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Customer Discussions > Science Fiction forum

When Did SF Movies Become So Bad?


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Showing 176-200 of 240 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 5:24:37 AM PDT
Kick-Ass was not sci-fi. It's pure super-hero fantasy. I haven't seen Melancholia.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 10:56:31 AM PDT
TO: Noah K Mullette-Gillman

RE: "I read Left Behind some years ago. It's not my belief system, but I was just hoping for an exciting story."

I didn't read the books (unusual for me, since I'm an avid reader), but I did see the movies. Actually, there was at least one, and possibly more, series on the same "end times" theme. The rapture and the tribulation are certainly not a part of my belief system either, but I did enjoy the movies. I thought they were well-acted, had generally good production values, and were not overwhelmed with special effects. And the movies were not heavy-handed. I thought that they were pretty good examples of fundamentalist Christian propaganda.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 11:17:16 AM PDT
I read the "Left Behind" series a number of years ago, borrowing them from my local library, but I finally gave up after book 5. They were dragging. The first movie was pretty good, but I thought the second dragged way too much, and so I didn't like it. Did they ever make a third?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 12:23:39 PM PDT
I don't know if I knew there were movies. The book was terrible.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 5:16:41 PM PDT
"District 9" was a surprise. I especially liked the cultural differences explored between aliens and humanity. The scene where aliens entered a fast food restaurant (McDonald's?) and stole all the hamburgers was great.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 5:43:07 PM PDT
TO: CivWar64 (Bob)

RE: "The first movie was pretty good, but I thought the second dragged way too much, and so I didn't like it. Did they ever make a third?"

Here's a list of the Left Behind movies; I got 'em from the public library.

Left Behind (2000)
Left Behind: Tribulation Force (2002)
Left Behind: World at War (2005)

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 5:43:29 PM PDT
Thanks, Walter!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 5:52:15 PM PDT
TO: CivWar64 (Bob)

RE: "Thanks, Walter!"

You're welcome.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 6:01:08 PM PDT
District 9 was indeed original and very well done. I'm going to suggest here again to anyone out there to absolutely dive in and get the DVD/Blu-ray of John Carter. I've seen it four times now and it's better every time.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 8:19:57 PM PDT
Metalhead Jay,

re 'normal'. Have you seen the show "Monster Man"? Even the daughter says, "Nothing about us is normal!" So it is self-admitted!

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 6:38:10 AM PDT
To those who have been recommending District 9, I'd like to say "thanks". I had somehow gotten a completely different impression -- and indeed 180 degrees wrong one -- of the film from the release publicity and not seen it. So I checked it out of the library and watched it last night and it was an unexpected hoot, with more serious intent in spite of disclaimers :-).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 6:44:52 AM PDT
Hi Avoracious Reader, Agree on D9. If you think that about D9, then wait 'till you see the "Flop of the Century" John Carter. Still disgusted with the marketing job Disney did to make JC look like a crappy Prince of Persia. I think it's one of the most exciting, fun, romantic, adventure movies of all time, and www.backtobarsoom.com has 7,500 members and growing at 1,000 a week that agree.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 7:27:12 AM PDT
D. Maiman says:
You ever see those old SciFi movies in the 50s? There have always been bad SciFi.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 8:37:34 AM PDT
True, but a few of those old Scifi movies made in the 50's are considered classics today.

Forbidden Planet 1956
The Thing From Another World 1951
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956
The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951
The War of the Worlds 1953
I Married a Monster From Outer Space 1958
When Worlds Collide 1951
Godzilla 1954

Good grief 1951 had three films I could name off the top of my head alone! You're correct we've always had bad SF, but you certainly didn't have to wait so long between the good stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 1:54:38 PM PDT
TO: D. Maiman

RE: "You ever see those old SciFi movies in the 50s? There have always been bad SciFi."

Likewise, the 1950s "monster" movies. But a lot of those old science fiction and monster movies are - unintentionally - pretty funny!

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 6:12:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012, 6:14:11 PM PDT
Very sorry that I didn't take the time to read all the many replies here. I just want to address the main topic; When did SF movies Become So Bad?

My father use to always say, 'If you want to uncover the truth about anything, just follow the money!"

Well unfortunately in this case, Hollywood is only in business 'For the Money'.

And it shows!

-T.A.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 6:31:40 PM PDT
Well said.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 8:36:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012, 8:39:03 PM PDT
I think another similar case in all this can be traced to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine line as well. Both the book and 1960's George Pal film adaptation were excellent and ambitious masterpieces in the science fiction genre, but the 2002 film directed by the author's great-grandson Simon Wells was just plain dumb. In the book and original film, the time traveler, in this case H. G. Wells himself, used the time machine to travel into the future out of curiosity to see how the future would be like, but in the newer film where he was renamed Alexander, it was primarily to try save a woman he had feelings for but was doomed to die, which blows my mind on so many levels. First off, when the Uber-Morloch mentioned that her death was the reason why he built the machine, why couldn't they simply have the future version of Alex and the Time Machine fade out of existence like in the Back to the Future series instead of ripping off Final Destination and killing off Emma in different ways to prevent a paradox? Second, instead of luring her away, couldn't he just save up some money and buy a rifle? He could have used it to snipe the mugger from a distance before he can kill Emma and then commit suicide so that he can prevent a paradox in a different way instead of killing her. Third, it also makes him out to be selfish and contradicts the whole point of the source material about what the future could be like if problems like war, disease, famine, poverty, etc. persist and/or worsen if we don't do something about it. Fourth, it was also an excuse to keep the movie going where if they simply had the future Alex and the machine vanish from existence, them the movie would be over in about 15 minutes, so the whole idiot plot device is all over the place. And fifth, he also makes another dumb move by destroying the machine to wipe out the Morlochs inside the caves instead of taking Mara with him to the future time period before the moon blows up and prevent it, so that mankind can thrive normally and he can return home. Plus, in the no-brainer chase in the caves, the shaky cam went really overboard to where it became nauseating and hard to see what is going on. Whatever happened to thought-provoking science fiction films becoming more rare nowadays? Granted I am willing to turn off my brain and have fun with popcorn movies, but it has to be genuinely entertaining and to have the other factors into what makes a good movie. At least the Star Wars prequels have its fair share of thought-provoking ideas and are fun despite their faults. I did also enjoy Inception and the older Total Recall film as well as all of the even-numbered Star Trek movies in a franchise where thought-provoking ideas are the main highlight. I also goes to show that Hollywood cares about money and are willing to try any film project good or bad, which is why films nowadays are most definitely hit-and-miss.

Posted on Apr 13, 2012, 9:17:34 AM PDT
Jennifer,

Though I preferred the 1960s version of "The Time Machine", I actually liked the reboot.

As far as the paradox, the idea that the timeline tries to 'heal' itself by finding another way to have someone die is a well established science fiction trope. On one of these threads somewhere I once posted a link to a short story from the 50's or 60's where someone is shot in the head, and after a time traveller's numerous attempts to stop the gun from being fired (hiding it, stealing all the bullets, etc.) it finally seemed to work, and the survivor then walks over to the window and a meteorite hits him right in the forehead just like the bullet had. The guy gives up the attempt when the universe forced such an incredible unlikely event just to keep the timeline straight.

So he also couldn't go back in time to prevent the Moon from being broken up, as the timeline would still find a way to make it happen. Still, that would probably mean that he couldn't go back from his little uber future trip at the end and blow up the Morlocks either, but maybe by destroying the time machine it opened up the future? I tried not to think about that too much :-)

I agree with you and I don't like the shaky camera technique, but I didn't think it was overdone in the movie. Even so, that's a real personal thing for everyone.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012, 9:18:32 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
Bradford Blake,

"Still disgusted with the marketing job Disney did to make JC look like a crappy Prince of Persia. I think it's one of the most exciting, fun, romantic, adventure movies of all time, and www.backtobarsoom.com has 7,500 members and growing at 1,000 a week that agree."

Disney certainly have torpedoed 'John Carter', and though I've signed up for the sequel, there are problems with the movie that should have been ironed out before release:

* Multiple introductory sequels. This just screams uncertainty and lack of vision.
* Non-linear story-telling, especially distracting when action is diverted to a brief scene shot to hammer home a character's motivations. Don't tell us, show us.
* A fixation on aspects that weren't center to the story in the advertising material: the white ape fight especially.
* Keeping too close to the source material (such as stating Barsoom really is Mars) and straying too far from the source material (bringing the Therns onstage too soon).

What would I have liked to see:
* Intro scenes where we see why JC is now a pacificist (an ACW scene, the homecoming, becoming a treasure hunter) then the transfer to Mars. Effectively dump most of the ERB wrapper around the main story until the conclusion.
* Then a title 'John Carter... of Earth' and fade out the 'of Earth' and we see Mars, which gradually morphs into a similarly colored planet, but larger, with two spherical moons. A hint we aren't in Kansas anymore.
* No confusing scene of the Therns giving the baddies the 'nanotech' ninth ray - they simply have it. Let the audience work out that 'all is not as it seems'.
* Just as the tech has been updated from the novel, instead of Mars being our Mars, have the Thern explain that 'this Mars is not your arid dead Mars, but one in another universe that can connect to your Earth. We also travel to a jungled Venus which is not the deadly overheated world you know. We access nine worlds in this system across time and space, where the worlds that orbit this star formed differently, or the Sun itself is different. Here, Jasoom, the world you call Earth, has no Moon, and it is a desolate world. It pleases us to observe and manipulate these worlds, for reasons... you would not comprehend.'
'So where did you come from, sir?'
An enigmatic smile. 'Somewhere... else.'

Something like that... It gets around the problems of our Mars not being capable of supporting humanoids (without massive lifesupport) and updates the setting, without destroying it.

8-)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012, 10:12:32 AM PDT
You know your Princess of Mars and John Carter. All good points that could be argued endlessly :-) Bottom line for me is that Andrew Stanton took the source material, did a pretty darn good job updating it for 100 years later, and delivered a really fun adventure/sci fi movie that deserved a great domestic box office, and got screwed. HOWEVER, we are now converging on the El Capitan next Thursday for it's final night showing en masse, for anyone living in SoCal. News channels already picking up on the movement and it's starting to get really exciting! Anyone out here who wants to participate, search on facebook for our Back to Barsoom page and get the details.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012, 10:43:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2012, 11:10:43 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"Bottom line for me is that Andrew Stanton took the source material, did a pretty darn good job updating it for 100 years later, and delivered a really fun adventure/sci fi movie that deserved a great domestic box office, and got screwed."

The marketing is mostly to blame, but the production wasn't perfect. Disney seriously erred in pumping massive sums into an untried product, more or less guaranteeing there would not be a massive return. If the DVD sales bring it into profit, maybe they'll give Stanton $100M to do a sequel.

As for updating ERB a hundred years, Stirling's The Sky People and In the Courts of the Crimson Kings do a better job of updating the sword-and-planet genre - for Venus and Mars.

Now I enjoyed 'John Carter' but only because I decided to give it a second chance by seeing it in 2D; 3D made it flat and hid detail which was important to the plot. I am also bemused that in the stills in The Art of John Carter: A Visual Journey Mars looks red, as it should, but on the screen is too tan and yellow. An error in post-production? On a second viewing it also made much more sense, which should be a disturbing observation.

3D worked for Avatar but not for John Carter, and although 'The Art of John Carter' demonstrates there was some major world-building going on, it didn't seem to appear very much on the screen. There wasn't much sea-bottom moss in view and... NO canals? How can you have an ERB Mars without the canals? I found myself wondering how the ecology, such as it was, survived. There was a little plant life on view in the shots of Helium, but what did the Tharks, the thoats, the white apes eat? From the art designs, Helium looks spectacular, but very little of it got into the movie. There weren't many 'sense-of-wonder' shots - even Star Wars managed one with the two suns rising.

Now it may read as though I disliked the movie, which isn't so, at least on second viewing, and the first gave me enough interest to try to find it in 2D (a tricky task).

So it is a decent, but not a great movie, deserving of a better reception than it received, and it deserves a sequel where hopefully the same errors will not be made -- and new ones will be avoided.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012, 12:41:42 PM PDT
cas says:
It was stated that Nero marooned Spock on the ice planet in order to force him to watch Vulcan's destruction.

Posted on Apr 13, 2012, 12:55:53 PM PDT
I think it was pretty clear to everyone that Abram's wasn't even interested in pretending to be based off any type of science with his take on Star Trek pseudo or any other variety. He wasn't even interested in having any type academy structure for starfleet, or even realistic dimensions of the ship. I know it's all make-believe but at least the series tried to imply some sort of scale as to how big the Enterprise was and how long it would take to get from one place to the next.

You should watch redlettermedia's review of Star Trek which is pretty fair, but brings up this and other points. Actually you should check out Redlettermedia's reviews in general, nobody I know breaks down a film more thoroughly.

http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-trek/star-trek-09/

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012, 7:49:04 PM PDT
To be fair, I did not know about that old time travel story you discussed. I was just doing a "what-if" possibility for if the Time Machine reboot used the same time travel physics from Back to the Future and as it turned out, they can cause the story to become meaningless if that idea can act as if the story never happened. It is a similar case with the live-action Prince of Persia movie when Prince Dastan uses the dagger of time to change the events of the film so it acts as if it never happened. Sometimes in a time travel story, it is best to leave the movie's events as-is and give it a true meaning on how the past events can impact the future and stabilize the space-time continuum. The Back to the Future series acknowledged this and took lull advantage of the story and making do with what the cast and crew had to work with while having fun with it. I think I was spoiled by the BTTF series a little bit, but its time travel logic makes sense. That of the Time Machine reimagining is somewhat far-fetched in my opinion. When it comes to the whole shakey-cam thing, I admit it was in only a few parts of the chase scene but those few seconds felt almost as nauseating as Tom Cruise accidentally eating rotten food from a disgusting fridge in Minority Report or baby Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. To each their all.
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  75
Total posts:  240
Initial post:  Feb 11, 2012
Latest post:  May 13, 2012

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