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I have very mixed feelings about this one. They really went out to get good actors who are a pleasure to watch, but, well. I liked the first time I saw this movie, when it was called Mission to Mars, and there wasn't a half-assed attempt to slap it onto another franchise.

When I wasn't bored or squicked, I was angry at the unrelenting misogyny. Hey guess what, Charlize Theron is really hot and in charge! The mostly male crew makes jokes about how they wish she gave lap dances. The Captain makes an attempt at flirting and when she shuts him down asks if she's an android; she snaps "my quarters, fifteen minutes." Humanity = submitting to men, yo. This is reinforced by the ending, when Charlize and the Scientist with the Dragon Tattoo are running away from destruction, and Charlize gets smushed while SwtDT gets to live, because she was In Love and Wanted to Have Kids and That's All Gone Now, and Some Weird Metaphor About Losing Faith (Or Something).

Yeah, I mentioned the bad writing, right? Yeah.

See, the bare bones of the film were all but highlighted and cut from Mission to Mars. Scientists find all this stuff pointing to this one star cluster because Aliens Made Us (or something) and so going to meet our creators will be awesome! Aliens = God? And stuff. Except the aliens made people only to nuke them later, because God is a bitch? Who knows.

Anyway. The best part of the movie is Michael Fassbender as the android. Seriously, they should have just made a movie about what it's like to be an android where everyone feels compelled to point out in the most dickish way possible that you aren't alive, don't have a soul, and are supposed to serve them, while you are nonetheless a feeling being. (BTW one of the previews before the film is a fascinating Tarantino pic called Django Unchained which promises to be about a slave-turned-bounty hunter in the vein of Inglorious Basterds. Want with intense wanting!!!!!!!!) When he turns on them, you totally root for him. The iffy first ending in which he and SwtDT go off together promises a more interesting film--two people keeping each other alive because...they need each other to stay alive. And then the second ending is all OMG DO YOU GET IT BABY ALIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENS and I was never so fucking glad to see roll credits, except possibly Titanic.

The other shining light of the film is Idris Elba, who was in it for maybe ten minutes? He plays the Crusty Captain (TM) who is simultaneously that cardboard archetype from two thirds of all scifi movies ever, but he transcends that.....because he's Idris fucking Elba. He brings a sense of humor, dignity, and simple joie de vivre to the role that could otherwise have been completely forgettable. The highlight is the George Kirkesque moment when he orders his final two crewmembers to head to the escape pods because he can ram this baby into the other ship on his own; his crew refuse. As impact is imminent, they all raise their arms to the air in a symbloc we're not steering anymore/we're gonna fucking enjoy going out here/fuck yeah moment, and it was just so...it should have been ridiculous but it worked. So.

Now let's talk about Snow White and the Huntsman.

This film could have been so, so bad. Now, it's not exactly good, but it's far better than you would ever expect it to be, and much like Prometheus, that is because of the cast. Chris Hemsworth shines in a role that asks him to be shades of gray most of the time. The author said he was very much influenced by The Professional and it really shows. Charlize Theron as Ravenna again shines; her background is a very Game of Thronesey tale of abuse so everything she does makes complete sense. Too bad she has to be punished too.

Kristin Stewart can act, but she doesn't here. She was fabulous in Runaways but here she was apparently directed to show deep emotion by looking like she's going to throw up. (Too much hanging out with RPatz, IDEK.) Basically, the role needed to be Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, strength and humanity inspiring adoration from all. Not so much.

A lot of visual elements owe quite a bit to Hiyao Miyazaki as it happens: the Queen's raven-shape is straight out of Howl's Moving Castle. The White Hart/Nature Spirit is from Princess Mononoke. I'm sure there are other things I'm missing/didn't pick up on.

The Village of Scarred Women was an interesting conceit. Unfortunately, the women looked more like Night Elves, which with their perfect mascara and flowing clothes, made them among the most gorgeous visuals of the film. So...that was kind of a fail.

Speaking of Night Elves, an awful lot of my internal commentary was viewing the film as an exercise in World of Warcraft. "Okay, we've got an escort quest here!" "Oh, new zone....eh, won't get any real XP here, keep going." Whenever the Huntsman swigged ale I couldn't help but say "Mana up!" When Snow White "died" I thought "Need a Rez!" etc.

The MST3K commentary will be gorgeous, I just know it.

So there's my $0.02. Todd wants me to go see Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter but I don't know if I can do that without a bribe. So what movies are you guys excited about?


( 7 comments — Add your .02 )
Jun. 10th, 2012 05:19 am (UTC)
I hate to say it, but neither of these reviews make me want to watch the movie. :/

I had actually ruled out Snow White a bit ago, for various reasons, in spite of initially being interested. But I'd had higher hopes for Prometheus.

Edited at 2012-06-10 05:20 am (UTC)
Jun. 10th, 2012 05:21 am (UTC)
So I just saved you $20. I call it a win. ;)

In all seriousness, rent Prometheus when it comes out just to watch the Fassbender bits and skip through the rest. His parts are so great and you can just see all this potential for a different, better film.
Jun. 10th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
Michael Fassbender as David was so the best part of Prometheus. Perhaps TPTB can be persuaded to make a David-prequel to this.

Hmm. Not seen Snow White and the Huntsmen yet. I might, based on this reveiw.
Jun. 11th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
SWATH is surprisingly fun, and Chris is very yum. I agree on the David prequel/sequel, though honestly I kind of just want to rewrite it into what I would like, because...that's how I roll....
Jun. 10th, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I wish Ridley Scott would find himself a new movie to make. Prometheus wasn't on my to-see list, and now it really isn't, but you did make me want to pull out my DVD of X-Men: First Class. :D

As for Snow White, I have been on the fence about it because while I like Charlize Theron, and there's just no down side to watching Chris Hemsworth on an enormous screen, I'm not a Kristen Stewart fan. That said, I intended to see it last week and somehow ended up going to see The Avengers again. Because Chris Hemsworth without Kristen Stewart! Maybe I'll catch it at the bargain theater in a few weeks...

Right now I'm looking forward to People Like Us, with fingers crossed that it lives up to its potential and does not serve as a nail in the coffin of Chris Pine's career. Also, the new Bourne movie looks like a good time. I'm debating on Batman, but I'll probably see it. And I'm keeping an eye out to see if Joss gets distribution for his Much Ado About Nothing, because I am positively chomping at the bit to see that.

Edited at 2012-06-10 03:40 pm (UTC)
Jun. 11th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
I knoooooooooow, I hope People like Us will be good!!! We already know Much Ado will be amazing!! *G*
Jun. 13th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
I like Snow White and the Huntsmen for the same reason as you. All my negative thoughts came from Kristen Stuarts performance, it felt like at certain moments the movie was edited around her poor performance.

I also don't think she can act at all, the only thing I ever liked her in was The Runnaways and even this I had trouble accepting her as Joan Jett a strong women who I love.
( 7 comments — Add your .02 )

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