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The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

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The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Old 07-01-22, 05:01 AM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

My opening movie (The Mummy Returns) was a stellar beginning to the challenge. I tend to forget how good a director Stephen Sommers really was. This has opened me up to a new series to watch. I will be adding the G.I. Joe movies to my series that I am watching next year. I hope that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is as good as I am hoping for. Obviously I love Stephen Sommers and also I love Dennis Quaid and Channing Tatum so I am hoping for a good start to this series. I don't think it will compare to The Mummy Returns but it was a tremendous movie. I am hoping to watch Godzilla 2000: Millennium, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Postman and Highlander II: The Quickening next. I like the newer-ish Godzilla movies so I am hoping that Godzilla 2000 will be good. I love Hunger Games so that movie will be great but I am sad that it wraps up the Hunger Games series. The Postman is starring Kevin Costner so I am hoping that he can carry a 3 hour movie. I do like Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Michael Ironside so I am hoping that the Highlander movie will be good. We will be watching that for my wife's movie. She is planning on watching the last three movies in this group with me (she is passing on Godzilla) so I will have good company if the movies don't measure up. I hope everyone has a good Friday with the challenge!
Old 07-01-22, 11:09 AM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by mrcellophane View Post
Those are the three versions I have! It's been years since I saw the Lynch version, and I was pretty champagne-drunk when I did. I'm interested to see what I think of it sober! The miniseries is awesome as is the follow up Children of Dune. The first book is one of my favorites. I read it every summer from ages twelve to twenty. I reread it last year in preparation for the new movie and was astounded by how much it shaped my worldview.

I hope you enjoy the Villeneuve adaptation when you watch it. I was blown away by it and am eager to revisit it.
I *really* like the follow up Children of Dune miniseries too! Several months back I discovered that region free BR of the Dune miniseries that *includes* The Children of Dune so ordered a copy. Zero regrets - looks great and the price is certainly "right" being *less* than I paid for the DVDs of both of those miniseries!

Amazon Amazon
Old 07-01-22, 11:16 AM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
That does sound good! I was about to start when I thought to check when dusk actually is...and realized it's wasn't around 8:30 like I thought, but more like 9:30. I figure as the host, I should follow my own rules, right?

Think I"m going to start with Disney's The Jungle Cruise. I enjoyed it when I saw it last year at the theater (my first post-pandemic in person movie!) and bought the BR during Black Friday. Feels like a good time to watch it again.
Official dusk kind of did me in on The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm as a starting choice. It's a bit longer than I thought I might be able to stay awake for (getting old sucks as far as easily falling asleep "too early" goes) so I went for a new BR copy of an old favorite "hard" SF film - This Island Earth as if I fell asleep it's one I've seen before so it isn't quite as annoying when it's interrupted. And... I nodded off a couple of times but managed to make it through with a few rewinds and really enjoyed it... again. The BR really looks good, too, so that was a plus and helped keep me awake. As I was still somewhat awake I opened my new BR of Space 1999 to use as "going to sleep" fodder and made it through the first episode before giving up for the night.

I saw The Jungle Cruise last year during a trip to my son's house. He rented it for the kids (ages 5, 7, 9) to watch. I was surprised at how entertaining it was and will likely pick up a copy once it hits "bargain basement" prices...
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Old 07-01-22, 03:50 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

orlmac Godzilla 2000 is pretty good, though I am a long time fan of Godzilla since my childhood. I also recommend Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla as well as it's sequel Tokyo SOS if you are interested in the Millennium series.

I was pretty much up the rest of the night after waking up at midnight, so got quite a few watches in, including the third official Predator movie, Predators on Google Play. Going to watch more tonight after dinner.
Old 07-01-22, 09:22 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I'm watching Field of Dreams and noticed that Ray Liotta isn't in the He's Dead, Jim list, so I added him on my list.

It's a marvelous film, and I haven't watched it in years, so it is almost like watching it for the first time. And given the times we are living in, it's heartwarming to see Amy Madigan take on a neo-fascist book burner. I guarantee every man who watched this called his dad afterward.

Last edited by Gobear; 07-01-22 at 09:30 PM.
Old 07-01-22, 09:33 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link View Post
Official dusk kind of did me in on The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm as a starting choice. It's a bit longer than I thought I might be able to stay awake for (getting old sucks as far as easily falling asleep "too early" goes) so I went for a new BR copy of an old favorite "hard" SF film - ....

I saw The Jungle Cruise last year during a trip to my son's house. He rented it for the kids (ages 5, 7, 9) to watch. I was surprised at how entertaining it was and will likely pick up a copy once it hits "bargain basement" prices...
I feel that. Some days it's hard to keep my eyes open to do anything, much less watch a movie! Jungle Cruise was a fun romp. It's cheesy funny but not so far overboard that it's bad. The CGI for the most part is good, though the cat gets a bit "eh" in places.

Originally Posted by Gobear View Post
I'm watching Field of Dreams and noticed that Ray Liotta isn't in the He's Dead, Jim list, so I added him on my list.
That's cool. He doesn't have a ton of sci-fi/fantasy films, but he does have a few if others would like to add him as well, though at this point, I think it's too late to do so officially.
Old 07-02-22, 10:14 AM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I watched the first two Hunger Games movies yesterday - I've seen them before but recently upgraded them to a complete series BR set. I'd kind of felt like the first two are mostly the same film before and watching them back-to-back pretty much cements that opinion. Sure, they're different - but not by much. It's like the book author said "Wait... I didn't include the 'evil corporation' theme enough in the first one and need to bring that up as it's really the main thing." so a sequel was born to create pretty much what the *first* book/movie should have been. I prefer the 2nd over the 1st for that single reason. I'll likely watch the final two movies sometime today - those are a bit of a slog to get through as, IMHO, they really should have been a single movie about 30 minutes longer than the longest of the pair.

**EDIT**
Yep... after watching the last 2 films of the series I'm positive they'd be better combined with at least an hour removed from the running time.

Last edited by BobO'Link; 07-02-22 at 04:22 PM.
Old 07-02-22, 04:17 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I just finished a first time viewing of The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grim. It was generally OK with somewhat boring segments tying the fairy tale bits together. The video of the new BR looks absolutely gorgeous. Sound is a bit all over the place with some dialog too soft (when it shouldn't be) and other times at a good level - that's mainly due to a remixed "5.1 Master Sound" mix - IMHO those always sound horrible and use "modern" sensibilities for mixing which place emphasis on music/sfx over voices making those overly loud if the sound level is set so you can hear what's being said. No option for original mix or mono - so no proper sound mix is available.

My biggest gripe is with the way the movie was originally filmed. It looks like they got the widest "fish eye" lens they could find, pulled it all the way back, locked it down, and shot the movie. Straight lines curve frequently in live action bits to the point of distraction, but not in any of the stop motion which seems to have used lenses properly. It almost looks like they were attempting a 3D look and failed miserably in the effort. The release comes with a "flat" WS presentation as well as a "Smile Box" version. Even though I'm not a fan of "Smile Box" I tried that to see if it was the "flat" version causing the "fish eye" issue I found so distracting. It was not - that "fish eye" issue is *still* present in the "Smile Box" version! A bit more imagination with shots/blocking could have greatly improved the overall film as well as not attempting to get as wide a field of view in every shot (which seems to be the cause of the "fish eye" look). Yes, I know this was a Cinerama film. How the West Was Won is also Cinerama and comes in a "Flat" and "Smile Box" release. It does not suffer from the "fish eye" look present here. That pretty much tells me it was improper use of lenses which caused the issues I have with the cinematography.

Last edited by BobO'Link; 07-02-22 at 05:13 PM.
Old 07-02-22, 05:28 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BobO'Link View Post
I watched the first two Hunger Games movies yesterday - I've seen them before but recently upgraded them to a complete series BR set. I'd kind of felt like the first two are mostly the same film before and watching them back-to-back pretty much cements that opinion. Sure, they're different - but not by much. It's like the book author said "Wait... I didn't include the 'evil corporation' theme enough in the first one and need to bring that up as it's really the main thing." so a sequel was born to create pretty much what the *first* book/movie should have been. I prefer the 2nd over the 1st for that single reason. I'll likely watch the final two movies sometime today - those are a bit of a slog to get through as, IMHO, they really should have been a single movie about 30 minutes longer than the longest of the pair.

**EDIT**
Yep... after watching the last 2 films of the series I'm positive they'd be better combined with at least an hour removed from the running time.
Have you read the book series at all? Like most books to movies, the books are generally better, though the best of the books is the first one and the prequel, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which follows Snow and shows how the games started and how he became who he is). The movies definitely could have been shorter but don't forget, they were made during the Harry Potter series as well...where they extended 7 books into 8 movies (11 if you include the Fantastic Beasts series too). Pretty sure they were trying to milk as much money as they could out of the series and Jennifer Lawrence.

I was a book seller when the books came out and originally skipped them as they seemed like another Young Adult, popular, no substance book. After all, this type of dystopian theme had already been done by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King in "The Long Walk") and Koushun Takami (wrote "Battle Royale.") I finally gave in and really enjoyed the first. The 2nd and 3rd were not as well written, but readable. There was maybe not as much time in the editing phase once they realized how popular the original book was and there was likely a rush into getting it on the shelves asap.

I doubt that "The Long Walk" would ever be turned into a film, but never say never I guess. The book is amazing though and I highly recommend it, though I feel like King rushed the ending. I did not enjoy Battle Royale as a film but the book was alright. Be prepared for a very large amount of detailed violence though out of both the book and movie.

Originally Posted by BobO'Link View Post
I just finished a first time viewing of The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grim. It was generally OK with somewhat boring segments tying the fairy tale bits together. The video of the new BR looks absolutely gorgeous. Sound is a bit all over the place with some dialog too soft (when it shouldn't be) and other times at a good level - that's mainly due to a remixed "5.1 Master Sound" mix - IMHO those always sound horrible and use "modern" sensibilities for mixing which place emphasis on music/sfx over voices making those overly loud if the sound level is set so you can hear what's being said. No option for original mix or mono - so no proper sound mix is available.
Thanks for the review. I was looking at getting it, but think I'll pass for now! I think the wonky visuals would drive me a bit batty.
Old 07-02-22, 06:58 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
Have you read the book series at all? Like most books to movies, the books are generally better, though the best of the books is the first one and the prequel, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which follows Snow and shows how the games started and how he became who he is). The movies definitely could have been shorter but don't forget, they were made during the Harry Potter series as well...where they extended 7 books into 8 movies (11 if you include the Fantastic Beasts series too). Pretty sure they were trying to milk as much money as they could out of the series and Jennifer Lawrence.

I was a book seller when the books came out and originally skipped them as they seemed like another Young Adult, popular, no substance book. After all, this type of dystopian theme had already been done by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King in "The Long Walk") and Koushun Takami (wrote "Battle Royale.") I finally gave in and really enjoyed the first. The 2nd and 3rd were not as well written, but readable. There was maybe not as much time in the editing phase once they realized how popular the original book was and there was likely a rush into getting it on the shelves asap.

I doubt that "The Long Walk" would ever be turned into a film, but never say never I guess. The book is amazing though and I highly recommend it, though I feel like King rushed the ending. I did not enjoy Battle Royale as a film but the book was alright. Be prepared for a very large amount of detailed violence though out of both the book and movie.

Thanks for the review. I was looking at getting it, but think I'll pass for now! I think the wonky visuals would drive me a bit batty.
I've not read the books. They're "Yong Adult," a type I generally avoid, and I have far too many already on the shelves awaiting attention. It doesn't help my lack of desire to read them due to the movies being a bit cliche' and predictable (which I chalk up to them being the YA genre - somewhat a cornerstone of those type movies/books). I've read they absolutely took their queue from Harry Potter and the Twilight series when splitting the last book into 2 movies. Basically riding the "gravy train" because they could. Can't say I blame them but the films suffered a bit because of it.

I *really* wanted to like "Brothers Grim" more than I did and was quite disappointed in the way it was shot. Not a single other review I've read makes mention of the visual issues. One kind of hints at it but doesn't come right out and say how distracting, at least IMHO, it is. I made it almost 15 minutes into the film before I gave up and tried the "Smile Box" version thinking it'd look OK and I'd just watch it that way. I can't begin to say how disappointed I was that the "Smile Box" process didn't correct it nearly enough. Maybe if you could actually watch it on a proper Cinerama screen sitting in the "sweet spot" it'd be OK as much of that would be in your peripheral vision. I honestly believe Pal just didn't know how to properly use the cameras and process to proper effect. I even looked up to see if it was originally shot as a 3D movie due to the many shots that appear to be done with that process in mind (things coming at the camera, people leaning into close ups - what few there are - and others). After viewing it I absolutely recommend you watch it if possible before purchasing a copy.
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Old 07-03-22, 05:00 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I just finished the first film from Christopher Nolan I actually enjoyed enough to watch again without someone else making the choice. Tenet was a fun and interesting film with a nice little twist on the time travel genre. I don't get what all the talk about being unable to understand what was going on though... it was quite straightforward - as long as you understand time travel, its associated paradoxes, and possibilities. Heck, it even explained itself as it went along just in case. I *did* laugh/chuckle a couple of times when I'm sure it wasn't intended to be humorous - guess that's the price you pay when you dabble with time travel and kind of get parts of it wrong. In spite of that I really enjoyed the use of time inversion and its effects. Have I said it was lots of fun? I also enjoyed seeing future events played out in the past and then, finally, see how it came about to impact both time streams. If you remove all the time travel bits you pretty much are left with a rather standard, mundane, and predictable spy thriller. It's the time travel twists and turns that really make this one stand out.

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Old 07-04-22, 11:53 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Just watched Free Guy with Travis and really enjoyed it. I was thinking it might be like Ready Player One, but it really wasn't. I thought it was fairly clever/funny and an enjoyable watch. Not sure I'd be compelled to see it again, but I wouldn't be apposed to it either.

Prior to that, I also watched Mr. Toad's Wild Ride which was awful. Do not recommend. I bought a 4 pack from the Disney Movie Club with it in it, along with Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, and The Country Bears. I have to hope that The Country Bears will be any good, but here's hoping the other two are at least watchable.
Old 07-05-22, 12:01 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Last night, while turning on The Smurfs, I was hit with a surprise when I saw it was computer animated, and not the show I grew up with. I almost turned it off right there, but decided to stay with it. I was glad I did, because the show was very enjoyable with a lot that hearkened back to the original show, with the exception of a new character named Storm.

Old 07-05-22, 04:54 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

@Darkgod --

It's 'Doctor Who " The Vanquishers"'
Old 07-06-22, 06:19 AM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I started out the challenge with COVID -- thankfully a super mild case, but it meant I was stuck isolating at home over the holiday weekend. At least it was a good opportunity to get plenty of SFF viewing in! I've got about 6 more things to watch to knock out the checklist.

And a negative COVID test last night means I am free to attend Blobfest this coming weekend. Trying to decide which double feature to go to: The War of the Worlds (1953), When Worlds Collide (1951), or The Man from Planet X (1951) (all paired with The Blob (1958), naturally). #1 is the only one of the three that I've seen before, but it would probably be cool to see it in a theater with a responsive audience. #2's probably out because of timing -- the showing doesn't start till 8pm; even with two relatively short films, that'd be a struggle for me. #3 looks pretty corny, but that can be fun too.
Old 07-06-22, 07:30 AM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Yesterday afternoon I felt like some cartoons, so broke out my complete series set of Voltron. I watched the first four parts of the pilot episode, up until Voltron makes his first appearance. The set not only includes every Lion force episode, but every Vehicle force episode, and even the Fleet of Doom movie.
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Old 07-06-22, 07:03 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I watched the Criterion BR of War of the Worlds last night. It's an old favorite and never disappoints. It was bookended with episodes of Space 1999 - an old TV favorite I discovered when in college during its original airings in the US.

Tonight is Village of the Giants from "Mr. BIG" - a rather bad movie in the "so bad it's good" vein. It's a new BR from Kino.

alyxstarr - I'd likely go with War of the Worlds then When Worlds Collide as the fall back choice. The Man from Planet X isn't that bad itself though, IMHO, the alien is a bit cheesy looking. Kino just released a BR of that one with a couple of other films from Edgar G. Ulmer - my copy just came in and I plan to watch them this month.

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Old 07-06-22, 07:20 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by alyxstarr View Post
I started out the challenge with COVID -- thankfully a super mild case, but it meant I was stuck isolating at home over the holiday weekend. At least it was a good opportunity to get plenty of SFF viewing in! I've got about 6 more things to watch to knock out the checklist.
Glad that you're feeling better and that you were able to be "productive" during it! Good job on being so close to finishing the checklist...that can be difficult!
Old 07-07-22, 12:09 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

James Caan died last night. Time to put on Rollerball.

Alyxstarr--Glad you're feeling better. I just had a COVID bout that would not go away despite being double boosted. Finally getting over it.
Old 07-07-22, 07:07 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I don't normally make much use of the Apple TV part of my Apple One subscription, but today I decided to check for any eligible content on there. I am so glad I did, because I had never heard of Finch before. I saw it was a Tom Hanks movie, and the description sounded interesting. It was one of the most moving movies I had seen in many years.
Old 07-07-22, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Gobear View Post
James Caan died last night. Time to put on Rollerball.
Added him to the list for next year.
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Old 07-07-22, 11:02 PM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I finished the night with an episode of Star Trek Voyager on Heroes & Icons. It seems that I missed a lot in the later seasons. Neelix was telling a story to some borg children. I never even knew that there were borg children on the ship.
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Old 07-07-22, 11:15 PM
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I watched Disney's The Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror tonight. Finished up with the Muppet's Haunted Mansion. The first was not bad...would have been good if Eddie Murphy was not in it. The rest of the actors, the CGI and even the plot were fine and watchable, but Murphy was too over the top, smarmy. I usually don't hate him but he's not my favorite actor and movies like this are why.

Tower was alright. I thought the ending was fine, but I doubt I'd ever watch this again. I did enjoy seeing Kirsten Dunst and Mike McShane though.

Muppets Haunted Mansion was alright. Watchable at least and fit my theme tonight.
Old 07-08-22, 01:55 AM
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Re: The 15th Annual Sci-fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Just FYI, there's a sci-fi marathon tonight (Friday) starting at 8 with Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, followed by The Thing and the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There are two bonus vampire movies after that, The Velvet Vampire and The Hunger.
Old 07-08-22, 07:29 AM
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Last night I watched Skyline (2010) from Colin Strause and Greg Strause (aka The Brothers Strause), the directors of Aliens vs Predator Requiem (2007) - their directorial debut. They're mainly known for their vfx work on several high profile SF films. Had I know they were responsible for AVPR before picking this one up I'd have given it a miss. And it deserves to be missed. The vfx are very good and inventive but there's zero story. It somewhat makes the attempt of a story but it's just hollow words to kill time and never makes you care about any of the humans involved. It's the epitome of the running around, getting trapped, screaming, repeat for 90 minutes movie. It "ends" on a cliffhanger that I've read never resolves in any of the sequels. I *did* get a few laughs at the absolute stupidity of events and the constant "It's the only way out!" (spoiler - it never was) spouted anytime there was a need to move the cast to a new location. Watch it for the vfx but don't expect anything else. One of the "writers" for this one, Liam O'Donnell, is responsible for writing and directing 2 sequels (and another film that sounds rather similar). Based on this film I'm giving those a hard pass...

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