I can’t decide if this film was a work of art, or just a complete waste. The latter I don’t really want to concede because a lot of people put their time and effort into that film, and probably didn’t think it was a waste of the 4 months plus that it took to make it. So why then, if this is such a well grafted genre with one of the worlds biggest actors, directed by a guy who’s DEBUT movie was literally a follow-up to the legacy of TRON – undeniably one of the most well-known and arguably an example of an original science fiction concept – am I struggling to say I loved it?
Earth. 2077, 60 years after an alien invasion and a battle for mankind. In the wake of the war the Moon was desecrated leading to the consequential demise of planet Earth. Apparently the Humans won, but with radiation damage spread worldwide a mass exodus sent everyone to live on TITAN, one of Saturn’s Moons. Drone ‘Tech’ Jack Harper (Tom Cruise as more or less a gun-toting maintenance man) doesn’t want to leave Earth, unable to comprehend why they even have to if the outcome was victorious for humankind. To the despair of his partner and part-time lover, Victoria Olsen (Angela Riseborough), Jacks’ questions are answered when his un-yielding curiosity lands him in a series of complex situations, which includes stumbling across the mysterious and beguiling Julia Rusakova (Olga Kurylenko), and consequently leads to countless revelations about his identity, his forgotten past, mankind’s sombre present and Earths hopeful future.
Two things really -story and characters . Albeit the concept was fine, in fact I liked the premise, but the way the story played out was, for the most part, dull. The characters – a small cast for such a big budgeted movie but not uncommon for a film set in a dystopian future – I get it, its’ lonely when civilisation has left you behind are shallow archetypal moulds and I didn’t care for any of them – not even Morgan Freeman?! what is happening here? The answer is not a whole lot.
The real story doesn’t actually kick off until what feels like 3/4 of the film has played, and by then Morgan Freeman isn’t a welcomed but just another torturous reminder that the film hasn’t hit the midway mark. The only kudos for genuinely intriguing character comes in the form of Melissa Leo as the mission commander Sharon; ironically removed from human contact, appearing only through a video feed to instruct and keep a close eye on Victoria and Jack, she’s ambiguous even a little scary at times.
Having said all this however, I did connect with something; I’m just not entirely sure that it goes beyond my knowledge that this film was born out of a comic book, created by the Director Joseph Kosinski. You see, I love a bit of back-story, it renders me a happy to know that he managed to create this whilst making TRON but does it work as a film? It feels like a comic book layout; short chapters where things start-up and clues are given, peeling off a layer of the story – only to cut short and start-up all over again.
Visually this movie is stunning. A world, not unlike stepping into an APPLE store, the production is crisp, wonderfully designed machines, space-stations and buildings. Breathtaking landscapes and even more impressive this movie is not in 3D. It was Kosinski’s vision to rear a film with an IMAX screening in mind, and its worth every penny to just see a film this clear on it. The money spent in creating one of the most breathtaking post-apocalyptic Earthscape (or NYC as per) in cinema history, is truly a job well done and one that helps to distract from the minimal effort Kosinski put in to the development of his characters.
I’m not going to lie, I was 85 % sure what I was getting myself in for when I booked this film; I was looking forward to just looking at it and listening to this:
The film’s soundtrack is produced by the guy who did TRON; and this song in particular is by M83 and features the hauntingly beautiful Norwegian vocals of Susanne Sundfør. The music, if anyone was a fan of TRON Legacy’s Daft Punk produced synth and electro drums score, will understand when I say, this is a must. Hearing it on speakers as loud and as clear as the BFI IMAX is one of the best experiences I’ve had in a cinema in a long time. The sound design quality in the film alone is fantastic.
I’m not a science fiction film expert, but I’m sure this isn’t going to go down in the history books as breaking any box office records, however its beautiful and though the story isn’t force-fed or even related to the audience as readily as most movies today, its annoyingly unconventional because it honestly doesn’t seem to care.