…A lot. That’s how much.
Although some of the projects Damon Lindelof has worked on as a writer/creator have often been met with mass frustration (most notably Lost of course), there is no doubt the man has some real talent for producing original and refreshing stories full of suspense, intrigue and mystery.
I’m sure his work on the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness will be top draw, with the film being enhanced substantially by his vision. But on hearing the news that he will have no involvement in the Prometheus sequel, I’ve got to say, I am somewhat relieved.
There is no doubt Prometheus was missing something. It was never going to match the critical success or cult status of Alien, but it was still an underwhelming contribution to both the much obsessed over mythology of the franchise and Ridley Scott’s portfolio.
This is not to say Lindelof was completely to blame for Prometheus’ failings (especially as his final version was a re-write of Jon Spaihts original screenplay), although when a film features actors such as Idris Elba, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender but you still leave the cinema feeling there was a serious lack of character development, some fingers do need to be waved towards the writing department.
Obviously a sci-fi epic aiming for box office glory does need its fair share of explosions, action set-pieces and of course, A-list stars, but this narrative suffered from an overcrowded ship full of characters whose screen time lasted only a few minutes in some cases.
I think Idris Elba’s Janek had the opportunity to mumble a few sentences before meeting his demise. Compare this to any one of the crew in Alien and you realise how integral it is to allow characters the opportunity to grow and evoke empathy in order to build on a films mood, intensity, and ultimately, appeal.
So whether he’s too busy, as he revealed to Collider, or whether mutual decisions have been met for him not to return, the second Prometheus instalment should benefit from a fresh perspective and a reshuffle in the writing department.
If it is a direct continuation on from the first, Prometheus 2 only has two protagonists so far (well, one and a bit really). And if we are going to follow David and Elizabeth Shaw to the Engineers’ home planet, then surely there isn’t too much room for the discovery of more fellow earthlings on this deep space journey?
Creating a story solely based around this duo and their further adventure could make for an interesting scenario, but let’s be honest; there will probably be a whole bunch of other household names squeezed into the mix by the time shooting begins.
No matter how the pre-production does unfold for the Prometheus sequel, let’s just hope that the new writer(s) decide to concentrate more on quality rather than quantity this time.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the man of the moment and his second collaboration with Director Rian Johnson (Brick) will do no harm to his increasing popularity and credibility as one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars.
More commonly found in supporting roles or ensemble pieces, Gordon-Levitt takes centre stage this time around with strong support from Bruce Willis. Looper is set in a future somewhere between the smoggy dystopian cityscape of Blade Runner and the crumbling society of Children of Men, where only rural life seems to offer any respite from our self-destructive societal descent. Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a hit-man (or Looper) whose job is to take out the trash for his employers as they send targets back from his future via time-travelling teleportation.
Films which have ventured into the mind boggling complexities of time travel have often focused too heavily on the science, failing to provide convincing explanations and losing the audiences interest along the way. Part annoyingly, bust mostly to good effect, Johnson and Co. have decided not to concentrate on the why but instead use the most complex of the sci-fi themes as a platform for the characters and their surroundings to flourish and entertain. In fact, within the future Looper portrays, time travel has already been outlawed and is only used on the black market by criminal organisations for the purpose of making unwanted ‘evidence’ dissapear. This evidence comes in the form of ‘bagged and tagged’ live victims who are sent back in time where a Looper is waiting to assassinate and dispose of them. An ingenious method which the Looper’s are all too happy to fulfil, that is until their own future selves start being sent back for them to murder and subsequently ‘close their loop’. As Gordon Levitt’s Joe will tell you, it’s not easy to shoot yourself, especially when your future self is Bruce Willis.
What ensues is a relatively fast-paced and enthralling game of cat and mouse which disappointingly becomes convoluted as you’re never quite sure who the real protagonist is. By the time you have decided who you’re rooting for, the motives of each character become partially questionable. All have their own reasons to survive and win the day, but by the time Emily Blunt’s farm hand Sara and her extra-ordinary son Cid ( Pierce Gagnon) are introduced as major characters, you realise it is probably best not to worry about the why and just enjoy the ride.
Due to the same adventurous direction and daring creativity Johnson displayed in Brick, as well another convincing performance from Gordon-Levitt, Looper delivers just enough thrills to see you through to the end. It may not live long in the memory, but Looper does entertain on most levels and elevates a genre which is all too often exploited for its relaxed fictional boundaries.