WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
If I’m being totally honest, after AE: Apocalypse Earth, I was feeling a little fragile. My inner sci-fi geek can take a lot, but that movie gave me a fair beating. Nevertheless, I’m not one to turn down an epic mockbuster, and Atlantic Rim was just too great an opportunity to pass up. So, with Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole, The Occult Specialist, and our new friend Ms Misery in attendance, we sat down to watch this movie. My my my my my. I don’t know anything about Pacific Rim, so this movie had to sell me with only what it had to offer. What might that be, you ask? Well, it has the usual terrible CGI, atrocious acting and cheap sets that one would expect from an Asylum production, but it also has some of the most ADD-ridden editing I’ve ever seen in a film. I know it’s sci-fi, but good God not everything can teleport that quickly! Needless to say, though, this movie is a ton of fun, although I would recommend watching it on the tail-end of a movie night so you have the benefit of mild delirium to cover up some of its not-so-great moments.
Deep at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean lurks one of mankind’s greatest threats: giant amphibious dinosaurs with backwards knees! No seriously, how these things can walk is a marvel in itself. No one knows where they’ve come from or how they’ve managed to survive down there for so long without any of us noticing, but they’re about to start wreaking all kinds of havoc. The first sign of their existence that we experience is when one of them, with no provocation and unknown intent, leaps up from the sea floor to destroy an oil rig. Apart from a quick and somewhat greasy lunch we don’t know why they are suddenly deciding to attack now, and no one back on land knows what happened to the oil rig / ate its crew, so it’s up to the military to fall back on some half-baked, untested battle plan to solve this maritime mystery.
The plan? Send 3 gigantic robots worth $500 billion down to the ocean floor to see where the hell the oil rig went and what the hell may have dragged it down there. These robots will be piloted by the best pilots the program’s remaining $15 worth of budget could find. Decked out in what appear to be wetsuits held together by pieces of coloured duct tape, White Douche, Token Black Guy (aka TYREESE!) and Generic Blonde descend to the bottom of the Atlantic to check things out. The mission is plagued with problems – the control room in the bots becomes sweltering after descending more than 3 feet into the ocean, they’re controlled using what appears to be joysticks from old arcade machines, and they tend to shut down at random (this, for some reason, also sucks all of the available oxygen out of the robot’s interior), so it’s all rather slow going. Oh yeah, and there’s that giant monster floating in the background trying to eat them.
The violence quickly escalates from this point – the monster appears on land, we’re treated to half-a-dozen shots of the monster looped and mirrored maybe 20 times, and suddenly there are dead people everywhere. Why? We’re not really sure. Now, it becomes obvious that the American Government can’t just allow these beasts to run around Manhattan, but the team’s divided. Admiral Hadley, the head of some-or-other division, throws his full support behind the robots. The opposing faction, headed up by a man with an eye-patch whose speech patterns clearly indicate that he has recently recovered from a stroke, proposes nuking the monsters (although the word, when he says it, ranges anywhere from ‘puke the monsters’ to ‘fluke the monsters’). With these two factions at war, Generic Blonde and TYREESE! being innately useless, White Douche being super douchey, and the robots themselves leaving a bit to be desired, does mankind really stand a chance against these backward-kneed behemoths? Watch and be completely whelmed by the whole experience!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It is possible for oil rigs to become dislodged from their bases, float around in the ocean, and crash into Iraq.
- You should always wear self-tan to a review board meeting.
- The best mankind-protecting-robot is one that’s commanded by someone with a lot of experience in Tae Bo.
- Every secret military base should be equipped with at least 100 horns.
- The more squint the monster, the greater the threat it poses to us all.
- No matter what the emergency, a woman’s eye-shadow should always be unfaltering.
- Nothing says ‘time for a drink’ more than blowing up $500 billion worth of military equipment.
ATLANTIC RIM TRAILER
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
“When a colossal tectonic shift causes the sea level to start rising, a microbiologist gathers the DNA of as many species as she can, while the military creates an “ark” in a desperate attempt to preserve life on Earth.”
The Asylum and I have really got to stop meeting like this. Seriously, how many of the movies in my collection have their sneaky little paws behind it? Now, I was in the mood for a decent cheesy disaster flick, but this was too much. Above is the blurb for this movie taken directly from the Asylum’s website, which I feel needs to be addressed. Firstly, there was no tectonic shift, not on any of the 40 days this movie purportedly spans. Secondly, sea levels did not rise; at best we had a few isolated inland tidal waves. Thirdly, there is no way on God’s green Earth that that woman was a microbiologist. Fourthly, surely samples of 3 bees and a few moths doesn’t count as ‘DNA of as many species as she can’? Fifthly, no country has a military made up of 7 people. Sixthly, that wasn’t an ark, it was a strange train that floated. Seventhly, the DNA of 3 bees cannot preserve life on earth if you didn’t take any life with you onto the ark. So yeah, that about sums up how I felt about this movie, but I’m gonna do my usual review now to drive home just how daft it really was.
Jon and Tessa are such a lovely couple – you’ve never seen a 50-year-old man and a 19-year-old girl so madly in love. They’ve got a pretty good life too – they work for the super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military, which means they’re very clever, very wealthy, and very well looked after. All that and as many rooftop picnics as they could ever dream of! What could possibly go wrong for a couple as spritely as this? Oh right, the world’s about to come to an end. How’s the world going to come to an end? Be damned if I know; all I saw were four drunken kids driving around the Sahara desert when a few thunder clouds appeared over head. Next thing they (and I) knew, there’s an enormous tsunami coming over the mountains and the whole desert’s submerged by an ocean of CGI water.
In what turns out to be the Asylum’s answer to 2012, a massive super storm is developing over Africa, and within the next few days it will cover THE ENTIRE PLANET. How this super storm started to develop we’re never going to know, but said super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military has to come up with some way of saving at least a nominal portion of the American public (mainly the smart ones though). To do this they’ve decided to build an ark. The ark will be the world’s first live-saving sea vessel shaped like a dildo, and despite the fact they have to cram in 3 years work into a week to get the thing built, everyone’s fairly convinced that it can be done with relatively few screw ups. Oh, how they underestimated Mr Murphy on that one…
Turns out there are a few hiccoughs to overcome before the ark can sail. Firstly, it’s powered by turbines built on completely theoretical technology that, despite being the size of a small cat, will harness the power of the waves and wind to generate enough electricity to keep it sailing for as long as they need. Surprisingly, there are a few problems getting these turbines working. Now, that’s Jon’s job. Tessa’s job is to collect DNA samples so that they can rebuild nature once the flood waters recede. Unfortunately a rock slide took out the train carrying all her samples, and now she has to go out into the wild to collect more before everything’s under water. And this is only the beginning of their troubles: once the ark sets out, who knows how long they’ll all be at sea? Who knows if the ark will be able to hold its own against the power of nature gone utterly berserk? In the end, none of it will really matter, since you’ll have been bored to tears long before the flood waters even cover your baby toe.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If it means a quickie on a roof, saving humanity can just wait 15 minutes.
- If it means a quick tussle under the sheets, then escaping the rising Biblical flood will also just have to wait.
- There’s a lot more rain and wind in the eye of a super storm.
- You can safely transport DNA samples in an empty Evian bottle.
- The secret of human evolution, life, and all philosophical pursuits, ultimately lies with the humble moth.
- Most ships can be rendered utterly useless with a simple power drill.
- It’s easier to pistol whip someone than to answer a stupid question.
- The lesser-spotted cave bee is a key player in upholding the planet’s various ecosystems.
40 DAYS AND NIGHTS TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Good God I love movies that fail as epically as this one did! Rarely does one find a movie that attempts to mash together as many genres as The Collapsed did, but in its attempt to be a horror-thriller-drama-sci-fi-mystery ultimate combo, it proved that it couldn’t pull even one of those elements off. I’m not a movie snob (as this site will well attest to), but I do believe that if you’re going to make an end of the world movie, you can only really go one of two ways: option one is to have a big budget so you can make it really convincing or, option two, you make it cheesy enough to distract the audience from the lack of budget. Here, The Collapsed does it wrong again: it wants to be a very serious end of the world movie, but with no budget for the necessary mayhem and destruction. Couple all of this with several attempts on behalf of the director to make the film look artsy and all you’re left with are 82 minutes of unrelenting pain and mind-numbing boredom.
So it’s the end of the world; how it’s the end of the world you’re never going to find out, but ‘the government’, ‘conspiracy’, ‘weapons we’ve never even heard of’ and ‘the horror’ are all phrases being thrown around by survivors of this invisible apocalypse. Our story follows dad Scott, mom Emily, and siblings Aaron and Rebecca as they attempt to find safety and supplies in amongst the few apartment fires and the occasional cannibal that are ravaging their generic movie city. Dad has the strangest accent I’ve ever heard come out of a human being (although I imagine it’s quite similar to how a Swedish person imitating a Canadian accent would sound), but despite this inherent flaw in his being he’s decided that the only way he’s gonna keep his family alive is to make a break for the wilderness. Because nothing bad ever happens when you run off into the woods in a horror movie.
Getting to the wilderness, however, is going to require that the family does a little road trip. This is set up in such a way that it’s as painful to watch as it would be to do an actual road trip with your own family. Thrown in for not-so-good measure is a half-baked plot point about Scott and Emily’s other son, who apparently has gone missing. He’ll be thrown into conversation every now and then, but since we never see him it doesn’t really matter. Along the way the family discovers an abandoned little shop and decide to stop in and pick up some supplies; this is when things start to go very badly for them. While they’re doing a little shopping and Mom’s taking a bath in a sink, a group of heavily armed men wearing gas masks arrive as well. Making a very slow and blundering escape, the group makes for the surrounding woods, hoping it will provide them with a little safety and respite.
Naturally, the woods offer no protection whatsoever. Our family is still pursued by various groups of crazies, supplies are running low, and there are strange sounds and voices coming from the trees. To judge by the musical score, they’re also being relentlessly pursued by a group of poorly trained trumpeters and cellists, but that’s a separate issue entirely. As members of the family are slowly picked off by the different forces out to get them, Swedish-Canadian Dad needs to think of the best way to keep what remains of his family alive until they can escape this wilderness and find the supposedly safer wilderness he has in mind. Of course, not all enemies out to get you are necessarily mortal with a corporeal form…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t have manners.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that feminine hygiene should be any less of a priority.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean the risks of teenage smoking should be taken any less seriously.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that grave-digging techniques should suffer.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an old-fashioned rifle that doesn’t blow up in your hand.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that revenge still isn’t a dish best served cold.
THE COLLAPSED TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So, it had been a while since I last watched a good, old-fashioned end of the world movie. Since I promised the people at Syfy that I’d watch one of their movies to thank them for the upcoming Aladdin and the Death Lamp and Pegasus VS Chimera (a Tweet to which I got no response 😦 ), I decided to take a shot on Collision Earth. The result? WOW! Just WOW! I love me some questionable science in a disaster movie, but this little baby took it to hitherto unknown levels. I will try my best to demonstrate the lunacy that was this movie throughout my review, but should you ever feel the need to watch the most horrifying attempts at astronomy in a movie at some point in the future, make sure you have a copy of this on stand by for when the moment takes you.
The year is 2011 and mankind is about to take its first steps on the planet Mercury. Why Mercury of all planets remained a mystery to me since it’s not really anything other than a hot Moon, but I decided to run with it and see where the movie wanted to take me. Onboard the spaceship are three people: Veronica, a jack-of-all-space-trades and master of the universe, and two people who don’t matter cause they die relatively early on. These three will never have the honour of being the first humans on Mercury because, just as they arrive at the planet, the Sun sends out a giant solar flare that blasts the ship and the smallest planet in the solar system. This blast leaves the Asian contingent of the space mission dead and the ship in a bit of a bruised state, but that’s gonna be the least of their worries in a minute.
You see, it wasn’t actually a solar flare. For a very brief second the Sun transformed from a normal star into a magnetar. The flare was actually a burst of magnetic radiation that not only knocked Mercury out of its orbit, but also magnetised the entire planet. Since Earth has a strong magnetic field, it begins to draw Mercury towards it, setting us up for a series of catastrophic and preposterous events. Now, to digress for a moment, I would like to address the moment when people realise that Mercury is on the move. Rogue astronomer James, upon noticing that Mercury isn’t where it was a few hours ago, shouts out “A planet doesn’t just move”.
Upon hearing this I actually paused the movie to fight with the TV. Why? Because planets do move, and they move in a number of different ways. They’re rotating on their own axes all the time. While they’re doing that they’re rotating around the sun. The gods were merciful by not placing us in a binary star system, because I don’t think I’d have the energy to school the movie on how that works as well. I never thought I’d live to see the day where I heard dialogue like that, but here we are. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, as you can well imagine, the government is in no way capable of protecting us from Mercury’s collision, and it will fall to James to find a way to save us all. He will be aided by two college students with a pirate radio capable of sending messages to Mercury, an agoraphobic and socially awkward scientist side-kick, his wife, who is busy flying around Mercury, and a weaponised asteroid built for just such an occassion. Interspersed amongst all of these characters will be even more scientific fallacies, some jaw-dropping CG and some recycled footage from Ice Twisters. Enjoy!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Judging from the controls, flying a spaceship isn’t overly different to playing an Xbox.
- Spaceships are so fast they can outrun solar flares.
- Despite it being a complete vacuum, fires regularly occur in space.
- Only YOU can help save the Earth from a meteor collision.
- The sun is fully capable of changing the kind of star it is and then switching right back again.
- A car can protect you from a high-speed, interstellar meteor shower.
- Astronomers are utterly astonished when planets move in space.
- Astronauts are trained to sling shot space ships around magnetised planets, just in case the situation ever calls for it.
- Power surges make the same sound as old dial-up modems.
- Our solar system is just crammed to capacity with weaponised asteroids.
- They don’t teach you how to tie people up in astronomy school.
- No security convoy can match the strength of an Asian woman with a tyre iron.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As any of you who follow me on Twitter may know I’ve been suffering from a terrible craving for a cheesy sci-fi movie lately. Many people suggested Galaxy of Terror, but I couldn’t wait for my copy to arrive (I promise to watch it soon). When I came across Robotropolis I was immediately captivated by its cover with an almost toy-like android and decided to take a chance on it. With below average acting, a wafer thin plot and CGI that lies somewhere between The Asylum and SyFy Originals you really can’t go wrong with this movie. Robotropolis is a b-movie at its finest that’s daft enough to be a very enjoyable 80 minutes but not painful enough that you’d want to wash your brain off with bleach afterwards. It also does gooey body parts remarkably well.
You are watching GNN and reporting live from New Town in the south China Sea is star reporter Christiane Nouveau. New Town is a bustling new city on an island owned solely by MegaNational Industries and this is the first time reporters are being allowed in to film and document the amazing technological developments going on here. While New Town has been built up around an enormous oil refinery the main thing the teams of scientists and groups of cheap labour have managed to accomplish is the development of robots to help out with all the different kinds of labour we humans just don’t feel like doing. This can range from manual labour to raising our children. Of course, what can possibly go wrong when we place our safety and future in the mechanical hands of humanoid constructs incapable of experiencing an emotion?
Christiane has been absolutely enthralled with the robots up until this point, thanks in no small part to the fact that they know how to mix a decent cocktail. This opinion and perception changes a little, however, when she’s reporting on a little soccer game where one of the players is a robot. At one point, and seemingly unprovoked, the robot decides to shoot one of the players. After that the robot simply walks off, leaving everyone else utterly baffled as to what just happened. Since the only way to differentiate the robots from one another is by the printing on it that designates their job, it’s gonna be very difficult to find that one particular robot in this big city. Before a decent search can get underway reports start to stream in about robots attacking people. The problem here is the fact that the entire security force is comprised of robots as well…
I would like to raise the point that, despite the failure of the programmers to stop the robots from going on a blood thirsty rampage in the first place, the robots come with a more serious design flaw. These robots are meant to fulfill basic functions in society such as police, medics, construction workers and the like. Why then do all the robots come with built-in guns, drills, saws and flamethrowers? While this does make the killing spree much easier (and juicier) it would appear that the robots are a little over armed in my humble opinion. While trying to escape from the robots Christiane’s also going to try and keep reporting the news so that her boyfriend can earn himself a nice big pay cheque by dominating the 5pm news. After all, being in a relationship means having to make sacrifices. When the robots learn how to throw helicopters around and leave the humans with no way of getting off the island it’s up to Christiane and the two or three surviving tech junkies to devise a plan to bring the robots down and have them permanently decommissioned.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Men are always ready for a little girl-on-robot action.
- Robots are always moving the candy, gum and chips around in shops.
- Billionaires get to where they are by giving in to boyish whims and fancies.
- When the robot says ‘halt’, you best halt.
- The robot revolution will be televised.
- You don’t need functional satellites to beam footage around the world.
- Being hunted down by murderous robots isn’t overly different to visiting a Turkish bathhouse.
- Camera phones have video quality on par with the most sophisticated video cameras.
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