Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas was a sudden and unlikely film for me to look forward to. Reason being, I hate the directors and their films. Well, two thirds of the directors anyway. The Wachowski's, until now, have not created ONE film worth-while for me. I hate all 3 Matrix films, and Speed Racer looked HORRID. I mean, HORRID. I walked into 15 or 20 minutes of that "film" at the theatre. Sheesh. But this isn't about bashing The Wachowski's for the terrible films they've made. It's about praising them for the good one they have made.

This film is something that hasn't been done before. And for that, I give immense credit to The Wachowski's and Tom Tykwer. Even if this failed on all levels, I would have still given them an "A" for effort. It's an ambitious project. And a massive undertaking.

For those of you who are unaware as to what the film is generally about, it's a film that takes place between a span of about 4 different time periods and places. You have the 1800's, the 70's, present-day, and the distant-future. Some scenes take place in San Francisco, Korea, a few native islands, and a lot of oceanic scenes. And due to this, that is why it's ambitious and a tough sell. And on top of all that. All of the lead actors each play around 4 or 5 different characters, give or take 1 or 2.

What I particularly love about the film are the themes that intertwine. To be honest, I didn't realize many of them until I started writing this review. That's the kind of film this is. It's a 3-hour time machine. You're not going to register everything in 3 hours. Believe me. I usually watch films after-hours with a good 15 beers in my system, and another 8 or 9 DURING the film. Had I done that with this film... Jesus. But I decided to watch this during hours of operation at my theatre... Sober. Like I said, It'll take a while to register everything.

To delve into the story would be... A task. None of the stories particularly connect from end to end. But as a whole, they're all connected. Which is what the film's tagline suggests "Everything is Connected". You wouldn't use that tagline with a film like Pulp Fiction. Why? Because when you watch Pulp Fiction, it's about four or five different characters who directly connect. With Cloud Atlas, they connect indirectly. The lover of the one character in the 1800's is the keeper of nuclear information to another character in the 1970's. But that "other character" is connected to an assassin whose daughter in the 1800's marries a man who freed a slave who was the father of the "other character" in the 1970's. It seems complex, and it is. But what eases the complexity of it all is that they don't play the same characters in each time. SOME do, but most dont. I think the idea here is re-incarnation. The idea that in this life you're a cold-blooded killer, and in the next, youre a hero. But it doesn't always have to differentiate. You can be freeing slaves in the 1800's, and in the distant-future, you can be freeing slaves that of a different race.

The actors. This is a film that brings together an ensemble of quality actors without just throwing their names on the poster, and having them just stand there and talk like many ensemble/non-Expendables films do. In fact, it goes above and beyond. Instead of casting Tom Hanks as one character, fuck it... Let's cast him as 5! The film makers did such an incredible job with who they wanted to play what characters, that at the credits of the film, they show you all the characters the actors played. Because some of them are unrecognizable. Some actors play women, some actresses play men, some black actors play white characters, some white actors play asian characters. And it's all done pretty fucking good.

I always mention the music in a film. But with Cloud Atlas, it's especially important. Partially due to the fact the film's title is strictly derived from a piece of music written in the film. It's called "The Cloud Atlas Sextet". It may very well be the thread through out the film. But as I mentioned before, there's a lot to think about with this film. "The Cloud Atlas Sextet" is a piano piece written by one of the main characters. And this may give you more of an understanding as to what the tagline "Everything is Connected" means. An elderly composer hires a younger composer to translate this song he keeps hearing in his dream because he can't translate music to paper anymore. They don't quite get it. It wasnt until the boy played a piece of his original music, and the old man says, "That's the music from my dream!". It's a beautiful moment in the film. Because it goes to show you that things are much more than what they seem. What was once just piece of music written was a man's dream for months and months.

There is one thing that I particularly love about this film. The trailer. There are a couple trailers out there. But there are really only two. The regular 2 minute and 30 second trailer, and the 5 minute and 42 seconds trailer. The latter is INCREDIBLE. That is what sold me on this film. I watched it stubborn and not really giving a fuck. It ended. "Okay, that looked dumb and... Okay". Then I caught myself watching it again and again. Did I really just spend the past 20 minutes re-watching this trailer? Why did I do that? Because it's THAT FUCKING GOOD. Watch the trailer, and listen to the voice-over dialogue. It sums up the film perfectly. "One day I was headed in one direction... Today I am headed in another". That is what life consists of. A series of events (minor or major) altering the course of your life. Second by second, it's altering as I type.

With this film, there are 3 directors. And I can understand the need and reason for that. Though, I have seen The Wachowski's films, I have never seen any of the other director, Tom Tykwer's films. But I could tell what he did direct, due to difference in style and humor. For instance, Im sure he directed a lot of the smaller comedic scenes. Most of the scenes I could guess who directed what, but there is one time-frame I KNOW The Wachowski's directed. And that was the futuristic scenes. Because it felt very Matrix-y. And because of that, I guess that was my least favorite time-period/setting of the film. But at the same time, it was the most important. For obvious reasons (and maybe not-so-obvious, because it's all over the place), I can't really go into WHY it's so important.

In the end, this is a film that deserved an audience, but sadly never got it. Im writing this 2+ weeks later because I really wanted this to settle in my brain. And honestly, I dont think It'll really settle until repeat viewings. Is this film flawless? No. It has many flaws. But I can see it being nearly flawless in years to come. Because this is not a film that is cut and dry.

Before I get any drunker and spill beer on my computer, let me say this: Watch the film, and try to enjoy it. I say that about any film, unless it was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson or Zack Snyder (and even The Wachowski's [But Cloud Atlas exists, so they're off this list]).
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Friday, August 17, 2012

The Expendables 2

Jesus. Fucking. Christ. Sylvester Stallone. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bruce Willis. Dolph Lundgren. Jason Statham. Jet Li. Chuck Norris. Randy Couture. Terry Crews. Jean-Claude Van Damme. Go fuck yourself if that list doesnt impress you. And if you decide not to fuck yourself... They surely will do the dis-honor for you.

First of all, let's set some things straight. I really enjoyed the first Expendables film. It gets a lot of heat for a lot of things. Some deserving, some not so much. You can read my review HERE. But most importantly, it brought together the guys you loved in one film. The only difference with EX2 is... There is no excuse to dislike this film. Okay, well maybe a couple (but more on that later). This not only has the best guys from the first film, but it brings in even MORE! A big thing in the first film was the scene with Sly, Arnie and Bruce. Granted, it was only a spoken-word scene. But then again, the first time you saw DeNiro and Pacino in a scene together was a dinner scene in Heat. No guns, no shots, no violence. With The Expendables 2, it brings expanded roles for Arnie and Bruce. And with that, there are guns, there are shots, there is VIOLENCE.

Lets get to the "story". There are 3 classifications of story-types. "Original", "unoriginal" and "no story". This is a combination of the latter two. The story here is that The Expendables are again, hired guns. Except in this one, they're after Jean-Claude Van Damme's character (aptly named "Jean Vilain"). He's mining for Plutonium for financial gain. But when he kills one of their own, they're motives shift from "mission" to "revenge".

Now to the beginning of the film. From the first 5 minutes, the film already proves that it was crafted much better than the first. My problem, I think, with the first film was that Stallone was wearing too many hats on the production (in which I give immense credit). But when you spread yourself that thin, it'll take a toll. And it most definitely did. I mean, the dude not only stayed in shape for the film, but he produced it, wrote it, and directed it. A LOT to carry on your shoulders. So getting another director was a great choice. And you know what? The dude directed Con Air, so he knows how to handle an ensemble cast (not one of this magnitude), but an ensemble cast nonetheless.

Some technical improvements over the first? No shaky cam. The problem Stallone made with EX1 was that he didn't play on some of the classic 80's fight sequences. He tried to be too modern with the way things were shot instead of running with a traditional approach. And this had plenty of that! And honestly, when it comes to an action film, how its shot and edited counts for 60% of it. Action mostly plays on your nerves, not emotion. So the trickery involved must be executed flawlessly.

Alright, enough about the pesky "film-making", lets get to the meat and potatoes... THE CAST.

Stallone. Probably the only man capable of assembling this cast. Stallone in this was... Stallone. And I dont mean that in a bad way. Stallone's Barney Ross isnt much different than in the first. He's still cold, cynical, and chock full of one-liners. The only problem with his character in this is... His hair. Facial hair that is. In the first Expendables he had a goatee. Okay, fine. Looked good on him. The first scene in the second film? Goatee. Another shot a minute later in the same scene? Handle-bar mustache. Then during each scene the mustache would get shorter, then longer, thinner, then thicker. I really dont understand why he couldnt just keep the goatee. Its a lot easier to maintain, continuity-wise, and it just looked better. All-in-all, Stallone was Stallone. Though, he did give a few more "emotionally-driven" performances in this, in which I did like.

Schwarzenegger. Unlike the first film, he was actually able to blow people to fucking hell in this film. He traded his governorship for an AA-12 rifle/shotgun. And Im oh so glad her did! Now to be honest, Schwarzenegger is a little rusty in this. He's no Stallone (nor will anyone be at his age). But still... It's Schwarzenegger. And it still is a cameo-bit part. But what I do like, is that he's not a one-scene cameo. He appears a couple times. And it's quite... AWESOME. The banter between him, Stallone and Willis is hilarious.

Willis. Bruce pretty much plays the same character he played in the first film. Really no addition to his character aside from more screen time.

Lundgren. Okay, I still remember being completely bombed out of my mind during the first Expendables. And I remember when Dolph "died". Well a little known (or widely known?) fact... I actually cried. Not because the film was THAT enticing. But because I fucking love the fuck out of Dolph Lundgren, and did not want to see him die. Surely enough, Stallone hit him "a couple inches above the heart", therefore he lived toward the end of the film, and there was balance in the world. And I was positive my heart was going to be broken for a second time for The Expendables 2. And SPOILER ALERT! It wasnt. In fact, they added MORE Dolph in this one. BONER. In the first film, he was an unreliable drug addict. In this one, he's just a drunk. My kind of guy. Dolph is fucking HILARIOUS in this! He steals every scene that he's in. He's so fucking odd and hilarious.

Norris. Yes, Chuck Norris. Alright, I need set another record straight. I never found the Chuck Norris facts trend funny. I never had anything against Norris. He became a victim of his own "legend". But here's the thing... Norris rules in this. Midway through the movie, Stallone and company are battling shitheads, shit goes wrong, theyre out-numbered. Then all of the sudden, fuckers are getting blown to bits. Who's doing all this? Chuck Norris. They meet up, and guess what? He tells a Chuck Norris fact. But in the way of a story. AWESOME. Unless you're programmed as a communist... You'll laugh.

Van Damme. Hollywood please. PLEASE give Van Damme more villainous roles. He was too fucking good playing a villain in this. My main issue with it was he wasn't featured enough in the film. And call me crazy, but I think Van Damme's real-life bi-polar disorder has something to do with his performance. Because his performance was very difference from anything you woud expect from Van Damme. There are little nuances that his character would do that seemed a little "off", but all the while making it that much better. And Im fairly certain those nuances were mostly improv. For instance, there is a scene towards the end where he smacks his neck with a knife a couple times. The way he does so, it just makes him look insane. All in all, he did a fantastic job with the role. It's just a shame he wasn't featured in the film as much as I would have liked.

And the rest of the crew were damn good too. Statham, Crews, Couture. But I actually felt that most of the rest of the "Expendables" were given smaller roles this time around. All except for Lundgren (they must have gotten all my fan mail). But Im not complaining, because they did what they needed to do... Blow the fuck out of stone and flesh! There were two new additions, though. Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan. Liam Hemsworth was pretty much "the new kid". But he held his own in the film. He was the "heart" of the film. Young, in love, and wanting to move on from the mercenary business. And you know what? It worked. The secondary addition, Yu Nan, is the first female "Expendable". She was forced upon the team by Bruce Willis' character. And of course the team is hesitant to have a pesky female on the team, but she proves herself. And as a character, it took me a second time to see it to realize, she was absolutely necessary. She almost served as perfect fodder for the gang, in terms of humor and change of pace. At one point they hint a what-could-be love interest between her and Stallone. And the connection (or lack thereof) between her and Ludgren's Gunnar? Absolutely fucking hilarious. Again, another worthy addition to the team. And for the Jet Li fans, he's not in this film all too much. He's only in the first sequence. But really, the shit he does in the little time he's in the film utilized his skills FAR better than in the whole first one. He's not sorely missed through out the rest of the film, but it would be nice to get him back for the third Expendables.

And now to the rest of the film. Some improvements over the first one? Well, pretty much everything. First, the blood. There was a lot of CG blood in the first. And there's still a lot of CG blood in this one as well. But it's rendered a lot better than the FX in the first one. Also, there are some cool Rambo-esque head shots in EX2. Which is cool, because an exploding head is always a good thing. The direction is also much better in this one than the first. And as I said previously, that's all due to Stallone not having to wear so many hats on this production. The director could focus on directing, and Stallone could focus on acting, er... Making explosions.

The aspects of the film that I DIDN'T care for? Well, the blood again, was still an issue. I did notice they used more practical squib FX. Most noticeably when there were close-ups near glass windows and such, but a lot of the blood during some of the knife scenes with Jason Statham were clearly added in post. But something that bothered me even more than the CG-blood? In a lot of scenes there was not enough coverage shots. And by that I mean, if Stallone and Statham fall from a zip-line into a jungle, and randomly soldiers surround them, there should be shots of the soldiers running up to them. As opposed to them just showing up the next shot. It's choppy scenes like that. And one other thing that bothered me, though I did understand why it was done, was a scene where Stallone, Schwarzengegger, Willis, Norris, Lundgren, Statham, Crews, Yu and Couture are ALL standing in front of a helicopter with guns waiting for Van Damme to arrive (picture below). In the scene they crop out Chuck Norris because they gave him a reveal during the shootout AFTER Van Damme arrives. And in the heat of the moment, it's a far cooler re-introduction for Norris. But unfortunately, when they cropped him out of the "choppa" scene, it made the picture blurry, due to having to zoom in to maintain the same aspect ratio. And those are some of my only nitpicks, really. Because everything else comes with the territory (corny dialogue, etc.).


The score to the film was pretty damn good as well. But I wouldn't expect anything less from Brian Tyler. He did an incredible job on Rambo, a great job on the last Expendables score, and just as good a job on this one. Naturally, he keeps all the great themes of the first one, but introduced one really cool one, Van Damme's theme. It's a very ominous theme. And it suites Van Damme's character very well. It has those really eerie low violin notes that just sound evil. It works very well.

In the end, The Expendables 2 was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be and more. And Im happy a lot of the reviewers are finally accepting this franchise for what it really is. FUN. I know, you dont have to be stupid to have fun. But sometimes its fun to be stupid. So when you're watching this film, or even the first, just remember, this film would have only existed when you were a child, on the floor, playing with your T-800, Rambo and Rocky action figures. And yes, the dialogue may very well be written by an actual child, but god fucking damnit... Have some fun, you goddamn communist.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

“The Legend Ends”. That is the tagline for The Dark Knight Rises. And with most trilogies, the third installment is usually the weakest. And despite what most “In Nolan We Trust” Christopher Nolan fan boys will say, TDKR is NOT an exception.

Let me explain myself a little with the love/like relationship I have with Christopher Nolan. I absolutely LOVE some of his films. I thought Memento was great, I thought Insomnia was okay (I did last see it 9 years ago), Batman Begins was pretty cool, I have not yet seen The Prestige, The Dark Knight was GREAT, and Inception was okay. And I still need to watch Following (which has been sitting in my Netflix queue since I’ve had the damn subscription). But anyway, back to why TDKR is a disappointment.

With any movie, hype is ALWAYS going to help and hurt the film. It helps, because it puts people’s asses in those seats, and makes the money. It hurts because, most people already made up their minds as to what they want to see. And when the film doesn’t deliver what’s in their mind, it automatically sucks. But that isn’t the case with this for me. I got a different feel from The Dark Knight that I was expecting, and I liked that. The film SHOULD feel different. I mean, hell, it HAS been 8 years since TDK in this film. But what I wasn’t expecting was how the film was crafted.

When I watch TDK, the story moves along smooth enough to really engage what is going on. And almost anything that happens is tied directly with The Joker and his plans for Gotham. His “social experiment” as it were. With TDKR, it just feels overly choppy and messy.

First off, the opening pretty much sets how the rest of the film is cut. It opens with Gordon praising Harvey Dent and all that he has done at the anniversary of his funeral. Then it cuts to the introduction of Bane’s character from the IMAX prologue before Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol back in December. What I liked about TDK? It just said, “Here. This is the fucking Joker.”. That’s all we needed for Bane. “This is who Bane is. Fuck off.”.

Once Bane is introduced, we get a plethora of re-introductions and new introductions. We now learn Bruce Wayne is broke, then we meet Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, then we meet Selina Kyle/Catwoman, then we learn how she plays into all of this. Most of it worked, but something just didn’t feel right. And I wasn’t sure what that was until it really started picking up.

Essentially what Bane wants to do, is break Batman and destroy Gotham. And for the most part, he pretty much pulls it off. But once he does that, it goes somewhere that doesn’t seem to quite fit. For about 15/20 minutes it goes back to a Batman Begins-esque sequence. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just didn’t feel as if it fit. And unfortunately, I cant really go into what happens due to it being spoiler territory.

Okay, lets get to the more positive notes about the movie. First, Bane. I really liked the Bane character in this film. Casting has been half of each Batman film, and TDKR isn’t an exception. Just to set the record straight, Tom Hardy’s Bane is not better than Heath Ledger’s Joke. But that isn’t to say he isn’t fucking rad. When he was first cast, I was pleased because I had already started to like him as an actor. I liked him in Inception, he was great in Bronson, and from what I heard in a Mel Gibson interview, he said Hardy was the perfect choice to play the new Mad Max Rockatansky in the fourth installment of Mad Max (you get Gibson’s approval , you get mine). But I did have one reservation. His size. I grew up with the hulking, venom-filled, beast-of-a-man Bane. But I knew I had to wave goodbye to that interpretation, and embrace the newer “Nolan-verse” Bane. But after seeing the film, I can get past his size, because he was still a brute force to be reckoned with. I remember there was one scene in particular that showcased his strength, and it probably didn’t even register to most people. But there is a scene where he’s fighting Batman, throws him over a railing, and climbs down a chain after Batman. The way he climbed down the chain just looked inhuman. Almost spider-like, rather. Like I said, it was small, but very effective.

One thing I WILL defend that most people are nitpicking: Bane’s voice. Personally, I thought it was rad. It does have a few elements that are a little silly, but they all come together well, I think. It has a nice eerie robotic tone to it, but without losing the commanding power that his voice has. And yes, it is a little hard to understand at times, but think about… His character is wearing a mask afterall. If it was crystal clear, it was be known as a “goof” on IMDb trivia or something. It’s REAL. The only nitpick that serves as a double-edged sword is when his voice has a higher tone. Sometimes it sounds really creepy, and sometimes it’s very cartoonish.

Catwoman/Selina Kyle. Going in, I was VERY weary as to how her character would play out for me. We already had Bane, so where did Catwoman fit in? That was one major flaw that The Dark Knight had, it crowded the last half with The Joker and Two-Face. The Joker was all you needed. Two-Face could have had his own film. The same goes for Bane. He was fine by himself. But surprisingly enough, she was pretty decent. I think Anne Hathaway served the character well. That isn’t to say she NEEDED to be in the film, but that’s something entirely different. Her Selina Kyle was spot-on. In fact, I thought she was better as Selina Kyle than as Catwoman. But that isn’t to say that I thought her Catwoman was terrible.

Hans Zimmer's score. As always, Zimmer delivers. In fact, the score for this film is probably the most flawless aspect of the film. Zimmer's Batman film scores are always very percussion-driven. And it's no different here. Bane's theme alternates from this eerie Bernard Herrmann Psycho-esque theme to this very heavy percussion section that got me amped everytime it would appear. And of course "The Fire Will Rise" chant that plays through out is incredible. But one theme that surprised the hell out of me, was Selina Kyle's theme. It's another eerie section. It's this piano bit that plays during the reveal of her character. It almost reminds me of something Zimmer composed for his Hannibal score for Ridley Scott. It works really well! And of course all the other themes used through out the previous installments find their way into TDKR.

Aaaaaaaaannd... Back to what doesn't work about the film. I dont want to say it gets too big for it's own good, it just didn't feel as if it co-existed with the rules Nolan created for his previous two installments. And again, Im not going to spoil anything, but there is a device used in TDKR that seems like it should only appear in The Avengers or another Marvel film. I don't want to say it was silly... But... It was silly.

Another issue: The duel between Batman and Bane. The trailers sold the battle as the gold at the end of the rainbow. Guess what? That's the half-way point of the film, and the fight sequence was poorly done. It's literally just Bane and Batman punching each other, then Bane punching Batman a little more, then Bane punching Batman a lot more. The only action sequences revealed in the trailer that lived up to how they sold them, was the "cops vs. criminals" showdown, and most of Bane's terrorist attacks. I thought then New York Stock Exchange kidnapping was killer, and the football field sequence was just as badass as in the trailers.

In the end, the film is GOOD. Just not NEARLY as good as it should be. And it's a VERY good thing that Nolan called it quits after this entry, because I dont think there was anywhere for him to go after this film. Especially given the world he created.
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Friday, June 8, 2012


Welcome back, Ridley Scott. It's been 30 years since you've picked up your space gun. Though, you've made some great films in between that time, you've managed to leave a HUGE imprint in the sci-fi universe (pun intended). And yet, you've only made 2 sci-fi films. But what you've managed to do with those 2 films, THAT is why we, as nerds, eagerly awaited your return to the sci-fi arena.

For some, this will be a minor disappointment, for others, it will be a major disappointment, and well, for me, it ruled. Everyone going into this film has their brain set to their own nerd setting. Whether it's that they want a straight-up Alien prequel, a return to sci-fi for Scott, a gory space film, whatever. I just wanted it to be GOOD.

What Ridley and company managed to do here, I enjoyed A LOT. For those of you who are unaware as to how we got where were at, a quick crash-course. 2009, Avatar was released. The 3D and the world Cameron created was so rich and awe-inspiring, that it gave Ridley Scott that itch to do sci-fi again (which is a complete reversal than what happened from 1979 to 1986 when Cameron took over for Scott on Aliens). Ridley Scott said that after Avatar, he was dying to do a science fiction film again. Enter: The Alien Prequel. After a few drafts of the script for the Alien prequel were made, Damon Lindelof was brought on board, and what he turned the script into, it was veering off the "Alien prequel" path, and into "original idea" territory. So from there on out, it was said that it was no longer an Alien prequel, but more so a sci-fi film with the Alien DNA. Okay, class dismissed.

Let's get into plot of the film. A crew of 17 scientists travel to a planet (or moon), after discovering a half-dozen cave drawings in various locations on Earth that all point to a specific star-map. The reason for their expedition? To find human's engineers. Now, therein lies one of my favorite aspects of this film. It's ambition. And it's not a pretentious science fiction blockbuster. It's Ridley Scott. It's a film that IS something entirely different than the robot-dick-punching blockbuster fare we're used to. The film dances on the issues of fact and faith, science and religion. And that can be an issue for some, but for most it's admirable. It's not afraid to ask those questions. But it doesn't necessarily answer them either. There's a line from the movie that sums it up perfectly. David (an android played by Michael Fassbender) asks Dr. Shaw (Noomie Rapace), "Do you still believe in your god now?" (or something along the lines of that. And he asks this after they discover the DNA of us (humans) and them (the engineers) are a match. And to which she replies, "Well... Who made them?". And THAT is the single thread that ties this film together from beginning to end. And the vagueness of the answers we get to the questions were asking is what helps and hurts the film.

Obviously, with any film, you still want a sense of mystery to be prevalent. Because by the end of the 2 hours, if you get answers to all the questions, it's there. Fact. Set in stone. Nothing else to discuss. But when you get a film like Prometheus, the discussion could go on for hours and hours on end, without a single explanation given. And that is why Ridley Scott is a genius in my eyes. He doesn't just throw something in there to have it there. Case in point: The Space Jockey. When you watch the first film, Alien, you see the Space Jockey for maybe 3 minutes of the film. Who is he? Don't know. Why was he there? Fuck if I know. When did he get there? Fuckin got me. What happened to him? Shit. Absolutely NOTHING is explained about the Space Jockey in that film. But Scott already had his backstory and reasoning for being there mapped out. Time-jump 30 years: Prometheus. Ridley Scott basically saying, "Here. Here's your fucking answer.". BUT... In the nature of a Ridley Scott science fiction film, it leaves you with MORE questions.

The characters. I have been reading a couple reviews, and there are a lot of complaints about the characters. And I can see why. But, that doesn't mean I didn't care for the characters. The way I would sum them up is that they're "more than serviceable". They were not characters you'll be quoting left and right, but they were neither cardboard cutouts. Im content with them. But there is always that exception. And that exception was Michael Fassbender. Each Alien film, as you may know has an android. Alien had Ash, Aliens had Bishop, Alien3 had... Wait, do you care about Alien3? Anyway, Prometheus has David. And if I had to choose one element from Prometheus that DID hold up as well as Alien and Aliens, it was David. Fassbender played him with such charm, yet at the same time, he was nailing the portrayal of an android perfectly. But that charm that his character had also translated to "wait, can you trust him?". And characters like that keep you guessing through out the course of the film.

The visuals. If someone walks out of the film, and you hear them say the film lacked in plot points and characters, eh, whatever. But you hear a single complaint about the visuals. Find the nearest battle axe and/or chainsaw, and murder that person. The visuals in this were phenomenal! And Im not only speaking of the CGI, Im speaking of the incredible to-scale sets. What most directors do wrong in gigantic films like this is that they RELY on CGI. Not only is the CGI in this some of the best I've seen, but there is no reliance here. Certain sequences you're going to have to resort to CG. But when a scene calls for a set to take up most of the sound stage, that is just plain awesome. And the marriage of CG and practical is almost seamless.

The 3D. Not only is the 3D really fucking good in this, but some of the hologram scenes in this are like nothing I've ever seen. One scene in particular is a holographic/dream sequence. And the sequence itself is nothing special, but the way the visuals are designed, HOLY FUCK. I highly suggest watching this in 3D. And another benefit, it was shot in 3D. I saw this twice, once in Real-D 3D and the second in IMAX 3D. Both have trade-offs. Real-D 3D, for me, is a lot better than IMAX 3D, but with IMAX, you get the bigger picture, which is a HUGE plus. But you also have to be seeing in the g-spot of the theatre, which is center/center. If you can't make it to an IMAX, no biggee, you'll get better 3D in a regular theatre, but be sure to watch it in 3D regardless.

Unfortunately, with a film like Prometheus, to write a non-vague review, you'd have to spoil a lot of scenes (or all), and Im not going to do that. I dont even want to mention scenes you've seen in the trailer, because a lot of those aren't what you think they are. But I will say this. There is one scene that is NOT in the trailer (well maybe just a quick shot), but it is AWESOME. Though, it might give you a stomach ache.

All in all, am I happy with the film? Yes. I like this film VERY much. Am I a LITTLE disappointed? Maybe a little, but I need to let it settle and get a few more answers through discussions to really make my final judgment call. And I would like to see a sequel to Prometheus, but there is a lot of time between the end of this film and the beginning of Alien. And that brings me to what the writer Damon Lindelof said, "This has the DNA of Alien, but it is not a direct prequel. If Alien is X through Z, Prometheus isn't A through W.". Meaning, the sequel to Prometheus isn't Alien. It would be Prometheus 2.
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