Friday, September 21, 2007

Army of Darkness (IMHO, with spoilers)

If you haven't managed to see this movie in the 17 years that it's been on the shelf in a movie store (or, where I found it, languishing in a W-mart sale bin!) then you deserve to have the ending spoiled for you! I wrote this at home last night and let me tell you the strangeness of writing about something you are watching. I have the live blogging skills of a privet hedge. I just need practice, obviously! Without further ado...........................

What do Bridget Fonda’s shortest role in history and a man with a chainsaw for a hand have in common? Nothing so far as I can see, but Sam Raimi obviously thought differently when he wrote and directed Army of Darkness. This 1992 film is supposed to be picking up where the Evil Dead series left off, but I don’t have that to refer to so here we go.

Ash goes from a clerk in S-Mart’s housewares division to the savior of a 14th century civilization. What exactly they thought about seeing a man, an uprooted tree and a ’73 Oldsmobile fall from the sky is debatable, but I see some serious comedic genius! And hey, Danny Elfman helps out on the score with the “March of the Dead” theme during the major battle at the end….sound-wise, it just doesn’t get much better than Danny Elfman! He’s been the composer on the score for some of my fav movies: PeeWee’s Big Adventure (shut up, that’s a fun movie!), Summer School, Beetlejuice, Scrooged, Batman (another great Michael Keaton flick), Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp, *purrrrr* I can hardly wait for Sweeney Todd!), Men In Black, Sleepy Hollow (another *purrrrr* goes out to JD), Red Dragon, Corpse Bride…..the list could go on and on

The Ol’ Faithful of blood after the first guy goes in the pit, the real wuss of a zombie down in the pit as well as the creature that comes out of the wall, looking like something from under Predator armor, get this rollicking…uh, adventure? to a good start. Nothing like a good chainsaw battle to really get the blood pumping, so to speak.

The old lady/witch in the castle is another of my favorite scenes. The cinematography (and I use the term lightly) seems more like someone attached the camera to a paint shaker and let that baby rip! And the armoring up scene is very A-Team (and incidentally, the other great movie to play off the beloved TV show, Napoleon Dynamite, …you know, where he and Pedro put up their election posters…is another of my favorites).

The surreal scene in the windmill is worthy of Dali. All the little Ashes beating big Ash up, the creepy eyeball growing out of his shoulder, meeting his evil twin. Bruce Campbell could really give Jim Carey a run for his money in this role. Ash’s parting line, “Good?…bad?…I’m the guy with the gun.” Then good Ash cuts up bad Ash with a chainsaw…good stuff.

Like Goldilocks, Ash has three choices once he gets to the cemetery. There’s the airplane toilet Necronomicon, the Harry Potter “Care of Magic Creatures” textbook Necronomicon, and then the fiasco that Ash makes of the real Book of the Dead. Here it gets Indiana-Jones like since our mental-giant hero can’t remember the proper incantation to safely remove the book from its pedestal. Enter the skeleton army!!!!

We’re very nearly at the end of the movie now and so far there has been ONE passing scene with some very nearly bare boobs, but nothing else. This may be a winner for the Marathon! There are so many good allusions here, whether they intended them or not. So far I’ve seen hints of Indiana Jones, the A-Team, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Willow, the Lord of the Rings, Braveheart and 300(an extra special *puuuurrrrrrr* for Gerard Butler...). I charge you with watching it to see if you can pick them out, or to gain ammo with which to brand me InSaNe :) Give it your best shot! I dare you!

Another of my favorite scenes…a skeleton, on fire and screaming as it attacks the castle. It stops screaming when its head blows up. Does anyone else see the problem here? Then, just as all seems lost, men falling prey to skeletons from all quarters, the refitted ’73 Oldsmobile makes another appearance. Helicopter blades do just as much damage to skeletons as to mortal men apparently. I would have loved to have been one of the grips or best boys (girls?) or whatever on the sidelines throwing fake skeletons at people to simulate attacks! What fun!

I’ve watched this movie before, but am now vetting it for use in the library’s inaugural B Movie Marathon which will take place from 12pm-6:30pm on October 23rd. I’m going over it to do a profanity and nudity check…it’s just reality that while a certain amount of both will pass muster, I don’t want to be called in the director’s office because of complaints.

So someone else won’t have to reinvent the wheel, here’s a catalog of the “language” present in Army of Darkness. Out of context, they seem even more silly and corny if that’s even possible

Where the hell?
You ain’t leadin’ but two things right now, jack and shit….and jack just left town.
Into the pit with those bloodthirsty sons of whores!
Wait a minute! You gotta understand, man! I never even saw any of these @$$holes before!
Damn you! Damn you!
Alright you primitive screwheads, listen up!
I don’t want your book. I don’t want your bull$h1t! Just send me back to my own time!
Yo, she-bitch! Let’s go!
I got it, I got it! I know your damn words, alright?!
Get the F#@* outta my face!
We had a deal! You wanted the damn book! I got it for you….I did my part!
Damn you!
Dig damn you! Dig faster!
I will command every worm-infested sonofabitch that ever died in battle!

I feel mucho compelled to mention that this movie—crappy effects, corny dialogue, horrible hairstyles and all—was 200% better than Dragonwars, which I did manage to sit through last Friday. Considering I usually love all things draconic, that’s pretty dreadful. The one thing the movie did right? I don’t believe I have EVER seen an Eastern style dragon in CGI before! Plenty of the western variety, breathing fire and wreaking winged havoc, but none of the long bodied, catfish whiskered variety and IT WAS AWESOME! So don’t waste time with the whole hour and a half of PAINFULLY BAD ACTING. Rent it on DVD and watch the two serpents dukin’ it out at the end. As soon as they stop fighting, turn it off or your good mood will evaporate with the onset of these gits trying to get another line or two into the reel. *blech*


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