Back in 1990, Handmaid’s Tale was a movie with a good cast, including the late Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall. It was 1:48 long and unseen by me. It was a film adaptation from the Canadian Margaret Atwood’s book (also unread by me). Then Elizabeth Moss of Mad Men fame came along and she decided to produce a new version of this book, in a mini series format. Season 3 has just been released, and I have only finished watching Season 1 this past week. Now while I am not sure about why an initial less than 2 hour movie had to become 10 episodes (Season 1), 13 episodes (Seasons 2 and now 3). In total, 36 episodes and close to 36 hours of viewing. Oh my goodness! This is a long time to spend in an otherwise dreary dystopian future where women have their right’s stripped away and become incubaters for the rich and wealthy with generally barren wives. Apparently the Future has a problem with fertility, and the solution in the greater Boston area (but really Cambridge Ontario and other areas around Southwestern Ontario) is to take women’s money and displace them from their jobs and imprison them to be raped and carry the children of the privileged. In short, that is the story and we follow Moss, and those like her, in this disturbing place. Margaret Atwood points out that nothing portrayed in her Future is something new that hasn’t been done before in human history. It is well acted. Moss is good. Her fellows actors are also good. Do I like it? Not sure. Not really sure that I am supposed to like it. It should be disturbing to see anyone’s rights taken away without recourse, and have them subjected to abhorrent treatment and in this case all in the name of The Lord! Yikes! Funny how The Lord’s will and judgement can be interpreted so directly by those who wish to justify their (very human) actions. Canada also comes out smelling like a rose as the country to the North who offers asylum, food, clothes, money and freedom to make choices to women who were slaves. In the end this is another series that I cannot put on the same level as Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones or Mad Men. I suppose I should really do a review for worthwhile, binge-worthy series and mini-series that can be viewed on various streaming services. I’ll think about it. Suffice it to say that if you look for something new to view and spend a good amount of time on, you can try here. Just know that you won’t come out of it with a smile on your face or feeling any better about the human condition (now or in The Future).
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was out last summer. It isn’t a remake of the original campy board game starring Robin Williams as a game comes to life, and puts a family in danger in 1995. But rather more of a reboot, where a video game (console looks like an old Atari vintage game) creates a new world that pops players into it. It also transforms them into characters in the game, which has the one ongoing joke of a female live character turning into a Jack Black character in the game. Oh, I was trying to control my laughter on that one! Not really. The Rock is a game character channeling a real life character who isn’t that way in real life. And then Karen Gillian of Guardians of the Galaxy fame, have to admit I needed to look that one up since she is not recognizable as the robot-sister of the Zoe Saldana character at all, but she does fill out a tank top and shorts well enough to keep it interesting. And that really is where the positiveness ends. And that really isn’t very much. In short what was the board game, became Breakfast Club meets weird version of Tropic Thunder. Four kids on detention come across this ancient video game console and take a journey into this game where they have three lives, and spawn by falling from the sky. Kevin Hart plays Kevin Hart and I don’t need to talk further about him. So buyer beware, this wasn’t for me, and I cannot recommend.
Finally, from one bad film film re-make to another completely bad film looking to profit off a mildly successful original product. Let me say, I am a sucker for shark movies, and most anything to deal with sharks. I think they are fascinating. I alos think that their slaughter for soup makes zero sense and is a punch to the balance on the planet. Jaws remains one of my favourite movies of all time. So movies like The Meg, or even The Shallows capture my attention. It even happened back in 1999 with Deep Blue Sea with a decent cast in Samuel L Jackson, Stellen Skarsgard and LL Cool J as a group trying to survive in an ocean lab looking to build brain size by in sharks so that it the brain fluid can be harvested to cure Alzheimer’s disease for humans. The challenge of course is altering sharks by adding more brains and they becoming the apex predator on the planet (well at least the oceans, so 2/3 of the planet). Obviously all goes wrong, and the humans have to find ways to survive. The CGI was decent, but really it is still very obvious that it is CGI. Deep Blue Sea 2 takes it a notch lower, and uses bull sharks and poor CGI to tell a story. No reference is made to the original film, and the actors are not in any way A-listers. Nor are the sets and production value. So the story is weak, focusing on a somewhat deranged scientist thinking he can boost the human brain by making smart sharks and that he will “just kill them” later on once he has shown the power of the human mind. You see, he is worried about A.I. (computers) taking over the world and eliminating the humans. He wants to avoid Skynet and the end of the world by making people smarter, instead of going all Sarah Connor on the computers and blowing them up before they get a chance to wipe us out. Utilizing sharks, and inviting a busty shark preservationist for really no reason out to his little lab just sets the stage for a movie that doesn’t cut it on any level. It borrows cliches and stereotypes and overall doesn’t add anything to our knowledge of sharks or the world. I cannot recommend this either. I feel pained at the lack of decent films in the theatre but my son suggested Booksmart and also John Wick 3 and so I should get out at some point.