Saturday, March 10, 2007

Movie: The Wild Blue Yonder




...possessed Werner Herzog to commit this atrocity??

I'm flabbergasted. Outraged. Dumbfounded even.

I guess it had to happen. Finally a so-called film that does for pure unintentional stupidity what Pink Flamingos (that deviant celluloid monstrosity for which Waters, Divine and every other perpetrator involved - right down to the hairdressers and caterers - deserve no less than a firing squad) did for pure intentional stupidity.

In fact these two cinematic perversions make Death Wish, Die Hard 2 and Crash look like Oscar candidates!

Sound remarkable? Are you tempted to rush out and rent this just to see how monumentally awful it really is? Don't. No need. I can deliver the entire experience in a few short paragraphs. It was that simple.

Ready? Here we go.

We get some NASA file footage. About a half minute of a stationary view of the rear top portion of the space shuttle surrounded by black space. And then a good forty five minutes of footage at an astronaut training facility featuring a simulated space vehicle environment submerged in a big swimming pool in which astronaut trainees - dressed in shorts and socked feet - do all sorts of utterly banal things in a semi-weightless environment while not talking. In fact there's no audio at all to this footage.

Got that so far? Now add another 45 minutes of borrowed footage - again no audio - of a scuba diver swimming around below the antarctic ice and poking at the barren sea floor. Make sure this footage is all underexposed and graded yellowy so that you get the feel he's swimming around in a giant never-been-cleaned toilet bowl and finally feel nauseous enough to put your half-eaten supper aside.

Now borrow three brief clips - black and white - from the earliest days of moving pictures. We need a clip of a rickety bi-plane landing in rough fashion, one of a man jumping in front of an antique truck on a cobblestone road followed by the same man, unharmed, smoking a cigarette and smiling. And one clip of an American politician - secretary of defense perhaps - talking about the possibility that aircraft may one day become a military tool.

You okay with all this? We're just about done! Stay with me. I promise the punchlines are coming!

Now we hire four actors and film a couple scenes for ourselves. We need a perfectly ugly actor. Ah yes. Brad Dourif who was Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings - Two Towers. He will play the alien from a planet 2000 light years away in the galaxy Andromeda. We dress him to look like a Midwestern farmer. We film him in front of an abandoned column-ringed building at a dusty crossroads somewhere in Buttcheek New Mexico by the look of it and also in the middle of a nearby junk yard in front of a couple decrepit ruinous mobile homes. All he does is narrate the film from these two spots and only occasionally. Dialogue is rare.

The other three actors are pure no-talents who play mathematicians/rocket scientists despite their looking like members of the 4H club. We film them in their garages and basements with a whiteboard and a whiteboard marker - or at their dining room table with a laptop.

For special effects we have a watermelon filmed in the infrared spectrum with a little dry ice or something going on. This will be passed off as a watermelon-shaped planet. Did I mention this is a sci-fi movie?

Okay. That's it for the visuals. Still with me?

The soundtrack is an endless stream of chanting that sounds African except very dreary. Perhaps it's African funeral music. Over that we lay endless unbearable droning violin. We expect theatres to drape the seats in plastic sheets because viewers eardrums will surely bleed profusely.

Now the story.

The astronaut trainees, we claim to be astronauts on the Galileo mission (the probe NASA sent to Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter - if I correctly recall) only now it is a manned mission and our gang is looking for a new planet for humans to inhabit because the Roswel crash, unknown to the public, unleashed deadly unearthly microbes into our atmosphere. Not finding the outer planets to be inhabitable the astronauts decide to take a jaunt out to Andromeda country. Um - just never mind the lights from the training facility pouring into the windows of the 'spacecraft' that is supposedly rushing through black space. Remember - it's just pretend.

The old clips? Well. The bi-plane landing was actually the first alien of Wormtongue's clan to arrive. Yes. That's right. On a bi-plane. The smoker was an alien who tried to commit suicide. And the Defense Secretary or whoever - was an alien who became Defense Secretary. Or whatever.

As coincidence would have it. Our Galileo peeps happen upon the same planet that Wormtongue and his clan came from!

Now - brace yourself for this. The antarctic seawater - we shall pretend - is cooled helium, the atmosphere of this planet in the galaxy Andromeda. The ice is the extent of the planet's atmosphere and is frozen because it's sun is dying. We're talking an extraordinarily thin atmosphere on this planet. No 8-storey buildings allowed! The scuba diver - your regular earthling garden variety scuba diver - is presented as an astronaut. Mm-hmm. Oh - one more thing - and you really need to be sitting down for this: Antarctic jellyfish and cut-up fruit are staged as the semi-intelligent wildlife of this distant planet.

People - I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

I had to watch the special feature monologue by writer/director Werner Herzog trusting he would offer some explanation for this egregious theft of people's time.

"I've always had a passion for science," he says. Which is why he's made a complete mockery of it I guess - for instance, turning the circular/ovular planetary orbits into a goofy two-dimensional labyrinth pattern.

"I call this a science fiction fantasy," he says, and then confesses the unbelievable: "Actually, I've only ever seen a couple science fiction movies." Yeah, no kidding, dude. It shows. "I saw one of the Star Wars movies and the Kubrick film - Space Odyssey. Oh and a couple episodes of - I think it's called - Star Trek? Is that right? With Doctor Spock? With the big ears? I thought that show was rather silly."

WHOA!! Hold the phone, Weiner Hotdog! Or whatever your name is! You don't get to call Star Trek silly! I get to call it silly if I want but YOU do not! YOU filmed a floating half lemon and called it a gentle but sad wildlife creature from the planet Wild-Blue-Yonder! You took the cake on silly! You don't get to call anyone else silly EVER again, you demented senile dumb-ass freak! You imbecile! You... you... That's it! I want you jailed for this disgrace. I want you restrained for life from ever touching a movie camera again! And I want your head on a platter, you... you... twit!

I'm out!


Dave said...

Divine. Now he was one hell of a gal. God rest his/her/their soul.
Alien space fruit...not something that everyone can pull off. Where DO you find this stuff?

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Davey-boy: If resting is the only other option to his/her soul coming back and making more movies -- by all means, rest! Rest like there's no tomorrow!

Gawd, that movie. I found it on the new-release shelf at Blockbuster Video - which reminds me - I have to give them a piece of my mind about this.

You know - I get what he was trying to do. He was trying to create a piece of 'video poetry' but he failed absolutely miserably. He doesn't understand poetry. There is nothing poetic about it. The only possible redeeming consideration is to call it a fairy tale where the moral is -- the grass is always greener on the other side. I'd give him that but it would still be the worst fairy tale ever.

What a boob.

Kathleen said...

Watch Stroszek for another Werner Herzog gem. I watched it a few months back with two friends and we were all left dumbfounded, although we then understood why Ian Curtis (of Joy Division) hanged himself after watching it.

Thanks for the review, because it sounds positively hideous.

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Yes. Positively hideous. Fortunately we were fresh out of rope at the Grotto.

Kathleen said...

Ian used a telephone cord...

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Well - he's a resourceful little bugger than, isn't he? Dead, mind you, but resourceful.

Babs Gladhand said...

Fwig - There must be something horribly wrong with me, because your review makes me want to go and rent this - just to see the horridness of it.

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Knock yourself out, Babs.

No. Literally. If you're really considering this you're better off to knock yourself unconscious instead.