Saturday, July 27, 2013

SyFy vs The Mynd: Epysode 3

Dragon Wasps (2012): In theory, I should come down hard on a movie whose depiction of the Central American population is quite as ooga booga, whose female lead (Dominika Juillet playing a "scientist") seems to read all of her lines off a teleprompter, making Corin Nemec look like a charismatic actor in the process, and which knows even less about the science of insects than myself. But then, this is also a movie about giant, fire-breathing wasps, containing lines of eternal dialogue like "Many insects are repelled by the smell of their dead. This bug may be our best defence", repeatedly letting its heroine call something "nature's napalm", finding its protagonists going into the final battle hopped up on coca (to repel the wasps, obviously), and really being rather good fun in its stupidity for most of its running time. So I think I'll just let it slide and call Joe Knee's Dragon Wasps the kind of film that is bound to have an average user rating of 3 point something on the IMDB while actually being pretty darn entertaining.

Arachnoquake (2012): If you have dreamt about a movie whose every character is a prime example of odious comic relief, then you'll pretty much hit the jackpot with this one. As nearly all consciously humorous SyFy movies I've encountered, Arachnoquake (blind, tongued, fire-breathing, on-water-walking albino spiders attack New Orleans would have been a bit too long a title, I suppose) suffers from not being funny for a single second, and spending not a single thought on suspense or actually making a film that's entertaining beyond being the butt of a joke.

I still find films saying "look how dumb I am, isn't it funny!!!" while adding mean-spirited frat boy-style humour quite the opposite of funny. It doesn't help Arachnoquake film seems to giggle at each of its own jokes, which never works at all.

But hey, at least aging actors like Edward Furlong and Tracey Gold get some food and medication on their tables through Arachnoquake's existence, so there's something to be said for the film.

Mothman (2010): And then there are movies like this, a perfectly serviceable version of a neo-slasher movie with Jewel Staite being as much star power as it can afford (with a plot hook borrowed from I Know What You Did Last Summer, of all films) that replaces the usual killer with the Mothman, adds a bit of mythical mumbo-jumbo, and stirs. Yet still, despite two or three truly atmospheric scenes and a pretty entertaining ending that puts out all the stops a movie of this budget and production style can put out, Mothman's a bit of a disappointment to me, for it takes one of the weirdest pieces of modern myth and turns it into another serial-killing monster. It's not so much the lack of originality that irritates me (this is a SyFy Channel movie after all), but the lack of imagination Sheldon Wilson's film shows, even though it is entertaining enough.

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