Monday, January 25, 2010

Geeks Guide: Legion


Oh dear God almighty. This movie only works because it makes you believe in hell and you are deep in it.
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I deeply love Paul Bettany and his inked, muscled self, but loyalty could only get to a certain point and beyond it lies a dark region where no one ever returns. I think I have toed the demarcation line, but decided to remain on this side of sanity.
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Legion. WTF?
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I admit, the trailers already gave me the foreboding that this movie will be difficult to like. Desert + midwestern accents + zombies = Go do the math. But Mr. Bettany can reanimate a 100-year-old Egyptian Mummy by just raising a sexy eyebrow, (in my opinion) and thus, I truly believed he will "save" this movie from it's B-movie sad existence.
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Well, let me present the points and you decide if I was gravely mistaken or just almost right.
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Exhibit A - The modern Joseph and Mary are named Jip and Charlie, respectively. He a slow, nice kid, and she a waitress / ho. I get the "regular kind of people" characterization, but the utter lack of character building makes it hard to believe that the faith of humanity lies in the hands of the Mojave Desert's version of Legally Blonde.
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Exhibit B - A small huddle of people get stuck in the middle of the desert in a rundown greasy spoon. Oh, you know, Fate just casually threw them all together there in a mixed brew of rich and poor, black and white, young and old and dying. The first they knew something wasn't right was when their TV broke and the phone lines got cut off. They get all worried, assumes its terrorists and grudgingly assumed they were probably safe right there in the middle of nowhere. Then comes the part I hate most...
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Exhibit C - the Zombies. Well, technically, they're people possessed by angels. So they stop being human and become all freaky for your innards and going for the jugular. In my dictionary, they're called Zombies. I hate Zombies. I can't even play Plants vs. Zombies without getting nightmares. Zombieland would've been hilarious, if there weren't any zombie parts (why can't they just do goblins? Goblinland sounds fairly good). In this movie, it's like watching Zombieland all over again, without the obsessive listing and with far superior ammo-power.
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Zombie Number One - Grandma Gladys. Who first called dibs on the baby yet to be born (let's call this baby= Jesus Jr.). She ate rare steak, and when got her freak on, bit filthy-rich-man, climbed to the ceiling and spouted invectives from a higher plane (literally). As all zombies are, she's not very smart, and got caked when a brother from another mother split her head with his flashy S&W.
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Zombies Number 2 through 4000000 - ugly, the lot of 'em.
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Zombie Sweetie Number 1 - she was a girl about 7 years old and carrying a balloon. Oh, my lovely, your princess dress is pretty, and so does your brain on the dirt road.
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Zombie Sweetie Number 2 - a boy about 4 who the group tried to save but was transformed and got inside the diner and tried to finish off Jesus Jr.. He got blown to seven thousand jigsaw puzzle pieces when the angel Michael and his gun said hello.
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Exhibit D - okay. now that i got the zombies out of the way, let me tell you why they were possessed in the first place. It seems that God has lost his faith in Mankind. He/She/They got tired of people blowing things up, running for senate, brushing their teeth with their fingers, and ordering Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos without even saying please. So He/She/They decided it was time to renew the earth again. But He/She/They can't possibly send another flood, cos of the Covenant and the rainbows and thatcrap. So He/She/They made the weaker-willed men turn on the strong. The "dogs of heaven" were unleashed to possess them, turning their minds to nil, and their teeth to Stuart Little proportions. The archangels are commandeering this apocalyptic attack --- all of them except Michael.
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Exhibit E - Michael. The Defender of Humanity. The Sword of Heaven. The Commander General of the Heavenly Swarm. Who knew he was British? The first shot of the film actually depicts Michael pontificating on his Sovereign's unusual orders. Gabriel tried to talk some angelic sense unto him, but Michael was dead set on saving the world because he knew God only needs to have one reason to save the world. And that of course is Jesus Jr. So he plunges down to earth, cuts off his beautiful wings, robs a toy store which surprisingly has the first aid kit he needs, and enough artillery to bring down a small country. After stitching up his butchered shouldered blades, he abducts an LAPD police squad and made haste for Paradise Falls where our diner is located.
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How are you? Head reeling yet?
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If you can still read on, let me tell you how he saved the world. He rallied up the ragtag team inside the restaurant, barricaded the doors and gave them guns the size of a Croatan. He instructed them to blow up anything that moves outside and insisted that everybody stay inside until after Jesus Jr. makes his appearance. And when the girl's water broke, Michael was also her first class obstetrician, sensitively telling her to bloody push for the literal love of God.
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A few scenes therafter, Gabriel appears, all sorry and sheepish, and proclaims he got sent to finish the baby and Michael off. With a sincere apology, he started slashing at his best friend. Meanwhile, Charlie, Jip and Jesus Jr. (there's also a straggler named Audrey, but she dies in the chase) walked out of the diner where seven hundred zombies just stared at them and made way for them.
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Let me pause here to ask a critical question. Why don't the half-deads attack? At this point, I have been pushed to the edge of my suspension of disbelief so I figured they felt just like me: they have given up trying to understand the plot and would rather wait and pray to the Doubting God for all of it to end.
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To cut this very long narrative short, Gabriel extinguishes Michael, chases after the escaping holy family, and was about to decimate Jip when Michael swoops down from heaven, wings and all, and staves off Gabriel. Before falling, Gabe asked Mike what happened why is he alive, your wings are pretty.... He received the reply: "You gave Him what he asked for. I gave Him what he needed. That's where you failed Him." Michael restrained from killing Gabriel, cementing him as the Hero of the whole fiasco. He walks away, wishes Jesus Jr. nice Saturday afternoons in the park and wings it back home.
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The best I can say about this film was it had some nice tidbits of knowledge. Aside from the line mentioned above, another favorite of mine was : "You are so lost, that you are so close to being found." Paul Bettany was believable, even admirable as Michael. And as an actor, he must have wells of talent inside him to make it through the film without cringeing. Other than that though, i can't say it would float everybody's boat.
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The lesson of the story is, wait for the DVD. And next time you're in Starbucks, you know what to say after placing your order.
THE END.

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