Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 181: Equilibrium (2002) - Rank 3/5


i love it when the tagline for a film succeed in nothing more than slamming another movie. The tagline for "Equilibrium" reads: "Forget 'The Matrix!'" Indeed, forget "The Matrix" so you won't notice the uncanny resemblance this film bears to the Wachowski brothers project. You'll find the stylized gun fights unique and the sleek "future" clothes trendy. I find it odd that science fiction films went through a period where clothing and fashion were one of the primary focuses. It reached its apex with the teaser posters for the lackluster "The Matrix Reloaded."


As a result, writing took back seat to style. Pity. "Equilibrium" could have been a stand-out movie, but it never rises above midgrade fare. The problem is the plot is all too familiar: in a utopian/dystopian future, mankind lives out his life on mood-altering pills in an emotion-free environment. One character stops taking his meds, experiences merriment when he weeps like a woman and spends the rest of the film on the run from the merciless police that are ruled by a giant face on a television screen. It's been done from "THX-1138" to "V for Vendetta" and I suppose producers in the genre praise George Orwell for creating "1984" so they could churn out one permutation of the work after the next every decade. "The Matrix" had hints of this, but for the better part, was original, which sets it above this contender (though "The Matrix" does borrow its basic premise from Olaf Stapledon's "The Starmaker").

The movie is cool from the point of view of a young guy's id, but only "cool" for its "gun fu" - a form of martial arts with weapons. However, it simply feels like the next, natural extension of the action scenes from "The Matrix" - blend the gunfights and the martial arts sequences into one. Christian Bale seems to be channeling Keanu Reeves for his role, and that's not a good thing. Combine all that with the fact that the only dame worth a look is Emma Watson (and she's no Carrie-Anne Moss, I assure you) and you've got a film that's ready for it's big premiere...on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Watch the Trailer

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