Friday, June 8, 2012

Prometheus - 3 stars

Prometheus is a quasi-prequel to Alien.  I say that because the press release claims it is not a prequel, but it sure seems like a prequel.  At the very least, it takes place in the same universe as the Alien movies, so take that for what it's worth.

From the wikipedia synopsis:

In 2089, archaeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map among several unconnected ancient cultures. They interpret this as an invitation from humanity's forerunners, the "Engineers". Peter Weyland, the elderly founder of the Weyland Corporation, funds the creation of the scientific vessel Prometheus to follow the map to the distant moon LV-223. The ship's crew travels in stasis while the android David monitors their voyage. In 2093, the ship arrives, and its crew are informed of their mission to find the Engineers. Mission director Meredith Vickers orders them to avoid direct contact if the Engineers are found. The Prometheus lands near a structure and a team is sent to explore within.

Once the explore the structure, the movie becomes basically an Alien movie.  There is life in the structure.  Not exactly Aliens, but similar.  Some people are killed, the android has secret motivations that put the crew's life in danger, stuff like that. 

The movie looks incredible.  It was filmed for 3D, so unlike many recent 3D movies, it actully uses the 3D really well.  It isn't gimmicky, with things flying towards you.  It just makes the scenery look more real. 

I really liked the setup to this movie.  In any good sci fi movie, it's thrilling to have that sense of going into the unknown.  The crew is going to an alien world with no idea of what they will find.  Unfortunately, there is a point in this movie where it starts to feel like a standard monster movie.  It becomes, well, like an Alien movie.  It is a very well made Alien movie and I wasn't bored, but I felt let down after the fantastic opening.

There is a really cool sequence late in the movie where a character has to perform surgery on herself.  It is the coolest thing in the movie, and one of the most intense scenes I have seen in a long time. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman - 2 1/2 stars

Snow White and the Huntsman isn't a bad movie, but it isn't very good either.  It's one of those movies that's kind of right in the middle, and those are the hardest to review.  It's easy to review a movie I loved or hated, but this is just kind of meh.

In the second Snow White movie of 2012, Snow White's mother dies when Snow is very young.  Her father, the king, meets a beautiful woman named Ravenna (Charlize Theron).  He falls under her spell and marries her the next day.  That night, Ravenna kills the king and brings her own army into the castle to ensure her takeover of the kingdom.  Snow White is locked in the dungeons.

Years pass and Snow White is now played by Kristen Stewart.  When evil queen Ravenna asks her magic mirror who the fairest one of all is, well, you know the rest.  Snow White escapes, a hunter (Chris Hemsworth) is sent to bring her back, he falls in love with her, they meet 8 dwarfs (not 7), they get an army together to take back the kingdom, and so on. 

Charlize Theron is a good actress, but she isn't right for this role.  And her acting is so over the top that I was laughing at her when she yelled at her subjects.  Kristen Stewart does a fine British accent, and Chris Hemsworth isn't bad.  I thought the movie dragged in a few places, but I don't think I was ever bored. 

But wow, this movie really wants to be Lord of the Rings.  There are many shots that are exactly the same, like the shot of the Snow White, the Huntsman, and the dwarfs walking across the countryside and over mountains.  That shot looked exactly like the Fellowship heading to Mordor.  A scene of the evil queen standing on the castle parapet watching the army approach looks just like Saurumon with Wormtoungue standing at his shoulder.  There is even a scene near the end where Snow White has to give a rousing speech to her army.

This isn't a movie you need to avoid, but there really isn't any reason to see it.