September 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
I haven’t done a review for a while, because I’ve been thinking about my format and how I want it to look, and what I want to say. I suppose being honest is the best way to go.
I saw Prometheus on opening day at the IMAX. I followed all of the marketing for the past two years, leading up to the release, looked at all the pictures, watched the trailers over and over again, and was way over hyped for it. I was looking forward to it. As the film began I remember thinking that I was experiencing something that I had not experienced in many many years. A film was actually delivering on its promises. The cinematography is gorgeous, the 3D is prevalent but not gaudy and in your face. The effects are breathtaking and masterfully rendered, the score is engrossing and meandering, and the acting is honest and for the most part ‘unhammy’. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and by the time Shaw is having the surgery I was wincing and gagging but smiling from ear to ear. This was disgustingly satisfying. And as we all emptied the giant IMAX theater I left thinking that everyone leaving with me had just had one of the great movie going experiences of our lives. Boy was I mistaken.
Much to my surprise the majority of the people hated it. Had I missed something? Did my cinema I.Q. drop sometime between walking into the screening and walking out? How could I have had the exact opposite reaction to a film than seemingly everyone else in the world? And it was not just the general movie going public that I disagreed with, it was critics and cinephiles, and film geeks just like me. Was I wrong? Was the feeling in my heart, that child like feeling that Prometheus had given me, was that somehow wrong? This had never happened to me before. Usually if a movie is bad but I still enjoy it, I will admit that it is not really a good movie, and I can understand the majority of the world hating it, but I still enjoy it for my own personal reasons. But this is not the case with Prometheus. It is technically well made, in every aspect, and the script is clear cut and efficient. No fat, no extraneous storyline or overreaching themes. Its a straight up Science Fiction horror film. Some kind of strange Frankenstein monster in reverse. And I love every minute of it.
This past weekend I showed my girlfriend the movie for the first time. (She dodged it while it was at the theater, she thought it looked too scary for her). But i finally got her to watch it, and she said she really enjoyed it and thought it was scary, which is what I thought she would say. But then she provided some interesting analysis. She said she did not like how Holloway died. She said he should have lived until the end and sacrificed himself to save Shaw. Is this the answer? This tiny bit of subverted story telling? Is having the “love interest”(as sparingly as the love story is utilized in this film) die too early and in an unromantic and quite startlingly abrupt fashion the reason that this film was so criticized and poo pooed as light summer blockbuster fluff? Obviously many people have cited the many many questions raised by the film that go unanswered, to whom I say this is a movie not a text book, either you enjoy it and go for the ride or you don’t. The fact that the storytellers chose not to explicitly define every cryptic moment and spoon feed us every answer to every question should be celebrated, not derided. I suppose my question is if it had ended in this more conventional way, would general audiences have enjoyed the film more? I still think the film is spectacular and looks gorgeous in Blu-Ray, and I marvel at the achievement accomplished by everyone involved. I think history and public opinion will change on this one upon repeat home viewings. FRONTROW
- James Cameron Talks ‘Prometheus’ & ‘The Avengers’ (screenrant.com)
- ‘Aliens’ Director James Cameron Reviews ‘Prometheus,’ Tried To Buy Rights To ‘Jurassic Park’ (slashfilm.com)
- PROMETHEUS – 10 Minutes of Deleted Scenes (geektyrant.com)
- Fox sets early window for ‘Prometheus’ (variety.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ Blu-ray To Feature Nearly 15 Minutes Of Footage Deleted From Ending (slashfilm.com)
- Prometheus, thoughts… (cubicgarden.com)
- Prometheus 2 Is Happening (gizmodo.com.au)
- Prometheus puts the Giger back in Alien (kamikazeearth.com)
- Damon Lindelof On ‘Prometheus’ and Marketing in the Digital Era (screencrave.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ DVD/Blu-ray Deleted Scenes Revealed (screenrant.com)
March 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
John Carter Review
By: W.B. Preston
First off, let me say I did not go into this movie expecting to like it. Quite the contrary. I thought it was going to be bloated, poorly plotted and ridiculous. Instead I got a well plotted and paced, fun action adventure. But while not quite bloated, John Carter is dense. There is no getting around it. There is a lot of information being thrown at you, in a short amount of time. At the end of the first act, the audience is asked to juggle three separate Martian factions, multidimensional beings, John Carter’s nephew, and the meaning of the relationships between them all.
The gist of it is this: there are two humanoid warring factions, on Mars, and one tall green species that hates both humanoid sides. The Red Humans have a Princess, the Blue humans have a Prince, and the multidimensional beings have given a powerful weapon to the Blue humans and the Prince, for no other reason then that it is easier to control the Blue (dumber) humans then the red. In order to make peace, the Red King will marry off his daughter the Red Princess, to the Blue Prince. John Carter winds up in the middle of this when he is whisked off to mars by one of the multidimensional being’s transportation device. He is captured by the tall green Martians and must navigate this tricky ecosystem in order to survive and eventually make his way home. He learns customs, languages, religions, and Martian History during his adventure. Yes I know this sounds extremely convoluted and messy, and in many ways it is. However In some crazy way, Andrew Stanton and his team have streamlined all of this information into a two hour, action-packed, blockbuster.
By no means is this a perfect movie. There are many terrible dialogue choices, and Taylor Kitsch is terrible in this. In fact I would venture to say that John Carter would have been even better without John Carter. He is the weakest link in this film, followed closely by the screenwriters, most notably the dialogue. But even with all these missteps (critique of the marketing to come) this is one of the best experiences you can have at the movies. The 3D was nonexistent, but I urge you to engulf yourself in John Carter through the IMAX experience. It truly is something to behold.
What lies at the center of this movie is love ultimately. A love for a father, a love for a daughter, a love for a nation, a love of power, a love of freedom, a love lost and everyone vying to obtain the object of their love. In the end, what you love, defines who you are, what your actions represent and what your fate shall be. There is a powerful message buried somewhere deep in the muddied dialogue and bloody skirmishes. Unfortunately, it seems many people will not get the opportunity to find the message for themselves, due to the terrible marketing.
The marketing for this film is criminal. Seriously. Whoever is responsible should be taken to court and tried for crimes against cinema. Punishment should be to watch every movie ever made until death. The strange thing is, it is so simple. The marketing should have focused on the Princess! Her struggle to save her kingdom, and find her place in this world, and John Carter’s ability and unwillingness to help her. That is all they needed to convey, and everyone would have gone to see it. Instead they decided to go the non-plot route, where we see a bunch of random shots of jumping and walking and mugging, and then the title card. Andrew Stanton should be furious with Disney‘s marketing department. In the end this movie gets a 3/5. Slightly lower than Avatar but way higher than Prince of Persia or Clash of the Titans, And a seriously fun time at the movies.
- John Carter Review (thevisionaryfilmfanatic.wordpress.com)
- ‘John Carter’ – What Did You Think? (slashfilm.com)
- Willem Dafoe, Andrew Stanton, and Dominic West Dish on Their John Carter Journey to Mars (popsugar.com)
- Now Playing: John Carter (towleroad.com)
- John Carter – Movie Commentary (monsterscifishow.wordpress.com)
- John Carter – a review (couchslobs.com)
- ‘John Carter’ movie director sticks to sci-fi roots (mnn.com)
- Movie Review: JOHN CARTER (geektyrant.com)
- ‘John Carter’: Creating Woola, lizard-dog Lassie of Mars (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Hollywood Marketing Efforts: The Curious Case Of John Carter (reelseo.com)