I’ve been vaguely excited about this movie since I heard about the voice cast for this particular adaptation. Now that a full-length trailer’s finally out in the world, though, I’m finding myself with very mixed feelings.
Thursday night we hit the drive-in to celebrate my roommate’s birthday, grabbing a double-feature of Pacific Rim and Man of Steel. I’d already seen the latter, but it wasn’t exactly a hardship to watch it a second time. Mostly I was just really, really excited to see Pacific Rim, which I’ve been looking forward to for months.
As you might know, Pacific Rim is that rarest of creatures: a science fiction film not based on any existing source material, written and directed by a person of color and starring several actors of color in its main roles. It looked to be a smart, exciting, kaiju-smashing epic, which was really just an added bonus, because I’d have paid good money just to watch Idris Elba dramatically read a phone book.
Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, it was just as good as I hoped it would be.
Okay, so here are five quick and easy reasons why you should see this movie.
- This movie has kaiju. Don’t know what kaiju are? Think Godzilla. Mothra. King Ghidorah. Giant multidimensional mutated sea beasts—this movie has them.
- This movie has giant robots. Giant robots are also awesome. Here is the big budget, live-action, Hollywood-produced Gundam movie you never thought you’d see in real life.
- The kaiju will be fighting the giant robots. I cannot stress this enough: this is a movie about giant multidimensional sea beasts fighting human-piloted giant fucking mechs. And it actually looks like it’s going to be really good.
- I have nothing against Tom Cruise in theory, but he’s been in a lot of freaking action movies. I am hella excited to instead see a nonwhite person getting a chance to play a leading character in an action film, and I am seriously in love with Idris Elba, so I am totally on board with this choice. The cast outside of Elba is also pretty awesome, including among others Ron Perlman (Hellboy in Hellboy) and Burn Gorman (Owen in Torchwood), and it’s directed/partly written by Guillermo del Toro of Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy movies among others, so that’s gonna be awesome.
- This movie is not a remake, prequel, sequel, adaptation, or gritty reboot of any existing work. It is a bona-fide original sci-fi movie. And what a breath of fresh air that is.
This movie comes out summer of this year. There are my five reasons for being excited. What do you think? I think it’s going to be kickass.
So my first thought upon seeing this trailer was something along the lines of this: Well, shit, if there’s one franchise that just refuses to die….
But, you know what? I’m glad Aliens is still going. Despite how bad or how senseless the movies have gotten, they provide a fun experience. I can’t stop loving this franchise, because no matter how embarrassing it gets, I still find some entertainment value in it. Like, take the fourth movie, for example. It’s stupid. There’s little to nothing in it that can be considered good, except maybe when the creepy scientist dies. It is a blemish in Joss Whedon’s history. A wonderful, beautiful catastrophe, but a blemish nevertheless.
So my only conclusion thus far is that Prometheus will either be amazing or enjoyably bad. One or the other. There’s no middle ground here.
Now, Prometheus is the fifth installment, not including the movies that face the Aliens off against the Predators, and it’s a prequel. I don’t know why everything nowadays is getting prequels. Prequels are not yet the bane of my existence, though Star Wars tried and failed to make that happen, but I feel as though prequels are just cropping up all over the place, and for the most part, they don’t always add to the story. Sometimes, it feels as though they exist for the sole purpose of making money with little to no artistic integrity behind them. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from selling. I’m looking at you, Star Wars, Star Ocean, Star Insert-Whatever-the-Crap-You-Want-Here.
There’s a bit of a space theme here.
Regardless, Joss Whedon has a lot more experience now, so that gives me some hope for this film. Ridley Scott actually has nothing to do with the sequel films, but ever since watching the first one, Aliens are something that I would associate with him, so it’s nice to see him back on the franchise. Hopefully, between the two of them, they can pull off a halfway decent movie.
So another thought I’ve been having about this movie: Why do science fiction films, shows, books, whatnot, feel the need to name their ships—or spaceships, I guess—Prometheus? Hell, even Stargate has a ship named Prometheus. Are there not enough ancient names from mythology we can use, or do we really have to use this one over and over again?
Furthermore, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m finding it hard to believe that Idris Elba has any time in his life for necessities, like eating and sleeping. He keeps showing up in the movies I review. Like, at first, I thought he was just trying to be the token black guy in comic movies, but it is nice to see that he’s expanding his horizons. But thank goodness he’s playing the token character in this film, because at least he’s a good actor. And who knows, maybe he won’t die. I mean, after all, it’s not as though the industries have a habit of killing the one and only black guy. It’s a science-fiction film; he’ll be safe.
Yeah, all kidding aside, this looks like it’ll be good, or at least entertaining.
So I just got back from the midnight showing. And it was in 3D too! How awesome is that? Of course, anyone who has been following me will know immediately how I feel about this gimmick and the headache I’m currently experiencing from it. Unfortunately, the 2D showing had sold out by the time I realized tickets were available. Sigh…
So obviously this movie and I are not off to a good start; however, as of late I seem to have a habit of attracting things from the entertainment industry that I loathe in the beginning and love by the end. Just to be clear, what I liked about this movie after the first act was not the 3D. It did not grow on me, and I dare to say it probably never will. I only liked it in the scenes where it conveniently goes away.
So let’s talk about The Avengers! Oh, and, uh, possible spoiler warning.
The Avengers is directed by Joss Whedon, who had received some criticism before the release about whether or not he was capable of working with physically strong male characters well, since he specializes in physically and emotionally strong female characters; however, I would argue that emotional strength is more important than physical in terms of character development, and he has worked with a lot of male characters in the past: Giles, Mal, Angel, to name a few, the last of which being very physically strong. So right away, this was an argument that I brushed aside, and I’m damn glad I did.
He successfully created the means of getting Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America from their single movies into one action-packed film together. This is the movie Marvel’s been building up to for a while now and I personally think it paid off in a way that only Joss Whedon’s sense of humor can. For such a serious movie with so much violence, it had a lot of humor, and none of it seemed misplaced. Tony Stark was as snarky as ever, Steve Rogers didn’t get pop culture references, etc., etc.
So our story begins with Loki and some evil alien overlord plotting together. And from there chaos ensues on Earth. Nick Fury reacts by beginning to assemble everyone onto the Helicarrier, which I’m not going to lie, looked awesome but did little more than that. Well, not entirely true. Half of it got blown up after all.
Although I love Loki, as he is my all-time favorite comic character, I was a little worried that his being the main villain would make his and Thor’s stories outshine the others. The reunion between the two brothers and all their interactions were superb. Tom Hiddleston is an amazing actor. Everything he does with that role, from his cheeky little grins to his cool demeanor are the perfect embodiment of Loki’s character.
While in the comics, which have been going on since the ‘sixties, we don’t see much of their sibling relationship anymore due to the length of the series, with the exception of the newer comics that focused entirely on it until Thor’s probably temporary death. We see a lot more of it here. Despite all the bad things Loki is doing, we never forget that they’re brothers and that Thor misses him.
In a way, the two do overshadow the other actors, but not by much. They all had really great chemistry together. There were some things that I’m not too sure about, however. For instance, when did Tony Stark and Pepper Potts become a couple? I know they had building tension, but I can’t remember whether or not they actually got together in Iron Man 2—of course, this is my cue to go rewatch that movie because I obviously missed something. For another thing, the reveal of Natasha’s past as the Black Widow and how she fell in with Shield didn’t make much sense to me. It was very vague. The conversation she and Loki had about it probably would have made more sense had I followed her in the comics more, but as it is, it’s like two people talking about something they expected the audience to know as well.
My other big concern was that there was no explanation for why the Hulk stopped trying to murder the Avengers. The first time he appears, he tries to kill Natasha, falls from the sky while raging, then shows up at the final fight and is BFFs with everyone. Convenient?
As for Captain America, I know that Steve Rogers reactions to waking up in our time are probably being saved for his next movie, but I still expected more out of it. Yes, his inability to understand cultural references were hilarious and showed how out of place he is, but I didn’t feel as though it was enough.
I did have some other fears going into this movie.
Both the Iron Man movies were much more science based, if still implausible, than both the Captain America and Thor movies. I see the same problem with bringing him in together with them as I do when I think of the possibility of a Justice League movie and Christopher Nolan’s Batman; however, whereas something like Poison Ivy strikes me as damn near impossible in the newer Batman-verse, The Avengers and the want to make the movie have been going on for quite a while, so when watching the Iron Man movies, I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t be willing to accept that he lives in a world with magic, just that it’s not something that easily comes to mind.
Needless to say, I think they did a great job. I’m a little sad that neither Hank Pym nor Janet van Dyne appear. Without Janet or any other female Avenger, Natasha becomes the standard one female member. Yeah, Maria Hill is in this movie, but she’s not an Avenger. And of course, Nick Fury is our token black guy, since Idris Elba apparently didn’t find a way to shoehorn himself into this film. It would have been a much better choice for him than Ghost Rider, at least.
I don’t want to talk about the movie too much more. This is definitely something I recommend. It’s just fun all the way around. Go check it out and get back to me on what you think. Agree, disagree, I’m all ears. I know I’ll be watching it a second time in the near future.
There have been many issues around race and comic book movies over the years. Marvel I feel has been the most notable with casting black actors in typically white roles. Alicia in Fantastic Four was black instead of the usual blonde-haired, blue-eyed character she is in the comics. Nick Fury, now played by Samuel L. Jackson is black, and perhaps the most controversial, Idris Elba played the Norse god Heimdall in Thor.
Some movies just don’t seem to care about anything. They just drone on and on, and they don’t stop going until they’ve effectively wasted two hours of their viewers’ lives. This movie is so bad that mustering the amount of energy it would take to laugh at it properly seems like an impossible endeavor, especially when trying to fight off sleep. And don’t get me wrong. It might seem like I’m suggesting that this movie is at least good for a decent nap, but it’s not. It never will be. As a bad movie, it can’t even say that, because it’s so loud during the action sequences. And action sequences should be exciting, but I found myself not involved in any of it.
Furthermore, I just left the theater feeling utterly confused. I can’t tell if this is supposed to be a sequel or a complete remake. If it’s a sequel, I don’t think anyone cared to look back on the first one to remember what happened. So I’m going to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and say that this is a standalone movie.
Which then makes me ask: why the hell did they get Nicolas Cage back for the role? Could they not find a better actor?