DEBATE: Yep or “Nope” – Movie Review

Nope is a horror-thriller movie written and directed by Jordan Peele that came out on July 7, 2022. The story follows a family-run farm plagued by an unidentified flying object (UFO), and the film has generated mixed opinions.

In this column, The Paper Wolf will give two reviews of the movie, one critical and the other much more positive

Saint Paul’s junior Shawn Cooney argues NOPE:

Ironically, the film’s title can sum up my opinion. Nope promised to put a new spin on an alien movie while adding interesting and creative twists, but it delivers a lackluster string of meaningless and predictable events that managed to accomplish nothing.

I saw the movie with some friends hoping to be exposed to a scary and enjoyable film; however, for the first time, a movie bored me, and I wanted it to end.

To illustrate one pointless twist, toward the start of the movie the main characters believed that the UFO plaguing them was an alien ship, but they later deduce that it’s not a ship but rather the alien itself. Peele thought he was being unique with this turn, but it only adds to the nothingness that is the plot of the movie.

Don’t just take my word for it, take the general audience review. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score is 68%. You may think that this seems good; however, 68% is a failing grade. Furthermore, the Google reviews have it even lower at 2.8/5 stars (or 56%).

My friend Elise Falkenstein agrees with me on the pointlessness of the movie. “If anyone ever asks you to see the movie Nope, your answer is as simple as the title of the movie: NOPE! It’s by far one of the worst movies I have seen in a very long time!”

It’s clear: Nope is a nope for me and audiences across the country.

Saint Paul’s senior Ethan Stenger argues YES:

When I say the word “artist,” who comes to mind? You may think of famous Renaissance artists like da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, or Donatello. Maybe your favorite musician came to mind, or maybe even a classical composer like Beethoven, Bach, or Mozart. It’s time to throw Nope director Jordan Peele into that same conversation.

Peele is one of the most hands-on directors in the modern-day movie industry. Every single object in a shot feels touched by Peele and has meaning. The smaller, more minute details found in his films add a little extra charm to his work.

Nope is the third thriller film that Peele has written and directed, including Us and the Get Out, the latter of which won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Expectations are associated with any work Jordan Peele produces. Expectations of a well-thought-out, well-put-together art piece of a film. Nope does not disappoint.

First impressions are crucial. Studies show that you have 7-10 seconds before someone has already created a first impression of you. Nope, a sci-fi film starring a family-owned ranch terrorized by an alien UFO, gets you intrigued by its plot as soon as you first hear the film’s title. Nope. The title gets you interested without telling you too much. The audience is already speculating and interested in the film’s mystery before even stepping into the theater.

Daniel Kaluuya returns to work with Peele as the lead role of OJ Haywood, as he also starred in the previously mentioned Oscar-winning horror Get Out. But it’s Keke Palmer playing OJ’s sister, Emerald, who really steals the show. Her energy and emotion in her acting are unmatched.

“I really thought Keke Palmer was amazing in her role, as her charisma came off the screen,” stated Senior Sam Gold.

The Kaluuya and Palmer duo really bring this film to life. The two play the brother-sister dynamic so well, and you can tell that the two characters have been through a lot together. Brandon Perea, Steven Yuen, Micheal Wincott, and Jacob Kim also give great performances as well.

While the little details in this film are great, it’s the overarching themes of the film that really propel Nope to masterpiece status. I believe that there are three themes that could be considered Nope’s main theme: grief, the euphoria of discovery, and that you can’t tame Mother Nature.

We start the film off in a dramatic fashion, as OJ’s father dies in front of him thanks to a nickel falling from the sky. A weird, one-in-a-million occurrence, is the thing that took OJ’s father from him. It is later revealed that the killer was the previously mentioned alien UFO, which has the special ability to turn off all electronics in its vicinity.

The Haywoods need to capture this creature on video. It’s the only thing they feel would truly avenge their father. This is where grief comes into play. OJ and Emerald need to capture the UFO in order to feel fulfilled and satisfied. This is the kids’ way of dealing with the death of their father. When Emerald manages to get a final picture of the alien and deliver the final blow, she begins to celebrate by bursting into tears. She can finally let her father rest.

The UFO is smart and knows how to spike fear into the hearts of its victims. It’s a predator like a snake is to a rat. One thing Peele wants you to know about predators is that predators aren’t to be tamed. Jupe Park, played by Brandon Perea and Jacob Kim, was a child actor who starred in a television sitcom known as Gordy’s Home. The show showed the life of a chimpanzee living with a normal American family. But tragedy strikes, as one day, one of the chimps on set snaps and goes on a killer rampage, killing many of the actors and crew members on set. When Jupe runs into the chimp, he knows he’s as good as dead. But the chimp spares Jupe, as the two had a special bond unlike any of the other people on set. Jupe believes that he has the ability to tame animals. He does the same thing as an adult, feeding the alien UFO horses to try and tame it. He uses this method to sell tickets to a show in which he attempts to show the people the magnificent creature. But during one of his shows, the alien eats Jupe and the show’s spectators alive.

Senior Trip Walter, who believes that Nope‘s main theme is that you can’t tame a predator, said, “You can see the creature punish Jupe for attempting to use it for a profit.”

Jupe should’ve learned his lesson the first time. Predators aren’t meant to be tamed.

Another one of the characters whose own awe leads to their downfall is Michael Wincott’s character Antleters Holst, a cinematographer fascinated by the UFO. He’s given the task to capture the alien on video. But things go south when Holst ventures to get the perfect shot. In the process, he is eaten alive by the predator. While some may question what Holst was doing, he is so captivated by his subject that he is willing to die to get it. The euphoria of discovery and fascination with the undiscovered creature leads to Holst’s own death.

The greatest thing about Nope is its many themes. At the end of the day, it’s an art piece. It can be interpreted in many different ways. What you think is the main theme of the film could be completely different from what I talked about in this article. But one thing is for certain, Jordan Peele created a cinematic masterpiece with Nope.


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