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The Last Days on Mars (2013)
The plot lost on the Mars
NOTE: this is not actually a review. That is some kind of remarks for me myself. Just to jot down some thoughts to recall later.
I have rather enjoyed the movie then not. Though I started with reading some negative reviews before I've watched the movie. Which give me impression that the film is utter rubbish. It's not.
Everything is decent in the movie except the plot. It's completely unoriginal. Alas. But it could be a great movie in other case.
Actors and acting are good. Especially good: Elias Koteas and Olivia Williams. Actually they deserve to be main characters. They are interesting, rational and charismatic. But the plot well
Entourage is fine also.
Some people in negative reviews are bashing the bacteria infection plot twist as unbelievable. But I think premise is good.
Yes, it's true that it is highly unlikely that alien microorganism could hijack human body (even dead one) and perform such complex manipulation with its systems, even turn it into more effective organism than the same body was before in the healthy state.
But may be that's the point.
We are vulnerable and responsive to organic poisons and bacterias of the Earth just because we all products of the same line of evolution and share many things in common. Neurotropic venom affect some building blocks of our bio-chemical structures/systems which it similar/complementary to, distort them and that's why that is able to cause such reactions as paralysis, convulsions, hallucinations and so on.
If it happens for you to be landed on other habitable planet and you somehow turn to be beaten by alien poisonous snake, it (most probably) will not cause you much effect except rather local physical damage (bite wound) and may be local chemical burn (though unlikely). At most.
So, if in the premise people from the Earth happened to be highly vulnerable to alien microorganism it could mean that it was especially designed for humans or living species from the Earth. One of the reasonable explanations of such situation: humans are not the first time on the planet (Mars). They were there before long-long time ago in some prehistorical times and escape the planet for some reason. The microorganism could be just some highly lethal bio-weapon that turned the planet to the desert but survived in its sleeping state. Similar premise we can see in one of the stories of Robert Sheckley («The Absolute Weapon»). Such kind of WMD is much much convenient then such dirty things like nuclear explosions. It sweeps all living forms from the targeted areas leaving physical environment untouched and unpolluted. Well, at least at first glance (if you believe that you can curb your microorganisms and don't expect any surprises from its mutations and evolution).
That's why the bug do such compound, complex effect on host body. It was designed to do so. How it could be possible that damaged brain can effectively operate the infected body? There also could be reasonable explanation. The colony of the artificial microorganisms (relatively simple each one) could form complex predefined and highly organized net plugged in human body structures. And the net is using the host body as carrier, as mobile resources storage, as it's own physical extension. May be in some sophisticated way it can restructure and reinforce its host body (who knows what skills had ancient military biochemists). Example of such net-like self-organized (swarm intelligence) necro-structure you can find in Stanislaw Lem's story «The Invincible». And, actually, advanced terminator T-1000 from Terminator 2 was supposedly build on such principles (net of self-organized micro/nano-machines, so small that it looks like a liquid). But in the case of the movie (Mars) it is not machines of steal, but some kind of bio machines.
It's pity that creators of the movie had spoiled such promising opportunity in such mediocre plot. Could be great movie and very moving story.
The Darkest Hour (2011)
Promising but half-baked
Well, there are many flaws in the movie. Simple and pretty familiar plot. With some inconsistency at times, as if there were some extended cuts.
F.e., the advanced technological alien space forces could be defeated with some microwave ejector on batteries? I don't think so. Especially if the electricity is their (aliens) major.
You can walk on streets being unnoticed at night (because the approaching searching units give up themselves by electromagnetic induction? I don't think so. I think it is much easy for them to watch the surface (and even under-surface) activity from the sky. As even we (bloody humans) are able do it today.
And so on.
Common clichés. Absolutely redundant American characters (there no need in them). Absolutely flat and stereotypical Russian characters (with pretty stupid, actually un-Russian, attitudes and behaviors). I wonder, why there are no bears, vodka and balalaika in the movie... No, wait! Vodka is there, I just recall (though, some weird non-common Russian brand). Well, by the fact, there are two alien species in the movie: lightning things and fake Russians. ) All this are just caused by marketing. Good premise, good idea, good plot are usually just twisted and skewed to accommodate to mass average supposed demands. It almost always kills the genius and inspiration of any story. And result appears always as some lame crap. You know what I mean...
What is OK with the film.
There is good initial idea. There could be a good moving story.
It is visually not so bad. There is mood. And much of the scenes are real Moscow places, but in apocalyptic dressing.
If there was just Russian characters and it was filmed by Russian director, it could be good (at least decent) Sci-Fi drama without pseudo-Russian grimacing and stupid stereotypes. About last days of humanity. If the invasion ran up to the stage, it probably means that human race is doomed (if we talk about Sci-Fi but not about hi-tech fantasy). There is no chance to hold out if all organized structures and institutions (army, industries, etc.) had been destroyed. And what is left is just agony and tragedy. Those who work on military at servicing present-day invasions should know it well. There is the point when all the social structures begin to crumble dramatically.
In that way the movie gives us much material for imagination.
I give the movie the relatively high rate because I didn't wait from it too much and was rather pleased and surprised because it turned to be not so lame as I afraid it should be. Soon I'll forget the plot details anyway, it is just the idea and the mood what will last with me. And they are actually not so bad.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Original, but the premise is a bit wooden
Well, the story is not without originality (which we so lack in modern movies). But I wonder, isn't Freedom'n'Democracy mass-kills enough on regular basis to satisfy any possible evil gods? I mean, all the invasions under false pretext, bombing, insurgencies, etc. You know what I mean, just turn on TV news. All over the world for centuries now. Hundreds of thousands or even millions dead. Effectively slaughtered with effective modern hi-tech means of destruction.
Makes the death of some other five guys any difference? Oh, really? Or, may be, that's because of just better qualities of them. Well, you know, something like that: one white American virgin costs some hundreds thousands of Arab (f.e.) men, women and children. Such currency rate on free hell-market. Huh? OK, if cast aside the excursus to the interesting phenomenon of popular consciousness (to be scared by simple fantasy, and turn blind on scariest reality), the film is pretty watchable. There is mood. The story develops well and is involving. Entertaining.
So to reality: there is no god. All the regular mass killings we have seem ritual and are useless. Should we interpret the message of the movie in this way: trash all the smoothfaced sacrificers in firepot! P.S. That such girl is still a virgin is sad anyway. Something definitely wrong with the reality.
Boring, pretentious, unimaginative, pointless.
Inartistic and non-creative and boring.
Beginner's immature derisive attempts.
(Further words are just for IMDb-robot).
I want my lost 1.5 hours back. And what about the moral damages? Actually, I can not remember when I watched something so pretentiously bad. And felt so boring. And disappointed in my expectations.
I wonder, why they named it 'Love'. If the only emotion it induces in audience is hate through the boring near to death. Oh, man...
(Funny, 2 first lines are more then enough to characterize the empty so called movie, but the site blocks the review because of wrong minimal length. Though there are more then 10 lines already. Is there some paid option to block negative reviews or something? Anyway, how the nonsense got such relatively high rating?)
Stylish, entertaining, but not Holms
I personally don't like the interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. I think that Robert Downey Jr. does not fit for the role. Though he may be a good actor, he and Sherlock have different psychological types, I think. Besides, Guy Ritchie's style (too much kinetic, benny-hill-ish knockabout comedy) does not suit the noble, measured classic novels.
There is nothing really special. Meanwhile the movie is pretty watchable, stylish, entertaining. It has many neat details, sometime proper atmosphere, sometime funny (not so often). It's worth to see it at least once. Just for entertainment. Some evening after some brain crushing hard work, you know, just for relaxation. At least it's not kill your brain by its stupidity as Sherlock BBC may do.
The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
Entertaining, but bad Sci-Fi
Though the plot is too straightforward, the movie was entertaining for me anyway. May be the simplicity + decent acting + really good entourage that's what I really needed. Just a fairytale in good looking form. But...
It's not Sci-Fi. No, not because of «souls thing». That's OK as an element of the fantasy/fiction. What personally annoy me much are realistic details sacrificed (unjustifiably, in my opinion) in the name of entertainment.
For example, the part on the prison-planet with sharp day/night temperature drop («Crematoria» or something). How it can be possible for such planet to have atmosphere at all or at least have the chemical composition of the atmosphere suitable for men? Is such atmosphere on the Mercury or on the Venus? No. Or how to explain it logically: the same atmosphere as on Earth but in the range from -300 °C to 700 °C? When substances which we know in hard state there are fluids, the fluids are gases, hell know what chemical reactions in the gases have place and so on. Even if we assume such completely unrealistic good for men breathing atmosphere is there, anyway it's absolutely unrealistic that people normally breathing while the rocks instantly turn white-hot on the sun. Even if the men sit in the shadows. On the planet gases don't heat (on the Earth do, as we all know)? Or it's just strictly forbidden for them to cross borders of shadows in the process of convection?
I don't understand why the film makers don't bother about such flaws. It was done just for entertainment? But in the scene almost everybody has armor-like or baggy-like costume anyway. Turn the dress into some kind of spacesuits (thin and with transparent face guard choreography and face expressions would be the untouched) and the flaw is gone. Or it was done because of lack of education? I wonder, does the advice of scientist really cost to much in the US? If be frankly it costs nothing today (there are many places and communities where you can get it for free).
But why then? To mess up Sci-Fi genre? To insult our intelligence? To troll us? I don't know... It upset me much.
The Invasion (2007)
Good Kidman, moronic message
I've given +1 over the average just for Kidman only (good actress).
I don't like philosophy and message of the film.
It's the same old molded argument with SU ideology even 20 years after SU was vanished. Soviet position: social justice as a main social and public goal, even at the cost of heavy initial sacrifices and repressions of predators, suppression of their freedom (to eat others), if necessary. Anti-Soviet (bourgeois) position: there's nothing wrong with current social order, some predatoriness is a core feature in the human nature, time- and nature-honoured; so all must have an equal rights (the competition will be an arbiter between them, and predatoriness should be just civilized), no repression or suppression in favor of better social order is acceptable.
Both sides demonized each other and actively used term "Freedom", but it had different meanings (diametrically opposite). Here the version of 'good but sterile world' is voiced by Russian diplomat in the course of some ironical and caustic fencing. It seems that he was not serious or in some parts their conversation would have been extremely offensive (the diplomat probably one of those typical authorities who was a unbending communist and now has turned to be an ardent liberal/capitalist - holier than the pope; well, he have had saber-fighting for both sides, and after bottle of vine who knows which of two sides that cunning sneaky bustard represents).
But own position of authors of this movie is quit clear, and the presentment is just moronic. Yeah, peace, understanding, social justice, tolerance, no poverty, no war, no cannibalization, no crime, no stupid presidents/politics and so on - they all are the devilish, inhumane, cruel things. Such evil ones should be burned (they are depicted here as a distinguishing feature of non-humans)! Now we free you (or will free after Iraq, who's next?)! Hey, just relax, and enjoy every day with full feeling of being human now (you see how bad is what over the thousands of years you are dreaming and asking for?).
What kind of stupidity is that? The same which said that be sick or dead better than have cure for free?.. Hey, guys, are you sure that you are not from the other planet?
Event Horizon (1997)
I wonder why they say that it is Sci-Fi?
What were good:
1. The premise (or intrigue) was promising (alas, when «hell» was started all the sci-fi plot was spoiled).
2. The entourage was moderately fine (except the Gothic EH-ship it's ridiculous).
3. Sometimes there is a mood.
What were fishy:
1. The crew behave themselves like a street gang (is it normal behavior on American special elite naval ships even today?).
2. There was one guy flying in open space without spacesuit and still was alive (I am not kidding!).
3. To appeal to «hell», «god» and other religious nonsense in the Sci-Fi movie is a fail (it means that writer has been totally bankrupt and spoils the plot and give us some (evil in the case) «Deus ex machina»). If such things occur in the Sci-Fi, they should be scientifically explained (like in the Solaris, f.E.).
4. Almost every crew member in the crisis situation behaves him|her-self like a dumb. Think for a moment: You are in the space somewhere far, far away from the Earth, somewhere near to the Pluto. OK? And on the weird wrecked ship you suddenly see your boy or friend from the Earth, which beckon You to a dark corridor. Yeah, it's creepy. And what You would to do? Do You believe that it's really Your boy or friend? Well, members of our crew thought so. :)
5. One guy was thrown away to the orbit by really huge explosion and come back with (sic!) opening one of air valve on his spacesuit. %)
6. There was a broken (from inside) windows on the spaceship (can you imagine it?)
7. When window was broken and it had started to suck the air out, our astronauts had overcome it by the force of their hands (yeah, that the old funny trick from Aliens, unbelievably cool! :) ).
8. If my memory doesn't betray me, they travel from Earth to Pluto in about 56 days (It's really cool!).
9. It seems that I forgot something
Anyway, it's not what we call Sci-Fi.
P.S. Actually, it left a some good aftertaste. And p. 2 should be canceled, because if to think a bit more the incident with exposure to open space should be somehow like that (may be with extreme swelling owing to ebullism, but the guy had finished here extremely damaged anyway). I've raised the rating.
The authors were not equal to the task at hand
What? The Korean viewers are satisfied with such a cheep feeble imitation? Such a pity! It has a tremendous amount of pathos, authors are trying to squeeze a tears, but it doesn't work. Why? Look, there is a marvellous Korean movie in the genre: Public Enemy (Gonggongui jeog (original title), 2002). It was so impressive because it has a strong charge of dark humour in it. It's some kind of comedy from behind of which appeared the tragedy. It creates a sound contrast and effect, it makes the fictional characters believable. And why Running Wild (2006) doesn't work? Because it is uncreative set of clichés, poorly linked, unnecessary and affected dialogs, flat non-realistic characters (even if the actors are good and attractive), stupid behavior and fighting tactics (the main hero have failed almost every fight, but he, to everybody's surprise, is still alive and still arrogant may be he's just incredibly stupid? assault team stuffs single target with bullets and keep shooting even when target already turns in a mess may be they are lately not so busy and feel bored?)
And all this are taken bloody seriously. O, man! But in hands of Master it could be not a feeble imitation, but a really movable story.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
The movie isn't bad, but the screen script isn't good
T1 and T2 were a shock each one, they had a strong dramatic impact (even with moderate special effects as in T1). And even today they are classic. But what is and has this movie? The movie isn't bad, it's watchable. There is good actors. But it also has a lame plot and isn't able to create a good believably story. Because the lame plot ruins its atmosphere. Alas. Many right things have been said by other commentators. I point just one total cliché that is most annoying for me. I'm saying about heart giving thing. The act of sacrifice, that was used in previous series, because of good plot which organic part it was, worked, was true and believable. In this movie it seems completely false, stupid and melodramatic. The authors trying convince us that there is a total war for survival of entire human race. And there is no donor-heart for dying leader (no cadavers, no severely injured in the permanent battle, no wishful donation from disabled man or woman, unfit for active service), except one from the allied cyborg with full human identity who one costs half of the whole resistance? And they dump him just for heart? Are you kidding? Or it's morally OK for director and the main auditory because he has too much artificial implants and couldn't be considered as pure blood citizen anymore and henceforth may be dead, nobody cares (the usual popular chauvinistic motive about second rate people in American movies)? «They killed Kenny! Bastards!»