Tag Archives: franchise

#25 ‘Prometheus’ (2012)

Fass obviously saw his future wang endowment after gazing into his cosmic crystal ball


*Noomi Rapace

*Michael Fassbender

*Charlize Theron

*Logan Marshall-Green

*Idris Elba

Director:- Ridley Scott


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…


#10 ‘Fast And Furious 5’ (2011)

The Three Stooges finally cast!

*Vin Diesel
*Paul Walker
*Jordana Brewster
*Dwayne Johnson
Director:- Justin Lin
Of all film franchises in my lifetime – Three have eluded me… Saw, Final Destination and The Fast And Furious series. Now, call me a cynic – but it’s just down to taste. I purely and honestly admit that I don’t have any time for horror/slasher flicks. I just see it as mindless, wasteful and really degrading stuff. Using talentless actors and one-trick ponies to execute (oops) a mildly disturbing death scene that’s beyond comprehension of the natural order. I also translate this mindset to the overly popular nitro-nonsense that is the Fast and Furious.
I remember seeing the trailers for the first film back in 2001 when I was 15. The car races looked cool, had some hot broads to gawk at and some really neat CGI transitional workings of the cars within the race scenes. Sweet! Nothing like it had really been done before so it was sure to be a winner among the uprising of boyracers and Subaru spankers. Indeed, The Fast And The Furious was a dumb film, but with good intent. Didn’t exactly raise the stakes and it wasn’t gonna win awards but it was a fun film for teens and young adults and definitely knew what to target and focus on.
With that and the subsequent 10 years drifting by, I made a conscious decision to miss the next 3 in the series. Because if you’re smart – like me, you’ll know that if an original film is not GREAT, then any sequel/prequel/threequel will be a shower of shite in comparison. However, even with the lashing of critics, the franchise continued to rake in the green at the box office.
After a case of bribery and confusion involving the girlfriend, I found myself this past Wednesday night in the cinema… Watching Fast 5. After ten years I finally went against my better judgement (which is always better) and used my evening of free time to shimmy on down and get entertainment for the sake of entertaining. So what did I think?
In short, Fast 5 is not a good movie. I felt it really lacked the same spark that made the original bearable. And I emphasise on bearable.
The returning threesome of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker (ugh) and Jordana Brewster are without the Vasquez wannabe in this film, I’m not particularly sure why, but I’d take a stab at she wanted to avoid being typecast like most of the other mugs in this film series have settled for.
The three are on a job in Rio, Brazil, attempting to steal cars from a cargo train with the help of a local group of criminals vetted by Fast 1 alumni Vince (who appears sporadically in the film). However after the job is botched the three are caught up in the proverbial shitstorm involving Rio’s most notorious drug baron – resulting in the need to assemble a team to take him down.

The film had me scratching my head from pretty much the get-go… Everyone in this film just looks and sounds bad.

Vin Diesel seems to have aged 20 years and waved hello to a beer gut and chins that would make Jabba The Hutt jealous.

Paul Walker is just.. ugh.. just awful. The guy has no charisma, no presence, no drama and most definitely no personality. Putting him against Vin Diesel, and he just tears him down. Diesel’s still got that voice. Although he sounds tired, run down, lacking of any energy or enthusiasm. It really does not harken back to the original.

Jordana Brewster, Diesel’s on-screen sister, is an actress of non-demand, someone who really only pops up on the radar when one of these films are announced. There’s hardly anything for her to do in the film, save for the opening 10 minutes where it’s hinted then quickly revealed that she’s carrying Bore Walker’s baby. The scene itself it utterly pointless and has no effect on the plot, so that’s why I spoiled that one. Sorry!

Former wrestler, Dwayne Johnson, who plays the CIA go-to guy for nicking those meddling kids, is by far, by a fucking mile… The best actor in the entire cast of this film. He oozes energy, aggression, masculinity and bad-assness from the moment he walks onto the camera shot. His credibility as an actor will most certainly go up after the release of the film. Some very good timing and intensely intimidating moments aswell clock up some major points for the guy. It’s astonishing, simply astonishing when you think about it. These guys have been working in film for a considerable while longer than this wrestler turned actor, and most of his films are bad, yet he outshines all of them. It’s crazy.

I couldn’t shake off my observation that Johnson, at 39, looks at least 10 years younger than he actually is. Whereas Mr Diesel, only 4 years older at 43, could easily pass as 55-year-old trying to regain his ‘old body’. Odd stuff.

The production of Fast 5 really does spell out clearly that this was loaded with cash and to some good effect. The sequence near the beginning involving the train heist was heavy on the CG and stunt-work, but was definitely well put together. Save for some crappy editing towards the end, you’ll see… There are a few other small positives I can give for the last chase scene, but I won’t spoil that. What I will spoil are some the things they really got wrong with Fast 5. First and foremost – an offscreen car chase. I was totally shocked by the immediate cut from the challenge and agreement, to a regrouping scene in the team’s garage.

The films are notoriously famous for their fast paced street races and the stunningly unrealistic driver’s side green screen shots. So, what would a director gain by not including it in the cut? It is beyond me. Another glitch was the only car race they had in the film. Which was spoiled even before it began as the four racers were all driving the exact same car. It seemed like all coherence and thought just went out of the window.

Closing comments because I know I’m on a rant with this one. Fast 5 will not gain anymore fans of the series. If you are a lover of the other films, you’ll probably enjoy it. Although I personally see no relevance to the first film from this in any form apart from ‘these guys are those guys from the first movie.’ In all honesty you get less of what you would expect from a Fast and Furious movie. But, hey, there’s a sixth on the way.



‘Not What We Deserve… But What We Need’

So the announcement was made earlier today (4th March 2011) by Warner Bros that the sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, will become another casualty of great films…. A god damn franchise of sequels, threequels, prequels and more quels than you can shake a lightsaber at.

He definitely shoots first in this one, George...

Now, the dark times really begin…

Directed by Alien and Gladiator helmer, Ridley Scott. Blade Runner, released in 1982, starred Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer as leads Rick Deckard and Roy Batty (a special forces cop and genetically engineered humanoid respectively),  and was and still is consistently heralded for its story, direction and production. Truly paving the way for many science fiction films, television shows and computer games to this day.

From my personal viewpoint, it’s most probably the richest and boldest sci-fi film in history. And my all-time favourite of the genre. A film with depth, pure dramatic brilliance from start to end, and an amazing interpretation of a future dystopian society shadowed in a noir-inspired landscape and architecture. There’s a massive sense of gravitas throughout, although it seems that it plays out as an action film. In addition, the intricate complexities that riddle Blade Runner have made it a favourite for many cult followers and movie-goers for decades.

Blade Runner’s continued popularity today may indeed hold the key to why it has been ‘drafted’ into the forever growing sequel territory. However that’s from a financial standpoint. Which, of course I have no quarrel with. Cinema is all about the bucks, and don’t we know it. But, on the other hand – There is a line, and it’s a big one. A line that draws between one film, and another.

Today, filmmaking is not what it used to be. Not in the context of production, or acting. But more in the general ‘feel’ of the movie, what it is trying to convey, what it is trying to emote and say to us, the viewer. There is no way I can see an array of sequels or prequels bettering or even equalling to the bar Blade Runner raised. Ever. But there are franchises that it can work with, and it has. Bryan Singer’s Superman reboot back in 2006 channelled just enough of Richard Donner’s stellar and pioneering Superman films that it almost felt like we was continuing on a legacy and not just whoring it out in a dirty back alley. And JJ Abrams Star Trek reimagining totally reinvigorated the franchise and gained a legion of new fans. The likes of Carlito’s Way, Halloween, and cult teen classic The Karate Kid have been among those subjected to shoddy remakes/sequels with lacklustre stories, and little to no acknowledgement of the cannon set by their predecessors. It’s what I call the great bitchslap of the all mighty dollar. 

There are lines. And they need to be drawn.

The problems are abundant, this will never go away I fear. I’m starting to feel a great disdain toward Hollywood’s big guns. One moment I get a sense of excitement and anticipation, the next I’m holding my head in my hands. It’s such a quick transition I hardly can tell when it happens.

If production companies are interested in resurrecting a popular franchise/movie – then look no further for a lesson learned than George Lucas. A guy, who amongst his millions and millions of dollars – has alienated millions and millions of loyal fans that he essentially turned his back on. With a constant backlashing against his work from the last decade, it’s almost against all odds that converting those abominations into 3D will earn him any retribution.

This Will Happen To Warner.

With almost no original thought left in the world of cinema today, I fear only the worst is yet to come. A complete, and utter extinction of true, honest filmmaking. And an uprising of misguided and selfish oafs that will cause a mass degeneration of the one thing I hope could last forever – Real art.

The people can stop this. WE need to take OUR films back, into our hands as their rightful owner and proprietor. WE have to stop these films, that have shaped and made us into who we are today, from being casualties of greed and gluttony – All in the name of a quick buck.

This must happen now

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