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Ordure / air circulating device interface scenario.

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by the_pauley, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Just been reading a thread on the latest instalment in the “Matrix” saga. Profoundly disturbing stuff – some of the thread that is.

    Got me to musing, as one does, and called to mind several parallels to another franchise, namely “Star Wars” (God, “franchise” – this should tell us all is not well. Anyone remember a time when they made movies and not franchises?).

    Consider the following:

    The first movie in each series was highly derivative of the work of others that had come before, in both cinema and Science Fiction literature. In both cases these often far superior “source influences” were thrown into a blender and their original, more challenging concepts diluted for mass consumption. Speculative/Science Fiction transformed into the dreaded “Sci-Fi”.

    (An aside. For the information of those who seem so fond of that particular abbreviation, perhaps you’d appreciate a word on its origins. It was created by the Science Fiction fan community many, many years ago to describe bad Science Fiction. The kind of stuff that was being churned out, dumbed-down for mass consumption, by people with no conception of, or who simply cared not for, the richness and complexity of the genre. The mass market doesn’t get “complexity”. Prime consideration was bums on seats. Nothing changes, does it?

    So there you have it; sci-fi = crap science fiction. But who am I to stop the “Matrix” and “Star Wars” fanboys from using the term to describe their favourite CGI fests? Carry on lads…)

    Significantly, the makers of both films were the beneficiaries of then-new state-of-the-art technical innovations to considerably polish their respective turds (Oops, sorry – my objectivity slipped…), that combined with a dollop of half-baked pseudo-mystical / metaphysical ramblings (“The Force”, “The One” – yawn…), a sprinkling of “kewl stuff”, a soupcon of things that “rawk”, and hey presto not only do lots of people swallow the turd whole, but pat their stomachs and make contented yummy noises and demand more!

    Like cinematic McDonalds – it’s been done before, it’s been done better and behind all the packaging and garnish there’s a pretty insubstantial meal. And, yet, millions upon millions of people reckon McDonalds is a culinary delight and the apex of epicurean sophistication. Doesn’t make ‘em right though does it?

    Also - and this is where we get to the profoundly disturbing part readers – both franchises have engendered a rabid devotion among their followers akin to Scientology or some equally dodgy cod-religion. Tremble in fear my friends, for there are people out there who consider these movies to be “deep” and possessed of maximum heavyosity. In the extreme. The more devoted acolytes busy themselves trying block up every hole in the Swiss-cheese that passes for plot / concept in these movies, with more and more outlandish explanations and theories consisting of the most gawdawful pseudo-science and cod-philosophical musings this side of David Icke. Never mind these forums – have you seen the fan sites? Illiteracy as an art form!

    Oh and of course, the rest of us just don’t “get it”, do we? Ever stopped to consider that we get “it” fine? We just think “it” is, er… crap. Face it. These two particular emperors are buck naked!

    The “concepts” of these series are nursery school level in comparison to what’s come before in the world of SF/Fantasy literature. If you think the content or concepts of “The Matrix” or “Star Wars” are deep, I would start worrying now. I’ve said it before on these forums; if you want truly fine Science Fiction – read a book – explore the rich, highly entertaining heritage of classic SF that’s out there. It’s light years beyond what you’ll see in the cinema in terms of intellect and imagination. Intellectually challenging ideas are what stimulate and engender a sense of wonder and imagination in human beings, not CGI kung-fu and cute droids. I’m not saying you won’t sometimes find it in cinema, just not in these two particularly dull-as-ditchwater series.

    But, in another interesting parallel, each franchise has its exceptions, namely “The Empire Strikes Back” - a shining example of what “Star Wars” and its sequels could have been – and “The Animatrix” infinitely more imaginative and rewarding than any of the live action entries. And both are interestingly primarily the creations of people other than Lucas and the brothers W. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learnt there?

    And finally kids, remember - the makers of these films are Americans, the country where “Star Trek” is considered “profound” enough to be a philosophy module on a University Degree course. It’s the handiwork of The Devil – run away now!

    Light blue touch paper and retire…


    PS. Sorry, almost forgot to add the obligatory part for these forums, so that people don’t get upset:

    ***THE ABOVE IS OF COURSE MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION*** :smashin:
     
  2. seany

    seany
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    Where does blake7 come?
     
  3. Lex

    Lex
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    I have never met anyone who thought that...

    I have never met anyone who thought that either...


    If we only valued things for being 'original' then we would have stopped valueing anything many many years ago...

    I like Star Wars, and I like the first Matrix film. Just because some people choose to take them too seriously does not stop me from enjoying them for what they are: light entertainment.
     
  4. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    :rotfl:

    (For the Blake's 7 bit)
     
  5. SILVERBACK

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    that my friend is as well a thought out post as i have read in some time,now im off for a lay down lol ;) good work though mate i thought i was the onlyone who didnt think all 3 where much cop at all.
     
  6. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Not disputing that at all.

    Agreed. My point was people take them too seriously.

    As to those people you've never met... pray it stays that way Lexy! We aren't all so lucky.
     
  7. seany

    seany
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    I like Mcdonlds.
     
  8. Lex

    Lex
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    I have however met people who claim to be Science Fiction fans because they own all Jean Claude Van Damme's movies, and watch the X-Files... although they have never actually heard of Phillip K.Dick or Issac Asimov or Stephen Baxter :rolleyes:
     
  9. Azrikam

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    You've been hanging around the wrong message boards. (and by that, I mean the right message boards) :D If you want to see just how "heavy" some people think the Matrix franchise is, just check out the Rottentomatoes.com forums, or even worse... IMDB.com. :eek: (the former must have about 20% of the current threads talking about the Matrix)

    The difference between the terms Sci-Fi and SF is very interesting, and it's something I didn't know until a couple of years ago.

    Good stuff pointing out the similarities of both franchises. I hope that doesn't mean we get 15 more years of "re-imagined" Matrix DVDs to fix all the dodgy CGI and whims of the creators. After all, there's two Wach brothers, and only one Lucas. ;)
     
  10. Lex

    Lex
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    That's the best anti-cloning argument I have ever heard :smashin: :laugh:
     
  11. FoxyMulder

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    Live and let live, it would be a poor world if we all had the same tastes.
     
  12. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    (In a red-haired woman's voice) "Oh Mulder!
     
  13. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Ah the IMDB - truly The Land of the Lost! Well worth a visit for a laugh. If you can punctuate a sentence they assume you have a Phd.

    Fun pastime at the minute seems to be "Lord of the Rings" fans (great movies, mental fans) attacking every movie on the AFI Top 100 because they didn't include the "Rings" movies.

    The "Citizen Kane" (No 1 on the AFI list) discussion threads are filled with LOTR trolls (hobbits?) attacking the movie.

    "Like dude I CAAAANN'T tell you how much this movie sucks serious ass and how it can be number 1 it is so BORING and there's nothing kewl and like NO cgi which automatically makes sure that it sucks and anyone who likes it thinks they are like you know sooooooo smart and they make me sick and should ******* eat **** and ******* DIE!!!"

    Only with bad spelling... :(
     
  14. Miyazaki

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    I notice Dimmy hasn't replied yet.... :laugh: ;)

    Couldn't agree more with you than what you said really.

    Except i find that the real world is far more interesting than a "Sci-Fi" or "SF" movie or book. The natural world is a far more varied and interesting world than even Asimov could create :)

    Especially the last few Sundays with that "Theory Of Everything" programme on C4, made me break out all my Theoretical Physics books :D

    But surely, for all the evils of "The Matrix" and "Star Wars" any film that sparks a brain to become interested in "SF" rather than "Sci-Fi" is a good thing isn't it?

    In rather the same way we all have to go through our pop loving stage to learn to appriciate "good" music.
     
  15. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Hmmm... If only that were true. I remember the attention attracted by a brilliant review by author Harlan Ellison (he who successfully sued Cameron over "Terminator") at the time of "Star Wars" release, which effectively tore the movie and Lucas to strips. Basically, in true Ellison fashion, he was the little boy who, among the almost universal roars of approval, pointed out that the emperor was indeed naked.

    Later in an interview a reporter raised your very point, namely wasn't it good for Science Fiction if this movie sparked an interest in the genre? But as Ellison pointed out it was more likely to spark an interest in more of the same, namely simplistic, crappy sci-fi shoot 'em ups. And what were virtually the first two works off the Hollywood starting blocks post "Star Wars"? "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers" - as simplistic and crappy as sci-fi shoot-em-ups come. Notice that no one rushed to adapt the works of Heinlein, Asimov or Sturgeon...

    He also quite accurately predicted the movie's success as the beginning of the end for the new wave of mature, intelligent cinema that was emerging from Hollywood during the '70s (an opinion also expressed to Robert Altman by none other than Lucas' then wife Marcia) - boy was he ever on the money!

    Wonder how he is on lottery tips?
     
  16. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki
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    I would call your vernacular conceited, but you do not appear lucid enough :eek: :rotfl:
     
  17. CrispyXUK

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    So any Sci-Fi themed film with action peices in is **** and plan 9 from outer space is good?
     
  18. seany

    seany
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    Any edd wood prodution is the dogs
     
  19. CrispyXUK

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    nothing wrong with a screen full of fake smoke and balloons for aliens :)
     
  20. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Huh??? Did I miss something? :confused:
     
  21. CrispyXUK

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    You first post implies that "Star Wars" & "The Matrix" are not worthy of your interpretation of what is Science Fiction, correct me if I'm wrong. Please give me an example of what you are saying we should be watching as science fiction, as to me "The Matrix" is very science fiction, its sequels while trying to be are not. Star Wars is Adventure/Action/Science Fiction it encompasses all these genres.
     
  22. Lex

    Lex
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    I can't quite understand how you can describe Star Wars as "dull-as-ditchwater", but see The Empire Strikes Back as a "shining example"... I agree that TESP is a better film, but I wouldn't say it was light years ahead of its preocessor.

    It seems to me that your issue is not with Star Wars & The Matrix in particular, but with the status that is given them by internet "fan boys". And as I said, just because some people choose to take them too seriously, should not stop us from seeing them for what they actually are... :)
     
  23. seany

    seany
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    Some people just read too much in to these films. Alian-sci fi horror, as a film- classic, no need to go up it's arse like the matrix did. Bladerunner-again classic sci fi imo. No need for cornflake-box Philosophy, says miles more about life then the matrix ever could, and did it in one film.

    Anbody who thinks that a billion doller trilogy is made for only them to get, is deluded.


    Books and film, are of course not the same thing at all.
     
  24. CrispyXUK

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    And there is no rule book saying sci-fi has to be deep and intelligent, that maybe its initial origins but you cant have everything high-concept.

    But I agree with internet fanboys taking things too seriously and slagging down anything that they think isnt as good as the peice of fiction.
     
  25. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Crispy, first of all re-read my post. I don't dispute that these films fall into the genre; my argument is that they aren't particularly shining examples of the genre - particularly "Star Wars".

    At least "The Matrix" has a firm SF premise, but it's nothing new - apart from the film making technology - just a dumbed-down melange of what has come before. Seen it before, read it before and definitely with more flair and imagination.

    But as I say at least the SF premise is there. There's a long established acid test in the SF community to judge whether a work, be it book, film or whatever, really is SF or just any old story with SF trappings tacked on to it. Take away the SF elements and see if the story is still workable. In the case of "The Matrix" clearly not, but the core story of "Star Wars" could work in almost any genre outside of SF.

    The first thing that came to my mind when I watched it was primarily "The Prisoner of Zenda" crossed with Akira Kurosawa, almost any Western (particularly "The Searchers" - one Lucas was return to plunder for "Clones". The only scene in that movie with any emotional frisson is lifted wholesale from "The Searchers"), almost any war movie, almost any swashbuckler. Indeed any non-SF action movie.

    The entire Death Star attack for example at the end is a blatant rip from the World War II movie 633 Squadron, where if you recall at the movie's climax, the allied planes have to fly along a long narrow canyon with the sole purpose of landing a direct hit with pin-point accuracy on a very precise target in order to destroy the Nazi installation. The exact same set up for the Death Star trench attack in Lucas' film. The Star Wars fighters even use the same call signs as the pilots in 633 Squadron. Oh, but then that's just an "homage" by Lucas, or a nod to a favourite movie isn't it? Fine, if it were an isolated incident, but the entire movie is hobbled together from "influences"; in plain English, the ideas of others, and mainly non SF ideas.

    The only noticeable SF source that Lucas has used is "Dune" and the Bene Geserit Sisterhood for the whole Jedi/Force/Luke Skywalker/Tattooine strand. But even if this were removed the basic - and brother I do mean basic - plot/events in the story would not be affected.

    There is another more telling influence for the Jedi and The Force (in particular Obi Wan Kenobi) other than the Bene Geserit in Dune. Before Lucas began work on the Star Wars screenplay, he read extensively through the literature of mythology and fairy-tales. He was particularly taken with the work of Carlos Castaneda. One of the key characters Castaneda writes about is a Mexican Shaman named Don Juan (Juan of course being pronounced in the Spanish as "Wan"). Don Juan is a mystic type whose shamanistic powers come through knowledge and control of what he calls "the life-force". You can join the rest of the dots yourself...

    C3PO is a cross between the "Metropolis" robotrix (a specific direction Mike Miner and Ralph McQuarrie were given by Lucas for their initial visual conceptualizations) and The Tin man from the "Wizard of Oz". The relationship of the character with R2D2 is based on the routines of Laurel and Hardy, The Wookie is a total steal (a virtual photocopy) from a piece of cover art from "Analog" magazine, Vader is based on Dr. Doom (right down to the gestures and costume) with a hint of Samurai (Kurosawa again) and I can show you a beautiful piece of SF art dating from the early 1970s that shows a soldier in white, toting a weapon and riding across a desert planet, on the back of a giant lizard the dead spit of the dewbacks in Lucas' film. The artwork (by the sheerest co-incidence) was hanging in the home of John Milius a close friend and colleague of Lucas in the early '70s. I could go on and on for practically every scene in the movie. Yes "Star Wars" is so original! George Lucas is such a creative genius!

    And bringing all of these “influences” together the two main narrative influences of Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress" and "Flash Gordon".

    Don't forget Lucas tried to get the rights to make "Flash Gordon" as a movie and failed to get them. So he just went ahead and made it anyway. Consequently “Star Wars” has all the depth, substance, subtext and characterization of the “Flash Gordon” serials, that is to say, none whatsoever. The characters are mono-dimensional in the extreme, the basic premise could be written on the back of a matchbox, and the dialogue is banal and stilted beyond belief.

    So what are we left with that is innovative, exciting, dazzling and new? Er, technology. New SFX techniques. Just like “The Matrix”. And what have we got at the heart of the work if we strip away the veneer of glossy FX? A 1940s chapter serial, only without the innocent charm. And no one gets evangelical over those do they?

    These movies are for people who get excited by SFX, Bullet Time, CGI, or whatever current state-of-the- art dog-wagger is currently at the disposal of hack directors.

    On the other hand if you’re one of those silly people who go to the cinema thinking that characterization, substance, intelligent direction and - oh yes – decent storytelling, should take precedence over a state-of-the-art light show, well… we’re going to have to look elsewhere. At the end of the day these movies are not aimed at an adult mind.

    Indeed Lucas’ stated intention was that “Star Wars” was to be aimed at a 10-12 year old audience, and that it would probably break even, but he wasn’t worried as he would make more money from the toys than Francis (Coppola) made from “The Godfather”. From the creator’s own lips we have it that this film (and subsequently its sequels) was designed, primarily, to sell toys, and it’s aimed at children.

    Criticism of these films, “Star Wars” in particular, just doesn’t seem to be tolerated (if I put this on a USA fan site I’d be in fear of my life). And that’s nothing new. Back in 1977 all dissent in the media was virtually trampled on. Normally sane and erudite publications and reviewers became swept up in the uncritical, slavering monkeymass. To speak out against “Star Wars” was akin to spitting on the flag. What kind of a mean spirited curmudgeon were you that you didn’t spend half your salary seeing it fifteen times in the first month of release?

    A prime example was “Time” magazine with their multi page spread titled “Inside the Year’s Best Movie”. Unable to find any professional from the Science Fiction community with anything good to say about the movie, they simply hobbled together an out-of-context “selective” quote, and credited it to noted SF author Ben Bova:

    “’Star Wars’ is the costume epic of the future. It’s a galactic ‘Gone with the Wind’ – perfect escapist summer fare.”

    An outright lie-by-omission that they were forced to retract three issues later and print the following from Bova:

    “Your quotation of my comments about George Lucas’ film ‘Star Wars’ makes it appear that I like the film. I most emphatically did not. Those of us who work in the Science Fiction field professionally, look for something more than Saturday afternoon shoot-‘em-ups when we go to a Science Fiction film. We have been disappointed many times and I had expected more of Lucas. Somebody Up There likes the film it seems, and no dissenting views are allowed. Too bad.”

    Now if it’s okey-doke with you to swallow the whole propagandizing and shtick from every studio out to part you from your hard earned shekels, and you don’t mind forking it over to watch vapid, brain dead, marketing exercises (riding on the coat-tails of uncredited creativity and innovation of others) masquerading as film, then fine and dandy – no one is saying you shouldn’t. It’s a free country. My real issue is not with the films per se, but with the rabid fanboy element that insists on telling us non-believers that we “don’t get it”, or how original and innovative it all is, or that it is something lacking in us that prevents us from appreciating the gee-whiz wonderfulness of it all.

    We get it fine – we just think it sucks.

    And to address your other point, why on earth do you want yet someone else to tell you what to watch? Hollywood studios spend millions of dollars to do that to you already. Do what I and many others have done. Explore. Find out for yourself – don’t let a marketing department do your thinking for you. If SF is your thing there is a rich heritage of film and literature out there stretching back through the last century. Most of my favourite movies were made long before I was born. There was cinematic life before “Star Wars” and “The Matrix” and it was richer, quirkier, more adventurous, less homogenised, more creative and diverse. Explore, and if you’ve got the eyes to see you won’t be that impressed with the stuff Hollywood churns out.

    And don’t forget kids, turn off the home cinema occasionally and READ A BOOK! :smashin:
     
  26. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Likewise there's no rulebook that say's it should be dumbed down to the nth degree which seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

    Oh and by the way, you should check out the meaning of the term "high-concept". It is a negative, not the positive you seem to be using it as.
     
  27. seany

    seany
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    That bloody Lucas. I bet he stole from blake 7:mad: It had space ships and that.
     
  28. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Steal? George? :eek: Surely you mean "was influenced by..." :lesson:
     
  29. seany

    seany
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    Call it what you like. But that black thingy with all the white shiny stuff-space i think,was in blake 7 first, i'm sure of it
     
  30. the_pauley

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    Wasn't that Servelan??? :confused:
     

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