Monday, November 30, 2009

Movies and Books that shape our World View.

Movies and Book that shape our World View.

Or do the books and movie that do phenomenally well, reflect our world view?

Will the current box office sensations stand the test of time?







Will people say that Twilight and New Moon were the defining movies of the first decade of the 21st century? The other night I went to see New Moon with my daughter. For a movie that has out grossed every other movie on its opening day, there were several moments where the audience laughed outright -- at the wrong time. And I'm assuming that these were people sympathetic to the series. Some things don't translate well across the mediums.

































On the same day as seeing New Moon, I saw the original screen release of Blade Runner after not having seen it since it came out in 1982. The set design, the acting and direction all stood up well to the test of time. And the concepts being explored -- What makes us human? How do you define human? -- are interesting.

Unlike the Twilight movies, Blade Runner didn't do well at the box office. But its standing has risen as the years passed. In 2008, the American Film Institute was voted Blade Runner the 6th best SF film ever made. Other organisations have given it higher rankings.

It is not fair to compare a movie made for the teen market like Twilight and New Moon, with a movie made for a thinking audience (not that teenagers can't think, but you know what I mean).

A good film or book will mature as you mature. You'll see more in them, as you grow. Can you think of films or books that have 'grown' with you?

31 comments:

KylieQ said...

Oh my goodness, I saw New Moon the other week. A friend booked out a cinema and filled it with professional, 30-something women who shrieked every time Edward appeared or the Indian guy (Jacob?)took off his shirt. I just sat there drinking my cocktails and trying not to fidget. I quite enjoyed the first movie (okay, I've seen it twice) but this was awful and will most definitely not grow on me! And Bella's simpering *really* gets on my nerves!

KylieQ said...

But to actually answer your question, Pride and Prejudice grows with me. I read it first in high school at about 16 and I still love it just as much now. Funny, I don't like any of Jane Austin's other books though.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kylie,

I found New Moon meandered. But then the book meandered too. You know when you keep shifting in your seat, that the film isn't holding you.

I get frustrated with the Austen books. She probably has captured the people of her time really well. But my goodness, those silly shallow people (the secondary characters) must have really gotten on Jane Austen's nerves. They get on mine.

KylieQ said...

I love P&P because it's such a different world. I can't imagine growing up with the sole aim of marrying well! But there's something about their world that draws me in.

I haven't read the Twilight books. I've picked up the first one a couple of times at the book shop but it doesn't grab me when I flick through it.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kylie,

I know intellectually that it is a different world, but I still want to grab the characters and shake them. Sigh.

I'm a very impatient person.

That's why I found the Twilight books very slow.

RJ_CruzeJr said...

I think the movies and books that have the real staying power are the ones that connect on some deep, basic level -- like Blade Runner.

One movie that's stuck with me over the years is Aliens. I've lost count of the number of times I've watched that one. For me, Aliens has always had this visceral intensity, and provides an action-filled roller-coaster ride that keeps me glued to the screen.

Another thing that also makes for good staying power is memorable dialogue. In Blade Runner you have such tidbits as: "He say you Brade Runnah!"; "Is this testing whether I'm a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?"; and, of course, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..." (Roy Batty's monologue at the end is pure quotation gold).

Ditto for Aliens: "Game over, man! Game over!"; "Hey Vasquez, you ever been mistaken for a man?" "No. Have you?"; and the quintessential "Get away from her you BITCH!"

And that's what I think a movie or a book needs to stand the test of time; it needs to connect on some deep, human level to fix it in your heart, and it needs to have some key catch phrases in it to fix it in your memory.

C Kelsey said...

Another thing a good Scifi movie that grows with you needs is a universe that actually looks lived in. So, the very first Star Wars movie definitely fits the bill for me. More famous catch phrases than you can shake a stick at, and a universe that is populated by everything from massive, shiny space stations to junk piles.

I actually have the first Twilight book sitting on my shelf. I got it for four dollars. I just can't bring myself to read it.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

RJ,

Agree, absolutely. And I do remember all those bits of dialogue you quoted.

Another of my favourite movies has memorable dialogue.


'As you wish.' 'Have fun stormin' the castle, boys.'

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kelsey,

I don't know what happened with the Star Wars movies. It was like the director got lost. The first 3 (made) were so much stronger than the last 3.

The character focus and story arcs worked.

Brendan said...

I have a theory about writing around the period of P&P. One of the reasons that the secondary characters annoy us is they are charactertures. A lot of Dickens' people were the same. If you look at the illustrations of those people, they quite often have exaggerated features similar to Punch and were there largely for comic relief.

Brendan said...

Another SF film that I find always warrants an extra look is RoboCop. Outside the seeming mindless violence(although when he shoots it worth to pay attention to where on the body he aims, you may be surprised), there are some quite insightful moments. My favourite quote is "Don't worry Lewis. They will fix you, they fix everything." And the RoboCop theme proves to be. Loud and bombastic but with minor changes can be quite poingnant.

C Kelsey said...

Rowena,

Not to turn this into a Star Wars thread, but I think the answer to why Lucas messed up the prequels so badly is this: He got new toys to make the movies, and his priority for what the series was changed with those toys. I remember him stating that he could now make the movies he'd always wanted to make... for his younger children.

So take away Lucas's toys and you get pretty strong, adult movies. Leave him his toys, and he makes kids movies without telling anybody that such a thing is his intention. :(

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Good point, Brendan.

Caricatures and cliches exist because there really are people like this. That's why we recognise them.

Scary thought!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan,

I must look at Robocop.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kelsey,

Interesting point.

I met someone who had been working on the last three star wars and they said everyone was madly trying to justify their pay packets. So Lucas would ask for an X from props and they would make an X with bells and whistles in three sizes.

Not to make it a Star Wars thread, but he did lose sight of the story.

Brendan said...

Rowena,

Be a bit careful. There is a lot of violence but Paul Verhovesen said it was supposed to be cartoon like in it's excessiveness.

Kate said...

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die."

'nuff said.

matapam said...

I think the Wizard of Oz had the best and longest lasting lines. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Mind you, the story was better when I was a kid . . .

C Kelsey said...

Kate 4 the win!

"Inconceivable!"

"You keep saying that, I do not think it means what you think it means."

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kate,

Do want to be unemployed? In Greenland?

One of my favourite movies!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan,

Don't worry, I have 4 teenage sons. I'm sure I saw Robocop years ago. We might even have it in our DVD collection.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Matapam,

My daughter was so captivated by the Wizard of Oz when she was 5, that she wanted to be called Dorothy.

RJ_CruzeJr said...

"When I found you, you were so slobbering drunk, you couldn't buy Brandy!"

:-D

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kelsey,

I use to send my sons off to school with 'Have fun stormin' the castle, boys.'

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

RJ Cruze,

Take your time, you've been mostly dead all day.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

OKAY, you guys. And I thought I was a film nerd.

Here it is-- Memorable quotes from The Princess Bride.


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093779/quotes

C Kelsey said...

Figures... We try not to have it devolve into a Star Wars thread, so it devolved into a Princess Bride thread instead. Is there a moral here? Can we use said moral in a story? ;)

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kelsey,

The morale of the story is, if it is good, we'll remember it, whether it is a film or a book!

That's what we're all striving for as writers.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Yay for the Princess bride thread.

And since this is on the relationship between books and movies: I'm a written sf nerd. While I've enjoyed movie-sf -- Independence Day, Sliding Doors and (at a completely different level) Men In Black come to mind -- this is a late-acquired ability. Star wars -- yes the first three -- annoyed the living daylights out of me. Now keep in mind that I was SO starved for sf on the screen of any size that I watched Space 1999. Religiously. But Star wars seemed thin gruel spread on a bed of nice graphics and cushioning a fairytale. Very beneath the teenager who read Heinlein and Simak. (So where did Space 1999 come in? Well, it was different. It was at home and I could do homework while watching it.) And apparently I haven't outgrown it. Dan DRAGGED me to the re-release and for the first time in my life, I fell asleep in a movie theater.
Books I'd love to see WELL done into movies: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Farenheit 451; F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack series.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Sarah,

Books or short story that we'd like to see made into a movie, is a great idea.

RJ_CruzeJr said...

Sarah, I second your nomination for Repairman Jack!