Not really. This is actually about me watching YOU, television and movies. O_O Yeah.
So I mentioned it a while ago but I watched what I wanna call Will Smith’s After Earth but I won’t because he shouldn’t have to shoulder that blame just because he’s credited with “story”. Coulda boiled down to, “so I wanna make a movie with my son where we’re trapped on a post-evac Earth, write something like that.” How was he to know he’d get the dumbest, most shallowly conceived film ever? (If you said, because he hooked up with M.Night, …you’re not wrong.)
The problem isn’t that the movie didn’t stand up to a barrage of questions (there are many GREAT movies/movie experiences – and that’s me making a separate category so I can continue to enjoy something I know wasn’t “great” – that wouldn’t); the problem is that the movie doesn’t stand up to any question. If I’d intended to do more than a cursory lambast of this garbage, I’d have titled this, “After Earth: A Scathing Review In Questions” and the whole thing would’ve been a list of – you guessed it – questions. Questions such as: why, if these monsters are engineered specifically to kill humans, were they engineered without sight?! Because the alien race who created them – who, by the by, we never meet and that just feels lazy as all hell – wanted it not to work *too* well?!
Second question:Why is Earth dedicated to killing a species that’s been gone so long I find it hard to believe all these things (including the air) has somehow turned against us. And only us. Vibrant, verdant and lush. That’s…pretty much how I’d describe Earth in this film. And somehow we can’t survive there though literally everything has. …K. And then, sort of jumping from that point: if there are these few hot spots to which you must be by a certain time every night – wouldn’t they be just teeming with other animals? Right? What do the rest of the planet’s inhabitants do at night? Freeze like that giant eagle-mama did? Really? Shuddup.
Question the third: Why would you make the premise of the film something so ridiculously untrue that we cannot get on board with it – and no reasonable person would expect us to?! Here’s the (hopefully infamous) line:
Fear is what you experience when you’re standing directly in front of a monster designed to kill you. Fear is not by definition relegated to the future and WHERE did you come up with that?! Shall we discuss the parts of the brain and circulatory system that are directed impacted by fear? And how it can save your life? WHO DECIDED THIS SPEECH WAS READY FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION?! Who? Who was like, YES. Make the whole movie revolve around this concept!
I can’t. I can’t even go on. I can’t talk about the scene where the kid magically taps into the riches of that little wisdom-gem. I can’t.
Because the worst part? Is the movie has heart. The characters have chemistry – go figure! – the performances are good, maybe great (if you ignore the ridiculous context of Little Kravitz and why she’s getting so much work). It’s the kind of bad movie I would watch again.
Which brings me to Elysium.
Yeeeeah. I was waiting for this one. And. Uh.
No heart. I don’t even know what else to say. I see where they meant to have heart? In the nun flashbacks with a young Matt Damon? But no. He’s a victim of the world he lives in and the world he lives in is not well-developed enough for that to work. Like, seriously, the concept is awwwwwesome. Rich people abandon a crumbling society of Earth to live in their own habitat above. YES. Except wait, how does industry work? How do they maintain this place and this level of wealth if only one guy has a job apparently and his factory is on Earth necessitating travel between the two which seems unnecessarily risky… So I get that Elysium is pretty (I mean…it looks freakin’ AWESOME…so in love with the aesthetic, f’real. The whole movie.looks.amazing.) but I don’t get how it works! Did they all just pool their money together and it’s like accruing interest somewhere or something?! And also, how about the economy back on Earth? These people don’t look like they’re missing meals, they look like they’re missing health insurance.
And that’s pretty much what it ends up being, right? A Health Insurance movie. I mean, it’s not quite John Q… but then I’ve seen John Q a dozen times and I bought the movie so. Heart, people. I totally went in. They got me. Elysium seems to depend on my being a citizen of Earth to make me side emotionally with the people trying desperately to get to Elysium (all seemingly for the purpose of getting healed by machines that could easily be sent to Earth – thereby wiping out the final industry in which people are gainfully employed, the crappy LA hospitals – because there’s no way they could LIVE there, they’re obviously from Earth AND they have no where to live or hide!). But it doesn’t work. They made their lives and visible circumstances horrible enough that unless I was trapped in a similar way, I can’t relate. So. I’m not in the movie. At any point. Even when they throw in the long lost best friend – wait, why had they lost touch for like their entire lives and she has a kid he didn’t know existed and said kid is sick, because bien sur, and whatever. Whatever. The poor people have enough tech and savoir-faire to build shuttles and get up to Elysium but NOT enough know-how – despite clearly having medical professionals still living there – to create or hack into the schematics for the healing machine they’re literally getting shot out of the sky to reach. K.
Jodie Foster’s French because of course Elysium is pompous and Earth is Mexico? Okay. That wasn’t what kept the movie from making an impact. Now I’m just listing things that could’ve worked if something else worked, so let’s call it. ::lowers Elysium’s eyelids and lets it rest in peace::
So I mean, the only thing that matters is science fiction. I’m not gonna talk about Ender’s Game because it’s too close to me and I don’t wanna hear who was disappointed. Don’t wanna hear it. Keep it to yourselves.
Hey, did you think TV was missing a good noir-y biopunk show? So did I. And now we’ve got Almost Human. Two episodes in and I am IN. Second episode was even better. Keep it up, people. And thank you for bringing Michael Ealy back to a cop show after unjustly canceling his hilarious USA show, Common Law. Do better by him, guys.
Next time. We’ll talk about Oblivion. And only Oblivion. Because GAH. Everything.