Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Film Review: Prey (2022)

Naru is a young Comanche woman who, along with other tribal people, lives in the Northern Great Plains in the early eighteenth century. Seeking recognition amongst men by becoming a hunter, she witnesses a spaceship in the clouds. Later on, some brutal animal killings make her realize that this hunter is enormous in size and not a human but no one believes her until the predator steps into their territory and starts killing her people and animals.

Prey is a prequel to the Predator franchise, a celebrated science fiction horror series that established cult status in the 1980s. After producing four Predator films and multiple crossovers with Alien, an idea was coined to work on the origins of the predator. I find it an interesting idea to develop a predator’s origins to be traced three hundred years back, an idea that is applicable due to its being extraterrestrial specie. Plus the idea of such a specie in the historic setup is pretty fresh.

What makes Prey more remarkable is the technical brilliance maneuvered in a Comanche subtlety. How fascinating it is to watch authentic portrayals of indigenous North Americans! It never looked like Prey fell into stereotypical portrayals degrading the particular communities into something one-dimensional. This was certain because film producer Jhane Myers is a Comanche and belongs to a Blackfoot Confederacy.

How captivating are the camera work and the directional value enhances the slow proceedings without haste with Naru as the central figure struggling to build a repo. Until the predator shows up, the screenplay is well settled and the audience has been made fully excited to make guesses about how on earth is Naru going to fight herself against such a creature.

It is a win-win impetus when the feminine portrayal of struggle and gallantry is well dramatized. Naru is Wonder Woman in the Predator’s world. Her heroism never fades and at no point does the story takes the liberty to drop a foolish act of exaggerating the screenplay for the sake of entertainment.

Prey is dark, plunged into appealing action sequences with the strong support of Dan Trachtenberg‘s direction and the lively appearance of Amber Midthunder who never makes you dull and dizzy in limited plotting. The life of tribespeople is well dramatized and emphasized in their usual routine by the break of the morning. Observe, the first scene and another that occurred in around twenty-eight minutes with Naru waking up and looking at other people leaving for work.

There are pretty few minuses but the one that reflects my dislikeness is not making the whole film in the Comanche language. The realism would have met its utter respect and authenticity if the Comanche people were merely speaking their own language instead of English.

Besides, I feel Prey has done its part and there is no sign of getting disappointed at all. This film has upgraded the cult interest of the global audience for the Predator franchise and holds a lot of promises for Predator’s future prequel films continuity.

RATINGS: 8.6/10

TV Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife is the new HBO romantic miniseries about Henry who has the unusual ability to time travel and meets Clare of different ages. With time, Henry’s tolerance of the power begins to irritate and Clare faces difficulties to manage him.

I neither happened to read Audrey Niffenegger‘s novel nor did I watch Eric Bana/Rachel McAdams starred film with the same title. The popularity of this HBO show was making rounds so I thought to check the trailer and found this strange plot pretty riveting.

A bigger impression about the show is that Steven Moffat has written and created it and one of the best TV directors, David Nutter, has directed all six episodes.

I found the first half compelling but the second half looked off. Perhaps the crafting of the plot was limited enough to stretch and lead it somewhere. Maybe I am wrong to judge that because the novel itself is around 550 pages. But to my thinking capacity, the story was neither progressing nor jumping to a conclusion. Henry kept traveling time and got naked which began to bore me as this plot was not engaging towards opening some other chapters or mysteries.

The nature of this plot is unsurprisingly very sexual and I think HBO was pretty sober for not crossing this line which I feel was important.

The biggest plus of the show is the onscreen chemistry of Theo James as Henry and Rose Leslie as Clare. They were committed to melting our emotions. Their meetings, their fights, and their romantic fluctuations were beautifully picturized. I am not going to declare that the show was disappointing, not at all. It was interesting, the show had its moments where the audience can burn in the sequences like the second episode about the fate of Henry’s mother.

The Time Traveler’s Wife
Theo James, Rose Leslie
Photograph by Macall B. Polay/HBO

Such romantic time-traveling may have its breaking points but I believe Moffat-Nutter could have pressed this art more critically and showed us what else could Henry and Clare have possibly done in that limited space before Henry starts coughing.

Personally, I loved this show but on the scale of judgment, I’ll say the show with this plot could have been a lot better.

Film Review: Dune (2021)

In 10191, the desert planet Arrakis gets colonized when the Emperor assigns the ruler of the ocean planet Caladan, Duke Leto of Atreides to rule Arrakis. As Leto wishes his son Paul to succeed him, their rivals Harkonnens return to claim the land.

Dune is Frank Herbert‘s gift to the sci-fi readers in the literary history that was published more than 50 years ago. It was adapted more than once with time. But Denis Villeneuve‘s one is the highly awaited film with a budget of $165m as a lot of expectations from the sci-fi can be built thanks to a friendly heavy-productional budget that can justify the demands of the true sci-fi content now.

Although this is the first part and we wait for the announcement of its sequel, the 156-minute film held a strong promise to keep its soul pure and close to the book. I haven’t read but in the picture, I must say there was a blend of praiseworthy artistry and sharp criticism at the same time.

Many viewers complained about the film being very slow. It is true but those who have watched Denis Villeneuve’s previous works will understand that it is in his artistry. He keeps the picture slow and grows on the viewers.

I felt that Dune was easily the case of two eggs in the same basket. As much as the first hour maintained the superior quality of sci-fi epic, the second hour visibly began to fade in its pace. As much of the story moved in the first half, the other half took way too many minutes in setting the dust and reaching towards the mark.

The biggest plus of the film is undoubtedly the stunning visuals, the camera work, and the very detailed presentation of the fictional planets. Honestly, the sandworm should not have been revealed in the first trailer. Forget the nomination, the film deserves to win in either VFX or sound recording/mixing. I was expecting a lot from Hans Zimmer but I feel he did just a decent work but not as much worthy as we remember his past scores.

The presence of ensemble casting is another reason for the film’s magnitude of visual presentation. Timothee Chalamet has risen to fame in just four years and at age 25, he is one exceptional talent we will see building his acting career on the advanced level, all depending on the choices he will make while playing his part.

Denis Villeneuve was the right man for this job. If he was not hired, I would have picked Guillermo del Toro for this epic. The wait for the next part begins with the first part’s conclusion. Watching this film is a necessary exercise for the peers and pupils of science fiction.

Ratings: 8/10

Book Review: The Maze Runner (2009)

Although I am not a keen viewer nor do I prefer watching films of the science-fiction genre despite the fact that The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Game of Thrones top the list of my favorite film franchises and TV shows. One day, my brother suggested watching a film of the same genre and that was The Maze Runner which I never heard of before. My only piece of knowledge about the film was that Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who plays Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones, was part of this film. That wasn’t enough but somehow I made up my mind to watch it even without any of its stills or a trailer.

It took some time to understand the happenings inside a dystopian state where all young kids are stuck at someplace in The Maze called The Glade. The Glade has four large walls and each wall has The Door which opens every morning and closes every evening before the dark. To reveal the mystery and dig into the existence of the outside world from those Doors, a few of the captives run and return before evening to collect the info. The runners then reveal that there are many creatures on the path which has appendages such as spikes and shears. Those creatures are called The Grievers.

The last two individuals who arrive at this sorry place are the main characters of the film, Thomas, and Teresa. Together they dig into the mystery of how they ended here and what is the reason behind dropping at this place. Later on, they discover the purpose that all the individuals in The Maze are kept on trials to survive this place.

The fittest will survive and return back to The Creators who sent them on trials in The Maze. The Creators are a group of agents of the organization called WICKED (World In Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department). This organization was formed to find the cure for The Flare, a virus that eats away the brain of humans and turns them into cannibals. The humans who suffer from this disease are called The Cranks.

As a viewer, I found the plot of the film very interesting enough to make my mind to read the book with the same title. And when I read, I found a lot of changes but those changes were made in the film for the dramatic impact which often happens with almost every book-inspired film.

The book, written by James Dashner, obviously is more open to defining the major characters and the places mentioned. What is more of an interest is how the pages are making Thomas build for a certain cause. How he is grabbing the attention of everyone in the book is very natural. Teresa has a more onscreen appearance in the film as compared to the book as she is in a coma for more than half of the reading since her arrival in The Maze. Also, both Thomas and Teresa are telepathic in the book. Why not in the film? Well, I believe it does make sense.

The best thing about reading a novel is that the reader visits the universe of the author whose subconscious mind creates a powerful fictional story. When I was reading, I felt the existence of Thomas passing through The Doors of The Walls and facing The Grievers and that is the beauty of writing a novel that sends the reader to the universe of those pages.

One factor that I certainly liked about James’ creativity of the plot was the brain behind the construction of the maze and the purpose of sending humans. That is very very human and close to reality. James re-wrote the concept of evolution and the theory of survival under his creativity. We all humans are sent to earth for some reason. Our brain doesn’t develop in the earlier phase but with time, it grows and we even memorize some portions of our earliest living phase. And we have to survive. God send us humans on trials, we are put to test. God is The Creator, I am Thomas, the rest are fellow Gladers, my partner in crime is Teresa, my obstacles are The Grievers, and Satan is The Flare. Marvelous job James!