Believe it or not, I was never a huge fan of science fiction films growing up as a kid and in fact I preferred horror movies over them. With all the talk of a new Alien film, I figured what better time than now to see all the films in the franchise and start with the film Alien. A space merchant vessel known as the Nostromo is heading back to Earth after a routine pick up of whatever the cargo is. The crew is nice and asleep in their pods during the long and strenuous travel when they are awoken by MOTHER which is the ships computer. They discover that there is a distress signal from somewhere in space and protocol says that they have to investigate. After investigating the call, one of the crew members is attacked by something and they bring aboard a master alien specie that is takes no prisoners. The crew has to figure out a way to get safely home and away from the alien before it’s too late. The film stars Tom Skerritt (Top Gun) as Dallas, Sigourney Weaver (1492: Conquest Of Paradise) as Ripley, Veronica Cartwright (The Witches Of Eastwick) as Lambert, Harry Dean Stanton (The Green Mile) as Brett, John Hurt (Hellboy) as Kane, Ian Holm (The Fifth Element) as Ash, Yaphet Kotto (The Running Man) as Parker, Bolaji Badejo as the Alien, and the film was directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner).
So, I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how much I really liked the film. One thing I noticed about spaceships in space carrying humans and that is all of them are run by a computer that malfunctions. For example in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Hal 9000 runs the ship and basically kills everyone while MOTHER runs the ship in Alien and she’s not very helpful. Humans will never learn throughout time that we should never trust a computer. Nevertheless, the computer in this film is obviously the least of their troubles as they are being chased around and killed by an amazing H.R. Giger designed Alien. Now that is a pretty scary scenario if you ask me, but the beauty of the film wasn’t how much you saw the alien, it was where the hell was he. The film gave you that Jaws effect where you are wondering where on this creepy ship is that scary alien. When it’s time to go, they give you the alien on the ship. The film contained a small cast, but this cast is as brilliant as it gets with the likes of John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, etc. As I said above, I was never a huge fan of Sci-Fi films so I avoided watching these, but I am glad that I started because it has a brilliant story and sets. The cinematography and the editing of the film is also a strong point for the film. That is why I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
Instead of doing Super Sunday on the other blog, I am bringing it here for a film that I sort of boycotted back when it was first released (I’ll explain my reasoning below). Spider-Man 3 was the third and last installment of the Sam Raimi (Evil Dead)/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man series. Things appear to be going quite well for Spider-Man (Maguire) as all the residents of New York love and appreciate him and he has the girl of his dreams in Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). That all begins to change when a strange black entity from another world appears and bonds with Parker. It starts to drive certain urges in Spider-Man that we are not used to seeing from him as he battles new villains and some new problems because of it. The film also stars Topher Grace (That 70’s Show) as Eddie Brock, James Franco (Pineapple Express) as Harry Osborn, Thomas Haden Church (Daddy’s Home) as Sandman, Bryce Dallas Howard (50/50) as Gwen Stacy, Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man) as May Parker, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as J. Jameson, James Cromwell (The Green Mile) as Captain Stacy, Dylan Baker (Trick ‘r Treat) as Dr. Curt Conners, and Elizabeth Banks (Zack & Miri Make A Porno) as Miss Brant.
The reason I avoided this film to be perfectly honest back in 2007 was that I was frankly sick of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and I did not agree with the casting choice of Topher Grace as Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom. Topher Grace just wasn’t my first choice to play a bad ass villain, but nevertheless they went with him and I decided to check it out today. While this is definitely not the best film of the Sam Raimi three, it’s definitely not the best of all the Spider-Man movies that have come out including the two Amazing Spider-Man films. The film was just all over the place and there is this one sequence that was just unnecessary and it’s when Parker is walking down New York like he’s John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. That had to be the cheesiest moment of the whole film, but there are some redeeming values in the film. I wasn’t completely disappointed with the way Venom looked and Topher Grace was OK. I was impressed with him through most of the film when he was just that annoying Eddie Brock trying to top Peter Parker at The Daily Bugle. I loved the film’s choice for Gwen Stacy in Bryce Dallas Howard as she brings beauty to the role and the battle scene towards the end was pretty good as well. One thing they messed up on was the film seemed to abandon the subplot between Parker and Osborn who has basically ruined Parker’s life. After he regains his memory, he goes on a hellbent mission to destroy Parker, but after a little tussle in the lab, it’s over just like that? There’s also one more problem towards the end that I had, but I won’t give that away. So, let’s just say it has something to do with the Sandman. It’s definitely a film that could have been so much more than it was, but Raimi dropped the ball on this one. I am giving the film an C+ for a final grade.