Sam Neill: An Obsession Acknowledged

I don’t know if this situation ever happens to you, but try to imagine. You’re browsing through your Netflix queue, trying to figure out what movie would go best with Surprise Sandwich! or whatever you’ve managed to make for dinner, when you come across something kind of bizarre. You don’t remember putting it in your queue, and, while reading through the description, you can’t understand why it appealed to you whenever that was. What’s the deal?

For me, the deal always, always is that Sam Neill is in it. You guys, I think I might be a little obsessed. In fact, much as I have vowed to read every Tamora Pierce book ever, I realized this week that I have made a more informal vow to see every movie Sam Neill has been in. It’s the only explanation for my Netflix queue, and I decided I might as well make it official. Look, I’ve made a banner and everything:

Here’s a little history of how we’ve gotten to this point:

Merlin (1998) (mini-series)
Remember a few weeks ago when I claimed that, rather than wanting to be a princess, middle school Patricia was obsessed with the magical old guy archetype? Yeah, I was in 6th grade when this mini-series came out about Merlin, the most magical of all magical old guys. And he wasn’t even that old!

Still too old for Middle School Patricia, but what are you gonna do?

Plus, he has kind of silly looking hair so I’m sure 6th Grade Patricia swooned immediately.

The Movie: This movie generally follows the stories found in Arthurian legend, obvs with the focus on Merlin. You got your classic underground dragon fight, Uther Pendragon being the ultimate creepster, sword in the stone, Guinevere being kind of a slut, Arthur one-upping her (with incest!), and Mordred being a Sour McEmoPants. This version of the story also shows a lot of Merlin’s relationship with Nimue, whom he falls in love with as a young man, rather than a lecherous old guy as in most other versions. Plus, Nimue totally loves him back instead of just using him to gain knowledge of his magical powers! Also, instead of being trapped in a cave forever, Merlin is sentenced to the possibly more tragic fate of having to hang out with Martin Short.

And Helena Bonham Carter was also there

The Character: Clearly Merlin is a great addition to anyone’s resume, and Sam Neill’s Merlin even avoids most of the classic Merlin-downsides, like being a bit of a lech and ending up rotting to death in some cave. Unfortunately, he still helps out Uther in weird magical-rape because he knows the resulting illegitimate kid will be Arthur. Not even Middle School Patricia thought that was a good excuse, Merlin, so I’m deducting points. Still, overall Merlin is smart, kind of badass, and wore awesome feather coats, so maybe my favorite Sam Neill role? We’ll see!

Jurassic Park I/III (1993/2001)
So the first Jurassic Park movie came out before Merlin but Young Patricia was way too busy being TERRIFIED of dinosaurs to notice Sam Neill the first time she saw it.

This movie taught me to fear both ripples in water and Jeff Goldblum

It was only upon rewatching it sometime later that I realized “Hey! It’s that guy!!!” I don’t remember much about Jurassic Park III besides watching it solely because I heard Sam Neill was back.

The Movie: is so amazing you don’t need me to describe it at all; you’re already reliving Muldoon’s love/hate raptor relationship or possibly picturing that annoying girl claiming to be “a hacker”.

The Character: Dr. Alan Grant, like Merlin, is both smart and badass. Plus, he hates children and specifically tries to traumatize them in the first scene:

"This is nothing like The Land Before Time, you little halfwit, this is real life dinosaur science!"

Plus, he spends most of both movies in awesome hats.

The Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)
This movie pretty much cemented my obsession with Sam Neill. I remember thinking: “This guy’s resume is AMAZING. All-powerful wizard… two-time dinosaur fighting scientist… the anti-Christ. There is like NO JOB he can’t get”. I became convinced that every role Sam Neill could play would be JUST AS AWESOME and informally vowed to see each one. From this point onward, seeing that Sam Neill was in a movie automatically meant that I would watch it, no matter what. Which was unfortunate, because the Internet agrees that The Omen III completely sucks. However:

The Movie: Full disclosure, I saw this movie at a Halloween “The Omen” marathon sleepover in highschool, and I fell asleep about halfway through. I can’t really tell you anything about it besides that Sam Neill is the anti-Christ. A cursory google search reveals that at some point he goes fox hunting.

The Character: He’s the anti-Christ!! Assuming he’s similar to his younger self in The Omen (1976) which I do remember, he has demonic powers and has no qualms getting rid of ANYONE IN HIS WAY in the most gruesome way possible.

And at some point he becomes Harry Potter! Or maybe that's a knife?

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on my Sam Neill watching progress!

Next Time: Cardinal Wolsey, British Imperialism, and Madness!

2 responses to “Sam Neill: An Obsession Acknowledged”

  1. Uncle Bill says:

    Uncle Bill recommends “Dead Calm” be added to your Sam Neill queue. An eerie thriller set aboard a sailboat, you’ll get lots of young Sam Neill hunky-ness. Also, the first movie appearance by another aussie up and comer named Nicole Kidman (She plays his wife). Enjoy!

  2. […] is the second time I’ve seen Sam Neill and Helena Bonham Carter together (the other being Merlin) and they’re a pretty great combination! At first I was shocked that Helena Bonham […]

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