I didn't mind this movie. I thought it would get better reviews than it has received. People have been scrutinizing it to determine its failings but for me, it is just a prison B-movie. I think prison movies are a genre in themselves and it does not take much for me to get into it. I thought the acting in the film was sufficient. And the violence was at a real enough level. The baddies are convincing. And the goodies gain our alliance. One of the obvious failings though was the decision by the governor of the jail to play a soccer game to determine who gets released. That is so unrealistic that it does snap me out of my absorption and awaken my critical faculty. But you know what - I already know it is just a B-movie. It is not out to aspire to great heights. So even this I am willing to let pass. This to me is just an average movie offering some decent entertainment on a slow afternoon. I think it is worth watching.
The start was really good. I thought if the whole movie can keep up to this level than I will be highly pleased. But it hit a wall after the first scene and became another CGI film with so little to offer. The first scene - WOW! And there was a lovely piece of music as backing in one of the first dramatic scenes that I thought was wonderful. But then the wall emerged and it descended to CGI only. What has happened to movies - or to be precise - these type of movies?? I'll even state it again using exclamation marks. What has happened to these type of movies!! Do the movie-makers think that CGI is enough? I went and saw The Hobbit the other day and it is exactly the same but this time it is Tolkien that was desecrated rather than Star Trek. Don't the movie-makers know that it is the quality of the story-line and the characterization that has given these creative works their greatness? And oh God!! - how I am tired of the multitude of impossible escapes or staggering feats. It is all utterly unbelievable!! Doesn't it bother the producers that it is unbelievable? I just sit there going, bullshit bullshit bullshit. Don't they ask themselves, " Is this believable?" Apparently they don't care. To put it concisely - these action-type movies that rely solely on CGI affects and hardly anything else are just trash. They are nearly worthless. Like a blown egg. The shell is left but there is nothing inside. Just eye candy. I'll leave that criticism and take up another one. This movie doesn't adhere to the real message of Star Trek. It is not in sync with all the rest of the Star Trek franchise. And it is suppose to be. There is just so many discrepancies. One of the messages of Star Trek is that in the future, cool heads have prevailed. Mankind has largely moved beyond a money driven economy and warlike division. They have risen passed their shortcomings and ignorance. There has been a significant enlightenment. This is what makes the Star Trek franchise so positive and interesting. I will explain to you a large discrepancy. On all star-ships that I have watched or read, the bridge is quiet, efficient and stately. It reflects the cool command of the captain and bridge crew. There is a side room where the senior officers convene to discuss the mission at hand. There they quietly discuss diplomacy, technicalities, analysis... To speak descriptively, the bridge has a solid feel to it, contrasting to the fact that the ship is hurling through space. Subjectively, it expresses dependability ,efficiency, confidence and humanness (even homeliness). Now lets view the inside of the Enterprise in these last two Star Trek movies. The bridge is totally white!! Even the corridors are white! The computer screens are transparent. And the whole bridge and ship and crew are in a state of chaos. Now, subjectively, the two star ships couldn't be more different. Now this seems to illustrate the problem with this Star Trek movie in a nut-shell. Consummate quiet efficiency, confidence, dependability, rationalism - these qualities are not exciting enough for the people making this movie. They have to amp it up at all cost, to make it more sensational!! Make the whole movie a roller-coaster ride, have the characters argue all the time, let no cool heads prevail. Put them up against impossible odds multiplied by 10. Roller-coaster, roller-coaster, roller-coaster. We understand!! You want to put bums on seats!! Get the teenagers involved. But enough is enough. And god damn, leave Star Trek (and also Tolkien) alone! If all you can make is a glitzy Hollywood movie then leave Star Trek alone. These movie makers don't give the public enough credit. They treat us like morons. Do they think this is enough? But it is all dollars. In the end they'll probably make a squillion. Anyway - I have spewed out enough bile. And to think, I started this review so calmly...
This isn't such a bad film. The topic it explores is quite obvious, which is the perversions brought on by an environment of social alienation. It is interesting to see how social interaction plays out in such an environment. One point that is stressed is that the common person is suffering neurosis. And humanity as a whole - the general populace - have produced an environment that does not nurture the human being. People everywhere are slipping through the cracks. It is a far- reaching point to make. This film is by no means humorous. I don't believe I laughed once. It is a film that is sad, poignant and disturbing. I believe the characters are portrayed in a way that stirs our sympathy. But curiously it is also presented in such a way that we can stand back and look upon it objectively and see the situation "as it is" . That is quite a nice balancing trick by the director or writers or whoever: to, at the same time, move us sympathetically and also unemotionally; objectively. I felt like I came to care for these characters, and could see where there suffering was coming from. There were brief moments where two characters found comfort in another, and the distance between them had been overcome, but alas, such moments did not last. This film carries a message: that is, to be more open, more honest, more caring with one another. To somehow develop our sympathy for each other and bridge the gap that exists between us.
Why must the makers of adventure-films feel the need to make their films constantly epic and weighed down with suspense?? It ends up being nonsense. Every scene is super-charged and super-extraordinary. And these endless escape scenes and fighting against thousands of enemies... It is ridiculous! The music in the background is emotionally laden at all times which serves the purpose of leading you around like a pig at a fair, inciting you to feel something. God, let's have some normal scenes with normal dialogue and story-line. Let's have a lull in the action and suspense. Let's have some balance. The points that I have given for the movie is for the spectacular CGI which is superb. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit to be a children's book. It is written in a playful style that is appealing to children. The baddies such as orcs and wargs are depicted in a way that is not at all frightening. But in the film these baddies are bloody terrifying! It is a pity that Peter Jackson felt the film could not express the playful style in which Tolkien wrote the book. The book abounds with playful humor jumping from scene to scene but in the film humor is almost totally lacking.
The storyline is illogical. Who would take their children, after the trauma of losing their mother, to a centuries-old Italian city where they don't know the language, they know no-one, everything is foreign to them. The inter-relationships completely feel dysfunctional. The father is utterly ineffectual in nurturing his children. His children are having serious difficulties and he is clueless. If the purpose of placing the story in Genova was to give a metaphorical backdrop to the character's suffering then I don't accept it. That is how the movie feels - as if getting lost in a moldy old Italian city is how it feels to lose one's mother. It is bullshit. I found the movie painful to watch because the father is pathetic and clueless and the story illogical. No one would take their children to a shitty old Italian city after losing their mother.