The first decade of this millennium is often heralded as some sort of golden age for children’s films. Sure, most of Pixar’s best flicks came out in this period, and there were some winners in general, but I think people tend to view the films of their own childhood with rose-colored glasses. Most of these films are goddamn godawful. Just HOW goddamn godawful, you ask? Let’s find out together by checking out EVERY kids film between 2000 and 2009. From theatrical to direct-to-DVD to Disney Channel Original, we’ll look at ’em all because I am a glutton for punishment.
This week, God damn do I need subtitles.
CAROL’S JOURNEY KNOWING
The movie I was supposed to review was unavailable and also completely in spanish, so I replaced it with 2009’s Knowing which is a movie in which Nicolas Cage has to Google what 9/11 was and a Moose is set on fire.
This movie is traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash. But, like, watch it. It’s on Netflix and it’s a perfect bad movie night film. It’s the kind of “what the fuck am I watching” bad you get so so infrequently. And of course it stars Nicolas Cage. Because what the living shit, why not?
So the film opens with a little girl in 1959 who’s being all weird and hearing voices. But no time for that, she needs to do her entry for the school’s time capsule, with each student having been asked to draw what she thinks the future will look like. She writes down a long list of seemingly random numbers and puts that in the capsule which shows that NO TEACHER reviewed these drawings to make sure no one was bullshitting around or putting in their goddamn math homework.
In 2009 we meet Caleb Koestler, a child enrolled in the same elementary school as the girl from the opening. and its finally time to open that time capsule!!!! He’s told he has to write an essay about one of the drawings and gets given the weird numbers one. So clearly his teacher hates him and gave him the worst one to write about. But Caleb’s dad, John, played oh so well by Nicolas Cage, is an astronomer and mathematician who notices the numbers are weirdly sequenced. He pulls out a string that says 91101 and just stares at it. He eventually puts the right slashes in and sees it says 9/11/01.
He then decides to google that because he’s a fucking idiot.
Also, can i just say fuck you for using 9/11 in your shitty dumb sci-fi thriller, Knowing. Next to the date is a number which turns out to be the death toll of the September 11th attacks. Classy. So Nicky-Boy starts grabbing all the other dates and punching them in, which reveals that each one is linked to a different horrible attack or accident or other tragedy. And the last three sets of dates… are in the near future! OOooOOoOOOoOOoh!!!!!!!1
I’ll be honest, that’s actually an intriguing premise. It’s dumb as hell, but I am invested in where this story is going. Later, Caleb runs into The Strangers, tall weird men who don’t speak out loud, even though Caleb hears strange whispers whenever they’re around. They give him a small smooth stone. That night, Caleb has a nightmare where one of the men instructs him to look out his window, where he sees…
A MOOSE THAT IS ALSO ON FIRE!!!!!!
Look, I can’t tell you exactly why that’s hilarious but it 100% is.
The next day, (which is also the next date listed on the paper) John is on the freeway in dead stopped traffic when THIS happens.
Holy shit-fuck. Yeah, a plane goes down really hard and explode-y through a freeway with some of the WORST CGI fire I’ve ever seen. Like, I’ve seen better fire effects in Asylum movies. John goes on home after witnessing this unspeakable tragedy and discovers that the remaining numbers on the paper he hadn’t yet decoded give the coordinates of the disasters. He also discovers the girl who originally wrote the paper was named Lucinda Embry. Jesus, “Koestler”, “Embry”, these are some unwieldy names. John finds Lucinda’s daughter Diana and her granddaughter Abby and hi annoying character who will sidetrack the rest of the movie!
John tries to convince Diana about her mom’s future predictions, but she’s apprehensive. He then heads to New York to find the site of the next disaster, hoping to stop it before it can occur. He calls 911 and sends them a very threatening message, begging them to shut down the intersection marked by the coordinates. But the next day when he arrives, the street isn’t shut down. He flips his shit at a cop, who realizes that he’s probably the dude who made that super duper threatening 911 call the previous night. He flees from the police down into the subway station where he sees a suspicious looking dude and gives chase. They get on the subway and John confronts the guy… who was just a shoplifter. As the police are about to turn their attention to John, another subway car jumps the tracks due to a mechanical failure and rips through the crowd of bystanders.
In the aftermath, NO ONE STOPS JOHN FROM LEAVING DESPITE HIM BEING THE ONLY LEAD FOR POLICE. Also, no one looks for him throughout the rest of the film because why pursue the dude who threatened that something bad would happen in the exact spot something bad happened?
Anyhoozles, John and Diana go back to Diana’s mom’s house and find it desolated and torn apart. The next date on the paper, October 19th, is also the last. It’s also the day that Lucinda always told Diana she’d die, because that’s how you talk to your kids, right? They realize that the death toll listed doesn’t say “33” as they thought, but “EE” backwards. But what does EE mean? Well, when they turn over Lucinda’s bed, they find out.
Credit where credit’s due, that’s a pretty effective moment. Realizing this means earth is due for an extinction level event on the 19th, John panics because the paper doesn’t contain the coordinates of the event.
Also, they head outside to see some of the strangers talking to Caleb. When John threatens him, the Stranger blasts him with light from his mouth.
That sure is a screenshot.
Seeing some of Lucinda’s drawings, most of which prominently feature the sun. John heads to work on a theory. After examining the sun, he sees that a huge solar flare is due to hit earth and probably burn everyone alive. While Diana whines that they all need to get underground to survive, John tries to figure out where Lucinda left the coordinates for the final tragedy. Diana takes the kids and leaves, heading for some underground caves that won’t help whatsoever when solar flares barbecue the earth. John finds the coordinates on a door at Lucinda’s elementary school and decides for LITERALLY NO REASON that they need to go there to survive, despite that being the exact opposite of what the coordinates meant for every other set of dates.
John calls Diana and tells her to listen to him, but she doesn’t. She just screams a lot. She eventually pulls into a gas station and gets out of the car LEAVING IT UNLOCKED WITH THE KIDS INSIDE. So of course The Strangers steal the car with the kids inside. Duh.
Diana steals another car, screeching like a banshee the entire time and gives chase until she’s hit by a semi truck and killed. Thank god.
John somehow finds the gas station where they were and heads off in the direction Diana fled in. He stops at the scene of Diana’s accident, despite the car she was in not being one he would have any reason to recognize and sees that the kids are totally gone. He decides to just head to the coordinates and hope for the best. The coordinates lead him back to Lucinda’s house, where he runs into The Strangers again. They have the kids. Who have each been given a bunny rabbit. Because… uh… ugh, I don’t know.
It then turns out that The Strangers are actually…
Aliens who are there to save people from the doomed earth. But they will only take the children so John isn’t allowed to tag along. Caleb and Abby leave with the Aliens with the rabbits STILL NOT EXPLAINED and John heads to his parent’s house to spend his last moments with them. And then the earth explodes into burning hellfire.
This is not how explosions work. But whatever, this movie is finally almost over. The aliens land on a strange, earth like planet, leave the kids and the bunnies, and take off again, leaving the humans to die off steadily because they don’t know how to take care of themselves on this strange new planet.
Caleb and Abby spot a weird tree on the horizon and, totally not perturbed by the fact that everyone else they’ve ever known died horrifically, they run towards it. End of movie.
WHAT THE FUCK WAS UP WITH THE BUNNIES???????????
CATCH THAT GIRL
God, I miss movies that were in english. This is like the third time I’ve had to try and review something not in a language I speak that didn’t have subtitles.
I literally don’t know what I can say? This is a german movie that would later be adapted into the 2004 Kristin Stewart film “Catch That Kid”. It’s about a couple kids going through with a heist. That sounds right up my alley.
It sounds like something I would love. And yet I can’t enjoy it because I don’t know what’s going on whatsoever. Neato.
So yeah, that’s gonna have to more or less be my review. The soundtrack’s fun. Its shot real pretty.
So yeah, there you go. Next week, maybe I’ll be able to read the street signs in the films I’m assigned.