Any Equilibrium reviews?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Blu, May 17, 2003.

  1. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    This looked like a good movie, anyone know if the DVD is a good transfer?
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    There's one on DVDFIle by someone who really hated the movie. Don't listen to them

    The transfer is good yes, 2 commentary tracks and a useless 5-minute EPK
     
  3. Douglas*A*R

    Douglas*A*R Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    I rented it a couple of nights ago. Nice 16:9-enhanced transfer, really stupid movie. Not the worst rental in the world, however, though not as amusing as THE TRANSPORTER, which I also picked up.
     
  5. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I'll cut'n'paste my review from a friend's EZBoard:
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    Dimension Films and Miramax both did something very strange recently. They took two movies that were very promising and getting good initial buzz and they essentially shelved them. The movies in question are BELOW (which I've previously reviewed) and Kurt Wimmer's EQUILIBRIUM. After seeing both movies, I can't help but wonder what in the hell they were thinking.

    In EQUILIBRIUM, war is eliminated after World War III by medicating everyone regularly with Prozium, a drug that restrains emotions. To combat those who continue to feel ("sense offenders") and destroy anything that might cause emotions (art, books, etc.), the government forms the Grammaton Clerics, an elite division of police who use Gun-Kata -- a form of martial arts in which the gun is an extension of the hand and the mathematical probabilities of what actions will be successful are taken into account. Christian Bale (American Psycho) plays the Clerics' top officer who misses a dose of Prozium and begins to feel again. Also stars Sean Bean (Lord Of The Rings, Goldeneye), Angus McFadyen (Braveheart), Taye Diggs (Chicago) and Emily Watson (Red Dragon).

    Though the movie was shot on an astoundingly low budget for a science fiction film, you can't tell. Every penny is on screen, creating one of the most realistic and enveloping worlds since Blade Runner. The Gun-Kata battles are executed perfectly, and are some of the most exciting scenes from any movie I've seen this year. Forget bullet-time... I'm talking a real-time ballet of martial-arts inspired violence that will leave you breathless. But what differentiates EQUILIBRIUM from every other action film? Three words: plot, drama, performances. Though the concept is similar in theme to past classics such as Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, director/writer Kurt Wimmer gives us a world unique enough to stand on its own. Christian Bale gives the most nuanced performance of his career here as a man struggling with emotions that he has never before been allowed to feel. Without him, the whole shebang might have fallen into B-movie territory. Thankfully, his performance and those of the supporting players are uniformly excellent.

    VIDEO: For a movie shot on a budget, this transfer is rock-solid. Blacks are deep and smooth, grain is apparent but not distracting, and detail is excellent (especially for faces and cloth textures). There were a few minor instances of ringing, but these looked more like MPEG compression artifacts than intentional edge enhancement.

    AUDIO: The surrounds in this Dolby Digital 5.1 track get near-constant usage, either for environmental sound or the ricocheting of gunfire. The most impressive thing about this mix, however, is the LFE. This is one serious subwoofer workout, as both the score and the effects put the low frequency channel to good use. Damn nice!

    EXTRAS: This is where I'm disappointed. All you get is a brief making-of documentary and two commentaries. That being said, Kurt Wimmer is very enthusiastic and genuinely interesting to listen to.

    BOTTOM LINE: If you're a fan of sci-fi and action, this is your movie. Even if you don't get into the plot, the gunfight sequences alone are worth the cost of a rental. My recommendation stands -- BUY IT.
     
  6. Mehdy

    Mehdy Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG] One of the best SUPRISE video's of 2003-didnot catch the theater run,but this movie is great....dont think about it BUY IT[​IMG]
     
  7. TimSniffin

    TimSniffin Stunt Coordinator

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    I've ordered the DVD, so I can't speak for that specifically (I have heard that Wimmer doesn't repeat himself on his two commentary tracks). However, I did see the film in the theater last fall, and really liked it. Here's a review I wrote and posted over at a b-movie message board (some slight spoilers):

    Equilibrium
    Directed by Kurt Wimmer
    Starring Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, Angus MacFadyen, Emily Watson, Sean Pertwee, and Sean Bean

    Some time ago, I came up with what I thought would be the kind of movie I’d like to make if given a chance. After stripping away any kind of after-the-fact pretension, the story was simply an excuse to set up a huge martial arts swordfight at the end. But after letting the idea sit for awhile, I became interested in the rest of it and began playing. Characters that were simply pieces on the chessboard suddenly got personalities and relationships, and those relationships began driving the blood of the story. After a time, the excuse for my climatic indulgence became the whole reason to write it in the first place.

    Which is probably how writer/director Kurt Wimmer came to create Equilibrium.

    World War III has happened, an ultra-serious narrator tells us at the start of film, and to prevent another one from finishing off humanity, the few survivors decided to eradicate from their lives the one thing that drives them toward violence--emotion. Art, music, and anything else that expresses anything but cold logic is outlawed; anyone possessing such an item is treated with extreme prejudice. At announced times, everyone is required to take a shot of the drug Prozium, which hinders emotional tendancies. Again, anyone who doesn’t take their required dosage is subject to arrest and subsequent execution. Thus, a new society is created in the ruins of the old word--Librium, where the Father (Sean Pertwee) speaks to his people constantly through giant television screens as a kind of gentler Big Brother. To enforce their laws, the government trains “Clerics”--a literal one-man army who have slight extra sensory abilities and use a new style of fighting which combines kung fu, modern weaponry, and statistical mathematics. Librium’s police squads are feared, but no one survives an encounter with a Cleric.

    Preston (Christian Bale) is one such Cleric, and a well-respected one. His young son, who turned in Preston’s wife a couple of years ago, is already enrolled in the Monastery (in a nice touch, children training to be Clerics are used on the street to sense emotions in passerbys). With his partner Partridge (Sean Bean) standing by, Preston rushes into a dark room teeming with armed rebels. As the nervous rebels--who can’t see anything--whisper among themselves trying to locate the intruder, Preston suddenly opens fire and annihilates every single one with precision. And when Preston discovers his partner reading a book, he barely hesitates in his duty.

    Barely.

    Preston is quickly assigned his new partner Brandt (Taye Diggs), who at first seems just as cold and ambitious. It quickly becomes obvious, however, that Brandt is more dangerous shadow than compatriot. That night, while getting ready for bed, Preston accidentally breaks his last dosage vial. His son tells him to pick up a new supply at the Equilibrium Building in the morning, and actually tells Brandt to pick his father up there. But when Preston arrives, the building is locked down because of a terrorist threat, and for the first time in his life, the heartless Cleric begins to feel.....

    Anyone who has read Orwell, Bradbury, Vonnegut, or Huxley probably has heard this story before. But they’ve never seen it in a box like this. Although the film’s production design definitely recalls the grimy drabness of Michael Radford’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Wimmer adds his own killer twist --the Clerics. Some people wrote off this movie as nothing more than a Matrix clone, based on their brief glimpse of the fighting in the trailer. Let me say this here and for all time--this is nothing like The Matrix, or any other American movie for that matter. Wimmer comes up with something original, and with help of choreography and editing (but no wire work or special effects), creates some utterly jaw-dropping sequences that had the audience gasping with delight.

    But even an action movie needs a solid story to hang on, or the action becomes nothing more than filler. Fortunately, Wimmer did not park his brain when writing Equilibrium. He freshens up what is a well-worn tale with his Clerics and the contemporary trend of using mood-altering drugs to control certain behavior, and then builds a believable city society where everything is controlled and fraying at the edges all at once. Wimmer’s script is intelligent, even at times when it makes some apparently cheesy choices. One such scene has Preston, already deep into his confused rebellion, unable to allow a puppy executed after he accidentally picks it up (the government doesn’t allow pets, even though the Clerics have no idea why the rebels keep them). In any other movie, the lost puppy routine would come off as completely sentimental and manipulative. But in Equilibrium, it works because the very cliché of the helpless puppy speaks to the base emotions of pity and compassion--the same emotions that Preston is learning about the hard way. Something so blatantly sappy is new for Preston; you can see it in his face when he holds the puppy, and later on in his frustration when he tries to get rid of it. Preston has no idea why he’s risking his life for a stupid animal, but he does it anyway.

    Wimmer spends a lot of time with his lead character, allowing Preston to grow into his emotions and discover what it means to actually feel, rather than have him go off gunning as soon as he’s off the dosage. Without a good actor as his lead, Wimmer’s film has no heart, which would completely wreck a story about the power of emotions. Wimmer must have bribed the casting gods, because Christian Bale literally takes control of his film. Bale’s on the screen for almost the entire time, and as a result, we’re given a complete and captivating performance--a hard thing to accomplish when your character starts out as a cold-hearted killer. Not only does Bale pull off the needed physical aspect of his role with complete believability, but he successfully walks a taunt wire act of a man who must remain in control, but at the same time sees the world through completely different eyes. Much of the character’s story arc must be told in Bale’s face, which sways back and forth between hardness and confusion as Preston struggles not to lose it completely in public. In one scene, the newly awakened Preston discovers a secret hideaway filled with artifacts, including a record of Beethoven. The sound of music for the first time in his entire life nearly breaks the man, and Bale does it completely without dialogue.

    But because of the amount of time spent with Preston, the other characters do suffer a bit. Brandt is a one-note character, and Diggs delivers a one-note performance as a result. Sean Bean is barely around long enough to deliver the film’s best line, much less give his character any more depth than the script gave him. Angus MacFadyen, Emily Watson, and William Fichtner fare better with their supporting roles, however. MacFadyen portrays DuPont, the government liaison to the Clerics, with a nice subtly in a role that could have easily disintegrated into scenery chewing. Watson’s Mary O’Brien isn’t given much to do other than be arrested and make Preston uneasy, but the actress does what she can, and Mary becomes the emotional beacon for the plot. Fichtner, with about as much screentime as Bean, gives his rebel leader an interesting enigmatic aura.

    Wimmer follows up his actors’ performances with a visual style that isn’t flashy, but is almost always seems in motion. Part of the reason is his low budget--he simply does not have the money to create eye candy, so he does it the old fashioned way. He builds tension and sometimes a sense of poetry with camera movement, but never at the expense of his characters or story. Wimmer also makes the decision to keep most of the obvious special effects to serviceable matte paintings and CGI background shots, and the result is a stripped down science fiction film that harkens back to the visual style of the 1970s dark future movies.

    The film is not perfect, mind you, not by any means. The conclusion falls a little flat after a huge climax (although the final shot is neat), and sometimes the film’s tone is too serious for its own good. There is a brief scene or two that is hurt by a poor choice of dialogue or direction. Rebels and police have a tendency to jump into the line of fire. And Wimmer’s small budget peeks through his mostly fluid direction sometimes--like the motorcycle helmets worn by the police squads and the executioner’s outfit that looks like it escaped from Flash Gordon.

    But the faults are forgivable, because in the end, Equilibrium is a true B-movie in every sense of the word. It offers up a different take on a good story with intelligence, style, and a performance that carries it through the rough spots. See it for Bale. See it for the Cleric fight scenes. But most of all, see it for what it is--an individualistic voice in a chorus of mindless money machines.
     
  8. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I decided to get it!
    WOW!!!

    This is one entertaining movie!
    I enjoyed it beginning to end!
     
  9. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    It is very entertaining.
     
  10. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    I've got to admit, I've never even heard of this film until recently. From reading all the reviews at other sites, my interest in this title has grown quite a bit. The story sounds very interesting to me....I think I'll pick this one up and give it a spin.[​IMG]
     
  11. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    A great movie AND the 5.1 trailer to KILL BILL!!!!
     
  12. Jason Hennigan

    Jason Hennigan Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't seen it yet (taking care of that tomorrow), but a friend of mine tells me that it's a lot of fun.

    I'm looking forward to seeing it.
     
  13. Douglas*A*R

    Douglas*A*R Stunt Coordinator

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    No way! Is it to much to hope that the tralier's anamorphic, too?
     
  14. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    The best thing about the DVD, the KILL BILL trailer.

    The worst thing about the DVD, the film. A couple cool scenes, but a very pretentious, overwrought film.
     
  15. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    This movie was underrated. I highly recommend the DVD for the audio/video alone. skimpy on features, but one hell of a fun movie! Just showed it to a group of 10 people Friday night - no one had heard of it and everyone enjoyed it!
     
  16. Jeremy Allin

    Jeremy Allin Supporting Actor

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  17. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

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    I haven't seen it but Ebert and Roeper gave it two thumbs up. The film looks quite interesting and I'll give it a rent.
     
  18. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  19. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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  20. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    I bought this flick without seeing and loved the hell out of it! Some of the best gun battles this side of Hard Boiled...
     

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