Xuenou > Movies > Nope Review – Jordan Peele's Alien Invasion Movie Isn't What You Expect
Nope Review – Jordan Peele's Alien Invasion Movie Isn't What You Expect
Jordan Peele is best known for his horror films, but it turns out he's also great at sci-fi.

Nope Review – Jordan Peele's Alien Invasion Movie Isn't What You Expect

                              <p dir="ltr">Whenever a new Jordan Peele movie arrives, it's an exciting time. Sure, thus far, his movies have been nothing short of great, but there's this unique feeling of sitting down in the theater and not knowing what to expect. Regardless of how many trailers you've seen, they're only going to tell a small fraction of whatever tale Peele is weaving. We weren't prepared for Get Out, we were ill-equipped for Us. Now, with Nope, Peele is taking you on another unforgettable ride, though this one isn't the horror movie you might be expecting. Instead, the director is ping into sci-fi.</p><p dir="ltr">If the trailers are to be believed, Nope centers on two siblings, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer), attempting to document an unidentified flying object that seems to be continuously lurking above their house. And while you will find that story playing out throughout Nope's runtime, it's also a movie about the dark side of the entertainment industry, those who have sacrificed everything for it, and how the industry can chew them up, spit them out, and move on--a practice that isn't exclusive to Hollywood, by any means.</p><p dir="ltr">As the last in a long line of horse trainers that supply their animals to Hollywood productions, OJ and Emerald are watching the industry evolve around them as it's become more efficient to use visual effects instead of live animals. While Emerald is attempting to branch out and create a brand for herself, OJ is concerned only with the family business left to him by their late father.</p><figure data-align="center" data-size="large" data-img-src="https://www.gamespot.com/a/uploads/original/1578/15789737/4007488-2541_tfp_00640a.png" data-ref-id="1300-4007488" data-ratio="0.56230769230769" data-width="100%" data-embed-type="image"><br /><img class="aligncenter" src="https://www.gamespot.com/a/uploads/original/1578/15789737/4007488-2541_tfp_00640a.png" data-width="100%"></figure><p dir="ltr">These siblings, played beautifully by their actors, couldn't be any more different. Emerald is loud, brash, and very charismatic. OJ (Otis Jr.), on the other hand, is quiet, reserved, and seems much more comfortable hanging out with his horses than anyone else. It's two sides of entertainment industry professionals, those who stick to their trade and see it as their destiny, and those aching for more, however they can get their hands on it.</p><p dir="ltr">Then there's former child actor Ricky Park (Steven Yeun), who owns a Wild West theme park near the Haywoods' farm outside of LA, cashing in on what's left of his '90s sitcom fame. He's also at the center of the most disturbing tale told in the film, with a series of scenes that were outright horrifying to watch.</p><p dir="ltr">Park may be loosely connected to Hollywood at best as an adult, but that mysterious lurking object is exactly what he's hoping will make him famous once more. On the other hand, the Haywoods are hoping that capturing it on film will bring the riches that elude them as their horse farm slowly declines into obscurity.</p><p dir="ltr">As we contend with the ongoing pandemic that led to a high unemployment rate and now rising inflation that sees the prices of everything skyrocketing, it's easy to identify with people who are simply looking for a solution to their problems.</p><p dir="ltr">Along the way, we meet others who get roped into the Haywoods' plan. One of them is famed Hollywood cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), who is obsessed with capturing the "perfect shot." To him, this could be his ultimate legacy, though the money isn't bad, either. Then there's Angel Torres (Brandon Perea), a salesman at an electronics store who also serves as the tech support that travels to the farm to help set up camera equipment.</p><figure data-align="center" data-size="large" data-img-src="https://www.gamespot.com/a/uploads/original/1578/15789737/4007489-2541_tpi_0143.jpg" data-ref-id="1300-4007489" data-ratio="0.56230769230769" data-width="100%" data-embed-type="image"><br /><img class="aligncenter" src="https://www.gamespot.com/a/uploads/original/1578/15789737/4007489-2541_tpi_0143.jpg" data-width="100%"></figure><p dir="ltr">For those who actually live in Hollywood, Angel is perhaps the most relatable character in the mix. He's an employee at the Fry's Electronics branch in Burbank--literally down the street from the Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., and Universal Studios. It's an electronics store that, prior to the pandemic, was already on its last legs. As online shopping became the norm, aisles of Fry's became sparsely stocked or outright empty. Still, the storefront that features a massive UFO crashing into it is an iconic Los Angeles landmark. Sadly, in early 2021, after filming on Nope ended, Fry's announced the closure of all of its remaining stores, including the alien invasion-themed Burbank location.</p><p dir="ltr">While this certainly couldn't have been foreseen by Peele, those that know the chain will find an extra bit of irony in the fact that it's a Fry's Electronics employee that makes his way out to the Haywoods' farm. He's a symbol of yet another Hollywood pastime that was left behind.</p><p dir="ltr">And that's what makes Nope such an interesting film. We could discuss the excellent performances or the beautiful scenery all day. We could dip into spoilers and discuss what's happening over the Haywood farm, and there would be plenty to glean from it. Ultimately, though, what makes this movie work so well is how it views the Hollywood system and how it's up to those left behind to pick up the pieces and move forward as best they can--and how they can still yearn to be part of the spectacle that comes with the industry.</p><p dir="ltr">And while the entertainment industry serves as a backdrop for Nope, everyone has dealt with the fear of what they'll do if their job simply goes away. Whether it's positions being eliminated due to automation, contractors earning bottom-of-the-barrel rates for what was once a decently paid salary role, or entire industries becoming defunct over time, it can often feel like your chosen career is actively looking to move onto the next big thing. And in those instances, you can admit defeat, or you can be like the Haywoods and Park.</p><figure data-align="center" data-size="large" data-img-src="https://www.gamespot.com/a/uploads/original/1578/15789737/4007490-2541_36a_3_a.jpeg" data-ref-id="1300-4007490" data-ratio="0.56307692307692" data-width="100%" data-embed-type="image"><br /><img class="aligncenter" src="https://www.gamespot.com/a/uploads/original/1578/15789737/4007490-2541_36a_3_a.jpeg"></figure><p dir="ltr">While the approaches they take to the issue of being left behind are different, they--and we--all want the same thing. They just want to be whatever their version of content is. For Ricky, it's to achieve some form of the fame and fortune he once had. For the Haywoods, it's all about getting rich, paying off their bills, and not having to worry about the future.</p><p dir="ltr">That Peele is able to tell these stories layered in a sci-fi film filled with scary thrills is impressive. It's also further proof that he can seemingly make any of his stories relatable, without dumbing them down. What's more, he can do it within the confines of a movie that looks, feels, and sounds like a summer blockbuster, rather than the cerebral horror we've come to expect. Whereas Us and Get Out worked incredibly well as horror films, Nope is simply bigger. It's loaded with big sweeping shots, impressive visual effects, a haunting score, and the sort of images we have yet to see from Peele. We knew he could do horror, but who knew he could also tackle science-fiction so well? That he can make what looks like a big-budget sci-fi film and make sure the importance of the story is still front-and-center before everything else is a feat.</p><p dir="ltr">The only drawback of the film is its pacing. There are times when Nope feels like it's moving too slowly, and there are certain scenes that run too long. A bit more work into tightening the film could have got it down under 2 hours--rather than its 2-hour, 11-minute runtime--and been a faster-paced viewing experience that was just as enjoyable, if not more.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, all told, Nope is yet another winning effort from Peele. As a director, he's stretched his wings a bit to embrace science-fiction while still managing to include his trademark social commentary, the thrills we have come to expect from his films, and an interesting take on the alien invasion story that we haven't seen before.</p><p dir="ltr">Nope hits theaters on Friday.

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