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:
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
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
This movie made me terribly sad. As a reviewer it really breaks my heart to sit through a movie and watch as the director just loses more and more control over his creation. Some movies may miss the mark and some movies may forget to have things happen, but this movie just didn’t know how to end. Poor little creature. My psychic horror senses tell me that the director started off with a great plan, but as the story tried to develop itself the movie just got away from him and when it hit the 90 minute runtime mark he threw his hands up and said, “Right! Stop the cameras, we’re ending the movie here!” There’s no great character development, there’s no real insight into who the killer is or why he’s doing what he’s doing and, because the movie just ends, there’s no kind of solution offered. Plus there’s no real suspense at any point that may have kept this little train on the tracks. That said, it is a fun watch if you like to see the many creative ways that people can be killed with an excessive number of chains!
Being one of those movies that centres around high school kids a number of rules apply: we have jocks, we have sluts, we have one clever brunette and one dorky younger brother. Also, everyone’s well into their 20s. The dorky younger brother just happens to be Zack Young from Desperate Housewives. Whilst playing an intense game of WoW he receives a beautifully put together chain letter that tells him to send it on to 5 people within 24 hours. Since his sister Rachael needs to use the computer she throws him off and, believing in the immense power of chain letters, decides to forward it on but only includes 4 recipients. When Neil (Zack Young’s alter ego in this movie) finally manages to get his computer back he notices her mistake and adds her as the 5th recipient and sends the chain letter along.
Here’s where things start to go bloodshedingly wrong for our semi-group of 20-something highschool kids. You see while Rachael had sent the chain letter onto her friends the e-mail itself was coming from Neil’s account and, since he’s horribly unpopular, none of the friends take it very seriously and delete the e-mail. This is where our first victim Johnny Jones comes into the picture. After enjoying a nice little shot of growth hormones and a 3 minute gym session he goes to get some water. While drinking at the fountain he finds his head being repeatedly rammed into its delicate metal features and loses some teeth in the process. He is then dragged to another corner of the gym where our killer gets to work with his many, many chains. Like cooking, brutal slayings require a decent recipe: first of all you handcuff the victim to the chains. Once done you truss the victim up and lift them off the ground with some more chains to ensure that the arms pop out the sockets. You then slash their Achille’s heel, making it impossible for them to escape. You then take EVEN MORE CHAINS and proceed to grind their face into a smooth, delicate paste before making your escape into the night. In case you missed it: lots of chains. Chain Letter. What a clever little killer we have with us.
In amongst all of this are a few ancillary characters of which the most important is Jessie. She’s good-looking but she’s brunette and occasionally wears glasses so you know she’s the brains of the outfit. As the body count shuffles a little higher she decides to enlist the help of Neil and her friend Michael to try and stop the murders. For backup they have Detective Crenshaw trying to work out what’s going on back at Police HQ. Of course nobody’s better equipped to figure out who a psychopath is than a highschool girl taking a class in the dangers of technology and Jessie, despite already forwarding the chain letter on, tells everyone to send it to her again so that she can do some detective work of her own. With the aid of her glasses and Google she manages to figure out that the chain letter has a virus attached to it that infects cellphones and computers and allows the killer to use them as GPS units. This makes hunting his victims down much easier than in the good old days where killers had to lurk behind bushes for hours in the vague hope of a victim crossing their path. It’s then up to Jessie, Neil and Michael to save the day blah blah blah stop the killer blah blah blah redeem mankind’s belief in the joys of technology blah blah blah.
Chain Letter isn’t good, but it’s the good kind of not good that you can at least cock your head at in confusion and have a good laugh at.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Schools are a combination of socialising and football games. At most students may have 1 class a day.
- Right after water and food a phone is right up there with the basic things needed for a human to survive.
- Men have enormous engines put in their cars in the hopes of enticing gorgeous women.
- Killers who use an excessive amount of chains are helping to keep an entire industry alive.
- High school kids never have parents that live with them.
- The phrase ‘why don’t you come get me?’ should not be thrown around lightly.
- Policemen on the phone sound a lot like telemarketers.
- You don’t put glasses on to read – you put glasses on to think.
CHAIN LETTER TRAILER
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