Thursday, November 21, 2019

Disney+

It has taken me a while to parse through all that is available on the Disney streaming service, but after parsing out the 80 to 90% that is junk, what is left is a big disappointment. It is true that the service offers everything related to Star Wars, Marvel and Disney, but almost everything worth seeing is something that I have seen already. I am left with a literal handful of good movies that I have not yet seen, plus a handful of good movies that I have seen but might want to see again, and a handful of borderline films that I might give a chance just because there is nothing else.

Having signed up for the promotion where I paid in advance for three years at just $4 per month, it is questionable as to if I am going to get my money's worth. Maybe new content will come along, for example, I know that there are going to be some new Star Wars series, but I expected this to be more like the Netflix streaming service, and not just a massive collection of every bad movie and bad TV show Disney has ever made.

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Best wishes,
John Coffey

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Disney+ streaming service



So let's talk for a minute about the Disney+ streaming service. They claimed that they would have a ton of content, like 500 movies available at launch, for $7 per month. This seems like a price deliberately designed to bury Netflix, which is the world's most popular streaming service.

I took the promotion they offered a couple of months ago, where if you pay for three years, it is only $4 per month. I'm glad I did, because I counted 580 movies, and 90% of them are junk. Disney has everything they have ever done on here, like "The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes" from the 1960s, and "20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" from the 1950s. (I'm told that this movie might actually be good, but I remember seeing it when I was 10 years old.)

However, through the sheer mass of titles, there is still plenty of stuff worth watching. The remaining 10% contains some of the best stuff from Disney, Marvel, and Fox, although I have already seen many of these titles. It is diamonds in the rough. Just like on Netflix, I'll be spending much time figuring out what to watch.



The Mandalorian on the Disney streaming service is good. I found myself thinking that it is just a routine western, but it is really a great mix of western and sci-fi. It is not a perfect sci-fi show, but it feels like a perfect western with plenty of sci-fi thrown in. 

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Terminator: Dark Fate


On the surface, Terminator: Dark Fate seems like an example of everything wrong with movie-making in the last five years:  Take a 35-year-old franchise and reboot it with new heroes, most of which are female who seem far more capable than they should be, throw in a few subtle political messages and then make the movie with essentially the same plot that we have already seen.  One critic called the movie "garbage" because the female lead takes down two men twice her size simultaneously in hand to hand combat, as if the laws of physics have no meaning.  

Dark Fate is essentially a remake of Terminator II Judgement Day, but not as good.  The movie has heart, but not as much.  It has suspense, but it doesn't achieve the fantastic level of dread that Terminator II did.

However, Terminator: Dark Fate still has much to offer.  It has some of the best action scenes of the entire franchise.  These scenes are not perfect, because they are a bit too frenetic, too dark, and a little over the top, but they kept me riveted to my seat.  The movie also offers a few new twists on the old formula.

It is easier to appreciate this movie if we look at the history of the Terminator movies.

"The Terminator" in 1984 was a great low budget science fiction horror film.  Terminator II took this story to a much higher level and higher budget in 1991.  However, that was the last time the franchise was really great.  

Every movie since then has attempted to continue the story while also serving as a reboot that would allow the franchise to move forward.  In this regard, all the previous films failed.  I like the mostly forgettable Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and the somewhat better Terminator 4 Salvation (2009), but the movies had mixed reviews and the franchise failed to recapture its former glory.  Then came Terminator Genisys in 2015 that completely flopped.  The story was a dud.

Therefore, since these films are based on time travel, Terminator: Dark Fate continues the story after Terminator II in a way that completely throws away the last three movies.  This is actually a good thing because it is entertaining enough to allow the franchise to move forward again.  

The way the movie achieves this reboot might rub some people the wrong way.  There are a number of people who dislike this film.  Therefore, it seems likely to fail as a reboot.  What matters to me is that the movie is plenty entertaining despite a few minor flaws.  This is like Terminator Salvation, which I thought was pretty good, but not everyone liked it as much as I did.