ETERNALS (2021) is indy director Chloe Zhao’s dive into the MCU, as a handful of ancient astronauts, including Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie and Gemma Chan spend centuries battling the monstrous Deviants before learning the terrifying truth about why the Celestials sent them to Earth.
I enjoyed the movie. It’s good-looking, has some great twists, and a solid cast. I particularly liked the running element that the secret of the Eternals’ existence is known to all kinds of people. The cast is solid.
I did not, however, massively enjoy the movie. The Deviants are bland foes and the concept doesn’t make as much sense here as it did in Jack Kirby’s comic book. There we can reasonably assume that even though we only meet a few Olympians (Zuras, Makkari, Thena) the rest of the pantheon exists. Here it’s quite specific that these are all the Eternals that exist which undercuts the Gods From Outer Space thing. And as someone pointed out online, Gilgamesh (Don Lee) arrives on Earth in Babylonian times, too late to be the hero of Sumerian epic. Not dealbreakers for me, but definitely weaknesses. “Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you … the plow.”
If not for rereading Keep Watching the Skies I’d have forgotten NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST (1958) exists. That would be a shame as it fits into my book’s discussion of alien rape and impregnation well. An astronaut returns to Earth, apparently dead, revives and discovers he’s been implanted with alien embryos by ETs who can’t penetrate the Van Allen belt otherwise. But are they here to save us from ourselves, or is this the fist step in colonizing the world? Like It Conquered the World, the ideas are more interesting than the presentation. “There’s a man in there alive who should be dead — something that’s never happened before.”
I only watched enough of STARGATE (1994) to refresh my memory for the Ancient Astronauts chapter. Engaging in spots but the scenes on Ra’s world now strike me as generic Lost Race stuff with heavy White Savior episodes. Still fun, but it’s odd seeing Kurt Russell when I expect to see the TV show’s Richard Dean Anderson. “This should read ‘A million years into the sky lies Ra the Sun God, dead and buried.”
According to Pictures at a Revolution, Sidney Poitier was slammed by critics for much of his career for playing non-threatening black guys who wouldn’t alienate a white audience. BROTHER JOHN (1971) is very different, and almost nobody watched it. John (Poitier) mysteriously shows up in his Southern hometown when his sister’s on the brink of death, then sticks around, reconnecting with old friends and unsettling the local white power structure who know he’s up to something — but only the town doctor (Will Geer) gets to learn what it is.
A number of online reviews describe Poitier as an angel, which makes me think the reviewers haven’t seen it. He’s actually acting as an agent for aliens who want to see if we’re anyone they can tolerate when we get beyond our own little solar system. John’s report is … not favorable. It’s a striking, unsettling film which writerScott Woods describes as Poitier playing “black machismo you don’t have to apologize for.” It definitely deserves to be seen more than it is. “I would like to leave my name somewhere beside the toilet at the Stuart Street School.”
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