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:
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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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
This movie and Arctic Blast (I’m pretty sure that Arctic Blast is this movie’s spiritual sequel) raise the question of who thought that playing with the atmosphere to create doomsday-scenario movies was a good idea. Neither movie is horrendously bad, but the flip side of the coin is that neither one is particularly good. All the same it is End of the World Month and, if you’re a particularly cold-hearted individual, there can be a strange attraction to seeing the world being both destroyed and frozen over in a matter of moments.
One thing that’s beginning to emerge more and more as this experiment progresses is that the road to hell is paved with scientists with good intentions. Joanne is a lovely woman who has been deeply affected by the plight of people in areas plagued by drought and famine. Apparently Kansas and Ethiopia are on par with one another so far as these things go, which I’m not so sure of, but her intentions are good. Along with her colleague Damon Joanne has devised a revolutionary new technology that not only seeds clouds to make it rain but that will actually make the clouds in areas where there isn’t enough moisture for natural cloud formation. Now I can assure you that watching this pan out on-screen is about as thrilling as watching paint dry in slow motion but is apparently necessary if we’re to appreciate how this team of rag-tag scientists is going to save the world from their own creation.
The other thing that has become overly apparent throughout the course of Earth’s multiple ends is that groups of scientists should never be allowed free reign of any experiment. Nobody ever foresees the inevitably destructive outcome that their actions will have. Thankfully our brave audience has Charlie Price to fall back on. Charlie was once one of the world’s most recognised and respected scientists before he was forced out of the community for unmentioned reasons to pursue an exciting career writing trashy sci-fi novels about how the world will end through a number of man-made and natural disasters. In this world of enormous coincidences Charlie just happened to be holding a book signing in Generic Small Town, USA where Joanne was conducting her experiments. One moment the sun was shining and everyone was happy and the next thing you know buses and cars and all manner of debris are flying around in a very darkened sky.
And the coincidences just keep on coming! Joanne, obviously aware of the fact that a small town’s near annihilation was not in the original test plan, goes to investigate the damage. She runs into Charlie and it’s revealed that they’ve known each other for donkey’s years. Charlie, using a little blackmail, convinces Joanne and Damon to take him along on their investigation to see what’s going on and how they can go about stopping it. Within a matter of moments Charlie has a theory as to what’s going on: the little machines flying around creating the clouds are doing so by draining the area of any moisture to form the clouds. As a result freezing cold air from the upper areas of the atmosphere are feeding down the way and creating the freezing tornadoes. This of course flies in the face of all scientific reasoning and no one’s prepared to believe him. Hopefully, through the use of a number of horrible analogies from his various novels, Charlie will be able to convince everyone that his plan is the best one and the only chance that humanity has to avoid becoming frozen popsicles.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- People thrown out of the scientific community can always fall back on being trashy novelists.
- Women only need to pee when someone’s told them that they can’t.
- People should never lose sight of the fact that they’ve made it rain.
- One should never smack a hornet’s nest in serious situations.
- Weather is known to be a fairly common occurrence across the globe.
- Bubonic plague is the only reasonable excuse for missing a TV interview.
- There is a big difference between a hug and trying to stay alive.
- You can justify breaking and entering by claiming that a series of doors are accidentally locked.
- It’s easy enough to ‘borrow’ access codes to US government satellites.
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