REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 8

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Cassidy Freeman (The Vampire Diaries)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)

Alaina Huffman, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Charlotte Sullivan (Mary Kills People)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
David Lewis (Childs Play)
Kyle Schmid (Six)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Final Destination 3)
Calum Worthy (Ameircan Vandel)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen Lobo (Continuum)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Serinda Swan (Inhumans)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Brendan Fletcher (Arrow)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)

Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.Justin Hartley and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become. The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.Charlotte Sullivan and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.Tom Welling and Erica Durance in Smallville (2001)It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.

REVIEW: WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

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CAST

Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Amiah Miller (Lights Out)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Andy Sekris (The Hobbit)
Steve Zahn (Roadkill)
Karin Konoval (2012)
Gabriel Chavarria (Hunter Killer)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Aleks Paunovic (Kindergarten Cop 2)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Chad Rock (The Flash)

 

Karin Konoval and Amiah Miller in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)Some time after the U.S. military was called to fight off an increasingly intelligent and dangerous tribe of apes, the apes clan, led by the chimpanzee Caesar, are attacked in the woods by a rogue paramilitary faction known as Alpha-Omega, led by a ruthless Colonel. Alpha-Omega also has in its service apes they call “Donkeys” that had previously followed Koba, a human-hating bonobo who led a failed coup against Caesar. During the attack, the Alpha-Omega militants are met by heavy ape resistance, and several soldiers, including the gorilla Red, are captured by the apes. Caesar arrives and orders the four human soldiers to be released, with a message to the Colonel that he did not start the war, and that he desires peace between the humans and apes. Caesar orders that Red be imprisoned for his crimes, but before he can be imprisoned, Red escapes, injuring an albino gorilla named Winter. Soon after, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his lieutenant Rocket return from a journey to find a safe haven for the apes.They report that they have found a place across the desert that is perfect for the clan. Winter, still frightened from the soldiers’ attack, wants to leave immediately, but Caesar does not think they are prepared to leave so soon. That night, a group of Alpha-Omega soldiers, led by the Colonel, infiltrates the apes’ home behind a waterfall and the Colonel kills Caesar’s wife, Cornelia, and Blue Eyes. Winter cannot be found, and Luca, a gorilla, believes that Winter has betrayed them because he was frightened.Leaving his younger son, Cornelius, in the care of Blue Eyes’ mate, Lake, Caesar departs to exact revenge on the Colonel for the death of his family. He is accompanied by Maurice, an orangutan and Caesar’s advisor, Luca, and Rocket, while the other apes head for the desert. During their journey, the apes encounter a soldier living in an abandoned village and Caesar shoots him when he reaches for his rifle. Caesar, Maurice, Luca, and Rocket search the dead soldier’s home. Maurice discovers the soldier’s daughter who is apparently unable to speak. Maurice befriends the girl, giving her a small rag doll, and insists that they take her with them.Andy Serkis and Gabriel Chavarria in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)Along the way Caesar’s party encounters Winter in an Alpha-Omega camp on the beach where he has volunteered to become a “donkey” for the soldiers in return for sparing his life. He tells Caesar’s group that the Colonel has departed for a location referred to as the “border.” Winter tries to call out to Alpha-Omega soldiers to save him, but Caesar and the others smother him to keep him quiet, killing him. Caesar begins to worry that he is becoming like Koba by killing apes and seeking revenge. While following the soldiers to the border, they discover some soldiers who have been shot and left for dead. Their examination of a soldier who survived reveals that he, like the girl, cannot speak. Later the group meets Bad Ape, an intelligent chimpanzee hermit who lived in the Sierra Zoo before the Simian Flu pandemic. Bad Ape reveals that the human soldiers are encamped at the border and hesitantly agrees to lead them there.When the group arrives at the border, they see hundreds of apes held captive inside a former quarantine facility. While getting a closer look, Luca is killed protecting Caesar from an AO patrol, angering Caesar and causing him to proceed alone. Caesar discovers the rest of his ape clan has been captured, and are being forced to build a wall with no food or water; he is captured by Red. The Colonel reveals to Caesar that the Simian Flu virus has mutated and now causes humans who survived the original strain to devolve, becoming mute and regressing back to a primitive state. Caesar deduces that the Colonel is barricading himself in the facility to fend off remnants of the U.S. Army from the North who are coming to execute him because he favors killing any infected humans including his own son to stop the spread of the virus. Caesar is commended by the Colonel for his intelligence, and the Colonel explains he is fighting a “holy war” for the survival of mankind.While Caesar is tortured with starvation, the mute girl, whom Maurice names Nova, sneaks into the facility to give Caesar her rag doll given to her by Maurice, food, and water. To prevent her from being discovered, Rocket allows himself to be captured as a diversion. The next day, the Colonel comes to see if Caesar is still alive, discovers the doll, and asks both Caesar and Preacher how the doll got inside the cell. The Colonel decides to take the doll. Together Caesar and Rocket are able to work out a means of escape via an underground tunnel that leads out of the facility. Maurice and Bad Ape use the tunnel to rescue the apes, and Caesar orders the others to escape while he goes to confront the Colonel. As the facility comes under attack by the northern army, Caesar reaches the Colonel but realizes that he has fallen victim to the virus that he feared and has become unable to speak. As Caesar is about to kill the Colonel, he sees the mute girl’s rag doll on the ground. Caesar puts down his gun and spares the Colonel who then uses it to kill himself.During the battle between Alpha-Omega and the Northern Army, the escaping apes come under fire from Alpha-Omega. Caesar attempts to attack Alpha-Omega from behind, but is shot with a crossbow by Preacher, one of the Alpha-Omega militants he had previously set free. Red saves Caesar’s life by killing Preacher with a grenade launcher and is executed by an Alpha-Omega superior as a result. Caesar blows up the facility’s fuel supplies causing a cascading explosion, which wipes out Alpha-Omega and allows the Northern Army to win the battle. However, the army is subsequently buried and decimated by an avalanche, which Caesar and the other apes, carrying Nova, survive by climbing nearby trees. The remaining apes depart the facility and cross the desert to find an oasis. While the other apes joyously celebrate their new home, Maurice discovers Caesar’s wound. Maurice then speaks letting Caesar know that Cornelius will know what his father believed in and did to protect the apes. Caesar slowly and silently succumbs to his wound, and Maurice mourns his passing watching over the other apes.What makes War Of The Planet Of The Apes a masterpiece? Because it has some extremely well handled dramatic moments in it, boasting visually stunning cinematography and masterful acting to carry it off. War Of The Planet Of The Apes is not just about the horror about the battle of war, it’s also about the revolutionary shouts from the people being affected by it, in this case the apes. It’s an emotional roller- coaster, except instead of over-done sentimentality it displays raw emotion to get into the viewer watching the film. War Of The Planet Of The Apes, in my opinion, marks as the best of the Planet Of The Apes prequel films..