By Kylie Potter
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the epic sequel to the 2014 Marvel movie, hit theaters on May 5, 2017, and it became an instant success. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, the film soared to $145M in the global box office during its opening weekend.
This action-packed Science Fiction film came with a humorous twist, mostly supplied by Drax, one of the members of the guardians who always seems to take things literally, and Baby Groot, a 10-inch tall tree-like character who has the mind and temperament of a small child.
The second installation of Guardians of the Galaxy traces back to some of the questions that were raised in the first movie, such as “who is Star-Lord’s father?” Star-Lord, also known as Peter Quill, was raised by his mother on Earth, and never knew who his father was. However, after the opening scene in the movie, a new character known as Ayesha, the High Priestess of a race known as the Sovereign, speculates that Quill is not entirely human.
By Amanda Graves
Anybody else think the Roanoke season sucked? The concept was interesting, the reality show layout was new and fresh, but the plot did not deliver. American Horror Story, a popular drama show on FX, consists of six seasons that have continued to worsen over time. Characters like Jessica Lange leaving have left the show with empty, circular plots. Freak Show and Hotel, the two worst seasons, were overall disappointments from the previous three successful seasons. The first three seasons were the best, especially the third one, Coven.
The first season, Murder House, consisted of a small family moving to a haunted Los Angeles mansion. Asylum, the second season, was set in the 1950s. A woman was placed in an insane asylum, and the season follows her struggle of attempting to escape. The next season is Coven, which was the last good season of the show, and it consisted of young witches possessing different powers living together as they tried to determine when their next ruler, or Supreme, would arise. The first three seasons contained original story lines with in depth characters surprising plot twists. The plots were complex, but there was never unnecessary details that made the story confusing (except for the aliens in Asylum). The three following seasons did not meet the standard that the others seasons set.
AHS seasons 4, 5, and 6 garnered intense excitement that was met with sore disappointment when the episodes premiered. The plot ideas for the seasons could have garnered success, but the storylines were jumbled and confusing. Freak Show, season 4, was set in the 1940s at a circus. Overall, it was a flop. There were too many characters, random singing by Jessica Lange, and confusing events. Hotel, season 5, seemed promising because Lady Gaga was casted as one of the main characters. Unfortunately, most people could not even finish the season because the plot was choppy and the characters were not developed well. Fans began losing hope about the show, but people remained curious about season 6.
The advertisements for season 6 did not reveal the plot at all. This left fans constantly guessing and discussing the topic of the new season. The trailers included, aliens, babies, spiders, bugs, and bones, so there were multiple possible directions for the plot. Viewers were in shock when the show premiered and the characters seemed to be switching actors. The show wanted to seem like a reenactment of a couple’s stay at the Roanoke house. People were often confused by this premise, but people kept watching.
As the season went on, the only major plot points were the deaths of all the characters. Lady Gaga’s role was minimal and strange. Cuba Gooding Jr. was interesting in the show, but his character dynamic was not well developed. The return of Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Taissa Farmiga did excite people. However, when the show turned towards to characters going back to the Roanoke house, it seemed drawn out. There was not an interesting plot twist; it was just constant death.
The sore disappointment from the previous seasons is leaving people wondering whether the show will improve. The seventh season has been renewed by FX. The creators said it will be based on modern times, and the plot will be kept a secret like season 6. Hopefully, the next season will not suck, but it probably will.
By Liya Kebede
Beauty and the Beast is a beloved fairy-tale that originated from France and was written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. The story, after going through multiple rewrites, has stood the test of time, resulting in many altered versions. 251 years later, Walt-Disney Pictures made their own remake of the historical tale and turned it into a romantic, musical childrens film.
Now, on March 17, 2017, Disney will recreate their own version of Beauty and the Beast as a live-action film, starring Emma Watson, the British actress most well known for her role as Hermione in Harry Potter, as Belle; The Beast will be played by Dan Stevens, who has starred in shows like Downton Abbey. There is currently a debate going on about whether or not a live action adaptation is necessary or appropriate. Director Bill Condon says, “I wouldn’t say we’re changing the story so much as sort of making connections that, in a lot of cases, were right under the surface.” The argument is split everywhere, including at our very own Hammond High School.
Freshman Sam Mercedes says he “doesn’t have a problem with [the adaption], but it will never come close to the animation.” This is the opinion many people on social media are sharing as well. However, there is a counter-argument: Trinity Addo, sophomore, says “I think live action films are just fun to watch[…] animated movies being made into live action movies are interesting.”
Another point, brought up by senior Johely Jimenez, is that animations are predominantly catered towards children, while with a live action film, “…adults can see it too.” While feelings about the new Beauty and the Beast film are split, there remains some Disney classics that almost everyone wants to see made into live action films.
Abby Richards, freshman, comments “[I] would really like to see Tangled just to see the visual effects… I think it’d be really cool.” Many more students also said Tangled would be their top pick, but Mulan and Brave were also brought up multiple times.
More live action Disney films are in the talks of production, like The Lion King and The Jungle Book 2. Jon Favreau, the director of The Jungle Book live action film that was released in 2016, is the planned director for both new productions. In terms of box-office success, The Jungle Book did amazing during the opening weekend, grossing 103.6 million dollars in the U.S alone. It broke the $900 million mile-stone with worldwide sales, proving it to be a success.
A sequel to the film is currently in the planning stages, as well as a new live action version of The Lion King. Favreau commented on many people’s concerns about how the new film will be produced, saying in an interview with Haleigh Foutch of the Collider, “[The Lion King] comes [with] such a tremendous responsibility because you don’t want to do anything that undermines people’s connection to the original, which is so wonderful.”
By Kylie Potter
On October 28, 2016, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition was released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It is a “remastered” version of the original Skyrim game that was released back in 2011 for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The remastered version includes better water shaders, completely overhauled lighting, volumetric god rays, a new depth of field, all three DLCs, and, the most important aspect for console players: mods.
Bethesda Softworks has had major success with their games in the past, including other games in the Elder Scrolls series, such as The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, as well as their other game series, Fallout. Players were greatly hoping that The Elder Scrolls VI would be announced at the E3 conference this year, but instead, Bethesda Softworks announced the remastered Skyrim.
Once console gamers saw that this new version of their favorite game would be released along with mods, they were impatient to get their hands on it. However, for PS4 players, the wait for mods was a roller-coaster of emotions. Sony came out with a statement a few months before the release of Skyrim, stating that they would not offer mod support. For many players, this defeated the purpose of buying the game.
Due to the uproar that Sony caused by stating that they would not support mods, they released a new statement a few weeks later, stating that they would support mods, but they would be more limited than the mods on Xbox One and PC. The limits included: no new scripts, weapons, or armor. All mods had to use the original game scripts and creation kit to be playable on the PS4. Although it was not what players were hoping for, they were more content than if there had been no mods at all.
PC gamers were given a special offer upon the release of Skyrim Special Edition: they would receive the game for free if they owned the original version along with all three DLCs already downloaded on their computer. Since PC gamers were able to mod Skyrim before the special edition was even announced, they had no initiative to buy the game, which explains why they were given it for free.
Now that Skyrim has been released for over a month, gamers have had the time to thoroughly get a feel of the game and form their opinion on whether or not it was worth the buy. “Skyrim was already a fantastic game when it first came out, save for a few bugs, glitches and lags due to the size of the game. The Remastered version gets rid of those bugs and creates a smooth game that retains the same story and gameplay that so many fans fell in love with,” says Hammond junior Rachel Wattanarungsikajorn, who preordered the game and received it upon its release date.
Overall, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition has gotten great reviews, and has put Skyrim back into the spotlight that it held back in 2011 when it was first released. Avid players of the Elder Scrolls series are able to enjoy the game all over again until they are able to get their hands on The Elder Scrolls VI, which has yet to be announced.
By Kevin Baker
Once in a while, a show comes along that redefines what it means to be a spectacle. From March 3-11, that show was The Wiz, Hammond Theatre’s stellar showcase of talent that caused cheers and tears for its plentiful audiences for a record six shows in the Hammond community.
The Wiz is always meant to be a celebration of diverse America, with funk and soul influences, and Hammond’s production (led by director Lauren Tobiason) was no exception. Over 100 students participated on-and-offstage, and the fresh blood seen in the Theatre department was revelatory.
By Alexis Kujawa
The Razzies were held on February 25, 2017 to award movies that came out in 2016 for ultimately being the worst. The Razzies were co-founded by John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy, and are always held the day before the corresponding Oscars, which are for the best in the film industry.
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice both won four awards, with Hillary’s America being nominated for a total of five awards and Batman v Superman being nominated for a total of eight.
By Kayla Hendershot
On February 26, the 2017 Oscar Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, had one of the most epic fails during an awards show. Warren Beatty, one of the awards presenters, looked at the card confusingly, but Faye Dunaway, thinking that Beatty’s confusion was a comedic bit, presented the award for Best Picture to the 2016 film La La Land. The award was actually supposed to go the the 2016 film, Moonlight. The cast and producers of La La Land were presenting their speeches, when finally Fred Berger corrected the mistake, and Moonlight was awarded.