Spaceballs to the Walls

Spaceballs

Ah, Spaceballs, a Mel Brooks classic. What’s not to like about it? The sci-fi satire, the silly characters, and the whimsical effects just make you want to buy the sequel, don’t they? In this fine little slice of cinema, you’ll see a lone wolf bounty hunter save an entire planet from the clutches of en evil empire, using a mysterious power called the Schwartz that he learns from a little green midget named Yogurt. If that doesn’t cover the tone of the movie, I don’t know what will.

SpaceballsThe Spaceballs are a race of humanoids living on a planet with dwindling air. Their President Skroob (Mel Brooks) orders Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to fly the Spaceball 1 over to the planet Druidia, kidnap their princess, and ransom her for the planet’s air. After running from her wedding and right into the clutches of the evil Dark Helmet, the princess calls her father in a bother. King Roland (Dick Van Patten) offers Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) one million “space bucks” if he can rescue Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga). He needs the money to pay off their debt to the notorious Pizza the Hut, so he and his half-man half-dog buddy Barf (John Candy) set off to save the princess. That was a lot of names.

On his journey to return the princess to Druidia, Lone Starr and the lot wind up stranded on a desert planet, wandering from dune to dune with dwindling hope. Once everyone has passed out, a group of singing dinkers rescues them and brings them to the lair of Yogurt the Wise, the master of the Schwartz. He inspects the mysterious pendant Lone Starr has held onto since his days as an orphan raised by silent monks in the Ford Galaxy, and gives him a fortune cookie and a fancy Schwartz ring. What mysteries could Yogurt reveal? And why is he breaking the fourth wall by talking about merchandising and Spaceballs 2: The Quest for More Money? You’ll only find an answer to the former.

SpaceballsA lot of the humor is spur of the moment, having nothing to do with the continuity of the movie, but you’re really not meant to care about Lone Starr’s secret past, or the fate of planet Druidia. Rather, you’re meant to have a laugh when Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurz rent Spaceballs and fast forward to see where Lone Starr and the princess are. Or when the Spaceball 1 goes past light speed and goes plaid as they enter… Ludicrous Speed! Mel Brooks: success. An excellent, silly movie.

Sandy Maynard of CinemaBlend is right when she says it’s hard to rate. Whether you like it or not depends on your sense of humor. If you’re bothered by cheaps sets and lame effects, then you probably have a stick up your bum and should look somewhere else, because Spaceballs is hilarious. Stunt actors captured instead of the main characters? Genius. Take a peek at her review here: http://www.cinemablend.com/dvds/Spaceballs-Collector-s-Edition-970.html

Prometheus Belongs in Space

Prometheus

And so does everyone involved in its production.

Prometheus, the souls successor of the 1979 movie Alien, fell flat on its face. Despite all the new crap and CG they threw into it, despite all the new characters and plot devices, it’s a great big ball of incoherent sci-fi crap. Insult to injury, the constant thematic references to the original Alien make it feel all the more devoid of originality. I’ve got nothing against Ridley Scott, but his writers could have been chosen a bit more carefully. I’ll lay it down for you.

A crew of archaeologists discovers a repeating reference to a single star system throughout the art of several separated ancient cultures. They strike a deal with a big organization to make a voyage through space to investigate that cluster, hoping to encounter the makers of mankind. That would be the movie’s underlying theme: “Meet your makers.”

There are two lead archaeologists who are in love, and a whole bunch of company appointed officials monitoring and aiding the trip. You don’t get to know many of these characters too closely, as most of them are Ensign Rickies. They discover an ancient ruin filled with materials and footage left behind by the “Engineer” race, who supposedly created humans. After cross-checking their DNA with human DNA, it proves to be an exact match. So, the Engineers created humantiy.
PrometheusNot too long after their arrival, a storm hits, forcing the crew back into their ship and leaving two members stranded in the ruin. This leads to the discovery that the planet they had traveled to was actually an abandoned military base for experimental biogenetic weaponry, and that the Engineers actually hated the human race and were planning on dropping a pandemic on Earth to wipe everyone out.

Then it turns out the CEO of the company that allowed the archaeologists to go on the journey stowed away so he could ask the Engineers for immortality, and everyone dies but the main lady. She makes off with an alien ship (with the help of a synthetic person’s head) and heads for the Engineer homeworld to find out why they hate humans so much. And that’s the end of that story.

Issues, several issues. First of all, the corpse found on the spaceship in Alien was the basis for the Engineers, yet it had nothing to do with creationism. Sure, it’s an interesting premise, but it all seems out of the blue. That’s not the worst of the issues.

Secondly, the synthetic poisons one of the archaeologists with a bio-weapon found on the Engineer ship for no reason. The poisoned guy has sex with his “sterile” gal, and she gets pregnant with an alien baby. Is this an allusion to the Company from Alien? The Company that wanted a specimen of the aliens to be brought back to Earth inside a person locked in stasis? Because it doesn’t make sense in Prometheus. And it doesn’t make sense for the synthetic to do that on impulse. Nobody knew there were chemical weapons on that wasteland planet, so how would the synthetic have known to do that? Why? Just because he’s a stereotypical psychotic robot? 2012, people!

PrometheusThird issue, why would the CEO of the big company paying for the expedition think he could hitch a ride and ask the Engineers for immortality? I know that it’s probably meant to be some “profound observation on human nature,” but it’s actually just really stupid.

Even stupider is the fact that the only Engineer left on the planet, when woken up, goes on a killing spree and murders almost every surviving member of the crew. Even after the synthetic speaks to him in his native tongue. I’m pretty sure a species developed to the point of gaining the ability to create life would respond in a more rational way. “Humans are a mistake and they want to fix us,” is no excuse. It’s poor filmmaking.

The easily impressed/swayed by nostalgia will probably find Prometheus enthralling during their first viewing. As I mentioned before, Prometheus has an excellent premise, it just executes it so piss-poorly that the entire movie crumbles because of the plot holes. It’s a damned shame.

Regnard Raquedan of ScreenSucked is perhaps a bit too by-the-trailer in his review. As he suspected, Prometheus was going to be dissected and slammed, and I am one of the major constituents of the latter. The reason being, an esteemed director does not an exemplary movie make. Even though Ridley Scott made Alien and his fanbase may defend any other work to the death, Prometheus is not the masterpiece it was meant to be. Still, you deserve to read a nicer review, so here it is: http://www.screensucked.com/2012/06/movie-review-prometheus-2012.html

Predators Makes Murder Fun

Predators


Let me just make a little comparison here: Alien, Aliens. Predator, Predators. Upscaling. You’re goddamned right there’s gonna be upscaling. Predators feels like what an amusement park would be if the target audience consisted of the scum of the Earth, and the only rides were basic jungle landscapes full of death traps. Suffice to say, I enjoyed how it all played out, despite the fact that none of the characters were made to be likeable.

The first thing you should know about Predators is that it is an “along for the ride” movie. The plot is virtually nonexistent, and despite this there are some holes. This is the pinnacle of action thriller, and every single thrill is as predictable as the last. If you’ve seen the first Predator, you know that the Predator creatures enjoy hunting dangerous men and women for sport. They use incredibly advanced technology and cunning traps to test the mettle of their victims. More often than not, the hunted victim will be horribly, HORRIBLY slaughtered. This typically occurs systematically, so you can play a guessing game. Who survives? Did you say… the biggest star? Good call.



PredatorsThis time around, a group of criminals and sadistic ex-soldiers are dropped into the jungle of the Predators’ homeworld. You don’t get any names, since every single person is an uptight murderer that wants to go home without revealing too much about themselves. I won’t be doing a step by step synopsis of this movie considering the only major events are the deaths of characters. Instead, I’ll do a half-assed synopsis.

Everyone gets dropped on the Predator homeworld. Each of them tries in their own way to be a badass. They discover that they’re being tested. They discover that they’re not on Earth. They meet Laurence Fishburne, who has somehow survived the Predators for ten seasons. He promptly dies. Everyone else begins to die. They try to use a strung up Predator offering to hijack one of their ships, but fail. The cycle begins anew. That’s seriously all there is to it. There are no boobs, there is no romance. No characters are missed when they die.

PredatorsNow for the plot hole. How is it the Predators have extremely advanced combat technology yet there are no signs of advanced civilization? I won’t rule out the possibility that there is a core settlement where the Predators breed, develop weapons, etc, but from what I’ve seen, it seems unlikely. Cloaking technology that allows blending in with any environment through the manipulation of ambient light? High-powered shoulder-mounted energy weapons that appear to be mentally aimed and fired? Kinetic barriers?

Anyway, that about covers it. Crap plot, moderate-good action, and moderate-crap characters. The Japanese guy who duels a Predator with a katana is pretty badass. It’s easier to watch Predators if you’re doing something else during. Say, for example, writing a review! Hah.

Adam Quigley of SlashFilm states in his review that Predators is one great big tease. A load of buildup that ends with negligible satisfaction. That’s true, and likely a result of the lack of plot. It’d be a little more fair if the Predators didn’t have heat seeking, sound-vision, energy cannons, and active camouflage… but hey!  What can ya do? Die, I guess. Here’s the review: http://www.slashfilm.com/tag/predators/

Pitch Black is Riddick-ulous

Pitch Black

Gosh I love puns. Don’t you?

Since I saw The Chronicles of Riddick before I saw Pitch Black, I guess you could say my perspective is a little warped, but bear with me. As far as simplicity goes, the first one tends to be the stronger. Pitch Black occurs entirely in one area, with a very rudimentary theme; surviving a malevolent force. This shifts once, which changes the entire tone of the movie from “oh dear” to “oh shit.”

Space Transport Vessel Hunter-Gratzner carries forty cryo-sleeping subjects, until debris from the tail of a comet breaches the hull and causes the ship to awaken the crew. The captain is killed by these debris, leaving the docking pilot, Carolyn Fry, to attempt to guide the ship to safety. To her (and everyone else’s) dismay, they’ve been knocked into the atmosphere of a nearby planet and have begun a crash course. This is a major point in the movie, as Fry attempts to detach the passenger potion of the ship in order to level it out and land properly. The navigator pilot prevents this, then subsequently dies.

FPitch Blackollowing the harsh sliding crash, the survivors emerge. Carolyn, Abu “Imam” al-Walid, three younger men on a religious pilgrimage (escorted by Imam), stowaway teen Jack, antiques dealer Paris P. Ogilvie, settlers John Ezekiel and Sharon Montgomery, and two other enigmatic individuals. The first is William J. Johns, an armed man who is currently keeping Richard B. Riddick, convicted murder and experienced escapist, in custody. Despite Johns’s extraordinary efforts to subdue his prisoner, Riddick manages to escape, following the group secretly as they scout for water.

Tensions rise as Ezekiel accidentally shoots another survivor, thinking he’s Riddick, and is suddenly pulled into a hole after attempting to bury the body. Riddick shows up at Ezekiel’s place of death, and is seen standing over bloodstained sand. He’s soon recaptured. He warns Fry that there are bigger things to be worried about than an escaped convict. After she dives into the cave Ezekiel was pulled into and nearly gets eaten by winged, dark-loving creatures, she realizes that Riddick isn’t as full of shit as Johns made him out to be.

Pitch BlackAfter everyone starts trusting Riddick, things get a bit hectic. He reveals to Fry that Johns is just a morphine addicted mercenary scumbag who wants Riddick alive so he can bring him to a prison and get a huge payout. More tension. They discover a ship in an abandoned settlement, and find that the last activity took place twenty two years ago. To make matters worse, every twenty two years, there’s a global eclipse. A little convenient? Yes, but this is a science fiction movie. Murphy’s Law makes things more fun, doesn’t it? Remember those dark-loving hungry flying things that ate Zeke? Now you see what the rest of the movie’s about.

Hate to leave you at such a critical spot, but I don’t want to spoil everything. The main focus of this movie is Riddick and Fry, really. Fry struggles with priorities; herself or the others that she tried to kill in order to land the ship. Riddick doesn’t really struggle with anything. He’s just an enigmatic, “is he an asshole/is he a good guy” badass all throughout. Even after seeing The Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black, I still couldn’t tell you whether or not Riddick’s a selfish ass. All I know is, Vin Diesel makes both of those films a joy to watch. Truly.

Whoa. Never thought I’d be linking to Roger Ebert’s site. There’re a stark few Pitch Black reviews out there, and surprisingly, not many of them are positive. I suppose I must agree that a planet with three suns apparently populated solely by nocturnal creatures is a little silly as a concept. I also agree that this movie could have focused a little more on the alien nature of the planet instead of the high-tension human conflict, however. However, Riddick is the egotistical badass center of attention, and we wouldn’t very well be able to pay him his deserved attention if we were busy being wowed by a well-thought-out species of desert aliens, eh? I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I’m being sarcastic. Right-o, here’s the link: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20000218/REVIEWS/2180304/1023

The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Oh, Rocky!

The Rocky Horror Picture ShowMusical theatre isn’t exactly something everyone can pick up and love. Perversion and funky humor, on the other hand, seems to be more widely accepted. Same with skimpy outfits and transvestitism. So why not mash all of them up and make Tim Curry wear drag? That is correct, lads and lasses. It’s time to learn about The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This is a film adaptation of a cult classic play that’s been loved ever since its first performance. It’s not one of those six hour dramas with complicated plots and subplots that’ll have you digging your fingernails into your chair with tension, but it’ll certainly have you shivering with anticip… pation! The Rocky Horror is more about enjoying the ride and the tunes. You won’t be satisfied with watching it once. Let’s talk plot.

Brad and Janet are driving to meet Doctor Scott after a wedding and find themselves stranded after a wheel blows out. They decide to ask for help at a nearby castle (yes, castle) and find themselves pulled into a raunchy world of cross-dressing, incest, and spontaneous song and dance. Like Disney if it was done by a watered down Playboy black sheep, right?

The Rocky Horror Picture ShowDoctor Frank N. Furter and his servants are celebrating the discovery of the means to create life from nothingness, and Brad and Janet witness the birth of the obscenely hunky Rocky. Oh, Rocky! Turns out Frank N. Furter just wanted a big piece of man meat for himself, and he certainly succeeded. Then, after pulling that off, he proceeds to seduce both Janet and Brad, after which Janet seduces Rocky.

The arrival of Doctor Scott marks the beginning of Frank N. Furter’s treachery, as he captures Brad, Janet, Rocky, Doctor Scott, and his servant Columbia with a beam that turns people into statues. Instead of doing anything legitimately evil, he makes them perform a floor show while dressing everyone in feather boas and corsets. Especially Brad. It’s probably one of the better parts of the movie. Oh, but. Beware of boobs, because Columbia gives an arbitrary flash just to keep you interested. It’s that one thing in the movie you’re expecting the whole time, but it only ever happens once.

The Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe rest is one huge spoiler, something so enormously unexpected that it still gives me a laugh to watch, and I’ve seen it more than twenty times at this point. I can say right here and now that Tim Curry is the star of The Rocky Horror for a reason. Frank N. Furter makes The Rocky Horror. Between killing his ex-lovers, humping everything that moves, dancing in drag, and playing with dye to make sexy men, he’s pretty great to watch. But don’t take my word for it. Have a watch and see for yourself. I personally guarantee that it’ll be one of the greatest and strangest movies you’ll ever see.

Despite the fact that the site’s called BadMovies, Andrew Borntreger gives The Rocky Horror Picture Show a positive review. It is indeed difficult to understand just what message this freakin’ movie’s trying to send, but if you check out his lessons learned section, maybe it’ll become clearer. I got a good laugh out of that. Here’s the link, anyway: http://www.badmovies.org/movies/rockyhorror/

Sailor Moon, The Movie: Promise of the Rose is Your Childhood

Sailor Moon: Promise of the Rose1990’s kids will know this one. Oh yeah. This is a 1993 anime classic film based off of an awesome and deceptively cutesy TV series. Don’t think that it being based off a TV series makes it bad, though. It’s freakin’ Sailor Moon, The Movie: Promise of the Rose. How could that be bad in ANY way? Let’s crack open a bottle of plot and see how it goes down.

Darien, the true identity of the hero Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon’s love interest, is first seen to be giving a gift to another boy. A rose, accepted with great affection and the promise of the perfect flower. Darien had just lost his parents, and didn’t want to see his only friend go. The problem was, Fiore was an alien, and couldn’t stay on Earth too long because the air would eventually kill him. He left Darien, fully intending to find the perfect flower to return to Earth with, but ended up stumbling upon something very foul indeed. But more on that in a moment.

In the modern day, Darien, Serena, and the rest of the Sailor Scouts are out at a flower shop, browsing and having a good time. This is a shoujo, I should remind you. If I don’t succeed, the movie will remind you eighty times before it ends. It’s only sixty minutes, but it’s more than capable of melting your brain with love. I digress. A rain of flower petals interrupts the group as they’re leaving, and out of nowhere, a red-haired guy appears and approaches Darien. He seems pleasant enough, until he shoves Serena away when she tries to break him and Darien up. They were getting kinda… close. Darien realizes that it’s Fiore, the same boy from his childhood, and this unnerves him a bit. Something changed. Something bad.

Sailor Moon: Promise of the RoseSoon after, a plant monster attacks Tokyo with a cluster of vines in order to drain the populace’s life energy. The Sailor Scouts respond immediately, obliterating the flower-freak and saving the day… That is, until Fiore appears in his alien form and claims that he is responsible for the attack. But why would such a benevolent person stage such a horrid attack? Perhaps the dark flower on his chest should offer a reason.

Serena’s cats, Artemis and Luna, explain this one. The Kisenian Blossom is the most evil flower in existence, latching onto those with weak hearts and filling them with hatred and anger. One by one, she sucks planets dry of life energy to increase her own power, then destroys them and leaves. She cannot do this alone, however. Fiore’s heart was weak, and as such she sunk her claws into him and instilled him with vengeance against the human race for causing Darien’s loneliness.

During the fight between Fiore and the Sailor Scouts, Darien takes a dive for Serena and is critically injured. Since all the other Scouts have had their asses beaten, no one can stop Fiore as he grabs the dying Darien and spirits him away in a whirlwind of flower petals. Where did they go?

Sailor Moon: Promise of the RoseArtemis and Luna have this one, too. Apparently, he’s on a meteor. A meteor filled with the Kisenian Blossom’s plants is quickly descending to Earth, where it will open up and sprinkle the surface of the planet with dark seeds. In the end, the Earth would be reduced to a dead rock, and the Kisenian Blossom would move on. How can the Sailor Scouts hope to stop this evil meteor? How can Darien break his friend free of the dark blossom’s influence?

I’m not going to tell you. Watch the movie! It’s great! It’s overly dramatic, weepy, mushy, violent, flashy, and it really helps redefine the genre known as “Magical Girl.” I mean, seriously. You’re missing out if you haven’t seen this. What’s that, you said? Too girly? Don’t like the fact that the Scouts get naked when they transform? What, it’s not like you can see anything, pervy. I won’t tell you again. This is a classic of classic anime movies, and you won’t regret snapping this up on VHS (if you’ve got it) or DVD (if you want it) and giving it a good view. Remember! Only 60 minutes!

Is my opinion crap? I don’t think it is, but juuust in case you do, here’s the AnimeCritic’s take on Sailor Moon: Promise of the Rose. It’s also called Sailor Moon R the Movie, in case you’re wondering. http://www.animecritic.com/sailormoon/anr-sailormoonrmovie.html

Tekkonkinkreet: About Kids, For Older Kids

TekkonkinkreetTekkonkinkreet is very deceptive. The cover makes it look like a kids’ story about two cheerful boys who spend all their time running around a ragged city, having a grand old time. This is incredibly and mind-numbingly incorrect. This movie contains bloody violence, people being shot, people being bashed with poles, burned alive, stabbed with shortswords, and generally transported to places of physical discomfort.

Black and White are two street urchins that make up a gang known as the Cats. Black is savvy, bold, and harsh, while his counterpart, White, is a regular innocent daydreamer. In the run-down city of Treasure Town, they fight to control a turf they call theirs, fending off other gangs, yakuza… even aliens. Several characters in particular are of great importance to the plot and subplot, so they get initial coverage.

Kimura is a young member of the yakuza group trying to claim Treasure Town. He’s spent a fair portion of his life doing dirty work, and he’s starting to grow sick of all the crime. He wants to abandon the yakuza and travel somewhere far away with his pregnant wife, but fate won’t have it. Poor guy.

TekkonkinkreetThe Rat is a mob boss that Kimura works under; a sort of world-weary father figure who’s on his last legs, just trying to do what he can for his organization before his time is up. Surprisingly, he comes off as a very positive protagonist helper sort of character, which makes the impact of what happens to him all the more powerful.

Snake is the antagonist here. He represents an enigmatic though incredibly powerful organization that wants to change Treasure Town into a huge amusement park called Kiddie Kastle. In order to do that, however, he needs to have all competition put down. He uses Kimura and his two alien assassins to strike out against the Cats and the yakuza, deciding that the only way to get them out of the way is to kill them.

Snake is the basis of the plot, because it’s he who uses Kimura’s wife as leverage and orders him to kill his old boss. It’s he who has his two alien assassins try to take the lives of Black and White by gun and blade. This contributes to a fairly terrifying development in Black.

TekkonkinkreetWithin Black is a demon referred to as the Minotaur; a creature of impossible darkness and power that is kept in check by the purifying presence of White. When an assassination attempt pulls Black and White apart, everything starts to look bleak. Black finds the strength to murder the two assassins with whimsical ease, but where his physical struggle ends, his mental struggle begins

That’s about all I can tell you about the plot. Tekkonkinkreet is a very surreal anime movie, one with a unique art style and tone that you really can’t find anywhere else. Many of you will notice an obvious focus towards visual appeal, which may very well have taken away from the complexity of the plot and characters. From a neutral standpoint, I believe that Tekkonkinkreet is a great movie with a lot to offer to its audience, from plot to characters and shiny backgrounds.

Also worth mentioning is that Tekkonkinkreet is a three volume manga series. For those of you who’ve seen the movie and know that cinematics never perfectly reflect their work of origin, the manga might be a good place to turn. I hear there’s even a three-in-one graphic novel for those of you that don’t want to worry about three separate books. Whether you get the movie or the books, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. If you get nothing, then poo on you.

The Fifth Element, Brucie Baby

The Fifth ElementDon’t even start with me. I have the biggest man-crush on Bruce Willis, and no amount of Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, or Bruce Lee comments will ever change that. If you’re like me and agree with this statement to the extreme, then you’ve already watched The Fifth Element around forty times. For those of you who haven’t, I shall disclose to you the dazzling and astounding details of this fabulous sci-fi space thriller.

Adjectives ahoy! This guy must really like The Fifth Element. I wonder why? Easy enough to explain. Bruce Willis- er, I mean, Korben Dallas, an ex special operative, takes on a mission from the Earth government to save the world from an apocalyptic evil that strikes every five thousand years, taking the form of a black planet. If he fails, then entire galaxy will become a place of death and desolation. In order to combat this ultimate evil, he must acquire four stones representing fire, wind, water, and air. The fifth element, life, is contained within the perfect being known as Leeloo (played by the talented Milla Jovovich), and Korbruce Willas must find a way to unite her and the stones at the sacred temple before it’s too late. Pretty epic, am I right? You bet it is.

The Fifth ElementThere are several different factions all working towards different goals in this movie, making for a pleasantly complex sequence of events that spirals into a high quality plot. The Mondoshawans are the first faction the movie reveals, and they’re also the first to be blown up violently. Their purpose is to protect and expand life throughout the universe, and to teach humans to value life through faith. They also appear to be the ones who originally used the four stones and the fifth element to preserve the galaxy in the first place.

The Mangelores are nasty, smelly, hated mercenary aliens that only want money and resources. They have a death before dishonor sort of subtle faith system, which explains one of the more dramatic suicide bombing scenes. Because of their easily corruptible nature, the ladder of evil factions uses them as tools.

Zorg is the head of a colossal and wealthy company that fronts for organized crime. He works directly under the self-titled Mr. Shadow, who is actually the ultimate galactic evil. Zorg is ordered to capture the four stones and gather them at the temple, then to allow Mr. Shadow to take Leeloo’s place. This would spread death across the galaxy instead of protecting life, and Bruce Dallas won’t let that happen.

The Fifth ElementThere’s some good news, though, in case you’re starting to think that The Fifth Element takes itself too seriously. Chris Tucker is in it, and he plays a flamboyant radio host called Ruby Rod that stalks Korben Willis until the exiting conclusion. The movie has its fair share of comedic blips and bloops, if the presence of Chris Tucker isn’t enough to clue you in to that. I think it’d be safe to say that The Fifth Element has a little bit of everything in regards to movie positives; romance, action, humor, badassery. You really can’t go wrong!

The acting is the good kind of corny, the villains are likeable yet obviously evil, and the little elephant creature that Zorg owns is absolutely adorable. I call him Shnorgle. Shnorgle holds no relevance to the plot, but it’s a lovely little thing to look at and enjoy.

This description actually goes for the movie itself as well. Just long enough that it doesn’t crunch the plot, just short enough that it doesn’t drag, plenty of events and characters to reflect on… It’s really just a wonderful production. You should definitely consider getting this on DVD and giving it a good, popcorn filled viewing.

Dreamcatcher, One Nightmare of a Film

DreamcatcherThis isn’t going to be a critical review of this movie so much as it’s going to be me pinpointing all the things that bother me and blowing them up so it influences your perspective. Also, doing that will render you incapable of ignoring all the things that I mention. Because of this, you’ll either see the movie to find out just how spot-on I am, or you’ll avoid seeing the movie because I’ve already ruined it for you. Let’s begin, shall we?

Here’s the plot shorty: Four kids save a fifth with Down syndrome who gives them telekinetic powers. They grow up and keep their powers a secret, easing themselves into crappy jobs. Then, they go to a cabin called Hole-in-the-Wall and find that the area has been quarantined by the government. Apparently, aliens have landed and they’re infecting people with what even the movie dubs “shit-weasels.” They gestate in people’s stomachs and come out of their asses when they’re done growing. The main bad guy Mr. Grey comes along and takes over one of the guys, and his plan is inevitably foiled. Another one of the four, along with the Down syndrome guy and a military softie, save the day by preventing Mr. Grey from dumping a shit-weasel into their town’s water supply.

DreamcatcherIs that enough to make you hate this movie? Not enough? Alright, here’s a quick one. Morgan Freeman plays a psychotic military guy who wants to murder everyone who’s even come close to the so-called “Ripley” alien soup stuff. Besides the fact that his character has an annoying personality (like every other character in this movie), it doesn’t seem to me like Morgan Freeman would come within a mile of any of Stephen King’s work. Just saying.

Next up, we have the maturity level of the four main characters. Allow me to illustrate by some of their colloquialisms: Bite my bag, fuck me Freddy, kiss my bender, Jesus Christ bananas, fuckarow/fuckaree, same shit different day, no bounce no play. Apparently, they’ve used these tidbits of stupid slang since they were kids, and it still hasn’t gotten old to them. Is that enough to annoy you? No? … I don’t believe you. But fine, I’ll keep going.

Alright, here’s another. The main baddie, Mr. Grey, has a bright, chipper, and lively cockney accent. I don’t even know where to begin, but I’m thinking that Stephen King personally approved of this. I wouldn’t mind if it made sense, but more likely than not it’s just something they threw in for shits and giggles, which seems terribly befitting of this terrible little film.

DreamcatcherI don’t really have much more to say about Dreamcatcher, really. Overall, it just feels like a bad movie. While those specifics are certainly detrimental to the movie’s quality, the real problems stem from the overwhelming feeling of insincerity that you pick up on when watching. The roles and personalities of the characters seem half-baked yet forced, the plot justifies itself in a very “because I say so” way. The first few times you watch it, you’ll be able to tolerate it; it’s one of those “so bad it’s good” movies. That said, after you finally let how bad it is sink in, it becomes nigh unwatchable.

Long story short, you see a movie by the name of Dreamcatcher, you stay away from it on general principle. It’ll leave one hell of a bad taste in your mouth.

District 9: Wikus is a Dick

District 9So is Koobus. So is Wikus’s boss. So is the boss of the Nigerian gang. Long story short, everyone in the movie is a dick aside from Christopher Johnson and his little alien kid, and nearly everyone is trying to kill Wikus. It’s not really hard to tell why, but they’re still put in a very negative light for attempting to do so.

Wikus works for the Multi National Union (MNU) and is assigned to evict aliens from their homes in a Johannesburg slum in order to relocate them to a “better” camp. The less intelligent worker aliens, or prawns, as they’re referred to, landed a mothership on Earth (South Africa specifically) around 28 years before the film takes place, and their emergence was far from glorious. The millions of prawns were malnourished and desperate, without any organizational ability whatsoever. Even in a makeshift town slum, their presence grew to be hated by many. Thus, they are to be moved far away from Johannesburg into a small concentration camp-esque setting. Wikus tries to do this. It doesn’t go so well.

District 9Christopher Johnson and his son are attempting to gather enough of the alien liquid fuel in order to start the command module of their hidden ship up and return to the mothership, at which point, they would return home. Wikus searches Christopher Johnson’s house and find the liquid, and he is subsequently exposed to it. Over time, he starts to show serious signs of mutation, as if he is changing into one of the prawns. And guess what? He was.

As it turns out, MNU is also an alien weapons and genetics research organization, and that puts Wikus in their crosshairs. They take him underground and attempt to rip him apart for science, only for him to escape into District 9. The media and military hunt for Wikus then begins, forcing him to hide out in Christopher Johnson’s house. They collaborate and try to retake the alien liquid that was confiscated by Wikus himself by purchasing alien weaponry from the Nigerians and raiding the MNU. It goes extremely well, except when Koobus, the gun-crazy military guy who likes killing people and is in general a terrible person, gathers his soldiers and brings the fight to Wikus yet again.

District 9Actually, you know what? Screw the linear plot description. This is pretty much all you really need. I’ll now talk about why Wikus is a dick:

  • Reason 1: During the eviction operation, he has a lot of prawns killed.
  • Reason 2: He threatens to take Christopher Johnson’s child if he doesn’t agree to the illegal eviction.
  • Reason 3: He only helps Christopher Johnson because he can be turned human again if he gets the alien liquid.
  • Reason 4: Prawns are used as medical experiments and Wikus is apathetic.
  • Reason 5: Christopher Johnson tells him he has to wait three years to be cured, Wikus knocks him unconscious and leaves him to the MNU soldiers.
  • Reason 6: When Wikus procures the incredibly powerful prawn battlesuit, he lets the MNU soldiers keep Christopher Johnson in exchange for his freedom, even though they still try to kill him.
  • Reason 7: He makes all these horrible decisions in front of Christopher Johnson’s child.

It’s a good movie. See it, get mad at all the assholes, then get happy when they all die. Woo! Yeah! Revenge scenes! The special effects are fantastic too. Happy viewing!