And… some quick thoughts.
Three things I liked:
- Guts: And not just in the literal sense either. (Though there is plenty of body horror, as one would expect.) Scott’s film has huge ambition and also runs with a number of fairly ballsy ideas that you wouldn’t expect from a Hollywood blockbuster. In a way, this film is kind of nuts.
- Beauty: This is the prettiest movie I’ve seen in recent memory. From grandiose spectacle to the tiniest details, the aesthetics of the film are remarkably thoughtful and cohesive. At times grand and strange, at times familiar yet frightening.
- Acting: The acting is good throughout both the film and the cast, with standout performances from Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender.
Two things I didn’t like:
- Lack of focus: Is it because the film is so gargantuan? It sounds like a bit of an excuse, but whatever the case is, it felt a bit diluted in the midst of its huge concept and ambition. Scott’s film is a hectic run from start to finish, and he often seems interested in taking it in more directions than his vehicle can handle. This makes the film feel sometimes like an unsatisfying salad of meaningless revelations and sketchily sketched characters. It’s not enough to undo this otherwise engaging film, but one can’t help but feel as if it could have done with more time.
- Predictability: The plot is somewhat predictable (particularly, I think, the ending), and this becomes doubly true if you’ve watched Alien before because it treads on the same territory. This is at odds with the strangeness that the film works so hard to build in the first hour or so.
Overall, sure, I think the film had a bunch of issues, but the gambits that it takes, the sheer beauty and spectacle of the picture, and the assured hand of Ridley Scott (noticeable in the balanced drama, the careful suspense, and the accomplished body horror) all remind me of why I go to the pictures. It’s also the first film to make me wonder about that newfangled 3D thing. (Us Luddites!) It’s the sort of sensory treat that you should catch on the big screen if you can.
If nothing else, I’m glad to see that Ridley’s still got it. Roll on the Blade Runner sequel.