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Tag: Sonic

Editorials

Top 10 Films at the UK Box Office in 2020 (So Far)

May 22, 2020
The 2020 Box Office [Sources: Cineworld Cinemas,The Guardian; imdb]

With UK cinemas still closed we may as well run down 2020’s highest box office grossers so far. Today I’ll look at how much the highest earners took at the UK Box office (using Box Office Mojo and Google Money Converter). These numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred thousand and are correct at the time of writing (20/05/20)) and what critics; audiences thought of them.

10. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (£9,400,000)

Cathy Yan’s DC Universe offering sees Harley Quinn teaming up with a group of female heroines to fight against the evil Black Mask.

Audience Thoughts: 78% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.2 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “While watching Birds of Prey, it becomes clear that comic book movies are still going to dominate the box office for many years to come. If any of those could be as much fun…then we would be over the moon.

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey
Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey swoop into 10th place at the UK Box Office [Source: Empire]

9. Parasite (£12,000,000)

Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winner sees the poor Kim family scam their way into working for the rich Park family. But do the Kim’s deserve our sympathy and what secrets are the Park’s hiding?

Audience Thoughts: 90% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It’s dark, funny, clever, surprising, and I’m sure I could use almost every adjective in my lexicon.

Parasite
Best Picture Winner, Parasite smashes into 9th place [Source: Americamagazine.org]

8. The Gentlemen (£12,300,000)

Guy Ritchie’s latest gangster films focused on an American marijuana emperor trying to leave the business. But various factions conspire to extort him for all he’s worth.

Audience Thoughts: 84% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It is a coarse, convoluted, comical caper that exults in the joys of genre.”

The Gentlemen
The Gentlemen swan into 8th place [Source: Den of Geek]

7. Jumanji: The Next Level (£16,100,000)

The gang from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, along with new additions Danny Glover and Danny DeVito, return to Jumanji to face new challenges. 

Audience Thoughts: 87% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Jumanji’s next level is rather satisfying.

Jumanji
The Jumanji gang jump back into the UK Box Office [Source: Entertainment Weekly]

6. Dolittle (£16,700,000)

Robert Downey Jr. leads an all-star cast as the famous doctor who can talk to animals sets out to find a cure for an ailing young Queen Victoria.

Audience Thoughts: 76% – Rotten Tomatoes / 5.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It really is horribly inert, and every time Downey opens his mouth to say something unintelligible, the film dies a bit more.

Robert Downey Jr as Dolittle
Despite a critical thrashing Dolittle soars into number 6 at the Box Office [Source: GamesRadar]

5. Bad Boys for Life (£17,000,000)

Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett must team up with a team of younger cops to take down the leaders of a violent drug cartel.

Audience Thoughts: 96% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Bad Boys for Life is … pure enjoyment and entertainment.

Bad Boys returns to the UK box office
The Bad Boys return in glorious fashion [Source: RogerEbert.com]

4. Sonic the Hedgehog (£19,100,000)

Sonic and his friend Tom race to San Francisco to find the rings to transport Sonic off-world before Dr. Robotnik catches them.

Audience Thoughts: 93% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “The world contains many terrible video game movies. This isn’t one of them.

Sonic rushing into the box office top 10
Sega’s blue speedster rushes into the top 10 [Source: Hollywood Reporter]

3. Little Women (£19,400,000)

Greta Gerwig’s remake of the literary classic follows the March sisters as they experience career hardships, romance, tragedy, and triumph during and after the American Civil War.

Audience Thoughts: 92% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Though we can’t foretell whether time will be cruel or kind to Gerwig’s “Little Women,” it may just be the best film yet made by an American woman.”

Little Women stands tall at the box office
Greta Gerwig’s Little Women stands tall at number 3 [Source: Britannica]

2. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (£20,100,000)

The Skywalker Saga concludes. Emperor Palpatine returns to threaten the galaxy. Rey and the remnants of the resistance must find a way to stop him. While contending with the rage of Kylo Ren.

Audience Thoughts: 86% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It doesn’t do anything new or even terribly distinctive, but maybe it didn’t have to. It just had to be good enough to stick the landing, and it does that.

Rise of Skywalker rises to number 2 at the uk box office
The Skywalker saga’s final swipe took the 2nd place in 2020 so far [Source: Deadline]

1. 1917 (£46,600,000)

Presented in a pseudo-continuous shot 1917 follows two soldiers tasked with physically delivering orders for a battalion to stand down before German forces kill them all.

Audience Thoughts: 88% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.3 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “1917 will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first moment and will leave you breathless.

1917 is number 1 at the box office
1917 stands atop the box office [Source: Letterboxd]

This year’s top 10 collective taking may be comparatively low (over £188 million) but with a relatively diverse group of creative teams (including 2 solo female directors and a foreign-language film) and an interesting mix of tales (including three original properties not based on pre-existing work or part of larger franchises), 2020 is more interesting than 2019. Which was dominated by comic book adaptations, remakes, and sequels to popular franchises (mostly from Disney and their subsidiaries). Hopefully, the upcoming months will bare good tidings for UK cinemas.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Film

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Editorials

When Great Video Games Become Lacklustre Movies

February 12, 2020
Video Game Movie Collage

Video games allow gamers to inhabit some far off world’s, experience the thrill of high-speed driving, or even being a goose. As video games have become more advanced, the stories that they have been able to tell and world’s they have created have become more expansive. Many games are filled with characters, backstories and events that are fleshed out in other media such as books, comics and sometimes films.

However, film adaptations of video games rarely do well, both critically and commercially. Some have even gone as far as to say the genre is cursed. Will the upcoming release of Sonic the Hedgehog, be able to break the infamous curse and prove that Detective Pikachu’s success wasn’t a one-off? Or will it turn out to be like the infamous Super Mario Bros?

Experience Vs Viewing

Michael Fassbender plays dual roles in the Assassin's Creed film, playing both an Assassin and his modern-day descendant reliving his memories (credit: 20th Century Fox, 2016)
Michael Fassbender plays dual roles in the Assassin’s Creed film, playing both an Assassin and his modern-day descendant reliving his memories (credit: 20th Century Fox, 2016)

One of the key differences between film and video games is that, while both are primarily visual mediums, games are interactive. Films are a viewing experience, that the audience has no control over, although there are some exceptions which blur the lines between the two.

The Assassin’s Creed series of games, for instance, transports players to detailed historical settings, allowing them to explore and interact with famous figures and climb lots of towers. The plot of the games centres around the centuries-long conflict between the Assassins and the Knights Templar. The detailed backstory is often told through journal entries or optional elements in the game. The 2016 film based on them, however, is forced to give all this information upfront. Dragging the pacing down as it has too much plot to cover in such a short time, rather than naturally over several hours.

Gameplay Vs Story

The Mortal Kombat film nails the look of the games (credit: New Line Cinema, 1995)
The Mortal Kombat film nails the look of the games (credit: New Line Cinema, 1995)

Another problem involved in the translation is they have different goals. Games have to focus on gameplay, with the story and other elements sometimes being an afterthought. This often means that a game can be fun to play, but not always to watch.

A good example of this is the Mortal Kombat film. The game features a cast of characters from multiple worlds fighting in a tournament. While the story itself does get deeper at times, the gameplay is the fights between these characters. The film focuses on the fights, but this leaves the actual fighters feeling one dimensional and a very loose plot. However, the plot is not the reason people play Mortal Kombat, so the film was successful in a sense. The newer games have brought its popularity back, prompting another attempt at a film, with James Wan producing.

Player Vs Audience

Even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Karl Urban are poor replacements for a player's imagined backstory (Universal Pictures, 2005)
Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Karl Urban are poor replacements for a player’s imagined backstory (credit: Universal Pictures, 2005)

Video games are much more personal experiences than films. Roleplaying games (RPG) and First Person Shooters (FPS) often try to make the experience immersive. As part of this, they often leave the player character intentionally vague, allowing them to fill in the details themselves. The idea is that makes it more personal and immersive.

This idea doesn’t work as well for films. The main character needs a personality in order for an audience to care about them. The Doom series, for instance, places you in the shoes of “Doom Guy” and that’s pretty much all the context you get. The filmmakers clearly realised this and created a squad of marines for the film, but the game makes a point of one character being all-powerful and marines as disposable. Even The Rock himself couldn’t carry the film and cites it as an example of what not to do.

However sometimes just getting the lead right is not enough. The Lara Croft: Tomb Raider films cast Angelina Jolie (And Alica Vikander in the reboot) as the title character and she plays the character well. However, the rest of the film falls flat, with reviewers citing flat characters and a generic plot. IGN went so far as to give the original a rating of 0 stars.

The Future

Detective Pikachu does an excellent job of bringing the Pokemon to life, as well as being a fun kid's film (Warner Brothers, 2019)
Detective Pikachu does an excellent job of bringing the Pokemon to life, as well as being a fun kid’s film (Warner Brothers, 2019)

Recently, there have been some exceptions to this rule. While the Resident Evil films have had some box office success, they aren’t exactly highly regarded. They are so far removed from the game that they only share some character and location names.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was released last year and was well-received. While some criticised its plot, there was near-unanimous praise for the creatures themselves. Likewise, Netflix’s recent series of The Witcher has been another win for video game adaptations (Although the plot is based on that of the books)

Things do slowly seem to be turning around for video game movies. After all the comic book genre was once thought of in the same way. Now comic films are some of the biggest films each year. Sonic the Hedgehog could speed up their credibility if it manages to hit the mark.

Also Read: Weapon of Choice: Iconic Weapons in Movies

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