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The effects and visuals were good, great even, but this was a horribly written story. I don't think 3D did much for it either. The characters were thin, the movie seemed to have hardly any significant dialog, and there was almost no suspense whatsoever. This is arguably, for all the hype, Ridley Scott's biggest dud.
Basically, a trend is detected in the paintings and carvings of ancient civilizations that allow us to determine the origin of a solar system with a planet that has a hospitable moon on it. Based on the geometry of five stars. Seems like quite a stretch, but OK. So you'd expect that the best of the best would be gathered to go investigate, right?
Instead a motley crew of some of the world's most unprofessional "scientists" are randomly gathered up and sent to a foreign world to search for the origins of life. Clearly a grand mission involving tons of money and planning you'd think. The characters were stored in some sort of bio-stasis device which allowed them to sleep off the 2 plus year's journey. Once awake and past their travel sickness, they acted as if this was the first time they'd ever met. No joke. The movie was fine until this point and then it spirals pointless and hopelessly out of control hereafter. Highly illogical and nonsensical decisions are made, often for no reason whatsoever. Characters that were freaked out by almost nothing are then completely calm over what should have been alarming situations.
Some examples: In one scene, the "robot" (as the humans refer to him and who is of similar mold to the android from Alien) knowingly and purposefully infests a character with a pathogen that leads to the character's demise. No reason is given for this act, but you expect to learn later in the movie why and that explanation never comes. The sinister nature of the act is reminiscent of the behavior of the android from the movie Alien. Also, the movie resorts to the same cliché it borrows from Alien, with the android's head getting severed off, but alive and speaking, albeit this time without the gelatinous ooze spewing from its mouth (perhaps Scott thought that too much of a cliché).
And the award for most unbelievable character went to the geologist, whose person looks and behaves like a street punk, is a stoner, and who after learning that there aren't any rocks available to look at, forgoes any further scientific curiosity and elects to abandon the main body of scientists (along with another scientist) while on the planet and in the abode of a strange temple-like complex and manages to get lost. This despite only having to basically make one right or left turn to head back in the correct direction inside of a "C" shaped structure. OK.
And it goes from there and gets no better and you can read some of the other reviews that will give you more of what made this movie so very disappointing for those of us who were big fans of the Alien series.
To sum it up, while the movie touched on elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and Alien, it lacked all of the charm that made those movies great. Perhaps, in part, because we'd already seen these unique elements before in these earlier movies. The biggest fault of this movie was that it lacked any real ingenuity, and only repackaged the novel parts from these earlier movies and added nothing of its own.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Texas Chainsaw in the desert
Boring, predictable and unoriginal. Pass on it unless you looking for the campy type of silly horror movie.
Family gets tricked by an insider of the freaks to take a shortcut down a unimproved road in the desert to shave off a couple of hours to the highway. Instead, they get bushwacked by some nuke radiation deformed freaks that they have to fight off. Half the family dies, and the more likable half lives. Surprise surprise.
Watch Texas Chainsaw again if you're looking for a similar type of horror movie that might actually have some real suspense and terror.
Skip this POS.
Survival Earth (1985)
Worst Movie Ever Award
I actually had the displeasure of spending money on this movie when we rented the video back in the late 1980's from a mom and pop country store. It was set out in the woods...for the entire movie.....the most expensive prop they used was a revolver. The acting? Looked like street people were used. It was filmed with a camcorder. There was a fist fight in the movie that was so poorly orchestrated (punches missing by a couple feet, literally) that the scene was the most memorable part of the movie......it was so awful, it was hilarious. This "movie" could have just as well been written, acted, and filmed by anyone who owned a camcorder. It looked like it could have been a sophomore college student's film project......and the professor would be hard pressed to have given a passing grade on this one.
North Shore (1987)
Excellent Hoodad Movie!
This is a nice, if somewhat stupid, comedy and surfing B-movie. It had it's fair share of laughs and some great one liners, not to mention fabulous surfing scenes. It was entertaining enough and worth a rental if you're looking for a funny cheesy B-movie. A bit of a cult classic eh, yeah?.....yeah?.........no.
Spielberg took the battle scenes from this movie.......
I rented this, not for Sellers, but for Kubric. It had a few chuckles,
but it is definitely dated. Most of Sellers performances were a bit
too silly (the "mine Fuhrer" and Nazi salute business, for example).
What I did notice, however, was the eerily striking similarity in the
battle scenes of the movie and those from Saving Private Ryan.
From the shaky hand-held super 8 camera filming to the camera
angle shots taken juxtaposed to the machine guns as they fired. I
am convinced that Spielberg stole these ideas which were what
made Saving Private Ryan such a great film from Kubric in this
movie. For that reason alone, it made the film worth watching. As
far as a comedy goes, it failed pretty miserably........
Southern Comfort (1981)
Southern Comfort = Deliverance/2
If you've seen Deliverance, there's no need to watch this one. It's a much worse copy cat of the same theme. The movie falls apart with the completely and utterly ridiculous actions of the guardsmen who behave more ineptly in the field than tenderfoot boy scouts.
Furthermore, the portrayal of all cajuns as backwards french-only speaking inbreeds is similar to Deliverance's portrayal of hillbilly Georgians. Don't waste your time with this one, folks. If you haven't seen Deliverance, watch it instead. The acting, cinematography, scenery, and music are all a grade better than this movie's.
Sole Survivor (1970)
Perhaps the best movie I've ever seen...
Unlike most of you, I saw this movie ten years ago on cable while in grad school. I missed the first 15-20 minutes of it and my roommate went to bed and missed the final 20 minutes or so. Boy did he miss a great conclusion and an appreciation for the movie. Now like the rest of you, I will say that this was one of the best movies I've ever seen....truly poignant and before its time. I also lament the fact that it cannot be found on video...and I do a search for it about every 3 months in hopes that it will be released. From the sounds of it, we've all had the same luck. Perhaps someday someone will get a clue and put it out there for us....... For those of you who haven't seen it, odds are you won't be able to unless you luck up on it, like I did, purely out of coincidence. The tale is similar to the real fate of the crew of the LADY BE GOOD. A plane crashes in the African desert and try to survive the best they can. To really tell much of the movie would be to ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I will say that it has an eerie ending similar to that of "The Sixth Sense."
Human Highway (1982)
For hard core Neil Young and Devo fans only...
This movie has no plot and a simple message: Nukes = bad. But if you're a Neil Young fan, I'd recommend buying the video if only out of curiosity. There is a very cool jam session wherein Neil jams with Devo in the middle of the movie where they play "Hey hey My my (into the black)." The sound quality in the movie is quite good, but the acting is minimal at best.