Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Blob (1988) Review:

In 1958 and in 1972, audiences were able to see the most vile of all alien life forms come onto the screen; the blob. But the word "vile" would not be in the interest to use for these films. The blob in both previous films were slow moving and were barely on screen and when they were, it wasn't for long. Thirty years after the first "blob" movie, director Chuck Russell, The Mask (1994), takes charge of this franchise and decides to rejuvenate this creature once more. And although, it had a mild reception from critics, it is arguably the best movie of The Blob.

The film actually starts out relatively the same as the first in 1958. However, there are several parts to this film's story that are quite different from all the others. For example, in the 1958 version, Steve McQueen starred as the so-called "hero", a good-natured kid who was only trying to warn the residents of a flesh eating Jell-O mold. The viewer may be surprised however to find out, that the hero is not who they'd expect it to be.

Brian Flagg (Dillon) & Meg Penny (Smith)
(an unusual duo)
Kevin Dillon plays Brian Flagg, a punk whom nobody likes just because he's a little bit misunderstood. Co-starring with Dillon is Shawnee Smith who plays Meg Penny, a good schoolgirl whom which both encounter The Blob. Another thing that is different from the other films is that this movie doesn’t have the main characters trying to find the authorities and convince them of what happened. It seems that the authorities find them more than half the time. Interestingly enough, Russell's direction put quite a twist on the beginning story line. It may not be original, but it definitely good to see something out of the ordinary.

There were only a couple elements in this remake that did not really work here. The music was composed and conducted by Michael Hoenig. His music did have a lot of dark tones in it, but it failed to leave a memorable chord and it wasn't scary enough either. The other element that needed work was the dialog. Not all of it was bad, Dillon had some funny exchanges between characters with his wisecracks. But the issue was that much of it was predictable. The viewer will be able to tell what will happen next even before it happens. It's actually disappointing for a remake that was done this well.

My god...how grotesque!
However, the good outweighs the bad by far. The Blob is so much more appealing to see for its grotesque and vulgar look. The Blob is no longer that solid maroon color from the past two films. To describe it in the most simplistic way, it looks like a mass of human brains that were mashed together as a whole. It really is a mess (in a good way) and that's not all. This particular Blob not only has looks, but is also quick on its feet! The special effects in this film are stunning. Of course it looks dated now but compared to the others, it is by far the best looking.

Another great aspect is how much more graphic this film is. The other two for its time, I guess, you could call rated "R" but this version, is by all accounts rated "R" for a reason. The killing scenes in this movie are just all out gruesome. It's not a blood fest but it can be nasty at times. The last thing to mention about this creature is how closely it followed the traits of The Thing (1982). It seems like anything that resembles these two organisms share the same weaknesses and yet they are very different from each other.

Chuck Russell's version of the 1958 "blob" not only pays homage to its predecessors but it redefines what The Blob should be like as a terrifying, flesh-eating, gelatinous life form. The only things holding it back are it's somewhat undeveloped dialog and not a dark enough musical soundtrack.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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