Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Short Review: Rock of Ages

Grade: A+

A small town girl pursues her dreams in 1987 in LA on the Sunset Strip.


Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Paul Giamatti, Malin Ackerman, Mary J Bleige and more.

Attention span must last 2 hours 3 minutes to enjoy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Full Review and Discussion: Prometheus

Part 1: The spoiler free review

Grade: A+

In 2089, two archeologists discover a star map among several ancient and unconnected civilizations. They interpret it as an invitation so they, along with a group of scientists and a few employees of the Weyland corporation, travel to a distant planet, LV-223, in hopes of discovering the secrets to mankind’s beginnings. What they find becomes a threat not just to them, but to all of mankind.

To start, the visuals in this movie are absolutely spectacular. This movie warrants being seen in IMAX for that alone. Add to that the 3D that director Ridley Scott uses is actually pretty tolerable, it adds depth to the movie rather than being a gimmick. That aside, the story and the writing are fascinating. This is a conversational science-fiction movie, so anybody expecting an action packed scare a minute ride will end up disappointed, once again the advertising doesn’t quite accurately depict what’s really happening in the movie. The overall theme of the movie is evolution, which is kind of funny as the subject of our possible “creation” keeps coming up. The idea of evolution really ties everything together and keeps things moving.

The character of David, an android played by Michael Fassbender, is easily the most interesting part of this movie. He has been on the ship for close to 3 years, all by himself, while everyone else was in hyper-sleep. As a result he has developed a bit of a personality, which androids aren’t really supposed to have. He becomes curious about certain things. Also, androids are treated like second or third class citizens and it becomes apparent that he is not pleased with this. Everything his character says or does fascinated me throughout the movie.

The rest of the characters are great in their own ways too. Especially Elizabeth Shaw, one of the archeologists who found the “star map” and is leading the expedition in hopes of making contact with an alien species she calls Engineers. Her character resembles that of Ellen Ripley from Alien, which this movie is related to in several ways. I would like to state right now that while this movie does take place in the same universe as Alien, it is NOT an Alien prequel, and again, people expecting that out of this movie will find themselves disappointed. Anyway, Ridley Scott truly excels at making strong female leads and Elizabeth Shaw is no exception to that.

One thing that I loved about this movie is all of the questions that it raises, some simply about what is happening in the movie and some are slightly more philosophical. Either way, I will discuss some of these in Part 2.

Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009), Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows) plays the role of Elizabeth Shaw and she does not disappoint. Her performance is great and you really feel for her character and everything that she is going through. Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Shame) plays the role of David, the artificial human. Fassbender really manages to steal the show in every scene that he is in. All the little nuances of his character and performance are amazing and he really makes you think about what this character is going through and what he is thinking, if he can think in the traditional sense. If for no other reason, see this movie for Fassbender’s role as David. Charlize Theron (Young Adult, Snow White and the Huntsman) plays Meredith Vickers, a representative of the Weyland Corporation and the person in charge of everything to do with the ship and expedition. This was an interesting role to see her in. Her character is a bit of a hardass and is very standoffish but at the same time she is just as curious as everybody else about what they are going to find. The movie also features Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green and more.

I cannot recommend this movie enough, maybe simply because I need more people to discuss it with. I am dying to see it again so I can try to figure out some answers to some of the questions I have. Also, if you are a fan of science-fiction, especially Ridley Scott’s brand of sci-fi, you need to see this movie. If you are a fan of the Alien franchise, even though this one is only loosely connected to them, I need to recommend this movie. Very simply, if you are a fan of well made and well written movies that also have amazing visuals, see this movie. It is very different from many movies I’ve seen and I love it for that reason. It has infected me in a way that a movie hasn’t in a very long time, hence the two part review.

Part 2: The discussion


Ok, now we can get to the part that I really want to discuss: what happens Prometheus? I am mostly going to present some questions that I had while watching it and my theories on some possible answers that possibly only Ridley Scott, Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts have.

To begin, at the very beginning of the movie we see an “Engineer” standing atop a waterfall, drink some mysterious back goo. He then begins to disintegrate and we see that he is breaking down right to his DNA, he then falls into the water and we see that DNA begin to reform. This is never talked about again throughout the movie… So, what happened? My theory is that we are seeing the creation of life on Earth. Again, one major connecting tissue in this movie is evolution. Whatever that black goo is, it broke him down, he fell into the water and when the DNA began to form again, it was forming into the earliest of single cell organisms that created life on Earth and began to evolutionary process leading towards man. Part of why I think this is also because at one point we find out our DNA matches that of the Engineers. They talk in the movie about how they (really, mostly Shaw) believe that the Engineers created man, well, I think this is how they did it. Is the goo natural or is it something they created, I again believe that it was something they created in order to do just this; create life.

What is that black goo, anyway? My theory is that it is a goo full of single cell organisms that were created by the Engineers. Again, the overall connecting theme of this movie is evolution. When the “vases” full of this mysterious substance are exposed to the right conditions, the evolutionary process begins. This is what accidentally happened to the Engineers in the past and is what happens when the scientists from Prometheus open the door to the holding area with the giant head. They evolve into different things under different circumstances. In the room with the head, they evolve into serpent like creatures that infect (or possibly “impregnate”) foreign hosts to help further their evolutionary process.

Continuing with that, David at one point takes a small drop of the mysterious goo and puts it in the drink of Dr. Halloway. Why does he do this? I think it was a combination of a couple of things. First, over the course of the trip to the planet, David had plenty of time to think about his secret mission of helping find a way to help Peter Weyland live forever. This coupled with the fact that I believe David had formed a sense of curiosity over time caused him to do this. That and maybe he was under orders from Weyland himself to test what the substance would do. Either way, the more interesting things about this substance occur after he infects Halloway.

What happens to Halloway, and then subsequently Shaw, after being infected with the black goo? My theory is that, once again, the goo, once introduced to the human body, started to evolve in a different way (hence the shot of weird worm like creatures coming out of his eye) and spread throughout his body affecting his DNA and molecular structure. When Halloway and Shaw have sex, the goo combines with their DNA and begins to evolve in a way like never before. Shaw becomes pregnant with a creature formed by the combination of the goo and human DNA. Thankfully she acts quickly and removes the thing before it kills her from the inside.

Now this is where we possibly get into more connections with the Alien movies. What is the squid like creature that Shaw cuts out of herself? At first it seems like a bizarre creature we’ll never see again. However, during the climax at the end of the movie, this creature, now MUCH larger, busts through the door of the ship and attacks the Engineer trying to kill Shaw. It shoves a tentacle down the engineers throat and dies. I believe that this is an early form of the Facehugger from the Alien movies. As is revealed at the very end of the movie, a whole new creature emerges from the body of the Engineer. It looks similar to the Xenomorphs but at the same time it looks more human. Again, I believe this to be an early form of the Xenomorphs that will evolve into the terrifying creature we all know and love. This is not the same planet from Alien and Aliens and as discussed earlier in the movie, this is essentially a military installation for the Engineers. Maybe they find it and keep doing tests and experiments until they create the perfect killing machine that is the Xenomorph.

Now for the big question; why did the Engineers decide to destroy Earth? My theory begins at the first question I posed. The Engineers created life on Earth, essentially, and like any scientist, they want to check on their work and keep an eye on that which they created. I think this explains why they found references to these beings in several unconnected ancient civilizations. They would check in on us every couple thousand years. I believe what happened was, after a while, whenever they checked, they noticed us killing each other and warring over nothing. We were out of control. But that’s not quite why they made their decision. In the movie, they talk about something happening a little over 2000 years ago and that being when they possibly decided to kill us. I believe they gave us one last chance. I like to theorize that the Engineers “created” Jesus and impregnated Mary with this superior being. They hoped that this being would show all of the humans that they need to stop fighting and that they need to get along. However, what happened to this superior being… He was nailed to a cross. When the Engineers discovered this, they became infuriated and that’s when they made their final decision about our fate.

There is another question brought up by this movie and I have no answer or theory to it. The cave drawings and carvings that were found around the world about the Engineers and where they live, is it an invitation to come visit them when we are advanced enough or is it a warning to stay far away from them as they are dangerous and will only bring harm to our world? This is really up for interpretation and subject to the individual viewer.

There is so much more to discuss in term of this movie but this is where I think I’m going to call it quits. I really need to watch it again… and again and again and again. This movie fascinates me on a level I don’t think I’ve ever experienced with a movie. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Short Review: Prometheus

Grade: A+

A team of scientists travel to a distant world in hopes of discovering the truth behind mankind's origins. What they find may alter human existence forever.

Amazing movie that presents profound questions. Spectacular visual effects. Great writing, especially with the character of David.

Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and more.

Attention span must last 2 hours 4 minutes to enjoy.

Coming soon: 2 part Full Review. Part 1 will be a spoiler free review and part 2 will be a spoilerific discussion.