Things

This week’s viewing-

Chappie

An anthropomorphised Police droid has a consciousness program uploaded onto it, is adopted by a gang of punk rock criminals and causes all hell to break loose.

Another typically stunning tale from Neill Blomkamp, tackling big questions on a human level, And with special effects that are stunning because of the way you don’t notice them. The eponymoius robot is played by long time Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley, who disappears behind motion capture, delivering a fine performance in gestures and voice acting.

The Thing

John Carpenter’s top remake of the fifties’ original is a neat mix of claustrophobia and body horror. The occupants of a polar research station realise they are trapped by a snowstorm, with a shape changing creature hiding amongst them.

The pre-digital effects still look good, the creature morphing into ever more bizarre and grotesque shapes. The chest cracking scene, in particular, will always be a classic.

It’s interesting, watching the making of featurettes on The Thing and Chappie, to compare the digital trickery of today to the one-chance animatronics of the eighties.

Spooks: The Greater Good

I lost touch with Spooks, the series, some time ago. So I don’t know how many of the characters in this big screen outing came over from the TV.

Harry Pearce is still there- gruff, indestructible, and one step ahead of almost everyone- as he tries to find the traitor in MI5 who helped a terrorist escape, and may be plotting to destroy the service completely. Kit Harrington is the Jon Snow of espionage- tough and resourceful, but too decent for his world.

Low-key and brutal, just like the TV series, this was, no doubt, a disappointment to many who wanted lots of shooting and explosions.

The Return Of The Living Dead

This is supposed to be a horror comedy, but fails to deliver laughs or shocks.

With a nod to the ‘true’ story behind Night Of The Living Dead, a batch of military grade reanimation juice is released on an abandoned cemetery. The dead rise, and wreak havoc on a bunch of punks and the employees of a medical supplies company. There’s some good makeup and animatronics effects, but they’re wasted on this film. Not even the naked presence of ‘scream queen’ Linnea Quigley (wearing some sort of flesh coloured merkin, apparently) can make a difference.


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