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Science and Linguistics nut.
Love Sci-Fi and character driven fiction.
Hate excessive effects (weird, huh?)
Red State (2011)
Thrilling and incisive spectacle of the horror that is us.
Just by the name, I knew that this was not going to be a movie by the Kevin Smith that I mostly know for doing light movies or at least for analyzing deep subjects with depth and yet a bit of a tongue-in-cheek attitude.
I was sure that Kevin's ability with dialogues would probably be amazing if applied to serious subjects, but that was only the beginning.
As a great movie, it is hard to even categorize the genre to which it belongs. Formula movies of today can easily be classified, but this movie seems so true to life, that you can find in it action, horror, irony, drama and even a bit of comedy. I had to agree at some point that some of the random things that happen here may be taken as over-the-top by some, but are certainly very true to the unexpected nature of real life.
The dialogues are smart, but above all real, even if some may think they are not believable. The characters are realistic to the point that no one can be accused of being completely evil or totally noble. And that is such a refreshing take from such the strict and narrow range of personalities that practically all other movies offer. I was amazed at the conviction and realism with which the views of the religious fanatics is expressed. It is possible to understand how they come to match the lunacy of their actions with the righteousness of their beliefs. You can see the doubt in some, the conviction in others, the common sense at one time and at the same time the way it can be tainted and distorted just seconds later, and this can be said of all the sides involved. And yes, the conspiracy theory, which when presented by the news media may sound laughable, but when taken to its ultimate consequences in a serious film, serves perfectly well as a cautionary tale, or maybe as a warning of things that may be happening and we just don't know yet. And to those who think it over-the-top let me just say: "Whatever CAN happen WILL happen."
I guess if Smith decided to call this a horror film, it is not because of the horror situations, which are only a part of the movie, but because it shows the horror of what America can be, or may be is and we just don't know for sure.
Enjoy this film for the thrills, but if you watch it with your brain turned on you will see how far beyond it goes. Smith needs to do more films like this. I hope he is not afraid of being remembered as one of the great filmmakers.
Moore shows even more genius here than even in BSG
I think Caprica will make BSG feel a little bit childish in comparison.
Certainly the big themes of BSG are explored now with much more depth. It certainly satisfies the curiosity I had for the back story, the monotheism/polytheism dynamic, terrorism and especially how Cylons came to be.
I think the Sci-Fi in this pilot is very smart and hope that the drama part won't pull away some of the more childlike audiences who can't bear to watch five minutes without explosions and blazing guns. Still I am sure Ron Moore knows that action was an integral part of the success of BSG and I believe we will get to see some of that in the near future.
I believe it was not part of the plot of this pilot to have space scenes or battles, but given that this universe comprises 12 planets I just can't see that future episodes would not include such scenes.
After all this show is filled with the promise of war and I think we will get our share of battle scenes once the cylons become self aware (for which you get an excellent story platform in this movie).
The show takes place 58 years (not 40) before the destruction of the colonies, so I feel certain that at some point the first cylon war is going to be seen. Remember that BSG already had an actor cast as young Bill Adama, so I believe it's all very possible.
The child Adama is present in this show for a reason and I was very impressed with the character of his father and his back story in Tauron. (It even explains why the surname Adama sounds different from other surnames in BSG and the cultural depiction of Taurans is very interesting.
The reproductions of Caprica City in open shots are astounding and the CGI is so perfect most of the time I could not tell whether it was real except for that little twist that makes it feel not from earth.
The Cylons, somewhat like in the new Star Wars movies, are "naked" versions of the robots, so you get to see a more skeletal robot, certainly reminiscent of terminator and quite scary. Gone are the days when you hated to see the Cylon robots because they looked like cheap CG. These ones are amazingly detailed, wonderfully textured and completely believable. Kind of reminded me of the realism felt in the Transformers movie robots.
Finally I think the characters are impressive. I think that the genius father (Daniel... name of the missing Cylon BTW) is portrayed much more dimensionally than similar characters in other great movies. His relationship to his wife is cold but given the circumstances it makes complete sense. The teenage girl is an adolescent with a serious interesting in finding meaning in life and some of the strongest acting moments are actually hers.
Esai Morales as Joseph Adama (William's father) is certainly filled with the same charisma, depth and stoicism that Olmos has (they certainly feel like family!) And of course beautiful Polly Walker is intriguing and ambivalent in her role as tutor and possibly manipulator of innocent young minds.
I think Moore shows even more genius here than even in BSG (feels like he found a great writing partner in Remi Aubuchon) I am also intensely impressed by Bear Mc Creary's incredible music which belongs in the best cinema and certainly in this movie.
My only advice for the future: don't forget about the action and develop some more coolness for at least some of the characters. A good TV Show is still a fantasy and the balance between characters that are real vs. how we ourselves would like to be (which is not very realistic) is very subtle but it either alienates the mass audiences or brings them in.
Think of Baltar and Starbuck especially. A character can be cool and interesting and still have some demons to fight. We all love a little bit of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or Malcolm Reynolds and making them real only takes some good writing. I know these guys can pull it off.