CHRIS: I wanted to love this film. Don’t get me wrong, I like it quite a bit, and you better see this. The movie has everything I need to love it, but there’s one area it just misses the mark.
So let’s look at what works.
The soundtrack is one of my favorites of the past decade. Moody, atmospheric, and sometimes overlooked some many times, complimentary. The music compliments the film. It enhances it, even.
The special effects were one of my favorite parts of the film. Toss in the sets, too. I am a big fan of model work and non-CGI effects, and I thought they were done well here. The exterior moon shots were good, and the model work brought me back to the days of the 80s and early 90s when CGI was barely used and special effects people were creative. To me, a model vehicle will always look more real than a computer generated one.
As appetizing as all that is, what really impressed me was some camera work that I cannot describe without spoiling the movie. Suffice to say, this is a strong opening salvo from rookie director Duncan Jones.
Sam Rockwell offers a fine performance as well, taking a very demanding role with limited support from other characters and just runs with it. No, running is too simple a description. He dances with it.
With all that said, where the movie falls short is with the story. It is a very ambitious script with a multitude of wonderful ideas, but it lacks a little pop, a bit of wow. It’s almost like the twists and turns are slight instead of sharp.
Again, you should see this film. In a year of Transformers 2 and The Ugly Truth, you NEED to see this, if only to remind you of the great potential of cinema and what a truly well-made, thoughtful, and satisfying film can be.
JAI: Now that I’ve finally seen it, I can agree with you. And I agree very hard.
I was surprised by the very mild “twists”, as — in my efforts to avoid spoiling the movie for myself, while simultaneously unable to avoid flirting with disaster because I had to know what people had to say about the film — I did have the impression that there was some kind of major surprise(s) in store. There was not. And that’s fine! But I did expect a more interesting ending.
One can only hope that Duncan Jones’ next movie will enjoy a wide release, and Michael Bay’s next movie will have a limited one. And that flying cars will become affordable.