Do sci-fi movies really suck?

Posted by Gcrush 
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Gcrush
I should clarify what I mean about Burroughs so it'll be clearer what I mean about Kirkman. Tarzan is well known, and mostly well loved, internationally. The number of books Burroughs wrote featuring Tarzan is staggering. (Where did he find the time?) And, for the most part, the books suck pretty bad. The plots are trite, the dialog wooden, and the characters one-dimensional. Even Burrough's contemporaries called him out on the shit writing. But! Burroughs knew his audience and he knew how to write cliffhangers into every installment. (Which is true for almost all his work. Tarzan and John Carter are interchangable.) It's pretty likely that Burroughs had no illusions about what he was doing. People ate it up.

I think this fits Kirkman's Walking Dead, too. It's not good by almost any measure aside from commercial sales and popularity. It's bad. The plots are trite, the dialog wooden, and the characters are one-dimensional. But! Kirkman knows his audience and he knows how to write a cliffhanger into every installment. People eat it up.

You're right, there's a very explicit audience-pandering element to the aforementioned 'genre' fiction (what pulp fiction was before it diversified into the more distinct and defined present-day genre equivalents....romance, mysteries, sci-fi, etc.), that allows it to perpetuate and be successful commercially.

What I was trying to say (poorly, and spinning the conversation in a different direction, maybe) is that what makes the above crappy art isn't simply because it can be classified as genre (i.e., the way those stories appeal to specific audiences and use things like cliffhangers). They're bad because the writers did those things badly. They're not bad because they're genre stories. They're bad because they're shittily written stories.

First, there's an element of writing to an audience, real or imagined, in pretty much every type of storytelling (or communication), high or low. Also, the use of cliffhangers is not limited to genre stories, though they certainly rely heavily on this convention.

For example, both the LOTR trilogy and the new Total Recall movie are beset with cliffhangers, character archetypes, (sometimes) crappy dialogue, a predictable plot and ending...but, at least according to the Academy, the former has some kind of artistic value that elevates it above the latter (higher production values, better acting, stronger characterization, etc.). And at the same time, LOTR just as much panders to a specific audience, but happens to also connect with a broader one, and its artistic/commercial success, I think, lies in more than just identifying the various narrative elements (use of cliffhangers, writing to an audience) and checking them off. It has a lot to do with how those narrative elements are being manipulated (obvious point, I know).

So while I can see the line between genre and non-genre fiction, I don't get how value follows from those lines. And I'm not saying you're making that claim.

Thing is, Arthur Kyrstal makes that claim, writing recently in the New Yorker ("Easy Writers") and citing a passage from Burroughs' Tarzan as an example of cheap genre fiction and how it's different from higher art, and while I can agree with him about this particular example, his claims, as such claims usually are, are based on selective examples and gross generalizations (what does he mean by exploring the murkiness of humanity?), and are reductive given how hybridized a lot of literature is today, as pointed out by other writers (Lev Grossman and Ursula LeGuin).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2012 11:35PM by gingaio.
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gingaio
You're right, there's a very explicit audience-pandering element to the aforementioned 'genre' fiction (what pulp fiction was before it diversified into the more distinct and defined present-day genre equivalents....romance, mysteries, sci-fi, etc.), that allows it to perpetuate and be successful commercially.

What I was trying to say (poorly, and spinning the conversation in a different direction, maybe) is that what makes the above crappy art isn't simply because it can be classified as genre (i.e., the way those stories appeal to specific audiences and use things like cliffhangers). They're bad because the writers did those things badly. They're not bad because they're genre stories. They're bad because they're shittily written stories.

Hmm. I would say that both Burroughs and Kirkman get away with throw-away story telling is because there's no expectation from anyone that they shouldn't. The pulp genre may, or may not, have anything to do with that. Burroughs created a safe way for White readers to vicariously conquer Savage Africa. And Mars. Kirkman created a safe way for White readers to feel empowered by fighting The Zombie in the company of Savage Wimmins.* While they happen to be in a pulpy genre, I think there's a lot of forgiveness afloat when writers are scratching an itch. Take a look at how many NYT Bestsellers have involved well-to-do White People in New York City Dealing with Problems.

Another example - the first Star Wars trilogy was, let's be honest for a moment, a knock-off of Flash Gordon serials with a few other pulpy tropes thrown in. I don't think anyone was taking it super seriously at the time. And that's certainly not how Lucas intended it (despite trying to hang Joe Campbell's influence on it). Anyway, Lucas got away with all the shitty dialog and wooden acting at the time because no one expected he shouldn't. When he tried to repeat that shit with the second Star Wars trilogy, people threw him under the bus. Everyone had started taking Star Wars too seriously and developed the expectation that it should be high-quality work instead of flashy throw-away nonsense.

The same thing sort of happened with Burroughs. The first Tarzan and John Carter works are bizarrely well-received despite their obvious shortcomings, while the later works have all but disappeared from the collective consciousness. (Does anyone remember Ulysses Paxton, the John Carter not-clone clone? Or Tarzan in Minuni, the Barsoom not-clone clone?) Anyway, I predict that TWD will eventually fall into the same trap. Kirkman will come to a point where the narrative recycling hits a critical threshold and people will say, "Consider this shark jumped. Remember when TWD was cool? Man, what happened?" If I had to guess, this will be because after The Group's sixth move to a new town readers will figure out that TWD is an epic tale of One White Man dealing with unwanted immigrants and falling property values everywhere he goes.








* Seriously, didn't Michonne - the hardest hard-ass killer of hard-asses in the group - literally drop to her knees and suck the dick of the first brother she saw within an hour of meeting him?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2012 02:21AM by Gcrush.
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Gcrush
Hmm. I would say that both Burroughs and Kirkman get away with throw-away story telling is because there's no expectation from anyone that they shouldn't. The pulp genre may, or may not, have anything to do with that. Burroughs created a safe way for White readers to vicariously conquer Savage Africa. And Mars. Kirkman created a safe way for White readers to feel empowered by fighting The Zombie in the company of Savage Wimmins.* While they happen to be in a pulpy genre, I think there's a lot of forgiveness afloat when writers are scratching an itch. Take a look at how many NYT Bestsellers have involved well-to-do White People in New York City Dealing with Problems.

Right, and this is why I think 'pandering to the reader' is not a strategy of simply genre fiction. Everyone does it, even and especially the literary writers who write for the literary readership, a group that predominantly has been white, college educated and beyond, upper middle-class, sees NY as the center of the world, etc....

With Burroughs and Kirkman, both are also exploiting the cultural mores of the time, that, as you say, involved views favoring colonialist or white male empowerment fantasies.

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Gcrush
Another example - the first Star Wars trilogy was, let's be honest for a moment, a knock-off of Flash Gordon serials with a few other pulpy tropes thrown in. I don't think anyone was taking it super seriously at the time. And that's certainly not how Lucas intended it (despite trying to hang Joe Campbell's influence on it). Anyway, Lucas got away with all the shitty dialog and wooden acting at the time because no one expected he shouldn't. When he tried to repeat that shit with the second Star Wars trilogy, people threw him under the bus. Everyone had started taking Star Wars too seriously and developed the expectation that it should be high-quality work instead of flashy throw-away nonsense.

The same thing sort of happened with Burroughs. The first Tarzan and John Carter works are bizarrely well-received despite their obvious shortcomings, while the later works have all but disappeared from the collective consciousness. (Does anyone remember Ulysses Paxton, the John Carter not-clone clone? Or Tarzan in Minuni, the Barsoom not-clone clone?)

Genres evolve to suit the context and audience. Storytelling evolves. If you compare early novels/stories of various genres to contemporary ones, you'll find more sophistication and variety with respect to content and style. The original SW had the advantage of being a 'new' mash-up of story, just enough retro combined with enough visual flair to wow the audience of the time. But once the wow factor goes away, you actually have to tell a good story. One of the many problems was that Lucas didn't evolve as a storyteller (or maybe he just couldn't stop hewing to the serials that inspired him)...paralleling the release of the new SW trilogy was the LOTR trilogy, which was basically in the same generic vein, but which reflected a modern storytelling sensibility, as far as depth of characterization, quality of dialogue, quality of direction, and so forth.

Couldn't this be why the John Carter movie tanked? And why things like a straight-up Tarzan adaptation wouldn't fly today? Because the racist/racial overtones would have to be sublimated/disguised much more, a la Walking Dead? Because those stories would be too 'simple' or wouldn't capture the modern audience's fancy the way a relatively creative zombie story would?

But this ignores the fact that shitty movies are just shitty movies. John Carter was dinged for being long and plodding. On the other hand, Episodes II and (arguably) III were actually better written, plotted, and directed than the movies of the new trilogy. To me, it's not just a shift in the audience's tastes. There's also something about doing the art well.

Love the flowchart, by the way.

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Gcrush
Seriously, didn't Michonne - the hardest hard-ass killer of hard-asses in the group - literally drop to her knees and suck the dick of the first brother she saw within an hour of meeting him?[/size]

Was this after or before she was subjected to a totally gratuitious rape and torture session, just so we could see how tough she was?



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2012 03:16AM by gingaio.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Holy shit--I just saw the Wachowskis' live-action Speed Racer!
(I *think* this qualifies as scifi...)

Fantastic. I'm *still* floored. Nearly flawless adaptation of the dubbed cartoon: blissfully absurd in every way it needed to be. JoshB told me it was faithful to the show...but I didn't listen, damnit. Glad I came around--better late than never. The movie was glorious.

Awesome casting...each character looked great and got a chance to shine. Totally corny dialogue--even if some of it *was* legitimately uplifting (in a cheesy, family-friendly way). The visuals (which originally put me off from seeing the movie) are actually pretty cool. Ultimately, no complaints about the animation. About a billion times more engaging than the pod-racing scene in Episode 1. I mean, the way I see it as a fanboy, it was either they totally go over the top with the CG like they did...or do some weird, stylized hand-drawn animation meant to emulate the original cartoon to please existing fans. I'm cool with their choice.

The only flaw I can come up with is the sorta retcon/reimagining of the actual Mach 5 car, itself, and its features/"powers". First of all, there's a Mach 6 towards the end of the movie; it looked *awesome*...but I woulda preferred they'd stuck with the 5. The 5 looks perfect...but in the story, it wasn't Pop who outfitted it with all the crazy features like in the cartoon. The basic plot change didn't really sit right with me. Also, even though Speed uses the car's powers quite a bit throughout the movie, I woulda loved if they'd spent more time yapping about those features and how special the car is, in general (again, like in the show). Instead, the Mach 5 and 6 weren't really depicted as being particularly special. Pretty much every other car out there was roughly as fast and had its own set of weird abilities. So ultimately, the races just came down to who the "best" driver was...

Anyway, the complaint is mostly minor. Go see this.
^^^^!!!!

*GASP!* urkk!...(thump)...

You FINALLY saw this? After we've been whopping your fro'd head about it, threatening to tie ya down to a chair in front of a TV to watch it for how many years?
Well....hmph.
So glad you dug it! Figured the spring loaded snakes and bees nest launchers would've got you, haha!

Oh, and sci-fi Susan Sarandon PANCAKES!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2013 01:53AM by repairtechjon.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Haha...yeah, I don't even know what compelled me to download it the other day. But here we are! And yes, Susan Sarandon pancakes!!

Thinking back about the movie, I'm surprised to realize that I found the actual race scenes more engaging than most other CG fight/race/action sequences I've seen. I mentioned the pod-racing scene...but also the mecha fight scenes in the Macross Frontier movies (which I also just saw recently)...Bayformers...the dog-fighting sequences from BSG...

Not saying the CG was higher quality, more realistic, or anything like that...it's more that the whole feel of the race sequences was more attention-grabbing and emotionally satisfying. Can't explain it much beyond that.

Anyway, switching gears a bit, my buddy just sent me this:
[io9.com]
Fuck. Me.
mcfitch (Admin)
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Sanjeev


Anyway, switching gears a bit, my buddy just sent me this:
[io9.com]
Fuck. Me.

Won't load. What is it?
-Mason

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Matthewalt "I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!"
Sanjeev (Admin)
Weird--the site was working fine half an hour ago...now it's taking for-fucking-ever to load.

Anyway, it's a fan-made Argentinian Robotech movie trailer. The CG's not super-awesome...but seeing live-action Robotech is pretty fuggin' sweet!
mcfitch (Admin)
It's loading now. That is pretty damn sweet.
-Mason

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Matthewalt "I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!"
On the track of low budgets that are fun to watch, Tony (magengar) posted this on that other site.
MazingerZ fan made short: [www.youtube.com]#!




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2013 11:31PM by Gcrush.
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Ha! Is that yours, Mr. Crush? Nice work, and it makes me want to see Woody in the Prometheus sequel.
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gingaio
Ha! Is that yours, Mr. Crush? Nice work, and it makes me want to see Woody in the Prometheus sequel.

It's not mine, but it became the basis of my personal addition to the index of Voight Kampff questions. Which, honestly, had absolutely nothing to do with me pulling the heads off of people today so that I might have something in my hands with which to beat them.

You're in an alien spaceship waking up from your hibernation when all of a sudden you look down, and you see some people, mewling at you. You reach down, you pull the head off of one of them. Their body drops to the floor, its neck spewing fluids like a geyser. The others try to run, but they can't, because you're smashing them to pieces. You can't stop smashing them. Why is that?
--You come across a full page nude photo of an earthwoman.
--Is this testing whether I'm a replicant, or an intergalactic miscegenator?
--Just answer the question, please...You show it to your internal gut-busting worm parasite. He threatens to leave you for her.
--I wouldn't let him.
--Why not?
--I should be enough for him.
PACIFIC RIM Wondercon footage...

[www.youtube.com]

Have to admit... seeing a giant robot bludgeoning a Kaiju with a TANKER SHIP is pretty knarly...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Great.

Caesar's.

Ghost.

[Robot designs are still ass. :P ]
Now lets move onto where the REAL money from the movie is made: Moichundizing!
(pulls string)"May the schwaaartz be wit you"
Sanjeev (Admin)
^^Now THAT'S a great movie!
I'm eagerly curious about the toys myself.... watch them be as bad as the "Real Steel" toys that were available in mass markets. But that means 3A will probably be doing killer high end $400 versions of the bots...err... excuse.... me JAEGERS. I think they missed an opportunity by not having the UK one named "Mick".
Looks like a reissue of the Shogun RODAN toy would fit in based on a couple scenes in that new trailer.
Then Dave could buy a case full to complete his set, haha.
Sanjeev (Admin)
^^Yes!

Heh...looks they almost lifted that shot from Godzilla: Final Wars, where Rodan's attacking NYC.

As for the toys, I'm not 100% sure I'd want toys of these robots. They're just so...meh. Hell, even the Real Steel designs look more inspired (though I'd *never* buy toys of those).

But man...how killer would it be if they made robot toys in a nice ABS-plasticy and diecast format...but the kaiju in soft vinyl??? :P
Saw the new JJ Trek...liked it for what it was....except....and this will contain spoilers so if you haven't seen it or know nothing about the worst kept secret in movies since Edison invented them dont read any further...

Khan=superhuman genetically engineered soldier from India.
ST:TOS, ST2: TWoK= Ricardo Montalban (no he is not Indian [Mexican actually] but he is at least brown)
ST: ID= Benedict Cumberbatch (lily-white english dude)

So are we to believe, JJ, that the country that produces more movies a year and has a larger theater going audience than the U.S. of A. couldn't produce an actor of high enough quality to play Khan?

Now don't get me wrong...Mr. Cumberbatch is quite good and I did enjoy his portayal. Just saying is all...Sanjeev? Thoughts?...
Sanjeev (Admin)
I guess Ben Kingsley was too busy playing another not-Asian! ;)

Y'know, when previews first started coming out for this movie, pretty much everyone said, "Khan...right?". But at the same time, everyone was thrown off by the lily-whiteness of the actor being shown!

I still haven't seen the movie, but I hear that while it's substantially flawed, it still delivers a little better than Iron Man 3 (at least for fans/nerds...not necessarily the average movie-goer).

But I guess speaking more to your point, I personally do NOT like the modern trend of replacing classic villains-of-color with white proxies. Sure, those "classic" villains may have been a bit sketchy (okay, the Mandarin was pretty fucking bad!)...but "whitening" them doesn't make shit any better.

In my opinion, if you wanna counteract racist stereotypes used in old-timey villains-of-color, round them out. Give them depth. Make them full, interesting, and realistic characters: it's not about pretending stereotypes don't exist. It's about giving the characters a context in order to humanize them and make them believable.
But we're not always seeing villains or well known pop culture characters simply replaced with white proxies... we just tend to focus on those more than others... but keep in mind, Nick Fury in the Marvel movies is an African American. There's strong buzz that Johnny Storm for the "Fantastic Four" reboot will also be African American. Marvel played around with a latino Spiderman in the comics... the Sherlock Holmes show, "Elementary" features a Watson that is an Asian American woman (Lucy Liu) and just revealed Moriarity to also be a woman. And in the tv show 'Hannibal" (really well done btw), the FBI character of Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn in "Silence of the Lambs") is now played by Laurence Fishburne.

Oh.. and enjoyed Star Trek Turn on the Dark also - it carried over the fun vibe and chemistry that made the first movie so watchable with a slightly stronger bad guy plot. But the intentional parallels to "Wrath of Khan" - especially in the 3rd act came across as a bit heavy handed.
Sanjeev (Admin)
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H-man
But we're not always seeing villains or well known pop culture characters simply replaced with white proxies... we just tend to focus on those more than others... but keep in mind, Nick Fury in the Marvel movies is an African American.

Well, first off, Nick Fury was black in the Ultimates, which is obviously the more modern setting/interpretation Marvel Studios was going for with these movies (as opposed to the original Marvel Universe).

But either way, Fury's a good guy...and that's kinda my point! It's fine to make a good guy of color...but the liberal racism in most mainstream media would never want to bring up a touchy subject like--*gasp*--a brown villain. That's kinda why I felt a little letdown by Kingsley's Mandarin: I was hoping they'd do him for real, but actually have the nuts to take on something as deep as West Asian terrorism...

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H-man
There's strong buzz that Johnny Storm for the "Fantastic Four" reboot will also be African American. Marvel played around with a latino Spiderman in the comics...

[www.youtube.com]

Heh...I dunno. I'm not a huge fan of fucking with classics. And while the racial demographics in mainstream comics makes (black) baby Jesus cry, Spidey qualifies as a "classic" in my mind...and probably shouldn't be fucked with. White Nick Fury was always kind of a dildo...so I don't really have a problem with his racial-transplant. Johnny Storm? Yeesh...tough one.

Oh, I just thought of an interesting counterpoint: they made the Kingpin in the Daredevil movie black. Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) was pretty awesome in the role.
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Sanjeev
Oh, I just thought of an interesting counterpoint: they made the Kingpin in the Daredevil movie black. Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) was pretty awesome in the role.

...and he ws the one thing i liked about the Daredevil movie...
Sue Storm's brother from another mother?

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
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hillsy
Sue Storm's brother from another mother?

Yep... most likely.

While we're lowering expectations for "Pacific Rim" may I add that my already lowered expectations of the new Superman movie is slightly elevating with each trailer? This one looks action packed and hawt...

[www.youtube.com]

Supes finally punches bad guys!!!
Sanjeev (Admin)
I gotta admit I feel the same regarding the new Superman! That shit looks kinda dope. But then again, everything does in trailers now! In fact, when I go to my buddy's place, we'll sometimes just chill and watch a shitload of trailers on his web- enabled TV. No intention of ever seeing these movies, of course! :P
I am REALLY looking forward to Supes!

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
Saw the Star Trek sequel and dug it. Spoilers ahead........












Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country were the only two movies from the original set I liked, so the fact that this movie is essentially a love letter to Wrath is cool, though it does also feel very long in places. The advantage of the first movie, which is much better, is that the prerequsite intros of the main crew members means that plot development necessarily parallels character development. Now that character intros are out of the way, the sequel's just more typical sci-fi genre fare.

Also saw Fast and Furious, and holy shit, this movie is way better than it's supposed to be. How good is it? My girlfriend, who would normally hate a movie like this, and who had been steeling herself for a miserable 90 minutes, walked out of the theater going, "That was pretty fun." God bless her. There's a lot of car porn for people into cars (the GT-R makes a nice appearance), and the car chases themselves, the raison d'etre for this kind of movie, are presented with mindless exhiliration.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2013 01:40AM by gingaio.
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gingaio
Also saw Fast and Furious, and holy shit, this movie is way better than it's supposed to be...

TFatF: Tokyo Drift is a likewise glorious "fish out of water" love letter to booty and cars. I love that fucking cracker's stupid-ass 'Bama drawl and the Asian Jock Bad Guy.
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Gcrush
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gingaio
Also saw Fast and Furious, and holy shit, this movie is way better than it's supposed to be...

TFatF: Tokyo Drift is a likewise glorious "fish out of water" love letter to booty and cars. I love that fucking cracker's stupid-ass 'Bama drawl and the Asian Jock Bad Guy.

Yeah, Tokyo Drift (also directed by Justin Lin) was, until I saw this movie, the best of the "franchise," if by "franchise" we mean a string of stanky shit occasionally interrupted by a synthetic pearl.

You know why that idiot had a 'Bama drawl? Because Lucas Black refuses to take any role in which he would have to change his natural accent.
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gingaio
You know why that idiot had a 'Bama drawl? Because Lucas Black refuses to take any role in which he would have to change his natural accent.

Which is why I want to make a baby with him.
Oh, and before someone gets angry that we're discussing Fast and Furious in this thread...trust me, this latest movie qualifies as sci-fi on so many levels.
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gingaio
Oh, and before someone gets angry that we're discussing Fast and Furious in this thread...trust me, this latest movie qualifies as sci-fi on so many levels.

I need to catch up on the last two before I see Sci-Fi Furious. Can't believe I let that homework slip for so long...
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Gcrush
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gingaio
Oh, and before someone gets angry that we're discussing Fast and Furious in this thread...trust me, this latest movie qualifies as sci-fi on so many levels.

I need to catch up on the last two before I see Sci-Fi Furious. Can't believe I let that homework slip for so long...

#4 was pretty shitty, even by my already super-low standards. #5 is better and introduces the ROCK. #6 is a gem.
Haven't bothered to see IM3, wife saw it and thought it was okay, but reimagined "Mandarin" doesn't interest me. That was the tough corner they were eventually going to get backed into with the Iron Man mythos, he's the arch-enemy that doesn't translate to the big screen "as-is" (goofy mystic layzer rings and all).

I think a large chunk of my apathy toward the IM movies was due to Terrance Howard leaving after the first. He was an awesome addition as Rhody, and missed him greatly as the series progressed. Nothing against Don, but if they were white it would be tantamount to the subtelty of replacing Don Johnson with Toby McGuire.

Looking forward to Trek as Saturday morning escapism next week with a bud and his son, popcorn eating contest left the younger attendee sick last time. I'm a two bucket consumer, it's movie AND a meal. I'm not too bent on the color casting issue, don't remember Ricardo's heritage being pivotol to the part he played in TOS or Khan. If you can get a good actor who is hot at the moment, that's who you target and try to score. You pigeon hole yourself by limiting casting to an actor who can check the same box as the character you are reprising, which can equally lead to unpalatable casting decisions.

Heck, for the biop for Nina Simone, they couldn't get funded with Mary J. Bligh cast in the role, but once a deal with Zoe Saldana got rolling she gets hit for not being "black enough". Reeealy? Ugh.

Looking forward to Man o Steel, even with the hypnotism you can perform with clever trailers, it looks like they took notes on how to avoid the snooze of "Returns" and overloaded it with action. Also, although the trailers look dark, there is supposedly a pronoucned lightness to the film as well which does not distract.

Here's irony for you...Black Perry White. Although, I loves me some Fishburn.
All this talk of "yellow face" made me think of Cloud Atlas. That movie has tons of ethnic-facing and gender-facing all across the spectrum.

Here's a white dood made to look all "Chinky" with yellow-face*:



Here's a Korean woman made to look all "Crackery" with white-face:



And here she is again looking all "Beanery" with latino-face:



The total amount of "facing" is outstanding. You can also see Tom Hanks as a Brit or Halle Berry as a whiter woman. And on and on and on. For purposes of the story, it all makes sense (even if Berry as a chinky old man is artificial to the point of being cartoonish).

But! I couldn't find any black-face in the film. Considering the other, rather specific choices made with all the "facing" going on it seems like they deliberately wanted to avoid it. Which is cowardly. I think Hugo Weaving's gender swap would have been much more powerful and less obnoxious if they turned him into a big, fat, take-no-sass black nurse instead of a big, fat, take-no-sass Aryan nurse.

Note, too, that there were no South or West Asians harmed in the making of Cloud Atlas because the film featured absolutely none of them.

Still, as one of the most expensive indie films ever produced, it comes pretty close to being a decent sci-fi drama. If one forgives the unfortunate use of the flying car trope in the Neo-Seoul chase scenes**, it's a pretty tight representation of some futurist Stephenson-Dick mash-up.





* Actually, the dood above represents a fairly ethnically mixed Neo-Seoul population so I don't think they were going full yellow-face with him (or others in those scenes). However, they over-chinkified the eyes when, anecdotally, "Asian-mixer-babies" usually have reduced epicanthic folds and thus appear to have larger eyes.

** Sci-fi needs to stop with this shit. Flying cars introduce: A) nearly unlimited energy; B) non-physical propulsion and aerodynamics; and C) super computers capable of handling the three dimensional nightmares of routing flying traffic. Any one of those three things on its own would invalidate half of the traditional narrative obstacles characters would encounter. But all three? Fuuuck.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2013 09:47PM by Gcrush.
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How do they make Hanks look like a Brit? Do they give him a wanker stache' and bad teeth? Clever.

Finally saw Trek. Very energetic movie, not much time to breath between sequences. If it's possible to overload a movie with action, this may be the tipping point. The effects are phenomenal...second to none (the first Trek reboot impressed me similarly). I wouldn't call it a "fun" ride or romp, it's fairly intense throughout.

I'm glad I saw it, but I'm still debating as to whether I truly enjoyed it. My litmus test for good movies is whether I would head back to the theater to see it again soon after seeing it the first time. For now it feels like it would require a concious investment to want to rewatch it, which maybe answers my question.
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