Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Earth

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I wonder if my Earth 2 self won the Powerball when I lost it...

Another Earth – 3 out of 5

What would you do if you met yourself? Would you go out to lunch, throw cold tater tots at old people or jerk each other off and spend the rest of the afternoon trying to convince each other that things just didn’t get weird? The concept of somehow meeting ourselves has been a philosophical question and the basis for many alternate reality fictions for many, many years. Another Earth does it too…but in a much more boring, independent film cliché way.

Science doesn't matter...not when you have DRAMA!  Fuck, you can almost hear
the lame indie rock soundtrack.

In the night sky one evening a planet exactly like our own suddenly is discovered and dubbed “Earth 2” by the scientists of the world (hey, they’re brilliant but not good at naming stuff). Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) has a prominent future ahead of her and, on this night, discovers she is accepted into MIT. However, the lure of seeing Earth 2 proves to be too much (a night of drinking helped that decision too) and, while stargazing, ends up crashing her car and killing the family of composer John Burroughs (William Mapother). After spending some time in prison, Rhoda is released into the world and is a shadow of her former self. After spending too much time walking around to moody piano music so director Mike Cahill can litter in occasional mentions of Earth 2 and the theories about the people there, Rhoda eventually seeks out John in order to try and make amends…but ends up cleaning his house and then form a relationship with him (oops). While all this is going on, a contest is created for a voyage to Earth 2 and to meet the counterparts, twins and doppelgangers that reside there. Rhoda ends up winning the contest and has to wrestle with the thoughts of going, giving her ticket to John in hopes that his family may still be alive on the other planet and coming clean with the truth about that infamous night that ruined the lives of both her and John.

Another Earth isn't any excuse for that hair, sista!

I really liked the concept of this film. I like the questions it ask when it concerns the idea that a planet, completely mirrored from our own, suddenly exists and I like potential the drama of John and Rhoda’s story has…however, the end result just didn’t feel like it was living up to its potential and the movie felt like it was relying too much on independent movie clichés and the fact that, if director Mike Cahill makes it LOOK artistic, no one in the film festival circuit will notice that really nothing new is going on here and the one unique aspect of it takes a backseat to drama that has been done and been done better.

I get that Robin Taylor is just a bit part character actor but is he capable of doing a project
with a different hairstyle?

On Earth 2, the movie Another Earth doesn't come off as
so boring and generic.
I can overlook that the film has a small budget and can overlook that both Mapother and Marling aren’t that memorable in their roles but the way the film ignores all the potential in the Big Blue Orb that is now orbiting the OTHER Big Blue Orb, that I can't forgive. The movie offers up a lot of interesting questions about Earth 2—for example, the planet is essentially populated with copies of us and do our timelines follow all of the same events and is it possible for events to suddenly change (Mark on Earth 1 turns right while Mark on Earth 2 gets diarrhea). The movie is even deliciously vague on many points (like where the fuck did this planet come from and why wasn’t the combined gravity just obliterating both of us?) and the movie has a killer ending that raises up some nice questions and possible discussion…

I just wish the rest of the movie could have lived up to these aspects.

Who needs thought-provoking Sci-Fi when you have a dude reading the paper?

I fully realize that this film wasn’t meant to be an epic Sci-Fi tale about a second Earth suddenly appearing and people jumping all over each other to meet their other selves and that the heart of the film was about the connection between two people and how a bond was formed due to a terrible tragedy and that this sudden appearance of a new planet offers a chance to see if their lives could have ended different and if they could do something to right the wrongs. This could have been fine if the film didn’t look and feel exactly like every other fucking independent film festival circuit drama out there. This movie made Earth 2 feel like an afterthought and it really felt like writers Mike Cahill and Brit Marling were more worried about showing scenes of Rhoda (played by Brit, of course) walking around in slow motion with an acoustic rock band music video filter over the shot and an emo piano playing soundtrack. The third time this dynamic came up in a piss poor excuse to create narrative and exposition, I realized that the script was no more than (maybe) ten pages long and the whole excuse of this film was for Brit Marling to wander around looking like she’s auditioning for a Goo Goo Dolls video.

You can almost hear the song "Name" playing...

On Earth 2, Rhoda spends more time sitting around than anything else.


However, the film festival goers, movie critics and dudes who buy AFI books at Barnes and Noble eat that shit up and think they are watching amazing insights into the human condition and ignore the fact that they seen this movie a million times over and the only thing that makes this different from the “I’m sad because of feelings” story is that this one has another Earth…and that Earth is nothing more than a plot device and a mask to hide the fact this film is pretty generic.

"If we put me in the film, we can save on money and show a lot of me walking around!"

I know I sound really harsh and mean but that’s really all I saw in this film. I liked the concept and liked where it, occasionally, feels like it’s going but, other than Earth 2, there’s nothing original or unique going on in the film. Marling’s acting isn’t anything special and I’ve seen Mapother better in other works so, other than bringing up a couple of good discussion questions and having a great ending, Another Earth doesn’t offer up much that made it stand out to me.

Sure it's about a mirror planet but let's focus on the walking!

Yes!  More walking!

Put her in a dress and let her...WALK!!!

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