Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Space Marine Week #2 - Top 10 Space Marine Movies (And Cartoons!)

For our cinematic Top 10, let's take a look at some of the most notable movies, cartoons and TV shows that center on the characters of... you guessed which type! Move it, dammit!

#10. Wreck-It Ralph

Well, obviously this movie is not centered around space marines, but it does have an awesome Samus Aran parody named Sargeant Calhoun. She's the character from Hero Duty, a spoof of Halo, Metroid Prime and Killzone - if that doesn't define this movie as an authentic entry, then I don't know what the hell does. Calhoun is tough, collected, badass, and as one of the most (and many!) hilarious lines puts it, 'they've programmed a heartbreaking backstory for her'. Not to mention her slick armor design and large assortment of weapons and gadgets, which in combination with her explosive character earn Wreck-It Ralph a spot on my list.

#9. Star Wars

What can I say about Star Wars that hasn't been said? Eh, nothing I guess. So let's just get to the facts - everyone remembers the Imperial Stormtroopers, in all their variety and iconic uniforms, and the Rebels can be somewhat described as space marines, too; also, once placed Mark Hamill on their Top 10 Space Marines list (by a combo of Star Wars and Wing Commander 3). May the Force be with you!

#8. EXO Squad

If you're not familiar with this 90s animated classic, here's what you are missing out: it's an epic of war between the humanity and the artificial lifeform known as the NeoSapiens. Both sides are using the EXO power armors to wage battles on both the ground and in outer space. It's all cool already, but what was subtly shocking at the time was how dramatic this show was for a, supposedly, kids' cartoon. Characters were killed off, got the romances on, all the spoils of war were shown in rather explicit (for the age rating, mind you) detail, even the humor wasn't too dumb (I think). And it lasted for a pretty long time, too - two seasons may be considered a bold success by this genre's standards. And of course, being a 90s action cartoon, it has nice animation, curvy soldier girls and all the cheesy corny stuff that we all know and love from that time. But it's also fascinating as a historical document of the Western animation not only noticing the phenomena of anime, but trying to inherit its storytelling techniques. I think they've succeeded.

#7. Captain Future

I'm talking about the 70s anime adaptation of a series of sci-fi novels written by Edmond Hamilton (!). Somehow I have the feeling that this was what inspired the creators of Cyber Org, because here we also have a trio of charismatic characters with different abilities that utilize them for dealing with menacing deadly stuff all over the Galaxy. I saw it as a kid, and then several times as a teen, and it was just as great as ever. The animation is solid, the action is great, and of course it has this distinctive old-school drawing style that's so memorable to look at. Posted above is the awesome 'official AMV' by Phil Fuldner that also was in heavy rotation on our local TV back in the day.

#6. The Mutant Chronicles

Uh, it's a tough one to talk about, counting how universally hated it is. Still, I'll take it over WarHammer 40k: Ultramarines any day because, despite having a very similar plot (and being also based on a board game), it's executed in a much more meaty way here, with lots of stuff going on and grotesque violence all around. For a low budget movie, the effects are not bad at all, as is the awesome cast (Sean Pertwee plays a tough-ass soldier again, and Ron Perlman is cast as a priest - how can you go wrong?) and freaking awesome action. While Ultramarines had only one decent action scene, The Mutant Chronicles have a dozen decent ones, and other few are damn breathtaking! I also adore the WWI-inspired designs for machinery, uniforms and everything, but I'm well aware that it comes from the source material and not the filmmakers. And one more thing it has over Ultramarines - it's anything but boring. Seriously, the pacing gets so frantic at times that you think you are playing a videogame with your mind or something. To put it short, it's a genuinely good low budget action sci-fi movie that's definitely worth being promoted and seen!

#5. Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors

HELL FUCKING YEAH! Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors were the shit! I don't care if it's a mild Star Wars ripoff, I don't care if, despite its anime designs, it's actually a French-American production, I don't care if it was basically made as a commercial for the line of toys, and I don't care about Jayce's weird hair color. It was a kick-ass badass awesome action packed show with lots of laser gunfights, monster trucks and evil plants that our heroes are fighting against. The characters are decent - I still remember their personalities - and the opening is probably the best of all the 80s cartoons I have ever seen. Just watch it, and if you won't start humming the theme song immediately after, you have no taste for old skewl!

#4. Oblivion

Yeah, a very recent (as of writing) flick! When I first saw the trailer (I think it was when I went to see Chinese Zodiac), I gasped. It mimicked the storyline of Megiddo almost perfectly, with the whole concept of dead Earth and stuff. Also, at the time I was writing a joint sci-fi fantasy story with one of my DeviantArt friends, and it was funny to see Tom Cruise all of a sudden wearing the military uniform and looking and acting just like I imagined the story's main character. Of course I had to go see it! What d'you know, it was amazing. The story was so gripping, and to my pleasant surprise, almost free of sudden twists that the filmmakers adore stuffing their works with nowadays. Instead, the plot and pacing are almost old-school, with lots of talking and actual investigation that the main character does in order to uncover everything. It's brilliant and well constructed, and I gave it 9 on IMDB, so go rent/buy/on-demand it as soon as possible if you missed it out! Interestingly, Mr Cruise felt the need to play another space marine in the upcoming movie Edge Of Tomorrow, which I'm sure will kick just as much ass. At least the power armor he wears on the posters looks pretty damn cool.

#3. Aliens

Uh, you want me to say something about Aliens?! The Aliens?! And you mean you haven't seen it? And Alien, too? Listen, you must go buy (not rent! BUY!) Alien and Aliens right now, watch them, and only then you may proceed with reading this blog. I mean, ANY post in this blog. Now move it private!

#2. Soldier

Alright, watch the clip above, then read my review, and you will understand why I rewatch this masterpiece at least once a year.

#1. Starship Troopers

The definitive movie based on a book that started it all. I saw it at the theater when it first came out in 1997 (which means I was 9 years old), with my Mom, no less! I think to this day it's the most bloody violent R-rated movie I've seen on a big screen, at least compared to the summer blockbusters of recent years. To be honest, I've never read the book, but this movie as itself is a lot of fun. The story is not primitive, the characters are memorable, the tongue-in-cheek satire is there (what else could be expected from Paul Verhoeven?), and the CG still holds up. This movie basically shows everything - the training, the glorious and embarrassing missions, the ideology of the future's military force - granted, it owes a lot to Robert Heinlein's novel (hm... probably not, since the director himself never read it) and remains a classic action movie even to this day. Amen.