The Atomic Submarine (1959)
Directed by: Spencer G. Bennet
Starring: Arthur Franz, Dick Foran, Brett Halsey
The 50’s were a golden age of cheap shitty sci-fi horror movies, and I love each and every one of them. Even if, yes, they are all basically made of the same six interchangeable parts. B-movies were on an assembly line and the brave writers for them only needed one new science concept and three things about it to make an entire hour and a half of really ridiculous, boring military action. God bless America.
A bunch of boats and planes and trains and what have you have been going missing in the Arctic Circle, so the government sends the titular atomic submarine to figure out what’s going on. Anybody have a guess? Well then I’ll just tell you, it’s aliens! A flying saucer has been zapping ships in the north pole, so these guys on a submarine have to blow it up with missiles.
It’s like The Hunt for Red October, only there’s no tension and there’s a recycled Ray Harryhausen UFO. Ugh, I love these awful movies.
The Host (2013)
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel
Not to be confused with the (much better) South Korean monster movie of the same name, The Host is the latest effort from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, though perhaps “effort” is the wrong word. Is it at all possible that we can all just admit that these are terrible movies, and just sometimes people enjoy consuming junk? Because that’s totally okay to want a twinkie, just don’t go calling it a steak when it’s clearly not even close.
In the not-too-distant future, humanity has been conquered by aliens who take over human bodies and then just kinda… hang out. Our protagonist is one alien that took over a young girl who’s part of a human resistance, and this alien eventually joins them. Also there’s a lot of really weird, misplaced teen romance between the alien and a boy, and the girl she’s inhabiting and another boy.
If you want an exciting story about an alien learning how to like humans and not destroy them, then you should definitely watch Enemy Mine and not The Host. Or, if instead you want a cute romance with some sort of extraterrestrial bent, go ahead and watch E.T., and not The Host. If you’re really, REALLY dead set on watching The Host, my advice would be to not do that and spend some time thinking about just why it is your life has spiraled so far out of control that you have these incredibly wrong desires.
The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston
If you know me or if you’ve read a decent chunk of my movie reviews, one thing you’ll glean is that I absolutely hate time travel. Even if you just catch me on the street, you’d probably know that, since I tend to walk around yelling “FUCK TIME TRAVEL” to nobody in particular on my days off. So, this is a movie about time travel, and I hate it.
Eric Bana has a rare disorder that makes him a terrible actor. Also, his character in this movie has a disease that makes him randomly and physically travel through time and space so he’s always popping up naked in places and he spends most of his life breaking into houses and stealing clothes. Not like the Hulk though, very different from that. One person he frequently ends up visiting in the past and future is his wife, who he first meets when she’s a little girl, and he’s really creepy about how they’re gonna be bangin’ one day. There’s a lot of traditional romantic movie stuff, and eventually they try to have babies, but they keep warping out of the womb. They have marital problems and they fight and love etc etc etc.
Bana turns in his usual performance where it looks like he’s always about to cry because he doesn’t understand what’s going on, and the chemistry between him and the chipper McAdams is so unbelievable that not even her cute, wholesome attractiveness can save it. You really want her to be with someone better, someone who doesn’t show up naked in a field when she’s 8 and tell her that they’re going to get married. It’s a pretty fucked up thing to do to a kid imo.
The sci-fi concept behind a guy unstuck in time and how that affects his relationships is interesting enough, but the way they do the time travel is just so weird and bad that they get more wrapped up in having to explain the rules of it than actually exploring anything really deep with his marriage.
Ender’s Game (2013)
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Starring: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld
I went into this movie as a fan of the book all prepared to hate it, but it just had to go and be both really faithful to the source material and an entertaining film on its own right. That’s the nice thing about expecting the worst from everything, once every thousand times, you get surprised by something good!
Ender Wiggin is a genius kid selected to enroll in a space school designed to make the best and the brightest space fleet commanders so humanity can finally defeat the Formics, a bunch of alien bug guys. He goes through a lot of hard times, almost all of which are engineered by the old and grumpy Harrison Ford to make him more of a tactical thinker. After graduating from the first school, he goes to a second school where he’s trained by Australian Ben Kingsley with tattoos all over his face.
It’s a pretty nice looking sci-fi story, that’s ACTUALLY science fiction. There are just enough giant spaceships and explosions to keep the average person entertained, or so it seemed to me. I guess the movie only broke even, and is therefore a flop. In one respect, that’s kinda good; it’ll discourage a million movies being made out of the subpar book sequels anyway. As far as this movie goes, it’s great. Good sci-fi plot, sticks close to the book, great twist ending, and no naked kids at all! That’s a thing people were worried about from the books, I’m not just being really creepy out of nowhere.
Directed by: Katsuhiro Ohtomo
Starring: Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart, Alfred Molina
So for some reason IMDb didn’t have the original Japanese cast listed, only the English dub, so that’s what I wrote down. I did watch the original version with English subtitles, not because I’m one of those guys, but because it’s completely impossible to find a dubbed version of an anime movie if you’re pirating it because the guys who care enough to upload these things are the ones who think that a dub is a violent attack on the original intent of a film. While I get where they’re coming from, and there definitely IS something to be said about the original acting conveying the original intent of the director, if you can’t understand the language in the first place, it’s lost on you anyway, so you might as well see a dub in a language you understand so you can get the emotional feel from THOSE performances. Anyway, that’s my subs vs dubs opinion, which I’m sure you care about.
Steamboy is about a boy in a steampunk futurepast who has to stop his dad from creating a giant horrible machine that will kill everybody or something like that. There’s a spoiled rich girl that acts as the romantic interest, some cute animal sidekicks, and a crazy old man. All the generic roles are filled by equally generic characters in a story that is really nothing to write home about. I can’t even extend the plot synopsis into two sentences here.
This movie’s got the same director as Akira, and it shows in the character design. Pretty much everybody looks the same, except for the evil dad with a big robot eye. Of course, that’s not really why anybody would watch this movie, the reason to see it is the steampunky designs and the backgrounds, which are lavish and complex. If that’s enough for you in a movie, then you’ll be in hog heaven with Steamboy. If you’re looking for something with a little more substance behind the pretty backdrop, there isn’t much of it here.