Five Gold Standards that Make a Great Sci-Fi Film

scifistandards1

We’re in our sixth decade of SF movies and it’s chaos out there. Despite a truly vintage year (it takes two hands to count the good ones) SF quality is erratic over the long term.

Folks, it’s as obvious as requiring two up quarks plus a down to make a proton. We need standards! More specifically, we need a set of gold standards that can be the guiding principles for SF filmmakers, enthusiastic audiences, and of course, humble film critics.

So power up your implants. The future of SF film needs Film Junk’s hive mind toggled on. Let us know where we got it wrong, if at all.

(Government Health Warning: We are talking about hard core SF – not comic book poseurs or fantasy fluff heads.)

1. The Smart Idea Planted in a Great Story

Any SF film that aspires to greatness needs a compelling idea that engages the brain. And this idea needs a good story to make them fertile. Yes. You can say these two criteria are important to any movie but they are especially critical in a film genre that has so many potential distractions. Action themes, alien locales, unrestrained CGI, and ADD (Attention Deficit Directors). Their reliance on black SUVs, overwhelming effects, and scripts that constantly repeat “Go! Go! Go!” are bad for us all.

Smart: Gattaca, Solaris, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Code 46

Self-test: Watch Daybreakers. Does it show fresh ways to think about vampires? Or will it be stale blood tropes of the been there, done that variety. Early word suggests 50/50. If so, it fails.


2. Authentic Characters

The best SF is about the human condition. It’s something we all care about especially when the characters are believable. This second standard is tricky because it relies on the actor(s) and the director playing brilliantly together. They have to create an inviting human (or non-human) character(s) that we find so intriguing, we simply join them in their world.

Secret Standard: The best SF films have non-marquee names. Believe it. (And don’t give me Blade Runner. That exception proves my point).

The Standard in Action: Watch Sharlto Copley as Wikus Van De Merwe in District 9. His performance as he transitions from office doofus to the first blended being is nothing short of astonishing.

scifistandards2

3. Sense of Place

Place is supremely important to SF. More so than in other genres. The best SF films are set in places we’ve never experienced – another time, a space ship, a planet or moon, another dystopia, or a combo platter. If the filmmaker gets it right, the impact of the setting is palpable. You leave the theatre knowing you have been somewhere else for awhile.

Not of our world: Pitch Black, Screamers, Outland, Avatar (but maybe it was the marketing campaign)

Really Fast Forward: Luc Besson should have handed out seatbelts for his extravagant car chase set 250 years in New York’s future.

4. Plausible Science

Science is one of the trickiest balancing acts in SF films. But just like quantum mechanics, you don’t have to understand it. You just have to know how to use it. Certain accepted conventions will enable the story (FTL travel, aliens, energy weapons, etc). But the writer or director who can imaginatively project a biogenetic advance or introduce us to aliens one brane over will be revered for years to come.

Science elevates: Sunshine, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Iron Man (even)

The Standard in Action: Contact admirably uses some slippery worm hole speculation to deliver a nicely twisted conclusion.

5. Credible Unfamiliarity

This standard is the holy grail of SF. It’s something – a setting, an alien, a twist – that we almost know but really doesn’t fit our human experience. It’s a conceptual shape shifting thing, always just slightly out of reach of our comprehension. It leaves us with a feeling of having been out there. And that’s what we’re in it for.

What works: Tarkovsky’s sentient planet in Solaris, The Pilot in Alien

Really Works: Planet of the Apes. Taylor now understands that what was unusual but knowable is no longer understandable. And the audience gets the shivers. Good SF.

A final thought: Is there a positive nexus that spins off good SF films when they deal with racism?

Think about it: Gattaca, District 9, Planet of the Apes, Avatar

Around the Web:



  • xego

    Very good article Curt!
    This is the sort of stuff I love reading and posting about. One thing that has always bugged me about a lot of Sci-Fi films (and supernatural types ala Stephen King) is the ending where the final confrontation ends with characters shooting sparks out of their eyes at one another and knocking each other around with electrocuting rays…uggg? And seriously some of the films I genuinely love suffer from this lack of imagination e.g Dark City, The Fifth Element, I am sure others can think of more.

    I thought “Moon” was a perfect film for what it tried to be. I was really disappointed with “Sunshine” I was totally sold on that film all the way until the third act when it devolved into some what? low budget horror ending? what was really compelling in the film was the dynamic between the crew; who was important who was expendable, who was right and who was wrong ect. I still love the first two thirds though.

    “Gattaca” is a greatly under appreciated film. I loved “Solaris” for its mood and ideas. “Impostor” was pretty good as well. How about “Rollerball” even “Frankenstein” could be considered sci-fi. lots of good ones.

  • http://www.rowthree.com Kurt

    Extra points for properly using the word BRANE in this post! Have you Curt perchance read Alastair Reynold’s fabulous CHASM CITY? I’ve been waiting for years for someone with some real vision and chutzpah (Neil Blompkamp, David Fincher, Paul Verhoeven) to adapt it into a 3hr Sci fi film or 12 Hour HBO mini.

  • http://www.rowthree.com Kurt

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Primer, Code 46, Moon, Alien, Blade Runner, Gattaca, Robocop, Starship Troopers, Contact, Dark City, The Sticky Fingers of Time, eXistenZ, The Fountain, Paprika, The Thing, The Prestige, Children of Men, Sunshine, and Soderbergh’s Solaris remake are some of the post 1979 great science fiction films.

    Hopefully Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION delivers on this.

  • http://www.rowthree.com Kurt

    Oh, and for what its worth, David Lynch’s DUNE is memorable for looking so damn surreal and alien.

  • http://www.granateseed.com/podcasts Ian

    Great list and sound logic. I mean these basics apply for most genres (where not genre specific) but it is good to see them spelled out concisely like this. For me 1 and 3 are the biggest for Science Fiction whereas 2,3 are the biggest for say film noir and 2,4 are the best for the indie offbeat flick. Good stuff!

  • http://www.catharticentertainment.com rus in chicago

    good topic, I had a little trouble following your points because the two example lists (under each point) were not “good and bad examples” and introduced more points. Looking at it again, maybe the lists are both good examples, again, I don’t know. Maybe clear it up a little? Love to hear more.

  • http://www.filmjunk.com Itchy-Finger

    There is something about Blade Runner that for some reason I am never able to get into it. Anyone else have this problem?
    Great article though, it’s always nice to refresh your memory of all those great films out there.

    @ xego, I agree with the Gattaca remark, I caught this when it first came out before even knowing anything about it and loved the movie. It never got much attention though, which is weird considering it’s Uma and Ethan.

  • Justice

    Good article. One point of contention, Metropolis came out in 1927, so we’ve had 80 years of science fiction films.

  • http://www.rowthree.com Kurt

    Voyage Dan La Lune, 1902. (108 years of Sci Fi films)

  • KYriakos

    i ENJooOYED this article… good job kurt mate..

    good job indeed..

  • http://www.wma.com wrestlemania

    Can someone please CC every studio exec on this article and make them read it over and over and over again until they finally learn to stop making shitty sci-fi films??

    Great article. Right on the money.

  • http://www.rianmiller.com Rian

    Itchy-Finger: “There is something about Blade Runner that for some reason I am never able to get into it. Anyone else have this problem?”

    YES! I love sci-fi and I love PKD, but outside of the visuals, I find Blade Runner cripplingly boring. I think much of that (in my case) has to do with Ridley Scott, who I feel makes terminally boring movies. The only exceptions that I’ve seen are Alien and Black Hawk Down.

    Curt, THANK YOU for recognizing Screamers in your article.

  • americanmasssuicidemovement

    comics will always rule sci-fi. inception was based on numerous comics, even robocop was better as a comic. sci-fi movies cant even begin to be intelligent, it costs to much.

  • james

    nice article!

  • xego

    @Itchy-finger @Rian

    For me Blade Runner is anything but boring. I have loved this movie since it first came out on vhs and it was quite a different film too..voice over…no added scenes ect. I thought Harrison ford and Sean Young were interesting together. Here you have Deckard seemingly void of emotion a machine in affect falling for a machine. In Blade Runner it is really the machines that value what it is to be human. That is really what grabbed me about the story. The film is a masterpiece. In visuals, photography, set design ect. Give it another chance.

  • Nick Robertson

    @ Rian… check that pulse, mate. Blade Runner hasn’t got any car chases or anything so I can see why you feel it’s boring BUT – it is such a beautiful film, it’s totally compelling and every single aspect of the movie flows into the other like numerous jugs of water being poured into the same pool, when they coalesce you can’t tell where one begins and the other ends.
    Ridley has made some crap – Black Rain, etc but he is a genius filmmaker, he just doesn’t shove anything down your throat.

  • Kurt

    I fail to understand how anyone finds Blade Runner Boring. THere is tons of stuff going on in each and every shot, and the film ticks along like any good police procedurial film should. It’s not even that long.

  • Daemon

    Decent article. Sci-Fi is right at the top of my list with Horror for favorite genre.

    I did think your article kinda jumped around alot and didn’t really give a tremendous amount of explanation. Felt like you had a few dinks and wrote this stream of conscience style.

    Nice examples for films though, and I do like your take for the most part

    Cheers

  • http://www.area-10.net Curt

    Back at you. I appreciate the comments.

    @Xego Mea culpa on Sunshine. Absolutely right (RAM failure on my part).

    @Kurt I’ve been through Alastair Reynold’s Revelation Space series twice including Chasm City. (I guess you can tell). I’ll study your film list to see what I’ve missed. And you’re right – Lynch’s Dunefor the settings. In the upcoming Film Junk SF Universe it takes pride of place in the Twisted Nebula.

    @Rus You are correct to be confused – the internal logic slipped a little bit there. I am really not a rigid person when it comes to typologies like this. I go for the feeling.

    @Justice No points for you. I arbitrarily start SF films in the Golden Fifties. I just didn’t tell anyone.

    A collective thank you for some nicely articulated observations about Bladerunner for all those people who said “Hunh?” Worth some more thought though. (I didn’t know there were two people who didn’t think so much of Bladerunner).

    @Daemon Get out of my head. I write ‘em like the editor tells me to write ‘em. (Between us, there is some truth to what you say – the writing I mean. A few dinks has never affected my writing. Maybe yours though).

    Final question, which gold standard would you replace with your gold standard?

  • http://www.area-10.net Curt

    Ooops forgot. (The effort required to type the name was too daunting).

    @americanmasssuicidemovement

    I really couldn’t get past that first sentence. Make a better case or take it back.

  • james

    hmmm, my golden standard

    take away 1) smart idea/great story
    —replace with—
    1) hot ass bitch

    i’m a biology student, but i also don’t hold plausible science in high regard. i can certainly appreciate it but i would rather see some sort of moral message or social commentary involved

  • KYriakos

    ”I fail to understand how anyone finds Blade Runner Boring. THere is tons of stuff going on in each and every shot, and the film ticks along like any good police procedurial film should. It’s not even that long.”’

    People find it dull because they do not know what is all about and they go in probably expecting visceral action scenes or minority report.
    Bladerunner is enjoyed better the second time you watch it when you know exactly what’s going on.. And what a joy that is..

    Same with Moon.
    Once you put crazy action scenes in those movies you miss the tons of little things that are going on in each and every shot and all you do then is focus on the ..EXPLOSION.

    Get off our back j. yes we are perverts, we like Dull sci-fi movies.

  • http://www.filmjunk.com/category/podcasts/cantankerous/ Reed Farrington

    I guess you can put me in the club with the people who don’t really appreciate Blade Runner. I suppose all the negativity towards the film when it first came out has perhaps tainted my viewpoint. I did buy the 5 HD-DVD disk briefcase version, and have watched most of the extras and commentaries.

    Applying Curt’s Gold Standards to Blade Runner, I’m not sure the movie would pass at least based on my application of the standards. I think the idea of chasing down replicants with a limited life span to be a somewhat smart idea. Ha ha. Blade Runner touches on interesting ideas, but it doesn’t explore the implications. I don’t think the characters are quite authentic. We never do understand what makes Deckard such a good Blade Runner. Why doesn’t Deckard get backup? You would think the Gaff character would lend a hand instead of just hanging about. I found the setting to be somewhat unbelievable. I don’t buy into the design ethic of putting new stuff over old stuff. For economic reasons, people will have the tendency to remove the older buildings. The use of the Bradbury building just seemed to be a cost saving measure. As for plausible science, there seems to be a technology that allows for hovercars, but we don’t see this technology applied elsewhere. You would think that guns would have improved beyond what was shown, and that there might be advanced weaponry. With the idea of replicants with implanted memories, one wonders if this technology would allow for immortality. Why was Rachel created without the knowledge that she was a replicant? Simply as an exercise in trying to fool the Voight-Kampff test? Some people think Blade Runner painted a believable future that subsequent films were quick to emulate. For a suburbanite like myself, the Blade Runner future leaves a lot to the imagination.

  • KYriakos

    explore the implications.?
    why Deckard is such a good Blade Runner?

    Reed Farrington. Your testimony does not count because you do not like anything anyways.

    If all you want by a film is to explain everything and explore all bloody aspects then what are you looking for is not science fiction but a new category: science porn.

    Normal People are just fine with simple cues that excites them but also leave something to the imagination. if you explain everything then you are doing SP not SF

    ..hm..
    Do you want me to explore the implications of your attitude in life.?
    If all you do is desiring a graphical representation of all things from you movies. The next thing you know.. you end up like Armin Meiwes .. Somewhere between you just must draw the line mate..

  • http://www.catharticentertainment.com rus in chicago

    calm down KYriakos, Reed makes some valid points, misguided, but valid.

    first, Bladerunner is over 25 years old and the design aesthetic it introduced became so powerful that the term “bladerunnerlike” is even used in Cameron’s Avatar supporting book to describe earth! The film has now become a design virus we can’t get past!

    I think what frustrates a lot of people about Reed’s comments is they don’t take in to account the achievement of doing more with less. Which is odd when you think about the original Star Trek…

    I really don’t understand the comment of “cost savings” because at the heart of a design aesthetic for a film the only choice should be if the location in question fits with the overall design aesthetic, judging the cost benefit isn’t necessary.

    The whole argument of new things over old is very real as I work everyday designing new additions and installing new technology over the bones of 1900s Chicago. I actually think the current recession is going to make America reuse buildings even more, like they do in Europe, getting us one step closer to BLADERUNNER!!

  • KYriakos

    ;)
    i am calm..

  • KYriakos

    still Armin Meiwes? huge Star-trek fan..

  • http://www.catharticentertainment.com rus in chicago

    haha just read about Meiwes on Wiki, funniest line:

    “Since entering prison, Meiwes has become a vegetarian”

    I really have no idea how this guy relates to Reed’s comments BTW

  • KYriakos

    Really rus?

    …Really?

  • http://www.area-10.net Curt

    @ From now on, it’s Reed the Rigorous. Your detailing of the unexplained is quite accurate but for me, it’s part of the film’s creativity to leave you with tantalizing hints about the characters and their world. If it answered everything it would be a three day movie and there would still be things left hanging.

    I really didn’t need to know about Armin Meiwes.

  • xego

    @ REED

    Well Mr. Farrington we meet again…I will answer your charges against Blade Runner…Rus in Chitown did cover some but not all.

    “Blade Runner touches on interesting ideas, but it doesn’t explore the implications.”

    …The film very much deals with the implications it is in fact I would say one of the central themes of the film. It is in Deckard’s change in attitude towards “Andies” and of course what he does to them, when he falls for Rachel. It first he is defensive against Rachel’s pointed questions about the morality of his work. You could almost substitute their conversation with that of a butcher and a vegan. But as he falls for her he becomes protective of her. Their is also the implication that Deckard may have quit because he had qualms about what he was doing? or considering what happened to his replacement he may have thought the game was getting to rough, the film doesn’t seem to say. To the best of my recollection none of this follows the original source material.

    “I don’t think the characters are quite authentic.”

    The humans are somewhat less than in Blade Runner, M. Emmet Walsh’s character is a real bastard. And Edward James Olmos just seems to be waiting to get the order to whack everybody. And Rachel, Batty, Pris, ect are all Replicants so no they are not by definition authentic. To me Deckard is authentic only after falling for Rachel.

    “We never do understand what makes Deckard such a good Blade Runner?”

    Come on Reed you have to allow for certain plot conventions. When M. Emmet Walsh says he is the best he’s the best, after all he is willing to go to extraordinarily sleazy tactics to force him out of retirement isn’t he? The first time you saw Star Wars were you incredulous as to whether Han Solo was in fact a great pilot because we hadn’t seen him fly anything yet? No, you just took it on faith. Did you ask to see scenes of Scotty or Bones cramming for their finals to believe that they were really qualified for their positions?

    “Why doesn’t Deckard get backup?”
    “You would think the Gaff character would lend a hand instead of just hanging about.”

    This is just dumb, but I am going to answer it anyway because I believe you are sincere, sincerely what? I will not say.

    Blade Runner at its heart is a Noir. The Protagonist is almost always a lone wolf. Did you ever see Steve McQueen with a partner? Or if you were Clint Eastwood’s partner that meant you were going to die. It is pretty obvious the attitude Deckard’s old boss has for the Blade Runners under his command. He clearly sees himself above them, he sees them as expendable. If Deckard is a Replicant as the movie insists (thanks to Ridleys tampering with it) then it makes perfect sense that he would send him out alone. It is pretty clear that Gaff is not a Replicant he is too eccentric. He is there to simply be a toady for M. Emmet Walsh, Toadies never get their hands dirty do they? What did you think they were going to partner up? They are totally antagonistic towards one another, not to mention Deckard knows full well that it will be Gaff that will be tracking he and Rachel down.

    “I found the setting to be somewhat unbelievable. I don’t buy into the design ethic of putting new stuff over old stuff. For economic reasons, people will have the tendency to remove the older buildings. The use of the Bradbury building just seemed to be a cost saving measure.”

    Rus answered the technical side of this better than I could but just to add, and I know we are talking about the film here and not the book but I think the differences are interesting. In the book the world had become so polluted that animals had died off (hence the need for synthetics, and also man had built upward, and the lower levels were left to those of the lower classes, to be affected by the pollution and become “Chicken heads” Most of those that could leave Earth for the off world territories had done so, those who haven’t are either making plans to, or are not able to pass the screening test. Again none of this is really dealt with in the movie.

    “As for plausible science, there seems to be a technology that allows for hovercars, but we don’t see this technology applied elsewhere. You would think that guns would have improved beyond what was shown, and that there might be advanced weaponry.”

    They could have built a hover city I suppose but the Earth is decayed and not really worth hanging around for that is why they are going off world as the film points out. I think Deckard’s weapon seemed advanced, I guess Scott could have given him a Phaser but I don’t think the aesthetic would have been right.

    “With the idea of replicants with implanted memories, one wonders if this technology would allow for immortality.”

    I don’t believe you have put enough logic behind this question, it is not answerable.

    “Why was Rachel created without the knowledge that she was a replicant? Simply as an exercise in trying to fool the Voight-Kampff test?”

    Well the obvious answer is that it makes for some of the best drama in the film. The film doesn’t expressly say why Rachel was created however Joe Turkel’s portrayal of Tyrell gives us insight. He is obviously genius, artist, pushing ever further into the frontier of science, and certainly quite proud of his creations. Because of Rutger’s great portrayal of Batty we have sympathy for his plight and subsequently we see Tyrell in his Corporate ivory tower as the villain. But is he really? Replicants are not people. This goes back to what Deckard said in the begining, “Replicants are like any other machine – they’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.” Do we afford the same rights to a machine as a man if the machine is sentient? What of Clones? These were the kind of questions PKD was delving into. As for Rachel she may have been made as a companion for Tyrell implanted with his nieces memories. Was he interested to know if she could beat the Voight-Kampff test, clearly he was, and don’t forget her presence on Earth is a violation of law.

    “Some people think Blade Runner painted a believable future that subsequent films were quick to emulate. For a suburbanite like myself, the Blade Runner future leaves a lot to the imagination”

    Whether you believe in a dystopic future or not is really telling to ones own personality and outlook on life. I don’t see a future where the world becomes uninhabitable from pollution, I do see how the Green Revolution could lead to a despotism of it’s own however.

    Good Job Reed.

    Please forgive me for geeking out and turning this into the Blade Runner Forum.

  • http://www.filmjunk.com/category/podcasts/cantankerous/ Reed Farrington

    I knew I would raise the ire of some of the Film Junk readers if I picked on “Blade Runner.” I know it’s going to seem like I’ve conceded if I don’t address all the responses, but I don’t have the desire to win any argument. I also don’t want to spin these comments off too much from the topic of the post.

    I may come off as hyper-critical, but I admit that my enjoyment of films is based on a few personal selective biases. And scientific accuracy and plot plausibility are not high on my list of biases despite many of the comments I make on Film Junk. With science fiction films, it’s just easier to criticize these points.

    I think Curt’s attempt to define a gold standard is admirable. I admit that I have a problem with film criticism as I do with all judgment of art, because of the high degree of subjectivity. It bothers me that people pick apart films like the Transformers series, yet admire films like Star Trek, District 9, or Avatar.

    xego, I know it’s not fair for me to single out one of your responses, but let me address one of them. With regards to Deckard not having a partner or backup, you mention that it’s a Noir convention. That would be fine if Deckard was a private detective taking on cases on his own, but he’s a cop that’s part of a police force. Even if his boss knew he was a replicant, it’s obvious that Deckard doesn’t have the physical strength of the other replicants for whatever reason. The boss would still be sending out one replicant against a gang of four replicants. Actually, Harrison Ford was instrumental in getting scenes put into Blade Runner to show that Deckard was a good detective. The scene where he analyzes the photo supports his boss’s statement that Deckard is the best Blade Runner; however, Deckard seems pretty stupid when he confronts the replicants at the Bradbury building. He goes in head-on with only his gun. He’s lucky that the replicants didn’t think about arming themselves.

  • http://www.catharticentertainment.com rus in chicago

    I’ll give Reed that maybe the police procedural stuff may have been “watered down” in the service of drama.

    I don’t understand, “It bothers me that people pick apart films like the Transformers series, yet admire films like Star Trek, District 9, or Avatar.” as all my personal problems with Bay’s films relate to any film – character development, script, pace, etc. Reed if you can’t see how Trans. lacks in quality to the films you mentioned, it is going to be hard to talk film with you.

    I will give you a film like Star Trek has many of the same problems as Trans., but the magic of storytelling and film gives us that magical, unknowable quality that makes us value things differently. Like Lucas said, “film is binary, positive or negative, it just works or it doesn’t” (Avatar is radioactive) Ultimately, I think your frustration comes from your personal desire to understand why something like Bladerunner gets held up, I admire that curiosity, we need more of it on the filmjunk boards.

  • http://www.catharticentertainment.com rus in chicago

    I’d like to see Reed’s “Gold Standards for Good Sci Fi”

  • http://www.filmjunk.com/category/podcasts/cantankerous/ Reed Farrington

    I don’t personally have any gold standards for good science fiction although it might not seem that way. I just often parrot what other people whom I respect have said about good science fiction.

    rus, you’ve more than once quoted Lucas’s statement about film being binary, but I think it’s a surface level statement that simplifies the decision-making process that goes into a thumbs-up or thumbs-down verdict. I’m guessing both you and Lucas realize this.

    I wouldn’t think that you would be the type of person to endorse a “magical, unknowable quality” since your comments reflect that you are a rational person (even though I don’t always agree with your rationalizations and vice versa). If you’re waxing poetic by alluding to the magic of movies to transport us, then that’s fine.

    I hate it when people think other people’s preferences are wrong. When they say a certain movie should have been nominated for an Oscar and not such and such a movie. Let me make this clear. I don’t hate opinions. I hate opinions about other people’s opinions. Even though I often hate other people’s opinions. Ha ha.

  • KYriakos

    . ”’It bothers me that people pick apart films like the Transformers series, yet admire films like Star Trek, District 9, or Avatar.”

    Oohh for christ sake..

  • http://www.catharticentertainment.com rus in chicago

    I think why I parrot the Lucas quote is because it is fun, and nerdy, about a very artistic and unknowable thing. It speaks to that something that a film might have that can’t be quantified after breaking down ever aspect of the film. Even though I write like a very rational person I understand film is the most complex of artforms. No other artform combines so many mediums PLUS has to deal with constantly changing social psyche.

    I learned this from working on film, Jay could explain it to you directly, when editing a scene you can change the total feel, direction of that scene by changing either the color, cut, sound, score, etc. by the smallest of factors. When you take that over an entire film, and then add the fact the film is appearing in a time and place were the general populations attitudes can change about you, your actor, your subject….this is were the Lucas quote comes in, there are just to many variables to completly take in to account that sometimes it comes down to something unknowable.

    I’ve express this in my anaylsis of Avatar and belief that Cameron is working from a different mindset than any other director. “The master showman aspect” It helps me understand how one man has garnered the top two moneymaking films of all time. I understand the unknowable now – that his conception of an idea is wrapped up in “giving the world what it didn’t know it wanted”.

    I recently watched The Hangover and was very unimpressed. I think that is a film that hit the market at the right time when the general public needed to laugh. Again, binary, on/off, who could have predicted it’s huge appeal. Would it have done that business if the economy was better, if Will Ferrell was in it, if another strong comedy was next door? Its unknowable, so we parrot Lucas to explain it away.

  • xego

    Well it is always fun to bandy words about with you guys (rus\reed) I think what has me most disheartened isn’t all the poor quality films that are made, it is that they seem to make so much money while it seems any film of real quality (with exceptions of course) seem not even to break even or barely squeak out a profit..ala The Hurt Locker, The Assassination of Jesse James, Moon, Worlds Greatest Dad..ect

  • fuckingshit

    ***Same with Moon.
    Once you put crazy action scenes in those movies you miss the tons of little things that are going on in each and every shot and all you do then is focus on the ..EXPLOSION.

    Get off our back j. yes we are perverts, we like Dull sci-fi movies.***

    What’s that got to do with it? As soon as someone dislikes a movie like that, you bring out the whole ”expected” or ”appreciation” shit. I love Blade Runner myself (it’s actually my favourite Sci-Fi film), but I know many who don’t, and I can really understand why. Blade Runner is one of those movies I really can understand why people dislike. They find it boring, but not because it doesn’t have explosions or whatever you would like calling it. They find it boring simply because they are not interested. And the movies story is in some cases based on our subjective meanings. There is for example a seen near the wind, when Rutgers character holds a white pigeon in his hand, and he releases it with a slow motion, and it is one of the most superficial and stupid things ever (mostly because it’s a shame to see something like that in such a great movie).
    The thing about Moon is different with me. I didn’t like that movie as much as you guys did. I think I gave it a 6 or 5/10. Except for GERTY and the first 15 min, the movie was really dull, unoriginal and so predictable. Like for eks. how many times haven’t we seen the corporal thing before? And what new did Moon bring to the table with it? The ending was the only unpredictable thing. I predicted an unoriginal ending like the rest of the movie was, but instead in ends in a much worse way. He goes home and…well…NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS.

css.php