Fass obviously saw his future wang endowment after gazing into his cosmic crystal ball
Director:- Ridley Scott
MILD SPOILER ALERT!
Without question, Prometheus is the most anticipated movie of 2012 – argue with it what you will.. But it’s a cold hard fact. Namely because it heralds the return to the sci-fi genre of one Sir Ridley Scott – one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. And after over 30 years since his first sci-fi feature, Alien, Mr Scott returns to the franchise that chained one of the greatest film series of our time. But has he, and such a wonderfully talented cast delivered what we’ve eagerly been anticipating?
In a nutshell – Prometheus is a sci-fi spectacle that delves into one of the most posed questions by the human race. Where do we come from? After discovering ancient markings courtesy of ancient civilisations that have a striking parallel – Doctors Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green) lead a 17-strong expedition paid by the Weyland Corporation to investigate a distant planet literally written in the stars, in the hope of finding the answers they seek to the beginnings of human life.
On a production standpoint – Prometheus is visually astounding. Seamlessly blending physical sets with amazing computer generated imagery. Landscapes and beautifully shot vistas are undeniably epic in their scale, beauty and atmospheric effect… And give the film an extremely grandiose aura, harkening to some of Scott’s more recent work. It certainly gives credence to the frequent statement from various medias that Prometheus is a BIG film, in all its aspects and ideas. Building a whole new blueprint to work from (Yes that’s a minor spoiler, this film does bait for sequels). With a production on this scale and a superb bout of timely effort by the designers, the performances and stunt work in some external action scenes are lifted to a higher plane – far away from the craptastic green screen factory line that Hollywood have churned mile after mile of uninspiring bloke flicks on a continual cycle. A very refreshing and welcome shift for a big budget production. No doubt Ridley has set a benchmark here.
Unfortunately, that is where the film’s positive notes end. Because the film, as an entire package, is extremely disappointing.
Prometheus’ running idea of challenging opposing beliefs is highly abundant throughout the film’s first half. Irrevocably, it does nothing to drive the plot or premise of the film – leads to absolutely no character development or actual culmination, and certainly does not make for memorable, or even notable dialogue between the crew mates. A strong aspect of Scott’s ‘Alien’, was the camaraderie between the team aboard the Nostromo. As opposed to this film – With what is a rather extensive crew, are barely even given arm’s-length to stretch their characters and are, as predicted, merely just lambs to the slaughter. Shaw and Holloway’s relationship is kind of a surprise(?)… we get a teeny bit of insight on their past during one scene midway through the film – but as a whole, the exposition police are still at the station eating donuts. Shaw, individually, is actually given a few brief flashback moments thanks to some nosey digging of synthetic bod ‘David’ (a pitch perfect Fassbender). But it only amounts to more questions surrounding the Doctor’s ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ of there are really answers out there for what she’s looking for. It’s a real shame, as these ideas surrounding the subject are logical and reasonable – but it’s not constructively or appropriately developed. Rapace borders from passionate scientist come religious optimist (notably pitted against her partner Charlie – who is more privy to the scientific theory of humanity’s origin), to a reasonably small-scale heroine. In perhaps one of the closest scenes to Kane’s chestburster surprise in Alien, Rapace’s Shaw is subject to some pretty gut wrenching stuff. Subsequently stepping over that border aforementioned. For me, Noomi Rapace doesn’t really excel here – more a case of what she was given to work with.
Elsewhere there’s an impressive performance from Charlize Theron, as Weyland overseer, Vickers. Using her icy attributes and pragmatic nature to carry the film’s more ‘diplomatic’ moments and rather channelling franchise poster-girl Ellen Ripley. Idris Elba was a major surprise as perhaps another throwback to the early Alien movies, playing the ship’s captain – Janek. There’s a definite attitude, a groove that he runs on – engaging in some interesting sequences with the two female leads. Though his screen time was small at best, he was perhaps one of the more characterised crew members of Prometheus.
Michael Fassbender, is on another level as the ship’s caretaker/android ‘David’, who oversees the operation of the Prometheus for the two years that the crew remain in stasis. Our introduction to David is probably my favourite sequence in the entire movie. Fassbender almost seems like he’s fresh out of the mould – the mannerisms, a cold and disconcerting tone and quite often humourous nature really notches up some points. Really something. Proving yet again that he is one of the most versatile and talented actors working today.
Prometheus – though with its stunning visuals and fairly strong cast. Massively falters on its most important aspect – the story. With a very intriguing premise, and being overwhelmed with anticipation being such a huge Ridley Scott fan – I was disheartened to see such a promising start keel over near the half way hurdle. It spills out of steady hands into a structure that is fragmented and a very loosely ended narrative. Seriously dampening the efforts from the cast.
Without speculating about sequels – there’s an immediate brain wave after watching the film that not enough back story or development is given to the planet-dwelling (sort of) antagonists. Rendering the film’s last 20-30 minutes nose-pinchingly redundant. Additionally, one of the film’s most important and key moments – unfortunately destroys the entire idea of this being an Alien prequel, completely blowing one of the most mystifying aspects of the franchise’s history out of the water. Fact is, yes it is an Alien prequel, regardless of what’s been reported (sharing ‘strands of Alien DNA’ is a double-entendre, people). Even though some of the references to the franchise are incidentally misplaced that it almost seems less ambiguous and more ‘here look at this little easter egg we tacked on’.
Undoubtedly, opinions will be split right down the middle for Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction, and though the film sets out to ask the great question. We are left asking ourselves a shit load more by the end…
1 Comment | tags: alien, alien 3, aliens, analyis, android, bishop, blade runner, body horror, chestburster, cinema, cock, dickie, elba, facehugger, fassbender, film, film buffs, franchise, game over, giant head, marshall-green, michael fassbender, MTOS, noomi, prometheus, rapace, review, ridley scott, ripley, sci-fi, sequel bait, shame, space jockey, spall, theron, twitter, wang, weaver, weyland, xenomorph, yutani | posted in Film Reviews
...Be vewy vewy quiet...
Director: – James Cameron
Avatar, is a 2009 sci-fi adventure flick written and directed by the King of The World himself, Mr James Cameron. After an original treatment written back over 15 years ago, and at a time where Cameron believed film technology at the time would not be sufficient enough, he put it on the back-burner until a later time where further advancements had been made. It was finally produced and released in IMAX 3D around theaters in the winter of 2009 to an overwhelming array of acclaim. The highest opening weekend ever, worldwide.
Not bad at all.
A staggering $2,782,206,970 dollars in revenue from a near-mere $237 million dollar budget. No doubt at all, this was Jim’s gold standard. With widespread acclaim from movie-goers, and a re-release that has already made $9 million dollars at the box office – Who’s to say that this film isn’t anything but spectacular?
Avatar is by no stretch a ‘bad’ film. It’s very much the opposite – Some stunning visuals (computers), nice looking alien characters (computers) and some breathtaking action sequences (computers). Ok, you see where I’m heading now… In seriousness, yeah it looks absolutely superb. Every last detail rendered has been carefully fine-tuned for maximised performance – Mr Cameron certainly had a dedicated team working on this puppy.
So, unless you’ve been under a rock the last two years – Essentially, Avatar tells the story of a Government military-run mining colony on a moon called ‘Pandora’, which is populated by the Na’avi, a native alien species. Main protagonist, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), is a young paraplegic (I forget how.. If we was given exposition I missed it) chosen in lieu of his deceased brother by the military and finding house and home with the Na’avi after being tasked by ‘Military General stereotype’, portrayed by Stephen Lang, to infiltrate a Na’avi camp to learn more about them in preparation for a full-scale attack. The invasion is all in the name of retrieving a powerful element, known as ‘unobtanium’ – A precious mineral.
There’s not a lack of entertainment here with Avatar. It’s stylish, pretty focussed on what it sets out to achieve and delivers the all-too familiar ‘Cameron conclusion’. It does however do its best to bind together two kinds of movies together… You do start to question subconsciously if you’re watching a sci-fi action movie or a Disney film. All the same, the Computer-Generated landscape visuals are very realistic in their several bit-appearances (for obvious filler) in the film. But it’s the Pandora forests/plant life animations that are the letdown. Too ‘fantastical’ and… magical(?). It totally sets itself apart from most of the other sequences in the film, and I felt like it was comfortable being an ambiguously stylised cartoon, rather than creating a smart, more thoughtful film with substance. The action/sci-fi scenes are very cool and worthy of its futuristic setting – most notably Sigourney Weaver’s scenes in the research labs. But it is very much tarnished by some of the ominous CG sequences…Something which I personally despise in any film or television show.
I could go on about how much Avatar has ripped off ‘Dances With Wolves’ and ‘Pocahontas’ til I’m blue in the face (heh heh). But to be brutally honest, even if I hadn’t had seen those films previously – the story is still very basic, very predictable and very, very boring. The characteristics of the Na’avi are pretty shocking, border-line racist, with a hint of irony thrown in aswell. It’s an obvious political-bashing from James Cameron and maybe it would’ve found some resonance with me ten years ago – But life goes on. I guess all we can do now is wait for the expected sequels to reign our 2014 winter….
5 Comments | tags: 3d, action, afghanistan, alien, aliens, america, anti-americanism, arnie, avatar, bay, blue, boring, box, bugs, buzz, cameron, celine, century, cgi, computer, critique, cruise, cut, dances, dion, disability, disaster, fern, feudal, film, giovanni, group, gully, hybrid, iran, iraq, jake, japan, lang, last, man, michael, michelle, military, mining, moon, na'avi, nuclear, office, oil, pandora, panning, patriot, planet, plinkett, political, predictable, racism, record, release, review, ribisi, rodriguez, sam, samurai, scaremongering, sci-fi, science, sigourney, smash, stephen, stereotypes, sully, tail, terminator, titanic, tom, transformers, tree, unobtanium, war, weaver, wheelchair, winter, with, wmd, wolves, worthington | posted in Film Reviews
Get on the barby... Time for munch
Director:- Neill Blomkamp
Distrct 9 is a feature film evolved from the 2005 short – ‘Alive In Joburg’, directed by Neill Blomkamp. It tells the story of a stranded Alien race, who have been forced to live in sheltered, monitored camps overseen by the South African government and military. And of course, their struggle to return to their home world.
I watched the film when it was first released in cinemas in the UK, and I found it a very enjoyable film. The factors were mainly down to its setting and not adhering to the generic big USA city locations that we’re used to seeing on sci-fi/action movies. Not to mention that the film was extremely well-produced for only a budgeted $30 million dollars. I didn’t really take the time to pick out much in terms of the performances of the actors, or any underlying plot points that I may have missed out on.
I watched it again, twice in the last 10 days.
It’s absolutely astounding how a strong, positive opinion on a film can change with repeat viewings.
It’s really difficult to pinpoint one thing that District 9 struck badly with me. It’s a lot of small, niggling little aspects that began to grate slowly and steadily against my quarter-century brain. Again, minimal/hardly any spoiler here while I carefully dissect this one.
The main character is African bureaucrat for a private military company, Wikus (last name I will not attempt to spell), who is charged with the duty of unceremoniously removing the alien immigrants from their location in District 9, to District 10. But after an accident at one of the shelters, Wikus begins to resonate and form an understanding with the aliens (derogatorily nicknamed ‘prawns’ due to their similarity in appearance), and also is faced with their own struggle. Copley, who portrays Wikus in his firs big acting role, brings a degree of humour to his character’s obviously difficult mission, but his lack of experience in this kind of big(ish) budget flick does show very prominently. It was enough to bag him a role in A-Team, but I’m almost certain that this will be a serious case of typecast Hollywood. It’s a real shame.
The most obvious thing that was completely oblivious to me at first viewing, was that District 9’s story is such a tried a tested formula. Although it has been tweaked in places to give an audience the impression that it was something completely fresh and original. It really, really isn’t.
From the outset, we see a holding camp for aliens that crash landed on Earth…. That’s the straight-to-the-point concept and story of the movie, it’s what we have to go on. It IS an interesting take on a tale that has been told for decades.
However, there’s a broad, or more obvious hint that the structure of this film is built around the concept of several different genres of film and camera work. From the beginning, District 9 appears to take an almost ‘mockumentary’ tone – With a lone cameraman supported by crew that follow Wikus as he visits the camp accommodation of the stranded species. Which is what I initially perceived this film to progress with. Almost without warning, the film then takes a different spin, and the narrative is akin to sci-fi television programme ‘Alien Nation’. Where we see the ‘prawns’ living their lives in Johannesburg through conventional camera work.
The film (minor spoiler) culminates with a CGI, Transformers style battle sequence. Which further ‘alienates’ (heh heh) us from what this film is really trying to be, let alone what message it’s attempting to give.
I can say what I want about blatant plagiarism, stolen ideas, homages etc. But District 9, aside from its huge merits in some areas of originality, interesting concepts and ideas – seems to be a confused, muddled mess of a sci-fi drama (or actioner, or documentary – you decide…). Without much emotive support from non-lead cast, or convincing reasonings behind the actions of the antagonists – it’s a fairly watchable couple of hours for a non-repeater.
1 Comment | tags: 10, 9, a-team, actor, africa, alien, aliens, alive, army, avatar, blomkamp, bureaucrat, camps, cgi, cinema, comedy, cope, copley, crash, cruise, dark, david, defiance, director, district, documentary, et, eviction, fight, film, flick, future, howling, in, infection, interrogation, jackson, james, jason, joburg, mad, mandela, military, mockumentary, murdoch, murdock, nation, neill, notice, peter, prawns, quarantine, racism, removal, review, rifles, samurai, scifi, segregation, sharlto, ships, social, south, space, star, std, survival, transformers, weapons, wikus | posted in Film Reviews