Android butlers rise up against humankind. Nine months later a very pregnant Georgia and her screw-up boyfriend trek through the wilderness to Boston. There they hope to take themselves and their soon-to-be-born baby on a boat bound for Asia. On the way they deal with a military camp and a ‘no mans land’ filled with robots who are trying to find a way into the city to disable the EMP device that keeps them at bay, plus a mysterious stranger.
Fine performances by our heroine, and some (few and far between) genuinely compelling moments, but the plot doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. We’ve seen all this before in other films, and done better.
Tropes: bad guy monologues before delivering coup de grace; a Sophie’s choice; flesh ripped off robot metal skull; flashback prompted by photograph; robots have glowing eyes.
Virus AKA Fukkatsu no hi AKA Day of Resurrection. Both an apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic film, a genetically engineered virus is unleashed accidentally on the world. The 855 men and 8 women in Antarctica are spared the deadly human extinction thanks to the cold. An isolated nuclear submarine and crew join and they begin repopulating the species. Years later the automated nuclear response system in Washington is in danger of being triggered by an earthquake predicted by one of the scientists, so a suicide mission is begun to dismantle it.
A large and international cast, but a box office failure in the Japan homeland. The 93 minute USA TV cut removed much of the Japanese characters’ plotline, which is a shame but at the same time the Japanese segments were the most melodramatic. In this film, mobs riot, demanding an effective vaccine, rather than gathering to protest lockdowns like in the real world pandemic. The movie is quite dark from beginning to end.
Tropes: Dead pets foreshadow human fate; manly men fighting eachother to see who will sacrifice himself; insane trigger-happy military general; love interest was pregnant when she died; food and fuel scarcity is not acknowledged
Toren’s Rating: 7/10
More about the film: https://bandsaboutmovies.com/2021/04/10/virus-1980/
900 years after nuclear war, the stone age tribe(s) of man are enslaved by matriarchal factions, until an escapee (Korvis) educates himself with a book of ABCs that teaches him about men and women. While the matriarchs are weakened by a political upheaval, Korvis falls into a secret bunker, learns how the world was destroyed, finds a cache of advanced weaponry, and takes on the mantle of “Prezeedent” which kinda sorta fulfils a prophecy. After a pitched battle between the groups, they learn how to hug and kiss again.
Also there’s a sasquatch-like mutant called Aargh the Awful.
The film leans into its own ‘ so bad it’s good’ness that gives it a lot of fun moments and an enjoyable tone. The acting isn’t going to win anyone over but characterizations are complete and the cinematography is competent. They had a good time making this movie and there’s a lot of inventiveness in terms of props and sets. The fight choreography gets a lot of mileage given the budget. Kudos!
Tropes: Narration by main character; future lingo; women living in dirt are heavily made-up and hair-sprayed; bitter enemies become lovers; forbidden zone; mute character and character who only speaks in grunts;
I saw Ghostbusters: Afterlife. I liked most of it, but as a critic and as a Ghostbusters fan there was some stuff that rubbed me the wrong way, and so I’ve come to the internet to write it down.
You want spoilers? Cuz I got spoilers!
A lot of things in this film are both a strength and a weakness. Almost every relationship in the film seems surface level. Nobody connects in any real way except the young girl Phoebe and Egon’s ghost, which they do without any words. The mother is physically there, but not emotionally. She is both disinterested and uninteresting. She is blasé, takes no interest in her kids, and takes every opportunity to tell them (and everyone else) what a terrible parent Egon was. Which is weird for fans of the Ghostbusters and also seems like bad parenting maybe?
The ghost plot is a rehash of the first film, so not much original here and an overabundance of member-berries for old nerds like me. So if that is something you’re looking for, they got you covered – everything from Slimer 2.0 to Stay Puft 2.0 to “who you gonna call” and “are you a god?” I did like the Evo Shandor stuff and mossssst of it worked. I really liked that J.K. Simmons only got one line but the Evo in a box thing was a bit confusing, and I don’t understand why the terror dogs were just sitting around on the sidelines while Gozer was getting smoked by particle throwers.
The sudden deus ex machina of the original Ghostbusters was another strength and weakness. I mean, we all want to see those characters again and what they are up to, but showing up so suddenly to take agency away from the other characters legitimately took me out of the story. It kind of ruined the movie to be perfectly honest? That said, I thought their characters were on point and well-scripted. And I still have mixed feelings about CG-resurrection of Harold Ramis, which I thought they milked about 40% too much in the final scenes. But there were tears, so yeah, they got me.
Also, why, OH WHY did Egon lead Phoebe to release Vinz Clortho from the ghost trap? Didn’t that put them all in terribly deadly danger? I guess maybe it was part of his master plan but jeez, if you can move chess pieces and lamps, how about a pencil on a piece of paper?
The Elmer Bernstein music cues, identical to the original, brought back many memories, what with the original Ghostbusters being one of my most-watched films of all time, and I liked the design of Slimer, er, I mean MUNCHER and how well the animators pulled off its facial features.
Perhaps the thing Ghostbusters: Afterlife was most successful at was getting me to want to watch the original again, as well as The Real Ghostbusters cartoon…especially the “Egon’s Ghost” episode, which is excellent.
What other Real Ghostbusters episodes are excellent, since I have you here? Sounds like a great time to make a top 6 list!
Collect Call of Cathulhu, not just because they fight Cthulhu, but a well-crafted story by Michael Reaves.
Mr. Sandman, Dream Me A Dream One of the entities that causes people to fall asleep and dream goes rogue and tries to put the whole world to sleep so there will be no more wars or conflict. Dreams come to life and IT’S WHACKED!
Ragnarok and Roll – a jilted lover tries to bring about the end of the world, written by J. Michael Straczynski
When Hallowe-en Was Forever: Samhain, the spirit of Hallowe’en, stops the clocks so that Hallowe’en will last forever. Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Slimer, is That You? Egon and Slimer have their brains swapped, with hilarious results.
and of course Egon’s Ghost, in which an accident ends up sending Egon to the netherworld. The guys have to go in and rescue him. Includes a terror dog!
Honorable mentions: Knock Knock; The Boogieman Cometh; Night Game; The Thing in Mrs. Faversham’s Attic; Citizen Ghost; and Take Two – the crew is called to California to help make the Ghostbusters Movie
Stark (Michael Ironside) is a rough-and-tumble ex-cop turned bounty hunter and the attractive young Reno (Vanity) is his bounty, which he must take on a bus with a rag-tag cast of characters through the Outlands to get to Neon City. On the way they must weather toxic storms and deadly solar events as well as attacks by mutant raiders. Each of the passengers have their secret or are connected to Stark in some way (former friend, former wife…that sort of thing).
It’s a journey and a story not unlike the 1939 western Stagecoach, but with shades of Mad Max and neither the competence or inventiveness of either of those films. The cast and characters stand out, but not much else. Certainly not the dialogue, direction, cinematography or sets.
Tropes: bitter enemies become lovers; one of the party is an impostor; improvised laser; gunpoint standoff; gunpoint standoff involving a hostage
Taking place immediately after the events of A Quiet Place, the family leaves their burning home to find a new one, and accidentally finds a former family friend who has lost everything, but has a good hiding spot from the echolocating killer aliens.
A radio signal tips off that there are more survivors, and the daughter with the hearing aid/sonic weapon wants to find them and save the world, so she runs off by herself. Mom convinces family friend to bring her back and dangerous adventures occur.
Good acting, good characters, decent writing, and the continued tension will keep you rapt until the end, which doesn’t take long as it’s a refreshingly short film. A bit predictable in places but overall quite enjoyable.
Tropes: flashback explains origin of apocalypse; survivors work against eachother; booby traps; black man is killed; skeletons cause jump scare; monsters weakness discovered accidentally
Robot maker Tom Hanks has survived a land-waste-laying solar flare and the ensuing societal collapse. He’s old and sick but he has a dog that needs to be cared for, so he builds a robot and they take a road trip to escape a superstorm.
More of the same old same old, Tom Hanks does Tom Hanks which is not a complaint, but this time with friendly robots AND a dog! A bit heavy-handed in places but also not a typical Hollywood ending. Not very cerebral, and not very exciting either despite a few interesting moments. Pretty PG affair overall with some added coughing up blood. Kind of needed a bad guy.
Tropes: robot learns to be human; hope epitomized in tiny animal; booby-trapped snack