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Prometheus: Jaw Dropping Sci-Fi Explores the Origin of Life on Earth
Prometheus is about creation: who created us, who created our creators and why?
It’s the year 2089 and Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green), both archaeologists obsessed with ‘creation’, have discovered a set of pictograms from different civilizations that all point to the same planet. Convinced that the planet in the pictures is the one from which our creators hailed, they decide to go and meet them. They set off on a spaceship called Prometheus with a crew that includes Janek (Elba), the captain; Meredith Vickers (Theron), the boss; and David (Fassbender), a top of the line android. Their arrival on the planet triggers events that could affect the entire human race.
The two main problems with Prometheus are to do with casting. Pearce, who is generally a great actor, plays an old, dying man and is barely discernible under the barrel of makeup that he’s been coated in. The kicker is he doesn’t even look that old, just severely made up. The second problem is Rapace’s accent. She doesn’t sound English at all so they shouldn’t have tried to pass her off as that. It’s distracting and could easily have been avoided since Shaw’s nationality has zero effect on the plot.
The bigger issue with Rapace, however, is her acting; she doesn’t hold a candle to either Theron or Fassbender who, in comparison, are mesmerising. She does do really well with the action/horror sequences though. Despite being an android, David is the most complex character on the ship. He’s a slave to his creators despite being superior to them; he’s disdainful of their desire to meet their engineers who he imagines will care as little for the humans as the humans do for him – Fassbender is both fascinating and chilling in the role. The way he moves alone conveys that even though he may look human, he isn’t.
Visually, Prometheus is a beast. It will probably give you a slack jaw for the entire two hours. It takes the established sci-fi visual vocabulary to the next level. It’s filled with flashy tech, rubber jumpsuits, platinum hair, freaky aliens and is drenched in blue tones; all in all pretty regular stuff for a film set in space. But the film doesn’t look pulpy, kitschy or over the top in the way that many sci-fi films do. It encompasses classic beauty as well as a sense of tension, wonder and danger. The opening scene, which was shot in Iceland, is spellbinding and slightly reminiscent of The Tree Of Life.
Prometheus is supposedly a prequel to Alien though it doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the film nor are they directly related. However, if you haven't seen Alien, you will lose the jolt of recognition that comes with the numerous references to it.
The film is huge in scope but unfortunately the ending doesn’t have the same sense of grandeur; parts of the plot are left hanging and the result is more irritating than thought provoking. However, what the film does right, it does spectacularly. This is one production that deserves to be seen on a cinema screen. Also, Michael Fassbender is awesome.
What were they thinking?
Unfortunately, that's the first question that pops into one's mind after having to sit through The Big Wedding – the latest ensemble comedy to hit the big screen. Directed by Justin Zackham, best known for his penning efforts in 2007’s Bucket List, the film boasts an impressive cast, but even the who's-who of Hollywood struggle to save the story's ridiculous plot.
The Big Wedding focuses on the wedding day of young couple, Alejandro (Barnes) and Missy (Seyfried). Alejandro's adoptive parents, Don (De Niro) and Ellie (Keaton), have been divorced for almost ten years and Don has been playing house with Ellie's now ex-best friend, Bebe (Sarandon), ever since. Now, the whole family – Missy's parents, Muffin (Ebersole) and Barry (Rasche), as well as Alejandro's siblings, Layla (Heigl) and Jared (Grace) – are bought together to celebrate the happy day.
Things soon get complicated when Alejandro's biological mother, Madonna (Rae), and sister, Nuria (Ayora), also decide to fly in for the wedding. While Alejandro can work his sister's liberal mind around the fact that Don and Ellie are now divorced, the idea wouldn’t sit too well with Madonna's conservative mind-set; so, in order to keep things smooth, everyone involved decides that its best to pretend that two are still married.
The plan, of course, seems far easier in theory than in practice, and as the couple starts preparations, the tension and unresolved family drama begin to boil over.
Adopted from the supposedly better 2006 French film, Mon Frere se Marie, Justin Zackham attempts to blend the elements of a screwball comedy and a wacky family drama – one that highlights uncomfortable sexual escapades among sixty-year-olds.
To his credit, the mix is occasionally charming, but sadly, it doesn't have enough wit or drive to sustain credibility. The storyline stands on the verge of complete embarrassment throughout, sinking deeper and deeper into nonsensical subplots, which include thirty-year old virgins, projectile vomiting and sexual innuendos.
For Oscar-winning foursome, De Niro, Keaton, Sarandon and Williams, this isn’t exactly a career highlight, but thanks to their god-given talents, they all do just enough to get by.
De Niro's raunchy one-liners are tolerable, Keaton's restrained character is charming and Sarandon's over-the-top performance is watchable, while as the racist priest, Williams is, well, typical Williams. Surprisingly, Heigl – after a series of disappointing roles – shines.
The Big Wedding is a tragedy of a film that, on paper at least, looked like a hoot. But a directionless script ultimately serves in making this a bit of a stinker.
Star Trek Into Darkness marks the twelfth instalment in the Star Trek franchise – which dates all the way back to 1966 – and plays as the direct follow-up to the 2009's successful reboot, Star Trek.
The film launches into action with a thrilling opening sequence which finds Capt. James T. Kirk (Pine) in deep trouble. In an attempt to save Spock (Quinto) and the natives of Planet Nibiru from a catastrophic volcano eruption, Kirk puts the entire Starfleet in danger by revealing the U.S.S Enterprise's hideout and by interfering with Nibiru’s primitive civilisation – prime directives which should never be broken.
Even though his intentions were moral, Kirk knows that he's crossed the line. Facing demotion as an executive officer and with Spock reassigned to another ship, Kirk’s lofty ambitions look more and more unlikely. Soon, all is forgotten, however, when an act of terrorism shakes London. The man behind the attack – as the Starfleet soon learns – is John Harrison (Cumberbatch); an ex Starfleet agent gone rogue, who has now escaped to the Planet of Klingons.
With Kirk and Spock reassigned to the U.S.S Enterprise once again, the crew – which includes ship Helmsman Hikaru Sulu (Cho), Chief Medical Officer Leonard 'Bones' McCoy (Urban), Chief Engineer Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott (Pegg) and Communication Officer Nyota Uhura (Saldana) – are sent on a dangerous mission to capture and eliminate the terrorist.
However, their mission – as Captain Kirk and his team soon learn – is not at all what it seems and disturbing secrets soon bubble their way to the surface.
Director J.J. Abrams - along with the team of returning writers, Roberto Orci, Alex Krutzman and Damon Lindelof – continues to breathe life into the beloved science-fiction series and his newest addition makes the four year wait for a sequel worth it. It’s nothing short of an edge-of-the-seat extravaganza with plenty of excitement to keep everyone – including the non-Trekkies – amused. Aside from the expected action-packed scenes, the writers also manage to find time for more character-oriented threads, which allow the audience to connect just a little bit more to these iconic characters.
As far as the die-hard Trekkies are concerned, don't despair; there are plenty of nods to the past and trips down the memory line with references to former characters, locations and weird alien species.
Pine seems to be settling into the role of the infamous Captain Kirk pretty well; emotional and driven, Pine possesses the charisma to anchor such an epic. Meanwhile, the terribly talented Quinto is magnetic; his restrained and cold exterior provides plenty of laughs and, at the same time, plenty of stirring moments as we witness significant character growth. Pegg and Urban offer much of the comic-relief, while Saldana unfortunately fades into the background. Most significantly, however, Cumberbatch shows plenty of depth as what is slowly revealed to be a complex antagonist.
All in all, Star Trek Into Darkness offers guaranteesd entertainment. As an exhilarating and often moving addition to the franchise, JJ Abrams has proved that remakes, reboots and sequels can still be done well. Good job.