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‘Fountain’ test-screening reviews

Awhile back, I added The Fountain to this blog’s movies-to-keep-an-eye-on list for its theme on the quest for eternal life (which could potentially generate God-talk). Below are some online reviews (albeit a few weeks old) by viewers of the film’s test screenings. For what they’re worth:

AICN has several reviews, two favorable and one not. (Heads up to those of you follow the links to the AICN reviews, some of them contain bad and/or crude language.) One interesting tidbit from a favorable reviewer, who suggests the Conquistador scenes aren’t needed: “Cut all of them. They do nothing to move the story logic forward, save showing religious brutality, and they are not needed to move anything along, especially the characters.” The reviewer who didn’t like the film says it aspires to more than it is: “I wanted to like this film SO BAD. But 5 minutes in, it felt like I was watching the longest, biggest-budgeted pretentious student film in history. The film is ONLY about an idea. And the ideas are interesting, but there is no drama on which to hang these thoughts.”

Elsewhwere, “My Y” of the IESB/The Movie Reporter summarizes the film’s plot: “A Conquistador questing for the fabled Tree of Life for his beloved Queen, a doctor tireless working to find a cure for his wife's brain tumor, and an enlightened man from the 26th century accompanying the Tree of Life to its mythical birthplace in a dying star are all on the same quest for life.” He adds that “the warm and very real performances of both Jackman and Rachel Weisz bring a level of humanity, passion and familiarity to a film more concerned with ethereal, religious, and epic ideas of mortality and death” and concludes, “In the end, The Fountain is a slightly heavy-handed parable about the enduring immortality of love in the face of the inevitability of death. It will certainly draw tears from some and many lengthy discussions at college coffee houses across the country.”

"Browny" of MovieHole also praised the acting: “Rachel Weisz is probably one of the best and bravest actors working in film today and her performance is such a emotional kick in the gut that you do end up crying for her in certain scenes of the film, especially towards the middle of the film when her character in the present is slowly dying of an inoperable brain tumor. Her great performance here it’s at its peak and it’s a sober and realistic look at a real person who is dying and is trying to come to grips with her own mortality.” Of Hugh Jackman, the reviewer says he “cements himself even further as one of the best actors around as well with a great performance that is just as good as Weisz and it gives the movie the edge it needs for the audience to be just as desperate as he is to save the love of his life and to be touch by his own personal journey as well to seek out the whole meaning of life and death.”

The film is scheduled for release in October 2006, which gives filmmakers time to tweak the film yet. You can view the trailer here or the film’s website.

(Image: TrailerDownload)

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