Flicks With Nicki – Chaos versus MonstersNicki Salcedo. Photo by Dean Hesse.
I like chaos. I affectionately call my house Chaos Town. We almost rented a private theater to watch “Chaos Walking” because it seemed like my kind of movie. I love a dystopian future with aliens on strange planets. But we decided to view it at home. My kids watched it first, and I was excited to hear their review.
“It was interesting,” my oldest said.
“So, it was bad?” I asked.
“No,” my second added slowly. That wasn’t a good sign. She was being polite. I’ve trained them to be appreciative when I pay $19.99 for a movie rental.
“What happened?” I needed to know.
“It didn’t make any sense. They killed a horse. They killed the dog!”
“So, it was really bad.”
“Actually, it was okay. We got to see Tom Holland’s butt.”
“Chaos Walking” is a space western set on a planet where men’s thoughts can be heard by each other, and there are no women. Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) is a typical down on his luck kid who wants a chance to prove himself. His chance arrives when Viola (Daisy Ridley) crashes onto his planet. He’s never seen a girl. She’s never heard a man’s thoughts before. That’s the “noise” and for some reason women don’t make it.
Viola must get to her spaceship to warn the others not to come to the planet. The men from Todd’s village, Prentisstown, want to kill her. They are misogynistic space extremists. The planet has an indigenous species of ineffectual jet-black aliens called Spackle. Black aliens who pose no threat to the humans on the planet. This is not okay. Please thank me for finishing this movie so you don’t have to.
There is a neighboring town that just gave up on technology. And the twist is that the Prentisstown men killed the women. A group of men on a deserted planet not having sex or babies is important to the survival of the human race. Not believable. We never find out why the noise impacts only men. Let’s be brutally honest. No man was ever upset broadcasting his mansplaining thoughts to the whole world.
I was too distracted by the nonsensical nature of the movie to hate it. To my dismay, my kids were wrong. In the story, a dog and two horses were killed. By the end, I just wanted all the noise to stop. Grade D+. That plus sign is for Tom Holland’s cute little pixie butt.
Love and Monsters
Several months ago, my same teenagers asked me to rent “Love and Monsters.” I did not want to pay to watch this ridiculous movie just because they had a crush on the main actor. As it turns out, I now have a crush on this actor.
Similar setup as “Chaos Walking” but 100% improvement on the execution. Joel (Dylan O’Brien) is a typical down on his luck kid who wants a chance to prove himself. His chance arrives when he makes radio contact with his pre-apocalypse girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick), and he decides to take a long trek across a monster filled world to find her. The problem is that Joel has no skill beside sketching, and he leaves his bunker colony behind in search of true love. Along the way he meets a dog named Boy, a man named Clyde (Michael Rooker), and a girl named Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt). Boy may be the best actor in any movie I’ve seen in the past 12 months. And if you aren’t in love with these characters by the first half of the movie, you have no soul. By the second half of the movie, a robot name Mav1s makes us cry. Finding Aimee makes Joel question his journey, the meaning of love and family, and we realize that not all monsters are bad.
I was a weeping mess of happy sadness by the time the credits rolled. “Love and Monsters” is one of my top three movies of the year. Grade B+
Me before “Chaos Walking:” I can’t wait to see this movie! It’s going to be amazing. I love space. I love Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley!
Me after “Chaos Walking:” Black aliens. Like pitch black? Men make noise? Not in the mood for a half-baked coming of age story. Awful. Bad. Dumb. Insulting. Grade D+.
Me before “Love and Monsters” I can’t believe these teenagers are going to make me pay to watch this ridiculous movie. I don’t care what kind of crush they have on this actor.
Me after “Love and Monsters:” OMGOSH this movie was the cutest monster apocalypse story. Fun, exciting, adorable. I watched it twice. I found it to be so enjoyable. I loved it! Grade B+
This is why I recommend that you watch all the movies. I never know what I will love. I never know what will irritate me. Always keep an open mind. If I don’t like a movie, I still want you to see that movie (same with books). You might love it. Then we can chat. My reviews are just exploratory conversations. I’m not trying to persuade you either way. Except for “Love and Monsters.” I hope I have persuaded you to check it out. The dog has a backstory, and he survives! Y’all, it’s almost an A-.
Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom.
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