Is it just me, or have there been a lot of robot-themed movies lately? I suppose it’s not really that surprising, as science fiction is one of the best barometers of cultural zeitgeists.
It seemed obvious to me that the character of Queen Elsa from Disney’s excellent Frozen had glimpses of similarity to Dr. Manhattan from Snyder’s excellent The Watchmen. Both had nearly infinite power, which detached them from their humanity and fellow humans. Each secluded themselves far away in a self-made palace as a way of both escaping and saving the people close to them. Both had trouble containing their power.
That said, I don’t think I remember Dr. Manhattan ever breaking out into song.
The planet Pandora has nothing — and I mean nothing — on the little moon SC-223. This place scared the (R-rated expletives) out of me; it was unnerving, frightening, dreadful, in all the ways that Pandora was not.
I’m referring to the hostile alien environments from the movies Avatar and Prometheus. Both have certain distinct built-in audiences. The former requires that one be a fan of action-packed, light-on-originality, effects-heavy, exhilarating sci-fi. The latter requires that one prefer their sci-fi with a cold, clinical, and nightmarish pessimism. I happen to be a member of both audiences; I can see the value of each, but I don’t blame you for not appreciating one or the other. Avatar asks that you just have fun with your 3D goggles and not worry too much about borrowed storylines from a dozen other sources. Prometheus asks you to witness something you’ve truly never seen before, while borrowing a lot from the horror end of the genre spectrum.
Avatar is of course James Cameron’s brilliant trend-setting 3D film. It was big, dumb, and fun — the perfect popcorn picture. Cameron knows how to stage action and make it thrilling. Curiously, he also did the first Alien sequel, the property started by Ridley Scott. Scott’s Prometheus is a pseudo-prequel to Alien, so the links here are multi-threaded.
As such, Scott is really dangerous to falling into Lucas’ reinventionism by going back to his previous films and making their history “more cool.” I’m equally looking forward to Praetorian (a Gladiator pseudo-prequel) and Thelma & Louise & Gretchen. The possibilities are endless.
And as otherworldly as Prometheus is, it suffers from a lot of plot holes and missteps. What follows is a series of lulz culled from the interwebs that tell the story better than I could. Assume heavy spoiler alert from here forward…
Finally, a really funny How It Should Have Ended cartoon:
When I was a kid, I was completely enthralled with the Alien series. My earliest memory of its existence was a fellow school classmate named Jake. Jake brought an Aliens (the Cameron sequel) production book full of illustrations, schematics, photographs to school one day. It was so fantastic and scary and amazing. I was mad that I couldn’t see it because it was rated R.
Fast forward a few years later. Mom and my sister were out of town for some reason so Dad and I were home alone for about a week. He took me down to the local VHS movie rental store (long before Blockbuster and Netflix) to rent a VCR and some tapes. I was in heaven! And he didn’t do much in the way of censoring my choices. I didn’t go crazy, but I did take advantage. I remember getting The Final Countdown, a cheesy story about a modern aircraft carrier caught in a storm that threw it back to WWII. I bet it’s terrible now, but it was awesome then! And secondly I rented Alien & Aliens. They were ground-breaking to me. The stories was utterly incredible — the horror, the coolness, the guns, the spaceships!
Soon after, I got my hands on some comics that were written after the Aliens sequel. They were really cool too, because they took the story further with Ripley, Newt, et al. However, a few years after came the release of Alien 3, which completely broke the continuity of those comics.
I recently found reference those comics here. Ah, the sci-fi memories.
There’s something extremely fascinating about those rare individuals who function on a higher plane, however dysfunctional or detached from the rest of society. The art world, as any other, knows its prodigies and outsiders alike. Here a few good documentaries that cover a wide range of such people.
Here are a series of reviews I started as a bit of a challenge. The idea was to write the entire review in ten (hence, “decuple”) words or less. I considered the movie title to count as only one word. Oh, and sometimes I had to get clever with hyphenated words to keep the word count down as well. Much harder that it seems.
Continue reading “Decuple Word Reviews”
It’s been a long time since a movie scene made me honestly cringe under my collar out of anxiety.
Continue reading “The Grudge vs. Ju-on”
Leave it to comic books and American noir to spark an international dialog.
Both are arty, but differ in delivery: vague impressionism versus creepy surrealism.
Continue reading “The Ring vs. Feardotcom”
The difference between these films is like the difference between mere artistic license and historical revisionism: pageantry and fraud.
Continue reading “Enigma vs. A Beautiful Mind”