Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I never like to say this, but there are some pretty bad movies out there. That’s not to say that they deserve our scorn (which would be to exalt ourselves as somehow ‘better’), but simply to acknowledge that some films…(now let’s see, errr…yes, yes that’s how I’ll put it)…have a detrimental effect on my current frame of mind.

Out of respect for the filmmakers, I shall simply refer to these movies as “cinematically-challenged.”

Someone once said that if you want to really enjoy something, then you have to pay for it. Following this principle, no matter how bored, how incredulous, or how rabid that I may have become, I have never once walked-out of a movie, unless I was on-duty there.

Over the years, whilst mentally chaining myself to my seat, I have identified 4 different levels of desire to escape, which roughly correspond to 4 different categories of cinematically challenged productions:

1. So dull that I repeatedly estimate how long is left until the end.

2. So boring that I perceive the whole experience as an endurance test that must be beaten, in order to prove myself a man.

3. So mind-emptyingly barren that for many years afterwards I have suffered nightmares, panic attacks, and, worst of all, flashbacks.

4. The Humanoid.

The last 2 are sort of connected.

Y’see, a few years ago I convinced poor long-suffering
Herschel to come with me to the Richmond Filmhouse to watch a double-bill of French humourist Jacques Tati’s fun-loving capers Playtime and Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.

After the first 120 comedy-free minutes, Herschel, a klown no less, couldn’t face any more and had to leave, standing-up and declaring to the entire cinema audience “Never again shall I pollute my tortured soul with this sterile poison that claims itself 'comedy'” at which point he symbolically cast off his klown nose (he always goes out in full costume) inadvertently causing his oversize klown pants to fall down, which tripped him up in his oversize klown shoes, and precipitated an entire angry tussle with his whole costume on his roll up the aisle towards the exit, which the audience thought was just another of his famous routines. (true story - if you don't believe me, click here.)

The quite unbelievable punchline to this incident is that Herschel subsequently discovered that the 120-minute diet-comedy that we had watched was in fact a shortened version - the original release had been half an hour longer.

Anyway, tonight Hershel had lent me a video of Aldo Lado’s 1979 Italian science-fiction blockbuster The Humanoid.

He never actually said it, but I’m convinced that this was some kind of revenge…

Herschel’s hook was that the film was infamous for being a rip-off of George Lucas’ lesser-known outing Star Wars, and indeed the similarities in design are far too numerous to be mere coincidence.

(To see a full run-down of The Humanoid’s visual resemblance to Star Wars, please click on any of these pictures - I highly recommend that you do.)

But when one considers The Humanoid as a film in its own right, then one discovers that it really is so much less than that.

Right from the movie’s opening lines, you know you’re in storytellers’ hands:

Pilot: “That’s one of those ships that guard the prison satellite. What’s it doing in our area?”

Co-Pilot: “Let’s try to find out.”

No dull character-establishment or plot-exposition, we’re in. Genius.

But it doesn’t stop there. This is a film in which the most bizarre things happen, the most sickening cliches all get together for a party, and, thank God, everyone plays it with total conviction.

The first 10 minutes bless us with lines like:

(whilst planning an armed raid…)

Lord Graal: “And make sure there are no survivors...especially that Barbara Gibson.”

(and, whilst carrying out the armed raid…)

Soldier: “You two go ahead. I’ve gotta check something. I gotta make sure we really did kill that girl. (checks corpse) Damn it, its not her! He'll dock me for this.”

(and, when reporting back to the villain following the armed raid…)

Craven: “We've got the Kappatron, your Lordship.”

Lord Graal: “And my special request?“

Craven: “It all went very smoothly Sire. We killed everyone at the laboratory, but unfortunately, the girl you wanted just wasn't there.”

Lord Graal: “So you did manage to disappoint me after all Craven. You are stripped of your privilidges for one hundred days.”

Craven: “Yes, your Lordship.”

And inadvertant post-modern irony laces the script too:

Nick: “All of the guards were killed, as well as the two men lost in space.”

There’s a super-intelligent kid called Tom-Tom, a comedy robot dog called Kip, and bad guy extras who courteously line up to be fought one at a time.

In short, this film gave me 90 minutes of joy.

10 out of 10.

More about The Humanoid here.


2 comment(s):

At 5:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

only 90 mins of joy ?!?
it gave me a whole LIFETIME, hehe :))


At 5:52 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Thanks Gonz - it may yet give me that too!

You have an awesome website, which I looked at while compiling the above review. In fact I borrowed the last photo - I hope that's okay! :)

Best wishes,


Post a Comment

<< Back to Steve's home page

** Click here for preceding post(s) **

** Click here for following post(s) **