Well this was the second huge ‘event’ science film from 2013 that I put off seeing at the time, and have only just viewed in the last few weeks. Again, the initial issue here is nothing at all to do with the jaw-dropping visuals and trailer for the movie, but simply Tom Cruise. Yes, he has certainly performed across a wide range of roles and characters over the years by now, but he still comes over as quite smug in most of his movies.
But eventually of course, I really had to see this movie. How could I not see it?
Then only a short while into seeing the movie-maybe half an hour-I began to think ‘Right, well I should have seen this at the cinema, and probably IMAX too’ (even with Mr Cruise in it).
Was this film sold way to strongly on just the visuals? Probably yes. It was based on a stunning graphic novel, and then directed by the writer, and same guy involved in TRON:LEGACY, and producer of recent Rise of the Planet of the Apes movie. All sounds like a perfect start for one mind-melting movie, visually at least.
I would say also that the trailers that I did see before the film was released probably did eventually let me down, or feel like it was maybe holding too much back or even lacking something.
While great sci-fi movies do not always need hundreds of gruesome slime covered aliens and spaceships crashing and flying around to be great fun, this was a very trimmed down, minimal movie. In some ways, that was a good thing.
I am a huge fan of some of the more philosophical SF movies like Solaris, 2001, and this was heading along those lines from early on.
Desolate, brooding and stark, Cruise as Jack Harper zooms around quietly, observing and monitoring the mysterious planet, and reports back with his female partner later. Soon though a stranger lands and mysteries unfold gradually…
I know that a good many have not liked this film, and some have been negative overall but even when I thought it was going to just get very bland and tiresome soon enough it would open up something else, memories, possibilities from around space, dangers from the around them.
Possibly the flying drones are lacking and too derivative but thankfully, we do get Morgan Freeman, and while his character may be predictable he is still great to watch and hear onscreen.
This is how many modern great science fiction movies should look or aim to start from at least, visually. It does have many very amazing lasting magnificent images of the planets, skies, moons and spacecraft many times. Some of the scenes moving along after the second act are plodding and not so great then it eventually gets along to the end. Yes, this movie has a troublesome end-some might hate it, find it very unoriginal, or simply just satisfactory. Eventually, it does work, and closes in a very good way after a few more impressive sequences.
After getting past having to watch more Tom Cruise, this is a very admirable SF movie and really has to be seen on the biggest screen you can find.