WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
After the joy that was Piranhaconda and Alien Tornado I felt that Tropical Mary had to be roped in at some point to join in the fun. This one, admittedly, was a mixed bag of tricks. At points it felt strangely competent for a Syfy movie, but at other points was on the brink of embarrassingly amateur. All of that said and done, though, a movie about blind, fire-breathing spiders from the depths of the earth can be nothing but fun. It also brought out a very bizarre mothering instinct in me whenever the baby spiders came streaking onto the screen; there was just something incredibly sweet about their little squeals…
It’s a beautiful day in New Orleans: the sun is out, the hookers are packing up from a hard night’s work and the remnants of Katrina have just about been cleared away. Katelynn and her kids, Justin and Anabell, are about to take a tour of the historic city while husband Charlie drives a female baseball team back home. A small earthquake struck the city the previous night and has left small portals to hell littering the streets, but this isn’t enough to dissuade anyone from undertaking a little sight-seeing. Mom and kids are being taken around the city by bus driver Paul who, although being threatened with death by his father Roy should he screw this up, is clearly very hung over. That’s nothing a quick adrenaline rush can’t take care of though, which he and the other passengers get when spiders ranging from a few centimetres to Irish Wolfhound start coming out of the ground.
Now these are particularly nasty little spiders. They’re very fast, they use echo location to find you, they’re very good jumpers, they lay their eggs in people, they drain your eye juices for food and shoot fire at you when they’re pissed. Paul gets the group away from this particular lot of spiders (despite being seemingly unable to identify exactly what it is he’s driving), but to be honest Paul’s a bit useless and it doesn’t take long for the spiders to catch up to the group. Insect repellent doesn’t do an awful lot to slow them down, although a tin of canned peaches to the forehead will take out a little one. Deciding that running is a better option, Paul takes those members of the tour group that weren’t eaten back to his father and sister Petra to see if they can come up with a new and better survival plan.
It was at this point that Tropical Mary thought it would be a brilliant move if the bigger spiders grabbed a few of the smaller ones and used them to do jazz hands, but sadly this never happened. Instead, through a series of unfortunate twists and turns, the group finds themselves running through a forest trying to save themselves. Turns out escaping by boat isn’t a viable escape plan when the spiders are part Jesus and can run on water. Why subterranean spiders would evolve the ability to walk on water is another story, but this is bringing logic into a situation where none is warranted. The army’s called in to try and eradicate the problem, but Katelynn (because she’s an 8th grade biology teacher) cuts one of the spiders up and realises that they don’t have brains. If that’s true, what exactly is controlling the hordes that are busy rampaging through New Orleans, and will the army be able to kill it?
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It’s never a good idea to be drinking and tour guiding.
- 30-year-old men can’t run to their dads every time they’re being attacked by giant, fire-breathing spiders.
- Certain spider species make Hanna-Barbera sounds when they fly through the air.
- People native to New Orleans are biologically incapable of stepping on a spider.
- Any rudimentary knowledge of high school biology qualifies you to lead a military campaign to eradicate giant insects.
- New Orleans albino spiders are huge fans of mariachi music. This explains their highly developed vocal chords.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Just thinking about this movie again makes me giggle. It was either a very entertaining hour and a half or the worst thing I’ve ever seen, I can’t quite decide. The best way to imagine this movie, I feel, is that had it been made in the 1950s it would have probably been an incredible creature feature. That may be what gives it a little bit of its charm. It has absolutely everything you could want from a b-movie: Aliens with Predator-like cloaking abilities, reverse Avatars, special effects that are right up there with the likes of Birdemic and a very 80s Casio soundtrack. All these wonderful things, wrapped up in a cacoon of blue candyfloss. Definitely not for the inexperienced b-movie viewer, but I’d give it a recommend to the more seasoned amongst us; if nothing else it’s one hell of an experience. It’s also the only movie I’ve watched during End of the World Month to score anything on the Breast-O-Meter.
Earth is under siege! Unbeknownst to all of us our forests are slowly being invaded by an alien race known as the Scythe (that’s Scythe with a hard ‘c’). Thankfully a strange race of pink-haired blue people are flying around the universe doing their utmost best to protect all the other little species out there. Earth falls within Ava’s sphere of protection, but unfortunately the robot she tried to send down that usually takes care of the hard ‘c’ed Scythe has malfunctioned. The lesson in all this? Never send a robot in to do a knock off James Cameron extraterrestrial’s job. The reason the robots are sent in is because they are designed to see through the Scythe’s cloaking abilities rather than Ava having to fumble around with her arms out in front of her. What ever will she do now?
We’ll get to that in a minute, because before the Earth can be invaded and we as the audience can take it all seriously there needs to be a group of people in danger that Ava has to save. Enter our team of stereotypes: Jock, Jock’s Friend with Benefits, Rebel Girl, Nerdy Virgin Guy, Nerdy Asian Girl and Slut. This lot’ve been friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper and are heading out to a camping spot that they’ve been going to since high school. OK, nobody’s really friends with Slut, but Jock’s hoping that she can pop Nerdy Virgin Guy’s cherry. It’s understandable why nobody really likes her: while not only a bitch she is entirely impractical and thinks that wearing a pair of hooker heals is perfectly alright for taking a hike through the woods. With the Scythe nearby and looking for blood, of course, poor choice in footwear will soon be the least of the group’s problems.
So, with a malfunctioning robot and an alien on the loose, Ava must come down to Earth and save us all from the horror. Being an alien and unable to breathe in Earth’s atmosphere Ava will actually stay in her ship and send down a human avatar imbued with her life force to do the job. When she meets up with the group of hikers they’re a little bit wary of the leather-clad female with Ke$ha-like autotune for a voice but after a little story and nearly killing one of them they’re all ready to jump on board and do their bit to save the world. They need to find where the Robotar’s (the robot that’s going to protect the world) pod landed so that they can go and fix it. Trust will become an issue since the Scythe can shape shift into anyone whose DNA it has come into contact with and there’s the small issue of humanity being a hopelessly technologically backwards species. Can the group come together to power up the machine and save the world or is Earth doomed to becoming a plastic alien’s new breeding ground?
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Giant explosions and fire balls in the sky are no cause for alarm.
- Women hike up to cabins just so they can complain that they want to go home.
- Some girls will sleep with a homeless guy just to make him feel better.
- Stilettos make less than desirable hiking boots.
- Sluts make superb bear hunters.
- Just because everyone else goes off to save someone doesn’t mean you can’t scarf down breakfast.
- Earthlings are highly insulted when they’re told that English is one of the simplest languages in the universe.
- It’s mankind’s fault that the Earth and the solar system only have one sun.
ALIENS VS AVATARS TRAILER