crap i have watched recently #5

frank the pugI am in the middle of writing a difficult review for The Kingkiller Chronicles and it is making me nuts.  So here are some movie reviews that I wrote mostly just to clear my head.  They are all about outer space!

SPOILERS.  SPOILING. STUFF.

Men in Black 3:  A somewhat alarming trend is developing in my life.  I am actually leaving the house and seeing movies in the theater.  Sometimes even with other people.  What is this world coming to?  Anyways, a few days ago I saw Men in Black 3 with some friends.  It wasn’t terrible but I definitely could have waited for the DVD to come out.  Will Smith and Tommie Lee Jones (whose eyes are in danger of disappearing into the craggy desert his face has become) reprise their roles as Agents J and K of the Men in Black (MiB) agency.  In the latest installment Boris the Animal (a nearly unrecognizable Jermain Clement) escapes from a maximum security prison on the moon, goes back in time, and kills Agent K.  Even though everyone else at MiB believes that K died 40 years ago, Agent J remembers him.  After he convinces the new head of MiB (Emma Thompson) that something has happened to change time,  he goes back to try to stop Boris and save both K and the Earth.  There he meets K’s younger self (Josh Brolin) and hilarity ensues.  Kind of.

The movie is moderately funny; I admit to chuckling a few times.  Josh Brolin does an excellent job of being Tommie Lee Jones (who is the movie for maybe 10 minutes).  There is a bit of a funny scene in Andy Warhol’s Factory.  The movie tries to be clever about the usual time travel conundrum by having a character who can see all possible futures.   They seem to have blown their “alien budget” on Boris; there actually aren’t very many aliens in this one.  Frank the Pug is noticeably absent (boo!).  As is common in many sequels everyone and everything in this movie is basically on autopilot.  If you haven’t seen the first two films this one won’t make any sense.  There is no explanation of who the agents are or what MiB does.   However, if you liked the first two films this one will feel like a pair of comfy old sweatpants.  There is absolutely no reason to see it in 3D so save the few bucks and see it without the stupid glasses.

Score:  Meh.

They Were Eleven:  This old-school (1986-ish) Japanese anime popped up on a list of Amazon recommendations for me and I figured “what the hell, why not?”.  It turns out to be pretty good.  In the future, humans have spread out from earth to the stars and colonized the galaxy.  The elite Cosmo Academy holds admissions exams once every three years; any galactic citizen may apply but standards are extremely high and nearly everyone fails.  Tada, an orphan from Earth and our hero, is one of only 700 finalists.   He is placed on a 10-person team for the final test aboard an actual spaceship.  The teams are required to survive their mission for 53 days and if one of them fails, they all fail.  When Tada’s team arrives on their test ship they discover that there are eleven of them.  No one admits to being the extra crew member and Tada, who has ESP-like telepathic abilities, can’t discover who it is.    Although suspicious of each other they decide to work together to complete the mission but they soon find that their derelict starship is in a decaying orbit around a sun and is colonized by dangerous alien plants that will release a fatal virus when the atmosphere in the ship reaches a high enough temperature.  The ship has also been booby-trapped with bombs, some of which explode and damage the computers, engines, and life support.  Space school is clearly Serious Business.

What made this anime so enjoyable was the characterizations of the students.  They all have a great deal to lose if the test is a failure.  Tada is poor and the space academy is his ticket to a better life.  Mayan is an actual king on his planet and will lose much honor if he fails.  Frol is a hermaphrodite whose success will permit him/her to develop as a male and thus have access to all the benefits of being male on his/her planet.  Ganga comes from a planet where everyone dies of disease before they are 30; he hopes to use his success at the Academy to help find a cure for his people.   As the test progresses and disaster piles on disaster and it begins to look as if the mysterious 11th person is sabotaging the ship the atmosphere becomes tense and claustrophobic.   The development of cliques, friendships, mistrust, suspicion, violence, and all the usual social drama is quite gripping.  By the end, when they are forced to make a decision as a group, I actually cared a great deal about what they ended up doing.  And also…I couldn’t even begin to guess who the extra person was.  I don’t remember the last time I watched a movie with a twist at the end that I didn’t figure out before the movie was over, so that was kind of cool.

Despite the cheap-Saturday-cartoon quality of the animation, which some people might not like,  I definitely recommend this one.  It’s not earth-shatteringly good but it is more serious than it initially  looks like it will be.  The English dub is painful though, so watch it in Japanese.

Score: Meh.

Alien vs. Ninja:  I watched this movie solely because of the title.  It is an honest title.  There are aliens and there are ninjas and they fight.  The special effects, and I use that term loosely, are old Godzilla-era quality.  The aliens wear really bad suits.  The ninjas dress all in black and do that thing ninjas do.  There is gore and flying heads and rampant stereotyping.  There is a pretty girl ninja in a ridiculous outfit and some attempts at humor that may have been lost in translation.  I’d tell you what the plot is but it doesn’t really matter.  Aliens!  Ninjas!

This is another one you should watch in Japanese.  The English dub is unspeakably bad.

Score:  Meh

Advertisements

~ by gun street girl on June 4, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: