After last week’s selection of bought films, the television schedule threw up some films that were destined to fill the final week of me being the alpha male.
This week’s schedule included Highlander, Alien and Les Rivières Pourpres…
There’s nothing better following a nice relaxing bath than to settle down in front of the television with a cool beer and a trashy sci-fi or fantasy. The last time I tried to get my parents to tape Highlander, they dissuaded me with tales of just how bad it was. But regardless of its quality, it is legendary and so I set my heart on experiencing it. Gregg at least said that it was so bad it was good.
I think the worst thing about this film is that it isn’t as daftly bad as advertised; it was just a bit mediocre. Sean Connery dressed as an ancient Spanish fop was worth a few chuckles, and the villain was annoyingly crazy at points (trying to distance himself from the cool of Darth Vader who so clearly inspired him). The special effects weren’t that bad, they were again just mediocre. Well, a lot of additional explosions were a bit unnecessary, as was Sean Connery versus Big Bad tearing down a small castle.
Also, is this film where the entire katana meme started? The Highlander himself had Sean Connery’s katana, which was folded 200 times and could cut through stone and car bonnets and glinted in the light and after chopping the big bad’s head off he sat there for a few seconds before sliding apart. Sheesh.
The mushy romance subplot was also pretty shit. Mister Highlander was a creepy bastard whose dialogue was mostly pretty darn weird, especially with that insane accent (okay, he’s lived a long time in a lot of places, he’s going to have a screwy voice). And after nothing much happening and them not liking each other ever, he somehow still managed to bed the girl (probably that katana, she had a thing for swords). I suppose I just didn’t like either of them.
I do wonder how there can be any sequels, though. At the end he basically wins the universe.
I’m not much into horror, but considering H. R. Giger’s alien design has fed into every sci-fi ever since, Alien is one of these films that one really has to see at least once.
The alien itself doesn’t actually get much exposure; the clearest shot you get is when you see its silhouette failing to be blown to pieces by a rocket engine. Otherwise, it’s just the odd close-up of its slavery mouth.
I wasn’t actually that scared throughout, but I did watch with the lights on and spent all night cuddling Piggles. Most of the film is spent appreciating extremely lavish, grungy industro-futuristic sets. I only really had to avert my eyes when John Hurt’s stomach exploded.
And it is a film that stands the test of time very well. The only really dated elements were Signourney Weaver’s hair and some of the fashion sense. I recently had the pleasure of watching the remastered and expanded Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope and the additional CGI segments already look absolutely dreadful — while, as with Alien, the physical models still look impressive. The crashed alien (not alien) ship was particularly striking, and reminded me very much of Unreal‘s Skaarj.
Of course, the alien is a collossal Mary Sue — perfect organism, purity of form (fucking Zerg, but then again, who haven’t Blizzard wholesaled?), acid blood that never stops, can survive in any environment, effectively unkillable…
Tuesday: Les Rivières Pourpres (The Crimson Rivers)
Jean Reno is awesome. I just want to make that clear before I say anything further about this film. Jean Reno is fucking awesome. And awesome is loving every damn minute of it.
This film, however, was going reasonably fine until it turned into PLOT TWIST OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE. Actually, it was foreshadowed by a single image quite early on, but it still didn’t sit very well.
I’ve been on about subtitling being fine before; and usually, it is. Unfortunately, this film was badly subtitled, spuriously not bothering to translate lines of dialogue or flashing the subtitle up for only a split second. Jean Reno could have said a lot of awesome things that I was unable to catch because mister translator was sloppy.
Jean Reno: “I work alone!”
Vincent Cassel: “So do I!”
According to the wikipedia article, the director cut half the plot exposition because it was too boring. That probably explains why it didn’t sit very well — having read the resumé on wikipedia, it suddenly makes a lot more sense. A bit of a shame, really, since if the plot was exposed properly it probably would have been quite a good film.
Oh well. Jean Reno is still awesome. I need to see Leon at some point…
So That’s It, Then
My parents return home on Thursday. This is where we find out how badly I’ve ruined all my clothes by washing them wrong, and how badly I’ve ruined the frying pan by putting too much oil on one night, and how badly I’ve ruined the cooker by not cleaning up the spatters from frying…
Please don’t leave me alone again. ;_;