A young scientist working on an artificial intelligence project is the target of strange gremlin-like creatures, who are out to kill him and thus terminate his research. By coincidence, in ... See full summary »
Set in Berlin during WWII, the Nazi regime is attempting to develop a drug that will animate the dead, in order to use in the war effort. Toulon arouses suspicion as a Nazi dissident, and ... See full summary »
After foiling a plot to blow up an American arms plant, Danny Coogan and his girlfriend, Beth, quickly find that their troubles have just begun. One of Toulon's mysterious Puppets has been ... See full summary »
Jean Louise O'Sullivan,
In a Stateside hotel during the height of World War II, young Danny Coogan dreams of joining the war effort. Following the murder of hotel guest Mr. Toulon by Nazi assassins, Danny finds ... See full summary »
Taylor M. Graham,
It's 1892 and Sutekh is hopping mad. It seems a 3,000 year old Egyptian sorcerer has stolen one of the God's secrets of life - that of instilling the souls of the dying into inanimate ... See full summary »
On the distant mining world of New Aries, a young colonist, Jim Marlowe, has acquired a native pet, a "roundhead" he names Willis, which can parrot speech and record visual information. As ... See full summary »
Strange aliens land in the Midwest, taking over people's minds in order to spread their dominion. Sam Nivens and Andrew Nivens, aided by Mary Sefton, are part of a government agency who must stop the the aliens before the aliens get to them... Written by
Steve Fenwick <email@example.com>
No less than nine writers worked on the script. Besides the credited writers Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio and David S. Goyer, work with also done by James Bonny, Richard Finney, Michael Engelberg, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and the film's director, Stuart Orme. The final version mainly uses ideas from the Goyer and Orme rewrites. See more »
At the end of the film, the large blood spot near Sam Nivens' right eye tends to appear and disappear on different shots. See more »
So if the two of you are being shot at, which bullet do I take?
Why you must try for both, of course.
See more »
Like Stephen King, Robert Heinlein is an author whose work is frequently adapted into Hollywood screenplays. Also like Stpehen King, the results of adapting Heinlein's work into the format of film rarely live up to the potential set by the material. The major difference between the two authors is that an adaptation of Heinlein usually gets better the further it strays from the source, so long as it sticks to the spirit. Ironically, the Verhoeven/Neumeier adaptation of StarShip Troopers remains the best that Hollywood has come up with so far.
The problem with The Puppet Masters as a film is that after a well-constructed setup in which the aliens are made entirely plausible, even somehow real, it descends rapidly into yet another action/sci-fi hybrid in the vein of Predator or Aliens. This in itself wouldn't be so bad, except for two things. One, Heinlein's stories were always intended as the exact opposite kind of science-fiction. Two, the mixture of the two elements leaves the film unbalanced. The second half feels very disjoined from the first.
The scientific concepts shown in the film are not perfect, but they give it an atmosphere that many horror films of the era lack. However, the science of the film is not the only key to making a great story. Where it falls down is in the Transition. The Transition from one moment to the next leaves gaps of logic that disconnects the audience from the story. The questions of how on Earth one thing got here or there are never adequately answered. Telling us that something escaped never works as well as showing us, and unfortunately, this production of The Puppet Masters never does enough of the latter.
The acting doesn't help matters a lot. Donald Sutherland is very competent as usual, but the script gives him little to distinguish his character from the other several dozen that he's played in an almost identical manner. Julie Warner stands out as the character who grabs the viewer's attention, by fair means and foul. Eric Thal, on the other hand, is like Keanu Reeves. You could replace him with a wooden plank that has a mean face painted on it, and nobody would know the difference. Richard Belzer stands out in an almost-wordless cameo. Anyone else in the film never gets the chance to distinguish themselves.
The second half and inadequate characterisation of the film would have been easy to overcome if only one of them were present. The only problem is that third, fourth, even fifth problems are added. One major problem is the sheer volume of exposition that is delivered through dialogue. It is one thing to tell us how character X felt sensation Y at moment Z. To do this without flashbacks or recapping footage from new angles is a difficult ask at best, and with a cast of this calibre, it simply shouldn't be done.
Ironically, the concept of The Puppet Masters was done slightly better in a direct-to-video sequel to StarShip Troopers. The concept of an alien parasite using a host for a sinister purpose was also done better in The Thing. If you've already seen those films, then The Puppet Masters is worth checking out. If not, I'd recommend checking them out first. A 5 out of 10 from me.
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