Prometheus (2012) dir: Ridley Scott

(Alien + Aliens) – (Alien3RC – Alien4 – AvP – AvPR) = – Prometheus

That’s really all I can say…

John Carter (2012) dir: Andrew Stanton

Well I liked it – not great but not bad, could have benefited from being a bit longer with more character detail.

Should have kept the original title: ‘Princess of Mars’.

Never Let Me Go (2010) dir: Mark Romanek

Haven’t had much of a chance to see many movies recently, and this definitley wasn’t on my list, so it hadn’t registered with me, especially as it looked like a dull kitchen sink drama from Britain’s Film Four with Kiera Knightley.

Then I heard it was a genre film.

OK. That piqued my interest.

And it was written by Danny Boyle scribe Alex Garland.

Uh oh. A fine writer who showed his lack of sci-fi film knowledge and totally wrecked Sunshine.

The story is set in an alternative Britain and centres on the relationship of three friends over 20 years, starting at school. The children have no parents and are told that they are special. Their health is monitored and they are encouraged to paint and to learn a little about the wider world, though they are conditioned to never want to leave their surroundings and not to question what is happening to them and the purpose of their short lives.

At the heart is a love story, and the three grown up children are played by Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and the fantastic Andrew Garfield, who I’ve been a huge fan of since ‘Boy A’ – which you must check out if you can find it – he’s going to make a superb Peter Parker/Spiderman. The sci-fi trappings of the film are very low key but as the story progressed there was a real sense of loss and pain, which I was quite surprised by. And even though I had trouble with the characters simple acceptance of what they were to become, it kind of made the whole thing even more poigniant.

Incredibly sad but brave as well.

Avatar 3D dir: James Cameron (2009)

I’m going to be brief as this film will be everywhere.

My expectations were very high for this movie – it is after all from the man who has made some of my all time top films, Terminator 2, The Abyss, Aliens. In fact, in my opinion he hasn’t made a bad movie, and yes I did like Titanic. I went to a James Cameron interview about 6 years ago and he was talking about Avator then, apparently he mentioned it to Sigourney Weaver when they were doing Aliens – so he’s been gestating this baby for a long time. So what can I say?

Pretty bloody awesome. The film is often beautiful to watch, and thankfully avoids the usual Hollywood trip up; mixing astonishing visual fx and characters. The Na’vi are 100% believable and Pandora, the world that they inhabit, is astonishingly created.

A couple of things annoyed. I wasn’t bowled over by the 3D, I’m astigmatic so often the image was partly out of focus for me. Sam Worthington’s voice over, urgh, and James Cameron’s occasional squirm inducing dialogue. Pay a writer to tweak your dialogue James goddamnit!

However, I’d be more than delighted to see this again in 2D in a couple of weeks. James Cameron has raised the bar for blockbuster extravaganza to a new level once more. And the film is partly financed by the Brits. Hurrah!

Carriers (2009) dir: Àlex & David Pastor

I have to admit that I have a bit of a penchant towards end of the world type movies – and there have been some particularly good ones over the last few years such as ‘Right at your door’ (2006). I tend to prefer those based in reality rather than say zombie flix, maybe because part of me is secretly going ‘what would I do if it was me in this position? Perhaps I can learn something here for when civilization does collapse and maybe survive!’

There was definitely some of this going on as I was watching ‘Carriers’. It opens with 4 friends mucking about on a road trip in a stolen car. Within moments we discover that they are survivors of a viral pandemic that has wiped out almost everybody. They live by a certain set of rules, one of which is that if someone is infected you leave them because they are as good as dead. Of course it all goes horribly wrong. If it’s you who gets infected – screw the rules! But I felt that it was all played out pretty truthfully, any person they came across was terrified of these four characters and vice versa. Who is infected and who is not? You can’t immediately tell and so fear leads to ‘ordinary’ people killing each other – dwindling the tiny human population further. The whole story was convincingly and economically told by writer/directors Àlex and David Pastor with good performances all round (I thought Christopher Meloni whom I hadn’t seen before was particularly good – he reminded me of Mark Strong).

Even with a pre James Tiberius Kirk Chris Pine the film criminally only took about $100K in the US and disappeared without a trace. Track it down!

Moon (2009) dir: Duncan Jones

This film has been on my list to see for a while so when I suddenly had the opportunity to see it I was there!

Directed and co-written by Duncan Jones (with Nathan Parker), a philosopher whose graduation thesis was titled ‘How to Kill Your Computer Friend: An Investigation of the Mind/Body Problem and How It Relates to the Hypothetical Creation of a Thinking Machine’ – I knew this was going to be an intriguing story.

And I love sci-fi.

Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a man who works for a large mining corporation, and with the breakdown of his marriage has decided to take a 3 year contract – an assignment to live and work alone on the Moon supervising an automated mining operation. As his time there comes to an end he begins to have some very unusual experiences.

I really liked the film alot, aspects of it reminded me a little of Doug Trumball’s ‘Silent Running’ (1972) – (that’s a great film check it out on DVD!) – and it’s good to see a British sci-fi movie for a change – it has an intelligent story and some great production values, the moonbase is interestingly designed and the sfx are generally good. Kevin Spacey voices the HAL like AI and Sam Rockwell does a great job as the whole film revolves around him (sorry but I can’t say how without ruining the story for you – avoid reviews before seeing the film – they’re bound to shove in some plot spoilers).

If you’re a huge sci-fi fan then the plot won’t be a complete surprise to you but you’ll still care enough to want to find out what happens and how it’ll end. If you’re not into sci-fi, don’t be put off, the human aspect of the story will carry you through.