Filmism.net Dispatch May 5, 2012

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I'm about to commit film fan sacrilege. Twice.

There are two films coming out that the movie world is all a-twitter over which I just can't get excited about no matter how hard I try.

The first is Prometheus. Now, I quite agree both trailers look great, and the original Alien is undoubtedly a modern classic. Plus, Ridley Scott is doing his first outright sci-fi film in nearly thirty years (since 1985 fairytale Legend ), which is definitely cause for celebration after Alien's bold new genre direction (grimy truck drivers in space rather than swashbuckling heroes).

But let's look at his recent output. The 11th hour decision to jettison the Robin Hood script that would have turned the classic legend on its head (making Robin out to be the villain and King John the moral lawman) rendered it another tired, redundant retread.

Body of Lies was nothing more than accomplished. American Gangster was good but didn't befit a man who recast a whole genre. A Good Year should have been released straight to VHS simply so we'd be spared it on DVD too. Kingdom of Heaven was a boring copy of all the battle epics that had preceded it and Matchstick Men was a heist drama, so far outside Scott's comfort zone it was like watching a Jane Austen adaptation by Michael Bay.

Simply put, Ridley Scott just isn't a very good director anymore, and he hasn't been for a long time. Maybe it's more correct to say that while he might have a good eye for what's in the frame (which might be Prometheus' saving grace), he hasn't made a good movie in a long time.

The other film I'm not excited about is Brave. I know not looking forward to a Pixar movie is tantamount to treason, but there are two problems with it. First, look at every other Pixar movie. Even though the detail in the stories and characters is always Pixar's secret sauce, there's hardly been a single premise from the studio you can describe in one sentence and not get excited about.

A rat who wants to be a chef (Ratatouille). Toys who comes alive out of sight of humans (Toy Story). The last robot left on Earth who falls in love (Wall.E). What the monsters who live in your closet do for a living (Monsters, Inc).

But honestly, a headstrong young girl who wants to be a warrior rather than play with dolls? Haven't we seen that in, I don't know... every other movie and TV show ever made in the last four decades? I'm all for women being action characters as much as I'm happy for a woman to be a prime minister or astronaut.

But can-do female heroes who can give the boys a run for their money and have to prove themselves to elders or authority figures in order to achieve what they want have been a fixture in movies for so long surely sound and colour are only a few years older.

Such characters certainly have their place in literature and film. But in a Pixar film, where there's always something unique and distinctive that makes you want to see it, the only USP Brave seems to offer is that the girl has long red hair. Didn't we see hair-as-plot-device in Tangled just last year? And medieval Scotland in How to Train Your Dragon (even though they were supposed to be Vikings)? And archery in The Hunger Games?

It will almost certainly have something extraordinary so I'll definitely see it, but just like The Adventures of Tintin was the Spielberg film I've been least interested in throughout his career, all I muster about Brave is 'meh'.

To make up for the lack of excitement, I was at the world premiere and press conference for The Avengers in Hollywood a few weeks back. You can read the interview here.

To further make up for the lack of excitement, here's the new Dark Knight Rises trailer, which may well give you shivers.

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