Thursday, December 24, 2009

Movie Review: The Rats

The Rats
Rated R
3 Slimes
Copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corporation 2002

THE CHARACTERS

Susan Costello: Mädchen Amick! She is a swim coach and is in charge of security & operations at the Garsons shopping center where the whole issue is going down. Needs some practice in speaking Arabic and fighting hordes of disease carrying rats. She and Jack get together in the end.

Jack Carver: Vincent Spano! He is a rat exterminator who is called in to rid the department store of rats, which then turns out to be bigger than that. I’m suspecting someone is in for overtime! He and Susan get together in the end.

Ty: He is Jack’s apprentice and assistant in the rat exterminating business. He is certainly not paid enough for his job.

Amy Costello: Daveigh Chase! Susan’s young daughter and frequent target of rats.

Ray Jarrett: The deputy chief inspector for the Health Department in NYC who won’t close any businesses down during the holiday season and with the special events going on. Even when clearly presented with a gigantic rat problem, tons of eye witnesses, and a dead body, he still doesn’t believe it! NYC needs to hire better civil servants.

Miss Paige: The owner of Gastons who clearly doesn’t grasp the full problem with the rats. At least she finally understands by the end of the film.

Nyla: She is Amy’s aunt and Susan’s sister. Provides nothing to the film, but is shown enough to be worth mentioning for the heck of it.

Rats: These are lab rats that were turned aggressive and mean by a bunch of scientists 2 years prior to the film. Their colony’s population is about, I’m guessing, close to a million. They like menacing anyone wearing perfume and prefer to attack anything in sight. They all blow up at the end of the film.

LESSONS LEARNED
+ Rats have personal issues that make them attack anyone wearing perfume.
+ Rats stalk people.
+ Rats have ninja sneaking skills.
+ Rats are like torpedoes in the water.
+ NYC department stores have hidden entrances to the sewers and subways.
+ Rats will come through toilets to get you!
+ Never, EVER, electrocute a colony of half million rats.
+ A single rat can stop a subway car at full speed.
+ Rats can scale up smooth, slippery walls of a subway car.
+ Fire Extinguishers work well against rats.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
0 min – They cut power to the Statue of Liberty! Those maniacs!
3 min – Oh baby! The film is taking it up a notch!
12 min – I’m having Willard flashbacks.
15 min – Let me put it this way. If you are scared of rats, prepare to have nightmares!
25 min – It’ll cost the store more if you keep the place open! Don’t people realize this?
26 min – ARE YOU PEOPLE BLIND?! THERE’S OVER 20 RATS IN FRICKIN’ POOL!
32 min – Actually, I estimate that there are over 50 given the landlord scene.
43 min – Turn around!!!
45 min – Don’t show fear! They can smell it!
51 min – Ninja rat!
65 min – I would have been already out the door if my toilet started doing that and there have rat problems going on.
71 min – The lost of city of the rats! I’ve only heard rumors of it before!
80 min – Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold the phone! The guy was lying on his stomach when he died, so how did he turn over onto his back? Did the rats do it!?
81 min – The perfume? That would make sense, but I’m siding with the little girl and saying the rats want you.
87 min – You struck rats! Lots and LOTS of rats!
89 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A GRATE!

NOTABLE QUOTES
Amy Costello: I want to be first in everything.
Susan Costello: I wonder where you get that from.

Susan Costello: So we got a rat problem?
Jack Craver: Certainly not giraffes.

Ty: (Yelling at Susan after getting fired by Garsons) That’s typical! The bigger name, the smaller the game lady!

THE PLOT

Christmas time is slowly approaching, so why not watch something Christmas related? Oh yeah, I could’ve picked a film that is more Christmas like, but why not try something different and possibly radical? I would’ve watched Home Alone 3, but I can’t find a copy. Then there was Home Alone 4 and personally, I wouldn’t touch that with that with a 39 ½ ft. pole. So, here we are!

The film begins with some quick information on rats and how they are a menace (But personally, I think some of there is some faulty info in there. I say cockroaches were the first come back at the atomic blast, not rats!). After that, we get a couple of shots of NYC and its underground, while also squeezing in some first-person rat vision as well. We also get some footage of a woman trying on clothes (The male audience appreciates gesture) at the Garsons department store. Then a rat pops out of nowhere and promptly bites her on the finger.

With that in mind, we turn to employee Susan Costello and see her dealing with her daily life and her daughter, Amy. The film also adds in random footage of rats running across the screen every time the film switches locations or scenes. I hope this film isn’t trying to reenact moments from Frogs. We also see some rats stalking her and then her landlord getting killed by a swarm of rats that just magically popped out of nowhere. Darn those rats and their teleportation skills!

The following day, Susan finds out that the costumer that was bitten by the rat early is now extremely ill (Susan had talked with the female the day before). She goes to visit her and discovers the disease that hospitalized her came from the rat. Susan talks with her boss, Miss Paige, about the situation, so they hire Jack Carver, a rat exterminator, to handle the situation. He immediately discovers the whole place is infested.

That night, he brings in Ty, his assistant, to help him track down the rats in the area. Susan sticks around to watch them work. After witnessing everything they find, I have to say the whole place is basically screwed, especially a perfume department. Wait until the health department sees this!

The following day, Jack has the 3rd floor of the store blocked off to exterminate the problem there. Unfortunately, he’s at the wrong place. A whole invasion force of rats invades a pool where Amy is swimming with her aunt, Nyla. During the whole bit, it looks like a scene from Piranhas and provides the same amount of childhood trauma to the kids in this scene as it did that killer fish movie.

With all this excitement, Jack starts looking into this incident as well. Then at the request of Susan, he checks out of her apartment after a large rat tried to get in through a window. After that thrilling scene of character development and a rat getting beaten to death by a baseball, the film moves onto the next day where Susan and Jack see Ray Jarrett, head of the Health Department saying the incident at the pool was nothing more than a prankster throwing in a couple of domesticated rats into the pool. A couple of rats?! There were over 50 of them!! We also find out that there is increase in rat bites and diseases from such throughout the entire city as well, but they won’t close anything during the holidays! Damn health department! Rats should automatically close down any business, regardless of what is going on! The lawsuits will cost the city more than shutting down businesses would have.

Back to Garsons; Ray, Ty, and Susan start exploring the old parts of the department store to find the rats. They reach the basement floors of the building and then into the sewers. Man, for a department store, it sure goes on and on! After a bit searching, they turn around and come back to the basement of the department store to find out that they are surrounded by rats! They slowly walk out of the basement, trying not to scare the rats while the creatures watch them (Like the ending of The Birds, but more disgusting and filthy).

Susan reports the discovery to her Miss Paige. Although they clearly need to gas the whole place, the owner simply thinks some patch works and a couple of traps will do the job. The stupidity found in Jaws as officially leaked into this film. Just some patch work and some traps? She was either not listening well enough to the report over 100s of rats or just doesn’t know the finer things about what rats are capable of. Also, we are about 50 minutes into a 90 minute movie and so far one person got killed. Can we step it up here? Random attacks, while creepy, aren’t as convincing or eye-awakening enough as a couple of death scenes would.

So Susan heads to the hospital (to visit that girl who was bitten earlier) and gets attacked by a rat in her car. How did it get in? Was my joke about teleportation skills actually correct? Ah well, she throws it out of her car and runs it down. Jack tracks down the rats’ home above ground to an abandon building, while Ty takes one of the dead rats he found to a scientist to check it out. From the scientific examination, they discover the rats are more aggressive and much stronger. Ty does some more research himself and discovers there are a couple of research labs that are or were testing on rats in the area by the department store and Susan’s home.

Susan, Ty, and Jack investigate one of the labs, which has been abandon apparently. They come across one of the testing rooms and discover tons of dead animals’ skeletons & documents of that belonged to the place. They discover the whole placed closed down due to health problems and discover the scientists had been experimenting on rats with different chemicals. They present their findings to Jeff, who still doesn’t believe everything, but lends them equipment to handle the possible situation on folding.

With all of this happening, a rat yet again tries to get into Susan’s apartment. You know what? Is Susan a rat magnet? I mean really, they are trying to break into her apartment, they kill her landlord, they are all over her department store, they break into her car, they are going after her family, and they are just following her everywhere she goes.

The following day, Jack & Ty get some assistance from some members of the health board to check out the abandon laboratory to see if they can find where the rats are hiding in the pipes. We also learn that Susan has fallen for Jack. Killer rats: Bringing People Together since 2002. Don’t forget to also see the magnificent killer ants doing the same in other movies.

We got like 25 minutes left in this film and still, we only had one death scene and lots of random rat menacing scenes. This film is really just lacking in terror department. Step up it here film!

Back our feature presentation, the guys find the rats’ colony with their remote control camera and my God there is a lot of rats!!! They weren’t kidding when they thought there was over a half million (I’m saying there is probably a million or more!) They back the camera off from the creatures’ home, but it clips a wire and sends electricity all over. This drives the rats crazy and they start running all over the place for cover.

Where are they going? Why, they are going into the subway! They had chewed through a bunch of pipes and now have access to the subway system, where Susan and Amy are. You know where this going! Also, Susan is looking over some of the research found at the old lab. Apparently, the rats were tested on some kind of plant, which is also made in perfume sold at Susan’s department store and that Amy has on her at the moment. Ah! Now the pieces are all fitting together!

The subway car Susan is in comes to a complete stop when a rat, somehow, absorbs the electricity from the rails, which stops the car. Add this to things I did not know about engineering and biology. The subway car driver (Or whatever you call them) gets out and checks for the problem. Suddenly, the rats just swarm the guy and eat him alive! Well it is about time someone got killed and it only took… 40 to 50 minutes! Also, a fun fact for everyone! I actually saw a behind scene footage on TV one time that showed how this scene was done. The guy had to put peanut butter on the back of his jacket so that the rats would crawl over him when he was on the ground. The rest was left up to the special effects guys.

Back the movie, the rat swarm break into the subway car and start attacking the passengers. For the next few minutes, those with fears of rats or all things disgusting may want to look away. Jack and Ty head into the subway to track the colony and find the subway car Susan, Amy, and the rest are trapped in. Apparently, the rats have suction cup feet because they are all over that car! So, the two of them use the fire extinguishers they took with them to force the rats to flee (So with combating fires and Blobs, extinguishers can take on rats too! I got to get a couple), allowing the passengers to escape from the car.

Susan tells Jack about the perfume and how the rats are attracted to it. Jeff arrives on the scene and Jack explains the situation to him, but he doesn’t believe it. HOW CAN HE DISMISS THIS?! However, Paige believes the issue and hands all the perfume in the department store to him so that he can get rid of it and use it to lure the rats away. They set up a pool, where Amy was attacked, so they use it to kill the rats. They bait it with a lot of that perfume stuff.

Soon enough, hundreds and hundreds (I can’t emphasis that enough) come flooding into the pool. They start setting up incendiary charges so they can blow them up. However, Susan is knocked into the pool of rats when they explode out of grate near the pool. Jack pulls her out of the pool of rats, while being bitten tons of time. Once she is out, he sets off the charges and the rats are all killed!

The film ends Susan, Jack, and Amy spending some time together happily once the whole situation is over. OR IS IT?! The film fades to black as a swarm of rats flow out of a trash can. Well that’s all fine and stuff, but we still have 2 problems here! Whatever happened to the woman in the hospital?! Did she ever get better? The other thing is that you got to be kidding me! Susan and Jack were bitten tons of times, but they didn’t get any diseases from it, like the one that girl had in the hospital?!

Well, besides the lack of a good conclusion, this was, admittedly, a pretty good killer animal movie. The CGI effects on the rats were convincing, acting was good, the actual reason for why the rats became killers is not half assed like most reasons in these sorts of shows, and the characters were developed enough for the viewer to actually care about them.

The problems that does hold the film down a bit was that there wasn’t much death in this killer animal movie. Most films like this have a bit of a body count, at least 4 or 5 for a minimum, but there were only 2! That’s fine and all, but we don’t get that really since of dread that comes from the creatures. I also didn’t like it that a couple of plot points weren’t answered at the end, especially the 2 I pointed out. Also, for an R rated film, it was rather tame. Oh sure, there was some brief nudity at the beginning, but if you cut it out (Which could of have happened), this is at best a PG-13 rating. However, the film is pretty darn good as for a direct to video flick. It’s worth a watch or two if you are in to this kind of thing. However, be sure you don’t mind lots and lots of rats!

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