In the year 2009 the world heard about one of the most horrifying events involving an animal in the history of the world. A woman by the name Carla Nash was attacked and almost killed by a friends 200 pound Chimpanzee. Her wounds were described as horrifying by the emergency room doctors. Her friends Chimp, named Travis had had ripped off Carla’s hands, nose, lips, torn out her eyes and completely smashed the bones in the middle of her face. Some months later Carla was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey wearing a bee keepers head gear to hide her destroyed face. Some time after that Carla recieved a face transplant and her hand transplants failed. I remember the Oprah Winfrey interview from some 13 years ago and wondered at the time why anyone would want to continue to live after being blinded and having their face ripped off by a chimp.
For some reason, Jordan Peele, obviously facinated about this horrendous news story from 13 years ago, decided to add many references to it, including even Oprah Winfrey to his new movie “Nope”. There is even a scene with the woman whose face was destroyed by a chimp who appeared on a sitcom years earlier, sitting in a stadium wearning the exact same bee keeper outfit that Carla Nash wore when Oprah interviewed her 13 years ago. From what I have found on the internet so far, there is some symbolism to this reference with Hollywood’s poor treatment of animals. However, this reference is so obscure and hard to understand that I saw no reason to include this horrible event from 13 years ago, within a movie that is mostly about the appearance of an alien spaceship on a horse farm. Then add the fact that Peele decided to show at least 3 scenes of the chimpanzee attack that at least he had the humanity to not show the close up details of a womans face and eyes being eaten by a monkey. This is the essential problem with all of Jordan Peele’s movies. The attempt to create something never seen before, trying to be different to a level that is way too over the top with weird messages and crazy ideas. The question with movies like this is always, “Is this strange and different good, or strange and different bad?”. For me, mainly because of the Carla Nash reference, this 3rd Peele movie is strange and different bad. To put a reference to a horrible event like this to make a point about Hollywood’s mistreatment of animals, not only makes no sense but it also has nothing to do with the essential plot of this film. So, why do it?
As far as the story, once again Peele is using actor Daniel Kaluuya to star in this movie. Kaluuya also stared in Peele’s first movie “Get Out” that was released in 2017 – another movie I did not like. I think of Peele’s movies as someone who tells a joke and when nobody laughs, he has to explain the joke. A joke is never funny when it requires research or a slide rule.
Kaluuya plays OJ Haywood (yes, his name is OJ) who owns a horse farm with his sister played by Keke Palmer, whose name is of all things Emerald. There are a series of clouds that hide a large spaceship-like object that we learn as the story moves forward, may be more than just a space ship. There are scenes of increasing and violent interactions with the spaceship/creature and many reminders of a much better movie, “War of the Worlds” directed by Steven Speilberg and starring Tom Cruise that was released in 2005. The ending was also rather strange with a documentary director involved in trying to film the appearances of this alien spaceship and a tech representative of a local electronics store. I thought the ending was just OK, with the acting good throughout.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are in the low 80% range with my rating only a 70% while not recommending this movie, due to the reasons already stated.