Thursday, June 07, 2012


Call me crazy, but I wouldn't want to go investigate the gigantic head thingy.
Some people can't wait to see Prometheus because it's a Ridley Scott movie. Some people can't wait to see Prometheus because it's a Ridley Scott movie that, in his words, "shares some of the same DNA" as Alien. (Just call it a prequel already, brotha!) Some people can't wait to see Prometheus because of its stellar cast, which includes Noomi Rapace (the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Michael Fassbender (fully clothed this time, folks—sorry!), Charlize Theron, and Idris Elba (also both fully clothed—double-sorry). Some people can't wait to see Prometheus because its ever-present ads and trailers are making it look like a Not To Be Missed Epic Summer Movie. And still others can't wait to see Prometheus because they will always support anything Damon Lindelof (co-creator of LOST and co-writer of the film in question) does. Needless to say, I was a part of that latter bunch.

I went to a press screening of the film last week and have been DYING for others of "my kind" (read: LOST nerds, or just nerds in general) to see it so that we can discuss. The funny thing is that I can't say I was a big fan of the movie overall. But, as with LOST, Prometheus left me pondering some big questions that I was still debating with my husband three days later. And there's certainly something to be said for that.

So it's about a team of people on a spaceship (Prometheus) who have traveled for the past few years (frozen so they're not aging) toward a planet that two archaeologists (Noomi and a jerky guy played by Logan Marshall-Green—completely unconvincing as a romantic couple) think might be the home of the "Engineers." The Engineers, this couple believes, are aliens that created human beings. Noomi and her man want to asks these aliens some questions.

Well that's all fine and good, but one example of the sloppiness in the story was that the rest of the crew learns what the mission is about AFTER they've woken up from years in hibernation and are about to step off the ship. Huh? Wouldn't that kind of presentation be given before anybody even boarded the spacecraft?

So they get to the planet and, as you can guess (or know from the trailers), all hell ends up breaking loose. As things unravel, there were some scenes that seemed—like the presentation sequence referenced above—a bit amateur. Would someone EVER really think it wise to get up in the grill of an alien creature and not expect to be attacked? I mean, come on. How cliche. What's more, an entire subplot having to do with the Weyland Corporation seemed pointless. Did Guy Pearce's character (CEO of Weyland) and Charlize's character (a Weyland employee overseeing the mission) really need to involved at all? All that was a distraction. And don't even get me started on a certain character's miraculous ability to MOVE—much less walk, run, shoot, or fight—after a very invasive and urgent, um, surgery.

There were other scenes, however, that I found to be creative (I'm talkin' 'bout holograms) and chilling (pretty much everything having to do with Fassbender's android David) and memorable. Noomi Rapace is definitely a star. Everything looked stunning, too, and I didn't even mind the 3D for once. And finally, as I mentioned earlier, I thought the Big Questions Prometheus raised kept my mind whirring enough that I was still toying with ideas from the film days later and am anxious to hear others' thoughts about them now.

Here are a few to chime in on in the comments, if you'd like. I'll write these in a non-spoilery way in case anyone who hasn't seen the film yet is hangin' around.

1) What was your interpretation of the opening sequence?
2) Why do you think David (the android/Fassbender) did what he did?
3) Was your interpretation of what the Engineers were planning to do the same as the characters'? (Mine wasn't.)
4) What exactly do you think was in all of those black cylinder thingies? (I have an opinion but am curious as to what others think.)

If you read this in order for me to tell you whether or not Prometheus is worth seeing, my answer is yes. Yes, it's worth seeing on the big screen in all of its glory, but lower your expectations because I don't think it will be going down in the history books as a sci-fi classic.

- e

Friday, June 01, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

One of these cast members is on my Most Annoying Celebs list...
"Are there dwarfs in it?" my husband asked.

"What do you mean, are there dwarfs in it? Of course there's dwarfs, it's the Snow White story," I scoffed.

"But it's Snow White and the Huntsman so I figured it was just about those two," he replied.

"No. If you are talking about Snow White at all then there's going to have to be dwarfs. Always."

End of conversation.

(Random side note: Lord of the Rings mastermind J.R.R. Tolkien was responsible for popularizing the alternate spelling "dwarves." These are the useless facts you learn in my line of work.)

So yes, in case you were also wondering, there ARE dwarfs in Snow White and the Huntsman, and they're one of the best things about the film, especially since they're played by the likes of Ian McShane, Nick Frost, and Bob Hoskins, to name three of the seven.

But the crazy visuals and special effects are, by far, THE best things about the movie. They're also responsible for the scene which started to sour my experience, but I'll get to that later. First things first, however: the plot. Yes, it's basically the same Snow White story you've always known, except the Huntsman plays a much greater role and the ending is a little different.

Charlize Theron rocks as the Evil Queen, and the most spectacular scenes involve her using black magic to turn things into, um, other things. Mind-blowing sequences—truly impressive effects work. If you're into that sort of thing, then it's worth seeing on the big screen for those effects alone. Alas, Kristen Stewart had no business being cast as Snow White. I totally flipped out in early 2011 when I learned she'd landed the lead role, and my gut feeling was correct. It's not like she's an awful actress or anything, but she just DOES NOT have the pure, innocent, singing-with-forest-animals vibe that Snow White needs to have. And Chris Hemsworth was fine as The Huntsman, but I felt like he was essentially still playing Thor. 

Is it wrong to root for her?
So what went wrong for me? Over halfway through the film there's a scene that's very effects-heavy, and it just changed the entire tone of the film too sharply for me. It's like SWatH went from being a respectful—though darker—retelling of the Snow White fairy tale to all of a sudden jumping into cheesy Rainbow Brite territory or something. It was really, really bizarre. I also felt like director Rupert Sanders was trying too hard to make the film seem "epic." There were at least three different "single-file line of drastically different-sized people trekking through mountainous landscapes" scenes that smacked of Lord of the Rings wannabe-ness. So what had started out as an enjoyable take on the beloved fairy tale (and believe you me, I'm a huge HUGE fairy tale fan, as I mentioned in my post about Once Upon a Time) deteriorated into a Huh? What? kind of experience by the end.

The bottom line: If you can't get enough of awesome special effects, then you might find this one worth seeing in the theater because it's not like it's a horrible movie overall or anything. But if your money and time are precious to you and/or limited, then I'd wait to rent it. It's worth checking out at some point because of the effects and the mostly good cast. I just wished they'd picked a different Snow White.