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The Wheel Of Time | Season 1 – An Excellent Translation From Page To Screen

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The Wheel of Time is a book series spanning 14 novels, 15 if you include the prequel by Robert Jordan. The books calculate to have over 4.4 million words which throughout the series takes place over the span of two years in a very expansive world. It really intrigued me when I heard that a show was in development and then in September 2019 went into production. 

Amazon Studios have truly crafted a phenomenal adaptation, In fact having a life-long fan at the helm of the series makes The Wheel of Time a worthy one indeed as Rafe Lee Judkins sprinkles every speck of detail as having now watched episodes 1-6 he manages to create an impressive start with a richly detailed world, high-fantasy magic, phenomenal visual effects on the Trolloc’s and Dark One. It also tells a gripping fantastical adventure as a group of friends from a secluded village discover their roles in an upcoming battle where existence itself is at risk. 

Set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it, the story follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the incredibly powerful all-female organisation called the Aes Sedai, as she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers. There, she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or destroy humanity.

With a reported $10 million budget per-episode, The Wheel of Time spares no expense to create Jordan’s fantasy world that drew heavily from Tolkien, cultures and religions. The world Amazon Studios have created is truly expansive and everything was high quality with immersive locations hosting these detailed sets, especially the Two Rivers. The breathtaking landscapes also play a magnificent part in this epic fantasy as the bulk of the series was shot in Prague, Czech Republic, and its surrounding areas. The city which was eastern European was perfect for the ancient and mystic aesthetic which the show needed. But also the surrounding forests and mountains helped portray and showcase the long heroes journey the characters go on. 

The Visual and practical Effects are also created magnificently, we see spells, creatures and magic throughout the series and beginning with an onslaught from the Trolloc army. Trolloc’s are a type of shadowspawn, they comprise the bulk of the Dark One’s army. They’re huge with the body of a man, and the head and feet of an animal such as a bear, bird, wolf or goat. Practical up-close then enhanced with VFX CGI doubles when in a swarm of them. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

With Lightning and practical effects and visuals the Ae Sedai cast, they ward off these gigantic creatures. the smoke effects also create an alluring environment.

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Casting for any large series like this is daunting as you need to find actors who fit the part and most will have to be in seasons for the long haul. Every actor in The wheel of Time gives their best in the series and each inhabit their character remarkably well. 

Rosamund Pike is stellar in the role of Moiraine, she’s often stoic as the Aes Sedai are known for. but its the emotion in her performance that truly captures the essence of her character. Moiraine is a powerful Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah and is on a quest to find the dragon reborn. In the first three episodes she’s following a prophecy about this reincarnated figure and wants to find him or her before the Dark One can. She is reserved and overflowing with quiet wisdom but she can truly fight against a whole army of Trolloc’s by herself as she possesses the strong talent of the One Power. 

Alongside Pike is Daniel Henney who plays Lan Mandragoran. He is a warder to Moiraine, but is so much more than meets the eye. stoic and often serious. Lan is magically bonded to Moiraine who protects her and fights by her side, his sword skills are phenomenal . He shows loyalty to his traveling companions but it’s the bond between these two actors that I have plenty of praise for. Both embody their characters and have a relationship that is far greater than friendship. Henney is brilliant in the role. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Supporting these two on their journey are the core group of characters from Emond’s Field. Madeleine Madden plays Egwene. She is strong-willed and determined. she’s the innkeepers daughter too but she wants more from running her fathers inn and marry her childhood sweetheart, a sheepherder. during the episodes she’s more ok with having to suddenly leave home with Moiraine, as she wants to see more of the world. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Barney Harris plays Mat Cauthon, a rogue and a gambler with a cheeky sense of humour. He has a devil-may-care attitude as he’s always ready to throw a dice or pull a prank on some unexpected person. He also gets himself into trouble all the time, he’s curious and not at all worried about consequences. Harris is good in the role throughout season one so far and balances Mat’s humour and the darkness that grows within him. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Marcus Rutherford plays Perrin Aybara, the local blacksmith. He’s kind and gentle and constantly moving and thinking deliberately. Taller and burlier than his friends, Perrin is slow to anger but rage overtakes him in these episodes I was given. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

And finally there’s Josha Stradowski playing Rand Al’Thor, who’s is the sheepherder and Egwene’s childhood sweetheart. he adores the simple life and his father Tam. He looks forward to a future where he can marry Egwene and raise a family of his own in Two Rivers. His character always strives to do the right thing even when what’s ahead is completely unexpected. Stradowski truly excels in the role and fully embraces the character with these complex layers. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Every character in The Wheel of Time is deeply connected. This group of friends have been together their entire lives and you can truly see that in every exchange. They work really well as an ensemble and the chemistry among all the actors is excellent. 

The score for the show was truly outstanding and one of my favourite aspects of each episode, Lorne Balfe has truly delivered a grand epic score. 

Overall, The Wheel of Time is an excellent translation from page to screen. It honours the source material and elevates the story with powerful cast and an EPIC engaging story which is gripping and fully immersed in FANTASY. 

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Drama

Netflix’s Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown’s Medicore Fantasy Drama Fails Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

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Robin Wright, Millie Bobby Brown and Angela Basett in Netflix's Damsel

Netflix’s latest 109-minute original movie, starring Millie Bobby Brown, unfortunately fails to conquer its audience. The twisted dark fairy tale turns into a fantasy survival thriller as the “damsel in distress” faces betrayal and hardships. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, Damsel offers a beautiful concept with a weak story.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The opening narration of the movie, “There are many stories of chivalry where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress. This is not one of them,” sets the tone of the movie as Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) was ‘sold’ to another kingdom as a bride only to be betrayed by her husband soon after getting married. Hurt, alone, and frightened, the protagonist soon learns that she has been ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of the kingdom to a dragon. Survival seems hard for the princess as she comes across the dangers of the majestic creature. Brown’s character soon finds out that she is not the first to be sacrificed. Several brides like her have been thrown away for generations like a stick thrown to a dog.

Damsel offers an unusual and strong concept with captivating visuals and cinematography. The traditional classy costumes and rich makeup style match the theme well. As usual, the Stranger Things star offered outstanding dialogue delivery with expectational expressions.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

As much as Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent performance needs to be applauded one cannot help but notice the waste of fine talents. Yes, we’re talking about multiple award winners, veteran actresses Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, who are highly recognized talents out in the world, famous for their spectacular roles in multiple critically acclaimed projects. Brown’s heavy presence leaves no room for Bassett and Wright to shine. It leaves other actors such as Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, and Brooke Carter far out from the spotlight.

Damsel includes some heart-wrenching action scenes along with many emotional turning points that make Elodie question her life. She is living in fear, facing betrayal, figuring things out, and most importantly, trying to survive all alone in a dark cave. The bland dialogues in between disrupt the flow of the movie, but the rushed conclusion lashes all hopes to the ground! All the buildup was quickly washed away as the movie ends cursory.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The period movie challenges patriarchy, inequality, and gender roles. The protagonist Princess Elodie is an open-minded, strong, progressive-thinking character who can do anything for her people – even if it means giving up her dreams and life in an arranged marriage. The women in the movie are bold, strong, rational, and, protective. It is only fitting that Netflix’s Damsel was released on International Women’s Day as the distressed damsel shows she needs no man in shining armor to protect her from the dangers present in the world. She is a brave, daring, sharp-minded young woman who takes revenge and expresses power when it was needed. Game of Thrones may have set a standard for dragons, but this one is no less. We’re sure Khaleesi would be proud of Elodie!

Damsel is available to stream on Netflix.

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fantasy

Wonka Review | Delectable And Delightful

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Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Plot

Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.

From Paul King, writer/director of the “Paddington” films, David Heyman, producer of “Harry Potter,” “Gravity,” “Fantastic Beasts” and “Paddington,” and producers Alexandra Derbyshire (the “Paddington” films, “Jurassic World: Dominion”) and Luke Kelly (“Roald Dahl’s The Witches”), comes an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humor.

Starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time—proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Movie Review (no spoilers)

This movie is an adaptation of both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as well as the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, stories written by Road Dahl. The story takes Wonka on his journey into the world to start a chocolate business, but with all new ventures comes challenges, new friends and the obvious foes who will stand in the way of your dreams.

Timothée Chalamet delivers an excellent performance as Wonka alongside an energetic cast. I really enjoyed and appreciate the passion and energy Timothée brought to this movie. The choreography and the costumes was creatively done and on another level.

Wonka combines a feel-good story with musical elements, heartfelt messages and occasional humoristic elements from Hugh Grant. The story is as sweet as the chocolate and I hope that the factory will keep going as the story ends in such a way that it gives hope and the possibility of more stories and adventures of Wonka. 

No post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end. The movie trailer doesn’t spoil much of the main storyline. The movie has a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes.

I give this movie a 4.5 out of 5!

This movie made me feel like singing, and I leave this song adaptation for you:

“Oompa loompa doompety doo,”
At the movies I hope to see you,
“Oompa loompa doompety dee,”
Wonka’s movie, you must see!

Wonka Official Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)

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fantasy

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Part 1 Review: An Epic and Riveting Adventure Continues

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In 2019, Netflix struck gold with the epic fantasy series ‘The Witcher’ and viewers started thinking that the streaming platform might be close to getting a show as massive as ‘Game of Thrones’. The first season turned out to be successful, but it was the second edition that made everyone realize how the live-action series had laid the perfect foundation for something special. Almost two years after getting a glimpse of what Ciri could do with her powers, ‘The Witcher’ is back with another action-packed season that will captivate viewers with its masterful storytelling, thrilling battles, and impeccable performances.

Season 3 of ‘The Witcher’ picks up where the previous season left off, with Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), the enigmatic monster hunter, embarking on a new set of adventures, along with Ciri (Freya Allan) and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra). This season, Geralt finds himself caught in a web of political intrigue as he navigates the treacherous world of the Northern Kingdoms. From the royal intrigues of Nilfgaard to the exploration of the elven past, the show seamlessly weaves together multiple narratives, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats and adding layers of depth to the already intricate plot. Apart from that, Geralt and Yennefer continue to do anything and everything to keep Ciri safe from the bad people.

Henry Cavill (Geralt), Freya Allan (Ciri), and Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

However, one of the standout aspects of Season 3 is its exceptional character development. The fantasy series continues to explore the complexities of its main characters, especially Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. All the aforementioned characters undergo significant transformation throughout the season, allowing viewers to connect with them on a deeper level. Kudos to the writing team of ‘The Witcher’ who have done an exceptional job in fleshing out the backstories of all these characters and making them feel more relatable. Themes like destiny and the consequences of one’s choices are prevalent throughout the season. Some moments will make people realize the thin line between right and wrong by looking deep into the moral ambiguity of its characters.

Once again, the show is packed with epic action sequences that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. From extraordinary sword fights to magical showdowns, the battles are nothing short of thrilling this time around. Visually, it’s stunning, and storytelling-wise, it’s more riveting than ever.

As far as performances are concerned, Freya Allan delivers another remarkable performance as Ciri and strikes a perfect balance between vulnerability and resilience. Meanwhile, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer displays how much she has grown as an actor. Season 3 explores the emotional depths of her character most effectively and gives Chalotra the bandwidth of showing her range. However, it is Henry Cavill who takes your breath away with a scintillating performance as Geralt of Rivia. From the very first season, Cavill has successfully embodied the larger-than-life character and this time around, he just knocks it out of the park by effortlessly embodying the brooding yet compassionate nature of The Witcher.

Also, the chemistry between the three leads drives the emotional core of the show.

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

All in all, Part One of ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 raises the bar, and every aspect of the show has improved significantly from its predecessors. Season 3 proves to be a worthy addition to the beloved series and if you are a fan of the fantasy series, ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 is a much-watch.

Come and immerse yourself in the magical world of Geralt of Rivia.

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