I got this on "impulse" quickly and did not read the reviews. Woe was me - I read them later and tried to can the order, expecting a real turkey.
How wrong I was. I realize that the opening shots of the film are a little domestic, but in these scenes and in the remainder of the film I started to develop a broad suspicion which was later confirmed towards the end. Brian DePalmer did not like "Aliens", nor did he like "Psycho", or "Event horizon"... and naturally, the critics do not now like Mr DePalmer!
These films, whose mere mention makes me feel a bit queasy, are so distant from this film, I'm not surprised that this effort has attracted considerable fire. Mr DePalma has cut across convention and followed his instincts, and the result is very good indeed!
What De-Palmer has done is remarkable from several points of view. He has stuck to realistic physics - and I would be quite confident about maintaining this in spite of comments everywhere to the contrary - dialogue I would really want to believe in (assuming that the future is NOT some nightmare fusion between Macdonalds in space and the Bates Motel, in which case, you can count me outa here anyway), and observations about character and goodness that I would be very hopeful for and encouraged by.
The basic premise of the film is not so crazy at all, and is far, far more believable than the almost insane backdrop of ideas behind 2001. (having said that I guess I've really torn it now)
The music was the biggest surprise. My wife noticed this immediately, and she does not always take such sharp notice as I tend to. This score is far, far better than anything I have heard ouside of the debussy / Vaughan Williams / Delius grouping, and it is a great piece of work in it's own right.
The special effects are very well worked out, again, don't really violate physics or descend into a floorless mysticism, which has bothered me about a few recent films.
To more mundane matters. The DVD is organised very well, and my kids very much appreciated the extras, which include quite detailed expalnations of set construction and design. Some of this was really breathtaking. I think I must have just laughed and said something like, "wow.. no WAY could I do that!" As my kids are really interested in filming anyway, this section was a completely unexpected bonus.