After 10 years, Marvel delivers their biggest and boldest movie yet
It’s been 10 years since Marvel released their first movie as part of their ground-breaking cinematic universe. Since then, we’ve seen films for Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and even Antman. We’ve been on a roller coaster ride of emotions with our favorite superheroes. Infinity War is the grand season finale to the TV show-movie hybrid called the MCU. Whether you’re okay with this concept will ultimately determine your enjoyment of Marvel’s biggest, boldest, and most ambitious movie yet.
With plenty of questions on its mind, Annihilation offers a mind-bending trip into The Shimmer
After catching my attention with Ex Machina, Alex Garland’s follow up was much anticipated. His stylistic and philosophically eerie sci-fi film was one of the year’s best. However, 2016’s Arrival had eclipse Garland’s status as one of the best sci-fi directors working today. With Annihilation, everything that was great with Ex Machina is back, and Garland has created another sci-fi masterpiece.
It’s no secret, even to longtime fans, that the Star Wars movies are formulaic films. They follow a certain path that leads to a certain victory. And not to say that the formula doesn’t work, because it indeed does and trying something new wasn’t always Star Wars‘ biggest success (yes, I mean the prequels). However, as Star Wars is being directed by auteur filmmakers, that comforting formula will be challenged. Star Wars: The Last Jedi manages to subvert expectations while delivering a worthy sequel that takes its place among the best of the franchise.
With Denis Villeneuve at the helm, Blade Runner 2049 is worthy sequel to one of sci-fi’s most influential film
As a cinephile, I tend to prefer original, different, and daring films. However, I’m completely stuck in a time where creative content is scarce. It’s a time where Hollywood likes to play it safe and what’s safer than sequels, remakes, and franchises. But who can blame them? These type of films tend to do more at the box office, and the audience seems to keep making that demand. But there comes Blade Runner 2049, a sequel that defies all odds. A continuation of one of sci-fi’s most controversial film but at the same time, it’s a stand-alone film, only inhabiting the Blade Runner universe. 2049 shows us how to make a great sequel and why they are so important.
The latest Stephen King adaptation looks nothing like a Stephen King novel come to screen
It’s a terrific year for Stephen King fans…or so it may seem. A new adaptation of It is just around the corner, and there are a couple of TV series adaptations as well. But nothing is more exciting than an adaption of Stephen King’s popular book series The Dark Tower. This movie could possibly give way to a Stephen King franchise or even a Stephen King universe. However, The Dark Tower is so uninspired and cliché that it’s no wonder the movie is so short.
Life is a solid generic sci-fi movie that will satisfy the genre obsessed
At first glance, Sony’s new space thriller, Life, may seem like just another disposable Alien re-hash, and on the surface, you may be right. It plays like something you’ve seen before and will eventually see in May when Alien: Covenant comes out. However, even when Life doesn’t have the depth nor the craft of Ridley Scott, what it does it does pretty well.
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in a ‘Titanic’ meets ‘The Shining’ in space
In space, no one can hear you scream but everyone can see cheap scripts. Morton Tyldum (The Imitation Game) picks up a famous black list script which should have stayed in its place. Add in two of the most popular actors working today mixed with a love story and what could possibly go wrong? Well, almost everything.
Aboard the Starship Avalon, 5,000 passengers are hibernating in pods. The travel is still 90 years until they arrive at a new planet, Homestead II, where the passengers are to colonize it. However, one of the pod malfunctions and opens waking up Jim (Chris Pratt) too early. He soon realizes that he is the only one awake and that there is absolutely nothing he can do to go back to hibernation.
Loneliness turns him mad, and he is left with a tough decision, does he wake up someone else ultimately committing murder. Jim quickly gets obsessed with a beautiful writer named Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence). Eventually, he decides to wake her up, and they fall in love. Jim is left with the dilemma to tell her or not that he is the one who has awoken her.
Wrestling with interesting and dark moral questions, Passengers fails to explore any of the issues it conjures up. It starts off as a story about a lonely man turning mad in a Shining kind of way. It brings up fascinating questions about loneliness and humans’ need to interaction. As Jim becomes a little too lonely, the film never seems to answer these issues. Instead, it turns its ship around, and it ultimately becomes a mediocre Titanic love story in space.
Not without potential, the movie’s own script does not call for a love story. Aurora being awoken by Jim is in itself an act of murder. The script builds Pratt’s character has a selfish man in need of someone. The love story doesn’t quite fit, and it seems rather force. Passenger ignores a more interesting story for a cheap love story. How better would have been Passengers if Pratt was a Jack Torrance type character?
The set designs around the characters are magnificent, and the CG is phenomenal. Passengers explore its surrounding in great details. From the pool to floating in space, the movie nails its aesthetic. Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Wolf Of Wall Street) creates beautiful wide shots. The futuristic style of the Avalon from his sleek design to its beautiful interior gives the movie both a sense of realism and otherworldly.
Ultimately, Passengers‘ script has built such a strong wall that the rest of the film is constantly trying to take it down. Beautiful futuristic surroundings can’t overcome it either. They take the long boring route instead of the easier thrilling one. For a movie to have so many Shining references, it’s surprising that Tyldum never thought to tell that story instead.