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Mega-Swarm And fILMBURST Splash In THE FOUNTAIN!!

Ok, so maybe Merrick doesn't see so well...

There was a screening of THE FOUNTAIN last night in Los Angeles.

You know...THIS MOVIE...this creepy ass screensaver?

It's from Darren Aronofsky (PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM)...but you probably know that already, too.

BELOW: Two reviews from last night's test screening. THE TOP REVIEW CONTAINS WELL MARKED SPOILERS, the second touches on a few plot points...but is not very spoilery. Both reviewers were floored by what they saw.

I've been anticipating this film for a long time...a very long time...and am now insanely jealous.

The first review is from Mega-Swarm...

AICNers, attention! This is Mega-Swarm, (read my previous early reviews of "Pick of Destiny" and "A Scanner Darkly" archived on this site), with a review of "The Fountain"! They first time test screened it here in LA at the Grove, and I was there to witness it! Let me start by saying I think Darren Aronofsky has made a truly moving film about dealing with mortality. This film grapples with the concepts of existence, being alive, religion, and accepting the death of loved ones around you as well as your own eventuality. Its all told in amazingly filmed psychedelic scenarios, phenomenal music, with unbelievably great performances by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. "The Fountain" is quite simply an amazing cinematic journey.


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"The Fountain" is first and foremost a love story, as told within a lyrical trippy time travel storyline. There is nothing confusing about the way scenes flow from the past to the present to the future, it is in fact awe inspiring at how everything makes perfect sense. I found myself concerned with the main characters plight, but also becoming reflective in my own thoughts, as the film triggered my mind to think about my own mortality, my fears of the experience of the deaths of my friends, loved ones, and family. "The Fountain's" sure handed liquidy thought process and amazing cinematic flow is something I cannot describe, it must be experienced. "Awe" is a word that is used to describe the feeling of the infinite finality in the film, but it is also something you will feel by the films powerful imagery and Aronofsky's amazing compositions.

One big story beat that I feel can be completely and totally excised with no damage to the movie: The Inquisitor scenes. 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.

Time Travel, as seen how it truly is in reality, all of it inside our minds, our thoughts, while we are alive. Aronofsky's film approaches the idea of love and life wrapped within the story of a mans refusal to accept the fate of his beloved, and his "trip" to discovery of acceptance of both her death and his own. I will argue the case that the future segments do not in fact ever happen, that they are actually a sliver of the present day characters hopes and dreams, and that he eventually meets up with "god" in his future dream-space mind, and accepts his life, his wife's death, and his own eventual death with peace in his heart.


(end spoilers)

Darren Aronofsky, hats off to you for prevailing and making this film become a reality. I was at the nuart when "Pi" premiered (I won the CD that night), and thought "Requiem" was a shattering piece of filmmaking. When I heard about "The Fountain" film almost six years ago, I was intrigued, and I am happy to say it was worth the wait.

The sound design is masterful, experimenting with sound drops like no other major film I've seen in a while. The shots and designs, back to back symbolism moving between patterns, it is all top notch. Rachel Weisz is filmed so close you can see every pore on her neck breathing. She is the rock that pushes Hugh's character forward, and she does this with grace and an otherworldy beauty.

This is Hugh Jackman's movie! It's his best role he's ever had and he brings everything he's got to it. I'm thankful Brad Pitt was a pussy and bailed on "acting" in this film, so that Hugh could show him what it is to become a character completely. Pitt might have derailed this film timewise (from 2002 to 2006) but he couldn't stop it from existing.

Warner Brothers/Regency, get with it and get this film released this year! It's not even scheduled for release? WTF, grow some balls and act like a real studio and not some cotton candy crap hole! Please, it would be great to see a real film playing in the theaters, instead of watching from afar the slow death of cinema in the form of "She's the Man", "Benchwarmers", and "The Pink Panther". Market this film as a psychedelic love story, and you will find quite more seats being filled upon release.

NOTE: This is not a science fiction film, this is not an action film, so please, sweaty fanboys who need to see explosions and lasers, do yourself a favor and just watch "The Black Hole" again. VINCENT and Maximillian are great, but this film really is for grownups. You won't like it, and you will complain about Hugh Jackman's spaceship as not looking "realistic". This is not a "cyber" film, nor is it a "matrix-type" film, nor is it like anything a genre fan might expect if you try to label this "scifi". This is something new. I can't wait for all of you film lovers out there to experience this movie.

Here's another review, this one from fILMBURST...

I attended a test-screening of "The Fountain" tonight at The Grove in Los Angeles. WOW.

The Fountain is freaking amazing. It's quite unlike anything we've seen before. The story is tremendously ambitious. The VFX are beautiful... very weird but at times breathtaking. The sound and music elements are very intense. This is Darren Aronofsky's most ambitious film yet. It is undoubtedly his best work.

I'll avoid spoilers here... don't worry.

We're first introduced to Hugh Jackman's character in 16th century New Spain. He is a conquistador fighting for the Queen (Rachel Weisz) of Spain. Soon after we meet Hugh's character (Tommy) in outer space, 1000 years in the future. Completely hairless and covered with tattoos, he whispers to the Tree of Life, "We're almost there." It's clear that he is traveling somewhere with the Tree in attempt to save it from dying. Finally we meet Tommy in the present where he's a Neurologist searching to find the cure for cancer, to "stop dying." In each of the three time-periods Hugh's character is working toward saving his love, who in each period is played by Rachel. "The Fountain" is essentially a love story set over 1000 years.

The "future" portion of the movie looks absolutely incredible. Just about all of the scenes in the future take place in outer space. The visual imagery of these scenes look like they're made entirely from VFX. It is all really beautiful to watch.

The "past" portion of the movie takes place in Spain and New Spain (Central America). The shots are very close and intimate, lending to a very raw feel as opposed to epic.

The "present" portion of the movie moves forward most of the plot. Aronofsky doesn't employ much of the shooting/cutting techniques here that he did on his previous two movies. The entire movie is very close and intimate instead of quick and flashy like Requiem for a Dream. The technique here is entirely appropriate for the subject matter and romantic nature of the film.

While the visual aspects of the film aren't "flashy" or "edgy" like one might expect from Darren Aronofsky, not once did I feel underwhelmed by a lack of visual stimulation. As said, the VFX are absolutely incredible, and Matthew Libatique's center-frame composition and a vibrant color palette subtley amount to a beautiful looking film.

Despite how incredible the film LOOKS, the story and acting are what really carry this film. I can't say much else about the story line that wouldn't spoil anything, but like I said it's extremely ambitious... hard to follow at times but it all eventually makes sense. In many ways the story will be open to interpretation. The ending certainly could divide audiences and provoke heated argument. ... And about the acting: Hugh Jackman is freaking unbelievable. He demonstrates such an incredible range. I'd dare call him virtuoso in this performance. Rachel Weisz is great in more of a supporting role. Ellen Burtsyn, however, doesn't quite carry her weight. Perhaps her role didn't provide much of an opportunity, but to me her acting was the one low-point of the film.

Clint Mansell's score was beautiful... haunting, intimate, and where appropriate, weird and intense. It is not a traditional-sounding score by any means. The score is mostly stringed instruments... I'd guess it was performed by the Kronos Quartet again. It does however sound like a "bigger" score than Requiem... here it's embellished by choir, guitars, and heavy drums. The Aronofsky-Mansell collaboration is proving to be the most creative director-composer tandem out there.

"The Fountain" is a tremendous accomplishment. It's Darren Aronofsky's masterstroke. It will certainly divide audiences and the subject matter could indeed turn some viewers away, but for me, it's an amazing movie. It blew me away.

Thanks for the reviews, guys. Sounds way beyond cool. In theory, THE FOUNTAIN will be released sometime this year...

Readers Talkback
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  • March 30, 2006, 10:42 a.m. CST


    by robotdevil

  • March 30, 2006, 10:47 a.m. CST

    damn it

    by billfro

    so close

  • March 30, 2006, 10:50 a.m. CST

    I've heard from people who went to the same screening..

    by genro

    and really didn't care for it.

  • March 30, 2006, 10:51 a.m. CST

    Can't wait


    I'm going to try and keep my expectations in tact because i don't want to be dissappointed..

  • March 30, 2006, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Aronofsky bashers

    by Datascream

    in 3..2..1....

  • March 30, 2006, 10:57 a.m. CST


    by Plum

    Okay, I'm also trying to keep my expectations in check, but thank you to the site for having full screening reviews so soon. I was going crazy looking at the two-sentence responses on IMDB.

  • March 30, 2006, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Aronofsky bashers

    by Datascream

    in 3..2..1....

  • March 30, 2006, 11 a.m. CST


    by Datascream

    sorry bout the double post...

  • March 30, 2006, 11:03 a.m. CST

    I'll give it a whirl.

    by rotten666

    Yay! A movie made for adults!

  • March 30, 2006, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by Bean_

    2006 is looking like a great, great year for movies. Can't wait for this thing now!

  • March 30, 2006, 11:15 a.m. CST

    gimme gimme gimme

    by calami-shami

    I neeeeed, I neeeeeeeeeeeed.

  • March 30, 2006, 11:26 a.m. CST

    THX for the reviews, guys!

    by CurryIce

    Can't fucking wait!

  • March 30, 2006, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Can't wait!

    by Jonesey1111

    Thanks for the review! I seriously can't wait. ALSO, THANKS FOR CLEARLY MARKING THE SPOILERS IN THE REVIEW. I think the less I know about this one, the better it will be.

  • March 30, 2006, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a "deep" stoner flick a' la 2001, The Wall

    by oceansized

    The last good to come out (that I'm aware of) was Waking Life.

  • March 30, 2006, 11:50 a.m. CST

    had to give my tix away

    by BitterMan23

    couldnt get out of work. looks like ill be spitting in my coworker's coffee today...

  • March 30, 2006, noon CST

    Aronofsky fan here...

    by rumpledup

    ...that was at the test screening. The cinematography was amazing and the ending was freaking awesome. As a whole, though, I found the film frustrating and disatifying. It gets you thinking, but don't fool yourself, it's not as complex as one might imply. It's more like a terminal-love romance movie your girlfriend would drag you than anything. But, hey, you know, that's just not my cup of tea.

  • March 30, 2006, 12:08 p.m. CST

    i want to see it NOW

    by reckni

    Considering all the other crap keeping me out of the multiplex, bring on The Fountain. Actually, I'm hitting The Grove tomorrow for Basic Instinct 2, first show. I'll be in the red hoody in case someone wishes to assassinate me.

  • March 30, 2006, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Waking Life was good?

    by Jonesey1111


  • March 30, 2006, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Good to see...

    by brycemonkey

    not all the movies this year are shitty sequals. Hurrah for intelligent film makers who don't just rehash the same old formula.

  • March 30, 2006, 12:47 p.m. CST

    The Fountain Vs. La Jette

    by jaxonsu

    Enjoy Aranofsky's work immensely and can't wait to see this. At first thought this appears to be another exploration of certain themes (love, mental time travel, etc) explored in Chris Marker's brilliant 1962 short film "La Jetee" (which, by the way, 12 Monkeys was loosely based upon) If you have not seen "La Jetee" then perhaps you should before seeing "The Fountain"

  • March 30, 2006, 12:54 p.m. CST

    I've been waiting for this thing for ages...

    by dr_buggerlugs

    ...and I'm slowly starting to cave into temptation and buy the graphic novel but this is sounding like it could be one of the most original and dare I say important films of the year. Aronofsky's been gone too long...

  • March 30, 2006, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Cool news

    by Stollentroll

  • March 30, 2006, 1:32 p.m. CST

    haha...sweaty fanboys....

    by vinceklortho

    nice note at the end of that review. I can totally see fanboys bitching about that shit. I just pretty much avoided reading anything about this film. I want to go in completely naked, save for watching that weird ass trailer. Been anxious to see Aronofsky get back behind the camera. How the hell did I not hear about this test screening here in LA?

  • March 30, 2006, 1:34 p.m. CST


    by hollywoodsummers

    and enjoyed a lot of things in it, but these two reviews are a bit too orgasmic. It was thought provoking and visually beautiful, but I felt the "modern" story line was bit too melodrama. Yes, the performances we great (couldn't see Pitt going to those emotional levels, or being a research scientist for that matter), but I felt I wanted more from the other two plot lines to equalize some of the sappiness. The film runs just over 90min, so maybe they trimmed those plots down. If so, I would love to see a LONGER director's cut. Overall, this film will both please and disappoint... but props to Darren for using the system to get a film like this made.

  • March 30, 2006, 1:43 p.m. CST


    by Henry Jones Jr.

    Why would I want to see it before? Why do you recommmend seeing Jette before, why not after seeing "The Fountain"? I usually enjoy seeing the modern telling of a tale, before seeing past ones. I thank you for your recommendation however. To those of you who have seen "the Fountain" are their any nipples in it? (female of course.)

  • March 30, 2006, 2:10 p.m. CST


    by BitterMan23

    hah! the guy i gave my tix to couldnt get in cuz it was too packed. ARRIVE EARLY AS THEATERS ARE OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE CAPACITY

  • March 30, 2006, 2:11 p.m. CST


    by hollywoodsummers

    no female nipples that I saw in it. There was hope in the "bathtub" scene, but no dice.

  • March 30, 2006, 2:19 p.m. CST

    "The Inquisitor scenes. Cut all of them."

    by hollywoodsummers

    I disagree. I felt these scenes were needed to understand the threat that Spain and the Queen faced. If not, we wouldn't know the urgency for his quest. Also, I think the futuristic plot was REAL and not just some "sliver of hope and dreams"... I hope Darren sets it straight some day.

  • March 30, 2006, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Will there be titty?

    by brycemonkey

    This is the Basic Instinct TB?

  • March 30, 2006, 3:45 p.m. CST


    by Henry Jones Jr.

    Every talkback should have a discussion of the titty-level brycemonkey. Also ass. As I'm thinking about it, movies don't show enough ass. (female ass.) Did you see Aviator? The only reason I rented it was because it said "nudity" turns out the "nudity" was leo decaprio's ass. What a disappointment that was....

  • March 30, 2006, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Well Henry...

    by brycemonkey

    I do like titty so won't argue with you too much. Although I think people are obsessed by Rachel Weisz (perhaps even more when pregnant). I'm not sure I can condone you watching movies just to see some nudity. I think a psychiatrist might have something to say about that and your hatred of Leo's ass. What was my point? No, it's gone. Long live titties...

  • March 30, 2006, 3:54 p.m. CST

    titty count

    by Henry Jones Jr.

    Alright Bryce, lets petition Harry to demand a titty count in every AICN review from here on out. The Basic Instict 2 review was spot on for that. Harry will go for it- he likes titty too.

  • March 30, 2006, 3:57 p.m. CST


    by hollywoodsummers

    I don't think the Basic Instinct 2 TB would have any questions about nipple... that would be a given. Maybe a question about birth canal shots though.

  • March 30, 2006, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Damn Darren


    banging that beautiful Rachael... Lucky bastid...

  • March 30, 2006, 3:59 p.m. CST

    RE: condoning watching movies just to see some nudity

    by oceansized

    Two words: Andy Sedaris

  • March 30, 2006, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Perhaps you have hit on something...

    by brycemonkey

    a new standard for reporting content. Running time 117mins; Rating NC-17; 14 nipples (F); 4 nipples (M); 3 asses (F); 1 ass (M); 1 beaver shot. That's just crazy enough to work...

  • March 30, 2006, 4:05 p.m. CST


    by ShiroiOji

    Okay, I read the abover reviews, and I have to say that they reek of a plant. I will share that my reply will contain spoilers as well. This is ridiculous; while I will say that a good 2/3 of the movie is gripping and engaging, another third of it is tripe. Anything that happened in the "future" scenes, (which, in my opinion, did not seem to be as much happening in the future as much in Hugh Jackman's character's head,) was really weak, and quite honestly, hippy bull. The primary story, the one that is taking place in the here and now, is that of Tommy and Izzy, true. The past scenes are in a book that Izzy is writing, one that she wants Tommy to finish for her. The future scenes, well, those are just plain stupid. There are many times the perspective switches around from the present to the past to the "future." However, there are a lot of times when the jumping around happens solely between the past/book scenes to the "future" scenes without warning, and you're left wondering what the heck is going on. The ultimate low in the movie, however, is when the "future" Tommy replaces the past Tommy, complete with yoga stance, weird lighting and everything. I was ready to get up and leave at that point, since it made no sense whatsoever. This film really made me want to go home and watch Requiem for a Dream, since that made so much more sense than this film. I am really hoping that some major changes are made to this movie before it is released.

  • March 30, 2006, 4:19 p.m. CST

    I am really hoping...

    by blackwood

    ...that Darren Aronofsky sticks with what HE hopes the film to be, and not cave to studio pressure or fanboy titty-counters. I don't care if I 'like' the end result - I care that it sustains the integrity of his vision. Brought to you by the Unoffical Society for the Protect of Film as Art.

  • March 30, 2006, 5:21 p.m. CST


    by Russman

    I can not wait to see this, I'm not even going to read the reviews because I want to be floored by this... I don't even know if I want to see any more trailers. Damn the reviewer who put spoilers...

  • March 30, 2006, 7:12 p.m. CST

    nipples always makes a movie better

    by reckni

    A typical 6 out of 10 film automatically becomes an 8 if there's quality female nudity. Weisz must get naked!

  • March 30, 2006, 7:18 p.m. CST

    bad bad movie

    by perkel76

    Sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but the movie was excruciating. I'm a fan of Pi and Requiem, and I "got it", but the film was a tremendous bore. It's gonna bomb hard.

  • March 30, 2006, 8:24 p.m. CST


    by sch8917

    any thoughts on possible oscar nominations??? actor, actress, director, cinematography, score???

  • March 30, 2006, 9 p.m. CST

    thus far Aronofsky is 1 for 2.....

    by Jimmy Jazz

    as far as I am concerned. Pi was very interesting (if a bit drawn out) but Requium was one of the most pretentious and pointless pieces of crap I have seen in many a moon. The only good thing to come out of it was the score. I usually dislike "junkie movies" as a general rule, but this was an especially egregious example This thing looks like it could go either way. And knock off the Brad Pitt bashing. He can be quite good when he decides to get out of his "pretty boy" default mode.

  • March 30, 2006, 10:16 p.m. CST


    by moto

    Yeah, I thought Requiem was a bit pointless as well, although the STYLE of the film was new and interesting. But it was a bit over-the-top. And why do people always assume that when there is a graet review on this site, it's because of a plant? Giev me a break. We in the industry really don't give sites like this THAT much credit. Then again... I'm here... so I contradict myself. But I'm just a mid level pee on.

  • March 31, 2006, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh

    by Silver_Joo

    I can't wait for this film. This is an insanely cool year for cinema!

  • March 31, 2006, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Aronofsky Is Gold

    by ArmitageShanks

    I cant wait for this film,been Waitin a long time for this,thank you mister pitt and if the studio doesnt get its head out of its ass ill be waiting even longer.Both Pi and Requim blew me away.

  • March 31, 2006, 5:15 a.m. CST

    movie nudity

    by rebel299

    c'mon. you can learn a lot about movie nudity by visiting good ol' mr skin. if thats something thats important to you, then that is the leading site, bar none. but on a completly relative note, i loved pi and requiem and can't wait for the fountain. yee ha!

  • March 31, 2006, 1:27 p.m. CST

    by drjones

    sounds great: story, characters and inventive sound, production design and style. to balance my expectations I'm - as someone else already mentioned - concerned about the love story, how it will be kept interesting, believable and real in all three storylines or levels of the plot. interesting interesting interesting. it's so great to see directors grow up, especially when you are not one of the thirtysomething generation and missed the birth of spielberg and other directors.

  • April 2, 2006, 12:07 p.m. CST

    How come no-one has mentioned yet...

    by raw_bean shit that first review was? Incomprehensible nonsense written by someone clearly not even half as clever and eloquent as they think they are. Second review, however, really piqued my interest.