There’s a shed load of stuff I have to write about the recent tour – it will take a bit of time to even process it. Plus I have to wait for Knudle to get back from NYC for a bunch of photos that will sort through what is mainly hungover reverie. So in the meanwhile here’s some film reviews!
Being stuck on 12 hour flights to and from Australia is a great way to catch up with films that I couldn’t be arsed going to otherwise. No offence, but when moving image narrative is your day job, you tend to want to do anything else but watch another heroic journey in SciFi World Of The Future. God bless United Airlines they had a fine classic selection from Stan Kubrick to Peter Bogdanovich, and that’s where I spent most hours. But there are films that my students use as their aspiration (robots! explosions!) and there being no other option, time to watch.
The other advantage is that you’re seeing it all on a tiny LCD, so none of that big-3D-screen bullshit is going to save the bad writing. And there’s the general misery of being stuck in a chair to really get the anger going.
Let’s get this right. At the end of this film I am going to smile when cleaning shit. That’s my status change? Are you fucking kidding?
How do the Wachowskis still get funding? Seriously? It’s like two rather stupid high school students got a billion dollar cheque and made babby’s first science fiction film. The whole is framed in the Cinderella rags-to-riches trope, inside of which the same damsel-in-distress gambit is played out THREE FUCKING TIMES with fuck all character status development. Female character gets kidnapped by each of three villains in turn, each ties her to the railway tracks, each time her Dog Hybrid boyfriend has to perform some ridiculously overblown rescue mission that saves her in the nick of time to bring her back to convenient spaceship that tags along in the background.
She goes from cleaning toilets to being an all powerful secret princess that still cleans toilets and keeps everything exactly as it was, including global warfare, starvation and San Francisco start ups. Oh yeah, instead she goes flying with Dog Boy. Tee hee we are so secret flying around the sky of a major city in broad daylight.
Art direction is like ‘we saw Dune that was a pretty cool movie make it like that’. Acting is amateur night at the Dapto Shakespeare club. Fuck this film. If any Australian government cash went into it then shut down Screen Australia right now.
I flew my space plane over this planet and somehow didn’t notice that it was all cold mountain ranges. So when the bad guy tells me there’s warm land below I believe him? I’m a fucking idiot.
One of two films where a wall of cinematography attempts to hide the completely vapid premise that current biological / medical engineering is boring and we should go back the 20th century and mechanical / transport based science. (The other was Tommorrowland which I don’t even want to grace with a response – except to say that we in the 21st century are still suffering from the vertical slums, grids and production lines of the utopian Modern era and Disney can go suck on a gun.)
Oh no! A blight is eating all the crops! All of our current technology for genetic engineering has conveniently failed and the only answer is to go back to transport engineering! NASA! Big fucking rockets! Yee Haw! You get the idea that the people that make movies right now just can’t get over the toys they owned when they were pre-teens. So anyway America seems to have bombed everyone else to oblivion and now the remaining millions of Good White People are living off the corn shit they sweeten drinks with. Here’s a farmer guy with a gruff non nonsense voice that’s conveniently a super rocket pilot, that arrives at the secret NASA base just before the day blah blah blah can I even bother? I can’t.
Off we go on another Hero’s Journey drinking game. We get assemble the party with a love interest – tick. There’s a wise cracking
donkey robot – tick. Through a portal into the underworld – tick. The Rule of Threes, here as three planets – tick. The return through the Circle of Fire – tick. The Boon conferred on the real world – tick. If I could afford the drink prices on the flight I would have been pissed out of my mind by 2/3rds of the way through.
Really all that Nolan wants is to (a) remake 2001 A Space Odyssey and (b) include a shot where there’s the ground or water curving above your head, and he at least gets the latter right. Yeah we live in Space Cylinders outside of Uranus and everybody is Good White People from the 1960s.
There’s something about navigating the universe with love. He doesn’t explain it with much clarity, probably ’cause it comes off a Hallmark Card, and fuck this film.
Mad Max Fury Road.
The good thing about this all desert air is that you can be 36 years older and somehow not age at all. Mind you, your jacket gets a bit dusty.
How many Australians are guilty of this stuff? We seem to lead the world in comic book films. Anyway this is the least worst of all the films available, mainly because it knows it’s comic book, doesn’t pretend to be anything but a comic book, with flat characters with flat comic book names and clockwork roles. It starts with a page of speech bubble (and some surprisingly naff graphics) exposition for all two people who hasn’t ever experienced post apocalyptic fiction.
And then – video game – not bad graphics – probably DirectX 10 at least. There’s driving levels, a few platform levels, quite a bit of physics where for example you have to wiggle your joystick in time with a wobbling pole to get your character onto a moving vehicle. They’ve got a strong consistent palette with each character class colour coded. A couple of times I looked for the score up in the top corner. The level changes are more obvious – the camera flies through a graphic of a steering wheel with skull. Kewl.
As an actual film… well let’s just take the point where the convoy arrives at the ‘green land’ or whatever and Max says hey everyone let’s go back the way we came. So they’re done the whole journey to fuck all and now they’re returning with what? The dead old guy? Why not just assassinate him back at the start? I mean that’s how it worked all the way through history, just put some poison in his hydroponic tomatoes – job done. This wins an Oscar for “why the hell did we drive all that way for nothing?”
Because TRANSPORT. These films are about TRANSPORT. Anyone that really wants to make film that pushes into new territory has to get out of the damn car.
Postscript: I forgot I watched Chappie as well. Yeah I agree, Robocop was a great film. I forgot I watched it because the tacked on happy ending is so blitheringly FUCKING stupid that I willed my brain cells to die. The bit where the robot puts on a helmet that reads brainwaves. Because that’s just how CPUs work. Then loads their entire personality onto a thumb drive.