Wathcya watchin'?

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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Rick Keeney
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Rick Keeney » Sat May 17, 2014 2:17 pm

The criticism is widely available, Franklin.

But the onus is on you, yeah. You tell us why it's over-rated. You tell us.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sat May 17, 2014 3:05 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Guys, explain to me why Blade Runner is so durned good?


Character and story. Character and story. Character and story.

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Rick Keeney
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Rick Keeney » Sat May 17, 2014 3:35 pm

That's only three things, Tiedeman. Well, six.

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robochrist
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby robochrist » Sat May 17, 2014 4:33 pm

Though I've always been partial to Blade Runner, it did garner many negative reviews complaining about its weakness in character and story, character and story, character and story. Roger Ebert among them, who never changed his opinion about it. Likewise from many I talked to who read the original story, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, contending that it's far more compelling than the movie. At some point I really should pick it up - having never read it myself, out of sheer criminal negligence!

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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Moderator » Sun May 18, 2014 11:10 am

When it was first released I was just okay about Blade Runner. I thought it was visually stunning, and well-acted, but the narration and ending really kept me from believing it to be a great film. Surprise! Scott went back a couple of times and kept noodling with it to make it better. (Unlike many Star Wars purists, I don't have a problem with making films better over time -- though earlier versions ought to remain available.)

The film, as now composed, is still visually stunning, to the extent of having changed the visual approach to SF films in general. The acting is superb, with one or two clinker scenes that don't destroy the overall impact of the film. The story is now quite tight, with the all-important "message" intact. The impact of certain scenes have been amplified rather than left as incidentals. (Edward James Olmos' unicorn, for instance. What does Olmos know we do not?) mysteries are created and left to drift rather than tied up in a neat little "we lived happily ever after" bow.

In short, it is the profound film it should always have been. The re-edited version(s) elevated the movie to be one of, in my opinion, the five best SF films ever.

I didn't list it as a desert island movie simply because I figured repeatable viewings had to be a qualifier for that list -- and Blade Runner is one of those films who have such an impact I can only watch them every few years....
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun May 18, 2014 12:15 pm

Rick Keeney wrote:That's only three things, Tiedeman. Well, six.


Two (or five) more than should be necessary. Some things are purely a matter of taste, having nothing to do with innate merit. The number of people I know whose intellectual depth I question who didn't "get it" leads me to conclude this is a great film.

It's about slavery and ultimately about the liberation of the slave hunter, morally. It's about the nature of empathy. And there's a nasty little thread about the power of false memory.

I agree with Barber, it gets richer over time, and the restored version is the best.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby FrankChurch » Sun May 18, 2014 12:45 pm

I like films that confuse me, why Eraserhead is so good.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby FrankChurch » Sun May 18, 2014 12:47 pm

I hate to admit this, but I liked both Taken and Taken 2. Liam Neeson kills lots of people and the dialogue is dim witted, but I enjoyed the manic stupidity.

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robochrist
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby robochrist » Sun May 18, 2014 1:24 pm

Mark Tiedemann,

I agree with what you just said. It is, nevertheless, rather frustrating when those who DO have proven depth intellectually - like Roger Ebert - overlook or minimize the film's merits.

Oh, well. Pretty soon someone will get around to the cgi-REBOOT starring Dwayne Johnson and Hannah Montana! Won't THAT make up for things!

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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun May 18, 2014 1:31 pm

FrankChurch wrote:I like films that confuse me, why Eraserhead is so good.


Never saw it.


I hate to admit this, but I liked both Taken and Taken 2. Liam Neeson kills lots of people and the dialogue is dim witted, but I enjoyed the manic stupidity.


I saw Taken but not the sequel. It's a singularly disturbing film. We know this sort of shit happens all the time and the trail from bottom to top Neeson's character follows is not much of a stretch. The dialogue wasn't that stupid, at least not in the first one, so much as almost superfluous.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby FrankChurch » Mon May 19, 2014 9:46 am

Taken 2 is even more disturbing. Racially it bothers me. The usual evil muslims.

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Steve Evil
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Steve Evil » Tue May 20, 2014 3:04 pm

Barber wrote: (Unlike many Star Wars purists, I don't have a problem with making films better over time -- though earlier versions ought to remain available.)


Ah, but Lucas hasn't made them better over time! He largely just ruined the aesthetic with distracting, gratuitous visuals.

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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby David Silver » Tue May 20, 2014 3:32 pm

Steve Evil wrote: Ah, but Lucas hasn't made them better over time! He largely just ruined the aesthetic with distracting, gratuitous visuals.



So true with THX 1138. I loved the stark quality of the original, as it was released in 1971, and I was very disappointed with the longer re-edit and added CGI scenes Lucas applied to the later updated transfer for DVD release. It's not a better film now. It's just longer, without purpose or good effect, and the staccato cuts and close cropped continuity that made the film race along are now gone. It plods. Sad...
We don't stop playing because we grow old.
We grow old because we stop playing.

-- George Bernard Shaw

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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Moderator » Tue May 20, 2014 4:43 pm

Sorry, guys. That was a bad example. Whether Lucas made them better or worse, my point was that the original ought to remain available.

Some films have, indeed, been improved with further editing and attention. Other have suffered for it. But I don't have a problem with the effort.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Wathcya watchin'?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue May 20, 2014 8:53 pm

robochrist wrote:Though I've always been partial to Blade Runner, it did garner many negative reviews complaining about its weakness in character and story, character and story, character and story. Roger Ebert among them, who never changed his opinion about it. Likewise from many I talked to who read the original story, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, contending that it's far more compelling than the movie. At some point I really should pick it up - having never read it myself, out of sheer criminal negligence!


This is precisely why I'm not a big fan of the movie. DADOES? is one of my favorite of Dick's novels (along with his late masterpiece TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER) and the writers of the movie basically dumped all the ideas in the novel and turned it into a shoot'em up. Yes I know I should accept the movie for what it is instead of what it isn't but I am reminded of what it could have been if the writers had seriously engaged Dick's concept instead of hollowing it out. Reportedly Dick was satisfied with the film so what do I know? I do agree it is visually stunning and justly recognized and influential for that, and I agree the final (?) version without the awful narration did improve the movie but I remain underwhelmed.

Contrast BR with what I consider a successful Dickian adaptation that retained its essential Dickiness, A SCANNER DARKLY.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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