The Odd Couple II Recap

Jamie

Felix and Oscar are back, Jack! And boy are they an odd couple. Thirty years after becoming antagonistic roommates (and yet still friends, aww) they are reunited when their children announce their engagement. Traveling together to the wedding they just can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Will they make the wedding before it’s too late? Find out in The Odd Couple II.

How?! Oscar Madison is living it up in Florida, still a slob and still killing it with the ladies. When his son announces that he’s getting married in just a week, Oscar is shocked to find out that the lucky lady is his friend Felix Unger’s daughter. They meet up in California after thirty long years and start their roadtrip off on all the wrong feet. First Oscar loses Felix’s luggage, then Oscar loses the directions to the wedding, and finally they accidentally destroy their rental car. They get picked up by a truck driving to the nearest town, but in a kooky happenstance get arrested when it’s found that the truck is being used for smuggling. Released by the police, they first live it up with a couple of party girls before catching a ride in an excruciatingly slow car driven by an extremely old man. The old man dies, of course, and Felix and Oscar find themselves arrested again (getting the gist of the gag here?). Released again they catch a bus, but get stopped when the husbands of the party girls take them off the bus by gunpoint. This of course ends with them getting arrested again (of course). Fed up, the police personally drive them to the airport where they catch a plane to the wedding and meet up with Oscar’s ex-sister-in-law, Felice, who Felix takes a liking to. Finally at the wedding they help douse some last minute drama and happily watch their children get married. They say goodbye at the airport, with Oscar going back to Florida and Felix going to stay with Felice. But in a shocking twist we find that this all doesn’t work out and Felix shows up in Florida asking to stay with Oscar. At first he’s like “no” but eventually is like “yes.” Thus setting us up for the sequel (or not). THE END.

Why?! Unlike the original there is a clear mission here: they need to get to the wedding. End of story. In the original we have a sitcom setup, but really the motivation for both Oscar and Felix is to come to terms with their divorces and move on with their lives in a healthy way (which they do through the power of friendship, aww). But here they aren’t really coming to terms with anything… other than getting to that goddamn wedding.

Who?! This is actually a tough category as it’s a bit of a two man show. The only kinda interesting thing is that both Felix and Oscar’s wives have remarried between the first and second film. Felix’s wife’s new name is Povitch… which I can’t really see a connection to. Oscar’s wife’s new name is Melnick, which does seem to connect to Daniel Melnick, a producer who produced one of Neil Simon’s films and also apparently played poker with him.

What?! There are a number of product placements in the film. Probably my favorite was Budget, because they not only very prominently displayed the logo, but then Oscar proceeded to keep on talking about how Budget would probably send Felix his luggage in the new age of technology… in my head he screams about Budget like a thousand times, but probably he only said it once or twice.

Where?! It’s a California sandwich with Florida as the bread. It’s a very good California film because they keep on harping on how all the towns sound the same and how they need to learn a new language if they lived there and stuff. This is obviously offensive, but also interesting because Oscar lives in a retirement community in Florida. So really it just indicates how infrequently he must leave that community in order to be shocked by the prominence of Spanish in California. B+

When?! Gotta give this an F or an incomplete because I do not recall there being a clear indication for when this took place. Seems like summer given the weather and the fact that Matthau is writing about minor league baseball in Florida, but I didn’t catch any other clear indication of the date. Not like we see a wedding invitation. His own son only tells him about the wedding a week in advance.

Meh, I mean… I guess it is what it is. It’s kind of a shame that this was the sequel they went with. I almost would have preferred they scrapped all the wedding shit and just did another Odd Couple. Felix shows up in Florida after his fourth divorce. Oscar is coming to terms with being old. And through the power of friendship they are able to settle into their new lives. Somehow the film convinced me that I would have rather they harped MORE on them being old. Like… them being old is actually not really that big a part of the film. Which is really weird because they are quite old. Also if I hadn’t watched the original film in preparation (shocker: it’s good) then I would have said that Walter Matthau was just starting to babble a bit because most of his jokes seem improvised and don’t make any sense… but he’s kinda like that in the original too. Just seems like maybe it was part of his cranky, everyman charm. Spouting zingers, even if the zingers don’t always make sense. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this movie I would call it The Old Couple. Heyyyyyyooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had actually never seen the original The Odd Couple, but you can obviously know it by reputation. I managed to grow up during the peak old-people-as-protagonist era of Hollywood comedies, so I became quite familiar with Matthau and Lemmon’s later work. I like them both a lot, so I expected to like the original at the very least. What were my expectations? I expected to find the film very old school, not funny, and odd. It is abundantly obviously the film is a classic roadtrip comedy … but like why is The Odd Couple a roadtrip comedy now? Bizarre choice.

The Good – Matthau and Lemmon are indeed very very charming. You can tell that both of them are really on their last legs as far as acting is concerned, but they still seem to have it and their chemistry is undeniable. There are a few amusing parts here and there, especially if you ignore that it is, you know … a sequel to The Odd Couple for no discernible reason.

The Bad – Uh, why is this a roadtrip comedy? It is just such a glaringly bizarre choice! The original film might as well have been a single set play. And now you take these characters out into the wider world? And not only that, but the world is somehow a very cartoony version of California. A version of California where not only are our heroes utterly lost in its wide openness, but then can’t help but stumble right back into the same town over and over again? Just set the film in an old folks home! Just set the film in Florida. Really, just do anything but this. It also has to be, bar none, the shortest third act in history. Once they get to the wedding it is about 10 minutes of nonsense and then the movie ends.

The BMT – Pop it in there with some of the bad sequels we watched. I also hope it’ll get us to run through the old-people-as-protagonists genre really quickly. There are only a dozen or so examples, with only a few qualifying, so it should be easy enough. Cocoon: The Return here we come! Did it meet my expectations? Unfortunately yes. The only real thing that sinks the film is the choice to make it a roadtrip comedy. I bet it gets a kind of middling “not very funny, but charming nonetheless” review if it was just The Odd Couple in a nursing home.

Roast-radamus – I do need to give a shout out for What an Odd Couple! (Who?) as this is obviously the oddest of all odd couples. A nice minor Product Placement (What?) for Budget rent-a-car which is basically a character in the beginning of the film. Definitely a nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for California. It is so crazy it just throws our heroes for a loop over and over again. I’m not going for any of the others as they are too much of a stretch. I also doubt it’ll get any of the superlatives either.

StreetCreditReport.com – It was nominated for two Stinkers that year (worst sequel, and worst comedy), but won neither. It was also picked by Siskel and Ebert for their worst of list of 1998. There aren’t many other lists, but it could just be the worst sequel to a movie based on a play that itself was not based on a play. Think about that for about ten seconds.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally when watching the sequel one must watch the original The Odd Couple from 1968. The film is completely driven by Matthau and Lemmon obviously, and their chemistry is, like with the sequel, incredible. The script is razor sharp and surprisingly heartfelt throughout. The major complaint is that the arguments are a little too real, to the point that it makes me a bit uncomfortable at times. Also, it is a bit shocking to realize that this film came out a year after The Graduate. The type of direction is just so starkly different. This is the more old school stage play style of filmmaking, which is interesting to watch on the verge of the 70s style that was about to come into style. The film is a classic. A.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Odd Couple II Quiz

So I was supposed to meet up with my old frenemy Felix (we’re such an odd couple!), but when we saw each other he tripped over a bag and smashed into me. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in The Odd Couple II?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What were the three things Felix lost in his suitcase?

2) What happens to the map at the beginning of the ill-fated road trip?

3) Our heroes are arrested three times during the course of the film. Why?

4) When Felix and Oscar finally arrive at the wedding the groom is missing! Where did he end up, and why did he run away?

5) What does Felix give his son as a wedding gift? Bonus points if you can get the specifics of the gifts. 

Answers

The Odd Couple II Preview

As Rich and Poe do their final backflip over a trap door deep with the goblin tomb they espy their final prize: the gleaming blade of Hammerthorn’s Sword. When Rich grabs ahold his eyes shine with greed. “Let’s take it back. This must be worth a fortune,” he whispers urgently to Poe, “Forget the world. Forget everything. Think of the money.” Poe is aghast and attempts to subdue Rich. There is a tussle and suddenly we hear a gun go off. Who has been shot? We don’t know! That is until Rich drops to the ground… dead. Poe falls to his knees and screams to the heavens as rain mingles with his tears, “Nooooooooooooooo!”… Suddenly Rich awakens. They had fallen blissfully asleep just before grabbing the sword. Rich and Poe look at each other and whisper solemnly, “Never.” Just then there is a shudder and a beam of light illuminates the cavern. From a gleaming portal an elevator arrives and Sorsaron and Brawln emerge. “Perfection,” Brawln exclaims. “Pure magic,” agrees Sorsaron. At that they quickly take the sword and snap it in half. “A mere geegaw,” Brawln exclaims and takes out an ancient scroll. When Brawln reads from the scroll their mouths run dry. “From ancient warriors they are born. Through time and space they have been torn. Save their worlds and close the way. The gamemaster destined to slay. Mismatched now in all known ways. Besides their gleaming abs for days.” Sorsaron weeps silently as Brawln speaks softly, “You see? You passed all the tests. You are the Mismatched Warriors born again. But now we must hurry to the school, before the gamemaster realizes what you have discovered.” And with that Brawl unfurls a couple of dope wingsuits. “Rad.” That’s right! We are watching the sequel that everyone was hoping and waiting for. We all demanded it and we got it: The Odd Couple II. The 90’s were a wild time. The money was flowing and a couple of septuagenarians routinely opened major Hollywood motion pictures. This also acts as the transition to the next cycle, but that can wait until next week.

The Odd Couple II (1998) – BMeTric: 13.2; Notability: 45 

3BD64F76-A29A-47A2-BC94-FA75E592AF4C
0A8BF99D-1276-4693-8A0B-5C67286EF5EB
(I’m genuinely surprised it has risen in rating so much … Who is watching The Odd Couple II? People who were watching the old show? People around when Lemmon, Matthau, and Simon died? Who?)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – Watching Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon make the talk show circuit, trading one-liners and barbs like a vaudeville team, I imagined a documentary simply showing them promoting this film. They’re funny, familiar, edgy and smart. “The Odd Couple II” is none of those things, and a much longer list could be made of other things it is not.

(Oooooof. Basically, this film is pointless and I hate it. The two leads are still great, just not in this movie, so just watch those other movies they are great in … I am suddenly not really looking forward to this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSsjfuxlTu0/

(Huh … I’m getting whiffs of My Fellow Americans from this. Remember that film? Lemmon really had a streak going of starring in comedies … it was wild stuff.)

Directors – Howard Deutch – (Known For: Pretty in Pink; The Replacements; Some Kind of Wonderful; The Great Outdoors; Article 99; Future BMT: Getting Even with Dad; My Best Friend’s Girl; Grumpier Old Men; BMT: The Whole Ten Yards; The Odd Couple II; Notes: Married to Lea Thompson. His daughter is Zoey Deutch who we have seen in the BMT classic Dirty Grandpa.)

Writers – Neil Simon (written by) – (Known For: Murder by Death; Barefoot in the Park; The Odd Couple; Biloxi Blues; The Goodbye Girl; Sweet Charity; Seems Like Old Times; The Heartbreak Kid; Plaza Suite; California Suite; Brighton Beach Memoirs; The Cheap Detective; After the Fox; The Out of Towners; The Sunshine Boys; The Lonely Guy; Max Dugan Returns; The Prisoner of Second Avenue; Lost in Yonkers; Only When I Laugh; Future BMT: The Heartbreak Kid; The Out-of-Towners; The Slugger’s Wife; BMT: The Marrying Man; The Odd Couple II; Notes: Biloxi Blues is the middle story in a trilogy, all of which started on Broadway and eventually were adapted for the screen (although the third one was a television movie). This is actually the rare film of his that didn’t start out as a play.)

Actors – Jack Lemmon – (Known For: Some Like It Hot; The Apartment; The China Syndrome; The Great Race; JFK; Grumpy Old Men; Glengarry Glen Ross; Avanti!; The Player; Hamlet; Short Cuts; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Missing; The Odd Couple; Irma la Douce; The Front Page; Mister Roberts; Bell Book and Candle; Dad; Days of Wine and Roses; Future BMT: Airport ’77; Out to Sea; Getting Away with Murder; Grumpier Old Men; BMT: The Odd Couple II; Notes: He taught himself piano (and played it professionally in a beer hall at one point in his life). He wrote the theme for the movie Tribute.)

Walter Matthau – (Known For: Lonely Are the Brave; JFK; Grumpy Old Men; Charade; Strangers When We Meet; The Bad News Bears; Earthquake; Hello, Dolly!; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Fail-Safe; The Odd Couple; Cactus Flower; Candy; The Front Page; A Face in the Crowd; Charley Varrick; The Fortune Cookie; King Creole; I.Q.; Plaza Suite; Future BMT: Hanging Up; Dennis the Menace; The Survivors; The Couch Trip; Out to Sea; Pirates; Grumpier Old Men; BMT: The Odd Couple II; Notes: Apparently he was a prolific gambler. He once estimated his lifetime losses at $5 million. Even prior to becoming an accomplished actor he apparently lost $100K on spring training baseball while shooting a television series in Florida.)

Richard Riehle – (Known For: Bridesmaids; 3 from Hell; Casino; Wedding Crashers; The Fugitive; Office Space; Free Willy; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Lethal Weapon 4; Glory; Of Mice and Men; Ken Park; Black Rain; Iron Will; Hatchet; Executive Decision; Mighty Joe Young; Pee-wee’s Big Holiday; Mysterious Skin; Future BMT: Texas Chainsaw 3D; Halloween II; Jury Duty; Bad Ass; Unconscious; Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer; The Fan; Contracted: Phase II; Joe Dirt; Lightning Jack; Lovesick; Big Stan; Desperate Measures; Time Changer; Spinning Into Butter; One Eight Seven; There’s Always Woodstock; BMT: Body of Evidence; Say It Isn’t So; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Mercury Rising; Stuart Saves His Family; The Odd Couple II; Notes: Was considered for the role of Cliff in Cheers (I can see it). You would recognize him as the Jump to Conclusions guy from Office Space.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $18,912,328 (Worldwide: $18,912,328)

(That seems … probably bad. Let me just check Grumpier Old Men. Yeah, so that made over $70 million on a $25 million budget. My guess is this was a huge financial flop.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (8/30)

(I’ll just life Ebert’s tag entirely for the consensus: The movie has no purpose for being. Reviewer Highlight: Now that they’re literally grumpy old men, you just want them to shut up. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Sklog Couple II: Old Sklogs (B-)

59BD5A66-3BBD-4311-8452-1DF2A937AF12

(I wonder if you look back on things whether you would point to Cocoon as the start of the “old people headlining films” trend that continues to today with Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton and the like churning out hits. Or maybe funny old people has always been a genre. I don’t know but it seems insane. Font is OK, as is the framing. But could have better color scheme and otherwise really leaning heavily on that natural old person appeal.)

Tagline(s) – Some arguments stand the test of time (A-)

(I like the cleverness and probably just avoids being too long. All around it’s pretty good as it tells me a little of the story in a small, clever package.)

Keyword – old friend

EFA222F2-0DD6-442B-A4D7-9968F70EFEAD

Top 10: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Road House (1989), Ocean’s Eight (2018), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Predator (1987), The Equalizer 2 (2018), Tully (2018), If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), The Judge (2014)

Future BMT: 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 38.2 You Again (2010), 21.8 Empire (2002), 18.1 Stand Up Guys (2012);

BMT: Road House (1989), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Crossroads (2002), Bratz (2007), The Odd Couple II (1998), Mr. Woodcock (2007)

(This is kind of a weird one. In reality this is, again, a film without good keywords. I wish I could have combined them in some capacity. I’ll have to get on that. ((old man) || (old friend)) && (roommate) would be amusing I think, it just feels like you could get some interesting logic going.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Richard Riehle is No. 3 billed in The Odd Couple II and No. 7 billed in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which also stars William Forsythe (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 7 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 21. If we were to watch The Survivors, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – This sequel to The Odd Couple (1968) was made and released about thirty years after the original. This is possibly the longest gap between the release of the original film and a sequel where all the main lead actors reprise their roles.

After ten films teamed together, this film was the final feature film collaboration of actors Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

This Neil Simon movie was written directly for the screen and was not based on a Neil Simon play as many of his other films had been, such as the original The Odd Couple (1968).

The penultimate theatrical feature film for both Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Matthau’s last was Hanging Up (2000) whilst Lemmon’s last was The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000).

The movie was one of a handful of films made during the 1990s which re-teamed the comedy duo of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon who had not worked together onscreen since 1981’s Buddy Buddy (1981). The pictures included Grumpy Old Men (1993), Out to Sea (1997), Grumpier Old Men (1995) and The Odd Couple II (1998).

The only ever “pure” motion-picture industry sequel to a Neil Simon written feature film i.e. it didn’t pre-exist in another form. Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues (1988) and Broadway Bound (1992) were both sequels to Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) but the trilogy pre-existed as theatrical plays first.

Oscar mentions betting on a horse race at one point. This is likely a reference to the television version of ‘The Odd Couple’ in which Oscar (like the actor who played him, Jack Klugman) was a horse player.

ten films teamed together, this film was the final feature film collaboration of actors Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

This Neil Simon movie was written directly for the screen and was not based on a Neil Simon play as many of his other films had been, such as the original The Odd Couple (1968).

The penultimate theatrical feature film for both Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Matthau’s last was Hanging Up (2000) whilst Lemmon’s last was The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000).

The movie was one of a handful of films made during the 1990s which re-teamed the comedy duo of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon who had not worked together onscreen since 1981’s Buddy Buddy (1981). The pictures included Grumpy Old Men (1993), Out to Sea (1997), Grumpier Old Men (1995) and The Odd Couple II (1998).

The only ever “pure” motion-picture industry sequel to a Neil Simon written feature film i.e. it didn’t pre-exist in another form. Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues (1988) and Broadway Bound (1992) were both sequels to Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) but the trilogy pre-existed as theatrical plays first.

Oscar mentions betting on a horse race at one point. This is likely a reference to the television version of ‘The Odd Couple’ in which Oscar (like the actor who played him, Jack Klugman) was a horse player.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Recap

Jamie

Lara Croft is back, Jack! And boy does she have a Cradle of Life to find. Hot on the tail of an ancient lost treasure, Lara finds out that it’s linked to a mythological plague and an eeeevil scientist is interested in releasing it. Can Lara stop the scientist (and perhaps find love) before it’s too late? Find out in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life.

How?! When an earthquake uncovers Alexander the Great’s lost treasure, Lara Croft is the first one there ready to make bank. But before she can leave she’s ambushed by a bunch of evildoers who take nothing but a curious orb. Turns out that orb is a link to Pandora’s Box and the Cradle of Life (and the unstoppable plague it holds) and the buyer is Johnathan Reiss, a Nobel Prize winning scientist-turned-bioterrorist. MI6 begs Lara to help them track and stop Reiss, but she’s like “I need my lover Gerard Butler/Terry stat.” They don’t like that because Terry is a criminal asshole, but relent for the sake of the world. Releasing Terry from prison, Lara and him extreme sport their way into China to confront the thieves. Lara is able to defeat the main bad guy in hand to hand combat and find out where the orb is being sold. They attempt to stop the transaction, but Reiss is able to get away, but not before Lara puts a tracker on the orb. Using that they are able to infiltrate the bad guy’s hideout and get the orb. Success! Lara drops Terry like a hot potato and figures out where the Cradle of Life is in Africa. Extreme sporting her way into Africa, she is dismayed to find that before she can get to the Cradle of Life, Reiss is able to use Lara’s friends to lead him to the location as well. He forces Lara to help him infiltrate the Cradle and slam dunk their way to Pandora’s Box. When all hope seems lost, Terry comes to the rescue and Lara is able to defeat Reiss in hand to hand combat. Phew. Everything is safe, right? WRONG! Terry is like “who cares about the world, this plague is worth a fortune!” and tries to convince Lara to steal it with him. With sadness in her eyes she must kill her former lover to keep the world safe. THE END. Big Question: What is Terry’s plan? Sell a plague for money… that will be worth nothing when the world’s economies collapse as a result of the plague? Smart.

Why?! Lara seems to be generally a treasure hunter, but once that’s out of the picture her main motivation is to save the world I guess. It’s actually a little interesting that MI6 requires the help of Lara for this mission given that she probably routinely breaks international law, but whatever. Everyone else is generally evil.

Who?! In a shocking turn of events we jumped from one insane Nobel Prize winning scientist film to another insane Nobel Prize winning scientist film in The Island of Dr. Moreau and this. Very unexpected. I’ll also note the fact that there is about five second of screentime for a submarine that comes to rescue Lara and yet Graham McTavish is somehow credited as “submarine captain.” Funny.

What?! I mean, I’m obligated to mention the Jeep Rubicon product placement in the film because, along with I, Robot, it generated a lot of discussion at the time of where product placement was heading (namely towards significant funding of a film’s production). However, I also have to point out that apparently the actual orb from this film has been listed for auction! So we could have an actual MacGuffin in our possession for the low price of *check price* nevermind.

Where?!  Oh, we’re a-globetrottin’. We start in Greece, head to Lara’s home in England, free Terry from prison in Kazakhstan(!),  and then set out for a long period of time in China before finishing in Tanzania. Despite the climax being in Tanzania, I think I’d have to say this is primarily a China film given the stretch of time spent there. Pretty great as a “road-trip” style settings film. B+ bordering on A- given the necessity of a few of the locations.

When?! Went back through the film and unfortunately there is no clear mention or hint at when this takes place. There is a Chinese newspaper shown at one point, so I’ll start learning Mandarin and report back on whether that sheds some light. Until then, F.

I was fully ready to say that this film was not that bad and even had a whole thing about how films of the early 2000s like this one set the stage for where the Fast and Furious franchise has taken things. It’s actually pretty fun how most of the film is just a series of extreme sports stunts mixed with classic James Bond spy shit and Indana Jones (with a bunch of jokes thrown in there). It’s like they started looking at these films and were like “well we can’t just keep on doing stunts and jokes, right?” and eventually they realized that they could. Unfortunately, the end of this film exists and it is complete garbage. Somehow they ruin the film in about ten minutes with some of the most ludicrous logic I’ve ever seen put to screen. I mean… Gerard Butler actually seems to think he can sell an unstoppable plague and everything will turn out OK for him. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. As for DOA, it is everything it’s advertised as. Shameless lingering shots of particular aspects of the female actor’s bodies combined with almost cartoony action scenes. Some of those are fun and Jamie Pressley is actually pretty good in it (she clearly trained like a champ for this and actually looks like a fighter), but that’s more or less the positives. A lot more negatives, most notable the acting and the fact that the latter half of the film is just Eric Roberts wearing “super sunglasses” fighting people. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If this was my movie I would call it Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: Pandora’s Plague Box (ft. Gerard Butler). That sounds like the song of the summah to me folks. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Back in the day we used to not do our homework. For shame! So sometimes there is some BMT flotsam to rescue from the BMT ocean. And Cradle of Life fits the bill. The original I remember being somewhat silly … but what did I think at the time? Turns out I thought it was pretty good, and possibly the best video game film we’d seen! That is promising, because the preview suggests the sequel was actually more well received than that original film. What were my expectations? Honestly a good time. I liked the original well enough, and it feels doubtful that a film that was more critically acclaimed could actually be worse. I also expected Gerard Butler to be a terrible actor.

The Good – The film itself is indeed rather entertaining. It tickles the exact spot you’d hope it would tickle: hey, what if they crossed James Bond and Indiana Jones. And the film felt like a perfect mix of Die Another Day and the fourth Indiana Jones film. What? Those films aren’t that bad! They are slightly better than the typical BMT standard. Angelina is really good in the film as well.

The Bad – Gerard is indeed not great, and neither is the bad buy, complete with James Bond-esque introduction on a plane involving henchmen and Ebola. Ultimately the entire film kind of falls apart in the last act. They needed something for the Cradle of Life, but Pandora’s Box complete with a pool of Pandora’s acidic tears? No thanks, that is a step too far. The CGI is still pretty bad.

The BMT – It is too bad they didn’t make a third of these films. I feel like after two valiant attempts they could have really managed a stinker of a film. Instead we got two kind of above average video game films. I’m not sure, but I think I liked the first one better, at least there you could psych yourself into some solid National Treasure Voight vibes. Here you just have Gerard Butler. And I’ve seen too many Gerard Butler films to appreciate him at this point. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it was basically a good time with some poorly acted scenes by Gerard Butler. I wish it had either gone overboard earlier (and gone full BMT), or later (and been Not That Bad), but instead we basically just got the first one again.

Roast-radamus – I’m going to throw out a tentative (Who?) for Q Conundrum, whereby every spy needs their Q, and in this case Lara Croft has *checks notes* Bryce. There is a decent Product Placement (What?) for the Jeep Rubicon which ends up becoming the star of the film once the gang arrives in Tanzania. I think I can throw out a good Setting as a Character (Where?) for China in particular, complete with terracotta warriors. But booooooooy howdy was there a MacGuffin (Why?), the Cradle of Life complete with Pandora’s plague sitting in a pool of acid tears. Natch. Let’s just throw that in a cave where physics doesn’t apply and be done with it! And definitely a Worst Twist (How?) for Gerard somehow being the most greedy and craven person in the world. A mercenary willing to sell a horrific world ending plague for money. What are you going to even do with that Gerard … the world will be all plagued! You’ll probably die! It’s absurd. Outside shot at Good although I highly doubt it.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find a single list here, but it gets most of its cred from (1) being a video game adaptation, and (2) being a sequel to a video game adaptation. I do think this could be on some list of terrible Greek myth films, which is fun. And It is probably one of the worst action-adventure archeologist films as well. Decent cred there if you go looking for it.

You Just Got Schooled – Hmmmmm what could I possible put here. Oh wait, there was a remake just last year with Tomb Raider! I would say that Vikander is quite good in the film, as is Dominic West. The first half of the film is quite good, with a dispirited Lara fighting and biking her way through some serious depression. I liked those parts best. Once we get into the real mystery things just kind of become boring. I liked the ultimate twist (the eeeeeevil Japanese queen actually was just an asymptomatic carrier of a plague who killed herself to save her people) was really good and I liked the more down to earth mystery of that bit. I’m not sure if a sequel would end up being good or bad though. Usually I would say that getting out from under the origin story means a sequel can be its own thing. But the origin bits in London were by far the most interesting bits to me, so I’m not sure if that means a sequel would almost inevitably be worse. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. B+ adaptation I think, better than the two originals, but not by as much as you would hope.

Bring a Friend Analysis – And as a friend we brought another video game adaptation along in DOA: Dead or Alive. And holy shit is this a piece of shit. But you would have to know that going in. The most bizarre bit is just how big the film is. Over 40K votes on IMDb, a 26 notability (it really is an impressive cast), and a budget of $30 million according to reports. And yet it comes back to the US and barely gets released! The film makes you feel gross though. It was a different time (yada yada), but my god to they go out of their way to give you gratuitous butt and boob shots. It is distressing. And yet, you have a film that is basically led by five women, and at the very least Jaime Pressly seems pretty annoyed that it didn’t get a release (I’m sure when you get into that good of shape for a role to see it just die a slow death is pretty annoying). It isn’t the worst video game film I’ve seen, but it is close. B friend, pretty fun if you can see past the grossness.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Quiz

Hmmm, last thing I remember I fell into a deep whole where a super fancy box was sitting in a pool of acid … wait, how isn’t this magic again? Whatever. Do you remember what happened in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with Lara Croft Tomb Raider, with a little help from her Greek friends, discovering Alexander the Great’s Lunar Temple underwater. What event helped lead our intrepid explorer to the location of the fabled temple?

2) In the Lunar Temple our hero obtains (and then loses) two items, an orb and a medallion. What, in the course of the story, are the purpose of each?

3) We meet out villain, a Nobel Prize winning biochemist turned terrorist, who wants the orb and medallion. On his plane he flexes his power by killing a turncoat using what disease (which he obviously has a cure for)?

4) Meanwhile, Lara is recruited by MI6 to find the orb first as it is the key to the Cradle of Life which houses Pandora’s box. Lara though insists they have to get her friend Gerard Butler. Why is Butler in prison and where is he being held?

5) Where is Pandora’s box in the end?

Answers

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Preview

Rich and Poe are surprised to be greeted by a convoy when they arrive on the Isle of Dr. Killmore. They had meant to slip in, grab the Staff of Gabragorn, and slip out without notice, but apparently their arrival was kept less than secret. Dr. Killmore laughs at their look of shock. “There are no secrets on this island,” he explains, “I knew when and why you were going to arrive, but rest assured, the Staff of Gabragorn is not here. Also rest assured that I’m assuredly, most obviously, not insane.” At that Dr. Killmore chuckles and a couple of cat monsters throw black licorice jelly beans into his mouth. The man is clearly deranged. As they walk to inspect the island Poe suddenly has a thought. “What if, my dear Rich, the Staff was never stolen at all?” Everyone is puzzled at the theory, but Rich is picking up what he’s putting down, “Ah, you mean…” suddenly he whirls on Dr. Killmore, “he was the culprit in the first place!” (what a twist!) Dr. Killmore babbles incoherently before breaking under the breathtaking minds of Rich and Poe. “Magnificent,” Dr. Killmore exclaims, “and exactly what we hoped would happen.” Rich and Poe are befuddled and only become more baffled as the cat monsters reveal the Staff and snap it in half. “A mere knicknack,” he explains, “but necessary to prove that you were capable of the real task.” (what a double twist!). Dr. Killmore goes on to describe Hammerthorn’s Sword, which is found in the ancient tomb of the goblins. Legend foretold that only a couple of truly rad explorers (check) with beautiful minds (check) and abs for days (also check) could wield the Sword and defeat the gamemaster. “So we’ll basically be a couple of totally cool…” That’s right! We’re (finally) finishing the video game franchise Tomb Raider by watching the sequel Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life. Ohhhh, so close to the double colon. They didn’t have the balls and ultimately that is (probably) the reason the film failed. Fortunately for us the Tomb Raider reboot everyone forgets exists didn’t qualify for BMT, so this should do it for the franchise. Let’s go!

Meanwhile, a hand reaches from smoldering rubble. It struggled to pull a battered and broken body to the surface. An equally battered and bruised body lays nearby. “Are we… are we… dead or alive?” it croaks. That’s right! We’re pairing Tomb Raider with another video game meant as a means by which men can ogle women doing flips and kicks. This one didn’t quite get the desired theatrical release for a full-blown BMT film, but we thought it would be a good Bring a Friend. It’s DOA: Dead or Alive and as far as I can tell it’s women fighting in bikinis. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Let’s go!

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003) – BMeTric: 51.2; Notability: 56 

LaraCroftTombRaiderTheCradleofLifeIMDb_BMeT

LaraCroftTombRaiderTheCradleofLifeIMDb_RV

(This is a lot lower than I would have expected. This film feels like something like … Die Another Day. And yet that film is floating around 6.0 on IMDb. That’s where I would have expected this to be … maybe this is a lot worse that I expected.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – This is a better movie than the first one, more assured, more entertaining. The director is Jan de Bont (“Speed”), who demands a certain logic from his screenwriters, so that although the story is completely preposterous, of course, it is consistent within its own terms. I was relieved to discover I am not tired of movies like this after all. They have to be good, is the thing.

(Wowza. Ebert was one to take films on their own terms. And this (and Speed, as referenced) are certainly films that require you to buy into odd logic presented in ultra-serious terms. Respect Ebert.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5VugO68swI/

(The Chinese setting is pretty insane. And then when I thought things couldn’t get any better … super young Gerard Butler, and submarines and shit. C’mon this looks rad as fuck. Get the fuck out of here, I’m loving these wing suits!!!)

Directors – Jan de Bont – (Known For: Speed; Twister; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; The Haunting; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: He was the cinematographer for the ill-fated film Roar which is famous for using real (and dangerous) wild animals in production.)

Writers – Dean Georgaris (screenplay) – (Known For: The Meg; The Manchurian Candidate; Future BMT: Tristan + Isolde; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Paycheck; Notes: Created a wrote the Jimmy Smits television series Bluff City Law.)

Steven E. de Souza (story) – (Known For: Die Hard; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Commando; Die Hard 2; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Knock Off; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: Seems mostly retired, but relatively recently wrote a rebooted graphic novel of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.)

James V. Hart (story) – (Known For: Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Contact; Tuck Everlasting; Muppet Treasure Island; Epic; The Last Mimzy; Future BMT: Sahara; Hook; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Notes: Developed the HartChart story mapping tool with WriterDuet creator Guy Goldstein, it is available online.)

Actors – Angelina Jolie – (Known For: Maleficent; Girl, Interrupted; Salt; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Wanted; Beowulf; Kung Fu Panda; Kung Fu Panda 3; Come Away; Changeling; The Good Shepherd; Kung Fu Panda 2; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Playing by Heart; Pushing Tin; A Mighty Heart; Hell’s Kitchen; Future BMT: Alexander; By the Sea; Life or Something Like It; The Tourist; Shark Tale; Playing God; Original Sin; Taking Lives; Foxfire; Beyond Borders; The Bone Collector; Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; Lookin’ to Get Out; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Hackers; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: Y’all know Angelina. Recently announced she’s going to develop a television news show for children on the BBC. Nick News is back jack!)

Gerard Butler – (Known For: 300; How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Den of Thieves; RocknRolla; Olympus Has Fallen; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; Tomorrow Never Dies; Reign of Fire; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Nim’s Island; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; The Game of Their Lives; A Family Man; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2001; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Angel Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: Y’all know Gerard. Recently it was announced that he’d carry the torch for one leg of the journey towards the Olympic games this summer.)

Chris Barrie – (BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: He played Rimmer on Red Dwarf for over 70 episodes.)

Budget/Gross – $95,000,000 / Domestic: $65,660,196 (Worldwide: $160,099,222)

(That seems really expensive for the time. And it isn’t a very good return. Maybe the foreign take made them think with a slightly better reception they could make a return on a third? There was some planning for that at the time, but it fell through.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (42/171): Though the sequel is an improvement over the first movie, it’s still lacking in thrills.

(Better than I would have thought. Why did I think this film was like a 15% or something. I guess the Ebert review was closer to average than I thought. Reviewer Highlight: Scenery can’t save this blindingly dull sequel. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.)

Poster – Bad Movie Twins: Sklog Raiders – The Obsidian Dongle: Quest for Fire (C-)

lara_croft_tomb_raider_the_cradle_of_life

(Wow, I mean. It’s bold. It tells me one thing and one thing only, and it has nothing to do with the plot of the film. Or perhaps Angelina Jolie is the plot of the film. I like the font, though. Goes with the bold style. Everything else is bizarre. Why is she splashing in the water? You know what, I don’t need to know.)

Tagline(s) – None (F) 

(Boooooooo, but it’s true. No tagline because it would have been the same as the poster. That’s the tagline. They aren’t even trying to tell you anything about the thrills and adventure that are in store. They just want to make it very clear that Angelina Jolie will appear in a skin-tight cat suit.)

Keyword – based on video game

LaraCroftTombRaiderTheCradleofLife_based on video game

Top 10: Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019), Tomb Raider (2018), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018), Resident Evil (2002), Rampage (2018), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Mortal Kombat (1995), Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), Street Fighter (1994)

Future BMT: 89.1 House of the Dead (2003), 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 40.8 Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), 33.6 Ratchet & Clank (2016), 30.7 Pokémon 3: The Movie (2000), 27.6 Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), 25.5 Pokémon the Movie 2000 (1999);

BMT: Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Silent Hill (2006), Doom (2005), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Max Payne (2008), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Need for Speed (2014), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Hitman (2007), Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Double Dragon (1994), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Alone in the Dark (2005), Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009), Wing Commander (1999)

(How do we still have so many of these left?! I even have a tone left in the top 10. I’ve seen so many of them too! Anywho, they’ve been trying to make video game films happen for a decade now. They tried in the early 2000s as well, but eventually they wore themselves out in the late 00s and had to rethink things. This is one of the bigger ones clearly.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Angelina Jolie is No. 1 billed in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and No. 3 billed in Gone in 60 Seconds, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 12. If we were to watch The Bone Collector we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Angelina Jolie had to wear bra padding, in order for her bust size to measure up to the videogame character. Jolie wears considerably less (and possibly no) padding in this film, as the decision was made to give Lara more realistic dimensions.

In the scene where Lara Croft and Terry Sheridan jump off a building wearing “flying suits”, called wingsuits, the stunt was performed by the two men who developed the suits. No CGI, wires, nets, or other special effects were involved. This suit was invented by Patrick De Gayardon, who died in a parachute accident in April 1998, while testing a new type of parachute in Hawaii.

At one point in the movie, Lara Croft attacks a bad guy using very sophisticated movements with an antique rifle. Her movements are taken from the Queen Anne Salute used by the U.S. Army Drill Team. (Yeah, its real dumb)

The skin on Lara’s upper left arm is rarely seen exposed in this film. Angelina Jolie sports a large tattoo on her upper left bicep which requires make-up to cover up. The fact her left arm is rarely bared in this film (her opening scene in a bikini is shot in such a way her right arm, not her left, dominates) may be due to criticism that the tattoo was sometimes poorly concealed in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001).

Just as in the first film, there are several scenes in which the live-action Lara mimics the computer game version, in particular, a scene in which she climbs around a pagoda and pole vaults to a helicopter.

The character of Jonathan Reiss exposes his private jet passengers to a form of Ebola. The “antidote” is a clear capsule with small black pills in it. In reality, this is an herbal medicine made in China, and is a cure for an upset stomach. (Weird, why would anyone know this)

In the film, Lara (Angelina Jolie) and Terry (Gerard Butler) walk into a mall in Hong Kong called “Times Square”, after which they make their way to a then-unfinished taller building, called the “IFC tower”. The film treats the two buildings as if they are attached, but in fact they are a subway train ride apart. The large skylight that looks up the IFC tower from Times Square was digitally added into the scene.

Jan de Bont’s last directorial credit.

Much of the background story of this film revolves around Alexander The Great (Alexander of Macedonia). Angelina Jolie portrayed Alexander’s mother, Olympias, in Alexander (2004). (oooo Fun, I forgot about that)

Initial trailers and publicity material credited the story to Producer Lloyd Levin and Production Designer Kirk M. Petruccelli, as well as James V. Hart. However, just before the film was released, the Writers Guild of America decided to credit the story to Hart and Steven E. de Souza. (Huh, I wish there was more information about this kind of stuff)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Angelina Jolie, 2004)

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