A Feast of Films at the End of 2018
The end of the year often sees the release of several blockbuster films, and 2018 is no exception. Hotly-awaited movies set to be launched this November include Venom, Aquaman, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer.
The end of the year often sees the release of several blockbuster films, and 2018 is no exception. Hotly-awaited movies set to be launched this November include the Marvel superhero film Venom, which premiered in Los Angeles on October 1, 2018; upcoming superhero movie, Aquaman, based on the DC Comics character of the same name; Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), itself a spin- off and prequel to the Harry Potter series; and Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer, a 2018 Japanese animated crime thriller and the twenty-second instalment of the Case Closed film series.
Venom The Anti-superhero Returns
Venom is a symbiotic lifeform from outer space that needs to attach itself to oxygen-breathing hosts to survive. The Life Foundation, a bio- engineering corporation, recovers three symbiotes and transports them to their research facility. Whilst investigating the Life Foundation’s use of human guinea pigs in its research, investigative journalist Eddie Brock becomes bound to a symbiote. He then gains superpowers but becomes caught in conflict with the symbiote. Sometimes, Brock retains consciousness and expresses regret for harming his victims, but other times, he becomes unstoppable and devastates all that surrounds him. Directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, the movie tells the story of one man’s struggles to break free from his alien symbiote.
The character Venom is familiar to many cinema- goers from its debut in Spider-man 3 (2007), in which it is bound to Spider-man Peter Parker and then to Eddie Brock. Superhero movie fans hoping that Venom would play a bigger role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be disappointed as Venom is actually the first film in Sony’s Marvel Universe. After premiering in Los Angeles on October 1, 2018, Venom was released in cinemas across the United States on October 5, 2018. The film received generally negative reviews from critics for its script and inconsistent tone, but was praised by many moviegoers and hailed as a model for visual effects in commercial films. Additionally, most critics approved of Tom Hardy’s performance in the film. Those who hoped that Hardy would take over as the next Wolverine however, may not be happy about him becoming an antihero in the film.
Aquaman Intrigue Beneath the Waves
During his childhood, Arthur Curry discovers he is able to breathe underwater and communicate with aquatic life. In fact, he is the half-atlantean half-human love child of the Queen of Atlantis and a lighthouse keeper, predestined to become King of the Seven Seas and possess the trident which can manipulate the tides and oceans.
Aquaman is the sixth instalment in the DC Extended Universe. The film is also the third live-action film featuring the title character, following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017). In the movie, director James Wan and stars Jason Momoa and Amber Heard present a brand-new underwater Atlantis to audiences, featuring a magnificent undersea city, seahorse army and shark knights. Wan was given the director’s chair in the hope that he could revive the declining DC Extended Universe, but it is not yet clear whether the movie will achieve the same market success as 2017’s Wonder Woman.
Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer The Child Detective Returns
Located in Tokyo Bay, the newly built integrated resort and convention centre “Edge of Ocean” is going to host an upcoming summit. On May 1, prior to the opening ceremony, more than 22,000 police officers are securing the building when a large explosion occurs. Investigations find incriminating fingerprints at the
crime scene which, when checked against all past and present police personnel, match Kogoro Mouri. While prosecutors are filing charges against Kogoro Mouri, a series of terrorist attacks hit the city. At the same time, the shadow of Tōru Amuro, who works for the National Police Agency Security Bureau as “Zero,” appears on the scene. Conan, the child detective, must solve the case.
Detective Conan is a popular Japanese detective manga series which has been successfully adapted for the big screen multiple times. The film Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer is the latest instalment in the series, with its predecessor hitting the big screen in China two years ago. The last movie, however, was less successful than hoped as it prioritised action and explosions over crime-solving elements. Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer has been a huge success in Japan, combining a clever plot with reflections on the relations between individuals and organisations. Famous Japanese actress Aya Ueto also voiced a character in the film, 12 years after last doing so.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Cute and Innocent Fantastic Beasts
With the assistance of Newt Scamander, the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was arrested by the Magical Congress of the United States of America. However, Grindelwald successfully breaks out of prison not long after and attempts to raise wizards up to rule over all nonmagical beings. To foil Grindelwald’s plot, Albus Dumbledore again enlists his student Newt Scamander, who immediately agrees to help. Then, Scamander embarks on a long and dangerous journey.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), the first instalment of the Fantastic Beasts film series, grossed over US$814 million worldwide, inspiring fans’ hopes for a sequel. As with its predecessor, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was directed by David Yates with a screenplay by J. K. Rowling. The film stars Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, as well as a new character—young Dumbledore played by Jude Law. Compared with Harry Potter, the Fantastic Beasts series features various fantastic animals such as the cute Niffler, tiny branch-like tree guardian Bowtruckle, Chinese magical beast Zouwu and underwater Kelpie. However, The Crimes of Grindelwald also incorporates elements from the Harry Potter series, including Hogwarts, Dumbledore and the Mirror of Erised.
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2 An Animated Ready Player One
Wreck-it Ralph decides to help Vanellope von Schweetz who is upset that the game settings in Sugar Rush never change. As he attempts to refit the game to make it more exciting, Ralph accidentally breaks the steering wheel controller on the game console. When Mr. Litwak, owner of the video game centre, discovers that the cost of repairing the game machine is higher than his annual income, he decides to unplug and dismantle the Sugar Rush game and sell it for parts. In order to repair the controller, Ralph and Vanellope must enter the Internet in search of the necessary components. Although they are not really sure what the Internet is, they are determined to adventure into the unknown world to save Vanellope’s game.
Ralph Breaks the Internet, directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, is a sequel to the 2012 film Wreck-it Ralph. However, this time the action takes place in the Internet rather than just the world of computer games. Ralph and Vanellope experience many adventures in the Internet—which in the movie is a large planet made of many large cities. Familiar Internet icons and comic book characters pop up across the planet, as do several famous Disney princesses such as Elsa, Anna, Merida, Moana, Snow White, Rapunzel and Mulan. Rich Moore also directed the film’s predecessor Wreck-it Ralph, and joined Byron Howard and Jared Bush to direct the 2016 hit film Zootopia, which was a critical and commercial success. Ralph Breaks the Internet looks set to become
another classic computer-animated comedy film.
Crazy Rich Asians Hollywood’s Meteor Garden
The story follows New Yorker Rachel Chu as she accompanies her boyfriend Nick Young back to his hometown of Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding. Rachel is excited about her first trip to Asia, but is also nervous about meeting Nick’s family. However, on arrival she discovers that Nick actually belongs to Singapore’s wealthiest family and is also possibly the sole heir to the family’s huge fortune. Whilst money cannot buy love, it can complicate relations. Therefore, Rachel finds herself being envied by other women and her relationship with Nick becomes strained because of her boyfriend’s disapproving mother.
This type of story is not unfamiliar to Chinese audiences, as the TV series Meteor Garden covered very similar ground just a few years ago. Crazy Rich Asians has been a critical success as the first major Hollywood film with a majority-asian cast since The Joy Luck Club in 1993. It tackles important themes such as cultural diversity, social differences and generation gaps.
Last Letter A Chinese Story by Shunji Iwai
Love Letter (1995) won several Japanese film awards and introduced Chinese audiences to the director Shunji Iwai. Iwai’s first Chinese-language film, Last Letter, is also themed around letters and features in- depth reflections— such as the idea that one matures through learning lessons about life.
In the 1990s, letters were still a popular form of communication. Today, although the Internet has taken over as the main method of correspondence, written letters are still an important cinematic element. Time has also changed Shunji Iwai’s understanding of life which is now deeper than when he was shooting Love Letter and thus, explains his thoughts on life: that one should learn from hardship and failure. When speaking about the creative process, Shunji Iwai explained: “It’s like a cycle—i want to create another letter story for my Chinese fans.”
Produced by Peter Chan, Last Letter stars Zhou Xun, Qin Hao, Du Jiang and Hu Ge. Chan spoke highly of his time working with Shunji Iwai and well-known Chinese actors and actresses, explaining that the film’s cast came on board as they respected director Shunji Iwai and hoped the film would help Chinese audiences understand his values and artistic ideas. The film combines Shunji Iwai’s cinematic style with Chinese local scenes and gives audiences an opportunity to enjoy a Chinese story told by a Japanese director.
Michelle Williams and Tom Hardy in Venom
A scene from Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2
Constance Wu and Awkwafina in Crazy Rich Asians
A moment from Last Letter