So remember that time when I said I would catch up with the Weekly Updates? Yeah... that didn’t really work out so well, huh? I’m not making any promises this time around, but I’ll try to get this feature back on its feet as soon as possible. That said, let’s get down to business.
Red Planet (2000) - 5/10
I remember seeing Red Planet quite a few years ago, at a point in time when I had a small thing for science fiction films going, specifically those that took place in outer space. I could only vaguely recall bits and moments from Red Planet, though, so when I stumbled upon it recently I decided to give it another go to refresh my memory. While I do remember being fairly fascinated with the movie back in the day, seeing it for the second time around made me realise that it’s not a very good film. It still managed to evoke a somewhat commendable sci-fi atmosphere, and I believe it nailed the feeling of being alone in space rather well, but as far as storyline and plot progression go, Red Planet falls in the run-of-the-mill category of this type of genre films. I didn’t have any problems with the cast of the film, though no noteworthy performances were to be had here; Carrie-Anne Moss stood out in a couple of scenes, but that’s about it. Red Planet is ultimately a forgettable (and therefore skippable) experience which brings nothing new to the table, but for those who indulge in outer space films of this type, I’d say it’s still worth a look. Also, I recommend checking out Sunshine, the Danny Boyle directed sci-fi thriller, which shares a similar tone to Red Planet.
Super 8 (2011) - 7/10
From the mysterious first news of its production to the secretive marketing surrounding it, it’s safe to say that Super 8 was one of my most anticipated films of the year, and I found myself eagerly awaiting its arrival to a theatre near me so that I may satisfy my curiosity. When I finally got the chance to check it out, I was already aware of what most critics were saying about it – it was good, and it was, more than anything, a tribute to Spielberg’s classic adventure kid films. After seeing it, I mostly agreed with the consensus, and I found it to be an uplifting and greatly satisfying experience; and yet I couldn’t help but meditate over all its flaws, because even though J.J. Abrams really nailed the 80s feel and the Spielbergian tone, there was something about the movie which made me refuse to rank it among the films it so dearly paid tribute to. Don’t get me wrong, Super 8 is a great film, and I highly recommend it to absolutely anyone in the mood for some good times at the movies – it’s brilliantly filmed, very well directed, and for the most part, very well acted as well (kudos to the kid actors, they were really impressive) – but Abrams also injected a bit too much of what plagues modern day cinema of this type: too much CGI for the monster, not enough emotional impact so as to provide a driving force so desperately needed in the final act, and all in all, unlike in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (to make an apt comparison), not enough sympathy – if any – is felt for the alien outsider in the film to make us cheer when things work out in the end. But I’m beginning to ramble, so if you’re looking for a more detailed perspective on Super 8, I suggest you check out my review of it from a couple of months back.