Cinema Page II

This page is for post-apocalyptic movies that I've seen, but don't personally own.  Enjoy the reviews.  If you disagree with any of them, well, I guess you'll have to make your own site, won't'cha?  So let's start it off with the long awaited....

Time of the Apes
This one was thoroughly sent through the wringer by MST3K.  The movie made no sense at all.  It was a blatant attempt to cash in on Planet of the Apes market, but at least it had such amusing crap as the Ape Commander dressed in the Colonel Sanders get-up.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Save yourself the embarrassment.

Planet of the Apes
OK, Folks, let's just define our terms a little bit here: This is the original "Real" Planet of the Apes with Chuck Heston, not that more recent abortion of a flick by the same name.  That one was proof that big-budget Hollywood can "lame up" almost any property.   But back to the review:  The original and still-the-best of this series of flicks.  Charlton Heston plays Taylor, an astronaut of future past with a character similar to Neville in "The Omega Man".  Taylor's a cynic who believes that something "better than man" is out there.  And boy does he ever find it, just not in the way that he wanted.  Be careful what worldview you hold, because the world might just oblige you!

Great performances by Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowell, as well as Linda Harrison who played the primitive human tribal girl Nova with a poignancy that still far outshines any of the more recent cave-girl hooter hotties of the present era's "B" or even A-List movies.  She said not a word, but then..... she didn't have to.  The movie also had some very frank social commentary for the time that gave opposing sides more balanced play than later versions (Remember? Dr. Zaius had a real point towards the end, and the ape society was really no better than what came before!).  This is also what made the original Star Trek series so good, before the closed-shop techno-utopian writing brought us the same stories over and over, leading to the decline of the franchise.

What's in it for the gamer or artist?  Lots of natural designs and textures for one. Weapons look hand-crafted and non-industrial.  It's set thousands of years after the the bomb, so human civilization and its artifacts are now the subject of achaeology.  If you were designing stuff for some tribals or maybe some animal-men, this is a great reference.   Also, as a gamer, go ahead and take the occasional risk and do some social commentary.  Nobody likes to be preached to, but if you have a game group with some shared values, feel free to make the game more relevant than just another tactical scenario.  Make 'em want to win.

series reviews and others....!

Beneath The Planet of the Apes
This one wasn't a bad sequel actually.  Not as good as the original, but then many sequels aren't.  You finally find out what's in the forbidden zone - human mutie psionicists!   Though the Apes send a full army in there to clean 'em out, Taylor blows everything back to hell in a fit of Misanthropy and Nihilism.

For the gamer or artist:  There are plenty of good visuals throughout, but mainly towards the end.  Lots of ruins full of old crap, practically worshipped by the mutated remnants of humanity.  B oy, wouldn't it have been great to see them just duke it out?  The armies of the new vs the dredged-up technology and psionic feats of the old?  Well,  I guess we'll never be satisfied... unless someone runs the scenario in miniature maybe....?

Escape From The Planet of the Apes
Ok, now it all starts sliding downhill...
The producers wanted more "modern society is evil and unjust" social commentary to be promulgated, so they made a "fish out of water" turkey about how apes would view us western civilized humans.
Don't get me wrong, the actors did an o.k. job with it, but like a lot of fine actors you sometimes don't get much to work with.
For the Gamer or artist:  Well, nothing really.

Conquest of The Planet of the Apes
One-sided (and weirdly marxist) social commentary redux.  I guess this is what some people think should happen to "evil" modern society - some sort of primitivist revolution that enslaves the so-called "masters".   Primates of the World, UNITE!  Apes with guns revolt!  B-movie fare that took itself way too seriously, thus ruining even it's entertainment value.

Oddly, George Lucas would try this bit later with "Jedi" and the too-cutesy Ewoks, with a similar effect and thereafter Jim Cameron would try it in "Avatar".  Any sufficiently technologically adept army would be indistinguishable from a meat grinder to the endless array of "wronged oppressed primitives", especially with the iron political will of something like the Empire behind it. The little teddy bears had no advantage: not numbers, not strength, mobility, superior senses, nothing.  Not even a sympathetic partisan press to plead their cause to a gullible and petulant galaxy or to embolden them.   The sheer implausability of it violates the audience's ability to suspend their disbelief, which is pretty much required for effective fantasy or sci-fi viewing.  If you like this storyline get Avatar.  It's a visual feast at least.
For theGamer or Artist:  Nothing you can't get somewhere else but better.

Battle for The Planet of the Apes
So the apes win, and start oppressing the evil modern humans. Hoo-ray.  The "Battle" it refers to is a battle between the early (?) apes and some of the human mutants. Honestly, I was rooting for the mutants.  I know what the apes are gonna do with the humans, my people essentially, and I wanted my people to win.  Where are Magneto and the X-Men when you really need 'em?  Scream "Tribalism!" and call me a speciesist or whatever else if you want to, I don't give a damn.   Another scenario for a miniatures re-fight!
For theGamer or Artist:  Some old army-surplus crap and broke down vehicles, but you got other movies to choose from that can inspire you better than this one.

Planet of the Apes TV Series and Cartoon
Well, after they thoroughly strip-mined the big screen for bucks, they thought they'd try their hands at some TV shows.  I guess I'll say the TV show was  better than ARK II, if only for Mark Lenard's (Sarek- Spock's Dad) performance as the ape general Urko.  They violated their basic premise - humans could now speak. 
The cartoon show had more holes in it than a bum's old pair of socks.  In one episode, they actually found a working WWII era fighter plane (after thousands of years - yeah right).  Guns worked too.  What do they do with it?  Do they cut loose on the advancing Ape army that's off to oppress yet another band of humans?  OH NO.... they just "buzz" them to give 'em a good scare!   If you want post-apocalyptic cartoons, show your kids Thundarr the Barbarian or something.  If somebody was in trouble, ol' thundarr and his crew charged right in and took care of business. 
For theGamer or Artist:  Some abandoned old back-lots looked fairly ruined, but you can check out "Derelict London" or some other site nowadays for more inspiration.

Now see heah, suh, ah am NOT colonel Sanders!

Serenity
I love this one.  Both the series and the movie are now available on DVD. It's pretty much a straight-up sci fi setup, but the outer planets have lesser technology primarily due to neglect.  This gives it an almost old-west feel mixed in with modern stuff and what-have-you. 

This "western" feel really makes it work.  Post-apocalyptic flicks, at least the better ones, have a lot in common with those movies about the "thrilling days of yesteryear".  They both feature characters in lawless, desperate situations, where authorities are far away or nonexistent, and the struggle of individuals to impose their wills on these desperate situations to survive.   They involve moral choices, and the consequences of those choices, in situations where the characters are basically "on their own" with no one there to tell them what's right or wrong.  They'll have to decide for themselves and act.

If you want the antidote to a sci-fi "universe" that is some self-righteous utopia, see these flicks.  A cross-over classic of the genre.

Gaming/Modelling ideas: This series has a lot going for it visually.  You'll see odd mixtures of new stuff, decayed stuff, crappy old buildings, retro-tech, what have you.  You won't be disappointed. 

1990 Bronx Warriors
Corporate Heiress falls for local Trash.  That is really his name.  Battle ensues, involving Fred Williamson of Warriors of the Wasteland fame. Also has tap-dancing gangers...
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Nope, not here. 
Tank Girl
Well, "Skank Girl" more like.  Nonetheless, I likes me some cheese, and this is dangerously cheesy.  It's entertaining at least.   Whaddya do when you live in a wasteland where there's no water?  Take a shower with sand!   Malcolm McDowell is at his usual bad best in this flick.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: To each his own I guess.   Lots of nice decayed things, and grafitti-laden tracked battle vehicles to inspire yours. 
Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone
Another straight-up sci fi fest that crosses over into Post-Apoc territory, this one's about an interstellar junk man trying to rescue 3 earth chicks from the evil "OverDog" (Played to the hilt by the incomperable Michael Ironside). 
Gaming/Modelling ideas: You want mutants?   We've got mutants here! Tons and tons and TONS of 'em, all over, of all kinds, shapes and sizes.  And vehicles! Boy oh boy!  And to top it all off,  a sassy scav redhead whose smartmouth "earther" slang speaks volumes of the fine art of post-apocalyptic eloquence!  Wanna annoy your players? ...instant roleplaying NPC!
Steel Dawn
It's the Patrick Swayze Post-Apocalyptic flick!  Apparently, he actually did this one right after Dirty Dancing.  Sword-slinging, post nuke style, as our hero tries to defend local a local water farmer (played by his real-life wife) from local oppressors.   
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Like "The Ultimate Warrior", no guns in this one.  But if you wanna combine swordplay with after-the-bomb, this one might inspire.  A little bit.
NOTE: You will not learn any dance steps from this movie.
Veni, Vidi, Monkey!
This is a boring game!  Don't you have World of Warcraft or something?
Ready, Aim, Fire!   NO NOT THAT KIND OF FIRE, STUPID!
And on the left side of the aisle.....
Oh my GOD!  That ape's carrying a GUN!   HORRORS!!!!
I'm NOT a SCAV GIRL and I'm NOT OUT OF MY DIAPERS!

The Day After, Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, endless eco-disaster flicks and gloom-n-doom documentaries.

Not gonna review 'em.  Yup, that's right.  One reason is personal taste, so there.  But more to the point is that these really don't have much to offer for the gamer, be it RPG or miniatures gamer and quite frankly have nothing to offer the genre, storytelling-wise.  Hell, some of 'em really aren't even part of the genre.  They pretty much offer an hour and a half showing the sheer hopelessness and futility of battling against their ideological viewpoint .... errr.... I mean the disaster in question.   Nothing is really mentioned of the "life after".  Something horrible happens and then that's it... the end.   Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for a "happy ending" or anything, I just think that this genre is a great vehicle for storytelling, especially telling tales of "what if" - the legitimate fare of any science fiction subgroup.

And these other flicks just don't cut it.  So they won't be listed further here.

Waterworld/The Postman
This is what happens when Kevin Costner does Post Apocalyptic flicks.  Visually, they're not bad, but both movies were just plodding along and were mind-numbingly slow.  Contrast them with Mad Max or Road warrior.  Those were just boom-boom-boom-boom one-after-another action sequences with little or no fat in between.   Yes, there were sweeping wasteland vistas, but only as a set-up for the next storyline exposition.   These two flicks end up just being boring.

Gaming/Modelling ideas: You could do worse, but you could also do without these.
SO, could you tell me about Coffeyville again...?
Reign of Fire
Well, here's something new and interesting: the world goes to hell, but the cause is the awakening of a horde of Dragons.  A very watchable film, it has plenty to offer.  The scene where the community members entertaining the kids with a very modern story, Star Wars, is quite amusing.  The Van Zan character is a total badass to be emulated in whatever game you wish to put him in.

Gaming/Modelling ideas: A nice decayed look all around.  People hide out in old fortresses because the countryside is far too dangerous.  They've adapted to local conditions.
Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll,  Baby! Oh, and Suicide Kits, Refugee Camps....
Children of Men
You wanna REALLY see what this flick is all about?   Watch the DVD extras.  It'll put the whole thing into context.  Stoners and carping misanthropes are the good guys, peaceniks as save-the-world heroes, not to mention stuff like little old german ladies in cages waiting for the cattle cars (somebody's twisted idea of irony), brutal crazy cops etc.  OK, enough already!  We get it.    A lot of it just didn't make any sense anyway, like why, if most humas are dying off, you would want to actually deport people you don't like.  At that point it wouldn't matter, you'd want all the brains and hands you could get on your side working on a solution.  Hell, with a little research and computer work, I could string together news footage and get similar visuals for you to look at for inspirational purposes, which is basically what this movie is.   Done-up news footage style scenes with pure propaganda woven into the fabric.

Gaming/Modelling ideas I’ll give the Devil his due: The visuals are actually pretty good, but you can get the same by watching any news show. Other than that, it’s just a piece of boring nonsense..