Monday, February 14, 2011

A Monstrous Valentine's Day

I believe I really am on the mend, finally! I was worried Saturday because I was suddenly totally weak and exhausted and freezing even though the weather was warm, but I came to the conclusion that my body was just tired after fighting a lengthy battle. Sure enough, the cold symptoms were clearing up on Sunday, and then I was suddenly starving for the first time in ages. I went to bed before ten last night and still slept late, so now I feel almost like a human being again.

It's Valentine's Day, and since I've written books that some consider romantic, I'm sure I'm expected to talk about romance today. I even had a topic planned. But that will have to wait until tomorrow because I have got to talk about the Sci Fi Channel (I don't acknowledge the name change) movie I saw Saturday night. It was a sofa kind of night because I was so tired and weak, and I was scrolling through the channel guide, looking for something to watch, because getting a DVD out would have required more energy than I had, and I stumbled across this movie mostly because of a cast list that included just about every Canadian actor to have ever played a secondary or recurring role on a science fiction TV series. At the second commercial break, I got up and made popcorn and got a root beer because a work of art like this deserves to be appreciated properly.

The movie was called Iron Invader. It starts with a meteor hitting an old Soviet satellite, sending it crashing to earth outside a small town in Idaho. Major Lorne from Stargate Atlantis and his brother find it and sell it as scrap metal to Doc Cottle from Battlestar Galactica, the town junk dealer who's creating a giant man-shaped sculpture out of scrap metal. But then we see that there's a green goo on the satellite, and pieces of the satellite attach themselves to the sculpture, giving it pincer hands, and then the metal man comes to life and walks off to terrorize the town. Only, it's not just wreaking havoc as a stompy iron giant. No, it just has to touch people, and then their veins turn black and become visible and they die. This sudden spate of deaths associated with what people report as a giant robot surprise the town's hilariously bored sheriff (the first doctor from Stargate Atlantis -- the one who was killed by an exploding tumor -- only he's doing a southern accent, since this is a small town even if it is in Idaho, instead of a Scottish accent). He goes from not even being able to find anyone breaking the speed limit to an outbreak of sudden and mysterious deaths. Major Lorne ends up holed up in the town bar (run by the guy who runs the town cafe on Eureka -- typecasting much?), along with his recently returned -- and recently divorced -- high school sweetheart, Ezri Dax, along with Doc Cottle and one of those science fiction "That Guy" actors who seemed really familiar (I think he was one of Original Recipe Apollo's criminal cronies on Battlestar Galactica). Ezri is a biology teacher, and she figures out that the green goo on the metal is an alien bacteria that feeds on metal, and it must be going after the iron in people's blood. But how can they kill the bacteria? They'll need to find something that kills germs. This is getting spoilery, but if you're intelligent enough to operate a computer to read this post, then you can probably tell where this is going. I spent a good twenty minutes shouting at the TV, "You're in a bar, you morons!" They did eventually realize the antiseptic properties of alcohol, but only when someone spilled their drink on an infected piece of metal, and then they went to do battle with the alien invaders using a beer keg as a weapon, and it was AWESOME.

To acknowledge Valentine's Day, there was a romantic sub plot, as the crisis brought Major Lorne and Ezri back together. I thought there would be a secondary love story between Ezri's teenage daughter and Doc Cottle's grandson, who end up off together running for their lives during the crisis. She had complained about hating this town, so I was expecting her to have changed her tune after hanging out with the cute and kind of heroic guy, but that was dropped entirely, probably because the "whew, we made it!" scene at the end where they were wrapping things up turned into a "wait, it's not entirely dead yet -- hit it with the bottle of finely aged whiskey!" scene, so they didn't bother much with the character stuff.

My face hurt by the end from grinning so much because it was just the right level of fun. The actors weren't camping it up. They were playing it seriously, but not too seriously, so you knew they knew they weren't doing Shakespeare. But the whole thing was a lovely brand of stupid clever. Like, the whole iron giant thing must have been a budget-buster to CGI, so midway through, it gets broken up into parts, and those parts all came to life, so it looked like they scattered scrap metal on the ground and then attached fishing line to make it quiver menacingly. And then a good half of the movie is spent with the main characters in the bar, surrounded by the menacingly quivering scrap metal, but it was still a little scary. I think I cured my cold and cleared my sinuses by laughing myself silly through the whole thing.

On another Valentine's-related note, on Sunday afternoon I watched a romantic comedy on Lifetime, and the difference between the monster movie ads and the Lifetime ads was funny. During the monster movie, there were tons of ads for jewelry and flowers. Target audience: men. Message: Yo, you idiots, there's a gift-giving occasion coming up. During the romantic comedy, the ads were for chocolate as self-indulgence, makeup and dating services. Target audience: single women. Message: Indulge yourself with chocolate if you're alone, but if you wore mascara and joined a dating service, you wouldn't be alone.

And now I think I'm going to see The King's Speech because it's hard to beat Colin Firth as a Valentine's Day date. Plus, I think I need to leave the house but I'm not yet up to interacting with people, and a movie is a nice middle ground.

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