MORIARTY Takes A Stab At JASON X!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
It must be because I've been up all night. That's the reason. Or maybe it's because I was hanging out with the right group of friends tonight. Or maybe I've got a fever. I mean, there must be an explanation. I can't seriously be considering giving New Line's JASON X, the latest attempt to breathe life into the FRIDAY THE 13th series, a good review... can I?
I mean, sure... you have to give props to Bill Dill and Derick Underschultz, the cinematographers of the film, for doing such a great job with their relatively tight budget of under $15 million. They've beaten George Lucas to the punch by shooting the entire film in 24 fps digital high def, and it's surprisingly lovely. This is easily the best looking film that Jason Voorhees has ever appeared in. I'm amazed how much bang first-time feature director James Isaac got for his buck. This is a full-blown SF film, with outer space sequences, sweeping planetary surfacescape shots, and a fair amount of CG gore. The digital effects work done by Toybox is pretty clever stuff, and even with a little bit of it still unfinished, I'm impressed. This is a more consistently well-executed FX picture than SPAWN, and seeing it digitally projected at the Burbank North 6 AMC Theater tonight showed it off to maximum effect.
And, yes... you have to acknowledge that Todd Farmer's script moves with a certain manic energy and is smart enough to never take itself too seriously. It's not great work, but there's a clever quality to the thing, and there's moments of great invention. Late in the film, the main characters are trying to distract the reanimated SuperRoboJason (I'll explain below), and they use a virtual reality reproduction of Camp Crystal Lake to do so. There's a strange kick to the image of Jason standing on the shore of that lake again, looking around, trying to make sense of it all. When two nearly naked girls show up to "drink some booze, smoke some pot, and have some premarital sex!" it would take a truly sour prick not to laugh.
I guess part of the reason I'm conflicted is that there's no getting over just how incredibly goofy the entire prospect of this film is. We start out in the near future at the Crystal Lake Research Facility, where Jason Voorhees has been isolated for study. There's a crazed opening-title sequence that apes FIGHT CLUB shamelessly, and it leads into a standoff between Dr. Wimmer (David Cronenberg in a very quick cameo) and Lexa Doig, the film's star, playing Rowan, a researcher who believes Jason must be kept where he is and treated with utmost caution. Wimmer throws caution to the wind, and sure enough, Jason breaks loose, goes all mass murdery, and ends up stalking Rowan, the sole survivor, into the very bowels of the building. She leads him into a cryogenic freezing chamber and manages to trap him inside and throw the switch. He stabs her through the door, causing a leak, and both of them end up frozen.
Four hundred plus years later, a field trip of students of... something... end up poking around in this old abandoned research facility. They find the two bodies. Rowan is still alive, and they immediately set out to save her, bring her out of the stasis in one piece. Jason appears to be dead, so they of course pack him up and bring him back to the ship as well. You see where this is going? Once we get onboard the ship they came in, we learn a few things very quickly.
A: James Isaac and Todd Farmer are big fans of ALIENS.
B: Weaselly bad guy character Professor Lowe (Jason Potts) didn't learn anything from what happened to Paul Reiser's character in ALIENS. Gotta love the line, "Hey, guys, it's all right! He just wanted his machete back!"
C: Nanotechnology is not a toy.
D: Belly shirts will still be very popular in 400 years.
E: In space, no one can hear horny teenagers making out in their cabin. Except Jason. And he kills them.
F: Bad one-liners won't be any funnier in the future.
G: The $15 million neighborhood is looking a lot higher tech than it used to.
H: Fans of the SF series ANDROMEDA are going to be happy to see both Lexa Doig and Lisa Ryder show up here.
I: You can smell a Canadian movie if you concentrate reeeeal hard. Smells like bacon.
I don't want to mislead anyone here. JASON X isn't going to change anyone's mind about the merits or lack thereof inherent to the genre, but it certainly has enough charm to become a cult hit, and to breathe a bit of new life into the series. I'd be surprised if this didn't make at least enough money to justify one more follow-up. Hell, I've even got to admire the tongue-in-cheek sequel setup they toss in at the end. It's funny stuff, and I didn't feel like anyone was insulting me with the scene. Maybe that's the thing that makes this all fly. There's a basic respect for the audience. Yes... this is a movie about SuperRoboJason. In Space. In the future. Really. But it's the best damn SuperRoboJason in space in the future movie that you're ever going to see. Several times in the film, I laughed out loud at the audacity of this idea or that, at the sheer nerve of some of the makeup effects, or at the way Issac and Farmer tweak expectation knowingly. There's a scene involving a potential rescue and a space station known as the SOLARIS that made me howl. And I think that was actually the point. It's not a movie you make fun of because it's so bad. It's a movie that you eventually give in to because it's not bad... because it's actually fairly decent fun.
I've even got to give them credit for the way they accomplish my least favorite thing in every Jason film... the way they kill him and bring him back. For the first 2/3 of the movie, he's just Frostbite Jason, the same loveable lug who's been killing kids for centuries. But he gets most of his head blown away, one leg shot off, and his chest and organs splashed across one wall of a lab. He's deeeeeeeaaaaaaaaddddd. No doubt about it. The main characters all leave him where he is because of how obviously finished he is. What they seem to not notice is that he's been left on one of the nanotech medical repair tables, and it sets to work repairing him. When it can't find enough of Jason's original organic material to repair him with, it begins to use inorganic material to do the trick. This is how we get SuperRoboJason, whose titanium hockeymaskfaceplatething reminds me of the Mighty Ducks mascot. He's not menacing in this final form, but he's certainly memorable.
For those of us who grew up with Jason as a regular staple on the bigscreen, there's a distinct kick to seeing someone have some real fun with the character. It's been a long time coming, and maybe it's a minor pleasure, but it's a pleasure nonetheless. God help me, JASON X is dumb fun, exactly the popcorn trifle I wanted when I went to the screening tonight. When Friday, April 13, 2001 rolls around, I'm willing to bet you'll have the same kind of fun our audience did tonight. Keep your expectations realistic. The film's got some pacing issues. The most creative of the Jason killings happens right up front when he freezes a girl's face in liquid nitrogen, then slams her head into a worktable, shattering it like ice. It's hard to top, and it makes the middle of the film drag as a result.
I expect you may hear from some of the net's shadier characters in the days and weeks ahead, as many of them were skulking about tonight's screening. I caught a glimpse of Mysterio's glass-domed head during the screening. He was seated next to what appeared to be a dwarf of some sort. I crossed paths briefly with Fandom.com's Smilin' Jack Ruby, who I spotted knifefighting with John Robie in the parking lot after the film. Gregor Samsa scuttled out once the lights went down and tried to climb into the popcorn that Harry Lime and I were eating. Overall, the geeks seemed to be out in force tonight. Any film that attracts this many nefarious characters to the same early screening is probably going to attract a fair amount of geek buzz before its release in the spring. Here's hoping fans enjoy the treat they have in store. Until then...
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Nov. 2, 2000, 9:43 a.m. CST
Me being a fan of the Friday the 13th film series, I can't wait for this one
Nov. 2, 2000, 9:47 a.m. CST
If you want some truly mind expanding music (hip hop no less) than this is the must have album of the year along with Kid A by Radiohead. Perfect music to get baked by!!!! P.S. I'm first
Nov. 2, 2000, 9:48 a.m. CST
so I'm 2nd, not first
Nov. 2, 2000, 9:50 a.m. CST
Jason + space nookie = Joy. Now go smoke a fatty.
Nov. 2, 2000, 10:01 a.m. CST
as long as it has gore violence nudity and Jason it is fine by me. It sounds like atleast they deliver on what they promise unlike "Jason takes Manhattan" or Jason on the Love Boat as I like to call it. It doesn't have to be a 'good' film like Fight Club or Requiem for a Dream...it is on a different standard. It needs to be a good slasher film and it sounds like it is THANK GOD. No more softcore crap like I know and Urban Legends. Now we get the god stuff. And for those who will hate this film just cause itis a Friday the 13th film I say just ignore it, its not your bag and that sfine. Its a cult thing and if it is good for the type of film it is trying to be thats enough. Example -Friday 4 to Friday 8. Make the Friday fans happy, if this film does that its fine by me. Its like Godzilla films...man in suit AWESOME better open than Way of the Gun Harry...hah! and hollywood compromised shite like Devlinzilla that doesn't give the fans what they want is the real probelm with hollywood. So when someone makes a small little cult film they care about that is something to support...even if it features a hocky masked zombie.
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:05 a.m. CST
by Stephen Dedalus
"Wow, original idea! Let's make a film that has a lot of in-jokes, references to classic horror movies, and a purposely-cheesy plot and throw in a lot of jabs at the genre! Not like that hasn't been done before! Hollywood will be making fun of itself! Heck, the actual FRIDAY THE 13th series will be making fun of itself! Yeah, we can do that..........." Jesus Christ, I'm sick of this whole "Let's be post-modern" crap that has been showing up so much. I mean, does the FRIDAY THE 13th series really NEED to be parodied anymore? Even if this is supposed to "have a sense of humor about itself," isn't that genre of horror/comedy starting to get tired already? Sheesh!
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:07 a.m. CST
....just suffering a bit from the Jonathan Lipnicki syndrome....On to Jason X...lots and lots of fun. Just go into it with the right frame of mind and all will be good.
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:28 a.m. CST
You just can't beat horny teenagers...
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:43 a.m. CST
This is what movies need. Just a movie that is setting out to give people a good time and not try to win any awards. One question: Is is called Jason "X" aka Jason "Ten"?
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:44 a.m. CST
Wonder where he'll go from here....
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:47 a.m. CST
I agree... OutKast is the most innovative group in music today, hip hop or otherwise. Every one of their albums takes a step forward and delivers something completely different than the one before. As far as Jason X, well, I have had the opportunity to speak with Kane Hodder about this and he says that if there is any hope at all for the series, than this would be it. He said it was definitely the best one that HE has worked on. Now eat my poop!
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:47 a.m. CST
What, are you a LaFace executive or something? Don't get me wrong, I'm an adamant Outkast fan. i make it a point to get their CD's the very day they are released but what the fuck are you doing plugging a CD at a film website?
Nov. 2, 2000, 11:56 a.m. CST
by The Kid
I was thinking the other night about Moriarty reviewing this. Now it's happened. A few other instances too.
Nov. 2, 2000, 12:18 p.m. CST
by 84 Charlie MoPic
... but yesterday, wasn't everyone all up in arms about the Pink Panther sequel with Mike Myers, and bemoaning how awful it is that Hollywood can't come up with a new movie plot to save it's life? I mean this sounds interesting, but heck, if you put enough spin and hype on it, so would "Triumph of the Will 2 - Blitzkrieg Boogaloo." Look folks, Hollywood is smart - they will keep making recycled dregs like this as long as suckers keep filling theaters to see it. Can "Jason meets Abbot and Costello" be far behind?
Nov. 2, 2000, 12:31 p.m. CST
by The True Priapic
Wankers.The lot of you.This is a steaming turd and Moriarty's review provides pure divine reason as to how he has No fucking taste.FUCK OFF.GROW UP.GET A FUCKING LIFE.
Nov. 2, 2000, 12:36 p.m. CST
And LOTS of them....Im SO there... NUXX OUT
Nov. 2, 2000, 1:09 p.m. CST
You should be reviewing movies for Undertaker's Digest or be working at Hollywood Book & Poster shop on Hollywood Blvd.
Nov. 2, 2000, 3:17 p.m. CST
It's not like humor and horror don't go together. Lighten up, enjoy the the ride....Jason's back in town, and by all accounts, better than ever.
Nov. 2, 2000, 5:13 p.m. CST
Is this really necessary? Hopefully one of these days another Freddy or Jason type killer will be created and we can get something original....and I'm not talking about some stupid hook-guy or something, just some really fucking creepy Freddy-type dude.
Nov. 2, 2000, 5:34 p.m. CST
...but for $15 million I expect "Mortal Kombat" type digital f/x. Wild, Wild, West was made for $150 million and you could still see digital scrapings.
Nov. 2, 2000, 5:55 p.m. CST
by Lance Rock
Nov. 2, 2000, 5:56 p.m. CST
What I read is the movie sucks, but if you just go there to have fun at the movie's you'll enjoy. I see bad Critic reviews in the future, but good sales. I'll see it. i could use a laugh at a horror flick. Next time. let's make it scary. I want a good horrow movie sooo much!
Nov. 2, 2000, 6:07 p.m. CST
It's nice to finally see a popcorn movie that is just that- a popcorn movie. Back in the day, a bunch of guys could get together and just make a cool movie. Now popcorn movies are reduced to pre-fab fare like "Charlie's Angels." I don't care how hot they are or how funny Bill Murray is. The biggest kicker is, they don't even have fucking guns! The new silhouette absolutely blows. Bad-ass bombshells with guns? Believable. Bad-ass bombshells with kung fu? Insulting.
Nov. 2, 2000, 7:39 p.m. CST
I just have to say it.. when the same reviewer will chide a film for irresponsible violent content, and then praise a "crushing girl's skull" scene in another film, they've got some explaining to do. The difference would be what, Moriarity? It makes it hard to judge someone's opinion if they won't explain themselves enough to be consistent. (I give Ebert the same flack for his anti-slasher but pro artistic-violence stuff so don't take it too personally)
Nov. 2, 2000, 7:51 p.m. CST
docsx, you actually studied Wild Wild West? How could you stand it? I could barely go through it and I was channel surfing between it and another show on HBO! By the way, this movie sounds cool, but I'll wait for it to come out in video, so I can scare the shit out of myself watching it down in my basement (it's freaky. The doors open by themselves!! Seriously!)
Nov. 2, 2000, 7:54 p.m. CST
I'm glad to see Stankonia get some due props on this talkback. It is easily the best album of the year..... along with radiohead's Kid A, in fact one poster agreed with me on that. Anyways, do yourselves a favour and buy this brilliant piece of musial art. It blew my mind track for track!!! And my Pazazz can agree to that! Jason X, I'll check it out if the reviews remain positive or even neutral. We just need a realy good NEW horror movie to hit the screens soon.Personally, I can't wait to see REQUIEM FOR A DREAM when it comes here to Ottawa. Aiight, I'm Out like Kast. Marq
Nov. 2, 2000, 8:48 p.m. CST
Fuck you, ya xenophobic cunt! - an englishman...
Nov. 3, 2000, 1:03 a.m. CST
by Tender Branson
I'm soooooooo there! SuperRoboJason? When is McFarlane going to release the action figure, me want it. Uh....cool. Thanks, evil Sherlock villain.....gonna see it.
Nov. 3, 2000, 1:21 a.m. CST
Did you forget the Horrow Show from the mid-80s starring Brion James??? That's his 1st film as director, not counting his producing efforts.
Nov. 3, 2000, 2:15 a.m. CST
Will someone out there PLEASE take the horror film genre seriously again? I am so sick of the "tongue in cheek" ha ha horror movies, and seeing Dawson's Creek actors in fright films. Two words:Fuck SCREAM. Gee, how utterly brilliant to poke fun at the conventions, and stereotypes in horror instead of creating interesting new ones. How bold. How brave. Where the hell are the serious films with adults in them like THE EXORCIST or HELLRAISER? Remember when Freddy Krueger was scary(1st film), and you didn't laugh when PINHEAD, MICHAEL MYERS, JASON,LEATHER FACE etc showed up? Do any directors have the testicular fortitude, or imagination anymore to be able to make a serious horror film? The answer? Three words: Jason in space. Drat.
Nov. 3, 2000, 9:13 a.m. CST
Who asked you twat. Just because someone insults Jason you talk like that? You are a fucking moron. What are you trying to prove? Prove American superiority? I'm glad most Americans are not like you cos then you would have a HARD time proving that. BTW not a limey.
Nov. 3, 2000, 12:09 p.m. CST
It smells like bacon? How aboot "Shove it up your ass"! Just try to remember that Canada is a country with a tenth of the population of the U.S., and we make 1/1000th of the movies that play in the U.S. I guess no bad films have EVER come out of America now, have they? Now stop playing bully with an insecurity problem, America. Sure you're great. No need to shit on others to validify yourselves.
Nov. 3, 2000, 6:12 p.m. CST
dumbass, now i don't have to see the movie anymore or do i?
Nov. 4, 2000, 3:24 a.m. CST
Is Lexa Doig naked? :) She is a babe!
Nov. 4, 2000, 9:14 a.m. CST
It's always cool to see a gore-fest that doesn't have illusions about what it really is. No moral messages here, just good-old chop 'em up fun is what is sounds like. Yay for bloody cheese!
Nov. 5, 2000, 9:31 p.m. CST
Long live Jason! Let he find more stupid yet inventive way to kill horny teens across the land! The king of comedy has returned, break out the hockey masks! More gore, less plot and even more funny! Friday the 13th was the funniest series of all-time! It is just good comedic fun and I'm happy that it's back! Yes, kill me a kid with a party favor cause the ultra wet looney from Crystal has come home!
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