Tag Archives: movie

The Cliché After Tomorrow

What a week. Meteors are exploding in the air over Russia, leaving a trail of broken glass, burst eardrums and dashboard camera YouTube videos in their wake. Asteroids the size of swimming pools are hurtling through our region of space unchecked, like cosmic meatballs being wantonly lobbed at an exasperated parent by an errant toddler. And most worryingly, Rihanna seems to be considering getting back together with Chris Brown. Like, ZOMFG!

It truly is the end of the world as we know it, and I most certainly do not feel fine. These outbreaks of celestial happenstance only serve to highlight the precarious nature of this shitty little rock we all desperately cling to, counting down our days of pitiful existence in a miasma of work, sleep, shit conversation, disappointing sexual interludes and cat memes. But enough about my weekend. The fact is that at any moment a disaster of epic proportions could wreak havoc on this pale blue dot we call home, bringing to a close in an instant four and a half billion years of spadework. I hope somebody remembered to keep the warranty.

One wonders how humanity would face up to such cataclysmic events, and based on nothing except the disaster movies I’ve seen and the ramblings of my depraved consciousness, here’s an account of how it might go down…

It was a cool spring evening in upstate New York and the Johnson family was sitting down to dinner. As usual it soon descended into a heated argument.

‘Tommy, stop annoying your sister.’

‘She started it.’

‘Tommy, do what your mother tells you.’

‘She’s not my mother you asshole.’

‘That’s it, go to your room this instant!’

Tommy threw his chair aside and stormed towards the front door.

‘Where do you think you’re going young man?’

‘I’m leaving. I hate you and I wish you were all dead!’

With that he slammed the door shut and ran off into the night, tears streaming from his face.

He had barely gone twenty yards when he heard a strange whistling sound coming from above him. As he turned to look up at the sky he saw a blinding flash, followed by a deafening boom as the object collided with the roof of the house he had just left. The ground beneath his feet shook with tremendous force and a gigantic fireball enveloped the house, sending Tommy flying through the air into a neighbour’s garden. Sprawled across a rose bush, his face blackened and burnt, Tommy groggily lifted his head to survey the charred wreckage where his house had stood just moments before. Amidst the ash and debris that billowed around him in the cool breeze, Tommy began to sob uncontrollably, and raising his fists in the night air, bellowed a single word: ‘Why?’

But his anguished plea went unanswered, drifting off into the spring night along with the scorched, fluttering ruins of his home.

It was a little after four in the morning when US Vice President Joe Biden burst breathlessly into the Obamas’ bedroom, clutching a stack of papers to his chest.

‘Mister President,’ he panted as he tried to regain his breath.

‘Sir, I’m sorry to wake you but you’re needed in the Situation Room.’

The President opened one eye and squinted up at Biden.

‘Joe,’ he grumbled sonorously, ‘if this is about that mixed tape, I told you I just haven’t had the time. I promise you when I get a few minutes…’

‘Sir, it’s not about that. The NASA administrator is here and he needs to brief you right away.’

‘NASA?’ repeated Obama as he sat up and rubbed his eyes.

‘Did one of our space drones hit the ISS again? I should never have listened to the General, he just seemed so sure there were terrorists operating in space. I didn’t want to take the chance…’

‘No that’s not it sir. Please hurry, we don’t have much time.’

Half an hour later the President sat ashen-faced at the table in the Situation Room. He shook his head incredulously as he addressed the NASA chief.

‘So these meteorites that hit the East Coast last night, they were just the beginning?’

‘That’s correct sir. The primary meteor is much larger, and will collide with the Earth in less than three weeks’ time.’

‘How much larger?’

‘Well sir, it’s about the size of Washington.’

‘Well he wasn’t that big, surely that won’t do too much damage,’ said Joe.

Obama shook his head and turned to his subordinate, ‘No Joe, I think he means the city.’

‘Actually Mister President,’ the administrator interjected, ‘I meant the state. But I can see now how confusing a comparison it was, I really didn’t think it through at all.’

‘So what do you suggest, Mister Administrator?’

‘Well, why don’t you ask me again how big it is and I’ll try to be clearer this time.’

‘No, I mean about the asteroid,’ Obama shouted in frustration.

‘What are we going to do about the asteroid?’

‘Oh. Beats me, sir. Ever since you scaled down NASA’s space exploration in favour of military research, we haven’t had the technology to chart these things, or come up with contingency plans. We don’t even have a telescope anymore.’

The President buried his head in his hands in exasperation as he contemplated the grim reality of the situation. Eventually the Secretary of Defence spoke up.

‘Sir, I’m confident that the military can solve this problem. We’ll get to work right away.’

After a pause the President looked up and sighed heavily.

‘Alright, you do that Mister Secretary. I want hourly progress reports. The world is depending on us. Okay, meeting adjourned, let’s get to work people.’

The room emptied quickly until the NASA chief and the Vice President were the only ones left at the table.

‘So,’ began Biden as he took a cassette from his top pocket and slid it across the table, ‘you like REO Speedwagon?’

It was the day before the collision and the Secretary of Defence was briefing the President in the Oval Office.

‘The last of the nukes were delivered today Mister President. We’re on schedule for launch tomorrow morning.’

‘Very good. It’s hard to believe we’ve gathered every nuclear warhead in the world for this mission.’

‘Well it wasn’t easy. North Korea just gave in last week after we sent them Tom Cruise in exchange. I hear he’s playing Kim Jong-un in a biographical play. It’s six hours long and they show it three times a day. Poor bastard.’

‘Indeed. And I believe we even got some from the Iraqis?’

‘Yes sir, apparently they were hidden in Saddam’s palace grounds all along. They had been painted to look like cows.’

‘I see. We probably should have been more thorough.’

Obama stood up and walked the Secretary to the door.

‘You’ve done a great job Mister Secretary. Although you know, given the importance of this mission, I can’t help feeling we could have put more effort into the name.’

‘Well, the chiefs of staff all agreed that the name struck the right note sir.’

‘I suppose you’re right.’ The President shook the Secretary’s hand solemnly. ‘I’ll see you in the morning for the launch. Then all we can do is pray that Operation Nuke Skywalker is a success.’

‘Agreed. Goodnight Mister President.’

Early the following morning the Situation Room brimmed with tension, excitement and men with important-looking hats as the world looked on with hope and trepidation. At eight hundred hours the enormous rocket blasted off, carrying with it the ultimate destructive payload. The sense of poetic equilibrium in these weapons of chaos and devastation becoming humanity’s only hope of salvation from the impending doom was not lost on the gathered cabinet members and military officials, who watched the screen with a hushed, awestruck deference. The silence was only broken when the Vice President was heard to remark, ‘Look at that sucker go. Hot damn, she’s a big one, ain’t she?’

When the rocket finally reached the asteroid there was a collective intake of breath around the room. On impact the detonation filled the screen, and when the picture cleared, the asteroid had been blown to pieces that hurtled off in a hundred different directions. The room exploded in unrestrained joy and relief. Some of the assembled crowd broke down in tears. Others hugged and kissed each other unashamedly. Joe even had his trousers off for some reason.

The celebration was cut short, however, when an analyst interrupted with a sense of unease in his voice,

‘Sir, I think you should look at this. One of the fragments is still on a collision course.’

Obama went to the monitor, the Secretary of Defence following closely behind.

‘This shouldn’t be happening, it’s off course,’ the Secretary muttered to himself.

The President turned to face him.

‘What do you mean, ‘off course’?’

The Secretary shared a panicked glance with the chiefs of staff, then sighed to himself and responded hesitantly,

‘Sir, we planned for this fragment to remain on course, but its trajectory is off. It was meant to hit Iran and wipe out the government.’

Obama’s face darkened as he stared at him, aghast.

‘What the hell were you thinking?’

‘It was an opportunity to begin an incursion there Mister President. Not only that, but our analysis showed that the fragment is full of precious metals. After the liberation we could have begun to extract…’

‘That’s enough,’ Obama cut him off.

‘I’ll deal with you later.’

He turned back to the analyst.

‘Son, where is that fragment headed?’

‘Uh, it looks like upstate New York, sir.’

‘Good God, what have we done?’

Tommy was sitting on the back porch of his new foster house, sipping a tall glass of lemonade and watching the sun set over the horizon. He had heard on the radio that the asteroid had been successfully destroyed, and this news filled him with a warmth and hope that he had not felt in a long time. He was enjoying his time with his new foster family, and was beginning to think that, with their help, and taking it one day at a time, he would eventually be able to overcome the tragedy of the previous weeks. He grinned happily to himself as the breeze rustled the bushes in the garden, and he felt content and peaceful for the first time in an age. He was still grinning when he heard a strangely familiar whistling noise, and with the setting sun in his eyes he peered upwards at the stars. The smile vanished from his face as his glass slipped from his hand and shattered, just as the asteroid had, into hundreds of tiny pieces.


From Arabia with Love

The much publicised anti-Muslim propaganda film The Innocence of Muslims has led to much bitterness and resentment in the Middle East in recent weeks. Amidst the violent protests and outraged condemnations seen around the Arabic world, reports suggest that a number of Middle Eastern governments have united in a project designed to avenge the offence and humiliation suffered as a result of the film.

Just a few short weeks before the release of Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, indications are that an Islamic version of the popular spy franchise has been hastily readied for release. The plot concerns a lone Muslim agent’s endeavour to stop a maniacal Western autocrat who is hell-bent on the destruction of the Middle East. A draft of the script has been intercepted ahead of the film’s release, and the following is a synopsis of said film, provisionally titled On the Ayatollah’s Secret Service.

The action begins in New York City, the decadent metropolis of the infidel. As the sun sets over the harbour the camera pans across the skyline and centres in on the giant outline of the Statue of Liberty. Clutching a sword in her raised right hand and a map of the Middle East in her left, she stands looking disdainfully eastwards across the ocean as if to say: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, so I can foist my tyrannical regime upon them and take their shit without asking.’

The camera zooms in behind the blank stare of the immense monument, into the hollow interior of the head. A hunched figure sits behind an enormous wooden desk in a spotlit corner of the cavernous lair, scribbling furiously at a piece of paper. The man is Doctor O, an oppressive despot who has risen to become the Commander in Chief of the Western forces. He was kidnapped from his idyllic Muslim home as a child and secretly raised by Richard Nixon and his gay lover Pat. They instilled the hypocritical ideals of the West in his naive consciousness and brought him up to believe he is destined to bring the crushing yoke of democracy to bear on the savage world of Islam.

The camera zooms in once more to show the paper on Doctor O’s desk, which has the words ‘Operation Freedom’ written on it. On the sheet is a crude crayon picture of the prophet Muhammad being hit by a drone in a highly sensitive area, then repeatedly being choked out by Hulk Hogan who intermittently shouts ‘Woo!’ and ‘I am a real American!’ As a fierce thunderstorm moves in across the bay, flashes of lightning illuminate the twisted, hateful face of the Doctor, cackling dementedly to himself into the empty night, the thought of implementing his fiendish plan giving him an enormous trouser snake.

Thousands of miles away agent Jamal Bond sits slumped against the bar gazing mournfully into the bottom of his glass. ‘Another!’ he shouts at the barman, Mo, whose Halal Bar in Baghdad does a tidy trade in non-alcoholic drinks, savoury snacks and effigies of Western leaders.

‘Come on Jamal, seventy-two Virgin Martinis is enough for any man. It’s time you went home.’

‘I’ll tell you when I’ve had…’

The sound of the door creaking open interrupts the conversation as the pair look towards the entrance. A grizzled old man limps into the bar, flanked by two enormous bodyguards. A lifetime of conflict is evident from one look at the man, whose face is covered with burns and scars, his two eyepatches betraying a history of extreme violence.

‘Bond?’ croaks the harsh timbre of the old soldier’s voice.

Jamal jumps up from his seat and salutes as the elderly officer shuffles over to the bar.

‘I’m afraid your vacation is over agent Bond. You must come with me at once.’

‘Eh, he’s over there,’ responds the barman, pointing down the bar to Jamal.

Within minutes Jamal is seated in the back of a car racing through central Baghdad. The old man briefs him as they weave through the traffic, informing him that they’ve intercepted details of an operation that threatens to bring down all the governments of the Middle East.

‘Ah, you mean Twitter? I knew freedom of expression would be the end of us.’

‘No Bond, this is even more serious than that. We believe Doctor O has developed a new kind of drone that will wipe us off the map. You are the only one that can stop him.’

Jamal turns and looks solemnly out the window.

‘Then I must go to America and kill Doctor O.’

A few seconds pass, then the old man leans over and points out the far window,

‘Therefore you must go to America and kill Doctor O.’

Jamal shakes his head,

‘Seriously, how do you still have a job?’

The car pulls up outside the Iraqi Secret Service’s headquarters, cleverly disguised as an empty shopfront advertising feminist literature on sale inside. Jamal heads for the equipment division, known as Qu’Branch, to collect his kit for the mission. When he arrives agent Qu is busy testing a new piece of technology, a school uniform that is resistant to white phosphorus.

Qu brings Bond over to a table where his equipment has been laid out for him.

‘Our intelligence operatives have prepared a disguise that will allow you to fit in with the infidels. You will wear this leather jacket like their legendary Fonzie, and this do-rag with the American flag on it. We have also procured the new iPhone and set up a Facebook account for you. It is essential that you update this hourly with trivial nonsense or they will realise you are not one of them. Just make sure you don’t use the map on it whatever you do.’

Jamal takes his equipment and gets up to leave.

‘Oh and take this for the plane journey,’ says Qu, handing him a book.

‘Our intel shows that all the American men are reading it. Good luck agent Bond.’

The guard at the passport desk of JFK International Airport motions to the top of the queue, ‘Next please.’ His bored expression turns to a look of mild bemusement as the man approaches the booth. He places his passport on the desk and smiles vacantly at the guard.

‘Howdy partner.’

The guard looks him up and down. He’s wearing a glittery stars and stripes tank top with a moth-eaten leather jacket, a pair of ludicrously tight denim cut-offs, and a pair of brown leather cowboy boots. He has a do-rag on his head but it isn’t tied and keeps blowing off as he stands in front of the desk. The guard glances at his passport.

‘Your name is Chuck?’

‘Yessir.’

‘Chuck Berry?’

‘Yessiree, named after my granddaddy. Good to be back in the ol’ US of A, yessir.’

The guard glances at the book in the man’s hand, the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey.

‘Yessir I loves this here book. Almost as good as that there Salman Rushdie. I don’t wish him a painful death at all, no sir.’

The guard takes one last look at him and waves him on. Jamal takes his passport and heads for the exit, breathing a sigh of relief that his disguise worked. As he departs he could swear that he hears the guard mutter under his breath, ‘God damn queers.’

Jamal gets into a taxi and heads for the city. All around him he recognises the stench of Western corruption and debauchery. Women walk the streets with their faces and midriffs shamelessly exposed. Jews disguised as businessmen huddle together on Wall Street, no doubt plotting the downfall of the Arabic world. Television screens flaunt America’s famous homosexuals like Ryan Seacrest, Tom Cruise and Joe Biden.

After arriving at his hotel Jamal changes into his tuxedo and heads for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Doctor O is scheduled to give a speech there this evening at the opening of an exhibit. When he arrives he wanders around and mingles with the other guests. He is mostly disgusted by these elitist Western snobs, although he does have an enlightening conversation with Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum, with whom he discovers he has a lot in common. He also notices quite a few famous paintings that he’s nearly sure he saw hanging in Saddam’s palace back in the glory days, that Saddam told him he had personally painted. These thieving Americans have no shame, he thought to himself.

Eventually Doctor O rises to make his speech. Jamal disdainfully surveys his target from the back of the room, and makes sporadic farting noises in an attempt to distract him. He feels a vibration in his pocket and his ring-tone plays loudly, a recording of Tariq Aziz doing Suspicious Minds at the Christmas party a few years ago. He checks his phone and sees a Facebook message from his superiors:

‘Operation Freedom is a go for tomorrow. Intercept and eliminate target tonight at all costs and stop drone from being fired. End transmission. Oh and have a look at the YouTube video I embedded. It’s a dog miaowing like a cat! LOL!’

After viewing the hilarious video Jamal waits until the end of the speech, then follows Doctor O and his entourage as they leave the museum.

After following the Doctor’s limousine in a cab, Jamal finds himself at the foot of the statue of Liberty. The front entrance is heavily guarded so he scales the statue in order to reach the head. Slipping in a window, he sees Doctor O standing at a control panel in the centre of the room.

‘I’ve been expecting you Mister Bond,’ says the Doctor, turning to face him.

Jamal takes out his pistol and aims it at him.

‘It’s over Doctor, step away from that panel.’

The Doctor holds his finger tantalisingly over a giant red button.

‘We’ve been dabbling in chemical warfare for a long time agent Bond, and we’ve finally perfected in drone form a weapon of unimaginable power.’

‘What are you talking about you maniac?’

‘Isn’t it obvious? What do you hate most, Jamal? What would tear the Middle East apart like no amount of explosive tonnage ever could?’

Bond’s face slowly becomes transfixed with horror.

‘You don’t mean…’

‘Oh yes,’ replies the Doctor, grinning smugly, ‘a gay bomb.’

With that remark Doctor O slams his fist on the button as Jamal fires a volley of shots in his direction. The Doctor scampers down a stairway, and with the rumbling of a missile being prepared for launch clearly audible nearby, Bond follows him down into the darkness.

Jamal finds himself in the main foyer area, a circular room lined with all the flags of the world. Suddenly Doctor O leaps up and hurls the New Zealand flag across the room, narrowly missing Bond’s head and knocking his gun across the floor out of his reach. He reaches for the Australian flag, then the British one, launching them with a venomous, consuming anger at Jamal, who ducks for cover beneath a table

‘Damn minnows can’t get the job done,’ mutters the Doctor to himself as he picks up the US flag and begins to run towards Bond. Jamal notices he is crouching beside the flag of his motherland, Iraq. With the thoughts and prayers of the millions across the Arabic world on his shoulders, and a steely determination in his eyes, he grasps his destiny with both hands and turns just as Doctor O comes flying through the air to finish him off. A piercing scream echoes around the dark chamber as the evil dictator is fatally impaled. His face contorts horribly as he takes his last breath, and collapses into a heap. The flag of his country, held aloft in his arms, along with its pride and avarice, its sins and its self-importance, its delusions of splendour and greatness, comes crashing down on top of him, and all is silent.

Jamal races back up to the control room and hits the Abort button on the panel. He runs out to the observation deck just in time to see the giant drone explode in the sky above the city. As the chemical weapon is dispersed into the air above New York, Bond begins to feel very strange. He looks up in amazement at the burning wreckage of the missile crashing into the sea like an enormous shooting star. The sparkling residue illuminates the entire skyline of the city for a brief second, then flickers and fades slowly into darkness.

‘Fabulous,’ Jamal whispers into the cool night air, ‘just fabulous.’


Éamon de Valera: Zombie Hunter

Another summer has arrived in Hollywood, and with it another slew of preposterous blockbusters aiming to make millions from the slack-jawed, gormless dribblers that pass for young people these days. As everyone now knows, a shady cabal of movie producers has been secretly building a giant particle accelerator under the Hollywood hills over the past few years. Only instead of using boring things like electrons and atoms, the boffins enter variables such as historical figures, supernatural creatures, absurd plot lines, and other such elements of successful films. Nine times out of ten the machine just churns out 3D remakes of ‘80s films with less dialogue and more explosions, toplessness, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Every now and then, however, it produces an inspired, original idea, such as has happened with the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The alternate historical angle is always ripe for entertainment, and coincidentally, this week in Ireland has seen the discovery of a secret journal kept by former Irish President, Taoiseach and very tall citizen, Éamon de Valera. It provides a fascinating insight into a hitherto unknown series of events that took place during the War of Independence. The following are some extracts from that journal.

December 16th, 1920, New York:

I have been over here for eighteen months now, and the effort of raising funds for our revolution back home is taking its toll. I’m feeling particularly dispirited after meeting with the American Secretary of State today, who advised me that there were probably better ways to earn money than performing an Irish dancing set outside the gates of the White House. Now he tells me.

My depression was not helped when I received a letter this morning from my Minister for Finance, Michael Collins, urging me to come home at once. It appears the British have sent a formidable force of soldiers to our shores to crush our rebellion once and for all. I have decided to set sail for Ireland at once, and I must admit to being concerned and puzzled by Michael’s description of this new squad of troops as ‘a bunch of unkillable, decaying feckers. They’re pure weird Dev.’ He even took a whole three pages to recount a rather crude anecdote about one of the British force feasting on poor Arthur Griffith’s brains. I depart tomorrow at dawn, with a troubled heart, a grave fear for my beloved country, and very sore feet.

January 14th, 1921, Dublin:

I have only been home for two weeks, and the situation here grows worse by the day. The British invasion has swept across the city, and ordinary Irish people seem to be joining their ranks for some inexplicable reason. The soldiers wander the streets night and day, groaning and muttering, occasionally shouting things like ‘God save King George’, or ‘It’s so temperate here compared to Calcutta’, although mostly they seem to talk about their penchant for brains. Their eyes are a deep crimson, and have the same glazed, empty appearance that seems to come over my colleagues whenever I speak in the Dáil. The pallor of their skin and their general sluggishness suggests that they are suffering from some ailment or other, perhaps Spanish flu, or possibly Protestantism.

Only myself, Michael, and a small band of men have so far escaped their advances, and we have taken refuge in St. James’s Gate brewery. Although its high walls offer us adequate protection, I fear we may be undone by the nightly seven-hour singsongs the men indulge in after sampling the massive quantities of Guinness, which are sure to attract attention sooner or later.

One among our group is a young man by the name of John Charles, who is studying to become a priest. He says he dreams of one day becoming a bishop, and even carries a giant crosier around with him. I have become particularly close with him since he saved my life just last week. I was on patrol when a young woman, clearly afflicted with the disease, attacked me from behind, shouting something about cockles, mussels, and brains.

As if from thin air, JC appeared, and smashed the poor girl’s head to smithereens with his crosier, all the while screaming ‘God wills it!’

‘Holy first communion Dev, that was a close one.’

‘I don’t know how to thank you JC, you saved me from being transformed into one of these beasts.’

‘To be honest Dev, I didn’t even notice she was one of them, it’s just that short skirt she’s wearing is so inappropriate to be out and about in.’

We walked away arm in arm, each of us content that whatever happened in this crazy war, at least we would have each other.

February 20th, 1921, Dublin:

These past few weeks we have lost many men to the enemy forces, and now only myself and JC remain. It was just yesterday that Michael met his gruesome end. The undead horde had breached the outer walls, and we were fleeing for our lives. With the brain-hungry masses descending on us in their hundreds, Michael turned back suddenly.

‘You go on ahead lads, I’ll hold them here.’

‘No Michael, you’ll never survive.’

With his hurl in his hand and that mad glint in his eye, he ignored our pleas as he sprinted into the frenzied crowd, pucking the heads off the vicious creatures left, right and centre.

‘Holy papal bulls Dev, that’s a brave man.’

‘The bravest,’ I whispered softly, wiping a tear from my cheek as we turned and ran for our lives. Amidst the horrific shrieking of the infected as they closed in on our fearless companion, I could have sworn I heard the proud, plaintive cry, ‘Up Cork!’ I am stricken with grief at his loss, and my only hope is that history will not judge me responsible for the death of my gallant comrade.

March 13th, 1921, Dublin:

Myself and JC have taken refuge in Trinity College these past few weeks after fighting our way across the city. In the college courtyard we were attacked by a group of infected scholars, who chanted bastardised Oscar Wilde quotes as they approached.

‘To love brains is the beginning of a life-long romance,’ moaned one of them, before JC sprang into action and quickly dispatched the erudite fiends.

‘Feckin’ Proddies,’ he muttered to himself as he cleaned the blood from his enormous bishop-stick. And from his crosier.

March 17th, 1921, Dublin:

Having barricaded ourselves into a room in the college, our enemies soon surrounded us, leaving us with no option but to stay here and wait for them to breach our defences. We had become resigned to our fate, and last night as we sat by the window overlooking the infested city streets, I sang a few bars of Come Out Ye Black and Tans, a rebel song that Michael had taught me, in an attempt to lift our spirits.

To our surprise the crowd outside instantly became agitated and began to drop to their knees, holding their heads and screeching wildly. As I continued to sing, one by one the zombies’ heads began to explode.

‘Holy First Vatican Council Dev, the feckers can’t hack the rebel tunes at all at all.’

I smiled wryly to myself as I surveyed the corpses below.

‘Let’s get a good night’s sleep JC, we’ve a big day ahead of us tomorrow.’

‘Fair enough Dev. You want to be big spoon or little spoon?’

And so it came to pass that today, on the day that we celebrate Saint Patrick driving the snakes from our shores, myself and JC set out to bring an end to the British invasion once and for all. We mounted one of the college’s speaker systems on an abandoned car in the courtyard, and crashed through the front gates onto the streets. From every direction came the hordes of enemies, loping towards the car with flesh-lust in their eyes. And then I began to sing.

We drove around the whole city, singing every rebel tune, lament and ballad we could think of, to a chorus of exploding heads and horrific screams from our vanquished foes. We ran out of fuel in front of the GPO, and in the spot where five short years ago we had proclaimed our independence, we finished off the remnants of the British forces with our bare hands.

As the sun was beginning to set, we stood there on the field of battle, breathless, exhausted, but victorious. I turned to my ally and friend,

‘You know something JC, this could be the start of a beautiful republic.’

He turned to me and smiled. ‘God wills it, Dev. God wills it.’ And with that we walked, hand in hand, down the street, towards our future. Towards hope, and freedom. Towards a better tomorrow.


The Beginning…?

This week sees the release of the latest in the Twilight series of films, Breaking Dawn – Part 1. Apparently they needed to release the film in two separate parts just so they could fit Robert Pattinson’s chin on screen. Although this latest instalment is undoubtedly an abominable affront to film, the English language, and distinguished fictional vampires such as Nosferatu and Count Duckula, it will inevitably make hundreds of millions of dollars because of the impressionable and easily impressed demographic that it appeals to. In light of this I have decided to write my own movie, utilising all the aspects of modern popular culture that attract these gangs of jabbering tweens like particularly excitable flies to a giant light bulb made of  shirtless vampires and crap dialogue.

In the spirit of Hollywood trailers I will now outline the entire plot for you so that you needn’t even go and see the film. It will be in three parts, although the plot will only take up the first of them; the other two just consist of four hours of my executive producers counting massive piles of money.

Since mythical beings seem to be the protagonists de rigeur these days, my main characters will all be examples of such creatures. Although since vampires and werewolves have been overdone lately, and zombies are old news, this doesn’t leave me with much choice. Therefore, the movie will revolve around Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster, or Harry and Hamish if you prefer. The film’s plot will centre on the pair’s trials and tribulations in vying for the affections of a nubile young unicorn named Penelope who is blessed with an amazing singing voice and a non-threatening Caucasian complexion. Our heroine is played by Dakota Fanning’s unborn sister, who although still a foetus, has been generating a lot of Oscar buzz over the last few months for her incredible performances.

Penelope’s heartrending back-story is a tale of woe worthy of a spot in the final ten of The X Factor. Her parents were killed before she was born in a tragic jetski-related accident. To be precise, a jetski fell off a truck onto them as they were out jogging one day. She then fell in love with a prince who turned out to be a frog, until one day he was captured by an enthusiastic young science teacher and subjected to a gruesome dissection. After mourning him she next fell in love with a frog who turned out to be The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, but his hectic touring schedule meant that the relationship was doomed from the start. After this heartbreak she vowed never to love again, and locked herself away in the top of the tallest tower in the land, never to set eyes on another man as long as she lived. It was only after she threw away the key that she realised the toilet was on the ground floor.

It is at this point that we meet our intrepid heroes, Harry and Hamish, played by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. After hearing the tragic tale of Penelope, both instantly fall in love with her, or possibly just have nothing else to do, and they decide to undertake the perilous journey across Slightly-Right-of-Middle Earth to reach her and rescue her from her self-imposed solitude. Russell Brand appears to them separately in a dream and tells them, amidst much Dickensian hyperbole and fanciful hand gestures, that they must seek the powerful but highly camp wizard, Gandalf the Gay. Only he can help them in their quest to find Penelope.

The pair set off on their journey to reach the exuberant wizard, meeting many strange and wonderful creatures along the way. They defeat the screeching two-headed monster Jedwardius in a breakdancing competition in order to gain the keys of the magical closet from their guardian King Louis of Walshtown. They fight on the side of the Tweeters against the MySpace clans in the legendary Flame Wars. They even meet a particularly dull rock named Gerald, played by Orlando Bloom.

Finally, after following an extremely bright and glittery yellow brick road, they reach the Aquamarine City, home of Gandalf the Gay. The wizard grants them two wishes, since it infringes on copyright to grant three. While arguing over how best to use their wishes, Harry wishes Hamish would hurry up and wish for something, after which Hamish wishes ‘that mincy wizard would stop staring at me like that’. Having inadvertently wasted their wishes and angered Gandalf the Gay, the pair are banished from the City, and fear that all hope of reaching Penelope has been lost.

Harry and Hamish are in the middle of planning a route home that means they don’t have to cross paths with Gerald again when suddenly a ghostly pirate ship appears in the water beside them. Out steps Captain Zack Sparrow, younger brother of Jack, played by Justin Bieber. He offers to take them to Penelope, since he has to stop at Centra on the way home for some ham anyway. The other packet was left open too long in the fridge and it’s gone all weird and hard around the edges. While on the ship, our characters are joined for a triumphal musical number by the entire cast of Glee, except the wheelchair kid because the ship didn’t have a ramp. Pirates are notoriously insensitive to the needs of the differently abled.

Eventually, after the thirty-minute long musical interlude ends with the teacher from Glee riding a porpoise voiced by Gary Barlow into the sunset singing ‘Unchained Melody’, Harry and Hamish arrive at their destination. They come to the foot of the tower and call Penelope’s name until she appears at the window. She looks just as radiant and beautiful as they imagined she would, although Harry remarks that she could have put in a bit of effort, since she’s just wearing a snood and a pair of trackie bottoms. They tell her to throw her hair down so they can climb up but she sensibly notes that this would leave all three of them trapped in the tower, so she just flies down to them instead, leaving Hamish to wonder aloud how a winged unicorn could have been trapped in a room with a large open window in the first place.

As the trio prepare to leave together to start their new life, Penelope asks them how in the world they ever found her.

‘Russell Brand came to us in a dream.’

‘Oh, I think I had the same one. Was he naked by any chance?’

‘Yes,’ says Hamish sombrely. ‘Yes he was.’

Our heroes slowly walk away into the background, and just as the screen is fading to black and the dulcet tones of Gary the porpoise can be heard lilting over the waves, Miley Cyrus flies through the air in a biplane hauling a huge banner that simply says, ‘The End…?’

Let’s hope not. I think I could make a career out of this screenwriting lark.


You Sunk My (Alien) Battleship

Over the last number of years, American film producers appear to have collectively dismissed the idea of an original concept for a film. Amid brash, cameo-infested re-imaginings of classic 80’s movies, films based on comic books boasting scripts that make porn dialogue sound like Patrick Stewart reciting Hamlet, and endless strings of unnecessary blockbuster sequels to equally unnecessary original films, it had seemed as though Hollywood had finally slipped to the bottom rung of the greasy ladder of derivativeness and banality.

But wait, there’s more. May of next year sees the release of Battleship, a movie based on the popular classic board game of the same name. What’s that sound I hear? Why it can only be Hollywood’s producers falling off the aforementioned ladder, then rolling into a giant pit of unoriginality and absurdity that someone carelessly left unguarded. Probably Michael Bay, he doesn’t give a damn about rules. Only explosions. I’ll let you know when I hear them hit the bottom.

As ludicrous as this idea sounds, the trailer actually makes it look like it could be a bit of fun. Mindless fun, but fun nonetheless. And it does have Liam Neeson in it so you just know that at some stage someone is going to get an inspiring speech, followed by a beatdown, followed by some sage advice from the wise old Ballymena man. Which will promptly be followed by another beatdown.

The most puzzling aspect of the trailer for those acquainted with the rather simple board game, is that it seems to take quite a few liberties with the original premise. There’s a bit of a leap from ‘Guess a number and I may or may not have to remove one of the tiny pegs from my board, edging you ever closer to a famous naval victory’, to ‘Oh shit, this routine mission has somehow deviated into a pitched battle against an enormous aquatic alien vessel which seems capable of flight. What do we do Liam Neeson?’.

That’s like basing a movie on Scrabble in which sentient vowels invade Consonant Land, raping and pillaging in gangs of seven and rounding up all the Zs and Qs so they can ransom them for the most points. Or a film based on Operation in which a clearly conscious man is horrifically butchered by amateur surgeons who want to harvest his organs. Actually, that’s not too far away from the game at all…

Although in fairness, they have already made a successful film of Monopoly, where a greasy, unscrupulous tycoon uses insider trading to gain power and influence and rise to the top of the business world, only to be caught in the end and have to go to jail. I’m just glad they took out the scene of Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen passing Go and collecting 200 quid, it really didn’t sit with the rest of the film.

It may seem farcical to have a movie so loosely based on an existing concept, but the fact is that a recognisable brand is far easier to market. Original films have to be sold on their merits alone, which requires good acting, a great script, and many other features that most producers are too lazy to shell out for just so that the film can make a few bob at the local cinema while Saw 11: Let’s Get Gristlier is raking in the dough down at the 3D Cineplex.

Of course there have always been blockbusters, and they are by and large quite enjoyable distractions. There will also never be a shortage of cheaply made independent films. You know the type, seven hour long Ukrainian features about the grim reality of working in a smelting factory in wartime Kiev, set to a soundtrack of mechanical gears and the wailings of orphaned children. The kind of films that win all sorts of prestigious awards and critical acclaim at film festivals the world over, but will only ever be seen by that weird girl you know who’s into making her own jumpers.

The danger is that the films that make up the middle ground between the two extremes will become commercially unviable. People are going to the cinema less and less, and you can be assured that a big-name action blockbuster will draw the crowds, so why bother making anything else? Hopefully Hollywood will continue to produce great directors and screenwriters whose films contain some semblance of plot, feeling and intelligence. And hopefully producers will keep giving them a chance.

As for the future of the blockbuster, one of these days all the books, comics and board games will be used up, and nothing will remain to inspire our summer’s viewing. Although by that stage we could probably just get away with remaking them all again and nobody will know the difference.

Hang on a minute, I hear something. It’s coming from the bottom of the pit. It sounds like they’ve found a barrel down there and they’re scraping the bottom of it. I can even hear them whispering about how they could definitely get away with at least three more Pirates of the Caribbean films before anyone notices that nothing happens in them. God help us. God help us all.