Review: Prometheus (2012)

12

prometheus poster

“How far would you go to get your answers?”
– David

SYNOPSIS: Following clues to the origin of mankind a team journey across the universe and find a structure on a distant planet containing a monolithic statue of a humanoid head and stone cylinders of alien blood but they soon find they are not alone. – via IMDB

prometheus david

The first time that I watched Prometheus I was exceptionally underwhelmed. Like, to the nth degree. There are plot holes and super flaws and so many subplots that are introduced and never wrapped up, there is just too much wrong with this film to make it great. It did have a stellar cast, and they worked with what they had and did a pretty good job.

I thoroughly enjoy Idris Elba, so to see him as Captain Janek was awesome. Theron grated (har har, imagine this) on my last nerve, again, though I expected no less. Guy Pearce could certainly have been used better, I wish we had seen more of Benedict Wong’s Ravel, and Noomi Rapace did just fine as the ill-fated Shaw. I think the one actor that truly think shone from the off in this film was Michael Fassbender. His David was charming, freaky, strange, something you couldn’t quite understand, more layered than any of the other characters and his performance was excellent and consistent. I had a blast watching him.

Let’s talk about something that really bugged me in this movie: nobody bats an eye for any of the messed up stuff going on. Heck, Vickers uses a flamethrower on Holloway, killing him in front of his lover, Elizabeth Shaw, and nobody bats an eye. Then there is the whole David betrayal, again, not a word, and what about the fact that Shaw is limping around later, abdomen gashed open and all that? Nobody bats an eye or says anything. I cannot buy into it. Someone will have to ask something sooner or later, no matter what.

Pity this was one of those films that had a trailer that was infinitely better than the final product – and before people get iffy about it, it is the truth. The trailer was intense, there was so much happening, there was urgency and fear and a real dangerous problem, by the looks of it. In fact, it pretty much gave away anything and everything of interest in the movie. Now, as for the film itself? It was languishing, there were holes in the script, there were things that just did not make sense, there was nothing so completely awesome in there to blow your mind, it was slow and trundled along, never really creating serious tension or delivering anything… it was just another movie. Simple as that. No more, no less. It explored big themes, or tried to, but delivered nothing.

I didn’t hate the movie like I did the first time around (because hell, I despised it), probably because I knew what to expect this time around, but it remains extremely flawed and doesn’t really offer anything. There are places the story can be taken from here and some exceptionally interesting premises that were granted and concepts that could be a thing of beauty, but what we got from Prometheus, on its own? Nothing, nothing at all, because nothing was ultimately realised. Aside from all that, the movie was shot well and looked pretty good, and the Engineers were interesting though incredibly underutilised, though I suppose this will help set up for a sequel. Uhm… I don’t really have much else to say, so I will just end it here.

Rapid Review: The Martian (2015)

20

martian_ver5

“I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”
– Mark Watney

SYNOPSIS: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. – via IMDB

the martian

GRADE 7This was something I was looking forward to seeing because, well, Matt Damon. Yep, I will watch the man anywhere. Knowing it was a Ridley Scott film, I was tentative (come on, Exodus is still way too fresh in our minds to dismiss). He can either be brilliant or he can really suck. But back to space? Sure. Right off the bat, my fiancé was not a happy camper by the time this was over. While he said it was good, he was hoping for something more like Interstellar or Alien, and he got neither, but this does not mean the movie was crappy, it’s just not something he is going to rush again. I know there are a few people that feel that way. So, for me, the movie really isn’t bad. I was entertained and there was a lot to like, even with the shortcomings of it. However, I certainly don’t feel that the movie is worth all the hype that is running rampant about it, truly. I was a huge fan of Matt Damon in this, he just totally owned that role of Mark Watney, and he was geeky, nerdy, hilarious and resourceful, and he was entertaining every second he was on screen (not that I expected any less). Also, let’s not forget Sebastian Stan in 3D, something I can always easily get on board with because so much deliciousness there – but I totally could have done with more of him on screen. I loved the science side of the movie, and how it came together. I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings reference in the movie because a) Lord of the Rings and b) Sean Bean was present for the whole thing! I thought seeing the multiple uses of duct tape to be fabulous and provided me with plenty laughs, and the disco music Watney was subjected to? Priceless, and made for a hilarious soundtrack to the film. The film is visually stunning, and I was mesmerised from the off by it. All of this, however, does not make a great movie, there were some things I took issue with. The biggest flaw of this movie is the fact that everything happening on Mars is fascinating and engrossing, but the Earth element just does not measure up and falls short in too many places. Let’s not forget the silliness that was Rich Purnell, and no, I do not say that in an endearing way. The character was annoying to the nth degree, and made me cringe. Not to mention the movie was filled with things slotting into place at just the right moment, and information coming to the fore at just the right time, which made it a little too convenient for me to fully buy into. I found Watney’s crew to be incredibly underutilised – come on, they could have been more present, Chastain was criminally underused here. Some of the zero gravity movement looked a bit stiff for me, and I was incredibly unimpressed with the way that Watney loses all that weight as he stays on Mars, and a body double was used to represent this, yet the moment he is back in his (skintight) suit, he is all buff again. The script and pacing was all over the show, as well, and I thought it lacked inventiveness. Despite all this, The Martian is shot wonderfully, showcases a solid return to form for Scott, and is worth a watch at least once even though it is riddled with some silly faults.

Rapid Review: Interstellar (2014)

46

interstellar poster

“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
– Cooper

SYNOPSIS: In the near future Earth has been devastated by drought and famine, causing a scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen their lifespan. A group of explorers must travel beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage, into the unknown. Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race.- via IMDB

interstellar

GRADE 8.5This has, undoubtedly, been my most anticipated movie of 2014. I have talked my other half’s ear off about how I cannot wait for it, so naturally I had to go the minute it pitched up here. I was not going to waste a second of my time waiting to get to it seeing how Gone Girl aired for only thirteen days in my useless cinema. If I missed this, someone was going to burn. So, what with all my excitement and anticipation, how did it stack up? I must say that I was extremely impressed. Visually it was absolutely gorgeous, though I didn’t expect anything less on that front. A solid cast carried this story for us, and I thought the performances were great all round. Initially I was not over the moon to see Anne Hathaway in such a large role for it, but she managed to not irritate me to the end. I was thrilled to see Matt Damon, I do so thoroughly enjoy the man, and McConaughey was fantastic as the lead, Cooper. The casting of the actors to play the children (Mackenzie Foy and Timothée Chalamet) was wonderful, and I was especially pleased to see Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck play their grown counterparts. They fit the bill and were realistic and believable. I know that some people have complained about the dialogue being clunky, and also silly at times with explanations (such as explaining to an astronaut about a black hole in space), but I did not find this to be the case. I enjoyed most of their conversations (though at times it did get a little convoluted), and I was grateful for the explanations sprinkled throughout the movie, and the way it was done. It did not feel like Nolan was treating the cinema-goers like idiots, but rather just ensuring we were all on the same page, and I appreciated that. Naturally Hans Zimmer created a fantastic score to accompany the film, building up tension and emotion in all the right places, and coming in as nothing short of complementary. Interstellar manages to recreate some exceptionally sad emotional scenes, many of them stemming from the tapes that the astronauts are receiving from home in space. There was some humour in this film, which was lovely, but was certainly focused more on the dramatic aspect. I thought the multi-purpose robots were extremely cool, and I felt for Cooper, trying to be the best dad that he could. John Lithgow, as always, plays a wonderful fatherly/grandfatherly figure, and I always like seeing him, no matter how small his part. I do feel that Michael Caine could have been used more, but I understand that there were a lot of characters and time constraints. Interstellar is a long movie, but it is certainly a wonderful journey, even with the flaws that it has – as much as I have sung the praises, there are things that fall a little short of the mark, but were definitely not enough to cripple and ruin this movie for me. Interstellar was well worth the wait, in my opinion, and is a really good movie overall – most importantly, it is an experience. Christopher Nolan has, once again, delivered another stunning film, though this will certainly not be in a high running for taking over and outranking some of his other works.

Review: Gravity (2013)

54

dH

“Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.”
– Matt Kowalski

Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first space shuttle mission with space veteran Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). They are on a mission aboard the Explorer to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This is supposed to be Kowalski’s final mission. Mission Control in Houston calls in a warning, though says that it is nothing serious but that they should keep their eyes open. A Russian missile strike on one of their defunct satellites has formed a cloud of debris in space, though they are not withing the trajectory. However, Mission Control soon calls back and tells them to abort the mission and regain re-entry immediately. While attempting this, the cloud of debris hits them, and Stone is sent careening off into space. Kowalksi needs to find her and soon.

???????

“Explorer, this is Kowalski confirming visual contact with debris, debris is from a BSE sat. To repeat, I have…” – Matt Kowalski

When Stone ultimately slows down and gets her coordinates back up, she reports her position to Kowalski. Contact with Mission Control has been lost. Kowalski has a Manned Maneuvering Unit, and makes his way over to fetching her. Once she has been retrieved, it is noted that Stone has only 8% oxygen remaining, and Kowalski’s levels are low, too. He estimates that they have ninety minutes remaining before the space debris comes around again. He hatches the plan that they will make it back toward the Space Shuttle. Upon arrival, however, it is evident that the crew is dead and that the Shuttle is heavily damaged. Reevaluating the plans leads Kowalski to make the call to make for the International Space Station (ISS). His thruster pack is low, and the going is slow too. Arrival at the ISS shows that the ship is damaged and that the crew escaped using one of the Soyuz modules, and that the other one’s parachute has been deployed, making it useless. When they get right to it, the tether between Stone and Kowalski snaps, and the two make a desperate attempt to attach themselves to the ISS somehow. Ultimately Kowalski makes the call that Stone can make it if she lets him go, though she is not prepared to, and he eventually makes the call himself by detaching himself from her, floating off into space.

gravity towing

“Explorer, permission to retrieve Dr. Stone.” – Matt Kowalski

Stone needs to get into the ISS and use it to travel to the Chinese space station, the Tiangong, where she will be able to board and use one of their modules to return to Earth. She is also insistent that she will rescue Kowalski first, though he tells her it is impossible. Stone eventually makes it into the ISS, and attempts to contact Kowalski unsuccessfully. A fire breaks out in the ISS and forces her to retreat to the Soyuz. Attempting to navigate away from the ISS, Stone has issues getting away due to the parachute, and spacewalks to detach the pod safely. However, back out in space she encounters the debris, and struggles furiously to detach the Soyuz from its parachute chords. Stone ultimately frees the Soyuz and aligns it with the Tiangong but is horrified to learn that there is no fuel to take her. Communication with Mission Control is still pointless.

gravity in the space ship

“I know, we’re all gonna die. Everybody knows that. But I’m going to die today.” – Ryan Stone

Will Stone make her way to the Tiangong, despite her odds? Will she survive her terrifying space ordeal? Will she be able to return to Earth as the sole survivor of the botched space mission? Will the debris come around again and ultimately defeat her?

A 7.5/10 for Gravity. I want it on the record that Gravity really lacks a storyline, and this is one of the few movies that managed to get away with that, regardless of the fact that it should have hurt the movie. This was still a good watch at home, though I imagine that it must have been far more amazing to see in IMAX or 3D due to the effects. I have to say that the movie got off to an exceptionally slow start, and I was afraid the rest of the movie would progress in that vein, which was boring. The movie does not feature top notch acting at all, but the acting is perfectly fine to maintain and carry the story with. There is not really much to say about this movie seeing as it is more about showing the audience Ryan Stone’s ordeal in space, as well as how scary it can be should something go wrong that far away. It shows how amazing space is, but how the unknown is scary, too, and that things can go bad. I just though that everything that could possibly go wrong for this woman did go wrong for this woman, which showed predictability as well as the weak script and the fact that it is not totally believable, but also it was necessary to keep the movie moving along for the duration of the time we spent watching it, so it was entertaining. The movie managed to capture that tense feeling and hopelessness of being stuck in space, and I must say that it was intense and gripping at times. I might not have absolutely loved this movie like Eric did (check his gushing here), but I must say that it was better than I expected it to be, but I think that I lost a lot of the experience due to watching it at home as opposed to on the big screen.

SPOILER: I was relieved that Clooney’s return was in her head and not serious, because I was over it the minute he turned up, it really put a damper on the proceedings for me.