Its a good film, but its not a great film. I've noticed that some films are mirroring video games and going for the experiential "it's like being there" angle, I haven't seen it work yet (explicit first-person plots like Cloverfield excepted).
Like most modern high budget games, the set pieces are really impressive conceptually, but I never really felt like I got to appreciate them. Things move too fast, the camera whip-pans all over the place. I get the sense of driving quickly by an elaborate shop window display, I'm sticking my head out the window trying to get a better look, frustrating.
Oddly enough, in the action parts I was waiting for a character pause, and in the character pauses I was waiting for more action. Character pause is the right term here because that's literally what it is, stopping for a few minutes to exchange some dry plot-fuel before ramming instructions for the next sub-quest at the audience. Normally I'm ok with that, but here it's unsatisfying (see the postscript for why that is).
Thing's aren't helped at all by the accursed PG13 violence and language, which makes all the dialogue even more strained (forget believable troopers who don't swear like… well, troopers). There's no real sense of peril here, when you don't see any blood, you don't feel any danger.
I never really dropped out of my seat and into the world, I was always aware of being in the cinema. That's hard to get right, but isn't that really what you want when you go to the movies?
PS: This post really sums up one of the major flaws here, another expensive lesson learned for the cost of a ticket.
Saw this film last night and I have to say it surprised me. Totally enjoyable experience. The casting is spot on, Matt Damon has the charisma to pull of the romantic humour as well as the integrity and willpower to fight the system. Emily Blunt manages to create a character that you can imagine wanting to beat the odds for.
Thankfully, very little time is spent on explaining why the 'Angels' are here, even the one or two lines of exposition are a little off putting. Instead they decide to focus on the meat of the story, should you accept your logical fate or fight for your gut instincts.
What it made me realise was that getting the emotional punch right cancels out any of the fancy pants special effects: even the really subtle ones here were extraneous (like smart-paper schematics on the notebooks). I think it was also wise to drop any complications to the plot. All I cared about was what the Hero was going to do next, that's what a good story is all about.
PS: How many filmable Philip K. Dick short stories are left?