Posts Tagged ‘Dark City’

I, Frankenstein – We, Bored

Posted 20 Oct 2014 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

I, Frankenstein, Australia / USA, 2014

Directed by Stuart Beattie

I, Frankenstein is a film that focuses to the point of obsession on every MacGuffin it can find, and it expects the audience to give a shit. The longer you watch I, Frankenstein, the harder it is to believe that it is an actual theatrical feature and not just a bad TV movie made for the Syfy channel. Despite big-name, reliably good actors like Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy and Miranda Otto, and special effects that, at their best, at least look like a really good video game, the entire project is bogged down by the bizarre combination of extreme silliness and relentless self-seriousness. Somehow, in making a movie in which Frankenstein’s monster (Eckhart) is reimagined as a modern-day superhero fighting against a legion of demons that want the secret to his immortality, no one managed to have any fun. The audience (such as it has been) is certainly no exception.  Read More

Hollywood Repeats Itself – Dark City & The Matrix

Posted 27 May 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Dark City, Australia / USA, 1998

Directed by Alex Proyas

The Matrix, USA / Australia, 1999

Written and Directed by The Wachowski Brothers

Dark City is a stunning visual feast, and a fascinating exploration of the nature of reality.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. A cliché, admittedly, but the truth of the aphorism cannot be denied. In the two films we are about to examine, humanity teeters on the brink of disaster in two seemingly disparate space-time continua. The similarities between these two films, however, vastly outweigh the differences. In Alex Proyas’s Dark City (1998), we are presented with a haunting vision of a seemingly familiar world that has actually been fabricated by a group of inhuman creatures that prey on human memories. Sound familiar? It should. One of the most popular films of 1999, Larry and Andy Wachowski’s The Matrix, has a very similar premise, and the similarities extend to specific characters and plot points.

There are differences, of course; mostly financial ones. The Matrix is less opaque, more readily accessible to masses of moviegoers. Its slick, computer-generated special effects are more pleasant to view – if somewhat less visceral – than Dark City‘s gritty, film noir atmosphere of doom and entrapment. Likewise, Matrix‘s villains are ostensibly less sinister (at least, in their guise as government agents) than City‘s bald, pale, trenchcoat-clad “Strangers.” Beneath the disguises, though (the Strangers use human corpses as vessels), the true villains in both films are pretty much the same: slimy, tentacled alien monsters that die when their vessels are destroyed.  Read More