Last night the hubby and I settled in for the viewing of this 90’s gem and we were both super excited to see it again. It had been quite awhile since we dusted this puppy off. I don’t remember how long it was for him, but for me it was going on fifteen years if I had to make a guess. Lucky for me, he didn’t remember the plot very well because he has a horrendous habit of giving away super important plot points. Of course he thinks it’s okay because I’ve already watched it. News flash: if I don’t remember anything about it, treat it like I’m watching it for the first time. Don’t spoil this for me jeez hubby!
And now on to the actual review portion of this post… Other then the cheesy 90’s CGI, I think the story holds up fairly well all things considered. And let me tell you, that is a difficult thing to pull off with a science fiction story. Most of the time they end up looking outdated and dumb since our technology has gotten so much better since it was filmed. Coming up in a future review I’ll have to say the same thing about Starship Troopers. Awesome movie, but you can tell that it was made a good while ago.
As for the actors, it is always fun to see a young Jennifer Connolly in action (I’ve got a few more of those up my sleeve for later). I don’t think I have ever seen the main character in anything else (that I can remember) but he was a good fit for the role as far as I’m concerned. I’ll get into the character that Kiefer Sutherland plays later in this review (and why I wasn’t super impressed).
For some, the plot on this bad boy is pretty twisty. It can be a little difficult to keep up with if it’s your first viewing. Dark City is definitely a film that you can watch multiple times and the more you do the more you get out of it. There is certainly nothing wrong with that! This is another reason why I’m so excited to take on this challenge, there are so many of our movies that sit there gathering dust! And I get to brush them off and dig them out of obscurity.
So plot wise, there are these creepy looking dudes with odd names like Mr. Wall and Mr. Hand, that are able to do something called “tuning”. What the heck is tuning? Yeah I thought the same thing myself the first time. They have this giant machine that allows them to stop time, put people to sleep and focus their telepathic energy to change the landscape of the city. It’s kind of cool seeing buildings stretch and change all around the unsuspecting citizens.
There is also this psychiatrist, played by Kiefer Sutherland, who Mr. Wizards memories in test tubes and then administers them to people with wonky looking syringes. The doc then injects random people with these fake doctored memories and the creepy dudes observe what happens. This character is vaguely annoying. But it is mostly because of whatever stupid thing the director made him do with his voice. He sound like a cross between the hunchback of Notre Dame and an unapologetic mouth breather. Ick.
Dark City is very atmospheric and dark, very film noir. It appears to be set in the forties (or around there anyway) and just the time period itself is enough to give us that air. The fact that it’s always dark outside helps a bit too. There are a couple of scenes of a smoky bar with Jennifer Connolly singing a slow jazz song in a form hugging sequined dress. The score is wonderfully eerie and really kicks the movie up a notch. Funny thing, I actually remembered the music behind this movie more than anything else!
So if you can handle some laughable CGI and a little bit of cheese/camp then give this one a try. I think you won’t be sorry (but then again I like a lot of things that no one else does!)
Until next time!