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Just stuff we are watching

pmmg

Vala
Well...13 years of waiting, and I snuck out and saw this yesterday.


Uhhh...where to start. I fear this film is going to be one that sinks for me the longer I think on it. I love Cameron's films, I think he is the best there is. And this film is certainly better than many others...if only it did not have Avatar 1 to be compared against :(

Avatar was just an experience, and Avatar 2 just could not top it. I think the main beef ppl have with Avatar is that it is kind of a weak and predictable story...Well, Avatar 2 is more of the same. Only...the novelty of the 3d and bioluminescence has already been played.

I think it is clear Mr. Cameron loves the ocean, and underwater scenes in this are spectacular. I'd say just awesome 3d, but I have actually seen similar 3d at an aquarium near me in the past--maybe many others have not.

I also think Mr. Cameron takes very heartedly his role in empowering women on film and wanted more of it with this. I don't think that worked. The Na'vi are alien and all, but it felt forced and unlikely to me.

I'd would like to say I loved this, but it has already settled for a day, and I am starting to drift.

For me, the biggest miss in this movie is the message.

Jake Sully says more than once, as if that it the theme, that 'a father protects'. But he has not protected, he has made bad decisions, and he has not understood the world he is a part of (which, fair enough, he is an outsider, but I did not get that his 'not getting it' is subtlely the theme). A father protects matters where individual life matters, but in Eywa, the whole planet is a being, and all on it are more like ants than meaningful beings. They can be expended to protect the whole. So the message does not resonate in the film, and even though the story tries to put a lot of value on individual life, its apparent the planet can, and ought, to expend some--its survival is at stake. I also hate to say, but I think Eywa would lose in this invasion.

I find also a question I am not supposed to ask but do is....the planet is really big. What does it matter what Jake Sully does? You can settle anywhere and he cant stop it. (And, I am not sure if it was an oversight, but Jake Sully is not he MC anymore, he was pushed aside by his second youngest son. Not sure if I am supposed to think that. But Jake Sully can die off and the movie is the same.)

So for me, the conflict is not being understood by the protagonists and poorly addressed. The conflict is Eywa vs man, not blue people vs man.

A lot of this movie had me asking questions, which is never good:

Why build a massive water ship and then make it fly? Why not just make it fly in the first place?
How long can someone really hold their breath...that was a bit glossed over, but people should be drowning as long as they were under.
How could Jake really expect that Earth types would not return? He must have known that would happen.
Why bring back the character you killed in the last one? There just are not any other evil soldier types to take his place?

My list is pretty long...


And...the best reason to see it, the 3D, was great in some places and not in others. I was a little surprised at it. Maybe I have 3d acclimation, cause that was not what I thought of the first one. (and I may have to watch the first one again, I felt the Na'vi drifted a little more towards uncanny valley in this one. I don't remember Neytiri having such a long disproportionate neck before...but I may be remembering wrong.)

Somehow Disney got hold of this film and I am not happy about that, but I don't think they had much influence over it. The film was not full of 'the message' and was really one that was meant to win you over with general coolness. I think this is a one thumbs up movie.

My experience:

First 3rd: Boring and ham-fisted.
Second 3rd: Ah... There's the cool 3d.
Third 3rd: Yeah, Whatever... The blue people would lose.

Actually, ham-fisted all the way through.

Still love you Cameron, and all... I don't think this will make my own list. Sorry.
 
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If I ever get time to watch anything that is age appropriate to me and not sending myself potty with Super Simple Songs then I’ve started watching The Duchess on Netflix and I’ve ONLY just started watching The Witcher but I’m hooked in by both. Then I plan to watch A Spy Among Friends on BBC
 

CupofJoe

Myth Weaver
Found the first series of The Expanse in a charity shop [£2 for Blu-ray!].
I've watched the first two episodes and while it is a bit slow for a binge watch, I am thinking of watching it one ep a day over the Xmas break [when there is nothing good on TV to watch any way ;)] to see if the series grows on me.
 
If I ever get time to watch anything that is age appropriate to me and not sending myself potty with Super Simple Songs then I’ve started watching The Duchess on Netflix and I’ve ONLY just started watching The Witcher but I’m hooked in by both. Then I plan to watch A Spy Among Friends on BBC
I can tell I’m tired when writing this…I meant ‘The Empress’ as in the Empress of Austria
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
Found the first series of The Expanse in a charity shop [£2 for Blu-ray!].
I've watched the first two episodes and while it is a bit slow for a binge watch, I am thinking of watching it one ep a day over the Xmas break [when there is nothing good on TV to watch any way ;)] to see if the series grows on me.
I heartily recommend the books. The series is a small step down, but not a big one. Very well done. It's just that it's tough to do Big Concepts in video. The books do a far better job. And deeper characterization.
 
Since last posting here I've watched...

  • Both seasons of The White Lotus. They are excellent entertainment.
  • The Glass Onion. Not as good as Knives Out, but still very entertaining.
  • Wednesday: loads of fun, but noticeable weakness in places, particularly the ending arc.
  • Black Adam. Horrible. Truly, a bad movie.
  • A handful of episodes of Manifest on Netflix. It consistently received lots of views last year for its latest season, so I thought why not try it out. It has an interesting premise that is quite Avengers/Thanos-adjacent. Manifest is not horrible but also not strong enough to keep me watching. For me, describing the writing is an odd experience because most things are noticeably good or bad but the writing on Manifest (first season at least) is something I'd call "VERY serviceable." In other words, the writing is not horrible, nor is it great or even good—but it certainly gets the job done. Heh. Ultimately, "getting the job done" is boring when trying to binge watch the series. Nothing pulled me along in any strong way. But it's quite serviceable writing, similar to the best instruction manuals.
  • The Last of Us. I played the first game a long time ago and remember very little from it. The first episode of this adaptation was obviously top-notch directing and cinematography, and the acting was quite convincing. I'm going to reserve further judgment until more of the series drops, but I'd give the first episode a straight A.
 

pmmg

Vala
I did not comment on Black Adam, but even many weeks later, I still have the same comment. Maybe if Hawkman would have said, "Hi, Black Adam, lets talk" instead of "Stop or will kill you." the whole movie would have been different. I cant imagine Hawkman would not have know that. Superman seemed to at the end.

I started watching Primal. I loved Samurai Jack, and Primal is good so far. But the gore budget has definitely gone up.
 
For me, Black Adam was a children's paint-by-numbers experience.

--We need Black Adam to appear crazy powerful!
--Ok let's have him do this!

--We need to make the audience empathize with the kid!
--Ok let's do this!

--We can't have Black Adam seem too evil and absorbed in his own awesome powerfulness....
--Let's make him a softie.

And so forth. Nothing was organic. It was stilted to the nth degree.
 

pmmg

Vala
I think all superhero movies are like that.

IMO....

I think DC is only popping out movies because Marvel had so much success. They have nothing to say and are squandering their characters and stories trying to get in a game they are not ready for. Their movies suck. And they could have come in and been the next big thing if they had just understood the market and waited for their moment. I would like DC to stop making movies and go away until they are ready.

I think Marvel blew us away with a long story, good actors and high production values. I feel they finally arrived. But Marvel is just screen fluff. When its over there is no lingering meaning to any of it. Fun on screen, forgotten at home. They finished their big tale, and now they are just trying to string it along for as long as they can and keep taking it to the bank. Their movies suck and I wish they would stop. They are squandering their good reputation trying to make it something still unfinished.

I am tired of super hero movies. I would like them all to stop.

I think movies in general just suck, and I fear they are not coming back. I go to the movies (I see almost all of them), and the theaters are empty. In part because there is no content to put on the screen but also because the content is not worthy. I literally walk out of movies if they go a woke direction.

If anyone is into screen writing and movie production, there is a wide gap right now. Write something good, leave your progressive values out of it, and make it something families want to take their kids to, and you will take over the industry.

I think no one will. I think movies will become like record players, and silent movies of the past. Us older types will just talk about them like it was some golden age, but the kids will not relate.

/IMO
 
Marvel superhero stories are a tad formulaic, although I'm not sure I'd label that a bad thing. If structure can be a trope, they have developed their own tropes, winning formulas they keep repeating.

For every movie, it's possible to see what the creators have done and why they did it, at least for most aspects of the film. The clumsy attempts are clumsy, and Black Adam is clumsy, heh.

They finished their big tale, and now they are just trying to string it along for as long as they can and keep taking it to the bank. Their movies suck and I wish they would stop. They are squandering their good reputation trying to make it something still unfinished.

As a long time comics fan—once upon a time at least—I find this curious.

Marvel completed their Infinity arc, and then moved into their new arc with Phase 4. If we look back at the first phase of the Infinity arc, we don't find movies up to par with the movies in the last phase or even middle phase of that arc. The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger were rather weak compared to what would follow in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Infinity arc.

That's quite like where we've been in the first phase of this new arc, the Multiverse arc. Roughly analogous:

  • The Black Widow = Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Eternals = The Incredible Hulk
  • Thor: Love and Thunder = Thor
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness = Iron Man 2

That's just a really rough comparison of quality. Different people would sort them differently. (*Edit: I actually loved Eternals. I know many others didn't.) But I personally have been viewing Phase 4 through this lens. On the television side, we've been getting introduced to Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel, and this harks back to Phase 1 era Marvel introductions to characters.

I think we've had even more richness in Phase 4 thanks to television shows focusing on established characters (Wandavision, Hawkeye, Loki) and a couple or three good movies. (No Way Home, Shang-Chi. I haven't watched Wakanda Forever.)

In comics, having long stretches of so-so entertainment before year-end annuals, or crossovers, or other events happen, is nothing new, heh. I suppose we might say Feige needs to learn that film and television are a different medium than comic books? Then again, Marvel has been swamping the scene. Before Marvel, large numbers of so-so movies were released every year, and maybe by taking up a bigger chunk of the market, Marvel has moved into that segment also.

I expect the next couple of Marvel phases to ramp up again, just like in the Infinity arc. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

I think movies in general just suck, and I fear they are not coming back.

I've found myself holding this view also. I'm not sure they can come back, at least not in the cinema. Television and streaming are where it's at. The six- to ten-episode format is becoming king.
 
I literally walk out of movies if they go a woke direction.

I forgot to comment on this.

I'm in an odd position personally. I fully grok the term woke, and I've found some examples of it to be cringe-inducing. But. What I would include under that label doesn't match up fully with the way the term is used by many people. I find some things get labeled woke that I don't believe belong under that label. At the same time, I'm sure I have exactly the same reactions to some examples of wokeness as others have.

I almost never go out to see a movie, so I never find myself in a position to walk out. I'll just turn it off if it's bad. I generally don't reach that point with anything "woke" even if I do cringe sometimes when the storytelling is bad.
 

pmmg

Vala
I don't know that I can answer the first post, I am not up for following everything Marvel does...I don't watch the TV shows. Marvel and DC both have a lot of experience at making stories that go on and on. I expect them both to be good at it. But I am not interested in the new direction from them. I don't think Black Panther was their best movie (In fact I think it was one of their worst), I don't care about Dr. Strange, I never liked Spiderman, on and on. And I don't evaluate them through the lens of the prior movies. I was ready for it to end. Things should end. If they don't, we never get to evaluate the whole. At present I am just skipping everything Marvel. They lost me. I am a little interested in DC cause the new guy made a lot of changes, so I hope he has something to show.

I have an unlimited pass to the theatre near me, so walking out does not cost me anything ;) I can understand why some are more open to woke messages than me, but I am done with them. Most often, they just make me go BS. I dont mind on occasion, but when it comes from every direction, I am walking more. If you don't, that's okay. We have different filters.

I personally have always been counter to popular things anyway.

I recently saw the show Peacemaker. I did enjoy the show. But it did get woke near the end ;)
 
I finished watching Andor last night. I thought it was A+ material. I'm not the hugest Star Wars fan, have skipped some of the shows, but am glad I watched Andor.
 

pmmg

Vala
I have heard good things abut Andor, but I have not watched it. I started Primal, which is animated--and gory.
 
The more I think about it, the more I realize Andor is one of the best science fiction television shows ever made. It's that good. The writing is stellar. (See what I did there? Heh.) The acting is great. The directing is great. Cinematography is great. It's what all science fiction should do, more or less.
 

pmmg

Vala
You might make me watch Andor. I dont know, I swore off Star Wars.

We'll see. Not starting anything till the story is finished though. I dont know which I like most. I enjoyed Farscape more than I thought I would, and I still love BSG. But...I dont think I have the energy to pick up another long serial ATM. Andor gets a lot of good feedback. I hope its true.
 
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