Monday, March 2, 2009

The 2009 Boston Science-Fiction Marathon, Pt III

Now we're getting into the wee-er hours of the morning, so these remarks might be less coherent than those so eloquently laid down in parts One and Two of the 24-hour movie marathon.

9. Thrusting a curly-haired and quite young Jeff Goldblum in front of me was definitely enough to keep me awake for Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). Public health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) and his coworker Brooke (Elizabeth Driscoll) uncover an alien invasion quickly devouring San Francisco through fast-growing seed pods that replicate humans as they sleep. They recruit Matthew's friend Jack (Jeff Goldblum) and his wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright) as they run around the city fighting to stay awake. Matthew seeks the help of friend and noted psychiatrist Dr Kibner (Leonard Nimoy) but really there's no one they can trust. They try to find a way to escape or fight the epidemic, denying their own likely demise. I've seen the original but I don't remember it very well, so I can't really speak to this as a remake. I haven't read the book, either. I liked the performances very much and found it engaging overall, though it did drag a bit at parts. And Jeff Goldblum wasn't in it enough. Fabulous ending, though. Now I understand all those Donald Sutherland avatars. 4/5

10. Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988): I tried to nap during this one on a couch in the lobby. It was hard to actually sleep what with the snoring old dude next to me and various other factors. I heard a kickin' theme song and several rounds of laughter. The story involves aliens that look like clowns invading earth.

11. Transformers (2007) was there to wake us all up with its incredible loudness. Evil mutating robots arrive on earth and start stealing top-secret information from the US government. Some good ones arrive too and turn into automobiles. Both groups are after Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) because he has his explorer grandfather's eyeglasses which hold the key to the powerful Allspark. Now it's a battle between the government, the army, the ruthless Deceptacons, and the Autobots with Sam and his whiny girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox ugh). I was getting breakfast for most of the final battle. Transformers is exciting and has very good effects. I remember really liking it the first time I saw it, but that wanes each time I rewatch it. Shia LaBeouf is the best part, with great comedic timing. I wasn't into the show or toys so I never really cared if it was true to the source material. It doesn't try to be too serious or too expository- it knows what it is and has lots of explosions. 3/5

12. I have to admit I was nodding off through big chunks of I Married a Monster From Outer Space (1958), because, despite its awesome title, it is pretty boring. The night before he gets married to Marge (Gloria Talbott), Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon) is taken over by an alien. Flash forward a year later and Marge is pretty depressed about how weird and unfeeling her husband is, as well as the fact that she can't get pregnant. She sees him meeting with other aliens and realizes it's a doppelgänger. Other Bill explains that his planet was destroyed and only males were able to escape, so they're trying to impregnate earth women to perpetuate their species. Ruh roh. Marge tries to warn everyone and some other stuff happens. I think I would have been more into this movie if I hadn't been so sleepy. It's an interesting, low-key take on the old alien-takeover-through-body-doubles premise. But as it stands in my hazy memory I have to say 3/5.

13. I was pretty excited for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), despite the fact that I have never seen any Star Trek of any kind ever (whatever... Star Wars). Again, I was quite sleepy, but for the most part was quite engaged though much of it went over my head (I was awake but not focusing entirely well). Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) is suffering a midlife crisis when he's invited to lead a training mission on the USS Enterprise with bff Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Meanwhile some other guys accidentally set Kirk's sworn enemy Khan (Ricardo Montalban) free from his exile on an isolated planet. Now Khan is out for revenge on Kirk with the use of the powerful Genesis device. It's a fun movie that doesn't require much prior Star Trek knowledge, but it did seem overly complex (maybe it would have been easier to understand if I was better informed). I dug William Shatner of course, and Montalban was excellent and impressively chested. Good effects and good times. 4/5

Well that's it. 24 hours of science fiction, bested.

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