Laughing City

Will you be seeing the movie on opening weekend?
Midnight showing!
7%
 7%  [ 2 ]
At some point this weekend
29%
 29%  [ 8 ]
I will wait.
51%
 51%  [ 14 ]
I'm not going to see it.
11%
 11%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 27

Author Message
do not be afraid.
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wilsmith wrote:
@donotbeafraid

Sounds like they made a film that was deliberately claustrophobic and jarring at times, to create a sense of apprehension and uneasiness. Maybe not the right stylistic choice, but if that was the general sense it creates, making you feel off and uncomfortable, they put you in a world by way of your sensory response. I'm not saying this is what they did, but the advent of handheld footage as a "thing" in mainstream film-making has leaned heavily on it. Call it the "indie" effect.

I'm just playing devil's advocate. I don't know if I'll see it until it's available for home viewing or not, given all the accounts thus far make the theater going experience sound pointless, which for me relates directly to the scope and scale of the film of the visuals more than anything. That doesn't any more of a Sci-fi film than one that takes place on a simple sound stage hanging on a premise and good acting like Frequency. It takes all kinds.

I'm just saying that your preference is valid, but it's a preference, not the definitive authority on the proper execution of Science Fiction.

Based on their film-making choices you're probably right that they were trying to create a "claustrophobic" effect, but if they had succeeded I wouldn't have complained about the lack of an immersive world. I love it when films are able to put me into the psychological and emotional states of the characters (I haven't made it through a Darren Aronofsky movie without a panic attack yet, and he's one of my favorite film makers because of it), but the choices of the filmmakers had exactly the opposite effect: I felt just as detached from the characters psychological and emotional worlds as I did from their physical world, and that has as much to do with my criticism as anything.

And, for the record, nothing I say is ever meant to be the definitive authority on anything except my own opinions (and not even always that.)
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wilsmith
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Fair enough, but you writing is so pointed & seems so adamant that your expression of your opinions portay a lot of conviction, which carries authority in arguments. Even when a person is dead wrong, if they say it like they mean it and their opposition sounds lukewarm and unsure, they will create the stronger impression. Contemporary politics and punditry are my proofs for that last statement.
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mr pine
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i have never seen such a wide variety of opinions in recent years than I have on this one. And I don't just mean on here. From friends, co workers, everyone.

there is no common theme. I am getting many of all four outcomes

read the books, loved the movie
read the books, hated the movie
havent read, loved the movie
havent read, hated the movie

i did notice, not just from dnba, that others, who have read the books, said the character development sucked in the movie.
but, you can't expect book character development in a movie. it's almost impossible to replicate.

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boone
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You guys know that "world" doesn't mean "any planet," right? It refers to the people, societies, features, and institutions on a planet, namely earth. Any pedantic arguments about what "world" means in any sort of speculative fiction context is negated by what "world" means as a word. And DNBA used it correctly.

As for the movie, I'm probably going to see it this week. It's probably more up my girlfriend's alley, but there's give and take, and we've already established that I'm a Jennifer Lawrence fan around here. I'll probably have something to say about it, though.
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wilsmith
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I agree on the semiotics of the word World but I wasn't on board about his intent when he used it critically. It seemed myopic at the time, at least in regards to storytelling as far as I was concerned. Once he clarified that the film alienated him to the degree that it did I understood the criticism as part of a general impression he drew.

In retrospect we weren't arguing about the definition of World so much as how Worlds can and should be portayed in Science Fiction of a certain scale. Worlds, ironically enough, were the context & constituents of said argument.

And I stand by my Star Wars analogy!

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boone
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Well, the word is pretty well established in film vocabulary as describing the setting of a film, in particular how strong and believably that setting has been established, and how the film is able to immerse you in it. Not just in a sci-fi "other worlds" sense, but in the clich movie trailer voice "in a world..." sort of way. Any confusion about that concept isn't because DNBA was being obscure, it's because the concept isn't understood.
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wilsmith
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I follow you completely but... he specifically said Sci-fi... Twisted Evil
That made the fickle contentiousness the internet is known for a heck of a lot more easy.

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Saellys
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wilsmith wrote:
Eh, but you were supporting DNBA's preference for certain qualities of Science Fiction, as opposed to Mr. Pine, and the contention Mr. Pine had regarding the nature of Worlds in Dystopian Science fiction. So the discussion covered what constitutes good Science Fiction Film-making, What constitutes a World in Science Fiction, and ultimately What constitutes A Good World In Science Fiction Film Making. So I was just carrying that forward, extending that discussion/ argument, since the criticism of the film under discussion was the quality of the World in which it took place and its depiction in the film, or lack there of.


I can't even parse this right now and I don't know how you got it from my posts. Science fiction or not, movies should be immersive and book adaptations should do a passable job of adapting books. That is all.

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wilsmith
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That's cause I was rambling about the whole of the argument in while tacking on an perspective I had on your positions. You have every right to shrug and blow that off. Neutral
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Saellys
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I watched a bootleg of the movie over the weekend in between bouts of baby fussiness. It did not inspire any strong feelings in me one way or the other, apart from my love for Woody Harrelson and thinking the last five minutes or so were basically flawless.
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boone
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Eh, it wasn't terrible, but I'm not exactly sure why people are flipping out about it. I was entertained enough, but there were quite a few hurdles I had to jump to get through it.

First, there was the camera work and editing. A lot of people assume that the so-called "shaky cam" was to hide the violence to secure a PG-13, but I don't buy it. I think it was an attempt to make the kind of hodgepodge storyline more organic and grounded (like Children Of Men), which is all well and good, but the way they did it was awful and distracting. The lenses were too long, everything was too close. It's like, most of the time, the only coverage they shot were close-ups, extreme closeups, and inserts. You couldn't see what was going on, you didn't know where you were, and the camera was drifting and jerking in a very concerted and fake way. Then the editors seemed to throw in jump-cuts, missed marks, missed focus pulls (probably enraging the 1st AC), and framing errors to loosen it up a bit, but even they seemed staged. They could have at least staged it so you could see what was going on. They should have watched the movie Narc, which completely nailed the look they were going for, and then some.

The cinematography was kind of dull, too. It looked like production design was trying to overwhelm us once we left District 12 with color and bizarreness and beautiful opulence (which is exactly like it should have been), but Tom Stern shot it drab and colorless all the same. I'm not much of a Tom Stern fan.

Second, the special effects were pretty atrocious. A lot of hullabaloo was made of its $78 million budget, as though it could be considered a low budget film, but that's about what David Fincher's films generally cost, and they have way more special effects shots than this movie had (more than most people notice), and way more expensive actors. District 9 did way more (and better) with less than half the budget. I can deal with cheap looking CGI, which this movie had, but the integration of the CGI was just distracting. Pretty much the only wide establishing shots were effects shots, often with completely perfect, smooth computer camera moves, then cut in to an extreme, shaky closeup. It's classic TV style; start with a wide effects shot to establish scale, then cut in really close so you don't have to composite anything in the background. Once the game started, the scale got a bit bigger, until the dogs showed up, but big parts of it looked more like a $15 million sci-fi movie. I think this is the major culprit why the world seems so under-realized; everything is so claustrophobic and hard to see, then when you get a wider view, it looks like it's from a different movie.

Third, the plot is kind of exploitative, and story kind of leans on that quite a bit. Having a story where a bunch of kids get murdered runs a huge risk of just expecting us to sympathize with them because they're kids who just got murdered, which this movie does. Which is kind of icky, actually. It has so many characters to deal with, that a lot of the time we're left with the introduction of a character, a quick second of insight about them, then they're gone for an hour and get killed and we feel bad. It's pretty manipulative. But it's more transparent with Lenny Kravitz's underused character, because he's not a dead kid.

Fourth, uggh, theater full of teenagers. Teenagers are the worst audience ever. They act like they have no idea that other people can hear them. They have to overcompensate for their extreme lack of confidence. One girl cried at the death of a character (I'm sure most people know who). Loudly. Then everybody snickered at her. I'm not sure which was more annoying. Every time the movie wrung out an emotion, everybody nervously giggled (feelings are so lame). Every single teenager there had this huge external struggle with being too cool for the movie, yet being totally riveted by it. It was unbearable.

But, like I said, it was entertaining enough, for all its flaws. Jennifer Lawrence was perfect (as were her hips Embarassed ). Woody Harrelson was perfect. The love angle was fresh and well executed. I was really afraid that the movie was going to change the rules (like the game did) and make for a stupid plot-hole for an ending, but it ended quite brilliantly. I like how the District 1 baddie kid was a reflection on our modern, self-esteem based culture, with how he reacts to not getting his way. I'll probably catch the second film, but hopefully during school or something.

I don't know how this got so long. Sorry guys.
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Saellys
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Well said, Boone (and without going back to look, that sounds like everything do not be afraid. said earlier but with more technical terminology). I felt the same way but I chalked it up to watching a cam bootleg--which, fortunately, was from Hungary and was therefore pleasantly devoid of audience reaction noises.

I felt like the best moment in the film was the same for Katniss as it was for the viewer--just after the Games begin, when she straps herself into a tree and looks around and kind of gets a wistful smile on her face. All that claustrophobia dissipates for just a minute and you almost start to feel immersed, but then it's back to characters we know nothing about killing each other.

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boone
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Yeah, I thought I'd try to be more clear, so we don't spend two pages trying to define the words I chose. Wink
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Saellys
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Laughing Smart move.
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wilsmith
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I, for one, appreciate the clarity Cool
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