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Terrible. Just terrible.
Three stars and three only shine out of the bottomless abyss of despair that is this movie.
1. It was made. Being a fan of the Warhammer universe setting in general I was excited to see this movie finally being made.
2. Quality voice talent. They really pulled out the stops when it came to hiring actors, so I have no cause to complain there.
3. Dan Abnett's name was attached to it. IF you are a fan of his writing as I am, then I suppose you can count this among the positives, otherwise, I'm sorry that this was your first exposure to his work. In my imagination, they forced him to write the screenplay from within a locked closet without food or water while being harried by rabid weasels.
Otherwise, terrible. The exposition of the Warhammer setting is poorly handled, the plot not terribly compelling, the pacing is awful - unless extended scenes of people walking through a hazy landscape is your thing, in which case I expect you would find this to be the apotheosis of cinema.
Why are we walking through the desert for 45 minutes? Couldn't the drop ship have brought us closer to our destination, considering that it's a FLAT PLAIN that extends for hundreds of miles?
This brings us to the CGI. Ten years on from The Matrix, video effects have become much cheaper, so I can't comprehend why the visual quality of this film is so poor, even setting aside the fact that every character looks identical.
I can only imagine that the producers ran over budget on voice acting. There are scenes where the focal depth is so poor it approaches the surreal. Stop to consider for a moment that focal depth needs to be set manually in a CGI film rather than what naturally occurs with a camera.
The endlessly shifting dust or fog or whatever that fills every frame of this movie is subject to the same aberrations, sometimes something that appears foreground is suddenly revealed to be backdrop when a character walks in front of it. Sloppy, just sloppy.
Willing to give this a chance. (spoilers)
While it isn't the be-all/end-all, I liked it overall. I can't believe though that the comp rating for this is 6.6 when Event Horizon gets a 6.3 and Terminator Salvation gets a 7.1 and Transformers gets a 7.4. Where's the justice in that? Anyway, I'll be interested to see what comes of this as a series. BSG had its moments that stretched into infinity, but overall the series was spectacular, so I'll give these guys enough rope to run with or hang themselves.
The infiltrated VR system is a neat hook, the idea of a possible life-after-death in VR land, the problems of whom to believe and trust as cabin fever sets in, this is all fertile ground for plot (and thus character) development. Plus, they took the entire pilot introducing you to a character who dies in the end. Gotta respect a writing team who is willing to invest in a doomed character!
True: none of the characters were dazzling, but then, have you ever watched a reality show and given a damn about anyone on it? (If so, please seek help.) A few of them at least have potential; Jensen and his simulated child, for one example.
Man up, folks. Whether you like it or not, sci fi is not always about chest-bursting aliens, "moon-based lazers", killer cyborgs (whether they disguise themselves as crappy American cars or not), or spaceships that become possessed by demons. Sometimes its just about how technology affects the way people live and interact with each other.
SLC Punk! (1998)
Pretty good snapshot of some parts of the 80's post-punk scene
OK first the disclaimer:
Punk rock died the day it was blessed with its moniker, I think somewhere around 1979/1980. I think part of the reason it died was because everyone was trying to strictly define what Punk meant, kinda defeating the purpose. The idea of anyone claiming to be "punk" now or at any point during the 90s or even the 80s is patently ridiculous. It's death, however, did serve to allow many people in different places to cadge together their own ideas about what "punk" was and reshape their own local counter-culture scene into something somewhat resembling that. Let's face it, the entire idea behind Anarchy is that of Iconoclasm; the destruction of images and false constructs, for example pop culture trends such as PUNK.
I came in as part of the punk revival (2nd wave) in the mid-80s, growing up in a mid-sized Midwestern city. The punk scene was very alive there and I immediately identified with it, but stuck with the non-conformist nature of it rather than filing off into a splinter group and wearing a uniform. This movie recalled a lot of my own experiences, ideas and feelings from that time. Uncomfortably so. Of course there was a lot of BS too, but the BS was part and parcel of the scene since everyone was co-opting "punk" into their own little social circles.
I didn't learn anything from this movie, which to my mind illustrates its accuracy as a decent, digestible snapshot of what was going on within that world where each of us knew a Heroin Bob, a crazy Belgian Mark, an intense nerdy Mike who just might go off the deep end and start a fight with the cops, a slutty Sandie, and armchair philosophers galore. And of course drugs, booze, filth and bad music.
A previous reviewer scolded this film for not following the "true punk" philosophy and went on to talk about how the Midwest "doesn't have a punk scene." Wrong. Buddy, reading books or watching videos about the history of that movement won't tell you anything. It was not deep, profound, or incredibly thoughtful. Don't read too much into it.
Blake's 7 (1978)
Possibly the best sci fi series on TV... ever.
I know that's a bold statement, but you have to consider the players in the field; Star Trek (in all its incarnations) was very hit-or-miss, Babylon 5 took two seasons to warm up and the final season petered out, the old Battlestar Galactica was pretty dopey, and a thousand others did little to validate the credentials of sci fi for broadcast TV.
Blake's 7 has rotten production values, sub-par special effects, terrible acting, major continuity problems, and many planet-side shots seem to have been shot in the same gravel quarry used by every BBC studio since time began.
That being said, the show keeps you riveted from the start, since you can't honestly say which of the main characters are going to survive from episode to episode. There's very little altruism here; the more ruthless characters leave each other hanging almost as a rule. Great fun.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
As generic as the characters' names
I still can't decide if I liked this movie or not. I went into the theater with minimal expectations, hoping to see an amusing summer thriller. Ultimately, it was unforgettable. While everything was done right (well-choreographed action sequences, witty Bond-esquire dialogue, and decent pacing), there was nothing in particular about this movie that stuck with me.
Oddly enough, I found myself wanting more of the clever dialogue, and less of the gratuitous action.
The actors aren't doing anything unusual or stepping out of their usual typecast roles here.