Monday, May 31, 2010

Top 25: War Films You Should Know

In honor of Memorial Day, let’s talk about the Top 25 war movies you should see to be well versed in war movies. This is an interesting list because it mixes some patriotic films with some anti-war movies, and it includes movies that are fairly accurate and some that are complete fantasy.

Interestingly, there are few war films that deal with the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Spanish American War, the Mexican American War or Korea. And those films that do touch on these topics can hardly be considered memorable or influential. You may also note that there is nothing about Iraq (for which I recommend the miniseries Generation Kill). Let us begin. . .

1. Apocalypse Now (Redux) (1979): This movie sits atop many greatest war movies lists and it deserves its place -- but make sure you see the redux. Based on Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” Apocalypse Now is a criticism of the Vietnam war. But it is not anti-war or anti-American, despite what many people believe (I should do an article on this point). What it is, is critical of distant commanders living in luxury as they send troops to fight wars on a part-time basis. It is a criticism of starting wars but not fighting to win. Now’s characters, all played by top-notch actors, are iconic, and you literally can’t escape its most famous quotes, from “the horror, the horror,” to “Saigon, I’m still in Saigon,” to “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

2. Platoon (1986): I don’t like starting this list with two Vietnam movies in a row, but they both deserve their places. Platoon is the movie that changed the relationship between the public and Vietnam veterans. Even though Oliver Stone intended this as an anti-military diatribe, Americans took this film as an opportunity to embrace Vietnam Veterans and to make peace with the war. It’s also an extremely well done movie that became the template for all future movies based about Vietnam. Incidentally, this is not the only film to backfire on Stone, see e.g. Wall Street which had a generation of Americans idolizing Gordon Gekko. “Somebody once wrote: ‘Hell is the impossibility of reason.’ That's what this place feels like.”

3. The Longest Day (1962): This movie is one of those shining moments. This movie features a who’s who of Hollywood leading men from the 1950s/1960s, who work their way through American’s crowning moment in World War II -- the D-Day invasion. It’s well written, well acted, well shot, and it doesn’t cheapen the Allies’ achievement by making the Germans into subhuman creatures or idiots. And all of this adds up to a movie that feels as real as a documentary, but is as entertaining as carefully crafted fiction. “The thing that's always worried me about being one of the few is the way we keep on getting fewer.”

4. Gettysburg (1993): Gettysburg the battle is the most pivotal moment in our nation’s history: a Southern victory would have meant British recognition and a permanent split. Gettysburg the film is easily the greatest Civil War movie. Filmed before CGI, the producers gathered thousands of historical recreationists to create the most realistic Civil War battle scenes you will ever see. This movie shows all of the insanity of combat tactics in that era and the hardships the troops faced. It shows you how the armies differed, and how these really were citizen armies. And unlike movies like Glory, Gettysburg has no agenda; it presents a highly nuanced discussion of the nation’s politics and it gives all sides a fair presentation. “To be a good soldier you must love the army. To be a good commander you must be able to order the death of the thing you love.”

5. The Great Escape (1963): Despite its seemingly fantastic plot, The Great Escape is an amalgam of true stories combined into one giant escape. This movie presents some of the coolest leading men of its era but, unlike other ensemble films, this one is plot driven and it makes the actors work for it, rather than the other way around. This movie also, to its credit, presents a nuanced view of the Germans, showing the historical distinction between the treatment POWs received from the Luftwaffe versus the treatment received from the SS and the Gestapo. “It is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape.”

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930): Based on the most important novel about the life of average soldiers, All Quiet follows a group of German boys who happily go off to fight for German in The Great War, WWI. They quickly learn that war is not what they thought it was. This is the first major anti-war film of the “talky” era, and this book/film set up the genre conventions and themes that continue to this very day. “War isn’t the way it looks back here.”

7. The Dirty Dozen (1967): A story of twelve convicts who are given the chance to earn their freedom by taking on an impossible mission, this is more of a tough guy film than a war film, but it’s become a classic war movie. This movie also shows how America was changing from the post-WWII era to the counter-culture era, as many counter-culture elements made their way into this film. In many ways, Dirty Dozen signals the end of the patriotic war film. “Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me.”

8. Das Boot (1981): Originally a German miniseries, this movie is the only realistic movie about submarine service. This film covers all the bases of the German U-boat campaign in the North Atlantic during WWII, and it does so accurately, from showing the privileges extended to submariners (beards and the fact that they did not adopt the Hitler salute), to showing the hardships of life on board, e.g. the cramped conditions, the stench, the boredom interspersed with shear terror, and it showed the terrible dangers, e.g. submariners had a 75% casualty rate. “ALARM!!”

9. Patton (1970): Ok, I have to admit, I don’t like this film. I find it dull, simplistic and uninteresting -- kind of like The Big Red One. But millions of people love this film and it is considered George C. Scott’s finest film, so it belongs here. “Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

10. Bridge On The River Kwai (1957): Alec Guinness plays a British commander who, through power of personality, all but takes over the prison camp where he and his men are being made to work on a bridge for the Japanese. . . until Guinness starts to go insane. Beautifully shot by David Lean, tremendous acting and highly dramatic, this is a brilliant film, though this film really angers the veterans who were there, who point out that none of it is factual (even the river is misnamed) and that it completely ignores the horrific brutality of the Japanese. “We can teach these barbarians a lesson in Western methods and efficiency that will put them to shame. We'll show them what the British soldier is capable of doing.”

11. Saving Private Ryan (1998): I have serious problems with the characters in this film, who are far too cynical and far too modern to accurately represent Americans of the WWII generation. I also despise the emotional manipulation that permeates this film. But I can’t deny its place on the list. This film opened the door for more gory, realistic war movies, and would reset the template for future war movies. Still, I much prefer the far superior miniseries Band of Brothers. “James Francis Ryan of Iowa? Your brothers were killed in combat. . . all of them.”

12. Sands of Iwo Jima (1949): Sands is the story of a group of American Marines as they island hop in the Pacific. It climaxes with the invasion of Iwo Jima. This movie captures the resolved spirit of America at the time, a spirit symbolized by quiet determination and unselfish sacrifice without glory-seeking. I also see this as John Wayne’s finest performance. Interestingly, this film has recently come under fire for its portrayal of Japanese soldiers in ways that are now considered racially insulting and its use of the term “Jap.” "That’s war. . . trading real estate for men."

13. Stalag 17 (1953): Staring William Holden, this is the drama that inspired Hogan’s Heroes. This is a tremendous story about justice in a POW camp and how easily people are turned against each other when they suspect a fellow prisoner of being a German spy. “What is this anyway, a kangaroo court? Why don't you get a rope and do it right?”

14. Full Metal Jacket (1987): Jacket follows a group of recruits as they go through Marine Corp training and ultimately end up in Vietnam. To me, this film suffers from Kubrick Syndrome, i.e. I respect it much more than I like it, but its images and quotes have embedded themselves deeply in our culture. A good, but much less well known substitute that follows similar lines is The Boys In Company C. “What is your major malfunction?”

15. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970): An ensemble piece that established the template for movies like Midway and miniseries like The Winds of War, Tora tells the story of the bombing of Pearl Harbor from both the Japanese and American sides. As a typical ensemble film, Tora suffers from having too many characters and trying to give them all equal time. It also works for its actors rather than the other way around, e.g. each actor gets to play smarter, wiser and more noble than the people they are portraying really were. “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

16. Sergeant York (1941): This film is a biography about America’s biggest World War I hero, Sergeant Alvin York, whose life parallels American thinking at the time of WWI. York, a pacifist, wanted nothing to do with the wider world, but when he found himself drafted, he did his duty and he did it with modesty and American practicality. York became a true American hero, and Gary Cooper plays him perfectly. “Folks back home used to say I could shoot a rifle before I was weaned, but they was exaggeratin' some.”

17. Zulu (1964): Filmed as a protest against imperialism, Zulu is the best film about colonial armies. The story involves the Zulus who have massacred a British column and are now headed toward populated areas in South Africa. Standing in their way was a small British detachment at Rorke’s Drift. Combining incredible cinematography, with a true story, a fair presentation of both sides, and filmed with the participation of actual Zulu warriors (and their king), this is a compelling film. It was also Michael Caine’s first major role. “If 1,200 men couldn't hold a defensive position this morning, what chance have we with 100?”

18. Black Hawk Down (2001): A true story of when a small group of American special forces soldiers found themselves surrounded by thousands of Somali gunmen, this film is the modern American version of Zulu. We also know now that many of these gunmen were trained and equipped by Al Qaeda, making this the first battle of the modern war on terror. “Nobody gets left behind.”

19. Kelly’s Heroes (1970): One of the few “capers” films to use World War II as a setting, this is a truly entertaining film about Clint Eastwood and his merry band of malcontents who decide to skip on ahead of the American army so they can steal a vault full of gold bars. “Then make a DEAL! . . . maybe the guy’s a Republican. Business is business, right?”

20. The Dawn Patrol (1938): This is the first film to my knowledge which dealt with the loneliness of command. Staring Errol Flynn and David Niven, Flynn finds himself going from carefree WWI fighter pilot to commander of a squadron and soon needs to send his friends to their deaths. “You know what this place is? It's a slaughterhouse, and I'm the butcher!”

21. The Guns of Navarone (1961): This was written as an anti-war movie by a writer with communist sympathies during the cold war. But, as so often happens, it actually makes a very different statement. Indeed, the main theme to the movie ultimately comes across as “it’s time to take a stand and stop sitting on the sidelines,” which is actually a rather pro-war statement. “You think you've been getting away with it all this time, standing by. Well, son, your bystanding days are over! You're in it now, up to your neck.”

22. Where Eagles Dare (1968): More a spy film set in WWII than a war film, Eagles is nevertheless an excellent movie about the less conventional aspects of WWII. Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood are sent on a mission to expose traitors in British Intelligence. “Broadsword calling Danny Boy.”

23. The Green Berets (1968): The only pro-Vietnam War film made, this John Wayne film follows a small detachment of Green Beret soldiers as they train South Vietnamese soldiers. The movie does a good job of laying out why we were fighting, but the film is overly simplistic and lacks realism. Still, it’s worth seeing. “That's newspapers for you, ma'am. You could fill volumes with what you don't read in them.”

24. A Bridge Too Far (1977): Bridge is the true story of an overly-ambitious paratroop attack that went wrong. This film suffers from being an ensemble film with too many characters, each being too over-the-top heroic, and it is difficult to accept anti-war types like Robert Redford playing heroic American soldiers. But the film is entertaining and it is well known. “We haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner! Sorry!”

25. They Were Expendable (1945): This John Wayne/John Ford film is about the PT boats that defended the Philippines after Pearl Harbor, and how the Navy came to respect their value, particularly as they became essential in evacuating senior personnel from the advancing Japanese.

There are, of course, others that did not make the list for various reasons. I did not include Schindler’s List because it’s not really a war movie. I didn’t include Paths of Glory and Cross of Iron, two excellent films, because they simply aren’t that well known. If I could add one film that everyone should see, it would be a Finish movie: Talvisota (The Winter War) (1989). This is the story of the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939 told from the Finish perspective. It is an excellent film.

Anything you would add? Anything you would remove?

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Liberalism Kills. . . Hollywood Careers?

We all know that Hollywood is hostile to conservatives. From the liberal-only political contributions, to the scarcity of conservative messages in films, to the abundance of liberal garbage inserted into almost every movie, to the anecdotal stories told by conservatives of being blacklisted, there’s simply too much evidence to support this theory to think that people are just being paranoid. But is being an overt liberal also bad for your career? I think it is.

Let me start by admitting that I have no statistical evidence to back up this article, so this is merely supposition. But over the past 10-15 years, I’ve begun to notice a trend: Hollywood stars seem to kill their careers when they start spouting nasty liberalism.

Hollywood has always bent left. They’ve always made movies like Wall Street to blast “Republican” bankers, China Syndrome to blasted nuclear power, and a slew of movies to hate Nixon. . . boy do they hate Nixon! And there have always been actors who are primarily political, like Robert Redford, who hates Nixon. But these were relatively tame political ventures until the last two decades.

In the 1980s, it became fashionable to support causes: stop pollution, don’t eat dolphin-flavored tuna, boycott South Africa. . . shave the whales. These were the causes that Hollywood types espoused. In fact, it became such a big thing that many stars (who typically are too stupid to tie their own shoes) hired trained public relations firms to find causes for them to “have always felt deeply about.” A few carefully scripted public service announcements later, and bingo -- social relevance.

But everything began to change somewhere around the time the Clintons brought Hollywood into the Lincoln Bedroom. Maybe Hollywood got excited by the idea that they could influence politics? Maybe the politicization of our culture made it easier to be an extremist? Who knows? In any event, Hollywood stars ditched their do-gooder projects and their PSAs and they jumped headlong into politics. Suddenly, political endorsements and campaign commercials were the order of the day.

Then they started getting nasty, and that’s where the problems began. Soon Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were doing hatchet jobs on Republicans. Then, one by one, the likes of Sean Penn and Danny Glover set out to fellate dictators, Matt Damon and George Clooney went overseas to attack our country as evil, racist and corrupt, and Janeane Garfalo and a dozen others started using “hate speech” against anyone on the right every time they opened their mouths.

And during this whole time, a correlation began to appear: the more these actors spoke, the more their careers collapsed. Look at Penn. Post-Madonna Penn was respected and slowly but surely was establishing himself as an A list actor. . . until he opened his mouth. Now he works in political flicks, but it would be inconceivable to put him into a mainstream movie.

Damon and Clooney were both huge. In fact, I would honestly say that Clooney (and later Damon) was on his way to becoming Hollywood’s biggest present-day star until he started shooting off his mouth. Suddenly, all of his films began to flop. There were no boycotts, no protests; he just lost the ability to get people to come see his films. Could it be that he suddenly couldn’t choose a good film? Or was the audience responding to a growing dislike for his politics? Ditto with Damon, who is now also running on a curious losing streak (apart from his Bourne franchise).

Robbins and Sarandon all but vanished from film, except for bit parts in ensemble pieces. Garafalo, never exactly a star, is now non-existent. And what was the last movie Danny Glover starred in? Alex Baldwin was chased from film around the time of his “move to Canada promise,” and was only rescued by sit-coms.

And there are more. Brad Pitt’s star seems to have faded with his increased political activity. Megan Fox may have killed her career with a combination of hate-filled statements about flyover country people and criticism of her directors. Steven Weber never had a career, but what he had seems finished now that he’s joined the Hollywood Haters Club. Kevin Costner collapsed after Dances With Wolves, and Meryl Streep’s career all but fell apart after she became a verb (“the Streeping of science”), until she was saved by Satan, i.e. The Devil Wears Prada. Tom Hanks hasn’t faded yet, but he’s only recently started to say really stupid things. . . and average people are commenting on it. But these are only some examples.

What I can’t say for certain is whether these stars faded because they began saying stupid political things that offended large parts of the population, or if they started saying stupid things because their careers were fading? Or said differently, did the public begin to shun these actors when they crossed that line into anti-Americanisms? Or did they cross that line hoping to draw attention to themselves to revive moribund careers? Pitt, Damon and Clooney certainly still seemed to have their best years ahead of them when they opened their mouths and began their slides. Moreover, since making these political statements seems to hasten the career decline, it doesn't make a lot of sense that stars would be doing this to save a sagging career.

Could it be that once these actors became “established,” they started taking “riskier films”, i.e. less commercial films, which makes all of this just coincidental? That doesn't seem likely. That could arguably be the case for Clooney, but not for Damon or Costner. Damon and Costner kept right on churning out purely commercial films. It’s just that no one wants to see them anymore.

It’s hard to say anything definite on this because it’s hard to tell exactly what came first -- -- decline or diarrhea-mouth? It’s also hard to tell at what point they first crossed that line into anti-Americanism, and when their views first became well-known to the public. Not to mention that many of these actors still work, just at a much lower level than before.

But putting on my educated guess cap, I would say that this trend that I’m noticing indicates that when actors start spouting off things that offend middle America, middle America simply stops seeing their films. Take for example the total failure of all of Hollywood’s Iraq films. Damon’s Green Zone had a budget of $100 million and pulled in about $26 million domestically in theaters ($86 million total gross), despite being made by the same people who made the highly successful Bourne series. Look at some of these other numbers: The Hurt Locker $21.3 million despite all of its awards, Body of Lies $39 million, Stop-Loss $10.6 million, In the Valley of Elah $6.7 million, Grace is Gone less than $1 million, and The Messenger less than $1 million.

Maybe this just means that people don’t want to be reminded of Iraq? A more likely reason for this level of failure is that people are voting with their wallets and they are tuning out films that they see as being insulting to their values. That would certainly back up the idea that overt, nasty liberalism is a career killer.


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Friday, May 21, 2010

How Not To Build A Spaceship

One of the most important aspects of story telling is establishing something called “suspension of disbelief.” This is the point where the storyteller overcomes the viewer/reader/listener’s natural inclination to disregard or dismiss stories that don’t ring true. This is particularly important in science fiction, where the story already contains many fantastic aspects. Unfortunately, in horror-based science fiction, one of the biggest flaws is often the spaceship itself.

When it comes to spaceship design in films, the sky is literally the limit. You can choose to follow the rules of science and the laws of physics, or you can ignore them. You can come up with any kind of shapes, capabilities, sizes, or even purposes. But one rule you can’t break is that you can’t ignore human nature. Sadly, all too often, this is the one rule that horror science fiction films do break.

We know many things about human nature (unless you’re a liberal economist, then you really don’t know jack about humans). We have a good sense of what makes us happy, what makes us sad, and what scares the heck out of us. We know how people will react to certain circumstances and conditions. And in this regard, it is inconceivable that someone would build a spaceship that ignores human nature and which puts people into a place that we would consider dark and creepy. . . a labyrinth of terror. No one would design such a ship because no one would voluntarily board it.

Yet, filmmakers all too often make the mistake of creating ships that are horrific even before anything has gone wrong. I’m particularly thinking of two ships (though this applies to a great many more): (1) the Elysium from Pandorum and (2) the Event Horizon from Event Horizon.

The Elysium is built like your average video game horror house. It is dark, with near-black walls, trap doors, hiding places strewn liberally about, pointless catwalks and swinging things, an abundance of human-sized vents to crawl through (wiping out the point to the airtight hatches), and large rooms that look like food processors meant to kill characters. Its hallways meet at strange angles, which allow the bad guys to head off the good guys at the pass, and encourage surprise attacks. Its hatches open and shut randomly, and the speed with which they open or shut depends on how badly the fleeing characters need to get through them. This is not a ship anyone would ever design, and it’s not a ship anyone would ever agree to board. So while the imagery created does generate the spooky feel the director needed, you spend the whole time thinking that the ship was specifically designed to satisfy the needs of the film rather than the needs of the crew.

The Event Horizon took a similar, though slightly different approach. Whereas the Elysium is a maze, the Event Horizon is a dungeon. Unlike the Elysium, the layout of the Event Horizon at least makes some sense, but the overall dungeon effect makes the design ridiculous, e.g. its walls are black and they are decorated with large spikes that only have the purpose of impaling characters, there are torture devices strewn about, and lots of coffin-like objects abound. Flying the Event Horizon would be like taking Dracula’s basement for a spin.

An infinitely better ship is the Nostromo from Alien. The Nostromo was brilliant because Ridley Scott grasped the human condition. Above, where the crew lives, you have accommodations that are really quite pleasant, if workman-like. Indeed, the crew quarters and command deck are very typical of what you find on modern ocean-going freighters today. Below decks, where the Nostromo is darker and more sinister, you have bulk containers, equipment storage rooms, and narrow service passageways. These areas are more creepy, but they still make sense. Indeed, these things are again consistent with a freighter, and it is easy to see a normal human crew sign on to work on this ship.

Moreover, just because a ship has to start as not-terrifying, doesn’t mean it can’t change; even if it take a few minutes to explain what happened, this is time well spent. Consider the movie Ghost Ship, where a salvage team finds an Italian ocean liner adrift after 40 years on the ocean. They don’t cheat and design the ship like an incomprehensible maze or dungeon, they really do stay true to the layout and design of a cruise ship. But with the ship adrift for 40 years, everything has rusted and rotted, creating a very creepy yet entirely believable setting.

And let’s not forget that a ship doesn’t have to be dark and twisted to be terrifying. The Odyssey in 2001 was pretty creepy and it was well-lit and entirely ergonomic. The space station in Solaris was creepy (until you figured out what was going on) and it was brightly lit. Even the Picard Enterprise could be made kind of creepy when the mood struck.

The key to creating a worthwhile spaceship for any movie (horror or otherwise) is to remember that the ship must be designed to account for human nature. If no normal human would board the ship in the first place, then the film will have a hard time overcoming the viewer’s disbelief. And frankly, if the film needs to cheat in this way to make itself scary, then maybe there are bigger problems that need to be fixed with the story first.

The Labyrinth of Terror class starship should be decommissioned.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Film Friday: Impostor (2002)

Impostor is a little-known movie staring Gary Sinise, Vincent D’Onofrio and Madeleine Stowe. It’s an enjoyable film for the most part, with excellent acting, good sets, and an engaging enough story. But it has a serious flaw that bothers me to no end, a flaw that is common to much science fiction: failure to think practically.

** spoiler alert **

Based on the Phillip K. Dick short story of the same name, Impostor is the story of scientist Spencer Olham as he struggles to prove he’s human. The story is set in the near future at a time when the Earth is at war with an evil alien race. Oldham (Sinise) is developing a super weapon. The story begins as Oldham recounts his weekend get away with his wife to his best friend and fellow scientist Nelson (Tony Shalhoub). His wife Maya (Stowe) runs the local military hospital.

As Oldham and Nelson go about their business, which includes preparing for a formal visit from the Prime Minster, a security team shows up, led by Major Hathaway (Vincent D’Onofrio). Hathaway claims his security forces intercepted an alien transmission, which revealed that Sinise is a replicant, i.e. he’s an organic machine that has been grown to think, act, look and feel like Oldham. Moreover, these machines don't even know they're machines, they actually think they're the people they replaced. And deep inside each replicant is a nuclear bomb waiting to go off when the replicant comes into contact with their target -- though the bombs can't be detected until they are ready to explode. Essentially, these replicants are unsuspecting, nuclear suicide bombers.

Hathaway’s job is to catch these replicants before they activate and explode. Thus, he plans to cut Sinise open to remove the bomb before it can explode. But Sinise isn’t down with that plan, so he escapes. The rest of the movie involves Sinise running from Hathaway, trying to enlist the aid of his wife, and trying to get a full body medical scan done of his body so he can prove he's human. Along the way, he befriends Mekhi Phifer, who lives outside of the dome in the ghetto and who wants to steal medicine to help the people the government forgot.

I won’t tell you the ending because I think you might enjoy the movie and some of the twists and turns near the end. Sinise is a great actor who gives his all. D’Onofrio isn’t far behind. The effects are good, and interestingly, many of the ideas in this story also appear in Minority Report, another Phillip Dick story made into a movie in 2002.

So what’s the problem? The problem arises when you start thinking about how the aliens are using the replicants. Ostensibly, the aliens are using the replicants because they have no other way to reach targets on Earth because the Earthers built domes around their cities as soon as the war began. By replacing people with these suicide-bombing replicants, however, the aliens can destroy targets on Earth. And that’s the film’s hook.

But it’s also kind of stupid. These aliens have found a way to replace anyone and smuggle nuclear bombs anywhere on Earth. So they come up with an elaborate plan to replace Sinise, let him wander around for a couple days until he meets the Prime Minister and then blow up? Hello! These are nuclear bombs! Are these aliens stupid? Why not just replace a couple hundred janitors. Tell them to report for work. The moment they all clock in at 9:00 am, POOF. . . no more cities.

This is a problem that is particularly common to science fiction. Too many times, the writers focus on their one really cool idea and they never really think about the world that surrounds it or how rational people would use their idea. It’s Rube Goldbergian. It’s like the idea that the government does secret scientific testing at midnight on animals belonging to unsuspecting farmers in Montana. . . when they could just as easily buy a dozen cattle and do the same test in the comfort of a private lab. It’s like the idea that brilliant James Bond villains need to invent elaborate ways to kill Jimmy B. . . when they could just shoot him. Yes, it creates a plot point, but not a valid one.

I’m not saying the idea of nuclear replicants isn’t a good one. I think it is. It just didn’t make a lot of sense how the aliens used it.

Think rationally people, you’ll make better movies.

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