MM Top 5: Alien films

14886217_1040838869357950_851251975_nBy Rob Stoakes. So over at the Battleship Potemkast, the finest podcast on the seas, we’ve been doing a few retro reviews of the mainline Alien franchise in celebration of Alien: Covenant, which to be honest is a bit of a rubbish name. It’s the Matrix syndrome of taking a cool sounding word that means nothing and pairing it with alien. Alien Synthesis. Alien Carbohydrate. Alien Titillation.

Anyway, Alien is very similar to Star Wars, in that it is the absolute king of its own genre, space opera for Star Wars and sci-fi horror for Alien, and one of the most popular multimedia franchises this side of Pokemon, and the highs of the franchise are so good that it somehow makes people forget that about 90% of it is absolutely terrible.

So, of course, I am a huge Alien fan, so I get to drop the pretense of professionalism and indulge in my inner child, which normally I lock in the shed, to find out which of the mainline Alien films is actually the best. Strap in, folks; this road is bumpy. Continue reading

“Bigger isn’t always better… or is it?” Alien: Covenant review

14859347_1040969846011519_1192281544_o-copyBy Adam Brannon. Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus wasn’t as warmly received as the veteran director had hoped for upon its release in 2012. In pitching the film for the coveted 12A market, Scott lost the majority of what made his 1979 masterpiece, rated 18, such an epic adventure.

So, five years on, Scott returns with a follow-up that aims to answer those irritating questions that Prometheus left us with. But is Alien: Covenant a return to form for the series? Or yet another damp squib? Continue reading

“Ridley Scott’s best film since Alien” The Martian review

THE MARTIAN   (UK CERT: 12A)

Director: Ridley Scott 

Music: Harry Gregson-Williams

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels


REVIEW AUTHOR: Adam Brannon

Copyright: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Copyright: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

It’s safe to say that Ridley Scott knows his way around a camera. From Alien to Gladiator, the director has brought to the silver screen some of the greatest films of all time, heck even Prometheus wasn’t that bad in a muddled kind of way.

Now, after the underwhelming Exodus: Gods & Kings, Scott returns to the director’s chair doing what he does best, sci-fi. But is The Martian as good as his earlier works? Continue reading

MM Top 5: Movie Bad Guys

After a lovely, family orientated MM Top 5 last time, I decided that something a little more gritty would be suitable as our next topic of conversation. It was a tough choice, there are so many different categories to choose from and I look forward to them being the subjects of debate over the coming weeks, but for now let’s focus on this fortnight’s MM Top 5, which is, Movie Bad Guys.

5. Michael Myers: Halloween
Michael Myers: 5

Michael Myers: 5

You can’t have a bad guy list without having a horror franchise included in it, and with so many to choose from it was always going to be a difficult decision as to which one would make the cut. Here we have Michael Myers, perhaps the most feared serial killer in film ever. His iconic stare, lack of vocal ability and of course that hideous mask have made him somewhat of a movie icon over the years.

He has become, unfortunately, a bit of a hack and slash maniac after several outings of the series that failed to amount to anything other than sheer popcorn fodder, but let’s not forget his humble beginnings as a normal suburban boy who killed his sister and his parents.

The directors may have changed over the years, but one thing hasn’t – Michael. That’s why this bloodthirsty psychopath, described by the late Donald Pleasance as ‘Pure evil’ makes it to number 5 on my list.

4. Scar: The Lion King
Scar: 4

Scar: 4

The only animated villain to make the list is as cold as he is camp. Scar featured in the original Lion King series and was the cause of many a tear from children across the globe. Murder was certainly not beyond him as the much beloved Mufasa found out as he was pushed off a cliff and into a stampeding herd of wildebeest.

Unbelievably, Mufasa was Scar’s younger brother, so killing family wasn’t even beyond him. The themes that ran throughout the film were widely criticised for being too adult for the young audience it was trying attract and in no scene was that more apparent than a certain musical number with a few hundred hyenas.

The chilling quote ‘Run away and never return’ was a highlight of Scar’s tyrannical personality and the wonderful voice work by Jeremy Irons meant that it stayed with many for a long time after the final credits rolled.

That is why, Scar, the campest villain in cinema history rightly takes 4th place in this list.

3. Lord Voldemort: Harry Potter
Lord Voldemort: 3

Lord Voldemort: 3

Children across the globe dreamt of travelling to Hogwarts with their own animal, wand and a suitably feisty array of school supplies, but I can’t imagine any of them would have wanted to come up against the fearsome Lord Voldemort like Harry Potter did throughout the series.

J.K Rowling started the whole process of creating a villain long before she published the first book back in 1997, but it wasn’t until the 4th film in the series, Goblet of Fire, released in 2005, that he truly came to life.

Whilst some of the elements of him could be considered rip-offs from other similar titles, it is the sterling performance by Ralph Fiennes, virtually unrecognisable in truly terrifying make-up, that made Voldemort one of the most original bad guys seen on the big screen.

The hatred Voldemort or ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named’ or even ‘The Dark Lord’ had for Harry Potter finally came to a head in the 8th and final film of the series, Deathly Hallows: Part 2, when a battle of epic proportions took place. In the end, Voldemort came off a little worse for wear but his legacy would still live on, within the confines of Hogwarts and the minds of children who have grown up with series and still love it to this day.

Never has a bad guy had so many names, Voldemort fully deserves the bronze medal in this list.

2. Xenomorphs: Alien
Xenomorph: 2

Xenomorph: 2

I know what you’re thinking, the creatures (Xenomorphs) from the Alien series aren’t technically bad ‘guys’ but how can you possibly look at that face, and mouths, and not include them in this list?

First seen on the big screen in 1979, Alien revolutionised special-effects, without the use of costly, and in those days practically unheard of CGI, it made people believe these creatures were alive, murderous and unforgiving. Unbelievably, most of this was achieved with a simple costume which a stuntman would climb into each day to film the scenes with the Xenomorphs in.

Towering over their human prey, they were truly terrifying and now not only have a cult following with fans of the series and newcomers alike, but they cemented Alien as one of the best sci-fi action films of all time.

Heck, if Sigourney Weaver is petrified by them, so am I, and that’s why they deserve a very prestigious silver medal in this fortnight’s MM Top 5.

1. Darth Vader: Star Wars
Darth Vader: 1

Darth Vader: 1

Ah, the number one spot, the gold medal, the rosette – you get the picture.

Perhaps most of you will be a little disappointed with the outcome here as it is entirely predictable, but is there really any other bad guy who deserved this coveted spot more than our winner? If so, please leave a comment in the box below this article, I’d love to hear from you.

Darth Vader, voiced by the brilliant James Earl Jones made cinema goers sit up and take note of Star Wars and I believe it is this masked villain which we should thank for the series’ continuing success. After all, when the first you see of someone is a silhouette appearing from a wall of smoke, you know something bad is going to go down.

Mr. Vader had the whole package, he had the lust of death down to a tee, but he also had a pretty awesome cape, a brilliant helmet and sense of mystery surrounding him that wasn’t spoilt until Episode 5 of the franchise – we all know what happened there.

George Lucas knew that Vader was the biggest villain of all time and tried to recreate him numerous times as the series progressed, Darth Maul being the closest to a success he got, but ultimately the red faced menace looked a little clownish alongside his black-cloaked counterpart.

Many would say that Darth Vader was simply a puppet, used by the Empire to conduct their evil schemes, but there is no denying that he remains, to this day, a force to be reckoned with – in film at least.

As always, some bad guys (and gals) simply can’t make the cut, but they do feature in my ‘An Honourable Mention’ list, which is below:

  • T-Rex: Jurassic Park
  • Freddie Krueger: Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Mrs. Bates: Psycho
  • Hannibal Lecter: Silence of the Lambs

 

What are your thoughts on this fortnight’s topic? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment in the box below, I reply to them all.