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Reviews for the week of September 6, 1999.

Monday:
Astronaut's Wife

Astronaut's Wife
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The Astronaut's Wife is, as I expected it to be from the previews, a disappointing, poorly plotted sci-fi flick.

Johnny Depp, who appears to be on a sudden career comeback with two new movies this year, stars as Spencer Armacost, a NASA astronaut. At the beginning of the film, he's a nice guy who loves his wife (Charlize Theron) so much that he phones her from space to say hi. Then, while Spencer is up in space one day, a peculiar accident occurs, and NASA loses contact with Spencer and his partner for two minutes. The two astronauts survive, are rescued and returned to Earth, more or less unharmed.

But Spencer has changed. Although he appears the same, he now becomes an evil messenger of an alien race, and his goal is world dominion. When Jillian gets pregnant, she soon suspects that her twin babies will inherit their father's bad traits - namely, his desire to help the aliens take over the world. (Talk about your bad gene pools.)

The first ten or twenty minutes of The Astronaut's Wife are interesting, but the movie lost me right about the time that Jillian gets pregnant. So much is left unexplained at the end - where the aliens are from, what they're like, and most importantly, the fate of the world. I thought The Astronaut's Wife was stupid, far-fetched, weakly written.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Thirteenth Warrior

Thirteenth Warrior
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Despite being a big Antonio Banderas fan, I was not impressed with The Thirteenth Warrior. Of course the studio would never admit this in their ads, but The Thirteenth Warrior was in the can for about two years before its release - I guess the studio was just waiting for the right time to release this boring, dull film.

Banderas is not at his best as Ibn Fadlan, an Arab man (that means suppression of Banderas' sexy Latin accent) kidnapped by some "North Men". (The movie takes place at a point hundreds of years ago.) The purpose of the film revolves around the group of warriors trying to defeat some other warriors who dress up as bears. These "bears" are called "eaters of the dead". (That was, in fact, the name of the Michael Crichton book The Thirteenth Warrior was based on, and the original title of the film. I'm guessing they changed the name because theatre owners feared they wouldn't sell much popcorn at a movie called "Eaters of the Dead".)

This film lost my attention rapidly - even Banderas couldn't keep my eyes riveted to the screen. Now I remember why I gave up trying to read the book - it was too tepid and boring. However, I realize many people enjoyed the book, and if you're one of them, you'll probably like The Thirteenth Warrior. But if you're not a fan of the book, you probably should skip The Thirteenth Warrior.

My Rating = Two Stars

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