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Everything posted by Jeff

  1. Just playing the devil's advocate here - the "director's intention" is the argument George Lucas made to clean up the Vaseline under Luke's speeder and led him down the path of adding Jabba to the hangar scene. In a less extreme example, I saw a documentary on the making of the Sound of Music blu-ray. The film had deteriorated to a point that the original color of the grass had faded in one scene. So the restorationists had to determine what color of green the grass was initially. They admitted that they had the ability to make the grass whatever color they wanted it to be - even purple - but in the end they had to make a decision based on conjecture and guessing at what the color was intended to be. In all likelihood, the color they chose wasn't precisely what our parents or grandparents saw in the theater. It may be better, though. So if restoration can never be exactly precise, why not "enhance" the film a little bit? And if you can enhance a little, why not enhance a lot?
  2. I agree with you. But couldn't someone argue that when you originally watched it, there were flaws in the film itself, the technology used to project it, and the audio equipment? There wasn't Dolby Digital 7.1 or whatever in the 70s, so by cleaning it up we're altering the pure experience we would have had watching the original film in its original, flawed form. I think it's definitely a different caliber of modification, but it is a modification nonetheless.
  3. A real purist view would be that you could only ever release a film in its original version, copied directly onto the same medium originally used to project it. The extreme view in the other direction would be to insert better actors, voice over bad dialogue with new lines, re-shoot poor optical effects, and re-record damaged soundtrack. I'm guessing nobody here is at either extreme, so the question is, how much revision is too much? Is it okay to clean flecks and remove static? Is it okay to improve contrast, brightness, color, and audio balance? If you can make those types of changes, what is wrong with improving the texturing on a digital effect? My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with doing that, but in this particular instance it is unnecessary and would likely be counterproductive.
  4. I truly don't believe Jurassic Park would look any better if they "updated" the CGI. These days, some films give me the impression that effects artists are overconfident and tend to make things look completely fake because they take on more than they are willing or able to do right. With Jurassic Park, CGI was used in limited circumstances - only where stop-motion was norm - and with great care. Even with today's "texturing" or "shading" I still think they'd probably make the dinosaurs look like crap. We're getting to the point where Pixar and live-action are converging. You could have Mr. Incredible walk in on the Avengers and the audience would hardly notice.
  5. I have to kind of agree with almost everything everyone has to say about KOTCS (both positive and negative). But at the same time I feel like I'm constantly defending it in my head against any criticisms. So I guess I just like Indiana Jones so much I can't stand to see him or the films he features in trashed. However, in an attempt to put those reservations aside, my honest opinion is, I think, this: KOTCS is enjoyable, watchable, and I have no major complaints with 95% of the movie. It's not as mysterious and well-crafted as Raiders and it's not as inventive as TOD. I suppose it compares most closely in form with TLC (my favorite of the four), but if KOTCS is a failure, it is because of its inferior execution of these similarities: 1) Father-son reconciliation - The Harrison Ford/Sean Connery relationship cannot be beat. If it could be approached, Shia LaBeouf was not the one to do it. I will admit that LaBeouf is a talented actor, but he annoys the crap out of me. His style of acting worked best in Even Stevens, which is his greatest role to date. Enough said. 2) The mystic, fable-like ending - Everyone learns a valuable lesson about power and ambition at the end of both films, but TLC ended with a reverent, reflective admission of the characters' unpreparedness for such power. KOTCS ended with this strange, abrupt, incomplete feeling that made the film unsatisfying. Normally, the cheesy wedding ending would have been a bad call, but in this case it was necessary to erase the bewilderment caused by the alien encounter. I like the idea of a 50s/cold war/alien Indiana Jones flick, but in practice it is extremely difficult to pull off. There's plenty more to say on this topic, but that's the meat of it.
  6. I have no loyalty or aversion to a particular franchise in the comic book world. I'm not a fan of comic book stories in general. However, if a studio turns out a good incarnation of a superhero, I will watch the movie, regardless of whether it's an original film, a reboot, a remake, or a sequel/saga. I don't mind watching Michael Keaton play Batman but I'll never sit through Kilmer/Clooney again. I like the Nolan entries enough to watch them from time to time and I'm 90% sure I'll see DKR. A reboot will have to earn my ten bucks like any original movie does. Similarly, I like Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in Spiderman, but if the trailers for the reboot don't catch my interest, I won't go out of my way to see the film.
  7. This article popped up on my facebook feed today (the link was posted by the official Jurassic Park page). I thought it had some pretty good insights as to why the original is more beloved than 2 or 3 (as well as other dinosaur-themed films and TV programs). http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/dinosaur/2011/10/why-do-we-keep-going-back-to-jurassic-park/ Jurassic Park was the perfect vehicle for the debut of the CGI dinosaur, thanks to its careful attention to character and story, in addition to incredible graphics for the time (they still hold up quite well - I prefer JP's subtle approach to the over-the-top Transformers, etc.). Jurassic Park will be as much an event in film effects history as King Kong or Star Wars.
  8. I'll watch it if/when it comes out - no reason not to, and it just might be good.
  9. I thought this article was relevant to the thread: http://geekout.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/25/the-star-wars-divide-a-tale-of-two-costumes/
  10. Are they static and predictable, though? Part of the inherent appeal of a non-video-based attraction is that the experience usually completely surrounds you, 360 degrees in every direction. Because of that, you can look in an almost infinite number of combinations of different directions at different points in the attraction. A video-based attraction tends to occupy a rather limited part of your world - you can take in the whole thing without even moving your head. There's also the fact that video-based attractions tend to have a single audio track that runs all the way through, such that it always sounds exactly the same. In contrast, dark rides and the like typically use a number of different audio loops that combine with unpredictable timings to create an experience that is not quite so identical. On the one hand, these distinctions seem rather trivial...but I'm convinced that they really do play a big role in making real-world experiences more repeatable. Not the sort of thing that would be likely to arise in a focus group or casual conversation, but I have a feeling it's there beneath the surface. It's definitely a big part of it for me. Take any chunk of Pirates that's equal in length to Star Tours, and I can guarantee you there's a LOT more I haven't seen in that part of Pirates. I think you're on to something there. Even though ST2 has various combinations, the ride experience is heavily controlled so that the variations in "destinations" are really the only possible differences. Whereas each time I ride Splash Mountain, any number of minute factors can change: I may get backed up before the big drop, increasing the tension. I may enter the "Zip-a-dee Lady" room at a different spot in the loop and hear different lyrics. Depending on the weight and position of each rider in the log, the drops could be faster, wetter or less stable. In other words, there is an infinite combination of ride experiences, versus maybe a dozen for ST2. (Actually - what is the number of combos? How many destinations are there? And can they play in different orders?) For a simulated ride, Indiana Jones does a MUCH better job of being spontaneous than ST2.
  11. That's cause we're a rebellious bunch. Throw the Census in the trash!
  12. Don't get me wrong - I love the bonus features - I just won't pay for them unless it's a movie I love. That reminds me - does anyone remember that show on Discovery Channel from the 90s that showed how movies were made? I think it was called Movie Magic or something like that. We need another one of those to satisfy my curiosity.
  13. It's very early for me to make a judgment as I haven't listened to the available Tintin score in its entirety - just the snippets. But based solely on the War Horse trailers I predict that I will prefer its score over Tintin. War Horse seems to have that grandiose feel, yet understated significance, that Hymn to the Fallen had (except perhaps more successful at it). It reminds me a little of Apollo 13. I generally haven't loved Williams' scores in this genre - like Saving Private Ryan, Memoirs, Munich, etc. But I have high hopes that this one will be better. I'm sure I'll enjoy Tintin, but I have no emotional attachment to the characters yet, which I think is important for a score of this type. So I'll have to hear it in the context of the movie.
  14. If Sarah Harding had had a digital camera, she wouldn't have been nearly killed by a Stegosaurus.
  15. I live in Arizona, U.S.A. Although I've lived all sorts of places, mostly in America.
  16. You're right that ride capacity has a lot to do with the length of the line, and you can't necessarily judge the popularity of a ride based on the line. For example, Dumbo has a rider capacity of 600/hour whereas PotC has a capacity of 3400/hour, so just because the line for Pirates is shorter doesn't mean fewer people are riding it. I did some research and found that ST has about a 2000 rider per hour capacity, which is about the same as the other major attractions (Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, etc.). So based on that fact, I think ST had an abnormally short line before the reboot. I suspect what it boils down to is that it just isn't that thrilling of a ride (there are no drops or loops - just simulated motion). If that's true, eventually ST2's ridership will also drop off (not just stabilize). Then again, I've noticed that people no longer run for Splash Mountain in the morning like they used to, although the line still gets long in the afternoon. I think Splash is one of the most detailed, well-designed, thrilling adventure rides anywhere. If its popularity can diminish over time, I guess it can happen to any ride.
  17. True - unlike WDW, Disneyland has to cater primarily to annual passholders, which changes the dynamic of their attraction design. I still wonder why no one was riding the old version, though (most people don't get motion sickness like me) - there are plenty of old rides that still get ridden regularly, like Matterhorn, despite being static and predictable after all of these years. There was hardly ever a line at Star Tours before the reboot.
  18. That's not surprising for a SoCal resident, but for me to rack up six rides would take a few years (maybe even six) at the rate I attend Disneyland (about annually). Not to mention that Star Tours makes me sick so I ride once maximum each visit to Disney, regardless of the number of days I'm there. So I'm not worried about the ride "getting old" in the near future, at least for me. I prefer the new version to the old one. But maybe someday they'll throw the "Star Tours Classic" back into the mix.
  19. I rarely buy a blu-ray for over $20. I skip the special features and get the Wal-Mart movie-only package unless it's one of my obsessions (Harry Potter, JP, Star Wars, etc).
  20. Spielberg's modern films (let's say Schindler's List and on) are good, but they understandably feel so different in style that I would almost think they were directed by someone else entirely. Some of them are masterpieces, others are just fun. But I can't think of a single one that I want to watch over and over again like I could with with Jurassic Park or the Indiana Jones trilogy. That may be just a matter of genre, but I also think there's a spontaneity in his pre-Schindler films that give them more life and adventure. Another way of putting it is that his earlier films bring out the kid in me, which is something I desire more frequently than, for instance, to be weighed down by the brutality of the Holocaust or be warned of the perils of some future technology. On a related note, maybe Tintin will hearken back to the previous Spielberg.
  21. The answer is absolutely Hedwig's Theme. Most people wouldn't know the title or composer of either theme, but at least they'd be able to peg Hedwig's Theme to the correct series. I think for a non-film score fan to recognize He's a Pirate, there would have to be some other clue, like a pirate ship or Jack Sparrow, to remind them that it was from PotC. Hedwig's Theme, on the other hand, is pretty much instantly recognizable from the first two notes, especially if played on the celesta. Anyone who has so much as seen a trailer for a HP movie would know exactly what franchise the tune was associated with. I think the reason is not so much in the popularity of the franchise - it's in the complexity of the sound. The distinctive sound of the celesta playing a clear, simple melody is much easier to distinguish than a bunch of brass playing a relatively complex rhythm with several layers of orchestration. People not versed in the language of film scores would have a hard time picking out the melody at all.
  22. That's quite a list. Start with HOOK, it can only be an upwards curve then. Hook is my favorite on that list (of the ones I've seen). But I agree you should start with Hook in case you don't get to the other ones.
  23. It doesn't. It's the one movie where Spielberg can't go over the top because it everything has to be interpretted and relativized. That's what many people never understood. One could even say that Spielberg didn't go far enough. But it's also Spielberg's best film because no Spielberg film is so layered and rich in symbolism than Empire Of The Sun. It's his only film that I don't get tired of. I hope they do the film justice on blu-ray but since this is Spielberg's least popular film they probably use some old dirty copy with faded colors. Alex I agree on every point. Over the years, "EOTS" has grown is stature to the point where it is my second favoutire Spielberg film, after "CE3K". I can't really add anything to the above post, so I won't try, except to say that it is a surperb achievement, and is a film that deserves a FAR bigger audience. I'll agree as well. I couldn't care less if its appreciated or under-appreciated, for me it is a moving, emotional, jarring, tragic film.
  24. The article mentions "well documented deleted scenes." Does anyone have a link where these are discussed? I remember the first time I watched the VHS and I was surprised that there were some moments that I distinctly remember from the theatrical version that weren't there. It's been a long time since then, but I still seem to remember 1) Ellie discussing the lilac berries and the stones, 2) extended banter between Lex and Tim before Grant finds the Velociraptor egg, and 3) additional footage of Nedry with the dilophosaurus.
  25. I think you guys are downplaying the fact that some people prefer the prequels. Shocking as it it may be to enlightened film buffs, in many ways the prequels are more entertaining. You may consider that a sad commentary on the state of our culture, but I think it's just differing tastes. I personally find the original trilogy to be better in absolute terms, but sometimes I just want to escape into the fantastic world of the Old Republic. If someone thinks the OT is campy and slow-paced, I can at least see where they are coming from. They probably didn't grow up watching the OT like many of us did.
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