10 June 2012

+JMJ+

Twelve Things about Legion

12. Let's be fair. Legion isn't total dreck. If it had been, I would have put it on my personal blacklist and not blogged about it at all. But it does get some things right, and I want to give it a bit of credit. 

11. You won't be surprised to hear I love the setting. =P Isn't Paradise Falls a great name for the place where we make our last stand against avenging angels? (It's too bad they don't have flaming swords.)

10. I also love the sinners. That is, the characters. =P The grumpy, mismatched bunch of deadbeats and losers who were wafted by their individual sins toward the diner at the end of the world. (G.K. Chesterton would have approved, I think.) Of course they would be the logical target of divine justice . . . but also the natural magnet for Divine Mercy.

9. And where there are transgressors, there must be enforcers. One of the earliest scenes of the movie shows two jaded policemen driving through the inner city, one of them remarking that it would be better for everyone if all the criminal riffraff were consumed in fire, ending the problem of crime forever. And this should have been the opening scene inasmuch as the whole premise of this movie is that God is a fed-up Policeman.



Seriously, wasn't that awesome?!?!
(At least it was until the part when St. Michael the Archangel admits he's gone rogue.)

Although we really should have started with something like that, what we get is some maudlin voice over about some prophecy that was pulled out of some writer's arse over some generic footage that is supposed to set some mood. If I had gone to Film school, I'd be able to explain why this is device is as cliched as it is stultifying. But more important than the fact that it's bad is the fact that it's pointless. Take it out of the movie and nobody would miss it.

8. So it totally made my day (in a Dirty Harry way) when I saw that the filmmakers decided to put it in the movie TWICE. We get the same voice over right at the end. Even if the footage makes more sense to the story this time, nothing really saves bad writing.

Not even similarities to my second favourite movie of all time . . .

7. As soon as Michael lands in that dark inner city alley, with no weapons for where he is and no way back to where he came from, time displaced itself for me, taking me back to 1984 (which is when I really belong) . . .

Please tell me you know who this character is.

We could have a Legion drinking game with only one rule:
Drink every time something that could be a Terminator homage happens.

Paul Bettany's St. Michael the Archangel may be the Kyle Reese figure, but he's really more of a Terminator--what the T-800 would have been, had Lance Henricksen played him, but in a protective T-850 sort of role. (I totally dig being able to come up with sentences like that last one.) Which means that someone else has to embody the fallible, fumbling, human side of Kyle . . .

And that would be the character in love with the pregnant waitress. (Drink!)

Yes, we get a Sarah Connor figure here, too, complete with ironic line: "This can't be happening to me. I'm just a waitress. I'm nobody." (Drink!)

One day I will have enough characters to write my Top 5 List of Waitresses Who Save the World. And before you roll your eyes at what a ridiculous trope that is, you should know that I already have a third. (See Twelve Things about A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master for details.)

6. Believe it or not, despite the incredible suckitude of the entire movie, it was really easy for me to pick out the part I hated the most. That would be . . . the waitress. What an unlikeable woman. I don't mind too much when movies mess up the Jesus figure, because all stories have to have one, and some are bound to mess it up . . . but when they mess up the Mary figure, they deserve to poop porcupines.

5. We soon find out that God's plan to destroy the world is being held up by the waitress's unborn baby, which is why all the angels doing His will are on their way to the diner to kill the waitress and effectively abort the baby.

Fine. I will suspend disbelief for that. But I will also want to know what the heck makes that baby so special, because that is what I'm suspending disbelief for. And the movie leaves us with a big blank--which is sloppy storytelling.

4. Other things that are hard to swallow include the angels' vulnerability to human weaponry and the archangel grudge match. It's just hard to believe that the same army that cast Satan into hell is so easily beaten back by bullets. And while Paradise Falls makes a great background for the human drama, it makes two dueling archangels look like rabid chihuahua puppies trying to kill each other inside a sack. (But, oh, the mock-epic potential!)

3. Now that I've given Legion a fair shot, I find there aren't enough entries on this list for me to explain what a friend on Twitter meant when she said that this is less a Horror movie than "an unintentional Comedy." I mean, what was with the "angelic possession"? I get that it's a clumsy play on demonic possession--but in that case, why is it so funny?

2. Bad writing, bad storytelling, bad visual effects . . . I might as well throw in bad character development. There are "eye of the storm" scenes in between the action sequences, when the characters can talk quietly and the audience can get a better sense of who they are and why they stand in for us all. But except for one or two of these scenes, Legion might as well have been all action, because the only character who actually shows any growth dies before the end.

And I wasn't convinced that the survivors who had fought for their lives, seen the deaths of more noble people than they, and had a divine revelation handed to them on a silver platter would ever mend their ways.

1. Did anyone notice that I was able to explain why this movie is so horrible without using the word "heresy" . . . until now? =P

Image Sources: a) Legion poster, b) The Terminator screen cap, c) Legion screen cap

7 comments:

Jenny said...

I haven't laughed like that since, well, I watched Legion. Thanks!

EegahInc said...

I haven't had the opportunity over at my blog to poop on Legion lately, so I'm very thankful that you've provided the chance to do so here.

I poop on Legion.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Jenny -- It was the line about rabid chihuahuas, wasn't it? ;-)

Eegahlnc -- And to think I almost didn't publish this because it was so "negative"! =P Legion is so bad that the bad theology is practically the least of its problems.

Thanks for commenting!

Sullivan McPig said...

I never even heard of this movie!
And now I'm curious.......

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Just don't say I didn't warn you . . . ;-)

Seriously, if you do watch this, I'd love to know what you think of it!

EegahInc said...

"...the bad theology is practically the least of its problems."

You're absolutely right. The first Christopher Walken Prophecy movie has bad theology as well, but it's an excellent B-movie. Legion is just... well, you know.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Yes, I know! =P

I'm really busy these days, but if I happen to see Prophecy in the TV Guide listings, I'll try to make time for it. =) Thanks!