Mercury Rising Recap

Jamie

Simon Lynch is an autistic child with a brain to solve puzzles. Art Jefferies is an FBI agent on the outs with the bureau. Their worlds collide when Simon inadvertently cracks a top secret government code and ends up in the crosshairs of government assassins. Can Art keep Simon safe and take out the bad guys (and maybe get the girl)? Find out in… Mercury Rising.

How?! Art is an FBI agent extraordinaire and he don’t take no guff from nobody. This of course gets him in hot water with his boss after a big undercover job goes south in South Dakota. Sent to desk duty he refuses to quit and boy howdy are we glad he did. That’s because poor little Simon, a boy with autism, is about to crack a new uncrackable government code that a couple of very smart dopes decide to put in a puzzle magazine for funsies. But when Simon cracks it with his beautiful mind, shit hits the fan and the bad guys start coming after Simon. A government hitman kills his parents but is spooked before getting Simon. Enter Art who uses his own beautiful mind to find Simon and figure out that something just isn’t right. Dead set on protecting the kid he foils the government hitman at every turn while dealing with a kid who he doesn’t understand and who doesn’t understand him (it’s touching). Soon people are dropping like flies and Bruce Willis builds a group of friends and strangers who realize that what seemed like paranoid delusions might actually be real and might actually go all the way to the top of the NSA. Oh no! In a climactic final scene they are able to foil the head of the NSA as he tries one last time to kidnap Simon and he totally murders him and everyone is like “good.” Soon Art finds himself visiting Simon in his new school and scores that big hug from Simon. Awwww. THE END. Big Question: How big a news story would this be? The head of the NSA is killed by police and falls off a skyscraper in Chicago… or would they use their spooky powers to hide it? GASP.

Why?! Our boy Bruce just can’t stay out of the action. He just does what’s right and what’s necessary without all that bureaucratic bullshit. The bad guy is just covering his ass and the child is just a child who loves puzzles (I identify).

Who?! Huh… how weird. I mean, we watched this film for Alec Baldwin and his bevy of brothers, but without realizing it we also picked a film with a sibling of another famous actor in it. Believe it or not John Travolta’s sister Margaret has a speaking role in this film! She’s a nurse that explains autism to Bruce Willis. We see you working Margaret Travolta.

What?! There is a shocking amount of product placement in this guy (Swiss Miss, sip it slowleeeeeee). Probably my favorite is the number of times that Starbucks shows up, culminating in the Starbucks meet-cute between our boy Bruce Willis and Stacy. What’s even crazier is that the Starbucks that they meet in is still in that exact same location in Chicago! It feels like there is still an opportunity to corner the market on Mercury Rising walking tours.

Where?! This is a super Chicago setting, although the film could be set almost anywhere. Lots of sights and sounds of Chicago. We also have part of the film set in DC and some brief scenes in South Dakota and Thailand. If we had done the mapl.de.map when BMT was more mature I am almost certain that this would have been the South Dakota setting. Not major, but very clear. B+.

When?! They botch the timing of this slight as we get a clear “June 9” on a security camera that Bruce Willis looks at, but then we also get a “June 9th” on the whistleblower letter one of the characters writes… but those two things can’t possibly have happened the same day. So basically an F… JK. Solid B.

We occasionally claim a BMT film is not that bad (not that bad), but it’s much rarer for us to make the call that a film is not just not that bad, but in fact maybe even kinda sorta good. I’m making that call! I think Mercury rising is a good thriller (and it’s got a little heart to boot). I enjoyed Bruce Willis. I enjoyed Alec Baldwin. I enjoyed the concept. Is it perfect? No. It lags a bit in the middle, goes heavy on Willis trying to connect with Simon, and shoehorns in a completely unnecessary love interest at the last minute. But it made me feel some emotions and thrilled me at all the right time. At the very least we can all agree that the 17% RT score it holds is a crazy underestimation of the merits of this film. As for the Bring a Friends we brought along, we really ran the gamut this week. Fallout was actually kinda a fun, dumb space action film that seemed at times like Daniel Baldwin was edited in from a different movie. Weirdly, it also had a shockingly strong female lead… better than almost all Hollywood films you’d watch. Backdraft 2 is a sad joke given that the original film is quite enjoyable. It feels like a two-part pilot for a television series that never got off the ground, but by all accounts it was always intended to be a film… not sure I believe it. Laughably inadequate. Finally, Dead Weekend… oh Stephen Baldwin… did you lose a bet? This is barely a film that is excruciating and at times uncomfortable to watch. There are only three explanations: 1) Stephen read the script and saw the words “sex alien” and was like “I’m in.” 2) Stephen knew the director and did him a favor after hashing out the plot over beers. 3) Stephen overheard someone talking about the upcoming film Species and thought “I gotta get in on that sex alien action” and found whoever would let him make a sex alien picture ASAP. It is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! So I have all of this mercury, and the darnest thing is happening to it … its rising! We watched Mercury Rising, let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Watching the trailer and reading up on the film made me wonder … is this actually a bad film? It seems like critics were just annoyed that it was so predictable and Bruce-Willis-y. But does that a bad thriller make? It was a big question, I was ready to be annoyed by Bruce-Willis-ness. What were my expectations? Honestly, I figured this would end up being a fine thriller which I would like. The 90s thriller is pretty good, and that might be a bit of nostalgia speaking, but hey, maybe I just like 90s thrillers.

The Good – I think this is a fine 90s thriller. Bruce Willis is silly, but if you like Bruce Willis it is fine. Alec Baldwin is a scene-chewing villain who might as well have had a giant moustache, but again, if you like Alec Baldwin it is fine. The storyline is silly, but if you let it wash over you and not think about it too much then (say it with me) it is fine. You picking up what I’m putting down? This movie is a fine 90s thriller. I would gladly watch it again right then. Fight me. I did genuinely like the Chicago setting. Just works for thriller, reminded me of The Fugitive.

The Bad – Having one of the two main characters be a severely autistic child makes the film a bit tough to handle, just because there isn’t much of a dialogue for extended periods of time. The directing kind of sucks, and it relies a bit on flashbacks and characters expositing at you every few scenes. It is a bit sad that the main female lead is just a random person Willis finds in a coffee shop an hour into the film. It would have been a decent opportunity to introduce an ex-girlfriend / ex-wife character for Willis, but maybe that would make it too close to Die Hard.

The BMT – I mean … it’ll go down as a good film in BMT basically. An example of how critics can sometimes fatigue on a particular lazy style of storytelling, and they just ruin a film for being tired and boring. But I liked the film and would gladly watch it again, what can I say. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, but that is kind of a bad thing. Something being surprisingly good is amusing (e.g. Freddy Got Fingered), but something being 90s-Bruce-Willis-Thriller is just a film I would show someone if they wanted to watch a film like this. Nothing more, nothing less.

Roast-radamus – Very minor Setting as a Character (Where?) for Chicago. It is a very Chicago film, but it could probably be set in NYC as well. Some great Product Placement (What?), but my personal favorite is Swiss Miss (It’s hooooooot, sip it slowleeeeeeeeeeee) which our autistic boy hero drinks every day when he gets home from school. You can make a decent argument the child himself is a MacGuffin (Why?) as well which is pretty fun. And finally, it will definitely be on my shortlist for Good, not least because I think good BMT film examples are pretty few and far between.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is really nothing about this film beyond that critics really didn’t like it. It actually seemed like some reviews enjoy the premise (and Alec Baldwin in particular), but then find it not very thrilling and pretty dumb. Agree to disagree. I do think this could be the worst film with a severely autistic main character, and it’ll be in the mix for an extended list for worst films set in Chicago (maybe).

Bring a Friend Analysis – Alongside Mercury Rising we watched (gasp) three other Baldwin brother films! First up was Dead Weekend starring Stephen Baldwin. And this film is wild. A sci-fi art film all dressed up as a straight-to-Starz erotic thriller of some kind? Legend has it Alec told Stephen not to do Bio-Dome because it would destroy his career … but this came out a year prior. Something tells me Stephen’s career was already in trouble. Second was Fallout starring Daniel Baldwin. This film, on the other hand, is one of the classic straight-to-video films focusing on “one cool thing”, in this case “spaceships”. Baldwin plays a down and out astronaut who ends up having to save the world from a group of Russian separatists (kind of, let’s not get into the politics) who have taken over an international space station and satellite network. It was actually really good looking. The main issue is Daniel Baldwin who is genuinely out of shape and a bad actor. A random guy like Michael Dudikoff would have been less distracting. But maybe the best one-cool-thing videos I’ve seen thus far, which is saying something. And finally we watched Backdraft 2 starring William Baldwin. Somehow they managed to get Donald Sutherland and William Baldwin to come back for this ill-fated direct-to-VOD sequel to the Kurt Russell classic. Jamie nailed it on this one, it is more like a television pilot than anything else. Complete with the streetwise partner and the magic-mathematian girlfriend for our main character to utilize in all his arson hunting glory. As a pilot it is passable for an 8pm CBS drama, as a film it is a sad example of the worst that streaming has to offer.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mercury Rising Quiz

Oh man, The last thing I remember I was helping this autistic child run away from assassins and murders most foul. But then I must have gotten quite the blow to the head because I can’t remember anything else. Can you remember what happened in Mercury Rising?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What group is Bruce Willis asked to infiltrate and what traumatic event occurs in the eventual FBI standoff right in the beginning of this film?

2) After punching out his superior Bruce Willis is relegated to grunt work … but what kind of grunt work?

3) Little Simon is autistic and he’s about to solve an NSA encryption puzzle in a game magazine. Where does he get the magazine, and why? Bonus if you can name the number of the puzzle he solves.

4) Why is Alec Baldwin so concerned about Mercury and the ability of this kid to decrypt it on sight?

5) How many people are killed during the course of the film?

Answers

Mercury Rising Preview

Patrick and the Rambos climb through the air vents of The Square. The Rambos bodies are well-greased and gleaming as they slip and slide their way around. “Here,” the eldest grunts pointing through an opening and Patrick gasps as he sees Jamie being carried by Vampiro and some scantily clad ladies. Patrick puts on his glasses to take a closer look and confirms that they are some bodacious babes. Patrick looks to the Rambos for help but they’re already moving. They drop into an area filled with glass cages. The Rambos start knocking on a few of the cages. “My god,” Patrick whispers, “The Baldwins.” Stephen, William, and Daniel Baldwin peer out from deep in their cages but they don’t recognize those names. They are Brian McCafferty, J. J. Hendricks, and Weed. Patrick is truly through the looking glass on this one. “Where?” grunts the youngest Rambo and the Baldwins look on with fear. Weed’s teeth chatter as he points to the ground, “Here.” Suddenly the door opens.

Buford Vampiro and his Beach Bunnies lead the way with Jamie in tow. Things were already looking dire, but they get even worse when Sticks and Stones join them with… Alec Baldwin? But he introduces himself as Kudrow. Jamie shakes his head. They all seem agitated about Patrick, but Sticks and Stones insist that he’s somewhere here and they could use Jamie as a trap. Not likely, Jamie thinks as he flexes his biceps. They enter a room full of glass cells and Jamie is left alone. He sees even more Baldwins around… he must be in some kind of Baldwin jail. Jamie smiles. Do you know what’s better than waiting for Patrick to save him from jail… waiting for Patrick to save him from jail with a whole mess of Baldwins. That’s right! We are going into a Baldwin extravaganza for the Bring A Friend entry in the Bring A Friend cycle. We are partaking in the classic thriller Mercury Rising. Big time thriller for Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin and I’m pretty excited because it’s about puzzles and we’re puzzle maniacs. As for the friends we tried to pick the worst of the worst from the other Baldwin bros. We settled on the truly terrible looking Dead Weekend for Stephen, Fallout (about space ships) for Daniel, and Backdraft 2 (yes they made a sequel) for William. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Let’s go!

Mercury Rising (1998) – BMeTric: 29.4 

MercuryRisingIMDb_BMeT

MercuryRisingIMDb_RV

(I remember when this came out. I don’t remember it being particularly poorly received … and 6.1 is pretty high for a 30 BMeTric film. 60K votes! That’s a lot.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  An autistic nine-year-old boy innocently cracks a top-secret government code; cold-eyed bureaucrat Baldwin orders him killed, while over-the-hill FBI agent Willis tried to protect him. Except for the boy’s autism, a routine suspense thriller, but well made and interesting throughout. Willis’s standard action hero character shows a softer side here, while Baldwin plays out-and-out heavy.

(Sounds like kind of a boring rote thriller, but with maybe a boring performance by Willis and an insane performance by Baldwin … which is basically all I could ask for.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-L7Gbh4u0I/

(Yeah looks potentially pretty boring. BUT … I do like both Willis and Baldwin, especially in 1998, so sock it to me. Let’s do it.)

Directors – Harold Becker – (Known For: Sea of Love; Taps; Malice; Vision Quest; The Onion Field; City Hall; The Big Town; The Black Marble; The Boost; Future BMT: Domestic Disturbance; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: He started out as a still photographer, and was mainly a commercial and documentary filmmaker through the 70s. Most of his feature films were made in the 80s. He’s 90 years old.)

Writers – Ryne Douglas Pearson (novel) – (Future BMT: Knowing; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: Apparently Art Jefferson, the character Bruce Willis plays, is part of a series he wrote. Mercury Rising is the fourth Art Jefferson book.)

Lawrence Konner (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: Wrote on The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire as he’s mostly done television work since around 2000.)

Mark Rosenthal (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: He’s the long time writing partner of Konner, although he hasn’t done the same amount of television work, and mainly seems to work with Konner on features.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Motherless Brooklyn; Split; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; The Fifth Element; The Sixth Sense; Sin City; Die Hard; Twelve Monkeys; Unbreakable; RED; Looper; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Moonrise Kingdom; Ocean’s Twelve; The Expendables; RED 2; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Die Hard 4.0; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Precious Cargo; Breakfast of Champions; First Kill; Reprisal; Cop Out; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Acts of Violence; The Bombing; Marauders; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Striking Distance; Rock the Kasbah; Rugrats Go Wild; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Billy Bathgate; Loaded Weapon 1; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Glass; Grand Champion; Four Rooms; 10 Minutes Gone; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Hudson Hawk; Mercury Rising; Death Wish; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; and in 2019 for Death Wish; Notes: Apparently Ashton Kutcher (who married Willis’ ex Demi Moore) apparently was convinced his then-girlfriend January Jones had an affair with Willis on the set of Bandits in 2001 … they have a really weird relationship.)

Miko Hughes – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Pet Sematary; Apollo 13; Kindergarten Cop; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare; Zeus and Roxanne; Future BMT: Spawn; Clockstoppers; Cops and Robbersons; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Mercury Rising; Notes: Still vaguely makes appearances, but not many. He was the son of a gynocologist in Kindergarten Cop who says a bunch of inappropriate stuff and has acted since he was 22 months old.)

Alec Baldwin – (Known For: Beetlejuice; A Star Is Born; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Motherless Brooklyn; The Departed; BlacKkKlansman; The Aviator; Notting Hill; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; The Hunt for Red October; The Good Shepherd; The Royal Tenenbaums; My Sister’s Keeper; Rock of Ages; The Boss Baby; Concussion; Glengarry Glen Ross; Blue Jasmine; Rise of the Guardians; Working Girl; Future BMT: Aloha; Thomas and the Magic Railroad; Andròn: The Black Labyrinth; Hick; Along Came Polly; The Juror; My Best Friend’s Girl; The Getaway; Fun with Dick and Jane; Pearl Harbor; The Shadow; Running with Scissors; Heaven’s Prisoners; Elizabethtown; Blind; BMT: The Cat in the Hat; Pluto Nash; Mercury Rising; The Marrying Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Cat in the Hat in 2004; Notes: He is going to have his sixth child soon. He had one child, Ireland, with Kim Bassinger, and now will have five children with his second wife.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $32,935,289 (Worldwide: $93,107,289)

(That is pretty rough given the budget, an out and out disaster financially.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (6/35)

(I’ll have to make a consensus! Here goes: Boring without much action between the two leads. Only a scenery chewing heel-turn by Alec Baldwin saves this from complete disaster. Reviewer Highlight: If a 9-year-old kid can break your code, don’t kill the kid, kill the programmers. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Mercury Sklogging (B+)

mercury_rising

(Gah! If only they had some interesting font. Otherwise I think this is what we’re looking for. We got the stars of the film presented in an artistic way with a bold color scheme… maybe a little hint at what the film was about would also help. Not bad though. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this is the best one I’ve done. The color on the face isn’t quite right, and neither is my eyeline. Great fake tagline from Jamie though. A-)

Tagline(s) – Someone knows too much. (D)

(Terrible. So vague. Almost sounds like they did it as a joke but then forgot to replace it before printing the poster. At least it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – autistic child; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Darkness (I) (2016); 29.4 Mercury Rising (1998); 24.4 Dear John (I) (2010); 16.1 Silent Fall (1994); 15.6 Redwoods (2009); 10.6 Triangle (2009); 9.6 Hurry Sundown (1967); 8.6 Tully (2018); 6.8 X+Y (2014); 6.1 El faro de las orcas (2016);

(It is plausible this is the best example of this keyword ever made! I’ve never seen The Darkness though, so maybe an autistic child is a major part of that film as well … Wait, doesn’t Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close feature an autistic child?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bruce Willis is No. 1 billed in Mercury Rising and No. 1 billed in The Whole Ten Yards, which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Last Man Standing, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Actor Miko Hughes spent time with many autistic children at a special school to understand how to portray an autistic child. Bennett Leventhal, head of the child psychiatry department at the University of Chicago, spent six weeks before the shoot tutoring Hughes at a school for autistic children. Leventhal, a big doctor on autism, complimented Hughes at the film’s premiere and said “Even I believed you.”. (Good for him, it was a much more unknown thing at the time I feel like)

The plot bears a striking resemblance to a real event in history as reported by Bruce Watson on DailyFinance’s Website on 24 December 2009: ‘…In December 1955, Sears Roebuck ran a newspaper ad with what they claimed was Santa’s direct number. Unfortunately, the phone number they offered was one digit off; instead of Sears, it linked to a top secret line at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command. When Colonel Harry Shoup, the command’s director of operations, answered the phone, he expected to hear about a missile strike against the US. Instead, he got a little kid who wanted to talk to Santa. Although the conversation ended with the child crying and Shoup fuming, the Colonel eventually came around and began giving the children updates on Santa’s travels through the night sky. The following year, CONAD offered a new, non-secret, phone number that children could call. In 1958, when CONAD became NORAD, the new command continued the tradition…’ (Holy shit, I’ve heard of that! That is a crazy origin story if it is true)

Alec Baldwin appeared in this film due to a contractual obligation to Universal Pictures. Baldwin had previously backed out of a film for Universal and signed an agreement promising the studio another film. Years later, this film was presented to him and he did it to avoid further litigation.

The wine that Art opens in Kudrow’s basement is Chateau Petrus from Pomerol (identifiable by the red seal at the bottom left corner of the label), is probably the most expensive Bordeaux red wine, and contrary to what Art said in the movie, even young Petrus costs much more than 75 dollars per bottle. (Fun fact)

This movie marks the second time Bruce Willis has battled a soldier believed to have died years before the events of the movie take place. The first was “Die Hard 2” (1990).

Chad Lindberg, who plays James, would go on to appear in The Fast and the Furious (2001), another movie from Universal Pictures, three years after this movie was released. Also, like his character in this movie, Lindberg’s character in The Fast and the Furious, Jesse, also gets killed. (Ha!)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Bruce Willis, 1999)

Dracula 2000 Recap

Jamie

Dracula is back, Jack! It’s Y2K and he’s ready to party (amiright?). When a group of cybertheives steal Dracula’s coffin and awaken the monster, he arrives in New Orleans looking for his part-vampire bride. But the Van Helsing gang ain’t having that, especially since it’s his daughter. *gulp* Can they defeat Dracula before it’s too late? Find out in… Dracula 2000.

How?! Van Helsing is an elderly antiquities collector with a dark secret. When some high tech thieves break into his office and open his locked vault they are shocked to find that it’s just filled with lame ol’ bones and a coffin. What’s extra lame is when a bunch of boobytraps kill half of them. Assuming what’s in the coffin must be extra valuable they take it and attempt to fly it back to America. On the way they inadvertently awaken the tenant of the coffin, Dracula, who has been kept in continual slumber by Van Helsing in hopes that he could figure out how to kill him. In scientific terms they are totally pwned by Dracula and turned into more draculas. Realizing that Dracula is probably going after his daughter, Van Helsing travels to New Orleans where she lives, followed closely by his assistant Simon. Once there, he attempts to take care of bizness, but finds himself outmanned by the number of vampires already on the loose. Heading back into the city he tries to find his daughter but is confronted by Dracula himself. Being an old rickety man who’s only stayed alive by infusing himself with dracula blood he is immediately killed, duh. Meanwhile Simon is able to find Van Helsing’s daughter, Mary, but they separated as they try to stay ahead of Dracula and his gang. Once separated Mary is almost immediately turned into a vampire by Dracula and they totes make out on the rooftops. He then goes on to explain exactly who he is, bum bum BUM Judas! What a twist! He’s actually Judas, unwelcome in heaven or hell for all eternity and feeding on blood and afraid of crosses, etc. etc. etc. Super twist. Simon confronts Dracula but is captured and Mary is forced to drink his blood. But then, double twist, Mary didn’t actually drink Simon’s blood and instead they do a little kungfu and hang Dracula/Judas all over again and he totally dies this time. Still worried, Mary vows to guard his ashes, setting up for the sequel that definitely will happen (spoiler alert: it didn’t). THE END.

Why?! Dracula is a monster so really just for that sweet sweet blood. He is the last of his kind and wants to make a whole mess of draculas, particularly with the help of his part-vampire bride. Van Helsing and the rest of the good guys just want to protect the world from Dracula. It’s all very straightforward… except the part where Dracula turns out to be Judas… not sure how it influences the motivations. It all just happened so quickly.

Who?! Been a while since we had a legit singer-turned-actor in one of these. No, I don’t mean Gerard Butler, star of Phantom of the Opera and formerly in a band called Speed (apparently). And no, I don’t mean Coolio (breakout star of Dracula 3000). I mean Vitamin C, who played Lucy in the film. She was the lead singer of the band Eve’s Plum before setting out on a solo career. This was pretty obviously the peak of her acting career.

What?! One of the best Product Placements we’ve had in a while. Mary works at the Virgin Megastore and boy howdy do we know it. Multiple scenes and multiple t-shirts are devoted to this fact. Is it somehow relevant to the story? The release of the soundtrack by Virgin suggests that the answer is no. There are a few props for sale, but nothing that allows me to dress exactly like Gerard Butler, so no thanks.

Where?! Can’t understate how fun New Orleans is as a BMT setting. Always know you’ll get a parade and beads and stuff and people in masks and crazy shit happening and everyone ignoring it because it’s New Orleans. There is also a significant portion that takes place in London. All around solid B+.

When?! Secret Holiday Film, Alert! This film clearly takes place during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Normally this would just be a great A- specific setting that is promoted up from B+ because of the significance of holidays in general. HOWEVER, given the bonkers twist that Dracula is in fact Judas and given that Mardi Gras occurs the day before Lent, which is meant to prepare for the celebration of Easter, this has to be elevated to an A. I’d even hear arguments for an A+ given 2000 in the title and the significance of the particular date.

The first half of this film I was just startled by how similar aspects of it was to Vampire in Brooklyn. Not just the obvious Dracula references but like… the search for his half-vampire bride, which seems to be unique to later adaptations. Because of this I was like, ‘lame, cliche’ even as cyberhacker thieves were stealing his coffin. After a certain point I started to kinda dig the visuals though. Nice mix of artistic and early 2000’s BMT. And so I was starting to get a little torn… until the twist happened. It is nuts. Just crazy that they dropped that in there at the end. It’s such a heavy twist thrown in at the very very end of a film that it really takes some balls to do. All of a sudden you can’t even pay attention to the climax of the film anymore because your brain can’t process the casual mixing of Judas and Dracula as if such a mix is a natural addition to the classic Gothic tale. It’s the twist we deserve. As for Dracula 3000, the movie is Transmorphers garbage. They were too tongue-in-cheek and in on the joke that I couldn’t even enjoy it. On top of that Dracula looked like trash, like straight out of a kids movie or something. It’s hard to imagine how it was delivered in the state that it was. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I’ve consumed like 14 pieces of vampire media in the last two months … for Dracula 2000! What is wrong with me? What have I done in my life that has led me here? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had just read Dracula and watches Coppola’s vision of that adaptation, so the big thing was obviously going to be comparing this to those two. Also skinny Gerard Butler, an actor whose BMT fame was a mere glimmer in his sexy eyes, is an interesting proposal. What are my expectations? If this movie has just wall to wall references to Dracula I think I’d pretty much be satisfied. Anything else is a cherry on top.

The Good – While the twist is the worst thing in the world (and we’ll get to that), in an alternative universe that twist is a really really cool idea for Dracula, and it is pretty sad it is wasted on this trash film. Up until they get to New Orleans the idea of the film is actually quite cool: Dracula can’t die and Van Helsing doesn’t know why, so he invents a way to live forever to watch over his sealed coffin while trying to figure out how to kill him. That’s a pretty good conceit. Unfortunately everything else goes off the rails.

The Bad – The twist is awful once you think about it for five seconds. So here’s the twist: Dracula, the original vampire, is in fact Judas, rejected by both heaven and hell and thus doomed to walk the earth forevermore. The good here: it explains quite nicely the idea of drinking his blood, much like drinking of the transubstantiated blood of Jesus, makes you his follower (a vampire as well). The bad: but why does he need to drink blood? Why does he have sharp teeth? Why does he live in Transylvania? Why does sunlight kill him? Even within this same film, why does filtering Judas’ blood through leeches render it safe to inject into our veins as Van Helsing does to stay alive forever? It completely rejects the book it is adapted from for a, only vaguely, decent twist and that is a slap in the face. That twist would have been much more fitting for a reenvisioning like Dracula: Untold than what seems to be a direct sequel. Along with that the fact that it is a long Virgin Media commercial is insane, and the acting, outside of Plummer, is terrible.

The BMT – I think so, I think this will be a good benchmark for vampire / Dracula films from here on out. It basically has enough interesting additions to the vampire lore to legitimize its existence, but yet it tosses it all away for a twist that ends up being worthless at best, and a slap in the face at worst. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, it indeed had wall to wall references to Dracula. The best being that the plane they use to transport Dracula to New Orleans is called the Demeter and the pilot is ultimately lashed to the steering wheel, which is an iconic image from the original novel and probably any film adaptation of Dracula. And they toss a bad twist in for good measure.

Roast-radamus – Obviously we have one of the greatest Product Placement (What?) examples ever with the film quite literally being a commercial for Virgin Media. It also has a strong Setting as a Character (Where?) for New Orleans. A common setting, but only effectively used in my opinion to allow weirdos like Dracula to roam around without attracting attention. We have a fantastic Secret Holiday Film (When?) for the film specifically falling on Mardi Gras in New Orleans. And naturally it’ll be stiff competition for Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Dracula has been Judas all along. That is a decent lineup that maybe could mean this sneaks in as a BMT in the end, but we’ll see.

StreetCreditReport.com – It didn’t get any play from the worst of lists for the year, but that is fine. It will almost always end up on a list for worst vampire films. Funny enough that description gets it wrong, Plummer isn’t a descendant of Van Helsing, he is Van Halsing. That is a pretty early reveal so I would be a bit surprised if that was a spoiler consideration, but maybe it is. I would say this deserves the title as the worst Dracula film, but that is unlikely. Not only did we watch Dracula 3000 which is obviously much much worse, but there is also Argento’s Dracula 3D which is on the worst film ever wiki page. So really it is just a really bad Dracula film, not the worst. Still enough cred for me.

You Just Got Schooled – I also read the book and watched Coppola’s 1992 adaptation. The book is very long and pretty dry, but I was genuinely surprised at how much of the Dracula lore comes directly from the book itself. Stoker really went out of his way to flesh out the character. I was also a bit surprised that Dracula could walk around in the sunlight, that seems like a strange and bold change for someone else to have made after the fact, and yet getting killed by sunlight in a major point in True Blood and ‘salem’s Lot and even Dracula 2000. The adaptation I thought was very visually cool, but I found Mina’s characterization to be off putting and a very strange choice. Almost insulting. In the book she is a woman living in a man’s world who is just as smart and capable as the men, but who ends up in trouble partially because of how delicately the men treat here. Here she is kind of played off as the cheating woman whose love for another man (Dracula) is almost her doom … it was weird and wild stuff. In the end I could give or take either, but I’m glad I read/watched both as it gives me a much better perspective on Dracula as a character.

Bring a Friend Analysis – So as a friend we naturally brought along Dracula 3000 with Dracula 2000. I guess I didn’t have much expectations, although the idea of going to space with Dracula makes sense, no sun. But this is the exact type of “friend” I don’t like. It is intentionally dumb, intentionally cheap, all the while winking at the camera like “eh, get it, we’re really dumb and cheap. That’s fun right? Like, a real cheap dumb movie, right?”. I do not find films like that amusing. The characters are annoying, the lore bastardized, the ending is just tacked on once they met the obligatory 90 minute run time. Chockablock with Dracula references, all of which are unearned. We should have done Argento’s Dracula 3D. F, terrible friend, more like Bring an Enemy, amirite?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Dracula 2000 Quiz

Hmmmmm for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to break into Van Helsing’s creepy vault, and didn’t think that maybe there would be a vampire, and then … Dracula came back, but do you remember what happened in the film?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Spoiler Alert! But Van Helsing is alive and kicking it in 2000s London, guarding the villain Dracula for all of time. How does Van Helsing stay alive?

2) Meanwhile, Van Helsing’s assistant’s boyfriend’s gang break in and steal Dracula. Why?

3) But, whoops! Turns out dracula is all alive and stuff and ready to kill a bunch of fools … but yet he’s distracted by a young woman Mary Heller. Why?

4) Welp, so Dracula is kind of sort of turning everyone to vampires. How many people do we see turn into vampires though?

5) So, what is the big twist. Who is Dracula and what’s his deal?

Answers

Dracula 2000 Preview

“Gruber?” Rich whisper, but instead of the mad man one of the groundskeepers steps into view. Suddenly the man’s suit glows blue and a virus begins to download onto their computer. Poe and Brock rush into the room out of breath. “Stop! Rich… the groundskeepers. They are lawnmower men.” A gasp goes through the room. How could such monstrous beings be hiding right under their noses? No wonder Gruber wanted the tech so badly. A virus that controls lawnmower men would be devastating. Rich turns to his colleagues. “Now I understand. It’s so obvious. Gruber wanted us to find the virus, once we found it it activated the lawnmower men who then came and downloaded the virus from our computer. It’s all a frame job. Made to look like we released lawnmower men on the world.” My God! It’s all so clear! The lawnmower men cackle in glee as they run forwards and jack into the internet and enter cyberspace. Just then Poe has an idea. “Get me the virus file and a laptop. It’s time to get spectechular.” They all high five at his appropriate use of teen lingo. Putting on some sweet VR head gear they all get hacking and hack like they’ve never hacked before. Finally they find the garbage file and isolate the virus. “Tell me the name,” Poe yells, “we need to understand the code and then we can jack into cyberspace and take it down.” Rich reconstructs the degraded file and gasps, “It’s a money-making scheme meant to bleed the school dry of funds before escaping to the Caribbean.” It’s Poe’s turn to gasp as he understands the implications, “you don’t mean…” But Rich nods, “It’s a Dracula Virus. FangTime2000. And we’re on the hook. It’s time to jack in.” That’s right! We are going back in time to the far past of 2000 where just adding that number to a film’s name meant you were in for a wild ride. No better exemplified than with Dracula 2000, which attempted to move the well-worn property into the new millennium. We’ve been eyeing this one mostly for the opportunity to see a tiny Gerard Butler when he was just a wee lad. Jonny Lee Miller gave us the opportunity. Let’s go!

Meanwhile… having subdued the security guards using their country bumpkin disguises the two hooded figures finally remove their hoods. Gasp! It’s Sticks and Stones! The wiley Z-universe twin cops. On brand, they are up to no good and gaze upon their final destination: the BMTVerse Jackdrive. They activate the screen and up pops their BMTverse partner in crime. “We’re ready to jack in, Dr. Vampiro.” That’s right! We’re watching Dracula 3000 as the delightful pairing for the Bring a Friend cycle. This is a terrible film that makes me sad to even think about watching. Yay! Let’s go!

Dracula 2000 (2000) – BMeTric: 64.0 

Dracula2000IMDb_BMeT

Dracula2000IMDb_RV

(Extremely consistent which is a good sign. As usual I feel like what this means is that over time people are still looking at this film and thinking “this is garbage”. Sub 4.0 is really low. Promising.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Miller heads to New Orleans to save a sweet young thing from the charms of cinema’s most famous bloodsucker (Butler). Perhaps the only film in history that manages to get its producer’s name, lead character and release date all in the official title, this modern-day take on the vampire classic shows why some characters are best left in their own era. Has a few good moments and better performances than you might expect. Followed by two direct-to-video sequels.

(Oooof, no Oxford comma Leonard? That is really just too bad, I’m a huge proponent of the Oxford comma. Whatever, I don’t think Leonard watched this film, this review is too generic. A few good moments? Naw, I bet this movie is garbage. Just speculating.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py_sPdBmstA/

(My God, this looks like the rudest tudest late-90s / early 00s trash remake in history. Just spit right in the face of Dracula fans. I cannot wait, this is going to be so dumb.)

Directors – Patrick Lussier – (Known For: My Bloody Valentine; White Noise: The Light; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Started as a television editor, specifically on MacGyver. His son is also involved in film editing.)

Writers – Joel Soisson (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Trick or Treat; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Highlander: Endgame; Cam2Cam; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Wrote the straight-to-video sequel Hellraiser: Hellworld. His wife Claudia Templeton often cameos in his films.)

Patrick Lussier (story) – (Future BMT: Terminator Genisys; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Also wrote straight-to-video sequels Dracula II: Ascension and Dracula III: Legacy. Despite the different names they are indeed sequels to this film.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; 300; Den of Thieves; Olympus Has Fallen; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Tomorrow Never Dies; Reign of Fire; Nim’s Island; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; A Family Man; The Game of Their Lives; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2000; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: His home was apparently destroyed in the Woolsey Fire, all of the recent news is dominated by press concerning his soon-to-be-released Angel Has Fallen.)

Justine Waddell – (Known For: The Fall; Mansfield Park; Killing Bono; Future BMT: Thr3e; Anna Karenina; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Daughter of Gordon Waddell former captain of the Scottish rugby union team.)

Jonny Lee Miller – (Known For: Trainspotting; T2 Trainspotting; Mansfield Park; Byzantium; Melinda and Melinda; Afterglow; Endgame; The Flying Scotsman; Future BMT: Dark Shadows; Hackers; Mindhunters; Plunkett & Macleane; Love, Honour and Obey; BMT: Dracula 2000; Æon Flux; Notes: Star of Hackers, he is English and dropped out of school at 17 to pursue acting.)

Budget/Gross – $54 million / Domestic: $33,022,767 (Worldwide: $47,053,625)

(Not good. I’m stunned it had a 50+ million dollar budget at this point in time. That is really high, and for what? A remake of one of the classically overdone tales in cinema history. This is like how they keep making Robin Hood films that almost always bomb / suck.)

#128 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

dracula2000_rratedhorror

(Came right at the end of an initial peak. As far as gross goes, it comes in right around Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter … which is not a very good look. That movie was the 3rd sequel of a cheap 80s horror franchise. This cost $50 million dollars.)

#25 for the Vampire genre

dracula2000_vampire

(Our fourth vampire film for BMT. This came before the Twilight boom, but I’m pretty surprised at how consistently vampire films have been made throughout history.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (12/68): This retelling trys [sic] to offer a different spin on the origin of Dracula. Unfortunately, there’s nothing here audiences haven’t seen before.

(That misspelling is just incredible. And now I’m getting a bit concerned this is just going to be boring. I still have hope this will be completely trash. Reviewer Highlight: A thudding, suspense-free montage of unshocking shock effects and more severed heads than toppled during the French Revolution. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Spectacula 2000 (B+)

dracula_two_thousand

(I like the feel of it. The color and framing particularly. The font is less interesting, but has a kind of shine to it. Overall pretty solid stuff.)

Tagline(s) – The Most Seductive Evil of All Time Has Now Been Unleashed in Ours. (D)

(If I wanted to read this much I’d buy a book. Also this is nonsense. Just stop reading it. It’s just gonna make less and less sense.)

Keyword(s) – number in title; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 89.8 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 86.4 Troll 2 (1990); 85.9 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.9 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.6 Movie 43 (2013); 83.9 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 83.8 The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011); 83.0 RoboCop 3 (1993);

(Oh shit. Well we have to watch Piranha 3DD at some point (it will be unpleasant). Human Centipede is never happening though. It is amazing how many terrible films have numbers in the title. I like the inclusion of Battlefield Earth which is sometimes subtitled “A Saga in the Year 3000”.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Gerard Butler is No. 1 billed in Dracula 2000 and No. 1 billed in The Bounty Hunter, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 2 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Must Love Dogs, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – The name of Van Helsing’s antique business, “Carfax Abbey” is also the name of house Dracula moves into in Bram Stoker’s book “Dracula”.

The line in the film where Jonny Lee Miller playing Simon Sheppard says, “Never, ever fuck with an antiques dealer,” was a line the actor would say on set as a joke. The director liked it and incorporated it into the scene. (Oh no!)

Dracula says, “I don’t drink… coffee,” in one scene. This is a spoof of “I never drink… wine” from Dracula (1931).

Script doctor Scott Derrickson told the story of how he got the job working on this film. Harvey Weinstein called him, saying, “I just bought this script, called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson replied, “Oh, yeah? Is it good?” Weinstein replied, “It stinks!” Derrickson asked, “So why did you buy it?”, and Weinstein replied “Because it’s called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson did the re-write, which Weinstein discarded. Ehren Kruger did the next rewrite. (Jesus Christ)

The typeface used on the title screen is a variation of the same typeface used on the first release of the Dracula novel in 1897. (Cool)

Nathan Fillion plays a priest in this movie. He would also go on to play Caleb, an evil Priest on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) (Must be a young Nathan Fillion)

The doctor who screams as Dracula approaches him in the police station is named Dr. Seward, a reference to the Book. (Cool)

The character Lucy Westerman’s name is a reference to the character Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker’s book. She is in the movie, as in the book, the best friend of the main character Mina (book)/Mary (movie). (Alright, it is starting to feel like the writers just read the book and shoehorned a bunch of shit in this thing)

Gerard Butler was given a break from filming The Cherry Orchard (1999) so that he could play Dracula in “Dracula 2000”.

Director Patrick Lussier remarked in an interview that the Father Uffizi character played by Jason Scott Lee in Dracula II: Ascension (2003) and Dracula III: Legacy (2005) was originally written into this film. (Huh, so a more direct sequel than I thought)

Jungle 2 Jungle Recap

Jamie

Michael Cromwell needs a divorce and fast, but when he arrives in the Venezuelan rainforest he’s shocked to find he has a son. Hoping to connect with the boy he brings him to NYC amidst both personal and professional upheaval. Can he learn to live and love again (and perhaps make big bucks on the commodity market) before it’s too late? Find out in… Jungle 2 Jungle.

How?! Michael Cromwell is an asshole, but the kind of asshole that is totally selfish and crushes the commodities market. He’s wheeling and dealing in the world of coffee while getting ready for his marriage to his high-fashion fiance, so what could go wrong? Maybe just a Sweet Home Alabama situation up in here. He’s still married and needs a divorce first. He heads on down Venezuela way to find his estranged wife in the rainforest where she lives with a secluded tribe. When he arrives there, he’s surprised to find he has a son, Mimi-Siku! And Mimi-Siku only knows the ways of the jungle. Egad. But let’s get back to that storyline that all the kids are clamoring to hear more about. What’s happening with all those coffee stocks our boy has bought (says the chorus of boys and girls in the theater)? Well while he was in the jungle he didn’t get a chance to sell them and now they are crashing. He and his partner have to try to unload them so they don’t lose everything. And that’s how they get mixed up with the Russian mob. What’s that? Mimi, who? Oh right, yeah so meanwhile Mimi-Siku comes back to NYC with Michael because he inadvertently promised that he would take him to the Statue of Liberty. When Mimi-Siku arrives he continually scares the bejeezus out of everyone with his giant tarantula, bows and arrows, and blow darts. Michael’s fiance is totally fed up cause she kinda sucks and moves out. Michael’s partner totally panics and go through with the deal with the Russian mob because Michael is busy bonding with Mimi-Siku. When the price of coffee continues to fall they demand their money back and Michael obliges only to have the stock rebound, further angering the mob. They take Michael and his partner’s family hostage, but Mimi-Siku uses his jungle skillz to take them all out and leave everyone rich and happy. Having realized that NYC is not his home, Mimi-Siku asks to go back to Venezuela only to be surprised when Michael shows up a short time later to live with him. THE END.

Why?! I mean, the film is founded on a mountain of happenstance. Michael finds out he has a son raised in the rainforest and handles it pretty well. It’s actually a little weird he isn’t more freaked out. The only explanation is that finding that he has a son stirred some strong paternal instincts within him… instincts so strong that they overtake his love of the high stakes world of commodity trading. That’s actually the largest source of motivation we get in the film: commodity trading. Everything in the film flows around the commodity trading storyline that, no joke, rivals or surpasses Mimi-Siku’s storyline in terms of scope.

Who?! Not typically one of our categories, but obviously this film has Leelee Sobieski in it as Mimi-Siku’s love interest (weird). Creeping ever closer to finishing her filmography. More interesting though is that her on-screen brother is played by Frankie Galasso… one of the members of the boy band Dream Street that everyone knows and loves. I went ahead and listened to their biggest hit and boy… it’s something.

What?! There is some obvious product placement sprinkled here and there. The Venezuelan natives play with Tim Allen’s electric razor and he screams in dismay that “it’s a Braun.” Tim Allen feeds his son some all-american delicious breakfast in the form of Cap’n Crunch… that sort of thing. Better than the props that were for sale, which for whatever reason all involve fake snakes.

Where?! Great world mapl.de.map setting as this is very clearly set in Venezuela for a surprising amount of the film. The other portion is set in NYC with the Statue of Liberty as the centerpiece. I would have actually considered giving this an A+ if it was set in Chicago… Jungle to Jungle, get it? But alas. Just an A for a very necessary NYC setting with Venezuela.

When?! Secret holiday film alert! After Michael Cromwell has learned to live and love again he takes Mimi-Siku to the Statue of Liberty. He explains that they’ll have to return in two days when it’s the 4th of July because the fireworks are spectacular. While we don’t actually get to celebrate the holiday on screen, we know that everything occurs right around that time, so I count it. C+.

I feel like the boy who cried wolf here because there have been a number of times where we’ve watched a remake of a film and remarked at how shockingly similar it is to the original. We oooohed and aaaaahed at the blatant disregard for creativity. Oh, but those were nothing compared to Little Indian, Big City and Jungle 2 Jungle. It made me question the nature of art after watching what is essentially a shot for shot remake of a film (down to the blocking of scenes and throwaway jokes). Really the only differences they had were the addition of some Tim Allen centric jokes (fart in a native hammock, blow darting of a cat, piranha on the finger… that sort of thing) and making Martin Short’s character slightly less of a child abuser idiot and more of just an idiot. They were so similar that after watching Jungle 2 Jungle first I was thoroughly bored in my viewing of the original as I was being forced to watch the same movie over again. Who would have thought being totally bored by a film would be so interesting from a BMT perspective. Totally worth it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We watched literally the same movie back to back. I’m not exaggerating. I’m stunned. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I think I saw at least a bit of this as a kid. Regardless the most exciting bit? Leelee Sobieski. I’m always excited to mark another one off for a BMT favorite’s filmography. She’s a literal child actress in this, so anything but a catastrophic performance would be quite good. I’m not going to sit here and rip into the acting of a teen actor. I’m not a monster.

The Good – Leelee Sobieski was fine. I would even argue she’s on par with Sam Huntington as Mimi-Siku. Now that I think about it … the acting was kind of alright throughout the film. It struck a nice contrast with the more slapstick French version, the acting itself was toned down while the props, sets, etc. were all kind of blown out of proportion. This was more normal people living in an exaggerated world, instead of exaggerated people living in a normal world … you know what I mean?

The Bad – I don’t actually think the film is that bad. Scattershot sure. But Tim Allen and the cast do a decent job at it. There are two major crimes here. First, this is a shot-for-shot remake of the original French film. I’ll get to that in a bit … but that’s just wild considering the original was released to theaters in the US the year prior. Second, the B-story involving the coffee options is so big and in your face and important to the story it is almost the A-story. A story about commodity speculation … is basically the primary storyline in a children’s film about a boy from the Amazon rainforest coming to live in New York City. Give me a goddamned break.

The BMT – I think this acts as an extremely interesting pair for BMT. A remake of a French film which itself has maybe the second worst dubbing I’ve ever seen (nothing will beat Roberto Begnini’s Pinocchio … which by the way he’s doing again). A literal shot-for-shot remake in fact. A perfect display of the difference between French and American humor as well. Something about it makes me love it, even if I don’t think Jungle 2 Jungle is a particularly good bad movie by itself.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong argument that Martin Short is a Planchet (Who?), although one that kind of holds his own. But his purpose is to be beaten up and humiliated. Sweet Cap’n Crunch Product Placement (What?) as well. Two punch Setting as a Character (Where?) for Venezuela and New York City. Very Minor Secret Holiday Film (When?) for the Fourth of July setting, and plausibly MacGuffin (Why?) with the B-story involving unloading coffee options with the Russian Mafia. If it got a twist it would have run the gamut! And yet I don’t think this gets a Good, Bad, or BMT in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – As usual I can’t find a yearly list up to stuff, but like other films in this cycle it at the very least on Ebert’s worst of list of 1997. As a matter of fact there are so many terrible remakes of foreign films it doesn’t even get a nod on any of the lists I could find for that category.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For Jungle 2 Jungle we fortunately managed to get a pair of films which both fit into the category (Little Indian, Big City was on Ebert’s worst of list for 1996). And … these films are astonishingly close together. They utilize many of the same jokes (the woman saying “hot for you” on the computer, the spider and alligator chasing Tim Allen in the water, both spider scenes with the boss and the girlfriend, eating the fish), the story is really close as well. Basically just the end is slightly different. The original does have a pretty terrible dub, but I think both films have their relative charms (especially if you watched the subbed French films I’m sure). Adaptation .. can I give it both an F and A? It is too close to be worth it, but yet is the most faithful adaptation of a film I’ve ever seen. It is truly bizarre and well worth a Bring a Friend.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs