7:00 PM, 24th June, 2017
I – along with the majority of ANUFG members, I suspect – have a nostalgic attachment to films of the 1980s. The epic sagas of the decade, particularly Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Alien, are closest to my heart.
It is my humble opinion that, similarly to how the Star Wars prequels led me to question how George Lucas could have possibly strayed so far from the beloved original films, Ridley Scott’s long awaited prequel to the Alien saga, Prometheus, not only filled me with disappointment but a longing for redemption. I know that nostalgia plus anticipation equals incredibly high expectations but, due to Prometheus, my trust in Scott was all but lost. He and Lucas were now to sit together in the naughty corner.
Luckily, I am open minded enough to give second chances; for example the two new Star Wars films, released recently, have renewed my trust in the brand. By respecting the source material they had the ability to satisfy even my most discerning of tastes. Scott, now, has the perfect opportunity to win back the hearts of fans with Alien: Covenant by returning to the classic feel and isolating dread of Alien with the tale of yet another colony ship being threatened by the new and terrifying evolution of the Xenomorph.
A return to form for Scott, the film is sinister, claustrophobic and more than reminiscent of the original, featuring a looming horror that lies in the dark, stalking its prey, leaving the viewers’ imagination to do its worst.
9:12 PM, 24th June, 2017
When valley-girl cheerleader Buffy (Swanson) is told by a crazy old man (Sutherland) that she has been chosen by an ancient prophecy to be her generation’s saviour in the everlasting battle between man and vampire she thinks the old man is crazy. That quickly changes when ancient vampire Lothos (Hauer) and his nest of underlings (led by Paul Reubens, carrying over his best Pee-Wee Herman acting chops) decide to tear her school apart looking for her. A few training montages later and we have a feminist warrior ready to defend her people, and hit the mall at lunch.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is the movie that elevated Joss Whedon (now Marvel’s golden-boy director/producer of Avengers fame) from being some dude that wrote a couple of episodes of “Roseanne” to a big-time movie writer, then back to nothing again for a few years after this, one of the most hyped movies of summer ’92, flopped big time.
Whedon all but disowned the movie afterwards for not following his darker vision (which was realised to near-perfection by the later series, although even that still took a season and a half to really find its feet) and overplaying the valley-girl cheerleader angle, but for the most part those aspects actually work well. It’s just a much sunnier vision than the brooding screenwriter wanted; Shakespeare played in neon spandex.
Buffy treads a fine line between being awesome and being awful, largely depending on whether you can embrace its absurd juxtaposition. Embrace it!