Go, Speed Racer, Gooooooooooooooooooooo

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robochrist
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Go, Speed Racer, Gooooooooooooooooooooo

Postby robochrist » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:25 pm

I should hang my head in shame for saying this, but I was actually impressed by the new trailer for the upcoming live action version of SR!

I recall next to nothing about the anime series. But for a kids movie this thing looked like it could be doing things (I mean with characters).

The Mach 5 liked spit-shined n' awesome. I think it said it was produced by the Matrix people.

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Postby markabaddon » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:39 pm

Rob, it was produced by the Wachowski Brothers. As someone who watched the cartoon extensively when I was a kid, I was not very excited about the film adaptation.

Let me be clear: that trailer rocked. Now I am fully aware that trailers can be spliced to only show the best parts of the film, and a great trailer could be cut for a godawful film (Godzilla 1998 as an example), but I have to say I went from actively avoiding the film to trying to score sneak preview tickets through friends at work. It was that good
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Postby robochrist » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:26 pm

The Wachowski Brothers - like I said, the guys who worked on the Matrix films. (V For Vendetta, btw)

In the sea of today's probabilities, the movie may very well turn out to be another piece of shit, the trailer not withstanding. But I'll have an eye on reactions to this one when it comes out.

rich

Postby rich » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:46 am

robochrist wrote: But I'll have an eye on reactions to this one when it comes out.


Why don't you just see it and decide for yourself whether you like it or not?

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:49 am

...my expertise - which exceeds yours in anything - will tell me whether or not I need to.

I'll know.

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Postby Moderator » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:00 am

Hmnmm.

Then your expertise transcends mine as well, since I prefer to make my own judgements about things and not be led around by the critics.

(They uniformly hated Spaceballs, if you remember...)
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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:12 pm

...that was my hubris at Mach 5

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:00 pm

I lived for Speed Racer when I was a kid. It was one of my favorite shows--the villians were always really good.

Chim Chim agrees.

--------------

I might see the live action version.

I do listen to the critics, rarely going to any film that doesn't get at least a sixty on the Tomatometer.

Have to have some standards.

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Postby robochrist » Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:53 pm

Well, here's where I'm coming from:

I got a better-than-average impression from the trailer; the graphics - the LOOK - was just right; but that's nothing - as my past sufferings will attest - if narrative is a hollow trip.

An example: The Pirates of the Caribbean sequel was, for me, one fucking grueling experience - despite the look and effects; I spent over 2 hours thinking about how badly I wanted to leave.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - on the other hand - I found to have pacing and structure.

So, when I say I'm going to wait to hear the critiques, it means I'm looking for a few really specific things: do characters develop? Or do they fall flat, and the whole turns predictable? Does the movie overcrowd characters (as I new the 3rd Spider-Man did, just from previews alone; I'd PREDICTED that would be its big problem, and I turned out to be right on the money...as I am 90% of the time from MY experience), miring character altogether? Does plot get way too lame, even for a kid's movie?

Van Helsing was another example of a flick with precisely these problems. I figured it would when I FIRST saw previews (online). The critics voiced what I predicted would be the problem. I later ran it, and hated it.

Raiders of the Lost Arc is the ultimate example of this type of movie working perfectly.

So, for these genre movies, I look for these specific points - based on a shitload of research from film classes, and long before, when animation and filmmaking were childhood aspirations.

So, I know what I'm looking for. I'm not going to just blindly view 'Speed Racer', without SOME feedback confirming or allaying my early impressions. Been there done that. All of it.

(Footnote: having Racer X in this movie as its central element - if the trailer is honest about it - is where I felt most of the potential here; it's very strong dramatic potential, and COULD be fun if it's done right. Once I saw the names connected with Matrix and V for Vendetta, I felt - hmmmm, for once, maybe there's a chance)

rich

Postby rich » Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:04 pm

That's your expertise? You actually need expertise to figure out whether you like the movie or not?

You know, I can watch a Kubrick film and understand what he was doing, what he was aiming for, the technical craft, his expertise behind the camera, and his ability to be deliberate in his pacing for a specific reason...

...but if I'm going to watch a flick for fun, I'm going to put in PLANET OF THE APES (with Chaz Heston) over 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY every fucking time.

You don't need expertise to appreciate a flick, Rob, just an ability to decide for yourself if you enjoyed it or not. If you want to deconstruct fucking SPEED RACER more power to you, but that's a lot of brain cells to waste on a cartoon. And without having to research and find out from others, I'm pretty damn sure that SPEED RACER ain't gonna be a 2001. Just a hunch, and I haven't even seen the trailer.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:04 pm

Rob did change my mind about Hannibal, so he can't be all bad.

Did I just say that?

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:01 pm

Frank, there's hope for you yet.

Anything Rich vollies - and I mean ANYTHING - is negligible. Take my word for it, my method works. Critics - I've decided - drive me nuts as a rule; the only ones who really redeem themselves at all are the ones who can really write. Beyond that opinion is opinion, and ANYONE can be fulla shit.

So, I ask meself then, "how can I make use of these guys at all?" I mean, we all want to have some idea of what we want to risk our money on.

So...consider the few key criteria that make a movie for you, regardless of flaws outside of those elements.

Action, special effects and cgi are nothing to me - no matter how well done - if story, structure, and character aren't solid enough.

I look for those specific points in any critic's review; nothing else he has to say really matters. The rest of his review is bullshit as far as I'm concerned.

Thru a decade of testing, I know this works.

You just decide upon the fixed attributes of a movie that works, and only respond to a review when it addresses those attributes. Put it to the test, and you'll find your judgment to be right more often than not when you pay to see film based on someone else's review.

I know the cues I'm looking for in any reviews for Speed Racer; if I hear or read consistently that it's failing on those levels - fuck it! I've suffered from tedium too much at a bunch of these types of movies. Even on dvd.

Thus, I really never give a flingin' diaphragm what Rich says or how he perceives an argument.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:38 pm

This is why the Wizard Of Oz is so classic. Sure you can see the outlines of the sets--you know the tinman is not really tin, but paint, but the story and the sweetness of the overall theme make it as great as it is.

rich

Postby rich » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:31 pm

Stop the presses. Rob uses reviews of movies to see whether he should pay money to see them. Oh, I feel faint.

I guess what I was trying to say, Rob, was that if you want to see SPEED RACER then go see it. You started a thread about it, and next thing you know you're talking about quantum physics in discussing your criteria for movies. Yeeesh.

If it's more than 50% on the tomato meter, then go see the damn thing. Again, it's called SPEED RACER, not THE 400 BLOWS.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:42 pm

Well, also, in cases like OZ, theatrical "diorama" look of sets and props - the mise-en-scene - is all calculated; the artificial look was MEANT to be part of that charm (especially since that was the depression era of big musicals, and stage was still a major influence on the approach to movies).

Having said that - yeah - as you've implied - OZ flopped when it first came out - even though it was nominated Best Picture. It reached all those hearts in the tv reruns, and, I'll bet, only there did all its intentions gibe with viewers entirely.

The artificial look - to contrast the sepia world of Kansas - was integral, as it was MEANT to be, to its unyielding charm. No "realistic" look would have brought together that effect.

But I'm very easily sold on movies that were simply "theatrical" in their look, not because it was calculated to be that way, but because it was the norm in the early days of sound film.

James Whale's Frankenstein comes to mind. It's like a Gothic stage production, and it hasn't a single note of music in the entire run apart from the titles. That creates an integral feel to the whole thing, unique from any later versions with the more sophisticated production values.

So, now we see lots of today's cgi movies picking up these elements, cashing in on the surrealism. Tim Burton's stuff. James and the Giant Peach. Dark City. Even shit like Van Helsing.

But it still goes back to pacing and story structure: Oz had its mise-en-scene for the impact; the visceral stuff that leaves you "feeling" the whole movie years later. But that feeling wouldn't be whole if the story and pacing hadn't been SO incredibly cohesive.

Same point goes to the original Kong.

The effects of its time were groundbreaking. But the story structure is so pure, so perfect, that the effects almost become secondary. The special effects aren't important - suspension of disbelief wouldn't have been possible - if the narrative and content hadn't been as strong.

Thus, the measuring stick I use in my expectations for a flick. If the effects in Speed Racer turned out weak, but story and character - complemented by visual approach - all came together - shit! - I'd take a look at it.


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