Welcome everyone to another Screen Rambles post! In case you’re new to this blog or not know what is this series about, Screen Rambles is where I talked about all the shows and movies I’ve watched in the previous month in details. In short, this is where I ramble about them.
At this point, I sound like a broken record with how much I mentioned The Untamed, but that cdrama did take over my life in August. That’s not the only thing I watched though, but since I already made a full-post review of the show, let’s talk about other things I’ve watched in August!
The Old Guard
During one interview, Marwan Kenzari (Joe) said: “Who doesn’t want to see Charlize Theron wield an axe?” and honestly, I felt this on a spiritual level.
What drew me to this movie, other than the prospect of Charlize Theron portraying another badass woman, is the premise of a group of immortal warriors who now have to fight to protect their anonymity and themselves from people who want to take advantage of their condition in the new age of technology. It just sounds so goood, action packed while also asking questions about technology.
And this movie did not disappoint! It has a lot of cool action scenes, with well-choreographed fighting scenes and use of various weapons. Plus the characters are just amazing; sure Nicky and Joe are precious but I love each and every one of them, including Booker! I find them very well-developed with the time we had, we understand their past, how they spend their eternity affecting their choices, and how despite everything they saw and experienced, they still chose compassion, to protect mortals and each other. Yes, this movie has one of the best found family dynamic ever!
I’m waiting for the sequel, since the ending hinted at it!
After The Old Guard, I’m in need for some more female action and what’s a better movie than watching Charlie’s Angels??? I was going to watch the original but seeing the new one available on Netflix, I decided to watch it instead.
I wouldn’t say it was a bad movie; sure it wasn’t as good as the original but it wasn’t that bad either. The plot and the soundtrack were fun, the acting were decent, and it was a fun movie to watch in general! I think what made a huge difference is the fact that this movie is more like a “team origin” story while in the originals, the team was already formed, the dynamics are established, and the Angels are already best friends. In the 2019 remake, this is the first time they work together, with Sabina and Jane not working together and Elena not even an Angels.
It just takes some of the fun out of the movie, I guess.
Yes I’m still craving for more female action so I’m watching Ocean’s 8!!!
Everyone is just so freaking gorgeous and talented, especially Anne Hathaway. I love her acting here. It’s very slick and funny and full of twists just like the original trilogy. And the heist!!! I wish we got more Rihanna and Mindy Kaling but overall, it’s just really fun to watch.
Don’t worry, I won’t write another review lol since I already talked A LOT about it. But this is another shameless plug for you to check this cdrama out!
The Untamed: Living Dead
Wen Ning was one of the most popular character in The Untamed and while I think he’s precious and deserved better, I’m not like in love with his character. I love Lan Shizui though and I always wonder which path they go after the canon ending, so this movie sounds like the perfect idea for me!
I would say I have a mixed feelings about this movie. On one side, the pacing was fast and I love the reference to the original series. Of course I’m disappointed with the lack of cameo from Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji but at the same time, Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo must be one of the top actors now with tight schedule and expensive pays so I understand. It’s nice to see how big Wei Wuxian impact on both Wen Ning and Shizui though 🥺 I also love the fact than Shizui called Wen Ning “Ning Shu Shu” 🥺🥺🥺 The plot is also interesting and as always, full of twists. This is more of Wen Ning movie rather than Shizui and Yu Bin did a really great job in portraying Wen Ning! He seems more confident, no more stammering, and healthier than he was. I love how in this movie Shizui definitely felt like a kid, despite still being a capable one.
However, I do dislike some of the creative decisions. Minor complaint including why Wen Ning has his chains back on since he didn’t have them at the end of the series 😅 It looks cool, sure, and it makes sense for fighting styles the creative team are looking for, but it just doesn’t make sense… Biggest complaint for me is the lack of emotional depth and the fighting scenes. I would talk about emotional depth in Fatal Journey section, but the fighting scenes here were… meh. It’s clear that the production has so much more budget for visual effects that they seem to add it to all ~fighting~; instead of more physical martial arts style, here it’s more chain rattling and guqin playing coupled with ~glowing magic~ which is honestly not my style. The villain is also quite weak, he could’ve been so much better 😬 Also, plot holes that Wei Wuxian didn’t sense all the dark energy being harnessed, considering it’s also his manuscript they’re using… back to the budget and schedule of the actors I guess 😅
Overall as someone who enjoyed the original series, it’s a delight to get back into the world and go on an adventure with two beloved characters. I love their dynamics, the mystery and had a great time overall! Objectively though, I think it’s quite a weak standalone movie due to some of the creative decisions, which is sad because it has so much potential! 😬
The Untamed: Fatal Journey
I enjoyed Nie Huisang as a comedic relief in contrast to Nie Mingjue strictness, and while I never wondered how their relationship was, I ended up being very invested after watching Fatal Journey!
First, let’s talk about how good the posters for Fatal Journey are- I’ve seen three versions of them and I love how dark and cool they all look!
I think someone in the production company got the memo that “more visual effects does not equal to better movie” because they’re present in the right amount here! 😉 Exception was in the almost-final battle, which was honestly really ridiculous, but I digress. Anyways, I think one of the main reason why this movie work better for me is because of the emotional attachment– here the characters having emotional turmoil are the characters we’ve known and love from the series, despite them being “minor” characters, instead of some random stranger so the attachment is stronger. The acting are also really superb here that you feel the emotions across the screen 😭
I also find the darker theme works better here! The Untamed movies always have the best opening scenes- the right amount of dark and ominous- but here, it persists until the end! I love the exploration of relationship between Nie Mingjue and Nie Huisang and how despite their apparent odds, they love each other very deeply 🥺😭 Like in the series they barely interacted and the only instance I could remember was when Nie Mingjue seemed pissed at Huisang and when Mingjue died 🙃 Fatal Journey managed to show us despite their fights, despite Mingjue’s exterior, they truly love and care for each other to the point of death. It’s just beautiful, which makes what happen after really tragic and explains a lot. I admit the reveal at the end was a bit too convenient for my taste, but it also ties one of the loose ends from the franchise and Ji Li’s acting just gave me chills 😨. Jin Guangyao was truly wrecked then.
We also got more exploration of the characters, such as their childhood and the reason for Huisang aversion to learning sword. I really appreciate how this movie highlights how close the Nies are with their subordinates, they truly care for them and treat them well and actually felt honoured to be considered as their brothers 🥺 The Jins would throw a fit but the Nies are actually honoured and it’s just amazing to watch.
I really hope we’re getting another spin-off movies since I’ve been enjoying them! I’d love to see (1) Jin Ling and Jiang Cheng (and maybe Jin Guangyao too 🤔) (2) The Juniors having their own adventures and of course, (3) Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji adventures 😉
I watch Jade Dynasty straight out of Fatal Journey and the tone of the movies couldn’t be more different! While Fatal Journey was really dark (literally, it’s set in the family mausoleum), Jade Dynasty has a lot of sunshine, humour, and fun!
I watch this movie mainly because of Xiao Zhan (and I guess most people too, based on the comments?) and he didn’t disappoint! His character is a fool here and yet he still played him really well! He didn’t over-exaggerates his acting, he put just enough expressions and gait to convey his simple, kindhearted, and hardworking nature. The rest of the casts also did not disappoint, they acted really well especially Biyao 😂
What I love the most about this movie is the humor and the dynamics of the clan. Considering our main character is a fool archetype, we have a lot of humor going on! However, the jokes are not on him, in fact he’s actually in the joke! The cultivation clan he trained with treated him as a family despite his inability to cultivates- they teased him, but also helped him, encourage him, and willing to die for him. It’s just such a light and positive environment, a contrast with the hierarchy and rigidity of sects in The Untamed. The CGI was done really well, the fight scenes choreography are amazing and the CGI adds to it instead of relying solely on the CGI.
Unfortunately, all of these elements went to a waste because the movie itself was actually bad 😬 I think this one is based from a movie or something and the writers just did not adapt it well, because the whole thing was not cohesive at all. The plot was there but it was so thin and there were no explanations, I could barely follow. It’s like someone listed scenes from the book and just film it, without trying to connect each scenes so they flow. We did not get enough time to know the characters and understand their motivations, which again, is sad since the actors are amazing. It’s just we didn’t have enough space to know them. The movie mood turned suddenly near the end of the movie and while it did made me sad (especially considering how it all started…), it didn’t really stick since we didn’t get attached to the characters.
If you’re watching for Xiao Zhan then I think you’ll enjoy it but for me, it’s a disappointing movie due to the failure of storytelling considering the amazing talents and scenery this movie has.