Friday, January 13, 2012

Another Earth doesn't work

I was really disappointed in this film, given all the hoopla surrounding it out of Sundance.

It makes the cardinal sin of having not enough story to fill up its length.  So the director has to shoot interminable shots of his leading lady doing nothing and jazzes it up with some admittedly effective music. But it didn't stop me from being bored.

It's a shame actually because the premise, while not original, is intriguing.  Lifted from a great science fiction film called Journey To the Far Side of the Sun, in which an exact duplicate of Earth is discovered orbiting the sun exactly opposite to our Earth, Another Earth takes that premise and plants the new Earth in our orbit.

A lot of critics have rightly pointed out that the film breaks the cardinal rule of science fiction by messing with basic science.  The other Earth in this film appears to have had no effect on our earth's gravity despite getting closer and closer until it's five times the size of the moon by the film's end.  This new planet doesn't appear to affect the tides or much of anything.  Even when contact is established with what appears to be an exact duplicate of a scientist, nothing much seems to matter to people on this planet, particularly the dull and uninteresting lead character, other than entering a contest to be on the first rocket to travel to this other earth.

Meanwhile, the character who killed the other leading character's wife and child while driving drunk the first night the new earth appeared in the sky, attempts to apologize to him after her release from jail, only to lose her nerve and decides to clean his house instead.  Huh?

Eventually, they become lovers.  Huh??

And then she wins the contest and decides that now she can tell him she's his wife and child's killer.  To make up for this, she gives him her ticket so he can go to the planet and perhaps find a duplicate wife and child waiting for him.  Huh???

This almost sounds interesting, except that other than these plot points, NOTHING HAPPENS.  The screenwriters who were also the director and leading lady could use a few basic storytelling for film classes.  Though, given the success of this film for reasons that I don't get, I suspect they will have started believing their own reviews and stand little chance of improving their skill set next time out.  But based on this effort, I won't be lining up any time soon for their next.
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