Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alien:Resurrection vs. Spider-Man 3 - Worse Moments in Bad Sequels: December 15, 2010

I try to remain positive in almost all aspects of my life. That's kind of the point of doing this site; finding and pointing out the good things about material that has been relegated to the meh bin. But lately, due to some things career-wise I care not to get into, I'm feeling a little less optimistic. Hence this little feature where I will focus on two (relatively) bad sequels and pick out the worst moments in them, while having them square off to see which one is truly the lesser of the two. Basically, these are moments that encapsulate all that can go wrong with a movie. Good times. Enjoy!

Alien:Resurrection - The Basketball Stand-Off


Spider-Man 3 - Evil Peter Dances One Big Fuck You to Mary Jane (and us)

Both of these films were made by visionary directors whose styles are best described as idiosyncratic. You know when you are watching a Sam Raimi or Jeunet film and it's because of all the flourishes, eccentricities, etc., that they bring along with them in their directorial bag of tricks. But it's these one of a kind directors that can some times create moments that engender the kind of ire amongst fanboys and film geeks that gives regular audiences pause enough to think "What's wrong with you fucking nerds?". (Think Woo's wacky Mission Impossible sequel as one big trainwreck example of this kind of flair gone awry)

A:R and SM 3 are pretty much regarded as two of the most disreputable, shark-jumpingest sequels in the history of cinema. A lot of that scorn comes about due to the filmmakers' rather gimmicky approach to material that was previously handled with a little less levity. In the case of SM 3, it seems particularly frustrating that this is a filmmaker whose fingerprints were all over the previous films. In the end, you're left with two movies who will be remembered less for their audacious style and more for the moments in each of them when you can hear the collective groan of the nerd mafia escaping the theater.

Contender Number 1: A:R's Basketball Stand-Off

To keep things short and sweet I'll assume that if you're reading this article you've seen the two movies being discussed and I won't need to give you some obligatory rundown on the plot. The aforementioned stand-off comes very early in the film. Smugglers, including Winona I'm-only-just-beginning-to-get-irrelevant Ryder, have landed on a ship to ply their wares for the craft's head honchos. In the middle of this they wander into a very old-school gym (200 years after Alien3! how quaint!) where the genetically engineered Ripley clone is putzing around. To show what kind of enhancements they've done to the new Ripley, she hands the smuggler's toughest man (played by absolutely-butch-but-still-not-as-butch-as-Sigourney-Weaver-as Ripley Ron Perlman) his ass in some good old b-ball.

Everything about the scene just feels ludicrous and pandering, a tone that would follow throughout the rest of the film. You can see why they put it in there; it's visual shorthand for the kind of badassery the new Ripley is capable of. But the fact that they thought that no one in the audience might have imagination enough to swallow a game of some entirely new creation is insulting. Basketball? In the 25 century? Snore. I expect more out of the relentlessly creative Jeunet.

Contender Number 2: Parker Trips the Light Fantastic, While Tripping Up SM 3

Is there a more infamous scene to have been lambasted by all of nerddom in the last decade? Name me one and I'll send you one of my famous cookies. Again, you know it, no need to rehash it. Put simply, Peter Parker, now possessed by the Venom symbiote, in all of the evilness he can muster, dances a seductive showstopper that let's Mary Jane Parker know he nows prefers to stick his wick in Gwen Stacy . It is equal parts cheese and equal parts "What the Fuck?", which, again, nicely sums up the whole movie. A super miscalculation on Raimi's part? Maybe. But really it feels in line with quite a bit of where Raimi has been with the series, just taken to a naueseating extreme.

The Verdict:
Honestly, as bad as that dance scene is, I can understand it. I see what Raimi is doing there. That is as close to evil and badass as a twirp like Peter Parker can get. It feels 100% in line with the character and the world he lives in. That being said it's still pretty corny and is staged very poorly. Plus, it takes place right in the middle of what is, overall, a pretty blah movie, one already marred by bad decisions being made left and right. After SM 2 (a pretty good movie and a surefire candidate for a Better Than the Real Thing entry) part 3 just feels like a huge letdown and one of the worst ways a once-decent series has ended.

A:R is a whole 'nother bag of shit. The series had (what I obviously always felt was) a decent ending with Ripley martyring herself to wipe the xenomorph off the face of the universe. This fourth film, a 100% reboot if there ever was one, felt like it shoudln't have been made in the first place. Most of my film buddies at the time referred to it as "Alien: The Apology" and that's kind of what it felt like to most people who weren't satisfied with the ending of 3. Happy now fuckers? Like this better? If so, please send yourself a middle finger c/o Eat a Bag of Dicks, 666 Blow Me Place, Get Fucked, CA 900?!#@?$*. But seriously, this was always "Alien: The Cash-In" more than anything. Maybe that's why I wasn't expecting all that much. But I certainly wasn't expecting this turd. And the stupid basketball scene is the pukey frosting on a cake made of shit. The verdict? Fuck this scene, fuck this movie, fuck 20th Century Fox and fuck Tom Rothman.


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