July 20, 2008

Moving Pictures, Reviewed

Filed under: analog,awesome,life,toys — mhoye @ 12:40 pm

Those of you who didn’t RSVP, or who lost faith because of the weather, you plain old missed out. We moved the 10×8 screen inside (where it just-just fit, taking up the entire end of my first floor) and watched Them! and The Queen Of Outer Space on the biggest screen I’m ever likely to have in my house.

And it was great.

“Them!” has stood up surprisingly well for a fifties movie. You know what’s going on coming in, of course, but the acting and writing are surprisingly tight; they’re a little heavy-handed at times, but all the little chances to insult your intelligence that the movie passes up are such a breath of fresh air, surprising in a movie more than half a century old. One that jumped out at me was when the cops come across a recent giant-ant attack and try to piece together what’s just happened, the water on the stove is still steaming; one officer points at it, and the other nods, and that’s it. It occurred to me that if this were CSI, one officer would be forced to say “The kettle is still boiling”, and the other mechanically reply “whatever happened here, it happened recently, maybe in the last few minutes”.

Your giant-ants they’re not perfect. But considering the movie is fifty years old, the fact that you don’t see any strings pulling them around is convincing enough, and there’s a lot of unabashed 50’s-era social flavor in there, too. A solid classic-sf-viewing experience, for sure.

The Queen Of Outer Space, however, is different. As one of my guests said, Zsa Zsa Gabor has been in one good movie in her life, and this wasn’t it. It is, on the other hand, a beautiful train wreck of low-budget sets, lower-budget effects, cartoonishly-fifties-era gender relations and a generous quantity of early-Star-Trek-looking Space Cheesecake. The militant women of Venus, it turns out, wear some surprisingly impractical outfits and some astonishingly poor choices of performance footwear. Is it worth watching? Possibly not. Is it worth MST3King? Oh, definitely; this is, by any reasonable measure, a bad movie. But it’s wonderfully bad.

Stay tuned, citizens! I hope next week to do the same thing, possibly with a different theme. I’m of a Hitchcockian inclination at the moment, but who knows?

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