Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Catching Up on the Summer Blockbusters

So, I did something tonight that I don't do very often, and I should do more often. I rented some movies. With my vast DVD collection, I usually watch something I own, but there are a few summer blockbusters I wanted to see, but missed in the theatres, so I rented them to see what I missed.

First up was Terminator Salvation, aka Terminator 4. Ever since I was in junior high and read the novelization of Terminator 2 have I wanted to see a film about the future war...the war against the machines. (The novelization's first three chapters are dedicated to it and go into it quite in depth.) And, with prequels and gritty origin stories being the rage in Hollywood these days, it was just a matter of time until we got it.

The plot: Marcus Wright, a death-row inmate in 2003, makes a deal to donate his body to science after he's executed. Wright then wakes up in the year 2018. Skynet is online and the future war is in full-swing. Wright soon meets up with a young resistance fighter named Kyle Reese, and they battle the machines while they try to find more resistance fighters. Meanwhile, John Connor is testing a new weapon that might finally bring an end to the war. It's not long before Connor and Wright are brought together, and a terrible secret is uncovered about Wright.

My reaction to this one was pretty much the same one I had to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It's good, but oh so unnecessary. The first two films, the James Cameron films, form this nice little two part story that there's really no need to revisit it. Everything else is just rehashed.

What also doesn't help is the fact that I threw my own personal copy of Terminator 2 into my DVD last night, so T2 is still very fresh in my mind. The genius of the James Cameron films is, even though there's many great explosions and awesome killer robots, Cameron manages to throw in some weighty discussions about destiny vs. free will and the definitions of humanity. That's what makes the Cameron films some truly great science-fiction.

But Terminator Salvation didn't have any of that. Just some mighty fine explosions and robots fighting robots. And, it does have some great "wink wink" references to the earlier films. I'd probably give it 3 nibs out of 4.

Next up, I rented the big-screen version of the classic 1970s TV series, Land of the Lost. I think I saw, maybe, two episodes of the original series when I was a kid. However, I thought the trailers looked kind of clever, not to mention that it also starred the incredibly adorable Anna Friel, whom my fellow Pushing Daisies fans will forever remember as "the girl named Chuck." (And in Land of the Lost, Friel wears pigtails and short shorts, and uses her natural British accent, which makes her even MORE adorable. She is my new secret girlfriend.)

Anyway, Will Ferrel stars as Dr. Rick Marshall, a scientist who has fallen from grace because of his radical theories about time travel and other dimensions. When a young grad student named Holly (that's Friel), encourages him to continue his research, it's not long before Marshall, Holly and Will (a roadside attraction manager) get swept through an interdimensional vortex to a mysterious land, where they fight dinosaurs, battle lizard people, and try to find a way home.

Now, this film actually had a lot going for it. Some great creature designs, fantastic landscapes, a fairly routine plot, though. It had the makings of a pretty decent comedic sci-fi/fantasy film. About the only negative was, well, Will Ferrell. Everything just kind of grinds to a halt so he can do his usual Will Ferrell schtick that it kind of seems out of place. If Will Ferrell could have toned it down just a bit, it would have been good. 2 out of 4 nibs.

I also got District 9, but it's getting late, so I'll save that one for Sunday afternoon.

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