Scorsese was asked by Deadline if he would prefer to shoot all his movies in 3D going forward. “Quite honestly, I would,” he replied. “I don’t think there’s a subject matter that can’t absorb 3D; that can’t tolerate the addition of depth as a storytelling technique.The film-maker continued: “We view everyday life with depth. I think certain subject matters aren’t meant for 3D but you have to go back to Technicolor; when it was used in 1935 with Becky Sharp. For about 10-15 years, Technicolor was relegated to musicals, comedies and westerns. It wasn’t intended for the serious genres, but now everything is in colour. And so it’s just a different mindset. Granted once the technology advances and you can eliminate glasses that are hindrances to some moviegoers, so why not? It’s just a natural progression.”
I know, I know! It’s been talked about, ad nauseam, by everybody. The prequels were shit. Or, to put it another way: when The Phantom Menace first dropped it was like a million nerds suddenly cried out, and there was suddenly silence… something terrible had happened.And then it happened again, two more times. Nobody involved learned their fucking lesson, did they? George kept on makin’ ’em, we kept on seein’ ’em.We’re pathetic.But — and this may come as a shock to you dear reader, certainly it was a shock to me — not everyone had a dog in that race. Not everyone wept at What George Did, because not everyone treated Star Wars like some sort of holy text.I know, right?Just recently, a friend of mine expressed puzzlement as to what the big deal was with the new trilogy. Being as how she’s all young and groovy and has a life and whatnot, Star Wars wasn’t a big thing for her when she was a kid, so she didn’t quite understand why nerds of my vintage have such a problem with the prequels.Here is my response to her, and to all young and groovy people who have real lives to lead and don’t understand why the prequels hurt……wait, one thing before you go on. There’s a bit of ad hominem in here… it’s there for a reason, but I’d like to say something very quickly: making films is hard. I mean, really, really hard. So hard in fact that Lucas, at the very top of his game, hired other people to direct Empire and Jedi. Anyone who actually bothers to put in the eighteen hour days — long days being only the most trivial stress endured on set — has my deep respect. Including, paradoxically enough, George Lucas.However, I still have a problem with What George Did. Here’s why:***The original trilogy was famous at the time for its special effects, inventive production design, and giddy sense of originality… but the reason it actually worked is that it had a great story, with humour and tragedy and heroism; and a set of loveable characters to care about. And, most of all, it had a heart.*The new trilogy has special effects and inventive producton design… but the sense of invention isn’t giddy, it’s nauseating. Where the original trilogy seemed to be a tour through the prodigious and fascinating imagination of a genius, the new seems more like an art show put on by billionaire parents to showcase the scribblings of their unusually slow child. The story is boring and illogical, the characters are impossible to care about, and the acting is universally bad… it is just impossible to give a shit. And it’s not the actors’ fault, not even Haydenson Hayden Christiansen’s — the script is execrable.I mean, how bad does dialogue have to be to sap the cool out of Samuel L. Jackson and the fatherly gravitas out of Liam Neeson? And the charm out of Ewan fucking McGregor!?On top of it all, it’s obvious at every turn that these poor actors are labouring in a giant empty greenscreen room, trying desperately to imagine where they are and who they’re talking to even though Lucas probably hasn’t decided yet and is just planning to get it in post.The original trilogy got away with its conceits because it was fundamentally an engaging story with well-realised characters we cared about. The new films are the opposite — without characters and story to distract us, all we see is Lucas’ conceit and, as it turns out, he either has total contempt for his audience or he’s a clown of the highest order.To add insult to insult — we loved Star Wars when we were kids. I mean, I watched it on video every Saturday to the point where I could practically quote the whole film in one long go — this is when I was in primary school. It was magical, and full of wonder, and exciting, and Leia was pretty and Han was cool and it was so much fun it was better than the real world… when Lucas made this new stuff, it actually seemed to make the films we loved look like shit. It was like he murdered our favourite uncle and then came to the funeral just to piss in the punchbowl.In short — he betrayed us.We award him no points, and may God have mercy on his soul.*I saw Empire at the drive-in, I was in the back seat. My mum turned around to check if I was okay when Darth said he was Luke’s dad. I was crying.***Sorry George… you really, really fucked it mate. You can laugh like Salacious Crumb while rubbing benjamins all over your body on a double bed made of cocaine if you want, and I’m just a podgy broke-down geek writing on a blog… you have no obligation to me or anyone else. But there’s just no getting around it big fella. Han rocked ’cause he shot first, and you went back and defaced your own Sistine fucking Chapel… then you made three new ones where Han, were he present, would be a saint instead of a scoundrel. You really, really fucked this up.For the rest of us.This is Justin Gibson, last surviving nerd of the USS New Hope, signing off.
I had a very different post planned for the next part of this recently-inaugurated and probably endless Guys Who Get It series, but two things happened that changed my tack. First, the series was gleefully hijacked by Fearless Leader and President For Life of Fulltimecasual Peter Wells. The man’s a whirling dervish of blogging goodness, so now there’s this problem of the bar being raised. It’s getting like a man will have to think before he types or something. And I thought Pete understood the internet!Second, I went a little ways out of town over the weekend to celebrate the 32nd birthday of a close friend by mercilessly shooting him in the back with a paintball gun. “Happy Birthday!” I cried as we left the battlefield. He left because I shot him, I left because I was so keen on shooting him that I stood in the open to do it and a teenager with terminator marksmanship skills and a reprehensible disrespect for his elders shot me in the face just after I did.War is hell.Paintball is one of those things that every man has either tried or has always thought about trying, and embarassing as it is considering my pacifistic tendencies and general horror of actual war, it turns out I have in me both a weekend warrior and an armchair general. Shame I’m such a crap soldier. If you’ve ever wanted to be in Predator, Private Ryan or the Dirty Dozen, then this is the game for you. If you haven’t, then, well… I just don’t know you.So we’ve talked before – too much, really – about how great Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright are. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but this Guys Who Get It series cannot continue without their early inclusion. These particular Guys, they Get It… they really, really Get It. They lovingly parody pop-culture, mostly their favourite films and TV shows, while also expertly practising the very same techniques that they’re making fun of. There just isn’t high enough praise for them.Don’t believe me? I give you Pegg, Frost and Wright taking on paintball.Also, they have scientifically isolated the psychic connection between all males.And, apologies for the quality of these uploads (it weren’t us!), but here are two bits of youtubery relating to one Mr. George Lucas – One and Two.There is so much more where that came from.
Okay – before I begin with the ranting, let me just apologise for my long and lazy absence. One thing about this whole blogging malarkey that I never fully realised before Fulltimecasual.com paid me the big bucks to write here is that it’s actually quite tough. And I never realised just how bad my grammar and spelling is until I had to start caring about it.For example, you may have noticed a tingly sensation just now as a million English teachers suddenly cried out, and there was suddenly silence, because I just started a sentence with a conjunction. Additionally, there is a factual error in my poorly written copy: I don’t get paid shit, nobody here does. Actually, Pete beats us with a clapperboard until content comes out, then the sweatshop children clean off the blood and tears and present it to you here.But I should stop. If Pete finds out what I’m telling you, he might make me watch Meet the Spartans or something. So on with the rant!Roger Ebert has been at the center of film criticism in the US forever, but I never realised until this week just how much he gets it. When I say he gets it, I quite arrogantly mean that he agrees with my late-night drunken rants about the many problems of modern blockbuster filmmaking. That particular rant has been going for a good twenty years now and is still showing no signs of concluding (I believe it’s currently up to “Shoot the Glass Part Eighty Seven – Seriously, How Fucking Cool is That Line?”), but Ebert really hones in on one of the big ones: too often, so damn often, the craft of filmmaking is lost because CGI becomes an easy crutch.One of Spielberg’s finest moments is the air traffic control scene in Close Encounters. It’s full of impenetrable jargon and radar-screens you need to be a trained expert to understand, but it works because it relies on good filmmaking – the understated urgency of calm and professional voices, the growing tension of the increasing number of onlookers, the overlapping conversations, the very opaqueness of the actual situation… you’re a fly on the wall at a real event. It’s a three-minute scene in one set with a few set-ups and some cutaways – they probably banged it out in a day.Compare that to the whiz-bang of the defense of Zion sequence from the final act of Matrix Revolutions – full of brilliant CG and virtual set-design, thousands of hours of work, but you just don’t care. The place, the characters, the situation are all so manifestly constructed and clumsily presented that you’re just waiting down the time to find out if they have a Rage song playing over the credits.And Ebert gets it!
Tokyo! It’s one of Japans 47 prefectures, a shining beacon on the tourist map, and according to Flickr is quite a lovely place to take photos. It’s also the eye-wateringly accented movie anthology written and directed by Joon-ho Bong, Leos Carax, and of course Michel Gondry. Tôkyô! comprises of three stories about the city, each of the directors was given a great deal of access to locations and based on the Flickr stream from Michel’s shoot, well, frankly it looks like a lot of people standing around. I guess his film’s about … stuff. Now the good folk at Twitch have some excellent footage sampling each of the directors segments, go and look. Right now!
I’m just doing the shownotes for the latest Fulltime Podcast, and one of the links i promised on the show was to the Michel Gondry filmclip of Lucas with the Lid Off. Having just watched it again, i realised the song and filmclip are just too fun not to post here.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5HOsnq_2j4&w=425&h=344]