Sam Neill Update: Spaceships, Helena Bonham Carter (again), and Charles II

I have been hard at work watching Sam Neill movies to complete my goal! I’m a fifth of the way there!

Event Horizon (1997)
I am not really that into horror movies, having a terrible fear of jump scares, but my brother once easily cajoled me into watching this one by simply pointing out that Sam Neill was in it. My Sam Neill obsession has apparently infected him, albeit a lesser case, so you should maybe watch out.

Yes, this movie is trying to make you fear black holes

The Movie: In the year 2047 Earth receives a signal from the experimental space ship Event Horizon which disappeared mysteriously seven years ago. A crew of plucky space adventurers plus the ship’s original designer are sent out to Neptune to investigate. The ship was created to move faster than light by creating an artificial black hole inside its core, but of course something went wrong and it ended up in a freakish hell dimension, killing all of the crew, whose creepy frozen remains we get jump scared by while exploring the ship. Plus, the ship has either become evil-sentient or there’s some kind of creepy hell-dimension demon thing hiding out in it, because it eventually starts torturing the new crew with creepy visions before possessing one of them in an attempt to bring them back “home” to creepy hell dimension. Jump scares and gross death scenes abound.

Also, this happens

The Character: Sam Neill plays Dr. Weir, the ship’s original creator and the character the unexplained evil force decides to possess. He spends most of the movie insisting that the ship is perfectly safe, despite evidence, and gruesomely killing the other characters. This movie taught me that it’s pretty much impossible for me to not like Sam Neill, even when he’s being a murdering psychopath. Before he gets all possessed and cuts out his own eyes, he has angsty dreams about his wife who either left him or killed herself, something he hasn’t gotten over. See, Sam Neill’s not evil, he’s just sad, you guys. Is it his fault that the evil hell dimension’s spokesdemon decided to possess him? Maybe, but at least he does it with a smile on his face and general badassery in his heart.

Best Sam Neill Quote: “Where we’re going… we won’t need eyes to see.”

The Revengers’ Comedies/Sweet Revenge (1998)
This 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 Carter’s character did not seem totally, totally nuts as per her usual, but thankfully you just have to wait a little longer for her to reveal her true crazy.

There's lots of reasons this movie made me happy; that outfit is #2

The Movie: Sam Neill’s wife has left him and he’s just been fired; Helena Bonham Carter’s friend-with-benefits has just gone back to his wife. They meet while attempting to jump off London’s Tower Bridge and decide to get revenge on the people who’ve made them miserable. Helena Bonham Carter gets a secretary job at Sam Neill’s old office to torture his smarmy replacement/job stealer, leaving Sam Neill to hang out in her huge country house to somehow ruin the life of her next-door-neighbor/ex-BF’s wife. Unfortunately, Sam Neill ends up falling in love with the wife instead, which pisses off HBC when she goes to all the trouble to make sure smarmy-boss ends up disgraced and dead. Sam Neill DOES accidentally kill the boorish ex-bf in a ridiculous duel scene, and HBC turns out to be a chronic arsonist who supposedly dies when lighting her own house on fire at the end, though in the final scene we see she is just pretending and still out for revenge OMG LOOK OUT SAM NEILL

This is #1; I had to pause the movie I was laughing so much

The Character: Sam Neill is pretty much the straight man in this movie, spending most of his time somewhat befuddled, especially by Helena Bonham Carter. He does show a little bit of initiative in figuring out the truth about how HBC’s parents died (“mysterious fire”) and does try to stand up to his new love interest’s terrible husband. Unlike HBC and every other character, he doesn’t take death lightly, protesting the duel he’s been coerced into even while his opponent is pointing a gun at his head.

Best Sam Neill quote: Sam Neill protests that dueling with shot guns is far too barbaric and he’s not going to take part, dramatically flinging his gun to the ground. It goes off, shooting his opponent through the heart. HBC’s younger brother, happily: “Good shot!!!”

Restoration (1995)
When I saw this period piece on my list of things to watch, I thought “Okay, some made-for-TV Masterpiece Theater kind of thing with a series of bad accents”. I was so wrong! This movie is full of famous people!

Though sadly not Helena Bonham Carter

The Movie: The opening scenes of this movie made me think it was going to be a classic 1663 doctor buddy-cop type movie. David Thewlis plays the by-the-book conservative while Robert Downey Jr. is more interested in drinking and the ladies, but his disregard for “the rules” marks him for brilliance. We only see this “brilliance” one time: when he dares to touch a live human heart with his grubby, plague-covered 17th century hands. I think I’m with Prof. Lupin on this one. Anyway, his heart-grabbing means that King Charles II takes notice of him and hires him to nurse his most precious pet dog back to health. Robert Downey Jr. gets drunk, but somehow the dog is saved anyway! Huzzah! Everything goes good for awhile until King Charles gives RDJ an estate and makes him marry one of the many royal mistresses in a sham marriage so that the other royal mistresses don’t get jealous. Despite the expert advice of Sir Ian McKellan, his butler, and the conniving of Hugh Grant who appears to be hanging out there for no reason, RDJ falls in love with his fake wife, and so the king banishes him to hang out at David Thewlis’ mental hospital where Meg Ryan is an attractive yet crazy Irish woman. Of course RDJ wastes no time in hitting that and David Thewlis dies of the plague (or werewolfism??). Meg Ryan dies giving birth to their daughter and the rest of the movie involves RDJ finding meaning in his life again through a plague outbreak and the Great Fire of 1666.

Guess who Sam Neill is.

OF COURSE King Charles II!

The Character: Sam Neill is AMAZING as King Charles II! Even if you discount the awesomeness of his wig and clothes, he pretty much goes everywhere with an adorable pack of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Plus he’s the perfect blend of silliness and deadly seriousness at the same time, which makes you think “Here is a guy who knows how to have a good time… but also someone I don’t want to cross.”

That mustache alone is someone you wouldn't want to cross

Best Sam Neill Quote: While leaving RDJ to work on his poor sick dog, Sam Neill makes a ridiculous dog howling noise impossible to portray in print. Then he looks at the dog, sighs, and says “There was a time when she would’ve responded to that”.

Previously: Cardinal, Colonel, Madman
Next: Merlin (again), Erotic Artist, Tragic Dingo Victim

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