The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (26)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (5)
| Rotten (21)
The body horror genre thrives on disgust, shame and goo, all qualities lacking in The Titan.
Low budgets are no excuse for aiming so low when it comes to your concepts and characterisation.
A clever but unformed hunk of speculative science-fiction.
It may not always work on all levels but at least it's prepared to take risks.
At first, it seems like the film is going to make good on its sci-fi thriller premise before it devolves into a boring, silly monster movie.
A drab, rudderless movie that calls on its star to splice some life into the reanimated DNA.
With Sam Worthington leading a rather unconvincing cast, the first half genuinely intrigues but the Earthbound story falters as things, er, evolve.
The science is ludicrous, the story is almost entirely free of drama, and the finale descends into the hoariest, most ridiculous clichés of the genre. But the future smart-house porn is lovely.
Sci-fi thriller has peril and bloody violence.
Avatar's Sam Worthington is at his most charmless, seemingly channelling a slightly aggressive sirloin as he plays the dead-eyed ex-marine Rick Janssen...
The Titan gets that impulse, even if the end result of our desired fish-man-ification is alienation from our loved ones, an inability to communicate, and a tendency towards violence.
Thankfully, Taylor Schilling is engaging as Rick's wife Abi, offering enough emotional pull to keep the audience caring when the action kicks off.
Although begun with an interesting premise, that of engineering the species for life off-Earth, the follow-through is lethargic and uninspired. Tom Wilkinson does well as the scientist behind the idea, but he's done this kind of thing before and better, and there's just not enough going here to justify your time.
This is an odd film that never attempts to escape the cliché riddled exposition it has at its core. The film has been done before, maybe not in the same storyline but definitely as a creator defending his own creation. The filmmakers might have been better off focusing on the darker elements of the testing as they only have Worthington as the main focus. The script is quite weak and when the inevitable occurs, predictably of course, you just never click with anything that happens after that. I thought this might be a good sci fi film but Netflix has put their brand behind another subpar film that would've been ignored at the cinemas. Poor filmmaking can't resurrect a dire project, the cast was better served not signing on in the first place. 31-03-2018.
Ironically enough, I chose to watch a movie about forced evolution on Good Friday. Naturally, being an atheist, I believe in evolution over creationism and feel that the latter should be kept as far away from science classes as humanly possible. Honestly, though, I don't choose to watch this movie consciously know that it was Good Friday, I just wanted to see it, even though I knew it probably wouldn't have amounted to much. Another thing, though, before we get to the review. Will you look at the fucking poster for this movie??? It's on Letterboxd and RottenTomatoes. Holy fuck, look at that thing. Not only is it not faithful to what Rick ends up looking like in the movie, but it looks like it was done in a span of two hours by someone who clearly sucks at Photoshop. Look, guys, I understand that you can't judge a book by its cover. I'm sure there's been plenty of shitty posters for great movies. But if people see that poster without knowing anything else about the movie, they'll just be like 'ok, looks shit, let's watch something else'. Of course, it doesn't help matters when the movie under the poster is not particularly good either, but I'm sure Netflix could have sprung a few bucks for a better poster. Then again, Netflix bought this movie after it was already done, so they may have had some posters drawn up already. And if THAT was the best they came up with, I can't even imagine what the worst of them looked like. Moving on, however. Conceptually speaking, I do like the idea they're trying to get across here. Earth is fucked, half of us will die of starvation within 15 years of this film's events and, there will come a point, where earth is simply uninhabitable anymore. That's where Saturn's moon, Titan, comes in. Basically, these soldiers (from various) countries are chosen for these experiments to create a human being that will be able to survive Titan's harsh conditions. They do this through forced evolution, accelerating a process that would, left to its own devices, take millions of years and narrowing that down, seemingly, to a period of months. The movie never gives any indication as to how much time has passed since the experiments start and the end of the movie. So who knows how much fucking time has passed? I will say that parts of the movie reminded me of Splice, in that the injections that they've been given had some enzymes in it that could alter human DNA to that of, say, an animal. One of the subjects had bat DNA, another amphibian DNA and so on and so forth. Of course, this movie is never as good as Splice, nor is there a sex scene with the scientist and its creation. Naturally speaking, after taking the injections, Rick, and his colleagues, start suffering side effects. Rick's skin starts shedding, he is able to breathe underwater for close to an hour, he's an insanely fast swimmer. There's also some negative side effects, like he starts throwing up, he goes blind after one eye operation and acting completely unlike himself. The side effects do start to pile up one on top of the other and Abi, Rick's wife, a doctor herself, takes matters into her own hands and tries to find out what's going and what Collingwood (the head of the experiment) is hiding. And, perhaps, this is the movie's biggest problem. Well, I mean, other than undercooked characters and uninteresting execution of its concept. Basically, you don't know whose story this is supposed to be. You get the idea that the movie started out as being about Rick and the changes he went through as a result of this experiment. But then, about halfway through the movie, they come to the realization that Sam Worthington really isn't a very good actor and he cannot properly sell the effects this change is having on him. Surprise surprise, Taylor Schilling, who plays his wife, is a vastly superior actress and she can do a good job at selling the consternation she feels at her husband's rapidly deteriorating, if you can call it that, health as a result of these experiments. So then the film shifts to her as its main focus and getting to the bottom of Collingwood's ethically unacceptable experiments and the secrecy surrounding them. Is the movie better when it shifts to Abi? I don't know, I felt they did a better job with Abi's dedication to her husband than they did with Rick's transformation into...whatever the hell he was supposed to be. So I guess you could say I thought it was better. I still felt the characters and the story was undercooked in that they really do rush through a lot of interesting ideas in order to get you to Rick's transformation faster. The movie's main theme eventually boils down to an oversimplification of how you shouldn't play god. We've seen this before and we've seen it done much better, so they had to bring something more to the table, except that they were not intellectually equipped to do so. Moving forward from Abi's perspective, the movie doesn't really have any surprises. Collingwood's experiment succeeds, but at the cost of the life of every participant in it that's not named Rick. Other people not going through the experiment die as well, but they're not really that important. If you're gonna choose to perform an experiment of this sort, why wouldn't you pick soldiers without families? Especially when you don't know the side effects of the experiment itself. It's a bit silly to bring families into this given the unknown aspect of the results themselves. And, another thing, Collingwood's entire goal is to create a new breed super-human (like Rick and Tally ended up being), except the fact is that this new breed of human dies almost as quickly, if not more so, than regular humans. Great experimentation there bro. And another thing, so your experiment succeeds, so what? What does that do??? You can send Rick to Titan, yippee!!! How the fuck does that help the rest of humanity??? You can make the argument that Rick's altered DNA serves as a template to apply to everyone else so they can live on Titan. But there's no guarantee that Rick's altered DNA would even handle Titan's hostile atmosphere. You can speculate based on the planet's condition, but you can't confirm or deny it based on ONE successful test subject. And that's not to mention how long it's gonna fucking take to make sure everyone in the world is injected with this to ensure their survival on Titan. It's gonna take much longer than the supposed time Earth has left. But you're not supposed to think about that. Is Rick also meant to start colonizing Titan or what? There's too many questions that the movie sets up without bothering to answer any of them. This is just a mess. Not a terrible movie, by any means, but just one that's undercooked and uninteresting on every level. Netflix's batting average with original movies is not nearly as strong as their average with original series. I'm sure Annihilation is still in theaters. I bet that is superior to this in every way.
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