Two very different movies, with very different prejudices going in. This should be interesting.
My full review will be up on dusken.no today, but here are some expanded thoughts on the film. I will give a massive SPOILER warning when I get to those!
I admit my hopes weren’t high when I sat down to watch Tom Cruise’s latest sci-fi epic – and that is exactly what Oblivion tries so hard to be, an epic – but I tried to keep my prejudices to a minimum. I have a soft spot for Cruise, ever since he acted the pants off everyone in Interview with a Vampire, a performance I have yet to see him top. Like director Joseph Kosinski’s previous film, Tron: Legacy, this one is a looker. Apart from having the same robot-makers as the people in Wall-E, it looked like they had just said yes to every concept drawing they were presented with. That said, it doesn’t have much in terms of plot or character development. Morgan Freeman and Nicolai Coster-Waldau come in far too late to save it, and the ending is mind-numbingly predictable. Think of it as doing a speed-walk through a renaissance art gallery. It’s pretty, but don’t take the time to discern any meaning.
Oblivion creeps by on looks for a dice roll 3.
This week I had the joy of seeing Looper. Needless to say, I was properly hyped up for this one and I was pleasantly not disappointed. Looper is that unique blend of smart sci-fi, good action and great acting that you have to look long and hard for. I had a slight problem with getting over Gorden-Levitt’s nose job, but trust me, if you call yourself a sci-fi fan, go see this! I give it a solid dice roll 5.
I love all kinds of movies – the good, the bad and even the just-good-looking, but there will always be more movies than I can watch, so how to pick which one? Usually, I catch whatever is at the cinema, or maybe a friend recommends a movie. On top of these standard ways of thinning the herd, there are a few specific “genres” that will always get me to watch a film, even though I know it’s probably going to be bad. I say genres, but every entry here can include everything from romance to action, so I guess you can say if a movie contains one of these five things, I’m watching it.
I finally got to see Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s prequel-but-not-really to Alien this weekend. Even though I had been looking forward to this movie for a long time, I tried to keep my expectations “open”, meaning I had high hopes, but tried to not let those hopes wander in a fixed direction. I think that philosophy served me well. Those who expected yet another “they end up in a closed space with chest-busting aliens and get picked off one by one” will be disappointed.
Since the movie has been out for quite some time, and the fans have already seen it, this review contains spoilers.
14 years. It’s been 14 years since Agent J was recruited by Agent K into the stylish ranks of the Men in Black. Agent J seems to take pleasure in reminding us of this, because he mentions it several times. One cannot help but wonder, however, how things have managed to look exactly the same, down to the very font. It’s both a remarkable achievement, and a somewhat sad state of affairs. Men In Black 3 feeds off my generous nostalgia, but is it enough?
Trondheim’s International Film festival is at an end, and I had an absolutely fabulous time. I watched a lot of movies, though I wish I’d seen even more. Here is a list of the movies I saw, with links to the reviews posted on radiorevolt.no! The dice rolls are in parenthesis, with a short explanation after.
Edit: Currently re-evaluating this film. Check back for full post.
Movie: John Carter (2012)
Have you ever heard of John Carter? Apparently, it was a big thing back in the day, and director Andrew Stanton wants to educate us on why that is. Does he succeed? No, not really, but he gives it his best. It’s all pretty standard sci-fi/fantasy epic-ness, and I think the biggest problem is in the costumes. I honestly believe if the Princess of Mars had worn a more tasteful dress, I would have enjoyed it a good deal more.
Most fans agree: 2009 was a great year for sci-fi. Two big movies in the genre, both with good receptions. District 9 was one of them, and I am one of its fans.
No other movie opened with me hating the main character so much, and then ending with me rooting for him out loud. This is a film that punched me in the gut.
The main character, Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), is a pretty big douchebag at the start. He’s just doing his job of evicting all the “prawns” (aliens, the actual outer-space kind) from their ghetto in Johannesburg, South Africa, so that the government can move them to a more controlled camp. His life is turned upside down, or maybe inside out, when he’s exposed to an alien substance.
Some people might find the documentary style of filming to be a source of annoyance. It’s certainly a technique that can be misused easily. For myself, I think the film uses it in a way that actually helps the story, instead of just being a gimmick for realism. It’s not overused, and that’s key, and by a little under halfway we see very little of it.
The film’s aliens are very interesting as well, being nicknamed “pawns”. Despite their grotesque appearance, you can still connect with them, or at least sympathize with them. In general I liked their design, though I’m not sure how the humans understood the alien language. Can you imagine attending a course to learn to understand sounds you couldn’t make yourself? This, and other questions, is left for the viewer to fill in.
Some question they left a little too vague. For example, they could have alluded to who exactly Christopher (the main alien) was a bit more. Was he a mechanic aboard the ship? A leader of some kind? He seemed to be smarter than the other prawns.
The film is a clear in its message about the problems of segregation and population movement/increase, but it doesn’t cram its morality too much down the viewer’s throat. I think had the aliens been even the tiniest bit more human, the film would have suffered from over-the-top moralizing. Ironically, because the aliens were so different and gross, we can sort of sympathize with their plight, while ignoring the clear parallels to our world’s own problems.
Still, it’s a great movie, even with the moralizing, which I myself enjoyed discussing. It’s visually amazing and disgusting (but in a totally good way).
Dice roll: 5