´s still plenty of room and time left to dig deeper into this aspect.

Let´s move on: on the CW, all the other, non-superhuman characters finally seem to have found their home. Cat Grant is better than ever with her witty, philosophical and slightly arrogant, but true statements; Winn develops into the man all the viewers want him to become in order that he can be with Cara; and James is portrayed exactly the way most of the people see him: boring and without any interest for Cara. Even she prefers to be friends with him because she finally recognized how dull he is (I really don´t want to be misunderstood here: nothing against James as an actor or person, I am simply criticizing his character on the TV-show). And of course – last but not least – Alex Danvers proves herself as one kick-ass kind of DEO agent, who is a strong and confident woman ready to face any dangers ahead of her.

So my final rating for the premiere of “Supergirl”´s 2nd season: good. I think it will do better in the upcoming episodes and the seeds which were planted in the premiere will begin to grow. It´s still worth to watch, maybe even not so much because of the whole superheroic, extraordinary action, but because of all the human and relatable stories which are being told along the way.

 

Review: The Big Bang Theory, Season 10 – even more (b)romance

…that all started with the big bang, bang!

We are already two episodes deep into the 10th season of probably one of the best comedy TV-series ever made and it is already making us wish for more.

Last Monday, “The Big Bang Theory” started its new season with the wedding ceremony of Leonard and Penny; this Monday, it continues with the developing plot of Howard, Leonard and Sheldon´s involvment in the military and the consequences of Bernadette´s pregnancy at work.

The Bromance which is one of the most important characteristics of this show is stronger than ever: Sheldon got even included into the symbolic wedding ceremony of Leonard and Penny and declared as “the third husband” during the season premiere. That the writers are able to keep this aspect of the show so long alive, makes it so much more enjoyable to watch.

But that´s not the only core element the writers keep bringing up in new ways. Summarized in a hilarious, speechless (!) scene of Sheldon, his beliefs, values and norms are being humorized in the 2nd episode of the season. Whether it´s the strict seperation of Star Wars and Star Trek history or his constant conviction of him being better than anybody else – also very comically brought out with his usage of the German word “Besserwisser” (Know-it-all) -, Dr. Dr. Sheldon Cooper doesn´t lose a single bit of annoyance and brilliance, even after nine years.

The aspect which pleases me the most however, is the new focus set on Bernadette. Even though she has been very important in the previous seasons, due to her pregnancy, she gets a whole new profile. Interestingly, it´s not really the fact that she is pregnant and will therefore become a mother which is being thematized, but much more what it means for career women to start a family without being discriminated because of it. The 2nd episode shows very clearly what fears women have to confront themselves with, while men get to pursue their career without a single worry. I sure hope this critical notch will be continued in the following episodes, as it makes not only the characters, but the TV-show itself stand much stronger.

My rating for the 10th season, little ducklings: fun and smart as ever.

 

Legend of Tarzan: A good Saturday night movie tip for you!

You don´t want to go out this weekend and you are looking for a new and good movie to watch? Then, I might suggest you go see “Legend of Tarzan”.

We may know him from our childhood as a hero, the man from the Jungle. We may know his story, how he grew up with gorillas, met the beautiful Jane and returned to civilization – his species. But what we don´t know is: that he is a legend.

And that requires to look into what happened after the commonly known tale.

Let´s move away from Disney: Tarzan is now an English aristocratic Lord and he likes it – at least he seems to at the beginning. In case you are going to watch the new blockbuster, you´ll understand very quickly why he´ll return to where he grew up in the Congo (I won´t spoil it for you). Following this decision, you will see action, romance and adventure and feel love, fear and danger.This movie moves you in all directions, shows you extremes and transforms your image of Tarzan as a slightly dumb comic figure into a strong, very intelligent man who builds the bridge between two worlds – the Wild and the Civilized.

Of course, no movie is perfect, including “Legend of Tarzan”. But it´s one of those films which are nice to watch and have everything everyone wants to see. Hence, my tip for you little ducklings: Have fun watching “Legend of Tarzan”!

The Dark Too/Two – Once Upon A Time, Season 5, Episode 8 and 9 Review!

Normally, I wouldn´t write about one specific episode of a season as it is much to detailed and would reveal a lot of spoilers. But I guess by now (be careful now comes the spoiler), everybody knows that during the double episode (episode 8: “Birth” & episode 9: “The Bear King”) in the fifth season  of ONCE UPON A TIME, a lot of appearently “juicy” infos were revealed.

There comes my review: Coming from the creatores of “Once upon a time” and their previous fantastic double episodes, this one was a very big disappointement to me. The revelation of Emma having turned Hook into another Dark One in order to save his life (may I remark here that even though he might be dark, he is alive, but he´s still complaining?) is somehow a little bit out of the ordinary, but nothing which made my heart beat faster. It´s evident that everyone would choose drastic measures to keep their loved ones alive and I am sure that Hook would have done the same thing for Emma (he just doesn´t want to admit it).And plus: What´s so dramatic about it? I mean, okay, it´s maybe not that wonderful and sweet to be dark, but wouldn´t it be awesome to see Captain Swan as the Dark Duo being crazy villian and all (after all, what are TV-series for if not showing us the things we actually wouldn´t really like to see in real life!). Anyway, the whole over-the-top drama made the episode “Birth” look more like a failed attempt to keep the “Dark-Swan”-plotline interesting – which for the moment is not really a burner – than an actual revelation. The only good thing about it all was probably seeing Zelena back as the Wicked Witch from Oz, because, let´s be honest, she IS the best villian the show has ever had!

Now, let´s move on to “The Bear King”. Not that I don´t like Merida and her story, but the plot of this episode was pretty shallow and actually, Merida hadn´t played that much of a part in the overall storyline. To get a whole episode for yourself…well that´s something to be jealous about, Zelena! However, the comebacks of Mulan and Red and their women-power were pretty great (though the scene between Mary-Margaret & Red was not that good) and produced enjoyable scenes to watch. But that thing with Arthur and the helmet…how irrational was that please? He took it from Merida´s father and it didn´t work and now he stil comes back for it…even though it didn´t work? I mean, could he be anymore contradictive? (see that “Friends”-reminiscence here?)

To sum up: If you haven´t seen the double episode yet, don´t put your hopes up too high. Let´s just hope there will be either some juicy, awesome Dark Duo scenes…or wish that the midseason finale arrives ASAP.

PS: In case you have been wondering, if they are not running out of ideas (appearently Cruella de Vil is coming back), what about the whole Aladdin-story? Just hit it in the comments, in case you would enjoy to see the evil Dschafar with his parrot in the TV-series!

Series-Season has begun!

I suppose it´s only natural to write an article about the season premiere of “Once upon a time” on a blog called “Duckling´s movie tips”. Emma Swan has officially gone dark!

Episode Review:

The ABC fantasy TV-series “Once upon a time” comes slowly, but greatly back to its roots: roles are exchanged, darkness is summoned and finally someone realizes love is not the answer for everything. During the rather (un)adventurous epiosde, one might have thought: “Oh no, is this starting again? Everybody thinks that for once she´ll be like really evil, but than her sweetheart comes and she gives it up – again“.  Not that in real-life I would wish for anyone´s fate to be dark. Though, if there is a series about fairytales gone crazy, than it should include all the extremes of madness, shouldn´t it?

After enduring the slightly misplaced storyline of Merida in the whole drama and witnessing the happy family reunion, one might have been eager to sigh and turn whatever device off one was watching it on. But suddenly, the heart of the show got resurrected in the final momentum.

May we present to you: Emma Swan, the Dark One.

Why does this ring a bell in our minds and brings out all the affection we fans have for the TV-series? Because after last season´s rather deceiving villain and the weird storylines of Peter Pan and the Wicked Witch, we ultimatly got the classic bad character back we all know from our childhood´ fairytale-books. Emma Swan inpersonates everything we loathe and weren´t raised to be – the morally bad and evil. And it fascinates us, as much as the darkness seduced Emma, because we all know that we´d never really be able to become like her and seeing this ethic paradox on screen is actually true magic.

Thank you, wonderful writers of “Once upon a time” to have brought us an otherwise inexpressable challenge in each one of us, which will never be truly won by either goodness or badness.

I hope the rest of the season will follow the same path the radiant maximum of “The Dark Swan” opened up.

But you know how it is in “Once upon a time”: There is never just one way.

Jurassic World: the modern Dino-(Re)-Mix or Remake?

Last week, movie theaters around the world opened their doors for the fourth part of the Jurassic Park-Saga. And just like in the movie itself, it payed off. The opening weekend of “Jurassic World” alone brought in over 500 million dollars worldwide – a little over 200 million are due to the US-americans. But what makes this movie this spectacular and worth to see?

“Jurassic World” presents us the best mix of danger, passion and terror. In the trailer it´s immediatly clear that with the endangered children, the scary monster and the handsome good-looking hero/badass, it would be impossible NOT to charm the whole world into watching this action-adventure motion picture. The target audience goes from young kids fascinated by the jurassic period, to teenagers who just want to get the adrenaline kick, until the fun grown-ups: it´s a movie for everyone and everybody.

Though, a lot of people hold grudges against the epic dinosaur-revival because of its lack of plot. Well, guys, I hate to break it to you, but if you go see “Jurassic World” because of the plot, I don´t think you really understood what the movie is about – it´s like critizing the absence of prehistoric species in “Gone with the wind”.

I believe that “Jurassic World” is a movie worth of your time as it is not only chills, goose bumps and high-pitched cries, but a possible portrayal of our near-future. With all the scientific and technological advance we have made in the past decades, we might loose our sense of limits and ethics and won´t longer recognize when we are satisfied with what we already have. We need more entertainment, more adrenalin and more gruesome – until fiction becomes reality. This makes me think about the first “Jurassic Park” of 1994, when all the technology a part of the world takes for granted today didn´t exist and science trespassed the limit of “okay”-dom. Over the past twenty-one years, the message hasn´t change. Does that make “Jurassic World” somehow a remake? Possibly, but it goes even further: Curiosity is legitimate, unless it is not under control.

Thus, my personal tip for you guys is: Go see it. “Jurassic World” is all fun & fear … until dinosaurs start to attack you. Then, you should grab your drink and run!