An Entry About The Delightfully Not DOOMed, Or Semi-Lucid Ravings From A Girl Who Has Seen This Movie Too Many Times

Preamble

So, finally an entry that isn’t about Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Vampire Diaries. When are we? September? Yeah, I think it has been that long, except for a few key exceptions.

I’m getting so nervous now that people are actually starting to check out my entries. Like you. You’re making me nervous right now. I have to be nervous because I’m such a dork. But you’re probably just here for the pictures anyway, right?

So, I’ve been all about Inception for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I can’t find a single excuse to write about it for this blog. So I won’t. But if you haven’t seen it, then SEE IT!!! It. Is. Awesome.

Now that I’ve wasted time writing about what I’m not going to write about, I’ll tell you what I am going to write about: Doom. Yes, finally, my long-promised Doom entry is here. I mentioned it most closely in connection with House Of Wax, I believe, and if you see these two movies then you’ll understand why, but it’s supremely tied to how they end so I won’t spell it out for you in case you haven’t seen them already and don’t want to be spoiled. Although, let me point out that in this entry and in the one about House Of Wax (which is now totally like famous because it’s linked from Television Tropes And Idioms) I provide enough detail (dialogue transcription, screencaps, etc.) that you don’t even need to have seen the movies in order to follow my discussion.

Every other winter I watch Doom. Two years ago I think I watched it about six times before putting my foot down, but it didn’t quite pack the same punch this year. It’s not its fault that it couldn’t compete with Inception – little can.

Is it possible for Tom Hardy to be photographed without a cigarette in his mouth?

Karl Urban and Tom Hardy are duking it out in my…mind, and even though Karl is packing and wearing flak, Tom can move at 20x normal speed and he’s winning for now.

He likes to dream a little bigger, but even he can’t dream as big as the BFG.

Fortunately for them (and me), the Rock isn’t in contention. –>

Funny (ish) story: my DVD player broke (*sadface*). So I bought a new one. That one did not work, in more than one way. So I took it back. But I accidentally took it back with a disc inside. Oops. The store I bough it at is not very close by, and I didn’t spend much $ on the disc, so I let it go. But it was my Doom disc, so it had to be replaced, obviously.

This time I bought the Extended Unrated Edition, which I didn’t even know existed until very recently. So I got to watch my new Doom edition in my new DVD player, which works wonderfully (*happyface*). There’s probably no more than eight minutes of new scenes, maybe even less. So if you don’t have the Extended Unrated Edition, don’t feel too bad – you’re not missing out on much. There aren’t any new scenes between John and Samantha, and only a small one in which Samantha speaks about John to Duke. I’ll cover it in detail here, of course.

Now, Doom isn’t a movie that has a lot of prestige. I haven’t bothered to read any reviews (by critics, or the public), because I’m pretty sure what they are all going to say, and it’s not going to be positive. I, however, totally love this movie. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorites. Granted, even though it has many likeable qualities entirely divorced from my little Samantha/John shipfest, I would not love this movie so much if it weren’t for those two characters. But I still don’t think it’s as horrible as people think that it is right off the bat.

Many of the complaints I casually noticed were related to a lack of fidelity to the video game on which the movie is based. After going through this recently with The Last Airbender I’m about ready to rip out my voluminous locks, but I’ll restrain myself. I suppose most of those complainers are men who probably didn’t spend most of the movie drooling over Karl Urban like I did, so I can understand why their level of enjoyment would be below my own.

John and Samantha are one of my favorite brother-sister pairs, so I’m probably going to be even more long-winded and shipper goggles-y and speculative than I normally am, and if you’ve read any of my other entries, then you know that that seems almost impossible. The issue here is not that I’m obsessed, it’s that any job worth doing is worth doing well, and I have to be thorough (it’s in my nature), and I can’t think something and then decide not to include it. I always have such trouble editing things down. (An ominous sentence for you.)

Necessary Information and The Basic Plot

The concept is pretty simple: Doom takes place in 2046, 20 years after the discovery of a portal to Mars in the Nevada desert. This portal is called the Arc. (Everything is called Arc these days – the villain’s corporation on The Cape, the center on Primeval, etc.) UAC is the company that controls operation of the Arc and the research and excavation facility (Olduvai) on Mars. After a report of a breach and several missing scientists, UAC calls in the Rapid Response Tactical Squad (RRTS) to handle the matter. The RRTS seem a little bit different, but we’re told that they are marines. The RRTS travel through the Arc to Mars where they face off against what they find there = monsters.

RRTS consists of Sarge, his by-all-appearances second-in-command John Grimm/Reaper, and six other soldiers. They are joined by UAC scientist Samantha Grimm, sister of John, who travels with them into the cordoned area in order to retrieve research data.

You have now received your spoiler warning.

What they discover is that the monsters are actually the missing scientists. On Olduvai they had been experimenting with chromosome-mutation, and injecting a 24th chromosome pair into the test subjects which they had found in the humanoid skeletal remains from the archaeological dig. The 24th chromosome pair made the extinct humanoid residents of Mars super human, but it turned a certain percentage of the population (a rather large percentage, it would seem) into monsters (remind anybody of the Pax in Serenity?). Samantha makes the jump that the supermen vs. monsters dilemma is a matter of morality, possibly even the genetic blueprint of the soul, but I’m not sure the evidence is really there. She’s the scientist, it’s true, but I’m an inhabitant of reality (for the most part), so it’s up to you who you want to side with.

A bite on the neck (again, Samantha says “neck” for some reason, and I wonder how she backs that up empirically, but no matter) passes C-24 infection much in the manner of a zombie. Corpses reanimate as well, also in the manner of a zombie. In fact, for all intents and purposes, these are zombies, except that they are faster, stronger, and much, much smarter. They may or may not eat brains.

After the team begins dying off, Sarge loses control of the cordoned area and one of the monsters gets through. Sarge orders Olduvai evacuated, but quarantine is maintained on the Nevada side of the Arc (which is buried deep underground with only an elevator leading to the surface). There are about 80 UAC staff from Olduvai holed up there, and an unknown amount of Nevada staff. The monster gets through the Arc ahead of Sarge and the team, so we only see the aftermath, but it pretty much tore through the facility. Sarge is concerned with preserving the quarantine and killing the infected, but he becomes increasingly irrational. He orders everyone killed, even after Samantha and John reveal to him that the infection is passed through bites, and that not everyone will be infected.

Sarge becomes infected himself. John gets injured by the ricochet of one of his own bullets, and is dying. I told him not to shoot – the nanowall was closed – but he didn’t listen. Samantha gambles and injects him with a dose of C-24 which she took from the lab. She doesn’t think it’s a gamble though – I’ve never heard someone be so confident. John loses consciousness, but it seems to have worked because he wakes up superhuman, and definitely not an ugly monster.

He and Sarge battle it out, and John eventually sends him back through the Arc, followed by an ST grenade, blowing the Mars end of the Arc up completely. Samantha is injured, but not terminally, and the two of them take the elevator back up to the surface.

Everyone else down there is dead.

Everyone.

How’s that for a spoiler.

And talk about competition elimination.

You can see why I’d like this movie, right?

So, I’ll talk about the characters and casting before doing an in-depth discussion of John/Samantha.

Cast and Characters

John Grimm, RRTS codename Reaper, is played by Karl Urban.

I can’t gauge how well Karl Urban is known generally, because I’ve been a particular fan of his for some time. You’ll probably recognize him from JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot: he played McCoy, the doctor (don’t you just love that movie?!!). I thought he was great in the role, but it certainly wasn’t a sexy role in the way that John is.

He’s got a great brother/sister story as Eomer in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I will cover if I’ve got the time.

I picked him out as the Russian assassin in The Bourne Supremacy

…(marcing the second fake Russian making me weak in the knees – Sark, I’m looking at you, and how happy am I that you’re on The Vampire Diaries once again and helping my beloved Katerina?)

You may or may not know that he is from New Zealand. He was in a delightful film from there called The Price Of Milk. Sort of a magical realism tale. It’s hard to describe. Of course he was in a bunch of other stuff, but I have to stop somewhere, right?

But not before providing this picture for you:

John is presented immediately as the no-nonsense type.

The movie begins with our RRTS soldiers about to go on leave, but it gets revoked at the last minute and they all head off to deal with the situation on Olduvai. The guys are joking that Reaper’s idea of a vacation is either jungle warfare, or not leaving the base at all. While the others are playing video games and baseball, he’s cleaning his weapon.

Rosamund Pike plays Samantha. She’s another who had sort of been on my radar before she got as big as she is now. It’s hard not to notice her because she’s so damn beautiful. She played Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s last Bond film. You remember her: she’s the one who’s not Halle Berry. And she was really good at fencing.

And, of course, she played Jane in the Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. Very appropriate, since Jane is supposed to be more beautiful than Elizabeth, a place where most of the other adaptations have failed by having ugly Janes. This is a good time to point out that Rosamund isn’t American either: she’s British. London. Not a particularly exciting detail, there. I went to check, hoping it was some obscure tiny English town like Mary St. Mead or Little Thigby or something like that. But no.

She was in Surrogates, a role which I’ll take the time to mention because I mentioned the film before in my entry on Gamer. If you can believe it, she plays Bruce Willis’ wife. A very unlikable character, as a matter of fact.

And, finally, I have to recommend Fracture, with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. It’s a about a young lawyer tempted by a big, evil firm and prosecuting an impossible case against a devilishly smart murderer. It’s quite a good movie. And she’s in it, of course.

Samantha doesn’t have much of a personality. I don’t really know what else to say. The way she reacts to things is so reasonable that it doesn’t reveal much about her. Obviously I like her, except for when she doesn’t do what she’s told, although in her defense it usually turns out well.

So, the story with John and Samantha is that they lived on Olduvai with their scientist parents when they were kids. The parents were killed in an accident at the archaeological dig. After the accident, we don’t really know what happened, except that Samantha followed in her parents’ footsteps, and John didn’t. This created a lot of resentment between them.

Sarge is played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I’m just going to call him The Rock, because that’s what I have always done. Honestly, I’m not really attracted to him at all, but he’s still one of my favorite actors. I think he’s really funny (perhaps not always intentionally), and I like the way he delivers a lot of his lines. And he did a guest spot on Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana, so he’s cool in my book. I love Disney, so anyone who does anything with Disney gets much love from me. I felt like a Disney traitor for being such a big fan of iCarly and Avatar: The Last Airbender (because they’re on Nick).

Do I even need to talk about what the Rock has been in? He’s The Rock! I made a passing reference to the Tooth Fairy in my Hellboy 2 entry, so I’ll bring that one up again. Not a great movie, but he was funny, as always.

He’s also in The Mummy Returns, which is such a fun movie, and so appealing visually. I remember seeing it in theaters: I was bug-eyed. The Rock played the Scorpion King, of course. He reprised the role in a film of that name, which somehow I’ve never actually seen.

He was also in Race To Witch Mountain, another Disney collaboration. That movie was entertaining enough, certainly not a failure. But given that it’s about a brother and sister who are isolated from everyone else, I was hoping to love it, and I didn’t. I mean, that’s exactly the sort of movie I write about on this blog, except that it just didn’t do anything for me. In fact, I barely remember it.

Anyway, Sarge, one could say, goes through a bit of character development, and isn’t quite the same character at the end as he is at the beginning. As far as squad leaders go, he’s rather standard edition. Slightly aloof, but considerate. Angry when his soldiers die, etc. At the beginning, he knows Reaper’s history with Olduvai, and sympathetically recommends that he not go on the mission.

But by the end, Sarge shoots his own soldier for mutiny. It’s never clear why he devolves into such an a$$, except that he’s trying to save himself at ANY cost.

It’s pretty awesome when he transforms into one of the monsters, though.

There is also Pinky, an employee at Olduvai, who is played by Dexter Fletcher.

When I first saw this movie, I recognized him from Band of Brothers. I know my soldiers from Black Hawk Down and Band of Brothers like the back of my hand.

I went crazy over those movies, and I pretty much wanted to —- every last one of them. Compared to those movies, the RRTS of Doom are not a particularly good-looking bunch. Speaking of that, since I mentioned Tom Hardy earlier, I’ll tell you that I just noticed that he and Dexter Fletcher were both in Band of Brothers, The Virgin Queen, and Layer Cake. Three movies in common!

Within the last year I saw Dexter Fletcher in another movie called Twisted Obsession, also known (and preferred to be known by me) as The Mad Monkey. That’s a movie with actual brother-sister incest in it, and not just my overactive imagination. It’s all sort of implied and in the background. But I really like how our main character (played by Jeff Goldblum) figures it out: he goes over to the house of the brother and sister, and sees Dexter Fletcher’s character’s bed, and notices that there’s stuff on the nightstands on each side of the bed (like a husband and wife would have). Subtle. The movie itself is boring, but it has some interesting stuff to it (like Miranda Richardson’s character), and a well-done haunting tone.

Mr. Fletcher is from North London. That’s still more interesting than just plain old London.

Pinky is a very annoying character. But he lost everything from the waist down, so I guess I’ll give him a pass. Plus he turns into one of the cooler-looking monsters.

Next, the other RRTS soldiers.

There is Portman, the one who everyone hates. He gets a couple of good lines, but mostly you just wait for him to die, and you enjoy it when it happens. He’s a sleazy, creepy perverted, and there’s little more to say. He’s played by Richard Brake, who has a lovely photo on IMDB, but I’m afraid his other prominent roles – Joe Chill in Batman Begins, and characters in Cold Mountain, Hannibal Rising, and The Black Dahlia – don’t bode well for him not being typecast as the creepy guy. The good news is that he was not born in the U.S. either, and his hailing point is far more interesting than London: Ystrad Mynach, Henroed, Wales. Welsh. Who’d have guessed?

Next we have Goat, played by Ben Daniels of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Rosamund Pike, you are losing so badly. I wonder what The Rock did while all of his co-stars were having their afternoon tea?

I didn’t recognize anything else from Ben Daniels’ filmography, except that he was also in The Virgin Queen.

Goat is a very quiet sort. He’s deeply religious, and prays sometimes, and quotes scripture. When he takes the Lord’s name in vain, he carves a cross into his skin with his knife. To each his own, I guess. I tried snapping a rubber band I wore around my wrist to stop swearing, but it didn’t work.

When Goat is bitten, he turns into a monster even though Samantha’s no more than 90 minutes of analysis lead her to believe that only “evil” or “psychotic” people will become infected in that way. I suppose his fanaticism could be tied to psychosis. I like Samantha’s conclusions, because she uses them later when she decides to inject John, and I want things to turn out the way she thinks they will, and the way that they do (and not have it be chance). But either Samantha is wrong, or Goat shouldn’t have turned. He was a good person. When his corpse reanimated, he knew what he was becoming, and he killed himself by slamming his head against a wall repeatedly.

Then there is Destroyer, another silent, intimidating type. He is played by Deobia Oparei. There is almost nothing about him on IMDB, but he was in a French movie called Dirty Pretty Things, so I’m going to take a wild guess and say he’s not American either. That is totally unsubstantiated, by the way. It’s crazy to see him smiling in the above picture.

We learn in the deleted scenes included in the Unrated Extended Edition that Destroyer and Duke grew up together.

Duke is played by Razaaq Adoti, also English, but born to Nigerian parents. Sorry, I don’t have a city for you.

Raz was in Amistad, but I can’t comment up on that further because I haven’t seen that movie, shame on me.

Ironically, since I just mentioned it, he was in Black Hawk Down, but as a Somali, and not as an American soldier.

Duke is pretty cut up when Destroyer dies, and I always wondered before why his response was so emotional, so the deleted scene really cleared that up. They’re family.

Duke is the most lighthearted of the soldiers. He makes jokes, he plays video games. He tries to put the moves on Samantha. You’d think I wouldn’t like him for that reason, but he dies, so I don’t hold that against him. And I’m not sure he ever had a chance with her anyway.

Mac is a soldier we don’t really get to meet. He’s kind of a redshirt. But he’s nice to look at. He is played by Yao Chin. There is basically nothing on his IMDB page. RIP Mac.

Finally is The Kid. He’s called that because he’s the rookie, and it’s kind of sad that he never even earns a nickname because of his personality, or that we never learn his real name. He is played by Al Weaver who is…are you guessing whether or not he’s English? If you’re guessing that he is, then you’re right. But I’m not going to give you much credit, since apparently every actor in this movie was born in the Commonwealth. Al is from Bolton, Lancashire. Better than London, but not as cool as Nuneaton or Ystrad Mynach.

He was in Marie Antoinette (with Tom Hardy!!!) as Comte d’Artois. I’ve seen that movie twice, but I don’t remember who that is. He was also in The Merchant of Venice as Stephano. I just watched that movie, like, two months ago and I don’t remember who that is. Sorry, Al. But you’re young: you’ve got time.

I don’t know Duke and Destroyer’s stories exactly, but I’m pretty sure Kid has the saddest story around. He woke up to find that his parents had left, and taken everything. Even the TV. In his words: “They wanted the TV more than they wanted me.” Sniff. He tries to connect with Reaper over their shared orphanhood, but Reaper was trying to concentrate on killing monsters so it didn’t go over too well.

This is The Kid’s first mission, and he is really scared. I find that endearing. So I don’t even mind too much when he asks Portman for a pill to help him “get his game face”. I don’t know what Portman gave him. Maybe it’s some drug of the future. I would think that TK (The Kid) would want something to calm him down, but from the way he’s babbling to Reaper it seems to have made him jumpier.

When Reaper notices his dilated pupils, he gives TK a well-deserved reaming, but isn’t too hard on him, either, which is good. But TK makes up for his lapse. Sarge tells him to “clear” the sector, which means killing a room full of uninfected UAC employees. The Kid refuses. He says it’s wrong. Disobeying a direct order from your commanding officer is not a great way to start out your RRTS career, Kid, but I have to admire your gumption. TK tells him to go to Hell. Unfortunately, Sarge doesn’t admire his gumption, and shoots him dead.

Reaper almost has an aneurism in reaction, which is pretty sweet. He is more torn up over what happened to TK than anything else that happens. At the end, when he throws the grenade into the Arc, he remembers TK: “Like The Kid said: ‘go to Hell’”. Awwwww. Almost makes up for shutting him down when TK was trying to bond.

You’ve Got To Face Your Demon Sometime, or Olduvai = Serious Face

“Yay! Mission! Let’s go!”

At the beginning, Sarge tells John to stay behind at headquarters because the mission is at Olduvai.

“Not this time, John. We’re going to Olduvai.”

“Olduvai?”

It’s interesting that Sarge knows about John’s history, because John certainly doesn’t seem like the type to talk about it. Duke clearly knew nothing about it (he asks Sarge later in the film), and we know Duke’s not brand new to the unit like The Kid. I think the only implication can be that Sarge and John are friends. Their friendship obviously doesn’t end very well – “hell of a way to end a

=(

partnership”, to quote Hartigan. Even though neither John nor Samantha have love interests in the movie, John is put in a position where he essentially chooses Samantha over Sarge, even though Sarge is his friend. Sarge represents John’s current life (in the way that a love interest might), and his life with the RRTS, which Samantha objects to. So John not only chooses Sam

“Olduvai? No problem. Yay! Mission!”

over his friend, he chooses Sam over his current life (which might have included a love interest had he had one). Plus, given the way that his friendship with Sarge degenerates, what does that say about his present life away from her? And ditto for hers, which suffers like disillusionment.

Did you follow that?

I’m the most ridiculous person ever.

Moving on.

*serious*

John is clearly disturbed at the mention of Olduvai, taken aback. But when Sarge tells him to stay behind, he very quickly asks if that’s an order. Sarge informs him that it’s a recommendation. John joins the others on the helicopter only a few minutes behind them, so it seems as if he made his decision to go on the mission to Olduvai without much hesitation.

*defiant*

When he takes his gun and sits down on the chopper, I’d classify the expression on his face as almost defiant. It’s not the type of expression I’d expect one to wear when about to return to the place where one’s parents died, which tells me that this whole thing is more about Samantha than it is about Olduvai. The dialogue to come will back that idea up.

I love the little friendship-that-wasn’t between John and The Kid if you didn’t figure that out already.

Portman beckons The Kid closer and tells him that a couple of days ago he asked Sarge for a little pussy…

“Oh yeah?”

…and the next day Sarge brought The Kid onto the team.

First of all: hee. That’s one of the deleted scenes, and they should have left it in because it’s funny. But it gets even better, because then John says: “Don’t give me an excuse, Portman. No one here will miss you.” Too true. It’s so nice to see him sticking up for The Kid. I hate hazing of all kinds, so I will really appreciate him doing that.

En route, Sarge shows a video of Dr. Carmac’s report that there was a breach and explains their mission. The Kid is noticeably nervous, but I like how he asked “what threat” after Sarge says, “Eliminate the threat.” It shows a mind at work. Sarge rubs The Kid’s head as he walks by him. I kind of love that. I know it’s a patronizing gesture, but it’s also a gesture of affection. And foreboding… (ooooh)

Sarge sits down across from John and sort of fidgets for a moment. He clearly wants to bring up the whole Olduvai thing with John, but he’s kind of nervous about broaching it. It’s kind of hilarious.

“How long has it been?” he finally asks.

John: “Ten years.”

John has been staring at the floor thoughtfully this entire time, and we know what he’s thinking about because he answers Sarge’s question immediately. John knows what Sarge’s question is, even though we can’t be sure exactly what he means. How long since what? Since he ate dinner? Since he was on Olduvai?

Sarge: “Sure she’s even still up there?”

And then we know. The question has to be: “How long has it been (since you’ve seen Samantha)?” or else his follow-up wouldn’t make it sense. This only reinforces the fact that John’s reluctance-defiance and Sarge’s concerns all relate to Samantha and not so much to John’s orphaning event.

Ten years – what does that mean? Karl Urban was 33 years old when this movie came out. John and Samantha are twins, even though Rosamund Pike is seven years younger than Karl Urban. So I would put John and Samantha’s age probably around 30 or so, in the middle. 31-32 would make the most sense, because then 10 years ago would have been when they were finishing college. Or it could be that they are 28 or 29, and the last time they saw each other was just before they started college John didn’t necessarily go to college, but Samantha obviously did.

They’ve clearly seen each other at least once since they chose their divergent paths because Sam doesn’t like the way that John has changed due to the RRTS, and how would she know he’d changed unless she’d seen him?

John’s reply to Sarge’s question is “yeah.” The word implies confidence in his reply, it’s an absolute affirmative. Samantha refers to a “yearly birthday card”, so we know they haven’t been totally out of touch. She clearly knows he’s with RRTS for the above reason, and because she isn’t surprised to see him when the RRTS shows up at Olduvai. And ten years ago I doubt Sam would have been old enough to have a job on Olduvai, so she must have communicated the facts of her employment to him. So there might be some bad blood between them, but they’re not estranged in the strictest sense of the word.

Ten years is kind of a long time, but since they both seem to be married to their jobs, I bet it went by rather quickly.

John sighs after he says “yeah”, which I think is an indication that he knows he’s going to see her for sure, and he’s troubled.

If the word “Olduvai” sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason. Olduvai Gorge is an important archaeological site in Tanzania, sometimes called “the Cradle of Mankind”. The Leakeys began excavation at the site in the early 30’s. Some of the oldest tools were discovered there, from the pre-man of 2.6 million years ago! Now you know.

After John sighs, he adds: “I guess you’ve got to face your demon sometime.”

There is some trouble with this line: from listening to it, I can’t tell if he says “demon” or “demons”, but the subtitles on my copy of the Unrated Extended Version, and the subtitles on my former not Unrated Extended Version both have “demon”. I think the subtitles are highly reliable, because there are captions for some background lines that are hardly audible.

By using “demon” in the singular, we can pretty safely assume that he is referring to Samantha. Particularly since she was the topic of the past sentence.

OK, OK: it’s possible that the demon is the accident, or Olduvai, but it makes a lot more sense if Samantha is the demon.

Demon, as John has used it, refers to: “a persistently tormenting person, passion, or force”, or “an agent of evil, distress, ruin, or  harm,” or “a person, habit, obsession, etc. thought of as evil, cruel, or persistently tormenting”, according to several online dictionaries. You get the picture.

Torment. How lovely. He could have said “I need to settle things with her some time”, or something more innocuous like that, but the use of the word “demon” indicates that he is haunted by her (or the rift with her, etc.). Persistently tormented.

This phrasing also makes her the bad guy. Not necessarily, but that is the assumption. She’s the one tormenting him.

The demon could be not her, but their separation, in which case neither one of them is good or bad, they are both victims of something that drove them apart. But John’s attitude towards Samantha is hostile, and not just at the beginning: his negative attitude towards her persists through a large part of the film. He partly blames her almost right up to the end.

Samantha is clearly not, by any stretch of the imagination, a bad person or a person who is difficult to get along with, so John’s attitude towards her is not a result of her herself (like the kind of belligerent brother-sister relationship we see with Zuko and Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender or with Sebastian and Katherine in Cruel Intentions, where the brother doesn’t like the sister because the sister is an evil bitch), but the result of his relationship with her. I can think of two options to explain his reaction to his current situation: resentment, and betrayal. He resents her because of her power of him (yeah, even more of a leap than usual, I know). Or, he has the sense of having been betrayed by her, but, because we know Samantha isn’t the type who goes around stabbing people in the back, we know that this “betrayal” won’t have been conventional. In its basest form we know what Sam did: she followed in her parents’ footsteps, and John didn’t. From there we (read: I) can jump to the possibility that John only sees what Samantha did as a betrayal because of his intensity of feeling for her, their closeness, and/or his expectations for their future together.

Sam sometimes speaks as the aggrieved party, showing displeasure at John’s choice to join the military and how that choice has affected him. And that would make more sense, given how he’s the one who has broken with the tradition of science and Olduvai. But this logic doesn’t change the fact that John seems to be the one who’s angry at her, and it’s not just because she’s critical of him.

Anyway, you get the point, right? The fact that he refers to her as his “demon” implies that his issues with her run very deep. And family is always going to be able to get under one’s skin, but to refer to your sibling as your personal “demon” goes far beyond that. I could see it between parents and their children, and maybe same-sex siblings, but brothers and sisters just don’t typically have relationships like that, and when two for-all-intents-and-purposes-normal siblings do have a relationship like that, it usually has something to do with incest. That’s just a little wisdom I’ve gathered from my 20 odd years of movies, TV, and books.

So, going back, when he sits down on the helicopter with that defiant expression, I have to wonder whether he’s not just a little bit excited to finally “face” his “demon”.

Of course, the use of the word “demon” also foreshadows the demonic monsters that he’ll end up fighting. But whatever, that’s way too sensible to spend too much time thinking about.

Hellos

After arriving at the UAC facility in Papoose Lake, Nevada, the RRTS team takes the elevator down to the Arc and then travels through the Arc to Olduvai on Mars. They meet Pinky, who helps them hook their guns up to “killcams” with video and audio transmission back to him, and audio through “coms” to each other. Sarge leaves Mac behind with Pinky in the portal area. Sarge is trying to maintain the quarantine, so it’s important that no one takes the Arc back to Earth.

Through out all of this, we are treated to many instances of John’s serious face, which, given the character, probably don’t stray too much from his “It’s Tuesday” face, but, nonetheless, are supposed to indicate to us his sense of foreboding:

*serious*

*more serious*

*even more serious*

*Tuesday*

*serious*

They make their way to the atrium where they meet up with Dr. Grimm, aka Samantha.

Portman starts to hit on Sam, and it’s actually Sarge who quickly stops him, although any one of them should have stopped him, because he was making a complete fool of himself, and therefore the whole group.

Sam looks back at Portman, whose sentence has been interrupted by Sarge, as she reaches her standing spot in front of the whole group. I wonder if she was diverting her eyes towards him while another UAC employee was finishing her introduction so that she could then move her eyes straight towards Sarge without ever having to uncomfortably land them accidentally on John.

Her introducer says that she will be accompanying the squard to retrieve data. Is it a coincidence that they’re sending her? Or maybe she requested the assignment…? (I like this idea) She has some familiarity with the lab complex, but at the same time, she didn’t know about the human tests (that resulted in this whole debacle), so she wasn’t necessarily the best choice for it. It could be possible that she was sent because she doesn’t have a family and it’s a dangerous job.

Sarge nods at her, and she nods back, greeting him as “Sergeant.” Sam’s greeting of Sarge is quite civil, so even though she seems to have a little contempt for the RRTS in general, that doesn’t really shine through. Or maybe her contempt only sounded generalized, when really it was meant to be specific to John – as in, “It’s OK for everyone to be in the RRTS except for John…I mean, the RRTS is bad”.

Samantha shifts her eyes slightly over so that her brother is first in her sights and she says, “Hello, John.” She must have picked him out when she was walking across the atrium over towards the group, or else she could have no way of knowing where he was, because as I explained, she had been tightly controlling where her eyes went.

That, or she was picking him up in her periphery, which shows a particular awareness of him.

I don’t mean to belabor the point (I know, I know: too late), but I don’t feel like I’m quite getting at what I mean to get at. I just think there’s something in the way that she never looks at him, but knows exactly where he is.

There is a ton of awkwardness in those two words. She knows she has to acknowledge him, it would be more awkward not to, but she probably doesn’t know quite how to do it. So she chooses to be incredibly matter-of-fact about it. The shift of her attention over to him is very sudden. We don’t know when or if she stops looking at him because the camera cuts to Sarge and Duke. There is a softness to her tone, however, and she speaks those two words a little bit more quietly than her greeting of Sarge. But it’s still cold.

In fact, John’s greeting is a little bit warmer, and he’s the angry one. He seems disappointed that she said hello to him. There are three possibilities that I see: 1) he didn’t like being singled out in front of his men, and knows they’ll ask questions he doesn’t want to answer, 2) he was hoping she would ignore him completely, because that’s what he was going to do to her, and he didn’t like that she wasn’t being petty like he wanted to be, or 3) he was annoyed at the civility in her tone, and was in the mood to pick a fight. I think any of these are equally valid. It could be all three.

At the same time, he’s almost acting as if he’s getting a concession from her, which he accepts gracefully but not quite happily.

We see her face as she says “Hello John” and then cut to him. His mouth is parted slightly, like he’s sort of holding his breath. I think he’s terrified of her and this moment. His expression is stern, cautious, guarded. Then he softens a little, and looks down a little (and I can’t help but think of that moment in Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Hell’s Bells – when Spike sees Buffy walking over to him and he looks down as a sort of way of swallowing is anguish – it’s very controlled). Then he nods, and says “Hello, Samantha” back to her. There’s this element of “I don’t want to say hello to you, but since I have to, I’m going to do it civilly” to his response. The reason I’m taking so long in explaining all of this is because it’s extremely loaded but I don’t know how to describe it very well. Obviously.

Note that he calls her Samantha.

I’ve never liked the name Sam. I think it’s ugly, for a man or a woman. Samantha, on the other hand, is a lovely name. I think Sammy is preferable to Samuel, though not to Samson. Sam for a girl makes me think of a guy, and Sam for a guy makes me think of ham, which I don’t like either. Sam on iCarly, by virtue of being incredibly beautiful, somehow manages to get away with both being named Sam, being a tomboy, and liking ham without me ever holding it against her.

Duke, behind him, echoes “Hello Samantha” in a suggestive manner.

Again, Sarge is the one to shut down the horny soldier. And quickly. John is either too preoccupied to be thinking about what the other guys are doing, or he’s too slow to the draw, or he doesn’t have the authority to stop them. I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate them showing an unwholesome interest in Sam, but I suppose it would be very awkward (possibly hypocritical?) to come off as the protective brother in this situation. Plus, Sam can totally handle herself.

“Sarge, this operation is a code red. We really don’t have room for passengers,” John protests almost immediately following his greeting, ignoring the exchange between Duke and Sarge. It’s interesting that he would shift from his greeting of her, which was accepting, to making the argument that she shouldn’t be included. We could take his protest one of two ways: 1) he doesn’t want her coming along for her own safety, or 2) he doesn’t want her coming along because he doesn’t want to deal with her. There’s even the possibility that he suddenly decided to keep her away from Portman and Duke, but that’s not a serious option, I realize. I’m not entirely delusional, remember? I can present possibilities without believing in them.

If John’s intention is to keep her safe, that’s sweet, and it’s what I prefer. But his tone is contemptuous. She’s a “passenger” because she’s unnecessary and burdensome. She can’t fight, she can’t even defend herself. In fact, John seems to delight in implying that she’s useless baggage.

Sarge doesn’t look overly pleased at what John is saying – “Oh yeah, that’s why I wanted him to stay behind” – but he doesn’t get a chance to respond because Samantha defends herself and her role immediately.

Any excuse to stick another photo of Tom Hardy in here

(By the way, doesn’t this “no passengers” thing totally remind you of the “no tourists” thing from Inception? Samantha is Saito.)

“Excuse me,” Samantha begins, “But I have orders to retrieve data from three servers: anthropology, forensic archaeology, and genetics.”

John doesn’t seem to think much of her “orders”, and he’s got a douche-y expression on his face the entire time, which only gets worse when he says, “This is a military operation, Doctor. We’re really not here to retrieve your science homework.”

Wow, so much there. Obviously, the “science homework” bit is a major dig at her job, and shows a lack of respect for not just her profession and UAC, but her entire life, since her job is her life and her passion. The fact that he calls her doctor is also meant to be an insult, I believe. Again, showing a lack of respect. Or he could be creating even more distance from her. Later on in the movie he calls her Sam, but he starts out with Samantha, and the moves even further away with “Doctor” once they start to nettle each other.

Samantha wins the maturity award here. She’s annoyed, but patient with John’s douchebaggery. “Look I got an idea,” she says, “Why don’t you ask your C.O. what your orders are.” She’s slightly smug in saying this, but she’s kind of got a right to be.

Sarge gets an uncomfortable expression. John turns to look at him, not quite as cocky as he was originally.

Sarge, though he seemed a few seconds earlier to be a little angry at John for making trouble, now seems to regret the fact that he has to take Samantha’s side in confirming  that the RRTS’ orders are: “To contain and neutralize the threat, protect the civilians, and retrieve-retrieve UAC property.”

John’s face falls. He obviously receives this news with consigned dismay. His expression basically says, “Well, shit.”

“Are we finally done here? Because I’ve got a job to do,” Samantha says.

Burn!

John was clearly trying to pick a fight with her. And I love the progression:

Sam: “Hello, John.”

John: “Hello, Samantha.” Pause “You shouldn’t come along. You’re useless.”

Sam: “I need to retrieve data.”

John: “Your job is stupid, and your data is useless.”

Sam: “Why don’t you ask your boss if my data is useless.”

Sarge: “Her data is not useless.”

John: “Damn it.”

Sam: “Ha ha.”

I kind of love that that they have this petty fight in front of everybody. And that Sarge lets them. John is at fault, but Samantha definitely rises to the occasion.

Why does John bother? His initial protest, though intoned poorly, is understandable. But he persists insultingly and against reason. I guess facing his demon really just means saying rude things to her.

I’m not sure if Samantha really is as all-business as she seems, or if she just likes to win fights by taking the moral high ground. As you’ll soon see, her eagerness to retrieve aforementioned data is short-lived.

She has them follow her as they head to the lab complex.

John looks pretty darn pi$$ed off as he follows.

“You chose this, Reaper” Sarge says, looking back at him. Once again, the implication here is that the issue of whether or not John should come on the mission has to do with Samantha. “Is this going to spoil my day?” he asks. I guess he, unlike me, doesn’t want to spend his whole day listening to John and Samantha bicker.

Oh, Sarge. This is not going to spoil your day. But your day is not going to be good.

“No, Sir,” John replies, only if you ask me, his tone and facial expression seem not to say “I’ll be good” as much as “I’ll win next time.”

Sarge moves on ahead as Duke comes up from behind, saying: “Tell me you did not let a fine-looking piece of ass like that get away from you, Reaper.”

Well, we’ve got eyes, so we know that Samantha is beautiful (although, honestly, this is not the movie in which Miss Pike looks her best), but just for canon’s sake, we’ve got Duke letting the audience know that she’s supposed to be considered to be exceptionally good-looking.

Why is this important? Well, if there was going to be some Grimm-cest going on, it seems me it would be more likely if both parties were good-looking (which they are).

Of course, the complete opposite is true: two siblings too ugly/odd to get anyone for themselves might just have sex with each other. In fact, I’ve seen this in a movie. I’m reluctant to tell you what movie it is, because it doesn’t happen until the end and I don’t want to spoil it for you.

On the other hand, if I don’t mention this movie, you may never see it, and it’s actually a great movie in its twisted way. I’ll just tell you: it’s a German film, in German called Mein Bruder Der Vampir (My Brother The Vampire), or Getting My Brother Laid in English (a title which holds nothing back). I unreservedly recommend it to someone whose delicate sensibilities won’t be offended. It’s a comedy, by the way. Mostly. I’ve never seen another German comedy, so I can’t compare it, but I’ve definitely seen French films that were more clearly classified as comedies (that is to say, they were lacking completely in serious moments).

It’s interesting that Duke’s language is objectifying. Actually, it’s not interesting. That’s what we’d expect. But it must have been a shock for John to hear his sister spoken of in such a way. What’s interesting is drawing sexual attention to Samantha in speaking to John (interesting on the part of the writers, not Duke). Duke might have said, “Reaper, I didn’t know you were divorced”, or he might have made the comment to someone else, like Sarge, but that’s not what went down. So, I’m free to offer up the possibility that this was something intended by the writers. Doom was written by David Callaham, and Wesley Strick. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything else written by either of them, so I can’t speculate further.

John does sort of open his mouth in muted incredulousness, and sternly respond: “She’s my sister,” before seeming to speed up and leave Duke behind as they turn a corner.

Now, this comes as much as a surprise to the audience as it does to Duke. The audience has had every reason since “Sure she’s still up there?” to believe that the woman in question was an ex. Their little tiff at first seeing each other again did nothing to change that idea. That she was announced as Dr. Samantha Grimm promoted her to ex-wife. In fact, that exchange would be much more likely between exes than between adult brother and sister. That Samantha is actually John’s sister is definitely the best and possibly the only real twist in this movie. I’m definitely blowing kisses at Callaham and Strick for that.

There’s frustratingly little to analyze in John’s tone when he says that Samantha is his sister. I’m disappointed he didn’t try to warn Duke off of her. I am going to assume that he either assumed Sam would have nothing to do with Duke, or that Duke wouldn’t make a move on her now that he knew who she was – code of brothers, something like that. He would certainly be wrong about the latter.

Destroyer says to Duke: “Don’t do this again, man.”

I guess John doesn’t need to try and keep these guys away from Sam: Destroyer and Sarge will do it for him. Now that we know Duke has a proclivity for…whatever, we can operate under the assumption that he’s not taken with Samantha in a way that is unique, and that even if he didn’t die, he wouldn’t necessarily be an obstacle to John and Samantha’s incestuous love.

Splitting Up

Samantha takes them to the airlock door that leads to the lab complex, which is cut off completely except for that door and then the doors that lead outside to the surface of Mars. She has a coworker play a recording from an internal phone that was left off the hook. It’s basically a lot of screaming. Everyone either looks grave or terrified or grim (pun!), except for John, who is staring at Samantha resentfully:

She unlocks the door, and they enter the airlock part of it. At some point she buttoned up her shirt. I think that’s a goof.

John and Sam stand sort of next to each other. There’s not much to that, but it does seem likely that they would try not to stand close to each other. I don’t know about you, but I’m always extremely conscious of who I’m standing next to in a situation like that.

Sarge looks at a map of Olduvai and then sends Goat and Portman to Genetics, Kid and Destroyer to Carmac’s office (he’s the doctor who sent the breach report and is also the head of the team of six scientists who are missing).

John is looking down during this whole thing. I’m not sure I’d want this guy on my squad: he doesn’t seem to be paying attention to anything.

He looks up when Sarge says “Reaper”. Sarge then says: “Keep Dr. Grimm here safe on her salvage op.”

It’s funny: Samantha does the same thing as John. She’s looking down, then she hears her name and looks up. Of course, she’s terrified of being assigned John for an escort. The picture shows it, but it’s so much more obvious in motion. I need to figure out how to make and embed GIFs. She looks at Sarge very sharply.

Sarge…he’s evil! I bet he’s been planning this all along. Either he’s a sadist, or he’s being a good guy, and wants the two of them to work things out. A good leader certainly wouldn’t leave her in Portman or Duke’s care, not if he wants his men doing their job. The Kid would be partnered with another soldier, of course, it being his first mission and all. But that still leaves Destroyer and Goat.

So, John’s got this expression on his face like “Are you serious?” Now this is a real betrayal. Or a punishment for being such an a$$ a few minutes earlier.

John’s eyes shift towards Sam, but I’m not sure whether he can actually see her or not. The point is that his attention is on her – not that it wasn’t before, because I’m pretty sure that it was – he’s probably chewing over Duke’s little comment.

Sam also shoots a sideways glance at her brother. I assume to gauge his reaction. She swallows! Poor babe is soooooo nervous. Swallowing is the best sign of muted emotional turmoil available.

Yay!

This is one of my favorite exchanges between them. It’s very charged.

I like that they don’t get along for two reasons: 1) that level of caring-enough-to-dislike/intensity of emotion is indicative of them being very important to each other. They’ve clearly gotten under each other’s skin. They wouldn’t be holding on to these negative emotions unless it was VERY important to them. And 2) all that tension makes for hotter physical interactions, no?

Why is Sam so nervous to be alone with him, huh? She’s already proven that she can hold her own in a squabble. She really does seem scared, though. Remember: she swallowed!

Wow, that word always sounds dirty to me. Even when referring to the bird, because birds are dirty.

Lucy

Sam leads him to the one of the offices, and he makes sure the room is clear and has her lock them both inside.

Strangely enough, John seems to have simmered down. His civil tone is back. He looks around the room and asks her  how much time she is going to need.

Samantha replies: “30 minutes tops.” It sounds like she’s trying to impress him with her speediness. Of course, almost six hours later she still hasn’t finished, so she really shouldn’t be bragging. It truly does sound like she’s trying to make herself sound efficient so he won’t have reason to be annoyed with her.

We cut away to Duke and Sarge who are checking on the weaponry lab. I think Sarge picked that one special for himself because that’s what he was interested in. I would have chosen genetics because there were animals there. This is where he sees the BFG I mentioned earlier.

Duke asks: “What’s the deal with the sister?”

Sarge: “Reaper’s parents led the first team of archaeologists to Olduvai. They died in some accident when he was a kid. She followed in their footsteps, and he didn’t.”

Duke: “No, what I meant was, is she single?”

This guy seriously needs to lay off.

Sarge gives Duke (and us) this information as if it explains why John and Sam don’t get along, but it doesn’t really explain that, does it?

As for Samantha’s bachelorettehood, the question isn’t answered. But these are my thoughts on the matter: Since John and Samantha lived at Olduvai with their parents, and Arc travel is dangerous and unpleasant, it seems reasonable to expect that Samantha lives at least semi-permanently on Mars. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely she would have a boyfriend elsewhere. She doesn’t have a boyfriend on Olduvai, or else she would have acknowledged the fact that he DIED!

Nick, Carly, Wade – House Of Wax

Another thought: if you’ve seen this movie, can you imagine how John would behave with Sam’s boyfriend? He sort of took Duke’s interest in stride, but I think he would have very much been against any boyfriend of Sam’s. I don’t see how he could have been written as getting long with the guy. It would be kind of like Nick-Carly-Wade from House of Wax, don’t you think?

Since we cut away, we don’t really know how long it has been since John and Sam entered the room, but it seems safe to assume that there has been at least a moment of silence when Sam asks, “So, ‘Reaper’? As in Grim?” She doesn’t really need confirmation of that fact, it’s pretty obviously true, so I can only assume that she’s trying to make conversation. Although her tone does seem to indicate that she thinks it’s kind of stupid. I think it’s stupid too, but on the other hand, I’ve always liked the word “reap”.

Conversation is not necessary, so I guess she’s trying to work towards a reconciliation. Good for her. It’s brave of her, considering that he had nothing nice to say a few minutes ago. She’s still a little timid, but she’s trying.

John is immediately on the defensive, so he’s either expecting an attack, or he’s overly sensitive about being in the RRTS. He says: “They’re marines, Sam, not poets.” Not “we’re marines”, note.

Although his response is defensive in nature, his tone is pretty neutral. Maybe he’s ready to try and talk things out a little, too. In fact, the lack of acrimony in his tone is remarkable.

She’s “Sam” now, I guess. He settled back into brother mode pretty quickly. Maybe their little argument made him feel like a brother again. Saying “Sam” became second nature in this more relaxed context, where as he was very intent before when he called her “Samantha” and “Doctor”.

His eyes are moving all around the office. Is he avoiding looking at her, or is he really interested?

Well, if he’s not interested at first, he quickly does become interested: “Holy shit,” he remarks, coming upon a skeleton set up inside a glass box.

“Oh yeah, meet Lucy,” Samantha says. “Lucy, this is my brother, John, another creature from the long lost past.”

First of all: wow, girl needs to get out.

Second: Sam lets some resentment through in her tone here. “Long lost past” clearly indicates that for her, ten years is a pretty damn long time and she thinks it’s bad. Not just regrettable, but bad. “Creature” is an interesting choice as well. Probably not complimentary in this case.

“You found human remains?” he asked, as if he never even heard what she said.

“Humanoid,” Samantha corrects. “Lucy and her child were our first major find.”

So, this dig found humanoid remains on MARS!!! and John didn’t know about it? Um…bullsh!t. As someone who had lived on Olduvai, I imagine he would follow news from there. But even if he avoided it, it still seems to me that major news like that would be known by everybody.

“We’re bringing out more everyday,” Sam adds.

Oops.

John turns to look at her, none too pleased. “You reopened the dig?” he demands. He’s furious, you can see it in his eyes.

Sam has been at the computer this whole time. I think she’s glad to be facing away from him while she prepares herself. She takes a deep breath and looks down nervously. Then she swivels to look at him: “I know I should have told you.”

She was too scared to tell him. This poor girl! But yes, she should have told him, rather than spring it on him in a moment like this.

He looks away angrily.

Samantha adds: “I didn’t figure it was the sort of thing I could just jot down on a yearly birthday card.” Although, I bet right now she’s wishing she had done just that.

He’s too angry to even reply.

She gets nervous and starts babbling: “It’s been stabilized!” she cries, suffering under his crushing silence.  It’s a bad sign when you’re doing all of the talking.

This just makes him even madder: “Bullshit!” he sputters before she has even finished her sentence.

Well, John’s “bullshit” has me trembling a little bit – he’s REALLY angry, but she tries a different tack and goes on the offensive: “You want to talk about safe?” she asks. “Like you took a desk job.” Burn! Once again, truth and logic prevail, and Sam wins.

What this argument reveals is that what they’re really fighting about is each others’ safety! He’s angry that she’s at Olduvai because it’s not safe. She’s angry that he’s a soldier because it’s not safe. These crazy kids! At least they’re fighting over something that’s worth it.

Reopening the dig site is another reason why John probably hates UAC, and therefore hates that Samantha works for them.

John looks away again, visibly annoyed that she’s made a valid point. Boo hoo, John!

He doesn’t have anything to say back, understandably.

Of course, it turns out that John’s job is way safer than Sam’s!

Sam proceeds to give a slightly apologetic explanation for her choices: “I’m a forensic archaeologist, John. I go where the work is.” Another valid point, although I suppose that John could argue back that she never should have become a forensic archaeologist in the first place. I’m facing this problem myself: I have no interest in going where the work for what I have studied is at. If I won’t even go to another part of the country, I would NEVER go to Mars. I’m trying to stay close to my mother – I’m going to need her to babysit my children.

John is being such a little bitch. It’s hilarious.

What John says back to her is very interesting: “Is that the only reason you’re up here?”

I honestly don’t know what he’s getting at. So, that’s kind of titillating. The first idea to occur to me is that Sam (or possibly both them) had a morbid obsession with Mommy and Daddy’s death. But for our shipping purpose, that’s not really the best option. It’ll do, but it’s not the best.

Whatever he’s hinting at, Sam doesn’t rise to it. “Do you want to know why I’m here?” she asks, getting something ready on the computer. So, yeah, basically she’s changing the subject. Just when they were starting to get somewhere! Damn it, Sam it!

She pulls up a graph of Lucy’s chromosome profile on screen and calls John over to take a look.

Her diversion works since he doesn’t persist with his question.

Sam is definitely not as “I have a job to do” as she earlier sold herself, because she stops working in order to do this. We’re so glad that Sarge didn’t pair her off with Goat, but she’d probably be done by now if he had.

John looks at it, though not without a second of reluctance as he gives Sam something of a dirty look.

“My molecular genetics is a little rusty,” he informs her, still being bitchy, after glancing at the graph So, did he study biology in college, or with any specialization after the accident? We don’t know.

He either doesn’t want to do what she’s asking him to do, or he’s embarrassed that he has forgotten so much.

“What’s the first thing Dad taught us to look for?” she encourages, trying to get him to cooperate.

Hon, don’t you have some data to retrieve?

He seems to like the challenge she presented to him, so he looks back at the chromosome profile, and notices that Lucy has 24 pairs of chromosomes.

Nice job, John! Gold star!

“Humans only have 23,” Samantha replies. Duh, Sam. He knows that. And it makes me sad that not everyone watching this movie probably knows that. Not that it really matters. Whether or not I know how many pairs of chromosomes a human has is not going to change what I do tomorrow. I guess I just don’t like the obvious way that that line plays to the lowest common denominator.

Well, she’s got him riveted now. He asks what the extra pair does.

“Makes her super human. The extra pair makes her super strong, super fit, super intelligent. Her cells divide 50x faster, meaning she heals almost instantly,” Sam explains, walking over to look at Lucy.

John follows her. She continues: “The fossil records indicate that these people had conquered disease. We have found no genetic disorders, no viruses, no cancers.”

NO GENETIC DISORDERS!!!!!

Do I need to spell that out for you, or can you follow my twisted mind right to its joyous conclusion?

No genetic disorders – conquered disease – essentially means that they could commit incest, have children born of incestuous unions, without the threat of complications.

And since we know that John gets a 24th chromosome pair at the end of the movie, maybe the same is true for him?

Sweet!

“So what? They were just naturally superior?” John asks.

“No, not naturally,” Sam replies. According to her, the earliest remains they pulled out only had 23. They theorized that the 24 chromosome pair was synthetic.

“Bioengineered?” John asks. He’s forgotten that he’s supposed to be mean to her.

So she reminds him: “That’s a long word for a marine,” she teases with a hint of a smile that he can’t see because they’re not facing each other.

He’s not amused, but he chooses not to get riled. He’s looking at Lucy with wonder.

Now, this 24th chromosome pair may have been bioengineered, but does it pass genetically after that, or does it need to be injected into each person? I’m thinking, of course, of John and Samantha’s little baby. If it gets its Daddy’s 24th pair, then nothing would be wrong with it no matter what. Unless it was an evil monster, I guess.

Well, Samantha isn’t letting it go, she either wants to pick a fight like he did earlier, or she’s actually trying to convince him to change: “Does it ever bother you that you could have spent your life looking in a microscope instead of a sniper scope?” I don’t know: look at slides, or shoot people? Is there really any competition here?

This is where it becomes really clear that she thinks he’s wasted his life, and her resentment of the RRTS that I alluded to earlier shines through. Well, no wonder he doesn’t like her very much. On the other hand, she is implying that she thinks he’s smart.

All John does is make a funny face and then turn back to Lucy. He doesn’t even respond to what Sam said. She was trying to get through to him, and obviously didn’t. Sorry, Sam. In fact, his lack of response is quite odd. I almost feel like something was cut. Or maybe he just can’t be bothered/isn’t bothered. Or maybe he’s already lost two arguments with Sam, and doesn’t want to lose another one, so he decides to not even get into it. It’s annoying for us; but on the other hand, his intellectual curiosity is complimentary.

John changes the subject: “If they were so smart, how come they’re so dead?” Good question, John. He asks good questions.

The camera closes in on Sam ominously. She confesses that they don’t know. Isn’t cause of death one of the first things you try and figure out with a skeleton? She sighs at her scientific failure. “Maybe they just went with time,” she supposes.

“You don’t shield a baby from time,” John remarks. Good observation, John.

I forgot to mention that the skeleton Lucy is holding her skeleton baby. The baby totally looks like it’s screaming. Or it laughs like Azula.

John receives a call from Portman over his com saying “We see movement ahead.” So John goes to join them, telling Sam to stay there.

Seriously?!!

John, there are six other soldiers that could deal with this, but you’re going to leave your sister all alone just because you want to be in on the action? Not only is she your sister, but you were assigned to guard her!!!

He tells her to lock the door. How comforting.

Sam looks like she’s thinking the same thing I am: “Where the f@$k are you going?”

Now, granted, this is early in the film, and even though there was screaming on the recording, and it was the military who got called in and not CDC or whatever, I don’t suppose John realizes exactly how much danger is lurking around every corner.

Carmac Does Van Gogh

The RRTS ends up getting a bloody Dr. Carmac cornered.

Sam comes up running. See what I mean about her never doing what she’s told?

“Sam, I told you to stay,” John declares, putting up a hand to try and get her from entering the room.

It’s really a half-a$$ed effort (he’s definitely strong enough to hold her back), but he’s holding his gun with one hand, so I suppose he doesn’t really have the option of actually managing to stop her.

On the upside, he pretty much gets to feel her up. Seriously, I’m not sure how many times they filmed this scene, but I bet Rosamund Pike was a little sore in the chest area afterwards.

It’s interesting (I’m sick of using that word) that John would try to physically stop her instead of talking. Yes, he does say something, but he doesn’t tell her stand back, or anything like that. It’s kind of like how a brother and sister would be…if they were younger!

“But he knows me, John,” Samantha replies, pushing his hand down (yeah, not away, but DOWN…OK, OK: away and down), not contrite in the least. She didn’t know it was Dr. Carmac when she came running, did she? So that’s not really a valid explanation for leaving the sanctity of that office to throw herself into danger, is it?

John rolls his eyes (= gives in) and turns back to look at Carmac.

Sam begins to approach Carmac, so John lifts his gun and watches her.

“Dr. Carmac, it’s me, Samantha,” she says, taking a step forward. Samantha! So maybe John calling her Sam is something special…? She logged into her computer as Sam, but she was introduced to the RRTS as Dr. Samantha Grimm. I’m a big fan of the “family-only” nickname, particularly the only-brother or only-sister nickname, like Azula calling Zuko Zuzu.

Well, Dr. Carmac doesn’t seem to be comforted by Sam or her questions about the other scientists, as he then proceeds to tear off his own ear.

You can imagine the reactions.

But you don’t have to, because I’ve got pictures!

Sam:

Kid:

John’s Tri-fold reaction:

Portman is amused, saying “Nice” to himself with a slight laugh in his voice. I’m kind of with him on this one.

Sam asks for a med kit, and all I can think is that a little gauze isn’t going to fix what’s wrong with this man. John pulls one out of his pocket (wow, that’s handy) and hands it to her.

Sarge tells Duke to accompany Dr. Grimm to the infirmary.

What the hell, Sarge? I thought you were on our side. It’s bad enough that he’s splitting John and Samantha up, but he’s pairing her with Duke? The only explanation is that Sarge wants the trusty John by his side now that things are getting serious.

If you ask me, John doesn’t look pleased.

This is total plot contrivance: Sarge never would have sent Duke with Sam for the reason I gave before.

Goat Dies

Kid gets sent off with Portman, who keeps going on and on about the ear, and how something must have messed Carmac up good. This is when TK asks for a little pharmacological help.

John and Goat head back to Genetics, only to discover that all of the animals are gone. The cages are open, and there is blood and entrails everywhere. “Looks like we missed the party,” John says. I think that’s one of my favorite lines. Just because I love to imagine that party.

They find another scientist, who sticks a live mouse into his mouth, bites off the head, and eats it. Then John delivers another one my favorite lines: “OK…”. Never fails to amuse.

The RRTS heads into the sewers, and John and The Kid end up together. This is when TK tries to have soldier bonding time, but John doesn’t want the monsters alerted to their position, which TK does every time he opens his mouth. In forcefully pointing this out, John notices TK’s dilated pupils. He takes a strong anti-drug stance, of which I strenuously approve, but then he gives TK a reassuring thump on the chest and presses forward.

They come across one of the monsters in the sewers, which attacks Goat. At this point, Sarge decides to evacuate Olduvai and sends all of the staff through the Arc to Nevada. Only Sam and the RRTS soldiers remain.

They take Goat to the infirmary.

John immediately begins getting the defibrillator ready, while Sam just stands around flapping her arms. She keeps asking what happened, and only Portman is talking to her, but what he says isn’t helpful: “He was talking about devils.” Rather prophetic in the end, if Sam’s theories are to be accepted.

Duke is really sweet, holding Goat’s hand while he takes his pulse.

It’s quite impressive how quickly they get all of that gear and clothing off of Goat so that they can do the defib, answering the question that has been on all of our minds: is it possible to have a quickie with an RRTS soldier in the field? Answer: yes.

I’m sure John has a lot of experience with field medicine, but Sam’s the doctor here, isn’t she? I mean, forensic archaeologist, yes, but she does an autopsy later which reveals she could very well be a medical doctor too.

John has Sam prepare a shot of adrenaline. Where did John get all of this knowledge from? He gets him all hooked up to the machine, and Portman is putting in a line, and all sorts of techie stuff. Maybe it’s a future thing.

Well, they defib twice, and John uses the shot, but Goat is gone. Or is he…? (*makes spooky motion with fingers*)

Sam is observing all of this in a very detached way. She watches John as soon as he calls it. He gets angry and kicks a cart, although the cart just rolls a little bit with a clatter, it’s not very destructive, it doesn’t even hit anything.

She turns her face away, with a sad look. I’m sure she’s sad to see him lose somebody that he cares about, but I get this sense that what she doesn’t like is his anger. She could be afraid that he’ll turn it on her, or she doesn’t like to see that he’s still angry (maybe he was angry when they were young too).

Samantha should be worried about Sarge’s anger, though.

Earlier, while Sam’s back was turned, Carmac got up and left. Sarge is a little upset to see the empty bed. He doesn’t waste much time on Goat, and quickly turns to Samantha in a far more hostile manner than we’ve seen in the movie yet. He says, “Doctor, you are going to tell me just what the f— is going on up here.”

John, sweet John, is in the back, off by himself, leaning over a desk in a manly expression of grief.

“What?” Sam asks, completely confused.

Sarge calls her over to look at something, yelling “Come here!” He’s being very rough about it. He unveils one of the monsters they shot and killed down in the sewer. Her reaction is quite similar to her reaction of Carmac ripping off his ear.

I think he begins calming down a little when he sees how surprised she is. He asks her if she’s found anything like that on her archaeological digs, or whether it’s possible that it came from outside. She tells him definitively no. “The planet is completely dead.”

Portman is done being nice to her: “Well it came from somewhere, lady,” he points out. It’s a fair point.

Sarge tells him to shut up.

She explains that the atmosphere can’t support life. Portman points out, again, rather fairly, that maybe it came from another planet, and doesn’t need air.

“What? Like an alien?” she asks rather contemptuously. I can understand that she doesn’t like being picked on by all of these big guys with guns, but she really doesn’t need to use that kind of tone. Of course, she’s speaking to Portman, so all is well.

“Look at that thing!” Portman shouts, going a little crazy (there’s spit). Again, Portman makes a fair point. I don’t think anyone could look at that creature and then insult someone for considering the possibility that it’s an alien.

Sarge shuts Portman down again.

At some point, John came back to life. He tells them that the creature they’ve killed isn’t the one that he and Goat shot at in Genetics.

He comes and stands by Sam, although he might have done that earlier when everyone was yelling at her.

Sarge doesn’t exactly listen to Sam and sends some men to check out all of the surface entry points. Better safe than sorry – I agree with his course of action, except for the part where he lets Duke stay with Sam instead of John.

He calls Mac away from Pinky and sends him to check out one of the doors. This is probably the biggest mistake Sarge makes. Not only does Mac get killed almost right away, but one of the creatures manages to get through the Arc, and Mac might have stopped it.

Oh well.

There’s one other door: the entrance to the archaeological dig. Sarge decides to check that one out himself, and John comes along.

The Autopsy, or Goat Dies Again

Sam remains behind with Duke, and conducts an autopsy on the “thing”.

She has him hold part of the body open while she pulls something out of it, and he’s acutely aware of their proximity, but she doesn’t even notice. And she’d just called him a wuss because he hadn’t wanted to do it. And not in a flirty-teasing way – in an actual emasculating way. And then she sort of notices him leaning in towards her, and she pulls away a little, in a “what the hell are you doing” sort of way. Without belaboring the point, she is not inclined towards him.

“Little tension between you and Reaper?” Duke asks. I don’t know if it was the script, or if British actors just think that Americans don’t speak in complete sentences, but half of the lines in this movie are missing verbs or subjects.

Thank you, Duke, for realizing that this is about John and Samantha, and not about you. Just because your number isn’t up for another half an hour doesn’t mean you and the lady doctor are meant to be.

I can understand him trying to make conversation, but it’s rather surprising that he would go for the hot button issue right off the bat.

And “tension”? What a delightful word you chose there, Duke, Yeah, I suppose it is the most appropriate term, but thankfully the richness of the word allows for several interpretations.

“We just went our separate ways,” Samantha replies. Yeah, Sam, we’ve heard this before, and we’re not buying it…because it doesn’t make any sense!

If you don’t get along because you split up, then that means you had intended to stay together forever. Awww.

What? You think that’s a faulty conclusion? Whatever.

I’m going to take her tone and language (even though she elaborates) as meaning: “It’s none of your business.”

“Why does a talented student throw it all away and join RRTS?” she asks, continuing. There is definite contempt in her tone here. As if we didn’t need another indication that Sam isn’t into Duke: she insults him here, showing zero sensitivity about how he might feel about being in the RRTS.

“So what was he like before?” Duke asks.

“Who? John?” Sam replies. Yeah, Sam. Who else? Srsly?

She seems delighted by the prospect of talking about how he used to be. Like she’s been dying to say it. “Empathetic, sensitive,” she lists. Sounds boring to me, but whatever floats your boat, Sam.

“It’s kinda hard for me to imagine Reaper as sensitive,” Duke responds with a laugh.

“Well I knew ‘Reaper’ before all the drop-down-gimme-50-woo-ha stuff.” She doesn’t seem to think much of John’s nickname, his transformation, or his current job. It’s even clearer now just how much she blames the marines for John changing, and those changes are a large part of the “separate ways” she has a problem with.

oo-rah

Maybe Samantha is John’s demon because she’s constantly sitting on his shoulder telling him that he makes bad choices.

Now that we’ve gotten to know her a little better, maybe his initial attitude is a bit more understandable.

Well, Duke has finally had enough of being indirectly insulted, and corrects her: It’s hoo-ah, he says. But I think he says it wrong, because it just doesn’t sound right. That’s kind of what I remember from aforementioned Black Hawk Down. On the other hand, if they’re marines, it ought to be oorah, or hoo-rah. With an “r”. Well, I’m not expert. But that’s my understanding. In fact, there’s a commercial for Jarhead on this very DVD, and Jamie Foxx clearly says that.

Anyway, she repeats it, with this expression and tone like she thinks it’s the stupidest thing ever and she’s totally just humoring him.

He’s trying to flirt, but she’s just giving him the bare minimum back while trying to vent about her John-issues.

Rusty

But she probably (finally) realizes that she has been insulting him, and asks about his family. And this is when we learn that he and Destroyer grew up together. She tells him that she suspects he’s probably got a big heart. Another victim of the Marines, perhaps she’s implying, to soften all of the bad stuff she’s been saying. Well, he tries to take another opportunity to flirt, and tells her it’s not the only big thing he’s got. She’s not impressed, and guesses that he’s rusty. He implies that he’s sex starved, and I would assume the case is the same with John or worse since John and Duke probably do the same thing day in and day out, and Duke is the one trying to get laid and still hasn’t in a long time. Or maybe he’s just saying that.

Of course, girls probably just lie down for John. I would.

She smiles, but that’s all. Then her tool breaks, and she says that she needs a power bone saw. Yeah, that sounds dirty. Duke says that he’s been waiting on her his whole life. He’s either impressed by her use of power tools, or he doesn’t understand what she’s talking about. She tells him where one is, and he goes to get it. Her true motivation is revealed: getting rid of him.

She’s way too classy for this cornball.

Sam passes through a nanowall

“Off you go…”

He had already revealed some reservations regarding nanowalls, which don’t open and close, but instead become permeable and you walk right through them. He again doesn’t want to go through the nanowall to go get the bone saw, but I think he’s afraid of being called a wuss again. He tells her that he’ll do it for her, because she’s pretty. He wouldn’t do it for a dude. Her response: “Off you go.” She is so totally trying to get rid of him. Although I wouldn’t blame her if she preferred his lighthearted company to John’s angst. Well, no, actually I would, because I would rather get yelled at by John than get a foot rub from Duke, but then I don’t have all that emotional baggage.

There’s a power surge, and Sam calls out to Duke, and he doesn’t respond, so she goes after him into the hallway. Um, stupid much? But it was a fake-out, and everything is fine. He hands her the bone saw, and they begin walking back to the infirmary. Duke then asks which one of them is the oldest. I guess he realized he was making more headway with her when they were talking about John.

“Me, by two minutes,” she answers. Twins!!!!!

I don’t actually consider her to be older. Even if she came out first, that doesn’t mean she’s older, it just means she came out first.

Well, it was a fake-out fake-out, and a monster does attack, though Sam and Duke manage to get behind the security of the nanowall more or less unscathed. They trap the monster in the wall, and it turns out to be Carmac, they realize, after noticing his missing ear.

Sam falls into Duke’s arms, and I can’t deny that she’s scared and takes comfort there. But there isn’t anything sexual about it. Just fear and relief.

Sam continues with the autopsy, concluding that the monster is human. This is when Goat reanimates. He crosses himself, and then kills himself. Like I said: good guy.

Escalation

John is now at the entrance to the archaeological dig, and has an auditory flashback as he looks out the window at the dig.

We hear lots of laughing, and John and Sam calling out each others names. They’re no more than 12, and probably even younger than that. Then the parents laugh, and say the kids’ names, and tell them to be careful and not get too close. It sounds like the lil’ John and lil’ Samantha are chasing each other, they seem to be running around. Then there are sounds like a cave-in or a rock slide, and the kids cry out in distress.

Sarge interrupts, and asks if this is where it happened.

John doesn’t answer. He just asks if Sarge has found the door.

John totally looks and sounds like (the super awesome, super classy, and super sexy) Elijah from The Vampire Diaries during this part.

Another monster attacks, and Mac is killed. Then Portman is killed. And Destroyer.

Sarge goes and gets the BFG. Big force gun, or big f—ing gun, whatever you prefer. He’s very impressed with what the gun can do.

Sarge, John, and The Kid head back to the infirmary, bearing the bodies of the dead.

Even though Carmac lost his mind, turned into a monster, attacked her, and got trapped in a nanowall, Sam continues to administer medical care. Whatever.

This is where poor Duke gets all torn up about Destroyer. He lost his only family.

Samantha completely ignores him. Yeah, zero interest there.

Nobody cares about Portman, just like John foresaw.

Sarge is even more on-task than Sam, and immediately sees the Carmac monster and Goat’s suicidal leftovers and inquires about them. He certainly wins the expletive award.

Sam fills him in, with Duke chiming in to confirm.

It finally becomes established that the monsters are really people that have turned into monsters.

Sam has picked up on the infection-through-bites, and checks Portman’s body. She asks John if there were open wounds on the necks of the two bodies of scientists that they found.

I don’t know how she made the jump to “necks”. I mean, in theory, couldn’t they have been bitten anywhere?

“We were conducting a fire fight, not an autopsy,” he snaps. Bitchy John is back. I’m sure he’s a little stressed out, so it’s natural that he might be grouchy, and she might have explained why she was asking the question she asked, but still: why so rude, Johnny?

Sam gives him a dirty look.

There’s no time to dwell on it, because Sarge is about to get rolling. “What were you people working on up here?” he demands. I love the way he delivers some of the lines coming up. That’s what’s so great about The Rock.

“We’re analyzing bones, artifacts; we’re not doing anything!” Sam cries.

Sarge is standing in front of her, demanding answers. John heads over slowly, still recovering his breath, and looking down in contained annoyance at all of these complications, but then he lifts up his eyes, and it’s pretty clear that he’s suspicious.

I imagine she’s got this feeling like they’re all circling her, ganging up on her. At least TK isn’t intimidating, and Duke wants to bang her. She doesn’t have to worry about them.

“We’re not doing anything like this!” Sam continues to protest.

Sarge is arguing reason when he points at Carmac and asks: “Then what the f— is that?!”

She tells him that it must be a genetic mutation. Well, duh. I could have told you that and I do not have a science-y brain. “Something environmental or viral,” she adds, shaking her head and shrugging. “I don’t know. It may even be reversible.”

Sarge doesn’t like that: “It’s irreversible.”

Sam: “Not necessarily.”

Sarge: “Dr. Carmac’s condition is irreversible, because Carmac’s condition…

…is that he’s dead.”

Sarge shoots Carmac, even though Sam vehemently protests by crying out “No” and making the sort of face that would make one feel like they had done something VERY wrong.

That line makes me laugh every time. Sarge’s expression, and the delivery are so genius. I don’t think it’s actually supposed to be funny. But I find it hilarious. Laugh out loud hilarious. Roll around on the floor, holding your stomach hilarious.

John makes a serious face. At first it seems as if he’s critical of Sarge’s decision to kill Carmac, but the way he acts next contradicts that.

Personally, I’m on Sarge’s side about Carmac. The dude was a goner. I would have made sure he was dead-dead the second I had him trapped in the nanowall.

Sarge sends The Kid and Duke to go make sure that all of the dead scientists they found are all still dead and accounted for.

Then he turns back to Sam, and there’s a little touch of crazy in his eyes. He sent away the kids; it’s time for the adults to talk.

Sam looks very scared.

Sarge: “I have lost four soldiers. What are you people experimenting with up here? I’m not gonna ask you again.”

Poor Sam. She doesn’t know anything about it, but she knows he doesn’t want to hear that. I don’t think she does a very good job of explaining that she wasn’t a part of Carmac’s team, and therefore not privy to their experiments.

“I told you: it’s an archaeological research center,” she reiterates. “Do you think I’m lying to you? Is that what you’re saying? You think I’m hiding something?” Valid question, though perhaps not prudent. He’s already used the BFG.

John has kept silent so far. He’s looking down again. This guy is such a coward – he never looks at anything.

But then he lifts his eyes over towards Sarge. He’s not stepping in, but he’s keeping an eye on the situation. In fact, if it weren’t for how he behaves next, I would have definitely said that he looked concerned for Sam here and was trying to decide what to say to Sarge to get him to lay off.

“Is this the face of a liar?” *cue quivering lip*

“I’m telling the truth,” she says.

John takes a step forward.

Even though Sarge isn’t saying anything, he’s staring at her with his big, scary eyes, and she keeps getting more and more frightened.

She turns her eyes to John for help, and if someone was looking at me the way she’s looking at him, I probably would have done almost anything to help them.

But John is no longer empathetic and sensitive. His expression is very controlled. He’s not taking pity on her, and he proceeds with Sarge’s line of questioning. At the same time, I think there is a hint of sympathy. I don’t for a second think he would ever let anything happen to her that wasn’t verbal, and I think you can see that in his eyes, and she should be able to see it too. But for the moment, he’s more concerned with unearthing the truth.

“What were you downloading?” he asks. “What were you sent to protect?”

She seems more than disappointed that he isn’t going to take her side. I was devastated. At the same time, I like that he’s still angry. It has dug down deep, his sense of betrayal. Persistently tormenting.

“The research data!” she cries. Well, duh, Sam.

“Research into what?” he then follows-up, taking another step forward and leaning in intimidatingly.

Now I genuinely feel bad for Sam and think that John is in the wrong during this part. There’s a way to ask these questions without making her feel like she’s being interrogated and blamed and cornered. I think he’s being way harsh. But four of his friends have just died, and lots of others (including himself and her) are still in danger, and he wants to know why, so I get where he’s coming from.

We cut away, and apparently they’ve all decided to check out the research data. They surround a computer screen. Realistically, I don’t think they could have found what they were looking for so quickly or so easily, but it’s a movie, so whatever.

They watch a video of a death-row inmate being experimented on. They figure out that it was chromosome mutation that was being done. She claims they were never going to do human studies. I guess she just wasn’t cool enough to be included.

She’s clearly very disturbed by the experiments, but neither John nor Sarge seem to ease up on her very much.

John is disgusted. He stops the video and pulls out the data holder.

“This is what you’re here to protect,” John says contemptuously, holding up the drive.

John definitely seems to have just as much disregard for UAC as she’s got for RRTS.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” she mumbles pathetically. Um, it makes perfect sense, Sam. Why wouldn’t they experiment? In fact, I’m not even convinced what they did was so disgustingly wrong except that they probably weren’t ready for it, and it was probably illegal if they were keeping it a secret. Given what happens at the very beginning of the movie that sets the whole thing in motion – the breach – what they were really in need of was stricter protocol and safety measures. But that has been John’s silent complaint from the start: UAC isn’t safe.

John refers to the experiments as “Genesis: Chapter 1”. I felt like the line was clumsy, even slightly offensive, but the more I think about it, I see it as a protest that man shouldn’t be playing God. These demons are the byproduct. I can agree with him about that, and I admire his stance. I know I said that the experiments make sense, but I do think the line needs to be drawn somewhere.

John’s got answer for her: “You trusted them, they lied to you. They used you, Sam.” Well, he’s right about that.

But I still don’t think UAC is as bad as, say, the Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil.

He’s semi-sympathetic here. His tone is still critical of her, but the anger and suspicion are missing.

“If he perfected xenogenesis…” she begins. Apparently she is ever the scientist. What about this situation says “perfected” to you, Sam?

John isn’t hearing any of it. He interrupts, nearly furious, and says: “Chr!st. Don’t you get it? It’s this place. It’s Hell. It always was.”

I know I’ve played the video game when I was much younger – my dad used to play it a lot. But I didn’t remember (or never knew) that it involved a portal to actual Hell. I remember Castle Wolfenstein better.

John took the Lord’s name in vain, but he doesn’t feel like carving a cross into his forearm, apparently.

Well, this is one of the first developments about John in some time. He thinks Olduvai/Mars/UAC is Hell. I’m going to go out on an extremely flimsy limb and guess this perception has something to do with the deaths of his parents (!). But it certainly illuminates why he doesn’t like UAC and why he doesn’t like her being there and working for them. I think it also adds a poignancy to the end, when he carries her out of there.

I guess it also reflects his “science homework” comment from earlier.

“This sh-t ends here,” he declares, grabbing the data. “F— UAC.” He’s about to destroy it, which is exactly the sort of thing I would want to do, but would be too afraid to. In this case, I think he’s absolutely right. C-24 is clearly not working out. The risks outweigh the benefits, yada yada yada. BURN IT ALL!

My ability to semi-condone questionable scientific experimentation is matched equally by my ability to see us abandon decades of scientific advancement because it’s not good for our humanity.

Unfortunately Sarge stops him: the mission.  He isn’t paid to see sh-t. He’s got orders. He sure was asking a lot of questions before only to end up saying these things.

John is very upset that Sarge won’t let him destroy all of the research data.

Sam is never on-task, so she is forced to admit that she still has three other things to download. Sarge tells her to do it.

Three Minutes

Kid discovers that one of the scientists is missing, and reports it to Sarge.

Sam is at the computer, downloading the last files. John is standing right next to her, just watching her to do it. All Sarge does is turn and look at him and say “Now”. Has civility gone completely out the window? I don’t see why Sarge, Duke, and TK can’t deal with the missing scientist. Sam needs her brother to stay and watch out for her.

“You just want to leave her here?” John asks, quietly outraged. Good. I mean, he was perfectly OK with leaving her before, but at least he’s learned that a locked door isn’t going to cut it.

“She’s got a job to do,” Sarge replies. Yeah, a stupid job that you’re making her do. And besides, that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not she’ll be safe or whether or not you can spare John, which I think you can.

John doesn’t want to go, but he’s got his hands tied. I wonder how well “mutinous insurrection” would have flown at this juncture. We know it won’t go too well for The Kid later on.

John pulls a walkie-talkie thing out of his pocket and hands it to her. It’s Portman’s com(municator? munication device?). He tells her to call if she needs help. Like that’s going to save her. He should have left her a flippin’ gun, am I right? Let’s say she even has a chance to call for help on the com that she may or may not know how to operate, how long is it before John’s going to be able to get there?

I might be making it up, but I think he looks guilty. Especially since she’s giving him a look like he ought to feel guilty. And he ought.

He asks her if she’s going to be all right.

“Are you picking up on the fact that I’m not feeling very confident here?”

She nods once, barely perceptible, and tells him that she’ll be fine. I’m not convinced.

“No, I’m not picking up on anything.”

“OK,” he replies. “I’ll see you soon.” Idiot! She clearly does not want you to leave.

At least he has finally broken. No more bitchy John. It’s not really even clear what has changed, except that she’s probably scared for her life right now. He’s still empathetic enough to understand that and take pity. Even though giving her the com is an underwhelming gesture, he’s at least very soft with her in this scene.

One of the monsters gets through the airlock door, and makes its way over to the Arc chamber, and then gets through the Arc to the other side. Sarge tells his remaining men to get all of the weapons and ammo they can, and then they’re heading to the other side. They have five minutes while the lockdown thingy reboots, and then they can travel through.

“Pick up the go–damn phone, b!tch.”

John calls Sam through the com, but she doesn’t respond. The first time I saw the movie, I was totally on the edge of my seat. I didn’t know who was going to live, and who was going to die. For all I knew, this could have been curtains for her.

Sarge’s humanity isn’t totally gone, and he gives John three minutes to go get her. John takes off running as fast as he can (awww), and then finally makes it to her. He gets right in through the door without communicating with her, reminding us how unsafe she was. One of the monsters was able to get through the Arc, so they’re clearly not dumb like zombies.

He asks her why she didn’t answer the com, but he doesn’t press the issue. I, for one, would like to know why she would do something like that. The only possibility, except for stupidity, is that she was trying to buy herself more time. She was more alone than she knew, because all of the soldiers headed all the way to the Arc chamber, which is about as far as you can get from the bowels of the lab complex.

She ignores his question, and begins explaining what she had been looking into: why some turned into monsters, and others didn’t. Is she never going to do her job? Wasn’t she supposed to be downloading something?

John makes an incredulous face. He ran all the way there and they’ve got only a minute or so to get back, and she wants to talk?

She keeps trying to discuss, and he keeps looking at the door and saying “Let’s go.” She really needs to just listen to him and go. Sam is keeping him there to show him something, but she could have just told him. She asks for a minute. He says they don’t have a minute. That should have told her something.

But instead she asks for ten seconds. She holds up brain matter from Destroyer to a tongue from one of the monsters, and the tongue doesn’t respond. When she holds up brain matter from Portman, it spasms.

I wonder how Duke feels about her digging around inside Destroyer’s brain?

I guess Sam thinks they’re zombies too.

This reaction tells her that that not everyone is going to turn into monsters, although it seems like most will. Of the six scientists first involved, only one didn’t turn. What’s not clear to me is whether someone who is not going to turn into a monster will turn into a superhuman if bitten. Or if being a superhuman will bring them back from the dead the way the monsters come back? I also don’t know whether the 24th pair of chromosomes will be inherited by offspring, and whether they might become monsters or not.

John asks how it’s choosing who to infect. Samantha says: “There are genetic markers for psychotic and violent behavior. It could be a specific neurotransmitter that it’s picking up on. A ganglion, latching onto numbers in the DNA code linked to-“

“Linked to what?” John demands, interrupting. “Evil?” he sputters.

It’s been more than ten seconds, Samantha!

“Ten percent of the human genome is still unmapped. Some say it’s the genetic blueprint for the soul,” Samantha responds.

(Anna on V would be very interested in this information.) “Maybe C-24 is what destroyed their population,” she hypothesizes. “It would explain why some of them had to build the Arc to escape to escape to a new beginning. Some it made superhuman, others monsters.” It’s kind of random when things finally sink in with John. It seems like he understands something, and then a few minutes later he’ll act like he’s just had a revelation. No matter.

Move your arse!

“Oh my God. We’ve got to get out of here, now,” he says, moving towards the door.

“Why?” Sam asks, as if slightly more than ten seconds ago he hadn’t been just short of throwing her over his shoulder and high-tailing it out of there. She takes off her gloves and lab coat and follows.

Good. That lab coat was getting gross.

John begins to freak out because Sarge is going to kill everyone quarantined in the facility on the other side of the Arc. But he now knows “they won’t all be infected”. I’m confused: was John seriously OK with Sarge slaughtering all 80 some people over there? If they didn’t get bitten, then they would never be infected. He already knew that. (Sam had offered the possibility that the genetic mutation was environmental, but she never strayed from her “bite” theory.) This news doesn’t really even change that much, especially if only 20% or so aren’t going to turn into monsters.

It makes sense to shoot all of the dead and dying, but TK encounters a room full of pristine people hiding. They hadn’t been in contact with any of the monsters. None of them were monsters or bitten. Surely John must have realized that such a thing was a possibility. Whether or not those people would have turned into monsters or not if bitten is hardly a game-changer.

Sam explains to Sarge after they all reunite at the Nevada facility that she doesn’t think everyone is infected, or even capable of being infected. Sarge says that they have orders to contain the threat “by any means necessary”.

John says, “”So let’s evacuate the uninfected, and blow this place to hell.” He really hates the Arc, doesn’t he? Once again, I’m with him: BLOW IT UP!

Sarge reminds him that they have orders to protect the Arc facility.

John reminds him that they don’t have orders to kill innocent people. That’s not quite a valid point. It would be better to point out that they have orders to protect the civilians.

Sarge reiterates that they have to keep anything from getting to the surface “by any means necessary”, and John has another epiphany: this time he realizes that Sarge is no longer reasonable.

The moment is diffused by the arrival of Pinky and Duke. Sam walks over and checks Pinky’s neck, without even telling him what she’s doing, so he’s a little confused, and curiously unreceptive. Gay?

(he’d have to be, right?) >>>>

She informs Sarge that Pinky is “clean”, and makes a defiant expression. I don’t think she realizes that Sarge is a loose cannon.

Sarge leans over her and tells her: “I say who’s clean.”

Once again, John is just standing there, watching, while his sister gets pushed around.

TK takes this time to announce the holed-up group of people he found. Sarge tells him to kill them all. TK complains that “this is wrong”. Poor guy. Sarge tells him not to think, and to obey his direct order.

John tries to intervene (on behalf of the innocent and uninfected people about to be pumped full of lead), but Sarge ignores him.

The Kid looks to John for help. Awwww. But he doesn’t need John’s help: he takes a firm stand, and declares clearly: “No.” And shakes his head.

Sarge gives him another chance, and TK tells him to go to Hell. Then Sarge shoots him in the neck, hitting the artery.

John and Sam both cry out, and Duke manages a “Holy sh-t!”.

I bet Rosamund Pike worked facial muscles she didn’t even know she had working on this move. She makes lots of these expressions.

Samantha and John both run to The Kid and get down on their knees, but its too late. TK bleeds out in a matter of seconds.

Sarge reminds them that mutinous insurrection is punishable by death. Well, he’s sort of got a point but he just killed The Kid, so I don’t really care about his weak justification. He’s definitely wrong, because I love that boy.

“It was his first mission!” John shouts, in a veins-popping-out-of-his-forehead sort of way.

Sarge: “And it’s not going to be my last.”

Sam gets up and walks over to Duke, standing behind him. I guess she intends on using him as a human shield. Not a bad idea. Unfortunately, they don’t really have the option of just running away, because the elevator to the surface won’t operate for another hour due to the quarantine, and because one of the monsters made it that way. (smart zombies, rmr?).

John closes TK’s eyes and then stands up, and stares at Sarge. Sarge quickly realizes that he may have another mutinous insurrection on his hands.

But this never comes to a head: Pinky pulls out a handgun and tells them both to drop their weapons. He has no intention of being killed by a “mad man”. But his gambit doesn’t pay off, because a monster comes up behind him and starts causing trouble, biting people, stuff like that.

John’s gun gets knocked out of his hands, and he gets thrown up against a wall and stunned. Duke takes Sam to a shielded spot before charging after the monster in faster Sarge’s wake.

John rises pretty quickly and he follows. But there’s got to be dozens of those things by now, so they’re really wasting their energy and ammo just going after one like that.

I can’t believe Duke left Sam, but for once John is thinking about her. He tells Duke to go get Sam.

At this point it’s beyond ridiculous that Samantha doesn’t have a gun. She may not know how to reload it, but surely she can point and shoot. It’s common sense. It’s not like there’s a shortage: the weaponry lab was quite the arsenal, and Duke pointed out that everything was just lying around.

A large cluster of monsters comes upon them. Our guys try to close them behind a nanowall, but it is malfunctioning.

You see the resemblance, right?

Duke gets pulled down through a vent in the floor, and we say goodbye to him. Sam is way more scared that mournful – just to hammer in her indifference.

John continues shooting through the nanowall as Sarge is being pulled away by the monsters, but then the nanowall closes, and one of his own bullets ricochets back at him and hits him in the stomach.

And then there was one and a half.

Scheisse.

Sam is pretty damn useless during this part, all she does is scream and make unflattering faces. She couldn’t have saved Duke, but she was too scared to even try. (More hammering.)

She doesn’t notice that her brother took a bullet to the stomach, she’s too busy facing the other way and holding her hands over her ears. He yells that they’ve got to get out of there. He grabs her hand, and begins pulling her down the hall. At first it seems like she’s resisting. Don’t ask me why. But then he turns back to shoot behind them (which doesn’t make any sense either, because the door is closed) and she begins leading the way.

Stupidity aside, they work as a great team for those last five seconds.

You’re My Brother, I Know You

We cut ahead. John and Samantha have found what looks like a small store room and closed themselves inside of it. They stack stuff against the door.

“How long until they get through?” Sam asks. Although, the monsters aren’t outside pounding on the door, so I don’t think it’s necessary to assume that they will even try to get in, let alone manage it.

“Not long,” John replies.

John leans against the wall, the wound overwhelming him.

“You’ve been hit!” Samantha cries. Really? What was your first clue? I can’t believe she didn’t notice until this point. He looks down, and blood is gushing out of his side. His hand is there, but he’s not exactly putting pressure on it. We already know that he’s smart enough to know what he should be doing, which means he’s given up. Even under these circumstances, I don’t see why this would necessarily be a fatal shot. It looked like he was hit in the side. And don’t they always say that shots to the stomach kill you very slowly?

“Oh, John…” she murmurs, rushing towards him. How to describe her tone? She barely even finishes saying what she’s saying, because it’s really all too awful to even contemplate. If she’s seeing what I’m seeing, then I’m sure she thinks he could very well die.

The first time I was watching this, I was practically biting my nails off in worry.

She helps him to sit down, although he really sort of falls, and she wasn’t much help at all.

Conveniently, she’s got a syringe, which she seems to pull out of John’s pocket, but it’s dark in that room and it’s hard to see exactly what she’s doing. I don’t know where that came from. I’m sure those RRTS guys carry a lot around with them, and I can buy that they carry around med kits, but would those med kits really have syringes? It certainly didn’t originate with Sam: her tight outfit does not look like it has any pockets. I’m not even sure how she’s been managing to carry around the vial of C-24, and, not having pockets often myself, I know how to be creative about such things.

John is beginning to lose consciousness.

“Listen to me, Sam,” he begins, and for a second we can hear the monsters howling outside, though not pounding on the door, which John is looking at with concern.

Sam doesn’t stop getting the injection ready, but she does turn to look at him. She reaches her hand up to his neck, and then touches the other side, and says that he’s cold.

I like that she’s not listening to him. He’s dying, but nothing has changed…how heartwarming.

“You’re shivering,” she tells him. He probably knew that, Sam, but whatever. If these really are the last words they are going to be saying to each other, then they’re pretty damn stupid.

He tells her that what he’s trying to say is important, and he tries to hand her an ST grenade.

Finally, somebody is trying to arm this woman!

She looks pretty shocked. I can only assume that it’s because he sounds like he doesn’t think he’s going to be alive for much longer – she shouldn’t be that shocked at the idea of using a grenade. In fact, she should be relieved that he’s got one.

He tells her how to use it, and to use it when they come through. That is an extremely small room, so I don’t see how she could use that grenade in there without seriously harming herself, so maybe he just wants her to go down fighting.

Sam listens to what he says, but she doesn’t take the grenade from him. She ties something around his arm, getting ready for the injection.

He’s fading fast, and she pleads with him to stay with her, to stay awake, giving him a shake.

“Um, Sam, what are you about to put into me?”

He tries, but you can tell he’s barely managing it. The needle is pressing up against his skin when he finally asks what she’s doing. Sam isn’t really into getting permission or explaining herself. Remember Pinky?

You can tell she’s reluctant to inform him because she knows he’ll object, but she gives him the truth.

He pulls his arm away and tells her no.

“It could save you,” she argues.

“No. Forget it.” He even takes the effort to shake his head.

She gets up in his face, but in a soft way, so that she can make the plea using her eyes as well. “You’re bleeding to death.”

John: “No way, Sam. I’ve done some bad things.”

I like his modesty. But honestly, they don’t have a lot to lose. Might as well try it.

Sam stares at him for a second, but it isn’t hesitation. She lets the hint of a smile cross her face. “I know you,” she declares confidently.

“You don’t know,” he protests, looking guilty and regretful, and shaking his head.

Ah ha! I may be going too far with this, but it seems to me that what he’s doing here is confirming everything that Sam has been saying about how he has changed for the worse. He’s practically confessing that it’s true.

But Sam isn’t hearing any of that. Her smile becomes more pronounced. “You’re my brother. I know you.” She nods, even more confident than before.

She’s privileging their relationship quite a bit here by offering “you’re my brother” as an argument for how well she knows him. It doesn’t matter that they haven’t seen each in ten years, or that he’s been influenced by all of that “woo-ha” stuff: he’s her brother, and she knows him. Because he’s her brother, she knows him.

He allows her to go ahead with the injection, but he doesn’t seem convinced. So first he hands her a gun, so she can shoot him if he starts to transform into one of “those things”. “One through the heart, one through the head, don’t you hesitate,” he orders. Awww.  The implication being, of course, that she loves him too much to shoot him, even if he is turning into a monster.

How I love common sense! And now Samantha FINALLY has a gun, bloody hell.

She takes it, but assures him that she won’t need it.

He falls over (and she, for some reason, lets him), and as he goes unconscious we hear Sam’s words echoed: “I know you. You’re my brother.”

He’s trying to be reassured, taking comfort in how she feels about him. Or, maybe the filmmakers are telling us how important those words are. *shrugs*

When John wakes up, Sam is gone. He calls out her name, and discovers that he has healed completely. The room is sparking, but it doesn’t look like a tornado hit it. We have to conclude that “they” did indeed get through because Sam never would have left otherwise. Why did “they” just leave John lying there? Two options: 1) he seemed dead, or 2) they attacked him and left him for dead, and he healed from that as well as his earlier wounds. OR: they did kill him, and he came back the way that the monsters do. *shrugs*

They do this kind of cool sequence from John’s perspective, so that it looks just like a first person shooter game, an obvious shout-out to the video game. He holds his gun out in front of him, and creatures sort of pop up, and he shoots them, and he moves quickly and smoothly, turning corners roundly, just like a video game. It’s kind of long and boring, just because I don’t care about the action and I’m impatient for him to find Sam, but I think it’s cool that they did that.

The BFG also represents a weapons upgrade like you might get in a video game, which is also pretty cool, if you ask me. The guns are ridiculously big to start out with, though.

John gets knocked out by Pinky-the-monster (who is still attached to his wheel chair), but comes to almost immediately. We hear Sam’s voice calling out his name as he goes dark. So either she’s nearby, or he just hears her voice every time he passes out from now on. I wonder if it happens when he goes to sleep too. Part of his battle with Pinky involves a chainsaw, so that’s cool. I’m not clear on where the chainsaw came from, but I don’t really care. John faces a dozen or so monsters, periodically calling out Sam’s name.

Aftermath of the BFG

He finally sees her laying on the floor near the elevator, which is still in lockdown (two minutes to go). There are dead bodies all around, so apparently some others tried to escape but didn’t make it. There’s a ladder up the elevator shaft, but I guess they couldn’t even get inside the doors.

She’s acting like she’s hurt, but she is wearing light colors and, as I pointed out earlier, tight, thin clothing, and she doesn’t seem to be bleeding much. She could have internal injuries, but these monsters seem to be more of the scratching, biting, etc. type.

John puts his hand on Sam’s hair and leaves it there for a second, which makes me wonder whether he thought she was dead. This is, sadly, the first big tactile moment between them, unless you count him feeling her up when Carmac pulled a Van Gogh.

He whispers her name questioningly.

Not only is she alive, but she’s conscious! “You’re alive,” she says back to him. An interesting thing to say (though it’s nice to see that her thoughts are on him and not herself. The first thing I would have done is told him how I was injured and what I needed him to do in order to help me). It may be a reference to whatever transpired while John was out of it.

John shushes her. I assume he’s worried about Sarge hearing them. He seems to have killed everything else. But then he adds: “Don’t talk.” So maybe he’s just worried about her health. If I were him, I’d be asking her how she’s hurt, and how badly, because it’s not at all apparent from looking at her.

“Last man standing,” says Sarge, coming up behind them, clarifying the fact that the only ones alive in the facility are the three of them, and that’s a loose use of the term, since Sarge is probably undead, and Sam may very well be dying.

Sam’s breath racks over her ribs: she’s terrified.

Sarge says that he thinks she might need medical attention. Is he indicating that he was the one who hurt her? Is he trying to encourage John to take care of his sister instead of challenging him? Or is he simply trying to pass himself off as normal. He still looks normal.

John has taken his concerned eyes away from Sam to look at Sarge, but now the camera closes in on John in the way that it does to reveal to us that he’s about to get badass. Even though Sarge didn’t say something threatening towards Sam, that’s clearly how John perceived his comment.

What happened in the store room?

It doesn’t make sense that Sarge or any of the other monsters would have left Sam hurt, but not dead. She was lying out in the open, so she did not escape or kill her attacker. The only possibility that makes sense is that whoever/whatever was attacking her got interrupted. Possibly by Sarge. John seemed to be hot on her trail, but he was progressing way too slowly to have inadvertently saved her. And how did Sam get away from the store room? One of the creatures wouldn’t have kidnapped her – they would have killed her on the spot. The place near the elevator where John finds her is quite a distance away from the store room. She wouldn’t have run unless she thought John was dead. But wouldn’t she have made sure if she had the choice? And why didn’t she use the grenade? If she did use it, I certainly can’t tell. Did she use the gun? You see, it’s a logical mess. So just go with it, like I do: we don’t know what happened, and we never will.

John sees the bite on Sarge’s neck. He asks Sam if she can make it to the elevator. She isn’t sure, but he tells her to try. She has to crawl there, dragging her legs, so she must have suffered some kind of spinal or leg injury.

I guess it’s not a spinal injury

She’s not terribly stealthy getting away, Sarge watches her do it, but fortunately the elevator is around the corner, and John is able to keep Sarge busy. He asks about TK’s survivors, but Sarge has “taken care of that problem”.

John is standing so that he can see around the corner, and he watches Sam making her surprisingly quick way to the elevator.

Then the quarantine ends.

Sarge wants to leave, and he actually seems prepared to let Sam and John come with him, but John brings up the death of The Kid in a vengeful tone, and Sarge is mutating before our eyes. Sarge takes a step forward, and John lifts up his gun. Sarge asks if John is going to shoot him. John gets another funny line (but one I always forget about) when he freely admits: “Yeah, I was thinking about it.”

“Yeah, I was thinking about it.”

“‘Bout half a clip, you?”

And then they casually discuss how much ammo they’ve got left!

And then, long-ish story short, they fight, and John wins. Yay!

John sends the grenade through the Arc, killing Sarge and destroying the Mars-side of the Arc, hopefully closing that portal to “Hell” permanently.