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About Bayesian

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  1. I don’t have a vendetta against this movie (or Disney for that matter; hell, I appear to be the only guy here who liked the new Dumbo). But I felt truly let down by this Lion King, even though I was ready to forgive its replica plot as long as the visuals—the one thing that 90% of the reason for this movie is hanging its hat on—could transport me. They did not. The movie will still make a buttload of money this weekend and shatter a couple of records. I contributed to that, albeit as little as possible, so I guess I’m in no position to tell anyone not to see it in theaters. But at least I did what I could to temper people’s expectations going in.
  2. I saw this earlier today and feel ready to weigh in now. In short: the movie is a disappointment; a series of missed opportunities that make you wish they hadn’t bothered in the first place. Believe me when I say that I’m not hard to please when it comes to tentpole movies. They just need to entertain. And for two hours TLK 2019 barely rouses itself above a wildlife documentary level of excitement. I can count on one hand the number of scenes or moments that I found noteworthy of this new VR tech Favreau used. Ignore the fact that the story beats are the same (which will be hard to do, actually, since it makes the movie completely predictable from start to end and only serves to give you the mental bandwidth to focus on the movie’s other problems). The main problem is the photorealism. Because they did such a good job inventing an African landscape, you stop marveling at it pretty quickly because it looks like they just shot on location for real. You’re not transported anywhere you aren’t already familiar with if you’ve ever seen a wildlife doc. You are easily convinced you’re looking at real life; it’s a computer magic that works so well, it vanishes from your consciousness. Except when you see anything that looks off, which happens frequently in this film. And each time it tends to yank you out of the transportive mode the movie wants you to be in. It’s like as if aliens kidnapped you without your knowing it and wanted to trick you into thinking you were never kidnapped at all by surrounding you with settings of what they think our world is supposed to look like. But the aliens get a bunch of things wrong, so your cognitive dissonance builds up and very quickly you realize you’re looking at a fancy fake and no amount of “real” can salvage the loss of that initial trust. In TLK ‘19, the wrongness is in things like predators and prey sitting side by side, animals riding other animals, the Sahara desert (for all intents and purposes) lying next to the jungle next to the veld, animals fighting each other viciously but you never see scrapes, bites or blood, etc. None of this is a problem when you know it’s not real, but this movie wants you to think it’s all real. When Scar takes over and the pride lands go to shit, in TLK ‘94 you know you’re looking at a pictorial metaphor and that’s ok because the whole premise is artificial and the movie knows you know it. In TLK ‘19, the pride lands look photorealistically ravaged, but because they look so real, all you think about is what in the world kind of real-life mechanism could real hyenas use to induce the wholesale change in the landscape that we see? Well, obviously there isn’t any. But we’re supposed to buy the pretense anyway. You can’t have it both ways. Suspension of disbelief is impossible when the filmmaker decides that animals and landscapes are going to be so photorealistic and consistent with real-world physics and physiology that you can’t tell that you’re not looking at real life — except when it’s convenient to totally disregard real life in order to, say, have animals speak English or organize their society like humans do or fight to the death without bleeding or have two incompatible biomes next to each other. The movie is two hours of Favreau trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, and despite my benefit of the doubt and best efforts to enjoy it for what it tries to be, I’m sorry, it simply doesn’t work. My verdict? 4 out of 10. My advice? Don’t bother with it in theaters. This movie is a swing and a miss in a very frustrating way. (And to think I didn’t even get to the other problems with this movie: the perfunctory transition of character’s emotional states, weak setups and payoffs in numerous scenes, the near total lack of spectacle (frankly, this is disgraceful considering that Favreau was directing with a virtual camera in a virtual world that imposed ZERO restrictions), the dark, depressing color palette, the lethargic pacing at the beginning... and a stampede that was unforgivably boring compared to the ‘94 original.)
  3. On the Top Gun: Maverick trailer — did anyone else get Star Wars sequel trilogy teaser trailer vibes? Flying fast and low over the desert... a character asking the protagonist the big existential question that underpins the entire plot... even the contemplative piano notes sounding out the main theme at the very end... that’s so TFA teaser to my eyes and ears, with a little TROS thrown in.
  4. Thanks Fabulin! I have a couple ideas about how to structure the letter and write an opening paragraph that will help ensure the reader keeps on reading. But I’ll save such comments for the new thread.
  5. I wonder if it would help matters at all to conduct a letter-writing campaign to Bob Iger and the heads of Lucasfilm and Disney Music Group to lend our support for this project and show how important it is to us. On one hand, you have to think that a media company as savvy as Disney would know that pent-up demand for proper SW expansions is through the roof and only MM is the right guy for the job — and that he’s available now, JW is (probably) totally on board to offer creative guidance, and there’s going to be no better time to get this ball rolling than right now. Which would mean such a campaign should be unnecessary and everything’s secretly underway as we speak, and the worst outcome is that the Disney brass simply get a politely written letter confirming for them that their investment in the ultimate SW score expansion project is going to be warmly received. On on the other hand... Disney is such a behemoth now with so many different things to look after that the brass might legitimately have no true sense about how important this project is to score and SW aficionados, not to mention to the preservation of a keystone of modern popular culture and the magnum opus of the greatest film composer of our (or any other) era. Big companies don’t necessarily know what’s right to do (qv. the demasters). Sony sure as hell didn’t know what to do in all its time with the SW license. Even if the Disney brass care enough to do things right, they may be unaware or too busy to bother with the minutiae of making sure the right team is assembled and sufficient resources are devoted to it. A project like this would get one shot at being done right. If it failed us in some material way (eg, the ROTJ SE sound issues), we’d likely never see a fix come along for many years, if ever. So one advantage of a letter campaign now would be the opportunity to lay out exactly who needs to be on this team and why, what music needs to included and why, and what mistakes or oversights from previous releases need to be corrected. Any such letter could be mailed directly to Disney of course, but also put out into the social media miasma for people to pick up and give traction to. After all, we live in a world where people are now advised to voice their complaints on Twitter so that the targeted company will actually pay attention and resolve the issue for you.
  6. I've been listening to the soundtrack and was taken by two moments in Battle for Pride Rock that struck me as particularly fun and infectious -- at 5:05 (10 seconds) and at 6:26 (19 seconds). If this is what HZ is capable of, give me more. Lots more. I'm guessing these moments underscore some of lighter moments in this otherwise serious scene. Regardless of how this music came about, I absolutely love it. Anyone else feel the same way?
  7. I’m thinking about seeing in theaters after all, but in the least expensive way possible (ie, morning weekday matinee and no concession food). Primarily I want to see the visuals, which are supposed to be amazing, and hear some of the voice acting. That will be worth $8 for me. My main peeve with this upcoming film is with the amount of timidity shown by Disney in a feature movie that’s supposed to herald a game-changing film technology. They could have done an Avatar and introduced the world to a technology leap through an original story, but they decided they’d rather give us a retread. Worse, they decided they’d give us the exact same story as before, beats and all. What would have been wrong with mixing up or adding to the basic plot line? Tim Burton managed to do it with Dumbo and it was great.
  8. Oh man, that’s disappointing news. My wife and I are going to that concert and I was really hoping to see JW conduct. It’ll still be a wonderful experience to visit Tanglewood but still... 😕
  9. Just listen to Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto. Then you’ll see. That is all. 😉 Well, that’s not quite all. JW himself speaks self-deprecatingly about his oeuvre not ever reaching the level of the classical greats. Sure, a lot of that comes from his endearing modesty, and yeah, much of his music is better than a lot of the classical canon, but surely it can’t be argued that (classical) music that can be written to express ideas and truths in a pure form as well as in a programmatic form is not inherently loftier than film music, which is definitionally representational of only filmed stories. I mean, that’s like saying film is the ultimate art form then, if a subservient art like film scoring is better than the musical art form that spawned it. And that’d be just nuts!
  10. When it comes to this one thing, I am a nerd! Well, this and data. Where the money’s at now. Which means it’ll be CDs’ time in the limelight in 15 years or so. CDs are where the future is (and they haven’t even fully died out yet!)
  11. My CD collection increasingly consists of discs I buy on the second hand market. I try to get the best deal I can on amazon or eBay or Discogs, but that sometimes means I receive discs that don’t quite hit the mark for collectibility. This got me wondering what other collectors’ red lines are for allowing a disc into their collections. For me, the only unacceptable conditions are club editions, sun and water damage, and handwriting.
  12. One day Disney will run out of animated properties to reboot in live action, right?
  13. We’ve been more or less spared so far this year, although the real fire season typically starts in the fall. PG&E has been sending out a fair bit of mail in the past few weeks about wildfire preparedness (presumably to let us know they’re on top of things this year).
  14. It’s always so wonderful to read humblebrag social media posts like these! Nothing gladdens my heart like reading about other people having experiences the vast majority of us can never hope to enjoy. So happy for Steve! 🤨
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