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zeroplate
06-11-2003, 10:18 AM
THX-1138, abysmal? I beg to differ. Really, I mean, THX doesn't supply popcorn thrills and high speed space chases, but it's a far deeper and more provacative movie than anything Lucas has done sicne, including Star Wars. I would argue that the Star Wars films and THX aren't even in the same playing field when talking about Lucas' movies. The SW films are mythology-rooted epics that are first and foremost meant to entertain, whereas THX-1138 is a stark distopian nightmare of a film that parallel's Plato's analogy of the cave perhaps better even than the Matrix.

I realize that this is a Star Wars site, and as such may focus in on the lowest common denominator of filmed entertainment-thrills and spills and laser blasts and chest-thumping heros and damsels in distress-- but I would urge anyone with an interest in films with a message, or films that challenge you to use parts of your brain not immediately stimulated by AT-AT Walkers to check out THX-1138. It's some of Lucas' best work.

Dar Basra
06-11-2003, 11:12 AM
Ahhh ... but which version?!?

The 1971 theatre release of THX 1138?

Or the 1967 version from his days at USC, Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB?

zeroplate
06-11-2003, 11:24 AM
I haven't seen the student film, which I have heard is quite similar to the theatrical version, but shorter. Really though, for whoever posted that snide comment in the news about the Indiana Jones DVD set, shame on you!

And by the way, don't people realize that they are planning to make ANOTHER Indiana Jones movie which will make that nice 4 pack dvd set seem, uh, incomplete?

stillakid
06-11-2003, 11:26 AM
As a representative sample of "deep" "hippie" 1960s filmmaking, it's not bad.

It's a pretty simple story with such stark and sparse window dressing (production design as well as plot and character) that George didn't really step too deep into the water...at least not deep enough to get himself into trouble like he did with The Phantom Menace.

But overall, it certainly does the concept of the "alice-in-wonderland" story far more justice than that candy coated mess called Matrix. It's kind of like the thinking man's version of Logan's Run, without the corny '70s flashing lights and groovy haircuts. If Lucas did anything right with THX, it was not dating it with the period "look," although he didn't quite escape that "1960s" filmmaking sensibility.

Pendo
06-11-2003, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by zeroplate
And by the way, don't people realize that they are planning to make ANOTHER Indiana Jones movie which will make that nice 4 pack dvd set seem, uh, incomplete?

Not really, When Indy 4 is released on DVD you can just remove the bonus disc and have that seperate, and have the Indy 4 DVD in the set with the other 3 :).

PENDO!

Beast
06-11-2003, 12:31 PM
Also, THX-1138 is coming to DVD. Warner in their most recent chat over at HTF, said that it's being worked on now and will be released next year. The short student film is already available. It's on the "SHORT #10: CHAOS" DVD. Oh, and zeroplate. Just ignore Thrawn. He's got a serious fetish for bashing on Lucas whenever he can.

Which is the only reason he said it was abysmal. Not to mention he also forgot that Howard the Duck, More American Graffiti, and several other Lucas/Lucasfilm projects have yet to be released on DVD. More American Graffiti is coming though. :)

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

zeroplate
06-11-2003, 03:36 PM
Well, as far as the Indy 4 dvd, they will likely release yet ANOTHER big box, or more expanded versions of the dvds in the future. No one ever seems to learn this lesson. I guess there will never be definitive versions of any Lucas properties until the man is dead.

I think THX 1138 is more than a thinking man's version of Logan's Run, but even at that, it's still a triumph. The stark set dressings, the pace, the monotone of the 'new world' all does an excellent job of creating a believable social catastrophe. I particularly like the way torture and punishment becomes a voyeuristic form of entertainment.

Not to mention you can hear some of the sound design elements from Star Wars getting their first screen time in THX like the sound of voices over intercoms etc. Great stuff.

JediTricks
06-11-2003, 09:49 PM
The student short was really just conceptual art, not storytelling. The feature film is unbelievably boring to me - makes 2001 look like Star Wars, and I've never felt 2001 was any sort of prize pig itself in the entertainment department.


JJB, you're totally wrong about Thrawn, he calls 'em as he sees 'em -- it has nothing to do with wholesale Lucas-bashing as you are claiming. Once again you make a matter-of-fact assertion about another's motives on the forums.

plasticfetish
06-13-2003, 06:10 AM
I've always liked this movie, but I'm a big sucker for that "deep hippie 1960s filmmaking". (Even though it was really the early '70s.) stillakid ... I don't even know where to begin with you ... (*sigh*) taking shots at Logan's Run and then calling THX a "hippie" movie. (Hey! they've all got shaved heads ... hippies have long hair.) Seriously (not really) what am I gonna have to do? Put you on "ignore"? (kidding.)

Originally posted by zeroplate
THX-1138, abysmal? I beg to differ.
I realize that this is a Star Wars site, and as such may focus in on the lowest common denominator of filmed entertainment-thrills and spills and laser blasts and chest-thumping heroes and damsels in distress-- but I would urge anyone with an interest in films with a message, or films that challenge you to use parts of your brain not immediately stimulated by AT-AT Walkers to check out THX-1138. It's some of Lucas' best work.
OK. I L-O-V-E early/mid 70's science fiction. THX-1138 is pretty much what it's all about. There is style, there is pacing, there are interesting characters and there is action. Fine, it's a little odd and a little too "heavy" for its own good sometimes ... but, the film really is about those "feelings" of stark, cold, blandness and robotic uniformity that has taken over their world. I like the fact that the movie looks as good as it does given what I'm sure where some super tight budgetary constraints. I like the fact that the story is driven by two simple things ... the characters and the simple design of the stage that they're on.

I also like how Lucas has pulled imagery from this movie over the years to use again and again ...

Beast
06-13-2003, 06:19 AM
Originally posted by JediTricks
JJB, you're totally wrong about Thrawn, he calls 'em as he sees 'em -- it has nothing to do with wholesale Lucas-bashing as you are claiming. Once again you make a matter-of-fact assertion about another's motives on the forums.
I'm only going by the info that I've seen from the man's own posts and by what I was told. You might say I'm calling 'em like I sees 'em. If that's ok for Thrawn to do about Lucas, then he's gonna have to be a big boy and take it in return. Let's look at the facts that he'll use almost any excuse to bash Lucas. Also take note, the fact that his avatar is a boxing glove, punching Lucas in the face. A childish display of his hatred for Lucas.

And if it was done to a picture of someone on the forums, like the Anti-Amy campaign it wouldn't be allowed. Note also that he's been asked by Steve to try to tone down the bashing a bit. So if you want to argue the point with me, fine. But please, don't try to pass it off as an uninformed "matter-of fact assertion". It's called an opinion, look it up.

And why not let Thrawn fight his own battles, JT. I'd love another smart-arsed blurb commenting on me in one of his F.A.Q.'s. :)

MTFBWY ad HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

zeroplate
06-13-2003, 12:32 PM
Originally posted by JediTricks
The student short was really just conceptual art, not storytelling. The feature film is unbelievably boring to me - makes 2001 look like Star Wars, and I've never felt 2001 was any sort of prize pig itself in the entertainment department.


You're right. I had forgotten that all films need to emphasize entertainment above all else, and that all films that fail to win a prize for entertaining are boring and a waste of time.

At least, that's what I get from the tone of your post. Thankfully, there will always be drivel like 2 Fast 2 Furious for people who simply want to be entertained, and legendary directors like Stanely Kubrick will continue to leave us with important works of filmmaking that challenge our preconceptions about what motion pictures are, how stories can be told, and about our place in the universe.

Give me Kubrick's 2001, Tarkovsky's Solaris, and Lucas' THX 1138 ANY DAY over almost anything else on the Sci-Fi shelf at your local corporate video chain, please.

stillakid
06-13-2003, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by plasticfetish
I've always liked this movie, but I'm a big sucker for that "deep hippie 1960s filmmaking". (Even though it was really the early '70s.) stillakid ... I don't even know where to begin with you ... (*sigh*) taking shots at Logan's Run and then calling THX a "hippie" movie. (Hey! they've all got shaved heads ... hippies have long hair.) Seriously (not really) what am I gonna have to do? Put you on "ignore"? (kidding.)



LOL ;) I never said that I didn't like THX or Logan's Run. For what they are, I think that they're both pretty entertaining...for what they are. There was (silly) talk elsewhere about how much A New Hope was dated...but in comparison to THX and Logan's, ANH looks downright modern.

THX was clearly a product of it's time. But the fact is that it barely flew then and would definitely never fly now. Any movie (aside from a documentary) which purports to "send a message" as its primary goal instead of "entertaining," is in trouble from the get-go. Much like the Matrix, you can't beat the message down the throats of the audience like that without some backlash.

But then again, maybe its an inherent flaw with this "Alice in Wonderland" plot concept which is central to all three of these films (THX, Logan's, Matrix). How do you create a story of mankind suddenly becoming aware without sounding preachy at every turn?

I think that maybe the Warchowski Brothers initially recognized this problem which prompted them to inject the (ridiculously out of place and illogical) idea of the hero using Kung Fu to battle the...um, er...computer(?) :rolleyes: Whatever the silly logic is that tries to make the plot work, the point is that the use of cool :cool: karate moves and fancy SFX was clearly enough to divert the attentions of a million screaming fans away from the flawed plotline and preachiness of the story concept. But from what I hear about Matrix 2 (I haven't seen it), the sequel is even more expository than the first (if that's possible) and far more preachy.

Lucas did an okay job with THX in comparison, but like I said before, I think that because he didn't overload the plot with extraneous elements (it was a simple chase movie in the end), the writing wasn't doomed to be mired in illogical muck.

As a side note, because of Lucas's obvious fascination with racing and quick action (ergo, little plot), I would like to see him step back from the "epic" productions and put his efforts into some kind of Summer Popcorn Chase Flick. Obviously some story helps, but I'd like to see if he could compete with a chase sequence on par with the one in RONIN or To Live And Die In LA. I wonder if he's up to the challenge?

stillakid
06-13-2003, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by zeroplate
You're right. I had forgotten that all films need to emphasize Give me Kubrick's 2001, Tarkovsky's Solaris, and Lucas' THX 1138 ANY DAY over almost anything else on the Sci-Fi shelf at your local corporate video chain, please.

I had a discussion with a friend about this subject a couple of years ago. What we figured out is that a dramatic shift of sorts occured partly because of Star Wars in the 1970s.

What studios frequently label as "sci fi" films now, really aren't. Take a film like ALIENS for instance. Yeah, it's set in space and there are little green men (modern version), but it's really an action movie and not so much a work of pure science fiction. Same with Independence Day or Star Wars for that matter.

Obviously there isn't a clear line of demarcation and in many cases, films should be labeled not as "Sci Fi" but as "SciFi/Action" or "SciFi/Romance" etc. But at the same time, setting aside "important" (BLEECHH, hate it when films are "important"...like a "very special episode of Cagney and Lacey coming up next :rolleyes: ) films like 2001 or Solaris as being somehow "superior," is a disservice to the science fiction label which does extend beyond the (oft times, boring) "thinking man's" entertainment.

zeroplate
06-13-2003, 01:40 PM
I disagree on so many levels, but I see where you are coming from.

Firstly, Aliens is definitely action-oriented, but Alien is not an action movie in the least. It's a horror movie, in fact its practically a recreation of the original The Thing (not the John Carpenter one) where an isolated group of people are stuck somewhere with a mysterious monster who appears to have no motivation other than to kill, and is rarely seen until the end of the film. Subsequent Alien movies played with the format, and Aliens was certainly a SF/Action movie but Alien3 was more of a return to psychological horror and characgter-driven suspense. For this reason, I think getting into the nomenclature is just tedious.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't really think there's a need to compare SF films just to other SF films. For many SF features, they are so vacant and obvious popcorn-fodder that they only stand up to the most meager standards of entertainment. When the technology and the amusement over monsters, aliens, and ships subsides, many many SF movies have very little going for them. But you could say the same about most Buddy-Cop movies, many Romantic-Comedies, etc.

In any event, I think it's maybe a little simplistic to characterize THX and the Matrix as 'Alice In Wonderland' movies. Alice in Wonderland, after all, is a parable about lots of things, and merely uses the device of going into a dream to tell a story using symbolic characters rather than real political figures. It's much like the Wizard of Oz in that respect. But THX is not using the society of bland, monotone detachment as a plot device-- the society IS the story. In fact, it's necessary in THX at least for the audience to become not bored, but certainly frustrated and annoyed with the society that they see in order for them to understand the point of the analogy. It's Plato's analogy of the Cave told in a very imaginative setting. A movie of people staring at shadows on a wall would certainly be even LESS fun to watch than THX, but the 'message' is a powerful one.

In fact, I think you can apply the 'message' in a self-referential way to watching films! If you allow the Hollywood money-machine to stand in for the repressive society writ large in THX, you see the masses of people flocking to b-grade explosion and fx-driven films as the characters in THX, blindly following the messages on the omnipresent flickering screens that tell them what to watch. Could we not see that in some respects, THX, the movie itself, can be that open doorway at the end- a film that lets people who might not otherwise be aware in on the dirty secret that movies can be made for more than pure entertainment?

In THX, the drugs wear off and for a brief moment, Robert Duval realizes that he has emotions, that he can make choices, and that there just might be something more out there than operating a machine within a narrow tolerance and having stoic relations with other human drones. That's a powerful idea, but not as sexy of an idea as fighting with computer programs in high wire kung-fu action. So yes, the Matrix films take a similar premise and work in the popcorny aspects and maybe they are trying to do too much at once. I think that the Matrix films can be successful though, in the sense that if you want to follow up on the IDEAS and do some thinking about what the movies say, you can. If you want to have a good time and watch some kung fu and not think much, you can do that too. In either case, you have to forgive the films of their limitations in the other ways they try to appeal to you though. If you are a pure action nut, you can edit out about an hour from the Matrix Reloaded, and if you just want to see the scene with the architect again and again, you can skip the slo-mo hystrionics. In any event, I think it's an admirable goal they are after- creating an unapologetic blockbuster with a little bit of smarts thrown in. More than I can say for Freddy vs. Jason!

stillakid
06-13-2003, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by zeroplate
Firstly, Aliens is definitely action-oriented, but Alien is not an action movie in the least. It's a horror movie, in fact its practically a recreation of the original The Thing (not the John Carpenter one) where an isolated group of people are stuck somewhere with a mysterious monster who appears to have no motivation other than to kill, and is rarely seen until the end of the film. Subsequent Alien movies played with the format, and Aliens was certainly a SF/Action movie but Alien3 was more of a return to psychological horror and characgter-driven suspense. For this reason, I think getting into the nomenclature is just tedious.

Kind of exactly the point. Except for the cookie cutter Romantic Comedy, it's rare to be able to clearly shove any film into one specific genre box. So to say that something like ID4 is ridiculous sci fi rather misses the point. It's as ridiculous as King Kong was...both were impossible yet fun at the same time without being overly "dramatic" in their zeal to shove a "message" down the throats of society. The perfectly measured combination of absolute entertainment with underlying "smarts" can be undeniably attractive and not necessarily a blight on the social conscience.



Originally posted by zeroplate
In any event, I think it's maybe a little simplistic to characterize THX and the Matrix as 'Alice In Wonderland' movies. Alice in Wonderland, after all, is a parable about lots of things, and merely uses the device of going into a dream to tell a story using symbolic characters rather than real political figures.
Which is where something like MATRIX fails miserably. Matrix tries to be about so much more, but is done in such a clumsy and obtrusive manner that the "message" it wants to PREACH is right out there on center stage. The most wonderful stories ever told all, more or less, hide their messages subtly within the archetecture of a well framed and entertaining story. This is ultimately, I believe, where The Phantom Menace failed for so many people. Instead of relying on the characters to "teach" us lessons through their actions (as the OT films did), Lucas had his characters in the Prequels TELL us everything he wanted us to know.

But I use the "alice in wonderland" parallel in terms of its use of a "man in a box who manages to get out" theme, which is what drives the main plotlines of THX, Matrix, and Logan's Run. In all three, there are characters, who by one method or another, find out that there is another "level" of existence which isn't visible to them without going through a series of trials and tribulations. Only through suffering can they achieve a clear vision of what really is. (In a manner of speaking, Luke Skywalker is trapped in a similar situation. He has an inkling that there is more out there, but only when he is forced out of his comfortable box by tragedy does he allow himself to experience life to the fullest.)

Which is all fine and good, but Logan's Run doesn't hold up because it is corny and dated (Production Design problem). Matrix never fooled me, anyway, as I didn't buy into the distraction of the newest FX and shoddy placement of the martial arts fad into an otherwise great story concept (Screenwriting and conceptual problem). And THX, while admirable in its perfectly simple chase story set in an exquisite and relevantly sparse environment, is ultimately not the kind of film that inspires multiple viewings. It is entertaining as a curiosity the first time, but, for me anyway, that's about it.

I enjoy candy coating as much as anyone (which THX has little of), but I also require a solid story underneath (which The Matrix had none of). Combine the two best aspects of THX (story) and the Matrix (the candy coating) and I think that whoever creates it would have a formidable movie indeed.

plasticfetish
06-13-2003, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by stillakid
Any movie (aside from a documentary) which purports to "send a message" as its primary goal instead of "entertaining," is in trouble from the get-go. Much like the Matrix, you can't beat the message down the throats of the audience like that without some backlash..
Every fable has a moral. But, yes ... it's the "beating it down the throats" thing that counts. There is something to be said for being "clever". Not to overly defend THX-1138, because frankly it wasn't THAT important, but I do think it approaches the "grim future" thing with a little more subtlety than some others. It's merely presented as is ... no big overblown setup to make the theme redundant ... we're simply there and seeing this one story play out.

I don't see documentaries as being the format for directly driving home a big moral message. The whole idea is to simply "document" the events in question and present them to the audience with perhaps some mix of subjective and objective commentary. You ultimately leave it up to the audience to draw their conclusions and find the "message" on their own.


Originally posted by stillakid
As a side note, because of Lucas's obvious fascination with racing and quick action (ergo, little plot), I would like to see him step back from the "epic" productions and put his efforts into some kind of Summer Popcorn Chase Flick.
Oh yeah. If we're done with Star Wars after ep. 3 he should for certain move on to some fresh ideas. I rambled somewhere else about how I thought Spielberg has done a good job of evolving or at least trying out new ideas ... Lucas really needs to do the same.


Originally posted by zeroplate
Firstly, Aliens is definitely action-oriented, but Alien is not an action movie in the least.
Yep, yes and yeah ... off of pretty much everything you said after that too.

If we had to pinpoint some kind of "dramatic shift" I think the coming of the age of James Cameron would be it. Even that's not fair because Cameron is just doing what he learned from Roger Corman, but to a larger degree.


Originally posted by stillakid
Instead of relying on the characters to "teach" us lessons through their actions (as the OT films did), Lucas had his characters in the Prequels TELL us everything he wanted us to know.
Well, that's the whole "show don't tell" thing that we learn in High School creative writing class. How does a director take the time to set moods and advance his story in the "right" kind of way when he's being told by the studio that his teenage audience has a 3 second attention span and wants to see something either explode or fornicate in every scene? So, instead it's ... "just tell 'em what you're doing, blow something up and we'll get 'em out to Wal-Mart so they can buy the Toys." Those are the movies I can only sit through one time ... if that.

zeroplate
06-13-2003, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by plasticfetish
we'll get 'em out to Wal-Mart so they can buy the Toys." Those are the movies I can only sit through one time ... if that.

Yeah, I completely agree. Those are the movies (ID4 since it was mentioned earlier) that don't warrant, for me, a return viewing. There's nothing at all wrong with making films that don't aspire to be anything more than entertainment and perhaps cross-promotional marketing fodder. I don't know if I'd say King Kong is equivalent to ID4 in that respect, but honestly, King Kong isn't one of my favorites anyway.

I also REALLY disagree that the only films that have a place making a moral judgement are documentaries. I do think that the Matrix movies are a bit heavy-handed with the philosophy (it's not really a message about should and shouldn't, it's just some ideas so far-- since the films haven't concluded, who's to say WHAT the 'message' might be?) but I don't think they bad films. They still entertain and still tell a story and still have layers to them that films like ID4 (perfect example) do not. Give me heavy-handed philosophizing about causality over some cheap Will Smith one-liners any day of the week! But that's just me.

I don't mean to imply that the best films of any genre, or in film in general, necessarily have a moral or social message. I don't think 2001 really 'preaches' anything, but rather asks questions that help us define how we feel about the world. 2001 is, in fact, perhaps the perfect example. While it's slow and largely bereft of action, the ending sequence has typically been seen two ways. On the one hand, it's a psychadelic trip-out the likes of which movies had never really seen before 1969, and many many people enjoy it for that alone. On the other hand, it's an attempt to visually characterize the beyond- that which is extra-sensory, outside of time and space, and outside of understanding. It is an incomprehensible sequence precisely because it is trying to show the incomprehensible!

As much as I adore the original Star Wars films, they have their flaws. There are large parts of Return of the Jedi that just make me yawn and wish we could get to the important details. Likewise, as much as I enjoyed Phantom Menace and AOTC for their nostalgia and action, they are pretty simply under-developed characters playing out a pulp-serial story. There's nothing seriously wrong with that, but if you take the SW prequels and match them against another epic trilogy that is coming out right now (LOTR) it's easy to see which films have more to them, and which are fun, but sadly not as 'good'.

stillakid
06-13-2003, 06:58 PM
Originally posted by zeroplate

I also REALLY disagree that the only films that have a place making a moral judgement are documentaries. I do think that the Matrix movies are a bit heavy-handed with the philosophy (it's not really a message about should and shouldn't, it's just some ideas so far-- since the films haven't concluded, who's to say WHAT the 'message' might be?) but I don't think they bad films. They still entertain and still tell a story and still have layers to them that films like ID4 (perfect example) do not. Give me heavy-handed philosophizing about causality over some cheap Will Smith one-liners any day of the week! But that's just me.

I didn't mean to imply that Documentaries had the only license to having a message. But by their very nature, one sits down to watch with the expectation of some kind of lesson, whether it is handed out on a silver platter or not.

A film like ID4 most certainly has multiple levels and, much to my own chagrin, one of the main characters even steps up to the literal mic to tell us what the story is all about. I'm usually against that sort of thing, but the speech was written so well, I found the ability to ignore the rule in that case. ID4 was the perfect example of "warning" us on many levels about our own behavior as a society while masquerading as a tripe action film. Aside from a couple of slight plot holes, it was nearly a perfect filmmaking effort in its ability to entertain the masses while slyly slipping an "important" MESSAGE between the lines.




Originally posted by zeroplate
but if you take the SW prequels and match them against another epic trilogy that is coming out right now (LOTR) it's easy to see which films have more to them, and which are fun, but sadly not as 'good'.

Maybe I need to read the books or something, but I found the LOTR films so far to be nothing but a showcase for "epic shots" and semi-interesting fight sequences. Not once, have I cared about any of those characters, which, to me anyway, is a terrible flaw for any story. None of them have been set up to be imperative to the story including the lead! The only reason he seems to be important is because some character said somewhere that "he was chosen" or some other nonsense. It's not enough to lay some cheap prophecy overtop the plot to justify the action. The characters should also be inherently compelled to take action with no alternative but utter humilation or death.

Robert Duvall's character (THX1138) faces such a choice and takes the road less travelled. He "awakes" from his sleep and chooses to not return whereas the Hobbits have no such motive to drive them. Just some lammo "prophecy" or something. So, unfortunately, the LOTR comparison won't work on me ;) . I implore you to use some other "great work" as a comparison to illustrate the other "bad work" that is out there. Thanks! :)

zeroplate
06-13-2003, 08:21 PM
You're welcome, I guess?

I can't help you if you don't see what's plainly there in the LOTR films. I haven't read the books either, and I feel the story is quite compelling. You mentioned the characters being pushed to make a choice, to act, by a motivation as strong as humiliation or death... well, plainly, that's what's happening in the LOTR!

On the one hand, you have a rogue swordsman who by birthright will be king, but he is in perilous danger of not having any kingdom to reside over. The fate of the human race as it exists on Middle Earth is at risk, and Aragorn amongst those numbers. So for the lead, I think it's only fair to say he is motivated by the possible extinction of his race and his own death.

For the Hobbits, at least for Frodo, there is the same kind of youthful quest-drive that attracted a particular young boy on Tatooine. It's a motivation to be something more than a happy little person in an idyllic but closed off society, to have a greater importance in the events of the entire world (or universe, as the scope may be.) For Luke, the only motivation he has to leave are stories he's heard and the fact that life on a moisture farm is pretty boring. When his surrogate family is killed he says, he 'might as well go' because there isn't anything left for him on Tatooine. Frodo actually takes the burden to be the ringbearer on himself for a quite complex set of reasons, but certainly out of more than teenage boredom! And that's all right there in the movie.

Since you are touting ID4 as a consumate film with meaning and fun, I think maybe we have nowhere else to go with this debate because I thought ID4 was trite, passe, and a simple pastiche of other, better-made films (like War of the Worlds, The Day The Earth Stood Still, etc.) Even if you can ignore the extreme bouts of serendipity that find characters that the plot needs bumping into each other, it's tough to see any of the characters as anything other than a charicature. Does anyone care if Jeff Goldblum actually dies? Will Smith? Bill Pullman? It's a chest-thumping flash in the pan of a movie whose only insight into humanity is a trite message about a vague 'where we are going with humanity'. You'll have to do better than ID4.

I'd say the original Jurassic Park is a much better example than ID4. It certainly had its share of fun movie moments, but its idea of greed turning science and technology into something dangerous was well written into the movie and didn't require the film to stop at points other than the scene where cloning is explained. That movie, while not on my list of greatest films by any means, is definitely one where you care about the characters, you see their flaws, you don't want them to die, and you might actually think about the ethical questions that lead to the damage done.

Blade Runner would be another good example. It's as entertaining as a film-noir as you are going to find, expertly filmed, designed, and scored, and yet it touches on questions of the ethical ramifications of artificial intelligence and a creator's responsibility for his creations. The scene where the replicants return home to meet the maker is riveting, and in the end, Roy's character embraces his very human compassion and chooses to let Harrison Ford's character live. It's visually as impressive as Star Wars (at least) and it works on more levels than something like A.I. which worked with similar themes but in an overly sentimental way.

So, there's 2 movies that I think meet your criteria of having more going on than meets the eye, while maintaining traditional movie narrative devices to keep people in their seats.

As they say. there's no accounting for taste.

stillakid
06-13-2003, 10:03 PM
I understand (and in some cases agree) with the rest of your well drawn post :) , but as for the following:


Originally posted by zeroplate
[BFrodo actually takes the burden to be the ringbearer on himself for a quite complex set of reasons, but certainly out of more than teenage boredom! And that's all right there in the movie.
[/B]

Really?! I didn't see any reason stated or implied at all beyond him having to "fulfill" some kind of prophecy or something. He certainly didn't display any "Luke Skywalker" notions of wanderlust at any time, particularly before being handed the ring by the plot. :confused:

JediTricks
06-16-2003, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by JarJarBinks
But please, don't try to pass it off as an uninformed "matter-of fact assertion". It's called an opinion, look it up. Ever notice how every time you state this sort of opinion, it's in the most matter-of-fact language possible? I've warned you about this sort of thing in these forums before, I could simply have suspended you for a day for that but I didn't. However, if you want to state more opinions about others' motives on these forums again, make absolutely sure that you've made it abundantly clear that this is your opinion with no sarcasm and no fact-stating about someone else's opinion.


Originally posted by JarJarBinks
And why not let Thrawn fight his own battles, JT. I'd love another smart-arsed blurb commenting on me in one of his F.A.Q.'s.I'm not worried about Thrawn fighting his own battles, I'm telling you that you neglected to take heed of my previous warnings about YOUR behavior here. Thrawn almost certainly will never see your comments here since he doesn't read the forums much.


Originally posted by zeroplate
You're right. I had forgotten that all films need to emphasize entertainment above all else, and that all films that fail to win a prize for entertaining are boring and a waste of time. No, I'm stating that as entertainment, I find THX-1138 to be quite boring; as sci-fi, I don't really find it very intellectually stimulating either. That's part of the nature of film, using entertainment to convey the concepts of the story. Science Fiction isn't supposed to be "just science" - just as movies aren't supposed to be "just art" - and expect to be an accepted film by any part of the public.

stillakid
09-13-2004, 12:59 PM
First I have to say that I never thought the day would come when I'd have an actual movie ticket that said THX-1138 on it. :D

I got out to see this last night and it was better than I had remembered. Now, that may be because of some of the additions or not. I can't know without going back to the original that I saw way back when I was in High School I think.

But anyway, I hadn't remembered the homosexual leanings of SEN5241 (Donald Pleasence). And my hazy memories of childhood didn't remember that THX (Duvall) was building more robots. Little details escaped me from before.

On the whole, though, I liked it much better than I thought I would. The story was far more anti-religious than I remembered. Lucas definitely is quite spiritual if we are to use The Force as evidence of it, but the undertones presented in THX against organized religion were pretty powerful. I doubt that the Religious Right would care to see any version of this movie. :classic:

While the picture quality was undoubtedly sharp and clear, the sense of original production design was still there, which isn't a bad thing...except that many of the new cosmetic additions stood out fairly obviously. Now, maybe it's because I KNOW when the movie was made (and how and the budget) that stuff like holographic technology wouldn't make it to screen, but some of those additions just didn't "fit" in with the overall style of the original footage. It all looked great of course, but it's kind of like dropping a CG Gollum character into something like a Ray Harryhausen movie. It's kind of schizophrenic that way.

So I don't know, it's still a little "sparse" for the masses and comes off like an art-film, which is unfortunate because the overriding message of "Wake up out of your Government and Religious inflicted stupor!" needs to be rammed down the throats of so many misguided people of the world.

Staying true to everything else I've ever said here and elsewhere, I think that had Lucas invited some qualified writers to step in to "jazz it up" as it were, to make it more palatable to a mass audience, his message wouldn't be lost only to be heard by a minority of film fans and Lucas fanatics. In other words, what good is a message if nobody hears it?

plasticfetish
09-13-2004, 03:02 PM
Ahhh! So you saw it at the ArcLight? How long is it running there?

"except that many of the new cosmetic additions stood out fairly obviously."

Yeah, this is what I was afraid of. I'd hoped that he'd done a clever job of making it all "fit," but I'll have to wait and see. Chances are good that I'll get the DVD before I see it on the big screen (if I get a chance.)

As far as it being too "sparse for the masses" goes, I suppose that's what I've always liked about the film, and what made it interesting to me.

The "messages" in the film are a perfect example of the "time" and attitude that was prevalent in '70s sci-fi. Lucas isn't so much anti-religious, as he is anti-abuse of religion. It's the digitized religion (and world -- ironic) that he's making his point against.

Same goes for the whole film. It's a classic, "man vs. the system" kind of story. The only thing that sets it apart from a thousand others, is the inventiveness with which it's told.

I'd really hoped that, in this case, the digitizing hadn't obscured or replaced all of that.

El Chuxter
09-13-2004, 03:13 PM
I've never seen this one all the way through, and the bits I saw were years and years and years ago, so I plan on adding THX-1138 to my collection tomorrow. (I've decided that in most cases, it's actually more cost effective to buy DVDs when they first go on sale than to see them in the theater or even to rent them.)

plasticfetish
09-13-2004, 03:21 PM
This is true. Tower has it going for $19.99, so I'm sure that's what it'll be going for at other places also.

stillakid
09-13-2004, 03:33 PM
Ahhh! Lucas isn't so much anti-religious, as he is anti-abuse of religion. It's the digitized religion (and world -- ironic) that he's making his point against.

You say tomato, I say tomato. ;) I suppose neither of us really can say for sure which he is, but the entire film is rather accusatory toward "authority" of any kind. It isn't a stretch to take his clear message of "fighting against the political system" and apply it to his view of organized religion, which in this case, appeared to very definitely be a case of Church=State. The drugging of the population was just one way of keeping them in line. The other was obviously the use of an official religious belief that every citizen was supposed to subscribe to, ergo the placement of confessionals like so many phone booths everywhere. While your idea that he is against the "abuse" of religion may be part of all of this, I think that it just that...a part of a greater whole...a message illustrating the inherent danger of a population being lulled into unprovable beliefs and the resulting artificial limits placed upon our lives.

Now based upon what we think we see and hear from this story (I have the novel too, but haven't read it in a long time), I think that the idea here is that the surface became uninhabitable for some man-made reason (war, pollution, over-population...maybe all three) so "society" moved to a superstructure below ground. In that circumstance, it would be somewhat understandable for the powers that be to impose nearly draconian measures to keep the enclosed population in line. Drugging them is the first line of defense and the quickest way to create apathetic people. Then, like above ground here, they knew that creating a "religion" with veiled threats would be very effective if anyone decided to forget their perscription. We see that exact circumstance play out repeatedly with both THX and SEN. The drugs don't have their hold over them anymore, but that religion does. The leaders of this underground world knew what buttons to push. And of course, the last line of defense which ultimately failed in THX's case was sheer brute force. Won't behave, we'll punish you physically and mentally and if necessary, kill you (as with LUH). In other words, if the drugs fail and the threat of after-life punishment isn't enough to convince you to do things our way isn't enough, you'll get a whoopin' like you've never seen before. Sounds a lot like real life, doesn't it?


I'd really hoped that, in this case, the digitizing hadn't obscured or replaced all of that.
No, I wouldn't go that far. I think that a brand new audience most likely would never recognize the changes if they had never see the original or knew that any changes had been made. Although the cave-dweller creatures at the end are a little too "modern" looking if you take into account the goofy 1960s oscilloscopes and video monitors in every other part of the movie. It's just this weird combination of old and new at times that could be a little disconcerting. But the "message" of the film is still intact, and may be strengthened at bit. So I'd say, unless you really hated this film the first time, the redeux is worth a looksie. :)

stillakid
09-13-2004, 05:13 PM
Hey, according to the Star Wars website, I was supposed to get a poster with my ticket. :mad:

http://www.starwars.com/community/news/2004/09/news20040910.html

plasticfetish
09-26-2004, 04:50 AM
OK. So... I've bought and watched the DVD. I'm gonna toss my post over in the THX thread that I'd started about this new "director's cut."

JT, if you want to merge both threads, go for it.