Last night’s movies

Notes from last night’s movie night, which turned out to be ‘surprisingly competent movie’ themed, but only because we switched Mortal Kombat off after ten minutes. Spoilers ahead.

Alien Western

Also known as High Plains Invaders. Not to be confused with Cowboys and Aliens.

This might be a Western in its setting, but it’s more like a horror movie in its structure. Also it doesn’t have enough epic landscapes and, despite nearly all of the characters dying, it isn’t depressing enough to be a Western.

It delivers more on the aliens. Sometimes they even afford the CGI to have multiple aliens in shot at once! The aliens have come to earth to steal our uranium. Not to use it as a fuel source – they’re just addicted to it.

The best line in this movie comes after the scientist has declared uranium more valuable than diamonds, thus ensuring the shifty characters try to run off with it. He then says in exasperation that there isn’t yet an established market for uranium.

Alien Western is more competent a film than I expected, but it’s still a made-for-TV movie and it doesn’t have anything special to recommend it. I guess unless you really like James Marsters. I have never seen Buffy, so I’m Marsters-ambivalent.

Cutthroat Island

This, apparently, was the movie that killed pirate movies (at least till Captain Jack Sparrow came along). It cost a lot to make, and made hardly any of it back.

The beautiful thing about the movie is that you can see exactly where all the money went. It went into crafting a lot of very detailed sets (including full-scale, working ships) … and then blowing them up.

Okay, they only blow up one of the ships. And it’s a thing of beauty – all the splintered wood raining down, the black billowing smoke. It’s always really satisfying to watch an action movie with real explosions. CGI just isn’t the same.

Other satisfying things include watching Geena Davis kick people in the head. She seems like she’s really enjoying it, too. She gets to rescue her love interest, Shaw, a lot (after she buys him), and the movie doesn’t seem too concerned about whether or not that ’emasculates’ him. I guess because he’s positioned more as a charming thief than any kind of action hero. I also like that Morgan got to be sexy in a way that didn’t require her being prettied up.

L made an interesting comment which was that he felt like for the first two-thirds of the film, the POV would keep slipping whenever Shaw, the love interest, was on-screen. And he’d end up being the identification character in those scenes. But, in the last third, Morgan (Geena Davis’s character) was consistently the one we were meant to identify with. And he wondered if that was intentional or not.

I didn’t especially notice, but I’m probably inclined to latch strongly to my action heroines’ perspectives. You have to be pretty egregious to break that.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

This movie is about how boys have to learn courage and girls have to learn to appreciate boys.

It’s also about how if you beat something up and then treat it kindly, it will follow you forever.

Okay, the ‘it’, in this case, is an ant. And it doesn’t matter that they start by beating it up, because the experience teaches the snotty kid to have empathy for other creatures, and he’s totally sad when the ant sacrifices itself to save them.

I feel like I am being mean but if I’m forced to watch family movies what do you expect? At least it features real teenagers. I think they still existed in the eighties.

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