Movie Criterias

Lately I’ve been thinking (yeah I do that sometimes), not deep concentrated thinking, more like the “it crossed my mind a few times and I wondered about it” type. The “it” here is the way we appreciate movies or not and what our criterias are. Just this week John said he didn’t like Underworld all that much, while I liked it (not impressed that much but liked) and Steph was lukewarm about Lost in Translation which I loved.

Now, obviously it’s everyone right and privilege to have their opinion on movies or anything else for that matter so this isn’t a “rebuff” on their feelings, just something I’m wondering about. One of the reasons John doesn’t like Underworld is that the vampires do some un-vampire like things, such as breathing. Agreed, I noticed that too but … vampires dont exist, it’s anyone’s prerogative to re-invent vampires and werewolves in any way they wish. Isn’t disliking a movie because vampires breathe (only part of the reason I know) kind of like saying Star Wars spaceships suck ass because Star Trek ships have teleporters? They are both invented!

Steph felt so-so about Lost in Translation because it didn’t push enough in it’s undestanding and de-stereotyping of Tokyo. I agree with everything she says but the movie is about these two people feeling lonely in their respective mariages and finding common ground together. Granted, Tokyo and japanese people are in large part sketched out and Coppola doesn’t dig very much but she’s just using that Tokyo as a background for the story, for which she doesn’t go further than what most people already know or think they know about the place.

Anyway, like I said, I’m not contradicting John or Steph and not saying their view of those movies is wrong, I’m just wondering how much of what we know does it make sense to bring to a movie? From all reports Gigli is a stink fest, everyone can agree on that so there are definetly criterias that everyone can agree on but when we don’t like movies because they don’t fit with what we know or think they could have been, are we missing out because we are seeing it through our own eyes too much or on the contrary is that something we should try to do even more because that’s the way movies make us think? Probably a mix of both but I’d like to know what you think.


John September 29, 2003

My real beef with the movie ‘Underworld’ wasn’t neccessarily that it defied my criteria of what defines a vampire. I just think the filmmakers didn’t really do a good job of establishing the world in which they lived. Okay, so these vampires aren’t the undead and have beating hearts that stop if a vampire drowns. (*you could also make an arugment that Selene would have woken up whether that guy performed CPR or not. He was a doctor doing his job*). I just don’t think the people making the movie really thought out their mythology. Why was it always raining? Why was it always dark? If normal bullets can’t kill vampires, why can drowning? All I could come up with was “alternate universe.” So granted, make vampires whatever you want. I really don’t mind.

My main beef with the movie really was that it was boring. I’ve seen all the action before in other flicks. And I’m just tired of the Nu-Metal soundtrack that always accompanies this stuff. It failed on my criteria that it was not a good story well presented.

Should have seen “Lost in Translation” instead.

steph September 30, 2003

We are /always/ missing something out due to our own individual ability to perceive, it’s not just with movies or books we read. :)

I am critical of ‘Lost in Translation’ because it targets a select audience (ie, the seemingly non-mainstream) but falls short of what it really could have been. Even from a relationship perspective, it is very naive and stereotypical in its investigation. Ahh, the man trying to get away from the stifling wife, ahh, pity the neglected, intelligent young wife (but I don’t actually recall her character showing any such gleam). :)

In exactly the same way, I would have been critical of a song which uses only two chords throughout the entire song when there are so many chord combinations which are possible. Not to say that you can’t use two chords brilliantly (there exists a piano piece with just one note), but doing it well is another matter.

I have seen quite a few more ‘subtle’ films about people who are “lost” which I felt had more depth, intelligence and sensitivity, and I guess that’s why I was disappointed with “Lost in Translation’.

I know I focused a lot about Tokyo in what I wrote – but that’s because the movie chose to focus on aspects of Tokyo when it probably either shouldn’t have, or it could have really cashed in on exploiting the chance to investigate the cultural issues related to where it was set.

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