Saturday, May 23, 2009

Movie Commentary: "The Moment After 2"

"The Moment After" entry at IMDb:
"The Moment After 2" entry at IMDb:

The first installment was pleasantly respectable by general cinematic standards. (For what it's worth, it meanwhile deserved nothing greater than maybe 2.5 of 4 stars, or 6/10 stars.) On the other hand, the second is yet another movie sequel that does not live up to the standards of its predecessor.

To be sure, the Llewellyns do display some knowledge of the importance of having on hand the combination of a good director, decent actors, and a screenplay with usable dialogue. Nonetheless, if one dares to spend the time and resources necessary for putting together a movie sequel, for begging for money to put together a movie sequel, and for taking the risk of ruining an otherwise decent (and erstwhile singular) film series, it behooves him first to do some simple quality control before moving ahead with the project: ask some honest Christian or especially non-Christian film makers or film buffs for their opinion of your script.

As I write this it's Memorial Day weekend, so you all should have time to conduct this little experiment if need be. Hop in the car, and drive out to the middle of the wilderness between Palmdale and El Mirage, or drive out to the middle of the wilderness between Silver Lakes and Lenwood. Guess what: while you're still on the way there, you'll notice that you can already see what's out there, from 20 miles away. Yet for some reason, this fact is completely lost on the Llewellyns (whom I don't know but thank for the first Moment After film nevertheless) from start to finish--you cannot hide from the evil minions of the New World Order gummint in the low lands around Palmdale. The bunches of short creosote bushes of the area are not to be mistaken for thick sylvans or forests where a person really could hide from people trying to find him.

Secondly, and in following the last point, if you can send a mole out to infiltrate the bands of Xians who are hiding the deserts of LA County, you can just as easily find them yourself, even with the naked eye. You know the saying: "Location, location, location!" This movie would have been better shot in the middle of Missouri, Pennsylvania, or North Carolina. However, since those locations are far removed from California, why not instead shoot the film in the forest areas of California, especially the areas where the Endor scenes of Return of the Jedi were filmed and where a person really could hide?

The film makers would probably respond in saying that concerns of location were precisely why the film took place in the desert: the idea is one of nomadic, roving bands of survivors who can't very easily move about with trucks and supplies in the middle of the Ozarks in Arkansas or Missouri. I'll concede that point. However, as soon as one sits down to watch The Moment After 2 the premise of the movie has a strong, immanently preposterous feel to it, and this illustrates that not all ideas are good ones to begin with. Barring the concerns of the use of satellite photography, aerial photography, and the unaided eye, if you can send Baker out to infiltrate the renegade Xians you can just as easily find them yourself and not go through all the trouble of searching for these folks day and night to no avail.

Things such as these make this film difficult to watch. Granted: the cheese factor generally works on "Christian movies" which are less ambitious and have less of an assumption of being a high quality production. However, the flaws of this film cannot be overlooked; they're just too glaring to ignore. But, to end this commentary of sorts on a positive note, let the record show that ours is an era of movie remakes and reboots: who's to say that there won't some day be "The Moment After 2: Reloaded" with all the improvements you'd expect from a title like that? Maybe Mr. T could even make a cameo appearance in the film! :D

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