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Author Topic: 20 years later, the movie "Total Recall" still kicks butt  (Read 23371 times)
40hz
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« Reply #50 on: June 15, 2010, 10:25:02 PM »

It shows that a good story with a good script far outdoes any special effects.

Agree 100%. Unfortunately, good sci-fi and speculative fiction stories are getting pretty rare. Some of the best are currently found in Japanese animae films - but that's a topic that rates a whole separate thread.

One very cool film no sci-fi buff should miss is this relatively low-budget picture:

Avalon-  released in 2001 and directed by Mamoru Oshii, who also was responsible for the great animae classic Ghost in the Shell.

Avalon tells the story of Ash, a woman who competes in an illegal VR wargame called Avalon. Because the game links directly into the brain, Avalon players run the risk of becoming one of a growing  number of damaged players who live out their catatonic lives in state mental hospitals. But despite this risk, or maybe because of it, the game remains popular in the bleak industrial world its players live in.



From the Prologue:

Quote
The near future. Some young people deal with their disillusionment by seeking out illusions of their own - in an illegal virtual-reality war game. Its simulated thrills and deaths are compulsive and addictive. Some players, working in teams called "parties", even earn their living from the game. The game has its dangers. Sometimes it can leave a player brain-dead, needing constant medical care. Such victims are called "Unreturned". The game is named after the legendary island where the souls of departed heroes come to rest: Avalon.

Click on thumbs for full size:

   


There's also a trailer available. Caution: trailer contains some images that may partially give the ending away. DO NOT watch if you'd rather not risk ruining it for yourself.

Avalon covers most of the concepts found in the three Matrix films. But it does so better than all of them combined. The Polish actress Malgorzata Foremniak, who stars as the character Ash, creates one of the more intriguing female leads since Sigourney Weaver's portrayal of Lt. Ellen Ripley in 1979's Alien.

Not too shabby looking either:



I could easily get lost in those shoulders...too bad they didn't cast her as Aeon Flux!

The film is mostly shot using a weird sepia color palette that really hammers home the dull and colorless lives the characters endure when not inside the game.

Strange visuals, a strong but somewhat 'damaged' heroine, illegal cybergames, virtual reality, the hint of a monumental government conspiracy, and some mysterious allusions to Arthurian legends.

Now that's my kind of picture!

----

Trivia break:

The basset hound you see in Avalon is owned by the director. It's a female and it's named Gabriel. (Go figure.) This dog served as the model for the basset hound in Ghost in the Shell along with several other animae films. The classic scene in Ghost in the Shell where Bato (the dogs owner) fixes the dog a fancy meal and then scoops its long ears out of the dog dish while it's eating is exactly duplicated in Avalon.
+++
In real life (whatever that means) Ms. Foremniak is a natural blond:



 Wink




« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 07:09:11 AM by 40hz » Logged

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Innuendo
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« Reply #51 on: June 16, 2010, 10:37:41 PM »

A person either loves 50's sci-fi and horror movies or they don't. There's no middle ground.

EDIT: This was in reference to some not liking that movie posters & movies of the time didn't always sync up or may not be as fast-paced as modern films.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 10:41:09 PM by Innuendo » Logged
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« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2010, 12:03:56 AM »

It shows that a good story with a good script far outdoes any special effects.

Agree 100%. Unfortunately, good sci-fi and speculative fiction stories are getting pretty rare. Some of the best are currently found in Japanese animae films - but that's a topic that rates a whole separate thread.


Have you seen "Fallen" with Denzel Washington, John Goodman and Donald Sutherland? It's a horror film, but it's just beyond spectacular. I've seen it probably 50 times or more. (An international title for it was "Dark Angel".)

It only rates 42% at Rotten Tomatoes, but they're retards. It really is very cool. Even if it recycles some themes, it's done really well.

I find that the very best films are often horror films. Now, 99% of horror films are just drivel, but that rare horror that pokes its head above the crowd really does go beyond.

Sci-fi I find are generally more consistently good, but again, rarely truly are "great". Star Wars and Blade Runner are what film makers aspire to. Getting there is another thing though.

A lot of current TV shows are doing very well with good plots and writing. Lost, Supernatural, Flash Forward, Fringe, Heroes, Paradox, Star Gate (various spin offs), Southpark, and I'm sure others can name more -- these push different methods and literary devices with plot twists and the like that you don't get in shows like "Friends" (which I find mildly humorous, but entirely stupid) or other typically mainstream shows.

There's nothing better than a show that when it finishes, you're swearing and cursing a blue streak because now you have to wait an entire week to find out what happens next.

The show "Surface" was very cool, but got canceled, leaving the final episode as a cliff hanger ending. Disappointing when shows get canceled sometimes. Farscape deserved better.

Blah. I'm rambling now.
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« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2010, 12:39:59 AM »

Avalon-  released in 2001 and directed by Mamoru Oshii, who also was responsible for the great animae classic Ghost in the Shell.

Avalon tells the story of Ash, a woman who competes in an illegal VR wargame called Avalon. Because the game links directly into the brain, Avalon players run the risk of becoming one of a growing  number of damaged players who live out their catatonic lives in state mental hospitals. But despite this risk, or maybe because of it, the game remains popular in the bleak industrial world its players live in.

I've never seen this film, but I was struck by the apparent similarity to Tad Williams otherland series (of books)

One of my alltime faves - anyone else read these?
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« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2010, 02:05:20 AM »

A person either loves 50's sci-fi and horror movies or they don't. There's no middle ground.

EDIT: This was in reference to some not liking that movie posters & movies of the time didn't always sync up or may not be as fast-paced as modern films.

I see this as a response to 40hz's recommendation of IT: The Terror from Beyond Space and my dislike of it, so I'm responding to clarify my position.

I don't really mind that the movie poster didn't align with what happened in the movie. Heck, these days you'll see movie trailers with actual footage from the movie that doesn't make it into the movie. And I don't mind slow-paced movies either, as long as something is happening (i.e. story or character(s) is/are developing).

What probably bothered me most about the movie was just how stupid and helpless everybody was. A couple of the really bad ones:

[Potential Spoilers Below]

  • They find out pretty early on that bullets are ineffective at stopping (or even harming) the Martian, yet every time they hear a growl from the creature, they immediately pull out their pistols and, if in sight, start firing.
  • They have deadly gas bombs that are supposedly strong enough to kill dinosaurs, so all (but three) of them don gas masks (and the three without protection are only a few feet away from those with the masks) and toss a few down the hatch and seal it up. 10 seconds later they open up the hatch to see if it did the trick and let all the fumes up. If the gas was as deadly as they said, it would obviously kill the three unprotected folk pretty fast.
  • They actually do this stupid hatch trick a few times. Throw something down there to destroy it and then immediately open up the hatch again to check if it worked, each time getting ambushed by the monster who is still in the same spot on the staircase/ladder it was in just 15 seconds ago.
  • Why didn't they ever think to just jettison it out into space and be rid of it? If the thing got on board by someone accidentally leaving a door open that can be opened and closed (remotely) from the bridge/cockpit/control room, why not just open it up again while the creature is still down there?
  • If you really think a guy murdered his entire crew on Mars for no good reason, why would you allow him to roam around freely (albeit accompanied) on your ship?
  • If there's even the slightest chance of there being an alien lifeform on Mars (which was the lone survivor/alleged murderer's story), wouldn't that potential discovery seem more important than anybody made it out to be in the film?
  • They are in a small spaceship, with circular rooms that are maybe 15-20 feet in diameter, yet two people will carry on a conversation (loudly) about someone else on the other side of the same room as if that other person won't hear it.
  • Amazingly, that other person doesn't seem to hear it!

And these are just a few examples of the stupidity of everyone involved.

I disagree with 40hz's description: "With it's (mostly) intelligent dialog and brooding shadowy set, IT succeeds in creating a remarkably believable atmosphere of escalating tension."

In my opinion, the characters were unbelievably stupid (stupid is as stupid does) and quite often downright illogical. I do suppose, however, that there was escalating tension throughout the film, but that was mostly just my patience wearing thin waiting for anybody do to something intelligent.

Movies really irritate me when people behave irrationally or illogically for no good reason. (Upon reflection, that sounds funny, I need a valid, logical reason for someone to behave illogically.) I'm not good at watching movies just for entertainment. I usually can't help but think about them for the next few days and analyze them to pieces.

But now that I've vented about IT: The Terror from Beyond Space, I think I've gotten it out of my system enough that I can move on to analyzing Pandorum, which I found while looking to see if Avalon was on NetFlix's Instant Play. (It's not.)
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 02:10:38 AM by Deozaan » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2010, 06:14:59 AM »

...
Movies really irritate me when people behave irrationally or illogically for no good reason. (Upon reflection, that sounds funny, I need a valid, logical reason for someone to behave illogically.) I'm not good at watching movies just for entertainment. I usually can't help but think about them for the next few days and analyze them to pieces.
...

I know what you mean. But I think that movies are also a reflection of the general level of sophistication of their first audiences. Less education means there is less of a burden on the film maker to make things align closer to reality.

Take the "hacker" that takes control of all the government military computers through "military strength firewalls and encryption", finds the "secret plans", and hands them to the hero. In 30 seconds. All the while screaming, "Hold on! Just wait!"

Never mind that it would take all the computers in the world trillions upon trillions of universe lifetimes to crack just 1 encrypted key. That's too long for the audience to wait. Make it 10 seconds. Wink

That's the general level of sophistication of the average person. The people here at this forum are not representative of the norm.

But so what? It pays off to suspend disbelief, buy into the ridiculousness and just enjoy the movie no matter how far fetched things are.

Take CSI... Yikes. Need I say more? smiley

What I would really like more of are films like Riddick where instead of some typical, lame hero, you get the ANTI-HERO! Elric of Melniboné and Stormbringer. That's the kind of stuff that puffy film studios just can't manage to get done. Sigh...

It's so bad that quite often I find myself rooting for the "bad guy".

Oh - DEXTER. Great show.

Well, I'm wandering very far off-topic yet again.

Suspending disbelief. Yes. That helps make movies/shows more enjoyable. cheesy

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« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2010, 06:35:12 AM »

Oh - DEXTER. Great show.
Thmbsup
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40hz
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« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2010, 07:01:58 AM »

It only rates 42% at Rotten Tomatoes, but they're retards.

I prefer the Quiet Earth website for sci-fi and horror reviews.



QE is primarily interested in post-apocalyptic themed films. But it also provides a decent amount of coverage for other genres as well. They're especially good at finding obscure indie and non-US movies. They're a good source for pictures that don't get much coverage elsewhere.

FWIW I seldom read or otherwise pay attention to reviews until I see the film. Before that, all I'm looking for is a brief non-spoiler plot synopsis; a few stills so I can get some idea of the overall 'look' and level of production; and a trailer or two. (I love trailers!)

Once I see the film, I'm much more open to reading reviews. But the main reason I do is to see if I might have missed something rather than to seek validation for my own impressions. I'm at the stage where I'm pretty comfortable with just liking what I like.

Quote
I find that the very best films are often horror films. Now, 99% of horror films are just drivel, but that rare horror that pokes its head above the crowd really does go beyond.


One of the reasons I've never had much interest in horror films is because most are pretty lacking. But as you noted, that only makes the rare exception even more enjoyable. And when they're good, they're very good indeed.

I never had patience with vampire anything until the lovely Kate Beckinsdale took a crack at it in the first two Underworld installments. I thought the third one lost something, but the first two were very well done. Same goes for Blade and Blade II. Both were way up there for pure entertainment value. (A vampire Pomeranian? Love it! You need a really sick sense of humor to come up with something like that.)

Quote
Sci-fi I find are generally more consistently good, but again, rarely truly are "great". Star Wars and Blade Runner are what film makers aspire to. Getting there is another thing though.

The biggest problem with filming sci-fi is the story. It's exceptionally hard to translate something as idea-based as a sci-fi story into something as action-oriented and visual as a movie. As one director pointed out, all you can film are actions and images. There's absolutely no way to film someone's emotions or thoughts. The best you can do is imply them through visual cues.

Then there's the problem of providing context. Since much good sci-fi creates its own universe, there's a huge amount of background information that needs to be conveyed before the reader/viewer can get into the story. Fans of sci-fi have an advantage because they already know certain genre conventions which allow them to enter into the story more quickly than the average viewer. Say "warp drive" and a fan will immediately recall the six or seven fully developed (fictional) ways a starship can be made to hop from star to star. A non-fan will need more hand-holding and explanations. Which takes time away from telling the story. And that's a big problem in the film world.

In the trade, losing footage to provide necessary background is referred to as "laying pipe."  A good example of where it didn't become a problem was in Blade Runner. With a few well chosen scenes and images, Ridley Scott plunked his audience right down into Phillip K. Dick's dystopian future in less than 5 minutes. And with hardly anyone noticing just how strange a world it was.

A good example of where "laying pipe" was a problem was in the film The Minority Report. If you had never read the story, you would have been lost without being filled in on how this weird new method of law enforcement worked. And for it to be believable, you needed a lot of background. Unfortunately, Spielberg spent the first twenty or so minutes providing nothing but background. The real story didn't get started until around the 22 minute mark.

That delay would have been enough to kill The Minority Report for most people - even if it weren't such a lousy movie. (Which it was.)

--------

One interesting option is to blend horror with sci-fi. It's probably one of the toughest tricks in the world to pull off. But it hasn't kept some directors from trying.

Event Horizon tried and failed despite it's huge budget, name director, and excellent cast. Just goes to show that all the acting talent and special effects in the world still couldn't compensate for a fundamentally flawed storyline. It was almost painful to watch superb actors like Fishburn, Neill, Quinlan and Richardson giving it their all - and to no avail.

Event Horizon was one of the few films I ever went to where the audience started walking out before it was over... (The other was Excalibur.)

Carpenter's Prince of Darkness mostly succeeded even though the ending got dragged out longer than it should have. AFAIK, this was the very first movie to posit the notion of evil as being a form of malignant intelligence that exists in a dark parallel universe. And one which is actively trying to cross over into our own.

Shades of the old master: H.P. Lovecraft  Kiss with his "Elder Gods"... Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!

I wouldn't mind seeing a remake of PoD. Especially if it were updated to include some of the more recent discoveries in physics. And if they fixed the pacing.

The 2006 movie Pulse actually did succeed in merging the two genres. Fairly believable if you put yourself within the context of the story. It also contains some of the better creepy visuals out there.

Quote
Imagine our wireless technologies made a connection to a world beyond our own. Imagine that world used that technology as a doorway into ours. Now, imagine the connection we made can't be shut down. When you turn on your cell phone or log on to your e-mail, they'll get in, you'll be infected and they'll be able to take from you what they don't have anymore -- life.  

This film has some memorable scenes. One of the best takes place during a discussion in a coffee shop in what is now a virtually deserted city following an unexplained  rash of suicides and disappearances. The character Maddie is trying to explain to skeptical computer hacker-extraordinaire Dexter what she thinks she knows about what's happening. A very strange wild-eyed man, half-drunk, and half out of his mind with fear, butts into their conversation:

Quote
Mattie Webber: Just like Josh said, he pulled something through...

Dexter McCarthy: Pulled ghosts through the Wi-Fi? I just doesn't make any sense.

Thin Bookish Guy:[adding to their conversation] It makes all the sense in the world. Do you have any idea of the amount of data that's floating out there? The amount of information we just beam into the air? We broadcast to everyone where we are, and we think we're safe? The whole freakin' city is going insane, and we're acting like it's nothing. Well, it's not nothing. It's something we don't understand, and it is coming for us.

There's a clip up on YouTube if you want to watch it. Link here. This scene starts at the 1:22 mark.

Pulse is an American remake of the 2001 the Japanese film: Kairo. It's one of those few times when a remake holds it's own against the original. I have both. I personally think Pulse is the better movie.

You can watch the trailer for Pulse here and the trailer for Kairo here.

-----

One new movie that looks promising is a Columbian military/horror piece called El Paramo.

Quote
A special high mountain command composed of nine experienced soldiers is sent to a military base in a desolate high-plains moor of Colombia with wich contact was lost several days ago and was believed to be the target of a guerrilla attack.

Upon arrival, the only person found inside the base is a peasant woman who is heavily chained. Gradually, the isolation, the inability to communicate with the outside world and the impossibility to escape, undermine the integrity and sanity of the soldiers, causing them to lose the certainties about the identity of the enemy and creating them doubts about the true nature of that strange and silent woman.

Prisoners of fear, paranoia and a dark secret that they carry, they will challenge each other becoming animals willing to kill one another in order to survive.

   

Quiet Earth has a write up and a trailer if anybody's interested. You can find it here.

Looks pretty cool. Cool

« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 07:45:29 AM by 40hz » Logged

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Deozaan
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« Reply #58 on: June 17, 2010, 03:21:24 PM »

Take CSI... Yikes. Need I say more? smiley

Upon reflection, I suppose I'm only willing to suspend my disbelief so far as the setting and theme of the movie suggests is reasonable.

Something that takes place in the future or in space or another planet requires a suspension of disbelief in what kind of technology is available and what other forms of life exist. Generally, the rules of "how things work in reality" don't have to be modified much more than that.

Something in a fantasy setting requires you to be able to modify the "rules" for other forms of life and what kind of magical powers are available/commonplace (i.e. Harry Potter).

Something set in modern America (i.e. CSI) should require very few modifications to the rules of "how things work," so when things are unrealistic they set off internal alarm bells that say "Hey! That can't work like that!"

But no matter the setting or theme, I become agitated very easily when a director/screenplay insults my intelligence by presenting me with people who behave irrationally and illogically without providing a logical reason as to why their cognitive abilities are so impaired.

I guess what I'm saying is that, ultimately, I have an extremely hard time suspending my disbelief in people (their behavior). Even though I'm quite capable and willing (as far as the theme suggests) to suspend my disbelief in "how things work in reality" for the sake of a good story.

I think the Transformers movies are a good example of that. Polymorphic alien robotic lifeforms that take the shape of human-made vehicles is a pretty lame idea that requires you to really stretch your imagination to accept as possible if you think about it, but I willingly accepted it. The thing that I hated about the movies was how idiotic nearly every single human being (and some of the robots, especially in Revenge of the Fallen) was!

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« Reply #59 on: June 17, 2010, 04:03:38 PM »

But no matter the setting or theme, I become agitated very easily when a director/screenplay insults my intelligence by presenting me with people who behave irrationally and illogically without providing a logical reason as to why their cognitive abilities are so impaired.

Wow...

You can get all that just from a movie?

How do you ever manage to make it through a work day? Wink smiley
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Deozaan
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« Reply #60 on: June 17, 2010, 04:41:02 PM »

But no matter the setting or theme, I become agitated very easily when a director/screenplay insults my intelligence by presenting me with people who behave irrationally and illogically without providing a logical reason as to why their cognitive abilities are so impaired.

Wow...

You can get all that just from a movie?

How do you ever manage to make it through a work day? Wink smiley

The medication (legal and prescribed!) sure helps. Wink
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40hz
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« Reply #61 on: June 17, 2010, 05:16:01 PM »

The medication (legal and prescribed!) sure helps. Wink

^ LOL Good one! Thmbsup



Lucky too...I 'm stuck with OTC.  Grin

(But at least I get to pick the "flavor."  dance  )
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 05:53:28 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #62 on: June 17, 2010, 07:09:21 PM »

A person either loves 50's sci-fi and horror movies or they don't. There's no middle ground.

EDIT: This was in reference to some not liking that movie posters & movies of the time didn't always sync up or may not be as fast-paced as modern films.

Ya know... I'm not entirely sold on the modern (faster-est paced) movies are better to be frank. The 50's flicks, while a tad corny, did rely on a suspenseful-ly told story and the viewers imagination to (best) fill in parts that would today just be gushing gore. Because nobody knows what really scares us better than we do (kick in imagination->done).

Moving forward the story telling craft became (much) less important as movies went from thrill-a-minute, to action packed, to violent, to really violent, to ultra violent, to hyper violent to who the hell knows what's next. It's gotten to the point where there is so much going on so fast that one spend half the movie pondering wtf just happened. Why?

In the 50's when a scene was shot "at night", the picture would (more often than not) just have a grayish background (that we all understood to mean it's night time), and the rest of the "action" was easy to perceive including the stick the rubber monster was mounted on. Now we have scenes the cost millions to create, but are so dark that the screen is literally completely pitch black with only a few points on reflected moving light, and nobody could possibly have a clue what happened. Half these "High-Tech" million dollar scenes could easily be recreated with a cheap camera, a rubber monkey, and the minimal light that leaks under a closed closet door for under $10.

So if you're looking for a superspy, rockstar, scientist, brain surgeon, astronaut, racecar driver ... look no further than the Adventures of Buckaroo Bonsi - It is by far the stupidest movie I ever totally loved (I still whistle the rather catchy theme music from time to time).
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« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2010, 08:29:54 PM »

^ +1!

Sometimes the lesser the verisimilitude provided by the effect, the more you're  forced to engage the imagination. 

I always found that poorly focused and jerky B&W has a certain nightmarish quality that you don't get from hi-def digital wizardry. Especially effective is the old trick of dropping every third frame to create a subtle but noticable choppiness that gets most people edgy without their knowing why. 

The original Carnival of Souls is a good example of how low-tech produced a film more frightening than its hi-tech remake.

   
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« Reply #64 on: June 17, 2010, 08:58:07 PM »

Especially effective is the old trick of dropping every third frame to create a subtle but noticable choppiness that gets most people edgy without their knowing why. 

That is wicked~! I've never heard of that before!
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« Reply #65 on: June 18, 2010, 02:08:24 PM »

40hz-

stopped at borders on my break yesterday. I found a copy of avalon for only $12.99 so i bought it and watched it last night. wow! most excellent movie. much better than the matrix. definitely the best cyber oriented sf movie I have seen so far. i'll likely watch it again this weekend with friends.

really liked the lead. she gets crabby just like me!

i'm very surprised this movie isn't better known. 

thank you for sharing!  smiley
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« Reply #66 on: June 18, 2010, 08:54:34 PM »

Ya know... I'm not entirely sold on the modern (faster-est paced) movies are better to be frank. The 50's flicks, while a tad corny, did rely on a suspenseful-ly told story and the viewers imagination to (best) fill in parts that would today just be gushing gore. Because nobody knows what really scares us better than we do (kick in imagination->done).


I'm of the same opinion. And I wasn't even alive when those movies were made!

Quote
So if you're looking for a superspy, rockstar, scientist, brain surgeon, astronaut, racecar driver ... look no further than the Adventures of Buckaroo Bonsi - It is by far the stupidest movie I ever totally loved (I still whistle the rather catchy theme music from time to time).

The DVD that was recently released a couple years ago gave an excellent treatment of the Buckaroo universe. Lots of things are explained in the extras that were never explained in the movie.

And if you thought the theme song was catchy, somewhere I have an MP3 of the never-released alternate version of the theme music which was supposed to originally be the ending credits theme, but never made it to the final cut of the film.

....and it's Mr. Bigboo-TAY!!  cheesy
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« Reply #67 on: June 18, 2010, 10:35:29 PM »

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (the original) is a favorite classic.
The original pre-screening version of that movie did not contain the "parenthetical" story of him arriving at the hospital (in the beginning), telling his whole story (the main plot of the movie), and the (doctor?) picking up a phone to notify the FBI.
The way it was originally intended was to begin right in with the story and end on that scene where he is running from car to car trying to warm people coming into the town.  Then he turns to the camera and screams, 'Your're Next !!'
Apparently, the early audiences (in the 50's) thought that was just too scary.
So they added the nice (soft) wrapper that generates a 'happy ending'.
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« Reply #68 on: June 19, 2010, 09:58:45 AM »

parkint, what a shame. The pre-screening version would have made it a much more powerful story.

Oh well...what do you expect from audiences that were scared senseless by The Tingler.
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« Reply #69 on: June 24, 2010, 10:52:17 PM »

Apparently, the early audiences (in the 50's) thought that was just too scary.
So they added the nice (soft) wrapper that generates a 'happy ending'.


It still happens today. (Look no further than Avatar for a recent example.) Just ask anybody who has ever submitted a screenplay with a completely tragic ending. It will either be changed by the studios or not get made. Same goes for any ending where human evil goes completely unpunished. Either the bad guy has to get his comeuppance, or the hero must live to fight him another day - which basically makes "The End " more like "To be continued..." That's one of the reasons why all those unstoppable-psycho-serial-killer franchises (Freddie Kreuger, Jason, et al) have so many sequels. Hollywood will not allow these stories to end with evil triumphant.

The US motion picture industry has several unwritten 'moral' rules when it comes to story development and outcomes. Would be directors and writers ignore them at their peril.



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« Reply #70 on: June 26, 2010, 05:21:42 PM »

That's one of the reasons why all those unstoppable-psycho-serial-killer franchises (Freddie Kreuger, Jason, et al) have so many sequels. Hollywood will not allow these stories to end with evil triumphant.

Huh.

So....all these years Hollywood has been pushing out drek sequels in order to deliver an uplifting message that good will eventually prevail.

Here I thought it was just a money grab.
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« Reply #71 on: June 26, 2010, 10:36:21 PM »

^Nope.  There are certain unofficial but very real taboos the US movie industry observes. Evil does not triumph. Children are not to be subjected to cruelty or physical harm. You may threaten harm. But have a scene in a script where a child actually gets hurt and your script will be tossed in the trash. And religions beliefs are not to be blasphemed or ridiculed either. You can take a jab at a bad clergyman or fringe religion. But you can forget about poking fun at or criticizing any of the major faiths. Same goes for most government figures and offices. You can have a corrupt politician or judge, but you will not be allowed to imply that all government, or it's judicial system are corrupt.

In the late 60s, there was a pilot made for a TV series where the United States became a fascist police state in the wake of an undisclosed crisis. It dealt with a highly patriotic member of the dreaded Internal Security Forces (i.e. the secret police) who gradually began to realize everything he believed in was a lie. The series was supposed to show his gradual transition to rebel against the government. It was televised once and has never been aired since. The title of the pilot was Shadow on the Land.

Despite a favorable reception from viewers, the series never entered into production. And despite numerous requests coupled with a minor campaign to get this pilot released on DVD, to date nothing has occurred or been promised. Most people who have been involved in the campaign have come to the conclusion it never will be rereleased. Maybe there are a few too many parallels between some of what is in this film and post 9/11 America for comfort?  


There's more, but the above examples should give you some idea of the sort of things Hollywood self-censors.

In a way it's kind of funny. Moral conservatives constantly criticize the film industry for it's lack of restraint and respect when it has always ( except for a brief period in the 70s where anything went ) been very careful not to risk offending mainstream sensibilites.
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« Reply #72 on: June 27, 2010, 07:29:36 AM »

Children are not to be subjected to cruelty or physical harm. You may threaten harm. But have a scene in a script where a child actually gets hurt and your script will be tossed in the trash.

How does that gel with the ending of The Mist ?

While you don't actually get to see the deed done, the killing of the boy is very graphically implied.  (Apologies to people who may not have seen the film but what I've typed in no way gives away the whole plot.)

But then, the SciFi/Horror genre is allowed a bit more flexibility with regard to how a story ends.

That's one of the reasons why all those unstoppable-psycho-serial-killer franchises (Freddie Kreuger, Jason, et al) have so many sequels. Hollywood will not allow these stories to end with evil triumphant.

I would have put it down as trying to milk more money out of the movie watchers.  If they just didn't want to end with evil being triumphant then they could have stopped at Friday the 13th or A nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, (to use your two psycho examples), but they didn't.  From that point on it was just greed, IMO.  (If you follow the premise of New Nightmare you could actually say that Evil has won - who else would be causing all these crappy sequels to be inflicted upon us?)

Anyone who enjoys the SciFi/Horror genre will go along and see the sequel no matter how bad it is, they'll watch the following sequels in the hope they will be better than the previous, etc, etc, etc.

I know, I am stupid enough to sit through every sequel of most SciFi/Horror films.  tongue
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« Reply #73 on: June 27, 2010, 09:26:31 AM »

How does that gel with the ending of The Mist ?

I'm with you, 4wd. I just don't buy it. Otherwise The Forgotten never would have been made. At the end, IIRC, good does not win. The "Big Bad" persists and its crystal clear that good will never win.

There are lots of movies and TV shows where evil wins. I'm thankful for that, watching the good guys win in the end. Every. Single. Time. Well, it gets old.
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« Reply #74 on: June 27, 2010, 12:34:13 PM »

How does that gel with the ending of The Mist ?

While you don't actually get to see the deed done, the killing of the boy is very graphically implied.


As I said, you can imply all you want. But you can't show it happening.

The scene in The Happening where the smart-mouthed kid got shot had to be reworked several times before Shyamalan got an OK from the studio's legal department. Note when you see the film that you don't actually see the boy getting hit even though you do get to see his dead body (partially and briefly) afterwards. And even that is so quick it's almost implied.

That's one semi-spoiler in any movie. If there's a lead character kid in the film that's 12 or younger, you just know they're going to make it through the movie no matter what.You can kill off the heroine, her boyfriend, her dog, and her helpless and elderly Mom and Dad. You can  even nuke the town where she was born. But that 7-year old kid she picks up along the way is always going to be one of the survivors when the credits finally roll.


Quote
I would have put it down as trying to milk more money out of the movie watchers.  If they just didn't want to end with evil being triumphant then they could have stopped at Friday the 13th or A nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, (to use your two psycho examples), but they didn't.  From that point on it was just greed, IMO.  (If you follow the premise of New Nightmare you could actually say that Evil has won - who else would be causing all these crappy sequels to be inflicted upon us?)

Anyone who enjoys the SciFi/Horror genre will go along and see the sequel no matter how bad it is, they'll watch the following sequels in the hope they will be better than the previous, etc, etc, etc.

Yes. They could have stopped the follow-ons at any time. But only if it left the 'conflict' in an unresolved state where evil hadn't yet been conclusively defeated. They don't greenlight movies where the script calls for human evil to finally, absolutely, and conclusively win.

And if you do know of an exception, please educate me. Because AFAIK - it just doesn't happen.

Note: I wasn't saying that the taboo against human evil triumphant is what drives the creation of sequels. But it does provide the opportunity to make sequels since it keeps most of these films from reaching their logical conclusion.

I mean c'mon... unstoppable killer repeatedly comes back from the dead after he's been hit with everything from a baseball bat to a tactical nuke? By this time you'd figure he's just a force of nature like a tornado - something to avoid as best you can since there's nothing you can really do about it.

One way out would be if the military rounded up Jason and his ilk and transported them over to the Afghan/Pakistan border to hunt for and kill Bin Laden. After Bin Laden was gone, the Pentagon could send in the cruise missiles and possibly even call in a B2 wing to do a follow up cluster bombing run "just to be sure." International threat removed, evil punished, supernatural evil semi-redeemed but still punished, and America saved!

Give it a name like Leatherface Leathernecks or The Texas Chainsaw Detail with Stallone as the commanding general and Dolpf Lundgren as the 'CIA guy.' Hey, dredge up the Cenobites from  Barker's Hellraiser franchise while you're at it too. Let Bin Laden plan to unleash them in LA as part of his next terrorist attack...

You can probably see why they don't they let me write these things... Grin


How does that gel with the ending of The Mist ?

Note: the following response contains film spoiler. Don't read if you haven't seen The Mist.


I'm with you, 4wd. I just don't buy it. Otherwise The Forgotten never would have been made. At the end, IIRC, good does not win. The "Big Bad" persists and its crystal clear that good will never win.

Yet another spoiler laden response on my part... Wink


Quote
There are lots of movies and TV shows where evil wins. I'm thankful for that, watching the good guys win in the end. Every. Single. Time. Well, it gets old.

It only gets old when screenwriters can't come up with an original angle on it. But that's why we create fiction rather than just read history. If you want depressing examples of where human evil triumphs, look no further than that - although you might argue that since history is constantly being written and rewritten, it's a never-ending series of stories about the good guys going on to fight another day.

I'm not aware of any movie where human evil triumphs absolutely. There may be films where the bad guys win the conflict, but the protagonists still always wins in terms of spiritual growth, or goes on to fight evil another day- even if its' only by inspiring a new generation with his/her own death.

How 'bout some more titles?

Ain't film appreciation fun? That's why you always want to watch and discuss movies with friends.  Grin  Thmbsup





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