Wednesday 31 August 2022

REVIEW: Nope (2022) - Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun

Review by Jon Donnis
This review will contain spoilers, so do not read on unless you want to know what happens.

Jordan Peele is back with his latest film, yet again he desperately wants to be seen as the new M. Night Shyamalan, but instead he proves that he just doesn't have that magic that Shyamalan had, especially in his early films.

Now if you have seen the trailer to this film, or heard basic chatter, then you might be expecting some kind of alien invasion film, along the lines of M. Night Shyamalan's excellent film Signs. But if you expect that you will be sorely disappointed. NOPE, this is not an alien invasion film.

Some quick question and answers before we go on.

Are their any proper little aliens in this film? NOPE
Does this film have a clever twist? NOPE
Will I care about any of the human characters in this film? NOPE

I said human characters above on purpose, as there is a subplot in this film regarding a Chimpanzee, which is way more interesting than the rest of the film, sadly this subplot is only there to introduce another character.

The film itself starts off promising enough, we start in 1998, and on a film set for a sitcom "Gordy's Home, Gordy is a chimpanzee, as they film an anniversary episode special, a balloon pops on set, and the chimp goes mental, Gordy attacks and kills all of his human co stars. Later in the film we get another flash back that shows child actor Ricky "Jupe" Park, (who is later played by Steven Yeun as an adult), hiding under a table as the chimp is attacking people, he is unharmed, and after the Chimp calms down he comes over to Jupe and extends his "hand?" for a fist bump before being shot by police.

These two flashback scenes when put together are the highlight of the film, and I wish that this was a film about that, instead of what it ends up being about.

Fast forward to the present day and we have  two cowboys Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) and his son, Otis "OJ" Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) who run a ranch handling horses, which in turn are used for film productions. One day out of nowhere a coin falls from the sky and hits Otis Sr through the eye killing him. OJ and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) inherit the ranch.

OJ is doing his best to keep the business going while Emerald wants fame and fortune in Hollywood.

6 months later when filming a commercial, one of the horses reacts badly when a crew member startles it and it kicks out. The Haywoods are fired from the project.

With the business falling apart, OJ is forced to sell his horses to the now adult Jupe, (the boy from the Chimp attack incident), he operates a small Western themed theme park nearby. He offers to buy the ranch from them.

Later that night, the Haywoods notice their horse reacting angryily to an unknown presence. They see something of a donut shaped UFO sucking up the horses, and spitting items out. He wonders if that is how his dad was killed.

Now at this point the film becomes about them trying to film and photograph the UFO.

I don't usually spoil films, in fact I try to avoid it, but this one time I am going to spoil it because I was so disappointed in the outcome.

The film is just over 2 hours, and there are long periods where not a lot happens, boring dialog between the Haywood siblings that will send you to sleep.
In fact you could watch the first 5 minutes, then fast forward 55 minutes and you would lose nothing from the film.

So the whole film kinda sets up what you would think would be a cool alien invasion film. A UFO that hides in a cloud, sucking up horses and so on, Peele even fakes out a scene with kids dressed up to make you think aliens are walking about, now this would be fine if you then delivered actual aliens, but instead we dont get any.

The UFO itself is not actually a UFO, it is in fact a big floaty alien shape shifting jellyfish thing, which they killed by making it eat a huge balloon that pops inside it. Yes that is the big finale! It is as bad as it sounds. 

The Jupe character has been "feeding" this creature Horses to keep it happy, I guess the metaphore in all of this is that an animal is always an animal however well you think you treat it, think the Chimp, the Horse, and the Alien.

Sometimes you can forgive long build ups, you can forgive the fake outs, as long as the film delivers, I don't mine a swerve, giving you something you didn't expect, but this film just lies to you, makes you think it is one thing, and then gives you something that is much worse.

The hook with the Chimp was great, I was interested in that, yet in the end it is just used as a metaphor.

The Good
The chimp attacking people on set while filming a sitcom, that is a great horror film that could be made right there.

The Bad
Everything else, the characters are bland and you wont care for any of them. The big finale is laughably bad. There are no proper aliens, just a weird kite like jelly fish creature.

Such a disappointment, but since Jordan Peele is Hollywood's golden boy, as he ticks all the boxes, the film will do well as everyone will tell you how great it is, in the hope you will somehow believe them. 

Should you watch this film? NOPE

I score NOPE a 3/10 (The 3 is just for the Chimp scenes)

At cinemas now.