The Picture Show II

Saw some movies recently (Encore had a free week). Thoughts.
  • Flash Gordon is a weird movie. I mean the one with Queen music and Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless. It somehow works, basically by only being silly in the way the original comics and serials were silly, rather than camping everything up deliberately. Also, has anyone ever noticed that every evil overlord in everything ever, even unto Darkseid, is Ming?

    Also, doing the Hawkmen as, basically, Standard Issue Dwarves, is interesting; I hadn't previously realized they were like that. Odd take on bird-people. And am I the only one who wonders why nobody has noticed that all dwarves, apart from in the actual books by Tolkien (and the Rank and Bass adaptations of same) are, basically, Brian Blessed? You'd certainly think TV Tropes would've noticed, they're obsessed with him.
  • Battle: Los Angeles is good. I mean, really good. Sure, it's basically Halo, but so is every other military SF movie. The only thing keeping it from being perfect (other than Michelle Rodriguez playing the same character she plays in everything, including Halo 3) is...water? Really? The aliens shouldn't give a shit about our water. Yes, it is unusual that our water is liquid, but y' know, there's an easy way to get ice to become liquid.

    What's so irksome about it is, the fact we have liquid water is actually something you would invade Earth for. Namely, if your biology were comparable to ours, you'd want a Goldilocks-zone planet with this sort of atmosphere, and you might be willing to kill to get it. That would be a far more plausible reason for aliens to want Earth.

    Oh yeah, while we're at it, the idea that when you invade for resources, you wipe out the indigenous population...huh? No you don't. African colonialism was much more purely for resources than New World, and the native populations were much less touched (that mostly because they had more disease-immunities in common, though). Actually other than the English in North America, nobody, no matter why they were colonizing, even tried to wipe out the indigenous people, so...okay, another point against the movie that still doesn't ruin it.
  • Red Sand is a forgettable little horror-flick, about a unit of Army guys in Afghanistan who get tormented by a jinn after breaking the statue it's trapped in. It wasn't terrible, though it did hit every stupid talking-point in Hollywood's portrayal of the War on Terror, but uh...guys? Afghans are Persians. They wouldn't have any ancient trapped jinns. They're not Arabs, they've only had the concept of "jinn" for about a thousand years. There are much scarier things in Persian legend than a jinn, anyway.

    Also, the thing, when you actually see it, is a ghoul, straight out of Pickman's Model, not a jinn. Jinn look just like humans, when they have "earth" bodies at all; those dog-things are ghouls, which are only sorta associated with jinns and much more associated with humans. Also? Jinns don't, precisely, hate humans, any more than fairies do; they're dangerous, but mostly because you can't assume they're always hostile.
  • Pandorum (I actually think this was on the Syphilis Channel). This. Movie. Sucks. Horror movies in general (actually Red Sands was largely a welcome exception) have plots that only work if everyone is an idiot, but seriously, whoever designed that ship should die. What possible design reason is there to put a bunch of chasms into a spaceship? And what in the hell it would send you to are the reset controls for the reactor doing that close to the reactor itself?

    Also, minus a hojillion points for apocryphal population apocalypses, and minus another for those stupid Falmer-looking mutants. The ending, by the bye, may be the lamest thing since whatever Joss Whedon last worked on that wasn't someone else's idea—let's just say engines for space-travel don't work so well under water, and leave it at that.


Nicholas D.C. Wansbutter said...

Funny, I basically agree with you on Battlefield: Los Angeles, but I really liked Pandorum. I guess that's because I'm totally NOT a hard sci-fi guy, so I was able to overlook the ship design. Now that you mention it, the ship design IS ridiculous, but I still liked it.

Sophia's Favorite said...

I liked the aesthetic of the ship interiors, for all its actual layout made no sense (as in Alien, the only reason you'd design a ship like that would be if you knew it was going to be the setting of a horror movie). And if those rings around the ship were magnets, that would've been really cool (big rings of magnets around a ship can deflect ionizing radiation).

A point my dad made while we were watching it was, "Why did the degenerate mutant guys stick shards of stuff into their backs? Wouldn't that be a bad idea?"