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#7328 - 08/21/13 12:35 AM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Lorna]
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Well, this is beginning to look like a boy/girl thing -- sorry, fellas, but I have to side with the ladies on this one. The movie was a big disappointment to me, and frankly I don't understand all the enthusiasm it has generated. Oh, there were plenty of good things in it, a number of them quite scary (such as the fact that English is no longer the primary language spoken in L.A.). Matt Damon pretty much carried the movie; it was a big role and he handled it well. Jodie Foster (she of the aforementioned great haircut) didn't have much to do; hers was a one-dimensional role. But I was happy to see she has abandoned that clenched-cheeks, unmoving-lips way of speaking she'd used in recent movies.

But Elysium is a derivative movie; I expected something more from the writer/director of District 9. The haves living on orbiting habitats while the have-nots were stuck on a dying earth -- that's a cyberpunk trope, first presented some forty years ago. As is the picture of a world openly run by corporations instead of governments, and sockets in people's skulls, etc. The hero's days are numbered because of radiation poisoning, just like in Gattaca and Crank. Those medical healing machines -- remember the sarcophagi in SG-1? Inception interrupted scenes at key moments to insert flashbacks in brighter colors than present-day scenes -- so does Elysium. And so on.

By the way, does anybody here believe it's possible to bring down a way of life by changing the word "illegal" to "legal" in a computer? No firewalls, no red flags, nothing?

Cyberpunk was short-lived as a movement, but it certainly left its mark, didn't it? Themes, images...everything but language. The language in those stories was succinct, image-rich, and sometimes cryptic, to force readers to read carefully. I don't know of a movie that's attempted that.

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#7331 - 08/21/13 10:01 AM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Barbara]
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Ohhhhhhhhh, Barbara, you cut me to the quick! Yes, the computer fix at the end was too facile, but the movie remains the strongest protest against race prejudice I've seen. The inhabitants of Elysium are all white, while most of the earth's remaining population are latino. White Max is still on earth because he'd stolen cars and was an ex-con, just part of the human detritus left behind. There's a lot of anger in this movie, and it's directed at immigration laws (like the two ships carrying "illegals" that are shot down rather than being allowed to land on Elysium). Violence begets violence, and the movie is saying that's where we're heading.

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#7333 - 08/21/13 11:02 AM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Christopher]
Lorna Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Chris, I don't mean to be contentious, but the fact that Blomkamp's heart is in the right place doesn't mean his work is automatically successful. It takes more than good intentions to make a good movie.

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#7337 - 08/22/13 03:46 PM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Lorna]
Austin
Unregistered


I have to confess that initially I had some trouble with cyberpunk. Gibson's Neuromancer was the first I read, and it took me about five times as long to read as other SF novels. The language was a little easier to navigate in the Mirrorshades short stories, but it was still demanding. I think that's why cyberpunk was short-lived, and why we'll never hear its language in a movie. By the time I was getting the hang of it, Gibson had moved on to steampunk, which was more accessible but not as interesting, IMO.

One final word in defense of Elysium. All the things the ladies say are true, but can you name one SF summer movie from any year that does NOT have a lot of explosions? It's the dues Hollywood pays to get funding and distribution and whatever else is needed...audiences have come to expect a lot of big booms. Most summer movies are about the flashy F/X, but Elysium is truly ABOUT something, it makes a statement. That's what makes it special.

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#7340 - 08/23/13 02:08 AM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: ]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Nicely put, Austin, on both points.

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#7482 - 10/10/13 06:26 PM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Barbara]
Austin
Unregistered


Gravity...go, go, GO!

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#7489 - 10/13/13 02:05 PM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: ]
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
I went, went, WENT...and oh yes, it is a goodie!

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#7498 - 10/15/13 12:29 PM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Rita]
Lorna Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Visually, it's the best space movie I've seen. Fantastic! But there's something in the plot I don't quite understand...and I'd better go into SPOILER mode for that.
Click to reveal..
Why did the George Clooney character have to die? He said his forward momentum would carry them both away from the space station, but her foot was tangled in the lines of the parachute deployed by the escape vehicle. Why didn't she just pull the tether to bring him in closer and they could both do the hand-over-hand climb to temporary safety? It was all so perfunctory, like "OK, George, your part in the movie is over, goodbye."

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#7507 - 10/19/13 12:36 AM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Lorna]
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Yeah, that whole sequence was unnecessary. But there's something even worse.
Click to reveal..
There's no way they could travel by jetpack to the Chinese space station. The distance is just too far...even a shuttle couldn't make it. The reason is that all that hardware circling the earth occupies different orbits, deliberately, to avoid collisions. Everything is traveling at different speeds (the closer to earth, the tighter the orbit and the faster the speed). Some orbits are elliptical, some not. Garrett Reisman (who's done a few spacewalks himself) and other astronauts have pointed that out plus a few minor matters that weren't quite right, but they all say they were impressed by the number of things the movie got right.
In spite of that big boo-boo, I'm giving Gravity a thumbs-up, because it's a very enjoyable movie.

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#7521 - 10/22/13 07:35 PM Re: Current Movies (2013) [Re: Christopher]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
We don't need SPOILER mode any longer, do we? I imagine everyone's seen it who's going to. I just want to add that I'm in agreement with everything said above; in spite of its flaws, Gravity is well worth seeing. Also, it's the second recent movie that has made me think of SG-1 (the first was Elysium). Remember the episode in which the Prometheus was fired upon by an unknown ship and Carter hit her head and passed out? When she came to, she found she was alone on the ship; the entire crew had evacuated to the nearest planet, not knowing she'd been left behind, unconscious. She had a concussion and had to fight against falling asleep, especially when she learned the Prometheus and the other ship were both trapped inside some sort of bubble and couldn't move. She coped with all that by hallucinating that Jack and the others each came to her and said what she needed to hear to keep her going (and eventually figure out a solution). Sandra Bullock was in a similar situation, and she hallucinated/fantasized George Clooney showing up when she need help. In both cases, the fantasy appearances were products of the women's minds, reminding them of things they already knew.

FWIW.

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