Alfred Urrutia (
Wed, 31 May 2000 23:28:10 -0700

"L. M. Lloyd" wrote:

> that it will appeal to a large audience. And the fact is that unless
> you include elements that the general public is comfortable, you will
> not get them into the seats to watch the movie. I am not saying that
> an American is incapable of writing a decent Gundam story. I am
> saying that a decent Gundam story would never make it through the
> American screenwriting system, and remain an intact.

Very true, but the question must be asked - how did the criteria arise
that became comfortable to the public? Most suits and marketing reps
aren't that smart. Once something works (once) it is perceived to be the
holy grail and is repeated over and over. If you gave the audience
nothing but *good* movies to choose from they'd pick their favorite good
movies but they'd watch them. What they're given now is nothing but
lowest common denominator crap.

> softened up in order to widen its audience. The result, at best, is
> something like Twelve Monkeys, where you have a decent science
> fiction story acting as the backdrop for a love story or other such
> mainstream tale.

It would take a director like Jim Cameron or George Lucas who can say
"Fuck you, I'm making the movie *this* way." But I doubt even they would
take the risk.

> society. Under nothing but the most improbable of circumstances would
> any nation or military ever say "what we really need is a 15 meter
> tall samurai with a plasma katana to cleave down enemies at close
> range." and even if those circumstances did arise, any hard science
> fiction worth reading, would be remiss if he did not point out 100
> various and different ways to destroy this ridiculous contraption,
> without ever having to build an equally ridiculous war machine
> yourself.

Probably so. But then scientists felt that fast speed train travel (way
way back then) wouldn't work because people would suffocate from the
vacuum. What seems insane or worthless to one group may seem obvious to
a better informed group later on. No doubt mobile suits look nuts now,
in a military sense. In a hundred years our ancestors might be wondering
what took us so long to make them when we were making animated TV series
about them.

> And here is where everyone gets pissed at me, because I have to say
> that the two movies you just named are right up there with the second
> Patlabor movie on my list of the most boring and pointless anime
> films of all times. Sorry, but as far as I am concerned all the
> scenic pans across downtown Tokyo, and shots of faces starring
> blankly at you as characters deliver dialog looking directly "into
> the camera," prove exactly what I am saying about how terribly wrong
> animation can go if you try to direct it like a live action movie. I

Animation typically only works well in two forms - either fanciful nutty,
like Bugs Bunny cartoons or really out there surreal, or attempting to
mimic real life, like the better Disney movies or the two I mentioned, as
examples. Anything else tends to be a waste of time. Same goes for cg
effects. You either want them so spot on that nobody knows you ever did
them (like "Apollo 13" or the set extensions in "Gladiator") or as the
main spectacle in the scene (like the Star Wars trilogy or the Star Trek
series). Anything in between looks like they screwed up.

> Yes, Disney more or less invented the modern animated film, and the
> Chinese invented gunpowder, that does not mean I will choose a
> Chinese firearm over a German firearm. Certainly Japanese sci-fi
> cartoons have an annoying amount of requisite cliche, but they seem
> to be trying every step of the way to at least redefine, if not break
> those cliches, which is more than I can say for American animated
> film producers.

Ya, the Japanese fare better when trying to improve or push the
envelope. Americans see one thing that succeeds and then repeat it over
and over until the well is dry. Too risky to try and sell the board of
directors or the stock holders on the idea of breaking away from the
formula that was successful on the last 5 movies, one area where
capitalism sucks.


"Dude, it doesn't matter what day it is.  Max shits bigger than Kirk."

- StJohn, during "my superhero is better than your superhero" day

Alfred Urrutia - Digital Domain - 310.314.2800 x2100 - -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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