They Live ★★★

This reminds me of Big Trouble in Little China in the sense that the beginning of the movie is very strong, but it starts wearing thin by the end. Though, while I couldn't even finish that other movie, They Live at least managed to keep my attention. Even if it tried my patience with the (well choreographed, but too long) alley fight and its entirety after the two main guys attend the meeting. Why in the world would they replace the instantly iconic sunglasses with contact lenses for the part of the movie most people are going to remember?

But, most importantly, the movie's message was well conveyed, but I'm afraid that its audience may be potentially limited by people mischaracterizing it as strictly a left-wing movie. I think the main reason for that, aside from Carpenter's real life politics, is mostly just because it dares to criticize consumer culture, and I think that's a disservice to it and its ideas. Satirizing or, more generally, criticizing capitalism and the ulterior motives of advertisement agencies shouldn't be considered inherently partisan. What about "People care too much about money" or "Advertisements want to sell you a lifestyle" have to do with the larger goals of, just going with the major parties in the US, the Republicans or Democrats? Both of them are run by the super wealthy, and both of them use advertising essentially in the way this movie criticizes. In fairness, the humans being able to see through the veil and organizing in secret gatherings is obviously a parallel with Red Scare-era Communist groups, and I'm not trying to divorce this movie from that subject. I just think the point is larger and more broad than most characterizations of it allow for, and that trying to claim it for one side could limit its reach.

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