Sci-fi, 118 Minutes, 2012:
Whenever a new property based on Philip K Dick’s work comes along there’s a few minutes where I’m unabashedly hopeful that this time – just this once – maybe they’ll actually do the story in the book. I’m always disappointed on that score. Even when we end up with an excellent movie it’s always, essentially, an original story. This is always a bad thing – these movies still tend to be pretty good – but it’s still disappointing.
This one is no different. It pulls a little from the book, more from the original movie but mostly fills things in with a whole lot of whatever-the-hell-we-want and a healthy helping of whatever-the-hell-we-think-will-sell. For example the script ensures, beyond reason, that either Kate Beckinsale [IMDB] or Jessica Biel [IMDB] is on screen nearly the whole time.
Most of the trappings teeter from just silly to plain insulting. Like a lot of sci-fi, the movie sets itself in the near future to make it emotionally more accessible: the year 2084 to be exact. The problem is that the movie also informs us that in those short 72 years nearly the entire world (with the exception of Great Britain and Australia) has been made uninhabitable via world war but that we also had massive, insane technological advancements. The cities are built vertically to an insane degree, magnetic levitating cars are the norm and, somehow, they built a giant tunnel through the Earth allowing people to travel from Sydney to London in 17 minutes flat.
In short, this is one of the most totally dumb-ass movies that I’ve seen in a long time. Granting that (and really, there’s no way of around granting that)… it was still pretty fun. As ridiculous as the architecture looks it still looks amazing. As moronic as the planet tunnel is, it’s still a great set piece. As torturously as the script twists Beckinsale and Biel are still really hot. Although thinking for a moment that anybody would build a city like the ones in the movie is impossible, watching our heroes being chased through them is awesome. The movie destroys common sense to create some of the most exhilarating multi-dimensional chase sequences ever put to film.
So yeah, it’s dumb. Really, really dumb. But it was also just awesome enough to make the stupid (and, to repeat, there was a lot of stupid) fade back enough to make it enjoyable as hell. So do what you have you have to do to unplug your brain – maybe bash your head on the counter or something – and sit back and enjoy the ride.