Monthly Archives: January 2013

Murderous Space Aliens and Psychotic Androids Aside, How Was The Trip?

prometheus

PROMETHEUS (2012) Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Noomi Repace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba Rating: R for science fiction violence, icky weird space gore, and good old fashioned cussing. 

You have to admit, the Star Trek movie and TV franchise make outer space look pretty darn cool.

Infinite galaxies to explore, new planets to discover, and unique alien lifeforms to meet and get to know in the spirit of cosmic brotherhood. Plus the Star Trek crew had the best uniforms; and that’s very important because no matter what part of the universe you’re kicking around in, you should always look freshly pressed.

Ridley Scott sees outer space a bit differently. To Scott, who has directed such sci-fi classics as Alien and Blade Runner, space is a frightening hellhole where death is inevitable and horrors beyond your wildest imagination lurk around every dark and gloomy corner.

Scott’s latest sci-fi gorefest Prometheus continues this tradition, as the crew of the grand explorer ship Prometheus boldly go where no man has gone before only to get picked off one by one on some foreboding planet with no trees or flowers or green skinned slave girls for Captain Kirk to score with.

I really like Star Trek, okay?

In the year 2089, his and her archaeologists Elizabeth (Noomi Repace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) find a cave painting that proves the planet earth was invented by ancient space aliens, and they want us to visit them in a distant galaxy for a light lunch when we get a chance.

A few years later, Elizabeth and Charlie are on a long distance flight aboard the explorer ship Prometheus, which is commanded by the icy Vickers (Charlize Theron) and David (Michael Fassbender), an android who had that special chip installed that makes him extra creepy and homicidal.

There are other scientists and crew members aboard the ship, but there’s very little point getting to know them because this is a sci-fi horror movie and they’ll start dying in frightening ways very soon.

The Prometheus lands on a dark and foreboding  planet LV-223 near a gigantic building that is also dark and foreboding. As the science team explores the dark and foreboding corridors of  the structure, they find long dead alien corpses, cans of weird black slime, killer snake like creatures… you know, stuff that would make a sane person turn the big ass ship around and head back to planet earth at one zillion miles an hour.

But since it took them two years to reach the planet and some mysterious old guy (Guy Pearce) paid a lot of money to sponsor the trip, the super intelligent scientists decide the best course of action is to stay very close to the danger and ignore the homicidal android as he goes out of his way to ensure that even more people die horribly.

I’m not going to give away any more of the plot of Prometheus, but if you’ve seen Alien, which this movie is clearly a prequel to, you know what’s going to happen.

Wait, I shouldn’t say that, since Ridley Scott and everyone involved with Prometheus has said this movie is not a prequel to Alien.

Prometheus is it’s very own movie; even though there are a ton of references to the characters and situations from Alien and it’s many sequels, and the plot and characters (like the freaking homicidal android) are almost identical, it’s not a prequel.

Nope. Not a prequel.

Oh, I just decided something – X Men: First Class is not a prequel to any of the other X Men movies! The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has nothing to do with any of the Lord of the Rings movies! Smallville had nothing to do with Superman!

Actually, that last one was right.

Anyway, if you like special effects laden horror movies with creepy monsters in space that aren’t like another special effects laden horror movie with creepy monsters in space movie, Prometheus is for you.

I you don’t like being lied to by esteemed British directors, I suggest you take your business elsewhere. Don’t have your heart broken! It’s not too late!

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Free Mars! Or Australia. Or Something.

total-recall-0v

TOTAL RECALL (2012) Director: Len Wiseman Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsdale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston Rating: PG-13 for the same type of gunfights, hand to hand combat, and other violence filmed in ultra slow motion we’ve seen in every modern action flick. Thank you, Matrix movies!

The 1990 film Total Recall featured a top of his game Arnold Shwarzeneggar as a man who doesn’t know who he is battling with evil mutants and assorted villains over the fate of the planet Mars. A true classic in the science fiction action genre, Total Recall had plenty of bloody action and violence, a fast moving and twisty “who am I” sci-fi plot, and a mutant  hooker with three boobs:

Made you look!

Not pictured: Three reasons why science fiction is so awesome.

The 2012 remake of Total Recall also has a mutant hooker with three boobs and a twisty “who am I” plotline,  but instead of the Governator kicking bad guy keisters on Mars we get Colin Farrell fighting the chick from Underworld and the guy from Breaking Bad for the survival of a futuristic Australia that isn’t overrun with post apocalyptic leather clad bikers for a change.

So for the remake they changed the plot, but kept the boobs. I admire that in a movie.

Some time in the future, Earth’s population has been nearly wiped out by some kind of chemical war leaving the former Great Britain (now known as the UFB) and Australia the only places still habitable.  The “Colony” as Australia is now called, is dirty, overcrowded, and looks like it was built by the same guys who did the sets for Blade Runner.  An underground elevator known as “The Fall” whisks commuters in massive subway cars from The Colony to the UFB in 17 minutes, pausing for a brief gravity shift at the earth’s core where everything floats because it’s important to the plot later in the movie.

Bored factory worker Quaid (Farrell) is having trouble sleeping because he has dreams of a hot girl who isn’t his hot wife Lori. Lori is played by Kate Beckinsdale, who is married to director Len Wiseman and is therefore bound by Hollywood marriage laws to appear in every movie her husband makes.

Looking for a way to break the monotony of his humdrum futuristic routine, Quaid visits Rekall – a high tech company which implants memories into your brain so you can experience all the fun and excitement of a vacation without having to wait two hours on line at Space Mountain.

Unfortunately, the memory implant procedure thing goes to crap and Quaid kills a bunch of armor clad troops with the skill of ten Jason Bournes and at least two Jason Stathams. Now he’s on the run with a bunch of questions running through his brainwashed head: Why do the UFB cops want him? Why do people think he’s a secret agent? And how come his loving wife has turned into a psycho killing machine who wants to serve Quaid some 45 caliber divorce papers?

Total Recall shifts into one continuous chase scene as Quaid teams up with Melina (Jessica Biel) the hot girl from his dreams who fights for a resistance group trying to free The Colony from the cruel UFB Chancellor Cohaagan (Bryan Cranston) who wants to clean out Australia and replace everyone with robots who work for free and don’t sound like Paul Hogan. Quaid runs, jumps, drives, and shoots his way to the truth about why his mind was erased.  Hint: it wasn’t erased by lots of tequila during Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale.

 Total Recall has tons of over the top action sequences made possible with the latest state of the art CG effects that all the kids seem to like nowadays, but this old school movie guy misses old school movie magic; where effects guys rigged real explosions, car chases involved actual cars, and stunt people risk serious spinal injuries by jumping off really tall things while on fire – ah the good old days!

So what the dillio – did I like this high tech remake/re-imaging of a beloved sci-fi action film from my youth?

No.

Sure, the three boobed hooker was a nice homage to the original, but without Mars, mutants, and Shwarzeneggar, Total Recall redux falls flat.

Total waste of a three boobed hooker if you ask me.

 

 

 

Four Score and Seven Vampires Ago…

DF_35177 - Benjamin Walker stars as ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (2012) Director: Timur Bekmambetov Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie Rating: R for gore, violence, ugly beards, and horrific stovepipe hats.

What’s not to like about Abraham Lincoln?

The speeches, the beard, the whole freeing the slaves thing;  Honest Abe was, as one historian I just made up put it – off the hizzle.

Hollywood released two big screen movies about Lincoln 2012: one a historical drama called Lincoln directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg which chronicles Lincoln’s struggles to end the bloody Civil War and rebuild a nation, and another one entitled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which features our 16th President beheading blood sucking vampires with an ax.

Sorry Mr. Spielberg, I’m going to go with the second movie here. It has vampires! And an ax! How can I say no? You don’t you know me at all, do you?

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opens with a young Lincoln reading his books and doing 19th century stuff with his Mom and Dad, who think their son is just awesome. Sadly, the awesomeness is shattered when Abe witnesses oily plantation owner Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) murder his mother in her sleep.

Years later, and adult Lincoln (Benjamin Walker, who looks more like Liam Neeson than Liam Neeson does) confronts Barts with a gun, only to find out that Barts is actually a blood sucking Vampire, a creature that can jump really high, vanish into thin air, and beat the crap out of future presidents with little effort. Before the battered Abe becomes a midnight snack, he is saved from Barts by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) who nurses him back to health, tells him all about vampires, and through the magic of a movie montage turns Abe Lincoln: gentleman scholar  into Abe Lincoln: ax wielding vampire chopper!

Please note: This didn’t actually happen to Lincoln. I looked it up on two websites and called my niece who reads a lot of history books and she verified it. Didn’t. Happen.

Anyhoo, Lincoln winds up in Springfield Illinois, studying law and wooing local beauty Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by day and beheading local vampires by night. Mary can’t understand why her boyfriend often shows up for their dates bruised and carrying a blood soaked ax, but Abe seems nice and since Match.com won’t be invented for another 150 years, she decides to stick with him.

Unfortunately Lincoln learns the vampire problem in the U.S. is too big him and his mentor Sturges to handle. It turns out the southern states are swarming with undead bloodsuckers under the command of Adam (Rufus Sewell), New Orleans plantation owner and unofficial president of the vampires. When he learns the slaves are being used as the vampires’ main food supply, Lincoln becomes something more dangerous and fearsome than 100 vampire slayers – A POLITICIAN!   

Years later Lincoln becomes President, which sets off the Civil War between the North and the vampire ridden South. When the Confederate Army turns vampire troops on the Union soldiers, Abe realizes it’s time to dust off the ax and give Adam and his vampire minions a Gettysburg Address they’ll never forget!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is loaded with everything you want in a biopic about a famous public figure: highly choreographed fight scenes, lots of CG blood spurting everywhere, and actors wearing period costumes and talking in old timey accents.

I hope other screenwriters and film makers are working on more of these “mashup” style movies featuring our nation’s presidents. Here are a few suggestions of my own:

Thomas Jefferson and The Pirates from Mars!

Millard Fillmore: Psychokinetic Spy!

Theodore Roosevelt: Mummy Puncher!

John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis with Dragons!

Bill Clinton Meets The Goonies!

Get cracking, Hollywood!