Oct 11, 2012

They Live, 1988

They Live, 1988
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster

Stage: Home theatre

They Live in short: Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority". Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued. 

Preps: A good strong recommendation. As I trust the taste, I am eager to see it. I am warned, though, that I should be patient in the first third, because it will develop. Even more eager to see this. 

Reality: Carpenter hit a good marketing spot here with the piece. The general story is quite simple, but more effective than most things I have seen in a while. Now, things you need to embrace before seeing this piece (I have also been trained for this ;) :
  • This is an eighties' movie. This means that Rambo, Terminator, action heroes that simply cannot die being hit by villains, are a part of this trick
  • You will be seeing afro style of hair, or in my country we call it "bundes liga" kind of haircut :)
  • Imagine that guns have multiple bullets, which means more than 6 or 12
  • Some Star Track dissapearance is possible

And you need some stamina to cope with this movie. You will not have a clue what you are watching when you start watching it, and this goes for the first twenty minutes to half an hour. Carpenter could have thought of this somehow and keep the observer more in the loop or more attentive to what he is going to see. I was amused by the scenes and the comparison I made in my head with the movies we see nowadays, quite similar to for instance something we would see with the old video clips or more recent ones.

Secondly, the dialogues are pretty basic. Which means, the complete movie power is based on the story. Once you discover the beauty of the sun glasses, the movie increases your interest by 1000% at least. I wonder how it would be, wonder around, discovering the truth like the main protagonist does. And how would I cope with it. In some sense, I am instantly drawn to think about more recent pieces on the same topic, like the Matrix, and whether this might have been the idea godfather to build it. I am not sure, but movies like They live must have influenced several of more recognized ones. Plus, I am pretty sure this one must have been prohibited least in US or something, because it's a criticism towards society, towards politics, higher positions in companies, the "govern" class of people, that dictate our lives and make decisions that influence us greatly.

 Last, but not least. This movie is still live. Which means in my opinion it is as relevant as it was in 1988. I am happy that I have seen it as it embraces one of the best movie ideas of all times and still find it difficult to believe that Carpenter made something so deeply involved with us in present time.

My personal rating: 8,0 (the idea is brilliant and I strongly believe this might have been one of the influencers that built movies like Matrix, etc)

They live on IMDB

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