Someday, when they deliver my eulogy, they will say “he watched a lot of Nicolas Cage movies.” And this was one of them. Cage stars as a high school English teacher (!) who is married to a musician played by January Jones (!!) and colleagues with Michael from Lost, Harold Parrineau (!!!) After his wife is brutally beaten and raped, Cage is approached in the hospital by a mysterious man called Simon (Guy Pearce) who runs an underground vigilante Amway service, where they will get your revenge in exchange for a favour to be named later. Not in his right mind, Cage agrees and the rapist is supposedly killed. Case closed…
…Until a little while later, when Cage is asked to follow a man who is allegedly a pedophile and then arrange a fatal accident for him. Cage refuses and the vigilante group starts to target him instead. And this is where it gets extra weird: the pedophile is in fact an investigative reporter on the trail of the vigilantes, and Cage searching everywhere for his evidence bears no small resemblance to the Andrew Garfield section of the excellent British miniseries Red Riding.
Anyway, there is chasing and hostage taking and betrayal and shooting and Nic Cage tearing the still-beating hearts from his enemies and all the things you would probably expect. Watch Red Riding instead, basically.
Ridley Scott reimagines the film that made him famous in this grand and impressive science fiction piece starring Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Logan Marshall-Green. Probably the easiest way to explain this film is with this formula:
Promethus : Alien == Battlestar Galactica (2004) : Battlestar Galactica (1978).
It is not a shot for shot remake, but the broad strokes are the same, the cast is similar, and what happens to them is pretty similar. The scope is broader, the stakes are higher, and the budget is much bigger, so the claustrophobic suspense in space is replaced with vistas and sets straight from H.R. Giger’s sketchbooks. Noomi Rapace is quite fine in the Ripley role, leading an expedition to a planet that may unlock the answers to humanity’s origins. The other standout is Fassbender as the android who helps run the ship while serving the agenda of the corporation that is paying for the voyage. Elba, of course, steals most of his scenes as a captain who takes some pretty insane things in stride.
I didn’t mind the recycling of the original film, but it was not as much of a leap in quality as it was for the two versions of Galactica. I enjoyed the new elements of the large humanoid aliens – I think it would be fair to refer to them as “Titans” – but I did not care for the theme of Rapace’s faith, which felt clumsy and unnecessary with so much else going on.
As with all of Scott’s films, Prometheus is technically brilliant; production design, wardrobe, special effects, editing, sound, and other elements are top-notch without forgetting the story they serve. This new version certainly leaves room for more; considering how terrible the other sequels were, I would be happy to see Ridley Scott’s attempt.
What a fun surprise, this movie. Guy Pearce plays a disgraced cop accused of killing another officer and hiding evidence contained in a metal briefcase. Maggie Grace (forever to me poor Shannon from Lost) is the President’s daughter, taken hostage while investigating a supermax prison that houses 500 criminal masterminds. Pearce is given the option of infiltrating the prison in order to rescue her, and he agrees to do so, mainly so that he can find his former partner who went to jail for helping hide the briefcase; Pearce believes that if he can find it again, he can prove his innocence.
Also, the year is 2074 and the prison is in space. Not that it matters, really, because this plot – allegedly an “original idea” from producer Luc Besson, but strikingly similar to John Carpenter’s Escape from New York – could be set anywhere. The real charm of the film is the script and Pearce’s gleeful commitment to it, wisecracking his way through scenes where everyone else is playing it pretty seriously – with the notable exception of Joseph Gilgun, who stands out as the uncontrollable burden and brother of hard man Vincent Regan. This is the kind of film that keeps me going to dubious SF movies, hoping for a diamond in the rough.