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People dream of finding life in outer space, but, there are some forms of life should never be found, no matter what …
Venom is a 2018 mix of sci-fi, action and horror, based on the comic book of the same name. Taking up the lead role is Tom Hardy (Mad Max, Peaky Blinders) as Eddie Brock / Venom. His beautiful fiancée, Anne, is played by actress Michelle Williams (Manchester by the sea, Oz the great and powerful). Bad boy tech geek and all round villain, Carlton Drake, is played by Riz Ahmed (Rogue One / The four lions). Venom was directed by Ruben Fleisher, who has also helmed the Gangster Squad and Zombieland. The budget for the movie was $100,000,000, and in its opening weekend in the U.S. took in approx. $80,000,000.
Venom opens with the crash of a space shuttle, one that is carrying the discovery of alien life in outer space. The result of the crash is that one of the lifeforms manages to escape from its confinement into the surrounding countryside, much to the chagrin of Carlton Drake, who financed the space mission with the hope of finding something to benefit his huge, billion dollar tech corporation. Extremely popular news reporter, Eddie Brock, is handed the scoop of a lifetime, an interview with Drake, and although he is told to be nice and to play ball with the billionaire, Eddie decides to expose him as a crook and a liar. This results in him being not only fired from his job, but also in the loss of his fiancée, Anne, too. In the meanwhile, Drake has transported the aliens to his lab and is performing all manner of illegal experiments with them. One of his scientists, sickened by his actions, decides to confide what’s happening in the lab to Brock, who sneaks into the lab to find some kind of incriminating proof to clear his name, and hopefully win back Anne’s heart. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse, and he becomes infected by one of the aliens, a symbiotic parasite called ‘Venom’. He gains incredible powers, but Drake wants both Eddie and Venom back, and he’s willing to do anything he can do accomplish this. To survive, Eddie needs to not only to avoid Drakes hitman, but also come to terms with his new, live in partner, Venom. As the odds slowly stack against him, can Eddie pull off the seemingly impossible, or will Drake finally get what he wants, at the cost of Eddie’s life?
I read somewhere that Marvel had taken a chance on making Venom, and it sure looks to me like that gamble has paid off. From the opening scenes, the action is thick and fast, as we see the space shuttle hurtling to Earth, burning up in a ball of flame. They made the perfect choice in Tom Hardy as Eddie / Venom. He really pulls off playing both characters at the same time. The rest of the cast do great too, but the real star of the show is Venom himself. There is a lot of comedy in the movie, plenty of great one liners to get the laughs going. The special effects are top notch. Venom, as well as the other, symbiotes, looks clean and smooth and highly detailed. Sound effects were loud and well made too - lots of bangs, crashes and whistles. There are also plenty of set action pieces, fights, a great motorbike chase, etc. People were cheering in the cinema while they were watching them! Having never seen the comic books, I have no way of comparing the film to them, but hopefully the film does them justice. They left an opening to make a sequel to the movie, make sure you stay right to the end of the closing credits to see the two clips hidden in them to see how the plot could unfold in a future movie. Venom is definitely worth seeing on the big screen near you … soon.
“Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some.”
The handmaid's tale, written in 1985 by Margaret Attwood, is a futuristic, dystopian novel about the overthrow of democracy in America by a radical, political, fundamentalist religious group, and the subsequent loss of rights and abuses of women, treating them as mere nameless breeding stock for the pleasure of their male masters. The handmaid's tale has won several awards for literature, as well as being turned into a movie starring Natasha Richardson and Robert Duvall in 1990, and a TV series in 2017.
The United States of America has gone, the president murdered and the government overthrown by a radical, religious, political group called ‘The sons of Jacob’. The group renames the former United States of America as ‘The Republic of Gilead’. An extreme form of Christian fundamentalism quickly takes over all other religious groups and the new country is governed based on an extreme interpretation of parts of the Old Testament of the Bible. Women are segregated from society and immediately lose all rights, are treated as cattle, and forced to have children to increase the population that is declining through infertility. Women are forced into pregnancy using a ritual of rape called ‘The Ceremony’. The handmaid's tale tells the story of a young woman called Offred, who was caught trying to escape the authoritarian government rule, and has been forcibly separated from her husband and daughter in order to have children for the barren wives of government officials. She is given to The Commander and his wife Serena Joy, so that she can bear a child for them. The novel tells of Offred’s life with the couple, her life (or lack of a life) in the new society, as well as her previous life, which is told to us as a series of flashbacks.
If you are fan of novels such as 1984, Fahrenheit 591, Never Let Me Go, etc., then you are going to appreciate The handmaid's tale. Through Offred’s eyes, we get to see the breakdown of civilized American society and the treatment of Women and minorities, as well as other religions and cults, as an extreme form of Christian fundamentalism based on warped Old Testament values from the Bible is instituted throughout the land. As Offred tells her sad and often shocking saga, we discover that women have been told that they are merely ‘a two-legged womb’, to be used only for the purpose of creating children for sterile couples in the new society. Women have no rights, are not allowed to own anything, have no money or bank account, and take no active role in society. They are forced to wear different colored dresses to show which caste they belong to, green, blue, red, etc. The sons of Jacob justify their treatment of women in such a way by referring to stories from the book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible - Firstly the story of Jacob using his wife's handmaid as a surrogate mother, and secondly, Abraham also having sex with his wife's handmaid. It's easy to see reflections of the book in modern day society, for example, the reduction of women's sexual and reproductive rights in North America, or through the use of female genital mutilation, where women have their sexual organs altered through surgery so that they feel no pleasure during procreation, reducing them to baby making machines who feel nothing during lovemaking. Atwood’s book should serve as a wake-up call for society; an alarm to show what could happen if we let fundamentalism take control. It's all too common that we see religiously inclined politicians feeding and fanning the flames of such extremism and we need to pay attention before it's too late. The handmaid's tale is dark and uncompromising, and I hope that it's not going to become a blueprint for the future, a future there might not be too far away.
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