Science fiction movies are an odd thing. They and “detective” movies depend more heavily on literary conventions than other types of films.
But you know, where detective movies have swallowed the form and adapted in rich ways, science fiction hasn’t settled gently into film. Its an odd, unintuitive truth, despite the flood of science fiction movies.
Some of these are mere action movies in excusably bent settings to make them seem less ridiculous.
The “real” science fiction movies seem to be of two types, and both of those are concerned first with building an alternative universe. One path is through elaborate alternative cosmologies: Matrix, Star Wars, Ring. If you get this right, if it is sufficiently powerful, all else comes along for the ride.
The other path isn’t appreciated as much by the kiddies, but in a way it is more pure. That’s when the alternative world is first a visual presentation. If you choose this path young jediniles, its all about the eye. Plots, characters, attitude… all these only have to be acceptable and not get in the way.
With that preface, i have to say I liked this movie, as trashed as it has been.
Sure, the story is stupid. Name more than three science fiction movies that aren’t.
The action scenes are ordinary. The acting lame. That hasn’t prevented hosannas for other films.
But this one has terrific art direction. No, nothing radical, but what we see in just about every scene is magical. And it all hangs together to imply just exactly the world we inhabit for that hour and a half.
Imagination often shows in these things. But rarely does it show as a coherent vision in all the elements of the thing. “Sin City” even had problems with this. I’ll ask you to watch this just for the visual impact. The camera isn’t great: some “Van Helsing” eye-adventure would have helped.
I’ll rate this worth watching. Yes, with an emphasis on the watching, down to the redheaded “handler.”
Posted in 2006
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.