sci-fi

Episode 71: Primer

Garrett and Carson jump back and forth discussing Primer.

Episode 56: The Predator

Garrett and Carson are on the hunt for a good Predator movie.

Review: The Predator (Garrett’s View)

The Predator is a mess — plain and simple. It is bloated, unfocused, hastily assembled, and at the end of its runtime proves itself to be a wholly unnecessary movie. Arguably worse, it manages to degrade the Predator brand which was already in a state of freefall.

The quasi-return of Shane Black to the franchise held a certain appeal to fans who hoped that someone tied to the original Predator’s greatness would bring a long-lost respect to the franchise and recapture some of that good old 80’s action movie magic. And perhaps a recognition that what made Predator (1987) great was its small-scale tale of man vs. alien and hunter vs. hunted. It’s clear now that Black had other ideas in mind. A LOT of ideas. And every last one of them is crammed into this movie. Instead of a back-to-basics approach, The Predator tries instead to expand its mythos as wide as possible with super Predators, rogue Predators, Preda-dogs and much, much more. In the process, Black alternates between giving no explanation and giving unnecessary explanations through characters who somehow know or figure out everything there is to know about Predators. The latter of which seems to be the only reason Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown’s characters exist.

Everything in this movie is dialed WAY up. The ragtag group of mercs our heroes emerge from harkens back to the original Carl Weathers & Jesse Ventura group, but every one of them is given some sort of tic that is supposed to make them even more interesting or funny. Little quips are replaced with a barrage of one-liners and jokes that are tonally all over the place. It’s almost as if Black expected the comedy to be a close second to the action instead of a subtle companion. And even the action is ratcheted up. But instead of an uptick in violence, terror, and gunfights, we’re given more spaceships, technology, and questionable CGI. The old adage of bigger not always being better fits The Predator like a glove.

The Predator is the annoying bro at the party who talks over everyone else, screams his stories loudly all night, and tells vulgar jokes that only he laughs at (hysterically). Go ahead and put The Predator on the pile of failed attempts to reinvigorate a once proud sci-fi franchise. It will be the perfect complement in a bad movie tripleheader along with Terminator: Genisys and Alien: Covenant. The downward trajectory of these franchises can’t even be buoyed by saviors from the past — be it Shane Black or Ridley Scott. It’s officially time for these franchises to go into hibernation for a VERY long time.

Review: The Predator (Carson’s View)

I came into The Predator with unrealistic and unwarranted expectations. I have been longing for a Predator movie that rivals the original, which is something that hasn’t been achieved in 4 movies over 30 years. I thought for sure that writer/director Shane Black would breathe new life into the franchise with his clever dialog and character building that we have seen him do many times before. Instead, The Predator left me questioning if I ever even liked Shane Black… or Predators… or movies.

There is nothing new in The Predator. Every single character has a predictable and stereotypical story to tell. If you have ever seen an action movie before, you are able to determine everyone’s role and their fate from the instant they are introduced. The script is so unbelievably generic that the only brainwave activity you experience is trying to comprehend how this got made. Even the new threats that are introduced are basic and uninspired. More often than not they are downright boring to watch. It is a shame that such an awesome concept about creatures who cross the galaxy simply to hunt other lifeforms is wasted time and time again.

Episode 53: Kin

Garrett and Carson hope this tale of a boy and his space gun isn’t a misfire.

Review: Kin (Garrett’s View)

I thought this was going to be yet another young adult sci-fi entry, and well, I was kinda right… I guess? Most franchises like to start big and develop a fanbase. Then go back via unnecessary prequels and explore all of the nooks and crannies of the story in order to milk the franchise for all its worth. Kin feels like the filmmakers have a 6 movie arc laid out and a whole world built in their head, but they chose to lead with the boring prequel. Chronologically, this may make the most sense, but one doesn’t have to look too far to find examples of a franchise that may have died an early death if it led with its prequels…

The draw of Kin wasn’t a family drama. It was the intrigue of how the sci-fi elements would come into play with those family dynamics. Unfortunately, we just don’t get to see enough of the sci-fi. What is there seems cool and I would like to see more, but the rest of the movie was a color-by-number family relationship that plodded along in ways that weren’t unique. Having said that, I actually think this movie would be better if it dropped all of the sci-fi aspects and just focused on the family and how James Franco’s gangster squad terrorizes them. With a bit more investment into that storyline, the movie could have had a far greater impact.

Kin feels out of place in theaters and I can’t help but feel it would have been a perfect Netflix movie situated right next to the equally bad Bright. While I have no interest in a sequel, I wouldn’t mind hearing more of the Mogwai-produced score. It was easily the best part of the movie.

Review: Kin (Carson’s View)

The best thing about Kin is a gruff Dennis Quaid. That guy should be in everything. Zoe Kravitz is a close second. Kin is marketed as a sci-fi action-adventure movie, but what you get is more of a road-trip-bonding movie between two brothers. One of them just happens to have a high-tech/alien/futuristic gun. Once you get past what feels like a bait and switch, Kin is still entertaining. Although, I feel like it missed on what could have been a more emotional connection between the characters which would have benefited this movie greatly.

Episode 29: Upgrade

Garrett and Carson upload their thoughts on the low-budget, sci-fi action movie Upgrade.

Episode 8: Annihilation

Garrett and Carson enter “The Shimmer” and return to share their experiences.