Beyond this point, thar be Spoilers
Went to see Riddick
this eve ... for reasons. Specifically, a certain lingering fascination with the Riddick phenomenon (if it can be accurately described as such) and a fanboyish desire to see Katee Sackhoff in roles other than her stint on Battlestar Galactica
*. The Sackhoff fandom is also what tricked me into being bored out of my skull by the pilot of Longmire
. As for the Riddick fascination, I'm not even sure that's the right way to describe it.
Let's get the most pertinent answer out of the way: Riddick
's no good. Half the script is unnecessary, half is boring, and the other half is those
folks** wankin' in yo face, bitch. Thing is, I didn't really expect any different, there's just this special spot in my craw for the Riddick films. I still kind of like Pitch Black
. It's got a lot of interesting visuals, and that particular chapter in the Riddick ... "story"'s the wrong word ... milieu? shows at least a passable attempt at the character. Though, to be fair, I don't know that I have much love for the sociopath-with-the-heart-of-gold archetype (otherwise known as Hollywood's concept of the "antihero"). Past that, the whole franchise just kind of gets weird if you start to think about it. I don't know a thing about the video games, but having seen Chronicles of Riddick
more than once for ... some ... reason, I find it odd how muddled the characterization of the guy has gotten. Part of the problem is probably that Riddick is a secondary character, and no one seems to realize this because he had such a prominent role in Pitch Black
Folks, the survivalist skillset gets a prominence bump in any
creature-feature, but the addition of any other sort of story element
bumps Muscles von Maladaptive back down to foil status (at best). The dude can't carry a franchise, and yet the film makers insist on piling one up on top of him
I freely admit that I'm one of those audience members that's going to get disproportionately attached to tertiary characters. I get it, for the most part, but not with Riddick, sorry. It's opaque as the Cult of Boba Fett if you think about it, though I will go on record as saying that I believe I've cracked the Cult of Boba Fett thing.
As for Elysium
, it's hard to imagine in hindsight why I felt as compelled as I did to see this. Though I don't think I ever actually saw a trailer for it. Blomkamp is now firmly in my M. Night Shyamalan category of directors: guys who could be pretty durn good if not for that big elephant in the room holding them back. In Blomkamp's case, it's (ironically) his proficiency and experince with spe-fects (coining it, portmanteau ala me) ... I think. Sort of like the guy who made Skyline
. Blomkamp is at least attempting "high concept" sci-fi, but District 9
get too caught up in animators giving me a pearl necklace. So the concepts get left in the dust.
The other thing is the premise itself, which is pretty much crap. The touted part of the film is the whole orbital habitat thing, but really it comes down to this: Rich folk have magical healing machines. Remember the sarcophagus in Stargate
? Now streamline an MRI and apply the same concept to the result. The Eloi got it, and the Morlocks want some of that action. Sure I'm being glib, but its shockingly accurate to the story. The payoff at the end of the film is that the system gets skewered by, more or less, the heroes' righteous indignation, which emotion is portrayed by futuristic-gun understudies because the lead was out sick. It's part of a vague sense of confusion that started at the beginning and never got addressed by any part of the film: the behavior and policies of the Elysians is demonstrably maladaptive. Nothing suggests at any point that they lack the resources to make these machines available to the general public, and the film's "denouement" ... wait for it ... makes these machines available to the general public. It would have been more fun just to actually watch an action movie where a guy literally steps out at the end and says, "And the moral of the story is: be nice to poor people, for fuck's
It's made me more enamored of an image I have in my head, which was initially inspired by the scene in Brazil
where Sam shows Jill his mother's apartment. Story idea is themed around use of space amidst rampant overcrowding.
It's also made me wonder if I shouldn't take some economics courses. Principally, the film portrays a world in which the middle class has essentially undergone an extinction event. So the thing about economic collapse is that poverty reaches critical mass and suddenly there's no money anymore because it isn't worth anything, right? It's like that point in Slumdog Millionaire
where the tourist gives the little impoverished boy a hundred dollar bill. Seriously, what's he supposed to do with that? Wipe his ass? In Elysium
, however, the poor are still scrambling to earn like there's no tomorrow. What are they planning to buy for Christ's sake? There's nothing to
buy. Or there shouldn't be, film maker
. I don't know how to put the concept into the proper terms (hence, economics courses), but I felt indignant about it either way.
Oh, and the trailer reel in front of Riddick
was kind enough to inform me that, not only are they remaking Robocop
(for cryin' out LOUD), but there's also an American remake of Oldboy
on the way. Fuck them.
Fuck them all.
* A high degree of self-awareness compels me to clarify that I did not know ahead of time that Sackhoff gets topless. Not what sold me the movie, folks.
** Fans of patriarchy propaganda. The ones got a belly full of laughter at the WWF scene in The Scorpion King
. The ones go "woooooooo!" when the blood rushes to their cocks every time somebody gets all kinds of dead in dramatically improbable fashion. The ones feel it necessary to hold me to their standards of gender and notions on the nature of power and intelligence. I have rage against these people, both personal and general, and I will leave it at that***.
*** Though I really feel like there should be some sort of slang term for the particular sort of homoerotic satisfaction that is got from watching the muscley heroes. I mean a word that is to "bromance" what "porn" is to "erotica". Jason Statham, I'm looking at you (and your fiiiiiine fucking ass****).
**** No seriously. Fuuuuuuuuuck. Also? George Clooney in The American
... [cathartic shudder].