Monday, 12 December 2016

[Insert Bad Call of Duty Pun Here]

So I needed something to do with myself and I decided to try and watch a film on Netflix. As it happened, there was one I've heard a lot about recently called Spectral. I had not gotten the greatest impression from the trailer but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt just to be sure. Turns out, it's not worth it, which is unfortunate because there could have been some potential with the ideas, but of course there's a lack of investment and a variety of problems that make this fail. Plus it's basically just Aliens except without all the good stuff.

It is sometime in the near future, and the American government is at war with Moldova (a country between Romania and the Ukraine). Some "insurgents have developed a new superweapon that is invisible to the naked eye, immune to bullets when detected, and can kill soldiers instantly. Dr. Mark Clyne (James Badge Dale) is a tech person who builds stuff for the military and gets recruited to try and figure out a way of countering the new superweapon. This of course means he has to go on a patrol with some other soldiers and... basically it's more or less the same as what happened in Aliens.

Now let me get one of the biggest problems in this film out of the way: what is up with the lack of female characters? There is a grand total of one woman in the entire film (played by Emily Mortimer) and she is cast as a CIA analyst or something along those lines (basically, a role that keeps her from taking part in combat). Every soldier we see depicted is male, which is ridiculous. This is a film released in 2016 that is supposed to take place in the future. There is literally no valid excuse for the lack of female soldiers. 

I mean, would it really have hurt the filmmakers at all? Adding some diversity would have probably made the cast a lot easier to follow, and it would have been more interesting. Not to mention, this film is friggin' ripping off Aliens. You know, the film which is best known for its rather strong array of female characters, including multiple female soldiers. Was the writer watching some strange custom edit that censored out all the footage of Vasquez? Because I seem to recall her role being a pretty hard to miss. It just seems really weird that they would ignore that. If you're going to steal from Aliens, at least try to steal the good stuff.

Even disregarding the obvious plagiarism, there is absolutely no reason the filmmakers had to make this decision. Much as I've criticized Call of Duty, they at least tried to address the issue (even if it took almost a decade). Here, there is no attempt. Do these people just not understand that women can serve in the army now? Including combat positions? The American military's already opened up combat positions for women in the rangers, marines, and now even the friggin' NAVY SEALS. Why is it that a film supposedly set in the future is so aversive to showing strong women. This is extremely rediculous.

Even disregarding this rather absurd oversight, there isn't really anything of worth to be found here. The film is not very good at being coherent beyond the flimsy excuse for a plot. Adding to that, there is nothing to get invested in with the actors. Even the people who appear to be intended as the main characters have absolutely no depth or anything to make them worth the time and investment. The rest of the cast is just a bunch of guys in cheap armor waving toy guns around. It is not worth the effort.

So in conclusion, don't bother with Spectral. It is a dull and uninteresting film not worth anyone's time. In fact, don't even watch it. Then you're just telling Netflix you want to see more sexist garbage like this, and we don't need any more cheap sci-fi films that lack common sense or direction. So just don't watch this one at all and save yourself the frustration that comes with all the stupidity of these filmmakers.

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