Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

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Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:54 am

I initially had a science fiction thread at RT, but after the forums were deleted, I didn't make a new one here mainly due to the fact that I wasn't able to find the right motivation to do so. With some encouragement though, I've finally decided to start one. With schoolwork, I sometimes feel tempted to slack on watching films, but I hope this thread will help to prevent that. Also, here's a small list of films I have saved on my pc which I plan to start off this thread with:

Forbidden Planet (1956, Wilcox)
Greed (1924, Stroheim)
The House is Black (1963, Farrokhzad)
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971, Cassavetes)
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, Parajanov)
Things to Come (1936, Menzies)
The White Ribbon (2009, Haneke)

I'm about finished with my review for one of them, but I'll probably watch the rest in ABC order.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Stu » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:23 am

Yay!
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:40 pm

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Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, Parajanov)

I chose this to be the first film I cover in here. Not everything I write in this thread is going to be this long, but since this is the first post, I might as well make it a bit longer than usual. My first experience with Parajanov was with The Color of Pomegranates. While I loved the visuals, music, and the dancing, I had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around what the film meant. I'll probably revisit it sometime in the future as my experience with this film makes me wonder if it was even necessary to understand it. My next experience was with this film. Although I saw it a while back, I felt I didn't give it nearly enough credit, which I largely blame on how I was still new to feeling-driven films which relied heavily on the strengths of their visuals, camerawork, etc. I was more used to narrative-driven films. Having obtained some more experience with it though, I decided to revisit this one, leading me to develop a far deeper appreciation of it.

The first thing I noticed upon diving in other than being reminded of how memorable the opening scene is was the camerawork. At times, the camera movement proves to be swift and energetic in a way which I don't think I've seen in film before. It quickly darts from set piece to set piece in an environment, only focusing on someone or something for a couple seconds at a time before it darts off to something or someone new. Nature is also utilized by the camerawork in certain scenes, the most notable of which is of the adult Ivan and Marichka spending a couple moments with each other in the wild as they're surrounded by plants which partially obscure them throughout the scene, causing it to feel all the more tender.

Other stylistic merits include the brief transitions of the visual styles. While the transition from color to black and white may seem fairly obvious in terms of what it's trying to convey (it's brought about due to a notable scene in the first act), this viewing led to me finding more merits with it. The first black and white shot could easily be mistaken for a shot in a horror film. The way the wind repeatedly blows a door open and closed is a creepy image. Most of the black and white scenes after that masterful shot maintain a similar vibe. They mostly consist of showing Ivan in the aftermath of the incident, who doesn't utter a single word throughout this sequence (he doesn't speak that much throughout the remainder of the film as well). Instead, the dialogue consists of voice-overs by a number of characters discussing his current mental state, his loneliness, etc. It's a quietly unsettling sequence, which makes great usage of a few notable concepts. Other notable scenes include the slight visual distortions after the sorcerer strikes him near the final act, signifying the beginning of the end.

While the stylistic merits of this film are certainly strong and varied, I think the music also deserves a lot of credit. I'm not that familiar with this style of music, but it adds so much to the whole affair. I first heard of this film when I saw a segment of the Christmas scene in a youtube video. I was still fairly new to classic films and especially foreign films, but the brief snippet of music in that clip made me want to see it. What's special about the soundtrack is that it doesn't feel like it's just there to exist in the background or that it could be cut without losing much from the film. It's so expressive, so full of life that it feels like an integral part of the film, as if it's a character itself.

The best way I can sum up all the stylistic merits of the film is that the whole affair feels like folklore. Overall, this is definitely a great film and I'm glad that it gets to start off this thread.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Thief » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:40 pm

Haven't seen any of the ones you listed, but I'm reading... and taking notes.

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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:59 pm

Stu wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:23 am
Yay!
Thanks, Stu!
Thief wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:40 pm
Haven't seen any of the ones you listed, but I'm reading... and taking notes.

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Yeah, I'm trying to get some more obscure films into my film diet as I feel I don't watch enough of them. After I get through these, I'll assemble a new small list of films.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:26 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:54 am

Forbidden Planet (1956, Wilcox)
Greed (1924, Stroheim)
The House is Black (1963, Farrokhzad)
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971, Cassavetes)
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, Parajanov)
Things to Come (1936, Menzies)
The White Ribbon (2009, Haneke)

I'm about finished with my review for one of them, but I'll probably watch the rest in ABC order.
I just watched Things to Come, so maybe you could bump that one up the queue?
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:32 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:26 pm
I just watched Things to Come, so maybe you could bump that one up the queue?
Yep, I noticed your write-up of it in Thief's thread. I know I said ABC order, but I suppose breaking that rule won't hurt anything. I'll watch it next.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:56 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:32 pm
Yep, I noticed your write-up of it in Thief's thread. I know I said ABC order, but I suppose breaking that rule won't hurt anything. I'll watch it next.
Great! I'd be interested to hear a reaction from a sci-fi fan.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:01 pm

I own Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and I don't think I've watched it. I also don't think I've ever seen any Parajanov. Hmmm.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:16 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:01 pm
I own Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and I don't think I've watched it. I also don't think I've ever seen any Parajanov. Hmmm.
I highly recommend it. It's really unique and does a great job in establishing its feel. Also, as for my statement on the music, here's the clip I was referring to which got me interested in seeing it: Skip to 11:25.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:37 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:16 pm
I highly recommend it. It's really unique and does a great job in establishing its feel. Also, as for my statement on the music, here's the clip I was referring to which got me interested in seeing it: Skip to 11:25.
I've been slacking on watching proper films for awhile now. I need to start giving my brain some new meat soon. It's turning into something viscous and unusable, so maybe I will start with this next week. Now that I've got my Twin Peaks: The Return rewatch under my belt I am free.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:48 pm

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As an avid lover of science fiction, I might as well give the genre some coverage in this thread. I'll try to include at least one for each batch of films. Made in 1936, this is one of the earlier science fiction feature films I've seen and I'd say it's a pretty solid entry into the genre.

Starting in 1940 and ending in 2036, this film serves as a timeline as it presents several stages in an apocalyptic scenario, starting off with global war, detailing the survivors of the war struggling to live in the ruins of the world, and the attempts to rebuild humanity and advance science. The film is told in episodic structure. New characters are established in each of the individual parts of the film (often, they're the descendants of the characters in the opening). Due to this structure, many of the individual segments have their own feel to them. Some, like the 1970 segment, are longer and have a bigger scope than others, but even a few of the shorter ones like the conflict involving two wartime pilots work in the way that they feel like vignettes or short films. I wouldn't say anything in the film felt like filler, regardless of how much or how little time was devoted to it. Everything served a purpose.

I figured I'd talk about what I think of each individual segment for this review. The opening takes place on Christmas Day where the threat of war is constantly looming over the civilians. This segment works as an accurate portrayal of how someone would cope with the imminent threat of war. It's Christmas Day, which is supposed to be a happy time, and while the family the film focuses on tries their best to enjoy themselves, they're unable to shake off the looming threat which hangs over them. I like the backdrop of Christmas as it serves as a nice contrast from the horrific moments in this segment and the destruction of the city is visually impressive (I'll discuss the visuals more later on).

The next section details how expansive the war got in addition to a deadly virus which was created throughout the war to be used as a biochemical weapon. While much of this sequence is told via montage, two small vignettes are given focus in it. The first details a brief conflict involving two soldiers after one of their planes is shot down. Though short, it contains some good, thought-provoking dialogue and a layer of dark irony. I kind of love it. The second segment involves a doctor and his family as they attempt to find a cure for the virus. It's a bleak snapshot of what the city in the opening was reduced to and an introduction to the type of flawed leadership which is present for the next act of the film. Although, I think it's the only segment of the film which could benefit with some breathing room and it left less of an impact on me as the pilot segment did. Fortunately, the strongest segment comes after this.

The next segment shows the survivors in the aftermath of the war and the plague. Running at just over half an hour, this is the longest segment in the film. It concerns a conflict between Rudolf, a warlord of a decayed, tribe-like city, and John Cabal, a pilot who has a vision to outlaw war and bring about world peace. I got a pretty strong feeling from this segment that the conflicts between the two groups were really senseless due to how Rudolf foolishly worsened the matter and how all the conflict which Rudolf caused could've been prevented. I think this segment is an effective portrait of a leader mad with power and it lingered with me quite a bit more than any of the other segments did.

The final segment is a conflict between a group of people who plan to carry out a manned flight to the moon and a larger group who want to stop scientific progress. I think this segment has a good premise, but even though the visuals look the best in this section by far, I wouldn't say that the premise was executed in a way which managed to suck me back into the film nor did it culminate in a way which I found to be particularly compelling. It felt like a step back after the section in the decaying city.

Another area I admire are all the visuals as they're quite a blast to look at. While the futuristic cityscapes in the final act still look the best in my eyes, the other visuals remain effective throughout. Many of them from the sets of the various cities created for the film to the montages which indicate time lapses to the futuristic vehicles down to even the text scrolls give each segment a distinct look. They enhance my enjoyment of the film even more and further make this film stand out as one of the better looking dystopian films I've seen. One of the reasons I like seeing futuristic cityscapes from older films is that it can be interesting to see how people from the past envisioned what the future would look like, especially if it's a creative vision like it is here.

Overall, this is a really good film, because even if you don't care for the story in the individual segments (which mostly didn't apply for me), I feel like the visuals should still be strong enough to maintain your attention.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:34 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:48 pm
Image
Overall, this is a really good film, because even if you don't care for the story in the individual segments (which mostly didn't apply for me), I feel like the visuals should still be strong enough to maintain your attention.
I was kind of mixed on the final sequence (the far future), but I really liked pretty much everything that came before it. Maybe predictably for a film made in the 30s I thought that the gender dynamics were garbage ("All I ever wanted was to serve you and make you happy" barf). And of course it's very, very white.

I agree with you that the visual look of the future sequences are really fun. I also appreciated the film's anti-war message--especially the note that at a certain point people don't even remember why they are fighting.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:50 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:34 am
I was kind of mixed on the final sequence (the far future), but I really liked pretty much everything that came before it. Maybe predictably for a film made in the 30s I thought that the gender dynamics were garbage ("All I ever wanted was to serve you and make you happy" barf). And of course it's very, very white.

I agree with you that the visual look of the future sequences are really fun. I also appreciated the film's anti-war message--especially the note that at a certain point people don't even remember why they are fighting.
Yeah, the occasional flawed racial and gender politics is something which I've seen come up in a few classic films. It's one of the areas of classic films which haven't aged well. It's also why I haven't yet gotten around to The Birth of a Nation as I've seen a few people here criticize the film for that reason.

I also enjoyed the anti-war aspects to the film, especially in the scene with the downed fighter pilots.

On a side note, do you know
how Rudolf was killed? I initially thought he shot himself before passing out (offscreen I assume), but according to Wikipedia, he died due to an allergic reaction to the gas, which I don't remember being mentioned in the film (or if that was the case, I find it rather convenient how he was the only one killed from it). This isn't a major detail or anything, but I'm wondering what your take on it is.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:34 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:50 am
Yeah, the occasional flawed racial and gender politics is something which I've seen come up in a few classic films. It's one of the areas of classic films which haven't aged well. It's also why I haven't yet gotten around to The Birth of a Nation as I've seen a few people here criticize the film for that reason.

I also enjoyed the anti-war aspects to the film, especially in the scene with the downed fighter pilots.

On a side note, do you know
how Rudolf was killed? I initially thought he shot himself before passing out (offscreen I assume), but according to Wikipedia, he died due to an allergic reaction to the gas, which I don't remember being mentioned in the film (or if that was the case, I find it rather convenient how he was the only one killed from it). This isn't a major detail or anything, but I'm wondering what your take on it is.
Yes, the scene with the downed fighter pilots is really good. I thought that it had some All Quiet on the Western Front vibes in those early war sequences.

As for what's in your spoiler:
I honestly didn't remember him dying, and like you I was really surprised to read that he died of an allergy to the sleeping gas. I wonder if that's in the book and not as clear in the film? I'll go back and watch that sequence and see if I see anything.

EDIT: Just rewatched it. He's swinging his gun around, trying to fire at the invading planes. He's yelling for his men to shoot. He fires his own gun in the air. We then see him coughing and gasping and he collapses. Later, when the gas clears, one of the men turns him over and says "Captain--this man isn't asleep, he's dead!". So it seems like he did just die of a reaction to the gas, though it's never explicitly stated. I don't think he's meant to have killed himself or to have been shot by someone else.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:58 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:34 am
Yes, the scene with the downed fighter pilots is really good. I thought that it had some All Quiet on the Western Front vibes in those early war sequences.

As for what's in your spoiler:
I honestly didn't remember him dying, and like you I was really surprised to read that he died of an allergy to the sleeping gas. I wonder if that's in the book and not as clear in the film? I'll go back and watch that sequence and see if I see anything.

EDIT: Just rewatched it. He's swinging his gun around, trying to fire at the invading planes. He's yelling for his men to shoot. He fires his own gun in the air. We then see him coughing and gasping and he collapses. Later, when the gas clears, one of the men turns him over and says "Captain--this man isn't asleep, he's dead!". So it seems like he did just die of a reaction to the gas, though it's never explicitly stated. I don't think he's meant to have killed himself or to have been shot by someone else.
I went back to watch the scene and yeah, your interpretation holds up. I still find it rather convenient that nobody else had the same reaction to it, but this is a minor nitpick, anyway. I don't mean to imply it matters much.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:12 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:58 am
I went back to watch the scene and yeah, your interpretation holds up. I still find it rather convenient that nobody else had the same reaction to it, but this is a minor nitpick, anyway. I don't mean to imply it matters much.
I mean,
if you want to look at it allegorically, he was "allergic" to the future technology.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:41 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:12 am
I mean,
if you want to look at it allegorically, he was "allergic" to the future technology.
Okay, fair enough.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:47 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:41 am
Okay, fair enough.
I do think that they wanted
to kill off his character (he's one of those from the film who clearly won't change his ways), but didn't want the Cabal-led group to actually kill/murder him. I think that his "accidental" death is a convenient way to show the end of the old era (as Cabal says "He's dead, and his world dead with him"). His character wouldn't make sense for a suicide. I think that the accidental overdose/allergy is a good way to show the transition without it happening through an intentional act of violence.

I do agree that it's awfully convenient that (as far as we know), he's the only one who overdosed.

Part of me does feel like, watching it again, if he'd just submitted to the gas, he wouldn't have breathed it in so heavily. Like, everyone else just conks out, but he fights it for a good long while. Maybe it was his stubbornness that led to him breathing so much of it in. Like you say, it's not that consequential how he died, but it's an odd moment in the film.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:56 am

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is incredible.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:10 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:47 am
I do think that they wanted
to kill off his character (he's one of those from the film who clearly won't change his ways), but didn't want the Cabal-led group to actually kill/murder him. I think that his "accidental" death is a convenient way to show the end of the old era (as Cabal says "He's dead, and his world dead with him"). His character wouldn't make sense for a suicide. I think that the accidental overdose/allergy is a good way to show the transition without it happening through an intentional act of violence.

I do agree that it's awfully convenient that (as far as we know), he's the only one who overdosed.

Part of me does feel like, watching it again, if he'd just submitted to the gas, he wouldn't have breathed it in so heavily. Like, everyone else just conks out, but he fights it for a good long while. Maybe it was his stubbornness that led to him breathing so much of it in. Like you say, it's not that consequential how he died, but it's an odd moment in the film.
I guess
I can kind of see that fighting against the gas could explain how nobody else succumbed to the same fate. I'm not a huge science guy, but I don't think that's how sleeping gas works though. Okay, well it is sci-fi so maybe it's a different type of gas or something. I just wish they would've explained something like this. Maybe I'll revisit the scene again.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:11 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:56 am
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is incredible.
:up:
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:37 am

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This is the second and the last science fiction film from the first list I'll be discussing in here. Sort of like Things to Come, it has a few major aspects on its mind. While I enjoyed each of them in Things to Come though (for the most part), my enthusiasm for this film ranged from loving certain areas to not caring much about others.

Without a doubt, the visuals left the biggest impression on me as they were quite gorgeous to look at (the starship, the planets' landscapes, Morbius' residence most of all). Beyond the sense of imagination the film carries throughout, I enjoyed the geometric shapes present in a number of shots, the jaw-dropping sense of scope provided in others such as, again, Morbius' residence, and the camera placements which captured these locations in a really pleasing way. In addition to the creepy design of the monster which looked quite ahead of its time, I also read that some of the backgrounds were paintings. Impressive. In fact, I even had to watch the film again as I was so enamored with the visuals and effects that I forgot to pay attention to the dialogue and the story at certain points.

In addition, Adams is a pretty interesting character who's handled quite well in the film as there's always a subtle, wavy air of mystery surrounding his character. Even after you encounter him for the first time and he provides a brief rundown of the planet, there's still a strong hint that he may still be hiding something from the crew. Then, when it seems like the film answers that question, it doesn't take long for it to establish further doubt and mystery concerning his character. Then, when the film finally answers the next batch of questions you have, it provides a nice dose of interesting insight towards his character that results in an extra, compelling layer of depth. In short, it's the kind of film which gets more interesting as it goes on. While the visuals instantly clicked with me, it took me a bit longer to develop a strong appreciation of its narrative strengths. I think I still prefer viewing it for the visuals (that I have a good understanding of the plot as of now may or may not diminish the mysterious elements upon future viewings), but time may change that.

I think my only reservation would be with the romance sub-plot as I didn't care that much about it. While Altaira's naivety could've potentially made for an interesting dynamic if it was handled properly, I found it disappointing how Adams and at least one other crewman took advantage of her despite clearly knowing about her lack of knowledge concerning romance. To be fair, most of the issues with this occur in the first half, but I think the film missed the mark. It felt quite uncomfortable to watch a number of these scenes play out. As a result, this was my least favorite angle of the film.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed this one, if not quite as much as Things to Come. While I didn't love it necessarily, I did enjoy it quite a bit, and I'll gladly recommend it to other sci-fi fans out there. It certainly lives up to its hype.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:53 am

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The greatest of all early American sci fi films.

Forbidden Planet is okay
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:56 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:37 am
Image
I agree with your review overall, but especially with this:
it's the kind of film which gets more interesting as it goes on. While the visuals instantly clicked with me, it took me a bit longer to develop a strong appreciation of its narrative strengths.
and this:
I think my only reservation would be with the romance sub-plot as I didn't care that much about it. While Altaira's naivety could've potentially made for an interesting dynamic if it was handled properly, I found it disappointing how Adams and at least one other crewman took advantage of her despite clearly knowing about her lack of knowledge concerning romance.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:06 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:53 am
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The greatest of all early American sci fi films.

Forbidden Planet is okay
I think I saw the remake a couple years ago, but other than some disturbing imagery and scenes which left a big impact on me and some trash dialogue such as "I'll stay after school every day if you shut up", I don't remember a whole lot about it. I'll consider the original for the next batch of films.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:12 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:56 am
I agree with your review overall, but especially with this:



and this:
Yeah, the scene of Adams refusing to look at Altaira when she was changing after swimming told me that the film was capable of properly handling that sub-plot, which is why it was unfortunate to see it misuse it a number of other times.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:14 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:06 am
I think I saw the remake a couple years ago, but other than some disturbing imagery and scenes which left a big impact on me and some trash dialogue such as "I'll stay after school every day if you shut up", I don't remember a whole lot about it. I'll consider the original for the next batch of films.
The remake is shit
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:17 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:14 am
The remake is shit
Just for the record, my memory of it isn't that strong. I'd rather watch the original than rewatch the remake, anyways.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:37 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:12 am
Yeah, the scene of Adams refusing to look at Altaira when she was changing after swimming told me that the film was capable of properly handling that sub-plot, which is why it was unfortunate to see it misuse it a number of other times.
It's just, as you say, unfortunate.

Those kind of moments make you think so much less of the characters. Also, the swimming scene is like . . . it makes you think of men who think of themselves as "gentlemen", but only behave so if it furthers their own self-image.

I also feel like there was something else in the film (not related to the "romance") that made me dislike the main character, but darned if I can think of what it was.
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