It’s an eternal story. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love. Girl turns out to be from the Luna Queendom on the moon and is being blackmailed into coming to Earth to carry out a diabolical plot. Boy helps girl lead the aquatic fish people of Earth in a revolt.
I mean, who hasn’t been there?
YA fiction has hit vampires, werewolves, dystopian futures, wizards, and more. MoonQuake Lake offers up not one but two new subjects; aliens and merpeople. The set dressing may change but the tropes remain ever vigilant. Kyle learns that there is a world hidden around him he never knew. Saffron is “the one” with a unique power she is now discovering. There is some established order they must rebel against. The more things change the more they stay the same.
I enjoy this particular film aimed at primarily at young adults more than some others. It’s no Hunger Games, but it fairs better than I Am Number Four. This is primarily thanks to our stars Andrea Alvin and Simon Goodspeed. When they profess their love for each other I believe them. These two spent years playing opposite each other on TV so their chemistry feels genuine. Believing the central relationship goes a long way to keeping me invested through some of the ridiculousness in the rest of the movie.
While Saffron needing to return to the moon to survive provides a convenient ticking clock, the fact that this is represented as literal “moon tears” felt a little heavy handed. I never fully understand the merpeople’s motivations, especially when the order comes from their leader, the Podmother, to betray our heroes. And while I realize that some things need to be left for the sequels, you can’t threaten us with Luna monsters and then not have them show up.
MoonQuake Lake isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. There is quite a bit of silliness here but I could see a different person being swept away by the fantastical creatures and heartfelt love story. The two leads are just good enough that I’ll watch the inevitable sequel but I’m not yet ready to dive into the deep end of this world yet.
Other movies I watched this week (potential minor spoilers):
Face Punch – When one man is wronged he goes on a rampage against…you know what, the plot doesn’t matter and this movie knows it. From the title forward this movie’s tongue is placed firmly in cheek and it revels in its nonsense. The action is fast, exciting, and violent. If you liked watching Uma Thurman slicing up ninjas in Kill Bill Vol. 1 then you’ll enjoy this ridiculous guilty pleasure.
Ass – A movie that consists of nothing more than a single static shot of a man’s posterior. Like Warhol’s painting of tomato soup the subject is so simple and plain that one can only guess at the intent. Is it a comment on the base level of humor enjoyed by audiences? Is it stunt designed to troll the audience? Is it entertaining? I only know the answer to the last question: no.
Angels with Filthy Souls – Black and white movies usually give me pause as films that old are typically just not my style. I was pleasantly surprised here. Essentially your basic mob story about money and power the actors here are entertaining and keep me interested. Part of my #366Flicks mission statement is to learn the context for famous movie moments I’ve absorbed through cultural osmosis. I’m just glad that there was a decent movie surrounding the semi-famous line “Keep the change you filthy animal.”
Angels with Even Filthier Souls – Our career criminal anti-hero continues his cold quest for control. I’m used to thinking of heavily franchised properties to be a modern convention but this film’s blatant throwbacks to the best moments of the first and remixing of memorable lines show that execs have always been willing to retread worn territory for a quick buck. Still, I can’t deny that this sequel is enjoyable.
Mant! – This 1962 creature feature horrifies you with the terrifying results of what happens when a man and an ant are exposed to…RADIATION! This wall to wall schlock fest in the spirit of Roger Corman movies hits all the stereotypical tropes of the genre. Bad rubber suits, screaming starlets, and ham fisted acting. I can’t say it’s a good movie but it sure is entertaining as a cinema time capsule.
Simple Jack – An Oscar-bait drama about a mentally challenged man and the people his spirit inspires. It takes a strong actor to play a mentally challenged character with tact, nuance, and respect. Tugg Speedman is not that actor. Instead we have a performance that at best is a little cartoonish and at worst plain offensive. The rest of the movie is manipulative schmaltz filled with overacting and false melodrama.
Deception – Secret agent James Franco must protect Lindsay Lohan, a young woman who may unknowingly hold secrets to what the secret agent father she never knew died for. This fairly average spy thriller is elevated by charismatic leads. Yes, Lindsay Lohan isn’t bad! I’m just as surprised as you! Fun action and a decent twist make this one a fun watch.