Interstellar

Remember all those things I complemented The Martian about?  Interstellar is everything that is wrong that I listed.  Matthew McConaughey delivers a sometimes over-the-top performance. There’s lots of drama.  Lots.  There are two serious WTF moments.  The second one takes the movie in a direction no movie has ever gone before.  I still don’t understand it.  The movie defies several well known laws of physics.  And, it takes liberties with pretty well documented natural phenomena that makes it real, real, difficult for a science buff to sit comfortably through, especially at two and a half hours.

All that being said, if you go into this just wanting to watch a good story, with SOME good acting, and have the ability to ignore the numerous plot holes.  This is a good one to watch.

I can’t do that tho.  Going to give it one thumb for entertainment value based purely on the incredible WTF moments, and that’s it.

The Martian

One of my favorite movies of 2015 by far was The Martian.

Just a very well done movie.  Easy to watch for anyone of any age.  Language is a little dicey for real young kids, but that’s the worst of it.

Now, I’m a science-fiction buff.  I like space movies.  I like it most when they at least pay some homage to reality.  It’s possible to have a good plot without freakish glaring holes.  This is one of those movies.  Science buffs like myself can enjoy the movie.  We’ll notice some sticking points, but not enough to wreck the movie.  Matt Damon tosses in just the right amount of humor and emotion.  Good movie.  All thumbs up.

Battleship

We rented Battleship yesterday. It kept the boy occupied for probably and hour and a half or so. For that, it was worth it’s money.

But, this is an awful, awful, movie. One spoiler and that is all. During a critical moment in the movie, they have revived the mothballed USS Missouri. They are using it to attack an alien warcraft that has destroyed modern battleships with no real effort. It has destroyed missiles, jets, everything thrown at it. So, about all that’s left is this 70 year old ship. The critical moment of the movie involves the USS Missouri, a very large, very steel, very heavy, and very slow ship to head right at the alien ship, make a hard left, drop anchor, which, being in the middle of the deepest ocean on Earth, causes this 100 ton ship to stop on a dime thus evading the game pegs from hitting it. Everyone is standing intact ready to fire the heavy guns.

Everything else about this movie is standard cliche stuff.  Bad aliens, love interests, family drama, yuck.  I had to keep telling myself this movie was just made for entertainment purposes only.

No thumbs for this one.

Hugo

The family went to see Hugo last night.  From watching the previews I figured it was a kid’s movie and since me and the boy needed some downtime, this would be a good way to do it.  Boy, was I ever right.  This movie is sedentary as you can get.  It’s a very, very, very easy movie to watch.  It’s kinda loonie in a whimsical way.  And, it’s pretty much so far out there it’s pretty impossible to believe.  But, during the movie, one scene kept bugging me all the way through the movie.

I’ve been a sci-fi junkie all my life and recognized that picture immediately.  It’s from the very first “official” sci-fi movie ever made, A Trip to the Moon.  However, in Hugo they attributed it to some whacky film director named Georges Méliès who went bankrupt due to World War I.

Did a little reading today.  There actually WAS a Georges Méliès who actually DID produce A Trip to the Moon.  What’s even weirder is this is what Georges Méliès looked like:

And this is Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of him:

Spot on!

The true story of Georges Méliès is almost as fantastical as it’s portrayed in Hugo.  He did make fantastic movies YEARS before anyone else.  He did make COLOR movies by painting each frame years before anyone else.  Most of his movies were destroyed to make shoes.  The primary object of his focus in the movies was indeed his wife.  There’s one very different fact tho.  Georges Méliès did go bankrupt as the movie portrays.  But, it was not because of World War I.  It was because Hollywood outmarketed and flat out stole a lot of his movies.  It was a rather ruthless destruction of an incredible talent.  One of the people that would have been instrumental in that would have been a fellow named Lewis Selznick.  The movie is based on a book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret, written by Lewis’s great-grandnephew, Brian Selznick.  He even has an uncredited part in the movie.

A really stupid flick called New Year’s Eve got the biggest numbers over the weekend.  But, I’m telling you THIS is the release of the week to watch.  It will keep small kids occupied because of the fantastic imagery of the movie.  BUT, the story is unforgettable.  It’s a movie where you really don’t see what’s coming, but moves around and finishes in a very satisfactory way.  The movie is not at all what it seems.  It’s very complicated, very historically enjoyable to watch, and the acting, especially by Sascha Baron Cohen, is fantastic.  It’s all thumbs up.  It’s not at all what I expected, it’s LOTS better.  GO SEE THIS MOVIE!  Am I clear enough?

In the meantime, here’s the original A Trip to the Moon in it’s entirety:

Marooned

This weekend we went to see Apollo 18.  It was a really bad scared-in-space movie.  I felt cheated.

So, I looked up an old movie I hadn’t seen since probably 1969 or so that did it right.

Marooned was a an amazing movie considering what it had to work with.  CGI didn’t exist.  It has the usual sci-fi errata, but not so much to totally distract from the movie.  It has an 1968 all-star line-up.  It even has the approval from NASA to use their trademarks.  It is very well acted and features a lot of the technology of the time.  You get to see Atlas rockets, Saturn V’s, a Russian Soyuz, weather satellites, etc.  The concept of the movie affected some space flights ( notably Skylab ), and eerily preceded the events of Apollo 13 by a year.  It was a damn good sci-fi flick.

Just a subtle reminder, all thumbs up, WATCH THIS MOVIE!

Apollo 18

I waited a long time to see Apollo 18.  I’m a sci-fi junkie with precious little content lately to sate my appetite.  This looked like something to sink my teeth into.  It became obvious very early this wasn’t it.

A few years ago I did a list of Top Sci-Fi films of all-time.  This won’t be on it.  It might be on one of the worst lists.

OK, spoiler alert.  Skip it from here if you plan on watching it any time soon.

My main gripe with most sci-fi movies of late is they usually feature super-intelligent bugs.  These mindless creatures fly all over the universe in search of food or whatever.  Folks, that is just stupid plot design.  This movie takes that to a whole new level.

Would you believe the culprits that have mysteriously inhabited a crater in the Moon for an unknown period of time are rock-bugs?  Yup.  These tiny rock-bugs possibly block out communications, tip over lunar rovers, rip up the lander, creep inside space suits, and just make a bunch of astronauts lives a living hell, ultimately defeating their human visitors for no logical reason other than I suppose that’s what rock-bugs living on a dead rock in space with absolutely nothing to live on would do.

Other things got on my nerves as well.  The fake 8mm film was logical enough, but using modern drunk-camera work was too much.  People didn’t do that then, really.  Knowing some tricks of NASA didn’t help with the experience either.  They didn’t waste a lot of battery juice broadcasting video 24/7.  Most of what happened in the lander would not have been broadcast.  They just didn’t have the juice to spare back then.  The only way most of what was recorded would have ever been seen would be if they had gotten it on a later trip.  But, it was destroyed at the end of the movie.  And, why didn’t they just turn off the transmitters that were supposedly causing the problem?  They could have plugged them back in if they weren’t the problem.

Bad movie, really, really, bad. No thumbs.