User Reviews (25)

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  • donche_ru13 January 2009
    Can't understand all this negative hysteria. Most of which is actually about nothing ("crap! oh, such a crap! totally crap!" often mentioning that Bondarchuk is a bad director). Well, I can partly understand those who admired the original book (which is really worth reading) as they may have imagined everything in different manner (this is particularly true for sci-fi adaptations). But very often I read comments of people who seemed to be negatively oriented even before they really watched the film.

    The movie is not piece of art. It really takes a lot from classic sci-fi movies (from costumes designs to city views). And directing sometimes is confusing. But the film has one strong point - the plot, original story that authors reflected rather well. Special effects are good (they were performed by American specialists), acting is not bad (dramatic acting usually is not required in sci-fi action movies). In essence, the movie is good and worth seeing. Don't take negative comments for granted.

    BTW as far as I know Boris Strugaztsky (the one of two brothers who is still alive) liked the adaptation.
  • This is the first part of the two-film saga spanning over three and a half hours for both films (the second being Dark Planet: Rebellion). You have to watch both films back to back as they are one continuous story; the first one stopping in the middle of the narration.

    Let's start with what's good. First, it had an impressive budget with massive sets and computer graphics which were pretty good. The story is really interesting based on Strugatsky's sci-fi novel. That's where the good ends in my view. I quite liked the sound in the film - rich full-blown sound effects. And I didn'tthink much of the music either way - it was good enough.

    Now to the bad. The script of the film I thought was terrible and jerky, with some silly dialogues and so was most of the lead actors' play - as if this was a farce - totally unrealistic and unbelievable and at times plainly bad. The camera-work was average at best and so was the editing. Then there's this kung-fu which is very fairy-tailish, with crazy jumps and blows completely copying Matrix style.

    I couldn't help thinking the director wasn't very original in creating the image but made it a weird mix of visual ideas taken from other films: cars looking like they are from Total Recall and Mad Max, lead actor looking like the tanned curly blond boy from The Blue Lagoon from the 80's, let alone his bad play. One of the characters - Fank, an aide to the prosecutor (by the way. played by the director in a very unfitting for him role) - is a near- copy of Gary Oldman's character Zorg in the Fifth Element driving something of a bat- mobile. Even though the movie is filled with modern GGI, it is a weird mix of things borrowed from western movies with very Russian style of actors' play, with lots of crazy overacting, yelling (there's lots of that here) and a typical Russian cinematography of the late 80s - early 90's.

    Yet, the film is quite watchable and holds together the interest till the end, albeit mainly for the big money poured into it. It's certainly worth watching for the really great sci-fi story, especially if you're a sci-fi fan and like adventure and post-apocalyptic movies. All in all, It's like a great play badly acted and badly directed on a richly decorated theatre stage. Recommended.
  • First things first: Make sure to see this in the 227min original (two-part) version. The international (one-part) release is a hack job with many crucial scenes missing, and a new cartoon title sequence that doesn't quite fit the mood.

    The movie's greatest asset is certainly the Strugatzky brothers' nuanced story about a planet corrupt to the bone and the hero's moral imperative to intervene. The story is largely treated with respect, and while I can relate to some of the criticism aimed at the movie - there are some continuity issues, the casting might not suit everyone's taste, as won't the Matrix-style kung fu - this is a well-realised sci-fi flick that's worth watching for the strength of its story alone.

    Yes, Tarkovsky would have made this a different movie, and I'm surely going to watch Aleksey German's 'Hard To Be A God', but I for one didn't mind this movie's bubblegum aesthetics while pondering existential moral dilemmas.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In 2157, people lives in peace and progress on Earth, respecting ecology and space travels are very common. The pilot Maksim Kammerer (Vasiliy Stepanov) is hit by an asteroid and he crashes his spacecraft in the unknown planet Saraksh. Maksim gets stranded in the planet and is captured by a local and arrested. Maksim finds a planet in the stage of Earth in the 20th century, with war, social problems and destroyed ecology. He is sent to the capital escorted by Corporal Gai Gaal (Pyotr Fyodorov), but they are attacked and he escapes. Maksim protects the waiter Rada Gaal (Yuliya Snigir) against a stalker and he learns that she is Gai's sister. Then Gai recommends Maksim to his Captain Chachu (Mikhail Evlanov) and the earthling joins the guard. However Maksim discover that this repressed society is ruled by an oligarchy called Unknown Fathers. Further there are anti-ballistic defense towers that the locals believe that are for their protection that are actually broadcast towers that are used to control the minds of those that are susceptible to the broadcast that are called degenerates. Maksim leaves the guard and joins the degenerates to destroy the towers. However, he is captures with Rada and Gai. Now he is plotting with other prisoners how to destroy the central transmission to the towers and leave the people have free will.

    "Obitaemyy Ostrov", a.k.a. "Prisoners of Power", is a complex story with a messy screenplay and absolutely lost in translation. I have just watched this movie on DVD twice, the first time spoken in Russian with Portuguese subtitles; then I saw it again dubbed in Portuguese with Portuguese subtitles. Surprisingly the dialogs in Portuguese and the subtitles in Portuguese are different. Based on this reality, my conclusion is that the Brazilian viewer misses many points in the translation. It is very difficult to follow and understand the society in planet Sarakash for those like me that have never read the sci-fi novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. There is no explanation, for example, for the curse word "Massaraksh". My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Prisioneiros do Poder" ("Prisioners of the Power")
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A Russian film based on the novel Prisoners of Power by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. After reading the English translation one thing is clear the film follows the book closely but not exactly.

    Overall I think this is one of the best films I've seen in my life. The cinematography is beautiful and the characters are very well written. Anyone interested in seeing it should love Sci-Fi because this film relies heavily on your ability to imagine a world where human beings are completely free and have begun a new age..

    Maxim Kammerer is the main character during the story, we get to see him as a mostly inexperienced youth. In the book he's in his early 20's but here he appears older which probably means they just couldn't find someone to fill the part who was as good an actor as Vasiliy Stepanov. As time goes on the man evolves and gains better judgement in dealing with his situation.

    Its very clear the film was adapted from the book because in the very beginning when he runs into the asteroid/meteors it begins diverging from the novel. Where-as the novel has him being shot down from the surface.

    Maxim is not an amateur space explorer but in fact is part of something called the Independent Reconnaissance Unit or IRU. He can find no direction in his life for studying anything specific so joins up around age 20 and begins charting planets from the surface/orbit. In the book its made clear this is not his first mission as his parents want him to do something else and generally everyone already knows what he does.

    Another divergence from the book is with the way he crashes, the film has meteors/asteroids that he runs into but we know that's unlikely because his ship would certainly have given warning since because even the most simple of radars can track a huge rock! The reason it's done this way is the backstory would've probably required around 30 mins to establish and they wanted to get right into the meat of the book instead. So how does he crash then? The IRU sent him to this planet to map it and check for life and while on approach he is shot down by weapons fire. Later on in the story this happens again to him in the plane which is when he realizes what happened to him originally.

    The important part is the film does succeed in capturing ones interest even with all the changes, especially the end fight between Maxim and Strannik which never really happened in the book! It was EPIC in the film but the book has them driving off in the car together after Maxim has blown the main tower center up. Then he calmly tells Maxim he's from Earth too.

    The book is great, the film is great. This is just like Black Lightening in that few know of it's existence outside Russia.
  • This attempt at bringing a Strugatski brothers novel to the modern Russian screen is without a doubt a success.

    A little about the plot: young explorer Maksim Kammerer crash lands on Sarakhsh, a world enveloped by nebula gasses where people have never seen the stars. The Unknown Fathers, a group of local oligarchs, brainwash the population to fear and despise surrounding nations. Kammerer, aloof in his assumed superiority, sets out to free the people of Sarahksh of oppression and paranoia.

    I wont ramble on - suffice to say that Bondarchuk has done well considering the scale of the novel. Vasiliy Stepanov (as Maksim Kammerer) is sexy, cool and a blond head taller than his alien companions (a fine nod to the novel and a detail I did not expect). He was also most excellent in the action scenes.

    Bondarchuk shines in his portrayal of Umnik (The Clever One). I really enjoyed the scenes of him writhing in agony in the bath. A great performance. I am compelled after reading some of the other comments to say that the novel, like this movie, is quite comical...

    Direction-wise there are some minor continuity errors and a few places where pace slows, but the film sticks quite closely to the novel and this may not have been avoidable.

    Compared with the contemporary adaptation of the Strugatskis Ugly Swans by Konstantin Lopushansky the film is of course rather crude and soulless. But it's good fun done right.

    I recommend it to everyone and will be waiting for film two.
  • Bondarchuk's last motion picture "The Inhabited Island" is very colorful and vivid piece of film. Visual material is stunning, top notch. Characters and environment are interesting and story too, for me as a die hard sci-fi fan seemed great. Yes, the main character is blond... So what? He comes from the Earth that lives in the golden age, having defeated all the illnesses and wars. People there are beautiful and they are smiling as it can be seen in the movie. On the contrary, on Saraksh people do not understand why he is smiling because there they are stricken with diseases and constant wars, radiation levels etc. Film suffers a bit from cheesiness in the end, some already seen things in other movies but it still has some good qualities. The scenes with Guards and their song are stunning.

    Great visuals, great environment but still it lacks top notch acting and some things have already been seen.
  • The original book is a classic in Russia, and contains enough material (and in high enough quality) to create a Start Wars-like series of films. What was done instead was extremely fast-paced bullet-point-like re-telling of the classic story. No suspense, no tension that was present at all stages in the book.

    The screenplay sticks to the original dialogue almost verbatim. A serious mistake in my view: the director seems to be afraid of the book fans, and doesn't dare to touch anything in the original. But the original dialogue was backed by a lot of description of internal thinking of the heroes - which cannot be shown on the screen. The result - the storyline is flat and uninteresting, instead of the intriguing and fascinating story in the book.

    The actors' play is a total fiasco - except, maybe Strannik ("Strider") - but his role is relatively simple. Everybody else looks like they're reading from a phone book - which probably has to do with the fact that the dialogues were left as-is, see above.

    I do appreciate the effort to create an "exoplanet" look of everyday things (cars, glasses, forks, plates, food, clothes etc). The things created would be unusable, but had the desired unusual look.

    Overall, disappointing, and leaves a taste of a missed opportunity.
  • There are many beautiful layers in this movie. But what really fascinated me, was the figure of Maxim. This unification of messiah-like and yet very human and gentle features, this melting together of a hot-shot and yet modest, sensitive and yet strong, boy-like and yet wise person was really adorable to experience. The first scene really made me doubt if I would like this person, but in the end I was completely on his side.

    The story follows an interesting plot and has some nice twists, the world is believable although it shines through as an allegory. I was more than pleased with it.

    Some acting could have been better, yes. The directing has its flaws, yes. But it really didn't bother me too much. This movie was a very positive surprise for me, and I can't wait to see Maxim in action again. Well done!
  • jan-ptak22 March 2009
    I must say I am very surprised how good this movie is. For that particular convention (sci-fi) this movie have very good and logical plot (movie is based on Brothers Strugacki book), very good special effects and its well played. A guy crash his spaceship on a foreign planet and it is caught by some weirdo. Whole planet is govern by a military junta or something alike. It turns out that population is govern by some sort of radiation. I don't want to tell more not to spoil the story but bear in mind that Strugaccy Brothers are very famous sci-fi writers and the story had very strong points. For a long time I didn't have so much fun watching sci-fi movie (last favorite one was "Serenity"). Straight to the point - if You can - watch this movie. One comment to the cast - main male character looks like Ken. His smile got my nerves - even my wife agreed that he looks too perfect but that was for sure the director idea.
  • rainy-255 January 2009
    Does it take a genius to create at least a bearable blockbuster movie when you have a solid budget of 40mln and and a famous book to form and back up the script? Apparently, yes. With no style or substance, Obitaemyy Ostrov manages to put much of its audience to sleep or make them shake their heads in disbelief. I wanted to be as objective as possible, but there's basically nothing I could have praised. From the retarded (and redubbed!) main leads who's primary objective was to look cute to loads of pointless scenes and a permanent sense of deja vu - the movie is a failure in every possible aspect. They say if you read the book before watching the flick, things may get better. I'm not sure whether it explains the painfully bad acting, pathetic CGI and downright ridiculous dialogues. Try not to laugh during the moments which were supposed to be emotional and dramatic. Ugh.
  • hmsgroop18 March 2009
    Those who have watched the film may remember the following episode – Guy and Rada are sitting in front of TV during the Entertainment Hour and goggling happily. What is entertainment on Saraksh is visions and dreams of ‘psychotic’ individuals.

    It struck me that ALL the film industry the way we know it is projecting nothing but visions and dreams of certain individuals, too(and sometimes these visions and images are no better than those shown in ‘Obitaemyy ostrov’). And book fiction is the same. So what’s the difference between Earth and Saraksh in terms of culture then?

    And the towers are here, too. Look around – here are the TV towers and radio towers. They project these visions and dreams to the same effect as on Saraksh. Scary, isn’t it? Where are we?

    On the other hand, where would the world be without this day-dreaming and wool-gathering? Do culture and a sort of hypnotic suggestion go hand in hand? How free in our minds are we really?

    Sad smile.
  • I loved this movie and I urge all to watch it! This is the biggest budget blockbuster movie Russia has produced to date and it does not disappoint. Nowadays we get so many high-budget blockbuster films - Transformers, The Day the Earth Stood Still - that have great special effects and are eye-candy visually, but offer little or no substance besides those fine visuals. This movie proves that when great computer generated special effects supplement an interesting plot and thought- provoking ideas, then you get truly great science fiction. Yes, when a movie has more dialog, more character development, more story-line, it is actually a much better movie!

    The plot in this movie is intricate, dynamic, and detailed. It may be hard at first to keep track of all the new characters and developments in the movie. But that is because the plot is based on a great novel by Strugatsky brothers. It is not simple, but is meant to present various well-rounded characters and ideas to the viewer. On one level you have a simple love story going on. On another level, there is a whole country in trouble.

    One of the great things about Strugatsky's fiction and this movie captures that is that though the outer shell of the story is fictional, there are clear allusions to the real world we live in today. This is what ultimately makes this such a powerful movie. The world of Sakarash is very much like Soviet Russia and Russia today in so many ways. The way that the power elite uses media and technology to control the masses, to make them helpless slaves is a reflection a system that is in place in our world today, some places especially.
  • viisurf10 January 2009
    To be honest I expected more from a $40 million movie but it's still good. Comparing to the novel... Yeah... This kind of literature can be difficult for basing a movie on it. It contains a lot of philosophy which cannot be transferred to the movie. But this particular novel is also a good action which was not utilized in the movie. Why? Who knows... I guess Bondarchuck didn't want to make just an action blockbuster like it was with "It's hard to be a god". He tried to save philosophical idea. I am not sure if he succeeded. Any way this movie is an event in Russian movie industry which is discussed a lot and will be discussed few months more. The appearance of the film is very appropriate. Many people would see an analogy between Saraksh propaganda and whatever is happening in Russian politics and media. Let's wait for the 2nd part of the movie to be released.
  • In fact neither I nor my company had expected to be strongly impressed by the movie, when we joined to watch it on Saturday night. But having read the Strugatsky's plot-book, I was amazed that the director had followed the story so precisely. The only evident mistake was the premature assassination of one of the characters. Still the impression on the film is partial due to its halves shown with a 4 month break.

    As to fighting scenes, I estimate them as dead. There was almost NO real action. The usage of Bullet Time technology of matrix all fight long turned the action into slow and boring trash. The martial arts instructors should really be ashamed of this.

    There is a Russian proverb: "The first pancake is laid shapeless". It is just about the film. The spectator expected to see a miracle, because a $40million worth Russian film is considered like a $400million Hollywood movie. This expectations of a common viewer were ruined. I do hope that next attempts of Russian directors and producers to catch up with Hollywood will be more successful.
  • I am glad i don't mind about bad reviews because i really enjoyed this movie. Why people compare it to the book in a movie-review i don't know. I think it is not relevant. IMDb is a catalog for movie fans and the only thing worth mentioning would be that the book is also worth reading if you ask me.

    The movie is surrounded by a thick massive sound , the special effects are great. It has amazing colors and the acting is pretty straight forward. Okay, story-wise it may not be as well worked out as the book, but who cares? It is a movie. Also it has this mad-max vibe that is quite rare in movies. I look forward to part two.

    Well done i would say. If you are a reader you probably don't enjoy this one if i must believe other reviews, but if you are like me more into visuals and sound this is a great must see movie....

    7 out of 10
  • info-1140014 April 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Phew, what to say about this movie. There is simply too much to discuss. This is quite the impression you will get watching this film. It rushes from theme to theme, literally rushes! Let's start at the very base, a Strugatsky novel. I read a few Strugatsky stories, most notably of course "Roadside picnic". "Obitaemyy ostrov" however is not "stalker", no 10 out of 10 that is.

    The brothers Strugatsky were Soviet writers, so some of their stories dealt with the soviet ideal human. In "Obitaemyy ostrov" earth has made it, and no doubt, all humanity transformed into perfect (probably communist) beings. That means every human being utilizes all of his/her potential: Mentally, physically and ethically. The latter is of most importance. A perfect communist is of almost angelic moral integrity. Whatever powers he will possess or obtain, he will not use these in any selfish or abusive way.

    That said, our "hero" is a most beautiful, well build "Übermensch" (astonishing blond an blue eyed) from earth, with perfect integrity and morality. He is young, and unfortunately crashes on a strange planet. His spacecraft explodes, he is lost. As he is an "Übermensch", he is not desperate.

    In fact he is imprisoned by a totalitarian state, escapes by accident, falls in love, and the story really gets complicated from then on. Right now there are true spoilers to come. So stop reading, if you want to watch the movie unbiased.

    The unknown fathers reign over a city, that is (of course) a mixture of Metropolis and Blade Runner, and a little design of Dune. As the story evolves you will learn that almost everyone is controlled be rays send out by so called defense towers. These rays work at a subconscious level. Our hero is immune, as is a group of people, fought by the state as terrorists. Well the (super-)earthling becomes (in order of appearance) a prisoner, guard elite soldier, free individual and lover, terrorist, convict, runaway convict, terrorist leader, member of the establishment, revolutionary and finally earthling again. The hero is somewhat naive. He tries all these positions like a youngster without any prejudices.

    In the end, he knows about the foundation of the political system. The political elite of the state resembles a bit Stalin's system. The state's attorney is in trouble. That means he is about to be murdered. He tries to convince our hero to destroy the central of the ray-emitting towers and take over the power after wards. With the help of some co-convicts the hero succeeds, but destroys the central of power instead.

    One of the very nice and intelligent moments of the movie is the instance, where the friends of the hero take over power. And one really feels the temptation of power. Almost brilliant.

    One high ranking member of the government turns out to be human (thus superhuman) as well. He is furious about the actions of our young hero. The so called roamer tries to change the system since 20 years. But he tries to avoid unnecessary losses or victims. He is the man for the slow change, no revolution. The young hero is the revolutionary, simply incapable of bearing the injustice. While exchanging some intellectual backgrounds the roamer and the hero beat hell out of each other. Really strange (for super-humans) I think. And naturally, the young rebel insists on a quick change.

    The movie is optically splendid, albeit the cgi is about 10 years behind. They have enough budget to make things look convincing most of the time. Designwise they steal from a lot of movies.

    The film was more entertaining than I expected. But it has too much to tell to be really great. A lot of interesting things just rush by. Well, and the same might be true about this comment.
  • Advice to all: read the book first. I found this movie as a good set of illustrations for book but sometimes we can see a little differences. E.g. under the book Maxim learns the native language by oneself and under the movie he puts "worm-gadget" into ear :-) Most of actors are well for his characters but not all IMHO Guy was showed too crazy. Arkadiy and Boris Strugatskiy are not only sci-fi writers. They are good thinkers too. And in each their book we can find a lot of thoughts. So I think that it was better to create a series of movies. And I even think that this movie should be remaked. At least it should be trilogy... A series of movies allows to save their thoughts and it also allows to remove any differences with book. I think film directors can cut something but they shouldn't add false episodes.

    Finally I think that it is mediocre movie but a good set of illustrations. So (5 + 9) / 2 = 7 :-) My vote is seven.
  • kosta521 November 2016
    I don't understand critics who complain the movie script is not really along the lines of the book, or that it is a bad copy of the book's intent. Looking at a larger view, I have to ask, does the movie portray a truly compelling story to the larger audience on the mass market? The majority of which never read the original book (and likely never will). And the answer is absolutely yes. Movie presents both enjoyable story and screenplay to watch. Also by easy comparison with other (mostly Hollywood) titles in the same genre within last decade. This notwithstanding the fact that many of comparable Hollywood flicks have had larger budgets by far. Having said that, it is great Russian cinema industry attempt to create equally good quality material. I would definitely recommend this movie.
  • This Strugatsky adaptation is in my opinion is made very close to the book and showing very well the complexity of the plot and the ideas of Strugatsky. Bravo for the film director for being brave enough to do it so detailed. To better understand the movie is it the best to read the book or at least the short description of the plot. The costumes and special effects are quite qualitative and definitely can stand to the Hollywood standard. I found the movie being highly underrated and extremely enjoyable. In my opinion it deserves to be added to the classics of sci fi, even through Massaraksh universe visually reminds Blade runner universe. Inhibited island plot, as generally Strugatsky novels is complex and maybe that is the reason why the movie was not valued and understood properly. My recommendation - to watch if you like serious science fiction and want to savor a great visual spectacle. Strugatsky in my opinion is the best there is of science fiction, or one of the best and being so serious about the books I would be very critical towards bad adaptation. But this one is a real success!
  • This film is very interesting and original sci-fi action movie. Based on Strugatski's novel (they are Soviet and russian writers) film offers interesting story. I really don't understand viewers, who were disappointed by Dark Planet or Obitaemyy Ostrov in Russian. In contradistinction to many others films of such kind, it has book base, which is very important, as for me, and corresponds to the book. Visual effects are also picturesque, actors transfer image and temper of book's heroes
  • Not the best one over there, but definitely worth the watch. All of these bashing the movie are really for no reason.
  • When i first watched this movie, i thought it was very chaotic. There was many questions, also the ending was very disappointing. Like their intentions was good but the writers & the director's mind was very unclear. Then i learned it's actually longer, it was actually 2 movie. First one released 2008 second was 2009. Then i found longer version (was hard to find) Longer version was just a little bit better. At least it answed some questions. And can't believe they cut really good scenes for make it short. Yet there need to be part 3 too, its still half baked. (Btw the main character was so handsome and cute at same time but why the f* he smiles for everything? Like the director said him: hey boy you don't need to act, just smile, they gone love you anyway.
  • ... for the movie cooked from all possible clichés. Let's call it "a movie of the future": no interesting dialogues, no interesting character dynamics, sexually decent, a product. Not only lacking a point, but totally chaotic at the end. Much like a ruined orgasm. Actually, there were lots of completely confusing moments all along. Main character was so artificially angelic beautiful - in a nonsense commercial-romantic way, that it was almost disgusting to watch.

    The only positive things was a vision of the perverse futuristic world, dark, totalitarian, rainy, muddy, technocratic, but also kind of futuristic baroque. A bit reminding me of 5th element, or Chronicles of Riddick. (Or just today.) So much more interesting plots, events, interaction could have been set in this environment.

    It's 2011 ... and you want a science-fiction? Watch Aliens, Avatar, Abyss, Terminator or at least Matrix.
  • mixoptical14 September 2013
    I have read and enjoyed the book and decided to watch this movie.

    First let me point out that I was really excited about it so perhaps my expectations were a bit high.

    This movie is based on a great (in my opinion) novel. The story is captivating and original. This movie keeps close to the the book with minor differences, which sadly affect the experience very dramatically.

    The creators absolutely discarded the atmosphere of the book. The gray apocalyptic setting of the novel was transformed into circus-like colorful (yellow and blue) scene. The world, on which the main character finds himself stranded seems more like it came from a funny cartoon rather than unbelievably horrible, hopeless and altogether dark "end of days" scenario, as it is described in the book. The main aspect became the special effects that are there just for the sake of showing off the computer graphics abilities, and are seen with no connection to what is going on in the movie.

    The acting is terrible, it seems as though they picked random people from the street and asked them to act. There are no visible emotions, besides anger, and the anger itself seems just like a crazy person making a "scary face" as it performed by most of the actors.

    To summarize, the movie suits someone with mental level of a five year old, although i wouldn't show that much violence to a five year old...