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Game of Thrones: House Of The Dragon Review | A Thrilling Return to Westeros

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The reign of House Targaryen begins. House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones, is coming to Sky and NOW in the United Kingdom and on HBO and HBO Max In the States on August 21. Based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood,” the series, which is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, tells the story of House Targaryen. 

HBO is expanding the world of Game of Thrones. The all-new series is co-created and executive produced by Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal who’ve been tasked with breathing new life into the franchise three years after the original series came to an end. Throughout the eight seasons of GOT, we didn’t get to see much of House Targaryen after all, there was Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) the mother of Dragons and her older brother Viserys III played by Harry Lloyd. Both siblings were the final remnants of a fallen dynasty. 

However, in House of the Dragon, we witness the Targaryen dynasty at the absolute apex of its power, with more than 15 dragons under their yoke. The first season of the prequel sets in motion the famous event in Westeros history known as the Dance of the Dragons. This is a brutal conflict that takes place between rival factions within House Targaryen. It’s a time of greater decadence and influence and showcases the family during their golden age at a time when Dragons ruled the Seven Kingdoms and showcases Westeros as peaceful and full of prosperity during that time Kings Landing grew enormously. 

The first episode of House Of The Dragon introduces the essential story development and also the new lead cast of characters along with their relationships with one another. It’s epic in scope and scale whilst telling a more personal and intimate story about one family, showcasing both their love and disruption, we also witness the biblical propositions about the pursuit of power. 

HOUSE TARGARYEN

The Targaryens have reigned as rulers of Westeros for five generations, this prequel centres on Paddy Considine’s King Viserys Targaryen who was chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the old king, Jaehaerys Targaryen. Viserys is a warm, kind, and decent man who only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy. But as we’ve learned from Game of Thrones, good men do not necessarily make for great kings. 

His reign however is troubled and sparked by the lack of succession. His nearest heir is his younger brother Prince Daemon Targaryen played by Matt Smith, a dangerous and unpredictable rogue. He’s a peerless warrior and a dragon rider, Daemon possessed the true blood of the dragon. He rides a Dragon called Caraxes, and wields a sword called Dark Sister.

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO

The sole challenger to her unstable uncle’s claim to the Iron Throne is King Viserys’ first-born daughter. Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen played by Milly Alcock (younger) and Emma D’Arcy (Older). She is of pure Valyrian blood and is also a dragon rider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man, she rides the dragon Syrax.

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO

HOUSE HIGHTOWER

Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is the hand of the king, he’s a high-flying political creature educated in statecraft. He’s a pragmatist and a manipulator. He’s pitted against his king’s younger brother. His house is one of the biggest players in the Dance of The Dragons civil war, the Hightowers are the oldest and have been residing in Westeros for thousands of years. Their seat of power is Old Town, one of the biggest cities in Westeros. 

As Otto Hightower’s daughter, Alicent Hightower played by Emily Carey (Young) and Olivia Cooke(old) is extremely present in court and King’s Landing, she is the most comely woman in the Seven kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle. She possesses grace and political acumen.

She has an extremely close relationship with Princess Rhaenyra – though the pair often differ in their approach to matters regarding the Throne.

Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO

HOUSE VELARYON

Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) is Head of House Velaryon, a bloodline as old as House Targaryen. Also known by the moniker ‘The Sea Snake” the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, Lord Corlys built his house into a powerful seat that is even richer than the Lannisters and that claims the largest navy in the world. The Velaryons were also a house from the freehold of Valyria, the mightiest empire in the west. since Aegon’s conquest House Velaryon has been sitting in the councils of House Targaryen. 

Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best) is a dragon rider and wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, “The Queen Who Never Was” was passed over as heir to the throne at the Great Council because the realm favoured her cousin, Viserys, simply for being male. something she clearly still holds a grudge about. ides the dragon Meleys. 

Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO

These three houses start the show together under the same roof because it is the story of one family. viewers are likely to already know their way around Westeros after eight seasons of Game of Thrones, however, the majority of the action is confined to King’s Landing. The world-building is phenomenal and it’s nice to return to a familiar yet new world. And even though the characters are different we witness the same story narrative which is that the Iron Throne is the most dangerous seat in the realm. Throughout the ten episodes, you’ll get to see the brutality of medieval life and the challenges of patriarchal society. The writers are able to freely fresh out the characters and get support from the text.

The source material has the best fiction and showcases drama through its characters. House Of The Dragon is about these flawed human beings who are capable of doing good things, capable of doing monstrous things, capable of courage, and capable of cowardice. Both factions of the family do have valid points but also do terrible things to achieve their views with a black and grey morality.

We see this new world through the perspective of the two lead female characters as House Of The Dragon focuses on the patriarchy’s perception of women, and that the council which are all male would rather destroy themselves than see a woman sit on the Iron Throne. This makes the show feel more contemporary.

Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO

DRAGONS

Hundreds of years before Daenerys Targaryen hatched Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, a dynasty of Dragons dominated the skies of Westeros. The first season promises to show at least 17 dragons and from what I’ve seen you shall not be disappointed. There is a very symbiotic connection between the Targaryen dragon rider and the dragon itself a skill you’ve got to master from an early age.

Each new dragon has its own personality and character traits. Caraxes the Blood Wyrm is ridden by Matt Smith’s Prince Daemon Targaryen, he’s described as a formidable huge blood-red dragon who is fearsome and battle savvy. Syrax is a she-dragon ridden solely by Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy/Milly Alcock). She has yellow scales and is huge and formidable but not as fearsome or experienced in battle as Caraxes.

Vhager is one of the three legendary dragons who first conquered Westeros, alongside Balerion and Maraxes. Sunfyre the golden is the most magnificent dragon to ever fly in Westeros He has these golden scales which shine in the sunlight.

The DNA of Game of Thrones is being kept alive through its score by Ramin Djawadi. You will hear themes that you’ll remember from the original show but the music is a foundation of House Targaryen with new themes for new characters. The clothes of that era are also very grand as they begin to mix metals and silvers whilst keeping the colours of each house.

VERDICT

House of the Dragon has all the elements we most love from Game of Thrones such as an expansive cast of interesting and complex characters and woven throughout are these intricate and twisted storylines, nuclear, bloody, and explosive action, whilst offering plenty of surprises. The Red Keep is bustling under the reign of the Dragons and King’s Landing feels so vibrant and alive. As all the Dragons roar as one, Fire will Reign.

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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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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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‘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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