Rating: R, Time: 1hr 55min, Director: Alex Garland, Cast on IMDb
So did this movie live up to the advertising?
I think that they showed some of the best action parts of the movie in the advertising, which always sucks when you see the movie as the beauty of a lot of the film is spoiled in a way. One of the ways I think it could have been better is to follow more elements of the book like the spiral staircase and showing one of the scientists inhale the flowers to start to become infected with the organisms from the Shimmer. Another major change is the group doesn't find the journals of the older epeditions, but finds video. Obviously, transitioning to film showing video makes sense. I think another element that they skimmed over, which would have made it much, much creepier is that there were many more expeditions than the group had known about.
Another major change is that the psychologist doesn't turn on the group. In the book, she has secretly hypnotized the group before entering the Shimmer, so she can trigger certain things for the group to respond to. I think this is a major shortfall of opportunity. The character is still well played, but by removing this element, the mystery of the Shimmer is that much less a mystery. If we compare to say The Shining, the director actually improved the story in the movie by leaving the audience unsure of if the issue is Jack or the hotel, while in the book its much more centered on the supernatural beings in the hotel and less mysterious. In the case of this movie, the director has done the opposite of crushing the ambivalent nature of the characters, so all the mystery comes from the swamp and the Shimmer.
Did the movie get other characters right?
I found the character of the husband Kane the most interesting even though he really is a side character in the book. He is supposed to just be the drive to enter the Shimmer, but ends up being multiple things to the story. This comes through as they chose to not use the field notes, but rather flash backs to the past to see his understanding of what is going on in the Shimmer.
How well did they portray the creatures of the Shimmer?
I think here they got down to some really interesting points of the dramatic build in the story. As we find out, the deeper in the Shimmer you go to the lighthouse, the more the environment has changed and morphed. We find alligators with shark teeth and later some really crazy beasts that have some human DNA.
What impact do you think the story had being based only on book one of the trilogy?
Here again, I think the director assumed that we would only be covering the first movie and likely the other 2 books might not be made into movies. This is another fatal flaw in the director adoptation. I think the movie stands well on its own, but since it kind of arcs completely as a natural story, we don't feel curious to find out more about the Shimmer, which is a shame to the author. The author actually lived years in the swamps of the movie, so there is real authenticity in the book, which the director kind of missed by just assuming its a one movie and out the door experience.
How well were the sets done?
Visually, I think the swamp shines through in the movie. We all have been scared of the creepy, crawlies in a swamp and the movie captures this element well. You have perfectly find houses subsumed by vegetation, we presume due to the Shimmer magical qualities. The base and the soldier experiments on themselves are pretty gruesome to show as well. You can see all that enter start to lose their mind at all the unexplained elements, creatures and plants. The isolation of the swamp also seems to be having an effect on their minds as well.
Have you done any artwork on the film?
I think I would need to set down and read the novels as they seem to be quite off the charts in quality having won several awards before doing art directly tied to this movie. There is one painting I did, that I show of man vs. nature as kind of a reality TV show of Survivor. The funny thing is after I did that painting they started all kinds of crazy survival shows: Crocodile Hunter, Man vs Wild, Naked and Afraid and Out of the Wild: the Alaska Experiment.
Surviver: Man vs. Wild - 20x24 inches - SOLD