The Darkest Hour (2011) Recap

Jamie

Sean and Ben are aspiring tech bros traveling to Moscow to sell their new social media app. Unfortunately while getting their tech stolen there is also an alien invasion and they must fight for their lives (along with a few other lucky survivors). Can they learn how to beat the seemingly invincible aliens (and maybe find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Hour.

How?! Sean and Ben are totes ready to expand their big new social media travel app (that hopefully will also help them snag some chicks… tight) to Russia. Despite having a fully functional app with actual users, they still manage to get their app entirely stolen by the Russian company somehow. Despondent they head to a rad Moscow bar where they meet up with some hot chicks, Natalie and Anne, using their (or not, I guess) app. Drinking their worries away, they have a great time until some glowy orange things start to descend from the sky. Everyone is like, ‘cooool’, that is until the glowy things start disintegrating people. Hiding for several days, they manage to evade the initial onslaught along with the Swedish dude who stole their app (what a coincidence!). Creeping around Moscow they come to realize that the aliens are totally invisible (except that they make electrical equipment go wild when their energy field touches them) and can’t see through glass. This knowledge allows them to make it to the American embassy where they realize that there has been a global invasion and a submarine rescue is planned for survivors. At that point they start getting picked off one-by-one as they meet up with a crazy inventor survivor, who has a theory on how to kill the aliums, and start to make their way to the submarine. They get rescued by a survivalist militia who agree to help them. On the way Ben is killed and Natalie is separated from the group. Sean begs for help to save her and with the help of the submariners are able to figure out how to start killing the aliens. In a climactic battle they are able to take out a number of the baddies and save Natalie. The survivalists vow to use the knowledge in the new war against the aliens and Sean and Natalie head off into the sunset on their submarine dream machine. THE END.

Why?! Survival, duh. Per usual, the motivation of the good guys is so pure that it’s almost boring. More interesting is the motivation for why the aliens have invaded Earth. In this case it’s the well-worn idea that the aliens need Earth for its sweet sweet natural resources and humans are just an extraneous nuisance that must be exterminated. Not so fast, Aliums! You underestimate the human race.

Who?! As the beginning of Crimson Tide tells us, one of the most powerful men in the world is a submarine captain. It certainly seems like this film had one such powerful man, however it’s a little hard to tell from the credits who that is. I think perhaps the character was given the name Anton Batkin? Really need to make this more clear… I mean… he’s a pretty powerful man.

What?! Add this to the list of Faraday cage related films we’ve watched (looking at you, Transcendence). On top of that there was also a whole article about how 2011 was the year of the tourism product placement where it seemed like every film released was set in a new and interesting location. But really the real winner of this film was the oft forgotten Hollywood Badass Bar. We don’t get to talk about it much but these bars are far too bright, far too quiet, and super “cool” in a “girls dancing in a cage” kind of way. And this one had a really nice example.

Where?! Russia for days. It’s funny to see that article about tourism product placement because most of what I learned about Russia from this film is that people steal your sweet IP, you mostly just meet other Americans, and aliums fall from the sky. Not the most ringing of endorsements in my opinion. A.

When?! I have no idea. I wonder if there is more indication of when this took place than I think, just because I really wasn’t paying attention. Def not Xmas, no matter what the tagline led us to believe, though. They would have been freezing if that were the case. So tagline, you lied. F… for now.

It’s hard to really like a film whose main character seems like a terrible person and never really acknowledges that fact… he just kinda wins and gets the girl and that’s fine because obviously it’s better that he beats the aliums. But it also seems like a little carry over from a time when tech bros were all the rage and, well, that hasn’t aged well as of late. Add on top that the CGI only held up as long as the aliens were virtually invisible (not a great sign) and we were looking at what felt like a prequel… or sequel… or concurrent-quel to Skyline that was similarly interesting to watch in a trainwreck kind of way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When some baaaaaaaad ‘tricity comes down from the clouds in Moscow, whatchu gonna do? Run to that submarine, you know it! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – For real we’ve almost done this film like ten times in BMT history. It was one of the worst reviewed films of 2011, the year we started BMT, but prior to when we like … spent money on watching recent films or even really organized things in a coherent fashion. And it almost got bumped again. But finally, we’re going to watch this film about … aliens I think. They’re bad electricity or something. At the time I remember being rather confused about it. What were my expectations? I was hoping for a crap Independence Day knock off and not much more. Set Independence Day in Russia and that’s what I hoped this film was.

The Good – Parts of this film play like a video game. They get a microwave gun, and can freeze the enemies with it. They can then use water to chain the freeze mechanism across multiple aliens, etc. It is precisely the kind of thing you’d see in a video game … makes you wonder why they didn’t just do that? Have they? They could actually try and do the opposite. Make the good video game after the terrible movie adaptation. That would be a new one. Other than that the setting is pretty fun all things considered. And there is a submarine which is always very very fun. Cool gadgets and a submarine? That’s a bit more than I expected from the film. Best Bit – The alien design.

The Bad – Absolutely terrible CGI. Despite a cool and innovative alien design, it suffers from some of the worst CGI you’ll see in a BMT film and that is saying something. Emile Hirsch has a redemption arc in the film that is fully undeserved. It is made abundantly clear that he’s flakey and kind of a dick. Instead of holding a mirror up to him to show his previous attitude as dangerous, it instead decides to double down by revealing that he’s actually a genius and just the right kind of street smart to get their group through the mess they are in … wha? If you can ignore how cheap the film looks, then that is really what sinks it, especially once they kill off multiple much better characters. Fatal Flaw – Deplorable main character.

The BMT – We had to eventually do this film. It came out at a perfect time for BMT, less than a year after we started, we had matured our formula a bit … and yet we just didn’t do it. Well we finally have. And it’ll stand in a pantheon for some of the worst alien invasion films we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a few), and some of the worst CGI we’ve seen as well. Plus I don’t think it’ll get supplanted as a worst Russia-set film anytime soon. That’s some sweet BMTness right there. Did it meet my expectations? It kind of did. I was surprised that the alien design didn’t suck more, but it more than made up for it by spending maybe $10 dollars on CGI to bring that vision to life. So yeah, really just dumb enough for me to find enjoyable.

Roast-radamus – Definitely some solid Product Placement (What?) with McDonald’s getting featured multiple times while panning over a devastated Moscow. Obviously a good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Russia in general, and Moscow specifically. There are multiple references to “Welcome to Russia” and the Russian attitude. I think there is an okay argument for the single-minded pursuit of getting to the submarine as a kind of MacGuffin (Why?) in the context of the film.

StreetCreditReport.com – This one isn’t really mentioned anywhere. Probably because it was kind of buried in early early 2012. Once you get into that January releases you won’t make the lists which will be compiled in mid-December. Besides that I’m a bit shocked no one seemed to put it on a list of worst alien invasion films. It certainly feels like one of the worst alien invasion films ever made.

You Just Got Schooled – I was quite pleased with myself here in that I was racking my brain trying to think of an equivalent “good” version of this film. I finally settled on The War of the Worlds from 1953, and it turned out to basically be a perfect analogue. Weird aliens descend suddenly on Earth, humanity is overrun in the face of what appears to be impenetrable alien defenses, humanity solves the issue … fine in this case, spoiler, it turns out the aliens can’t live on Earth due to not having immunity to any of our diseases (apropos indeed!). If you like the pacing of 50s films this is one of the better ones I’ve seen. The entire thing operates as a thought experiment on how scientists and the military might respond to an attack from an unknown and formidable opponent. A-, would highly recommend especially if you’ve seen the Spielberg version, but again, it has 50s pacing and effects.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Darkest Hour (2011) Quiz

Oh boy, last thing I remember is glowing things falling from the sky, and then I got bopped on the head and woke up a week later in a desolate city. Do you remember what happened in The Darkest Hour?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open on our heroes, Sean and Ben, heading off to Russia to close a big deal for their startup. But what does their startup do?

2) After that deal … doesn’t happen, the boys hit the town and meet up with Natalie and Anne. How do they know / have heard of these two women before?

3) After the aliens attack the, now fivesome, hide in a storage room in the bar. After that they make a plan to escape to where?

4) In the shopping center they figure out a way to detect the aliens, a way to hide form the aliens, and later on with the help of Sergei, how to kill the aliens. How?

5) In the end, the reason the aliens have come to Earth is alluded to. Why?

Answers

The Darkest Hour (2011) Preview

As Rich and Poe karate chop the necks of the old buffoons ogling Rio, the creepy old men try to explain all the terrible rich people problems that have driven them to this point. “My wife is cheating with my best friend!” one screams. The other nods his head, “that’s right, and I’m disillusioned with my materialistic life and that drove me to find thrills sleeping with his wife!” Oh boy. Rich and Poe roll their eyes at the tired excuses. Time to take them to the Twin Chip Zone. But just as they are about to finish the job, Rio steps in. Hugging them both she explains how she no longer needs their protection. That she is a strong woman who can defend herself against these weak willed old men going through whatever midlife crisis has brought them to this beautiful (and certainly not creepy) blue lagoon. “Don’t let them change the beauty of this place with violence. We can keep it natural. Beautiful. Love.” Bessy, Rich, and Poe wipe tears from their eyes and let the old men run off into the jungle. They roast s’mores and enjoy some refreshing Coca-Cola on the beach as the sun is setting. “It’s beautiful,” sighs Rio, “I’ll miss it when I’m off becoming a detective.” Bessy snorts happily, but Rich cocks his head quizzically. “It’s so… uh… green?” he says as a chill runs down his spine. Indeed the sky is streaked in green and while those creepy old men were ultimately harmless it seems that the civil war has arrived after all. The sky becomes smokey and what appears to be monsters begin to descend from the sky. Everything is plunged into darkness. The hour of battle has arrived. That’s right! We’re finally, finally, finally watching The Darkest Hour. There are a number of films from 2011-2012 that were coming out around the inception of BMT where we’d see the trailer on TV and be like “word, that would be fun for BMT” and then we just never watched the movie. And it would come up all the time over the years… and we’d still not watch the movie. And now we’re here and we’re watching The Darkest Hour. Which is weird because probably no one remembers what The Darkest Hour even is. Rest assured, it’s very much set in Moscow. Let’s go!

The Darkest Hour (2011) – BMeTric: 68.2; Notability: 26 

(Oh … this is going to be garbage. It hits 4.9 like a heat-seeking missile. I’m actually a bit surprised, because after Emile Hirsch torpedoed his own career I would have imagined people might go online to pile on his real stinkers.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  In Moscow, a group of young Americans is among the few survivors of an attack by invisible aliens. They have to make their way across the deserted city in hopes of meeting other survivors. Well-made by standard alien-invasion stuff (thank you, H. G. Wells), distinguished primarily by the Moscow locations.

(I’m glad I nailed this actually. I wanted to make sure I watched a good “learning” film and was working through in my mind which alien invasion films make the most sense. I settled on an older adaptation of War of the Worlds because it fit the bill of alien invasion across the globe in insurmountable odds against humanity. Leonard’s little “thank you H.G. Wells” is certainly an allusion to how much of a rip off this film is of that book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgXzLMQuQ6Y/

(Oooof. It just looks bad. There is no way around it, the CGI and effects just look terrible.)

Directors – Chris Gorak – (Known For: Right at Your Door; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Production designer on the smash Stephen Baldwin classic Sub Down. Was the art director for Minority Report and studied architecture before getting into film.)

Writers – Jon Spaihts (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Doctor Strange; Prometheus; Future BMT: Passengers; BMT: The Darkest Hour; The Mummy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Mummy in 2018; Notes: One of the writers of the upcoming Dune film. Passengers was an unproduced script he wrote that made the 2007 blacklist.)

Leslie Bohem (story) – (Known For: Twenty Bucks; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Tracers; Nowhere to Run; Dante’s Peak; House III: The Horror Show; The Alamo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Daylight; Notes: Won an Emmy for the 2002 miniseries Taken. Played bass in the 80s band Gleaming Spires. You’d recognize their song Are You Ready for the Sex Girls.)

M.T. Ahern (story) – (BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: I believe this is Megan Ahern who is the daughter of Emmylou Harris. I have a theory that Ahern came up with the story, Bohem helped her out with it knowing her via some musical connection, and then Spaihts was brought on to finish the shooting script.)

Actors – Emile Hirsch – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Into the Wild; Lone Survivor; Freaks; The Girl Next Door; The Autopsy of Jane Doe; Savages; Alpha Dog; Killer Joe; Lords of Dogtown; Speed Racer; Milk; Never Grow Old; An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn; Taking Woodstock; Prince Avalanche; The Emperor’s Club; 10,000 Saints; The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys; Roxxy; Future BMT: All Nighter; The Outsider; The Air I Breathe; Imaginary Heroes; Venuto al mondo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Amazingly consistent career … well, right up until he was convicted of a pretty grotesque assault of a movie producer in 2015. He’s been blacklisted from what I know, although his recent appearance in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood probably will help him get back on his feet in the coming years.)

Olivia Thirlby – (Known For: No Strings Attached; Juno; Dredd; United 93; Above the Shadows; The Stanford Prison Experiment; The Senator; 5 to 7; Margaret; The Wackness; Solitary Man; Nobody Walks; Snow Angels; Being Flynn; Uncertainty; Between Us; Breaking Upwards; Love Comes Lately; Future BMT: New York, I Love You; Damascus Cover; Just Before I Go; Arlen Faber; Welcome to Happiness; BMT: The Darkest Hour; What Goes Up; The Wedding Ringer; Notes: Married a sound designer she met on the set of Dredd. This was one of her first starring roles.)

Max Minghella – (Known For: The Social Network; Horns; Agora; Into the Forest; The Ides of March; Syriana; 10 Years; About Alex; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Bee Season; Future BMT: The Internship; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Art School Confidential; The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Son of Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for directing The English Patient. Directed the film Teen Spirit starring Elle Fanning which got a limited 4 theater release.)

Budget/Gross – $30,000,000 / Domestic: $21,443,494 (Worldwide: $64,626,786)

(That’s not super great, partially because that $30 million figure was probably quite above the initial budget considering they decided to film in 3D and there were a lot of issues in Russia during production.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (7/59): Devoid of believable characters or convincing visual effects, this may be The Darkest Hour for the careers of all involved.

(Rough, the film is compared unfavorably towards the Transformers sequels. Makes sense though, lots of grinding machine noises without many ideas. Reviewer Highlight: Not since Mark Wahlberg trembled in fear beside a menacing houseplant in The Happening has a film tried to provoke terror with such an unlikely object of menace. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – Bad ‘Tricity

(It’s posters like this that had me going “WTF, mate?” back in 2011 and assuming that we would have watched it for BMT ages ago. Giving me flashbacks to The Avengers. I guess I like the orange color scheme and the russification of the font. C-)

Tagline(s) – Survive The Holidays (C)

The Invasion Begins Christmas Day (D)

(They really went all in on the Christmas release date, didn’t they? I don’t love taglines like these primarily because they are using something wholly separate from the film in order to try to be clever with the tagline. These would be OK for a Christmas film, but I don’t think this is even a secret holiday film… so what’s the point? First is better than the second and would actually be good if it pertained to the film at hand.)

Keyword – end of the world

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Justice League (2017), Interstellar (2014), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Man of Steel (2013)

Future BMT: 65.6 Pulse (2006), 61.0 Legion (2010), 57.5 Little Nicky (2000), 56.1 Spawn (1997), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 48.4 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 44.3 The Reaping (2007), 40.2 End of Days (1999);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Geostorm (2017), Fantastic Four (2015), Hellboy (2019), 2012 (2009), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The 5th Wave (2016), Gods of Egypt (2016), Pixels (2015), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Darkest Hour (2011), Left Behind (2014), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Skyline (2010), R.I.P.D. (2013), Bless the Child (2000)

(Absolutely amazing dip right when this movie is made. I have a feeling I know what it is: the financial crisis. The reasons could be twofold. Mainly I just think disaster films are ultra-expensive so they put all of them on the back burner. But also psychologically I imagine people struggling to find work have no interest in watching films where the world falls apart, so that could be part of it as well. I’m excited for Legion, that looks like a giant pile of shit.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Olivia Thirlby is No. 3 billed in The Darkest Hour and No. 3 billed in What Goes Up, which also stars Steve Coogan (No. 1 billed) who is in Around the World in 80 Days (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jackie Chan (No. 1 billed) who is in The Medallion (No. 1 billed), which also stars John Rhys-Davies (No. 5 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 2 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Suicide Squad, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

Notes – Shot in 3D as opposed to post-conversion. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa)

Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later. Even with this precaution, smoke still made it into a lot of shots and had to be digitally removed in post production.

The involvement of Timur Bekmambetov as producer afforded the production the opportunity of using Russia as a backdrop instead of the usual USA locations. Bekmambetov owns a film production company in Moscow called Bazelevs where most of the movie was made.

Not screened in advance for North American critics.

The crew was made up of about 30% American and 70% Russian.

The boat the refugees use to try to reach the submarine is named “Orca” (spelled “orka” in Cyrillic).

Masters of the Universe Recap

Jamie

Skeletor has conquered Castle Greyskull and He-Man only has until the next moonrise to stop his rise to power. Using a device called the Cosmic Key, he and his friends escape to Earth, but the key is picked up by a couple of teens and Skeletor is hot on their trail. Can He-Man get back to Eternia and stop Skeletor before it’s too late? Find out in… Masters of the Universe.

How?! After years of plotting, Skeletor has finally been able to get past He-Man’s forces to conquer Castle Greyskull. The power will be his once the moon rises and aligns with the Great Eye of the Universe. Wasting no time, He-Man discovers that Skeletor tricked a tiny inventor, Gwildor, into giving him the Cosmic Key, a musical invention capable of opening portals to any time or place. Dismayed, Gwildor helps He-Man use the remaining Cosmic Key prototype to enter the castle, but they find themselves outnumbered and in a desperate moment Gwildor uses the key to transport them to Earth. On Earth they find they have lost the key and begin the hunt. Meanwhile a couple of teens, Kevin and Julie, discover the key while visiting the graves of Julie’s parents who tragically died in a plane accident (somehow this is an important detail). Thinking it’s a musical instrument, Kevin, a gifted musician the likes of which we haven’t seen since Patrick Swayze, takes it to his big show at the prom before deciding that he needs the local music store owner to check it out first. While this is happening, Skeletor sends his minions to Earth to find the Cosmic Key but all they find is Julie. After destroying the school, they are on the verge of murdering her but He-Man steps in and sends them scurrying back to Eternia. Upon returning to the exploded school, Kevin is concerned for Julie, but for some reason he’s arrested by a zealous local cop. But soon they too are attacked by Skeletor’s forces and find themselves in the middle of a battle… for the universe. Descending on the local music store they hunker down to do battle, but Evil-Lyn uses some eeevil magic to trick Julie and get the Cosmic Key. When one last effort fails to stop Skeletor and the key is destroyed, He-Man gives himself up to spare his friends. While he is back in Eternia getting tortured, the rambunctious group teams up to fix the key, return to Eternia, and help He-Man take down Skeletor. With peace returned to the universe, Gwildor returns Julie and Kevin back to Earth to the time just before her parents were killed, allowing her to save them. Hooray! THE END.

Why?! Major MacGuffin alert, obviously, as the motivating factor in the film is the Cosmic Key. With its power to take people to different times and places in the world, it’s a powerful military weapon and allows Skeletor to finally enter and conquer Castle Greyskull. So while the key itself doesn’t confer the power Skeletor desires, it grants him the ability to get the power. The military mind of Skeletor also recognizes that it would also confer similar powers to He-Man, so his only goal is to destroy all the remaining Cosmic Keys. He-Man is just an all around good guy hoping to save the universe. Duh.

Who?! Is it weird that the Sorceress in this ended up playing Courtney Cox’s mom on Friends? Or that Courtney Cox’s mom in this film is also Chris Pine’s actual mom? Or that IMDb claims that Tony Carroll, who played Beastman, died in 1992?… Because I’m pretty sure that isn’t even true. I think they may have confused him with David Carroll.

What?! There are a lot of interesting props beyond the Cosmic Key in this one. I found an interesting site that catalogued all the ones that have gone on sale and the prices over the years. Some are kinda crazy, including the gold Skeletor costume that apparently went for under $1000. So you’re saying I could have been a gold Skeletor for like $700? Sold. No Cosmic Key on there though. There are some forums online that suggest that a toy collector has one of the fully functional Cosmic Key props and occasionally puts it up for private sale. They also mention that it’s exquisitely built… I find that strangely beautiful.

Where?! Julie and Kevin are a couple of California teens, although Julie is about to leave to upgrade to beautiful New Jersey. Interesting note is that originally Wikipedia implied that the film took place in New Jersey, but Patrick went ahead and fixed that glaringly obvious and terrible mistake. Sometimes, you know, you have situations like this that make you wonder about Wikipedia and humanity in general. Overall OK California film, good-to-great Eternia film. B.

When?! While there isn’t anything super specific about when this film takes place, you can be pretty confident that it’s probably sometime around May. It’s prom time and Julie implies that she’s going to skip out on graduation to make an early escape to New Jersey to try to get over the tragedy that has befallen her.

The movie is pretty insane. It’s a classic use of IP to just say, “OK, it’s He-Man… but he’s on Earth for some reason… and also there is a device he needs,” and leave it at that. No more thought seems to be put into the concept of adapting Master of the Universe. I think it looks just crazy enough to be fun and there are particular scenes, mostly involving Courtney Cox, that remind you that they also probably didn’t know what they were doing outside of failing to successfully adapt some IP. The peak of this is her character getting tricked by Evil-Lyn masquerading as her Mom, who had died in a plane crash. Even Evil-Lyn doesn’t seem convinced as she explains that she never was on the plane and survived and Courtney Cox is like “wow” and not like “so where have you been for the last few months?” Add on some super 80’s plot points and I think this is a quite enjoyable BMT film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Masters of the Universe? Well, they certainly aren’t masters of the box office! Heyyoooooooooo. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Long ago when Patrick was but a young child Masters of the Universe would occasionally pop up on cable television. So over the years I probably have seen the entire film in bits and pieces here and there. I’m skeptical I’ve ever actually sat down and watched it though. I obviously remember the Cosmic Key and everything, so it did make a mark in my mind nonetheless. What were my expectations? Unlike when I was a child I now know there was a time in the 80s in which non-companies like Cannon were ripping off films for that sweet IP. So I expected it to be an embarrassing piece of crap. I will say I was particularly interested in Robert Duncan McNeill who played Kevin in the film. He’s one of the stars of Star Trek: Voyager so I wanted to see his acting from when he was a young man just trying to make it in that crazy town called Hollywood.

The Good – All things considered the look of some of the costumes are at least interesting in their cheesy glory. And the film itself is definitely a piece of cinematic history. Cannon Films would soon go bankrupt partially due to this film, so that was probably a good thing for Hollywood as a whole. Cox is actually pretty good. McNeill wasn’t, although his acting was somehow more subtle than it is in Voyager (which I assume is just a consequence of the notoriously intense Star Trek film schedule from the 90s). Lundgren looks super strong. He makes a nice He-Man, especially since the film is garbage so his acting isn’t too much of a liability.

The Bad – The costumes, despite their cheesy glory, are real real bad. It is like with Howard the Duck really. You had a bunch of people wondering whether they could, when they should have been asking whether they should, if you get my drift. The idea of bringing He-Man to Earth is stupid and an obvious ploy to keep the cost down. Hey Cannon, do you know what else would keep costs down? Not trying to adapt effects-heavy IP. Skeletor is the stuff of nightmares, even if Langella maybe brought something impressive to the role. And finally, the B-story about Cox’s dead parents was just wooooooof. Unnecessary, and diverting from He-Man action. It is also a crime that we didn’t get to see Lundgren as Prince Adam. A true travesty.

The BMT – The films got that BMT cred. Notoriously bad, tons of amazing bad straight-to-video stars pretending to be real Hollywood leading actors, and the squandering of truly sweet IP. There is not very much I would ask for beyond that. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, the movie is actually a more entertaining bad movie rewatch than I expected. I expected it to be boring, but in reality there is enough insanity and weirdness to keep things going at a good clip throughout. It’s embarrassing, but only really for Cannon and not really for the others involved … Lundgren has plenty of other things to be embarrassed about than this film.

Roast-radamus – There is just an out of this world Product Placement (What?) in this guy with everyone just chowing down on Burger King in the middle of the film, it’s wild. The film is also a pretty great Setting as a Character (Where?) with everything happening in a very Los Angeles area of Los Angeles. This is one of the quintessential dumb 80s MacGuffins (Why?) with the Cosmic Key which … uh, I guess it just allows you to instantaneously transport around? Sure whatever. And I think this will be a decent contender for BMT as well.

StreetCreditReport.com – The film historians here at BMTHQ can personally attest to how dire the state of wide release films were in 1986 and 1987. We did a whole cycle on 1986 and there are a lot of Masters of the Universe-esque non-films. And it turns out it wasn’t just us that noticed. Here’s an entire article claiming 1987 as the worst year of the blockbuster era of filmmaking! I also think there is a lot of credit to be gleaned from this movie quite literally bankrupting a production company.

You Just Got Schooled – With Masters of the Universe comes an abundance of possible things to school myself on. First, I got just a taste of the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon. He-Man started as just a toy, but then quickly branched into mini-comics and this animated series. Considering how ubiquitous He-Man is to at least my childhood it is quite shocking that the series only ran for a few years. I watched an episode from the second season called The Quest for the Sword which annoyingly did not have Skeletor in it. I have to say … this is like Rambo: The Animated Series level of animation. It is quite crap. But it did confirm that indeed, for some reason people have like lasers, but then He-Man is there with a sword looking like a dope. Because I’m sheltering in place and have nothing better to do on weekends I also watched the Lundgren straight-to-video film Silent Trigger from 1996. I actually really dug this film. It is directed by the same guy as Highlander, and outside of a bunch of weird and mostly bad looking flashbacks, the entire film takes place in a futuristic skyscraper on the night Lundgren is sent to assassinate a political leader. It felt very Highlander (which I also dug), with very cool set designs. It might be a bit odd to say, but this is the type of movie that could be remade into something really interesting if people were looking for sweet IP. B+ if you are into that kind of grungy Highlander style.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Masters of the Universe Quiz

Man, as a He-Man in my He-Man would I can tell you what, I get a ton of concussions. The last thing I remember was something about a Cosmic Key and then Skeletor popped out and bopped me on the head! Do you remember what happened in Masters of the Universe?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What does the Cosmic Key do?

2) How does the crew lose the key while going to Earth?

3) Where is Courtney Cox moving a why? A rough answer will suffice.

4) Why does Cox betray her friends and steal the Cosmic Key?

5)  Ultimately, Skeletor gets the Cosmic Key and makes He-man his slave, leaving Cox to die. The End. Oh, that wasn’t the end? Oh yeah, that’s right they get back to Eternia soon after to save the day. How?

Answers

Masters of the Universe Preview

“Down!” Adrestia shouts as she tackles Rich to the ground. A shot rings out and a window shatters. “Go!” Rich barks and with that they are out the door. They see a man disappear around the corner of the school, but before Rich can pull out his patented Twin Speed, Adrestia is off like a flash. Rich is stunned. Thinking fast, he stops at the nearest soda machine for the unrivaled energy and refreshment of a delicious Mountain Dew. Doing the Dew, Rich is able to catch up to Adrestia just in time to help take down the fleeing shooter. “Nice running,” says Rich and before he can even ask Adrestia points to her legs. Robot legs, of course. At that they unmask the suspect to reveal none other than Alligator Steve! “Of course, it only makes sense it was you all long,” says Rich, but Steve protests and pulls out a badge, “Det. O’Malley, Mate. I swear I wasn’t trying to kill you. I was trying to save my world.” Rich is confused. Save his world? From the gamemaster? And Steve nods. “The gamemaster is pulling all the strings. The rogue cops, the riots, everything. It’s all to stop you from completing the task. And if we don’t stop you he’ll destroy my home… my fambly,” he finishes, descending into a low, emotional growl. Suddenly Steve looks up and his eyes are shining, “but now I see… what’s inside of you. It’s not just my home that is at stake is it?” And Rich shakes his head. With that Steve pulls himself up from the ground and extends his hand, “Crikey, then I’m in… let’s go save the whole universe, Mate.” That’s right! We’re going back in time to our youth to watch the classic action figure turned cartoon turned major motion picture, Masters of the Universe. We are using this as the MacGuffin entry of the cycle as The Cosmic Key is an all-timer when it comes to unexplainable, mostly magical objects of power in cinematic history. So get ready to blast out some sweet synth notes as we jam out to Masters of the Universe. Let’s go!

Masters of the Universe (1987) – BMeTric: 50.1; Notability: 53 

MastersoftheUniverseIMDb_BMeT

MastersoftheUniverseIMDb_RV

(Huh, I wonder why it increased so much in the early 2000s … unclear. Very nice how low it is and is staying. I’ve seen pieces of this film before, at the very least it looks like complete crap.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  He-Man (Lundgren) comes to Earth seeking a key that controls the power of the universe, stolen by cosmic crub Skeletor (unrecognizable Langella); somehow two teen puppy-lovers get involved. Elaborate comic book nonsense (which has had another life in kiddie animation) is dumb but inoffensive.

(I love dumb but inoffensive. That “somehow” is doing some heavy lifting, and can basically be used to describe any ridiculous sci-fi / action B-story issue. Like Pearl Harbor: “Somehow a love triangle becomes the focus of the film.”)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF20B8p4F08/

(Wow, Skeletor’s costume looks even worse than I remembered. Truly horrific. Reminds me of Howard the Duck and The Garbage Pail Kids’ Movie. That level of shooting incredibly far over their budget/technological capabilities at the time.)

Directors – Gary Goddard – (BMT: Masters of the Universe; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Tarzan the Ape Man in 1982; Notes: He founded Landmark Entertainment Group for which he directed many of the biggest theme park videos (T-2 3D, Jurassic Park intro, etc.))

Writers – David Odell (written by) – (Known For: The Dark Crystal; Future BMT: Supergirl; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Notes: He wrote on the Muppet Show in the 80s and wrote on a few other Muppet things over the years. He seems to have effectively retired in 1990.)

Stephen Tolkin (rewrite) (uncredited) – (Future BMT: Captain America; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Notes: Mostly wrote for television. His brother, Michael, was nominated for an Oscar for The Player, and his father was an Emmy nominated comedy write from the 50s all the way into the 80s.)

Gary Goddard (rewrite) (uncredited) – (Future BMT: Tarzan the Ape Man; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Tarzan the Ape Man in 1982; Notes: He created a Captain Power television program prior to Masters of the Universe which he wrote on. It was canceled after one season.)

Actors – Dolph Lundgren – (Known For: Aquaman; Creed II; Hail, Caesar!; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Don’t Kill It; Future BMT: Red Scorpion; The Punisher; Black Water; Skin Trade; The Peacekeeper; Showdown in Little Tokyo; Dark Angel; A View to a Kill; Small Apartments; Rocky IV; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Johnny Mnemonic; Universal Soldier; The Expendables 3; Notes: A world class kickboxer, he also has an advanced degree in Chemical Engineering. Apparently he still does some work with his brother who is a scientist.)

Frank Langella – (Known For: Captain Fantastic; Lolita; Red Dragon; Noah; The Ninth Gate; Superman Returns; Unknown; Small Soldiers; Muppets Most Wanted; Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; Draft Day; Frost/Nixon; Dave; The Box; Good Night, and Good Luck.; 5 to 7; The Tale of Despereaux; Robot & Frank; Dracula; The Prophet; Future BMT: Junior; Eddie; Cutthroat Island; Grace of Monaco; And God Created Woman; All Good Things; Bad Company; Brainscan; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Sweet November; The Caller; BMT: Body of Evidence; Masters of the Universe; Notes: Started out as an acclaimed Broadway actor, winning a Tony for his role in Seascape in 1975. Nominated for an Oscar for Frost/Nixon.)

Meg Foster – (Known For: Overlord; They Live; 31; The Lords of Salem; The Emerald Forest; Blind Fury; The Osterman Weekend; Ticket to Heaven; The Minus Man; Relentless; Future BMT: Jeepers Creepers 3; Leviathan; Best of the Best II; Stepfather II; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Notes: We’ve actually seen her before in a Friend of BMT, Future Kick. She starred in that film. She had quite the straight-to-video career in the early 90s.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $17,336,370 (Worldwide: $17,336,370)

(An unmitigated disaster that apparently helped Cannon Films to go under. So that, maybe, is a net positive? I kid, but for real every Cannon film I’ve seen looks like garbage, so I wasn’t surprised to hear they produced this movie.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (4/23): Masters of the Universe is a slapdash adaptation of the He-Man mythos that can’t overcome its cynical lack of raison d’etre, no matter how admirably Frank Langella throws himself into the role of Skeletor.

(I just love the stories about Langella in this. He either hated working on this or loved it. He either thought everything was trash or he loved it. Mixed signals from everyone. It’s going to sound obvious but I think he may have done this movie for one reason: $$$. Reviewer Highlight: The result is a colossal bore. – Variety)

Poster – Masters of the MacGuffinverse (C+)

masters_of_the_universe

(This poster is really telling a story… and it’s not a great one. It seems like if I were a huge fan of Masters of the Universe I would probably be like “just please don’t make it the case that He-Man and the gang are transported to Earth for some reason.” Then I would see the poster and be like “well, Shit.” Spacing is bad and too much going on, but some nice on-brand font and general blue tone. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I was going for speed in this case, and I came in at just around 60-70 minutes. Which is quite good. It took me about 50 minutes for the words, and then the face went pretty quickly. Not the best face I’ve done, but again, this one was for speed and I think looks pretty good.)

Tagline(s) – A battle fought in the stars, now… comes to Earth. (D)

(Lol, what? If you think about the synopsis of the cartoon, all events take place in a relatively small kingdom of Eternia. So when was the battle fought in the stars? They aren’t in spaceships or anything. This feels very much like “let’s get those Star Wars butts in the seats,” and I don’t appreciate that.)

Keyword – based on toy

MastersoftheUniverse_based on toy

Top 10: The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Trolls (2016), Bumblebee (2018), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Transformers (2007), The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019), The Lego Movie (2014), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), UglyDolls (2019)

Future BMT: 65.0 Max Steel (2016), 57.1 Jem and the Holograms (2015), 41.0 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), 37.4 UglyDolls (2019), 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), 27.9 Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), 2.6 Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Masters of the Universe (1987), Bratz (2007), Ouija (2014)

(Amazing. Basically bad production companies like Cannon producing schlock in the 80s. After those companies went under the big production houses knew better in the 90s. And then Transformers changed the game again in the 2000s. Looks to be slowing in the last decade. A lot of the future BMT I’ve actually already seen, although I am excited for Max Steel and Jem and the Holograms.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Dolph Lundgren is No. 1 billed in Masters of the Universe and No. 8 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 8 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Zoom we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – The Throne Room set of Castle Grayskull was originally two large, adjoining sound stages. The wall between the sets was knocked down to make one gigantic sound stage. At that time, this was the largest set Hollywood had seen in over 40 years.

Frank Langella went on record in an interview stating that playing Skeletor was one of his favorite roles. His young son was a huge fan and was running around the house shouting “By the power of Grayskull,” so he took the role for him. He wrote some of his own lines, like: “Tell me about the loneliness of good, He-Man. Is it equal to the loneliness of evil?”

Anthony De Longis trained Dolph Lundgren in the use of a sword. He also choreographed the sword fight between He-Man and Blade and the climatic duel between He-Man and Skeletor. De Longis also played Skeletor during the final fight, instead of Frank Langella.

Mattel, the toy company that produced the original He-Man toys, ran a contest where the winner would get a role in the new He-Man movie. The production was under a great deal of pressure to finish in time and under budget, so director Gary Goddard had to squeeze the contest winner into the shoot. The winner, Richard Szponder, is Pigboy, who hands Skeletor his staff when he returns from Earth. He was even listed in the ending credits. (Ha, funny)

Dolph Lundgren said in a French magazine that working on this film was “a nightmare”. The shooting schedule was five months, including two months of night shooting. He said he was approached to do a sequel during shooting, and he turned down the offer. However in an interview with the IO9 website promoting The Expendables (2010), Lundgren said he would return to appear in a new “Masters of the Universe” movie, as either a cameo or He-Man.

A script for the sequel, to be titled “Masters of the Universe 2: Cyborg” was written. It followed He-Man, who returned to Earth to battle Skeletor, who had left Earth a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The film was to feature Trap Jaw and She-Ra, and Albert Pyun was hired to direct. Because the film bombed at the box office, Mattel and Cannon decided to cancel production on the sequel. Pyun rewrote the script, which became Cyborg (1989).

Mattel, which owned and produced the “Masters of the Universe” toyline, mandated early in production that He-Man could not kill anyone on screen. That’s why Skeletor’s troops are robots. (Basically the same thing with Disney properties now. They always kill like … clones and robots, or mindless aliens or something)

Meg Foster said that she based her character on Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. In the film’s beginning, she is a pantomime villainess but obviously deeply in love with Skeletor. As the storyline progresses, she gradually comes to realise that he does not truly care for her. In the end, she abandons him to his fate, her withdrawal of her forces leads to his eventual defeat. In Foster’s opinion, the character progresses from evildoer to scorned woman to tragic heroine.

A total of three working Cosmic Key props were built for the film, each personally constructed by Richard Edlund. The props were extremely fragile and broke down easily, so a special team of prop technicians had to be on hand at all times to repair damage during filming. As of 2012, they are valued at $6,000 each.

Because of financial difficulties, Cannon Cinema made a decision to discontinue all filming three days before its scheduled end, leaving the movie in a quandary. All the climactic scenes were completed bar the final battle and resolution between He-Man and Skeletor. After two months, the Cannon Cinema executives allowed director Gary Goddard to film the ending in a complete, albeit rushed manner.

Production designer William Stout took an existing fast food stand in Lake View Terrace and transformed this into “Robby’s Ribs ‘n’ Chicken” where Julie Winston works. According to Stout, the same fast food place was later the site of the infamous Rodney King beating. (That is a wild fact)

At the 1987 Cannes Festival press conference, producer Menahem Golan announced that lead actor Dolph Lundgren was set to reprise his role as He-Man and that he had already signed on for two more movies. However, Lundgren refused to reprise his role when he was offered it while filming Red Scorpion (1988) and went on record in a 1989 interview with Comics Scene magazine that he felt playing He-Man was his “lowest point as an actor”. His role was recast with surfer Laird Hamilton but the “Masters of the Universe” sequel ultimately never happened. (Wild, that guy ended up not really acting in anything)

The character Gwildor was created to replace Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). (Obviously)

The original budget of $17 million increased to $22 million and this became Cannon Films’ most expensive film.

During production, Gary Goddard developed Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (1987) which premiered on American television the same year as the release of Masters of the Universe (1987). (Uh …. Do I watch that then? No, surely I watch some of the He-man cartoon instead …)

In the official “Masters of the Universe” comic book adaptation, an alternate ending is used that was written for the movie but never filmed. In the comic, after the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor, Man-At-Arms comes from the depths of Castle Grayskull carrying a NASA and United States flag. The NASA flag has “Starfinder 5. July 10, 2221” written on it, revealing that the first humans on Eternia were actually from a future American space mission. (WHAAAAAA)

Cannon Films originally had plans to make a Spider-Man movie but opted instead to take the money and split it in two for two other films: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) and Masters of the Universe. The plan was to take the profits from both movies and make a large-budget Spider-Man movie. Both movies bombed at the box-office and the Cannon-produced Spider-Man movie never materialized.

Gary Goddard came up with the idea of Skeletor in a bottomless pit filled with bubbling red water at the very end of the film. After filming the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor which took one day to shoot. Gary Goddard told Frank Langella his idea for the very end of the film and that Frank Langella approved. Boss Studios prepared a vat of bubbling red liquid and Gary Goddard walked Frank Langella in full costume and make up to the vat of bubbling liquid and told him that “You get there in full make up and costume and you pop up and says “I’LL BE BACK!”. And they got the shot and this was the last shot of the day.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Billy Barty, 1988)

The Island of Dr. Moreau Recap

Jamie

When UN negotiator Edward Douglas’ plane crashes in the Pacific he is rescued and taken to the reclusive Island of Dr. Moreau. He soon learns that Dr. Moreau has used his big ol’ brain to create an animal-human tribe that regards him as a god… but not for long. Can Edward escape the island (and purr-haps find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Island of Dr. Moreau.

How?! Edward Douglas is in for a house of horrors when his UN plane crashes in the Pacific on its way to peace negotiation. First, his fellow companions fight to the death over the lack of rations on their lifeboat (not ideal), then he gets picked up by a crazy scientist, Mongomery, who looks shockingly like Val Kilmer (crazy, right?), and finally when he is delivered to safety on an island he finds it occupied by horrific animal-human hybrids created by the obviously and completely crazy Dr. Moreau (not the best). Weirdly, Dr. Moreau seems like a comparably normal guy next to Montgomery, who spends his time preventing Edward’s rescue and partying with the animal monsters. From here the film descends into chaos as Edward vacillates between complete horror one moment to almost resignation the next, all while palling around with Dr. Moreau’s cat-human daughter Aissa. When the punishment of one of the animal-humans ends up in death, his hyena-hybrid friend is distraught and on inspection of his corpse discovers the source of their control by Dr. Moreau. He is able to remove it from his own body and thus begins a mutiny against Dr. Moreau. Confronting him in his house they question their own creation at his hands and then subsequent relegation to their distant village. When Dr. Moreau attempts to resort again to punishment they kill him and take over the compound. Montgomery at first attempts to stop them, but then eventually destroys the serum that prevents them from going full animal and implants himself as the god. But the hyena-hybrid is having none of that and has him and Aissa killed and Edward brought to him. Edward is able to trick the animal-humans into fighting amongst themselves, which results in the deaths of the aggressors. The remaining animal-humans let Edward leave on a boat so they can live in peace. THE END. Big Question: Who hurt this film most, Val Kilmer or Marlon Brando (hint: Kilmer).

Why?! Wow, this is certainly an interesting question. Edward is mostly motivated by escape, but he seems incredibly relaxed throughout the film given what is happening. The only explanation is that he is a UN peace negotiator, so perhaps there is a moment where he realizes his only chance of survival is to use his skillz. That probably entails being calm and collected despite any level of pressure. Montgomery and Moreau are just insane and motivated by their own egomania and delusion.

Who?! I feel like every once in a while we make a discovery in one of these categories that I didn’t even know was possible. When they show that Dr. Moreau won a Nobel Prize all of a sudden I’m like, “wait, how many fake Nobel Prize winners have we seen in BMT before?” Well here’s to our first and hopefully not our last (the next will come sooner than you think).

What?! I’m shocked to see that there isn’t a crazy number of props available from this film. I can only find one measly piece of Ron Perlman’s staff, and that ain’t no fun. I literally want a full Dr. Moreau costume and apparently no amount of money can accomplish that for me. Harumph.

Where?! We are on some random island in the Pacific. Presumably it’s under no real jurisdiction considering it’s only inhabited by Dr. Moreau, Montgomery, and their creations. This will almost certainly hold the spot for “Unknown Location in the Pacific” for some future mapl.de.map. I give it a B even though it’s unnamed. They are pretty clear we’re on Dr. Moreau’s island.

When?! Now this was interesting. It’ll end up coming in at a C- at best, but on wikipedia they claim the film takes place in 2010. Which is just bizarre because it is not made clear in any which way. I suspected this was from some version of the script, as this film is a super famous disaster so people would have interest in reading original scripts, and Patrick found one. Weirdly this script actually says the film took place in 2007, but that the story is being recounted in 2010. And yet there it is on Wikipedia.

I’m fairly certain that without Kilmer and some obvious and unnecessary Producer meddling, this film could have been a success. The costumes are pretty incredible and the (original) director, Richard Stanley, certainly had a vision that he set up and then almost immediately couldn’t put to screen. Watching the documentary about the film, it seemed like the producers panicked after Brando took a shine to Stanley and began the process of destroying the film. Once he was fired you get the sense that they just wanted to finish the film ASAP and as a result it’s just a super rushed mess of a narrative. They also don’t really take advantage of Brando, who is off the wall, but in a way that could have been interesting if used better. Same for Kilmer, except he seems the more destructive of the two given his role in the film. David Thewlis just seems sad to be there. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this movie I would call it The Island of Dr. Moreau … because it is based on a book. What else could I call it? The Island of Creepy Half-Animal People? I guess that does explain what it is about a bit better. Whatever, Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I had definitely seen this film before, but all I could really remember was being supremely creeped out by the animal people … which was probably the point. Other than that, Marlon Brando’s performance is legendary, although prior to this viewing I didn’t quite realize that Val Kilmer was considered the real problem actor on set. Makes sense his career started to tumble in the 2000s. What were my expectations? Off the wall b-b-b-b-bonker shit. That’s about it, this is considered one of the more confounding and strange bad movies ever made. So much so, they made a whole documentary about the making of the film.

The Good – The film has a lot of interesting ideas, as do most adaptations of The Island of Dr. Moreau (obviously). They transition quite seamlessly from the original concept of the book (something like a elixir that allows transitions between animals and humans … a very pre-genetics idea) to the much more scientifically motivated animal-human hybrid idea (which reeks of eugenics debates essentially). The adaptation doesn’t really suffer from the modernization of ideas, it is just that the movie around it is a complete mess. 

The Bad – Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando are competing on who can chew up the scenery faster. The animal costumes are so disturbing (especially in the odd shanty town set) that it makes the film almost impossible to enjoy. The film devolves into darkness so quickly that in the back half it is almost impossible to see what is really happening or where anyone is. Ultimately the film sinks under the weight of the botched production, a mishmash of ideas all spliced together in some gross adaptation-original hybrid … man I wish I was a reviewer in 1996, that is a bomb closing line for a review.

The BMT – It’s a classic for a reason. This is likely one of the quintessential troubled production bad movies. Brando’s performance is a legend, and it is the peak of managing to try both practical (the costuming) and CGI (… some disturbing shots of the animals jumping around) and getting both profoundly incorrect. It is actually a little better than you might think though, just because the ideas themselves are solid. If not for the production difficulties it might have met some mixed reviews. Did it meet my expectations? Certainly. It was b-b-b-b-bonkers shit, and is a confounding and strange bad movie. I was surprised at how much sense it made though, that made it all the more pleasant to watch.

Roast-radamus – Oddly this film gets almost no award consideration. There is no product placement, there is no secret holiday or coherent setting. No one really has a direct and clear motivation even (!). I’ll give it a small Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious combo-twist of Thewlis finding out he was brought to the island intentionally so that his genetic code could be used, and the obvious and inevitable reveal that Fairuza Balk is part cat. It is going to get closest to BMT in the end as a supremely entertaining bad movie.

StreetCreditReport.com – This film came out in a month that has been written about as one of the worst ever … well it has by another blog. Surprisingly, Siskel and Ebert didn’t put it in their worst ten of 1996. But when you have a documentary made about how troubled the production is that is credit enough. This could very well be the worst animal-human creepfest ever … wait, nope, we just watched Cats didn’t we? So this could be the second creepiest animal-human hybrid film.

You Just Got Schooled – For this I had a few choices. I could read the book, but I already had at some point, plus it takes too long. I could have watched one of the original old adaptations, but those would be hard to find. There is also a making of documentary, but I didn’t want to watch that before watching the actual film. So naturally I went for the 1977 adaptation with Burt Lancaster as Dr. Moreau, and Michael York (whom you might know as Basil from the Austin Powers series) in the lead role. The film is quite good, if very old fashioned for the time. With Close Encounters and Star Wars coming out the same year, this film comes across as more of a 60s film than anything else. The ideas are excellent though, and it was interesting to watch both adaptations back to back. I’m convinced at least two sets in the 1996 film are homages to the 1977 film (the staircase up to Thewlis’ room, and a creek looking out to the ocean near where Thewlis arrives on the island). Being able to possibly recognize that makes watching the film worthwhile. B- adaptation of the story. Closer to the original vision, but old-fashioned and thus a bit boring for modern tastes.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Island of Dr. Moreau Quiz

Hmmm, last thing I remember I was in a plane crash on my way to help resolve a conflict with Indonesia. After that everything is a blank … I mean, I obviously remember the animal people, but besides that, I remember nothing. Do you remember The Island of Dr. Moreau?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) There were two other survivors of the plane crash alongside the main character. How did they die?

2) When he arrives on Dr. Moreau’s island Montgomery, played by Val Kilmer at peak scenery chewing glory, locks him in an upper floor room “for his own good”. But Thewlis escapes. What does he witness after escaping, prior to being saved by the alluring young woman he met earlier.

3) What are the three laws of the beast people?

4) How many true “children” does Moreau have? What animals are the combination of?

5) What was Montgomery / Dr. Moreau’s intention with Thewlis, why did they bring him to the island?

Answers

The Island of Dr. Moreau Preview

“A clue!” exclaims Detective Cross (a.k.a. Poe) looking closely at a shrub. The goblins, Sorsaron, and Brawl all gasp as they too notice the map hanging in the branches. A map that appears to show the exact burial spot of the Crown of Blizarion. “Hmmm, convenient,” concurs Detective Criss (a.k.a. Rich). Everything seems to have lined up quite nicely for the detectives. They didn’t have to break out even one patented Twin Chop or standing backflip… suspiciously convenient. As they make their way to the supposed hiding spot of the crown Rich has a sudden realization. “What if, my dear Cross, the crown was never stolen at all?” Everyone is puzzled at the theory, but Poe is picking up what he’s putting down, “Ah, you mean…” suddenly he whirls on Sorsaron and Brawln, “they were the culprits in the first place!” (what a twist!) Sorsaron gulp and babble nervously but break under the drop-dead gorgeous minds of the detectives. “Stupendous,” Brawln marvels, “and exactly what we hoped would happen.” Rich and Poe are confused and only become more bewildered as Brawln unburies the Crown and easily snaps it in half. “A mere bauble,” he explains, “but necessary to prove to the goblins that you were capable of the real task.” (what a double twist!) “You see,” he continues, “long ago the gamemaster stole something from the goblins, something that would close the well worn path that brought us here. This something would return us to our world and defeat the gamemaster, thus saving your world as well. It’s what we in the biz call a… win-win.” Rich and Poe are intrigued. “What and where?” they ask. “The Staff of Gabragorn,” Sorsaron explains, “the Isle of Killmore. But be careful, the Honorable Dr. Killmore… is quite insane.” That’s right! We are watching a true classic in The Island of Dr. Moreau. I remember watching this as a kid and finding it pretty creepy. I’m sure I’ll be less creeped out now that I’m older. *Takes a looks at some screenshots of the animal-humans* Nevermind. This is based on the book by H. G. Wells, which has been adapted a couple of times for film. It also feels like we’re getting close to someone thinking it’ll be a good idea to adapt again… excellent. Let’s go!

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) – BMeTric: 73.1; Notability: 47 

TheIslandofDrMoreauIMDb_BMeT

TheIslandofDrMoreauIMDb_RV

(It is actually a bit confusing that it is arriving significantly above the low-4.0s. That is obviously insanely bad. But this film is insanely bad. I’ve seen it multiple times in pieces on cable. It is so weird and bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Heavy-handed retelling of H.G. Wells’ novel, as Thewlis is rescued at sea and brought to Dr. Moreau’s island, where he’s horrified to discover experiments turning animals into humans. Grotesque in the extreme, obvious, and ultimately pointless, but Brando devotees will want to check out his flamboyantly silly performance, and makeup buffs should admire Stan Winston’s remarkable creations.

(I enjoy that Leonard managed to find the good among the bad here. Obviously 1.5 stars is very bad, but there are absurdly amusing things to see in the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJP3cb2RcII/

(Holy shit! We’ve been having a debate for like four days about what year this takes place. The Wikipedia page suggested 2010, but nowhere in the actual movie did it seem to say it. The script, which you can find online (I have no idea if it is real) suggests the year is 2007. But then, here it is. This trailer says 2010. As the only explicitly public mention of a date I would assume the 2010 date it thus canon. Wild.)

Directors – John Frankenheimer – (Known For: Ronin; The Manchurian Candidate; Seconds; Seven Days in May; The Train; Grand Prix; Birdman of Alcatraz; Black Sunday; 52 Pick-Up; French Connection II; The Iceman Cometh; The Challenge; All Fall Down; The Fixer; The Young Savages; The Fourth War; Future BMT: Reindeer Games; Prophecy; Year of the Gun; Dead Bang; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: A good friend of RFK, he was originally reported to have also been shot at the Ambassador Hotel the night RFK was assassinated.)

Richard Stanley – (Known For: Color Out of Space; Hardware; The Theatre Bizarre; Future BMT: Dust Devil; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: Was fired four days into production, the details of which is described in the documentary about the making of this film.)

Writers – H.G. Wells (novel) – (Known For: War of the Worlds; The Time Machine; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Invisible Man; The War of the Worlds; Dead of Night; Island of Lost Souls; First Men in the Moon; Things to Come; The Invisible Man Returns; The Invisible Man’s Revenge; Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man; The Passionate Friends; The Man Who Could Work Miracles; Future BMT: Empire of the Ants; The Food of the Gods; Village of the Giants; The Time Machine; War of the Worlds: Goliath; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Notes: Y’all know H.G. Wells, a quintessential voice in science fiction literature. His grandson, Simon Wells, directed The Time Machine.)

Richard Stanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Color Out of Space; Hardware; The Theatre Bizarre; Future BMT: The Abandoned; Dust Devil; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: Color Out of Space is the adaptation of the story by notorious racist H.P. Lovecraft which stars Nic Cage. It is supposed to be quite good, and that it likely the kind of crazy visuals Stanley wanted to bring to this film which got him fired.)

Ron Hutchinson (screenplay) – (BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: He’s written a crazy amount of television. I think he was a producer who was probably brought in to adapt Stanley’s script on the fly after he got fired. Just a guess.)

Actors – David Thewlis – (Known For: Legend; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Wonder Woman; The Big Lebowski; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; The New World; The Theory of Everything; Seven Years in Tibet; War Horse; RED 2; DragonHeart; Macbeth; Naked; James And The Giant Peach; The Zero Theorem; Anomalisa; Future BMT: The Omen; Regression; London Boulevard; The Fifth Estate; Justice League; Total Eclipse; The Trial; The Inner Life of Martin Frost; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; The Island of Dr. Moreau; Timeline; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2, and The Omen; Notes: )

Marlon Brando – (Known For: The Godfather; Apocalypse Now; Superman; Last Tango in Paris; The Score; A Streetcar Named Desire; On the Waterfront; Guys and Dolls; Candy; One-Eyed Jacks; Don Juan DeMarco; The Missouri Breaks; Mutiny on the Bounty; The Wild One; The Freshman; The Chase; Sayonara; A Countess from Hong Kong; Viva Zapata!; Julius Caesar; Future BMT: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery; Free Money; The Formula; The Brave; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1981 for The Formula; and in 1993 for Christopher Columbus: The Discovery; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: )

Val Kilmer – (Known For: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot; Heat; Top Gun; True Romance; Willow; Real Genius; Tombstone; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Top Secret!; The Prince of Egypt; Song to Song; Deja Vu; Kill the Irishman; The Doors; The Ghost and the Darkness; MacGruber; Bad Lieutenant; The Missing; The Super; Palo Alto; Future BMT: Twixt; The Traveler; Alexander; Red Planet; Planes; Delgo; 5 Days of War; Hard Ca$h; The Real McCoy; Masked and Anonymous; The Saint; At First Sight; Mindhunters; 10th & Wolf; Wonderland; Stateside; Summer Love; BMT: The Love Guru; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Snowman; Batman Forever; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for The Saint in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1997 for The Ghost and the Darkness, and The Island of Dr. Moreau; and in 2005 for Alexander; Notes: )

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,663,982 (Worldwide: $49,627,779)

(Unmitigated disaster. I’m actually a bit surprised they managed to make the film for less than $50 million, this has a Cutthroat Island level disaster vibe to me, but it is only a modest financial disaster.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (8/33): Timid and unfocused in its storytelling, The Island Of Dr. Moreau is more lackluster misfire than morbid curiosity.

(Rotten Tomatoes trying to make clear this film is not so bad it’s good. I’m pretty happy with a misfire honestly, the disastrous production is funny in itself. Reviewer Highlight: )

Poster – The Island of Dr. Sklogenstein (C+)

island_of_dr_moreau_ver2

(I like the green. Very Rosemary’s Baby. Needed better font and probably needs to do a bit more to convey what the audience is in for (hint: it’s a wild ride). But have to give Brando props. Always impressive when an actor manages to be on the poster twice.)

Tagline(s) – Through DNA experimentation Dr. Moreau has upset the balance of nature. By turning animals into humans, he’s turned heaven into hell. (D-)

(I can actually imagine that Brando wrote this himself. That’s not a good thing. It’s insane. Bumped it from an F just because it does have strange mesmerizing cadance to it.)

Keyword – mutant

TheIslandofDr.Moreau_mutant

Top 10: Suicide Squad (2016), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Deadpool 2 (2018), Deadpool (2016), Logan (2017), Annihilation (2018), Toy Story (1995), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), Overlord (2018)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 84.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 57.6 The Fly II (1989), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.0 Graveyard Shift (1990), 50.0 Masters of the Universe (1987);

BMT: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Super Mario Bros. (1993), I Am Number Four (2011), Epic Movie (2007), Judge Dredd (1995), Double Dragon (1994), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Troll (1986), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(This is a really fun plot. You can see how mutant films prior to 2000 were like this. The Fly, Double Dragon, Judge Dredd. The mutants are kind of monster bad guys. And then in 2000 you get X-Men and all of the comic book films where they are the good guys in much larger films. I’m skeptical Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has a “mutant” in it though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Val Kilmer is No. 2 billed in The Island of Dr. Moreau and No. 1 billed in Batman Forever, which also stars Tommy Lee Jones (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 3 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch At First Sight, and The Replacement Killers we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – After being fired by the studio, original director Richard Stanley was rumored to have prevailed upon the makeup crew to turn him into one of the background mutants, so that he could at least keep tabs on the making of his dream project. He supposedly did not unmask himself until the wrap party. (That’s insane)

Marlon Brando wore a small radio receiver to aid him remembering his lines. Co-star David Thewlis claimed “He’d be in the middle of a scene and suddenly he’d be picking up police messages and Marlon would repeat, ‘There’s a robbery at Woolworths’.” (A British joke BTW. There was surely filmed in some remote jungle somewhere, right?)

Val Kilmer described the shoot as “crazy”. Marlon Brando was still recovering from his daughter’s suicide. The day production started, the French government set off an underwater atomic bomb near Tahiti, where Brando owned an atoll. Kilmer turned on the TV and learned that he was getting divorced. Two days later, the studio fired director Richard Stanley due to their concerns over the film’s direction. John Frankenheimer who was hired to replace Stanley, clashed with Brando, Kilmer, and studio executives from the start about the film’s direction. (This is all in the documentary I’m going to eventually watch about this film)

When Val Kilmer encountered Richard Stanley during the wrap-party, he apologised for costing the director his job. Marlon Brando later offered to compensate Stanley. To his regret, he didn’t take it.

Richard Stanley had spent four years developing the project, only to be fired after four days.

Richard Stanley had been offered his full fee on condition that he left the production quietly and did not speak about his sacking, so his disappearance caused consternation at New Line, who feared he might try to sabotage the filming. His removal also predictably sent shock waves through the cast and crew. An outraged Fairuza Balk stormed off the set after a heated exchange with the New Line executives, and then reportedly had a production assistant drive her all the way from Cairns to Sydney – a distance of some 2500 km- in a rented limousine. However, by her own account, Balk’s agent then warned her in blunt terms that the studio would ruin her, and that she would never work in films again if she broke her contract, so she was soon forced to return to the set.

Richard Stanley said of Val Kilmer: “He’d do [the lines] but he’d throw it all away. And he kept insisting on odd bits and pieces of his wardrobe that didn’t make sense, like a piece of blue material wrapped around his arm. It was like, ‘Why is that around his arm, and will he take it off?'” (It is crazy that these notes seem to suggest Kilmer was worse than Brando during the shoot)

Marco Hofschneider’s part was originally much bigger. His role was cut down because Val Kilmer didn’t want to be upstaged by him. Then Marlon Brando became obsessed with Nelson de la Rosa, the world’s smallest man, and insisted the script be revised. Some of Hofschneider’s scenes were given to De La Rosa. (WTF!)

Due to the many problems with the production, and the evident ongoing attempts by both Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer to sabotage it, the location shooting eventually stretched from a scheduled six weeks to almost six months, and the atmosphere on the production became almost a mirror of the plot of the movie, with the long-suffering cast and crew becoming more and more alienated by and hostile towards its megalomaniacal co-stars and their tyrannical director.

Rob Morrow spent a couple days on set to shoot his scenes as Edward Douglas but became unhappy with the production and its increasing lack of direction. Wanting to get back home to Los Angeles for his family, Morrow called New Line Cinema chairman Bob Shaye and pleaded to be released from the role, which Shaye honoured.

When David Thewlis arrived onset, Marlon Brando said to him, “Go home, David. This is not a good film to work on. It’s cursed”.

Val Kilmer felt obligated to ask Marlon Brando’s permission to “impersonate” him for the scenes where Montgomery imitates Moreau.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Marlon Brando, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Edward R. Pressman, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Val Kilmer, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Frankenheimer, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Richard Stanley, Ron Hutchinson, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Marlon Brando, Nelson de la Rosa, 1997)

Replicas Recap

Jamie

Dr. William Foster is a super genius working to try to transfer the consciousness of humans into robots post-death. However, when his family is involved in a car wreck, guess what he does? That’s right, grow clones of them and transfer their concionesses into them. Can the world stop this mad man before it’s too late… wait, he’s the good guy?! Find out in… Replicas.

How?! Dr. William Foster has a big ‘ol brain and is tasked with figuring out how to transfer the consciousness of dead humans into robots. Everything is going wrong, though, and the robots are ripping themselves apart in despair following the transfer (not ideal). In the midst of this frustration, William and his family go off for a holiday boating trip only to crash on the way, killing everyone but William (also not ideal). Looking at the dead bodies of his family he decides to call his friend Ed in order to try to do the impossible: clone his family and transfer their consciousnesses into the new bodies. At this point we all know William is insane and yet the movie goes on. Ed helps him grow the clones, however he doesn’t have enough tanks so he can’t grow a body for his younger daughter (a lot of not ideal things going on). Instead of looking in the mirror and being like “oh wait, this is insane and I should stop,” he instead erases the memory of his daughter from his family’s brains… which just simply does not make sense… and yet the movie continues. Against all odds he figures out the issues with the transfer and is able to bring (most of) his family back, but almost immediately they are like “wait, why have I seemingly been asleep for two weeks and also feel like a clone and kinda remember having another daughter/sister?” At this point William spills the beans to his wife in hopes to figure it all out, but unfortunately the president of the company he works for also shows up and is like “oh BTW, we knew you were doing this and you better give us all the techmology or else you’ll be in trouble because you are a mad scientist monster.” William refuses and goes on the run, only to have his family captured by the company through the deceit of Ed. In the final climax he transfers his own consciousness into a robot that then comes in and totally owns the president because he’s a robot. The film ends with William enjoying his life with his clone family but also being a robot running an evil company… almost as if there would be a sequel where he has to battle his evil replica… but nah. THE END. Big Question: Have we really reached a point where we are expected to root for a character that would previously have been viewed as a monstrous madman?   

Why?! Clearly the motivation for William is to get his family back, while the motivation of the company is to sell immortality to the highest bidder (and not in fact save soldiers from combat fatalities like advertised). However, we never really get a good idea for why William does all the crazy and illogical steps along the way… like why is erasing Zoe from memories the best plan? Seems destined to fail the instant anyone in their lives are like “Yo, where’s Zoe?” and then all the clones would explode (probably). And indeed it does immediately blow up in his face. So I guess we just chalk all the stupid stuff up to his grief and move on.

Who?! Middleditch is arguably a Planchett, but is far too respected and competent to really count. There is an interesting “thanks for your help and support” credit to Andres Rivera, who is a long time caterer/chef (worked on Weekend at Bernies II, so you know he’s in demand). He has on occasion helped with location work on some films and it seems like that would be the case here.

What?! Apple is everywhere in this film, from phones to laptops. It’s always hard to tell whether this is true product placement or just the fact that realistically there would be a number of Apple products around in any situation. The only reason that I think it’s true product placement is that there is significant literature on Apple’s product placement strategy since the mid-90’s and this seems like a perfect example of a film they would target. 

Where?! A settings bonanza here as we are immediately informed that for whatever reason the film is set in Puerto Rico. They even kind of make a big deal that Keanu dragged his family down to Puerto Rico in order to work for the super advanced scientific medical company. B+.

When?! A double settings bonanza on this one as we also get a Secret Holiday Film Alert! Part way through the film a teacher swings by the house and Keanu has to make up some reason why it seems like he probably murdered his family. At the end of the conversation she’s like “oh, happy holidays” and I was like “what?!” Then later the whole fam goes Christmas tree shopping together. This is a holiday film! A-. Oh, and this has to be set in the future… I mean, they grow humans in tanks and barely blink an eye.

Boy, this is a mess. The whole film looks terrible, in particular the robots, and then the plot begs so many questions it’s hard to take it seriously. Keanu is either a monster or insane from the get-go and makes a series of bizarre decisions that left me wondering why we were supposed to believe he was some world-changing super genius, let alone root for him to succeed. By the end you just have to shrug and let it be. It’s likely that it’s the worst thing I watched this year. It was very hard to get through and difficult to understand why it existed and why they decided to release it to theaters rather than just sell it off to streaming. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Replicas? More like Replican’ts, amirite? It felt like I needed a classic for this Keanu classic. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know much about this film beyond that it started off the year strong with a solid January BMT offering. The preview revealed that the films had a very delayed release (I don’t really know why, maybe to recut it after Keanu had his little comeback with John Wick? Or maybe because of Hurricane Maria.), which is always promising. What were my expectations? My impulse is that this is a Bruce Willis or Nic Cage film that accidentally starred Keanu and accidentally got released to theaters. So it would be boring and nonsensical and leave me wondering what I’m doing with my life.

The Good – Not much. The sci-fi concepts are really out there. A mash up of about ten different things that could be cutting edge in like 100 years. It almost felt like a very old school sci-fi short story in that regard. A story where they couldn’t quite decide how far in the future things should be, and didn’t really have a good grasp on the different scientific concepts they were dealing with. I like Thomas Middleditch in the role, it fit him well.

The Bad – The acting from basically everyone besides Middleditch was pretty bad, even Keanu. The film truly is one gigantic plothole, where you are left wondering about 50 different questions even after they’ve tried to explain things multiple times. They throw you a little life preserver later by suggesting maybe the evil corporation allowed all of this stuff to happen … but more likely the film is just poorly written. The CGI robot looks atrocious, some of the worst CGI we’ve ever seen bar none. And the ending is perplexing while the film also managed to be about 20 minutes too long. It really it one of the worst films you’ll see in 2019 if you want to look at things objectively.

The BMT – I think this will be one of the ones we’ll come back to if we ever start watching those Bruce Willis or Nic Cage straight-to-VOD features that come out every year. Just because we’ll be vaguely reminded of it. Realistically it’ll be in the top 5 worst of 2019 which will be something. I feel it in my bones. Did it meet my expectations? Despite the length, it exceeded them slightly. I think just the way the script managed to say so much, and yet every time it said something it begged two more questions at the same time. It is a bold way to tell a story, and one that does not work at all.

Roast-radamus – An absolutely huge Setting as a Character (Where?) for Puerto Rico. It is incredibly set in Puerto Rico, which is very very exciting. Also a very nice Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the film is set right around Christmas mostly out of nowhere. I’ll throw in a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that the corporation knew what Keanu was doing the whole time (lame). And finally I think this will pretty easily make my personal shortlist for BMT Live! As it is probably objectively the worst film I’ve seen released this year. Pretty good chops.

StreetCreditReport.com – Oh snap, we got lists. It amazingly got the number 2 on the AV Club list. I think it probably went a bit under the radar for the rest of the lists to be honest. I’m pretty impressed that it managed to nearly top a pretty big list. And really the delayed release date kind of gave it street cred anyways.

You Just Got Schooled – What more appropriate film to watch alongside Replicas than the film that gave Keanu his comeback, John Wick! I kind of expected to enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Usually, these films that just involve a crazy amount of killing turns me off, but the world of assassins created around John Wick is so compelling (and the bad guys so unabashedly bad) that it overcomes this minor issue. I also happened to have watched the original The Raid around the same time, and while it also was mostly enjoyable, it really is the cartoony world that helped me sit back and enjoy it. I’m genuinely excited to watch the other two as well. A+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs