Tag: 20th Century Fox
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Hal Yamanouchi, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova
20TH CENTURY FOX
THE semi-sequel to the X-Men spin-off film X-Men Origins: Wolverine feels as though it’s been a long-time coming, but mostly because it promised, on paper at least, to rectify the flaws of the previous film. Such was the potential of The Wolverine it had visionary director Darren Aronofsky attached to helm the tale that follows fan-favourite X-Man Wolverine’s (Jackman) temporary exodus to Japan.
The film starts off with backstory, as World War II-prisoner Logan (aka Wolverine) is locked in a hole at a prison camp on the outskirts of Nagasaki on that fateful day in August, 1945. Logan saves the life of young Yashida (Yamanouchi), who goes on to become the head of a massive corporation in Japan. As a film that respects the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan has seemingly given up on life, drifting from town to town and minimising human contact as he’s haunted by dreams of a particular love from his past.
He’s tracked down by fellow mutant Yukio (Fukushima) who implores the Wolverine to travel back with her to Japan to grant her employer’s dying wish. The ageing Yashida, it seems, isn’t ready to die, and offers to switch his mortality with Wolverine’s mutant longevity: a gift Logan is reluctant to give, despite his near-suicidal tendencies. When Wolverine is stripped of his powers, though, he must fight to reclaim his immortality and protect Mariko, the daughter of Yashida.
While there are certainly some impressive action sequences in The Wolverine, the bulk of them fall flat, mostly thanks to a surprisingly boring story, despite the exotic setting. It doesn’t help that certain supposedly Tokyo-set locations have been shot in Sydney, making them eerily familiar to people familiar with the Aussie city.
The real problem, though, is the middle half of the film, which is filled mostly with an awkward love story that stands at ends with the haunted love story that’s happening in Logan’s dreams. In many ways, the short dream sequences are infinitely more interesting and dramatic than the forced love tale that unfolds between Logan and Miko. Unfortunately, as the main redemptive drive of the plot, the flat romance feels bolted on and doesn’t add emotional oomph to even the cleverest of action sequences. It’s doubly disturbing because it’s the same problem that the last Wolverine film had.
Jackman is still perfectly cast as the perpetually angry Wolverine, but it’s tough to watch the talented Aussie actor not get a chance to flex his dramatic muscles. It’s by no means a terrible film, and it does offer a nice lead-up to 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, but the urge to revisit X-Men Origins: Wolverine after seeing The Wolverine doesn’t exactly bode well for the overall engagement of this spin-off sequel.
THE WOLVERINE is in cinemas now.
Review: Nathan Lawrence
Directors: Ridley Scott
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
20th Century Fox
RIDLEY Scott’s return to the sci-fi genre that made him a household name with the likes of Alien and Blade Runner is already proving to be divisive with critics and moviegoers alike. While there’s certainly no denying that Prometheus is overflowing with beautiful (and sometimes haunting) imagery and brimming with intriguing sci-fi ideas, there are some core problems with the film.
First, the good stuff. The $150-million budget is visually evident in every frame of film. From stunning set and costume design, to the look of the hostile alien world, it’s a visual teat; the inclusion of native 3D (i.e. not 2D film that’s converted to 3D in post-production) adds to the experience in a way that harkens back to the technology’s effective use in Avatar. This really is the vision of a master storyteller.
Ironically, that’s the biggest problem with Prometheus: the story. From the outset, it sets up some big questions about human belief and the origin of our species; fantastic themes for exploration in a sci-fi backdrop. But as the intrepid team of scientists follows an ancient invitation to a desolate alien world, the narrative begins to suffer. The cast is too big, so certain secondary characters are cardboard cutouts whose only onscreen purpose is provide expositional dialogue or add to the potential body count when their exploration turns into a fight for survival.
There’s more than a fair share of illogical behaviour from apparently intelligent minds, while certain actions make no sense whatsoever. For every scene-stealing performance from the brilliant Michael Fassbender, there’s an unnecessary scene or pointless action that stands as a stark contrast to the exploration of mature ideas. Worse still, by the time the credits roll, the film hasn’t answered (or, arguably, attempted to answer) the core questions of the film; questions that are overtly repeated by one of the main characters during the climax.
Prometheus is a divisive film because its brilliance—the core themes, Fassbender’s performance and beautiful cinematography—is interspersed with lazy storytelling and inauthentic characterisation. It’s not a terrible film; it’s just damn disappointing for anyone expecting Ridley Scott to make a triumphant return to the cinema sci-fi genre that he helped to create. Avoid the trailers, promotional material and even some of the spoiler-laden posters, and you’ll have a better chance of appreciating the beauty and avoiding the disappointment.
PROMETHEUS is in cinemas now.
Review: Nathan Lawrence
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