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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Why the Wachowskis suck

There is a simple explanation for why the second and third Matrix movies were so bad, and why the Wachowskis haven't been able to produce a movie that is one-tenth as intriguing as the original The Matrix. They aren't genuine storytellers and The Matrix wasn't their story, they were ripping off a comic book that served as the graphic storyboard for the first movie.
In 1999, The Matrix came out and blew everyone away with its insane action sequences, revolutionary cinematic techniques and, most of all, a mind-fucking plot that left the head of every viewer filled with intense philosophical questions.

What It's Suspiciously Like:

The Invisibles, a cult comic book series created by Grant Morrison, is basically about a group of individuals who fight the establishment because the establishment is secretly keeping people dumb and hiding the fact that reality is an illusion. Turns out that the "real world" is ruled by horrifying insect-like demons. One more thing: The Invisibles debuted in 1994....

The Wachowskis have never acknowledged The Invisibles as an influence, even though they had invited the comic's creator Grant Morrison to contribute a story for their website. Morrison -- who actually liked The Matrix -- says he "was told by people on the set that Invisibles books were passed around for visual reference." His reaction to the second and third movies? "They should have kept on stealing from me."
The real problem with Hollywood isn't the lack of creativity among those responsible for making movies. The real problem is the ridiculous pretensions of those who are technically skilled movie makers to be something that they are not, which is storytellers. At its root, the inability of the Wachowskis to give proper credit and continue to utilize Grant Morrison's storytelling abilities is no different than James Cameron stealing from Harlan Ellison or Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens crapping all over Tolkien with their idiotic dialogue additions and "feminine energy". Their pride, narcissism, and incapacity for understanding their limits causes them to produce movies that are much worse than they would be if they would simply focus on their cinematic craft and leave the story construction to the storytellers.

The issue here isn't IP legalities, but the intrinsic stupidity of trying to claim an idea that wasn't yours as your own. It's foolish, because everyone is going to realize that the first idea wasn't yours just as soon as you're forced to come up with a second idea and it becomes obvious that you're completely incapable of doing so.

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101 Comments:

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 6:35 AM  

Still haven't seen the Matrix sequels, and don't plan to. When me and my friends saw the first Matrix, we all had pretty much the same thought: The real world was cooler than any other stuff in it, and it was obviously shown so little only to tantalize the viewer at this point and set the story going. The sequel(s) would mostly involve war that happens in the real world. And much of the enjoyment of the first part came from the implicit promise that we'd see more of it.

From what little I've gathered, it didn't quite go like that. Very much the opposite, I suppose.

Anonymous jm August 09, 2012 6:47 AM  

I don't suppose Larry Wachowski becoming "Lana" Wachowski has any bearing on the matter.

Anonymous VD August 09, 2012 6:50 AM  

I don't suppose Larry Wachowski becoming "Lana" Wachowski has any bearing on the matter.

I had previously wondered about that, but now that I know the first movie was almost completely ripped off, I doubt it has anything to do with it. To the extent there is any connection, I'd guess it works the other way, as it has to be difficult to be that successful but knowing that everyone's view of your success is based on a deception. I'm not saying that's why he chopped his penis off 9 years later, but the additional stress can't have helped.

Anonymous Rantor August 09, 2012 6:53 AM  

I saw them all, the story was weaker in the second two movies, and despite being too pretentious, they were still acceptable amusements. Interesting to learn where the idea came from though.

I fully agree with Vox though, if your skill is cinematogarphy, let someone else do the writing.

Anonymous Rantor August 09, 2012 6:54 AM  

TMI... that must hurt.

Anonymous CJ August 09, 2012 7:16 AM  

"Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens crapping all over Tolkien with their idiotic dialogue additions and "feminine energy"

It cracks me up that they expanded Arwen's role to appeal to girls. When I finished watching the movies with my wife (who's never read Tolkien) she said "that was awesome, but it would've been ever better without that whispering Elf chick. What purpose was she supposed to serve?"

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 7:24 AM  

This is a lousy argument.

Everybody steals from everybody. Shakespeare's only original work (The Tempest) is a total piece of crap (although still fun to read and ripe with ideas, it's still a mess.)

The point is to steal from enough places that you make something new. This is not the same as pastiche; it's hard work to craft a good story whether you are lifting the threads from literature or from the local pub.

Anonymous JP August 09, 2012 7:32 AM  

@CJ,

My wife said that, too, though she had read LOTR. She hated, hated, hated Arwen and all her lame dialogue.

Anonymous The Great Martini August 09, 2012 8:15 AM  

It's worse than that. Check out They Live from 1988 some time. While not exactly the Matrix story line, it has striking similarities.

But I'm actually kind of divided on this issue, as Holla says, everyone steals from everyone, whether consciously or not. Sometimes there can be instances of near plagiarism and artists are not overtly guilty. I guess these are instances of subconscious plagiarism, though I suppose they would still be plagiarism in court. There a well known story that Paul McCartney publicized the melody of "Yesterday" for many months before deciding that if was not claimed by someone else, then he must have originated it. That's how hard it can be to not subconsciously plagiarize. Those who do it and eventually realize what they've done have the option, depending on the litigiousness, or mortal status, of the originating artists, to either reach out to them or compensate them in some way. I don't think it's ever going to stop happening, given the way creative minds work.

Anonymous JartStar August 09, 2012 8:18 AM  

So who did George Lucas ripoff?

Blogger A August 09, 2012 8:20 AM  

I recently read Neuromancer and had no idea how old jacking into the matrix idea was. It seems that the Wachowskis just stitched together random sci-fi sources and filmed it. But I'm glad they filmed The Matrix, and I didn't see the second or third movies as completely terrible, probably because I was much younger when they came out and much more into the action scenes than a coherent story.

Anonymous The Great Martini August 09, 2012 8:27 AM  


So who did George Lucas ripoff?


Joseph Campbell for one. Lucas is actually the archetypal ripoff artist, literally, but at least he has the grace to admit it.

Anonymous Stickwick August 09, 2012 8:29 AM  

So who did George Lucas ripoff?

With Lucas, the main thing is that the original Star Wars movies were much more of a collaborative effort than people think. It wasn't George Lucas the solo genius. He also seems to have borrowed heavily from Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress for the story for Ep. IV. For the latter two movies, I dunno if he borrowed any story elements, but he did have actual competent writers.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan August 09, 2012 8:36 AM  

Japanese period films, Flash Gordon, John Carter, and a lot more... but he borrowed creatively from diverse sources so he's doing it the right way.

Anonymous paradox August 09, 2012 8:47 AM  

JartStar August 09, 2012 8:18 AM

So who did George Lucas ripoff?


Dambusters

Anonymous TLM August 09, 2012 8:48 AM  

GM
They Live was awesome because of Rowdy Roddy Piper! And now that I think about it, The Matrix plot is similar.

Blogger Jason Trommetter August 09, 2012 8:50 AM  

I thought the first Matrix movie was boring. I actually fell asleep before the action got started. Missed the whole thing about the red and blue pills.

Anonymous paradox August 09, 2012 9:02 AM  

The crossdressing Wachowskis also used a lot of phlosophy from Kevin Kelly's book, Out of Control.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 August 09, 2012 9:08 AM  

I was never impressed with the The Matrix. Hell, if they had done a movie that was more directly based on The Invisibles, that might have been more entertaining. I mean, do you seriously expect us to believe that sentient robots would use humans as a power source after the sun was blotted out when they could easily use coal, nuclear, or natural gas?

The whole movie was Z-grade scifi with A-grade special effects to distract you from the fact that it sucked.

Anonymous Papapete August 09, 2012 9:12 AM  

The 2nd & 3rd Matrix movies are the victim of "the medium is the message" syndrome. If the movie looks exciting and flashy with nonstop action then nobody will notice that the story is totally incoherent. Tarantino is another big offender, but he sometimes manages to carry it off.

Anonymous Brian August 09, 2012 9:17 AM  

I saw The Invisibles and thought The Incredibles. O_o

Anonymous TheExpat August 09, 2012 9:18 AM  

So who did George Lucas ripoff?

The Arthurian Legend

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 August 09, 2012 9:22 AM  

So who did George Lucas ripoff?

The Arthurian Legend


Then, later on, the Bible.

Anonymous Koanic August 09, 2012 9:29 AM  

Good. Matrix 2 and 3 don't exist, and neither does Nolan's Batman 3.

Anonymous Joe Doakes August 09, 2012 9:32 AM  

Vox, I don't think you realize how hard it is for brilliant intellectuals to find time to dumb down write stories so they can enlighten and instruct the masses. Naturally, these paragons hire writers and make up characters. Why, the President himself is a prime example - look at his personal "writings."

Obviously, you are the exception that proves the rule. But being the odd man out is not new territory to you, which alone should reinforce the validity of my point.

Geniuses can't be expected to be creative in their own right. They're too important for that.

Anonymous DrTorch August 09, 2012 9:34 AM  

So who did George Lucas ripoff?
As others have pointed out, Kurosawa and Campbell. One main source, connected w/ Campbell, is Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I'm reading "Book of Three" to my son right now, and the 1969 cover of Taran looks astoundingly like Luke.

James Cameron stealing from Harlan Ellison

While I'm no huge Cameron fan, he did claim to borrow from 3 different stories. Frankly that seems to me that he created his own story. Besides, I always felt the comment was meant to be a tip of the hat to Ellison, and not bragging about theft, as none of the ideas were all that unique to Ellison.

Anonymous 445supermag August 09, 2012 9:35 AM  

So who did George Lucas ripoff?

J.R.R.Tolkien

Anonymous Josh August 09, 2012 9:41 AM  

By creating the prequels, Lewis actually ripped off the fanbase that had loved the original trilogy.

Anonymous Gx1080 August 09, 2012 9:44 AM  

A lot of you are missing the point.

The issue isn't whatever is right to steal ideas or who stole from who, the issue is when people pretend to be skilled writers when they aren't.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 August 09, 2012 9:53 AM  

The issue isn't whatever is right to steal ideas or who stole from who, the issue is when people pretend to be skilled writers when they aren't.

Given the garbage that Hollywood has been churning out, I think most of us know this already. The top movies in the nation this summer have been all based on popular comic book series while remakes are fairly frequent.

At this point it is amazing that Hollywood has any talent left at all. But if you do want what is probably an original story that wasn't made by Hollywood, find and watch Ink. You will not be disappointed.

Anonymous Viking August 09, 2012 9:55 AM  

"So who did George Lucas ripoff?"

Lensmen series by Doc Smith. At least in part

Anonymous Anonymous August 09, 2012 10:06 AM  

"They should have kept on stealing from me and maybe they would have wound up with something to really be proud of."

Said the comic book author, on Reloaded and Revolutions which he considers wrecked in this interview.


Star Wars? See here: How did George Lucas create it.

And for why the new trilogy of movies sucked
watch this hilarious and spot on review.


But both are nothing compared to the collage that is
Pulp Fiction Movie References Guide


And while we're at it, two videos of interest:
The Mythology of Star Wars
Everything Is A Remix: THE MATRIX

Anonymous The other skeptic August 09, 2012 10:07 AM  

At its root, the inability of the Wachowskis to give proper credit and continue to utilize Grant Morrison's storytelling abilities is no different than James Cameron stealing from Harlan Ellison or Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens crapping all over Tolkien with their idiotic dialogue additions and "feminine energy".

Surely the problem is that Hollywood, and the entire MSM, is engaged in trying to destroy the spirit of the West, and as such they have to deny reality it is largely white males that have built our current civilization, so they elevate but-kicking babes and black super geniuses ... and destroy any story they lay their hands on.

Anonymous Feh August 09, 2012 10:14 AM  

Who did George Lucas ripoff?

Himself, when he made Willow, which is basically Star Wars rewritten in a fantasy setting.

Warwick Davis = Luke
Madmartigan = Han Solo
General Kael = Darth Vader
Rool and Franjean = R2D2 and C3PO

etc.

Anonymous The other skeptic August 09, 2012 10:29 AM  

Slightly off topic: Contains an interesting letter from Robert A Heinlein to FM Busby on Race Relations

Get it while you can.

Anonymous VD August 09, 2012 10:33 AM  

This is a lousy argument.

To what are you objecting, the idea that the second and third Matrix movies sucked or that they sucked because the Wachowskis tried to write their own story instead of blatantly stealing someone else's?

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 10:38 AM  

I see what you did there, politely ignoring the most likely option where Holla is responding to the argument he THINKS you made, based on a quick glance at the post.

Anonymous VD August 09, 2012 10:38 AM  

So who did George Lucas ripoff?

Mostly Kurosawa and The Hidden Fortress.

The film begins with two bedraggled peasants, Tahei and Matashichi (Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara), escaping the aftermath of a battle en route to the Hayakawa country where they lived, but later captured and forced into slavery. After an uprising in the slave compound, Tahei and Matashichi escape and settle near a river, where they find gold belonging to the Daimyo for whom they had fought. They thereafter travel with General Rokurota Makabe (Toshirō Mifune), escorting Princess Yuki Akizuki (Misa Uehara) and what remains of her family's gold to a secret territory.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 10:43 AM  

Or should we say, chärïtäblÿ ignoring...

Anonymous Ain August 09, 2012 10:46 AM  

"It cracks me up that they expanded Arwen's role to appeal to girls. When I finished watching the movies with my wife (who's never read Tolkien) she said "that was awesome, but it would've been ever better without that whispering Elf chick. What purpose was she supposed to serve?"

And it was just downright strange that they made her talk in that deep, silly man-voice.

Anonymous paradox August 09, 2012 10:48 AM  

Koanic August 09, 2012 9:29 AM

Good. Matrix 2 and 3 don't exist, and neither does Nolan's Batman 3.


Batman 3 blows... really wished someone had shot me to end the misery.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 10:49 AM  

And why wasn't it explained, why precisely Arwen would lose her immortality by staying behind? It would have taken exactly one short sentence.

Was it perhaps because Tolkien's answer was too... patriarchial?

Anonymous Josh August 09, 2012 10:51 AM  

Or should we say, chärïtäblÿ ignoring...

Hey Markku, I think r s baker is pretending to be you...

Anonymous Flinders August 09, 2012 10:51 AM  

In hindsight I should have known the Matrix sequels would be bad after I saw the Animatrix.

I think it is a little unfair to say George Lucas "ripped off" all those authors. A quick browse through the lengths seems to indicate he was quite honest about where he got his ideas.

I'm trying to write a little fiction for kids at the moment and I am quite openly looking at Mark Twain, Enid Blyton and a few other authors as I go.

What I hate is when these people are caught red-handed and are just too proud or perhaps delusional to just admit it.


On Star Wars:

The reason his sequels are so bad is because (as has been said) they were more collaborative. He didn't direct the later two and although the first one made him big, he wasn't so big that he could pretty much self-fund his movies and hire a group of yes men to do his bidding. I think if he had at least brought in different directors, the newer films could have been somewhat decent.

Anonymous Flinders August 09, 2012 10:52 AM  

*LINKS

Sorry, don't know how I managed that.

Anonymous scoobius dubious August 09, 2012 10:56 AM  

For the first Matrix sequel, I wanted to see their scrappy little rebel gang (now that they'd "awakened" into true robot-ruled reality) convert to Buddhism and realize that even the new apocalyptic reality was _also_ an illusion. That would have been funny. Instead it was just a bunch of anti-white multicult crap, so I couldn't be bothered with the third one. It was worth it to find out that Cornel West is a comedian, though.

But come on, the premise of the Matrix is a pretty old idea, lots of people think of it, I thought of it myself back in like 1989 or so. I also thought of the premise of Fight Club back then, too -- another pretty easy idea when you think about it. But in both instances my way of telling the story wasn't nearly as good as what these guys came up with. Ideas float around all over the place; actually getting them done in a kick-ass format is the impressive part, and I have to hand it to them for the Matrix part one, if for nothing else. The big problem for the sequels is that the story doesn't require a sequel, in fact a sequel dilutes it (as the old Sweet song went, "Some things are better left unsaid"); face it, they only made the sequels because of all the money there was to be made.

btw, somebody above thinks The Tempest is crap? Ah, comedy... it shows up all over the place, even on blogs.

Anonymous Roundtine August 09, 2012 10:59 AM  

Batman 3 blows... really wished someone had shot me to end the misery.

Maybe the Chinese editors will take out all the boring parts. I'm guessing Prometheus will be missing quite a few minutes as well when it gets here.

Anonymous Feh August 09, 2012 11:02 AM  

I think it is a little unfair to say George Lucas "ripped off" all those authors. A quick browse through the lengths seems to indicate he was quite honest about where he got his ideas.

If he didn't pay them, then he ripped them off.

Just try using one of George Lucas's ideas without paying him, and see how far that gets you - especially if you are honest about where you got the idea.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 11:05 AM  

The big problem for the sequels is that the story doesn't require a sequel

Of course it needed one. The first one just established Neo as the coming savior of mankind. The actual saving still needed to happen. What the sequel(s) should have been, was mankind gathering up a military force and then attacking the robots, mostly in the real life, using Matrix to wake up more warriors and possibly sabotage the enemy. But most of it needed to happen in the real world, just like most of the first one happened in the Matrix.

Anonymous Big Time Hollywood Insider August 09, 2012 11:12 AM  

Google "CN-9" to learn exactly what is wrong with the Wachowskis.

Anonymous Clay August 09, 2012 11:26 AM  

Uh, oh.

Fight Club.

Anonymous E. PERLINE August 09, 2012 11:31 AM  

I saw one of the Matrix movies and I thought it was a laughable mess. There was a black guy and a Chinese guy and a woman with a badly rebuilt nose. They kept beating up everybody who bothered them.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 11:32 AM  

"Whoa!"
-Mankind's only hope

Yeah, one might reasonably argue that mankind's fate was obvious enough even without sequels.

Anonymous Sojourner August 09, 2012 11:37 AM  

Pssh. Batman 3 didn't blow. Wasn't as good as the first two but far from blowing. It is so easy to track the trajectory of an internet troll's thought process when it comes to something that comes with low expectations then is suddenly universally acknowledged as awesome. As soon as that happens they switch from loving it and telling every one that they do to reviling it and making sure everyone knows it sucks.

Stop it, you're being overly dramatic like a girl.

Anonymous Sojourner August 09, 2012 11:39 AM  

"Whoa!"
-Mankind's only hope

Yeah, one might reasonably argue that mankind's fate was obvious enough even without sequels.


To be fair I think that very well could have been David's reaction (on the inside) when he first stepped onto the battlefield with Goliath.

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 11:39 AM  

*To what are you objecting, the idea that the second and third Matrix movies sucked or that they sucked because the Wachowskis tried to write their own story instead of blatantly stealing someone else's?*

#1 - The second and third Matrix movies are two of the worst films ever made. The only thing that was kind of cool was that robot eyeball thing that appears at the end of #3.

#2 - I don't think it's fair to claim that the first Matrix was a *wholesale* grift of any other source. Passing around a comic book as a stylistic reference doesn't invalidate the genuinely brilliant script and visual execution of the film. The Matrix, perhaps because of its Philosophy 101 ambitions, incorporated religion, mysticism, great action, fantastic villains, and made cyber-punk digestible to the masses.

Look at Johnny Mnemonic for a counter example - based directly on a Gibson book, and so dated it might as well be a BBS with ANSI animations. Of course, the Matrix had a lot more money - but money doesn't make good films (Avatar, and the last 10 Spielberg movies prove that) and Cronenberg's eXistenZ is a masterpiece on a similar budget.

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 11:41 AM  

"If he didn't pay them, then he ripped them off.

Just try using one of George Lucas's ideas without paying him, and see how far that gets you - especially if you are honest about where you got the idea."

You're ignorant of both the creative process and IP law.

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 11:47 AM  

The George Lucas-ripoff thing is laughable as well.

Plots are plots - they've been around forever. Lucas quotes a lot of stuff - Dune, the Bible, mythology, Metropolis, but the Star Wars universe was something genuinely unique.

The later films suck not because they were collaborative, but for the exact opposite reason. Lucas, like most artists, was better when he was confined by a more limited budget. Look at Ridley Scott's Alien vs. Prometheus. Alien works because it's real people in space. In Prometheus, the people are literally just there to be shredded. Even Ash is better than Michael.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 11:54 AM  

The later films suck not because they were collaborative, but for the exact opposite reason. Lucas, like most artists, was better when he was confined by a more limited budget.

Or possibly because they were so invested in the movies at that point in their careers. The movie could make them a superstar, or get them in serious financial trouble. So, they gave themselves completely for the movie. But when they already are superstars, they no longer have the motivation it takes to produce a masterpiece.

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 12:00 PM  

^^^
A good point. But look at Ingmar Bergman and Cormac McCarthy for counterexamples of artists who arguable did (or are doing) their best work at the end of their life-cycle.

I'd include Dostoevsky, but he was probably writing Karamazov to pay off his debts to the Victorian Russian Mob.

Anonymous Josh August 09, 2012 12:02 PM  

Also, when they are superstars, they don't have people looking over their shoulder and improving their work through critiques or editing.

See also rowling, jk; brown, dan; and clancy, tom

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 12:03 PM  

But look at Ingmar Bergman and Cormac McCarthy for counterexamples of artists who arguable did (or are doing) their best work at the end of their life-cycle.

I don't really know anything about the character of those people, but there is one type of person who can pull it off - the pathological perfectionist who doesn't care about money all that much, but who lives for his work. I'd point to Stanley Kubrick, but I know the controversy that would start.

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 12:10 PM  

^^
Sure. But Bergman doesn't (as far as I know) really follow that model. He worked collaboratively with his actors, and worked quickly. He was pursued by something else. Probably the specter of his mortality in the face of his finally complete atheism.

Kubrick is good example of Apollonian ambition. Tarkovsky is a similar type, but Dionysian.

Anonymous Stickwick August 09, 2012 12:11 PM  

The reason his sequels are so bad is because (as has been said) they were more collaborative. He didn't direct the later two and although the first one made him big, he wasn't so big that he could pretty much self-fund his movies and hire a group of yes men to do his bidding. I think if he had at least brought in different directors, the newer films could have been somewhat decent.

This comment is confusing. No clue which sequels you're referring to -- Eps V and VI or the prequels? All of the original Star Wars movies were collaborative, even the first one, which Lucas directed. He hired good writers for Eps V and VI (though he semi-ruined VI with the Ewoks) and got a top-notch director for V. Also, as Holla mentioned, the production of the original trilogy was limited. Lucas didn't have CGI back then (thank goodness), and the production was plagued by many difficulties and setbacks. As Mr. Plinkett points out in his wonderfully scathing reviews of the prequels, that's a big reason the original trilogy was so good -- art through adversity.

On the other hand, the prequels suck like a gigantic black hole, because they were NOT collaborative. Lucas was in charge of virtually aspect of the prequels, nobody challenged him on any of his decisions, and the movies suffer for it.

As for the ripoff aspect, I don't think Lucas ripped anybody off. He borrowed heavily from some sources, most of which are acknowledged, but so did Tolkien with the Kalevala and other European mythologies. Like Tolkien, where Lucas took this inspiration, and the world he created it with, were unique.

Just try using one of George Lucas's ideas without paying him, and see how far that gets you - especially if you are honest about where you got the idea.

Lucas is quite charitable with the unbelievable amount of fan-created stuff out there. He doesn't seem to care at all if people blatantly take his material and run with it.

Anonymous JCB August 09, 2012 12:13 PM  

The Matrix sequels may not have given the viewer the payoff they were seeking but when you think about it the ending is apropos. The majority of people have absolutely no interest in being free and are perfectly content with a comfortable cage. Neo's sacrifice is a little anti-climactic because while Zion is saved from destruction, the human race is still enslaved. But that's also fitting: if the long awaited messiah comes and goes with you still a province of Rome a lot of people are going to find that difficult to accept. I don't think the movies were perfect, but I didn't hate them.

Anonymous Flinders August 09, 2012 12:16 PM  

Sorry I meant that the early films were and the later weren't.

Many mistakes today.

Anonymous Stickwick August 09, 2012 12:17 PM  

Also, to add to the above, watch how Lucas directs the prequels, which can be seen in the DVD extras. He shot almost entirely in the comfort of closed sets, leisurely sitting in his chair, with his Starbucks mocha latte in his hand. Everything was done on computers in post-production. This is totally in contrast to the blood, sweat, and tears on-location and real sets approach he took for the original trilogy. No adversity, no art.

Anonymous Oh, Snap! August 09, 2012 12:18 PM  

Here's a clip of a 1977 speech where Philip K. Dick describes the matrix.

And in the Crapping All Over Tolkien dept:
The two have become three.

So--which of the dwarves is going to be the gay one?

Anonymous scoobius dubious August 09, 2012 12:24 PM  

"the Star Wars universe was something genuinely unique."

Nah, it wasn't unique at all, but it was FUN. I think that's what people are missing here: Star Wars (orig) and Matrix 1 were good because they were FUN. Lucas's prequels were not only incompetent and self-involved and deferential to marketing demands; they were joyless.

I don't know what sort of clown thinks Bergman's best work came at the end of his life; his great period is roughly mid 50s to late 60s, climaxing in Persona. After that (and who can go beyond Persona?) he's dabbling: he does some things simply because he can (like The Magic Flute), other times he strikes out in interesting directions that don't really result in greatness, just interestingness; or else he does stuff well that's been done before. I regret that I was never able to see any of his theater work, wonder what that was like.

But a man who made The Seventh Seal, Smiles of a Summer Night, Wild Strawberries and Persona, and who personally fucked most of the unbelievably beautiful stars of all those movies, is a man who can go to bed at night with a big smile on his face. Pity it doesn't seem that he did. Can you imagine having all that, and STILL being depressed?

Blogger Tim August 09, 2012 12:38 PM  

Despite being only 26 I've found myself only watching movies from the mid 70s and earlier. I first thought that that was because even the bad movies from that time are better than the standard stuff of today.

It is something how many movies today seem to be remakes of better movies from the past.

Anonymous scoobius dubious August 09, 2012 12:39 PM  

When I was a kid I used to spend Sunday afternoons watching old black and white B-movies on TV with my dad. My father had a healthy love of stuff like Abbott and Costello, Gunga Din, King Kong, Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers movies, Popeye cartoons, forgettable monster movies and jungle movies, detective junk. He used to read Dick Tracy to me all the time and draw all the characters on the back of envelopes, at bottom he knew it was perfectly silly but he loved it anyway. So when I saw Star Wars for the first time as a kid I thought, Aha, this Lucas guy likes this stuff, too. My friends who didn't know who Sidney Greenstreet was, thought it was all mind-blowingly original.

In the Return of the Jedi, when Luke is standing on the plank about to be pushed into the monster's jaws and then the little robot guy shoots his light-saber out to him, I swear I expected to hear the Popeye "Spinach!" theme play.

Coulda used more of that stuff in the prequels.

Anonymous Stickwick August 09, 2012 12:55 PM  

So--which of the dwarves is going to be the gay one?

Well, they've got 13 dwarves, so there's plenty of room for all the stereotypes:

- the secretly gay one (who preferably has a big unrequited crush on either Thorin or Bilbo)
- the suspicious loner
- the brash ladies' dwarf
- the jokester, who ends up dying tragically
- the religious fundamentalist, who ends up going berserk
- the quiet, sensitive one who turns out to be the unexpected hero
- the brainy, technology whiz who can build an APC out of discarded willow branches and squirrel skins
- the philosophical one

...

We need a few more. What else is there?

Anonymous Bombur August 09, 2012 1:00 PM  

- the fat one who is bumbling and stupid, used mainly for comic relief

Anonymous CatDog August 09, 2012 1:00 PM  

James Cameron did not steal from Harlan Ellison. This is a idiotic lie.

If Cameron stole from Ellison, then Ellison stole from H G Wells and so on.

Anonymous paradox August 09, 2012 1:00 PM  

Sojourner August 09, 2012 11:37 AM

Pssh. Batman 3 didn't blow. Wasn't as good as the first two but far from blowing. It is so easy to track the trajectory of an internet troll's thought process when it comes to something that comes with low expectations then is suddenly universally acknowledged as awesome. As soon as that happens they switch from loving it and telling every one that they do to reviling it and making sure everyone knows it sucks.

Stop it, you're being overly dramatic like a girl.


Wow... a little bitchy fan girl, who is shocked and pissed to find someone didn't like her favorite flavor of ice cream. Batman 3 is at best a Red Box Rental, and then I would pick John Carter over it.

From the buffoonish Bane voice, to the honorably pasted together plot with a fascist police state lovefest. The Nietzsche overman cultism. No... I did not like it, I do not like your flavor of ice cream. Now fetch me a beer.

Anonymous scoobius dubious August 09, 2012 1:09 PM  

"Well, they've got 13 dwarves, so there's plenty of room for all the stereotypes"

I'd pay to see a mashup of The Hobbit and The Dirty Dozen --

One: down to the mountain, we've just begun.
Two: the dragon is through.
Three: the wizard's dwarves are on a spree.
Four: the wizard and Bilbo go through the door.
Five: Bombur stays out in the drive.
Six: the wizard gives the rope a fix.

and so on, until, the greatest line in movie history:

Sixteen: We all come out like it's Halloween!

Anonymous VD August 09, 2012 1:09 PM  

#2 - I don't think it's fair to claim that the first Matrix was a *wholesale* grift of any other source. Passing around a comic book as a stylistic reference doesn't invalidate the genuinely brilliant script and visual execution of the film. The Matrix, perhaps because of its Philosophy 101 ambitions, incorporated religion, mysticism, great action, fantastic villains, and made cyber-punk digestible to the masses.

Have a closer look at the comic book. All that stuff was in the comic book. And they even copied some of the visual concepts, not just the story. Don't get me wrong, they executed well. But that's the point. They should stick to execution and hire guys like the one they ripped off to do the stories.


James Cameron did not steal from Harlan Ellison. This is a idiotic lie.

Sure he did. He even admitted it and retroactively added a credit for Ellison after being sued and paying up. Terminator, not Titanic, of course.

Anonymous Ben August 09, 2012 1:43 PM  

Batman 3 did suck. Especially compared to 1 and 2. Casting Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman was fairly ignorant. Besides that she's probably the type of girl Vox wouldn't hold the door open for.

Anonymous CatDog August 09, 2012 1:44 PM  

"Sure he did. He even admitted it and retroactively added a credit for Ellison after being sued and paying up. Terminator, not Titanic, of course."

Cameron admitted being influenced by the idea (which is different from stealing it wholesale) and it was the film studio that decided to pay out because they didn't want to go to court. Cameron himself wanted to take the case to trial because he knew he hadn't engaged in plagiarism. It you actually compare the Ellison episode of the Outer Limits to the Terminator the only similarity is that they both feature soldiers who go back in time. If that makes Cameron a thief then Ellison himself is a thief for using a Time Travel plot himself and having not created Time Travel as a fictional idea.

Also early Cameron (The Terminator 1 and 2 and Aliens) show that Cameron did in fact at some point of have an understanding of story telling.

Anonymous kh123 August 09, 2012 2:11 PM  

The problem arises in thinking that the position of director is the same as auteur. Glorified assistant editors and line producers, most of them.

Anonymous kh123 August 09, 2012 2:15 PM  

"...line producers..."

Correction: managers. Given how bloated and out of control the end budget is for most (CG) films these days, they burn through monies faster than a Keynesian at a printing press.

Blogger Galt-in-Da-Box August 09, 2012 2:29 PM  

Khazars doing what they do best: Stealing the goyim blind & milking it for all it's worth.
The only plot device as old as reality itself!

Anonymous Sojourner August 09, 2012 2:54 PM  

Bitchy little girl like Vox is a bitchy little girl about the collapse of society. You may not be introspective enough to see it but you're falling into the same wave of backlash that infects the internet about anything that gets popular. It started with the backlash against The Dark Knight and came to a head with TDKR. And for the record I was disappointed with the 3rd film. But to call it crap is to give over to hyperbole. We're supposed to be far more honest about things here then to give into that.

Anonymous Mrs. Pilgrim August 09, 2012 2:55 PM  

Did someone say "Star Wars"?

This will explain Lucas' creative process for the prequels.

(WARNING: Reading said webcomic will cause you to lose hours of your life, as well as causing beverages to erupt from your nostrils and obscure your screen.)

Anonymous E. PERLINE August 09, 2012 3:02 PM  

I see a lot of references to Lucas and Star Wars. That interplanetary era had a lot of interior designers who went for the "Spaceous Futuristic Look." I heard that the previous craze was a revival of Louis 14th.

Tell me, were all the designers independent contractors? To whom did they submit their bills? Maybe one of you Star Wars experts can tell me what kind of economy was in use.

Were the planets merely colonial outposts? You know, the English held India for a hundred years and then some Jewish bean counter told them that supporting an empire was as unprofitable as hell. Instead of feeding a lot of sacred cows, the raw materials could be bought for pennies on a rupee.

Anonymous Orion August 09, 2012 3:31 PM  

I refused to even bother using the RedBox for John Carter. Having read the original and seen the trailers along with hearing how Dejah Thoris beats John Carter in a sword fight, why bother? PC re-write from start to finish.
Regarding the Hobbit trilogy... I may have to wait for an edited version before I could watch it. Two movies worth of Peter Jackson "improvements" is too much.

Anonymous Davidk August 09, 2012 3:40 PM  

I thought the second Matrix movie was decent, not as good as the first, but I thought it did a good job setting up a lot of potential for the climax of the trilogy in the third movie.

It is just that the third movie was crap and moved away from where I thought the story was going to go...that there was a second Matrix "unreality" after you escape the first.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 09, 2012 4:15 PM  

Davidk: "that there was a second Matrix "unreality" after you escape the first."

That would be Inception, a much better film than The Matrix Revolutions.

Anonymous scoobius dubious August 09, 2012 4:25 PM  

Shouldn't "Inception" have been titled "Recursion"?

Or maybe just "Boredom".

Anonymous WaterBoy August 09, 2012 4:42 PM  

Depends on your POV, I suppose. For that matter, it could also have been called, Sublimination.

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 4:59 PM  

How about:

Pretension.

Anonymous Jimmy August 09, 2012 5:37 PM  

Didn't they remake John Carter, the original? I heard George Lucas stole a lot of material for Star Wars.

I would say Cameron is a great story teller. His movies are pretty successful. For a time, Steven Spielberg did a fairly good job as well, but he hasn't done a good movie in the last decade.

Quentin Tarantino did a great job with his movies, but he sucked with Inglourious Basterds and Grindhouse.

Cameron will remain the best so far.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 09, 2012 6:01 PM  

To what, may I ask, did it pretend?

Anonymous The OASF August 09, 2012 6:27 PM  

I believe that in many cases the Hollywood movers and shakers are compromised by their benefactors psy-ops operations being forced into the scripts.

The Batman trilogy is an interesting one.

The first one was phenomenal.

The second one was obviously the product of a psy-ops think tank as the Joker was conveniently portrayed as an outcast, lower-case libertarian... and therefore must be a murdering psychopath. Well, duh. Only thing he was missing was a crucifix around his neck and a Bible to thump right before carving up someone's face.

The screwed up sound, choppy editing, and nonsense scenes made me wonder if the demands on the storyline on those who have an agenda to brainwash the audience is so great that it makes it simply impossible for the toilers and tinkerers on and off the set and behind the scenes to even do their job. I don't see how the genuine passion it takes to create an even mediocre/tolerable work of art can exist under those conditions.

TDKR was so bad it was laughable. Bane was certainly a psy-op product, though lacking the zeal of his predecessor. A few things I noticed were that the poor and unemployed were the stooges of Bane and also the perps... who victimized the innocent and helpless 1 percent by dragging them out of their beds soiling the caviar. Again, a suspicious inverse of reality since it is the 99 percent being victimized and crushed by the power of the 1 percent. Also, in the tradition of Manning and Assange, Bane is shown as a whistle-blower of government lies and corruption despite the best intentions of those noble civil servants... so again, obviously, he and all like him must be a murderer and terrorist and psychopath and a threat to civilization.

The movie also mentioned the "Dent Act" which sounded suspiciously like a hellish combination of the Patriot Act and RICO enforced diligently and without relent by the pennies-per-hour tin badge trash found ubiquitously at our community donut shops. And it worked so well that one character even tells the Commish that "when you cleaned up the streets, you cleaned em' good... pretty soon we'll be chasing down overdue library books." Again... a perfect inversion of reality with respect to the millions of useless, draconian laws enforced by the State only when it serves some political agenda.

All of this certainly meant to link up our subconscious with the garbage we hear in the "news".

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 7:25 PM  

How come it is the first one that's phenomenal, when Ra's al Ghul is much more fitting as the Libertarian bogeyman? After all, Joker is only in it for the lulz, but Ra's al Ghul is actually trying to do good from his own moral perspective.

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 7:27 PM  

^^

I don't know about all that. I just think that Nolan is a right-wing stooge, and that the scenes championing the surveillance state are actually reflective of his world-view. My only source for this is that for a good period of time the Breitbart sub-site Big Hollywood was nothing but Nolan hard-on for months, which lead me to guess that Nolan was in the Republican club.

Predictive programming doesn't have to be planned, of course... After awhile, it's just self-perpetuating. Like all the would-be Arab terrorists with 14 IQs they keep catching here in the states.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 7:31 PM  

Remember, in the first movie, Batman didn't even argue against Ra's al Ghul's point of view. He just was of the opinion that Gotham City was not yet in the point where its destruction is the only option. So, clearly just because something goes on in Gotham City doesn't mean that the movie is advocating it - it was designed to be a dystopia from the beginning.

Anonymous DrTorch August 09, 2012 7:34 PM  


The Batman trilogy is an interesting one.

The first one was phenomenal.


Haha. I couldn't tell whether Christian Bale was supposed to be Batman or Scarecrow, since his acting is so wooden.

The second one had a ridiculous ending. Pathetic writing.

They're terrible. Everyone wants to see a more Frank Miller type Batman. Bah, Miller sucked. All he did was write Batman to be Punisher.

And am I really the only one that connects the Prydain Chronicles to Star Wars? Seriously?

Anonymous Holla August 09, 2012 7:34 PM  

Markuu -

"In it for the lulz," i.e., anonymous, is the ultimate threat to the paradigm shift (Frankfurt School-style societal / tradition breakdown --> secular humanist ascendency --> period of New Nihilist chaos -->--apotheosis of the state / google AI because it reveals the nihilism at the heart of atheism.

Anonymous are playing Prometheus - stealing the fire too soon.

The butt-hurt PZ Myers are useful stooges for stripping away the most important part of Christianity -- the structure of the Church -- but once everyone catches on that atheism really does mean you can do whatever the fuck you want to whoever the fuck you want to do it to - social order collapses in 2 seconds. That's part of the "plan" - I don't think a literal one, but more of an infernal one - and then antichrist comes in, introduces the New Mythology to replace the New Nihilism, and hail satan full of grapes....

I think my ice tea got fermented in this heat.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2012 7:39 PM  

I agree with everything else, except that I know exactly what you mean by "the structure of the Church" and I'll not be a participant in that thread derailing.

Anonymous Mr. B.A.D. August 09, 2012 9:09 PM  

The new total recall is total crap. They sacrificed what was a good story to make some OWS metaphor with flashy visuals.

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