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    Paul (Movie review)

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    UKSteve

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    Paul (Movie review)

    Post  UKSteve on March 5th 2011, 4:13 am

    As most of you guys are Stateside, I thought I would take this rare opportunity to give a quick review of something a couple of weeks before you get a chance to see it Smile

    Before I say anything else about this film, I’ll say this: if you get offended by bad language, you’re gonna want to give this one a wide berth. There is a lot of it, to the point of gratuitous swearing being a running gag for much of the film. Much of the gratuitous swearing is therefore deliberately comical, but if you don’t want to hear it, save your pennies.

    On the other hand, if you’re a fan of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and especially of Spaced, then you’ll get a kick out of this movie.

    The writer Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) and Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) are living every British geek’s dream: a road trip from San Diego Comic Con along the Extra-terrestrial Highway. As is the tradition with road movies, they pick up a motley crew of hangers-on along the way – in this instance a stereotypical grey called Paul, and a similarly stereotypical Bible Belt girl called Ruth. (If Christian-bashing is going to offend you, you might also want to skip the film. If not, we’ll come back to Ruth.) They also pick up a crowd of pursuers: Men in Black, the FBI, Ruth’s dad and his pet shotgun…

    So, the film. It’s funny, in a Pegg & Frost way; the pair are perhaps not quite as chummy as in, say, Shaun of the Dead, but the gag rate is high, and the ‘aliens abroad’ theme is completely subverted by having an actual alien having more clue what’s going on than the humans. Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) gets all the best lines, and a weird love triangle with Graeme and Clive, who almost fall out over 'hogging the alien experience'.

    Which brings us back to Bible belt Ruth, who sort of gets in the way of the aforementioned love triangle by wanting to fornicate with Graeme. Yes, her alien encounter brings about a rather abrupt conversion to, well, some brand of hedonistic atheism maybe; or maybe just a belated rebellion against the religion instilled in her by her father. Even Christians in the UK find it easy to laugh at these stereotypical trailer-park dwelling ‘Christians’; I’m not sure how well that will go down in the US, but the characters of Ruth and her father, and how they interact with the wider world around them, gives plenty of scope for meaningful discussion – Paul hands you one the second he meets Ruth, and there’s plenty of debate to be had, not just about how Christianity would react to alien life, fundamentalism done badly, and what Christians are really like in real life; but things like miraculous healing and evolution arise from the interation between Ruth and Paul.

    For guys like us though, most of the fun of Paul is to be had trying to spot all the geeky references and cameo appearances as they fly past with varying degrees of subtlety. I spotted a bunch, but am hoping for an homage-o-meter on the DVD release for those I might have missed.

    In summary: if you can deal with the language and the Christian-bashing, Paul is the very definition of a 'must-see' movie for all sci-fi geeks.

    Paeter
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    Re: Paul (Movie review)

    Post  Paeter on March 5th 2011, 10:35 pm

    Awesome review, Steve! If you don't mind, I'd like to share it on the podcast. I want to see this flick, but it's one I can wait for Redbox on and your review covers the same kinds of elements I probably would.

    If it's cool with you, I can either read it on the show or you can record it yourself for the show if you like. (If you don't have the means to record yourself, an easy way would be to leave a message with it at 206-350-1226.)

    What do you think?


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    UKSteve

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    Re: Paul (Movie review)

    Post  UKSteve on March 6th 2011, 1:56 pm

    I won't be able to record for you Paeter, but by all means use it Smile

    And if while you do that you happen to mention my blog and/or website, you will have my eternal gratitude, at least until the end of the week. Wink

    Steve

    Paeter
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    Re: Paul (Movie review)

    Post  Paeter on March 18th 2011, 2:37 pm

    Thanks, Steve! I don't know how I missed your reply here. I was just checking today to see if you'd replied yet, but you replied forever ago! Sorry I missed it!

    I'm going to use the review on this weekend's show and I will definitely plug your site.

    Thanks!


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