Aquamaniac!: Why Are Atlantis Movies SO Barmy?!

Fish And Quips With Jason Momomoaa!

“Arthur Curry. Also known as Protector of the Oceans. The Aquaman. I hear you can talk to fish…” – Bruce Wayne.

“My mother was a lighthouse keeper. My father was a queen…”

YAY!

At long last, the Aquaman movie has dived into our popcorn parlours!

Once more, Brad, that nautical nerd, can flex his flippers and reactivate his fervour for all things Atlantean by enjoying a CGIfest of florescent undersea vistas! Mermen speaking underwater in American accents! Scaly warriors mounted on seahorses! 

Or can he…? 

Reinventing one of the most lameass characters in DC Comics – a derisory figure traditionally clad in an orange spandex vest and green tights (>_<) – as a hulking, tattooed badass turned out to be not only a wise move, but a necessary one. Out of the abysmal Justice League movie, Aquaman turned out to be the only character to root for.

Months ago, especially when the promising trailer for this standalone movie splashed across the ‘net, it seemed like Jason (“My Man!”) Momomoaa could single-handedly revive the hapless fortunes of the DC Cinematic Universe, and – despite having never read any of the Aquaman comics (well really, has anybody?!) – even yours truly pondered: yeah, why not? Let’s give them one last chance….

But…

December has arrived all-too-quickly and my current mood towards blockbuster movies in general is – shall we say – not as effervescent as the bubbly visuals supposedly on offer in this latest addition to the ever-bulging mass of comic book movies.

Is this soggy saga seaworthy enough to make ol’ barnacle-ridden Brad part with his hard-scrounged pieces of eight…?  

Cynical wisecracks AHOY! 

Charles Aitken: “Seven cities to Atlantis? You know, the Greeks always claimed there were nine.”

Atmir: “Plato was not always right.”

Charles Aitken: “You know about our history?”

Atmir: “Far more than you realize…”

It may not stand up so well these days, but upon first viewing at the age of 6, Warlords of Atlantis (1978) instantly won me over with its action, adventure, striking visuals, and mutated leviathans and instilled in me an overwhelming urge to gather any scrap of info concerning Atlantis and other ancient mysteries of the deep. Back then, you see, anything starring Doug McClure automatically became my favourite movie. 

That creepy moment when the faceless Guardians emerge from under the sea remains one of my all-time groovy moments in SF/fantasy movie history!

Although it is difficult to deduce now, this film looks like the main contender for inspiring me to write (at the age of 6) my very first short story: “City Beneath Th Sea.”

For a long time, yours truly thought Warlords of Atlantis had the best movie title of all time; mention those three precious words – or play that theme music – and this ’70s cult classic still gives me goose pimples after all these decades!

Some of the models, particularly that prehistoric plesiosaur – “It got my pencil!” – not to mention the all-too-obviously-rubber tentacles of the giant octopus are undeniably smirkworthy, but one never tires of those startling matte paintings, sets, costume design and some atmospheric sound effects. And the one and only Doug McClure, of course!

“From our dying planet, we journeyed across space… A comet wrecked our charted course. Thrown into the gravitational field of your planet, Earth, we fell into the life-preserving waters of the ocean now above us…” -Atsil. 

 

“I am Captain Nemo. I have been asleep for 100 years aboard my submarine, Nautilus. I would probably still be left encapsulated had it not been for two intrepid agents of American Naval Intelligence…who quite by chance came upon my ship trapped by seismic underwater quakes…” – Captain Nemo.

Wow!

In the depths of my infant mind lie murky recollections of a truly bizarre TV mini-series that had me enthralled across three consecutive Friday evenings during April 1981. The Amazing Captain Nemo produced by Irwin Allen, was a shoddy attempt to replicate his TV success with Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. 

The premise: Captain Nemo emerges from a hundred-year-cryogenic-sleep to be recruited by the US government to thwart the world domination plans of evil genius: Professor Cunningham (played by Burgess Meredith!) is daft enough, but this was made in 1978, when ALL the studios clamoured for sci-fi in the wake of that phenomenal catch known as Star Wars. So, to make it even more ridiculous, add an army of blaster-wielding golden androids, laser battles between divers on the sea bed, plus a lumbering bionic henchman in a snazzy silver suit (Tor! Thought he was so cool! Wished that he had his own action figure…) 

And never forgotten that diminutive fella wearing the golden mask, responsible for firing the deadly Delta ray. 

The longshots of the ruined temples of Atlantis are just murky enough to conceal any hint of being tacky models. King Tibor of Atlantis is played by that member of The Magnificent Seven who nobody can name; and Lynda Day George shows up simply because the producers realised that the cast included no women. 

Watched it again, this week, after all these years – well aware that its poor reputation could spoil my fond childhood memories.

However, ship mates!

Having already sat through the truly abysmal likes of BS: Dawn Of Just Ass, Assassins’ Creed and Star Wars: Can’t Even Remember The Bally Name One Year On, An’ Ah Ain’t Gonna Google It At This Time O’ Night, Ma’am!, in comparison, this Captain Nemo turned out just Amazing enough to be harmlessly entertaining in its own, albeit cheap and dodgy, way!

Not sure if Jules Verne would have approved though…

 

That Nerk Wearing The Crystal Skull: “We have come back to the world that has always been ours! You have no place in it. You cannot defend yourselves!”

Mike: “One hell of a welcoming committee!” 

Mohammed: “Yeah, but what do we have to welcome them with? We only got three rounds…” 

Ahaaaar!

We arrive, inevitably, at that notorious Italian bilge-ridden oddity from 1983: Raiders of Atlantis, aka Atlantis Inferno or, as my gang knew it, when we rented it on video: The Atlantis Interceptors.

After being disturbed by modern scientific deep sea experiments, the fabled island of Atlantis rises again, and its denizens – who just happen to be a demented punk bunch of Mad Max rejects! – wreak havoc on land and kill all landlubbers who cross the path of their dune-buggies and motorcycles…

This is the sort of exercise where any type of script is not required – any vestige of sanity is wiped out halfway through in a relentless 30-minute volley of non-stop violence. Bearing in mind we were only 12 at that time, this is the sort of mindless mess for which we craved. Yeah, we thought it outrageous and completely nonsensical, but that only increased our enjoyment! 

The credits state this is “directed”(?! HA!!) by “Roger Franklin.” Uff, 80s kids like me can sniff the “work”(??) of Ruggero Deodato fathoms away.

Knowing that The Atlantis Interceptors is freely available on YouTube, a re-watch proved simply irresistible. Now, viewing it alone, and with what some would call a “mature” perspective, the whole point of it all just seems so baffling. Considering what “fun” it gave us thirty years ago, this is NOT the worse movie ever made; the most bonkers movie ever made? Oh, almost certainly! 

Could this video rental really be so atrocious when it boasts a theme song as groovy as THIS?!:

Arthur Curry: “Of course it’s not working. It’s been sitting here gathering dust since before the Sahara was a desert!”

Mera: “Before the Sahara was a desert… You do your best thinking when you’re not thinking at all. Hold still… We need water. You’re the closest source.”

Speaking of crap movies, back to Aquaman. 

Director James Wan impressed me with The Conjuring (2013), and he appears to have made a concerted effort to brighten the mood/look of Warner/DC movies, before the whole lousy DC Cinematic Universe sinks without trace… 

Plus, the always-reliable presence of Willem Defoe – and Black Manta, who looks cool in the trailer – are the strongest factors pulling me in. Sure, it offers “stunning visuals,” but considering how the state of special effects now has become so sophisticated, no sense of magic or charm can be attained; moreover, some of the poorest-received movies of recent times were weakly defended with claims of “stunning visuals”

Blimey, not even that legendary thesp: Dolph Lundgren – as the King of The Lost Continent – can get me out on a stormy night like this. Besides, Arthur Curry’s descent into Atlantis (seen in the trailer) reminds me too much of that cringe-inducing moment in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Liam Neeson visited that undersea kingdom… 

And, judging from the awful quote above, the script sounds ready to make me seasick. 

Ugh, permission to throw myself overboard…

Have a pretty good idea that Aquaman could never inspire the 6-year-old Brad, and my mates would definitely have slung in a few mocking jibes if they’d caught this in my VCR back in the day…

Can the Aquaman movie really be as clever as this trailer?

Methinks not: 

“A war is coming to the surface. And I am bringing my rubber ducky with me!” – Orm. 

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

 

Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Rereview

Hold On To Your Butts…

John Hammond: “…And there’s no doubt, our attractions will drive kids out of their minds!”

Dr. Alan Grant: “And what are those?”

Dr. Ellie Sattler: “Small versions of adults, honey…”

 

Can it really be a qurarter-century since tbe “Biggest Movie Of All Time”: Jurassic Park smacked gobs and broke records?!  

Rather than waste time and ticket fare on the latest instalment: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (uninspiring Reviews reassure me, alas, that nothing special is being missed) let’s celebrate, instead, the anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s classic dinofest. Luckily, in that Summer of ’93 – haha! When Jurassic Park Ruled The Earth! 🙂 – we were served a superior concoction of thrills, spills and chills – setting, in effect, the definitive template for the summer blockbuster.

For once, Size DID Matter.

Yep, sitting in a packed cinema watching the (then) cutting edge CG tech unfold proved to be a very special experience. 

Unforgettable? You’re telling me!

An insufferable nerk sat directly behind me (Jeez, isn’t that always the way?!), and EVERY TIME that sauropod lifted up on its hind legs to reach higher food; T Rex chased the jeep; T Rex (again) lunged out of nowhere to feast, or the velociraptors ran rampant through the kitchen, he had to utter:

“This is unreal! This is unreal!”   

Okay, that’s one extremely irritating way to admit that, undeniably, Jurassic Park turned out to be one of the game-changers of modern cinema.

Unlike the majority of summer blockbusters, the characters assembled here are well-defined; there is some snappy dialogue written by David Koepp; in addition, the casting is very commendable: considering how HARRISON FORD(!) was offered (and turned down) the role of Dr. Alan Grant; Sam Neill was great, but one can’t help wondering how that box-office-beating Spielberg alumnus (well-accustomed to jungle adventures himself) would have fared against these adversaries!

Interesting to learn that Spielberg wanted to recreate the Ford/Connery chemistry from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, envisaging Sir Sean Connery as first choice for the role of John Hammond(!) (so THAT explains Sir Dickie Attenborough’s dodgy Scottish accent!); and behold! There is my particular favand yours too, no doubtthat superior hunk of manflesh: Jeff Goldblum as chaos theoretician: Dr. Ian “Must go faster!” Malcolm.

Must have watched the trailer countless times back in the day. Note how there are only subtle hints of the dino-action in store – no spoilers in those days! Anybody else miss the guttural voiceovers…? 

“Steven [Spielberg] had me screen-test with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman for Hook. I was just too young for the role. ‘Don’t worry about it, Joey,’ Steven said, ‘I’m going to get you in a movie this summer.’ Not only a nice promise to get, but to have it be one of the biggest box-office smashes of all time? That’s a pretty good trade” – Joseph Mazzello.

“You feel that…?”

For the first time in several years, yours truly finally (for the benefit of this Post at least) got round to rewatching this movie.

Arguably the best sequence in the whole franchise (it has lost none of its terrifying potency 25 years later) is T Rex’s breathtaking entrance, at night, in the rain, as the two tour cars are stranded right beside her compound. (Hang on: didn’t they pass the Tyrannosaur paddock already during the day, and move on when she proved to be a no-show? What are they doing back there again, considering how those automated jeeps are irreversible??)

Never mind, it’s the tense build up – the sound of ominous, even-heavier-than-Dennis-Nedry footsteps heading the stranded tour party’s way, those ripples in the water cups (incidentally, the very first gif selected for this Post!sets one heckuva spine-tingling tone, especially if you dare to watch – and listen – during the early hours…  

It’s amazing how the obese guy (Nedry) and the lawyer (Gennaro) are deliberately rendered as thoroughly detestable characters so that we can all “enjoy”(?!) a guilt-free (and obscene) “pleasure” when they inevitably end up as dino-dindins…

The greatest asset of this movie is that it did not descend into a mindless, and relentless, dinosaur-chase B-movie, but opted instead to embellish the action and tension with more thought-provoking material, most evidently in that rightfully-revered classic scene of Dr. Malcolm discussing the ethics – and irresponsibility – of genetic tomfoolery over lunch.

Trust Brad to have loaded that vid already elsewhereguess where! Yay! A celebration of Jeff Goldblum right here!

To think that Jim Carrey was considered for the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm(!) Blimey… who would want to see his pecs…? 

Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Gee, the lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh… staggers me.”

Donald Gennaro: “Well thank you, Dr. Malcolm, but I think things are a little bit different than you and I had feared…”

Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Yeah, I know. They’re a lot worse.”

Donald Gennaro: “Now, wait a second now, we haven’t even seen the park…”

 

And just when you consider how Jeff could play EVERY role from Jurassic Park, well, here is the vid that proves he can – Goldblum! Goldblum! We’ve got Jeff Goldblum here!: 🙂

It’s supposed to be Costa Rica, right? So things are hot and I’m sure I’m in some sort of fever. So all the logic is that we gotta get some of these wet clothes off immediately. As I remember, I don’t think anybody fought me on that” – Jeff Goldblum. 

And, of course, where would this epic be without John Williams? This renowned composer sealed his reputation by providing one of his most sumptuous music scores. 

Let’s not forget the phenomenal cultural impact the movie created a quarter-century ago.

While Raiders Of The Lost Ark (arguably Spielberg’s greatest movie) inspired Brad and many of his contemporaries to get into archaeology, Jurassic Park did its best to influence a new generation of palaeontologists.

Although a hefty bundle of the technic and genetic gubbins discussed/featured therein seemed quesionable, to the point of bonkers: i.e. the utility – and durability – of millions-of-years-old DNA; could/did sauropods balance on their hind legs? (and so on) at least it encouraged a wider, greater understanding of scientific principles. As delirious-for-dinosaurs as the next kid, Jurassic Park, for an albeit all-too-brief period during that Summer, resurrected that long-dormant palaeo-passion. 

Regrettably, though, the main aspect of this particular movie that comes back to my mind concerns those numerous continuity errors, most notably the one gaffe that baffles me with each viewing: why is the T Rex paddock predominantly flat during daylight hours, but after dark a sheer drop emerges -the scene in which Alan and Tim clambering as fast as they can down a tree before their own car falls on top of them is tense enough, but how – and why – does the script demand that such an absurd feat transpire at all?! 

And just what exactly did happen to Ray Arnold (Samuel L Jackson)…?

Finally, what of Jurassic Park‘s legacy?

Admittedly, my affection for the original movie has soured somewhat by the fact that its sequels – two lacklustre direct follow-ups, the imbecilic Jurassic World and this season’s unappealing tag-on: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom have come no way near to recreating the original’s ground-breaking impact of action and suspense. Rather, the makers of these wasted opportunities (including Spielberg himself, disappointingly enough!) were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should…

 

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: 

“That doesn’t look very scary. More like a six-foot turkey.”

 

Tim: “Well… we’re back… in the car again.”

Dr. Alan Grant: “Well, at least you’re out of the tree.”

 

My Dad would always take me to see the dinosaurs in Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute of Technology, with big dinosaur bones, and so I made Jurassic Park remembering how much fun it was to imagine, with such yearning, that some day wouldn’t it be great to run into a dinosaur… and for everybody who had ever wondered, or been fascinated with that whole era…” – Steven Spielberg.

 

“You Don’t Get Older, You Get Better”: The Bradscribe Gif Party

Make Cake Not War!

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss.

Welcome to the party!

So glad you could make it! 

Where else on the blogosphere right now can you forget all your troubles… and enjoy a party for this one day?

Lots of great music to enjoy, and savoury and sweet snacks aplenty!

Are you ready to dance?! 

Okey-dokey, plug in, lil fella!

“The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing” – James Brown.  

“Don’t think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you’ll never do a thing” – Bill Murray.

Try the egg custard tarts – they’re lovely! 

For their sterling work filing and cataloguing my formidable Bronze Age comics collection, yours truly has treated his minions to a live set by The Mummies in the basement.

Be careful, the umpteeenth barrel of orange squash has just been prised open, so things are getting pretty lively down there…

“You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, ‘See if you can blow this out'” – Jerry Seinfeld.

Well, you’ve probably guessed by now that today is a very special day; yes, that’s right: celebrating the Best Day of Mum’s Life 🙂

Would like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU all for your love, support and uplifting Comments – it is very much appreciated! Always! 

Bless you all!

Please help yourself to another cake…

Here are the requested book prezzies received today:  

Been searching AGES for these two classics! In case you don’t see any New Posts on this site over the next few weeks, this writer will be busy reading!

Also, can get my own copy of Thor: Ragnarok – released on DVD this week just in time for my birthday? What are the chances of that happening?! 😉

This, obviously, provides yet another excuse to upload the Best Gif Of 2017:

 

“You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake” – Bob Hope.

 

So, how is the latest upgrade of Brad holding up?

First and foremost: STILL looking younger than what a dude of my age should!

Does getting older means that one is getting wiser? The jury is still out on that one – experiencing increasingly frustrating difficulties with phones, unexpected tech-mishaps and various miscellaneous inconveniences but that seems to be a uniquely 21st century thing.

Apart from feeling a tad flaccid around me knees, and suffering cramp if having to endure a particularly lousy or disappointing movie at the cinema, yours truly is feelin’ fine an’ dandy! 

Thanks fer asking! 🙂

Like the late, great Maya Angelou once said, “my mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive”; this writer intends to carry on writing (even if there are only half a dozen readers at a time willing to view my work) with some passion, some awesomeness, some humour, and (hopefully) some style.

And what about my age? 

No worries, it shall not weary me; don’t count the years – make the years count!

Cheers!

“Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter” – Satchel Paige.

 

“He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot” – Douglas Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001)

 

“Well It’s Plain To See You Were Meant For Me”: Song A Day Challenge – Day #5

Manic Music Monday: Welcome To The Song A Day Challenge!

Thank You To Danica For Nominating Me!

Here are the rules:

  • Post a song a day for five consecutive days (I’m posting consecutive Mondays!)
  • Post the name of the song and video
  • Post what the lyrics mean to you (optional)
  • Nominate two (or one) different blogger each day of the challenge

My Song of the Day:

T. Rex – “20th Century Boy” 

What Marc Bolan means to me:

STILL smarting from the fact that T. Rex – one of the landmark bands of the glam rock movement in the early-70s, do NOT appear on the latest Guardians Of The Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2.

Anyway, they inspired me to delve back into 70s music – been immersed in it over the past few nights!

Invariably, T. Rex are among the first to fall back on, for Marc Bolan was an exuberant talent.

To think that after 150+ Posts, ONLY NOW can you discover what Brad‘s Theme Tune is.

Yeah, “20th Century Boy”  describes me perfectly (the less said about this 21st Century the better!) 😉

Never had any opportunity to load up this fab song before, so – considering this is the last Song A Day Challenge (tell me, do u weep?) – let’s (glam) rock in style.

Have a happy Monday!

*

My Nominees:

Kim

Paul

 

Pecs, Pies And Videotape: Confessions Of An ’80s Video Junkie

Slap It In The VCR And They Will Come…

WARNING: Contains strong violence, some mild language and scenes of a dodgy sexual nature

time slip

“Lay me place and bake me pie, I’m starving for me gravy” – David Bowie.  

Know you now of days long past.

A time when the world was young, when video recorders thrived;

the worldwide web but a twinkle in its inventor’s eye,

and wild adventure was fore’er in the offing…

What better way to spend this Bank Holiday Weekend than traipse through the Mall of Nostalgia?!

My life changed forever in mid-August 1984, when we acquired our very first video cassette recorder: VHS you understand (the cool one); the sole kid who often touted the “merits” of Betamax would invariably get beaten to a pulp by the bigger boys.

From that hallowed point onwards, life revolved (spooled?) around tapes: tapes of action movies, tapes of TV comedy shows, tapes of planes, trains and automobiles for Dad, and ballet for Mum, tapes of this an’ tapes of t(h)at. Back then, you see, being able to watch a TV programme a day, a week – or months(!) – after its broadcast date shouted sheer genius! 

And don’t forget the pies… 

Possibly the main reason why best school-buddies: Ed and Boz dropped by my gaff at weekends, and during holidays, involved the double fix of excellent videos and scrumptious pies! In those days, our considerable larder came ram-packed with meaty goodness: steak and kidney, minced beef and onion… but one couldn’t stomach cheese and mushroom – still can’t. All supplemented by a kitchen drawer overflowing with potato chips of every possible flavour!

Probably the coolest addition to the high street was the video rental store. Our local awemonger: Video Stop received frequent visits by yours truly. Don’t regret admitting that more time was spent in there browsing around its ram-packed shelves than in the school library…  

If you – like me – are a child of the 80s, then you will know all-too-perfectly-well what this blogger is blatherin’ on about.

“Don’t insult my intelligence! Please, don’t make me kill you… It will spoil all my fun” – Diana.

For weeks, the latest sci-fi TV sensation from the States had been advertised.

Just known as V – Earth’s first encounter with extraterrestrial visitors! Arriving in fifty motherships, they seek water and resources to save their dying planet, and in return they will bestow upon us all the fruits of their knowledge. TV cameraman Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) stows away aboard the LA mothership and discovers the shocking truth: they are reptilian invaders come to collect humans as food!

The original 2-part opener thrilled me and Ed on the Monday and Tuesday nights respectively. As it went out @ 10:30pm, Dad stuck around to check its suitability for us; he got swept along qith the engrossing drama and SF thrills, and – seeing how enraptured we younglings clearly were, he went out to purchase a VCR on the Wednesday morning.

Way ta go, Daddio!

For that night, the 3- part series: V The Final Battle began, and the whole caboodle got so much better.

Marc Singer was a revelation. Or – more precisely – his pecs motivated me to build upon my embarrassingly weedy frame and maybe – just maybe – rather than beat me up in the playground, the girls would instead start to respect and, perhaps, fancy me…

Another main reason to watch V, of course, was Jane Badler as scheming scientist: Diana – hotter than a pie that’d just come outta the oven.

‘Tis a pity she’s a lizard…

Really, we could not move on without mentioning one of the ultimate SF badasses:Ham Tyler. He holds a reserved place in Brad’s Badass Brigade. Take a butcher’s @ this classic scene and you’ll see why:

“Now that’s a waste of good luggage” – Ham Tyler.

“Just give me some meat an’ a bowl a’ noodles, and make it snappy!” – Hsiao Feng.

Back in the day, you could, inevitably, get titles so indescribably bizarre.

Take – for instance – Time Slip aka GI Samurai: a madcap Jap piece a’ crap. Caught in a sinister storm, an army division is hurled back to the Samurai Era. In the batshit-bonkers carnage that ensues, their tank fires on cavalry charges and all Sonny Chiba (yes! for it is he!) can do is watch his men wiped out by wave upon wave of arrows…

Most of the titles on offer in Video Stop seemed to be rip-offs of either Alien or Mad Max. The latter – fantastically awful titles that had more cheese than, well, a cheese pie – already received somewhat “fervent” attention in this Post.

If a rental proved too turgid to sit through, one constantly-reliable go-to could always be slapped back in the VCR.

Beach Of The War Gods – directed, and starring, that great Taiwanese action-star: “Jimmy” Wang Yu (yes! the one and only!) – is a gloriously hard and funky epic from the legendary Golden Harvest stable. During the 16th century, the Japanese laid siege to the Chinese coastline: killing, looting, burning and other frightful deeds. The petrified plebs of the Windy City dread imminent attack until-!

The Stranger moseys on in…

He persuades Iron Man (yes! Iron Man!) and Brother Li Love (a moody paleface with twenty daggers strapped onto his tunic) to aid him in leading the locals to fight off the Jap hordes.

As to be expected, the dubbing is hilarious, the foley artist is having a gas, and the surf guitar (yes! surf guitar!) soundtrack is outta sight, man!

The climactic battle – hackin’-an’-a-slashin’ through the city streets – is faster and more furious than your average Chinese flick, featuring scintillating choreography, and it just keeps on going and going!

…And going!

But the very first bout a’ blade-battering – when Hsiao Feng Two-Blades kicks off! – is particular gobsmacking. To me, this scene will ALWAYS be a frenetic fave and as-cool-as-fudge:

“Anything you say can and will be held against you…in the court of Robocop” – Jerry.

ALIEN BODIES…

One classic film that constantly eluded me was the original Alien. Although one unforgettable day did come mighty close to changing that…

The box read: “Alien: Starring Tom Skerritt” written in black felt tip. Aha, that’s the bunny! methinks, me quest is over!

Sure enough, Ed and Boz stopped what they were doing and pedalled frantically over to my gaff. Ed had the king-size steak and kidney, Boz tucked in (rather unbelievably) to the cheese and mushroom, while Brad had the beef and onion. Three chip packets rustled in unison as the video started playing. Hmm, no 20th Century Fox logo; funny, not even those iconic credits came on neither…

Strangely, the screen opened, NOT on the dark, foreboding world of LV426, but in a brightly-lt bedroom. On a huge double-bed reclined three young women, with barely one bikini between them.

We gawped in horror as they proceeded to do something unmentionable. With a light bulb…

Searing into my soul, Boz fixed me with his most intense where-the-fudge-is-Tom-Skerritt?! stare: “Jeez, Brad! Ya tryin’ ta corrupt us, fella?!” he blurted. “This must be one of dem Video Nasties that Mrs. Shufflebottom warned us about in class last week! Fer pity’s sake, mate, put Beach Of The War Gods on again, willya?!”

“BLAZES!” yelled Ed, almost spitting his pie out. “I can ‘ear yer Dad comin’ up the hallway! Eject, fella! EJECT!!”

The jittery vid-jockey lunged towards his VCR, an itchy finger quivering over the Eject button.

The bally thing!

It clicked; it whirred. The picture took FOREVER to switch off.

The tape chugged out, just as Dad marched in. To pick up a pencil…

Remember only too well THAT looong, wretched slog back to Video Stop. Too embarrassed to glance at other passers-by – felt like they were staring at me with utter disgust.

Honestly!

A boy of my age…

Carrying SUCH SMUT through a densely populated area…

Too timid to look the video store worker in the eye and hand over THAT TAPE Or have the nerve to inform him that this was definitely NOT the version “directed” by Ridley Scott…

Imagine my utter relief to find, upon arrival, the lad-in-charge had popped out for a pie! The offending article could simply be dropped in the Returns box. Huzzah, my anonymity – not to mention my dignity! – remained intact! To be on the safe side, managed to avoid the store for a WHOLE WEEK so they wouldn’t be able to trace me back to that… that ghastly horridness.

Of course, the three amigos never spoke about it…

Don’t think any of us dared go near another Tom Skerritt movie…

“Okay, who ordered the Burly Beef?” – Sarah Connor.

My dear father and the joy of video rentals granted one of the most memorable birthdays of this boy’s life. Inevitably, Ed and Boz came round for my 14th – with cards and gifts (tapes, obviously).

And lo!

It came to pass that Dad had got me a swell gift – he’d sneaked out and rented a video! (blub)

The cover alone was ultracool – a futuristic dude holding a groovy shoo’er, but sporting the MOST IMPECCABLE PECS! Suddenly, such good vibes emanated from this tape…

Two groovy fellas travel back in time to Los Angeles to hook up with the same clumsy waitress. And then the big guy gets blasted away. Uff, so what…? But then – SWEET BABY JESUS! – he only gets up and spends the rest of the movie chasing the other two across LA! Turns out that he – ha! get this: happens to be a cyborg, sent back to terminate that po’ woman presumably before she can do any more damage to that Diner.

It’s the most ridiculous thing, but pulled off with such great gusto; the action is top-notch, while the pace? Relentless! You know its title; it’s become one of THE iconic SF greats of the 80s – and deservedly so.

Dad was absolutely delighted to see me so happy, and – bless ‘im – only rented ANOTHER video!

He felt chuffed to bits, convinced that he’d got THE PRIZE. As you well know, Aliens is the sequel to the film that would, eventually, take another THREE YEARS to reach my Christmas stocking…

The awesome merits of Aliens appeared not so long ago in this Post.

But what turned out to be really mind-blowing? Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) is also a stalwart member of the the Badass Brigade – Hey! This is turning into quite a nifty reunion! Plus, Biehn had already showed off his pecs in that other Movie of the Day!

A Michael Biehn double-bill the perfect birthday present for anyone!

GOD BLESS MICHAEL BIEHN.

“You could warn them… if only you spoke Hovitos!” – Dr. Rene Belloq.

“Yo, fella, save the BEST till last.”

The BIGGEST movie of Summer ’84 had to be something called: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Knew that it was an old-fashioned action/adventure movie, but that was all. Until Ed clarified that it was actually a sequel to a blockbuster that caused a sensation back in ’81: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Not only promising the ultimate pie-eating experience, we reckon this was our VERY FIRST rental. Whoa, what a visual feast to get the ball – or, in this case, boulder – rolling!

Raiders is a MASTERPIECE; yes, yes, Brad concedes – it IS BETTER than Beach Of The War Gods…

Here is one of its undisputed highlights – one of the finest action sequences EVER produced. John Williams excelled himself here. On my all-time chart, his pieces that give me goosebumps include: The Imperial March; the Tattooine Theme, and the sequence that begins here @ 1:54

Best moment? 4:38ha ha!

Let’s go!:

“Didn’t any of you guys ever go to Sunday school?” – Indiana Jones. 

That, my fellow thrill-seekers, wraps it up for this May Day Weekend.

Since our TV set switched to a digital network, access to our video channel has become a bugger to fix; mould has damaged some of the tapes; Video Stop vanished long ago – the unit is now a softcore hardware store; those friends are long gone; Brad himself is still chooglin’.

However: “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage” – his teeth are worn and bent; his hair is thinning like no tomorrow; and he doesn’t seem to remember ever owning a droid…

But his pecs are – by Jove! – still as firm and pliant as ever!

HUZZAH!

Be Kind, Rewind

 

“Must Go Faster, Must Go Faster!”: Go, Go, Goldblum!

Without Jeff Goldblum, Fending Off Aliens And Dinosaurs Would Be So Darned Difficult…

jurassic-park-jeff-goldblum-1

“You’ll have to get used to Dr. Malcolm…” – John Hammond. 

Possibly the most intriguing news about next year’s Thor: Ragnarok is that En Dwi Gast (the Grandmaster) will be played by Jeff Goldblum. While that actor/movie icon reprises his role in of David Levinson in Independence Day: Resurgence currently showing in cinemas (goodness knows why), we gotta do a Post on this guy, considering the colossal contribution he has made to SF cinema.

Watch any of his quirky characters – usually “either an intellectual of some sort or an eccentric or both” – and it’s easy to see why he holds a reserved place in the Bradscribe Hall of Fame. 

There is something about Jeff and aliens: he assisted top surgeon/rock star/sci-fi hero Buckaroo Banzai in thwarting an alien invasion; he fought a “more substantial” alien invasion with a computer virus in the original Independence Day; has utilised alien technology to bolster Earth’s defences when the aliens return in Independence Day: Resurgencebecame a victim of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers; and actually played one in Earth Girls Are Easy, cavorting around in blue-skinned body-paint long before Avatar came along. 

He is a fave in this sector of tke blogosphere primarily for injecting his oddball personality into would-be-banal characters. Apart from quite an impressive list of movies, he is a swell pianist, and can wriggle his ears ONE AT A TIME.

vlcsnap-2014-07-29-10h53m36s53

“The rest of the world is trying to change people to fit the world. I’m trying to change the world to fit people” – Jack Bellicec. 

Jeff Goldblum’s first immersion into the realm of science fiction was in the 1978 remake of that paranoid infiltration chiller: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Jack Bellicec and Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) make the shocking discovery that spaceborne pods are linked to the startling emergence of emotionless sots roaming around town.

He was ideal to appear in the oddball cult classic: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai In The Eighth Dimension (1984) in which he spent the entire running time in cowboy clobber (don’t ask). Along with his ever-reliable band of hombres: the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo Banzai gets caught up in the galactic altercation between the malevolent red aliens and good black aliens from Planet 10. 

Once this endearing slice of schlock and awe comes to an unwanted end, so the greatest end titles sequence in movie history unfolds. The best bit is captured in this gif (below), but you can catch the whole scene right here:

buckaroo-banzai-new-jersey-gif

the-fly-jeff-goldblum

“I’ve come here to say one magic word to you: cheeseburger!” – Seth Brundle. 

Like many fans, my first encounter with the legend that is Jeff Goldblum came in The Fly (1986). Probably the second-greatest remake ever made, it charts the regression of crazy-eyed scientist Seth Brundle as he gradually – and gruesomely – transforms into the half-man-half-insect abomination of Brundlefly. 

He did not wriggle his ears, but one of them did fall off during his regeneration.

In the almost-forgotten Earth Girls Are Easy (1988) his co-star from The Fly: Geena Davis appeared with him again, as a California gal who discovers three furry aliens in her swimming pool. 

Crazy…

earthgirlsareeasy7

Run, Malcolm, run!
Run, Malcolm, run!

“Yeah, but, John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists” – Dr. Malcolm. 

Now we come to perhaps Goldblum’s most iconic role: the all-black-clad expert on chaos: Dr. Ian Malcolm from the gargantuan blockbuster that was Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993). Here, the actor consolidated his reputation for playing eccentric intellectuals. Also, he is one of the very few movie stars to have been chased by a T Rex. (Does he have that on his CV?!)

One of the most thrilling scenes is when the tour jeep is pursued by the rampaging carnivore. Dr. Malcolm amusingly yells: “Must Go Faster, Must Go Faster!”

He went on to be the central lead in the somewhat inferior sequel: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), but it is the ’93 movie for which he will be most fondly associated. Arguably, Malcolm had all the best lines and this scene especially is one of the classic moments in SF cinema, and just had to be included here:

ID42

“Hey, take a look at the Earthlings. Goodbye!” – David Levinson.  

Watching Independence Day back in 1996 was an infuriating experience. In the mood for a big alien invasion flick, this seemed to be the one to catch. The trailer looked really good, but the whole movie itself turned out to be SO DUMB, it’s almost an insult to the whole genre.

Anyway, Goldblum’s input was enough to prevent me from storming out of the auditorium. The climactic escape from the alien mothership was interesting though; one of the most enduring stories in Hollywood is that Spielberg himself was reportedly mightily dischuffed when Goldblum repeated that exact same exclamation:  “Must Go Faster, Must Go Faster!”

One distinction of Goldblum’s characters is how SICK they are, not so much awesome – yes, they are that – but they are all prone to illness: in The Right Stuff (1984) he played a quirky NASA boffin who suffers from seasickness; in The Fly (1986) he played a quirky scientist who suffers from motion sickness (hence the invention of the teleporter); and in Independence Day he played a quirky, eco-sensitive maths genius who suffers from airsickness.

In Jurassic Park, his quirky chaos theorist gets his leg broken, but is probably sick of that wretched T Rex chasing him…

alistair-hennessey-jeff-goldblumgrandbudapestdeputykovacs

“They made soup out of my research turtles…” – Alistair Hennessey.

Lately, on a non-SF level, his contribution to the Wes Anderson filmography is particularly commendable, appearing in the nautically funny Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) as gay oceanographer Alistair Hennessey.

As homage to Buckaroo Banzai’s end credits, Anderson recreated the sequence at the end of Life Aquatic; as Goldblum starred in the movie, so he got to be part of it – amazingly, he was involved in BOTH! 

In 2014’s (Eastern) Europeanly funny Grand Budapest Hotel, he appeared as the almost-unrecognisable-but-familiar-sounding Deputy Kovacs (raising extra mirth by doing nothing to hide his American accent for a decidedly non-American role).

Whatever eccentric performance he delivers, we simply can’t get enough of Jeff – he’s ‘blumin’ marvellous. 

And there was no way we were going to let THIS Golden Goldblum Moment slip by:

“I’ve been lucky. And thank goodness the [sci-fi films] I’ve done have been good movies. I feel like some kind of lucky star has, for now, shone on me” – Jeff Goldblum.

Now that we’ve made it to the end of this Post, what better way to sign off than with a message from Dr Malcolm himself: 

“That is one big pile of shit…” – Dr. Malcolm. 

The Land That 20th Century Fox Forgot: The Uncanny X-Men In The Savage Land!

At The Bottom Of The World. The Coldest And Most Remote Place On Earth.

Yet There Is A Hot Prehistoric Jungle. Where Time Stopped Tens Of Millions Of Years Ago.

Where The Dinosaurs Still Roam…

x-men-byrne-savageland

“STOP! Release my friend: Karl Lykos, costumed one, or face the wrath of Ka-Zar, Lord of the Savage Land!” – Ka-Zar.

“This guy owes me, Blondie… but since he’s your buddy, I’ll be glad to take on you an’ your pussycat, too” – Wolverine. 

Although X-Men: Apocalypse sadly failed to deliver the goods for me as hoped, nevertheless my penchant for Prof Xavier’s team remains undimmed– so another mutant Post had to be done.  

My introduction to Prof Xavier’s team stems back to 1987/88, when Classic X-Men reprinted stories that originally appeared in 1978, added extra pages of art, and included new bonus stories illustrated by the incomparable John Bolton! 

What an introduction! 

The X-Men’s adventures in the Savage Land – a spellbinding land that would look absolutely sensational if it ever reached the big screen – became an instant, mesmerising hit with me.

Writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne swiftly became my fave creative duo, delivering all the amazing mutant thrill-power one could eat. In fact, their awesome partnership made me seek out some of their other works. 

The concept of a lost world in Antarctica looked especially intriguing; as a kid, one of my fave fantasy films was The Land That Time Forgot (1974), starring the irrepressible Doug McClure, in which a First World War U-Boat inadvertently surfaces in Caprona, a primordial land located deep within – yes! – Antarctica. Although the indigenous name for the “Savage Land” is never given in the comics, part of me will always fondly accept this as Caprona.

Classic X-Men #21 was sheer class, and – by the wonders of the worldwide web – here is the cover:

classic-x-men-21-88cover

classic-x-men-21

classic-x-men-21-p17-alien city

“Mortal, in attacking me, you have sown the wind. Now shall you reap the whirlwind! I am the personification of forces that were ancient before your race was born! I have seen death and suffering enough to make God himself despair” – Garokk. 

The Savage Land has played a vital, recurring role in the X-Men comics universe. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it made its first appearance way back in X-Men #10, March 1965.

My introduction to this land that time forgot came with Classic X-Men #20. Having escaped the Antarctic lair of their arch-foe: Magneto, the tired and weary X-Men – mistakenly believing that Jean Grey and Hank McCoy are dead – seek sanctuary in this secret paradise. There they have to do battle with the evil Pterosaur-Man: Sauron. 

Classic X-Men #21, (a reprint of The Uncanny X-Men #115 (Nov 1978), was essentially an intriguing ecological sci-fantasy fable. Sauron, defeated, reverts to his human persona: Karl Lykoswho relates the tale of discovering the Savage Land. No sooner had he “become one with the land,” he stumbled upon a temple wherein the High Priestess: Zaladane was initiating a ritual to secure the resurrection of the Petrified Man – the living embodiment of Garokk, the Sun God. This powerful ancient being, craved control over this primordial enclave, and through slave labour, constructed a fabulous metropolis for himself.

“Somehow though, the city upset the delicate ecological balance that, throughout the aeons, had kept the Antarctic icecap at bay. Now, for the first time, the Savage Land knows Winter.”

Having met Ka-Zar – the Savage Land’s version of Tarzan – they unite the tribes of the Savage Land in a desperate struggle to oppose the oppression of  Garokk – the Petrified Man. 

Cue magnificent aerial combat: Garokk’s Slave Army riding on Pterosaurs, while Ka-Zar and Karl lead the attack on the city atop their flying sharks.

…Flying sharks?!

classic-x-men-22-p9

storm-rogue-savage-land

“This place reminds me of my home in Africa…” – Storm. 

Considering what a major fixture the Savage Land is, it only seems logical that a future X-Men big screen outing should feature this magical location. Will this green jungle ever emanate from a green screen?  

Come on: mutant superheroes and dinosaurs in the same movie(!) — now there’s a blockbuster worth watching! Who WOULDN’T pay to watch an X-Men/Jurassic World mash-up?! 

So, what are the chances of an X-Men movie like that being produced?

First of all, it would have to be determined whether either Fox or Marvel actually “own” the Savage Land, and then, in separate interviews, X-Men insiders have, annoyingly, been decidedly cagey about how much – if anything – they can reveal.

Garokk in particular would present a fantastic opportunity for Andy Serkis: Motion Capture King to weave his special magic… 

Interestingly, the bonus story of Classic X-Men #21: First Love told how Colossus found the love of his life: a member of the hunter-gathering Fall People named Nereel by saving her from a rampaging T Rex.

This stunning artwork by John Bolton (below) just had to be added here:

colossus-nereel-t-rex

classic-x-men-21-p26

“Back home, even at the height of our Siberian summers, I never sweated as much as this… All this greenery. So unlike the Rodina, my Motherland” – Colossus. 

Strangely enough, not just the X-Men have had adventures in the Savage Land. 

Even Spider-Man got tangled up in this jungle, going in search of Gwen Stacey who had been kidnapped by Kraven The Hunter. 

In The New Avengers, it was suggested that S.H.I.E.L.D. operated in the Savage Land mining vibranium, utilising various tribes as slave labour. Naturally this is classified information, of course; the mine was obliterated by a missile-strike from the Avengers’ Helicarrier. The Avengers survived by a force field energised by Iron Man. 

And in The Avengers vs. X-Men (Yes folks! There IS such a storyline!) Gambit fought Captain America in the Savage Land.

wolverine-sauron-670983-sa2

“Be proud, mutant! Your power will make Sauron invincible!” – Sauron. 

Mostly, 1988 was quite a crap year (pop music turned awful; nothing worth watching at the cinema the whole year(!); and school sucked big time), so the discovery of Classic X-Men could not have come at a better time. 

The work of Claremont and Byrne provided quality fantasy fare in which to escape; those were difficult times which made me wish that something could teleport me away to the Savage Land. 

Let me have fought dinosaurs instead of those teenage problems any day. 

Surviving in the jungle dressed in that classic pulp way: a pair of sturdy boots, some clean undies and a utility belt, armed with an impressive array of primitive weapons, Brad would be in his element.

Why, my pulsating pecs alone should ward off even the most curious raptor…

classic-x-men-21-ankylosaurs

“Eventually, I reached the Savage Land. In a strange way, I felt like I had come home. Over the months that followed, my wounds – physical and mental – healed…” – Karl Lykos.  

comments