Alex Garland

It’s the end of the world as we know it…Sunshine

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So, yes….uhm, I’m presenting the end of the sun. Technically, I guess it is the end of the world…right? Oh well…whatever…here it is…my entry into the End of the Sun, woops, World Blogathon

“Our sun is dying….mankind faces extinction”. Pretty serious opening lines. They come from a serious, yet excellent (and I think little known) movie. May I present…Sunshine (2007).

And yes, that’s the situation we find ourselves in. The sun really is dying and the world is in a permanent state of cold and dark. I get shivers just thinking about that possibility. Not so far-fetched. We never know, right?

The solution? “8 astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb…my bomb” (as explained by character Robert Capa) on a mission to detonate it. Inside the sun off course! And this stellar bomb is the size of Manhattan Island! Just so we are clear how dangerous this task really is. Gee, what a horrifying thought that must be for those responsible? Can you just imagine yourself on that journey? That’s the gist of the story…sending a bomb into the sun.

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I think they all take strain as is clearly displayed by the tensions that run high. So, these 8 carefully selected team members are the second group to attempt this mission after the first one failed before the bomb was even detonated. The reasons will become clear but I can’t disclose them here. We watch these individuals deal with the task(s) at hand, as they face unexpected challenges and expected reality. Oh, they also have to deal with Icarus, the on-board computer/AI-being who has a mind of her own. And once you, dear viewer, realise the inevitable and the weight these characters carry on their shoulders, you will be as tense as them. It really had me thinking. How far would you go for the greater good of humankind? How far would you go when, as an individual, you are nobody in the greater scheme of things, yet, you are everything?

endoftheworld6A superb cast of Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Benedict Wong, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity heat up the screen, while, amongst others Mark StrongĀ  and Chipo Chung have less screen time but just as important roles. Alex Garland has a knack for writing fantastic stories doing so once again in this case. And who better than to bring his stories to life than Danny Boyle? These two always seem to make a great combination (The Beach and 28 Days Later also had them team up). Add stunning, sweeping visuals and a soundtrack (by John Murphy) that heightens the atmosphere and you’ve got not only a movie but a piece of art. One that is definitely worth watching.

I wasn’t sure Sunshine would fit the bill for an End of the World Blogathon but…I’m convinced it does. No sun, no world, right?

For some more world shattering posts, head on over to MovieMovieBlogBlog or The Midnite Drive-In, the hosts of this Blogathon.

 

 

Meanest of the Mean…Ma-Ma

Njaahahahahaaaaa she cackles, rubbing her hands in glee. Another chance to shine some light on those dark characters. This year Ma-Ma gets a go. She’s got to be one of the most ruthless female villains I’ve come across. Just thinking of her gives me the shivers. Time to get all dark (hope you won’t think bad of me after this but it is The Great Villain Blogathon after all with more baddies found here). Let me introduce…Madeline Madrigal a.k.a. Ma-Ma.

Dredd9Madeline…sounds harmless. She doesn’t look too nasty above either…right? Wrong. Oh how very, very wrong.

We’ll call her Ma-Ma going forward (not Mama but slightly drawn out…Maa-Maa). I’d hate for her to be confused with a mother. Here are a few more that might help set the mood (not that we should judge by appearance):

Paint a better picture for you? I was kind enough to omit the screenshot of when the scar-producing injury is being inflicted. In fact, you may want to stop reading this post soon.

Peach Trees, a 200-storey high-rise in Mega City One, “the cursed city, stretching from Boston to Washington DC”. The building houses 75 000 registered residents of which 96% are unemployed. It has one of the highest crime rates in a city that records 17000 incidents a day. Ruling from the top floor down, Ma-Ma and her gang, the Ma-Ma Clan.

Played by Lena Headey, this is someone you’d hate to come face to face with in an alleyway (or anywhere for that matter). She is so brutal that when 3 small-time drug-dealers encroach on her turf they get…(stop reading if you are squeamish)….skinned alive, thrown off the top floor of Peach Trees…all while under the influence of SloMo…the latest drug she is punting which…yes…slows your perceptions down (substantially). Might be great if it is recreational but not so great when you see the atrium floor rapidly approaching slowly (contradiction intended).

Sent in to investigate this incident, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). They capture Kay (Wood Harris), who Anderson, through her psychic abilities, identifies as the guy who carried out the skinning. Desperate to prevent Kay from talking (I won’t reveal why) Ma-Ma gives orders to lock down the entire building until Dredd and Anderson are dead. Dredd, ever the just, loyal and fearless judge, assisted by Anderson, works his way up floor by floor, body by body, dealing justice with one goal…Ma-Ma. Easier said than done.

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Formerly a prostitute, she got cut up by her pimp. Her revenge…”Feminised the guy with her teeth”. Apparently this is when she became the woman who has no problem casually dealing out the most gruesome punishment to anyone she pleases. The poor techie (played by Domhnall Gleeson whom I barely recognised), who hacks any system for her, even had his eyes redecorated – her doing.

I honestly don’t know what could possibly justify her actions. Yes, maybe her pimp doing what he did may just have pushed her over the edge. However, watching her do what she does, there must have been some mean streak in her before then. Deep down, some darkness that was waiting to be triggered. I’d say she is one of the most vile villains I’ve come across.

Gruesome and violent, Dredd (2012) is still an excellent movie enhanced with a brilliant soundtrack. The SloMo scenes are fantastically presented with everything slowing down for added effect:

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While this is a post about Ma-Ma, I must mention that Karl Urban is perfect for the no-nonsense Judge Dredd (delivering some great deadpan lines). If you have been avoiding this one thinking “oh no! Judge Dredd” with the 1995 version in mind…don’t. With a current IMDB rating of 7.1 and 78% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer (72% Audience Likes), it really isn’t bad. Written by Alex Garland and directed by Pete Travis, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, wondering how this one could possible end. You have been warned though – definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Whew, so now I need a good, light movie to watch. Something with a “kinder” villain. Or a nice good Prince Charming.

For last year’s entry into this Blogathon have a look at Villain, villain on the Wall.

*Quote taken from watching the movie

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