Well today was a pretty tiresome day for me personally. Where I would have rather have been researching and obsessing over WWDC’s iPhone launch (look for my take on that later), I was instead trapped in a body shop and then a auto repair garage getting all of the many things that are wrong with my car fixed. Even so, here’s my take on two recent movies:
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Review)
A few weeks ago, I saw Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. I have to say I was very impressed. While it was certainly not the greatest movie of all time, for a video game movie it did very well. I’ve never played the game upon which it was based, but I found the plot very interesting and approachable.
The action sequences were great and many of the chase scenes mirror (some very closely) the chases in the animated Aladdin movie of yesteryear. As a child of that time period, these chases had a very strong appeal. Think throwing apples at bushy-bearded guards with scimitars and you’ll generally get the idea. Oh and it always helps when the leading man and lady are both fairly attractive!
I would have to say there is some complexity in the plot, but only from the mystery and sharp turns in the plot, not from any deep philosophy. That being said, it’s nice to have a fun action/adventure movie unburdened by the dark overtones or deep psychology that has become some common among modern movies. Also, it’s family friendly without losing its edge. Definitely see it with friends or family before it leaves theaters!
Also in the theaters this week was Splice, starring Adrien Brody. I saw it with @jbrown915 on Friday and it’s hard to even describe this one. The story follows a couple of scientists (both in the plural and dating sense of the word) who are working on creating new life forms. This iteration of “artificial life” (which might be better described as “synthetic life” because it just borrows from nature) combines the genes of several different organisms to form these gelatinous blobs. These early creations don’t look very good, but they produce proteins important for pharmacology. Things go awry when they add in human DNA and all of a sudden things get out of control.
My first big problem with this movie is that ALL of the science is essentially a distillation of public misconceptions about genetic science. They make most of their discoveries over the course of a busy week (which pushed forward the idea that “scientists just need to work harder!”) and it also proposes that there is something magical about human DNA. For some reason splicing in DNA from people is WAY harder than DNA from closely related mammals, and once they succeed, it turns into a horrible humaniod monster!
The real reason NOT to see this movie is the middle to second half of it. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers to the poor souls who subject themselves to this film, but essentially the female lead develops this VERY creepy maternal complex that her boyfriend (husband?) never notices. After this, the plot begins to follow the same lines of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, only with graphic detail where the cult classic leaves much to the imagination. The circumstances, stupidity of the characters, and the incestuous suggestions really take the more visceral scenes way beyond the pale of a normal scifi thriller and into the realm of “why did I pay to watch this?” Overall, unless you’re needing a feature film that feels like two B movies crammed together, skip Splice and don’t even rent it.
Hope you enjoyed my doling out reviews and general wisdom. Let me know if you agree OR disagree in the comments!
[Prince of Persia image from Walt Disney Pictures | Splice image from Gaumont]