"They Live" - movie review

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jonetsu
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"They Live" - movie review

Post by jonetsu »

Watched yesterday a movie I wanted to see for some time, "They Live" by John Carpenter.

Yes, the underlying idea, taken as a metaphor, is good but, the development of the movie is not so good at all. Maybe that's just because it's an American movie of that time. I mean, much time is wasted in fighting, especially the first fight between the two good guys. Yes, it shows that one must be determined to let others know the truth ("will you put those glasses ?") but spending so much time on the actual fight is ridiculous. And then of course the heroes are fighting the bad guys and the actual fight with gunshots and explosions takes a good portion of the movie.

I'm convinced there are better ways to express the fight against 'they' that's actually more solid, more thoughtful. But gunshots, explosions and general violence attracts sales.

All in all, on the topic itself, on its metaphorical basis, it's a good movie. We are certainly coaxed on a daily basis to consume and 'obey'. The whole capitalist system is gauged on the criteria of expansion and consumerism. When a company is not doing more profits for the shareholders, then the company is in 'difficulty'. When people are not buying as much, then there are 'problems'. No need for ETs to do that, humans are very capable in that field.

OTOH, the treatment of the subject is rather lowly I find, tailored to attract sales. Not saying it's a bad thing, but it's not targeting the higher aspirations of the masses.

The music is nice. Kinda of modern slow blues, then picks up on the underlying chords but with a faster beat later on.

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davephillips
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

Post by davephillips »

Good review of a somewhat forgotten classic. It's definitely dated, and definitely a John Carpenter film (I wouldn't put "subtle" in his resume, but I do like his movies).

Carpenter was working with old notions of hidden messages in advertising and other forms of media persuasion in his day. I wonder what the remake might be like, given the current states of steganography, file compression, and cryptography.

Alas, the movie suffers from a weak script and less than stellar acting. The "action requirement" is just filler, but then you have to wonder what else he could have done with the storyline. Carpenter is a one-idea-per-movie director, I certainly don't watch his films for educational purposes (though They Live might be considered a learning experience).

Anyway, thanks for reminding me of this one, I enjoyed the review.

Best,

dp

PS: For your next review I suggest a comparison review of The Thing with the original and Carpenter's remake. ;)

jonetsu
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

Post by jonetsu »

Thanks for your comments.
davephillips wrote: PS: For your next review I suggest a comparison review of The Thing with the original and Carpenter's remake. ;)
I have good memories of both, but not at a comparative level. It could be indeed interesting to re-view them side-by-side.

The only other remake of recent years I've seen side-by-side was Takashi Miike's "Happiness of the Katakuris" (trailer below) and its original "Quiet Family" Korean counterpart. The remake was completely creative, transforming the whole thing as an horror musical, very nicely made. When not busy doing gangster movies, Takashi Miike can do some very creative movies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIXyiJqMLJI

The opening scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puen3HM_5l4

carlv
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

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jonetsu
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

Post by jonetsu »

carlv wrote:... and there's this side of him, too..
Cool.

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milk
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

Post by milk »

I've introduced this movie to a few friends without telling them the plot, usually works well.
they/them ta / wiki.thingsandstuff.org/Audio and related pages - a collection of mostly Linux and free links / Linux Digital Audio and Music Workstation Comparison Matrix - collaborative Google Sheet (slightly broken, no time/cpu power to fix here)

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davephillips
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

Post by davephillips »

jonetsu wrote:...The only other remake of recent years I've seen side-by-side was Takashi Miike's "Happiness of the Katakuris" (trailer below) and its original "Quiet Family" Korean counterpart. The remake was completely creative, transforming the whole thing as an horror musical, very nicely made. When not busy doing gangster movies, Takashi Miike can do some very creative movies.
Thanks for the links, that one looks like great fun !

jonetsu
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

Post by jonetsu »

davephillips wrote:Thanks for the links, that one looks like great fun !
Since Takashi Miike can make up to 5 movies per year at times and since most of them are about gangsters, and some are gory, both styles I don't like, here's another interesting pick from his extraordinary production: "The Great Yokai War". Not a remake. It's more or less about a revolt of all those things that are thrown away by people that combines to make destructive machines.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ccssKlNqCg

Reading briefly his entry in Wikipedia, I see that he once participated in a film anthology with John Carpenter, what a coincidence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takashi_Miike

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MattKingUSA
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Re: "They Live" - movie review

Post by MattKingUSA »

If anyone here is into gaming on Linux there is a title called "Saints Row IV". I would advise using the steam proton compatibility layer to play the game using the windows version on Linux. The performance of DX to Vulkan outperforms the native OpenGL port.

In the game Roddy Piper makes in in-game character appearance as part of the story mode. And Keith David plays the vice president in the game. It's pays a lot of homage to They Live.

-Matt
-Matt

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