Saturday, April 11, 2009

OBEY

_____"They Live"(1988)_____
Directed by:
John Carpenter
Starring:
(George Nada)Roddy "Rowdy" Piper
(Frank Armitage)Keith David
Tag Lines:
"You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they're people just like you. You're wrong. Dead wrong."
"Who are they? And what do they want?"

When you think John Carpenter, many people's minds usually jump to the slasher classic "Halloween", or his sci-fi masterpiece "The Thing". But when I hear his name my mind goes to a more unknown film in is filmography by the name of "They Live". Which is strange, because the influence of They Live is all around us. "They Live" is based on a short story by Ray Nelson called "Eight O’Clock in the Morning" and stars Pro-Wrestler Roddy "Rowdy" Piper as the lead, George Nada.
The short story follows George Nada who is hypnotized and when awakened, suddenly sees alien creatures posing as humans and controlling the world. These aliens are called "the Fascinators", who in the book are described as reptilian with yellow eyes. Now, right away you see some differences from the movie. One, George Nada is never hypnotized, he finds out through special glasses. Two, the aliens are never called by any name in the film. The design is a bit different as well in the film version. George goes and realizes that the Fascinator's are brain washing people with television and billboards which bear sayings like "Marry and Reproduce" and "OBEY". George gets a call from one of the Fascinator's telling him "This is your control, Chief of Police Robinson. You are an old man, George Nada. Tomorrow morning at eight o'clock, your heart will stop. Please repeat." Which he then repeats. George visits his girlfriend and try to wake her up to this all, and fails. This leads to George killing one of her neighbors who was a Fascinator. She reacts the obvious way, she freaks out. George ties her up and obtains a dart gun from the Fascinator's home, and goes off and invades a television show and wakes up all of the people watching to the aliens, starting a war. George unfortunately doesn't make it to continue the fight, because his heart mysteriously stops. The short story is written very well, and is a pretty interesting read; check it out.

John Carpenter took the story, and did a somewhat close adaption. A weird choice Carpenter made in this film is hiring Pro-Wrestler Roddy "Rowdy" Piper as John Nada (Instead of George). Normally Carpenter hired actor Kurt Russel for his action hero roles, using him in numerous movies before like The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Escape From New York, and many more. This fortunately worked well for Carpenter since Piper did an amazing performance, this being his fourth film.

John Carpenter took the story, and did a somewhat close adaption. A weird choice Carpenter made in this film is hiring Pro-Wrestler Roddy "Rowdy" Piper as John Nada (Instead of George). Normally Carpenter hired actor Kurt Russel for his action hero roles, using him in numerous movies before like The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Escape From New York, and many more. This fortunately worked well for Carpenter since Piper did an amazing performance, this being his fourth film.
John Nada, a Nomad wanderer who goes to look for some work, stumbles into a fight against the alien menace who are controlling the world. The movie starts off kinda slow showing John as a homeless wanderer, as he goes off to find a job at this construction site. While working there he meets the other main character, Frank(Played by Keith David) who helps him find a place to sleep. That's when the movie picks up. John notices weird stuff at the small church across the street. Investigating, he finds a lab in the back room. There, cardboard boxes are stacked full of these sunglasses. Once adorning them, the wearer gets to see the world as it truly is.

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So basically the rest of the movie is John and his war against the alien, going on many mini rampages. During these rampages, he utters the famous line "I'm Here To Kick Ass, and Chew Bubble Gum, and I'm all out of Gum."
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A quote used in various other things, most notably the video game Duke Nukem, where you can see the obvious similarity between Duke and John. Speaking of things influenced by this movie, one of the most notable is by the company OBEY. The famous image of Andre the Giant is a direct reference to the movie. While on his rampage John meets his love interest, a girl named Holly, and recruits Frank after a very, very long fight scene in a alley way. The fight scene is later referenced in an episode of South Park. John then decides to take down the alien signal influencing the people of earth.

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I grew up with a brother who watched old school wrestling, so I know who Piper is, and if your a fan of his then you have this movie. his acting in the movie really surprised me, its actually really good, he made a good action star. which is what I cant say for other wrestlers turned actors(John Cena, Hulk Hogan, etc.) If I didn't love the movie so much, and think if they remade it they would loose all the charm, id love to see this movie using a 3-D gimmick. It would work perfectly along with the whole sunglasses thing in the movie. So if you want to see a good unusual action film pick up John Carpenter's They Live.

Overall:
Gore: 2/5 There are some moments that I love
Villain: 4/5 Great alien designs with a cool concept
Cheese:5/5 A great cheesy action flick with all the things you want in one.
Action: 4/5
Final verdict: 4/5

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4 Sunglasses Out Of 5

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Subliminal Messages:
"OBEY"
"CONFORM"
"MARRY AND REPRODUCE"
"CONSUME"
"WATCH TELEVISION"
"SLEEP"

Quote:
"Formaldehyde-face!"

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