Friday, 14 October 2011

Classic Movie Corner: Innerspace (Warner Bros., 1987)

Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) is an alcoholic, ex-USAF pilot, who is the pilot for a test to be shrunk down, and injected into a rabbit. Jack Putter (Martin Short) is a Safeway clerk, and hypochondriac, who frequently sees his doctor about his phantom illnesses. The two are about to be thrown together in a adventure that will change both of them, and will face the evil Scrimshaw (Kevin McCarthy), and his two right hand men (and woman)(Vernon Wells, Fiona Lewis), who wants the two microchips needed for minaturisation and re-enlargement for his own purposes.

Directed by Joe Dante, and starring Denis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan, Innerspace drew it's inspiration from the 1966 classic Fantastic Voyage. Using the concept of miniturisation as the basis of the story, it was certainly different to the other sci-fi films of the time, with the added use of comedy, mainly from Short, and made it feel fresh, which it still does today (in my eyes at least). Quaid is excellent as the cocky and brash Pendleton, who relies on his past glories (which is mainly about landing a crippled F14 on a rolling flatop in near zero visibility), to get him ahead. Short is great as the hypocondriac Putter, and is the source of many of the laughs, and even throws a good one-two punch later in the film. Kevin McCarthy plays Scrimshaw with a comic malevolence, especially in the last 2/3 of the film.

The special effects, which is partly done by ILM and Rob Bottin (who did the excellent effects on The Thing and Robocop), and the effect of inside Short is nothing short (pun not intended) of outstanding. Sometimes you'd think they did somehow manage to shrink down Quaid and film inside a human body! Jerry Goldsmith again provides the music, and again it all adds to the atmosphere at key moments. At times, there are hints of his Rambo III score if you listen carefully, and with the added music by Sam Cooke and Rod Stewart's 1987 version of Twistin' The Night away, wraps up the whole package nicely.

An awesome 80's movie, with brilliant, state of the art special effects that still hold up today, a great script, a strong cast and great music. If you haven't watched it, shame on you. If you have seen it, watch it again.

Covered before in a smaller post in less detail.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Original Star Wars Trilogy: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Battle of Yavin has been won. The Rebels have been celebrating, but it's short lived. The Empire has driven the Rebels from their base, and have begun an exhaustive search across the galaxy. Darth Vader has also begun an extensive search for the young Jedi Luke Skywalker, in an attempt to turn him to the dark side of the Force. Settling on the remote ice planet Hoth, the rebels have stayed hidden, until the Empire dispatches probe droids to search for the new rebel base. Upon finding a power generator, a legion of AT-AT walkers and AT-ST walkers are sent to the planet for a final annihilation of the rebel alliance, and the capture of Luke Skywalker.

Directed by George Lucas' old mentor, Irvin Kershner, ESB marked the first time the director had directed special effects. It certainly doesn't show, as they are even more awesome than in the original Star Wars from 3 years previous. Featuring more ships, bigger battles (Battle of Hoth, anyone?), and the first appearance of the old Jedi Master Yoda (back then anyway), ESB took what was great about ANH, and ramped it up tenfold. Yes, it was about 10 minutes longer, but it packed in much, much more. A chase in an Asteroid field, a bounty hunter named Boba Fett, a lightsaber duel between Skywalker and Vader and THAT plot twist, it's easy to see why many people prefer it to RotJ.

Another thing that's better is the music. Introducing the Imperial March for the first time, it gives the film a more darker tone which, in my own honest opinion, works a treat and helps to drive the film along. The script is also a lot stronger as well, which does go to show that back then Lucas knew what he was doing, and that Attack of the Clones was just wrong on so many levels (don't forget the lines in RotS as well: "I saw a holofilm of him.......killing younglings!" although that could just be Ewan MacGregor's poor delivery or bad directing).

If you were brought up on the original versions of the original trilogy (like I was), then you'll probably say that ESB is the best out of the whole lot too (although there are others who say that Jedi was better). It is the better of the original Trilogy (with ANH just a whisker behind), and the better of the whole saga overall.

You don't know the power of the Dark Side!!

Coming soon: Part 3: Return of the Jedi

Monday, 3 October 2011

Crap Movie Corner: Robocop 3 (Orion, 1993)

Robocop was released in 1987 to much fanfare, and was gory, violent, and over the top funny (I'll buy that for a dollar! ahhhh ha ha ha!), and was a great film. About 3 years later, Robocop 2 was released. Again, violent, funny, and with as much action as the first, it wasn't as good as the first, but was a good film in it's own right. Fast forward three more years, and Orion, on the verge of bankruptcy, decided to release the third one. Only, it didn't go down as well as Orion did (they folded just before it was released). Pull out your Auto9, and lets buy that again for a dollar!
Introducing the new cast of The Waltons!

Detroit is crumbling. OCP, the corporation that has run the entire city for years, has been bought out by the Kanemtsu Corporation, and has green lit the demolition of Old Detroit, while trying to turf the people out of their homes in a forced relocation. Urban Rehabilitation (Rehabs) Squads have been drafted in to help with the relocation. Murphy (Robert John-Burke)  has been forced to participate, until a group of 'refugees' hide out in a church and Murphy's partner, Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) is killed by the person in charge of the Rehabs, McDagget (John Castle). Deciding to defend the refugees, they are taken, via an underground tunnel to a secret base, where they have decided to fight back, Murphy fights against the Rehabs, and McDagget for the future of Old Detroit.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its a turd of a movie!

Ok, lets start off with the positives. has the original Lewis in it. And, erm......Murphy can change his left arm to that of a multi-function gun, that consists of a rocket launcher, a flame thrower and a machine gun. What else........err.........nothing really. Now, lets see whats bad. Eveything. The acting, which is absolutely terrible (especially from John-Burke), the dialogue is complete crap, the storyline is bollocks (Robocop becoming rogue, and helping a group of refugees.) I can see why they'd take that direction, as he is supposed to be a law enforcer, but it was just handled completely wrong. Robocop with a jetpack? Oh, come on! The special effects are just.......urgh.....absolute crap. The stop motion animation isn't as good as the ones in Robocop 2, and you can see the wires used when Murphy is escaping from the OCP building with the woman and kid. I know that Orion were going down the pan faster than a turd, and it shows with the cutting corners, but they could have just sold the rights and they might have been saved, but instead they release this pile of shite. Stick with the first two instead, as there's much more fun to be had.