Movie Review: They Live (1988)

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Anyone else that the tought that we are subconsciously being controlled by everything in our environment? Okay to be fair, I don’t think it’s that bad, but it is an interesting thought.

Ladies and gentlemen… “They Live”.

We follow a drifter named Nada (Roddy Piper, R.I.P) who comes to Los Angeles for food, shelter and work. And while he actually finds that and even a new friend named Frank (Keith David), he also stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses that let’s him see that the earth has been taken over by aliens. He sees that some people actually are aliens in disguise and he sees that signs that to the naked eye look like normal advertisements, actually subconsciously tells us what we should do. I’m not gonna lie, it’s actually really clever. With the setup it could have been incredibly cheesy and even bad, but they pulled it off. It is a clever satire on society combined with an alien invasion movie. I’m not gonna lie, I kinda loved that.

Having a professional wrestler star in your movie is a pretty risky move, but here they actually managed to pull it off. Roddy Piper (Again, R.I.P) is actually really good in the movie. Sure, he’s not Mr. Oscar Worthy, but he’s actually pretty great considering he’s a wrestler. I think a lot of that comes from his overall charm because in this movie he seems like the type of guy you’d want as your friend. Keith David also has a pretty important role in the movie and he’s great. There’s really nothing else to say, he’s Keith David, he’s always great. I also have to mention that those two have pretty good chemistry, not really Mel Gibson/Danny Glover level of chemistry, but still good chemistry.

The score for the movie was done by director John Carpenter and composer Alan Howarth. They have collaborated before on other movies like in “Escape From New York”. And while one might call it cheesy, I still really enjoyed it. It is a strange mish-mash of rock, blues, sci-fi (A.K.A. typical sci-fi music) and synth. Some might call that an awful combination, but I call it awesome.

Like I said, this movie was directed by John Carpenter (Sidenote: For some reason I have watched a fair amount of movies by him recently). And he did a great job, the shots look great and the camera work overall is really solid.  I especially love the shots in black and white which if you didn’t know, are the shots we see when Nada puts on the sunglasses. Those shots I just simply love. And the action in the movie is pretty good too.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“They Live” is a surprisingly clever movie with a story featuring great social commentary. The characters/performances are really good too, the music is really good and the directing is great. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “They Live” is a 9,88/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“They Live” is now reviewed.

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… And I’m all out of bubblegum.

 

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