Saturday, I wanted to take The Wife out to the movies. Problem is there’s nothing out there we want to see. The new Harry Potter movie came close to being chosen, but then we found out that my parents were over at my sister’s place, which means they’d want to stop over, which means that heading to the movies would be like telling them we didn’t want to see them.
Alright, that made more sense in my head. Also, it wasn’t anywhere nearly as drastic.
At any rate, we ended up stopping by Blockbuster to pick up a rental. Yes, we have Netflix. We LOVE Netflix, but we wanted something now (or then, whatever). After going in and looking around for a bit, we found the 2-for-$20 and 4-for-$20 tables. Jackpot. We put the movies we were going to rent back on the shelves and started looking through these pre-viewed wonders. Luckily, we had time enough to search, because it was at that moment that heaven’s pipes broke and flooded the streets.
Half an hour later, when it stopped raining, we walked out with a handful of movies, including The Golden Compass, Babylon A.D., Inkheart, and some dragon documentary made by Animal Planet. (I can’t remember its name, sorry, but it was this documentary which chronicled what the evolutionary path of dragons would have been if they were real. Very cool, although it had the cinematic quality of the made-for-TV Dynotopia, which we also own, and which I’ve watched more times than I can count.)
It’s lucky for me that my quality threshold is lowered the cheaper a movie gets. While The Golden Compass, Inkheart and the dragon movie are movies I’d pay more than $5 for, Babylon A.D. isn’t. In fact, the only way I can really justify this movie being in my collection is if I think about this as a “buy 3 get 1 free” deal.
Alright, so Babylon A.D. isn’t that bad. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a Vin Diesel (his stage name; his real name is “Weenie McWeinerton”) sci-fi movie, sort of like Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick but with less space action. (Actually, Chronicles of Riddick is one of my favorite movies, as it ties in a pretty good story with phenomenal special effects and awesome action. In fact, that’s one thing about Vin Diesel movies, they’re usually great for action. But I’m digressing.) It’s about this mercenary, Turop, who’s hired to transport this girl with huge lips and some kind of power into the U.S. Problem is that he’s considered a terrorist, and by this time North America is essentially a fortress, guarded by unmanned jets, jets easily dispatched by Turop on a snow-mobile. (I think it was a Scootie-puff Jr.)
I’d go on with the story line, but… honestly, I’m not sure where the story line went. First there were these guys fighting who look like they came out of Westside Story, then the pair, accompanied by this kung-fu expert nun, make it to New York where a mafia-style religious order starts a massive gun battle with what look like understudies for the part of Skeletor in the 1980’s He-Man movie, all of whom ride bikes. That’s before everything blows up, Turop dies so that he can live, and the Westisde Story gang dips into his brain to find where the girl ran off to.
So yeah, all in all it was a great movie. Really. It was just missing a coherent story line and a good ending. (I blame the writers.) Other than that, awesome. My favorite part? The big Coca-Cola Zero airplane that takes up about a minute of screen-time. I don’t know how much Coca-Cola paid for the spot, but they got their money’s worth, as it was easily the most memorable spot in the film: I laughed so hard and for so long I had to pause the movie. I don’t think they meant it to be quite that funny, however. The next memorable moment was when Turop shot a cute arctic bunny. Sorry, but any film in which a bunny is so hilariously shot is one I can’t take all that seriously. “Oh look, a bunny!” I said. 10 second later, I see a man, then a laser point, and suddenly rabbit brain cells, millions of them.
You’ve probably noticed how incredibly rambling this post is. Well now you know what the movie feels like. I can only recommend this movie if you like Vin Diesel movies, action, special effects, or sci-fi. Actually, for those of you looking for good sci-fi, a couple of cool technologies are featured in this film, and a few anthropological ideas are pushed, but nothing is explored in depth, which was a big disappointment I felt with this film. The concepts they touch on, of a religious order pressing towards the next level of evolution by the creation of a “miracle” combined with the levels of political instability displayed, were topics I would have loved to know more about. Alas, they surrender talk of that for the Coke Zero plane and explosions, lots of them.
In short, the movie was enjoyable to watch, though I think it’s one I’ll feature at my next “Bad Movie Party”. Yes, I’ve seen worse, but this one is good enough to enjoy and bad enough to be made fun of.
Come to think of it, maybe it was worth the $5.