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Tag Archive: Armageddon


Review by C.J. Bunce

When you have made as many movies as have been in the Godzilla franchise (31, more than James Bond movies), you run the risk of making a sequel or reboot that ends up like Independence Day: Resurgence, or Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, or Man of Steel, or Alien: Covenant.  For some moviegoers, a quick fix with lots of CGI in one of their favorite universes is good enough.  Godzilla: King of the Monsters has many things in common with these movies, without quite being as good as any of them, or Godzillas of the past.  Inasmuch as moviegoers will see the great effort taken to be faithful to its predecessors, by bringing more than just Godzilla to the picture, by bringing in a significant number of character actors that will be familiar to audiences, and by trying to create more spectacular visuals than came before, the latest Godzilla movie, opening today, doesn’t match either the monster mayhem or the humor of its 20th century predecessors.

Stuffed with every over-used creature and action trope, some used repeatedly, Godzilla: King of the Monsters suffers from taking itself too seriously.  Its single attempt at levity is Get Out’s Bradley Whitford as a wise-cracking scientist who seems to be channeling Brent Spiner in the Independence Day movies.  But beyond that, this is a family drama, more talk and human family in-fighting than Godzilla screen-time, between Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown as Madison and her separated parents played by Kyle Chandler (Super 8) and Vera Farmiga (The Commuter) (in that way it suffers the flaws of the 2014 Godzilla).  For some credibility we get Oscar-nominated actor Ken Watanabe (Isle of Dogs, The Last Samurai, Batman Begins) to remind us of the creature’s 65 years as a Japanese kaijū icon.  Other than that, the production skipped Japanese actors for this installment.  The best character and performance comes from Charles Dance (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Bleak House, Gosford Park), who plays a terrorist.  His character is the lone voice who speaks sense in a film that only makes sense if you also believe ocean drillers are the best choice to pilot a space shuttle to save the world from an oncoming asteroid.  Armageddon, War of the Worlds, Cloverfield, The Day After Tomorrow, Pacific Rim and every other disaster movie is rolled up into a single package here.  Direction and decisions are all over the place.  Even in a crazy, kooky, over-the-top monster movie, audiences deserve a plot with a foundation with a smidge of reality, especially if the talking heads scenes get equal time with the clashing creatures.  So if you decide to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters in the theater, you’ll need to throw all logic and reason aside and try to enjoy the ride.

Although this wasn’t clear in the trailers, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is more than another franchise installment, it’s a direct sequel to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla movie.  Five years later the world is learning how to live as 17 titans (monsters like Godzilla) surface across the globe.  Watanabe joins other returning cast members, including Oscar-nominated actress Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Blue Jasmine, Layer Cake), Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn (Sneakers, The Firm, Eight Men Out, Memphis Belle), as they attempt to cause the titans to join forces in support of Godzilla instead of his three-headed dragon competition Ghidorah.  The best of the encounters finds the flying Rodan taking on a convoy of jet fighters, in a sweeping, well-choreographed scene that you’d expect from a Godzilla movie, although this scene and the rest of the monster scenes are mostly fuzzy and don’t make the most of high-definition camera capabilities or CGI.

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By C.J. Bunce

Inspired by the new blue space suits in the new movie Prometheus, yesterday we began showing the evolution of the space suit as seen by Hollywood from the 1950s through the 1970s, including a few photos of real astronaut suits that influenced movie designers.  Today we continue trekking forward to the costumes of today.

In 1979 the original cast of Star Trek returned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Mr. Spock, clad in an orange space suit, tries to meld with the menace called V’ger.

Kirk arrives in a white suit to rescue Spock after he is knocked unconscious.

Forget about the Astronaut Farmer, I really liked the 1979 TV series Salvage 1 with Andy Griffith, an early glimpse at an astronaut a la Virgin’s Richard Branson, where private folks build a rocket from scratch and send it up, up, and away.

I don’t recall Roger Moore wearing the classic aluminum looking suit in the James Bond movie Moonraker, but he wore one in PR photos.

The yellow suits worn throughout most of Moonraker’s space scenes.

Here is an astronaut scene you might not recall–In 1980’s Superman II, Zod and friends use American astronauts on the moon as playthings before bringing their wrath to Earth.

In 1982 we get another look at the Kirk and Spock suits from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, now worn by Walter Koenig and Paul Winfield alongside Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

More of a protective suit, a few of these radiological suits were equipped with glass helmets, making us think they might work outside the USS Enterprise. Here Scotty and his engineering crew wore these in both Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Either way I think these make for some awesome designed space suits, and Scotty never looked cooler.

In 1979 we met the first of Ridley Scott’s Alien universe, and witnessed HR Giger’s visionary suits for the crew of the Nostromo.

Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley had her own version of a space suit.

In the 1981 film Outland, Sean Connery takes an excursion to Jupiter’s moon Io. And again we have multi-colored space suits!

Sometimes creating space suits means replicating reality, and it was hardly ever done better than in 1983’s Mercury program biopic, The Right Stuff.

The Right Stuff also featured Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, and here he augured a test plane into the ground. Crash and burn.

In 1984 Roy Scheider discovered this time he needed a bigger ship in the 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel, 2010.

One of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies is The Last Starfighter. Grig and Alex wore some of the best looking space suits in this film (OK, yes, I’ve included a few pilot outfits in this list).

In 1986 we got to see kids in space in Spacecamp, starring Lea Thompson.

Marketed as “from the makers of Star Wars,” the 1990 film Solar Crisis didn’t even come close.

In the original (but unreleased) cut of Star Trek Generations, the film was to open with a suborbital drop by Captain James T. Kirk. The heat shield tiles were a good idea.

Ron Howard created one of the best films ever of any genre with the superb account of Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon.

In 1996 with Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard and Worf wore this type of suit to defeat a threat from The Borg. These suits were later re-used by the crew in Star Trek Voyager.

In 1997’s Event Horizon, Sam Neill wore a darker and grittier look.

Matt LeBlanc piloted the Jupiter 2 in the remake of Lost in Space (1998) complete with helmeted suit.

More recycled Hollywood. In 1998 B’Elanna Torres wore Captain Kirk’s space suit from the deleted opening scene from Star Trek Generations, in the Star Trek Voyager episode “Extreme Risk.”

In the blockbuster 1998 movie Armageddon, Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck wore these realistic space suits to save the world from a giant rock.

…but first the crew had to wear these suits to drill through the jagged asteroid’s surface.

In 2000 Val Kilmer starred in Red Planet, blending horror and sci-fi, wearing this nicely designed space garb.

Red Planet also featured The Matrix’s Carrie Ann Moss, sporting her own cool but differently styled suit.

In 2000 the all-star cast of Space Cowboys mirrored reality, looking like John Glenn in his second voyage to the stars.

Also in 2000, Mission to Mars featured this type of astro-wear.

In 2002 George Clooney donned a space suit in Solaris, where a psychiatrist investigates a space crew.

But it is really hard to beat these copper colored space suits as worn in 2002 by Scott Bakula’s Captain Archer on the TV series Enterprise–for me the color reflects the old heavy underwater gear of centuries past.

The key impetus that created the Fantastic Four in the 2005 film was a volley of cosmic rays, turning Michael Chiklis’s Ben Grimm into The Thing.

In 2006 in the episode “Waters of Mars” David Tennant’s Doctor Who lead an incredible mission to save Earthlings in space, a mission with a terrible destiny. 

In 2008 the rhino-alien Judoon took Doctor Who by storm, looking tough in these big suits…

 

And in the same year, the short aliens with big blue suits, the Sontarans, also from Doctor Who.

 

Maybe the strangest space suit so far, this bulky outfit was worn by Cillian Murphy in Danny Boyle’s film Sunshine.

Maybe the future is really in gear like Iron Man’s suit. After all he’s taken it into space.

Whether you’re a traditional Trekkie or not, you had to like the great look of JJ Abrams’ 2009 remake of Star Trek. And still we have mutli-colored outfits to tell everyone apart!

In 2009’s Moon, Sam Rockwell has some issues to deal with. One of those over-hyped films that I couldn’t get through. Still, it had a good overall look.

In 2009 the TV series Stargate Universe featured these very futuristic, detailed space suits.

Very simple space suits from the 2009 TV series Defying Gravity.

In 2011’s Doctor Who episode “The Impossible Astronaut” Matt Smith was killed by whoever was in this astronaut suit.

Also in the 2011 Doctor Who season, the episode “Rebel Flesh” featured this future-human protective gear, which might as well be a space suit. Over the decades Doctor Who has featured aliens in space suits, too, and too many to list!

Which brings us to June 2012, and next week’s premiere of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, with these slick blue suits appearing on posters everywhere.

Now we know this was not a comprehensive list, but please drop us a note and let us know if we missed any key space suits.

Bruce Willis as General Joe Colton, founder of team G.I. Joe?  That’s just what the franchise needs to re-ignite interest as we approach the 50th anniversary of the guy that launched the modern action figure.

G.I. Joe has gone through several incarnations since “America’s movable fighting man” was released as a 12-inch action figure by Hasbro in 1964.  He started out as one of four U.S. Service soldiers.  In 1970 with the Vietnam War all over television Hasbro switched gears to Joe as member of the Adventure Team, when the action figure also got “life-like” hair.  (Personally, I had the army soldier with the brown beard and later added the dark-haired soldier without the beard).  Here are 12-inch Joes landing at Comic-Con this year:

In 1974 G.I. Joe got the famous kung fu grip to replace the hard plastic, reversed-hand that had served as Hasbro’s trademark (and was actually used to catch international imports of fake Joes).  He always had a trademark facial scar, too.  Hey, so did Willis in Hart’s War

 

In 1975, to compete with the popular 12-inch Six Million Dollar Man action figure, Hasbro introduced Mike Power, the Atomic Man.  These two characters duked it out on many occasions in living rooms across the country.  The last of the original Joes was released in 1976.  In 1982 G.I. Joe would return in 3 3/4 inch action figures, closer in size to the popular Star Wars action figure line, but with knee and elbow joints.    In 1985 these little G.I. Joe figures were the top selling American toy.  They have been available in varying versions ever since, and between 1991 and 2005 the 12-inch line of figures returned.

Meanwhile between 1980 and 1994 Marvel Comics had a G.I. Joe title that mirrored the action figure line.  In 1985 a cartoon series focused on good (G.I. Joe) vs. evil (Cobra) as opposed to true-life war.  In the cartoon G.I. Joe became synonymous with an early Seal Team Six type of special forces.  This was followed by various animated movies, including many that went direct to video.  In 2009 G.I. Joe finally hit the silver screen in the movie G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra, a good action movie that didn’t take itself too seriously, had a lot of great action, great writing, and–with a lot of references to the original Joe story and toys–was just all-out fun.

So who is Joe Colton?  It wasn’t until the 1980s that the action figures and cartoon characters got their own names, origins, and developed stories.  For decades there never was a single action figure or character named Joe, consistent with the historic reference to the G.I.s as G.I. Joes from years past, derived from an earlier comic strip with no relation to the Hasbro line.  General Joseph B. Colton did not appear as a named character with the early toy line, or with the animated series, but surfaced with the Marvel Comics comic book series, first with Issue 86.  His character is flushed out in later comic book series as the leader of the elite G.I. Joe special forces unit.

Which brings us to the sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, titled G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  If Retaliation follows the comic book line, Cobra may have some success against General Hawk, the hero of Rise of Cobra, played solidly by a tough-as-nails Dennis Quaid.  Which leaves a key role for General Joe Colton.  And Bruce Willis is now in discussions to play Colton in Retaliation.  I can’t think of anyone better as an action hero in G.I. Joe.  Even at 56 who better can face an uphill battle, walking barefoot across broken glass if need be, especially against the likes of the evil Cobra?  What more could you want?  Maybe a cameo by Arnold Schwartzenegger and Sylvester Stallone?  Although it is not yet confirmed that Willis has signed on as Joe, the Internet Movie Database lists Willis as the lead.

Already signed up for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Channing Tatum will return as Captain Duke Hauser, Ray Park (Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I) as Snake Eyes and Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow.  New characters out of past incarnations that will appear include Dwayne Johnson (fka The Rock) as Roadblock, Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye, Joseph Mazzello (the little kid in Jurassic Park!) as Mouse, Arnold Vosloo (Imhotep from The Mummy) as Zartan, Elodie Yung as Jinx, and as D.J. Cotrona as Flint.  But no Scarlett or Baroness??? While you go back to watch Rise of Cobra, in case you haven’t seen it yet, try counting the classic nostalgic catchphrases, like “you have kung fu grip” and “you’re a real American hero.”

Other reasons why Bruce Willis is made for a G.I. Joe role?  He’s already trained for the part:

  

He’s saved American cities four times as Detective John McClane in the Die Hard movies

  

He sleuthed out the bad guy as Detective Sergeant Tom Hardy in Striking Distance

 

Butch Coolidge, son of a war hero who gets his watch back, in Pulp Fiction

   

He saved the whole planet as Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element

    

He saved the world (again) as driller turned Astronaut Harry Stamper in Armageddon

   

And he actually played a soldier as Major General William Devereaux in The Siege

 

and again, as a special ops commander as Lieutenant A.K. Waters in Tears of the Sun

Convinced yet?  Go Joe!  Go Bruce!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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