Average User Score: 8.0Feb 9, 2014This film makes The Shawshank Redemption look like King Arthur.
Never have I been stunned into an emotional silence after watching a film in the theater. Literally. Never. I've come out of films before thinking "My god, that was unbelievable", like when I saw the Lord of the Rings for the first time, but this film just hits you on another level entirely. You sit there after its over, wondering if what you'd just experienced was real. The day after, you feel the same. It's like seeing your favourite band live - you have trouble believing it at the time, and you still have trouble believing you ever saw them a week after.
One of the most vivid depictions of slavery ever put to film with phenomenal performances from Ejiofor and Nyong'o, but the real stand out performance here is Michael Fassbender. Combined with excellent cinematography from Sean Bobbitt, a very tight script by John Ridley, excellent direction by Steve McQueen, beautiful editing by Joe Walker and a great score by Hans Zimmer that greatly marries modern orchestral work with contemporary music, serving to underscore the emotions of the film rather than intrude into the film's actual story.
While it may not be a film that you can watch repeatedly - I think everyone needs to see this film at least once. A very, very important film.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.0Jan 9, 2014It feels like the film builds to a climax that never arrives. The film does feature two great performances from Elba and Harris, the depictions of the race war and racism in South Africa is well handled, especially how out of control things got around the time of Mandela's release. There are some scenes which are great unto themselves such as Mandela's trial, several scenes during Mandela's time on Robben Island, Mandela greeting the people as the first black president as he is respectfully saluted by his white staff members and so forth. The final scene in particular had some great soul to it, and Elba's perfectly delivered monologue of one of Mandela's most famous quotes was very moving.
Having said that, the film suffers from the problem of trying to cram too much detail and information about Mandela's story in South Africa into a two hour film, and, as a result, several scenes which could have built up to something poignant or could have been fleshed out are quickly glossed over. These scenes include but are not limited to the Sharpeville Massacre and the resulting wave of protest and oppression, Mandela's trial itself, his imprisonment on Robben Island, and the final stages from his release to his ascendancy to presidency.
As a result, the film feels like there's a lot of plot to it, but not a lot of story, as if the film is running by a tick box list. "Oh, we did Sharpeville, good, let's move on. Oh, we did Mandela's trial, okay let's move on". No one moment is really given any real chance to shine, it feels like there's no real substance or consequence to them in terms of the characters and situation on screen. As a result, the final climax Mandela ascending to presidency when it comes, doesn't carry the emotional punch that it should.
Despite these problems, I would still recommend that people would watch this film at least once.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Sep 20, 2013We are "scientists".
The cartoon parody of this film actually highlights rather well the problems surrounding this movie. I'll start with some positives, though. The cinematography is excellent beautifully shot and edited. The underlying musical score is outstanding. It combines to take you back to a more classical style of film making of now household names in the science fiction genre, like The Abyss. Michael Fassbender's performance of the android David was stellar, very rich and nuanced, despite the fact he was essentially playing an automaton. Also of note are Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba and Charlize Theron.
I think this movie's main problem is that it suffers from an identity crisis. It has absolutely no idea what kind of film it wants to be. Some trailers advertised it as an action-adventure, a'la Aliens. Others advertised it as something more horrific, a'la Alien. Then other trailers advertised it as a deep philosophical examination of the "big questions" that Humanity tackles, a'la Blade Runner. Looking at the interviews, even the actors didn't seem to know what this film was. Was it an Alien prequel? Was it a stand alone film? Was it a prequel in the sense it just takes place before the original Alien? Nobody seemed to know. After watching the film, neither did the writers.
It feels like a mash of ideas rather than a coherent story. In places it wants to be scary and tense, akin to the original Alien. In other places it tries to be subtly philosophical, akin to Blade Runner. In other places it just wants to be a sci-fi action film, akin to Aliens. It can't seem to focus itself into telling its own story. The appearance of a proto-Alien at the end, as if this was the inevitable outcome of all the film's events, confirms this attitude that the film makers either simply could not or were unwilling to tell a story that did not have some connection to the original Alien somehow.
Admittedly I was not too confident upon hearing Damon Lindelof (of Lost infamy) was going to be writing the story and screenplay. Lindelof is one of those writers who can produce good ideas, but noticeably struggles to hammer them out into a coherent screenplay. The essence of the story is a $1 trillion dollar mission to find the origins of Humanity (which explains why all the "scientists" who are so gung-ho about their attitude they make the stereotypical redneck look like Einstein all signed up to this four year mission knowing precisely zero about it, as none of them were briefed until they arrived at their destination) based on extremely flimsy evidence (a few cave paintings of ancient Humans pointing to a pattern which happens to correspond to a star constellation). Ignoring the obvious problems with this (red shift, changes in star formations over time and so on), there is already a problem with this concept.
We later learn the place Humans were pointing to is simply a weapons research facility, where the Engineers (the aliens who engineered life on Earth again ignoring proven Darwinism) were creating a biological weapon, apparently to unleash against Humans some 2,000 years ago before their own weapons turned on their creators. So why direct Humans to this installation? If they were planning on destroying us when the Roman Empire was still at its height, it can't possibly have been to make Humans visit to test the weapon, or to undergo any other test, as its just a military base. Why go to all the trouble of influencing ancient cultures to this degree, if there is sweet F.A. of any significance at the intended destination? What were Humans supposed to do when they landed outside the Engineer's military outpost?
Then its a cue for plot cliches and things happening because the plot demands it, not because it is natural in any way. The biologist is scared he found the existence of alien life when stumbling across an Engineer carcass and runs away with the geologist, who despite mapping the structure and having a near-constant comms link to the ship manages to get lost (my god, even US soldiers nowadays have a dead reckoning navigation if their satellites go down), but then when the biologist comes across an obviously hostile alien snake, he wants to stick his face in it. Score one for character consistency.
David the android then contaminates Holloway's drink with a drop of the biological weapon, because he magically knows Holloway will have sex with Shaw, who will then give birth to an alien squid which will then impregnate an Engineer which will then give birth to a proto-Alien. Sure, he may have just been curious about its effects, but it all seems too convenient, just to force the Alien creature into the film in some way.
The reveal of Weyland being on board also did not need to be a secret. Weyland does not give two when he is discovered alive by Shaw, and his reason for being there is because he wants to ask the Engineers to grant him eternal life. Uh-huh. 5000 characters is not enough.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.4Oct 7, 2012It's not great, but its not terrible either. The plot feels confused at many points as to what it wants to be in terms of its themes and story goals, and as a result it feels like a string of under-developed plot points. Some characters, such as Fields are largely pointless, and Greene as the villain is not threatening at best, and just uninteresting at worst. Not that the actor does not do a good job with the material he had. Craig and Dench save the film with their stellar performances in their roles, and Craig especially in his role as the brooding, vengeful Bond. On the whole, it just feels confused as to what it wants to be, but its entertaining enough to hold your attention. Oh, and the song for this film is awful. Roll on Skyfall.… Expand
Average User Score: 2.7Aug 2, 2012Simply dreadful. The worst superhero movie ever made. In fact, studies have shown that if you watch Nolan's Batman Begins or The Dark Knight and this back to back, you're in serious danger of getting the Bends and should consult the nearest doctor. And to the people saying "Oh you guys just don't like this because you're a depressing goth who wants darkness everywhere". **** you, go inflict your elitist and prejudiced personality on someone else. Whether you want to admit it or not, Batman IS rooted in darkness and savagery - for example, his parents were killed for one thing, how light hearted is that? And for the people defending the film saying its so good its bad - yes, that's true. It is hilarious to watch - but that's because its unintentionally hilarious. I'm not supposed to be laughing at how pathetically awful the acting is, but I am. Just because its hilarious doesn't change the fact it is an awful script.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Jul 20, 2012The shortest 3 hours of my life was taken up by one of the most awesome cinema spectacles of all time. An amalgamation of the themes of Begins and Dark Knight coupled with the theme of pain makes for one of the most intense, emotional, harrowing and most of all - surprising films made, and arguably, the strongest in the franchise. Great performances all round, especially from Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Michael Caine.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.0Jul 3, 2012Though its plodding pace brings it down in some parts, it is a well crafted story that gives a Human dimension to the defenders of the Alamo, portraying them as people, rather than the larger than life legends that have since permeated history. It is very, very well acted all round, there is not a performance that stands out as bad for me. The build up to the final battle is well handled by giving a sense that the defenders may yet prevail - even though we know in the back of our minds they're all going to die, as we saw it in the first scene. "The Alamo" is beautifully shot and edited, and the soundtrack is stunning. The only bad things I found in the film were its pace, and the handling of the slave characters. The issue that the Texans were slaveholders and the Mexicans weren't seems to be washed over.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.9Jul 2, 2012Stick a few people in a set and tell them to go "AARAUIHUIHIDNUIASINIU" for a few hours. That's exactly what you get with this film. Gags that are reused from the first film are nowhere near as funny the second time round, and rather than finding myself laughing at this film, I instead found myself wondering what I was going to have for tea that night.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Jul 2, 2012Probably one of the best comedies along with Airplane! and Liar Liar. It's gross, silly and satirical, and therein lies its charm. The thing about reviewing Comedy is its so subjective - either you find it funny or you don't. In this case, I'm in the camp of the former. One of my favourite comedy movies of all time, and definitely a benchmark against which other parodies should be measured.… Expand