Sometimes the internet is a marvelous thing. What we were discovering just weeks ago has since completely blown up and spread virally. I’m, of course, talking about Die Antwoord, South Africa’s finest art. And even the stodgiest of the old guard, The New Yorker, has hit on their magnificence. Check it.
If authenticity is a vampire threatening to suck the fun out of pop music, the South African band Die Antwoord (“The Answer,” in Afrikaans) is a fistful of garlic. Go to the band’s well-designed Web site and you will find a goofy, vibrant ball of confusion. Die Antwoord was founded by a South African music-biz veteran named Waddy Jones (Ninja, here) who celebrates zef, which translates roughly as “common” or “redneck,” but which Jones claims is a synonym for “the ultimate style.” This dicey language game will be refereed by South Africans; everyone else can unravel the band’s musical preference for the nineties. (Vanilla Ice and Technotronic come to mind.) The band is better at generating questions than answers. What’s with the post-Keith Haring illustrations? Why does the band member Yo-landi Vi$$er look like both a model and a normal teen-ager? Is Die Antwoord a celebration or a sendup? Get ready for a fight about the legitimacy of the group and, hopefully, for an influx of more South African pop culture.
What’s next? The Wall Street journal reviewing The Behemoth’s next record? A four page article on Detroit Ghettotech in the Conservative Chronicle? An editorial in The Economist on the best places in Brooklyn to drink on a Saturday afternoon? Will the wonders never cease?!
I first saw Event Horizon theatrically way back in the late 90s (remember those?). I was with some friends, probably Deegan, and I remember walking out after the film thinking that it was the biggest piece of shit I’d ever endured. But time eases such pains and since 1997 I’ve heard from someone whose opinion I trusted that it’s actually an all right film. I thought that perhaps I’d judged the film too harshly. Perhaps I had missed the obvious brilliance within the film. Perhaps some of the subtext had flown right over my 15 year old head.
I threw the film onto my Netflix queue and it arrived yesterday in the mail. After doing the dishes while listening to Hall & Oates and making myself a sensible dinner, I sat down to give Event Horizon a second shot. I am nothing if not a giving man. I placed the blu-ray disc into the PS3 and waited for my mind to be blown.
Well, if you have taken anything from the title of this post, my mind was not blown. I mean, the movie blew, but my mind remained entirely unblown. Event Horizon has to be one of the most formulaic pieces of crap I’ve ever had the extreme misfortune of forcing upon myself. If you haven’t seen the movie, let me ruin it for you.
It’s the future! People live in space! A few years ago the government sent a super secret spaceship to the far reaches of outer space and it disappeared! Zip forward to now, which is still the future, and a small, rag tag group of ethnically-diverse soldiers are on a spaceship going to investigate a distress beacon on the far side of the solar system! A scientist rides along with them! Uh-oh! After they get out of hypersleep or whatever they call it, the scientist tells them, in a feat of unrivaled expository pseudo-science, that the distress beacon belongs to the Event Horizon! The ship was a super secret experiment in faster-than-light travel and on its first trip out, it disappeared! What happened to it?! The rescue crew boards the ship and all sorts of really spooky things start to happen! Hallucinations! The lights flash on and off! Bloooooooodddddd! Soon after boarding things start going to hell—literally! Turns out when the ship’s experimental drive punctured the fabric of the universe it went to hell and came back alive and evil! Really! That’s the actual plot point! The original crew is all dead! Scary! The scientist along for the ride who, coincidentally built the fancy engine thing, gets pulled into the evil will of the ship and then starts to sabotage their efforts to escape! Oooooh! Then the captain and the scientist have a stand off and the scientist gets sucked into space! But the ship brings him back to life! Convenient! Then they have another stand off and end up traveling through the darkness dimension but we never find out what happens to them! The end! It actually says “the end”!
I think I can sum up the whole film and my feelings about it with one photo and a related caption.
Indulging in every stupid horror cliche, Event Horizon is so mired in banality that I couldn’t even see through to the positives that it does have. It’s a well designed film, to be sure, but that’s not enough for me to get past just how fucking awful the script is. Every single word made me cringe. And I LOVE bad science fiction. It’s great. But this is bad science fiction trying to be GOOD science fiction and GOOD horror and it just doesn’t have the chops to do either. It just plain sucks. Every time there was a dramatic pause before one of the characters revealed something…. dramatic, I wanted to punch the TV in the face. I wanted to fly to England, grab Paul W. S. Anderson, and punch him in the face over and over and over. And then I want to punch him in the face for the Resident Evil films, for Mortal Kombat, and for the rest of his fucking trash body of work. It’s like he’s taking other, better films, distilling them to their common beats, making those beats dumber, and then making the movie over again ineptly. Just terrible.
Do yourself and favor and never see this movie. I’d ask for my two hours back, but I’d only waste them.