To mark the 40th anniversary of author Thomas Harris’ invention of Hannibal Lecter and the 30th anniversary of “The Silence of the Lambs” – the only horror film to win Best Picture – we’re looking back at the four books and five films of the Hannibal Lecter series over nine Frightening Fridays. Next up is the third film, “Hannibal” (2001):
The Fall TV season gets off to both an early and an inauspicious start with “Raised by Wolves” (HBO Max), which at first blush has the traits director Ridley Scott also brought to his recent films such as “Prometheus” and “The Martian” – more polished than his early work, but still with verve. But the first episode doesn’t build in intrigue or surprises; it stays pat, offering little to admire beyond how it looks. There’s not enough story or character here from the pen of Aaron Guzikowski, who is also the series’ creator. “Raised by Wolves” did not hook me at all.
The story of “The Martian’s” publication is as good as the book itself, maybe even better. Computer programmer and amateur author Andy Weir published it on his website as a serial novel starting in 2009, then as an e-book in 2011, and then – when a traditional publisher saw its success – as a printed novel in 2014. The Ridley Scott-directed film (more on that below) came out one year later.
Blade Runner” (1982, with director Ridley Scott’s “Final Cut” following in 2007) serves as a demarcation of child and adult movie tastes. I grew up a “Star Wars” kid, and as a teenager in the 1990s, a friend helped me catch up on other sci-fi classics via VHS rentals of “Alien,” “Terminator” and “Blade Runner.” Hoping on some level for space battles or at least flying-car chases, “Blade Runner” seemed slow and nonsensical to me.
“Matchstick Men” – Nicolas Cage and Alison Lohman are oddly likable as a father-and-daughter con team. The cleverest plotting of the year plays out atop director Ridley Scott’s soothing, beige backdrop. It’s another entry in the trendy One Last Twist genre, but this one holds up — and gains new meaning — on closer inspection.
– John Hansen, Brainerd Dispatch, Dec. 31, 2003
Director and saga overseer Ridley Scott continues his process of linking “Prometheus” with “Alien” in the second of what’s supposed to be a “Prometheus” quadrilogy, “Alien: Covenant” (now available for rental and streaming). While it’s at times derivative of other films in the series with its plot points and set pieces, it finds a balance between the Big Ideas of “Prometheus” (2012) and the straight-ahead horror of “Alien” (1979). This 11th film in the “Alien/Predator” franchise ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack, but that still makes it better than your average sci-fi film.
It’s really a shame that the novelization has died out. “Prometheus,” which recently hit home video, is begging for a talented sci-fi author to delve deeper into its themes via the written word. In fact, “Prometheus” is by far the most idea-oriented chapter among the 10 films in the “Aliens/Predator” saga. The two other entries that come closest are “Alien Resurrection” (1997) with its exploration of the creation of life (in that case, via cloning and the purposeful use of humans as incubators for xenomorphs), and “Alien vs. Predator” (2004), with its idea that an alien race (in that case, the Predators) has seeded Earth (in that case, with Aliens).
The things that make “Prometheus” cool (A new “Alien” universe movie! And from “Alien” director Ridley Scott, no less!) also cause problems. I’ll go into spoiler-laden specifics later in this post, but suffice it to say that this “Alien” prequel feels a lot like last summer’s “X-Men: First Class.” It’s a slick, well-made piece of science-fiction in a comfortably familiar universe, but it will leave people familiar with the other nine movies in the “Alien/Predator” series to wonder if everything ties together — and then to realize it doesn’t.
Continue reading “‘Prometheus’ undeniably cool, but continuity glitches are annoying (Movie review)”
“Prometheus” isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s pretty darn good, and it certainly has me on an “Alien” Universe kick this summer. So here’s the first of a series looking back at the films in the franchise so far: