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Copernicus Just Loves THE FOUNTAIN!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Well... okay... maybe “loves” is putting it strongly. Actually, Copernicus sort of despises the film. And it’s funny, because normally I think Copernicus and I are closer in terms of what we think about film. Copernicus earned his nickname honestly... he’s an honest-to-god published astronomer, one o’ them big-brained types. And his complete and total rejection of THE FOUNTAIN suggests to me that it simply didn’t connect for him from the very beginning. His review primarily mocks the completely symbolic world of the film on a literal level, and that sort of explains why none of it worked for him at all. And that’s a risk, I guess, when you make a film as specific and stylized and emotionally bare as this one. I completely disagree with Copernicus, but it’d be cowardly of me to not post this review. Just keep in mind... for everyone who reacts as negatively as this reviewer, there will no doubt be someone like Austin AICN regular Kraken, who told me tonight that he and his wife both cried their eyes out at the end of the film. Take it away, Copernicus:

I know this puts Harry in a real tight spot, since THE FOUNTAIN is playing as the closing night film of Fantastic Fest, and Darren Aronofsky is going to be there in Austin to introduce it, and they'll probably both get wood out of mutual love. Now you might expect Harry to have an ass-kissing review because of this. And he almost certainly will have an embarrassingly gushing review. You won't even be able to read it because it is painful to read a 34 year old write like a 13 year-old penning a love letter. But I think it will be like that not because he is now man-crazy for Aronofsky, but because he generally goes for overwrought crap like THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. By now you've no doubt heard that THE FOUNTAIN was booed in Venice. Canadians are much more polite. Talkbacker Garbageman33 summed up the Toronto reception best when he said: "All the King's Men went over like a fart in church. The Fountain, on the other hand, went over like a bowel movement in church." See, no booing, just quiet filing out, with people holding their nose, saying "WTF!" By now, I'm sure just about every film geek is familiar with the plot: there are three time periods -- present, past and future. In the present, Hugh Jackman plays Tom Verde -- a glorified veterinarian trying to save his wife Izzi (Rachel Weisz) from dying from a brain tumor. In the past Jackman is a conquistador on a quest for the new age equivalent of the fountain of youth -- the tree of life. And in the future, Jackman has his head shaved, rides a space bubble to a nebula and mostly whispers to a tree. He does ninja moves in silhouette against a backdrop of stars. Man, I can't make this stuff up. Well, if I made this up it would be a lot more fun. Like my tree spaceship would have immortal squirrels. As in, you could levitate up to the top of the tree and just grab an eternal squirrel and eat it, but it would keep on living because of the superpowered tree molecules in its cells. Then you would keep on living forever too, and spend eternity totally jamming out and eating nothing but fried chicken and heroin because you can't die as long as you've got those magic ever-squirrels. I totally would not mope through space wishing for death because of some chick who died like a billion years ago. Think about all the tail this dude must have gotten since then. Hell by that time chicks will have evolved into a new species of supermodels with levitating powers. And with your tree spaceship and bottomless squirrel deal you could totally pack it with homo supermodelus babes and party like its the year before the billionium. And in my version arbor day would replace Christmas, because that tree has way more eteral life than that slacker Christ who went and died. Twice. Yet in Aronofsky's vision there is nary a squirrel or supermodel or sweet-ass arbor day to be found. Mostly it is Hugh Jackman trying to hug a tree in the past or levitate and pine in the future. You can tell the time period because of their voices. In the past they talk like "Donde esta el arbol estupendo!?" In the present they only scream at each other and throw things and cry because of impending death. And in the future they only whisper English words to magic trees. I know I am just a simple astronomer, but if I may give Mr. Aronofsky a couple of pieces of advice on shooting scenes of his wife in a tub (1) no bubbles, and (2) no Hugh Jackman on top of her. And since I'm now addressing Mr. Aronofsky, excuse me, Darren, directly, and I'm sure he is reading this, I should say something nice about his movie. It has nice transitions. That is really important when you are jumping around spacetime every few minutes. I know when I'm doing shrooms it can be quite jarring when I snap back to reality from outer space without a clever wipe or some such that you can only get in movies. The film tells us that Tom is a surgeon and medical researcher, but he seems more like a movie character. First of all, his operating room is all sweet and tricked out in like black and yellow and has cool dim lighting. It seems like there should be a DJ and some guy in a turtleneck in the corner mixing mojitoes. He has a lot of helpers who are supposed to be MD-PhD types, but who act like Otis-from-Superman idiot minions. Tom has to mentally bitchslap them with lines like, "Fold the molecules in your head, you dumbass, and make a new drug out of the tree juice and rub it in the monkey." Then the minions are reduced to saying ridiculous things like "Oh my god, look at the recovery time on that monkey, I've never seen anything like it! Yesterday he had a tumor but now he's totally pwning at chess!" (For everyone over 16, "pwn" like "own" but it is owning so hard that the o is bleeding, see). The last time I saw a film that was a heart-on-its-sleeve, reality-phobic crapfest it was called ARMAGEDDON, and it also had a guy flying through space on a rock. But at least he was Bruce Willis, and he brought a gun to his asteroid, because there is a secret clause in the second ammendment that says Texas extends all the way up to space. In fact I'd like to see a showdown between these two characters. Bruce Willis could use sweet, sweet heater as an instrument of audience catharsis and blow the everliving fuck of that mopehead Hugh Jackman. Of course that wouldn't work because he's immortal, so the rest of the movie would be Bruce Willis trying to find new ways to justifiably murder Hugh Jackman for his billion years of crying and failure to achieve enlightenment. (Who's thinking FOUNTAIN 2? We could get a greenlight for this before this paragraph is finished.) Bruce would find a way to get the job done. Probably in the end he would shoot a star and the bullet would cause it to go supernova and kill them both. Because even space Buddhists can't hide from the wicked stellar fury of a supernova. My further ranting is going to require spoilers, so go away if you don't want to have the movie explained to you as if you are a three year old just so I can prove I "get" the movie. SPOILER ALERT: Only the modern time period is real. The scenes in the past are from the book Izzi is writing (using an ink pen and calligraphy, since that is now most novelists write nowadays). The scenes in the future are Tom's slacking for a really long time before finishing the book. For a long time he can't come to terms with her passing until he accepts death as part of a grand circle of life. (I half-expected to see space lions singing Hakuna Matata). This is represented in the real world by his planting a tree (in winter, again good solid farming practice gives way to poetic license), and in the book by some yogi supernova bullshit. And yes, his tattoos are like tree rings, only vertically, because if he had to slice off his leg to show you them that would be gross. Ok, hope you don't try to sit through this movie, but I know you will because to geeks the intersection of Hugh Jackman and rocks in space is like a cash-spending mandate from God Suckers. I warned you! -Copernicus
Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 28, 2006, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Write a review next time rather than trying to be funny

    by CellarDoor

    Amidst all the jokes I lost the insightful analysis and criticsm I would expect from a film review. Still, it's interesting that the movie is diving opinion so.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Jesus, that sounds... bad.

    by Huffy_Henry

    For some reason, I just kept thinking of that waste of a film that was 'What Dreams May Come' as I read this review. Terrible.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Too Soon!

    by box

    i can't take negativity this early in the morning

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Write a review next time rather than trying to be funny

    by Karl Childers

    CellarDoor summed this one up perfectly.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Got as far as...

    by readingwriter

    "Well, if I made this up it would be a lot more fun. Like my tree spaceship would have immortal squirrels. As in, you could levitate up to the top of the tree and just grab an eternal squirrel and eat it, but it would keep on living because of the superpowered tree molecules in its cells. Then you would keep on living forever too, and spend eternity totally jamming out and eating nothing but fried chicken and heroin because you can't die as long as you've got those magic ever-squirrels. I totally would not mope through space wishing for death because of some chick who died like a billion years ago. Think about all the tail this dude must have gotten since..." Shut up.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 8:41 a.m. CST

    Something tells me I'm not going to like this...

    by JohnGalt06

    And that something is every review I've read besides Moriarty's and Devin's. Actually, I'm not all that impressed with Copernicus's take, as he is just trying to mimic Vern and doing it none too well. However, I'm really getting that whole "What Dreams May Come" vibe from "The Fountain"... effects-heavy, melodramatic weepy about love and death loaded with a few astounding images and a lot of new-age psychobabble. Some people loved WDMC but that doesn't change the fact that it's one of the worst movies ever made. And just reading reviews and watching the trailer, "The Fountain"'s philosophical musings sound even worse. Suggesting that death is something to be embraced and look forward to is even sillier than fearing it. Nothing happens after you die. Just because you shouldn't be afraid of death doesn't mean you're going to enjoy it either.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 8:43 a.m. CST

    What a shit review!

    by masteryoda007

    Are you trying to be funny? I laughed more when I was involved in a 4 car pile up. Why don't you go live with your squirrels in the Sahara.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST


    by gengrievous82

    From reading this review (guess that's what it was supposed to be) it sounded a lot more like the author simply didn't get the movie. To compensate for admitting that fact, the author goes for the stand-up comedy routine. As most of the earlier talkbacks said, the author was trying to be funny and failed miserably. I guess it must be embarassing for an honest-to-god big-brained astronomer to admit that they didn't get a movie.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:37 a.m. CST

    I for one enjoyed immortal squirrels the review

    by tile_mcgillus

    I had a good time reading it. I will still see this movie but what you say makes sense. He pretty much sold me a ticket to any of his movies after Pi.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Karl Childers is Right...

    by Read and Shut Up humor this ain't. In fact, funny/witty/charming it ain't. What - is AICN paying by the word now? I'm surprised the reviewer didn't put something in like "tap tap this thing on? Try the veal."

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Figure it out

    by Ripper1

    Man it's funny how many critics DON'T get this movie Take your time, figure it out and post something worth reading. So, don't listen to this guy, he doesn't get it. I worked on the movie's FX, talked to Darren about it, and seen the movie twice. It wasn't till after the second screening that it came together. I'll just say this. The future is real.. put it together and you'll realize....this story is a god damn masterpeice.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:54 a.m. CST

    ReadingWriter, However, IS Funny...

    by Read and Shut Up

    ...priceless! Way to sum it up for everybody.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:53 a.m. CST

    MY god what a bunch of tight-arsed gayboy fanboys

    by Sepulchrave

    I for one have long agreed with the demonstrated opinion of Matt Cale (of Ruthless Reviews, a far superior review site to the lickspittle's convention known as Aint It Cool News)that a mediocre, bombastic and pretentious film deserves a slighting, flip and casual review. I thought the tone of this review was perfect; together with the (I now see execrably pretentious) trailer I now know EVERYTHING that I need to know about this dung-stuffed turkey. I wanted a serious film exploring the ramifications of immortality. The reviewer amusingly assures me that i am going to get a stylishly mongoloid story-within-a-story with a sloppy Draculesque love-across-an-ocean-of-time shit. Bravo on the review; I am informed, I am not going to see this shit, I am amused by your lack of respect, which I believe appropriate. And the rest of you stupid young geezers can suck my comicon. Losers.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:57 a.m. CST

    I bet it'll have all the philosophical ramifications

    by Sepulchrave

    of THE CELL. Remember that? Bet all you conceptually illiterate fanboys were creaming your pants over that series of automobile and perfume commercials masquerading as a perverse dreamscape. Jesus; this is the site that gave Charlies Angels a good review.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Shut up, Copernicus

    by Stollentroll

    Your review sucks. Squirrels in space are kinda intriguing, though.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Review backlash

    by JackLint

    I wouldn't automatically dismiss this review (even if it isn't particularily well written), just because it's negative. I loved Requiem, and I think this movie looks awesome too. I can't wait for it. But I have to admit to myself that with it's metaphorical/metaphysical nature,it does have the potential to be another Solaris (remake). Which is THE single most pretentious, piece of shit movie I have ever seen. So this review has made me a bit more cautious with my expectations. And when is that ever a bad thing? I'll just be more blown away if it's as good as I hope it is. I'm still going to go see it Oct 16 at the Chicago Film Festival, no doubt about that. So if you personally haven't seen the movie yourself, it's pretty lame to assume it's him thats wrong if he says the movie's no good. I understand it's getting almost unanimous praise from sites like this, so a review like this sticks out, but c'mon, when was the last time a movie actually lived up to AICN praise? Seriously.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 10:39 a.m. CST

    The Princess Bride for adults...

    by Kraken the best way I can describe this movie. (bit of a spoiler) I mean, the way I saw the film, was not as an actual sci-fi tale about immortals. The "real" world is the present day. The past and future worlds are the way two storytellers would write about their experiences and feelings dealing with the fear of the ultimate loss in your life. Her part deals with the past as she tries to write a story to help her husband understand something (and also show him that she knows how hard he is trying to save her). His part of the story, the future, deals with his feelings and trying to understand what her part of the book was trying to tell him. As I said, it's the Princess Bride for adults in love with each other. This move hit a nerve with my wife and I because I think everyone thinks about how nice it would be to live forever with the one they love. They think about that day in the future where you will have to be parted... and how hard would you fight to prevent that? Especially if that day comes way too soon. The metaphors of this film run very deep and they actually all kind of hit me during the credits of the film. Just little things like the Spanish Inquisition representing brain cancer (eating one from within, slowly taking over sections) ... this is how she wrote about what she was feeling. To his story, about his wife being the source of life for him. I think that's how a lot of people feel about the one they love more than anything, that if they were to die... we would also die. It's a really beautiful movie that touched my wife and I very deeply.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 11:10 a.m. CST

    OHO! I bet this IS worse than SOLARIS (REMAKE)

    by Sepulchrave

    I bet you anything it is.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Hey, I got quoted in a review

    by Garbageman33

    "Bowel movement in church". Huh? Huh? That's good stuff. Sure glad I hired that team of writers. It's really starting to pay off. As for the movie, I always love the argument, "You just didn't get it". Especially when the argument is raised by people who didn't even see the damn movie. Trust me, I got it. In fact, there's not all that much to "get". I just didn't like it. There's a difference.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Ya'll are bitches

    by AL bino

    That review was indeed funny, and it was probably worth more of your time than the movie will be.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Read and Shut Up

    by Garbageman33

    So, you're saying Copernicus isn't funny, but ReadingWriter quoting Copernicus IS funny. Not quite sure how that works, but hey, who am I to judge?

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 12:08 p.m. CST


    by PwnedByStallone

    It's not cowardly if the review your posting sucks. This review demonstrates why more rocket scientists don't moonlight as film critics. No imagination. Aside from the adolescent writing of this review I find it hard to accept the opinion of an emotionally immature philistine like Copernicus. Obviously this guy's opinion is going to be rooted in established empirical therefore very unlikely to accept a movie rooted in metaphor and symbolism. I'll reserve my jusgement till I've seen the film.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Moriarty (fixed)

    by PwnedByStallone

    It's not cowardly if the review your posting sucks. This review demonstrates why more rocket scientists don't moonlight as film critics. No imagination. Aside from the adolescent writing of this review I find it hard to accept the opinion of an emotionally immature philistine like Copernicus. Obviously this guy's opinion is going to be rooted in established empirical evidence and therefore unlikely to accept a movie rooted in metaphor and symbolism. I'll reserve my judgement till I've seen the film.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Amusing review.

    by Bitterella

    It was a funny review. Take for what it is. Copernicus didn't like it, and decided to make fun of it. The rest of you take yourselves far to seriously to see beyond that. Go see it and judge for youself. Then write your oh-so intelligent review. Wankers...

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 12:21 p.m. CST

    I'm an astronomer too

    by dtpena

    And this guy is just a shame to the profession How can anyone be so stupid??..

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Hey, you didn't like the same movie...

    by Garbageman33

    ...that I've already convinced myself I'm going to like even though I haven't seen it. You're stupid. In fact, you're a stupid doo-doo head. Always amazes me how much an AICN talkback resembles recess at a grade school.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 12:35 p.m. CST

    And to Kraken

    by dtpena

    That's exactly how I get the movie, having read the GN and all. You should write a review.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Astonomer is not the same as rocket scientist

    by JohnGalt06

    Rocket scientists are aeronautical engineers who slave over CAD programs and in design labs to create some of the most complicated engines and equipment ever concieved by man. Astronomers are pot-heads with telescopes.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 1:08 p.m. CST

    hahahah intergalactic squirrels is funny!!

    by Mechasheeva

    Review sucks and reads like it was written by a burnout with a homemade telescope (so he can say something about him being an astronomer). Movie looks like a beautiful head-trip and I can't wait to see it.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 1:44 p.m. CST

    To Garbageman33

    by dtpena

    I didn't say he's stupid because he hated the movie, I don't know if it's good or bad (just hope it's good) but the way he writes the review it's stupid, trying to be funny as 80% astronomers I know, and not doing it so well..

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 2:14 p.m. CST

    this guy sounds like a 12 year old class clown wannabe

    by oisin5199

    No wonder he didn't connect to the movie. So far, I'm fascinated by the alchemical and kabbalistic imagery the movie's working with. Can't wait to see it.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 2:20 p.m. CST

    This reviewer's a jackass...

    by chains

    I thought his little squirrel fantasy was funny... but I stopped reading at the same point the other guy did... right after his comment about how much tail this guy would have had since his girl died. Yeah... REAL deep and thoughtful, this Copernicus... the same kind of guy who would have thought he was in the wrong theatre 10 minutes into 2001.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 3:19 p.m. CST

    How dare the bloke take Copernicus' name (in vain)..?

    by workshed

    One of the worst reviews i've read in nine years of coming here. What a dork.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Saw The Film In Toronto

    by greenplasticnav

    And it was brilliant. After United 93, my pick for the year's best so far.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 8:41 p.m. CST

    Moriarity's introduction was a bit misleading...

    by ldm882

    I thought I'd get an intelligent criticism of the many flaws he saw in the film. Instead I got a mix of bad, trying-to-be-hip and snide jokes and bitching about VERY important details of a film, like the way someone's lab looks totally un-realistic and...fuck it, this guy may be an astronomer, but he ain't no fuckin' rocket scientist. What a dumb piece of shit. And I haven't even seen the movie - I have no idea if it's good or not. But if someone's going to trash a film, especially if they're billed as an "intellectual", then I expect an intelligent review. Hell, for all of his Harry-bashing at the start of the review, I actually respect Harry's reviews more than this prick's. At least Harry talks about what moved him emotionally in a film, and doesn't do some hip, stand-offish, lam critique of a film's minutae that have nothing to do with the quality of the film itself. And now I'm done with tonight's rant. I can only hope that Moriarty's billing of this review as some kind of Mensa-like person was an in-joke, one we'd all get once we actually read this fuck-tard's review.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 8:43 p.m. CST


    by ldm882

    in my previous post, lam=lame. And I think I mis-spelled minutae, maybe, but I'm too lazy to spell-check it.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 9:43 p.m. CST

    Setec Astronomy

    by thebearovingian

    "but hey, who am I? I'm just an astronomer?" Yeah, you're an astronomer reviewing a film so your astronomy "cred" means zip. And OMG, it's like, the year 2006, and Izzi is handwriting her story. Who still uses pens? Gimme a break. I think most would agree that in today's day and age a handwritten note/story is much more personal and carries more value than anything typed up (even on a fancy letterhead). Aren't telescopes kinda 17th century? How come the astronomers don't have bionic Hubble eye implants by now?

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 10:43 p.m. CST

    I thought the review was funny.

    by Vi

    He mocked it because he didn't like it. Get over it. Besides, its not as if 99% of the "talkbacks" on this site don't degenerate into a group of twelve year-olds holding a pissing match and bitching about politics.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 10:44 p.m. CST


    by Vi

    The fact that the fucking a AICNComics thread has the most posts in the past 24 hours should tell us all a little bit about the mentality of the average AICNer.

  • Sept. 28, 2006, 11:52 p.m. CST

    you didnt get the movie (SPOILERS)

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    the future is real. Jackman takes the monkey's medicine and it expands his mind. then, he takes the peace of land where Izzi was buried (after a few years) and flies into space with it. the tree IS her, because he planted the tree on top of her grave and so she was furtilizer for it. also, HE DOES FINISH THE BOOK. that story is resolved, albeit in a surreal way. see, jackman plays a scientist, not a writer. as a result, the story ends in a way that is totally bizzare. of course, all of this is infered. you have to THINK about it. it's not a paint by numbers movie.

  • Sept. 29, 2006, 9:58 a.m. CST


    by Read and Shut Up

    ...the "shut up" at the end of quoting the "hilarity" was funny. So was just you.

  • Sept. 29, 2006, 10:02 a.m. CST

    The Future...

    by GeoffreyIngram

    was indeed real. But I took it that the monkey medicine allowed Jackman to live several decades longer, considering the size and age of the tree. If I get the movie, can I still think it was comepletely a self-indulgent mess by all involved?

  • Sept. 29, 2006, 11:12 a.m. CST

    The Future (SPOILERS)

    by Ripper1

    s0nicdeathmonkey's got it. Hugh most likely planted a seed from the south american tree he'd been testing with. That's why he's eating it throughout. He's still trying to keep Izzy alive into the future by flying her to the star, but finally realizes the only way to "live together forever" is to die with her and create new life in a new galaxy. Brilliant.

  • Sept. 29, 2006, 1 p.m. CST

    Thanks Geoffrey

    by Garbageman33

    I'm tired of the argument that you either A) love the movie or B) didn't get it. I got it just fine. It's not that tough, really. I just didn't happen to like it. In fact, I found it a pretentious bore. Glad to hear I'm not alone.

  • Sept. 29, 2006, 4:49 p.m. CST

    nonono, you can get it and hate it...

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    it's just that this guy didn't get it. also, when shebulba exploded in the end, it scattered their particles and started the possibility of a whole new galaxy of life (as someone else pointed out).

  • Sept. 29, 2006, 9:14 p.m. CST

    My eleventh grade English teacher told a student

    by CreasyBear

    who dared to say a required book was boring, "You're just afraid to be challenged." But I don't see how boredom is all that challenging.

  • Sept. 29, 2006, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Reviews like this just make me want to see it more.

    by minderbinder

    Sounds awesome.

  • Nov. 26, 2006, 10:18 p.m. CST

    This movie is great and this thread is dead

    by dundundles

    I really enjoyed the film.. no I didn't understand everything, but I really feel that I don't need to. Like a piece of art, its purpose doesn't always have to be defined so clearly. I really enjoyed the ride.