WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As of late, my inner sci-fi geek has been awakened with a vengeance since I started watching Syfy’s Defiance (if you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out). So, in the spirit of different worlds being invaded by extraterrestrials and technicalities that require physics PhDs in order to follow the plot, I decided I’d give The Asylum’s AE: After Earth a spin. The cover looked interesting, and for me that’s always a good start. Unfortunately, that’s also where all the good things that can be said about this movie come to a grinding halt. It’s a rare example in b-movie making: I thought I’d figured out the lame ending after watching about 15 minutes, only to be fooled later on by AN EVEN LAMER ending! Also, and this is the best part for me, they took soft science to an intergalactic extreme, which I always find tremendously amusing.
Earth is being invaded! Yeah, it’s only one tiny little spaceship with a few missiles attached to it, but we’re still being invaded. Since we’re thrown right into the action at the beginning of the movie we’re not really given any indication as to how long this nano-invasion has been going on for, but suffice to say that mankind has been on the losing end of the war. Somewhere in between the aliens’ arrival and us getting our asses thoroughly kicked, the world’s governments were able to build a series of ark ships to take a portion of humankind and send it off to the relative safety of some far-gone alien world. So, it the face of absolute danger, we do what we do best: we get the hell out of dodge. The arks are fully automated and contain stasis pods made entirely out of the insides of old Game Boys, so all the survivors have to do is lay back, sleep for a couple of decades, and wake up on their new home world.
Well, that was the plan at least, until the ark ships got blown out of the air and had to make an emergency crash landing on an alien world. Now of course you know it’s an alien world because it has a ring system! Clever people over at the Asylum… Anyway, if the crash didn’t sufficiently thin out the remaining number of humans left in the galaxy, the invisible and rather trigger happy natives will certainly take care of the rest. If it weren’t for Lt. Frank Baum the Good Lord only knows what would happen to the few remaining survivors. He manages to lead them all to the relative safety of a palm bush, before asking his robotic assistant TIM to try and figure out where they are and what exactly is going on.
Thankfully the invisible guys with guns aren’t the only creatures on the planet: our Lt also managed to find a green humanoid lady who switches between a completely alien accent to a thoroughly American one in a heart beat. She explains that the invisible things keep her people, and the crash-landed humans, as test subjects in zoos to be studied. Together, the survivors decide that this planet really isn’t for them, and they need to get back to Earth. Hell, it may have been invaded by malevolent beings from outer space, but it’s still home. It will involve a very un-daring mission of cowardly men, overly Hispanic women, the green lady, a midget Ricky Gervais, and an entire race of albino humanoids to ward off this planet’s strange lifeforms and the invisible hunting things if the group ever has a chance of making it to the spare ship just over the mountain and making a beeline back to Earth.
I don’t usually give away endings, but this one was just too stupid and left me far too enraged to not point it out. So, whilst we are told that it took 5 years for them to escape Earth and make it to this planet, when the group does eventually manage to get off the surface they can’t find out where in the galaxy they are. TIM the robot explains that the evacuation plan was EVEN DUMBER than I originally thought: rather than finding a planet that would be suitable for humans to settle on before they all took off, all of the arks were just sent off in random directions with everyone hoping for the best. 10 years into the flight TIM realised that the chances of finding a suitable planet were nanoscopic (again, shouldn’t we have thought about that BEFORE we left Earth?) and decided that the best option would be to return to Earth. Even if it had been invaded, at least it was habitable. So, the Arks make the 100-year return journey to Earth, but due to a glitch in the theory of relativity the 100-year flight actually equates to 325 000 years back on Earth. When the Arks crash and the survivors woke up, the invisible thingies were the descendants of the original invaders, whilst lady-in-green and the albino people are the descendants of the humans that didn’t form part of the evacuation fleet. The Earth is now green due to a runaway greenhouse effect, and its ring system is actually the remains of the Moon after the aliens blew it up. Take that NASA! That’s how you soft science the shit out of space travel!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- First rule of planetary evacuations: no weapons in the stasis pods.
- Intergalactic space arks can easily be built with nothing more than a little wood and chicken wire.
- Yo mama jokes are a pan-galactic form of insult.
- If you don’t train your dragon from when it’s a baby, you’ll never teach it not to sleep on your spaceship.
- There is no intergalactic emergency so great that you can’t stop for a moment to bang one of the natives.
- There is no reason to think that English syntax differs in any meaningful way from that of innumerable alien languages.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I’m going to assume that any horror fan and their cat has, at some point, seen Jason X. I myself have seen it two or three times, but it wasn’t until I did a little browse around the internet that I realised just how much some people hate this movie. Now, I’ll admit, I’m not 100% sure I’ve seen all the Friday the 13th movies and if I have I definitely haven’t watched them in sequence, so I get that for the purists out there this movie probably makes you feel like Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboots make me feel. For the rest of us, this is just non-stop fun. It’s stupidly over the top, but the movie knows that and it makes it work for it. For the 3 people out there who haven’t watched this movie, go find it now. You’ll be doing yourself a favour!
Jason’s latest adventure begins in 2010 (so we’re in our old future) and Rowan, our lovely lady doctor, has cottoned on to the idea that this bastard just will not die. She and her team have tried absolutely everything but, given a few minutes to rest up, Jason just sits up and gets going again, so they’ve had to come up with a backup plan. Since he’s too stubborn to die the next best thing to do is freeze him in cryogenic stasis until some new way of killing him can be devised. This would have worked just fine had the military not tried to take Jason to conduct research on his amazing healing abilities, at which point he just kills the entire platoon. Rowan, being a clever female, manages to trick / shoot Jason into the stasis chamber but, when he slices through it, the chemicals leak and the lab goes into containment mode, freezing Rowan along with Jason.
Flash forward to the year 2455 and Earth is in a bit of a sorry state. The Blue Marble is nothing more than a giant dust storm completely incapable of supporting life. Humanity, in order to save their collective asses, have moved to another planet, the originally named Earth II. Every now and then they seem to send a little team of people back to the original Earth to dig around and see if they can find anything useful to take back and show off. On this particular little mission the team, headed up by Prof. Lowe, comes across the Crystal Lake research unit where Jason and Rowan have been in a comfortable hibernation for over 400 years. When KM 14, the sexiest computer of them all, tells the team that Rowan can be revived if they move quickly they do an immediate evac to the ship, taking Jason along as well. He’s completely dead, so what harm can he do?
To give credit where credit’s due, Jason will not waver from his little mission to brutally murder anyone and everyone in sight. He didn’t even need the little electronic ants to fix him, he just needed to defrost for a bit before continuing his little rampage. And let’s be honest, rampaging is just more fun on a spaceship. Apart from the usual blood and gore being thrown around my personal favourite part of this movie is KM royally beating the crap out of Jason and then blowing is head clean off his shoulders. I can offer no reasonable explanation why, but it makes me giggle every time. Then of course there’s the total badass that is über Jason after the wee ants use part of the ship to put him back together.
How anyone can fail to see the awesomeness in this movie escapes me, but I suppose it really just depends on what blows your skirt up.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Ugly bastards don’t like being made to stare at an old blanket.
- In the future government officials will eventually come to their senses and outlaw hockey.
- Any woman taken from a cryogenic pod and revived in space is technically single.
- Women assume that brutal mass murderers are hung like mammoths.
- Emotions cloud a robot’s ability to work out statistics.
- Nothing gets a girl a good grade like a bottle of cheap wine and a pair of heavy-duty nipple clamps.
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