Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Recap

Jamie

Mortal Kombat is back, Jack! The Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, decides that Mortal Kombat is dumb and decides to merge Outworld and Earthrealm together anyway. Our heroes are like “but rulez=coolz, bro” and fight against this bullshit. Can they stop Shao and save Earth before it’s too late? Find out in… Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

How?! After returning victorious from the last film our heroes Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, Raiden, and Kitana are high fiving a whole bunch and having a pretty rad time. Suddenly the Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, is like “whatever, I’m not a loser, you guys are losers,” and starts to merge Outworld and Earthrealm together anyway. Everyone is like, “WTF, mate. What about the roolz?” and Shao Kahn flips all over the place and kills Johnny Cage and everyone has to flee. Raiden splits everyone up so that they can figure out how to stop the realms from merging. Sonya heads off to get her friend Jax, who turns out to have gotten metal arms because of confidence issues (?). Together they fight and defeat Cyrax and Mileena (obviously) and some truly dire CGI monsters. Meanwhile Liu and Kitana are sent to find Nightwolf and learn his secrets. On the way Kitana is captured by Scorpion and taken prisoner. Knowing that Nightwolf is a major character that will play a major role in the film Liu continues on and learns from him that he needs to tap into his inner Animality. While trying to pass a series of ill-defined tests in order to do so he meets Jade who seems like a bad guy but is apparently a good guy (wink). Finally, Raiden meets up with the Elder Gods and is like “rules?” and they are like “whatever. Deal with it.” All back together at the Elder God temple they get attacked by Kitana’s mom and jump over to Outworld. Believing that they have to bring Kitana and her mom back together Liu goes off and rescues her while the rest subdue Kitana. This turns out to be a trick as it’s revealed that Jade is a bad guy (what a twist!) and this plan was doomed to failure. They decide to just finish it and head off to battle Shao Kahn and his toadies. Once there they square off and show that they really believe in themselves and can tap into their Animality and don’t need metal arms and shit. Victorious they return to Earth and smooch each other. God this was dumb. THE END.

Why?! It’s funny because as Patrick mentions this very much fits the definition of a MacGuffin plot… just without the MacGuffin itself. Like they have to stop Outworld from merging with Earthrealm, it is the crux and motivation for the entire plot, and they proceed to start trying to do that by… something, something, something don’t worry about it. I should also mention that this is a nice classic Dumbo’s Feather as the key to Jax winning his fight in the film is to just believe in himself, bro. Just go get it.

Who?! Always like a very minor athlete-turned-actor as Lynn “Red” Williams, who played Jax in this film, was also a star running back for Kansas in the mid-80’s and drafted in the sixth round of the NFL draft. He never was able to make it though and retired after breaking his back in the offseason and nearly getting paralyzed. He then answered an open casting call for American Gladiators and was Sabre on that for a number of seasons.

What?! I’m really disappointed in this franchise for the lack of any and all Coke products. I want them slamming Mountain Dew and getting X-treme on some Outworld ass. Not just being a product placement in and of itself. Sigh. I guess I’ll just point out that you at one point could buy a Mortal Kombat: Annihilation crew denim jacket in an online auction. Final bid? 30 pounds. A steal and quite the missed opportunity. Sigh.

Where?! Technically this takes place in a whole bunch of places since Outworld and Earthrealm are merging so the final climactic fight takes place near the Eiffel Tower. Is this then set in France. No way. Just Outworld for a large portion and then China, Hawaii, Jordan, etc. for the rest. Gotta once again go with a N/A for the fictional location that dominated the setting.

When?! Thank Elder Gods I did the heavy lifting in the original Mortal Kombat. In that film I came to the conclusion that it was likely set in August, 1994 sometime (I think). Since this film immediately follows that film then this is obviously a period piece set in the far past of 1994. I would of course have to confirm this, but choose to believe it for the moment. D- as it’s not at all clear from the film itself.

My god… what hath thou wrought? This somehow looks even worse than the previous film minus the humor and 5000x times harder to follow. Straight up convoluted mess. I stopped really knowing why things were happening halfway through because they just were and I just was… watching a movie that was a giant pile of dog poo. As happens quite often in BMT a film that is generally regarded as one of the worst of all time (or near enough to get rejected from that list) turns out to be quite bad. What a twist! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This week I actually got terribly ill and couldn’t watch the film for BMT. During my fever I feel like I hallucinated some nonsense with James Remar and the guy who played Night Slasher in Cobra … wait, that was the actual movie?! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – As brought to you by a director who has exclusively directed terrible films (Annabelle and Butterfly Effect 2 are his two others), and about 17 writers, two of which were involved with the catastrophic venture of Foodfight! These are the guys who are supposed to take over your martial arts video game film? Cool cool cool cool cool. This was destined to be a catastrophe, like Super Mario Bros. before it.

The Good – Uh. I like the guy who played Night Slasher in Cobra in general? Some of the set pieces, while looking like garbage, were kind of fun, the collapsing ice bridge comes to mind.

The Bad – Literally everything. I know I sometimes say that about movies … but in this case there is no hyperbole. The film is incomprehensible. Completely impossible to understand. The martial arts action looks like crap, the CGI looks like crap, and top to bottom the acting is crap. The film is, quite literally, one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It is genuinely stunning that it was released to theaters. This should have been shoved directly to video so hard that Blockbuster’s quarterly profits would be 95% people mistakenly renting Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. This film is crazy. It makes you go crazy.

The BMT – And obvious emphatic yes! This, I think, has one of the strongest cases for not only most BMT film of the year this year, but also possibly for a Hall of Fame spot in years. The fact that we’ve now watched Universal Soldier: The Return, Highlander: The Final Dimension, Escape Plan 2: Hades, and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (that’s a whole lotta colons!) four weeks in a row … it is a testament to any sequel/franchise cycle I think. We should have done this ages ago! Looking forward to our planned cycles of the year I’m not joking when I say this could be the best year in BMT history, just from a classic bad movie perspective.

Roast-radamus – Looking ahead to the Smaddies Baddies it is interesting that the film doesn’t really have any of the things we award in the 6Ws. Maybe you could argue it is a kind of MacGuffin (Why?) because there is this very vague idea of trying to combine Kitana with her mother (whatever that means) to close the portals. But it is a stretch. It certainly will have a very strong case for The BMT award, which I suppose it good enough for me.

StreetCreditReport.com – The lists are somewhat hard to come by, but The Rifftrax guys did a list a while back which put it at 13th worst of the 90s. This video games list has a bit too much recency bias, but still manages 8th worst there which is impressive. I think it should be higher up, but for whatever reason the credible lists all got lost to time in the mid-90s.

You Just Got Schooled – Back in 2010 a short film came out called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. Produced by Kevin Tancharoen it was meant as a launchpad for a movie reboot. But Midway Games wasn’t having it. Instead it became a web series. As an adaption the short film is problematic. It completely dumps the Outworld angle, makes most mystical things practical, and kills Johnny Cage. In other words it is exactly the type of gritty reboot the world was looking for a year after The Dark Knight. Tancharoen is mostly a choreographer, and that was what seemed to be on offer: solid fight scenes so darkly lit that you could produce them for basically nothing. I remember being intrigued at the time, but not surprised producers didn’t go for it because it diverged from the story too much. F as an adaptation, but a solid B+ for execution and as a short film. Funny enough I watched the Scorpion / Sub-Zero episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy and lo and behold, all of the Netherworld / Outworld mysticism is back and so is the tournament … maybe that should have been in Rebirth then. The web series does seem cool though.

Phew. There you have it. Straight up amazing garbage. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Advertisements

Mortal Kombat Recap

Jamie

MORTAL KOMBAT! Our heroes, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage hold the key to Earthrealm’s victory over Outworld in the ultimate tournament of champions. Can they beat Outworld and prevent the conquering of Earth (and maybe get a girl), before it’s too late? Find out in… Mortal Kombat.

How?! Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage all have reasons to fight. These reasons are exploited to get them embroiled in a fighting tournament that will decide the fate of Earth. That’s because Shang Tsung and his Outworld warriors have assembled in an attempt to beat Earthrealm for the 10th time in a row. If they succeed then Earth will be taken over by Outworld and let me tell you… it won’t be pretty. At the tournament Raiden, the God of Thunder and protector of Earth, tries to teach our crew the necessary lessons that will help them succeed. Unfortunately Sonya is too hell bent on revenge, Johnny too obsessed with proving himself, and Liu Kang too focused on fighting Shang Tsung himself that it all seems lost. It’s only when they realize the true reason to fight (the fate of Earth and that’s some pretty serious stuff) that they can live up to their destiny. Johnny challenges Goro, a monster fighter with all kinds of muscles and arms and shit, and is able to beat him, but Shang Tsung seizes on the agreement on the fight to challenge Sonya and take her to Outworld as his captive. Hoping to have her forfeit the fight and thus lose the tournament he is sorely disappointed when our boy Liu shows up and is like “I challenge you, man” and they karate chop each other a whole bunch until Shang is thrown onto some spikes. Our best friends return to Earth victors and are like “nothing bad will happen now.” But then the sky opens up and a terrible voice is heard declaring the premise for a sequel, which is that the entire movie you watched didn’t matter at all. THE END.

Why?! Very clear motivations all around here. Shang Tsung wants to take over Earth because it’s got all this vibrant life and he wants to squeeze it dry. Raiden just wants to help Earth defend itself. Liu Kang wants revenge for his brother, Sonya Blade wants revenge for her dead partner, and Johnny Cage wants to prove to everyone that he ain’t no showbiz fake but a true martial arts master.

Who?! Surprisingly boring in this regard. Not a whole bunch of the typical tropes we look for in this category are found in this film. The best we got was a cameo by video game creator Ed Boon who got a credit as the voice of Scorpion in the film (as he is also credited in the video games). Technically speaking he is the longest running voice artist in video game history having voiced Scorpion in every iteration of the game.

What?! All kinds of gobbledegook in this film from Earthrealm to Outworld to the Shokan prince Goro. Unfortunately they are aren’t fighting for the Staff of Taijin or something, just the fate of the world. Boring. It is more or less a product in and of itself, since it’s an adaptation of a video game (and one of the most successful product placement films of all time).

Where?! We get a few scenes in Hong Kong and in China (presumably, given that Liu Kang is from a Shaolin Monastery). The film is primarily set in Shang Tsung’s island, though. Found between Earthrealm and Outworld, the island falls staunchly in the “other” category of settings. While specific, I have to give it a N/A as it is fake.

When?! This was a hard one, but very important for the sake of the series. The second film picks up right where the first left off so if we could nail this down here then we are gold for that one too. It’s hard, though, since the series exists outside of space and time for the most part. The best clue we have is a “Johnny Cage A Fake” issue of the Examiner which seems to have been released in the first week of August, 1994. The person reading it implies that this is probably somewhat recent so it’s not bad guess. Hard to read though and a little shaky. C+.

I actually was surprised at how much I didn’t mind large parts of this film. One of those silly tournament films that basically write themselves, but it also has some humor and a gigantic animatronic Goro monster that is impressive and interesting to look at. However, the computer graphics are a complete mess and why I can’t really say this is not that bad. It took some balls to do, but they are objectively terrible and the scenes where they are used (and there are a lot of them) are actually hard to watch.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Da-da da-da da-da da-da-da-da, da-da da-da da-da da-da-da-da, da-da da-da da-da da-da-da-da, da da da da da! MORTAL KOMBAT! Video game films are universally terrible … welp, there it is. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – So I don’t think I saw this in theaters, but I certainly saw it when I was a young boy. I did not remember that Christopher Lambert was in it, and it is pretty crazy this was a very early Paul W. S. Anderson film. Other than that this was really about watching what was (kind of sadly) the best reviewed video game film until Angry Birds in 2016 …

The Good – The matte paintings, Goro’s animatronics, some of the fighting action all are exactly what you want from the film. It somehow is, as the critics said, appropriately cheesy in that regard. Our three main actors’ banter and companionship were believable and fun. Lambert is somewhat amusing as well. The tournament structure lends itself to a pretty interesting mystery story that is extremely easy to follow.

The Bad – The CGI. Woof. This is actually pretty close to A Sound of Thunder (except, you know … a decade earlier). Reptile and Scorpion’s hook/chain things look just awful. So awful in fact that it probably makes Goro look better in comparison. The ending is pretty rough as well, they should have let the story breathe with the happy ending instead of immediately jumping into Mortal Kombat II.

The BMT – No, this isn’t BMT. This should have, in reality, gotten maybe like a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, maybe a bit higher. I don’t think it is quite into “it’s not that bad” territory because of the CGI, but if they had skipped that I would have thought maybe. You kind of have to be a no-fun-having misanthrope to not at least understand why people think this film is genuinely good.

Roast-radamus – A new game! Here I’ll try and place the film we just saw into one of the Smaddies Baddies categories for end of the year awards. A truly self-fulfilling prophecy for Roast-radamus. For Mortal Kombat I think there are two options. First you could consider it for the Worst Twist (How?) Razzie for daring to make the end of the film just be the Emperor of Outworld deciding to invade Earth. More realistically this sneaks into The Good category for being a movie that wasn’t that bad. Hopefully we have better options than Mortal Kombat though.

StreetCreditReport.com – There isn’t much here as far as street credit, you’d probably be able to more easily find lists where this film is considered one of the best video game films, or an underrated action film. I did find this crazy thing. I agree kind of with their assessment, but Goro was also easily better than the terrible CGI, so they are wrong there. Since I won’t be using it in the sequel recap I’ll also point out that they are far far too kind to Annihilation (spoiler alert).

You Just Got Schooled – This week I watched the pilot episode for the 1998 live action Mortal Kombat television series, Mortal Kombat: Conquest. It premiered on October 3, 1998. The opening sequence in particular follows the game format so closely that is was, dare I say, interesting? After that though is kind of meaders about and the actions of and towards the female characters are problematic on multiple levels. The pilot is extremely long, the series looks like genuine shit, and the acting is an abomination, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, it is crap … but not a bad adaptation for brief moments. It was produced directly to syndication and eventually picked up by TNT to run after WCW Monday Nitro. It apparently was popular, but cost too much and only lasted a season. As an adaption I’ll give it a surprising B- mostly downgraded for lack of quality and Kombat, as a show maybe a D+, it was pretty brutal to get through but better than something like Highlander (narrowly).

One down, one terrible sequel to go. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Preview

In the Z-universe’s most notorious prison, the Robotoronic Jail 3000, two prisoners blow a hole in the prison wall and walk to their freedom while sirens wail. They begin the long walk across the Wasted Land towards Ecumenopolis.

“Keep digging,” whispers Patrick as Jamie attacks the wall with a sharpened spoon. After three weeks they both know it’s time to blow this joint and they’re doing it the old fashioned way. No kung fu hacking or super powers. This is just lean muscle, a spoon, and a stone wall. Well guess what? You done lost, wall. Jamie breaks through into a large air vent and Patrick turns to their friend Kyle who was the muscle to their brains in this terrible place. “Kyle, you’ve been a true friend showing us the ropes and helping us navigate the prison world. I’ll always remember when you took a shiv for me. It’s a memory I’ll cherish.” Kyle nods. “Come with us. Help us figure out our destiny.” Just as Kyle is about to join them in the vent a large gust of winds blows the entrance closed and blows Jamie and Patrick deeper into an underground tunnel. Patrick looks up to where Kyle had been waiting, but Jamie puts a hand on his should. “He’s gone. I’m sure we’ll meet him again. We have to move forward.” Patrick grudgingly nods and looks around at where they’ve landed. It’s a fork in the road. A path to the left and a path to the right. Jamie hesitates, “We must go left, Patrick. Something seems off about the right.” But Patrick is already heading that way, drawn by some force within. Jamie follows, trying to pull him back but a steady wind starts pushing them forward until they are tumbling head over heels. They land in a world unlike Earth. The clouds overhead are gray and move unnaturally fast. A hooded figure stands in front of them. “The wind,” whispers Patrick. “It’s been trying to get us here this whole time,” responds Jamie. The hooded figure speaks. “Welcome to my world, Bad Movie Twins. Are you ready to defend Earth in the tournament of champions?” That’s right! We’re watching Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to finish the Franchise-zzzzz cycle. These are films we saw in our childhood (obviously), but never got the full BMT treatment. They also serve as the transition to our second cycle of the year: The (Not Quite) Worst Films Ever. These are films that were at one time posted on the wikipedia page for the List of Films Considered the Worst. All such films are listed in the “Talk” section for the page. For people who don’t know the “Talk” section of wikipedia pages are where you can get a glimpse into the minds of crazy people. Let’s go!

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) – BMeTric: 86.9

MortalKombatAnnihilation_BMeT

MortalKombatAnnihilation_RV

(Sub-4.0 is incredible obviously. And that BMeTric. It it the 28th highest BMeTric for any wide release ever! That is pretty impressive. Got to tick those boxes. There are only seven above it we haven’t watched: Disaster Movie, Date Movie, Son of Mask, Vampires Suck, House of the Dead, Street Fighter, and BloodRayne.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Mind-numbing sequel rehashes battle between good and evil for the fate of mankind (yawn). OK visual effects but endless fight scenes and dreadful acting stop film dead in its tracks. Of interest only to American Gladiator fanatics and vidkids with really low attention spans. Remar’ morph from David Carradine-style kung fu sensei to turbo warrior is unintentionally hilarious.

(Vidkids? “Low” attention spans? Some real shade here. Not that the film doesn’t deserve it, I’m like 99% sure it is complete hot garbage, and I can’t wait.)

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

(Redux edit eehhhhhhhh. Hey guys watch out for all of the ninjas. This film looks like complete and utter garbage. And wait, is that the Night Slasher from BMT Hall of Fame inductee Cobra! I think it is. As if I wasn’t amped already.)

Directors – John R. Leonetti – (Future BMT: Annabelle; Wish Upon; Wolves at the Door; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Prominent cinematographer who has intermittently delved into feature directing. He is probably best known for his collaboration with James Wan on the Conjuring universe of films.)

Writers – Ed Boon (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the creators and the game designer of the video game franchise. Also the voice of Scorpion.)

Lawrence Kasanoff (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: WTF. This is the Foodfight! guy. We have now completing his screenwriting filmography. But he thought making a new Pixar was easy, failed miserably, and made an extremely unpleasant animated film. Read the Alpha and Omega recap for more information.)

Joshua Wexler (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was 26 years old when we produced and got a story credit on this film! Also got a writing credit on Foodfight! Currently serves as the Chief Executive of Fun (CEF?) for Pure Imagination Studios (not joking))

John Tobias (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the two creators of the video game. Not sure why he got a “story” credit on this one and the other creator, Ed Boon, didn’t. He is credited with most of the character development for the first set of games.)

Brent V. Friedman (screenplay) – (Known For: Ticks; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Another writer on Foodfight! He and Bryce Zabel created a show Dark Skies following the success of X-Files and he’s been mostly in TV since then.)

Bryce Zabel (screenplay) – (Known For: Atlantis: The Lost Empire; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was once a correspondent for CNN before moving to mostly television writing. He was the Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.)

Actors – Robin Shou – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Beverly Hills Ninja; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Has a degree in Civil Engineering and actually worked for a couple years in the field before quitting and finding his way first into stunt work and then into acting.)

Talisa Soto – (Known For: Licence to Kill; Don Juan DeMarco; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Mambo Kings; La Mission; Spike of Bensonhurst; Piñero; Future BMT: Spy Hard; The Sunchaser; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Mortal Kombat;  Notes: Married to one of our BMT faves Benjamin Bratt of Catwoman fame.)

James Remar – (Known For: Django Unchained; The Warriors; The Girl Next Door; X: First Class; Ratatouille; What Lies Beneath; RED; Pineapple Express; February; 48 Hrs.; The Phantom; Cruising; The Long Riders; Drugstore Cowboy; The Cotton Club; White Fang; Boys on the Side; Miracle on 34th Street; The Dream Team; Fear X; Future BMT: Psycho; The Unborn; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; The Quest; Blade: Trinity; Duplex; Persecuted; Fatal Instinct; Rent-a-Cop; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Renaissance Man; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Horns; Band of the Hand; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Judge Dredd; 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Clan of the Cave Bear; Wild Bill; Notes: I know him from The Warriors and as Dexter’s dad on the television series Dexter and am shocked at how many BMT films we’ve seen him in. Interesting story is that he was originally cast as Hicks in Aliens but had to be replaced, but you can still see him in some scenes that were too expensive to reshoot.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $35,927,406 (Worldwide: $51,376,861)

(And yeah, that is super duper terrible considering the performance of the original. A complete and utter rejection of this franchise just as it began.)

#33 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

mortalkombat2_martialarts

(Just a little below Universal Soldier there. A wonder Showtime didn’t pick it up for series after this (heyyoooooo). On the downswing of martial arts … literally right before Rush Hour and The Matrix blow it up again.)

#21 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

mortalkombat2_videogameadaptation

(Just a little below Hitman which is somewhat surprising honestly. I would have imagined that at least some of the other halfway decent video game films would have done better than this. Then again … I did see this film in theaters, so literal morons did spent money on it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (1/40): With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat – Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.

(So close to being one of the worst every 0% films. It would have been top ten for sure. Reviewer Highlight: Never — at least not since the first Mortal Kombat — has tedium been so loud, so full of backward flips and flying fists to the kissers of centaurs from another realm. – Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Poster – Sklog Fight: Liquidation (C)

mortal_kombat_annihilation_ver2

(It is the exact same poster… weird. Still bad font, but short and sweet and with a little more pizzazz color-wise. It’s just slightly better than OK this time.)

Tagline(s) – Destroy all expectations. (Lol.)

(Holy shit. Is this a joke? This is a joke, right? I mean, yes. It certainly destroyed any and all expectations people had. Particularly any expectation of another sequel.)

Keyword(s) – warrior; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 94.8 Catwoman (2004); 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.0 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 89.1 The Last Airbender (2010); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997);

(Come out and play. To think. Ten of the top 30 or so worst films by BMeTric have the keyword “warrior”. Useless.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 11) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robin Shou is No. 1 billed in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and No. 6 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 11. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – A third Mortal Kombat film was going to be developed, called “Mortal Kombat: Devastation”. Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Adoni Maropis, Robin Shou, Chris Casamassa, Keith Cooke, and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams were hired to be in the cast as Lord Rayden, Johnny Cage, Quan Chi, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Jax, respectively. Talisa Soto and Sandra Hess were in talks to reprise their respective roles of Princess Kitana and Lt. Sonya Blade. However, plans for a third film fell through and the film rights went to Warner Bros., which is planning a Mortal Kombat reboot. (Wait … Lambert was going to come back? I don’t believe it)

Ray Park’s first film role was as Rayden’s fight double in this movie. (Darth Maul baby)

Michael Jai White was scheduled to play as Jax, but eventually he got the lead part in Spawn (1997) instead. He would eventually portray Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat (2011). (Amazing to think that you could say “taking that role in Spawn was a very good move”)

For years, a third Mortal Kombat movie was being developed by New Line Cinema to atone for the poor reception to “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.” mink was hired to direct, and then Russell Mulcahy was hired to replace him. Sean Catherine Derek and Lawrence Kasanoff took turns writing the script, which would have had Johnny Cage resurrected to help the heroes against Quan Chi and a resurrected Shang Tsung. However, according to cast member Chris Casamassa, who would have reprised his role as Scorpion, production was halted when Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the sets and the film ultimately never happened. (WHAT)

In the film, Jax fitted his arms with “muscle enhancers”; essentially a sort of exoskeleton that quadrupled his muscle capacity. However in the storyline for Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) (One of the shared premises for this film) Jax had his actual arms removed and fitted himself with the bionic arms.

Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Kitana) are the only actors from the first film to reprise their roles. The other main characters are portrayed by different actors. The only other actor to return was Keith Cooke, but as a different character. In the first film, he was Reptile. Here, he portrays Sub-Zero.

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras was offered to reprise the role of Sonya Blade, but then turned it down for the role of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s sister in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). (Oh yeah … slashers are always a good choice a think, if only for the miniscule chance of becoming a scream queen.)

Both Deron McBee (Motaro) and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams (Jax) are former American Gladiators (1989), and they have a fight scene in this film together. (People must have been going bananas at the time)

Chris Casamassa was to reprise his role as Scorpion, but he was committed to do stunt work in Batman & Robin (1997). (Somehow a movie with a higher BMeTric, what are the odds?)

Featured in Rob Hill’s The Bad Movie Bible. (Hmmm might need to check out, read, and hate this book at some point in the future.)

Mortal Kombat Preview

If you are looking for the Adventures of The Bad Movie Twins they continue on the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation preview. That’s right! This week we’re watching Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to finish the Franchise-zzzzz cycle. These are films we saw in our childhood (obviously), but never got the full BMT treatment. They also serve as the transition to our second cycle of the year: The (Not Quite) Worst Films Ever. These are films that were at one time posted on the wikipedia page for the List of Films Considered the Worst. All such films are listed in the “Talk” section for the page. For people who don’t know the “Talk” section of wikipedia pages are where you can get a glimpse into the minds of crazy people. Let’s go!

Mortal Kombat (1995) – BMeTric: 40.0

MortalKombat_BMeT

MortalKombat_RV

(It’ll be above 6.0 on IMDb soon. The BMeTric is shocking high I think. I was honestly under the impression that Mortal Kombat was the first non-qualifying video game film ever. For some reason I thought it had managed near 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nope. Legitimately every single video game film ever qualified until Tomb Raider of last year! WTF. Watch out for May, because I have a feeling Detective Pikachu might be our first fresh video game film ever made.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Shou, Ashby, and Wilson are among those kompeting in a martial arts tournament with nothing less than the fate of Earth in the balance. Elaborate special effects and impressive set design are helpless against a weak story, uneven akting, and komikally thin karakters. Mostly one fight after another, as you might expect from a movie based on a video game. Followed by a sequel.

(Boo, Leonard got to it first, how am I supposed to add superfluous k’s to things once the joke has been done? For a 1.5 star review it is actually pretty mild. At least, you can kind of see how it ended up getting kind of reasonable reviews: set design.)

Trailer –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHIfHL5UgFs/

(That set design though. For real though, Christopher Lambert, what you allowing them to do to your hair? And the CGI for real looks absolutely awful. The series of action shots with their names being whispered beneath them. MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! I’m in!)

Directors – Paul W.S. Anderson – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Resident Evil; Event Horizon; BMT: Pompeii; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; The Three Musketeers; Mortal Kombat; Soldier; Notes: A BMT fave married to a likely future BMT fave Milla Jovovich… we just haven’t seen enough of her films I don’t think, but she has a lot.)

Writers – Ed Boon (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Is technically credited for having the record for the longest working video game voice role since he has voiced Scorpion in all the games and this film.)

John Tobias (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: The character Noob Saibot is an anagram of his and Ed Boon’s names.)

Kevin Droney (written by) – (BMT: Wing Commander; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Wrote on The Highlander TV series. He also wrote a book called Le Missionnaire in the 80’s but it was only released in France… so I guess we have to learn French now.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Fortress; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Who would have thought we’d watch two Lambert films so close together. Married to Diane Lane for several years.)

Robin Shou – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Beverly Hills Ninja; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Apparently trained Milla Jovovich for her role in the Resident Evil franchise.)

Linden Ashby – (Known For: Iron Man Three; Wyatt Earp; The Joneses; Mr. & Mrs. Bridge; Future BMT: Prom Night; Resident Evil: Extinction; 8 Seconds; BMT: Mortal Kombat; Notes: Replaced Brandon Lee in Mortal Kombat after his sudden death in 1993.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $70,454,098 (Worldwide: $122,195,920)

(Obviously a huge success. Literally just turn around and green light the sequel, definitely can’t be a total joke catastrophe after this success right?)

#11 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

mortalkombat_martialarts

(Rush Hour 1, 2, and 3 are three of the top 4 on the list. But this is surprisingly good for a BMT film, only being beaten by The Last Airbender. Came as the genre was waning a bit in the 90s, right before Jackie Chan and The Matrix breathed new life into it.)

#6 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

mortalkombat_videogameadaptation

(This is our 15th BMT film I think. This was a true early days of the genre, prior to it struggling to land any kind of hit in the 2000s. Really has kicked up a notch since 2015 in both large theatrical releases and gross. Possibly bodes well for the future.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (12/32): Despite an effective otherwordly atmosphere and appropriately cheesy visuals, Mortal Kombat suffers from its poorly constructed plot, laughable dialogue, and subpar acting.

(Appropriately cheesy? These is no such thing. The reviews are quite interesting. Most of the big print critics gave it tepidly good reviews. Reviewer Highlight: The most intriguing is a glassy-eyed follower whose right hand shoots out a hissing reptile that can extend itself for miles. Exotic creatures like these make watching Mortal Kombat feel like being in a high-tech fun house. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Sklog Fight (C)

mortal_kombat_ver3

(This is basically as mediocre a poster as you can get. It’s short and sweet but clearly riding on the known property that is the symbol. A little weird they chose to move away from the video game font/color scheme and make both much more boring.)

Tagline(s) – Nothing In This World Has Prepared You For This (C-)

(So I guess this is a play on the fact that it take place literally out of this world? I’m not in love with it. Long. Repeats the word this, which make it hard to think about. And only vaguely informative. Everything about the poster and tagline says “don’t ruin this for the video game fans out there… just do as little as possible.”)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.8 House of the Dead (2003); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.1 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.6 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 73.4 Far Cry (2008); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999);

(Getting there. Far Cry and BloodRayne don’t technically qualify, but I bet we could get one of them in via Bring a Friend fairly soon. Super Mario Bros. might very literally be one of the biggest bad movies we still haven’t watched for BMT. I’ve seen it in real life dozens of times, just not for BMT.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robin Shou is No. 2 billed in Mortal Kombat and No. 6 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is also in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Ed Boon, co-creator of the original video game Mortal Kombat (1992), starred as the voice of Scorpion.

Brandon Lee was said to have been originally cast as Johnny Cage, but died before production began. (Sad stuff)

Jean-Claude Van Damme turned down the role of Johnny Cage to do Street Fighter (1994). The character in the games was originally based on him. (I mean, fine choice. There probably should have been a terrible Street Fighter sequel as well)

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras performed all her own stunts (refusing to use a double), including the fight scenes. She dislocated her shoulder during one scene, but they were able to fix it on set, without any recurrence. (I love Wilson-Sampras fun facts)

The film’s soundtrack went platinum in less than two weeks.

At around 6 minutes, Steven Spielberg, an avid fan of the Mortal Kombat series, was set to make a cameo appearance as the director in Johnny Cage’s first scene. However scheduling conflicts forced him to back out. Nonetheless, the “director” character in this scene does resemble Spielberg, which is most likely a reference to this. (Ha!)

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was the filmmakers’ first and only choice for the role of Shang Tsung. He came to the audition in a costume, and read his lines while standing on a chair. Shang Tsung was depicted as relatively younger in the film in order to avoid the excessive makeup that would have been required to duplicate his aged appearance in the game.

Chris Casamassa was hired to work as a stunt ninja. At the audition the producers were so impressed that he got the part of Scorpion. (I mean … you have a character whose face is covered 100% of the time. Don’t you usually hire stunt men for that? It feels like a Darth Maul or Snake-Eyes situation)

At around 1 hour 12 minutes, when Reptile in his chameleon creature form takes over the body of an Outworld statue and rises as a green ninja, you can hear, very quietly, a voice say “Reptile”. This is the voice of Shao Kahn, and was sampled directly from Mortal Kombat II (1993).

Christopher Lambert also voiced Rayden in the French dubbed version of the film.

Originally the character of Kano was Japanese-American. However, Ed Boon and John Tobias were so impressed with how Trevor Goddard portrayed him that they retconned Kano’s history in future games to make him Australian, which they thought was Goddard’s nationality. They later learned that, although Goddard gave Kano an Australian accent, Goddard himself was actually born in England but had claimed to be of Australian descent. (What the hell is this fact?)

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras had read and auditioned for the part of Sonya Blade several times, but due to the long casting process, she chose to do Billy Madison (1995) instead. Christina Applegate was also considered for the role but Cameron Diaz was cast after the producers saw dailies of her from The Mask (1994). However, Diaz broke her wrist during training, just before filming. Fortunately, filming on Billy Madison had just wrapped, making Wilson available again. She happily took the role, even if it meant that she had to be flown to the set the next day, and had to train for the big fight scenes in between shooting the rest of the movie.

The locations in Thailand were so remote they were only accessible by boat. Cast, crew and equipment had to be transported by long canoes. An outhouse was built in a secluded area near the set so that the crew didn’t have to make constant trips to and from the mainland. (That’s how you get those vistas baby!)

Robin Shou originally turned down the opportunity to audition for the movie, assuming that he’d be cast as a stereotypical Asian villain. He reconsidered at the advice of his agent. (And the rest is history I guess? Not that Shou became some mega star after I suppose)

The coined phrase “Flawless Victory” (a match where the victor sustains no attacks from their opponent) was used regarding four matches in the film. However only two of the matches meet the criteria: Sub-Zero’s first match against a henchmen and Johnny Cage’s match against Goro. (Nerd! You are such a nerd!)

Robin Shou said that in the original script he “was supposed to fall in love with Talisa Soto [Kitana]. I was looking forward to it, but they thought we have so much action, we don’t want to add romance to it. They cut it out.” (Smart move. Probably part of the reason it got reasonable reviews)

Steve James was to have played Jax but died a year before production on the film began. Gregory McKinney, who replaced James, died in 1998. Both actors died at the age of 41. (That’s nuts. Steve James died of pancreatic cancer, but I can’t find anything about McKinney surprisingly)

According to the film, the Outworld fighters have won nine straight victories of Mortal Kombat and only need one more in order to take over Earth. Given that the tenth tournament takes place in 1995, this means that the Earth-realm had been participating since 1725 (considering the battle taking place once a generation means every 30 years). (That’s a bad losing streak. I don’t necessarily hate Outworld, I just find it boring that they win all of the time you know?)

Gary Daniels, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp were considered for the role of Johnny Cage. (Gary Daniels? Who told you that? Gary Daniels in a fake moustache?)

Michael Jai White was slated to play the role of Jax. Ultimately, he left in order to do Tyson (1995). He would eventually end up portraying Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat (2011). (Neither of those are real films though, you know?)

A music video was created for the KMFDM single “Juke Joint Jezebel” and featured clips of fight scenes from the movie, but it was pulled by MTV due to complaints about its violent content. (Oh you mean this thing?)

Quickly after the movie’s box office success, director Paul W.S. Anderson was asked by New Line Cinema to helm a sequel, but he had set his mind to doing something completely different, and accepted the offer to do Event Horizon (1997) instead.

Director Paul W.S. Anderson nicknamed Bridgette Wilson-Sampras “RoboBabe”. (That’s weird and offensive … I choose not to believe it for now)

Included in the movie novelization was a detailed opening scene of an unsuccessful joint mission of arresting Black Dragon members by the Special Forces and an international task force, which culminates in Kano killing the task force’s lieutenant who is designated therein as Sonya’s murdered partner. (I have a policy that the instant a novelization is mentioned I’m out)

Gods and Generals Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the third in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Gods and Generals (2003) – BMeTric: 17.1

GodsandGenerals_BMeT

GodsandGenerals_RV

(It concerns me that this film is actually rising over time. Not because the rating is rising, that is natural as the vote count increases. No. I’m concerned because anyone is deciding to watch a horrible 4 hour film … why? I guess Civil War enthusiasts, which I suppose might explain the rising score.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Writer-director Maxwell’s prequel to Gettysburg is not in the same league but does manage to capture some of the sights, sounds, and personalities of the Civil War’s early years, with an emphasis on the South. Lion’s share of the story is devoted to Lang’s pious “Stonewall” Jackson. Telling vignettes and vivid battle scenes make up for some ponderousness, speechiness, and overlength (it’s even longer – 231m. – on video). Film’s backer, media mogul Ted Turner, has a cameo as a Confederate soldier. Based on the Jeff Shaara novel.

(Amazingly if you watch the director’s cut the film is an astonishing 4 hours and 40 minutes. When I watched it for the first time I remarked “I’ve forgotten what it was like to not be watching Gods and Generals. I’ve been born, lived, and died while watching this film.” Leonard is being kind, or it was a review of the time, because the film is an achievement in ponderousness, there is no more ponderous film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxPXrrZ8bJU

(Hmmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. I wonder which side is fighting for God’s glory and which for his kingdom on earth …. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)

Directors – Ron Maxwell – (Known For: Gettysburg; Little Darlings; Future BMT: Copperhead; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Notable somewhat for his incredibly long production periods. The intention, as of 2013, was to write and direct a Joan of Arc movie. But it is somewhat unclear what happened with that plan.)

Writers – Jeff Shaara (book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara) – (BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: The son of Michael Shaara who wrote Gettysburg, which this film is a prequel to. He also wrote a sequel called The Last Full Measure.)

Ron Maxwell (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell) – (Known For: Gettysburg; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Exclusively writes and directs historical epics financed by Ted Turner.)

Actors – Stephen Lang – (Known For: Avatar; Hostiles; Tombstone; Don’t Breathe; Braven; Public Enemies; Manhunter; Gettysburg; The Dinner; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Hard Way; Tall Tale; Band of Robbers; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Gridlocked; White Irish Drinkers; Project X; Pionér; The I Inside; Twice in a Lifetime; Future BMT: Eye See You; A Good Marriage; The Nut Job; Shadow Conspiracy; In the Blood; Another You; Guilty as Sin; Mortal Engines; The Amazing Panda Adventure; Trixie; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; Band of the Hand; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Fire Down Below; Gods and Generals; Notes: His father was a noted businessman and philanthropist who left the entirety of his $150 million fortune to charity upon his death.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Widows; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; The Road; The Natural; Jack Reacher; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Judge; Deep Impact; Falling Down; MASH; Open Range; We Own the Night; Crazy Heart; Secondhand Lions; Network; True Grit; Sling Blade; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Days of Thunder; Wild Horses; Lucky You; The Handmaid’s Tale; Gone in Sixty Seconds; In Dubious Battle; Seven Days in Utopia; Breakout; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: Won an Oscar for Tender Mercies. Was good friends with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman whom he went to acting school with.)

Jeff Daniels – (Known For: The Martian; Looper; Speed; Dumb and Dumber; State of Play; The Hours; Steve Jobs; Pleasantville; Terms of Endearment; 2 Days in the Valley; Gettysburg; Arachnophobia; The Squid and the Whale; Away We Go; Blood Work; Ragtime; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Because of Winn-Dixie; Traitor; Heartburn; Future BMT: Space Chimps; My Favorite Martian; RV; Dumb and Dumber To; Allegiant; 101 Dalmatians; Mama’s Boy; The Butcher’s Wife; All the Rage; Super Sucker; The Catcher Was a Spy; Paper Man; The Answer Man; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Married his highschool sweetheart and lives in his home state of Michigan helping to support economic development there.)

Budget/Gross – $56 million / Domestic: $12,882,934 (Worldwide: $12,923,936)

(Catastrophic. But then again Gettysburg didn’t do much better. I’m fully convinced Ted Turner just loves the Civil War and doesn’t care. Also they probably have a racket whereby every school in America buys a copy of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals and thus the film is profitable before it even releases … I’m only half joking, that sounds plausible to be honest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (10/121): Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit. Some may also take offense at the pro-Confederate slant.

(Some might take offense … at the pro-Confederate slant. Yeah I can imagine that might rub some people the wrong way. Reviewer Highlight: Four hours including the intermission, I felt like I was seeing the Civil War in real time for awhile there. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Sklogs and Generals (B-)

gods_and_generals

(Neither the worst nor the best. I think the imagery is stirring but wish they had done it a bit more artistically. Looks a little sloppy. Odd font, but unique.)

Tagline(s) – The nation’s heart was touched by…. (D+)

An unforgettable story of the Civil War, from the Director of “GETTYSBURG” (D-)

(Obviously the second one is a classic trash just trying to get those Gettysburg fanatics in the seats. At least it tells me the story is unforgettable. Which is true. I’ll never forget how terrible it was. The first is merely bad. So you’re telling me the nation’s heart was touched by a gigantic civil war that tore the country apart? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – george washington character; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 17.1 Gods and Generals (2003); 16.5 The Manchurian Candidate (2004); 12.0 Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014); 6.6 The Patriot (2000); 2.2 John Paul Jones (1959); 0.2 Janice Meredith (1924); 0.0 George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne (2003);

(Noice, although I’m skeptical there was a George Washington character in Wild Wild West all things considered. As a matter of fact, why would George Washington be in Gods and Generals? Or The Manchurian Candidate. Weird stuff. Usually I would replace a dumb keyword like this, but I’m mostly just fascinated.)

Notes – Some scenes were filmed on Robert Duvall’s estate in Virginia, which was the site of some Civil War skirmishes.

Martin Sheen was in the Washington, D.C. area the week of September 11th filming scenes for The West Wing (1999). He was prepared to fly the Tuesday morning Dulles to LAX flight if Warner Brothers agreed to his demand for one million dollars to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from Gettysburg (1993). It was only because Warner Brothers passed, that Sheen was not on Flight 77 the morning of September 11. (Wow)

The majority of the Civil War re-enactors in the movie volunteered to be in the movie without pay. In return, the production company agreed to donate at least five hundred thousand dollars to preservation of a Civil War battlefield. (Cool I guess)

The wide shots of the Union infantry advancing towards the stone wall during the Battle of Fredericksburg were not set up nor filmed as visual effects shots. However, due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent travel concerns and military reserve call-ups, the film’s re-enacting unit had drastically shrunk in number. This was not fully evident until the wide shots were viewed in post-production. Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas G. Smith had to digitally create over seventeen thousand low-resolution CGI soldiers, and then map out individual speeds for them: running, walking, or crawling wounded. He then added three thousand dead soldiers to scatter around the shot. (Kind of sad actually, that they didn’t get to do what they originally envisioned due to a national tragedy)

Kevin Conway often cites reprising his Gettysburg (1993) character, Sergeant Buster Kilrain, in this film, as part of the reason he turned down a supporting role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which would have prevented him from shooting this film. (Oof)

Originally given an R-rating by the MPAA for extended battlefield violence and gore. Director Ron Maxwell either shortened or cut out entirely the most objectionable scenes in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating. (But I assume he added twice as much footage of Jeff Daniels ordering people into the proper battle formation? Can’t let the movie be too long)

The film mostly omits a few of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s eccentricities, but makes sly reference to them. The real Stonewall Jackson rode with a hand raised at all times, as he felt it was necessary to balance his bodily humors. In the film, Jackson suffers a wound to one hand, and spends a scene riding in that manner, ostensibly to staunch the bleeding. In addition, the real Jackson, according to legend, sucked on lemons incessantly in the belief that it was essential to his health. In the film, he presents lemons as a gift to the fiancée of his junior officer, and enjoys the resultant lemonade for its tartness. (What a weirdo)

Russell Crowe was the first choice to play Stonewall Jackson. Crowe expressed initial interest but eventually declined, citing a need to return to Australia and take a break from movie making. The role was then offered to Stephen Lang, who was already signed and rehearsing to reprise his Gettysburg (1993) character of General George Pickett. Billy Campbell took over the Pickett role.

Ted Turner put up the entire sixty million dollar budget of the film personally.

Although Robert E. Lee was a highly regarded officer in the U.S. Army, his dislike of slavery, and lukewarm approach to secession, combined with some early reverses while in command of the Virginia militia, took him out of consideration for field command in the Confederate Army. Instead, he was made an advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was named to command the Confederate Army outside of Richmond in 1862, when General Joseph Johnston was wounded, because Davis did not want General Pierre Beauregard in command.

A subplot involving John Wilkes Booth and his actor friend Henry T. Harrison (from Gettysburg (1993)) had to be cut from the film in order to get a wide release. The entire battle of Antietam was also deleted. In all, nearly two and a half hours of the film never made it to final print. (Jesus Christ. Director’s Director’s Cut of 6 hours incoming)

The intermission was actually included in the print and was almost an entire reel of black film. Theaters added light cues at the beginning and end of it. (Weird)

Unlike Producer Ted Turner’s previous American Civil War movies Gettysburg (1993) and Andersonville (1996), this movie was a major failure at the box-office and among the critics. The movie returned only twelve million out of its sixty million dollar budget. History buffs were angered by some obvious historical inaccuracies in its depiction of some of the major characters, despite the movie’s promoting its historical authenticity (Stonewall was not shot in the hand at the start of the war, Lee’s ascension to the position of the leader of the Confederate army happened slightly differently, et cetera.). Some critics even accused the movie of historical revisionism in favor of the Confederacy, due to the film’s somewhat glorified depiction of the Confederate Generals, and downplaying the importance of the issue of slavery in the conflict, since it focuses more on the states rights issue instead. (Yeah … they do seem to like the Confederates in the film)

Jeff Daniels reprised the role of Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain from Gettysburg (1993). Tom Berenger had been asked to reprise the role of James Longstreet, but declined, and was replaced by Bruce Boxleitner.

Stephen Lang also appeared in Gettysburg (1993). However, he does not reprise his original role from “Gettysburg”, that of Major General George E. Pickett. Instead, he played Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who died two months prior to the momentous clash in Gettysburg. Billy Campbell took over the role of Pickett. (Honestly someone bigger should have been Stonewall, but whatever)

Ron Maxwell spent all of 2002 editing, re-editing, test screening and touching up the film. It went from six hours to three hours and five minutes, to three hours and thirty-seven minutes time and again. (Jesus, it was six hours!)

According to a report on CNN.com, Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and George Allen (R-VA), Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) all make small appearances in this film. “Wet plate” photographs of these politicians in full Civil War attire are available online. (Weird and wild stuff)

Gettysburg (1993) was based on author Jeff Shaara’s father’s classic novel, “The Killer Angels”. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about the possibility of continuing the story, finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. Because of this, Jeff Shaara has used his father’s historical fiction approach to the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, another Civil War Trilogy in the West, and both World Wars. (Good for Shaara I guess, get yo money)

Ted Turner is a huge Civil War buff. He financed two more films on the subject, Gettysburg (1993) for theatrical release, to which this movie is the prequel, and Andersonville (1996), a successful and acclaimed television movie about the worst and most notorious Confederate P.O.W. camp for captured Union soldiers in the entire war. (I knew it!)

The Nun Recap

Jamie

When a nun at a remote monastery in Romania commits suicide The Vatican sends a priest and a young nun to investigate. There they find some truly evil shit going on and they are like “we better stop this.” Can they stop this before it’s too late? (no. Since The Nun is in The Conjuring 2). Find out in… The Nun.

How?! The Saint Cartha’s monastery is not a super fun place to be. That’s because an intense evil is being suppressed by the nuns there and hoooooo boy, let me tell you, it’s about to get out. When a nun there commits suicide the Vatican is like “we don’t like that” and sends Father Burke and Sister Irene there to investigate. When they get to Romania a French-Canadian villager named Frenchie, who discovered the body, leads them to the monastery and some crazy stuff starts to happen. First the French-Canadian dude almost gets killed by a crazy nun corpse. Then Father Burke is buried alive and has to be rescued by Irene. Finally, Irene is allowed to enter the monastery and learns that a demon, Valek, roams the halls. The original builder of the castle was totally into resurrecting demons but was stopped at the last minute by the Church. Since then they have kept the demon at bay until WWII damaged the monastery and released the evil. Since then the nuns have died one by one to prevent possession. When Father Burke and Frenchie reunite with Irene they realize all the nuns she’s talked to are actually dead and that they have to seal the demon’s portal before one of them is possessed and it escapes. They grab some of Jesus’s blood and totally take it down to the demon’s lair and almost die, but Irene spits some of it in its stupid demon face and it’s banished… or is it? (it’s not, because Valek is in basically all of The Conjuring movies which take place decades later). THE END.

Why?! Uh… I mean the demon is pure evil and Father Burke and Sister Irene and Frenchie all want to stop pure evil. Is there more motivation needed? I guess like Frenchie secretly wants to bone Sister Irene but it ain’t happening. Especially after he’s a totally gross possessed guy.

Who?! Usually I try to get a musician or someone playing a President or a Planchet (God willing) for this section but this film has none of those. What it does have is an IMDb Thanks credit to a certain Nikos Tsoup as a “Social Media Friend.” Looking him up he has Thanks credits for some of the biggest films of the last bunch of years like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Avengers: Infinity Wars… so who is this person? I’m a pretty close watcher of credits and I didn’t even remember that there were special thanks in the film. You know why? Their weren’t. In fact, I can find little to no reference to Nikos Tsoup anywhere on the internet. It seems like maybe he’s involved in the background of social media promotion for film (maybe?) but then claims credits on all these big films as part of his job. It’s really weird and when we watch *checks Nikos Tsoup’s IMDb page* Johnny English Strikes Again you better believe I’ll be watching for his name… which won’t be there because he puts these up himself using IMDbPro or some shit.

What?! Obviously best case scenario here was the Valek could be warded off by the power and refreshment of a nice cold Coca-Cola, but alas. Not the case. I guess the closest we have to any of the normal stuff we look for is a bottle of Jesus’s blood that is used to banish Valek… which is kind of a MacGuffin though it seems like blasphemy to say so.

Where?! Really solid Romania film, although I’m guessing that the second Ghost Rider still tops this when it comes to the BMeTric scoring for a place on the map. I also like the added touch that they have a character named Frenchie that they go out of their way to say is actually French Canadian… only to make it even more weird and unlikely that he would be there. A-.

When?! I don’t think they say anything more than that this takes place in 1952. You could potentially guess a season from the weather and state of crops but why bother? Can’t we all just enjoy our lives and enjoy that this takes place specifically in 1952… in fact this almost seems like we need to start a new challenge for a BMT timeline. Rules TBD. C.

I saw The Conjuring in theaters and thought it was good and pretty scary. I personally thought Insidious was scarier, but it was a solid film. For some reason I thought The Conjuring 2 qualified for BMT so as I watched (and thoroughly enjoyed) that film I thought I was watching the greatest bad movie in history (perhaps only behind ahead-of-its-time Freddy Got Fingered). Then I looked it up and realized it got 80% on RT. Yeah, it’s good. Anyway, it made me excited to watch and see what seemingly went so wrong with this prequel. The answer was less exciting than I anticipated. They basically just made a muddled prequel with characters you didn’t really care about and an atmosphere that is more drab than anything else. They had to lose the whole “paranormal hunters” aspect of it, which took a lot of the fun out of it. Besides, we already knew from The Conjuring 2 that The Nun survives to the 70’s, so even when they are battling to defeat the demon it was presumed that it wouldn’t really be vanquished. Funny too since I actually thought The Nun character was a solid part of The Conjuring 2… but origin stories aren’t always the best way to use a character like that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When I go on transcontinental flights the thing I always love to do is watch spooooooooky movies … not really, I find them unpleasant enough without being trapped in an unpleasant personal environment, but I was taking one for the team watching not only the The Nun, but also The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 on various plane trips this holiday season! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – In order to give it its due I’ll split up my short bonus recaps into two sections. So let’s talk about the original Conjuring. I loved this film. I liked the short introduction involving Annabelle, it was a great way to introduce the main characters and what they do, plus you get an idea of “there are hundreds of stories to explore here, this is a universe” right from the start. I loved how the story split between the struggling family and the Warrens. It had one of the most genuinely spooky moments I’ve seen recently (witch on the wardrobe). It didn’t over do it on jump scares and managed to give a solid template on how to do not only possession films, but also witch films. As far as modern horror films go this was one of the best I’ve seen personally and got me really excited for the sequel and The Nun right off the bat.

You Just Got Schooled – And as for the Conjuring 2, it was still pretty good, although here I kinda lost the thread a bit. The split method (here starting with Amityville, and then moving to the Lutz family in England) still worked really well. But I didn’t find the film as spooky. I loved the idea of Valak hiding behind the old man ghost, but The Crooked Man was kind of weak. There was a lot to like, but I just didn’t like it as much as the first. It didn’t really redefine the “demon” sub-genre like The Conjuring did the “witch” sub-genre in my mind. But still a very good “spooky” (as opposed to scary or gory) horror film in its own right. I am sufficiently excited for The Conjuring 3 and honestly am pretty game for any of the spin-off films in the universe. Easily the most consistently enjoyable horror franchise I’ve come across during my horror education over the past few years.

The Good – Finally onto The Nun. Unfortunately this is easily the weakest of the three films I watched. I did like the main actor, I thought she did a very good job (turns out that is the main character of The Conjuring’s 21-year-younger sister, which is nuts). I thought how they tied The Nun into the Conjuring universe was fine in the end, I was satisfied with the origin story they presented for Valak. There were some good horror moments, the young girl hanging herself and then attacking Frenchie comes to mind. I also like the time/place setting. It was nice to see things predate the Warrens in the timeline and continue the track record of globetrotting.

The Bad – Really weak introduction to the main characters. The possession of Daniel should have been presented as an introductory vignette to introduce us to Father Burke, instead of as a flashback. As presented we end up with about 20 minutes of introductory monologuing by honestly not-very-good actors. The Abbey seemed a little too supernatural for my liking. Given the Warren’s existence in a very real New England / England it is strange to see a legit haunted abbey with clockwork gates and other nonsense. It should have just been a regular abbey where the nuns worshipped Valak or something, defiling their vows etc. etc. And incredibly cliche horror element, just pop up scares and loud sounds, which were not featured heavily in the other two films I watched. Disappointing at the very very least.

The BMT – Oh, we’ll be watching more of the Conjuring franchise. As a matter of fact I’m much much more game to do some more franchises (like Paranormal Activity) as well, as those seemed to have redefined their respective sub-genres (found-footage), which is a sub-genre I tend to hate. And with Annabelle and multiple sequels / spin-offs in the works I think the franchise could produce more BMTs in the future as well which is fun.

Welcome to Earf – I needed some help here. You see Patrick Wilson at the end in the epilogue who was also in (I had to be reminded) Evening, which also stars Hugh Dancy, whose beautiful singing voice is heard in Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return which also had the melodious voice of Dan Aykroyd in it, who was in Nothing But Trouble with Demi Moore, who was in Striptease with Burt Reynolds, who was in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earth!

StreetCreditReport.com – It isn’t that surprising that this wouldn’t get too much play on end of the year lists, it was chosen for being from a franchise after all. I was somewhat surprised by it being featured 8th in Rolling Stone. But the criticism is real, it is incredibly recycled and cliche, which is a disappointment for a franchise which had seemed a breath of fresh air in the past half decade of horror.

I wrote a lot, but that is because I very much liked The Conjuring films I watched, and I very much look forward to watching the Annabelle spinoffs and upcoming sequel.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

The Nun Preview

“22 miles?!” Jamie exclaims, “we’ll never make it.” Patrick knows he’s probably right but they have to try to get their treasure to the masses. They sneak about the city like ninjas using the parkour knowledge they learned from Truth and Dare. Just as they reach the publishing house a man approaches at the same time. He’s wearing a thick turtleneck sweater with a pencil-thin moustache. “Damn it,” whispers Patrick, “It’s my rival, Manfred Long. He writes horror fantasy romance novels. They are totally played out. He’s a hack.” He quickly puts on a smile and slaps Manfred on the back, “Why hello, Manfred. Heading up to a meeting?” Manfred wipes his sweater, “Of course. Just going over my latest manuscript. Basically gonna change the world. Don’t worry about it.” “I’m not worried,” retorts Patrick. “I know, cause I said you shouldn’t be,” jabs Manfred. And they glare at each other. It’s tense. “Wanna hear about it?” asks Manfred. “No,” sighs Patrick, “we have a big meeting too.” But Manfred continues, “It’s a horror fantasy romance novel about a girl who falls in love with a swamp monster.” At that they freeze. Swamp monster? Shit. Jamie catches Patrick’s eye and they all start running for the publishing office at the same time. They gotta get their book out there and fast before that piece of shit Manfred Long plays out Swamp Monsters. They rush up the stairs and obviously easily outpace that hack Manfred Long. When they reach the office they throw the manuscript on the desk of Patrick’s literary agent. Huffing and puffing they look up the find Patrick’s agent holding a gun. “Excellent,” he says, “this will do nicely.” Patrick is shocked. He trusted his agent like a brother and yet he was a double agent the whole time. Manfred enters, also with a gun. Suddenly a shot rings out… and Patrick’s agent falls dead. A triple agent! My god! “Yes, excellent,” says Manfred Long, “our agent wanted this only for money. But I want it for something far greater.” The air in the room grows cold as Jamie and Patrick both whisper the name… Gigandet. That’s right! We’re transitioning to the new year! 2019! And we’re starting off hot with some Franchise-zzzz. Here we will start or finish some major BMT franchises as well as attempt to right some wrong in the BMT past. Most notably our decision to skip right past Predator II when we started in on that franchise. Gotta finish that one up. So we start it up with a major 2018 prequel The Nun which is one of several branches in The Conjuring Universe. I watched the first film in theaters and enjoyed it quite a bit so will be fun to catch up with The Conjuring 2 and The Nun. Let’s go!

The Nun (2018) – BMeTric: 49.6

thenun_bmet

thenun_rv

(This will be 50+ by the new year which is pretty incredible. No one rocks a bad review like horror fans who sniff any sort of cliched scare tactics. I’m still a bit surprised at how low the IMDb rating is, 5.5 is legit terrible!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The “Conjuring” movies—especially James Wan’s original two, and not so much the “Annabelle” prequels—stood apart from so much demon-themed horror with their well-drawn characters, strong performances and powerful emotional underpinning. “The Nun” feels like an empty thrill ride by comparison.

(Having watched the original two at this point I agree with that assessment, and this is the impression I get from the reviews as well. Tired, cliche, and totally out of sorts with the rest of the franchise. That small review of the Annabelle franchise is a bit ominous, I’ve heard good thing about Annabelle: Origins.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzD9zGcUNrw

(Make sure you watch to the end … for our stupid jump scare which everyone is going to get mad at us for. And yet … not so mad people won’t go see the film since it made bank. Go figure. Fine trailer I guess, although I had jump scares, they are dumb non-scares, so that is not a good sign for the film as a whole.)

Directors – Corin Hardy – (Known For: The Hallow; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Seems to work a lot in ads and stuff. Started in sculpting, prop design, and animation for film and theater and only relatively recently started to direct features.)

Writers – Gary Dauberman (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: It; Annabelle: Creation; Future BMT: Annabelle; Wolves at the Door; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually set to make his directorial debut with the next Annabelle film.)

James Wan (story by) – (Known For: Aquaman; The Conjuring 2; Saw; Future BMT: Saw III; Dead Silence; Insidious: Chapter 2; BMT: The Nun; Notes: He has had an amazing career and has been a part of some of the biggest franchises ever with Saw, The Conjuring, Furious 7, and most recently Aquaman.)

Actors – Demián Bichir – (Known For: The Hateful Eight; Alien: Covenant; Savages; The Heat; Che: Part One; Lowriders; Dom Hemingway; A Better Life; Foreverland; 7:19; Future BMT: Solo; Machete Kills; Good Kids; Perdita Durango; Sin noticias de Dios; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Wait… he was in the film Solo?! Jesus.)

Taissa Farmiga – (Known For: The Mule; The Bling Ring; The Long Dumb Road; The Final Girls; In a Valley of Violence; 6 Years; What They Had; Rules Don’t Apply; Higher Ground; At Middleton; Future BMT: Mindscape; Jamesy Boy; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Sister of Vera Farmiga who plays a major role in The Conjuring series. Her sister is 21 years older than her.)

Jonas Bloquet – (Known For: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; Elle; Orpheline; Future BMT: 3 Days to Kill; The Family; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually from Belgium and not French Canadian like this film makes him out to be.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $117,450,119 (Worldwide: $365,550,119)

(A roaring success which at this point is inevitable. Once hooked horror fans will come back again and again for more. They will gladly shit on the film online if it isn’t to their tastes, but I have no doubt The Nun 2 will make a ton of money as well. You have to spit in their face or produce a number of bombs in a row to get betrayed once that first hit is made it seems. Which is great in my opinion, the horror genre is one of the most interesting and fresh genres around I think.)

#4 for the Horror – Period genre

thenun_horrorperiod

(You’d think this would be better given the witch sub-genre almost by definition should be a period piece, but not even 10 of them have made over $100 million which is terrible. I guess it is at least 10 since for some reason The Conjuring 2 isn’t there when it is, in fact, a period horror film. Which means at least four of the top ten are Conjuring films which is nuts.)

#7 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

thenun_rratedhorror

(From I Know What You Did Last Summer to Alone in the Dark we’ve seen a ton of these films at this point. The genre has never been stronger with It and (arguably) Get Out flexing their muscles last year and things like The Nun making a ton of cash as well.)

#9 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

thenun_supernaturalhorror

(Nothing can beat The Bye Bye Man in my heart, but that is pretty good for a very strong genre. It hasn’t been this strong since the turn of the millennium for supernatural horror, and having watched The Conjuring, it is kind of amazing that a genre which has been hitting home runs since the seventies can still bring fresh takes and rake in cash. Something that things like slashers can never seem to get the hang of (although a few have come around in the last few years like Happy Death Day).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (45/171): The Nun boasts strong performances, spooky atmospherics, and a couple decent set-pieces, but its sins include inconsistent logic and narrative slackness.

(Wait a second… inconsistent logic and narrative slackness is enough for a 26% on RT. This actually sounds more like “we loved the previous two entries in the series and this didn’t measure up so fuck it.”)

Poster – Evil Twin Nun Time (A-)

nun_ver2

(I like this poster quite a bit. Nice balance in the visual and the font is good. Clever as well given the premise of the film. Just wish it was a little better with some coloring. Need to tie it all together.)

Tagline(s) – Witness the Darkest Chapter in The Conjuring Universe (F)

(Boooooooo. They need to pray for forgiveness for this tagline… ayo.)

Keyword(s) – spin off; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.3 Elektra (2005); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999); 67.8 Supergirl (1984); 64.5 Tekken (2010); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.4 The Mod Squad (1999); 54.6 Annabelle (I) (2014); 51.1 The Scorpion King (2002); 49.6 The Nun (2018); 47.4 MacGruber (2010);

(Oooooo Supergirl is going to be a super weird film for sure. And there is Annabelle and Paranormal Activity as well which are inevitably going to have to be done. Bantastic.)

Notes – The film was shot entirely in Romania. (Yeah it was)

The events take place before Annabelle: Creation (2017), making it the first movie (chronologically) in the film series. Although the opening scenes of Annabelle: Creation take place before The Nun, the rest occurs afterwards.

Taissa Farmiga, who played Sister Irene in this film, is the younger sister of Vera Farmiga in real life, who played Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016). The Demon Nun, played by Bonnie Aarons, also appeared in The Conjuring 2 (2016) and had a brief cameo in Annabelle: Creation (2017). Though the sisters’ characters are not at all related to each other, they are both devout Catholics with clairvoyant abilities.

This was Valak’s third appearance after The Conjuring 2 (2016) and Annabelle: Creation (2017). Although Valak did not appear in The Conjuring (2013), the scary premonition that Lorraine Warren had in that film was about Valak, as later revealed in Conjuring 2.

After the “Demon Nun” from The Conjuring 2 (2016) proved to be a popular horror antagonist, a spin-off focusing on the character was green-lit, making her the second character from the franchise to get her own feature after Annabelle (2014). The Crooked Man from Conjuring 2 will be the third in The Crooked Man. (Maybe. I guess since The Nun smashed it they will go forward with it, but it kind of sounds like a terrible idea, The Crooked Man is by far the weakest demon character of the three IMO)

Despite the Conjuring and its sequel being based on true events, this film is not based on any real historical events and is entirely fictional

An advertisement for the film was pulled from the video sharing site YouTube, as many users complained that the five second clip featuring a startling jumpscare was “too scary.” Administrators thus removed the ad and apologized, claiming that it was not their intention to publish content that may potentially “offend” or “shock” viewers. (And afterwards people were still seeing it apparently and super pissed. It is basically just a crazy jump scare which shouldn’t be pulled on unsuspecting people)

The film was originally set to hit cinemas in mid-July of 2018 but was pushed back closer to Halloween season on September 7, in hopes of doing as successful at the box office as It (2017) did last year, which smashed records and earned more than USD $700M. (It didn’t do quite that well, but it did do very well).

At the end of The Nun, a scene from The Conjuring (2013) is shown where Ed & Lorraine are performing an exorcism on Maurice. This scene links the Maurice from that video as being the same Maurice from The Nun, but they edited the scene to fit into the narrative of The Nun: they edited in Jonas Bloquet into the exorcism scene, as he used to be played by a different actor (Christof Veillon); they added in dialogue of Ed saying “they called him Frenchie”, so as to make a better connection. (Uh yeah … you can tell. It was pretty weak to be honest).

Valak is mentioned by name only once, when Father Burke looks into the abbey’s history. Everyone else refers to it as “the evil” or “the demon”.

The name Valak can be found in the upside pentagram all in uppercase. (I guess … Valac was a thing before these films, and spelled with a C, so that seems like a coincidence.)