Hiroshi Yamauchi, Visionary President of Nintendo for 53 Years, Dies at 85

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by Sean H. Campbell

“I have no energy left,” Hiroshi Yamauchi told the gaming press in 2002, and one could hardly blame him.  

Over the course of his seemingly indefatigable 53-year reign as president of Nintendo, Mr. Yamauchi never stopped striving to pull his great-grandfather’s company towards relevance, even when his inherent conservatism and steely sense of purpose proved very divisive to the outside world, a theme still very much in evidence with Yamauchi’s successor, Satoru Iwata.  

Of course, with few major exceptions, Mr. Yamauchi’s direction paid off to the tune of billions upon billions in profit.  At one point, Mr. Yamauchi was the richest man in Japan (worth nearly $8 billion) and the majority shareholder of his company.

Beyond merely acquiring profit, however, Mr. Yamauchi also had a keen eye for talent, and an even keener eye for the value of an idea.  Consider software designer and inventor Gunpei Yokoi, who created taken-for-granted concepts such as the directional cross pad on the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) controller.  

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Almost twenty years before Mr. Yamauchi dared to unleash the NES in the West after the devastating crash of the gaming market in 1983, Mr. Yamauchi observed one of Mr. Yokoi’s inventions: a lattice-hinged, extending and grabbing arm that Mr. Yamauchi dubbed the “Ultra Hand.”  Nintendo sold one million units that year in Japan.

And so Nintendo was on its way from the handmade karuta and hanafuda cards (you can still buy these today,124 years later) to toys, the notorious and short-lived love hotels, a taxi cab service, and even, in 1992, the ownership of the Seattle Mariners.

In 1981, Mr. Yamauchi was faced with what was likely the defining moment for the company.  During the video game boom of the very early 1980s, Nintendo attempted to capitalize in the arcade sector.  Along the way, Nintendo found it had a hit on its hands in Japan with the game “Radar Scope,” the first game that wunderkind Shigeru Miyamoto helped to develop.  The newly christened Nintendo of America placed an order for 3,000 cabinets, but the manufacturing and shipping process was so slow that the game’s star had already faded, and the weight of these obsolete cabinets would have sunk Nintendo in short order.

Mr. Yamauchi, again relying on his instincts, tasked the relatively unproven Mr. Miyamoto with righting the ship.  So, Mr. Miyamoto set about creating a new character, drawing inspiration from “King Kong” and “Beauty and the Beast.”  Mr. Miyamoto’s standards of excellence were already apparent at this early stage as he had his designers continually rebuild the game nearly from scratch (a philosophy now known at Nintendo HQ as “Upending the Tea Table”).  The resultant product, “Donkey Kong,” was retrofitted into two-thirds of all the “Radar Scope” cabinets, and history was officially made: It became the most pervasive and recognizable pop culture phenomenon since Mickey Mouse: Mario.

It wasn’t until two years after the aforementioned games market crash, which had understandably left retailers in the West more than a little gun shy about embracing yet another home console, that Yamauchi put his instincts to their next biggest test.  And again, the three-pronged attack of Mr. Yamauchi’s instincts and direction, Mr. Yokoi’s hardware genius, and Mr. Miyamoto’s creative explosion proved unstoppable, and the Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom in Japan), replete with a game called “Super Mario Bros.,” took the West by pixelated storm, eventually selling 62 million systems around the world and spawning a long line of quirky and universal gadgets, tumultuous though times often were.

Indeed, Mr. Yamauchi’s business acumen was sometimes tinged with, by many accounts, recklessness and an icy detachment.  One legendary example is found in the nightmarish failure of Mr. Yokoi’s intriguing and borderline debilitating “Virtual Boy,” a parallax 3D “handheld” device that was almost as stunning to behold as it was painful.  Decades after so many successes, this was perhaps Mr. Yokoi’s undoing at Nintendo.  The Virtual Boy, allegedly rushed to market by Mr. Yamauchi before Mr. Yokoi had finished testing, was discontinued less than a year after release.*  Mr. Yokoi left Nintendo soon thereafter, having long planned to retire, but not before designing the massively popular Game Boy Pocket.  Mr. Yokoi was killed two years later in a horrifying highway accident.

The incredible legacy of Mr. Yamauchi is unlikely to be matched in an entertainment sector ever again, especially considering that economic woes and the rise of smartphones have made both traditional hardware and typical pricing schemes increasingly controversial.  With more than four billion games sold just by Nintendo itself, that’s not far from one game for every human on the planet.  Not bad for a man who professed no interest in video games even as he was helping to write all the rules for the entire industry.

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(*Personal note: my family purchased three of the Virtual Boy systems at a local toy store on clearance, marked down from $180 to $30; except for the nosebleeds and a few truly rotten games, we were pretty impressed by the machine’s depth; “Wario Land” alone was worth the [lower] price of admission, and was fairly easy on the eyes, all things considered.)

by Sean H. Campbell

Warning: bad legal puns incoming.

At the risk of continuing to appear to be a “Breaking Bad” fan site (hey, sue me!), here’s the verdict on the much-deliberated prequel series “Better Call Saul” based on the hilarious and incredibly corrupt (also, reliable!) criminal lawyer character. The terrific Bob Odenkirk deserves a starring role of this magnitude, so justice is clearly being done. If it’s even half as good as “Breaking Bad,” we’ll have another obsession, although the jury is still very much out.

Permalink.

Capsule Movie Reviews — Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” | Lake Bell’s “In A World…” | James Ponsoldt’s “The Spectacular Now”

Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”
Another comic drama from the tireless master of neuroses and the human condition. Cate Blanchett gives what is easily the best performance of the year so far, and though the story is more dramatic than comic, it has quite a few hilarious and biting lines in the classic Allen fashion that you’ll be quoting. Blanchett’s riches-to-rags character Jasmine French is a masterful depiction of a woman adrift in a sea of guilt and shattered expectation. The equally strong supporting cast with the likes of Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay, and Louis C.K. makes this devastating and very funny film beyond essential.
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Lake Bell’s “In A World”
Bell makes her directorial debut in this hilarious and whip-smart comedy about a young woman who finds herself battling her own wildly self-centered father (Fred Melamed) in a voice-over bid for a major new movie “quadrilogy”* (ugh, that “word”) that the execs hope to promote with the now-dormant “In a world…” phrase made famous by the late Don LaFontaine.  Bell, who wrote and stars in the film, is a keen observer of both speech patterns and the vapid entertainment that passes for feminist art in the mainstream.  Geena Davis has a very brief cameo and speech that had women cheering “Amen!” in my audience, and the film’s tone reminded me of Woody Allen and Albert Brooks.  Also stars Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Demetri Martin, Ken Marino, Tig Notaro, and Nick Offerman.  [*Please, let’s drop the word that admen made up for the “Alien” box set years ago and use the word we already have: “tetralogy.” Fight the good fight.]
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James Ponsoldt’s “The Spectacular Now”
Based on the novel by Tim Tharp, “The Spectacular Now” is that rare coming-of-age story that isn’t completely farcical and built for the lowest common denominator.  The movie is funny and witty, but it’s also emotionally resonant, thanks to some smart writing and an impeccable cast.  Shailene Woodley, who wowed in the wonderful “The Descendants,” takes a big leap forward as the saintly Aimee Finecky (whose surname could not be less apt).  She falls in love with self-described “life of the party” Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), who is still hung up on his ex (a beautifully fractious and indecisive Brie Larson) but who has found himself unexpectedly taken with the brainy and overlooked Aimee.  As good as Woodley is in her role, Teller is the main surprise after having been mired in the kinds of teen comedies “The Spectacular Now” makes every effort to undermine.  His devil-may-care, friend-to-all persona turns out to be a construct that has helped to steer him away from all responsibility, and the root of this problem — some mysterious “daddy issues” — proves to be quite powerful, thanks in large part to yet another great supporting role from Bob Odenkirk and Kyle Chandler’s best work yet.  Also stars the great Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
The old and the new. [The Royal Theater, Danville, IN] The old and the new. [The Royal Theater, Danville, IN]

The old and the new. [The Royal Theater, Danville, IN]

TV Exhibit — Breaking Bad, Final Season, “Confessions” [Review]

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Directed by Michael Slovis

Written by Gennifer Hutchison

Original Air Date — August 25, 2013

by Sean H. Campbell

As Hank and Marie watch the “confession” Walt handed them after an awkward meeting at a hilariously inappropriate restaurant, two things were going through my mind.  The first is that writer Gennifer Hutchison threw a spectacular curveball by turning Walt’s confession tape into a total indictment and reversal for Hank, and our realization of what Walt has done directly mirrors the reaction we see on screen again.  The second is that Walter White truly is one of the sleaziest, most underhanded, most duplicitous characters in television history.*  

As a viewer, I find my ability to root for Walt after all he’s done slightly terrifying; we really want to believe that Walt is sitting down in front of that camera finally to set the record straight, although nothing in Heisenberg and his past would ever suggest this as a remote possibility.  (Perhaps our inability to give up on Walt is Robert Louis Stevenson’s fault.)  I even found myself imagining, when Walt was weeping into the camera for what Hank had “forced” him to do, that his tears were so convincing because it pained him to set such a devastating trap for Hank.  But set the trap he did, and the Heisenberg we know doubtlessly relished the gambit.

The writers continue to put together scenes that we genuinely want to see play out,† and our expectations are anticipated and leveraged at every turn.  Consider the scene where Jesse and Saul meet at a remote location (Saul, ever the keen observer, says, “Jesus. It’s always a desert.”), where Walt uses his Dad Voice, dreamily explaining to Jesse just how great his life will be when he gets to hit “restart” at so young an age and wake from this “bad dream.”

The parental, wistful tone that Cranston adopts — and has so many times before — is stomach-churning at this point, and Jesse’s comatose emotional state finally begins to crack, not least of all because it’s clear that any disagreement regarding this obvious order will likely end in his death.  Jesse almost dares “Mr. White,” still a real father figure to him, to be honest saying, “Tell me you need this!”  The suspense wrung from the scene as Walt walks forward to embrace an incredulous Jesse is suffocating; Jesse’s face clearly indicates he knows what Walt is capable of, but the embrace is surprisingly cathartic.  Walt may even have let a barrier or two down, although we can never really be sure.  His carefully laid plan to remove Jesse still has to be put into action, after all, and now Jesse’s under Walt’s wing again.

We think back a few scenes to the interrogation room when Hank fires a direct hit, one that might even have worked if he hadn’t also been the one who sent Jesse to the hospital after beating him to a pulp (“So long, Rocky!” Saul says as he forces Hank and the police to leave the interrogation).  Hank says, “He really did a number on you, didn’t he?” and we know exactly what he means.

What Walt doesn’t anticipate is that he is just about to make a wrong move, and Jesse is not only slowly coming back to life but about to come completely unhinged.  (Watch Jesse in Saul’s office as he sends him on his way to begin his rebooted life; Aaron Paul’s detached mistrust is masterful.)  If there’s one thing that Walt isn’t used to, it’s being unable to anticipate his next move.  

When Jesse realizes his weed has not only been pickpocketed but replaced by simple cigarettes, he realizes just how deeply he has been double-crossed and manipulated in the past (re: ricin), goes completely nuts, nearly kills Saul and Huell and anyone else who isn’t totally straightforward with him, and the episode ends suddenly and much too soon with Jesse angrily shaking every last gallon of gasoline he has on some poor camera operator throughout Walt’s house.

Meanwhile, thanks to a warning from Saul, Walt is fully panicked, and his brilliantly calculated confession-trap is forgotten.  Jesse is now completely unleashed, his rage directly linked to a mountain of betrayals and his own misdeeds, and Walt knows he’s gone too far this time.  When you see Walt go for a gun and not an elaborate, nuanced scheme, you know he’s in real trouble.

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Broken Musings [and footnotes]:

  • *Who else even compares?  George Costanza?  I can already see Jason Alexander playing Gale Boetticher in the inevitable “Breaking Bad” musical.

  • †As I wrote this, I thought, “Well, isn’t that what writers are supposed to do?  Create scenes we really, really, really want to see?”  But, how few do it this well?  How many gleefully throw characters together and watch the sparks fly?

  • Seeing Walt in his Mr. Rogers sweater at the “Office Space”-style Mexican restaurant was more than a little hilarious.  The waiter trying to sell them on table-side guacamole at the worst possible moment was even funnier.

  • Junior’s back!

  • Todd (Jesse “Matt Damon” Plemons) and his recounting of the elaborate train heist is classic, final season myth-making.  That really was a terrific episode, and it’s very gratifying to watch a show that knows its strengths so well.

  • I found this double exposure photograph of Richard Mansfield, the first actor to portray Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1887, not only intriguing but very apt.

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    Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Case_of_Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Freight

thedissolve:

With the Essential The World’s End wrapping up Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s excellent Cornetto Trilogy, The Conversation looks back at how the three films work as a unit.
thedissolve:

With the Essential The World’s End wrapping up Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s excellent Cornetto Trilogy, The Conversation looks back at how the three films work as a unit.
thedissolve:

With the Essential The World’s End wrapping up Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s excellent Cornetto Trilogy, The Conversation looks back at how the three films work as a unit.

thedissolve:

With the Essential The World’s End wrapping up Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s excellent Cornetto Trilogy, The Conversation looks back at how the three films work as a unit.

TV Exhibit — Breaking Bad, Final Season, “Buried” [Review]

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Directed by Michelle MacLaren

Written by Thomas Schnauz

Original Air Date — August 18, 2011

[This entire review is a spoiler.]

 By Sean H. Campbell

For an episode called “Buried,” there sure is an awful lot clawing its way to the surface.  Indeed, the only thing that is successfully buried is $80 million, no small thing to be sure, but as “Breaking Bad” fans know all too well, it’s only the tip of the methberg (sorry).

Last week, it was Walt versus Hank, and you may recall that I found it pretty memorable.  This week’s emotional crescendo hits when Marie takes on Skyler — by taking her baby.  The scene is very cleverly constructed by Michelle MacLaren (a “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones” MVP who has been responsible for some of the best episodes, like this one); Marie desperately questions Skyler, quickly susses out the timeline, especially regarding Hank being gunned down by Tuco’s cousins, strikes Skyler, then walks down the hall and off camera.  As Skyler sits, stunned, we hear Marie in the background, and our panicked realization that she’s taking Skyler’s baby perfectly dovetails with Skyler’s own.  The ensuing moments don’t involve a single gun, but it’s one of the best examples of a Mexican standoff I’ve ever seen.

By the scene’s end, Skyler’s own complicity — or at least how deeply she is mired in Walt’s scheme — couldn’t be clearer.  And we haven’t even mentioned the diner, where Skyler meets Hank, too.  Hank’s understandably overzealous questions and advice send Skyler into total red alert (“AM I UNDER ARREST!?” she repeats, coming unhinged), and she bolts leaving Hank clearly bewildered

“Buried” is very much about showing Skyler’s hand and where she’s going to stand. It’s clear she’s standing with Walt, just as, more than ever, Marie is standing with Hank.  “You have to get him,” Marie tells a sinister-looking Hank in his car after he forces her to leave Skyler’s home empty-handed.  Later, Walt pledges to turn himself in on one condition: that Skyler promises never to give back the money for which he worked.  And killed.  Skyler’s response is telling: “Maybe our best move here is to stay quiet.”

There’s a clever parallel to Hank regarding Walt turning himself in, as Hank has to turn himself in as well, now that he knows his brother-in-law was Heisenberg all along.  Both of them are now sitting on the truth, and both will be utterly ruined by revealing the truth publicly.  The difference is that Walt chooses to “stay quiet” while Hank wearily drags himself to tell all, especially after Marie points out that sitting on the information any longer — even to build a perfect case against Walt — would be even more dangerous and incriminating for Hank.

Then there’s that trademark, “Breaking Bad” touch, that comic edge that grounds everything.  Walt is tasked with quickly hiding his $80 million meth-egg (sorry), and before some travel advice from Saul to kill Hank (“It’s an option that has worked very well for you in the recent past.”) that Walt flatly refuses, we have scenes like Saul’s two goons opening up the storage unit holding the cash and finding out what lying on a bed of money feels like.  “We are here to do a job, not channel Scrooge McDuck,” Kuby says, right before joining the hulking Huell already reclining.

The final set piece at the underground meth lab serves as another example of why “Breaking Bad” has been so convincing all these years.  The current meth supplier is doing a subpar job, especially when compared to Heisenberg’s nearly-perfect Blue Sky formula.  Lydia Rodarte-Quayle travels to reason with the cooks, their lab looking more like an abandoned fallout shelter than anything else, and when they seem all too satisfied with the current product’s quality, the consequences are swift and brutal.  MacLaren wisely keeps the violence off-screen: the men are led to the surface, Lydia crouches in the corner, and the muffled sound of assault rifles laying waste to the latest meth B-Team is roundly terrifying.  Walter White is a man who loves to solve problems many moves in advance, if possible.  He’s also meticulous, calculating, proud, and efficient.  The memory of his pristine meth lab not only lingers in our minds, symbolizing Walt’s drive to do anything to provide for his family as well as his own ego, but also in the minds of the poison distributors who aren’t making anything like the money they were under Heisenberg.  Surely, they won’t let Walt walk away at this point, will they?

So, the lines are drawn, the sides are (evenly?) matched, and we will simply see who makes the next best chess move, right?  Well, Hank may have a second queen on the board: Jesse.  Jesse has been the fringe character these two episodes, the character who crumbled under the weight of his choices, but also a key one.  In the closing moments, Hank is at the station, ready to talk, when he is diverted towards Jesse, currently being interrogated by two classic cop archetypes.  The last thing we see is Hank asking for some alone time with Jesse and entering the room as the credits roll.  Jesse is the wild card.  The lines are drawn, but there’s one side we aren’t sure about just yet.

Broken Musings:

  • Ready for yet more evidence of our culture’s problem of embedded and sickeningly pervasive misogyny?  Check out Anna Gunn’s wonderful (and deeply disturbing) article at the Times about her experience of playing Skyler White and the fringe-idiot-fan reaction, which isn’t nearly fringe enough, unfortunately.  Ms. Gunn, if you ever, by some small chance, read this, I just want to say that you’ve been brilliant, and you’ve played a truly innovative female role exactly as you wanted to, exactly as you should have.

  • Fantastic reference from Marie when she asked Hank, “What are you?  Lone Wolf McQuade?”  The writers know their forgotten action classics.

  • There’s some clever sound design whenever it cuts to Jesse’s still-catatonic face in the interrogation room, where we hear a buzzing white noise that perfectly captures Jesse’s flat-lined mental state.  Another amazing episode.

Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/24/opinion/i-have-a-character-issue.html?_r=1& (possible paywall)

Movie Review — Scott Stewart’s “Dark Skies”

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Written and directed by Scott Stewart

Starring Keri Russell, Jake Brennan, Josh Hamilton

Runtime of 97 minutes

Rated PG-13

by Joseph C. Bracco

Months after the original release, I was finally able to see the movie that had me wondering if it could top the feeling I had while watching “The Fourth Kind, terror-stricken, and it did. Kind of.

If there’s one thing that I have a love-hate relationship with, it’s a movie that involves extraterrestrials. (Well, scary movies with aliens more so. “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is cool in my books.)

When I originally saw the trailer for this movie, I will say I was all aboard the Scott Stewart train. His past few years were productive, and I was a huge fan of “Legion,” which he wrote and directed.

The movie itself has the basic outline of many scary movies that are based in a suburban neighborhood around a nuclear family, in this case the Barretts. The movie focuses on the two Barrett boys, Sam (Kadan Rockett), around five years old, who is adorable and somehow not played by Danny Lloyd; the other, Jesse (Dakota Goyo), an adolescent teen struggling with losing his “momma’s boy” title as well as a Justin Bieber haircut. (Yes, I did just reference Justin Bieber, but the haircut is key to the ending of the movie. No, really.)

Daniel Barrett (Josh Hamilton) is a middle class father who is unemployed, stressed-out, and looking for a new job. His wife Lacy (Keri Russell) is an average realtor who should’ve stuck with her day job.

The movie builds itself on relating to the struggling family that many of us are involved in today. With a teenage boy that looks after his younger brother, he does what most older brothers will do from time to time, which is to try and scare their siblings. At night, when the children are supposed to be sleeping, they use walkie-talkies to talk secretly and sometimes even share bedtime stories.

Well, one night Jesse felt it was necessary to tell Sam about the Sandman. The Sandman was just a fictional character that was described from a book Jesse read, but Sam felt he was real. After that night of learning about the Sandman, it seems as if everything starts going downhill.

It starts with their mother hearing a weird noise coming from downstairs. Thinking it was one of the kids, she proceeds to check both of their rooms, where she sees them passed out in bed. She continues her scouting and stumbles upon her refrigerator open with food displaced on the floor and a soda can popped open. Startled by what she has seen, Lacy follows the line of trash, which leads her to the sliding glass door standing open. Assuming it was a burglar, she and her husband decide to reactivate the home security system and cameras, which they had cancelled due to finances.

As the story progresses, bizarre events continue to occur nightly, events that become more and more unexplainable without some otherworldly explanation. A flock of three different migrations of birds crash into the house.

Later that night, we encounter the aliens for the first time.

The alarm gets tripped, Daniel runs downstairs to make sure no one has broken in, and the mother goes to check on her sons. She opens the door to Sam’s room and sees a tall, skinny figure standing by the side of his bed. She quickly turns on the light to see that her son and the being have now vanished. Startlingly, Sam reappears outside shortly after in his underwear, confused as to why he’s standing in front of the house. One by one, each family member is struck by periods of possession by these beings.

Daniel is in denial until these possessions affect him. His wife is awakened by noises downstairs and notices her husband is out of bed. Walking downstairs searching for him she notices the sliding glass door open again, and Daniel is standing there with his back facing her. She begins to call his name, but he doesn’t respond.

As Lacy walks around Daniel’s paralyzed, upright body, the camera is fixed on his face. His face is contorted almost in a mid-yawn pose, and he begins to bleed profusely from his nose and mouth.The wife runs back into the house, and when she gets inside and turns the corner, her husband is there cleaning up a sudden nose bleed and asking “What am I doing in the kitchen?” Many horror movies leave us anticipating something popping into frame, a scary facial expression or another device to make us want to look away, and “Dark Skies” is no different, but this scene is particularly effective.

During these possessions the hosts lose all sense of time and memory, so whole hours of the day are not remembered. Each member of the family experiences lost time, and that’s when the parents, even though the father is still trying to find other explanations for what’s going on, decide to look for outside help — not from a psychologist but local UFO researcher, Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons). Fortunately for the Barretts, Edwin doesn’t wear a tinfoil hat; his attire is more like that of Sam Neill’s iconic Dr. Grant in “Jurassic Park.”

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Daniel and Lacy make an appointment and meet at his apartment downtown. Edwin is not only a researcher but also claims he himself has had frequent contact with aliens. When invited into Edwin’s apartment, Daniel and Lacy notice that Edwin has numerous cats. They mention this, and Edwin explains he has cats because dogs were too able to sense when the aliens were coming or already around the apartment. The barking simply became too much of a nuisance.

Edwin sets out to verify the Barretts’ story with a questionnaire of yes or no questions, and director Stewart uses this to fine effect, illustrating just how much the Barretts don’t know. The first few questions Edwin asks are answered with “No,” until he mentions that both of them are probably already “chipped” by the aliens. Daniel realizes he’s had a scab that has been itching behind his ear and brings it up to Edwin. Edwin confirms that a chip has been implanted but the rash indicates that his body is not reacting to it well.

“Can’t I just take it out?” Daniel asks. Edwin explains that he wouldn’t be able to take it out because he also tried to remove his own chip. Edwin turns and presents the same mark behind his ear, which looks as if several razors were unsuccessful.

“Why us? What makes us so special?” Daniel asks.

“Nothing,” Edwin replies.

So, it seems as if the aliens picked this family based on a sort of “Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish, how many pieces do you wish?” method — luck of the draw, I guess.

The aliens pick a random family and usually abduct the youngest one. Edwin explains that the only way to prevent this from happening is for the family to “come together” and stay together to fend off these aliens until they tire and move on to the next. The film continues on in this way with the family getting supplies together and a game plan on how they are going to take these aliens head-on.  

“Dark Skies” had its potential, and who am I to say that it wasn’t the best film. I will say if you catch yourself wanting to stay in one night and want to rent a scary movie, this will get the job done. It has its moments where you jump, or whisper profanities under your breath, but that’s where it’s appeal ends. If you can look past its mediocre dialogue and acting, the movie will get the job done with periodic scares.