The movies in Morris this past week


Last week, I didn’t write up my impressions of The Meg because it was just too depressing. I was first dismayed at the opening sequence and set up because it postulates that there is a whole new, ancient, isolated biome at the bottom of a deep ocean trench, over 10 thousand meters down, and nothing makes sense. There are giant sharks prowling around this lightless, constricted deep? Why? How? They explore it with a surprisingly roomy manned submersible, which is almost plausible — people have gone down almost 11,000 meters in a bathyscaphe — but why, in this modern day, wouldn’t the preliminary observations have been made with an ROV? There’s also a scene where a submarine is damaged by a monster shark at this depth, and…

…it explodes in a giant fireball.

If you don’t get why that was incredibly stupid, then maybe this is the movie for you. I just couldn’t get past the absence of any acknowledgment of pressure in a movie that has subs shuttling like yo-yos between the bottom of the ocean and the surface, and that has a giant shark found in a marginal habitat that can survive being squirted straight up to terrorize coastal waters.

I guess there were supposed to be some jump scares in there, but I was unable to recover any ability to suspend disbelief after the first 5 minutes. Also, I just didn’t care about any of the characters, except to hope they got eaten. I was mostly disappointed there, too. It made me so cranky I even wanted the stupid little dog to get inhaled, and once again, no joy.

This week, I saw Operation Finale, which wasn’t bad at all. It’s basically a vehicle for the two stars, Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley, to reverberate off each other, and they were both good. It’s the tale of the Israeli operation to extract Adolph Eichmann from Argentina in the early 1960s so that he could face justice for his role in engineering the Holocaust, so it’s very much a good vs. evil story…but it’s a complex difficult good vs. a deceitful, slimy evil, so it isn’t at all cartoonish.

It helps that I hate Nazis. I didn’t have much trouble believing this story.

Also playing this week: The Predator. I just said no. It’s getting easier to avoid some bad movies now that we have a two screen theater and have more choices.

Usually more choices, that is. Next week we’re getting Unbroken: Path to Redemption, some treacly Christian movie directed by Harold Cronk, of the God’s Not Dead series. That’s a fuck no from me. The other choice is The Nun, a supernatural horror movie, which makes for an interesting combination. I’m just hoping some devout Christian fanatic attends both on the basis of the titles, and ends up running screaming from the theater. As for me, though, it looks like I’ll be sitting out the next week.

Comments

  1. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    I have a styrofoam coffee cup that went to the bottom of the ocean on the outside of Alvin, courtesy of my sister (who, fortunately, went down on the inside). It’s about the size of a thimble.

    Yeah, pressure.

  2. Oggie. says

    There’s also a scene where a submarine is damaged by a monster shark at this depth, and…

    …it explodes in a giant fireball.

    This is actually marginally coherent. When a submarine loses pressure integrity at depth, bad things happen. This is from an attempted recovery of a Soviet diesel/electric submarine in the Pacific :

    “It seemed as though an enormous piston had driven through the compartments of the submarine, crushing all the contents of the hull into a small, compact mass from which we had to extract bits and pieces of debris, the closest analog was digging through an archaeological site”

    The short article goes on to state that

    If the damage described took place due to implosion at depth, the compression heating caused by the ocean rushing into the hull would be sufficient to heat the air inside to hundreds of degrees. So it is quite plausible that any flammable object inside (grease, clothing, people) would ignite or detonate.

    It is possible that, when the Scorpion sunk, that parts of the pressure vessel may have telescoped which could, conceivably, have created the circumstance for pressure ignition.

    That said, the ‘explosion’ would, from the outside, be either invisible or, possibly, a small flash of light. No massive explosion, just a pffft! and the flammable materials flash burn and are instantly extinguished (and crushed) by the high pressure water entering.

  3. markdowd says

    And the ads playing on YouTube for The Nun are saying “The original ads for The Nun were pulled for being too scary…blah blah blah”

    A very Trumpian type of ad campaign, I see. Even if I was into horror, that kind of stupid shit would probably put me off the movie because it’s so obviously trying too hard.

  4. markdowd says

    More likely they got pulled because some Christian nutjob complained about blasphemy or something.

  5. Dunc says

    It’s getting easier to avoid some bad movies now that we have a two screen theater and have more choices.

    You know how I avoid seeing bad movies? I don’t go. Is regularly going to the movies compulsory over there or something?

    (As a bonus, I also get to avoid horrible overpriced junk food, loud annoying people, and sticky carpets, all whilst not spending money on things I don’t like.)

  6. davidnangle says

    Oggie, I’ve heard the concept of the instant ignition of the air/anything flammable. It’s entirely academic, though, since it’s true for surprisingly short time scales.

    I laughed at the fireball explosion of a sub. Perfect B-movie cheese. It could only be improved by a heroic character swimming outside the sub with a scuba tank to manfully repair the crippled vessel. Miles under water.

    My standard for submarine implosions is from Cameron’s Abyss.

  7. Silverwynde says

    I dunno, Unbroken will probably make for a great God Awful Movies cast. That’s the only reason to get excited about religious films. Or maybe that’s just me. :D

  8. rcs619 says

    I mean, it’s a summer popcorn flick based off a novel that’s basically trying to be the book form of a summer popcorn flick. I was disappointed that they didn’t have more fun with it. Jason Statham just was not a good casting choice as the lead.

    Also, in the book, the Meg was pure white with this very distinctive bio-luminescent glow across its entire body that always announced its presence right before it turned up. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but from what I’ve seen in the trailers, the Meg just looks like a big-ass regular shark, which is a shame.

    I do kind of hope it did well enough for sequels, because the books get crazy. Mosasaurs that evolved full-on gills, a giant liopleurodon that is even bigger than the Meg, summoned up from the depths by an evil businessman, even more giant sharks. Actually I think the badguy in all three of the sequel novels was always an evil businessman, come to think of it. They’re silly, fast-paced books.

  9. weylguy says

    Wow — giant sharks that live at the bottom of the deepest marine trench on Earth. What do they eat, and how do they not exhaust their food supply?

    My theory is that these sharks survived the Fall of Man, so until recently they fed on deep-sea kelp and moss, and not on living things (recall that until Adam and Eve ate that apple, Tyrannosaurus Rex fed exclusively on coconuts, which required six-inch serrated fangs to crack open). Then when Roe v. Wade passed, the sharks became vicious flesh-eaters, as Evil had penetrated even the Mariana Trench.

    The Meg could have easily been one of those Christian movies Myers is always railing about.

  10. Becca Stareyes says

    All this talk of deep-sea monster movies makes me want a movie version of Mira Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep.

  11. rayceeya says

    So is this the most farcical science fiction since maybe “The Core”, maybe “The Day After Tomorrow” or maybe “Sunshine”? What level of broken science we talking about here.

  12. rayceeya says

    “Actually I think the badguy in all three of the sequel novels was always an evil businessman, come to think of it. ” Watch what you’re saying there bro, one of those evil businessmen is President of the whole United States now.

    Damn can’t even type that with a straight face.

  13. Matrim says

    Honestly, the biggest sin The Meg committed was to be dull. The junk science didn’t bother me, you don’t go into a movie like this expecting great science, you go into this expecting action and big shark attacks. I fell asleep about twenty or twenty-five minutes before the end of the film, woke up about 25 minutes after it ended in an empty theatre, and don’t feel like I missed much. But complaining about the science here kinda seems like missing the point…like complaining about the movie The Fly because Brundle didn’t fuse with the bacteria that made up 3% of his body weight.

    Wow — giant sharks that live at the bottom of the deepest marine trench on Earth. What do they eat, and how do they not exhaust their food supply?

    In the movie the “bottom” of the trench is actually a thermocline hiding a huge region of open water populated by vast amounts of life (including colossal squid, which appear to be the megalodons’ primary food source).

  14. killyosaur says

    @3 I would hardly call that Trumpian, considering horror movies have been doing that sort of thing since the beginning of horror, almost.

    As far as the Meg and its inaccuracies, I dunno, was there an expectation that a Jason Statham vehicle might try to get some of the science correct? I would expect things to explode in big fireballs even in areas where that makes no sense, as it is most likely an action horror, and that is the sort of thing that happens.

    The Nun sounded interesting but I have an issue with the Conjuring/Annabel universe due to its starting point of being based on the stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren…

  15. tacitus says

    Saw two movies last weekend.
    Crazy Rich Asians which was a borefest of conspicuous consumption (seriously, who wants to watch two hours of rich people behaving badly when we have one in the news every night?). The fact that the cast was entirely Asian didn’t really help redeem this predictable fish-out-of-water romance.
    A Simple Favor — a broad comedy that turns into a pretty decent thriller. Interesting combination of the two, and it works pretty well. Not exactly Gone Girl, but entertaining, if a little too long. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are very good.

    A common theme is that both movies could have been 20-30 minutes shorter, but I guess every movie has to be at least two hours long these days, for some reason.

  16. Jeremy Shaffer says

    If you don’t get why [giant fiery explosion deep underwater] was incredibly stupid, then maybe this is the movie for you.

    I do get why that’s incredibly stupid, but it still sounds like the movie for me. I didn’t get a chance to catch it in the theater- and I probably wouldn’t have bothered even if I had- but it doesn’t sound like a movie that’s trying to be anything but a fun action movie, and I’m usually up for those even if I’m not going to break down doors to see one.

    The other choice is The Nun, a supernatural horror movie, which makes for an interesting combination.

    It’s another spin-off from the second The Conjuring movie, which are based off cases supposedly investigated by Ed and Loraine Warren. The only good thing in it is there’s- probably accidental- subtext throughout that rebukes the “thoughts and prayers” response that’s casually tossed about whenever something bad happens. Otherwise, it’s a complete trashfire of a movie with a mangled plot that’s marginally extrapolated from something based on the experiences of a pair of unreliable opportunists and most likely distorted in a way that’s supposed to make it scarier but would probably be far more effective for that purpose if they had simply stayed to true to what it’s based on.

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