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What happens on the fourth day?


  • The Scorpion King 4: Quest For Power

    Scorpion-King-4

    Believe it or not, The Scorpion King 4: Quest For Power is a historical footnote.  It is the first 2015 release to be available for viewing on Netflix streaming!  That’s because The Scorpion King 4 was a straight-to-video release and Universal Pictures doesn’t seem to have much faith in the film’s commercial prospects.  In fact, if not for my love of historical footnotes, I probably would never have even watched the film.

    But I did watch it, mostly because I didn’t like the idea of The Woman In Black 2 being the only 2015 films that I had seen up to that point.

    And you know what?

    The Scorpion King 4 is cheap, silly, and often times impossible to follow.  But, when taken on its own terms, it’s also a lot of fun.  At the very least, it’s more entertaining than The Woman In Black 2.

    As for what the film is about … well, that’s a good question.  To be honest, I’ve never seen any of the previous Scorpion King films.  I know from Wikipedia that the character was spun-off from Brendan Fraser’s old Mummy film and, while I’ve seen bits and pieces of it on cable over the years, I’ve never actually sat through that entire movie.  However, I do know that the Mummy was Egyptian and apparently, so was the Scorpion King.

    So, you would assume that Scorpion King 4 would take place in ancient Egypt.  And indeed, the opening scene is set in the desert and involves the Scorpion King, also known as Mathayus (Victor Webster), and his partner Drazen (Will Kemp) storming a fortress that feels vaguely Egyptian.  After a lengthy battle, Mathayus and Drazen steal an urn that is covered with hieroglyphics.  However, Drazen double crosses Mathayus and takes the urn for himself.

    Okay, I thought, we’re obviously in Egypt.

    Except, of course, in the very next scene, Mathayus meets with his employer, King Zakour (Rutger Hauer).  King Zakour explains that Drazen is the son of a rival king (played by Michael Biehn, who makes little effort to hide his Southern accent).  Zakour also explains that the urn hides mystical secrets that, if deciphered, could allow Drazen to conquer the world.  Zakour sends Mathays to the rival kingdom, ordering him to deliver a peace treaty.

    And, while Zakour delivers all of this exposition, it’s hard not to notice that he appears to live in an ancient Roman villa and he has a rather cheap-looking crown perched on his head.

    Okay, I thought, the film has moved to the Roman Empire but at least I know we’re still in ancient times…

    Except then Mathayus rides his camel into the rival kingdom and it turns out to look a like the set from a community theater production of Spamalot.  As soon as Mathayus arrives, he is captured by Drazen’s men and ends up in a jail cell next to Valina (Ellen Holman), a revolutionary who is wearing a green, prison bikini top.  After Mathays is framed for the king’s death, he and Valina escape from the prison and run into the wilderness, where Valina changes into a battle-worthy bikini top.

    They reach the house of Valina’s father (Barry Bostwick) and it turns out to be a Dutch windmill!  So, within the first 30 minutes of the film, we’ve gone from ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire to a medieval village in England to Renaissance Netherlands.  Eventually, our characters will end up in another village, one that happens to feature a temple that looks a lot like a left over set from Hercules in the Haunted World…

    What’s surprising is that the film’s refusal to settle on a definite setting or time period is actually oddly charming.  As soon as that windmill showed up and a feather-covered Barry Bostwick flew across screen (Bostwick is an inventor who has filled the windmill with blueprints for cars and airplanes), I knew that this was a film that was at peace with being a mess.  And you had to respect the film’s no apologies attitude towards being incoherent.

    Trying to keep up with the plot is exhausting so I suggest that, if you should find yourself watching The Scorpion King 4, you ignore the plot.  The best thing about The Scorpion King 4 is that it doesn’t take itself all that seriously.  All of the dialogue is either intentionally melodramatic or anachronistically humorous and all of the actors seem to be having fun going over the top.  Some of the fight scenes are exciting, some of the scenery is pretty, and some parts of the film are better than others.

    In the end, The Scorpion King 4 is pretty forgettable.  But it’s still better than The Woman In Black 2.

    Scorpion King, The Lost Throne


  • The Woman In Black — Angel of Death

    The-Woman-in-Black-poster-excerpt

    Welcome to January!

    This is the time of year the studios release the films that they don’t have much faith in, hoping to make a little money while all of the critics and more discriminating audiences are distracted by the Oscar race.  Typically, films are released in January that the studios are specifically hoping will be forgotten by June.

    Case in point: the horror sequel The Woman In Black 2: The Angel of Death.

    Now, as you all know, I love horror movies.  It’s rare that I can’t find something to enjoy about a horror movie, whether it’s the atmosphere or the suspense or just the chance to do some old-fashioned screamed.  Some of my favorite horror films have been the ones that — much like The Woman In Black 2 — were snarkily dismissed by most mainstream critics.  And, needless to say, I’m a natural born contrarian.  The lower a film’s score on Rotten Tomatoes, the more likely it is that I will find a reason to defend it.

    Taking all of that into consideration, it’s hard for me to think of any film, horror or not, that has left me feeling as indifferent as The Woman In Black 2.  I would not say that I was terribly impressed by the film but, at the same time, I didn’t hate it either.  Instead, I felt it was an amazingly average film and I was just incredibly indifferent to the whole thing.

    The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death picks up 30 years after the end of the first Woman In Black.  It’s World War II and German bombs are falling on London.  A group of school children are evacuated to the countryside under the care and watch of two teachers, Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McCrory).  Naturally enough, they end up taking refuge in the abandoned Eel March House.  The Woman in Black is still haunting the house and she’s determined to claim all of the children as her own.

    While Jean refuses to accept that anything paranormal is happening at the house, Eve quickly comes to realize that they are not alone and that the Woman in Black seems to be particularly determined to claim young Edward (Oaklee Pendergast).  Working with Harry (Jeremy Irvine), a pilot who is deathly afraid of water, Eve tries to save the children…

    The Woman in Black 2 goes through all the motions.  Floorboards creek.  Doors open and slam shut on their own.  The Woman in Black often appears standing in the background and occasionally jumps into the frame from out of nowhere while screaming.  The film is darkly lit and there’s a lot of atmospheric shots of the fog covered moors.

    But, ultimately, the film never really establishes an identity of its own.  Instead, it feels like a collection of outtakes from every other haunted house film that has been released lately.  While I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Woman in Black, I did think that it benefited from having a sympathetic lead character but the cast here seems oddly detached from the story that they’re supposed to be telling.  You never believe in their characters and, as a result, you never really buy into any of the menace surrounding them.

    And, the end result, is indifference.

    the-woman-in-black-2

    —–

    Lisa Marie Bowman loves watching horror movies and dressing black.


  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    thehobbit5armies

    It seems kind of weird to do a quick review for a 144 minutes film that not only serves as the end of one epic trilogy but also as a prequel for yet another epic trilogy.

    Well, so be it.  I hate to admit it but I really don’t have that much to say about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies beyond the fact that I saw it on the day after Christmas, I enjoyed it, and I thought Aidan Turner was really hot.  It’s not a perfect film but then again, The Hobbit has never been a perfect trilogy.  As opposed to the Lord of the Ring films, The Hobbit told a story that could have easily been told in two films.  As a result, whenever you watch one of The Hobbit films, you’re aware of all of the filler that was included just to justify doing three films.

    But so what?  The Hobbit films are fun.  Despite the cynical economic reasons behind turning The Hobbit into a trilogy, director Peter Jackson’s love for the material always came through.  In the title role, Martin Freeman was always likable.  Ian McKellan and Christopher Lee made for properly enigmatic wizards.  Though apparently his inclusion caused some controversy among purists, it was nice to Orlando Bloom as Legolas.  I also liked Evangeline Lilly’s elf character, even if everyone else seemed to dislike her and her love story with Aidan Turner.  And then there was Benedict Cumberbatch providing a perfectly evil and self-satisfied voice for Smaug.

    I have to admit that, with the exception of Aidan Turner, I was never a big fan of the dwarves.  They were all so surly and bad-tempered and it didn’t take me too long to get tired of Richard Armitage showing up as Thorin and acting like a jerk.  However, in the final part of the trilogy, Armitage’s surly performance started to make sense.  As Thorin grew more and more paranoid, I saw that The Hobbit was actually using both the character and Armitage’s performance to make a much larger point.  Power corrupts and most conflicts are ultimately all about money and property.  It was a good message.

    When the Battle of the Five Armies started, I was shocked to discover how little I remembered about the previous two Hobbit films.  It took me a while to get caught up on who everyone was and why they were all fighting over that mountain.  As opposed to the LoTR films, it’s not always easy to get emotionally invested in The Hobbit films.  But, Jackson is a good director and he’s a good storyteller and, even though it took me a while to get caught up, I was still often enthralled with what I was watching on screen.  The images were so stunning and the battle scenes were so spectacularly done that I could handle being occasionally confused.

    Battle of the Five Armies is a fitting end for the Hobbit trilogy.  It’s not a perfect film but it is exciting and fun and that’s really all that matters.  At the end of it, the audience in the theater applauded, not just for the film but in recognition of everything that Peter Jackson has given us over the past 14 years.

    It was a good way to spend the day after Christmas.

    —–

    Lisa Marie Bowman is a writer and dancer who likes Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner.


  • You May Have Missed This: Bride of the Monster

    bride_of_the_monster_1956_movie_poster

    Every Saturday Night, members of the Late Night Movie Crew and I watch a classic film from the past. Last Saturday’s film — the first Late Night Movie of 2015 — was the infamous 1955 film, Bride of the Monster!

    This was not the first time that I had seen Bride of the Monster. As a fan of the work of the legendary director Ed Wood, I’ve seen the majority of his films, many of them several times. Bride of the Monster is not only the closest that Wood ever got to making a “legitimate” movie but it’s also my personal favorite of his films.

    (Plan 9 may be fun but it has nothing on Bride of the Monster.)

    As for the film’s plot — well, the story is typical Ed Wood. By that, I mean that it doesn’t make a bit of sense. There’s an old mansion in the middle of nowhere. There’s a gigantic Octopus who apparently lives in a pool of stagnant water that sits somewhere near the old mansion. There are hunters, who have a habit of vanishing whenever they wander too close to the house.

    There’s also Lobo (Tor Johnson), the hulking mute who we’re assured is “harmless as a kitten.” Lobo develops a crush on Janet (Loretta King), the intrepid reporter who wanders too close to the mansion while looking for a story. Janet reminded me a lot of me, in that she wasn’t going to let a little thing like common sense get in the way of an experience.

    And then, there’s Dr. Varnoff (Bela Lugosi). Dr. Varnoff is the owner of the mansion. He’s a scientist who was chased out of his home country by … well, by somebody. To be honest, it’s not always easy to figure out how Varnoff ended up in America with Lobo and a big octopus. It’s also difficult to understand why Varnoff is conducting experiments and killing people. Varnoff talks and talks about his reasons but just because a man talks doesn’t mean that he’s going to say anything.

    Yes, Bride of the Monster is one of those films that makes absolutely no sense but you know what? That’s exactly why I love it. Like all of Wood’s film, it is unique. And I’d rather watch a film that is uniquely bad than one that is generically competent any day!

    There’s a lot of things to watch for whenever you watch Bride of the Monster but I’m only going to specifically mention two of them. (The rest you’ll be able to spot for yourself. Bride of the Monster may be many things but subtle is not one of them.)

    First off, you have to respect the dedication of the actors who bravely pretended that they were being attacked by that octopus. For most of them, this meant laying in a shallow pool of water while grabbing hold of some rubber tentacles and thrashing about for a bit. Yes, it looks silly but that doesn’t change the fact that the actors really threw themselves into it. Even the film’s worst performances feel as if they’re being given by very dedicated actors.

    Secondly, this was Bela Lugosi’s final film (with the exception of his posthumous appearance in Plan 9 From Outer Space). And people always seem to make fun of Lugosi’s performance here but you know what? He’s not bad at all. He brings a tragic weariness to even the most ludicrous of lines. I’m sure that Lugosi was not hoping that his career would end with something like Bride of the Monster. But he still gave it his all.

    As bad as Bride of the Monster may be, Bela Lugosi is very, very good. When you watch the film, don’t judge it too harshly. Don’t focus on the awkward line readings or the nonsensical plot or …. well, just don’t focus on all the things that you usually think of as indicating whether or not a film is good or bad.

    Instead, when you watch it, watch it for Bela.

    You won’t be disappointed!

    ——

    Lisa Marie Bowman likes old movies.  You can read more of her work over at Through the Shattered Lens and HorrorCritic.


  • Into the Woods

    Into_The_Woods_(film)

    I had such a mixed reaction to Into the Woods, the latest Rob Marshall-directed musical adaptation, that it’s hard to really know how to start my review, let alone how to conclude it.

    So, I’ll start by answering the most important question that you probably have about this film.  I think sometimes that film snobs like me tend to forget that, for most people, it’s just a question of whether or not the film is worth the time, effort, and money that it will take to sit through it.  In other words, having seen Into the Woods, do I recommend it?

    Yes, I do.  Well, kind of anyway.  As I said before, it’s complicated.  But, for the most part, I enjoyed Into the Woods.  The audience that I saw it with (and the theater was absolutely packed) seemed to really love the film and there was even a smattering of applause at the end of it.  Into the Woods is a crowd-pleaser.  It’s a well-made film.  It’s perfectly cast.  It’s full of funny moments.  The costumes are absolutely to die for.  (I’m totally in love with the gown that Anna Kendrick gets to wear to the ball.)  Meryl Streep will probably get an Oscar nomination.  Chris Pine deserves to be given a lot more awards consideration than he’s received.  It’s such a good film and yet…

    And yet, I never loved Into the Woods like I thought I would.  I watched it and I kept thinking about how much I, of all people, should have loved this film.  I love musicals.  I love spectacle.  I love fairy tales.  I love revisionism.  I love satire.  I love handsome, charming men, like the one played by Chris Pine.  In a perfect world, Anna Kendrick would be my best friend and we’d spend all of our time going to wine tastings and watching Lifetime movies.  Into the Woods was full of everything that I should have loved and the final song actually brought tears to my mismatched eyes but I never quite came to love the film.  Something was just off.

    Before I go any further, I should admit that my reaction may have been influenced by outside factors.  On the one hand, all of the Bowman girls are together right now for the holidays and I loved the fact that, as I watched Into the Woods, I was watching it with my sisters and all four of us were sharing in the experience.  Really, that’s the ideal way to watch something like Into The Woods.  This is the type of movie that was specifically made to be watched and appreciated by large groups, preferably made up of people who understand and appreciate the conventions of musical theater.

    On the other hand, we had the most obnoxious woman ever sitting directly behind us.  She laughed through the entire film, regardless of whether anything funny was happening on screen or not.  (The film features a lot of comedy but it grows progressively darker with each passing minute.)  It wasn’t just that she wouldn’t stop laughing as much as it was that her laugh was so insincere.  You could tell that she was laughing because she wanted everyone to be impressed with the fact that she “got” the film.  But ultimately, all she did was get on everyone’s nerves with her inability to understand that we weren’t there to listen to her dry heave of a laugh.  We were there because we wanted to see Into the Woods.  The experience was not meant to be about her.  It was about the movie.

    As for what the film is about, it’s an adaptation of the famous Stephen Sondheim musical in which the Baker (James Corben) and the Baker’s Wife (Emily Blunt) attempt to break the spell of a not-quite-evil-but-definitely-bad-tempered witch (Meryl Streep).  By bringing the witch several things (the majority of which can be found in the woods that sit right outside their village), they can lift the curse that has made it impossible for the Baker’s Wife to get pregnant.  Along the way, they run into everyone from the witch’s daughter, Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) to Jack the Giant Slayer (Daniel Huttlestone) to Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) to the Big Bad Wolf (Johnny Deep, playing up the sexual subtext of the story ofLittle Red Riding Hood) to not one but two charming princes (played by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen)!  Into the Woods starts by poking gentle fun at the fairy tales of old and then gets darker and darker until, by the end of the film, only a few characters are left alive.

    It’s a great idea and it’s gorgeously executed but yet the film itself never quite makes the transition from being good to being great.  Towards the end of the musical, the surviving characters sing about missing their loved ones and it brought tears to my eyes but that was one of the few moments when the film itself actually made an emotional connection.  Otherwise, I spent a lot of time feeling curiously detached from what was happening on screen.

    Thinking about Into The Woods, it’s hard not to compare it to 2012’s version of Les Miserables.  In Les Miserables, all of the songs were recorded live on set.  And, for all the unfair criticism that Russell Crowe received for his singing, this brought a definite raw power and immediacy to the entire production.  What some of the actors may have lacked in conventional singing ability, they made up for with the sheer power of their performances.  InInto The Woods, the majority of the songs were pre-recorded.  Everyone sounds almost too perfect.  There’s none of the vitality or danger that came with Les Miserables or even Rob Marshall’s previous musical, Nine.

    (As far as casting, direction, and almost everything else is concerned, Into The Woods is a hundred times better than Nine but it still never manages to produce a moment as vibrantly silly and memorable as Kate Hudson’s performance of Cinema Italiano.)

    Into the Woods does have a uniformly excellent cast.  Everyone — even the much-criticized Johnny Depp — does a wonderful job with their role.  Meryl Streep has been getting all of the awards-consideration, largely because she’s Meryl Streep and, if she could get a nomination for giving that performance in August: Osage County, then she can probably get a nomination for anything.  (And don’t get me wrong — Meryl’s great and all but there’s still a part of me that would have loved to have seen what a less self-enamored performer — like Marion Cotillard or Helen Mirren — could have done with the role of the Witch.)  But, to me, the film’s best two performances really came from Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine.  Whether pausing to strike a heroic pose or casually trying to seduce a woman who he meets in the woods or explaining that he’s been raised to be charming and not sincere, Chris Pine is never less than outstanding.

    So, to get back to the only question that really matters, did I like Into The Woods?  I did but I did not love it, which is unfortunate because I really wanted to love it.

    However, overall, I recommend Into The Woods.

    Just don’t watch it alone.

    Or with anyone who has an annoying laugh.

    —–

    Lisa Marie Bowman wishes you a happy holiday.  She also writes for Through the Shattered Lens, Horror Critic, SyFyDesigns, the Big Brother Blog, and SurvivorBlog.  Her poetry has appeared in Praxis Magazine.


  • Revolutionary War-Era Time Capsule possibilities

    News broke earlier this week that a time capsule embedded in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts statehouse is being excavated to discover its Revolutionary war-era contents. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts will take the copper box and x-ray its contents before it is opened. While it is believed that the box contains such items as coins and newspapers, I excitedly began to ponder the possibilities of far greater treasure.

     

    1795 Time Capsule

    After all, they say great things come in small packages...

    After all, they say great things come in small packages…

     

    Given its 1795 time-stamp, my mind went immediately to none other than the Fox hit series Sleepy Hollow.

    The historians on site believe such luminaries as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams personally placed the time-capsule. On Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) personally knew Revere and Adams. This discovery should be the perfect opportunity for the writers of the show to segue the plot-line away from the apocalypse. They could have more flashbacks that involve Revere and Adams and the “mystical” item(s) they placed in this “time-capsule.” Seriously, Sleepy Hollow could even work the word “time” into all of this just to create an object or curse of some kind to mess with time. Really, the possibilities are endless and if I can see that, I hope the writers can, too.

     

    The moment he realized Samuel Adams stole his idea to use Paul Revere on a beer label...

    The moment he realized Samuel Adams stole his idea to use Paul Revere on a beer label…

     

    Another Fox show of course came to my mind. And while it’s not exactly Sci-Fi or Fantasy, I couldn’t help but wonder how Dr. Brennan of Bones would feel of this discovery. Just imagine that in that tiny box, bones were found and they asked her to solve the mystery; one in which I’m sure Revere or Adams would be identified as a killer and Booth once again crushed by the truth his American heroes.

     

    Mallory Douge loves finding treasure, but usually it’s just the little things in life that inspire her to create, whether that be poetry, or fantasy fiction. Check out her Pinterest boards that have a wide variety of interests and maybe you’ll be inspired, too!


  • You’re On a Quest

    1311883091_game-of-thrones (image credit - pep.ph)When I wrote about space opera last month, I called it “one of the most popular and potentially thought-provoking genres in all of fiction”.  This month, we’ll be covering epic fantasy, one of the oldest fiction genres in existence, and the spiritual ancestor of space opera and many other genres.  It’s enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, with the popularity of Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice book and television series.  And it’s been a personal favorite of mine since I was in single-digit years of age.

     

    Epic fantasy exists on a somewhat larger scale than normal fantasy; and it’s a more difficult genre to pen “correctly” than you may think.  We’ll get into the differences between “epic fantasy”, “high fantasy”, “low fantasy”, and “sword and sorcery” in another article; we may even feature some of them in future spotlights.  For now, let it suffice to say that an epic fantasy often includes a quest of one kind or another.  The most popular breakdown of the proverbial quest comes from Joseph Campbell, mythologist and lecturer, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  In the book, he compares the form the quest takes across different mythologies down through the ages of human history.  He summarized his theory of the “monomyth” like this:

     

    A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

     

    Even if those boons only extend to good food and fellowship.

    Even if those boons only extend to good food and fellowship.

    Most fiction is about people on a quest.  It could be a mundane quest, such as a mystery to solve, a relationship to save (or form), a job or promotion to receive, or a game to win.  In more fantastic settings, it could be a lost treasure to find, a princess to save, a knighthood or lordship to receive, or a war to win; often, it’s all of these and more.  Take a moment to note the parallels between the mundane and fantastic examples.   Fantasy, of any variety, is simply life enhanced; and epic fantasy is the perfect metaphor for the lives we all hope we can live.

     

    Everyone has fantasies, and that’s perfectly normal.  Life is about aspiring to be more than we are.  No matter how happy and content we are with what we have, we always want something more.  Evolution tells us it’s the story of our past, the reality of life on Earth.  Religion teaches us it’s the story of the future, of our potential for life after death.  However the story goes, whatever the truth is, we don’t live so we can learn to stay in one place.

     

    Some of Stephen Monteith’s earliest influences, literary or otherwise, were epic fantasies.  You can read his own original fiction at Lulu.com.

     


  • Introductions, Not Origins: Wonder Woman

    WW (image credit - moviepilot.com)

     

    So, last October, there was a bit of a minor uproar on the Internet about Wonder Woman in the Zack Snyder-directed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; and, for once, it had nothing to do with her looks.  Charles Roven, a producer on the film, revealed a few details on Wonder Woman’s origins.  Whereas before, her origin was that she was made of clay and brought to life by the gods, now she’s the daughter of a god, a la the New 52 storyline.  How will this factor into her origin movie in 2017?  Honestly, I hope it doesn’t factor in at all.

    (more…)


  • You May Have Missed This: Space Raiders

    space-raiders

    A few months ago, my Late Night Movie friends and I watched was an obscure 1983 science fiction film called Space Raiders.  Now, technically, this film was directed by Howard Cohen but, from the first frame, it was obviously a Roger Corman film.  It was also a lot of fun.

    Space Raiders takes place in the distant future, at a time when intergalactic corporations have colonized planets with sullen children and space criminals spend their spare time hanging out in dank space stations.  From the minute the film opens with a scene of robots doing menial labor in a factory while a the factory foreman assures the human workers that the next company picnic will take place on a planet where it doesn’t rain, there’s little doubt that the main message of Space Raiders is that the future sucks.

    10 year-old Peter (David Mendelhall) lives on the planet of Proycon III (which, if nothing else, is a great name for a planet).  Neglected by his wealthy parents and apparently being the only child on Proycon III, Peter spends his spare time sneaking into robot-filled factories and capturing space bugs.  That’s what Peter is doing when he witnesses a daring raid by a group of — wait for it — space raiders!  Led by the surly but kind-hearted Hawk (Vince Edwards), the raiders steal a spaceship from the factory.  What they don’t realize is that Peter (and the bug that he had just captured seconds before the raid) has stowed away on the ship.

    At first, Hawk is not enthusiastic about Peter being on the ship and Peter just wants to get home.  However, as the space raiders deal with both intergalactic cops and alien gangsters, Hawk and the kid start to bond and Peter gets to know the rest of the crew.

    Now, to be honest, the majority of Hawk’s crew were pretty interchangeable but my friends and I quickly decided that our favorite was the one that we named Capt. Forehead (played by Thom Christopher).  Capt. Forehead was an alien who had psychic powers and who carried himself with the wounded dignity of a head waiter having a bad night.  It was hard not to like him.

    captain-forehead

    Anyway, Peter’s parents want their son back and, since they work for an evil corporation, they have no problem hiring evil mercenaries to get their son back.  It all leads to a lot of people shooting lasers at each other and exploding spaceships.

    Now, honestly, we can get all technical and picky about whether or not the plot of Space Raiders made any sense or whether or not any of the actors gave good performances.  We can even talk about the logic of the scene where Peter –upon realizing that Hawk is on a different spaceship than him — responds by attempting to yell, “HAWK!” across the far reaches of space.

    But you know what?

    That’s missing the point.

    In the way that only a low-budget science fiction film produced by Roger Corman can be,Space Raiders was a lot of fun.  The movie moved quickly, the aliens were fun to look at, and the special effects were charmingly cheap.  Flaws and all, Space Raiders had more humanity than Man of Steel, more humor than Gravity, and it was a lot shorter than Avatar.

    And best of all, you can watch it for free on YouTube, just by clicking on this link!

    Space Raiders

    Lisa Marie Bowman is writer, dancer, and watcher.  You can read more of her work at Through the Shattered Lens, Horror Critic, Big Brother Blog, Survivor Blog, SyFyDesigns, and Praxis Magazine.


  • You May Have Missed This: Mystery Science Theater 3000

    It’s Space Opera Month at Fourth-day, a genre with aliens, planets, moons, asteroids, stars, exploration, and the occasional war.  From time to time, we like to highlight important examples of the genre of the month that people may not have noticed.  While I’m sure plenty of you have heard of today’s example, you may not realize that it fits in the space opera genre; at least, it does in the last few seasons.  I’m talking, of course, about the hit sci-fi comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000.

     

    MysteryScienceTheater3000 (image credit - blastr.com)

    “Space…the…final frontier. These…are…the voyages…of…Babylon 5.”

    (more…)



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