Category: Sci-Fi Stuff


 What The Hell Has Happened to the Syfy Channel?

tv_stargate_atlantis13First, I am still not clear on exactly why the SciFi Channel suddenly became the Syfy Channel (other than the Marketing Department, those liar, liar pants on fire fucktards).  I am sure there are some black suited men, sitting behind a desk who have never liked, seen or heaven forbid — read — anything related to Science Fiction.  Too bad for them, and apparently, too bad for us also.

I don’t have any answers as to why the SciFi Channel, which seemed so hopeful in terms of great, original new shows like Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, Eureka, Ghost Hunters, etc. had suddenly turned to shows like “Shark Attack Times 1000!”, “The Catfish that ate your Mother”, or “The CROC THAT ATE ATLANTIS!”.  Even worse “Smackdown!”.  Obviously, I was joking with those titles, but they aren’t too far off.  Unfortunately, here are some real ones:  “Sharktopus”, “MegaShark vs. Crocosaurus”, “Dinocroc vs. Supergator” and “Smackdown” (that one was real, and just as bad).  Heaven help all of us science and fiction geeks, but that sad list goes on, on and on in terms of the films SyFy is willing to torture us with.

There are, however, some bright spots in the content downfall of the channel, and as anyone with common sense knows, there are but a few shows holding that channel together.  They are:  Warehouse 13, Ghost Hunters (which I used to love but is getting bor-oor-oring), and FaceOff, which is a great show that I encourage all of my peeps to check out.  That is all I will watch on that channel these days, and that is just damn sad.

If I were a betting person, I would lay down lots of money that whoever was put in charge of programming once the change was made is a Godzilla fan and maybe, just maybe a zoophiliac.  I know it’s hard to think about, but why else would someone choose to kill a burgeoning channel with lots of viewers?  Someone cancelled great shows like Stargate Atlantis and Eureka to make way for “My Dingo Ate Your Crocodile”.  Even worse, “Lost Girl” which does nothing but try to capitalize on young mens desires to see two chicks make out.   Really??  She NEEDS to suck face with everyone she meets to survive?  Please God tell me we are not that stupid or that ruled by our loins.

Look, I get the fact that men want to see that kind of thing.  But are you willing to let a TV show eat your brain away so much that the plot no longer matters?  If so, I got nothing for ya.  Come on you other guys, I have more faith in you than that.    Frankly, that’s what porn is for, not prime-time shows showing crap our kids can see.  Eh, whatever.

Now, if you want to watch a channel that is actually Science and Fiction try the Science Channel. They are showing Fringe and they even have a show called “Dark Matters” which is what the SyFy channel promised to be, but never delivered.  It can get a little gross at times, but it’s still great eureka-showand informative.  You know, kind of like life… and science.

Please do me a favor and stop watching the SyFy Channel just because it’s there.  You now know we have the Science Channel, which gives us a lot more than “Smackdown”.   And quite frankly, don’t be a dumbass consumer or teenager with a hard-on, both of whom will believe anything…. including that the Syfy Channel is still worth watching.

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Movie Review:  Prometheus  2012

I must start this review by explaining that I had two problems while contemplating writing this review (and remember that I never give away the plot or any other details, you must see the film on your own and draw your own conclusions):

1) I love the Alien franchise.  And when I say love, I mean make your spouse (and all other loved ones) sit through innumerable hours of watching everything Alien until they want to throttle you.  This love however, pretty much ended with Alien3 (even though it was somewhat watchable) and totally died with Alien4 – Resurrection (whose existence still pisses me off when I accidentally see its name while scrolling by the SyFy channel at night.)  Heck, Alien vs. Predator was 10 times better than Resurrection and it wasn’t even that great.  Maybe now you get how much I loathe Alien Resurrection.  Anywhoo…

2)  I was aware before seeing Prometheus that it was supposedly a “pseudo” prequel to the Alien franchise but didn’t know what the hell that really meant.  Now that I have seen the film, I unfortunately have a very clear idea of what the hell they were talking about.

So now, on to the review…

First, I went out of my way to see this film in 3D — it was my first 3D movie in theater (not counting “A Bug’s Life” at Disney World) and I have to say I was impressed.  The visuals were stunning and through a lot of the film I felt I was right there with the characters so I have to give big props for the fact that Mr. Scott shot this in 3D and did a great job of making the audience feel like they were actually a part of the film.

Also, the acting was great with only one exception — and I am not sure if this was due to the director or the actor, although I suspect the former.   All of the actors seemed very capable and in the case of Janek — his poor performance seemed forced.  Janek (Idris Elba) seemed to have no feelings whatsoever in this film until the very end.  One wondered if he was actually an android in the film.  I must also give honorable mention to two other characters that other critics ignored, Eilizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Fifield (Sean Harris).  If it were not for both their superb acting I honestly don’t think that I would have been so drawn in while watching.

Now on to the bad news:  the plot of this film was horrible and I directly blame Damon Lindeof.  The truth of the matter is that for some ungodly reason (perhaps studio pressure and — just my opinion because I have no proof — perhaps some form of nepotism) it was  decided that he was allowed to change the script originally written by Ridley Scott and Jon Spaihts –two people waaaay more talented.  If you really want to know how big of a hack Mr. Lindeof is (who clearly has no clue about what Alien fans really want), just take a look at that stupid hat he wore at WonderCon 2012.  Need I really say more?

Anyway as I always say, please don’t let my opinion of this film deter you from seeing it as it is certainly worth a few hours of your time.  You should ALWAYS make up your own mind about films, books, or any art form for that matter.  My job is simply to give you a heads up and perhaps shine a small light on the subject matter of which you are interested.

Let me know what you think of my reviews anytime.   In the meantime, please enjoy the imagination of others and always give them mad props for their effort.

Terra Nova, Fox 8pm EST Mondays

Hopefully, if you were interested in Terra Nova you watched the season premier this past Monday (9/26/11).  If not, keep in mind that this review will give away a lot of the plot so if you don’t want spoilers, just skip to the last paragraph if you want the up or down vote.

I decided to watch the 2 hour season premier of Terra Nova purely out of curiosity, as the idea of starting civilization over again by going back in time definitely appealed to me.  What tempered my enthusiasm, however, was that sinking feeling that producers were going to use a really good idea and turn it into two hours of telling us how we are mucking up the Earth and eventually we will destroy it.  However, now having actually watched the show, I have to say it was pleasantly light on the “people suck” messaging .

Now, there is an element of “the Earth is doomed and it’s all our fault” in the very beginning of the show, but it doesn’t last long and that is not the focus.  Rather, the show follows the Shannon family in the year 2149, struggling to deal with living in an overpopulated world (they even have limits on how many children you can have, in this case 2 — which unfortunately isn’t a new concept) and where the air is so bad, people have to wear small gas masks when outside.  Sounds a little preachy so far, I know, but the thrust of the first third of the show really is on the family and the fact that they get caught having violated the child policy.  Anyway, off dad/Jim (Jason O’Mara) a former cop, goes to prison for the child law violation.

The rest of the show picks up 2 years later with dad still in the clink, and with mom/Elizabeth (Shelley Conn) and the two approved children having been picked by the government to go to Terra Nova.  They don’t get into what Terra Nova is explicitly (you have to hear the announcements in the background) but you figure out that somehow they have found a rip in time which allows people to travel back in time to Earth (before all the planet-ruining people came along) but in another time stream.  I won’t belabor the whole normal time steam versus new time stream thing because I have a feeling we will hear a lot more about that in future episodes.  As for the third, unapproved child and dad, well yada, yada, yada, he escapes from prison and manages to get the entire family onto/into Terra Nova, from which there is no way to get back to 2149.

I was surprised — in a good way — to see that a large portion of the premier takes place in/on Terra Nova.  This is important because they needed to and did set some expectations for potential trouble in their new-found utopia.  Problems on Terra Nova include, but are not limited to:  man-eating dinosaurs (some of which didn’t exist in our real past, but remember, this is a different time stream so they can really make up whatever they want), big ass bugs, another settlement of people (called Sixers, that also came from 2149) that for some reason (the premier didn’t explain it yet) are at odds with those living within the gates of Terra Nova, and some mysterious etchings on some rocks outside the gates of Terra Nova.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable and solid premier.  The characters are likeable, the sets were beautiful both in 2149 and on Terra Nova, and the story is engaging.  These days, it gets pretty hard for me to enjoy shows and movies that spend most of their (and my) time preaching about one issue or another and don’t spend enough time on the characters and the story.  I am happy to say that is not the case with Terra Nova and I am glad I watched it.  Sure, the entire concept is built around people being the cause of the Earth dying a slow and painful death, and I am pretty sure we will hear some more of that in future episodes, but it’s not so over the top that I couldn’t enjoy it.  I mean, after all, all doomsday scenario shows and movies have to have a bad guy, and I can live with it if it’s us once in a while, so long as the story is a good one, and in this case it is.

Tech Note:  There are a few technical flaws with the show, such as a few windmills and solar panels being able to generate LOTS of electricity for their futuristic medical equipment, the entire village and whatnot, but again, I can overlook that.  In fact, I giggled quite a bit during one scene, when you first see a windmill (it’s literally one lonely windmill in the background) and I imagined it crying “Help me!  I can’t do this all by myself you idiots!”  Anyway, it’s Sci-Fi and sometimes you gotta let fiction be fiction and just enjoy the show.  

CONTAGION, 2011

First, let me start by acknowledging that technically, this isn’t a horror movie.  However, since it does have elements of horror in it (sort of), as well as some Science Fiction (note the science part of that phrase) it qualifies to be reviewed here.  Plus, I just love end of the world movies, especially the kind with icky viruses.

The film’s premise is that an unknown virus makes its way into the population and starts killing off anyone who comes in contact with it — and by contact I mean any contact.  If you touch an infected person:  blammo.  You touch something an infected person has touched:  peace out.  If you breathe the air of an infected person:  well, you get the picture.  To add to the scare factor, you can’t really tell if someone is infected until they practically drop dead, so let’s just say you might want to stay home or encase yourself in plastic wrap — your choice really.

To add to the xenophobia instilled in you after about 20 minutes of the movie (and the distracting conscious effort to not touch your face), you are also treated to pretty inept governments and leaders who are virtually in absentia while millions of people are dying, looting, getting robbed, etc.  Which governments you may ask?  How about, oh, just all of them.  The movie may have made it seem like all of 12 people were working on the problem worldwide, but at least they didn’t just portray America as completely heartless and dumb this time, so that’s a plus.

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the absurd amount of high-profile actors in the film because there are loads of ’em:  Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bryan Cranston, Jude Law, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Now don’t get me wrong here, I like a lot of the actors in the movie and felt that pretty much all of them did a great job in the film.  Notable exception being Matt Damon, who, true to form, seems to be totally incapable of showing any emotion — ever.  Even Gwyneth Paltrow who I would probably want to throttle in real life, put in a great performance as (I am loath to admit) she usually does.

So to re-cap here’s what we have so far:  great premise, great cast and surprisingly (and thankfully) no overt Hollywood message.  So what’s not to love?  Well, just a few things actually.  First, from only seeing the previews of the movie, I was kind of hoping/expecting that they would take a bit of a broader approach to the threat of infectious diseases.  There were a few mentions of Bird Flu and such, but in terms of getting the point across about how serious of a threat we could really face, the film  came off a bit understated, even while they are throwing numbers of infected and dead at you like hot cakes.  I dunno, maybe I just need more gore.  Second, I’m not really sure what the point of the movie was.  Other than the fact that some freaky virus could wipe out tons of us pretty easily, I really didn’t get much else.

In the end, the movie felt like a documentary about an outbreak of horrible proportions, rather than an end of the world movie and I believe that was the intention.  There wasn’t a whole lot of human drama in it either, other than Matt Damon’s role and thanks to his “acting” style, he doesn’t elicit a lot of empathy.  I kept imagining his character as Gary Sinise though, and that got me through it okay.

So if you’re one of those people (like me) who is aware that the next plague could literally be right around the corner, this film will give you the heebies-jeebies. However, even the most hardened epidemiologist knows that while something like this is pretty likely at some point, life must go on — and unfortunately, it isn’t very easy living it in bubble wrap.  Therefore what I took from this movie was this:  sure, you might get some nasty killer virus from that Starbuck’s Mocha Frappuccino cup, but then again, you might not.  So what the hell, drink up.

STUPID NOTE:  Although I love Gary Sinise, I will never quite forgive him for making Mission:  Space at Disney World seem cool to ride.  After wishing for death on the ride, I learned the hard way that it is very not cool to feel like your brains are in a blender and set on ultra-puree.  Thanks for that Gary, I appreciate it man.  (Note #2 — this was before they opened the namby-pamby green side.  There was only one ride, and yes, I wished for death — albeit only briefly.)

The Caller 2011

In The Caller, our main character, Mary Kee (Rachelle Lafavre, also known as Victoria from Twilight) is just your average, but abused wife trying to get away from her psycho husband Steven (Ed Quinn, who also played “Nathan Stark” in SyFy’s Eureka).  In the midst of a divorce, she moves into a less than desirable apartment complex and finds herself not only trying to deal with her restraining order-ignoring ex-hubby stalking her but also some odd phone calls to her new place.  The caller, who is clearly unhinged from the jump-start, tells Mary that her boyfriend recently came back from the Vietnam War — thus indicating that the caller (Rose) is calling Mary from the past (1979).  Mary, unbelieving at first, soon finds herself at the mercy of crazy Rose, who has proven that she can and will change things in Mary’s current life by making changes to her past.  And really, anyone who has seen Star Trek or read Ray Bradbury knows this is entirely possible and can lead to some very nasty results.

Let’s get to the bad stuff first.  Unfortunately, The Caller is an in-your-face rip off of Sleeping with the Enemy — from the dorky new love interest, visit to the county fair and right down to the poofy hair.  True, in this one the ex-husband still knows his wife is alive, but other than that, there really isn’t much of a difference between the two in terms of the sub-plot.  However, since this isn’t the main thrust of the story, I had little difficulty overlooking this minor annoyance.  I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on with the rest of the movie, and I guess that’s a good thing.

However, some other things bothered me about this flick as well.  First, as much as this movie did a great job portraying Mary acting pretty realistically to the supernatural things happening around her, there were several obvious things that no normal human being would do.  For instance, Rose asks Mary for her name and Mary gives it to her, first and last.  Now, keep in mind this happens after Mary already knows that Rose is a nutjob — a nutjob from the past or not — and that was a pretty stupid thing to do.  I don’t give anyone (much less wrong numbers from loonies) my whole name over the phone unless I have called them.  Mary also later gives Rose her new love interests full name (John, played by Stephen Moyer) and this was after Rose had already proven she could make changes to Mary’s life.  Duh and double-duh.  It was also exceptionally unrealistic that an 80-something year old woman would be able to chop her way into Mary’s apartment and damn near kill her.  Umkay.

I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this film, but on the contrary, I actually really did.  It is a unique twist on some old concepts, the pace and acting were good and the overall feel of the film was perfect (a little dark and musty, just as a supernatural thriller should be).  If I have any real complaint, it’s just that the film didn’t seem like it knew where it wanted to go.  Was Mary crazy and imagining all of the things happening to her or was Rose real?

For the bulk of the movie, we are led to believe that Rose was indeed very real but then things happen which differ with that knowledge.  For instance, John talks Mary into moving out of her apartment and in with her mother to get away from Rose.  Somehow Rose knows about this conversation, which took place at John’s house (no phones were involved either).  Now, there was a shadowy figure seen a few times in Mary’s present (which turns out to be the 80-ish Rose) but the Rose in the past knows about it and does some things in the past as retaliation.  I never did figure out how in the heck that happened and I question whether the director did either.  It’s almost like they hoped no one would notice.

I can’t tie this movie up in a nice and neat bow simply because the film doesn’t let me.  I came away from it pretty sure that Rose was real but honestly, I’m not 100% that the whole thing wasn’t in Mary’s head ala Black Swan.  All in all though, I suppose this is why the film worked for me — unlike Black Swan, it kept me guessing not only up to but also past the end.

IMDb NOTE:  Looks like IMDb and I are speaking terms again, as they give the film a 6.2 rating and I agree.  I think this is fair as the movie was interesting but had enough bumps to lose points with viewers.  Don’t you just love happy endings?

Movie Review:  Attack The Block

Note to Readers:  Due to the relatively in-depth nature of this review, there are spoilers aplenty below.  If you wish to skip the spoilers and get to the up/down vote and why, just jump to the last paragraph!

Overview:  A group of London thugs (young teens), while robbing an innocent woman, witness a white, streaking mass crash into a vacant car.  Upon investigation, one of the thugs “Moses” (played by John Boyega) is intent on robbing the already demolished car when an alien pops out, scratches and attacks him.  Moses fights back and stabs the alien which then takes off running.  Moses decides to give chase and make the alien pay for the attack, which he does by killing the alien.  The group of thugs then take the alien to the home of the neighborhood drug dealer “Ron” (played by one of my favs Nick Frost) where they stash the aliens dead body in “Ron’s Weed Room.”

About this time, the thugs notice that the same white streak in the sky that accompanied the first alien is now again in the sky — only this time multiplied in number.  The new aliens are bigger than the first and take to hunting down the thugs and pretty much anyone else who gets in their way.  To get to the thugs, the aliens pretty much lay siege to a building called “The Block.”  Thus the title — Attack the Block.

My feelings on this film are two-fold and diametrically opposed.  First, as an alien invasion movie (besides some minor quibbles) I liked it.  But second, as a dreaded Film With A Message — I absolutely hated it.  As an alien invasion movie, it was fun, fast paced and somewhat original.  Okay, so the aliens looked like overgrown bears with no eyes and glowing teeth.  But, I can overlook quite a bit when the acting is good and the film feels like everyone involved actually gave a shit about their product.  I can also overlook or even embrace subtle societal messages and overt messages if I am expecting them.  However, I cannot, or more accurately — will not —  give a pass to films that are supposed to be comedic and funny but consistently throw hard-edged messages in my face.  This is especially true when I completely disagree with said message, like the one in Attack the Block.

No doubt, there are probably a lot of critical reviewers out there who liked this film for the very reason that I am a little pissed off about it.  I say “probably” because I have not read any other reviews as of this writing, but considering the films message I don’t have to be Miss Cleo to guess their reaction.  The message?  Oh, that the teenage thugs that are currently so prevalent in London are really just misunderstood, noble young men who are being left behind by society, and it’s up to society and the government to save them.  I mean really, the lead “misunderstood hero” thug (Moses) is saved in the end by hanging on to a British flag.  Talk about hitting us upside the head with a message.  Jeez.

Now look, all in all Attack the Block was a good film.  The acting was solid and the special effects (even the alien-bear-thing) were pretty good.  So, if you can ignore or don’t mind being taught a lesson with your alien invasion film, give it a watch.  However, understand that they really did miss the boat with the opportunity they had with this movie.  All of the ingredients were there for an outstanding and fun film — they simply chose not to use them.  If they had focused more (a lot more) on the comedic aspect rather than on smug (not to mention wrong) messaging, this movie really could have been something special.  Too bad their “message” took precedence.

UNNECESSARY ADD-ON:  When attempting to convince my husband to see this movie, I told him it had (to use his frame of reference) “the guy from Shaun of the Dead” in it.  He said “Oh, that guy.  The one you love.”  I had to explain that I was speaking of Nick Frost and not Simon Pegg and that I don’t “love” Simon Pegg.  But anyway, if you haven’t seen “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” you should, it’s really very good.

UPDATE THAT MIGHT MATTER 9/6/11:  After writing this post I read some other reviews and it turns out that first, I was right about the critical response to this film (they loved it) and second, the film was supposed to be writer/director Joe Cornish’s tribute to John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13.  That may be true and it’s completely within his rights to make the film that he wanted.  However, as a viewer, I shouldn’t have to know that before seeing the film and either way, that knowledge doesn’t add anything to the viewing experience.  So, in the end it doesn’t really change anything anyway.

Insidious may not be the best horror movie ever, but for my money it is the best horror film of 2011 and probably the last 5 years.  Considering we’ve had some really great films come out in those years, that’s saying a lot, I know.  But I’ve got some hella good reasons for making such a grandiose statement. So even though I’m a bit late in reporting on this film, in this case later is definitely better than never.

I don’t want to get into too many details because — as I’ve said before — it is better to know as little about movies like this prior watching them and this is definitely a flick that proves my theory.  Knowing too much, even if the film is great, is kind of like sneaking into your parents bedroom and finding your biggest Christmas present in their closet on Christmas Eve.  You still get the gift, but the fun of unwrapping the unknown is sucked right out of the whole damn thing.  Such is the case with Insidious.

The premise of the film is straightforward:  a nice, young couple (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) thinks their house is haunted.  In fact, they are indeed being haunted — just not by a house.  It takes a little trial and error to figure this out, not to mention a little outside help from Barbara Hershey as well as a paranormal research crew led by Lin Shaye (who has been in numerous horror films, perhaps most notably A Nightmare on Elm Street – 1984).  But not to worry, they do eventually figure out what’s happening — or maybe, that is exactly why they should worry.

There are so many reasons why I loved this movie so much, but the biggest reason is because the film is smart.  In a world where remakes are a dime a dozen and generally seem to almost try to mangle the original, this film instead takes elements from other great films (The Shining and Poltergeist), adds some original ideas of its own and creates a great body of work.

Some critics have said that Insidious has bastardized Poltergeist because of the striking similarities between the two films.  I completely disagree.  Whereas the two films are indeed very similar, Insidious feels more like a modern extension of Poltergeist as opposed to a bad copy.  To put it simply, if you loved Poltergeist, chances are you will also love Insidious, because the film makers paid serious homage to Poltergeist instead of whoring it out.

As I mentioned, the film also adds some color of its own that shouldn’t go unappreciated.  For instance, one of the things they did (that you rarely see), is they actually show you the monsters.  All too often, film makers take the very good idea of showing very little of the monster in order to make it more frightening by letting your imagination do all of the work and somehow manage to ruin the entire concept.  Instead of using it as a tool to highlight a monster, they use it as the monster, and that just cheats the audience and screws up a potentially good film.  If I only wanted to use my imagination to conjure up monsters, I wouldn’t bother to watch movies.

That being said, some younger viewers (under 25) may not have the same level of appreciation for this film that I did.  First, they may have never even seen Poltergeist and therefore have no way to recognize the delicate tribute Insidious gives it.  Also, the film is only rated PG-13, which in itself is enough to turn off some young viewers.  They may not love Insidious as much as older viewers, but even they can get some enjoyment out of this solid, original flick.

IMDb RATING:  Once again, I find myself in disagreement with IMDb’s rating system.  They give Insidious a 6.9 rating, which is higher than most horror films usually receive.  However, it is my belief that it deserved at least an 8.  I know it’s nitpicking, but this film deserves it.

Alright, if you have not seen the movie Cowboys & Aliens and are planning to do so, be aware —  here there be spoilers.  As always though, I will do my best to keep them to a minimum.

Before you even walk into a movie with the title Cowboys & Aliens, you automatically know (or you should anyway) that there is going to be a pretty significant amount of disregarding reality you will need to do to enjoy the film.  While that is true with almost all films, a movie with this title demands it.  So, let’s set aside the obvious ridiculousness of the premise:  the idea that people in the wild west could possibly stand a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating aliens who came to Earth from outer space with technology and weapons that we in the 21st century don’t even have.  You will also have to really take a leap and believe that Harrison Ford is actually a nice person (at least for a portion of the movie).  Still with me so far?  Okay, good.

Our protagonist, Jake (played by Daniel Craig of James Bond fame) wakes up with amnesia (shocka!) in the middle of nowhere USA with some sort of wound in his side and a fancy bracelet attached to his wrist, which he cannot get off.  He is then  approached by some cowboys who threaten to kill him for no discernible reason that I could find, other than to give Jake a reason to kill them and take their horses, clothes and their dog.  He somehow manages to find his way into town, where he meets a preacher, the towns richest-man’s-obligatory-spoiled-and-annoying-son, Percy (Paul Dano) and a woman named Ella (Olivia Wilde, widely known as “13” from House).

Yada, yada, yada, the aliens come in ships and start taking townsfolk from above using what looked to me like an electrified version of the claw game we all play at the beach and never win — which just goes to show that apparently aliens are much better at that game than any human I’ve ever met, but I digress.  Turns out, they are taking humans to “study our weaknesses” (do I even need to insert a snarky comment here?) and the people taken may or may not still be alive.

Jake has flashbacks that he was abducted by aliens along with his girlfriend (although throughout the film she was really only referred to as “whore” and “prostitute” as if that had any bearing on the film, which by the way, it didn’t) which becomes his motivation for finding the aliens and kicking some alien ass.  Harrison Ford’s (Woodrow) son Percy was also taken (naturally), which is his motivation.  Along the way Jake realizes the thingamajig on his arm is a weapon and can blast the hell out of whatever he wants.

Lots of dull things happen between the abductions and the next interesting part of the movie, so let’s just skip to the end shall we?  The cowboys team up with the Indians, and some robbers that Jake apparently was involved with pre-abduction join in as well.  Turns out Ella isn’t quite who everyone thought she was, and there is some sort of weird Jake and Ella attraction plot which made no sense really, except they were of roughly the same age and the two most attractive people in the movie.  Earthlings and aliens fight, Earthlings win.  Hopefully, that part wasn’t too much of a spoiler for ya.

Summarizing this movie is simple:  it didn’t totally suck, but it wasn’t all that good either.  I found myself looking for a way to root for the Earth people for a reason other than just that they were, well, Earth people — but I couldn’t find one.  The film gives you no reason whatsoever to give a shit about anybody in this movie except the little boy (Emmett, played by Noah Ringer) and the dog (named “Dog” for crying out loud).  You just can’t discount the innocence factor of a boy and his dog no matter what the movie, except maybe Cujo.

I didn’t even hate the aliens all that much.  They weren’t scary (the CGI aliens from Signs were scarier, to give you a hint) and all they really wanted  was our gold.  Since I am trying not to give everything away, just trust me on this one, the aliens blew.  Aside from some hands coming out of their chests (we never find out why they do that BTW) they were unoriginal, mainly humanoid and felt like you had seen them a million times before.  Oh, how this movie makes you long for the aliens in Independence Day.

Bottom line:  I felt like this film was forced.  It came across as more of a vehicle to give Olivia Wilde some screen cred and to suck up to Harrison Ford (the signs are subtle, but there).  The things that  should have been important in this film were cast aside — there was no character development (other than Ford turning from total ass to mostly-not-an-ass by the end), there was only a slight motivation for the audience to care about the outcome and the aliens stunk.

The story line listed on IMDb was more interesting than the actual film, which is sad because the movie had a lot of great actors; but even great acting cannot overcome a bad script.  I’m not saying don’t go see it, just don’t expect it to live up to 1/10th the hype that has been generated for it.  Set your expectation meter to very low and you just may enjoy it.  Otherwise, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

From my brain to yours — peace out.

QUICK NOTE:  I usually mostly agree with IMDb’s movie ratings, but don’t here.  This film did not deserve a 6.8.  Using their 10 star rating system, I would give it a 4, maybe 5 at best — and either one is being kind.

I started watching Falling Skies when the series premiered, partially because I enjoy good Sci-Fi and partially because TNT brainwashed me into it with the non-stop commercials between other shows and the non-stop advertisements during other shows.  The lead-up advertising for the show was so pervasive, it would not surprise me to find out a TNT representative was beside my bed personally whispering commercials to me while I slept.  So yeah, I have been watching it.

For those of you who may have not seen the show yet, this synopsis should get you pretty much up to date:

  • Some pretty nasty aliens (called Skitters) invade Earth, killing off most of us.  The show revolves around the survivors of that attack.
  • The aliens, instead of killing most of the children (say 7-18 year olds), have “harnessed” them with a sort of weird biological-thingy that attaches to their spinal cord (and God knows what else) to control the children, body and mind.  The upshot of this is that A) the harnesses seem to cure the children of any health problems they had before (in this case cystic-fibrosis) and B) the aliens seem to care about, perhaps even love the harnessed kids.  Awww, isn’t that nice?
  • The survivors are led by military-types (mostly) and kind of look at the civilians in their midst as total pains in the ass.  Ok, maybe not total pains, but pretty much.  (Personally, I think the civilians are unrealistically not bothersome, but maybe that’s just me.)
  • The parents of the harnessed kids obviously want them back, but sans harness, thank you very much.  After a few unfortunate tries (which are only talked about, never shown) the survivors figure out a way to get the harnesses off some of the kids they manage to rescue, but still aren’t sure about potential side effects.

Clearly, there are lots of other things that have happened such as the recent introduction of some sort of new nasty alien.  Well, this one’s not so nasty looking, but they are either in league with or in control of (I vote for the latter) of the Skitters.   Also, based on the last episode, it looks like those wonderful harnesses might have some pretty bad side effects.

So far, the show has done an amazing job of telling the story, developing characters (although I have yet to figure out why they killed off Steven Weber’s character so quickly), and keeping me interested enough to look forward to the next episode.  If you are into Sci-Fi and enjoy a good and (perhaps more importantly) original story you won’t be disappointed with Falling Skies.

The two-hour season finale is this Sunday at 9pm — up an hour from its usual spot at 10pm.  Important:  If you DVR it, it shows up as TWO different shows (at least with my cable company) so you may have to set your DVR to tape both time slots separately to get the whole show.

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