|Index||7 reviews in total|
The director Fiodor Bondarchuk seems himself to be under the influence
of the dangerous "A-rays", declaring unconditional faithfulness to the
letter on the original Book, and not paying any attention to how it
plays out as a film.
The book has all the elements needed for a Star Wars-like scenario: it creates a complete detailed world full with its history ("Noon Universe"); it has a number of mysteries that are gradually revealed to the reader - "I'm your father, Luke!" type moments and more. It has a number of philosophical connotations about historical necessities and taking responsibility for people's destiny. It is an epic masterpiece.
But! The authors of the 1968 book didn't think about turning it into a sci-fi movie. The majority of the book is written from the view point of its heroes, describing their feelings and thoughts. Dialogue and action takes secondary role.
So this book was taken and stripped off of any and all non-action language, and turned into a scenario. The result is extremely fast-paced, bullet-point-like re-telling of the main events of the book.
The act is horrible across the board. Of special notice is Koldun (Enchanter), which is all about the voice. This is the voice that reads out what can be thought as A. & B. Strugatsky's (ABS) actual position on the main dilemma. This voice is delivering one of the main messages of the film. The movie creators recognized that, and turned the Koldun scene into a separate scene, as opposed to being part of the "Meeting". But the voice is absolutely unremarkable, and just quickly reads through the text.
As a side note - the Bomber is just pathetic. The bomber itself is not significant altogether, and could be just left out. But it was left in, and instead of a complex technical scene involving a large airplane, the creators opted for a cheaper CG solution. This is strange to say the least, given the $40M budget of the film.
This film is the second part of the two-part saga spanning over three
and a half hours combined (the first - Dark Planet came out in the same
year). One has to watch both films back to back as they are one
continuous story; the first one stopping in the middle of the narration
with no closure whatsoever.
It is based on a very popular dystopian sci-fi novel Prisoners of Power by Strugatsky brothers written in 1969 and published in English numerous times and depicts a post-nuclear war totalitarian society on another planet, where a young lone adventurer in space from Earth crash lands his ship and embarks on an adventurous and dangerous journey to free the people of the planet from their misery, himself belonging to a much more advanced and highly moral human society of the distant future which by then defeated disease and inequality with each human possessing incredible physical powers.
Now onto this screen adaptation. The casting went horribly wrong in the selection of the main character - the young man from Earth - looking like the tanned curly blond boy from erotic flick The Blue Lagoon from the 80's with pretty bad acting, and one of other main characters looking completely like Gary Oldman's character Zorg in The Fifth Element; the script was terribly written with bad dialogues and jerky story-telling. The story is at times confusing and poses questions along the way, which is very distracting. Although the director did an overall okay job, he's not very original and his visualisation of the film is an endless list of stolen ideas from the popular western movies: cars from Total Recall and Mad Max, bat-mobiles, kung-fu style fights with fantastic jumps taken straight from The Matrix. To add to that is the endless shouting by actors in a very "russian" style that most of the time don't make sense and is a pure overacting.
On the positive side the film is high budget with massive sets in the alien city, battles outside the city and fantastic gardens reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings; very good CGI and sound. And, of course, it's based on a solid and entertaining story, with a surprise ending of the saga leaves one with a feeling that the time spent watching it wasn't wasted. It's certainly worth taking a look, if only for the great story and special effects. Recommended.
This movie is a direct continuation of the first film "Inhabited
Island" or "Obitaemyi Ostrov." It continues in the same great style and
pace as the first film, but you have to see the first film to
understand the storyline.
This movie is particularly great because there is a lot of action and great visuals, but a very interesting plot and deep philosophical ideas are what make it a truly great film. While it is science fiction, it is different from many science fiction films in that at the end of the day this is a movie about us: people living on this Earth today. We too have oppressive government regimes controlling the masses, we too have people among us fighting for ideas of justice. The end is very well done and leaves one thinking.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A Russian film based on the novel Prisoners of Power by Arkady and
Boris Strugatsky. After reading the English translation one thing is
clear the film follows the book closely but not exactly.
Overall I think this is one of the best films I've seen in my life. The cinematography is beautiful and the characters are very well written. Anyone interested in seeing it should love Sci-Fi because this film relies heavily on your ability to imagine a world where human beings are completely free and have begun a new age..
Maxim Kammerer is the main character during the story, we get to see him as a mostly inexperienced youth. In the book he's in his early 20's but here he appears older which probably means they just couldn't find someone to fill the part who was as good an actor as Vasiliy Stepanov. As time goes on the man evolves and gains better judgement in dealing with his situation.
Its very clear the film was adapted from the book because in the very beginning when he runs into the asteroid/meteors it begins diverging from the novel. Where-as the novel has him being shot down from the surface.
Maxim is not an amateur space explorer but in fact is part of something called the Independent Reconnaissance Unit or IRU. He can find no direction in his life for studying anything specific so joins up around age 20 and begins charting planets from the surface/orbit. In the book its made clear this is not his first mission as his parents want him to do something else and generally everyone already knows what he does.
Another divergence from the book is with the way he crashes, the film has meteors/asteroids that he runs into but we know that's unlikely because his ship would certainly have given warning since because even the most simple of radars can track a huge rock! The reason it's done this way is the backstory would've probably required around 30 mins to establish and they wanted to get right into the meat of the book instead. So how does he crash then? The IRU sent him to this planet to map it and check for life and while on approach he is shot down by weapons fire. Later on in the story this happens again to him in the plane which is when he realizes what happened to him originally.
The important part is the film does succeed in capturing ones interest even with all the changes, especially the end fight between Maxim and Strannik which never really happened in the book! It was EPIC in the film but the book has them driving off in the car together after Maxim has blown the main tower center up. Then he calmly tells Maxim he's from Earth too.
The book is great, the film is great. This is just like Black Lightening in that few know of it's existence outside Russia.
It is something else than Hollywood. Strugatsky brothers are fabulous writers, but you cannot simply take a book and put it on the screen. In a movie you don't have the luxury to waste pages after pages describing the introspections of the characters. The director did his best, and at least the actors felt for the script. No wooden acting, no clichéd lines which are the hallmark of Hollywood SF in the last decades. People are as true as possible, they are dirty, grimy and miserable, easy to manipulate and picturesque. All in all, a good movie, interesting and it never makes you touch the fast-forward button. If you want to taste something else than Hollywood crap, try it.
There are lots of good SF movies, but I cannot remember any, which has
not bad pictures and leaves unanswered questions in your mind after you
visit the cinema. The movie which is unrealistic on the one hand and
has so many similarities with our daily life on the other. The movie
where there is no evil and no goodness, where you see just people and
you can make a decision who is good and who is bad. It's up to you.
It's a pity that people estimate quality of such movies by the quality of the visual effects without thinking what authors wanted to say. May be visual effects are not that good for 40M USD, but they are right enough for this movie. A little bit more and we have a traditional Hollywood delirium with good pictures, lots of noise and nothing inside.
For the Russian audience, this film is perceived not only as went a
parody of the story Strugatsky brothers, but also wipe over by the
audience. Strugatsky very complex philosophical authors, not all their
ideas were relevant fact, the more you want it careful cost to such
material, and even more so not to make tragedy in the farce.
Game actors and staging the film in the amount of leaves much to be desired. The only that makes sense to set off - it sounds and special effects. Still, for $ 37 million could have been done better.
We need to just keep in mind that this is not a separate proekt.
The first film was blatantly political. Given circumstances prevailing at the time of his release, he was very negative received by the audience. For this reason, the second part, some political tone was subdued, though that is not reflected in the general mood paintings. Despite strong advertising campaign in media and public support, we can say that the amount of the project has fallen short of its expectations, neither as a commercial enterprise, or as promotional material.
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