Monday, 30 April 2012

Crap Movie Corner: ALIEN Resurrection (20th Century Fox, 1997)

Alien, released in 1979, delivered something awesome to the horror movie genre, with its chest bursting, airway crawling, head mushing, flame-throwing carnage that the film is known for. Plus, it's a tense bugger, too. Aliens followed in 1985, and had a change of pace, being more manic, with more gunplay, more plot (with a saboteur who wants to take the thing back), and a kick ass finale. Alien 3 went back to it's roots, with a more thoughtful film that undeservedly gets a lot of stick, because it a bit more slower paced. Then, along came the 4th installment. And it seems to have gone all pear-shaped.
You're one ugly moth...sorry, wrong film.

Set some years after the events of Alien 3, the USS Auriga has found some DNA samples of Ripley (after she took a swan dive into molten metal. Don't ask.), and have cloned her, to get the alien Queen she was carrying (that also has been cloned). Eventually, a ragtag crew of mercenaries dock with the Auriga in their ship, the USS Betty, with a 'cargo': several humans in stasis who they kidnapped. Just afterwards, the aliens that burst forth from the victims, having some sense of intelligence, manage to escape, and now it's up to Ripley to get the mercs off the ship, and destroy the Auriga before it can get back to Earth.
Pastries are to your left, humans to your right.

I'll admit, the plot does sound alright. But, and I'm probably being an idiot here, but how can a man who has a new found hole punched into the back of his head by an Alien really have enough time to reach around and pull out part of his mushed up brain before he dies? I can't be sure, but all I know is the film sucked. It took everything the last 3 had, and stamped on it like a bully at school. Some of the special effects were rubbish, some of the acting wasn't up to scratch, the dialogue is more stupid than an idiot, and it's just too woeful to watch. It even makes me cringe when Winona Ryder interfaces with the computer and says "All aliens, please go to level XX". It's stupid, just.....just stupid. One of the good parts of the film comes when Ripley comes face to face with all the other clones that have gone wrong, and she burns them all like toast. Another is when they are swimming through the cafeteria (through coolant, I suppose) and are being chased by Aliens (who can swim as well), it's a tense moment, but it's a shame the rest of the film isn't like it. The biggest mistake is, when it's revealed that the new alien queen has, over time, developed a womb like a human (!) and can give birth (!!), which she does to some sort of alien/human hybrid (!!!), it's a sort of what the fu** moment, and you're left scratching your head when the infant decides that the queens jaw looks better on the floor, and looks at Ripley that SHE is it's mother. It's very disjointed, it doesn't sit right, and doesn't feel right in an Alien film. The whole film is a letdown. And the film had such a promising start as well, and the Directors Cut on dvd is even worse, with even more woeful CGI and scenes that add f**k all, it was a kick in the teeth for Alien fans who wanted to see the film in a better light, and give it another go.
Probably one of the worst things I've ever seen in a film. Weird. And wrong. On so many levels.

There's naff all to recommend this film to anyone. If you buy the boxset on Blu Ray or DVD, treat it as a special feature. Other than that, avoid like Herpes.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Mega Drive/MCD Capers: The Terminator (Virgin, 1992)

2029. The war between the machines of Skynet, and the human resistance of Tech-Com, has been raging for decades. As it seems to be tipping in the favor of the resistance, the machines decide to use their new Time Displacement System (a time machine to you and me!) to send their most advanced Terminator, a T800 Cyberdyne Systems model 101, with skin, hair, blood and eyes grown to cover it (and it looks exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger, oddly enough) back to the year 1984, and kill the mother of the leader of the resistance before he's even born: Sarah Conner. But, Tech-Com also send back someone as protector, and a battle of epic proportions ensues in Earth's past, to save Mankind's future.
Comparison alert!: Mega Drive, and still looks good, but...

Yes, The Terminator is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, and a game was eventually made for Sega's Mega Drive (Genesis to our American cousins), Master System, Game Gear, and two years later, a updated, expanded and enhanced version for Sega's doomed Mega CD. Developed by Virgin Games (which had a young programmer on board who would go on to create the fantastic MDK a few years later, Dave Perry), it expanded on the movies plot with extra levels. You play as Kyle Reese, and get stuck into his mission to get to Skynet, plant some explosives at the TDS, and use it himself to back to '84, before it gets blown to Kingdom Come.
And the rather gorgeous Mega CD version with added bits.

To start with, it looked great back then. Your guy against Hunter Killers (and they were huge buggers), Flying HK's, T800's with none of the skin and stuff, and T800's with the works (and they have bloody big guns as well). The Mega CD version even more so, with even better graphics (with added foreground graphics, like added skulls, and in one instance, your guy has a headset!), better music that added to the tense atmosphere, and it also added a gun to your inventory, instead of just using an endless supply of grenades, and made the game much better, and more fluid to play. Plus, it also added footage from the film between levels, which is a bonus. It also added a few more levels as well, and was even more playable than its other console counterparts. But, the game was rock hard. I never even got off the first level, as I managed to set the bombs, but couldn't get the equipment to work. Plus, the T800's seem to just keep on coming. But, who can say no to blowing away loads of Terminators?

Certainly a game worth checking out as, once you get started, you just keep on trying to plow on through, until the end. One of the better film licenses on the console, and certainly better than T2: Judgment Day by LJN (which was utter utter tosh).

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Stick around, Mr.Bond: The first 5 best Bond movies

Goodbye, Mr Bond!! Well, hello, actually, as James Bond has been around for 50 years. The brainchild of Ian Fleming, James Bond is a secret agent for Her Majesty, who works in MI5, and is always tasked with saving the world from nefarious schemes, that involve either taking over the world, or destroying mankind to create a new race, or even holding the world to ransom for an insane amount of cash. The films started in 1962, with Sean Connery playing the super spy in Dr.No, and up to recently with Daniel Craig in the yet-to-be-released Skyfall, and do not seem to show any signs of slowing up. So, to celebrate 50 years of the the worlds favorite spy, heres a first top 5 of my favorite Bond movies.

5: Moonraker (1979)

Made at the height of the Star Wars craze, Moonraker is a different kind of Bond movie. Yes, it has all the hallmarks of a Bond adventure: gorgeous Bond Girl, evil Bond Villain, lots of shooty set pieces, and Q. But, it did have another thing up it's sleeve (apart from its arm): a final 25 minute space finale, including a mssive shoot-out between Drax's henchmen, and the USAF, all involving laser guns! Over the top? Far fetched? It's both of those, but it does entertain for all the right reasons.

4: A View To A Kill (1985)

The last Bond outing for Sir Roger Moore, and I think it's also one of his best. Also starring one Christopher Walken as Max Zorin, it's storyline featured genetic tampering, a massive plot to flood Silicon Valley to make a killing in the microchip market, and fight on the very top of the Golden Gate Bridge! Roger Moore has also gone on record, saying this is his least favorite Bond movie, as it contains so much violence, but thinking about it, Zorin is one evil guy, and so violence is basically all he knows.

3: Goldfinger (1964)

Connery's third outing is actually one of the better Connery Bond movies. What other movie has women being painted in gold, a plot to rob Fort Knox, and a fat Korean man who throws a razor-rimmed bowler hat? None, that's what! And it's a very fun movie.

2: On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

A bit of an unusual one, this. The first, and last, George Lasenby Bond film, sees Bond having to stop Blofeld (Telly Savalas) from brainwashing women in his 'clinic', to go back into the major cities, and somehow cause infetility to the Male population. Yeah, I thought the plot was a bit askew as well. Still, it is a good movie, and is horribly underrated. Plus, there is a bit of a plot cock up as well, but it's down to the eagle-eyed Bond fans to find that one ;)

1: GoldenEye (1995)

After a hiatus of about 6 years (and many legal problems), the Bond films came back with a fresh, new take on the series. With a new M (replacing the late Bernard Lee), played by Judi Dench, and a new Bond, the film tackled how Bond would react with radical changes since his last outing (the dissolution of the Soviet Union and, effectively, the end of the Cold War), and how he would be seen now. With Pierce Brosnan taking over the role after Timothy Dalton resigned, Brosnan steps up to the mantle with relative ease, marking a return to form for the Bond movie, and one hell of a ride. Right, I'm going into town, anyone fancy jumping on the Tank?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Are you a member of the CULT?: The Thing (Universal, 1982)

The Thing
Universal Pictures
Directed by John Carpenter
Based on the novel "Who Goes There?" by John W.Campbell, Jr.
Screenplay by  Bill Lancaster
Music by Ennio Morricone
Starring Kurt Russell as MacReady, Willford Brimley as Blair, Richard Dysart as Doc Copper, Keith David as Childs, Richard Masur as Clark, Donald Moffat as Garry, T. K Carter as Nauls, Charles Hallahan as Norris, Thomas G. Waites as Windows & Joel Polis as Fuchs

It can take the form of any organism it comes into contact with. It cashed in the Antarctica ice, and lay undiscovered for 10,000 years. Now, it has been found by a group of Norwegian scientists. It thawed and became one of them, and escaped. Now, a group of American scientists have found the same organism, And their worst nightmare will become reality. It could become any one of them at anytime. Man is the warmest place to hide.

In 1981, John Carpenter, fresh from making Escape from New York, decided to remake a 50's classic that went by the name of The Thing From Another World. In this Black & White classic directed by Howard Hawks, the creature could replicate itself limitlessly, as it terrified a research base. Seeing potential in the story, he went back to the novel the film was based on, Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. The monster in the book absorbed its victim and took its shape, mannerisms and would talk exactly like it's victim, blending into it's surroundings like a chameleon. Doing this kind of movie needed some stellar special effects. Enter Rob Botin, who would later lend his excellent talents to the 1987 hit Robocop. He managed to create the most grotesque looking creations ever seen on film. At one point, when MacCready has to set fire to a 'thing' on a table, the concoction of different liquids for the blood, and the material used to make the 'skin' of the puppet, when melted, created toxic fumes that filled the set. The special effects, though, took a back seat to the performances of it's all-male cast

Musicwise, Ennio Morricone was brought on board, and created one of the most minimalistic soundtracks ever. Just using a few notes at the right time, would give a feeling of dread at certain scenes. Carpenter, although uncredited, did some additional music, but it all adds to the suspense and fear the film has.

When the movie was released, it failed at the box office, mainly because it went head to head with another alien movie that Universal had also put out. But this one was a friendly alien who only wanted to go home. Not only that, but it also went up against another sci-fi movie. A little movie about androids who dream of electric sheep, and starred Harrison Ford. It did find it's audience on home video, though, along with Big Trouble in Little China four years later, and has gone on to be a cult movie, even having it's own fan site which covers everything about the movie.
Open wide, and say AAGGGGHHHH!!!

Another thing this film has, and is also used in Big Trouble..., is the ambiguous ending. When I first saw it, i thought 'Is that it?'. But, thinking about it, it's left open for interpretation by the viewer. *SPOILER (if you've not seen it!) Was any of them The Thing? Did they get rescued? Or do they just sit and die? In my view, I think it adds to the overall atmosphere of the movie as a whole. After enduring an hour and forty minutes of not knowing who is, or who isn't, the thing, you still don't know! There was two endings shot, though. One sees MacReady rescued, and has a blood test to show he was human, and another of the morning after, when another Thing, in the shape of another dog, looks at the aftermath of the last nights events, and runs off, but Carpenter didn't want to use them as its open for the viewer to interpret as they like.

I love this film. I think the effects holds up to the day, and is one of the better monster movies of the early 80's. Also check out the prequel, which shows you what happened at the Norwegian base, right before the events of The Thing. It leads into the original nicely, and is pretty good in it's own right.