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Awake In The Dark
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Old September 18th, 2004, 12:23 PM   #16
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just saw it... it was OK, but not as 'classic' as i thought it was gonna be. the autombobiles were a bit fake, other than that the rest were all "CG" glory. there were many nifty parts of it but overall simply OK.
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Old September 18th, 2004, 05:01 PM   #17
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I saw it having forgotten entirely about the Kerry Conran story (which I read with some interest months ago). The distinctive visual style drew me to see the film. And boy was I excited.

The movie is beautiful. But approaching it as a movie--not as an amazing technical achievement--I felt disappointed. Although I found the lighting and composition striking (and powerfully evocative of late-30's film noir, not to mention Buck Rogers), things didn't move right, particularly flying things and swimming things. Sure, physical modeling is hard. But at one time or another, mass, volume, velocity, or viscosity all seem to have been outright discarded; and when that happens, this world that Conron's crew had so cleverly manufactured from whole cloth suddenly looks quite thin.

That's my single biggest complaint of CGI in films in general: things don't move right.

That's not the end of the world; I'm not a slave to realism. But I want emotional truth, even if it's just to set up a goofy joke. Miyazaki's Spirited Away is plainly an animated cartoon, and sure has a distinctive visual style. But I found Spirited Away emotionally compelling. In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Conron's meticulously-created visual world was beautiful and sexy, but the thin characterizations (gamely enacted by talented actors) left me with nothing else.

I came out of the movie disappointed, but it's still a heck of a job. Marrying complex CGI worlds with live actors flailing around in front of a green screen is hard; I wouldn't mind having something like it on my resume.

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Old September 18th, 2004, 06:53 PM   #18
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but michael,

neither flash gordon nor buck rogers were "emotionally moving" as you had with miyazaki films. i think kerry was going more towards those types of films (entertainment for entertainment's sake).
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Old September 19th, 2004, 01:16 AM   #19
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Regarding Buck Rogers:

Yeah, but you can't just re-make a Buck Rogers movie.

So, for example, Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies remade other genre films but they infused them with modern sensibilities. And while Star Wars in particular had some awfully stilted lines, Lucas brought something to the process that transcended his creaky script. Maybe it was several tons of innovative filmmaking technology. But using Alec Guiness didn't hurt. Who knows?

Sky Captain, while visually brilliant, doesn't have enough of that "extra." So while I was blathering on about it needing more emotional reality--and I think it does--I was really complaining that, well, the movie wasn't great. It was OK, but not great. Even as entertainment.

Wait a minute. I think I'm emphatically agreeing with you.

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Old September 19th, 2004, 02:43 PM   #20
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btw michael,

i just saw a production of taming of the shrow (shrew =) with my friend as tranio. twas a good play!

now, even indy+star wars (ep4) was not supposed to be overly emotional no matter how much modern fusing was done. empire was kinda (a little bit) emotional cause combo of larry kasdan, irvin kershner but lucas always weened it down.

prob with sky captain was that the character interaction scenes were very very few. if kerry really wanted to go for the 40s feel then more than 3/4 should have been talking... instead we're treated to 1/20 talking and 19/20 all visual fx. that was the prob. even if you looked back at the cheesiest of cheese flicks there were always some great quotable dialogue. i can't recall any big quotable dialogue except for jolie's, "leave that to me, alert the ambiphous squandron!".
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Old September 20th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #21
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emotional cause combo of larry kasdan, irvin kershner but lucas always weened it down.

That's not really true.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 11:54 AM   #22
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but you don't offer a reason why that isn't.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 12:03 PM   #23
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Everyone seemed subdued in Sky Captain, but then again, the sound in my theatre was low, and I was too into the movie to get up and go tell someone to crank it up. I'd give it 3 stars out of 4.

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Old September 20th, 2004, 06:50 PM   #24
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the sound mix for the movie is too low. the cinema that i usually goto doesn't have volume control. i have asked the cinema manager on 2 separate occasions whether or not there is, they told me there ain't for the specific auditorium that i goto. so that's the one i always goto cause fellowship, two towers were awfully loud in there and so were matrix, etc. so i guess the mix is a bit low, i dunno why, no more budget?
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Old September 21st, 2004, 09:30 AM   #25
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I understand Ebert gave this movie four stars, is that correct? I really believe the guy is getting soft these days. That movie was good but not four star good. As mentioned already, I too felt very little for the characters, they were enjoyable enough but the emotional connection wasn't there for me.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 09:57 AM   #26
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Ebert has explained his starring system previously. It's really a floating standard, not an absolute standard. I don't think he really thinks that the four stars that "Sky Captain" got means the same thing as the four stars "Baraka" got.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 11:41 AM   #27
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Good, because he gives Monkey Trouble more stars than Forrest Gump.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 01:39 PM   #28
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but you don't offer a reason why that isn't.

It's not true because Lucas wrote the majority of Empire, he saw all the dailies, and he edited. There was never a Kershner cut, as soon as principal photography was done, Kershner was done and Lucas took over as director in the editing room and for the rest of post production. There was a lot of footage for Empire - both the way it was written and the more emotional improv that Kershner directed. If Lucas didn't want the film to be emotional, it wouldn't have been. It is the way it is because Lucas decided it would be. He had a lot of help, particularly with a director who was better with actors than he was and a co-writer who was better with dialogue and could spot certain emotional and plot holes in the script, but Lucas had total control and could have changed anything if he had wanted to, even in the editing room. It is what it is because Lucas choose for it to be, not inspite of him.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 03:54 PM   #29
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"It is what it is because Lucas choose for it to be, not inspite of him."

This is a perspective that neglects the role of Gary Kurtz as producer of the film, and of Paul Hirsch and Marcia Lucas as editors.

Among scholars who have chronicled the making of STAR WARS, it should be conceded that calling The Empire Strikes Back "a George Lucas film" is something of a minority perspective.

If Lucas really felt he had final say on the film, why did he not invite Kurtz to return? (Why Marcia Lucas did not return is another matter altogether!)
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Old September 21st, 2004, 03:57 PM   #30
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as far as writings is concerned lucas wrote story outline (minus emotional stuff) for both empire+jedi as well as backstory for ep1-3. if what you said is true then ep1+2 and the upcoming would've been very emotional and very CLASSIC. i mean anakin leaving his mother? that should have brought the house down. look at the documentary on the new SW trilogy DVDs, it explains that leigh bracket wrote it but died in '78. she wrote big goodbye, rio bravo, rio lobo, the long goodbye, etc. she was an excellent screenwriter. it also helps that larry kasdan is also a great writer (the big chill) and they both contributed heavily to the emotional tones of empire. irvin took that script and brought it to life. it was lucas he just simply would have said, less character development and "faster more intense!". he edited cause the footage was shot and imho empire probably surprised him the most as the most emotional of al the stories that's why he probably toned it down into a comic-jes in jedi.
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