Zchill in his natural habitat; animation.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Classic Movies: Escape from New York

Welcome to a new post thing I'm trying out where I talk about the merits of a classic movie that I haven't seen before. Escape from New York is on display tonight, mainly because I just got it from Netflix. Well, only because I got it from Netflix.

First let's get something out of the way. In the opening few minutes, terrorists hijack Air Force One and ram it into the skyline of Manhattan. It was eerie and upsetting, but it was a prison island so no one really cared. Then to get to the island, Snake Plisskin (Kurt Russel) had to land his glider on the World Trade Center. It was a lot of weird coincidences that audiences of the time probably thought nothing of, but it makes the movie have a bit of a sinister edge today. Also the scene where Plisskin goes to see the wreckage of the plane was a bit preposterous, as there wouldn't be any wreckage left.

What ages the movie: Well, this movie was made in 1981, referenced a huge spike in crime in New York in 1988, and was set in 1997 (ironically the same year Air Force One came out). So yeah, everything in this futuristic movie was set in the past and I'd say that ages it a bit. It shares the same kind of soundtrack that has really done no favors to the 80s as a decade. Who thought heavy use of the synthesizer in a score was ever going to be a good idea? Decade without taste. No taste at all. Anyway...

What makes this movie a classic: It's pretty much a simple formula in a sci-fi concept. A man has to go and escort the MacGuffin to safety. A solid story with an interesting Robin Hood like lead, but with a cooler name: Snake Plisskin. That sounds pretty cool. Plus he has an eye patch. Which you would think would hinder him in the many battle sequences he's involved in, what with the lack of depth perception, but it doesn't. Okay so cool lead? Check. Interesting story? Check. Cool photography? Check. It's actually part of the movie I really admired. The movie was shot with very little light, making for a spooky ambiance.

What makes all movies classic for real though is people watching it then coming back for more. I enjoyed this movie quiet a bit(even though the pacing was a tiny bit slow for modern moviegoers tastes), but I don't think I'm going to watch it again and again.

Watch this if you liked The Warriors. It has a very similar dark Manhattan look to it, and was made around the same time period when I guess it looked like Manhattan was doomed to be a crime ridden island.

If you like your movies to be less dark, I suppose I can recommend Star Wars to you. It was made around the same time and for a good portion of the movie they need to rescue Princess Leia from The Death Star. It works!

Kurt Russell: He has been in a lot of movies; most recently he was in Grindhouse: Death Proof (I think I just mentioned that in my last blog), Stargate, Miracle, Tombstone, and The Thing.

Lee Van Cleef
: I only know him from For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Classic movies. He wore an earring in this movie which was a bit weird, but I guess that's the future for you.

Earnest Borgnine: He seems to die in a lot of his movies, which I guess is good as he is still ticking in real life. Oh yeah, *spoiler alert* before that sentence. Flight of the Phoenix (dead), The Posiedon Adventure (dead), and probably some more; he keeps making movies, and I can't keep up with him. I just know that I've seen him die a lot. Great actor though, I saw Marty when I was a teenager with low self-esteem and I loved it; he got a much deserved Oscar for that. Oh, he's also going to be in RED, which looks awesome. Check it out.

Harry Dean Stanton: A great character actor, he was in Alien. Go see that.

Donald Pleasance: Was in Halloween (the original, and a lot of the sequels), and The Great Escape.

That's it for now I suppose, I'll be back with another movie soon. It's kind of what I do.

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