Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pacific Rim review

Before I begin this review I'd like to warn you guys that there will be some spoilers. So if you haven't seen Pacific Rim go see it now before you read this. It's well worth your time and money, and I doubt you'll be disappointed.

When I first heard about Pacific Rim I was immediately hyped for this movie. It's one thing to finally get a movie that takes mecha and kaiju, two of my favorite things about Japanese media, and bring them together for a giant rumble, it's another to finally have an original film in a world where adaptations and sequels reign supreme. Sure, original films aren't extinct (yet) but they're hard to come by in mainstream media. Normally, you have to go onto the independent circuit to find original stories and most of the time they fail to grab you the right way. The last feature film I saw that I considered to be "original" (in that it's not based on previously existing media) was Oblivion, and I loved the heck out of that movie.

In my pattern of thinking, Pacific Rim was a movie that encapsulated genres that Del Toro and his co-creators loved as children. This was a similar thinking process the Wachowskis had when filming the original Matrix. They had a love of anime, sci-fi, and kung-fu movies and wanted to make a movie that had all those things and went about making a plot capable of having those aspects. It was the fact that Del Toro and company were inspired to make a movie, as opposed to be driven to revive a dead franchise due to brand recognition, that attracted me to this movie.

So, does Pacific Rim manage to hold its own, or does it fall apart due to poor manufacturing? Well that's a complicated question to answer as the film does get so many things right, as well as many other things wrong. While it succeeds in delivering a spectacular action film overall, some aspects of the film hold it back from being as good as it should be. Whether it's the characterization to the plot, there are some things that just could've been better.

To start, I'd like to mention just how fun this movie is. I sometimes feel I had more fun watching this film than I really should have, and that's because it is a genuinely fun film. Watching giant robots punch and hack away at giant monsters is, naturally, going to be fun to watch. You'd have to try to make it dull or down right unwatchable. You can't help but get sucked into the action when you see the Jaegers take on the kaiju. Right then and there, that should be enough for most people. The trailers for this film have made this movie out to be a giant slugfest between monster and machine and you get what's advertised. Better yet, the action is actually easy to follow (suck it Michael Bay!), that is, if you're not watching the movie in 3D (suck it James Cameron!).

I actually viewed the film in both 2D and 3D, and while the 3D isn't terrible (and let's face it, on a good day 3D will lightly rape your eye sockets) the movie has a tendency to rain on you to get the feeling of depth. Sadly, this can render some of the action scenes completely incomprehensible. However, I attribute this to the fact that the crappy 3D glasses the theater gave me kept getting a glare. (I will probably end up writing a whole other entry on 3D for another time.)

The film is rich in visuals, from the giant Jaegers to the set designs, and it helps craft a world that I wish I had gotten to see more of before the credits rolled. A majority of the film takes place in a giant Jaeger silo called The Shatterdome, and this place is just brimming with amazing design. I'm a sucker for old, metallic, war bunker-like designs, and The Shatterdome feels like a mix between an old WWII bunker and the Nebuchadnezzar from The Matrix. However, if military bunkers aren't your thing the film also shows us a bit of a city that was built around the bones of a dead kaiju. Sadly, we never actually get to explore the world after the kaiju in that much detail and most elements the film presents are easily lost in the background.

This is one issue of the film: it never truly sells us on a world devastated by the kaiju. Most of the time, the movie just tells us what the world's like, instead of showing. We get to see fragments from news reels and television shows about how humanity responded to the kaiju threat over the years, all set to a narration that explains the gist of what's going on, but we never truly get to see this for ourselves. Not only that, but most places we do see don't look all that worse off. For instance, we see a kaiju attack Australia, and everything is rather pristine for the most part, even the Sydney Opera House is still standing after all this time. We are constantly told that humanity is barely holding their own against the kaiju, but we never truly see it. Sure, we get the point that things are dire due to the fact that there are only four Jaegars left to defend humanity, but it wasn't enough in my opinion.

When it comes to the overall plot of the film, well I honestly can't say I was expecting something on the level of The Dark Knight. And I feel it would be a little unfair to expect a movie about giant robots fighting monsters to have a tone of brooding and deep storytelling (even though some animes have done it in the past). No, the plot manages to be just what a film like this needs to be: simple. Sure, it could've done something to keep the plot from being stale, but overall it does what it sets out to do: to justify the reason why we have giant robots fighting giant monsters. However, I do feel the plot is a little too upbeat for its own good, especially considering what it presents us with.

While I am more than sick and tired of movies about darkness and brooding, the fact of the matter is that a lot of the characters in Pacific Rim manage to be a little too upbeat than they really should be. The film constantly tells us that the world is on the brink of total destruction, yet no one really acts like it is (apart from Idris Elba's badass commander Stacker Pentecost). This is especially notable with characters faced with severe trauma the likes of which no one has ever experienced. The best example of this is in Charlie Hunnam's character, Becket. The beginning of the film has Becket lose his co-pilot and brother during a kaiju battle. This would be scarring for anyone but, due to the technology used in piloting Jaegers, pilots are mind melded together as one entity. The film tells us Becket is horribly traumatized by this experience, but we never really see it. Once, and only once, in the movie do we see this trauma interfere with his ability to pilot a Jaeger. After that, he's fine. The film doesn't explore how Becket must feel after, essentially, feeling a part of himself die right before his eyes. This is sad considering the film presents us with a unique way to explore it, through the mind melding experience the film calls "drifting." And it doesn't take that much time to get him back into a Jaeger after that.

This is, sadly, due to the fact that the film is aware that the real selling point are the epic fights. However, this results in some very shoddy pacing that jumps through important character moments to get to the next big set-piece. This can be seen throughout the film where we go from Charlie Day's eccentric kaiju researcher Newton to emotional bonding between Becket and Rinko Kikuchi's Mako in the span of seconds. The various plots feel disjointed and rushed, which can be somewhat jarring. The film manages to forget that no matter how awesome the fights may be, it won't matter if we don't have a bond with the characters.

Speaking of characters, the film is full of them! Characters ranging from partially fleshed out to outright cartoony can be found here. As I mentioned above, the film doesn't spend much time on the characters, and it suffers for that. The most interesting character is Mako, and Rinko Kikuchi manages to be lovable enough to keep her character from being flat. This is the same for most of the characters, as all of them manage to keep from being outright annoying, even the jerkass Australian pilot who serves as Becket's nemesis for most of the movie manages to be at least likable in some sense. However, it's Charlie Day's Newton and Burn Gorman's Dr. Gottlieb that stand out as truly cartoony characters, Gottlieb more so than Newton. Both rant techno babble at light speed to the point where they nearly become grating. And then there's Ron Perlman's Hannibal Chau, a black market dealer in kaiju body parts who, apparently, doesn't know the meaning of subtle. While Perlman manages to be entertaining as the gold-plated criminal, he really stands out among the more grounded characters. Overall, I never found myself hating any of the characters, and I was a bit bummed out when some of them died. However, I do feel the film could've done more with the characters, as well as handled them more efficiently.

    As I continue to analyse the film the more flaws I keep turning over, yet, at the end of the day, the film is greater than the sum of its parts. While it definitely could've been more, it certainly could've been less and when it comes down to it Pacific Rim manages to be entertaining without insulting your intelligence. The actors manage to make more of their characters than what was probably on paper and it would've been really easy to make most of these characters boring if not downright unlikable. The story serves only to take us from one big fight after another, which may be unforgivable but you can't really blame the filmmakers for doing. Many will come for the fights, and will undoubtedly be satisfied with the fights the film gives us. When you get right down to it, Pacific Rim is an example of when style manages to outdo substance. It's a ridiculously fun movie to watch, and you will most likely end up liking it more than you really should.

I give Pacific Rim 8 giant mechs wrestling with kaiju out of 10.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not forgotten.

Yep, it's been a long damn time since I last wrote in this blog. Of course, this is because I've been busy writing for a new website (and loving it) as you all know. Along with that I've also been working on crazy book ideas, running around like a decapitated chicken, and enjoying my extended vacation while I work to get established at a new university. Naturally, I've neglected this blog, which I feel bad for because I feel it is the source of my success so far. So I've tried to make an effort to start writing here again, posting my more personal opinions of films and games, while also continuing to do reviews for movies you can find on Netflix. However, I'm also mulling around with the idea of putting up some of my own fictional works here to fill in the huge gap I've left here due to my preoccupied mind.

I'll be posting my own review of Pacific Rim here in the next couple of days to start getting this blog back into working form. And will also restart some of my abandoned reviews I promised you all so long ago. I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Expect Delays

What can I say? I'm very busy. More busy than I ever have been in my entire life, in fact. I have other projects I really need to get done, plus college stuff that needs tending to. I am telling you this because I won't be doing my Chzo review any time soon now. I do feel bad about having to do this, especially when this blog has been a crucial part of my current success, but I need to focus my energies on more important matters.

I will still do reviews whenever I can, but in a limited capacity. I know I don't write enough on this blog as it is, but I really have no choice.

I do apologize to the ten or so people who read my blog, because it's you guys who keep me going, I'd rather have you than a slew of readers (well actually I wouldn't mind more traffic, but that's beside the point). The only thing I can ask of you is to be patient. The stuff I'm working on right now is big, life changing, stuff here, and it's a serious gamble for me. You could say I've gone all in when I don't know what the cards are, I will either win big, or I will lose terribly. However, with some tenacity, and a whole lot of luck, I might just pull it off.

So for now, consider the blog in a state of hibernation... I will catch you guys on the flip-slide... hopefully...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tales Of High Adventure And Cosmic Horror: Announcement

I've decided to introduce a new segment where I review various point-and-click adventure games made with the Adventure Game Studio game design system. This is mainly to increase the entries on the blog because thing's have been going slow. I'm not going to any new films, nor am I playing any new games anytime soon. Not to mention if I do I'll be reviewing them for Nerd Like You. While I have said before that I would provide more spoilerific reviews of the games and films I review over there, I've found that it is just not needed. I've looked over my recent reviews and felt I got my point across without providing spoilers, and doing so would be redundant.

While I will provide reviews of films if I do indeed find I can say more, and I will still do reviews of movies you can find on Netflix, the fact of the matter is that I need a new source of reviews. The readily available games for the AGS system not only provides plenty of fun and interesting games, but a lot of them are surprisingly well done. So, over the next few weeks, I will be going over Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's cosmic horror game series that many have taken to calling the "Chzo Mythos." However, before we can take a look at this series we need a bit of background (not only that but I am still in the process of playing the first game for the review).

To begin let's go over just what the heck the Adventure Game Studio is for those who aren't aware of it.

The Adventure Game Studio is a freeware game design program used to create adventure games similar to the old Lucasarts games like Maniac Mansion and Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis. It was created in 1997 by Chris Jones and has grown in popularity among fans of the old adventure games of yore. Over the years aspiring game designers and hobbyists have been crafting their own adventure games.

Which brings us to our first entry in this a new segment for the blog: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's Chzo Mythos! I will be reviewing the first game in the series, 5 Days a Stranger, next week.

In the meantime, head over to Nerd Like You for plenty of awesome articles written by yours truly, along with other awesome folks!  

Monday, January 14, 2013

"When good LARPS go bad." A Review of The Wild Hunt

I have never had the opportunity to play a tabletop role playing game, nor have I ever been in a "LARP" (Live Action Role Play). I have wanted to play tabletop games, but have yet to do so, and while I can see the fun in a LARP I simply have no real interest in joining one. However, RPG's have always been a staple of nerdom that still carry that stigma of being... well for lack of a better phrase "weird."

However, being an aspiring writer and lover all things creative I can appreciate the level of creativity required for both RPG's and LARPS. To not only imagine a world of high fantasy and adventure but to live and breathe it. I can respect that, in fact I am envious of people with such vivid imaginations. RPG's truly are a testament to the wonder of human imagination. However, to most "normal" folk, it is a sign of mental instability and in film this is taken to extremes.

Take the classic Tom Hanks film, "Mazes and Monsters," where Hanks plays a person who kills people because he thinks he's really a character in a fantasy world.

And then there's The Wild Hunt, which is by far the most disturbing film I've seen involving larpers (those who LARP).

The Wild Hunt is a 2009 horror film that takes place in what I can only describe as the single most awesome LARP I have ever seen in my life. Nerf swords and bed sheets are nowhere to be seen in this film as the camp the larpers use not only looks like an authentic medieval landscape but everyone is wearing very impressive costumes and wielding rather imposing replicas of actual weapons.

Now, I do not know if there are actual LARPS like this (I remind you I have never been in a LARP) but the overall quality of this game is unlike anything I've ever seen. The camp just exudes awesome from the realistic medieval feel to the fantastic costumes. There's even a replica Viking vessel on it's own gimbals so it rocks in a realistic fashion!

Into this world of Vikings and elves comes Erik (Ricky Mabe) a young man with the whole world on his shoulders. He struggles to tend to his invalid father while going through a messy breakup with his girlfriend Evelyn (Tiio Horn). This wouldn't be so bad if Erik's brother, Bjorn (Mark A. Krupa), would help with their father instead of playing in the aforementioned LARP every waking moment of his life. However, in an attempt to patch things up with Evelyn, Erik travels to the camp the LARP takes place in and tries to find her.

The film keeps you on your toes for the first two thirds as you try to figure out just where this film is going. It has a very bleak tone throughout that is made fairly clear in the beginning as Erik struggles with his mundane life. However, once he makes it to the camp and begins to interact with the larpers you do get a hint of some actual fantasy adventure as Erik, in typical reluctant hero fashion, joins up with one of the game's moderators and other players, including his estranged brother, to find Evelyn. Only to find out that her role in the LARP is a princess about to be sacrificed in the titular "Wild Hunt" which will grant her faction an advantage in an upcoming battle.

This portion of the film steeps you in a world that you could mistake for a fantasy movie as Erik and his fellowship travel through the woods in search of the princess. This fantastical facade is intermittently disrupted by the typical rules of the LARP, but that only makes you feel like you're part of the game even more as the film progresses. It's actually a lot of fun to watch, at least until after Erik "rescues" Evelyn. This is where the film returns to "reality" and the bleakness of it all comes crashing in.

Recall that I said The Wild Hunt is a horror movie, and while the film does have some disturbing imagery thanks to Evelyn's faction looking like those beast-men from The 13th Warrior, the true horror beings when Erik's meddling effectively ruins the entire game for everyone. This is the final straw for many of players who just throw out the rule book and begin murdering each other in droves.

While I've pretty much spoiled most of the film already I won't spoil the ending, needless to say it's definitely depressing. As I said before, the best way to describe this film is bleak. It's only during the LARP that the film feels like it's more than what it really is, and that is the whole point. The film explores the theme of escapism and the bleakness of the real world. Bjorn is an excellent example of this, as he has escaped into this fantasy world to get away from the horrors of real life, like having to cope with his dying father, only to have reality bash down the gates of his fantasy world in the worst way possible.

In most stories the characters go through a change during their journey that is, in most stories, a change for the better. However, in this film, that isn't so true. Yes the characters change throughout the course of the film, but it isn't all a positive change, because the world portrayed in The Wild Hunt isn't one of high fantasy, it's real. The film itself becomes a sort of mirror for reality for us to look at, and it reminds us just how bleak our world really is and why many of us, myself included, escape it through fantasy.

And now that I've depressed you all, here's a picture of a kitten to brighten up your day.

(Image sources: Wild Hunt Poster, Kitten)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spoilerific Reviews: "The Journey Begins" The Hobbit Part 1 Review

If there is one movie everyone's been anticipating to see, it's Peter Jackson's return to Middle-Earth with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The level of excitement for this prequel series has undoubtedly reached Star Wars levels of excitement back when The Phantom Menace was first announced. However, does The Hobbit succeed where the Star Wars prequels failed? Let's find out!

DISCLAIMER: If the title wasn't a big enough of a giveaway, this review will be filled with a treasure trove of spoilers about the film that would make the dragon Smaug envious. So if you haven't seen the film I suggest you go see the film right now, because it's definitely worth your time to watch.

With that little annoyance out of the way let's delve back into the world of dwarfs, dragons, and The One Ring.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a fantastic film that shouldn't disappoint anyone who even remotely liked The Lord of The Rings trilogy. In spite of being a prequel the world of Middle-Earth feels new and exciting whilst also feeling familiar at the same time. From the very get-go we are treated to the familiar lands of The Shire where Ian Holm returns as Bilbo Baggins, on the eve of his 111th birthday party and the start of The Lord of The Rings.

Immediately Bilbo sets us up with some backstory about the Dwarf lords who lived under The Lonely Mountain and how the diabolical dragon named Smaug forced the dwarfs to flee their kingdom and become nomadic. After attempting to reclaim another former land of theirs, the mines of Moria which will sound familiar to anyone who saw the first film, from orcs the dwarfs eventually settle into their nomadic lifestyle. However, there is one dwarf, the legendary dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), who still wishes to reclaim The Lonely Mountain from the clutches of Smaug.

This is where Bilbo comes in. The young hobbit, played perfectly by Martin Freeman, is met by Gandalf the Gray (once again played by Ian McKellen) who asks Bilbo if he wants to join him on an adventure. After meeting the rest of Gandalf's company, a group of dwarfs led by Thorin, Bilbo learns that they need a hobbit to sneak by Smaug, who doesn't know the scent of hobbits. Naturally, like any true hero on a journey, Bilbo declines Gandalf's offer at first. However, Bilbo's natural curiosity about the world beyond the Shire calls him to join Gandalf and the thirteen dwarfs on their journey to The Lonely Mountain.

To start, I should clarify in that I saw the film in good old regular 2D at a standard 24 frames-per-second. So have this fact in mind when I say that The Hobbit is a beautiful movie to behold. The sweeping landscape shots are just as amazing as they were in LOTR, and the makeup effects for all the dwarfs were very well done. It was refreshing to see such a variety of dwarfs in the film, and might I say Armitage's Thorin Oakenshield gives Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn a run for his money in the "sexy fantasy hero" department even though he's supposed to be a dwarf. The other dwarfs, all of which I won't be going into too much detail because there are so many, are also very well done and memorable. However, it's Freeman as Bilbo that really stands out as it is clear he was born to play the titular hobbit.

While I couldn't shake the obvious parallels between Freeman's Bilbo and his role as Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Freeman really gives a memorable performance managing to hold his own against powerhouses like Ian McKellen. Speaking of which, McKellen, in spite of looking a bit older, hasn't lost his step as Gandalf. This time around it was nice to see a more adventurous Gandalf who would utilize his magical abilities much more often than we see him do in LOTR. I particularly enjoyed when he improvised some fireballs by setting pine cones on fire with his previously established ability to light small fires with his fingers.

The film mainly follows Bilbo and the dwarfs as they make their way through Middle-Earth, however the film does jump away from their journey to either show us a flashback to a previous battle in history or to entirely different characters to setup what will undoubtedly be plots in the second and third films.

It is here that I must confess that I haven't read the novels, not The Hobbit nor the LOTR trilogy, and I honestly have no true intention to do so. They are dauntingly thick books and I barely have the time to read (or write for that matter) a regular sized novel let alone four. However, I am aware of the fact that Peter Jackson and company are stretching out the films into a trilogy while The Hobbit remains a single novel. Though, in either case, I'm glad we're getting another trilogy and not just a one-off return to Middle-Earth. However, I did feel this movie dragging on a bit as I watched in the theater.

At nearly 3 hours long I was surprised it wasn't longer, because it sure FELT longer than that. However that shouldn't be considered a truly negative criticism about the film, as I was entertained throughout the entire film. Though, as I think about how long most movies I go see are these days it surprises me that we don't reinstate intermissions between the first and second halves of a movie because by the end of The Hobbit I was exhausted! So much happens in this movie, and it is somewhat surprising that we have two more movies after this! As Gollum said at the end of The Two Towers: "We have a long ways to go yet..."

However, it was clear (at least in my eyes) that nothing in this movie was intended to "pad" the movie in order to help stretch it into a trilogy. Everything you see feels relevant to the story. Take the introduction to Radagast The Brown (Sylvester McCoy), a wizard who is rather fond of nature. It is clear that his discovery of a necromancer in his woods will be a key plot point later on in the next films. And that hedgehog! Oh man that scene with that dying hedgehog got me like no other friggin computer generated animal has gotten me before! I even remember the little bugger's name: Sebastian! I nearly bawled like the baby in my theater when I thought he died! I cheered when Radagast managed to save his life! (Note: if anyone wants to get me a Christmas present, find a plush Sebastian the Hedgehog, because I would totally love one now!)

Speaking of computer generated critters, the creatures in The Hobbit are almost, unlike in the LOTR trilogy, completely done with computer effects. I was somewhat miffed by this, especially when the orcs in the previous films had been, almost entirely, done with practical makeup effects. However, I was glad to see some practical orcs here and there and the cg isn't that terrible. The Pale Orc, Azog The Defiler, was a very menacing creature and I wasn't entirely distracted by the fact he was done entirely with computer effects.

The one creature that did turn me off, however, was The Goblin King, who has forever put the miracle of jiggle physics into a dark, dark, place it will not return from... *shudders* It was a bit irritating that this creature was done with CGI when a practical puppet, in tandem with some CGI to help, could've been so much better. Or maybe I say that because a rubber puppet wouldn't have gainaxed so much in such a terrible, terrible, way...

Nightmare fuel aside, the effects in The Hobbit are fairly well done, even though I felt it relied a little too much on CGI. However, there are some really amazing scenes, such as the group's encounter with a trio of tolls, and the scene where the group discover themselves in the middle of a literal brawl between mountains. The Hobbit really adds the fantasy to this fantasy film, where the LOTR films seemed very fantasy-lite.

However, I can't do a Hobbit review without mentioning the creature that made such abominations like Avatar possible: Gollum. If there was one scene I'm sure fans of the books and LOTR films were waiting for it was the legendary showdown between Bilbo and Gollum. Andy Serkis once again plays Gollum, and it was pure movie magic to see the creature come to life once more. It was even better to see him and Bilbo play a game of riddles, Bilbo either winning safe passage out of the caves or losing and being Gollum's next lunch. It was a fun, and memorable, scene as Gollum's dual personalities argued on what to do with Bilbo once he lost. If there's one thing that makes The Hobbit worth seeing it's this scene. And the return (technically the introduction) to The One Ring was as chilling as ever when you first see it "abandon" Gollum. It's even more chilling since everyone knows the truth about the Ring, a true plus to this being a prequel.

While the film does start rather slow, with a few bits of action in the form of flashbacks to keep the film from feeling like a true hike through Middle-Earth, I have to say The Hobbit is a wonderful start to a new trilogy. The performances here are top-notch and the story fairly well done, if a bit long winded. I did have some issues with the over-reliance on computer graphics but I can't really complain, as long as the graphics aren't mediocre I truly don't mind. Though the gainaxing goiter on the troll king could've been toned down...

I give The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey four rings of power out of five for being a fairly solid first entry into a new trilogy of Middle-Earth movies.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Netflix Reviews: The Asylum's "Nazis At The Center of The Earth."

Like most entries in my Netflix reviews this movie has a story behind it. This story is in regards to The Asylum. If you don't know what The Asylum is, I will explain. The Asylum is a film studio that is notorious for creating cheap "mock-busters" that have a title sounding like a popular film. When Transformers was released The Asylum released Transmorphers and when Battleship was released The Asylum released American Warships. Evidently, back when The Da Vinci Code was in theaters, The Asylum produced a film called The Code Conspiracy. And the similarities between these two films begins and ends with the fact that they have the word "code" in their titles. 

The Code Conspiracy is by far the worst film I have ever subjected myself to. It is the bane of my existence, and if you made me choose between having to watch Twilight or The Code Conspiracy for the rest of my life I would pick Twilight. It's that bad. The Geneva Convention should make the film illegal because it is cruel and unusual torture. It was enough to put me off of any and all Asylum films for, what I expected, all eternity.

However this wasn't the case. I found myself back in The Asylum. This time, with a film humorously titled: Nazis At The Center of The Earth.

However, I did not realize it was an Asylum picture until the studio's logo popped up on my screen. Even if I had known this was an Asylum film I probably would've given it a look regardless. I mean, come on, it's called Nazis At The Center of The Earth for heaven's sake! No self respecting internet film reviewer would pass up the chance to see this film! So, I prepared myself for the inevitable pain I had come to expect from an Asylum film and dove right in. And what I found was one of the most entertaining film I have ever watched.

Now don't mistake that last statement as being genuine praise. The film (which I will shorten to "Nazis" for the sake of brevity) is a laughable excuse for a film that you'd only find on syfy as an original movie. However, in spite of this, I found I genuinely enjoyed the film, in a way one genuinely enjoys getting hung by the ceiling by their nipples. 

The trick, I found, to enjoying the film, is to go into it knowing you're not looking for a high quality motion picture directed by, say, Christopher Nolan. No, you know you're in for tons of wooden dialogue delivered by people who are "actors" that were scribbled down by someone who shouldn't call himself a writer. You know you're going to see dime store special effects that belong more in a Playstation 1 game rather than anything resembling a film. When you expect this, and are still determined to make the most of the bad situation you're in, you can enjoy Nazis. 

The film takes place in Antarctica, and like most films that are set in Antarctica you know that if it isn't John Carpenter's The Thing you know it's going to suck. The thing that somewhat resembles a plot follows a group of scientists that make the ones in Prometheus look credible. These scientists, led by The Son of Busey (Jake Busey. Don't let the fact that The Asylum has a recognizable actor in the cast fool you into thinking this is an actual movie.) discover a lost colony of Nazis hiding deep within the earth who have plans to begin a new Reich with immortal and cybernetic soldiers. 

The first half of the film is your typical B-Movie setup. We get to know the mindless drones who will stand in for actual protagonists as they do science-y stuff and try to figure out why people are starting to go missing. It's all terribly dull, unless you make fun of the fact that some of these actors look like aliens in bad human costumes. It's really a testament to The Asylum's cheapness when their actors don't look any more realistic than their special effects. You also get to see Jake Busey attempt to be a mad scientist which is hit and miss, mostly miss. Had it been Busey Sr. I could've totally bought the character as a mad scientist. Though I have to hand it to the Son of Busey, he does at least try to act insane, which is more than I can say for the other actors. 

However, once the second act being and our "heroes" actually discover the titular Nazis at the center of the earth the plot picks up. There are plot twists and betrayals aplenty as some characters are revealed to be Nazi spies while others decide to join the Fourth Reich and betray their countries. It'd all be truly gripping stuff if this were an actual film. Anyways, the scientists, who are all medical doctors and biologists, apparently, even though I was under the impression they were all geologists considering that they were studying ice cores in the beginning of the film, are forced to help the Nazi's perfect their face swapping technology to keep themselves immortal (no I didn't just suffer a stroke, that is really what happens) as well as utilize experimental stem cell research to ( ...and I am dead serious about this no matter how awesome it sounds...

...are you ready for it? Because it is so awesome it might just make your head explode...)

resurrect Hitler's decapitated head in a giant robot suit!

This is actually WAAAYYY better than what you see in the movie, but still..
So, basically, this whole movie is the video game adaptation to Id Software's Wolfenstein 3D! This is where the movie really becomes awesome as Robo-Hitler stomps on aliens-posing-as-humans-posing-as-actors and leads the new Fourth Reich to take over the world in a giant flying saucer. Why this wasn't given a bigger budget I will never know...

Meanwhile, our "heroes" manage to take on the entire Nazi army armed with Nerf guns (in that the Nazis are armed with Nerf guns. I know because I have the same pistol that is the standard Nazi sidearm, apparently...)

My guess is the Fourth Reich's plans involve littering people's backyards with thousands of those whistling darts. 
Thankfully, the Air Force comes in to take out the Nazi's flying saucer, Robo-Hitler gets infected with a flesh eating disease and falls into the icy depths beneath Antarctica (where I have no doubt he meets the alien queen from the first AVP movie and they join forces to to exact revenge on humanity with Nazi-Xenomorph hybrids), and the world is safe from the threat of having to clean up any Nerf darts. 

All in all, Nazis is, at its best, a hilariously bad film. However, unlike other Asylum films I've subjected myself to over the years it's still an entertaining film. Considering the fact that for any film, be it a Hollywood blockbuster or an Asylum mockbuster, I at least expect to be entertained, Nazis At The Center of The Earth manages to be more entertaining than most films in theaters today. It's certainly not the best film ever made, not by a long shot, but I still managed to have fun while watching it.

Do I recommend it? Well that's a tricky one. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys riffing on terrible movies, but if you're looking for an actual movie I'd look elsewhere.