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Because of their neurological abnormalities many Leftists are truly miserable people and therefore pathologically envious of normal people for being happy.  And that’s why a big part of the leftist project is to make us miserable.

Taking the fun out of our lives is a very big part of their work.  That is specifically why they are always in our faces about everything they don’t want us doing.  We can’t enjoy sports or activities or entertainment the way we want to because they have to decide how those things get done.  And worst of all they say we can’t do them without their participation.  And that’s why they especially hate things that they can’t share in.  That’s why shooting ranges and normal families are anathema.  Those things are bad fun because they exclude them categorically.

And so, whenever we are happy, in a real sense, we are measurably hurting the leftist project.  So, there is the justification for the “pursuit of happiness.”  But over the last half century it’s gotten harder and harder to just enjoy life.  Too many components of it have been compromised and degraded by the Left.

But that makes it more important than ever to find the means to bring joy into our lives.  Even if you are a “happy warrior,” fighting the culture war 24/7 is not a recipe for hilarity.  Sure, mocking the Left can be fun to some extent but there is a definite tendency to become a grim, glum purveyor of gloom and doom.

And I find that this very syndrome has infected me to a greater extent than I like.  And thinking about it today I realized I need to begin prioritizing a lot more fun into my week.  Chronicling the outrages of the week is mostly a dour and depressing occupation.  Even schadenfreude over some leftist’s misfortune is a weak substitute for some constructive endeavor or even some mindless fun like watching a goofy movie.

As I’ve said previously, I’ll be trying to wean myself off the outrage stuff.  To start with I think I’ll start publishing parts of my stories on the site and adding more content on creative topics like photography and science fiction/fantasy.  I’ve lately been reading about how difficult it is to get genre fiction discovered on Amazon because the algorithms are specifically calibrated for authors who release materials exclusively through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program.  In addition, the algorithms are optimized for book series that release a new volume every month.  For that reason, authors now write at least three series novels in advance in order to get noticed by that algorithm.  Now this sounds like madness to me.  Following that logic, an author should probably write a decalogy series all at once before finding out whether anyone wants to read it.  And in fact, it seems that a really mediocre series has a much better chance of being a hit than a single novel even if it is remarkably well-written and interesting.

Well, we do live in a strange world.  So, I figure I should start putting my stuff out there and at least have the satisfaction of publishing it on my own platform.  At least I’ll get some constructive feedback from the sf&f fans on the site.  And it’ll be fun.

H. L. Mencken is quoted as defining puritanism as, “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”  And I think he was exactly right.  We need to enjoy life.  We will still have to fight the culture wars but we can’t put our lives, our happiness on hold until we win.  So let the someone, somewhere being happy be you, here.

What Are the Best Science Fiction Movies?

Reviewing Aliens and hearing from folks who remembered it fondly got me thinking about what readers here consider the best sci-fi movies.  So, of course, I went to YouTube.  And here’s the list.

  1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  3. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
  4. Aliens (1986)
  5. Jurassic Park (1993)
  6. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  7. The Matrix (1999)
  8. Children of Men (2006)
  9. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  10. The War of the Worlds (1953)

Now, right off the bat, I disagree with several of the picks.  Neither “Planet of the Apes” or “The Day the Earth Stood Still” would be on my top ten movies list.  Planet of the Apes isn’t my idea of a sci-fi movie.  And The Day the Earth Stood Still is commie propaganda.  So, there’s that.

Some of the other movies are pretty good ones.  Now as for the order and any additional movies to pad out the top ten I’ll have to give it some thought.  But I think it’s a good talking paper to inspire discussion of what each of us considers to be good sci-fi movies.

Now here’s another list (see below).  This is IMDB’s “TOP 100 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time.”  There are a few commonalities between the top ten of this list with the former list.  But one interesting thing I noticed is that once you get past the top of the list the sequels start piling up.  Between sequels to “Back to the Future,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Predator,” “Jurassic Park,” “Star Trek” “Alien,” “Terminator” and “Star Wars” we’re looking at a lot of retreads.

What it made me think was that there really aren’t that many really good science fiction movies.  There are definitely a lot more good science fiction books than there are good movies.  Which I guess is kind of hopeful if you’re an optimist.  For instance, I saw that they’ve made a movie out of Asimov’s Foundation stories.  I saw the coming attractions.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell anything about it at all.  It could be great.  It could be awful.  But at least it’s a new movie.  It’s not a sequel.

So, I guess being a science fiction movie fan is all about being an optimist.  And in the larger world of science fiction/fantasy movies we were rewarded in the early 2000s with the Lord of the Rings movies.  So that tells me miracles can happen.  Maybe one day a true fan of Heinlein will reboot “Starship Troopers” without the nazi iconography or might even film “Have Spacesuit Will Travel.”

So, this will be an open thread to get some comments.  If you’d like to give your top sci-fi movie list or what story you’d like to see filmed in the future put it in the comments.  Later on, I’ll add some more of my own thoughts on what is a proper science fiction movie and what isn’t.

A last question for the audience.  Is “Escape from New York” really science fiction?

 

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. The Terminator
  3. Planet of the Apes
  4. Alien
  5. Blade Runner
  6. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  7. The Matrix
  8. Back to the Future
  9. Aliens
  10. Interstellar
  11. Contact
  12. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
  13. The Road Warrior
  14. Predator
  15. The Thing
  16. The Man from Earth
  17. Edge of Tomorrow
  18. District 9
  19. Dark City
  20. Blade Runner 2049
  21. A Clockwork Orange
  22. Gattaca
  23. Jurassic Park
  24. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
  25. Mad Max
  26. Starship Troopers
  27. Minority Report
  28. 12 Monkeys
  29. Inception
  30. Back to the Future Part II
  31. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
  32. The Abyss
  33. Looper
  34. T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  35. Star Trek: First Contact
  36. Stargate
  37. Ex Machina
  38. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  39. The Truman Show
  40. Children of Men
  41. The Martian
  42. Avatar
  43. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
  44. The X Files
  45. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  46. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  47. Cube
  48. Star Trek
  49. RoboCop
  50. The Time Machine
  51. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  52. War for the Planet of the Apes
  53. Prometheus
  54. Total Recall
  55. They Live
  56. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  57. Sunshine
  58. Moon
  59. Super 8
  60. I Am Legend
  61. Signs
  62. The Fly
  63. Escape from New York
  64. Pacific Rim
  65. Dredd
  66. Oblivion
  67. Cloverfield
  68. Pitch Black
  69. Godzilla
  70. Back to the Future Part III
  71. Limitless
  72. Deja Vu
  73. War of the Worlds
  74. The Matrix Reloaded
  75. Elysium
  76. Enemy Mine
  77. The Butterfly Effect
  78. Predestination
  79. I. Artificial Intelligence
  80. Logan’s Run
  81. Another Earth
  82. Independence Day
  83. The Arrival
  84. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
  85. Predators
  86. Outlander
  87. John Carter
  88. Alien³
  89. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  90. Phenomenon
  91. Predator 2
  92. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
  93. Riddick
  94. Cloud Atlas
  95. Armageddon
  96. The Running Man
  97. The Fifth Element
  98. Waterworld
  99. The Day After Tomorrow
  100. Mimic

Aliens (1986) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

It’s a funny thing I had never seen Aliens in its entirety until today.  Somehow, I missed the first half hour of the movie and only came in when the main action was beginning.  So finally, I have the correct basis on which to judge it.

I won’t synopsize the plot because it’s an Alien movie so the plot is for Sigourney Weaver to outlive the rest of her fellow humans battling the aliens before ultimately jettisoning a xenomorph into the vacuum of space.

As in the original “Alien” movie Sigourney Weaver is Ellen Ripley a commercial astronaut who works for the evil Weyland-Yutani Corporation.  Fifty-seven years after the first Alien attack Ripley is discovered still in suspended animation in the shuttle craft that she used to escape the destruction of her ship the Nostromo.

The evil Weyland-Yutani Corporation was very unhappy about her blowing up their ship but when they find out that their terra-forming colony on the planet that the alien was found on has gone silent they send “space marines” and Ripley to fix things.  They also send Paul Reiser playing smarmy corporate yes man, Carter Burke to provide the requisite “greedy corporation wants xenomorph for bioweapon” subplot.  And finally, they throw in an android to show that despite what happened in the first movie, androids can be pretty swell people too.

And finally, to soften up Ripley’s Rambo impression, they throw in an orphaned little girl named Newt that Ripley rescues a few times over the course of the movie, proving that a modern woman truly can have it all.

So, the producers pull out all the stops.  Aliens are popping up everywhere in the industrial complex that serves as the venue for this first-person shooter game.  Bits of aliens and “molecular acid” are sprayed everywhere and one by one the marine platoon is picked off by the monsters.  Until finally we’re down to Ripley, Newt, android and the pick of the Marine crew, Corporal Dwayne Hicks played by the ever-popular Michael Biehn.  But during the final rescue of Newt on the planet Hicks is wounded by molecular acid and from then on, all the heavy lifting is done by Ripley.  Which she performs with panache, culminating in the above mentioned obligatory spacing of the mother alien (of course there’s a mother alien).

So, what did I think?  Well, I have some quibbles.  The plot contrives it that the marines can’t use their heaviest weapons because the industrial plant is a “thermonuclear” power plant and if any of their explosive charges rupture a heat exchanger line the whole plant will detonate.  Since it’s a cinch that all the colonists (except Newt) are already dead why are they bothering to throw away their lives in this death trap.  As Ripley so astutely recommended, “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.  It’s the only way to be sure.”  Also, they overdid it with the strong female characters and weak male ones.  Yeah, I know, I know.  “There’s nothing wrong with that.”  But honestly it is insulting and stupid.

But taken all in all the movie does provide an exciting action-adventure/science fiction/horror experience.  I won’t claim it’s my favorite but it is a worthy representative of its genre.  I will give it a recommended status.

Ad Astra (2019) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

Ad Astra (Latin for “to the stars”) is a science fiction movie starring Brad Pitt as astronaut Roy McBride whose father Clifford McBride (played by a decrepit looking Tommy Lee Jones) is inexplicably firing anti-matter particles back at Earth from the orbit of the planet Neptune.  The anti-matter will eventually destroy Earth so Roy is supposed to go to the Moon to catch a ride to Mars to broadcast a message to his father asking him not to destroy Earth, or something.  The why and how of all this is very odd.  Clifford has been MIA for twenty years on a mission called Lima that was somehow supposed to be looking for extraterrestrial intelligence (from somewhere near Neptune!).

Eventually we learn that Clifford murdered his crew long ago because they figured out, he was crazy.  When Roy gives his message on Mars Clifford doesn’t agree to cease and desist so the military outfits a mission to nuke Project Lima to erase the threat.  Somehow (but not believably) Roy stows aboard the rocket (after it blasts off) and without really trying he kills the whole crew that were trying to kill him.  Now he flies to Neptune and confronts his father who is completely nuts.  He sets the nuke and thinks he’s convinced Clifford to return to Earth with him.  But when push literally comes to shove, Clifford unshackles himself from Roy and heads off into empty, empty space.

Finally, Roy uses a hatch panel to protect himself while he takes a shortcut through the rings of Neptune and then somehow the nuclear blast that destroyed Project Lima was able to provide most of the kinetic energy to return him to Earth before Roy dies of old age.  And despite all the astronauts he killed getting out there the military decides to forgive and forget and so Roy finishes off by reciting some kind of humanistic spiritual affirmation statement of some kind or other and then gets back together with his ex-wife Liv Tyler.

Now maybe that sounds quite odd for a science fiction story.  And it is.  This is a somewhat confusing rigamarole.  So let me give my thoughts on it.  The visual effects are quite good.  Some scenes in low Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and aboard spacecraft are a lot of fun to watch.  But there are (I kid you not) space monkeys!  Which I kinda/hafta frown upon.  So, two points off.  Brad Pitt’s character starts out as an apparently emotionless robot who always saves the world from disaster without getting his pulse above eighty.  By the end he’s crying about his crazy father being crazy.  Tommy Lee Jones’ character is crazy so there’s not much there.  Donald Sutherland has a small part and he’s always crazy.  So, this movie doesn’t make a lot of sense.  For instance, how is Tommy Lee Jones investigating other life in the universe from Neptune.  Neptune is too incredibly cold for anything to live there.  And it’s not like it’s any closer to the stars than Earth.  Alright, I’ll stop making fun of the movie.  It’s a crazy movie, but like “2001: A Space Odyssey” it’s a visually enjoyable movie if you don’t care too much about the plot.  I recommend it for hard-core sci-fi film lovers who can live with space monkeys.

RoboCop (1987) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

Paul Verhoeven directed this sci-fi adventure movie.  Strangely he made it to be a satire of the violence of law enforcement during the Reagan administration but audiences liked its anti-crime message.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

 

RoboCop opens up on a police precinct in Detroit (Metro-West).  It’s some kind of futuristic present (1980s) where the dystopian crime-ridden Detroit is being addressed with the introduction of robotic police.  The first prototype is being demonstrated at an executive board meeting of OCP, a technology company that surprisingly also has links to the underworld.  Unfortunately, the robot gets a glitch in his programming and kills one of the officers of the company during a demonstration.  This reflects poorly on Dick Jones, the senior vice president and also secretly, the contact for the underworld figures involved with OCP.  The failure of the prototype allows Jones’s competitor, Bob Morton to steer the company toward a different robot cop concept.  Morton’s version is a man whose brain has been destroyed in an accident and whose body can then be retrofitted with robotic limbs and an electronic brain.

Enter Alex Murphy a young cop with a wife and young son.  He’s just been transferred to Metro-West where he’s paired with street smart woman cop Anne Lewis who, of course, has a heart of gold.  They head out to do good and get involved with a criminal gang headed up by Clarence Boddicker (played by Kurtwood Smith, who played Topher Grace’s father, Red on “That Seventies Show”).  Boddicker is Dick Jones’s criminal partner.  He’s also a sadistic maniac.  When his gang captures Murphy, Boddicker personally mutilates him by blowing his limbs off with a shotgun.  Then his men finish him off with their guns.  Lewis escapes and goes for help.

In the next scene Murphy’s body has been converted into a cyborg that has been named RoboCop and assigned to Metro-West.  He has four prime directives

  • Serve the public trust
  • Protect the innocent
  • Uphold the law
  • Never arrest an officer of OCP

Of course, the last directive is a secret one built in by OCP to allow them to break the law with impunity.

Now RoboCop begins to discover the link between Boddicker’s gang and the murder of Officer Murphy.  Although RoboCop is not supposed to have any memory of his former life it does start to creep into his consciousness.  During this time, he captures several of the gang members and discovers the link between OCP and Boddicker.  At this point in the story Dick Jones has Boddicker murder Bob Morton.

Finally, RoboCop manages to arrest Boddicker and his gang but Jones has them released.  Identifying Jones as the OCP link to Boddicker, RoboCop attempts to arrest him but discovers prime directive four prevents him.  Now RoboCop is attacked by the OCP SWAT Team and escapes after being damaged.  Officer Lewis hides him in a factory where she assists him in repairing himself.

The final showdown against Boddicker’s gang includes the use of rocket powered grenades that OCP has provided to Boddicker.  After a drawn-out battle RoboCop kills the whole gang.  Boddicker offers to surrender but RoboCop tells him “I’m not here to arrest you.”  And so, he kills Boddicker in cold blood.  Apparently, his restored memories have superseded some of his programming.

Finally, RoboCop shows up at the OCP board room to expose Dick Jones as a criminal.  When Jones takes the Chairman of the Board hostage RoboCop reveals to him that he cannot arrest any OCP executive.  The Chairman says, “Jones you’re fired.”  And RoboCop immediately dispatches Jones with a full clip of bullets that drive him through the window of the skyscraper penthouse to his death on the pavement below.

RoboCop is a cartoon of a movie.  The villains are cartoon characters.  The hero is a robot almost completely devoid of personality.  Even the good guys are cartoon sketches of cop movie stereotypes.  The violence and weaponry are both over the top.  It’s definitely a 1980s action movie.  But within its genre and its intent it’s an enjoyable cartoon.  Everyone is waiting for RoboCop to finally kill off the sadistic psychopaths that murdered his alter ego who once was a husband and father.  I recommend this movie to fans of the genre.  If you liked some of Schwarzenegger’s movies from that era, like Predator and Terminator you’ll probably like this movie too.  If not then maybe not so much.

It Came from Outer Space (1953) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

I won’t put in the typical spoiler alert because it just doesn’t matter.

In this movie an amateur astronomer, John Putnam, happens to be out in his backyard in what looks like Arizona, looking through his telescope when what appears to be a meteor hurtles to earth in his vicinity.  Being a man of action, John gets his friend Frank to helicopter him to the scene of the crash.  And of course, he brings along his girlfriend Ellen.

When they get to the crater John goes down to the “meteor” and finds that it is a spacecraft with something alive in it.  But somehow the ship causes a landslide that covers itself up.  From this point on John attempts to convince everyone that he isn’t crazy when he claims there is a ship from outer space in the crater.

Only Ellen believes him and they go around town trying to convince the sheriff and the scientists from the local college.  Eventually the aliens start kidnapping humans and replacing them with look-alikes.  But because these aliens are so boring people start suspecting something is wrong.   And here is where we meet the biggest “star” in the cast.  One of the kidnapped humans is George played by Russell Johnson, better known to the world as the “Professor” on Gilligan’s Island.  Johnson plays his part with all the acting skill that he would later demonstrate on that famous island.  Amazing.

Anyway, eventually the rest of the town figures out that John knows what he is talking about and under the leadership of Sheriff Matt Warren they organize a posse to go and put the smackdown on these aliens.  But by this point John has finally located one of the aliens and gotten their side of the story.

Apparently, the aliens crashed to Earth and have been attempting ever since to repair their ship.  They’ve impersonated humans to obtain supplies for the repairs.  Apparently copper wire is an important part of faster than light technology.  The humans they captured have not been harmed and will be released if the aliens are able to repair the ship before the humans have a chance to interfere with them.

When John asks the alien why they don’t just come out in the open and meet the humans, he comes out of the cave he’s hiding in and reveals his appearance to John (1), (2).

Apparently, their appearance is so terrifying that John goes into hysterics for a few moments.  Personally, I think it would be more likely that most people would break out into laughter if the aliens showed up in town.  They sort of resemble what a giant Mr. Potato Head toy would look like if only one eye was stuck on where the nose should go and then asbestos was glued on as hair.  After his hissy fit John agrees to help the aliens escape by preventing Sheriff Matt from rousting them out of their cushy lair in the convenient old gold mine outside of town.

It is while John is trying to prevent the sheriff from attacking the aliens that Matt makes a speech which was the only part of the movie I remember from when I saw it fifty some-odd years ago.  Matt looks at the thermometer and says, “It’s ninety-two degrees!  I remember reading that more murders are committed at ninety-two degrees than any other temperature.  Below that temperature people are in their right minds.  Above ninety-two it’s too hot to do anything.  But at just ninety-two people get irritable!”  I really enjoyed that scene.  In fact, I enjoyed it more than the whole rest of the movie put together.

Anyway, the posse is rounded up and on the way to the mine they manage to kill one of the aliens driving a pickup truck.  It was a pretty nice truck.  John heads down into the mine first and one of the aliens disguised as Ellen tries to kill him with a laser wand.  But John manages to shoot her and she falls into a puddle in the mine.  Then John finds the leader of the aliens who is disguised as John(!) and talks himself into waiting before attacking the humans with his death ray.

John gets all of the hostages out of the mine and uses some handily placed dynamite to close up the mine entrance to prevent the posse from lynching the potato heads.  As the posse and the freed hostages watch the space ship breaks free of the earth and heads back into space.  And John tells us that one day they’ll return and human and potato heads will live in peace together.

Wow!  This movie was based on a story by Ray Bradbury.  I’ll have to go back and read that story.  If it really resembles the plot of this movie, I’ll have to rethink my appreciation of Bradbury.  Anyway, this is all harmless stuff from the early days of B-movie sci-fi.  I’ll recommend this thing as campy nostalgia from simpler times.  It would have made a good movie for a drive-in date.  Something you wouldn’t have minded missing during the clinches.  Your milage may vary.

When Worlds Collide (1951) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

I haven’t seen this movie since I was a kid.  Back then I had read the book and the sequel, “After Worlds Collide.”

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

The plot is relatively straightforward.  Astronomers discover a small star and a planet circling it entering the solar system.  It is calculated that within a year the star will collide with and destroy the Earth but the new planet will be captured by the sun and might provide a possible home for some humans to colonize if a rocket can be launched.  At first most scientists discount the crisis.  But a few industrialists believe the danger and begin building a rocket for the journey.  One selfish millionaire, wheel-chair-bound Sydney Stanton, agrees to finish funding the rocket only if he is on the passenger list.  The project team races desperately against time to complete the rocket before the end of the world.

The project is run by Dr. Cole Hendron who along with his daughter Joyce and Dave Randall provide the human interest for the story.  Randall doesn’t want to go along on the trip because he doesn’t believe he is entitled due to a lack of needed skills that the mission requires.  But Joyce (of course) is in love with him so eventually they trick him into going based on his abilities as the only qualified but unnecessary co-pilot.  As the moment of truth comes, we see Earth devastated by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tidal waves that destroy all the coastal cities.  Finally, the fifty passengers are drawn by lots and just as the ship is preparing to launch the unlucky lottery losers attack the ship with guns.  Dr Hendron decides at the last minute to remain on the ground to provide a margin of error for the fuel and while he’s at it he prevents Stanton from getting on the ship too.  As the ship launches Stanton staggers to his feet.  An Armageddon miracle.

We get to see Earth destroyed.  Improbably the Earth blows up in a giant fireball without coming in contact with the star.  The ship reaches the new world and Randall finally has to glide the rocket to a landing after its fuel tanks are completely emptied during the braking maneuver.  The landing is rocky but doesn’t kill them.  And of course, the air is good and there’s green life growing on the ground and it looks like there may be the ruins of cyclopean buildings nearby.  Joyce and Randall embrace, a dog gives birth to puppies and everybody rejoices at the first dawn on their new world.

The only familiar faces were Larry Keating playing Dr. Hendron and John Hoyt as Stanton.  The rest of them were completely unknown to me.  The special effects aren’t very good.  But they weren’t awful.  The acting was sturdy B movie Hollywood acting of the time.  About what you’d expect in a decent western or a melodrama.  I quite enjoyed it.  The plot is simple but quite relatable on both a human-interest level and as a science fiction story.  I’ll say this is recommended for science fiction fans especially for connoisseurs of the 1950s period in the genre.

The Giant Behemoth (1959) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

Lately I’ve been adding in a spoiler alert to these reviews to spare people who don’t want the movie spoiled by my review of the plot.  I’ll skip it here because no one can care what the plot of this movie is.  Basically, this is a British copycat of the movie “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” which came out in 1953.  Unfortunately, the special effects (such as they are) are even less impressive than the earlier incarnation of the story.

Intrepid American scientist Steve Karnes is in Britain to warn his fellow scientists that all of the atomic bomb blasts have filled the ocean with radioactive plankton, fish and sea birds.  And that eventually this would lead to giant mutated prehistoric creatures being awakened and attacking coastal cities.  Well, he didn’t actually say that but I could read between the lines.

Sure enough a fisherman and his surprisingly pretty blonde daughter are returning from a fishing trip and while she returns to their home the old man lingers on the beach and is blasted by the eponymous giant behemoth.  Apparently, the creature not only is highly radioactive but he also possesses the ability to use his electric eel-like power as if he were a gigantic bug zapper.  Later on, the daughter and her not too smart boyfriend find the father.  He’s covered with radiation burns on his face and they arrive just in time for him to tell them that it was a “giant behemoth” before he expires.

And I say that the boyfriend is not too smart because near the dead fisherman he finds a blob of pulsating glowing, pulsating slime.  So naturally he puts his hand into it and gets his own set of radiation burns.  At this point Steve Karnes and his British sidekick Professor James Bickford show up and quickly figure out that a giant prehistoric sea creature has been turned into a radioactive death trap and they bring in the British Navy.

Unfortunately, the Navy proves incompetent and various naval vessels, merchant ships, helicopters and even a passenger ferry are destroyed by the beast (mostly off-camera).  But finally, when the beast climbs onto land in London, we get to see it.  It’s a sorry looking Claymation facsimile of a sauropod.  And the animation of it walking through the London streets is almost comically bad.  It chases after a lot of not too nimble Londoners for a long time.  It zaps a bunch of people with its death ray.  It knocks some bricks out of a wall onto some other Brits and finally picks up a guy in a car in its mouth and throws it to the ground.

After this goes on for way too long Karnes and Bickford decide that what radioactivity can create, radioactivity can destroy!  They will take a radium spearhead and use a torpedo to shoot it into the creature’s head.  Apparently, this will kill it.  So, Steve gets into a crappy little submarine and voila, he shoots the behemoth and it’s all over.

But just as our heroes are congratulating each other for a job well done we hear a newscast saying that dead fish are washing up on the east coast of the United States.  Oh no, here we go again!

You’ve got to be a devotee of old monster movies to want to see this clunker.  I know War Pig is in that category so if you’re out there, this one’s for you.

Jurassic World Dominion – A Science Fiction Movie Review

I brought my two oldest grandsons to see the new Jurassic Park movie, “Jurassic World Dominion.” Based on the previous outings we all expected the movie to be full of exciting, frenetic action and very deficient in plot. But we plunked down our ducats and endured the half hour of coming attractions.

Well, they threw everything including the kitchen sink into this potboiler. They brought back Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern and Sam Neill to reprise their characters from the original Jurassic Park film. They had some ridiculous plot about a cloned girl who was produced by parthenogenesis (virgin birth) by the granddaughter of Richard Attenborough’s character John Hammond from the first movie. Then they added an evil corporation producing giant locusts to eat up the world’s food supply to corner the market on genetically modified crops.

Then there were intrigues and kidnappings. There was Chris Pratt lassoing dinosaurs in the snow of Montana and other equally absurd scenarios. Finally, all of the good characters, old and new, band together to defeat the evil corporation and as a capstone the same small dinosaurs that ate Wayne Knight’s character Dennis Nedry in the original Jurassic Park, eat the evil CEO in this movie. What could be better than that?

Well, the movie was a hot mess. But dinosaurs are chasing people and even eating a few so what else could I ask from a Jurassic Park sequel? Afterwards, over some burgers and fries we agreed that it was ridiculous but highly satisfactory for our needs on this family movie outing.

But if someone is looking for an intelligent summer movie this is not that movie. It’s strictly an exercise in summer blockbuster sequel abuse. Well at least they must be finished with Goldblum, Dern and Neill. That at least is something.

The Fly (1958) – A Science Fiction Movie Review

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

Andre and François Delambre are two brothers who own a technology company.  Andre is a genius and he is working on a teleportation machine.  He shows it to his wife Helene but she notes that the machine still has some problems.  When Andre thinks the machine is perfected, he tries to teleport his cat but it disappears.  Finally, after much work, he shows his wife that it can teleport a guinea pig successfully.  Next, he plans to teleport himself.

The next day Andre’s little son catches a fly with a white head in the garden with his butterfly net.  Helene makes him release it.  When Andre does not appear for dinner Helene goes down to his laboratory.  But the door is locked and Helene finds a typewritten letter from Andre saying his experiment has gone awry.  A fly entered into the chamber and during the teleportation the fly got a human arm and head and Andre got the head and leg of a fly.  He could still think like a human but he was finding his mind slipping away.  He tells Helene to catch the fly so that he can go through the teleporter with it and hopefully return to normal.  They catch the fly but it escapes again.  Andre despairs and tells Helene (through writing on a blackboard) that he will destroy his dangerous machine and his notes.  And he wants to die so he tells Helene to assist him by crushing his head and arm in the hydraulic press in his lab to destroy the evidence of his horrible accident.  She agrees.  After helping her husband to suicide she calls her brother-in-law François (played by Vincent Price) who calls police inspector Charas.  When they arrive, Helene tells them how she killed her husband.  Later on, after much coaxing she tells them the story of the fly.  But they assume she has gone mad.  Inspector Charas gets a warrant for her arrest for murder.  But just before she is taken away Andre’s son tells François that he has found the fly in a spider’s web.  François calls Charas to the web and they see the fly with its human head and hand and hear it cry for help as the spider comes to devour it.  Charas crushes the spider and its victim with a rock and is horrified by the reality of Helene’s story.  Charas and François figure a story involving Andre’s suicide to protect Helene.  The movie ends with François assuming the guardianship over Andre’s wife and son.

I saw this movie as a child on tv.  And then, as now, the big scene in this movie is the spider web scene.  The pathetic little voice coming out of the haggard face of the fly is horrifying as we see the enormously magnified head of the spider come closer and closer to the poor trapped fly.  The other notable scene is where Helene pulls off the hood hiding Andre’s head and we see his repulsive fly face.  It’s kind of hard to see it.  It seemed out of focus but it was reasonably hideous and Helene screams to very good effect.  The only decent acting was done by the police inspector.  The rest of the cast acted their lines but no Academy Awards were earned.  Vincent Price gave his usual over the top delivery.  One surprise for me was that the actor who played Andre was David Hedison and I recognized him as the captain on the 1960’s television series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” about a US Navy submarine that was always bumping into giant squid and other under sea monsters.  This movie is for connoisseurs of campy giant insect sci-fi films.  It’s not as good as “Them!” but it’s still fun for fans of this type of movie.