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Stefancos

Member Since 19 May 2002
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Topics I've Started

The Minority Report: Alternate Ending

18 April 2014 - 10:01 AM

Minority Report was widely seen as an impressive film that was a bit tainted by it's too obvious happy ending. In which Anderton solves the murder, gets his wife back and starts a new family. It always seemed like a bit of a cop out. This was not new for Spielberg, who drew similar criticism with the "I could have done more" ending of Schindlers List, and the "Am I a good man?" Ending of Saving Private Ryan.

 

There is however a theory that the final part of the film, from the moment Anderton is put in hibernation is an imagination. The one clue regarding this is in a line given by Gideon, the jailer:

 

"It's actually kind of a rush. They say you have visions. That your life flashes before your eyes. That all your dreams come true."

 

I've always been a bit dubious about this. Since it really isnt Spielberg's habit to do ambiguous endings at all. The bulk of his work as a director has things fully wrapped up and clear cut.

There is some precedent for this though. Not so much in Spielberg's work itself, But the fact that this is a film based upon a Philip K. Dick story. And the two most famous films to be based on Dick's works certainly have ambigious endings.

 

Blade Runner, the director cut at-least famously stops in mid-action, just before giving viewers a final tantalizing hint regarding the true identity of it's lead character. It's one of the more famous modern examples of leaving things unsaid in a movie.

The second film is Total Recall. On first Glance a expensive and clever glossy sci-fi action starring Ah'nuld kicking ass at his most violent. It certainly doesn't look like anything but that at first glance. But like Robocop, Verhoeven's film can be enjoyed as "just" an action film, but also as one that has some deeper, hidden layers.

The hero Quaid either becomes entangled in a elaborate chase where his wife tries to kill him, he is actually a henchmen to a human dictator on Mars who's had his memory wiped. Or his mind is experiencing a virtual reality fantasy gone out of hand at Rekall.

The clues given here is that the adventure Quaid requests just before his brain is hooked up is conforms very much to the events that unfold in the film. This is conformed later by the fact that an attempt at intervention by a Rekall doctor tells him exactly how the events in the remainder of this VR scenario will unfold...which is actually exactly how the film goes from that moment on. Yet the script and Verhoeven never settle this matter for sure. Leaving tantalizing clues, but leaving it up to the viewer.

 

Spielberg is a great admirer of Blade Runner. Minority Report contains a number of references, both subtle and less so to that movie (both use eyes a lot in their visual imaginary).

Is it possible that Spielberg wanted to in some way emulate these previous two Philip K. Dick inspired movies and feature aspects that aren't quite so clear cut as they would appear at first sight?

 

 


[FILM] Empire Of The Sun

17 April 2014 - 08:26 PM

Empire Of The Sun

 

One of Spielberg's most undervalued films. Often accused of lacking both emotion and a clear narrative. Unusual for a director who is very well known for not shying away from either in most of his films.

 

 

This is very much a film seen through the eyes of a young boy. So Jamie (or Jim as he later calls himself) it lacks a sense of a larger narrative, a clear understanding of the politics involved, and who is good and who is bad.

Jim develops a hero worship towards the Japanese pilots close to the camp he is interned in, and also to Basie. An American "adventurer" of sorts. Basie befriends Jim because Jim is useful to him,and at various points is ready to ditch him when he thinks that usefulness has ended. Jim doesnt see that, or refuses to, because he doesnt have anyone else to learn from, or care for him, in his mind. John Malcovich is impressive in a role that requires him to be both charming and calculating.

 

And so is Christian Bale as Jim. In essence he is already playing the kind of role that he would play later in his career. A character who isnt actually all that sympathetic, not in a traditional way that most kids in Hollywood films are. Yet you do care for him. Despite the fact that he talks all the time, trying to curry favor of people who might benefit him, often to extreme annoyance. Like the kids in The Goonies, but this time in an internment camp, malnourished with death creeping ever closer. His feverish talking is his brain constantly working, trying to stay alive. Despite his abrasive ways, A sudden emotional scene where Jim breaks down and says he can't remember what his parents look like hits like a hammer.

 

His fascination for aircraft takes on an almost religious devotion throughout the film. Every scene featuring an aircraft contains shots of immense beauty. From the sight of Japanese zero's in the distance, early in the film, to the close pass-by of a "Cadillac Of The Skies" much later.

 

In fact the whole film is a thing of beauty. Spielberg's veneration of David Lean's epic's was already shown in the crowd scenes of Close Encounters. Here he takes a film that Lean wanted to direct at one point and fills it with shots that are a loving homage to this director.

It's weird. Spielberg is that most American of directors, yet makes a film that very much feels English. (even the Americans in this film surely arent portrayed as particularly sympathetic). Spielberg eschews much of the "easy"emotional sentiment he is known for. And also leaves a hell of a lot unsaid.

One of the weaknesses of Spielberg is that he doesnt always trust the audience to "get his point", so he hammers it home with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. With Saving Private Ryan as the greatest example of that.

Empire Of The Sun allows the viewer the freedom of their own interpretation. While there is a narrative of sorts running throughout the film, many scenes feel like a patchwork. Like parts of a greater whole that we aren't prive of.

 

The style is very interesting, and puzzled many reviewers. It is both an unflinching look at the realities of war and interment (while not very bloody, it doesnt shy away from death and violence), but also an adventure story seen though the eyes of a boy, who was abandoned and NEEDS hero's, a father figure, the sense of a normal life. The internment camp essentially becomes his home, much like his house in Shanghai ones was.

But because much if this wasnt really SPELLED out like everything was in SPR, or the ending of Schindlers List. A lot of the film was seen as barren or confusing. I don't think Spielberg would ever take such a risk again.

 

John Williams' score is the icing on the care. Used quite sparingly, but with moments of genuine fight and almost religious beauty.

 

Both a visually stunning film, one of the directors best looking, and a film that invites you to actually ponder about what you've seen, and to...at a future date re-watch.

I could watch SPR again and be amazed about the visuals, and it's depiction of the horrors of war, but take nothing new away from it.

 

But I think watching Empire Of The Sun again would be far more rewarding.

 

I can't rate it yet, oneday maybe.


John Williams RIP (1932 - 2014)

01 April 2014 - 07:51 PM

John_Williams.jpg

 

 

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Eye-openers

31 March 2014 - 08:22 PM

Since March 2013 I've worked as a volunteer for out local Food Bank. In a distribution centre of a big supermarket chain, sorting food that was send back from the shops looking for produce that still good enough to be used.

 

I learned quite a lot about how much food is wasted in Western society. Products like dairy, eggs vegetables which were still fresh or before it's best before date basically thrown away because the newer produce needed to be stocked. We've gathered thousands, no tens of thousands of perfectly good eggs that would have just been dumped. Countless apples, onions, chicory, carrots, Garlic, peppers.. Canned foods thrown out because the label got torn a bit. Six packs of cola because one can had a dent...etc etc

 

And most importantly, and most heartbreaking perhaps. in that year I have seen tons upon tons of meat of every variety, beef, poultry, pork trown out. Much of it before the best before date.

But because it was no longer refrigerated when it got to us, we weren't allowed to salvage any of it.

 

So countless animals were bred, fed and ultimately slaughtered for absolutely no reason at all!

 

Many people object to eating meat. I object even stronger to killing an animal for its meat and hen let it go to waste.

(Oneday, after seeing a few dozen still frozen, whole chickens thrown away I realized how utterly ludicrous it was, and have radically cut down the amount of meat I eat.)

 

I'm moving on, to different things. But this has been a very eye-opening experience. And It's felt good to contribute something to people even less well-off then me.

 

What projects, jobs, holidays, experiences etc etc have people here been had that was an eye opener to them, that in some ways changed either their life, or the way they looked at the world?

 

 

 

 

 


Can You Feel It?

28 February 2014 - 10:21 PM

 

Anyone know where this was performed and when?

 

It's hilarious.