Movie Monday – Dark Skies, The Fourth Kind, Gatsby

Dark Skies is a science fiction film about a normal family in suburban America, experiencing some very paranormal activity. It’s a little bit simple in design and execution but in a way that was refreshing to me. We enjoyed it. I’ve seen it labeled as a horror film but I don’t think it goes quite that far. It does have creepy moments but not the type of scary that would give me nightmares. I’ve seen it criticized for a variety of reasons and while I can understand the arguments I just don’t feel the same way. I think it was interesting and engaging and I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates the idea that we may not be the only sentient beings in the universe.

Upon finishing Dark Skies, we decided to have a double-feature night, and we watched the 2009 film The Fourth Kind. Although Don had seen it before, I never did so we queued it up. I had never watched it because I thought it was a horror film and these days I just don’t like being freaked out like I did when I was a teenager. But like Dark Skies, it’s not scary in that sense. It was interesting. Although, I’m totally confused now because as I look up reviews to write this, I find lots of information that everything about the film was fiction, that sort ruins it. There are pieces of the film that are supposed to be real footage that the movie is based on, and now, at least according to much of the internet, that “real footage” is not real. How can they do that? Say that a movie is based on real events and then make a completely unrelated story? It’s so misleading. I guess that’s the point. And I guess I have to admit they did it well because we believed it.

I also visited the theater this past week to watch Gatsby. I was a bit disappointed. To be fair, I had read some reviews criticizing some aspects of the film previously and that may have clouded my perception going in. However, I’ve never read The Great Gatsby so I didn’t know what the story was going to be about; I didn’t read any spoilers on that ahead of time. All in all, I thought the story was intriguing and tragic but I didn’t like the way it was presented. I really didn’t like the music choices. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge both worked for me despite their strange juxtapositions and over-the-top presentations. Gatsby is big in every way as well but in the end it felt ponderously long and shallow to me. It simply didn’t connect with me on the same level as his other films and while I can appreciate the heart of the story, I was not moved by it.

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.
~ Arthur C. Clarke

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