Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary
You see, the thing is, though I love action movies, I tend to hate the whole dystopia style. I figure that I watch movies for fun, and a terrifying future really doesn`t seem all that cheerful. I`m not the kind of gal that needs that cathartic release- it actually tends to bum me out when I watch depressing things. Seems like a no brainer, but these stories wouldn`t be so popular if there weren`t a lot of people running around that say these stories are more thought provoking than depressing. To each their own, but I guess I have too solid a case of an overactive imagination to generally enjoy that kind of thing. I mean, I could be the best dystopia author on Earth if I didn`t find writing that kind of story dreadfully draining.
But this one was a little different. It was yet another predictable story about an future world that has some bad guys trying to destroy it all and some good guys trying to make everything better, but I thought that there were one or two plot twists that kept it from being boring.
And really, sometimes it is nice to watch a story of the underdog winning saving the day, no matter how predictable that may be!
Beyond the genre, though, this movie had some key points. There were two plot twists that genuinely surprised me, and the rest was rather obvious from the beginning. The movie was a little slow in starting up, but I think that ends up setting up the right tone for the story. Overall, though, there wasn`t much depth or exploration once the plot twists were discovered, and the mystery we had for the whole first half of the movie was clumsily revealed and brushed away. Sure, there was a little drama connected to it, but the poor delivery of the reveal almost robbed the next scene of its amazement.
I have to say, the acting was a little impressive. Not that it was spectacular for actors in general, but it was surprising to see Tom Cruise actually act and not just use his normal personality to deliver predictable lines. A nice surprise, though it`s a little sad that genuine acting would be surprising in an actor. I`d give his performance a C, though it really is an improvement compared to a lot of his other roles.
Andrea Riseborough as the actress that played Victoria had some presence and even managed a bit of character developement, though in general it wasn`t the most memorable performance. I`d give her performance about a B. As a warning to viewers, there is a nude scene where we can see the backside of this actress.
Olga Kurylenko as Julia had even less of a presence, and though she had more material and opportunity to deliver a dazzling performance she still managed to miss the mark. She wasn`t even the best at being believably heartbroken, though she did manage to do it. I“m not saying there should have been hysterics, but something would have been nice. I know that in that scene, I was crying, and I was kind of embarrassed for being more emotional than the actress!
Morgan Freeman did a wonderful job as, well, let`s just say he leads the freedom fighters, which fit in some point in the plot. Not the clearest development of that mysterious and unrevealed by me aspect of the plot, as the whole movie seems to focus more on finding the plot than going really in depth once you discover what it is, but I digress. Freeman did a decent job of delivering his lines and playing his part, but I wasn`t particularly awestruck. I`d give his performance a B-, because it really wasn`t as good as he normally is, though it would be more like a B+ compared to the other actors and actresses in the movie.
I thought that there were a few interesting camera angles in here, but it didn`t really blow me away. There were quite a few shots that looked breathtaking, though. Some scenes involving a waterfall were gorgeous, and some of the deserted remnants of prior civilization (so that`s everything in our world right now) were happily gorgeous. There wasn`t enough there to change the whole viewing experience, but it was quite nice.
I loved the architecture of the movie, though I would never choose a clear bottomed pool for my own home. But it fit with the modernization and rejection of the natural forms of our planet, so it tied into the plot relatively well. Makes me wonder why a tech crew would have such nice digs, but it gave the viewer that sense of being in the future and some of the elements of that futuristic society, so I applaud the set designer. There were two other main dwellings shown in the movie, and I thought that they were pretty well done. A bunker that I can`t tell you much about was desperate looking, just as it should be, with some elements that remind you of a people longing for the Earth they knew and loved before the war, which really established the whole character of that group. The country cabin was rustic and thrown together looking, with enough refined elements (that given the story of how the hut came to be were completely unrealistic, though pretty looking) to make a person think that someone could live there full time.
The music was pretty good, though not spectacular. It didn`t stand out as being gross and it was instrumental (almost a must in most movies, as songs with discernible words tend to distract from the dialogue) so it gets a few points just from that, but it wasn`t so good that I was held in thrall. (Fun history factoid: thrall was the viking word for slave, and is used in English since before the Middle English/ Medieval Period to mean that figuratively.) I`d say that it did bump the overall viewing experience up and helped gloss over some of the less stellar scenes.
I`d give this 3.5 stars out of 5. It wasn`t the best thing I`ve ever seen, but it was fun to watch and it had a few surprises. I think the music and design of the movie helped it a lot more than a celebrity cast, though. Kind of interested to see if the book/s (not sure which) was any better.