Dismantling ‘Prometheus’ (2012) Piece By Piece: Chapter 2: Charlie Holloway

An introduction and Chapter 1 can be found here.

Chapter 2 – Charlie Holloway

I was going to do a chapter dedicated to the characters of ‘Prometheus’, but then I realised that too big a proportion of it was dedicated to one single character, the epitome of stupid characterisation. The rest of the cast will follow in their own chapter, but Charlie gets his own, all to himself – he can rule his little Empire of Shit and be its only citizen all at the same time.


“Charlie Holloway” – Chief of the Shitlords

Something special happens when you take a character who is arrogant, selfish and narcissistic, and then also make them stupid, ignorant, abusive, paranoid and generally irrational. You end up with a “perfect storm” of annoyance. “Charlie”, as his friends call him, or “Dickhead”, as I prefer to refer to him, is intent on meeting his creators – on getting answers about why they made humanity in the first place. And based on Dickhead’s propensity for being an obnoxious arsehole to every conscious being in proximity to him, I can only assume that he in particular was made as some sort of cruel joke – maybe even a Biblical punishment.

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About as close as we get to him being a tolerable individual – mostly because he hasn’t said very much yet.

After the ship arrives in orbit, Ms. Vickers decides to pull Dickhead and Dickhead’s Girlfriend into her own little bar-equipped escape pod to brief them on the mission. She tells them that, should they encounter alien life, they’re to do nothing except report back to her. Makes sense – new species, no guaranteed means of communication, who knows what could happen if you try to say hello, right?

Except Dr. Ballsack decides that she must be up to something, asking her if she has another agenda. I dunno, Dickhead, maybe she wants to enslave the alien species and force them to build monuments to her glorious image – or maybe she just wants to avoid a Total Party Kill when an attempt at a handshake turns into a Viking holiday in a North English monastery.


He really cranks up the stupid when they begin their descent. Pointing out a road on the ground, he exclaims “Right there! God doesn’t build in straight lines.” And that’s certainly true, unless God’s building certain trees, for example, or several types of rock formation, or sedimentary layers of stone, but whatever, I guess the fact that it’s a straight road means it’s artificial. I’m not about to disagree, although he doesn’t seem too concerned that this might be a planet full of Space Romans.

As they discover an enormous walled structure at the end of this artificial road, he asks them to scan it, to figure out whether or not it’s artificial. So he’s obviously thorough. Except, it’s an enormous fucking dome surrounded by a concentric, vertical wall on otherwise flat ground – and it’s at the end of a road he’s just claimed for certain is artificial.

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What a cock.

So far, so stupid. But, as soon as they set foot inside this enormous building and establish that the air is breathable, Captain Brainbleed decides to remove his helmet. Because the air’s clean, apparently. There aren’t any microbes. Alright. So, you just decide to remove your helmet and start gulping down huge lung-fulls of alien atmosphere. I mean, what if the small scanners on your space suits couldn’t pick up a pathogen that would never before have been seen on Earth? What if you wander into a part of the structure that isn’t habitable? They’d just established that all the air outside would kill a human after two minutes of exposure – what if this clearly ancient structure contains pockets of that deadly stuff?

Here’s another consideration – you’re the first humans to ever set foot on this planet. What if you’re bringing something with you that affects the environment around you? You’re here to study and discover – how do you know that the microbes that exist inside your own body, that you’re now breathing out casually, won’t irreparably damage the surroundings? Are you a total fucking idiot? And was that a rhetorical question?


Later, after the team has explored the caverns and brought back a souvenir in the form of an over-sized head which they electrocute until it explodes in a Mengele-inspired bit of biological experimentation, Admiral Arsebucket spirals into a self-destructive alcohol binge as he whines about the fact he didn’t get to meet his alien creators, being a twat to just about everybody in proximity to him.

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Evidence suggests he would be more successful as an ‘Assassin’s Creed’ cosplayer than he would be as a relatable character.

This is the point where we discover that he is not only stupid, but also incredibly childish, defeatist, petty and, in essence, a coward. Because the fact is they’ve just discovered the body of an ancient precursor race of space travellers. Given that mankind has never encountered another intelligent alien species at this point, that’s a huge discovery – even if it is dead. Further, they’ve been on the planet for about half a day, and it’s a whole PLANET. Planets are, by all counts, RATHER FUCKING LARGE, who knows what else might be out there?

And even if he can conclusively say that there is nothing else on this planet – a tough task, given the Prometheans’ DEMONSTRABLE TENDENCY to build things underground – they still haven’t explored the entirety of the structure in which they found the dead body. For all Corporal Cuntfeatures knows, there could be still-living Prometheans elsewhere in the structure. And I feel confident saying that because IT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FUCKING MOVIE.

So, why is Lord Loosebutt so absolutely sure that he’s missed his chance to meet his creators? Why is everything now lost, despite the fact that he’s just been standing on an alien world looking at the creations of a lost civilisation? He’s a FUCKING ARCHEOLOGIST, this should be, like, orgasm-central for someone who’s spent his career on dig sites, trying to piece together remnants of ancient cultures. Instead, he just turns into an angry, bitter arsehole.


David, the lovably creepy android, poisons Shitheap McShitstain with some weird alien goo he found in the caves. We never find out why, but it should be clear by now: chemical and biological weaponry is the only ethical way to treat such a suppurating sack of bile-ridden faeces. Regardless, he contaminates a drink in about the most obvious way possible, but because Hotdog Burgerpants is so blithely moronic he doesn’t even notice.

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DIIIIIICK HEEEAAAAD

The next morning, after using his girlfriend’s insecurity about her infertility to manipulate her into sex – something he does so easily and casually I can only presume he’s done it many, many times before – he wakes up to see something squirming around in his eye. Of course, any normal person might consider running to the nearest physician and getting a completely invasive check-up. But apparently it’s just easier to ignore it and move on, and who can argue with that?

Again, let’s contextualise this – you’re on a remote planet, completely new to humans. You foolishly removed your helmet without being aware of the consequences, exposing yourself to whatever nasty stuff might be out there. Even if that didn’t expose you to infection, last night you witnessed the EXPLODING of a GIANT ALIEN HEAD which was judged by YOUR OWN GIRLFRIEND to have BEEN INFECTED WITH SOMETHING before EXPLODING.

Speaking of your own girlfriend, last night you engaged in carnal activities with her, presumably punctuated by you looking in the mirror at yourself, smelling your own socks and calling out your own name during climax. Let’s assume you care about this woman – obviously you don’t because you’re a narcissistic bag of shite with a larynx – but lets assume that you do, even a little.

Now, you wake up to see something squirming around in your eye. Maybe you’re just hungover. Maybe you’re tired. But why, in the name of ZEUS’ BUTTHOLE, would you not consider speaking to a doctor? If you are infected, which you are, you have almost definitely been in enough contact with your girlfriend to spread it to her – or you got it from her, but either way she’s infected. So even if you don’t give a shit about yourself, she’s at risk too. Why would you not alert anyone to your condition?

Don’t get me wrong, if I wake up and find a rash on my arm, I don’t immediately rush to the doctor with fears of meningitis. But I live on a quiet housing estate in rural Oxfordshire. I very specifically have never woken up with disease symptoms whilst on an alien planet – after having REMOVED MY HELMET for NO FUCKING REASON and exposed myself to ALL MANNER OF CONTAMINATION AND INFECTION.

At this point, High Pontiff Jizz Poop the Turd is endangering not only himself, not only the woman he pretends to love, but also the entire rest of the crew, all because he can’t keep himself together enough to perform even the most basic self-care. Fuck me, I mean, after he wakes up they agree to venture back to the fucking temple-thing, and people are asking him why he looks bad, and HE JUST PRETENDS IT’S FINE. HE LITERALLY GOES WITH THEM BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE HE MOST LIKELY GOT INFECTED AND DECIDES TO BE STOIC ABOUT IT INSTEAD OF WARNING THEM ABOUT THE EYE WORMS HE NOW HAS IN HIS EYES. WHAT A CUUUUUUUUUNT.


Shortly afterwards, Shittimus Prime inevitably and predictably gets liquefied from the inside out before the always-awesome Dr. Vickers administers the cure with her medical flamethrower. So ends a bloody awful character, sadly all too late in the film.

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Juicy.

1500 words in and I’ve still not covered everything that’s hateful about this walking spit bucket of a character. Throughout his screen time he is invariably and very personally obnoxious and hurtful to David the Android for literally no reason. He makes snide comments about his lack of humanity, teases him about the inherent contradictions in his creation – even dismisses the very reason for his creation in the first place.

And, sure, David might not be someone who technically has feelings to hurt, but the level of cruelty Dick McHead displays towards the robot-person exceeds even that of Dr. Vickers, who arguably has much more deep-seated and personal reasons to hate David. It’s as though Bell McEnd has real reason to hate and diminish androids – but we get no exploration of that.

He’s just nasty and arrogant and hurtful to the one person who just spent two years making sure he didn’t die in his sleeping pod and piecing together an unknown language so that Commodore Crappy McCrapcrap can actually speak to his idolised creators. Talk about gratitude. I treat my microwave more humanely, and that things hits me with a static discharge every time I open it.


The terrible, unavoidable truth is that Holloway Ballsack serves absolutely no purpose in the story whatsoever. You could take him out entirely, and the only thing that changes is that Shaw doesn’t get impregnated with a snot monster. Really, that’s it, he does nothing else in the story that could not be achieved by Shaw herself. And he doesn’t add to the entertainment value, because… well, see above.

The worst bit of it all is that he’s meant to be a sympathetic character. When Vickers does the decent thing and puts an end to him once and for all, we get this last shot on his little goopy face with sad music playing, as though the filmmakers actually expect us to care. But I was practically cheering. I didn’t even feel badly for Shaw as she wept – the sad truth is that him getting annihilated is probably the best thing to happen to her in the whole movie.

So there you have it. One of our lead protagonists is pointless, unpleasant, annoying and hateful. Again, I could probably write more, but I have plenty more wheelbarrows full of shit through which I have to sift for the little crusty nuggets of concentrated wank that make up this movie. Next up – the entire rest of the fucking cast.

An introduction and Chapter 1 can be found here.

Dismantling ‘Prometheus’ (2012) Piece By Piece: Intro and Chapter 1 – The Everything

When ‘Prometheus’ was announced, I got excited. Not just because it was another sci-fi epic from Ridley Scott, not just because it was his return to the ‘Alien’ franchise, and not just because of the amazing cast that were involved.

No, I was excited because it promised to be different. From first glance, it looked like it could be the kind of meditative, thoughtful creation that I love. I was expecting tense action, a rich and philosophical plot, an exploration of a universe that I love, incredible special effects, and close-ups of Charlize Theron.

But as I left the cinema, I wasn’t intrigued. Neither was I entertained. I wasn’t even angry. I was disappointed.

I was disappointed not because I expected great things and the film failed to deliver. Not even because the film failed to deliver on the promises that had been made on its behalf. I was disappointed because I had gone into the cinema expecting a film, and was subjected to series of pictures, projected in sequence and in time with recorded voices and music.

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If you haven’t seen the film, you may be wondering what’s going on here. Don’t worry, actually watching the film is unlikely to change anything in that regard.

One of the key elements of almost any creative work is the Story it tells, either implicitly or explicitly. You can look at Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ as an example. Regardless of the quality of its composition, the image itself implies a story, one that the audience crafts for itself using the limited information presented.

In ‘Alien’, the film that “started it all”, we get an explicit narrative – a straightforward tale of a woman struggling to survive a deadly predator as all the people around her are gradually slain. We aren’t left trying to figure it all out ourselves, and that’s fine – we are shown enough to reach the end of the movie satisfied with a story that runs from A to B to C.

But ‘Prometheus’ treads the fine line between implicit and explicit narrative, finding that little reservation of shit that runs between the two and riding it determinedly to a tragic, terrible end. It doesn’t leave enough blanks for its audience to fill in, but it possesses so many huge, gaping, cavernous, echoing holes in all of the important bits that it looks like a victim of “The Red Wedding.” Except that it didn’t have the good grace to die.

There’s a lot of debate over ‘Prometheus’ on the internet. Specifically, debate about whether ‘Prometheus’ really is just the dreck that it appears to be, or whether it’s full of hidden meaning and is actually deeply “philosophical”, which is wanker-speak for “pretentious”.

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Ooh, David, what are you up to now, you naughty boy? Are you by any chance doing more random, sinister crap for no specific reason? Jolly good, keep it up.

To put this debate to rest, I’m going to dissect ‘Prometheus’ piece by piece. I’m going to look at every aspect related to the story – the characters, the setting, the events, and explore fully what their significance is and, specifically, the reason that none of them work.

What I don’t give a flying winged lesser-spotted shit about is anything that’s not in the movie. I loved the marketing material for ‘Prometheus’, but if it’s being released as a film, it needs to work as a film. If you have to start reading fake company websites and watching Youtube uploads to enjoy the damn movie, they ought to put that on the fucking poster. ‘Big Trouble In Little China’ didn’t have a fucking marketing campaign to explain the most salient plot points, yet it managed to make more sense than ‘Prometheus’ with a plot that requires its primary villain to serially rape green-eyed women in order to get his dick back.

This has been a long time coming for me. Let’s get stuck in.


Chapter 1 – The Entire Fucking Film

The first time I watched ‘Prometheus’, I adored it. For about an hour.

The first half of ‘Prometheus’ is a gloriously slow-paced tale of a team of varied characters exploring the relics of a forgotten alien race. From the enigmatic first scene, showing a mysterious figure planting genetic seeds on an uninhabited planet – which is both more and less gross than it sounds – to the sense of awe that is captured as the crew take their first steps into a derelict alien structure, this film was just as pondering and cerebral as I hoped it would be.

We watch David the Android get up to no good, try to guess what his motives are. We wonder what the purpose of the weird gooey substance is, how it might be related to the opening scene. We share in the crew’s attempts to unravel what happened to this ancient race, to make sense of what we’re seeing, to decipher the meaning of it all.

All of this would be great if any of it led anywhere. But it doesn’t. We are presented with so much random crap from every angle and the only reason any of it is in any way entertaining is because it leaves you wondering what it all means. But once you get to the end of the film, and realise that none of it means anything, on subsequent viewing the first half of the film becomes just as inane as the second.

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A visual metaphor for the relationship between ‘Prometheus’ and its audience.

And the second half is where everything really falls apart for me. As our explorers find the body of the first extraterrestrial that humanity has ever encountered, a storm approaches over the horizon, forcing them to retreat to the safety of the eponymous vessel. On first glance, this might seem like a tired and unoriginal plot device, but on second glance you realise that it’s also boring, pointless and silly.

The storm arrives, forces the explorers to leave the site early, and then is gone by morning. What was the significance of them being forced to leave early? FUCKED IF I KNOW, that’s what. The storm gets several minutes of screen time, a huge chunk of the special effects budget, and ultimately offers nothing beyond eye-rolling cliche.

From this point on, ‘Prometheus’ is doomed, and I’m not even referring to the fucking ship. Every scene after the arrival of the storm is nonsensical, and the plot itself effectively grinds to a halt.

Crew members act stupidly, get turned into monsters, attack the rest of the crew and get killed off, all without consequence or explanation. Our leading lady gives cesarean birth to a writhing mass of tentacles, for it to be completely ignored by the rest of the crew and ultimately serve as a cheap death for a mute antagonist in the penultimate scene.

The sequences and events to which we bear witness barely follow on from one another. It’s as though “causality” is a dirty word, a forbidden concept, like some kind of Orwellian thought crime or those daydreams I have about your mother.

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This image could easily double as a graph showing the spectrum of character motivations, going from “Stupid” on the left to “Completely Random” on the right.

Now don’t get me wrong: there are components of this film that are masterfully executed. The visuals are generally stunning, the sets and costumes are all perfect, the sound and the music and the lighting all work just fine – this is not a work lacking in technical expertise. None of the acting is jarring or particularly unbelievable, or at least not enough to stand out.

Even the directing is on-point; each scene, examined in isolation, is constructed and executed perfectly well. Everyone says their lines in the right order and at the right time, the cameras are all in-focus and pointing the right direction, and I don’t think I noticed ANY booms or set lights or stage markings or Damon Lindelof’s personal stashes of methamphetamine.

Please note that for legal reasons I am not stating or implying that Damon Lindelof uses methamphetamine recreationally whilst writing, I am simply pointing out that I didn’t see any stashes of methamphetamine that belonged to him at any point during my viewings of ‘Prometheus’.

But the core of it all is rotten. It is a festering stool wrapped in pretense, packaged competently enough to entertain, just as long as you suppress the impulse to remove the packaging and take a closer look at what it contains.

Ultimately, I just can’t identify the story of ‘Prometheus’. It can’t be a character piece, because our characters act so fucking randomly that they may as well be shit- and blood-filled ping pong balls stuck in a tumble drier. And it’s not about the events of the mission itself, because the collection of scenes on offer match both of the definitions of “Brownian Motion” – random, sporadic impulses and rapid gastric evacuation.

The themes involved are abstracted to the point of disconnection. The ancient Greek tale of Prometheus is the story of a powerful being sharing stolen technology with mortal humans, leading to his unending punishment by the Gods. The closest I can get to that is that ‘Prometheus’ is the story of a powerful director stealing two hours of everybody’s life to ceaselessly punish his mortal audience.

So, on a general, broad level, ‘Prometheus’ fails to be a compelling piece of narrative, but I’m not satisfied to leave it there. No, there are so many specific, critical failings that I’ve barely even scratched the surface. Next up, a look at the characters, starting with King of the Shitheads, Charlie Holloway.

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The lights are on, but nobody gives a shit.

You can find Chapter 2 of this review, a look at Charlie Holloway, here.

A Review of ‘The Counselor’ (2013)

Jesus Bollocking Christ, this is a dull movie. I haven’t been so bored whilst staring at a T.V. screen since I watched that documentary about my own romantic success stories. Somehow, ‘The Counselor’ actually manages to be less eventful and more masturbatory than my love life, and that’s fucking going some.

This is a film about nothing. I mean, stuff happens – there’s at least two beheadings and a woman fucking a car, but none of it actually builds to anything approaching a story. Ridley Scott filmed this two years after he did ‘Prometheus’ and apparently the only thing he he learned in the meantime was that his films really need less coherence and more baffling dialogue.

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Literally the most exciting scene in the entire two hours – mostly because of the possibility of seeing a nipple.

Right from the get-go you can tell something’s up. Michael Fassbender and Penélope Cruz roll around beneath the sheets, spewing dialogue that is meant to be intimate and sexy, and instead makes me feel ashamed for having genitals. Nobody in this film talks like a real person, except maybe Javier Bardem, whose most notable character trait is wearing colourful trousers.

The plot revolves around a sewage truck full of drugs, and its theft. That’s… that’s basically all that happens. Micky Fastlender is somehow involved, having something to do with the original deal, which means that when the truck is stolen, he and every single person he has ever spoken to is apparently to blame.

But the thing is, he doesn’t actually do anything. We never see or understand what his role in this big drug deal is going to be, and consequently all of the action that results seems fairly abstract. The script spares what feels like three hours to allow a character that we meet only once to pretentiously monologue about the philosophy of Mike Fuzzbuffler’s fate, but we never fucking understand what those choices actually are beyond the fact he planned to take part in some kind of drug deal in some capacity that is NEVER FUCKING EXPLAINED.

I understand entirely that this is meant to be a deep, thoughtful, philosophical film, but if that’s the case why do we get a scene of Brad Pitt being slowly killed and decapitated, spurting fountains of blood onto a London pavement? It’s a scene that’s gratuitous in every sense of the word – he just staggers about shouting “Fuck you!” over and over, as his fingers are sliced off and his carotid artery punctures. There’s nothing philosophical or deep about it, it’s just fucking vile.

Or that wonderful, truly insightful scene where Cameron Diaz fucks a car windscreen? With Javier Bardem describing it as “like a catfish on an aquarium wall”? Yeah, that was REALLY fucking deep, I can really see what you were going for there. It was an important scene that definitely needed to be included in the film, much more than any kind of explanation of the story.

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They could have just spent two hours filming that speaker in the middle and saved themselves a lot of money.

In truth, this is a film where just about every scene proves to be redundant, or even indulgent. We see the truck getting stolen, but given that it directly involves precisely no speaking characters – there may have been a line or two, but it was all purely functional – the entire sequence may as well have happened off-screen. We see Javier Bardem chased down by cartel thugs, only for them to accidentally kill him, and then run off.

I’d be more forgiving of ‘The Counselor’ if it didn’t think so highly of itself. It could have been a creative misstep – an attempt at a meditative masterpiece like ‘Unforgiven’ that sadly missed the mark. But it feels much more like the writings of a moody, highly-literate sixteen-year-old who “sees the world the way it really is” and who “like, totally, y’know, gets what’s going on” and who thinks “like, yeah, y’know, she’s fucking the car because it’s, y’know, a metaphor for the thalassocracy.”

It tries to totally blow your mind, man, but instead is mostly empty, shallow drivel, packaged with a top-rated cast and filmed by a director who’s capable of so much more – as we later saw in ‘The Martian’. Indeed, it’s this kind of film that seems to be Ridley Scott’s weak point. When he sticks to focused, tight stories with a simple narrative – and that’s no criticism by any stretch – he can deliver magic. But as soon as he tries to stray into unknown territory, he just seems to lose focus entirely. ‘Gladiator’ was great for so many reasons, but it was at its heart a simple story in which the audience could invest. I wish Mr. Scott would stick to those kinds of narratives.

As a final note, other reviewers seem to have heaped praise on Cameron Diaz for her performance in ‘The Counselor’, and whilst I can’t really argue that she was bad, I’m not quite sure she was that amazing. She did well with an absurd script, but I’m not sure I every fully believed her performance.

Except for the bit where she fucked the car. She really convinced me that Ridley Scott had actually put a scene in his movie where a woman fucks a car. Otherwise, I would never have believed it.

A Review of ‘Robin Hood’ (2010)

Alright, I’m going to try something different. I’m going to do a running review of Ridley Scott’s ‘Robin Hood’ (2015). I remember seeing bits of it a while ago and not being too impressed, but maybe it deserves a little more attention. Got a bottle of wine and everything ready to go – let’s do this.

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Based on this picture alone, I’m expecting this to be a very brown film.

 

00:50 – Nice studio intros. Nice music. ‘Scott Free’ is always nice to see.

01:00 – Standard Olde Worlde text prologue. “The Outlaw takes his place in history.” DRAMATIC.

01:27 – Ooh, the moon!

02:00 – Somebody’s running. In Nottingham, apparently.

02:32 – Since when was Cate Blanchett a brunette?

02:57 – And why does she have a bow?

03:36 – She’s nailing the accent though. I think.

04:10 – More Olde Worlde text titles. Hang on, did they just spoil the plot of the film? Jesus.

05:00 – THERE’S Russell Crowe. He looks old. Wasn’t Robin Hood young? Why is Robin Hood old?

06:58 – Okay, why did that man immediately catch fire? Like, a fire arrow hit him, but he wasn’t all oily. What was it, a napalm arrow? I thought fire arrows were just bits of cloth soaked in a bit of oil. Like, not enough oil to immediately engulf a man in flames. Whatever.

07:20 – So far this castle assault has, like, all the elements of something that’s exciting, but I don’t know any of these characters. If one of them dies, am I meant to care? I don’t think I would care.

08:13 – Okay, I know FOR A FACT that bags of oil wouldn’t explode like that. I mean, not, like, scientific fact, but I’m pretty sure a bag of petrol wouldn’t fucking explode like that, and that’s PETROL. Also, paraffin can’t melt steel gates.

08:44 – Wow, London’s a shithole.

09:56 – Neat, it’s Poe Dameron. Erm, Oscar Isaac. No, wait, it’s fuckin’ Standard! Man, ‘Drive’ was a great movie. I loved the way all the lighting was done, every shot was like a Hopper painting. And the limited dialogue, and oh! The music! Oh, shit, ‘Robin Hood’ is still on.

11:36 – Okay, missed a bit there, but I think Standard Dameron is the king. Or will be the king. Also, his mother doesn’t approve of his girlfriend. But, hang on, his mother’s not Guatemalan, or South American at all, and neither’s King Richard, so why is… Wait, is is he Kind Richard’s son? Shit, film’s still going.

12:34 – King Richard kind of looks like Billy Connolly. Also I think the other dude is Cate Blanchett’s husband. Just about been paying enough attention.

14:39 – I know this is the “Dark Ages” but did they have to have a fight scene in pitch black? If I can’t see Russell Crowe punching people then why am I watching?

17:07 – The King’s done that thing that never actually happens except in movies and plays and reality TV shows and pretended to not be the king so that he could get kicked in the head and then shout at Robin Hood for doing what he was told. OR SOMETHING.

17:29 – Russell Crowe is now in the stocks. Sad times.

18:25 – Oooh, is that Mark Strong? He’s great. He was great in ‘The Guard’ and ‘Kingsman’ and ‘John Carter’ and just fucking every movie he’s in. What’s he doing with this French bloke?

19:31 – Ooooh, treachery. And Mark Strong being evil again. Standard.

20:45 – FUCK ME the King just got owned by the soup boy. Seems… unlikely. But I guess this is a documentary so what do I know.

21:53 – “The more the merrier.” I get it! Like, the Merry Men, right? Man, this movie is clever.

22:08 – Wow, for an archer, Robin Hood’s got a pretty good handle on regional economics. He must be clever, too.

22:53 – Some kind of ambush in the woods, but I don’t know who’s getting ambushed and I don’t know who’s doing the ambushing. Maybe it’s a bacon tree.

24:52 – Ohhhh, it was Cate Blanchett’s husband getting ambushed. It was so easy to tell because he’s so distinctive-looking and almost 30% of his face was uncovered by his helmet. Otherwise I would’ve been confused and would have needed him to say who he was. Also he had the crown? Like, that was the most urgent thing, not leading England’s army back to England, but getting the Crown back, yeah. Wait, wasn’t he the smart one? Shit, more movie.

25:14 – Robin Hood is apparently also a horse whisperer.

28:27 – That was an awkward death scene. Ol’ Dead Loxley made Robin promise to take his sword back to his father, but it was, like, really forced and conceited? None of the dialogue seemed natural. And then Loxley died literally once the deal was done. I guess the spear in his lung was waiting for the most dramatic point before doing the most damage.

30:26 – Is Robin Hood Irish or something? He kind of sounds Irish sometimes, but then other times he doesn’t sound so Irish. I’m confused.

30:39 – Fuckin’ Robert Baratheon! As a priest, it seems. Mark Addy’s wonderful.

32:05 – Cate Blanchett really knows how to do exposition.

35:26 – What a nice shot of a river. Visually, this film’s pretty good.

37:17 – Ooh, think I just saw William Hurt. Wait, aren’t there any British actors in this thing? ‘Pacific Rim’ was, like, 50% British, and that was the most American film I’ve seen ’cause it had nukes and punching. This film’s set in fucking Britain for Christ’s sakes and they’re all bloody Antipodean or American. God damn it.

40:58 – Poe John II isn’t a very nice king.

46:10 – In the last few minutes, Cate Blanchett has been sexually harassed by the Sheriff of Nottingham (bad guy) and Mark Strong (bad guy) has asked the big French dude from ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (bad guy) to kill Robin Hood and now Robin Hood has just sworn to go see the old Man of Nottingham and it’s all been a bit.. dull. It’s good that the bad guys all make clear how they’re bad guys and not good guys, though. This is a gritty, realistic retelling after all, so you need cartoonish villains so you know who not to root for.

47:10 – Oscar Isaac is a good actor. They’re all good.

51:14 – Now King Not The Nicest is being more less-nice. Apparently he’s a bit greedy. Still all a bit slow and dull.

51:33 – Did I take the bins out? Shit, not sure if I took the bins out. Eh, they’ll wait, it’s cold and wet outside.

53:30 – Why does Friar Tuck not think they’ve heard of mead? Hasn’t mead been around since, like… 2800-1800 BC? Man, I love Wikipedia. Also, those blokes would totally of heard of “what we call ‘Mead’.” What a plonker.

53:48 – Music’s quite nice.

54:05 – Yeah Robin, check out that fine Cate Blanchett arse. You can definitely appreciate it underneath that heavy woolen gown, and it is definitely distinguishable from many other things, like, say, a bag of clothes, or a sack of rocks, or my own arse in a heavy woolen gown.

54:45 – Why did the camera suddenly zoom in on her face like that? Like, we know that she’s finding out about her dead husband, we’ve been watching the movie, and we could already see her face clearly. That was weird.

56:51 – Is that Max von Sydow? I preferred BRIAN BLESSED.

58:29 – Okay, I hate to seem like some popcorn-munching mouth-breather in need of instant gratification, but it’s been almost twenty minutes since the last plot development. Can we have some pacing, at least, in this film? Like, even just a bit? We’re close to an hour in and all that’s really happened to our protagonist is that he’s escaped the army and picked up a sword.

58:45 – By this point in ‘Gladiator’ there’d been a lot more killing.

59:40 – Apparently Robin needs help with his armour but this is so transparently just and excuse to force some chemistry between the characters.

1:00:10 – He’s in good shape, mind.

1:02:58 – Okay, so Old Loxley wants Robin to pose as his dead son so the tax man won’t take away their home. Didn’t ‘Frasier’ have an episode with this exact plot?

1:06:28 – Much like Robin, I would love to be sat watching an open fire right now. It would probably have a deeper plot than this. Certainly more warmth. Aren’t Robin Hood stories meant to be exciting?

1:07:16 – These two have the same chemistry as Indie and that woman in ‘Temple of Doom’. By which I mean, they’re doing their best but nobody’s convinced.

1:10:51 – Robin is also a philosopher, apparently.

1:13:57 – Over half way in, we’ve just had Robin’s first instance of “Hoodliness” – he promised not to snitch on Mark Addy’s bees if… wait, if Mark Addy steals the grain? Basically, they’re stealing grain. Well, talking about stealing grain. Riveting.

1:15:55 – Okay, they nicked the grain. Pitch black, took ten seconds, two people got bonked on the head.

1:16:18 – Jesus, did Ridley Scott forget to pay his electricity bill or something?

1:18:15 – Apparently the Big French Dude From ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ just flat-out ignored Mark Strong, because he’s sat right there next to him, patently NOT killing Robin Hood. Or even trying. Villainous.

1:19:04 – Don’t got a battering ram? Two horses will break solid oak gates, apparently. If only I’d known that in all those games of ‘Medieval: Total War’.

1:33:16 – Wait, so, Robin’s dad was some great stone-mason-philosopher, and Old Loxley know all of this, and it just so happened that Robin was the one to escape Richard’s army, happen upon Young Loxley during the exact two minutes he was dying (in the middle of some French woods), happen to be the one Young Loxley asked to return his sword, managed to not die through any of this, now to be told his father’s history by the one man old enough to remember? Like, does that not seem like, y’know, A BIT OF A COINCIDENCE? Fuck, George fucking Lucas would be rolling his eyes at that one.

1:38:04 – That’s right, Robin, use the family heirloom that’s the cause of THE ENTIRE STORY as a hammer/crowbar. Probably fine. Don’t bother with the enormous fucking lump-axe your buddy’s holding. Just use a sword blade to lever up a masonry flag. Fucking pleb.

1:47:56 – Alright, did you really have to make the French guy a rapist? Like, he’s robbing people, killing civilians, his troops are burning people alive, does he also have to attempt to rape Cate Blanchett? I mean, they couldn’t show him actually raping her, that would be insensitive, but threatening her with it, that’s fine I guess. I mean, as a woman, I suppose it’s not enough to threaten her with death, like a man, since only men need to worry about death in films, and women only need to worry about getting raped. That’s how it works. Also, a villain isn’t a real villain unless they’ve doing the most villainous thing they can possibly be doing at every possible moment, which means if there’s men around, they must be killing those men, and if there’s women, they must obviously be attempting to (but not actually, because of sensitivity) raping them, and if they have a moustache, they must be twirling it, whilst wearing clothes made of puppy fur and talking at the theatre. Otherwise, there’s no way to be sure that they’re really villains.

Fuck this movie.

1:50:11 – Ooh, ooh, now Robin’s an expert cavalryman, capable of out-jousting men-at-arms! Wow, the archer-training program is pretty fucking comprehensive.

1:52:44 – Now they’re burning Old Loxley (he died, by the way), and for some reason it occurs to me that the only “Hoodly” things we’ve seen Robin “Hood” do this entire film is pinch some grain and carry out some really fucking minor-level vandalism.

1:53:25 – He’s got a really modern haircut, too. This annoys me, because I got a haircut today and she made my fringe look medieval.

1:53:53 – Why does he love her? They’ve had about four conversations, now they’re in love? Well, I suppose it wouldn’t do TO KISS SOMEONE WITHOUT BEING IN LOVE WITH THEM, WOULD IT?? FUCK ME.

1:58:18 – Why are the French charging out of their totally-non-anachronistic landing craft like this is Omaha fucking Beach? They’re just landing an army, not carrying out a beach assault. They thought they were landing in secret, too. There isn’t even an English army there yet! WHY ARE THEY ALL SHOUTING AND RAISING THEIR WEAPONS? AREN’T THEY MORE WORRIED ABOUT DROWNING? WHAT’S WRONG WITH THEM?!?!?

1:58:57 – That boat flipped upside down, but, like, it’s not in the water, it’s hanging above the water, like it’s a rushed special effect or something. I mean, couldn’t you just capsize a boat? Why is the boat now hovering above the water? Oh, wait, I paused the movie. Still, though.

2:01:04 – No. No, I refuse to accept that Marion is somehow now a cavalywoman. She explicitly stated that she was a… I dunno, a minor noble widow’s daughter, or something, and since then has been farming. Modern-day women can do anything men can do, sure, but Medieval England, someone who is essentially a farmer’s wife is NOT going to be leading a cavalry unit into battle, that’s horseshit. It’s bad enough Robin doing it, but at least you can pretend he MIGHT have had some fucking experience in all the fucking wars he’s been in, but Marion has been fucking FARMING for the last TEN YEARS, HOW IS SHE SUPPOSED TO HAVE THE EXPERTISE TO RIDE A WARHORSE INTO BATTLE, IT’S NOT LIKE PLOUGHING A FIELD MARION, YOU MAD WOMAN, JESUS JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT. Ooh, that’s a “Robin” reference!

2:02:15 – THE TWELVE-YEAR-OLD ORPHAN PEASANTS ARE NOW TRAINED RIDERS TOO. JESUS. JESUS FUCK. FUCK ME. NO. NO. THIS IS, and I hate this word, BUT THIS IS RETARDED. FUCK. DO YOU KNOW HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO TRAIN TO RIDE A HORSE? AND THEN TO RIDE A HORSE INTO NOISY, CHAOTIC, TERRIFYING BATTLE? PRETTY FUCKING DIFFICULT, YOU STUPID CUNTS.

2:02:35 – The English didn’t have mounted archers. That wasn’t a thing. Unless it was. Was that a thing?

2:02:57 – Now the anonymous, unarmoured twelve-year-old who grew up in the woods is taking on two or three trained, armoured French soldiers at a time. This isn’t fucking ‘Bugsy Malone’, what the shit?

2:03:39 – Okay, fine, Cate Blanchett looks pretty badass in the armour. But it’s still stupid.

2:05:40 – After a moronic fight against Mark Strong, Robin just shot him. With a bow that he found floating in the water. Pretty sure trying to take a long-range shot with a soaking wet bow is a considered a poor tactical choice.

2:06:15 – Yeah, don’t worry about the battle, Robin, just keep snogging. You prick.

2:09:10 – Shit King IV just said he’s making Robin Hood an outlaw. Literally based on the last 20 seconds of the last scene where apparently the army were all cheering Robin for no particular reason. So now Robin Hood is an outlaw for no real reason. Wow. That’s satisfying.

2:09:26 – Here’s the sheriff again. What a cock.

2:09:47 – Yeah, he’s a cock.

2:11:34 – “And so the legend begins.” Wait, this was a fuckig ORIGIN STORY??? WHAT THE SHIT? THIS WHOLE THING JUST SO’S HE CAN BE CALLED “ROBIN OF THE HOOD” AT THE END? WHAT THE HELL. THAT’S SO STUPID. FUCK.

2:14:10 – What’s with all this stupid cartoon shit? I mean, it’s more exciting than the rest of the movie, but what the hell is it about? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.


 

This movie was boring and stupid. It replaces fun with “grittyness” and ends up being miserable, makes no sense, relies on huge coincidences to advance the plot and pretends it’s all historical and stuff but is about as historical as fucking ‘Back to the Future 3’.

What the fucking hell, Ridley Scott, what the fucking hell.

 

A Review of the movie ‘The Martian’ (2015)

‘The Martian’ is lovely. It’s warm and comforting and funny. It’s Ridley Scott doing Space again, but instead of messing it up with rampant philosophy and the Monster Mash, he strays away from the pitfalls of ‘Prometheus’ and keeps everything focused around the humanity of the characters involved.

The book upon which the film is based, by Andy Weir, is sublime. It covers the intricacies of spaceflight in sumptuous detail, all the things that can go wrong in a tiny pressure vessel millions of miles from home. Of course, the film can’t afford the same level of scientific insight in a manageable run-time, but it more than makes up for it in in other ways.

Okay, this is starting to look like an actual review rather than my usual inane ramblings, so let’s get back to our regular transmission.

‘The Martian’ makes ‘Gravity’ look like a dildo. Where ‘Gravity’ drains four D-cells in an attempt to vibrate you to satisfaction as reliably as possible, ‘The Martian’ offers the benefits of a sensitive and considerate lover that tends to your needs and actually maintains eye contact for most of it.

Indeed, ‘The Martian’ only ramps up the tension and the drama right at the point of climax. It moves at different speeds to satisfy its audience, rather than the “On/Off, all-or-nothing” approach of ‘Gravity’. ‘The Martian’ understands that you need laughter as well as stimulation; it understands that pounding the G-Spot like a Rousey Cannonade is just a part of the overall process.

Matt-Damon-Jessica-Chastain-Sebastian-Stan-Aksel-Hennie-in-The-Martian
Just a few of the awesome cast of ‘The Martian’. Notice how it’s only the guy on the right who even resembles a marital aide. And even HE gets a better character arc than anyone in ‘Prometheus’.

This even applies to the cast; Bullock and Clooney are there just to stimulate the right areas, appendages extending the film’s main oscillatory function. But Damon and Chastain, Daniels and Wiig, Ejiofor and Bean all bring their own charm to the affair, their own interest; they’re the wandering lips and searching hands that remind you that this is the real thing. Even Donald Glover’s minor role is perfectly realised by the young actor; he’s sadly outclassed by more experienced colleagues, but even though it’s not exactly what gets you going you still appreciate the film’s openness to experimentation.

Oh yes, ‘The Martian’ will try Butt Stuff.

And, whereas ‘Gravity’ finishes on the oh-so-subtle imagery of its protagonist swimming upwards into the light (METHAPHORICAL), ‘The Martian’ offers you a quick but fulfilling epilogue to each of its characters. In essence, ‘The Martian’ helps you clean up afterwards, where ‘Gravity’ just gets a quick wipe before going back in the drawer.

Comparing these two films is arguably unfair; you ought to know with ‘Gravity’ that you’re just going in for a session of instant gratification; it’s a simulation of the best bits of the real thing, but it’s never going to be as satisfying. No, ‘The Martian’ has much more in common with the genre-defining ‘Apollo 13’.

Indeed, you could well view ‘The Martian’ as the modern-day successor to Ron Howard’s 1995 tour de force. It takes full advantage of contemporary special effects and uses them to tell an amazing story that actually leaves you feeling inspired and hopeful, and it has so much scientific authenticity that if feels like it’s based on a historical event.

‘The Martian’ is invested in the story it tells, and its authenticity extends to its characters, the stories that they each will tell once it’s all over. In a short space of time it presents a different perspective for each of them, but flawlessly ties them all together about the fate of the eponymous hero. Each person there has a different reason for caring about the same thing, and with some deliciously clever acting and a few light directorial touches, it explores each character exactly as much as it needs to. By the end I felt like I knew even minor characters, like the low-ranking satellite operator, better than I did the main protagonists of much more extravagant movies. Like fucking ‘Gravity’.

I just hope Scott takes his successes here and applies them to his inevitable ‘Prometheus’ sequels. If there’s one fucking thing those movies will need, it’s some sensible characterisation.