Highlander: The Final Dimension Recap

Jamie

Connor MacLeod is back, Jack! Oh and he’s ready to forget the second film ever happened and kill another Immortal. That’s because Kane is back and ready to declare once again that there can be only one. Can Connor get the girl and cut off Kane’s head before it’s too late? Find out in… Highlander III: The Final Dimension.

How?! We are reintroduced to the Connor MacLeod we know and love as he explicitly explains that contrary to popular belief there was never a sequel to The Highlander and in fact this is the direct sequel. We then get treated to a large sequence set in Medieval Japan where Connor learns the sword from a magician, Nakano. An evil Immortal, Kane, dead set on killing all the other Immortals, finds Nakano and is able to kill him, but The Quickening caves in the mountain and buries Kane preventing him from taking part in the events of the first film. In the present day an archeological dig unearths Kane and he uses one of his cronies to find MacLeod and kills the other in order to sap on his sweet sweet Quickening. When MacLeod sees the effects of The Quickening in the skies over Marrakesh he knows that he’s basically the only hope that Earth has and that Kane will be after him regardless. So to protect his family he decides to head off the threat and head back to his old stomping grounds of NYC. There the police are still suspicious about all those murders a few years back (God, let it go, right?) and there is also a pretty lady archeologist, Dr. Alex, to fall in love with, so he’s pretty busy. Eventually Kane catches up and nearly defeats MacLeod, but is stopped at the last moment when they venture onto sacred ground. Knowing that he was too close to defeat he heads to Scotland to make a new sword, bone the lady archeologist for hours, and eat haggis probably. When he is informed that his adopted son is unexpectedly heading to the US he runs back and confronts Kane in a petroleum refinery or power plant or factory or something (classic 80’s). They battle and shit but obviously MacLeod wins, endures The Quickening, and then probably has his own quickening with Dr. Alex. THE END.

Why?! Kinda spelled it out above. Kane wants to be the last Immortal and use the power to rule Earth, while MacLeod (who has loved the peaceful life of being the only Immortal left) just wants to protect the adopted family he has surrounded himself with. Unfortunately for the franchise this means that every sequel has to reveal exactly why this turns out to not work out for MacLeod. The first one decided to make it all about aliens and it was terrible. The second now has decided that he actually didn’t kill all the other Immortals, psych! I tried reading the plot synopsis for the fourth film and my eyes fell out of my head. This series is hilariously awful.

Who?! Not your typical Who here as there isn’t anything to note in the traditional categories. The best thing I found was that the young actor who played Connor’s adopted son was played by Gabriel Kakon. World famous actor? No, but he did co-found a high-end furniture and lighting store called Gabriel Scott.

What?! You always hope that a film like this can deliver with a Sword of Power or something, but alas. I did enjoy the moment where Connor undergoes a Quickening and the sheer power makes a large number of cans of delicious Mountain Dew explode. Now that’s what I call doing the dew, right?… right?

Where?! We get three different major settings. Primarily this is a New York City film like the first one. We also get some significant scenes in Japan and Scotland and some less significant portions in England, France, and Morocco. I do wish they did a bit more with NYC in this one. Just a violent backdrop for the battle between Immortals. B.

When?! This may be my favorite of all time. Early in the film Connor decapitates a fellow Immortal in the basement of a hospital and, seeing as that is unusual even for crime-ridden NYC, we get a glimpse of the front page of the New York Post. At the top there are a series of news stories about Tanya Harding, Bill Clinton, and… Mayor Rudy Giuliani getting yelled at by hecklers at a MLK event… because it was MLK Day… Super Secret Holiday Film Alert! C+++.

This is clearly a much better concept for a Highlander sequel than the second one ever was, no matter the cut. Unfortunately they really bungled the film as a whole and it’s almost laughably poorly constructed from a narrative point of view. The film has zero flow. It’s almost like the director had never done anything other than commercials and music videos and wasn’t equipped to make a feature length film… which was the case. It really makes it hard to have fun watching Mario Van Peebles eat entire set pieces and, although I’m sure Patrick will mention it, probably the greatest sex scene in BMT history. Seriously… you could just watch the film for the sex scene. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Highlander III is like if they decided to make like … Under Siege 3: Submarine Saboteur, but instead of getting an actual director they got … me? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The main thing that was weird about the entire preview was that the director had done nothing except music videos prior to this film. Combine that with an especially cheap looking trailer (with Mario Van Peebles acting off the chain) and you have a recipe for disaster. And that, for BMT, is interesting.

The Good – I have to admit. If I were to outline to you what the best plan of action for Highlander after the successful first film … well, this film would be it. I would say that the film should either be a prequel (and thus The Gathering wouldn’t have happened yet), or make it a sequel with something about a hidden Immortal, or some way in which new Immortals are created. This, from a story perspective, is kind of exactly what I envisioned. The sex scene in this film is genuinely great, and it is profoundly sad that that is the only good thing from this film.

The Bad – The film is a trainwreck. It is so ludicrous that it stands right beside Highlander II: The Quickening as a just off the wall crazy installment to this series. And the reviews are correct. This film stops the franchise right in its tracks. It looks cheap, Van Peebles is absurd in scenery chewing glory, the film makes no sense, and it just exhausts you of any tolerance you might have had for the now very muddled lore. Top to bottom, an absolutely terrible installment to a franchise which should have never been. And everything kind of comes down to the director being totally out of his depth. It feels like even a halfway competent director would have managed something … anything better with the material.

You Just Got Schooled! – I went ahead and watched the pilot for the Highlander television series which started as a syndicated series in 1992 starring Adrian Paul of Love Potion No. 9 fame. Man … 1992 was a wild time. Adrian Paul is legit one of the worst actors I’ve ever seen. And he headlines 6 seasons of a show! In the positive I will say the expansion and exploration of the lore behind Highlander certainly should be done in a television program, and they immediately start on the proper foot by retconning The Gathering from the first movie. In the end, the tv show as a tv show is a D, but the tv show as a sequel to the first movie is probably a solid C+. Helps that the acting in the original movie was pretty trashy in the first place. Do yourself a favor and watch the opening sequence though. For real, it is just … amazing.

The BMT – Back to back with Universal Soldier: The Return is … something else. I think these are both great examples of what BMT tries to be on its good days. Terrible, but not boring, with a lot of weird and wild stuff. Both captured the mid-to-late 90s in their own terrible franchise glory. Two early standards for the best bad movie of the year in my opinion.

Welcome to Earf – I now have a program to do this! The ideal (and BMT) path is: Deborah Kara Unger is in this and 88 Minutes, with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! We now have the ability to calculate a Here on Earth number, which is the shortest path (based on billing according to The Movie Database) through the BMT movie web. Unger was 3rd billed here and 6th billed in 88 Minutes (for a total of 9) and then Leelee Sobieski was 3rd billed in 88 Minutes and 1st billed in Here on Earth for a total of 4. I’ll probably eventually put this in the preview instead and figure out a new thing to do in the recap in its place. Here on Earf Number – 13 (Ideal: 13).

StreetCreditReport.com – It is fairly obvious that this was never going to actually make any lists since, you know … it isn’t a real movie. Instead I’ll take the opportunity to mention that this is literally the worst reviewed franchise in Metacritic history. It seems weird to me to see Highlander getting such bad reviews to be honest. I mean, according to Metacritic it is worse than Highlander II. That’s literally impossible.

I think watching all of these franchises is melting my brain … Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

 

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Highlander: The Final Dimension Preview

Jamie and Patrick are excited to take part in the Super Duper Commando Project… sounds pretty rad. Unfortunately when they show up there seems to have been a mix up. A gust of wind blew their applications from the accept pile into the reject pile. What a mistake! They are informed that the only open positions are as security guards. Jamie and Patrick shrug. You take what you can get. As they walk around the building they are super duper bored. “If I wanted to be a security guard I would have joined the Security Brigade,” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Super Duper Commando backflips his way into their path. “What thuuuuuuu…” Patrick says before they are both kicked out of a window. Shaking off the serious trauma inflicted on their non-Super Duper bodies they return to the security center and find the place in disarray. Turns out a rogue general bestowed the Sword of Power upon one of the Commandos giving him the power of the gods. Sounds totally ridiculous and unbelievable, I know, but like… you better believe it’s happening. Jamie and Patrick look at one another. The head of security is curious, “You boys look like you know something. Out with it.” They look sheepish. “It’s just,” Jamie begins and takes out an ancient scroll, “when we were born it was foretold that we would face a super soldier equipped with the Sword of Power. It was oddly specific to this exact situation.” The head of security is in awe. “Did it say anything else?” Patrick and Jamie look at each other again. “Yes,” Patrick whispers, “It said ‘There can only be one.’” That’s right! We’re getting another notch in the Highlander Franchise belt with our Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the cycle, Highlander: The Final Dimension… or is it Highlander: The Magician… or is it Highlander: The Sorcerer? Impossible to tell with the third entry in the series. I’m sure you’re all like ‘But Jamie, don’t you mean last entry in the series. There can’t possibly be a fourth major release in the Highlander series.’ Well you’d be wrong. Highlander: Endgame exists and it is foretold that we will watch it… someday. But not today. Let’s go!

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994) – BMeTric: 69.4

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(Quite low, but is getting that regression to the mean as one would have expected. Nearly 70+ BMeTric, which is obviously extremely impressive. High hopes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Conor McCloud, the wanderer from medieval Scotland, does battle in today’s N.Y. with evil fellow immortal from the past, the Mongol magician Cane (Van Peebles). Foolish, badly written piffle is a sequel only to the first film, ignoring the second and the TV series. Lambert is glum, Van Peebles shamelessly hammy. Dozens of unexplained elements, starting with Cane’s perfect English.

(Leonard hates Highlander. The films are rated: 1.5, 1.5, BOMB, BOMB for the first four. Which is insane. The first is actually halfway decent, at least compared to the second! I’m looking forward to the performances now. Seems like it could be something truly to behold.)

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

(I guess it is called “The Sorcerer” in this case. Anywho, this looks terribly cheap. And they kind of give away that he quickens again there. And they also give away that there is a pretttttty sexy sex scene … it’s a wash, this could go either way now.)

Directors – Andrew Morahan – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: British. Still is a music video director mostly. His father was a director as well, and his half-sister is an actress.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Worked as a firefighter for three years. Witnessed a friend killed by a deadly backdraft which became the basis for the script.)

Brad Mirman (story & screenplay) (uncredited) – (Known For: Forsaken; The Shadow Dancer; Crime Spree; Future BMT: Knight Moves; Resurrection; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Body of Evidence in 1994; Notes: Mostly a writer-director now, including a television mini-series called The Confession starring Kiefer Sutherland.)

William N. Panzer (story) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Was the producer for basically every single Highlander property over the years. Died in 2007.)

Paul Ohl (screenplay) – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: French, but lived mostly in Quebec. Was in public service most of his life, and wrote multiple novels which I suppose is how he ended up connected to this.)

René Manzor (uncredited) – (Known For: Monsieur N.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Caught the attention of George Lucas and Spielberg early in his career and wrote on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Fortress; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Mortal Kombat; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Born in the US, although he is French as his father was a diplomat. Was married to Diane Lane, and had a daughter with her.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Son of the famous director Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrays in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

Deborah Kara Unger – (Known For: The Game; Thirteen; Crash; Payback; The Way; The Hurricane; Sunshine; The Salton Sea; A Love Song for Bobby Long; The Alibi; Fear X; Stander; One Point O; Shake Hands with the Devil; Hollywood North; Signs & Wonders; Emile; Future BMT:White Noise; The Samaritan; Jackals; A Dark Truth; Keys to Tulsa; Whispers in the Dark; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Silent Hill: Revelation; 88 Minutes; Silent Hill; Notes: Canadian, but she started her career in Australia where she became quite a famous actress before returning to North America.)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $12,303,080

(Absolutely absurd budget. I understand there is a level of set design and special effects involved, but it would have been ludicrous to think they’d recoup that number. It has to involve funny math.)

#97 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Around Dungeons & Dragons. The genre really took off in 2000, likely because they were able to put together films that otherwise would have been impossible to produce with practical effects with the cheaper CGI that had been developed by then.)

#29 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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(Only In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale did worse among BMT films. The chart gets a bit skewed because The Lord of the Rings made so much money all within a few years of each other. The genre has never really be huge in the number of films produced.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (1/20): No consensus yet.

(My god the consensus would be something else: Cheap looking with absolutely ridiculous performances by Lambert and Van Peebles. Literally like watching a franchise crash and burn in front of your eyes! Reviewer Highlight: As for Van Peebles, he’s quite the ridiculous sight and sound. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Skloglander: The Final Dimensional Sorcerer from Space Probably (B-)

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(I have to say I like the clock and how the poster is laid out. The coloring is crazy though and the font is just meh. Tone it down a little and get some sweet Highlander brand font and we might be off to the races.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries ago one man was chosen to protect all that is good. But an enemy from the past has travelled through time to challenge him in the present. (F)

(Bahahahaahaha… … … hahahahahahaha… ha… ah… well that sounds stupid.)

Keyword(s) – sex scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.6 The Room (2003); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 82.0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 81.2 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 78.7 Jason X (2001); 77.6 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 77.0 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 75.8 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 74.9 Species II (1998);

(Kind of unbelievable there are still films on the table here. Given the number of films with the keyword it isn’t that surprising that all of them are basically above 75 BMeTric which is incredible. All three Fifty Shades films make this list.)

Notes – Deborah Kara Unger did her love scenes with Christopher Lambert herself, declining to use a body double. (Good for her I guess)

The original script for the film was radically different from the finished product in that the flashback sequences to place in early 17th century Scotland and early 18th century England. MacLeod had an Immortal friend in the script named Cavanagh who had similar aspects like Ramirez, The main villain in the script was named Kilvera. The script started depicting what happened with Connor after he buried Heather as well as a scene that revealed that he kills Jack the Ripper who was an Immortal as well. (I understand none of this)

The film is true to the original Highlander (1986) and ignores Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). In Highlander 2, Connor, Ramirez and the Immortals were aliens from the planet Zeist. In the original Highlander, Connor and Ramirez were not aliens from another planet and Highlander 3 takes place 8 years after the original film and is true to the original story and mythology. (Cool? They’re going to fuck it up anyways, so what does it really matter, y’know?)

Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles had both previously starred in Gunmen (1993) and had become good friends.

In early development this was going to be a prequel about Connor arriving in New York at the start of ‘The Gathering’. (That would have been kind of cool. If I recall correctly the original kind of starts as the battle for The Quickening is coming to a close)

Mako plays a similar role to the role he played in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). (M’man Mako is in this? Hell yeah)

For the UK VHS and DVD releases, the title was changed to Highlander 3: The Sorcerer, with no extended cut (renegade cut). (This title keeps on coming up and it annoys me. There are like fifty goddamn names for this film)

The Darkest Minds Recap

Jamie

After an illness sweeps the nation killing most children and leaving the survivors with a distinct set of superpowers, camps are set up to contain them. Despite being one of the most powerful of these mutant kids, Ruby is able to escape the camps. Will she be able to survive, find others like her, and perhaps fall in love before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Minds.

How?! Ruby is just your typical kid… oh you know, besides being a super powerful Orange that can control minds and basically is too powerful to be allowed to live. That’s because after a children-targeted plague swept the Earth all surviving kids ended up with either super smart powers (Green), telekinetic powers (Blue), electrical powers (Gold), mind control powers (Orange), or fire powers (Red). The last two are killed and the rest are sent to camps. Luckily Ruby is able to trick the bad guys and pretends to be a Green until years later when her secret is discovered and she has to be smuggled out of the camp. On the outside she becomes wary of the adults that claim to want to help her and instead takes up with a group of escapees. They are on the road hoping to evade capture and find a mythical camp where similar survivors are able to live peacefully. While Ruby comes to accept that she’ll never see her parents again, they are able to track down where the camp is. Once there Ruby is recognized as one of only two surviving Oranges along with their leader, the son of the President, Clancy. After being taken under his wing everything is pretty great for Ruby until Clancy is revealed to be a power-hungry garbage person. Just when she tries to escape with her friends the military invades the camp (with the help of Clancy Garbageman over there) and they have an all out battle that Ruby wins. Realizing that she needs help to fight Clancy Garbageman she runs to a child army and in the process her friends are hurt, lost, or driven away. But she’s not crying about it (you are!) and she’s ready to lead in the sequel that is 100% being made. THE END.

Why?! For the main characters it’s survival plain and simple. But also survival on their own terms. They don’t want to live in camps, they don’t want to work for an anti-government resistance, and eventually they come to realize they don’t want to be in the survivor’s camp either. They just want to be able to cruise the countryside together in their Nissan minivan. As for the antagonist, it’s mostly revenge. His dear Papa President more or less tortured him after he gained his powers so now he want to take revenge on everyone by ruling the world with an iron fist or something.

Who?! Hail to the Chief. President Gray has taken office. I know there will be an argument whether President Gray should immediately be succeeded by President Gray Jr. in the BMT Hall of Presidents. But I would argue that he clearly installed himself as a dictator and that at that moment the Presidency became a mockery and that just won’t be tolerated. Also quick shout out to Mandy Moore, musician-turned-actress extraordinaire.

What?! Interestingly many reviewers took umbrage at the particularly noticeable product placement for a Nissan mini-van in this film. I actually didn’t notice it because it seemed to me like they were kind of making fun of how not cool the van they drove around in was. Although thinking about it, the defining feature or the van was its super reliability and they all cried when they had to leave the dear van behind. So yeah, I guess when they make a joke about giving a piece of product placement a Viking funeral then they may have stepped a bit too far.

Where?! We spend a large majority of the film in Virginia. In fact it might have been the whole movie for all we know. The beginning and end are both definitely in Virginia. The middle part is more like a road trip film about a gang of besties cruising about in their Nissan mini-van. B.

When?! Somehow a film set in the future after an epidemic doesn’t really even try to give you a year or time that the film is set. Looking very closely at the scan that Ruby is given at the camp I think it reads that her date of birth is October 23, 2004 or at least something close to that. Since we open around her birthday we can assume that this is more or less the date at the start. She then spends the next six years in the camp. Just guessing I think it makes sense that she is ten at the start and 16 for the main part of the film. Placing the film in the year 2020… but this is more or less guesswork. I just wanted to show off that I close read that brain scan. C-.

This movie is a good example of the logical conclusion to the postapocalyptic YA series trend we saw in Hollywood. Everything is vague but also spelled out as if for dumb people (if you are a Blue your eyes glow blue when you use your powers. How convenient for the viewer). All our main characters are good as can be and everyone else is on a gradient of badness. Our chaste main characters totally want to get together but are kept apart by circumstances. Etc. etc. etc. It’s not a good movie, particularly at the beginning and the end, which is straight up laughable. But there is a bit in the center where they are road tripping around as a group of four that I actually kind of dug. They were all likeable and I would have liked that to be the story. A much longer search for the camp only to arrive and find it destroyed by the military or something… but alas, tied to a book series they’ll never finish. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Y’all still like dystopian YA novels right? That’s still a thing and not a genre that will produce two enormous bombs in 2018, right? WRONG. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Around when Mortal Engines became possibly the biggest bomb of the year, here we are watching the old news dystopian YA adaptation disaster. What jabronis! Anyways, I was just hoping the film wouldn’t be aggressively boring. I have to admit … I really wanted to know what made her different. Because protagonists of YA novels have to be different. I can’t help myself, I needed to know!

The Good – Some of the effects look cool. The kid actors aren’t … the worst thing I’ve ever seen. The underlying story is shockingly dark. Like the characters are straight killing people. And not really in self-defense at times … like they just kill people. That part I didn’t really like, but at least it feels a bit different than Hunger Games or Divergent where killing was always given a virtuous excuse.

The Bad – Oh the rest of this film is a catastrophe though. Cliche, boring, a terrible “twist”, a dumb conclusion that sets up for a franchise that will never be. The acting is still terrible, even if it isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen. The entire beginning is just exposition trying to explain the nonsense world. And the biggest crime? She wasn’t even special. She’s just one of two “oranges” that aren’t captive in the world. This is a dumb film that makes you feel dumb with its dumbness.

The BMT – I think the notoriety will depend on how dystopian YA adaptations go from here. I imagine they will try again with something like Netflix soon, as they are quite keen on that demographic, the young teen group which consumes the new horror and romance films they are churning out. If so then maybe this will be one of the last we watch in a year end cycle and this is could be notable? … Otherwise nothing I will forget this movie presently.

You Just Got Schooled – Since this is based on a book I naturally did not bother to read it. Seriously … I never would. I read the entire Divergent series and regret it to this day. But I did go through the full series’ synopses just for you, so let’s blast through some highlights! (1) This book runs much like this movie, but in the end they go to a camp of oranges and ended up escaping and calling on the league after Chubs gets shot. (2) I can’t make heads or tails about this, but something about the President’s son trying to destroy his mother’s research about a cure for their condition. It sounds like Hunger Games Book 3. (3) Jesus Christ, how is there no information about these books. Basically they are now finding out about the cause of the powers they receive and trying to take down the corrupt government … I think. Wowza! What a disaster! They don’t get cured by the way, there is a sequel called Darkest Legacy which follows a different character and everyone still has powers it seems. You’re welcome world.

Welcome to Earf – Mandy Moore starred in The Darkest Minds and Because I Said So with Diane Keaton, who was in Big Wedding with Robert De Niro, who was in Righteous Kill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – As I previously mentioned: We have real lists now! From the AV Club, Variety, and Rolling Stone. This is the first top 10 from the AV Club since we watched Fifty Shades Freed, so that’s fun. Otherwise surprisingly overlooked. Might get a bit more play now that Mortal Engines is an official box office disaster, it could be groups with that eventually in updated lists in a month.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Darkest Minds Preview

Having cast their vigilante personas behind and taken up the mantle of hitmen instead, Jamie and Patrick vow to kill the mysterious Briggs and save Arf Collector once and for all. What do they know about Briggs though? Just that he loves parkour and dogs, which describes literally everyone! “We’re doomed,” Jamie says, shaking his head. “Ah, but you forget,” Patrick counters, “I’ve watched every episode of Murder, She Wrote. It is time to lay our trap!” Donning his cable knit sweater, Patrick bangs out a true crime novel entitled Dog Gone: The Arf Collector Story and calls up his agent who rushes it into production. Watching the online reviews with bated breath their ploy is rewarded with a one star review reading merely  “Not how it happened!” “Quick, trace that IP” Patrick yells, and Jamie smashes away at his keyboard using 1337 h4xx0r skillz as The Prodigy plays at a deafening volume. Sure enough Briggs wrote that review, and they soon arrive at Briggs’ high rise office. Guns blazing they move steadily upwards killing henchmen until they reach the hundredth floor. Opening the door they find Briggs pensively looking out towards the ocean. “By now your reputation precedes you for your detective, hacking, killing, and movie making skills, Bad Movie Twins. Just promise me that you’ll treat Arf Collector with the love he deserves,” and with that Briggs kills himself. Arf Collector barks happily. The Bad Movie Twins did it! But what is this? A mystery novel peeking out of Briggs’ desk? It’s not just good, it is great! “But alas,” Patrick says, “Murder mysteries are totally out right now. Perhaps … if instead the main character was a child with mysterious powers, and the book was instead a YA novel …” That’s right! This week we are watching the newest dystopian YA novel turned mega franchise (they assumed) in The Darkest Minds! A complete box office disaster, The Darkest Minds hopped onto the dystopian YA-novel adaptation right as it was completing its crash, and thus became one of the biggest box office bombs of the year. Let’s go!

The Darkest Minds (2018) – BMeTric: 37.9

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(Really Really low again. I can on one hand say that that is heartening, but at the same time realize that the BMeTric doesn’t distinguish when audiences call something a bad movie because it is boring … actually, something having a high BMeTric early on might literally mean that it can’t please anyone. Which might mean it is either (1) a complete travesty, or (2) boring. Which I guess makes sense.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When The Darkest Minds book was released in 2012, we didn’t have a government-sanctioned program to separate children from their parents. Conservative adults weren’t attacking teenagers over the issue of gun violence. The movie features a daily broadcast of the president’s lies. Now, that’s just today’s headlines. The environment in which stories like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” gained followings has changed, and “The Darkest Minds” has not adapted to survive it.

(Woof. Pretty political take on it, but I guess you can’t really blame them. It is kind of true. The genre has completely collapsed despite the films looking as shiny (and cheesy) as usual. And One explanation for that could be politics. It could also just be that dystopia is out and aliens are in so they should go for aliens now that they are back in … basically stop adapting early 2010 YA novels for a while and pick up a nice Star Wars knockoff.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN8o_E_f9FQ

(Looks pretty intense. I honestly don’t really know what is happening. I am going to guess either the main character is hugely powerful … or can’t control her powers … or she can use all four (or whatever) powers. That is a classic sci-fi thing. The one who can use all four powers! Wow! Wait … am I excited about this?)

Directors – Jennifer Yuh Nelson – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Born in South Korea, she was nominated for Best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda 2.)

Writers – Chad Hodge (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Mainly a television writer for things like Wayward Pines and The Playboy Club.)

Alexandra Bracken (based upon the novel by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: There are now six novels in this series. She wrote he first published novel at 19 while a sophomore at William and Mary College.)

Actors – Amandla Stenberg – (Known For: The Hate U Give; The Hunger Games; Everything, Everything; Where Hands Touch; Rio 2; As You Are; Future BMT: Colombiana; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Performed with Zander Hawley in the band Honeywater. Their cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Let My Baby Stay” is in Everything, Everything.)

Mandy Moore – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Tangled; The Princess Diaries; 47 Metres Down; Saved!; Romance & Cigarettes; Dr. Dolittle 2; American Dreamz; Dedication; Future BMT: Racing Stripes; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Southland Tales; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Grew up in Orlando where she was known as the “National Anthem Girl” before being discovered. She literally just got married, November 18th to Taylor Goldsmith.)

Bradley Whitford – (Known For: Destroyer; Get Out; The Post; The Cabin in the Woods; Philadelphia; Scent of a Woman; Adventures in Babysitting; Billy Madison; Saving Mr. Banks; The Client; Awakenings; A Perfect World; The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; Rex; Presumed Innocent; Kate & Leopold; Bottle Shock; Other People; Unicorn Store; My Life; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Masterminds; I Saw the Light; Red Corner; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; CBGB; Bicentennial Man; BMT: RoboCop 3; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Was married to Jane Kaczmarek for 16 years. He just got engaged to Amy Landecker last March. You might know him as the bad guy from Billy Madison though.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $12,695,691 (Worldwide: $41,142,379)

(Wow that’s a complete disaster. The YA novel adaptation scene is a bloodbath at the moment. At least compared to the promise coming off of Hunger Games.)

#61 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Blew up, but now the box office take is just collapsing. The highest grossing film on this list we did for BMT was Eragon (!), and recently we saw Vampire Academy which only did marginally worse overall.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated Adjusted chart

(#11 on the unadjusted chart. Narrowly beats out Show Dogs for the worst opening of 2018 for a film released to over 3000 theaters. Really really rough. We’ve only seen five of the top fifteen on that chart, and two of them are from this year!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (21/121): The Darkest Minds does little to differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu.

(Having watched Proud Mary I’m even more concerned. That was boring. This seems merely boring. It is a concern going into the end of the year feeling like we are just ticking boxes unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: What we’re left with is a Mad-Libs version of a dystopian YA adaptation done by someone who saw half of an X-Men movie on TV once, with no depth, no new ideas, and no point. – Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – The Darkest Sklogs (C-)

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(Nah. Not into this. Also why is Ruby kinda disappearing? Having already watched the film I get it… but like… that’s not her power. Anyway, this sucks and doesn’t look very good.)

Tagline(s) – If you’re one of us, come find us. (D)

(I don’t understand this either. Why is this the tagline? It doesn’t really have much to do with the film and it’s not even clever or interesting. Boo.)

Keyword(s) – children; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 77.6 Boogeyman (2005); 69.7 Are We There Yet? (2005); 69.1 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 68.9 The Haunting (1999); 64.2 Godsend (2004); 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993); 62.1 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 61.9 Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002); 60.9 Cop & ½ (1993);

(Children huh. Boogeyman looks like shit for reals. And I love that two of these films are Hulk Hogan films. It is great.)

Notes – In the book The Darkest Minds, the colors used for categorizing powers are Red (Fire Powers), Orange (Mind Control), Yellow (Electricity), Green (Advanced Intelligence) and Blue (Telekinesis). Yellow however was changed to ‘Gold’ for the film (Oh, this is what we’re getting into huh)

In the books Chubs is a Blue and not a Green like in the movie. (That is a travesty. I’M OUT)

First live-action movie to be directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Peyton Wich and Catherine Dyer also worked together in Stranger Things (2016).

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Recap

Jamie

Captain Kirk is back, Jack! This time Kirk and his crew are called off shore leave to investigate an uprising in a Federation neutral zone. When they get there a Vulcan named Sybok and his followers take over the Enterprise and go on a mission to the center of the galaxy. Can Kirk and the rest stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

How?! This film is separated into three parts: a total embarrassment, an interesting gooey center, and a bungled ending. Let me explain. We open with the Enterprise crew on shore leave in Yellowstone. Kirk is climbing like a boss and everyone else is wearing scarves and getting lost. When they finally get back to camp they sing row row row your boat and embarrass themselves. It is bad and goes on forever. The only thing interesting that happens is that Kirk explains that he knows he’ll die alone and that’s why he’s never scared on their adventures because they are always there. Anyway, they get called off shore leave to investigate an uprising by a Vulcan named Sybok on a neutral planet. It’s like an outlaw western-y planet and they get in there and fuck up a bunch of people only to find that the hostages they are meant to rescue are actually now followers of Sybok. He’s like a cult leader that uses people’s pain to help them come to terms with it and thus gain followers on his quest to find God. He says he communicated with God and that he’s in the center of the galaxy. When they get to the Enterprise, Sybok gains followers from the Enterprise crew and only Kirk and Spock can really resist him. They are imprisoned until they get to the center of the galaxy where Sybok guides them to a planet. When they go down to the surface they find that it’s actually the prison for a malevolent force and Sybok is killed in the fight to destroy it. Everyone is happy including the Klingon ship that I didn’t even mention because that side story is kinda strange and out of place. THE END.

Why?! It’s pretty straightforward in the end (which is kind of why I say it is bungled), Sybok is a very powerful Vulcan who has communicated with a force in the universe who he believes is God. Aiming to find this force he uses his immense mind meld powers to delve into people’s pain and help them come to terms with it. Kirk wants to stop him because it’s kinda his mission but also he doesn’t believe that Sybok’s methods are correct and that pain is part of what makes someone resilient and human.

Who?! People just kind of show up throughout the Star Trek franchise. His wife shows up in one of the films and his daughter in two of them (including this one). The producer Harve Bennett shows up in three of the films as well. Also while looking around I found that Shatner is listed as the “Creator” of a TV movie called Fire Serpent. Didn’t direct it or star in in… just created it. Whatever that means.

What?! It’s noted online that product placement is pretty rare in Star Trek as a whole. This is one of the few cases where it shows up as during their vacation on Earth Captain Kirk wears Levi’s jeans and indulges in some Jack Daniels cooked baked beans. Also should talk a bit about the Great Barrier. While not a MacGuffin in the true sense of the word it is an object of mysterious power that is never really explained. They claim that you can’t go through it and yet the Enterprise does just that with ease (as does a Klingon ship). It turns out that everyone was wrong and it wasn’t much of a barrier at all. It is strange and vague (much like the rest of the end of the film).

Where?! Starts in Yosemite National Park and then moves to Nimbus III. Finishes in the center of the Milky Way. All pretty specific. Not as good as the fourth film which really really really takes place in San Francisco. B.

When?! At some point in the series it’s made clear what exact year it is and from that you can determine that this one takes place in 2287. That’s good enough for me and I especially love exact years for films taking place in the past or future. B.

I can’t talk about this film without talking about the film series as a whole. So to keep it brief: 1. The first film is a really drawn out television episode more than a movie, but I did appreciate the extreme Sci-Fi aspects to it. Just wasn’t all that great. 2. My favorite. Best character (Khan) and most emotional and I’m surprised it’s not talked about more in general as part of good cinema… because it’s good. 3. Airmailed sequel to the second that took away some of the emotion from that entry. Again liked the Sci-Fi aspect and they did a good job moving towards a more fun part of the series. 4. The funniest of the series but not my favorite. Still very good and really interesting choices made. So I came into the BMT entry of the series on a very positive note so I was surprised to find five almost immediately embarrassing. Just straight bad. Then when Sybok on the scene I thought it got somewhat interesting. They had an opportunity to explore the idea of delving into people’s pain and relieving it to make them happy and gain followers. I thought this would have naturally led into the exploration of the morals of a cult. Cult leaders are often amoral in their exploitation of their followers and I thought for sure this would come up. Nope. Instead our cult leader Sybok is just good and instead the God that he communicates with is actually bad… and almost immediately killed off. So in my opinion they bungled it. They had the opening for a complex storyline and defaulted to a simple and vague one. Pretty easily the worst of the series which I really really loved. They got a new Star Trek fan up in here. Finally, Groom Lake is a super tiny independent film written, directed, and starring William Shatner. It is bonkers that it exists and seems like something that Shatner just thought would be fun to do or something. Only weird thing is that there is a this whole rape scene in the middle that I could have done without… unpleasant and really unnecessary. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Fun fact: I love Star Trek. I’ve seen the original series. I watched the animated series! I’ve seen all of the films. So why not revisit the worse of the worse (BTW the animated series doesn’t count. It isn’t canon! IT IS NOT CANON!). Time for Star Trek V! Let’s get into it!

The Good – The comradery of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is unparalleled. And when you know the final part of the movie the middle it actually quite a bit better than I remember. Previously I remember being quite annoyed that the story was about God and they went off to find him. But once you know that Sybok is a really cool character besides … well I’ll save that for the bad section.

P’s View on the Previews – Well I had already seen the series, so really the watch was a re-watch and a chance for a reassessment. And what I had remembered was the entire story about God seemed surreal and the fact that this seemed to be the big goal of the entire thing sunk the film. Fortunately, I think once you know the conclusion the second viewing is slightly better as I say above.

The Bad – Sybok being Spock’s brother is a big load of shit. He should have been a friend, or a legendary exiled Vulcan from Spock’s childhood. Him being in the family is just annoying and changes Spock’s father’s character a bit too much. The beginning is a bit too cute, and the Klingon B-story is kind of pointless. There are a lot of problems with the film, especially considering the relative quality of 2, 3, and 4.

You Just Got Schooled – I watched a third movie this week! I decided to finally watch Chaos on the Bridge, which was also directed by Shatner (although a documentary, so different than Groom Lake), and details the issues surrounding the development and first three seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Interesting, although without Roddenberry some of the characters came across as a bit too self-serving, speaking ill of him and puffing up their own status I thought. Shatner never felt the need to challenge people, despite multiple contradictory statements being made about people and events. Interesting nonetheless, and a blessedly short 60 minutes.

The BMT – It had to be done. It had to be. I think this is a turning point, although it kind of depends on what Jamie thought of doing a fill series like that. Because, personally, I think I would like to do more franchises. There are so many terrible sequels it’ll take forever to get through them otherwise. So perhaps we’ll look back fondly on Star Trek V as a major part of BMT in the future.

Welcome to Earf – William Shatner is in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and also in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock who is also in In Love and War, which stars Chris O’Donnell who is also in Batman & Robin, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger who is also in Expendables 3, which stars Sly Stallone who is also in Zookeeper, which stars Adam Sandler who is also in Jack and Jill, which stars Al Pacino who is also in 88 Minutes, which stars Leelee Sobieski who is also in Here on Earth. Phew, welcome to earf!!

StreetCreditReport.com – Surprisingly sparse. But it does narrowly make this list for worst Sci-Fi films at 96. As far as Star Trek movies go it is widely considered terrible. Here is a list mentioning it as second worst. Interestingly they have insurrection last … disagree, but whatever.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we also watched Groom Lake. This film is not really a film. It is a weird thing that William Shatner did. It was vaguely interesting I guess. Kind of interesting to something weird like that, this film that is barely there. But naw, it isn’t the types of films I would like to do in the future. It just … isn’t fun in any way. It is just weird and pointless. Sorry Groom Lake, you get a D-. You have a point (Shatner directed you), but it is dumb.

I’ll close with my analysis of the full series: (1) One is boring, but if you like the original series it is like an episode of that and is also much better on re-watch; (2) Two is always good and brings back one of the best villains of the original series as well, highly recommend watching that episode before the film; (3) Silly and kind of pointless … well it has a point, to get Spock back, but that was inevitable and the movie just happens around that inevitability; (4) Some people think this is the best one, I find it a bit too silly, but it is certainly fun and has by far the most genuinely funny moments Star Trek has ever seen; (5) Initial watch this is terrible, slightly better on rewatch I have to admit. Sybok is better than you would think, but again, kind of just like a long episode. (6) Where you really see Kirk stare down his age and his biases in the conclusion to open war with the Klingons. Good, but ultimately a little too confusing to be great.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Preview

The Predator screams in rage once he realizes that the wolves are not real but rather holograms that it won’t be able to kill. Blasting the surrounding trees with a laser beam it runs into the trees to find and destroy those that pulled such a trick on him. Jamie is despondent at The Predator’s lack of focus. He thought The Predator would be helpful in his quest, but apparently working with a space monster driven by bloodlust is harder than he first imagined. Suddenly one of the hologram wolves walk by and boy howdy does she walk. “That’s one sexy wolf,” Jamie thinks distractedly as he heaves the rotting corpse of Frang to his shoulder and starts to follow The Predator’s trail of destruction. Clearly the creator of the holograms must be some kind of devious mastermind… to be able to create such a sexy hologram wolf. He shakes his head. Why is his mind so focused on that wolf’s walk that just won’t quit? As he ponders the sexiness of that cartoon wolf he breaks into a clearing where he is confronted by a horrifying scene of gore. The Predator screams to the heavens in the joy of the hunt. Only one of a group of people remains alive, quivering at its feet. Eyes wide with fear the man implores Jamie, “I can help you get whatever you want if you save me from this space monster.” Jamie calms The Predator with a bro hug. The man reveals that he is a space explorer sent back in time with his now dead crew. As a reward for his life he could give Jamie access to his spaceship or laser beam weapons. But Jamie doesn’t need those… he just needs something to defeat one little old librarian. That’s right! We’re watching Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I never watched any of the franchise so was somewhat unaware just how far we would have to go to get the first qualifying entry in the series. Exciting stuff, but also a shitload of homework for me. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stone go careening down the aisle and into the supermarket. But this ain’t no ordinary supermarket, in this one the brands come to life! What a wonderland, Patrick thinks, imagine how much fun children would have here, laughing and playing with their favorite corporate logos! Beautiful capitalism. Something deep within him starts to stir and he feels compelled to sing. “Ooooh say can you seeeeeee…” All of a sudden Sticks cuts him off, “Hey Patrick … why is this supermarket filled with racist characters?” Patrick looks around. No race, creed, or gender was left unabused in the horrorscape surrounding him. It was a mockery of the red-blooded capitalism Patrick knows and loves. The shopping cart flips and the supermarket disappears (blessedly, seriously it was disturbingly racist and, not surprisingly, filled with farts), and they find themselves on a desert set. “Gosh dern, that’s not bad Patrick. The good news is we’re on the California Desert set which should be close to the LAPD set” says Stones. “What’s the bad news?” Patrick asks hopefully. “We’re going to die of exposure if we don’t find a way out of here,” Sticks growls in reply. Just then a tow truck rolls up and the driver pops his head out, “Y’all want to see some aliens?” Shrugging our shoulders we all clamber aboard the truck and roll out into the desert. That’s right! We’re also watching the William Shatner directed film Groom Lake. Never heard of it? Neither has anyone else, let’s get into it!

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) – BMeTric: 51.9

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(Honestly 5.4 is way way lower than I would expect. It is a not good film, but it isn’t complete without merit, and I would have thought fans of the series at least would see the good along with the bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  The Enterprise crew takes off on an emergency mission when an apparent madman takes over a distant planet and holds its interstellar ambassadors hostage; his motives, however, turn out to be anything by terroristic. Dramatically shakey trek starts off with the case of the cutes, and gets worse before it (finally) gets better. A weak entry in the series. Shatner’s feature-film directing debut; he also shares story credit.

(Leonard knows what I love (semi-colons). BTW this is indeed the lowest rated of all of the Trek films according to Leonard. Funny enough After this he gives every single film (literally) exactly three stars. Out of the twelves films in the 2015 book Leonard gives nine of them three stars. Only voyage home (3 1/2 stars), the motion picture (2 1/2 stars) and this don’t get that rating.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE7_pOy_jZk

(This trailer makes the film look like a comedy. It … well, after four it probably makes sense to advertise it that way, but it really isn’t. The story itself is rather serious, perhaps overly so.)

Directors – William Shatner – (BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: One of two films he directed. I get the feeling he didn’t really like directing, and only really did it because Nimoy tried it out for three and four.)

Writers – Gene Roddenberry (creator: based on “Star Trek”) – (Known For: Star Trek Beyond; Star Trek; Star Trek into Darkness; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek: Generations; Star Trek: Insurrection; Future BMT: Star Trek: Nemesis; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Notes: Roddenberry is obviously a television legend. Married Majel Barrett who was famously Nurse Chapel in the original series, Lwaxana Troi in Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and voiced the computer in basically every series.)

William Shatner (story) – (BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: Probably more famous for writing a ton of spoken word poetry.)

Harve Bennett (story) – (Known For: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Picture of the Decade for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Died two days before Nimoy. Was at one point attached to a Star Trek Starfleet Academy prequel series which ended up being opposed by Roddenberry and fans alike, and was never made.)

David Loughery (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Nurse 3-D; Lakeview Terrace; Dreamscape; Future BMT: Obsessed; Money Train; Passenger 57; Tom and Huck; The Three Musketeers; Flashback; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Apparently does uncredited rewrites of a bunch of Joseph Ruben’s films including the “other” WWI film The Ottoman Lieutenant starring Josh Hartnett. Small world.)

Actors – William Shatner – (Known For: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Miss Congeniality; Over the Hedge; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Judgment at Nuremberg; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Osmosis Jones; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Airplane II: The Sequel; Star Trek: Generations; Big Bad Mama; A Christmas Horror Story; Kingdom of the Spiders; Free Enterprise; Incubus; Future BMT: The Wild; Showtime; The Devil’s Rain; Loaded Weapon 1; Visiting Hours; Fanboys; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: He was a classic 60s television actor I would say, back at the time when such things were just as cheap as one would imagine. He clearly loved stage fighting and running, and many of the notes about his directorial effort suggest as much.)

Leonard Nimoy – (Known For: Star Trek; Star Trek into Darkness; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Transformers: The Movie; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Them!; The Balcony; Future BMT: Land of the Lost; The Pagemaster; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Zambezia; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Notes: Possibly the most beloved of all television characters in Mr. Spock. He appeared in the rebooted Star Trek films, but, sadly, died a few years ago.)

DeForest Kelley – (Known For: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; The Men; The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; House of Bamboo; Future BMT: Night of the Lepus; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Doctor McCoy. Was effectively typecast as the character. Also appeared in the pilot for Star Trek The Next Generation as the 137-year-old McCoy.)

Budget/Gross – $33 million / Domestic: $52,210,049

(Not great. It isn’t that surprising then that they looked to close out the original series cast and move onto more exciting Next Generation films after the sixth film.)

#62 for the Sci-Fi – Adventure genre

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(Shockingly only After Earth has done better for a BMT film. Most of these films are actually really really good at the top, this is no bad movie genre, it is a regular genre. The genre is booming. And I don’t think it is going to stop unless Star Trek and Star Wars actually collapses … neither of which I think is going to happen.)

#50 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(We’ve seen Wild Wild West, Baywatch, I Spy, and CHiPs just in the last year! Really getting these things going. This came in way before the big 90s boom. Which makes sense, the Star Trek films weren’t really supposed to exist. The Motion Picture was supposed to launch a new series in the 80s, but they were so lucrative they just went for it, so they really were doing something that even they didn’t seem to think would work: remaking old television series as movie franchises.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (10/45): Filled with dull action sequences and an underdeveloped storyline, this fifth Trek movie is probably the worst of the series.

(Being a big fan of Star Trek myself I’ll get into the personal rankings in the recap I think. But suffice it to say, this was the first of the films which I thought was actually genuinely terrible. Reviewer Highlight – Of all of the Star Trek movies, this is the worst. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Rich and Poe V: Space Law (A+)

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(This is just a really really really good poster. I like everything about it. Can I have this poster hanging in my room? *check if in fact he’s allowed to have this hanging in his room* I’m being told I can’t have this in my room… also I would want a better film hanging in my room. Like Here on Earth.)

Tagline(s) – Adventure and Imagination Will Meet At the Final Frontier (D)

(Ah shit. That sucks. Given that fantastic poster this is a giant disappointment.)

Keyword(s) – captain; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 84.6 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 82.7 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 78.1 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 70.4 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999); 68.3 Captain America (1990);

(The 1990 Captain America, now that is a terrible film which needs to be brought along with a friend at some point.)

Notes – Enterprise-D corridor sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) were used as Enterprise-A corridors in this film. Very few cosmetic alterations were made, so as not to interfere with filming of the television series, which was under way at the same time. (Yeah, likely the Klingon story here is a set up to the treaty in number 6 which is a necessary precursor to Next Generation. Tight. Writing.)

According to George Takei, despite studio pressure to complete the film on time, William Shatner maintained a creative and enthusiastic atmosphere on set. “I have enormous admiration for his ability to block that kind of pressure from seeping on to the set.” Moreover, Takei acknowledged, “despite our sometimes strained personal history, I found working with Bill (Shatner) as a director, to be surprisingly pleasant.” (Yeah, they didn’t like each other, apparently due to some miscommunication about Shatner not being invited to Takei’s marriage, along with Shatner generally just being a hard guy to get along with.).

Originally, Spock and McCoy were to side with Sybok. Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley objected, saying that their characters would never betray Kirk. Gene Roddenberry agreed. (Noice)

Stuntman Kenny Bates is credited with the highest descender fall in the United States, standing in for William Shatner’s fall from El Capitan.

Initially, William Shatner believed that the film would get a positive response. In the morning after the opening night, he woke Leonard Nimoy up to tell him that the Los Angeles Times had given the film a positive review. Soon after, a local television reporter also gave the film a good review, and Shatner recalled that he incorrectly “began sensing a (positive) trend”. He later agreed that the film nearly ended the film franchise, and looking back on the film called it a “failed, but glorious attempt” at a thought-provoking film, that did not come together.

William Shatner, in an interview on E! Entertainment Television, said that David Warner’s character was going to have a prop that consisted of a self-lighting cigarette. According to Shatner, they simply forgot to use it in one of the scenes, even though the prop actually worked, and cost thousands of dollars.

This film contains the first confirmed appearance of Starfleet Marines, an idea Gene Roddenberry wanted, but was unable, to include in Star Trek (1966). The officers accompanying Kirk and crew down to Nimbus III have since been said to be Marines. (coooooool)

DeForest Kelley noted the physicality required for the film and enjoyed doing things that he had not been asked to do in years. “I was very pleased to see that he (Shatner) brought it along in fine style,” he said. Kelley noted that his own ambition to direct had deserted him after seeing difficulties Leonard Nimoy faced directing the previous two Star Trek films.

Leonard Nimoy noted that this was the most physical film in the series, which reflected William Shatner’s energetic sensibility and what he enjoyed doing most on the series – “running and jumping”. (He does love running and jumping. It is incredibly apparent in the original series).

Nichelle Nichols, an accomplished singer and dancer, provided an authentic performance of the “fan dance” routine in this film; she was outraged when her vocals in the scene were later overdubbed in editing without her approval. (She was a singer, she released to albums, although it is unclear whether these are similar to how Shatner released like four spoken word poetry albums).

Laurence Luckinbill (Sybok) is the real-life son-in-law of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, whose Desilu Productions company sponsored the first two seasons of Star Trek (1966). (He’s also in a rather fine episode of Murder She Wrote, Lady in the Lake.)

The Great Barrier effects were created using chemicals, which were dropped into a large water tank to create swirls and other reactions. The same technique was used to create the image of the Mutara Nebula in The Wrath of Khan. (Classic)

William Shatner scheduled the campfire scenes to be the last ones shot, after which the cast and crew had a small celebration before a traditional wrap party later.

This film takes place in 2287.

William Shatner originally wanted Sybok’s horse to be a unicorn, adding a more “mythical” approach to the character, but Gene Roddenberry disapproved of this, saying that this would turn Star Trek into a space fantasy instead of science fiction. (But …. It was a unicorn. Just like, an alien unicorn).

This is the only Star Trek movie to win (or even be nominated for) the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture.

The Sickbay set from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) is used, unaltered in the film, making this the first chronological appearance of the LCARS computer system.

Final film voyage of the complete original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Although there would be one more film featuring the original cast, Sulu is no longer a member of the Enterprise crew in the next movie, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), being Captain of the U.S.S. Excelsior. (EXCELSIOR!)

Harve Bennett was exhausted by his work on the previous three Star Trek films, and wanted to move on, feeling that he was not part of the “Star Trek” family, and that he had been mistreated by Leonard Nimoy. When William Shatner tried to convince Bennett to reconsider, the Producer insisted on a meeting at his home. After several hours of discussion Bennett agreed to return. Bennett disagreed with several elements of Shatner’s story, feeling that because no one could assuredly answer the question of God’s existence, the ending of the film would never be satisfying. Bennett also told Shatner that the film had the feeling of a tone poem, rather than an adventure story. The studio agreed with Bennett, reasoning that the subject matter could be too weighty or offensive to theatergoers. (I think it legit was supposed to be God at the end then … that is nuts).

A Bandai Nintendo Entertainment System action game was slated to be released in 1989 along with the movie. The game was canceled following the underperformance of the film at the box-office (it barely broke even). A prototype has surfaced and is circling the net as a ROM. This is notable for its many basic spelling errors (example: at one point Scotty is named “Scotto”) and lack of an ending (the game may have been incomplete at the time this was scrapped). (WHAAAAAAT)

Leonard Nimoy recalled William Shatner’s attempts to instruct him in riding a horse, although Nimoy had ridden many horses bareback when playing American Indian roles for Republic Pictures serials.

Harve Bennett blamed part of the film’s failure on the change from a traditional Thanksgiving-season opening, to the sequel-stuffed summer release period, and the diffusion of fan viewership following the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). (Don’t you dare speak ill of Next Generation)

Kirk’s line “All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” is a quote from the John Masefield poem Sea Fever. Kirk earlier recited the same line in the Star Trek episode The Ultimate Computer.

David Loughery stopped work on the script when the Writers Guild of America went on strike, and the production was further delayed when Leonard Nimoy began working on another project.

The film was produced during the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), making this the first time that a “Star Trek” film was made while a “Star Trek” television series was in production. The same would be true of every subsequent “Star Trek” film up to, and including Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).

When Kirk, McCoy, and Spock are in the brig, Kirk presses a button causing a seat to emerge from the wall. This seat is evidently a toilet (with the lid down) because on the wall there’s a warning that it is not to be used while in spacedock. The giveaway here is that in the US, the restrooms on passenger trains used to have signs saying toilets were not to be used when the train is stopped at a station. This is because there were no holding tanks, and the toilet contents were simply dumped onto the tracks when it was flushed.

Gene Roddenberry was highly critical over the idea of Sybok being Spock’s half-brother. He felt this apocryphal for Sarek to have had a son with another woman prior to his marriage to Amanda. (Yeah basically. Like Michael in Discovery he should have been an adopted son. It would have ultimately lead to a beautiful sort of family for Sarek. An adopted full-Vulcan, an adopted full-human, and he own outside son, the half-vulcan-half-human … can we retcon this?)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Harve Bennett, 1990)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (William Shatner, 1990)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William Shatner, 1990)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (DeForest Kelley, 1990)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (David Loughery, William Shatner, Harve Bennett, 1990)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade (Harve Bennett, 1990)

Wild Wild West Recap

Wicky wicky Wild Wild West. Jim West, desperado, rough rider. No do you don’t want nada. That’s because he is on a mission from the President to stop a conspiracy enacted by former Confederate rebels. Paired with annoying inventor Artemus Gordon can they join their brains and brawn to take down the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Wild Wild West.

Jamie

How?! I contemplated whether I should just write all the lyrics to the song here and leave it at that, but unfortunately the song has nary a mention of a giant mechanical spider. So Jim West (desperado and alleged rough rider) is hot on the trail of a big time gun runner/former confederate general. When he tracks him to a saloon he busts in only to find that another federal agent (and inventor/master of disguise) Artemus Gordon is there already. As a result everything blows up and the baddies get away. Called to DC, West and Gordon find themselves paired up in the service of President Grant to stop whatever grand conspiracy the criminal enterprise is up to. “Go get on that steampunk train I have for some reason,” Grant huffs and off they go. They make their way to New Orleans for a grand party thrown by a former Confederate inventor who had been presumed dead. They are able to get some information about the plans, escape, and pick up the sexy Rita Escobar who is searching for her captive father. They then chase after the baddies as they head to Utah to disrupt the completion of the transcontinental railroad only to have Rita kidnapped and find themselves playing some dangerous (and ultimately useless) technological games set up by the inventor. They again escape and track down the bad guys, who have kidnapped President Grant and are attempting to use him to sign away large swaths of the United States. Luckily Jim West (desperado) is there to dress up like a Middle Eastern belly dancer (for real, it’s crazy) and distract the bad guys. A big fight on a giant mechanical spider (still real) ensues and eventually our heroes beat the baddies. Hoping for a smooch they find that Rita is actually married and they instead ride off together for their next sequel. THE END.

Why?! Jim West (desperado) actually does have an interesting motivation in this film. A bit surprising given that the good guy usually is motivated just by goodness. Of course he and Gordon want to protect the President and the nation, but it’s also revealed that Jim’s parents were killed in a massacre orchestrated by the evil genius antagonist. So it’s personal. The bad guy on the other hand feels betrayed by both the US and the Confederacy so he is attempting to break up the United States and sell it to the highest bidders. He also don’t want nada of any desperados or rough riders that may be about.

What?! I would have done a complete 180 on this film if Will Smith pumped up some Reeboks before jumping onto the giant mechanical spider. But alas, it didn’t happen so there is nothing to talk about for this section. I guess I’ll just reiterate that there was a part of this film where our main bad guy is giving a large presentation about his intricate plot to take down the US only to be distracted by Will Smith dressed as a Middle Eastern belly dancer… it’s INSANE. It’s also the most racist portrayal of Middle Eastern culture we’ve seen since *checks notes* last week.

Who?! Will Smith is one of the ultimate musicians-turned-actors, but I have to give a big shout out to Kevin Kline who played both Artemus Gordon and President Ulysses S. Grant. At one time we had contemplated creating a Hall of Presidents where each time a US President (real or fake) appeared in a BMT film that would serve as his “election” and start his term in office. Thus this would begin the term of Ulysses S. Grant as President of the Sklognited States of America. This would of course be his second term in office having been previously elected for his portrayal in Jonah Hex. Huzzah! Long live President Grant!

Where?! Almost a Road Trip Alert with a plethora of specific locations. Starts in West Virginia, moves to Washington DC, heads next to New Orleans, and finishes in Promontory Summit, Utah for a very special climax set at the laying of the Golden Spike to finish the Transcontinental Railroad. Gotta give that a B+.

When?! Did I mention that the climax was set during the laying of the Golden Spike? That gives us an exact date of May 10th, 1869. That is simply magnifique. Giving that an A- for effort, although not exactly necessary to the action at hand.

Oh boy. I mean, this is right up there with Batman & Robin as one of the most misguided films ever to be created. It is straight up terrible and almost impossible to understand how it went as far down the path of terribleness without being stopped. For some reason they cast Will Smith as Jim West riding a steampunk train and fighting a mechanical spider and then felt the need to inject realism about the social climate at the time. Every character has to express surprise at his appearance and thus Will Smith finds himself making joke after joke after joke about the rampant racism that he would have had to deal with. This includes an entire scene where he attempts to evade a lynching by convincing the crowd that he was just evoking his African heritage in touching a woman’s bosom and that slavery wasn’t that big of a deal in his opinion… it is insane. Add on top of that the sublime overacting performance of Kenneth Branagh and the general nonsense and unfunny jokes that populate the script and we have a true BMT gem. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You’ll have to forgive me, I’m actually recovering from a sickness. I developed a terrible fever and hallucinated that Will Smith was in a sci-fi western with a flying bicycle and a mechanical spider. I saw death at my door … up until I realized I wasn’t sick. I was just watching Wild Wild West (slammed), let’s get into it!

The Good – I very much enjoyed the set pieces. You could tell they had the ability and leeway to put together some really special moments. The brothel in particular was incredible, the multi-tiered almost comic-like take on the classic setting, brightly-lit and colorful in opposition to typical westerns. I also very much enjoyed the assassins hidden in paintings, very well put together. Salma Hayek was fun, Kline was fun, Will Smith did his best I think. People were game is what I’m saying.

P’s View on the Preview – We had seen the film before so there wasn’t much to surprising in the preview. I guess I was most fascinated by how the Wicky Wicky Wild Wild West theme song would be incorporated (it wasn’t), and a bit about Kenneth Branagh who I’ve since seen in The Winter’s Tale on stage in London (with Dame Judi Dench … it was fantastic, and yeah, I’m bragging … it was awesome).

The Bad – I mean … mostly everything? Will Smith might be game, but he’s out of place in this film, he feels like a modern action hero instead of a US Marshal in the Wicky Wicky Wild Wild West. I love Branagh, but he character is very weird and, again, feels out of place (this time by being a little too gross and dark for the comic tone). The last third of the film is just catastrophic from a storytelling perspective, even Will Smith just pops out of nowhere in disguise at one point. The gang of attractive women Dr. Loveless drags around … gives off a problematic impression (so problematic they apparently rewrote the final fight because it was just Will Smith wailing on three women, wowza!). This film is stunning. Like Batman & Robin except dressed up as a cautionary tale about steampunk westerns.

Get Yo Rant On – The writers of this film did Will Smith a huge disservice. I hope I’m not speaking out of turn: but they put him in a position where he’s faux-lynched and is avenging the death of his freed-slave parents … and to serve what? Some strange question as to why a black US Marshal might be out of place for the time? It sure seemed like it. Ignore it! I mean … Kevin Klein’s character invents a genuine self-propelled airplane in 1869, so why is it impossible to believe this weirdly advanced society is colorblind? The film is bad enough as is without making the bad guy an ultra-racist confederate (Dr. Loveless isn’t even a Confederate in the original show, he’s just a (short) man out for revenge!) and explicitly pitting him against Will Smith. Woof. Just very strange to watch twenty years later. End rant.

The BMT – It’s a classic right? I would watch this movie again. I would watch it a bunch of times. As I said, the brothel set piece is actually quite nice looking in the beginning, the painting assassination scene is also pretty fun (middle) and I can laugh all day at the belly dancing scene (end). It really doesn’t quit. Probably the best argument so far for watching some of these films we’ve seen before, I couldn’t have even imagined how crazy this film was without watching it again.

Welcome to Earf – So, Salma Hayek was in Wicky Wicky Wild Wild West and Grown Ups with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – This has got credit up to wazoo. It is third for the worst film of 1999 in Rolling Stone, and although the formatting is a bit messed up it was mentioned near the end in this New York Post article. It basically swept the Razzies, and you can find a litany of quotes from everyone involved about how terrible the film is.

So in theory there was a ton of Homework Sklog-signment, because the movie is based on a television program. I did end up watching an episode (season 1 episode 20, the Night of the Whirring Death). Two things: first, luckily I found an episode streaming with Dr. Loveless, who is played by a little person in the television show (Michael Dunn, who I recognize from an episode of the original Star Trek); second, the show is far more serious than the movie they decided to make. It is like Star Trek, quippy or tongue in cheek at times, but also very serious. Old-fashioned. That is what I would have preferred for the film and I’m glad I wasn’t incorrect in my thinking. Welp, better for the eventual Wild Wild West Cinematic Universe (WWWCU) to reboot it anyways.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs