I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Legend

tn_legendI thought I’d seen Ridley Scott’s LEGEND back in the ’80s, but none of this shit seemed familiar so maybe not. I was never into the hobbity shit and to this day I have no clue why Mr. Scott thinks that unicorns are something that should be used in a medium other than wallpaper for a little girl’s room, so it makes sense that I wouldn’t have gotten around to this one before.

But Mr. Scott has made some good ones over the years and a couple of you once tried to convince me it was acceptable for adult men to watch this, plus they got it on a new blu-ray. So today was the day. The day of Legend.

The blu-ray has the director’s cut and the theatrical. I chose director’s, not because I wanted to see Scott’s original vision but because I thought that was the one that had the Tangerine Dream soundtrack. When I heard the music I thought oh, for some reason Tangerine Dream are getting uppity and doing a normal soundtrack on this one. Nope, turns out those guys were the studio’s idea, the original director’s cut is a Jerry Goldsmith score more like you’d expect in a normal movie.

(By the way, have you ever noticed that Tangerine Dream specializes in one word title movies? They did LEGEND, THIEF and SORCERER.)

mp_legendAnyway, LEGEND is the legend of this young gal named Princess Lilly (Mia Sara) who, as far as we see in the movie, has no responsibilities other than frolicking (this was before reality shows and sex tapes). She hangs out with some sort of a Peter Pan dude named Jack (Tom Cruise) who lives in the forest. She wants him to teach her how to talk to rabbits, but instead he shows her where the unicorns are. Unfortunately he’s too much of a sissy to prevent her from running over and touching a unicorn even though he knows that it may cause the end of the world. He just says “No, please!” and doesn’t even wave his hands in front of her let alone tackle her. She’s like 15, I think he should try when the world is at stake. I got some problems with this Jack character.

One thing I do like is that they don’t explain all the backstories and everything. They already know each other, we don’t have to see them meet, nobody’s surprised by magical elves and crap. But I have to admit that because it didn’t explain things I was a little confused, I thought Jack was supposed to be some sort of magic friend that she meets with, like the goth girl had Beetlejuice, Wendy had Peter Pan, Big Bird had Snuffleupagus or that white kid had Richard Pryor. But later “The Gump” (a shirtless little kid playing an adult) calls Jack “forest child,” so I guess he’s just supposed to be a feral kid, like Mowgli, Tarzan or Jason. (I wonder if Jason knows where the unicorns are? He might. I definitely think he speaks rabbit.)

The bad guy is called “Darkness” (Tim Curry). In my version they never show him until the last third or so of the movie, so he’s just a goofy lowered voice making evil speeches to a goblin in a big spooky cave type place. At the end, as you’ve seen in the photos, he’s a shirtless devil monster guy (an amazing makeup job by THE THING genius Rob Bottin), and just so he has something to do he tries to marry Lilly, the same gal as Jack (and Ferris Bueller) wants to marry. But mainly Darkness is not concerned about relationships, he has a plan to destroy all the light, and the way to do that obviously is to send a little goblin guy and a pig man to go find the two last unicorns and chop their fuckin horns off. I mean, I don’t have to explain this to you all. You know the science. You know about unicorn horns and their effect on the sunlight.

ridleyscott_unicornBecause Princess Lilly fucked up and touched unicorn (again, I blame Jack for this) they do indeed de-horn one of the beloved horses that blade runners dream about. But not both of them. So the movie is a quest for either the bad goblins to chop off the other horn or the good goblins to stop the bad goblins from chopping off the other horn. And they give Jack a sword so he can fight Darkness. But he never figures out how to swing the sword. He’s no Beastmaster.

In one sense this has all the flaws of every shitty fantasy movie that came out in the ’80s. Just like DRAGON SLAYER and THE DARK CRYSTAL the hero is a charisma-free limpdick. He’s so passive he can’t even stop the girl from touching the unicorn (I cannot emphasize this enough) and he only ever does anything when peer pressured by a bunch of little gnome guys, including one played by Billy Barty named “Screwball.” And as great of a monster as Darkness is, he is not exactly an active villain either. He literally stands in one room the whole time, sending a little goblin to do his dirty work. And the goblin is incompetent and counts on the help of a little pigman and another little person in armor who turns out to be a traitor. I mean, it’s straight up embarrassing that Jack can’t handle this threat. Hint: kick them, or put them in a bag.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that one of the two coolest things he does in the movie is kneel down in front of a unicorn, crying, and beg it to forgive him. In his defense he does come up with the cool way they kill the Darkness (bouncing sunlight off a series of reflective surfaces) which would’ve been a great climax to a breezy 80 minute movie.

Which is one of the other ways it’s like all the other shitty fantasy movies: the story farts along like a lazy fish half-trying to swim through mud. It has some cool ideas but no drive or momentum at all. In BEASTMASTER that’s because the producers wanted it to be longer and they padded all the scenes with shots that were supposed to be cut out. This is the exact opposite: the studio wanted it shorter so Scott added it all back in.

Really makes me appreciate CONAN THE BARBARIAN. From what I remember that’s one of the only fantasy movies of the era that has a great, active hero and an exciting, fast-paced story. It would be funny to see how Conan would deal with this adventure. I’m sure he would’ve enjoyed eating the pig man.

Some of these little-people-in-goblin-makeup-with-electronically-highered-voices are pretty cheesy, especially when there’s long scenes of them talking to each other and it’s obviously all lip-synched. But in the post LORD OF THE RINGS movie era it’s nice to see one like this, where it’s all real sets and people in costumes and makeup. I’m not against all the elaborate digital creations we got now, but it’s refreshing to see it all standing there in front of the camera and know it’s real. Even the snow is live on set.

Despite all the serious drawbacks I mentioned, there are ways that this truly does elevate the genre and stand out from the others. Mainly in the way you’d hope for from the guy who just directed ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER: the fucking thing looks amazing. Wikipedia says they modelled it on old Walt Disney movies, but to me it looks more like some kind of romantical fantasy paintings. Especially in the beginning before shit gets evil it’s these pretty forests full of flowers and toadstools, sunbeams and dandelion seeds floating in the air, or tiny snowflakes. Lots of wide shots of these fantastical locations and it turns out it was built on a giant soundstage, man-made trees with real plants growing around them, real birds and shit flying around. I had no idea.

And a couple cool monsters, not just Darkness but there’s some kind of a sea hag thing that comes out of the swamp, wacked out Crypt Keeper eyes staring, evil swamp titties hanging. I liked that crazy bitch.

The production value alone makes it unique, because most ’80s fantasy movies were low budget Italian productions shot in deserts and recycled castle sets. And this is the only one shot like a gorgeous art movie. There honestly is not another of this type of old fashioned fantasy movie that looks nearly as good as this one. Plenty that are more fun to watch, but not that are better to look at. I sure wish they could combine the two, but since they didn’t, at least this is still a notable movie for the achievements of the designers, builders, lighters and camera operators.

The director’s cut is about a half an hour longer than the theatrical, which is interesting because it seems like it should be about 40 minutes shorter. The theatrical transfer is also brighter because it comes from a better negative. But the transfer I watched looks good too in my opinion, a more grainy interpretation. Watching some of the shorter cut I did like the Tangerine Dream keyboard score, but I’m not sure I dig all the changes, such as the corny text at the beginning to explain about all stupid magic shit in the movie. It sounds worse when you put it in sentences.

Let’s be clear, as far as Ridley Scott movies go this is no ALIEN, as far as movies with “legend” in the title go this is no FIST OF LEGEND. It’s another movie that I didn’t quite enjoy but can definitely respect as a unique specimen, like a unicorn or a crazy swamp bitch. They don’t make ’em like this ever. I’d love to see a more entertaining movie that looked this good.

trivia: Indiana Jones stunt double and fellow Titan Books author Vic Armstrong is credited as “Unicorn Master.”

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 at 1:03 am and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

156 Responses to “Legend”

  1. oh snap, this did just come out on blu ray didn’t it? thanks for reminding me Vern

    I’ve been meaning to see this movie for ages, I’ve seen just parts of it as a kid and man did Tim Curry scare the crap out of me

  2. and Vern, I have a soft spot for 80’s fantasy movies, what can I say? so I can’t wait to finally get to see this in it’s entirety, now I’m just wondering whether to watch the theatrical or director’s cut first

    does this mean perhaps we can get a Never Ending Story review soon? (another movie that I love)

  3. and Vern, I know that you’re not a big fan of it, but Blade Runner is one of my top favorite movies of all time, God do I love the atmosphere in that movie

  4. shoot, I just realized I said “and Vern” twice

  5. In my opinion, fantasy and sci fi are all about the world the director creates, and in that respect Legend is the best fantasy movie ever. Much like Blade Runner’s the best sci fi movie ever. By the way, Vern, David “Tin Drum” Bennent was 19 when this movie came out, so you could say that it’s a man playing a child, not the other way around.

  6. I have a soft spot for LEGEND because it was the first movie I ever saw in the theater without adult supervision (I rode my bike there and everything!) and because Darkness is so fucking cool, but man, what a non-starter of a movie. It really is the BLADE RUNNER of fantasy, because it creates an astonishingly intricate environment for absolutely nothing of any interest to happen in. I can zone out and watch either of them every six or seven years or so but I don’t think I’ll ever actually enjoy the process. It’s like going to the museum: You’re glad you saw the pretty pictures, but you want to leave long before you’ve seen them all.

    Second movie I saw in the theater without adult supervision: THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE. Way better in my opinion.

  7. pegsman-

    If that’s true, wouldn’t it imply that video games are actually a better medium than film for sci-fi/fantasy? The designers of a game world can just let loose without having to worry about things like plot or characterisation (although I realise these things are still important in modern video games). In fact since a video game is nothing but CGI anyway, budget isn’t really a concern either.

  8. As a kid, the only thing I remember is being scared of Tim Curry – not just in this movie, but ANY other movie he was in, because of how scary he looked in this movie. I wish I saw Clue around the same time, that would have cured me.

    So i saw this again a few years ago, and sadly all I remember is a scene where a little person deflects bullets or something with a cast-iron skillet, complete with John Woo-esque diving, and the scene goes on comically long.

  9. I am always suprised that clips aren’t used of Cruise in gold miniskirt on comedy shows when he messes up, but society has decided that would be too cruel.

    Still waiting for Jason Swartzman and Emmy Rossum to sing Bryan Ferry’s Legend song for an MTV type award show within a giant girl’s Trapper Keeper-framed stage set recreation of the fantasy pollen forest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4hQg2yW1Rk

  10. Wasn’t that crazy swamp bitch played by Robert Picardo?

  11. Dave Grohl using his Tenacious D makeup as Darkness.

  12. Griff – three times. Since you pointed it out and all…

    Majestyk – a bit harsh on “Blade Runner”, aren’t you? I agree somewhat, especially with the Deckard stuff, but the Rutger Hauer scenes?

    I have yet to see a film with Tim Curry in it where he doesn’t ham it up more than a pig farm being hit by a tsunami of roast honey and mustard seeds. Of course, very often that’s a lot of fun (“It”, “Charlie’s Angels”) and very often it isn’t (“Congo”).

  13. Legend is a favourite of mine as well. I just love the dream like atmosphere it has.

    Mia Sara was incredibly hot in this. Especially liked the “transformation scene” where she turns dark and meets Curry for the first time.

  14. Vern, I think you would have been better off watching EXCALIBUR. It’s a more manly, action-oriented fantasy flick than LEGEND. Not quite as visually stunning but then LEGEND hasn’t got a young Hellen Mirren as a witch queen, either.

    Anyway, I haven’t seen Legend in a long time but, even as a kid, I remember thinking this fantasy world seemed small and confined due to the limited scope of the sets. Like the quest only required they walk to the next soundstage to reach the spooky caves. I also pitied anyone living in that world with allergies. Pollen flying everywhere.

    I also love BLADE RUNNER and ALIEN.

  15. Paul: Of course, all of Rutger Hauer’s scenes are awesome. But they make up, what? 11 minutes of the movie? That’s a lot of gorgeously atmospheric somnolence to make it through. I file BLADE RUNNER in the same category as, say, The Roots or the British OFFICE: easier to admire than enjoy.

  16. Felix: Like Vern said, Mia Sara was only 15 when this movie was shot. I’ll revise your statement for you: “Mia Sara sure was a precocious little tot in this, wasn’t she?”

  17. Also, Rutger Hauer’s scenes are near the end of the movie. To use Majestik’s analogy, it’s like going to a museum but waiting to see the exhibit you came to see last after having sat through pretty but boring art.

  18. As a kid, I recall this being magical looking film with a very pretty looking girl in it (but my number one childhood fantasy film crush is still Jennifer Connelly in LABYRINTH).

    I also remember being very bored watching it.

    I’ve been meaning to give this another shot, especially since I’ve grown to appreciate film production design more in my adult years. But the DVD version I saw on sale here was some old shitty, non-anamorphic dipped-in-gravel transfer, so I didn’t buy it.

    If nothing else, even the ones that are not entirely successful as films, Ridley Scott’s movies are always interesting experiences. From visual standpoint the very least. And the guy is just absolutely fascinating to listen in commentaries and behind-the-scenes documentaries.

    Guess I finally have to give in and invest into a BluRay player.

  19. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I can understand admiring a movie but being bored by it. Kubrick’s 2001 is like that for me, and Lang’s METROPOLIS. Both BLADE RUNNER and ERASERHEAD are two legitimate candidates to be considered admirable but boring movies, yet I’m enthralled by both of them. And anything by Tsai Ming-Liang. I think it might be the sound design of these movies that tips the balance for me and draws me into each film. I’d probably like BLADE RUNNER even more if there was even less plot and more droning city noise.

    Of course, my favorite television channel is the one that’s hooked up to a camera in the lobby of the building where I live. I could watch that thing all day. I have a high tolerance for nothing, I guess.

  20. I find ERASERHEAD oddly soothing. The whole movie sounds like an air conditioner, so it puts me right to sleep. It’s a strangely pleasant experience for a movie about a skinned goat fetus that makes a man have nightmares about mutant sperm.

  21. Sorry to say it but I will staunchly defend the theatrical cut of this film. It doesn’t meander and the TD score feels more in tune with what’s on screen, as opposed to Goldsmith’s bloated score (Sorry Jerry you’re a genius and all but this one was limp.). Oh yeah, Vern, the single word title theory doesn’t hold up for TD once you factor in the score for one of my favorite films, Near Dark.

    I will say this about “Legend”; when I used to work as a manager at Blockbuster Video, I would put this on all the time (instead of the stupid promo loop we were supposed to play) and every time some one would rent it, even if they couldn’t hear a stitch of audio. It’s an incredible looking film.

  22. As a fan of Goldsmith’s scores, who has somehow never gotten around to hunting up this one (I’ve only ever heard the Tangerine Dream score): how does it compare? Any Goldsmith fans?

  23. Hey Vern,

    I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for happy endings. Even if I might once in a while think that the bad guy is hot and should just for once, fucking win.

    I really did enjoy this movie. I watched it not to long ago and liked it as much now as I did then.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that jack really was a pussy and if he ever did marry lily she’d walk all over his ass from day one.

    And our villain could have played more of a role but i think it would have been hard for him to walk around. That head must have weighed fifty pounds. You just cant see the pulleys and wires in the back holding it up.

    And I loved the set. Beautiful fantasy set that you’re really not going to see any more. I half expected snow white and her animal friends to turn up and she’d start singing in her betty boop voice though.

    Still, I liked this one.

  24. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 1st, 2011 at 11:50 am

    This bored me shitless as a kid. And I always felt I watched Blade Runner to young to get it. I watched it in recent years and it bored me shitless. Gladiator, bored shitless, Kingdom of Heaven, shitless. I’m not even keen on Alien. I just put it down to me not liking anything other than Sir Ridley’s visual style.

  25. Street Hawk Jr.

    June 1st, 2011 at 11:57 am

    >By the way, have you ever noticed that Tangerine Dream specializes in one word title movies? They did LEGEND, THIEF and SORCERER.

    Ah, but on TV they don’t! STREET HAWK!

  26. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 1st, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I’ve never really admitted that about Scott. I feel a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I have a friend who would go berserk at me if I said I didn’t love Blade Runner or Alien. Fuck ‘im.

  27. You’re not alone, Ace. I love ALIEN, but that’s it. Even his brother has a better track record with me. At least Tony is rarely boring, whereas I have described Ridley’s work elsewhere on this sight as “handsome but inert.” I’ve learned to give his films a wide berth because I know they won’t engage me. They feel more like “productions” than “movies.”

  28. Oh wait, I kind of like BLACK HAWK DOWN, too. I always forget it exists, though, so it’s not like me and the movie are BFFs or anything.

  29. I realize that we’re in a dangerous, subjective area now, and I’ve failed here before, but I must say that I’m shocked to read what you guys have to say about Blade Runner. I can see that Scott films like The Duelists, Legend and Kingdom of Heaven aren’t everyones cup of tea, but when you come down on a masterpiece like Blade Runner like that I’m tempted to say that you haven’t understood it well enough to be allowed to be that harsh.

  30. I guess I have to say that I’m a fan of Ridley Scott, even though his body of work is really uneven.

    I think BLADE RUNNER is a moody, melancholic masterpiece. And although I do prefer ALIENS, ALIEN is terrific too. And the director’s cut of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is probably my third favorite Ridley film, even as it’s weighed down by Orlando Bloom.

    Then there are the really solid films that are not classic greats, but by no means bad either. BLACK HAWK DOWN, GLADIATOR and HANNIBAL, or one of his smaller off-blockbuster flicks like MATCHSTICK MEN, for example. Or the films where he’s more channeling his brother than making films that feel genuinely like Ridley Scott – namely BLACK RAIN and G.I. JANE. But they’re a lot of fun too.

    But then there are wet farts like ROBIN HOOD and BODY OF LIES. They look kind of nice, and I can sort of see where he’s going with those, but they’re just not very good. I didn’t even see A GOOD YEAR, so I can’t comment on its quality but I don’t know anyone who has liked that. I don’t know if the man is just getting old and disinterested in committing himself 100% anymore, but they’ve certainly been big misfires.

    And finally we have his less prestigious pictures that have sort of fallen through the cracks over the years, at least for me. LEGEND, THELMA & LOUISE, WHITE SQUALL, 1492 CONQUEST OF PARADISE, AMERICAN GANGSTER. Films that I should probably re-watch now, but my recollections of those has been solid “meh”. Not good, but not bad either. Films that I hope to have some big special editions of them as they’re more like films I’d be interest to hear Ridley talk about rather than actually watch.

    So, Ridley Scott is an odd director for me. I absolutely love a handful of his films, like some, and then have really no burning interest on the rest. Or even actively dislike a couple of them.

    Still, he’s a director who is absolutely a masterful craftsman with a great eye, and he’s a deep well of knowledge on making films. People carelessly throw a word like “visionary” around to describe whatever slick director happens to be hot this month. For me, Ridley Scott is a true visionary. Too bad either his vision has been misguided a few times, or the end results sometimes fall short of it. But his creative process is always worth watching.

    I’m absolutely fascinated by his upcoming film PROMETHEUS. I anticipate it with trepidation – will he be revitalized by returning to his ALIEN roots, or is it a colossal misfire? In either case, the film is a must-see. And more importantly, the Special Edition DVD/BluRay is no doubt a must-buy.

  31. pegsman: I’ve read the book, seen the movie four times in three different versions, listened to the commentary, and watched seven hours of special features. I get BLADE RUNNER as much as it can possibly be gotten. It’s still boring.

  32. Oh, and Mia Sara was 17 in Legend, so I guess it would have been okay to ask her if she wanted to see your unicorn.

  33. Majestyk; how can a movie about the meaning of life be boring? And even if you don’t like what it has to say about religion and politics it still has blood and guns and Joanna Cassidy’s tits in it!

  34. So you guys dislike Alien and Blade Runner, but you’re OK with Crank 2? OK then.

  35. Oh Jesus. Let’s just be all reductive and everything. That’s what this sight needs. Because it’s simply not possible for two people to disagree about one movie without it meaning that one of them is a complete idiot, right?

    She was 17 when the movie came out, 15 when it was shot.

  36. This review was entertaining and insightful. Thanks for writing it.

  37. There are no idiots here. And I’m sorry if you got the wrong vibe from me. I was just curious about your reasons for not liking a movie I love. Maybe I’m an idiot, I don’t know?

  38. It’s just not engaging to me. I find myself drifting off pretty much as soon as Deckard shows up. I have to force myself to pay attention, and I often like slow, atmospheric movies. Christ, I have a whole crate of Werner Herzog movies.

    I want to like it. Really. I don’t want to be the guy who doesn’t like BLADE RUNNER. But I’ve never enjoyed myself while watching it, which, you know, is kind of important in my opinion. I am not impugning its quality. It is clearly an amazing piece of work in many ways. I am stunned at the amount of thought that went into the tiniest elements of its creation. But it doesn’t hold my interest.

    Forgive me for delving into a larger issue, but are we all contractually obligated to like a movie just because its “good?” If we can all agree that it’s okay to like things that are “bad,” why not the reverse? If objective quality were the only criterion for enjoyment, then everyone’s favorite movie would be CITIZEN KANE.

    In conclusion, CRANK 2 ownz lol BLADE RUNNR is gay shud hav mor xxploshins Zak Snider 4 th@ remake!!!1!!

  39. Good answer. I guess we all have a list of movies we should like but doesn’t. I have the same problem with Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca and Schindler’s List, to name a few.

  40. I admire your bravery in admitting you aren’t into Blade Runner. I myself have been made fun of for not being able to enjoy Crank 2.

  41. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 1st, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Can you imagine what Total Recall would have looked like if Ridley Scott had directed it? Amazing. Would have been boring though.

  42. I used to hate Blade Runner, then i saw it recently and LOVED it. It seriously leapfrogged into my top 5 favorite films of all time, I was moved almost to the point of crying. And yes, I was under the influence of something so that might have contributed, but I seriously would not shut the fuck up about Blade Runner for two weeks straight afterwards. (the comments i put on the BR review page on this site are just the tip of the iceberg)

    But I do think that the fact that Scott keeps tinkering with the damn movie, and keeps claiming the “Deckard=a replicant” angle was his original intention WHEN IT TOTALLY RUINS AND NEGATES THE ENTIRE PREMISE for the sake of a cheap twist, kinda reeks of some George Lucas-Special Editioning. Also, Body of Lies wasn’t really THAT bad, but it seems like a film made by someone who doesn’t understand the concept of storytelling. (That sounds like a huge diss, but it’s true – it’s a weird, shapeless, meandering anticlimax of a movie).

    Oh, and I also don’t like the fact that he was bitching in some interview that the man tried to stop him from filming Robin Hood in some forest because “they were worried about saving some endangered black butterfly or something”. The world needs black butterflies more than it does shitty reboots of Robin Hood.

  43. Pegsman – if it’s any consolation, I seem to remember everybody was pissed at me when I reviewed the director’s cut of Blade Runner and said it was boring. I always liked it but at least on that viewing it had kind of gotten away from me. I like it more than Legend but they’re in the same category where I’m blown away by it on a technical level but wish it was more engaging to me in other ways.

    I actually kind of gave up on Ridley Scott after not liking Gladiator, but then I ended up liking American Gangster more than anybody else seems to. Some day I’m gonna go back and see some of the ones I missed, and even give Gladiator another chance.

    And Alien is one of my all time favorite movies. I wonder if they made 3 sequels to Blade Runner and none to Alien if more people would consider that his masterpiece.

  44. BLADE RUNNER fans and CRANK 2 fans need to come together. If I can change, and you can change, then everyone can change.

  45. Or maybe the world just needs a BLADE RUNNER film starring Jason Statham and directed by Neveldine and Taylor.

    Or maybe a CRANK film directed by Ridley Scott.

  46. I know you’re kidding, but…sure!

  47. Which brings us to the fact that there are both a sequel and a prequel to Blade Runner in the works. I don’t know about you, but I suddenly feel very, very tired…

  48. I never understood the appeal of Legend. I think part of this has to do with the fact that I was introduced to it in my late teens, early twenties and I think I kind of missed the period in my life when unicorns were cool (if that period ever existed, which I’m not claiming they did). Although, a lot of people I know swear by this movie. Of course, the first time they watched it was at much younger age. I will admit, however, that this film does not feel like Scott’s pandering to the studio. I truly believe that Ridley Scott was all into unicorns and forest people when he made Legend. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t that interested in Robin Hood when he made Robin Hood.

    Oh, and I’m kind of depressed that there’s so much dislike for Blade Runner. To each their own and all, but it makes me a little sad. I think I’ll go drink.

  49. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Majestyk: Have you ever seen BLADE RUNNER in a theater? That seems to make a difference to some viewers.

    Gilmore: You don’t know the half of Majestyk’s bravery: he’s our resident TRANSFORMERS fan.

  50. Wasn’t there talk about a sequel to Blade Runner back in the days when Arnold was the hottest thing in town?

  51. I’ve said this before on here, but I really dig movies that have impressive atmosphere and art direction, I love movies like Blade Runner, 2001, Eraserhead and The City of Lost Children (wish that one was on blu ray) because I can get into the atmosphere

    I guess I can understand why not everyone would be the same way, different strokes for different folks, but I do like the irony that I have ADHD and yet I’m one of the few people on here that can totally get into Blade Runner

    on a related note, possibly my favorite video games of all time are Silent Hill 1-3 because they have atmosphere that is totally unparalleled in video games and great stories and characters to boot, as actual video games they may be a mixed bag, but as pure experiences they’re great

  52. I just want to stress that BLADE RUNNER is in pretty much every conceivable way a superior film to TRANSFORMERS. But TRANSFORMERS makes me laugh. You can’t argue with a laugh.

  53. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I have a technical question about BLADE RUNNER. When the “final cut” version was released in theaters a few years ago (2007, I think), they used the phrase “the film that started it all” in trailers promoting the release.

    As much as I like the film, and as important as I think the film is, I can’t for the life of me figure out what it “started.” You can’t really credit the film with that darker, grittier version of science fiction – that would be ALIEN. And the science fiction/noir mash up didn’t exactly flourish into a real sub-genre.

    Is that just empty marketing lingo or am I missing something?

  54. ThomasCrown442

    June 1st, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    15 or not 15, Mia Sara was hot in this. There i said it.

  55. Yeah, I second an EXCALIBUR review.

    Oh, a BLACK HAWK DOWN review would be good too.

  56. First time poster, but loooong time reader. Love your stuff Vern, and love a lot of you commenters, Majestyk and co.

    Yes, it took the mention of Bladerunner to finally get me to type some words. I can totally respect what naysayers might say about Bladerunner, and 2001 for that matter, but sweet my oh my…..they’re movies that somehow hit me on some level that I find hard to put into words. Yep, the irony that they are the reason I decide to post.

    Both of those movies just communicate to me on a level that is beyond any sort of reckoning that I can fathom……going back to having watched them at, well really, too young an age…circa 13/14. Bladerunner…..while I’m watching it, I’m aware that nothing much is happening, and that I’m even slightly bored at times, but when watched in the right circumstances, the atmosphere is just simply all consuming. I am there. I am in the environment that Scott has created. And that is something that so few movies I have ever watched has allowed me to do. Like mentioned above, I would in many ways be even happier with LESS story, and just with a camera left in one of the busy streets, simply observing the incredible world that has been created. I never would want to watch any extra’s on how this was all created, for fear that it would damage the flawless mystique that has been created.

    2001 has a simlilar yet different effect. If possible at all, it hits me on an even more primal level. There’s something so deeply sad about that movie….I can never seem to put my finger on it properly. The whole film itself, but primarily the Discovery segment of the film…..there’s something so devastating about that whole block of the film, and it’s surroundings, that just fully absorbs every microbe of my being when I watch it, that I can only watch it, under such specific circumstances, once every few years. Those circumstances are: by myself, preferably late at night, no interruption, no distractions. For a film that has such a reputation for being ‘cold’, I find it affecting and involving to the point of making a mockery of all other films. Most, if not all Kubrick’s films somehow do this to be on some level, but none to the degree of 2001. Something specifically about the character of Bowman in particular, just captivates my ass. (had to put a ‘my ass’ in there, to lighten the mood of this increasingly lengthy post). There’s something devastating about his situation, and his silent and dignified attempts to survive……programmed as an astronaut to remain calm against all uncertainty, but faced with a situation so out of the ‘scope’ of what his training could ever have allowed for…..I dunno, it really gets me. And Keir Dullea doesn’t get enough credit for it.

    Anyway, I’ll leave it there for now. Love the site, Vern….keep it up. And all you guys.

  57. Jareth, the vague statement is probably a marketing gimmick, but I think the sub-genre of science fiction film noir is more prevalent than you give it credit. Even before Blade Runner, Soylent Green had elements of film noir. After Blade Runner you can seen noir elements in sci fi films like Dark City, Minority Report, Gattaca, and even some of the Matrix. So, it probably didn’t start it “all” (whatever “all” is), but I think there’s a sizable number of future noir films that wouldn’t exist without Blade Runner. Hell, my first introduction to Blade Runner was a parody of the genre on the children’s cartoon Tiny Toons. Similarly, my first introduction to Igmar Bergman was a parody of his movies on the cartoon Animaniacs. Not to pull the “back in my day” card, but I think we had smarter cartoons back in the nineties.

  58. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 1st, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Only vaguely related due to fantasy elements, but this really makes me want Vern to review the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies.

  59. Wilhelmet I feel the same way, there’s two moments in particular that always give me serious chills and goosebumps every time I see them and they’re thematically a bit similar

    *SPOILERS* just in case….

    Rutger Hauer’s “tear drops in the rain” speech and Hal 9000 begging for his life and saying he’s feeling afraid (and of course Daaaaaaaisy, Daaaaaaaaisy)

    those two scenes are just amazing

  60. This review was aces. As someone who’s always dislike this movie It’d be amiss to say I disagree with many of Vern’s points. The hero is too much of a damn sissy to make the movie engaging. This was always it’s main problem. Brilliant make up job on Curry though yes; doesn’t need to be said again by this point. It’s so great though that it’s a point that must be reiterated. Think of how long ago this was and how that make up has a lot more presence than most special effects jobs of today.

  61. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    RBatty: Thanks for clarifying that for me. Your examples make sense. There’s something supple, languid and a bit narcotic about BLADE RUNNER that I don’t get from DARK CITY or THE MATRIX, but you’re right: they all share a certain aesthetic, sort of a decaying future. I guess BRAZIL would be like a manic-depressive BLADE RUNNER in that respect.

    Until I read your post, the only “all” that I could figure BLADE RUNNER was “starting” was all the different versions of BLADE RUNNER itself. And endless bitching about whether or not the protagonist is a robot.

    Also, to the guys mentioning EXCALIBUR fondly: have you seen it recently? It’s really goofy. Not necessarily bad, but goofy nonetheless.

  62. SirVincealotThere

    June 1st, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    One man’s boring is another man’s trip. I first saw 2001: ODYSSEY when I was 12 and even though I understood nothing (not even the HAL stuff) I was mesmerized enough to watch it every single time it played on TV after that – which was a lot for a teenager who didn’t speak English. Ditto ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST – 30 minutes of prologue in which the only thing that happens is Harmonica shooting down 3 dudes and all of 5 (!) lines of dialogue.

    God help me I am contrarily bored by most “fast-paced” movies: tons of shit is thrown at the screen but all of it meaningless. I watched TRUE LEGEND while doing laundry, answering e-mail, updating Windows on my laptop . . . all that constant barrage of action left me cold. And I love kung-fu movies!

    LEGEND was *the* fantasy movie until LORD OF THE RINGS – those few of us who saw it in the theaters were left speechless (it didn’t do well commercially. At all.) WILLOW had no edge, KRULL look a little cheap, BEASTMASTER was wayyyyy cool but *really* cheap and EXCALIBUR – one of my very favourite and probably the reason I pursued an education in filmatism – was not really fantasy. Indeed, LEGEND was the visual companion to those afternoon serial we had grown up with SINBAD, CLASH OF THE TITANS, ARGONAUTS but done with unmistakable class.

    And Vern, I think I misread but LORD OF THE RINGS is largely practical. They built Hobbitton, Rivendell (they made actual trees for the departure scene) a huge chunk of Helm’s Deep, etc. Much digital trickery, for sure but you would be amazed how much of it was real and there for the actors to interact with. . .

  63. EXCALIBUR=goofy? That’s Ok by me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  64. Legend is not a good film. It should only be watched for Tim Curry and even then you should feel free to just limit yourself to watching his slow savoring reaction when Mia tell’s him she wants to do whatever evil deed he was about to do (haven’t seen it in long enough to remember what). The rapturous expression that passes over his face takes about 30 seconds and looks like he’s getting some unseen head offscreen. Brilliant.

  65. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    EXCALIBUR: A dream to some, a nightmare to others.

    “Goofy” isn’t the right word. Maybe “clunky” is closer to what I was thinking, or “awkward”.

  66. Wilhelmet – thanks for posting, good to hear from you. You bring up an interesting point – 2001 is probly slower-paced than BLADE RUNNER and most would consider its characters colder and less relatable even than Deckard, but it’s one of my all time favorites.

    I feel bad though that now it seems like everybody hates BLADE RUNNER. This has not been my experience ever. I also might disagree with my criticisms of it next time I watch it. It’s definitely one of those ones where even if I don’t like it that much I’ll probly watch it every several years to see if I like it better. Like Tobe Hooper’s EATEN ALIVE, but better.

    Vince – Good point, it’s true that the Lords of the Ringses are more practical and less digital than everything they make now. But it was the one that introduced the digital armies fighting each other, the great motion capture of Gollum, and lots of digitally enhanced shots where the camera zooms all around and through big mines where monsters are mining shit and wizards are wizarding on top of castles and moths and talking giant eagles and shit are flying around doing magical business everywhere. That stuff all evolved into familiar types of digital landscapes and goblins and shit that we see in the Harry Potters, the Narnias, the Other Children’s Fantasy Books, Thor, Green Lantern and all this stuff now. They do amazing things with it and I’m all for it but also it was refreshing to see a movie like LEGEND that’s even more visually impressive and you know it’s all really there in front of the camera.

    By the way I was kinda sad to see part of Two Towers on tv and realize that Gollum looks like a special effect. I remember at the time it seemed almost like a real dude. It doesn’t take long to forget what seemed incredibly groundbreaking the first time you saw it.

  67. Weren’t the digital armies introduced in THE MUMMY?

  68. Wasn’t Soldier a “sequel” to Balde Runner? (Sorry, my typo made me laugh so it’s staying) I saw it years ago on vhs and seem to remember being very dissapointed…

    Legend was the reason I ended up as a professional modelmaker, after seeing a picture of Tim Curry in full makeup, drinking a beer – I guess I was about 12, and it was one of the first times I got to see the behind the scenes and got me interested in the making of films.

  69. Hey Vern, thanks for the welcome! Good to finally be a ‘committed’ member…..been a follower since back in the AICN days. The amount of people I’ve directed to your Transformers 2 review, as an example of ‘art’…. ; )

    Hey Griff, yeah those two moments are pretty sweet indeed.

    If I had to pick one of my many fave moments from either film….(and this could change on a MINUTE by minute basis):

    2001

    For some reason, when Dave and Frank are doing the system check on the electronics of the ‘faulty’ Satellite unit that they’ve had to bring in, on HAL’s advice. When Dave is finished going through each circuit (in a way that STILL looks modern and futuristic!), and he says, in typical Dave composure, “Well HAL, I’m damned if I can find anything wrong with it.” You just know that for someone like him, and his training, who always remains calm, to even have slipped the ‘damned’ in there, his composure has come as close to ‘slipping’ as is possible. But it’s only because he fully realizes in that moment, the full magnitude of what they could be dealing with. The way he and Frank look at each other……you know that they know they’re in some serious shit…..but they have to play it ‘cool’ with HAL, because the only thing that could probably make their situation worse is HAL knowing that they know they’re deep in shit. I just love that…..how so much is given, with so little.

    Also, when Frank gets the Birthday Message from his parents……just fantastic. The most sterile, sad and utterly devoid of warmth Birthday ever. “A little lower please HAL.”

    The constant low-level hum of electronics, in every scene.

    And of course (I was never going to be able to pick out one moment, was I), when Dave is locked out of the Discovery in the Pod. This is the continuation of the first moment I mentioned, but here crucially, Dave’s composure finally slips, and you can see what a big deal it is for him. The absolute almost smugness of HAL’s response when Dave says he’ll go in the emergency airlock:

    Dave: “Ok HAL, I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.”
    HAL: “Without your space helmet, Dave, you’re going to find that rather difficult.”

    Also, the fact that Dave had not noticed that he hadn’t brought his helmet with him, shows how distressed he really was on the inside. Maybe I’m looking into it too much (I don’t think that’s possible with a Kubrick film), but you can see him grappling with raw fear/rage and the ‘remain calm/control’ of his training……it’s just something else: “HAL. ……HAL. ……………………HAL.” Deep breath……deep breath…………deep breath.

    “Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.”

    BAM. How do you respond to that?? From a computer?? That’s about as final as death itself. Just awesome.

    Ok, to be honest, I find it hard to even entertain a favourite Bladerunner moment after that. Maybe a separate post would be more ‘right’.

  70. a small moment I love in 2001 is after Bowman shuts down Hal that pre-record message plays telling him what the REAL goal of his mission is (to find the big Monolith)

    it’s a cool moment because up until that point the Discovery stuff doesn’t seem related to all the monolith stuff, when the connection is revealed it’s a great “a-ha” moment

  71. Now Bladerunner is a different game. Interesting that you mention the degree of ‘relatability’ (is that a word?) to Deckard, Vern…..because it’s something that seems to come up quite a lot. I’ve never had a big problem with that really. The guy is essentially an asshole, who has to rethink being an asshole.

    The way he speaks to Rachel, once he knows she’s a replicant, how insensitive he is to her about her ‘memories’ of her mother, and the spider, and all that…..he’s such a prick. But she’s a machine, so why not, he figures. But that’s, for me, where the seeds of his ‘maybe I shouldn’t be such a prick’ are sown. This, of course, reaches it’s full conclusion with the Roy Batty chase and death, where he finally evolves to a level of ‘unprickness’.

    I don’t know how much more compelling and relatable a movie could be to be honest!?!

    So yeah, favourite moments?

    The first one that comes to mind is the aftermath of Deckard’s killing of Zhora. The haunted look on his face, as he walks through the broken glass up to her body. His face is literally white, and his eyes are sunken and dark. It seems almost impossible to think that there was a time that Harrison Ford could be so good and committed as an actor. Without saying anything, you fully ‘get’ the toll that this is taking on him as a person/being (I’ll leave that decision to you).

    The next one that comes to mind, is when he’s being chased by Batty, who crashes his head through the bathroom wall. Deckard is trying frantically to take that pipe out, for a weapon……and in that moment, you can see just how desperate he is to stay alive. Even Batty is compelled to comment on it! “That’s the spiriiiiiiiit!!!!” Just fantastic.

    Batty’s moment with Tyrell is just about as epic as it gets. I always wonder if Tyrell knew instantly that he was fucked. I think he must have, but the way it plays out is just fantastic.

    Which I suppose would bring you to the 2007 directors cut. Scott is a lot less guilty of ‘tinkering’ than other certain directors……but why mess with that awesome line “I want more life, Fucker.”?? It’s just perfect. Don’t touch that sh*t Ridley, just don’t touch it. And I flat out refuse to acknowledge his comments on what Deckard is or is not. Flat out refuse. I’m actually surprised how affective that refusal has been….I can still watch the film without that ‘revised info’ affecting the film. Just……..don’t, Ridley, do some work on Prometheus.

  72. Very true Griff, and the look on Bowman’s face when it starts playing is priceless! His breathing stops…..huh??

  73. that sequence in Blade Runner when Deckard takes off in the Spinner with Edward James Olmos and they fly through the city is flat out incredible, one of the best special effects sequences ever done, it actually gives me a slight feeling of vertigo

    the Vangelis music is a big part of what makes it great, I got super pissed off when I tried to watch the theatrical cut and learned that that was one of the scenes with the narration, totally ruins the movie, I stopped watching the theatrical cut after that

  74. Wilhelmet, I see the scene between Tyrell and Batty as a religious parallell, Tyrell being god and Batty man kind. I guess we’ve all asked why we have to die, and if there really was an almighty being behind it all, why is he such an asshole? Batty kills god, and all bets are off. Which make the last lines in Deckard’s now removed voice over qoute profound. I don’t have the quote here, but he basically says that none of us know how much time we have. Which is a bit better than knowing you’re going to die in four years, right?

  75. I’m surprised no one has mentioned The Princess Bride yet. If Rob Reiner had been a little more preoccupied with visuals it would certainly go straight to the top of my fantasy list. A lot of good directors seem to forget that the look of a fantasy movie is almost as important as the story. Take Ridley’s first movie, The Duelists, you can summon up the movie in one sentence, but it looks so good that you can frame every picture and hang it on you’re living room wall. Movies are after all a visual medium (unless you’re Lars von Trier).

  76. Hey pegsman….holy cow, that’s one hell of a take on it, and makes a lot of sense. So, with that in mind, what is it that you think makes Batty ‘come good’ (for want of much better words) in the end, when he saves Deckard? And does that give Deckard any more symbolism, with all of that in mind?

  77. Wilhelmet said, “The next one that comes to mind, is when he’s being chased by Batty, who crashes his head through the bathroom wall. Deckard is trying frantically to take that pipe out, for a weapon……and in that moment, you can see just how desperate he is to stay alive. Even Batty is compelled to comment on it! “That’s the spiriiiiiiiit!!!!” Just fantastic.”

    Not only is Deckard desperate to stay alive, perhaps he is feeling alive for the first time. A thought that gives more resonance to Batty’s line, “That’s the spiriiiiiiiit!!!!” As though he were purposefully waking Deckard up. The irony being that the prey is never more alive than that last moment between the teeth of the hunter.

    Having said that, I’ve never ascribed to Deckard as a replicant. There is more dramatic resonance to the notion that this spiritually shut down human is being taught the value of life by a group of replicants that are more alive than he. That irony is lost if he is also a replicant. He represents a society that could conceivably be eclipsed by a created race if they don’t wake up to their own existence.

  78. Wilhelmet – I feel Batty “becomes good” when he saves Deckard, because as Terrell says – the new Nexus models are “More Human than Human”. I guarantee you Deckard would not have done the same for him. That’s the cool thing about Blade Runner – it really ONLY works if you understand Batty is the tortured anti-hero/hero, and Deckard is the “bad guy”. Looking at it through a traditional perspective makes it really unsatisfying.

    And re: Soldier being a “sequel” – I think all they did was throw in one of the cars in a junk pile and someone made a reference to the Gates of Orion or whatever Batty said in his last speech. Which seems more like an in-joke than a “sequel” or “sidequel” or whatever the hell they were saying. The funny thing is, if Kurt Russell’s character was named Roy Batty (Remember, Batty and Zhora were Special Ops warriors i think) and the rest of the movie was the same (but billed as a prequel – a “Batty Rising” if you will) it really would have worked like gangbusters. Soldier would have explained him turning on his masters, learning compassion, understanding humanity, etc. etc..

  79. Here’s a pet notion of mine: I’ve always entertained the idea that BLADE RUNNER is a sort of sequel to ALIEN or, at least, that they could occur in the same universe. The androids of Alien could be earlier models of BR’s replicants. Also, the two films share some technological similarities. Notice the graphic in front of Ripley when the ship is landing on the haunted planet is the same as the graphic in Castillo’s spinner as it ascends into the city’s upper levels.

    Now, granted, I know the dates at the front of each film don’t match up for this theory to work, but if you can set aside that minor detail it’s a fun way to look at both films a little differently. And also entertain the fantasy of a sequel with a Xenomorph loose in Deckard’s Los Angeles. How amazing would that be?

  80. And then LEGEND is happening completely in Deckard’s unicorny dreams. Which were implanted by the scientists in TOTAL RECALL.

  81. . . . Who are taking the drugs from A SCANNER DARKLY. Yep.

  82. I know I am late to the party on this one, but I never liked LEGEND. I saw it on TV a couple of times as a kid and I was drawn in because of the visuals, but always found it to be frustratingly disappointing. I have tried to watch it again more recently and I couldn’t sit through it.

    It is interesting to hear how split this talk back is on Ridley Scott and BLADE RUNNER. I think both sides make a number of good points. Ridley is not a great story teller, but he is a master of stunning visuals and atmosphere. He excels at creating foreign worlds on film that are pure fantasy or transporting us to a time and place that only exists in history books. His attention to detailed may be unrivaled. In ALIEN & BLADE RUNNER he created worlds that felt real and complete. His work on period pieces like GLADIATOR and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN also highlight his ability to craft extremely detailed worlds on film. However, I do think that he is often so busy going of over every little detail of the world he is trying to create that he overlooks other important details like a clear and coherent narrative, character development and pacing.

    I personally love BLADE RUNNER, but I can understand why many people including Roger Ebert don’t like it. BLADE RUNNER is one of the most visually ambitious film ever made and has been a great influence on a number of film makers, but it is a flawed film. There are parts that don’t work, and I am all for symbolism and ambiguity but BLADE RUNNER demands a lot of its audience. However, I can over look its flaws because almost ever frame of the film is so visually striking and/or interesting.

    Also, I know it has already got some love on this thread, but I want to give BLACK RAIN some recognition as one of Ridely’s better films. In it Mr. Scott successfully applies his visual flair to a pretty basic fish out of water cop movie and really elevates the film.

  83. I think that’s why Scott keeps tinkering with BR. At the back of his mind is the thought, “If I just had this one to do over again.”

    Part of the charm of BR for me are the apparent “flaws.” Those flaws actually raise so many questions in the viewer and then to weigh the various versions just expands the questions. It’s all endearing to me and I love the opportunities to explore the film in so many ways. I can’t think of another film with this many versions and each one gives a slightly different flavor to the overall story. Good times.

    Also, thanks to Wilhelmet for getting this conversation back on track.

  84. It’s interesting to me that in the favorite 2001 moments posts, we’ve talked about the HAL section of the film only. Most of my favorites are there too. But damn, if the first two acts don’t set up that part in an amazing way (duh). Just thinking about the opening edits of the landscapes makes me feel like I’m watching consciousness appear in the ape-men. The revelry in society’s technological progress in the second part seems creepily like our own world until a catastrophe strikes. I love that there are so many moments that communicate so much that I can’t imagine being communicated in any other art form, it is so fully a FILM.

  85. Daryll, presumably that’s down to the Giger design work. Was just checking IMDB to see if there was anything else interesting he may have worked on, and there’s something called KILLER CONDOM. Anyone seen that? Worth tracking down?

  86. KILLER CONDOM is pretty great, and way less campy than you’d assume given the title. It’s a German film set in New York right before the Disneyfication, so it’s got this bizarrely tone deaf take on the dying days of Times Square sleaze. It also stars a fat, bald, gay detective, so I’m kind of surprised none of us have ever brought it up in our ongoing search for gay badasses.

    So yeah, track it down. Absolutely.

  87. Darryll, BR has a number of really interesting ideas and questions in it about humanity and the meaning of life. It is part of the reason I love the film. Also, the final cut version of the film may be the most stunning film ever released in the HD disc format (HD-DVD, Blu-ray).

    I think my only problem with BR is how miss used Harrison Ford is in it. How is it possible to make Ford (in his prime as a movie star) so boring and uncharismatic. I think the movie would have been more powerful if we liked Deckard more.

  88. Also, back to LEGEND type movies, I hope Vern reviews WILLOW. I think it still holds up in many ways and of the pre-dark side George Lucas creations, though it’s not as fully formed as STAR WARS, I enjoy it more than the INDIANA JONES flicks, and I think Val Kilmer as Madmartigan is a better version of Han Solo (Han Solo never cross-dressed to get away from a giant husband who’s wife he was porking). After showing it to my little brothers, they commented on how much cooler it was to have little people play little people instead of the fake hobbits in LORD OF THE RINGS. The only thing that really irks me in it is the un-funny brownies who seem to have been inserted for comic relief too late to write jokes for them.
    And another thing, fake hobbits, digital Gollum, Balrog, eagles, armies, swooping cameras, an Aragorn/Arwen/Eowyn love triangle, Gimli cracking jokes about being short, swelling musical score for entering a digital set, lighting at night that comes from the ground up, filming Smeagol’s backstory but entirely cutting out Tom Bombadil, starting the film with narration that takes the mystery out of the meaning of the ring, all kinds of story alterations from the book like making the character arc of Aragorn as Strider only last for a scene, pulling the cheap audience trick of making it look like the Nazgul are about to stab the hobbits in their beds when actually they are in the wrong building, the wizard battle between Gandalf and Saruman, etc.,etc., were all Peter Jackson’s contributions to the source material and I think he would still be in New Zealand making some movie about two girls kissing and cutting themselves if he hadn’t had one of the most complex, resilient, and fully-formed works of 20th century literature to film. How he got funding for that and good people to work on it are laudable to me, but not the filmmaking choices. No amount of weight loss is going to change that. But hopefully it makes him feel better.

  89. Darryll: “Having said that, I’ve never ascribed to Deckard as a replicant. There is more dramatic resonance to the notion that this spiritually shut down human is being taught the value of life by a group of replicants that are more alive than he. That irony is lost if he is also a replicant. He represents a society that could conceivably be eclipsed by a created race if they don’t wake up to their own existence.”

    Talk about hitting the jackpot. I’ve never been able to put it so concisely, but I completely agree with this, and what you had mentioned just earlier about Deckard being truly alive for possibly the first time. But yeah, that paragraph of yours just there, that’s the good as far as I’m concerned. Even in the intervening years when Scott has said himself that Deckard was a replicant (stop it Ridley…just…just stop it), I never listen. As you describe it above, it has an immense amount of resonance, that just wouldn’t be there if what Scott said were to be true. That is unless he was a replicant that was so good at being human, that it had become a jaded synthetic human who had no feelings and personal worth……..which, while interesting, I can’t imagine Tyrell thinking it was worth it. Unless he was really bored.

    Love the idea you mention about Alien and Bladerunner being related, also. I always noticed the computer screen graphics being the same for the Purge sequence….also, alot of the background electronic noises are the same for the two films….definitely that slow whirring noise in Deckards apartment.

    Neal2zod, love the angle of looking at Deckard as the bad guy. It makes complete sense really……I think it’s my 80’s/early 90’s childhood that somehow just completely stops me from being able to see Ford as anything but the good guy….to the point that it will actively make excuses for any potential dubiousness of character shown by the characters he portrays.(Mosquito Coast a prime example)

    Which brings me to your last comment Charles. I think my judgement with Ford is probably clouded, as mentioned above, as I think it’s one of his best performances. He’s such a non-entity in the film, I think it works completely. (yes, this is probably a running example of what I said about the capability of my mind, when it comes to Ford). I really do think he’s great in it. Misused? Possibly…..but it’s a completely different performance to anything else that he’s done……and I guess I’m just suffering from a lack of imagination, because I literally can’t imagine how else I would want him in it.

  90. Jek, totally agree about the rest of 2001. That first stretch for the Dawn of Man…..I couldn’t even guess how long it goes on for. Rationally, my brain says it can’t be more than 20 minutes….maybe less, maybe more. But it exists in my memory as something much longer. Much longer. I don’t know how Kubrick does that…..I think a lot, if not all of his movies have a very good sense of ‘time being spent’ somewhere.

    Eyes Wide Shut is quite similar…..that film, while only about 2 hours long, I remember after seeing it, feeling like I’d spent the whole night in the theatre. In a good way. Whatever way he does it, he was a master at somehow involving you in the picture….the Shining, Clockwork, etc. Which is ironic, as most of his critics (apparently there are some) seem to pick on his movies for being ‘uninvolving’ or ‘inhuman’. I find his work deeply human. It just so happens that he sometimes focused on the parts of humanity that are less than savory, I guess.

  91. Believe it or not, but when it came out KILLER CONDOM was some kind of a prestige project in Germany, because it was a.) not a RomCom, like 99,8% of every German movie was at that time, b.) was riding the at that time very popular “zany bad taste humor” wave, c.) was based on a comic by Ralf König, whose popularity exploded after the movie version of his DER BEWEGTE MANN became a huge hit and turned Til Schweiger from soap opera to movie star and c.) they somehow managed to convince Giger to design a laboratory for this movie.
    It didn’t made much money and despite having some well known (sometimes even character) actors in it, nobody really talks about this movie anymore.

  92. I just realized that in many ways BLADE RUNNER and the LOTR books are very similar. Both should be admired for their craft and the detail that went into the making of them, but all in all they are fucking boring.
    Yes, I said it. I gave up reading LOTR somewhere at the beginning of the 2nd book. I appreciate how much detail Tolkien put into his books, to build the world of Middle Earth for the reader, but after the 20th 30 pages long description of the way the Hobbits walked, including every single leaf on every single tree left and right from it, plus another song they sang, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I wanted to know how the story progresses and not how the smoke out of Aragorn’s pipe looked.

  93. With regards to whether or not Deckard is a replicant:

    I think this question is similar to whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio is still dreaming at the end of Inception. In both instances a definitive answer of yes or no is reductive and kind of boring. The real question that people should ask is what is the purpose of leaving these questions unanswered/ambiguous. From there you can discuss questions of perception and the essence of humanity. Looking at the why these films chose an ambiguous ending leads to more interesting discussion rather than shutting down the conversation with a simple yes or no.

  94. Once again, completely agree Batty.

    When the credits rolled on Inception, I was surprised people were even asking. The answer didn’t matter…..it was only the question. If that makes sense. I couldn’t give a monkey if it was a dream or not, especially with a movie as dense as Inception…..really, what difference would it make, there had been so many layers up to that point, that adding another on top would be inconsequential.

    Bladerunner the same…..it just doesn’t figure into it for me. When watching it, I love the idea that the question exists….but I don’t need to know the answer. (you hear that Ridleyyyy??) The answer doesn’t need to exist. Like you say, the question is the gateway, that’s all that matters.

  95. (also, if I’m honest, I don’t believe Ridley when he says that when he was making it, that he thought of Deckard as a replicant. I just don’t buy it. Not one bit. I don’t think the Scott who made Bladerunner would have had the discipline to keep such a ‘secret’ so well hidden, from a visual and graphical sense. I don’t mean that as an insult, anything but. Scott of 1982 was a god. But I don’t buy that he wouldn’t have given a few clues (beyond the unicorn dream) to drop a few crumbs. I could be wrong, and if so, I’m cool with that. I’m definitely not trying to start a debate/discussion on it, so please don’t take me up on it. Like Batty said…..it doesn’t matter either way.)

  96. I’m also a BLADE RUNNER non-lover. I saw it first at the movies when I was twelve and I guess I was expecting Indiana Solo, but got something quite different. And I’ve never really recovered, even though I have the 400 disc edition. I like the extras!

    It is like nothing else, though and Roy Batty is fantastic, but if I had the choice, I’d watch ALIENS or, like others before me, the Director’s Cut of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

    Strange though, I’ve read and enjoyed all of Philip K Dick’s books.

  97. CJ- Reading your description of Tolkien’s books made me laugh. I can sympathize with what you’re saying, I tried to read The Hobbit too young, but enjoyed it later, and it’s not as dense as the other books. At least you quit while the quitting was good; the last 100 pages or so of Return of the King is all about everyone feasting and sire-ing and saying goodbye after destroying the ring. I guess my main point with contrasting the movies to the book is that I feel the credit for “world-building” or whatever you want to call it should go entirely to Tolkien, I mean he invented the elven language for crying out loud.

  98. Wilhelmet & RBatty024, you both make a good points. I think Deckard being a replicant supports many of the ideas and questions about humanity the film poses. For instance there is the more obvious questions about what the definition of humanity is. Do you define it in the physical sense or a spiritual sense? Are you human because of your physical being or does your spirit or soul make you human. Also, as humans we are flesh and blood but in many ways we are still programmed liked a machine. We are all born with instincts and hormones that will both effect our behavior and decisions in life. Deckard could have passed as human, but he never was. He was well designed to be believably human not only to others but to himself, but he lacked a soul. At the end of the film Deckard’s lack of humanity is on display in contrast to the actions of Roy Batty. Deckard could never do what Roy did and he cannot truly feel Roy’s pain because he in incapable. Decker is a lesser being, and incapable of displaying that type of humanity.

  99. “Yes, I said it. I gave up reading LOTR somewhere at the beginning of the 2nd book. I appreciate how much detail Tolkien put into his books, to build the world of Middle Earth for the reader, but after the 20th 30 pages long description of the way the Hobbits walked, including every single leaf on every single tree left and right from it, plus another song they sang, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I wanted to know how the story progresses and not how the smoke out of Aragorn’s pipe looked.”
    THIS. I made it a bit farther than you did (just after the Battle of Helm’s Deep) before I gave up. For a fantasy adventure story Tolkien was really lacking in describing anything ADVENTUROUS from what I recall, with fight scenes relegated to a few sentences, but random forest clearing description and songs given PAGES of detail. Plus, it’s hard to feel the sense of urgency or peril with the quest when in the books, Frodo waits around FIFTY YEARS for Gandalf to come back before deciding to set off on his own. Also, Tom Bombadil is a bizarre (albeit powerfull) weirdo who adds nothing to the story whatsoever and is just a baffling detour for me.
    I’m looking forward to THE HOBBIT, but I do wonder how Jackson’s going to approach it in terms of tone given he’s basically doing a prequel to LOTR, which was darker and more tense than THE HOBBIT generally was.
    Also, you know how everyone’s always asking why they didn’t just get the eagles to fly them over Mount Doom to drop the ring in? Well there’s a more pressing questions…why didn’t Elrond do something when Aragorns ancestor wouldn’t toss it in, instead just letting him walk away with it and then spend the next several centuries banging on about how much men are a lot of fuckups?

  100. I’m afraid I’m a shameless corporate whore when it comes to LEGEND; I’ve seen both versions and the studio approved version is the only one I have any time for. I’m sorry but LEGEND is all about the Dream.

  101. I prefer Willow to Lord of The Rings simply because I spent NINE hours with the characters in LOTR and I didn’t like a single one as much as I liked Madmartigan after 10 minutes.

  102. Good point neal2zod Madmartigan fuckin rules.

  103. Jareth Cutestory

    June 2nd, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Charles: I’m glad they went with Boring Ford in BLADE RUNNER. I’m not sure the movie would have been better if he used that nerd voice from the stripper scene throughout the whole movie. Not liking Deckard, yet finding him compelling, is a huge part of my enjoyment of the film.

    I think the film’s big weakness is Morgan Paull’s performance, and he seems to be going for something more animated. For my tastes it doesn’t sit well with the rest of the film, especially in that deleted scene.

  104. I really appreciate the love Blade Runner gets. It’s the same way I appreciate deeply religious people. I wish I could see, hear, and feel what they do as what they describe sounds great but I just don’t. Blade Runner just bores me, but reading what people have to say about it makes it sound like a great movie.

    I think Darryll is right as well. If Deckard is a replicant than the story becomes a little sad and ironic but removes any of its power. I always thought the point was that the movie followed a hero, and honestly it’s hard to view Indiana Han Solo Jones as anything but a hero, as he murders a lower class of people because they want to be free. That a heroic human could act as a fascist in such an extreme way because he’s largely apathetic to the world leads to a much more interesting read of the film.

    I’m not altogether sure there’s been a Philip K Dick adaptation that I’ve ever enjoyed, though. I’ve read a few of his stories and just shrugged. I think it’s because I’d rather read some of Harlan Ellison’s more “magical realism” stories or watch an episode of The Twilight Zone than one of Dick’s hamfisted stories about robots if I want my scifi with morality in it.

    I’m with Vern on my dislike of Gladiator. It has a smattering of good scenes but most of it is just cringe-worthy scenes of a creepy guy wanting to sex up his sister. It’s also one of those films that feels forever long.

    I’m no Ridley Scott fan but I think his best movie is Blackhawk Down. I saw that in the theatre and I can’t remember ever being so exhausted and just otherwise beaten up by a film. I felt that it was incredibly affecting on me and thought it moved along at a very brisk pace and just worked. It also had a song by Faith No More early on in it and boy do I love that band.

    So, yeah, Ridley Scott is someone that seems to be the very definition of hit or miss. I’m still really annoyed at him that he turned Robin Hood into a movie a libertarian fairy tale. It was also really boring. It’s a shame, too, as I liked all the actors in it. It had that really big dude from Lost, that redheaded guy from that other movie, and that one pudgy Australian actor who I liked in Master and Commander, 3:10 To Yuma, Cinderella Man, and a bunch of other movies. I think that guy is going somewhere!

    I’m surprised by the dislike of the LOTR books. Maybe it’s because I grew up with them but I just eat them up. Even the Silmarillion is great. I think a lot of the details make the books so great. I’m also a huge admirer of Moby Dick and if you took out all the random bits of trivia regarding 19th century whaling you’d have a very tiny story.

  105. About WILLOW: I watched it last year for the first time and it was entertaining, although I could see why this seems to be the one big Lucasfilms movie, that almost nobody ever brings up in a conversation. Even HOWARD THE DUCK seems to have a more vocal FANbase than Willow.
    I’m not saying it’s a bad movie. It’s a very entertaining one and I’m sure if I had seen it as a kid, I had totally LOVED it, but, y’know…I would put it into the same league as DRAGONHEART. Nice story, nice characters, pretty rewatchable from time to time, but nothing that makes me scream OH MY GOD, THAT WAS AWESOME when I watch it.

  106. Jareth, I laughed out loud when I read your line about the nerd voice from the stripper scene. I am hoping Ford brings that one back for a scene or two in COWBOYS & ALIENS. But seriously, I don’t think Roy is supposed to be that much more dynamic and engaging of a character then Deckard. I think it is the contrast in the two performances of Hauer and Ford that make Roy even more engaging. I know that Roy is supposed to be more “alive”then Deckard, but there is something very flat about Ford’s performance that prevents you from getting more invested in Deckard as a character. I am not saying he needs to be Indiana Jones but Ford is completely devoid of charm in the film and not very relateable. I think that since we the audience are never that invested in Deckard as a character we do not feel the full impact of what he is witness to at the end of the film. We don’t share in his revaluation in the same way that we would have if we were more connected to his journey.

  107. Stu, Tom Bombadil was the Hobbit’s first encounter with one of the powerful denizens of Middle Earth. Their reaction to him highlighted just how much growing up they needed to do and how much experience they lacked. The story also emphasizes how lucky they were that Bombadil was a benevolent entity and willing to coddle them. If he had been more dangerous the Hobbits would have been toast. If they hadn’t encountered him the environment probably would have made them toast. They still needed a certain amount of babysitting. The Hobbits of the films were made of slightly tougher stuff than tose of the books in my opinion and required less care. I think I preferred the more badass Hobbits of the films and that explains why Bombadil was unnecessary to their particular story.

    In addition, as it pertains to the wider narrative, the story hints that there are creatures in Middle Earth, such as Bombadil, for whom the ring means nothing. They exist on a higher plane than the petty squabblings of the lower races and wouldn’t think of bothering to interfere in their silly wars. That interesting concept in the books adds some extra layers of complexity to the fabric of Middle Earth but it would have been distracting to the more tightly focused narrative as presented in the films. The ring had to be important to every character in order for the films to work. The notion of forest gods walking the earth, blissfully aloof to the power of the ring would have derailed the films immediately.

    Lastly, to the question of why they didn’t just fly an eagle to Mount Doom and expedite the ring’s destruction. Well, from a meta point of view there would have been no story then. From a dramatic stance it was as much about the journey as the destination. In other words, it wouldn’t have worked. The ring would never have allowed itself to be tossed aside so easily. It would have corrupted such a quick journey and fallen into the hands of the enemy almost immediately. In order for the ring’s power to be truly destroyed it had to be wrestled with and conquered through both Frodo’s force of will and the struggles against evil across the land. The ring’s corrupting influence would have lingered on forever if they had taken the easy route and probably sprung up again later in some new, dark form. Having defeated the ring both spiritually and physically ensured the true banishment of thering’s evil forever.

    And that, ladies, is just about the first and last thing I will post here regarding LOTR. (famous last words)

  108. I also could not make it through the LOTR books. I tried to read the first one before the movie came out but only made it about 3/4 of the way through. Then I realized that I liked the movie better when it got to the parts I hadn’t read yet, so I stopped reading. I just don’t care about all that description. I don’t need to visualize every step of the way. Most of that shit just reads like “…trees…more trees…a hill…a path…trees…a stream…trees…” Tolkien seemed to care more about the landscape than the characters in it. I give him all credit for the story, but Jackson figured out a way to tell it that made it interesting.

    However, I also like to hear fans of both LOTR and BLADE RUNNER talk about them. I get all the good stuff without the boring packages they come in.

  109. I agree, Darryll. A big part of the series, and I would argue its entire point, is in dealing with the transition from a world controlled by immortal elves who are able to master any craft or emotion with people with real humanity. I think one of the central scenes of the series deals with Faramir’s rejection of the ring as he represents humanity’s redemption and righteousness. Even Aragorn, while human, is something else altogether as he has the blood of the first men in him and is heroic by nature of his birth. Faramir is just a man and because of this becomes much more significant and heroic.

    Even the very end of the book, and the one thing I think should have been included in the films, deals with the Hobbits going back to the Shire and sorting out their own problems on their own. I think this is really important as it shows how a world without Elves or the likes of Aragorn can work out if the little people step up and do what is right.

    As to why they didn’t fly the ring directly to Mount Doom: well, the Nazgul and the Fell Beasts would have likely have taken them down and captured the ring.

    Sorry to get all super nerd on you guys about this stuff.

  110. On Deckard’s likeability – I am not someone that requires I like every protagonist in my movies. I feel this is one of the those arbitrary screenplay rules invented by Hollywood; That the hero’s like-ability must be established in Act One for the audience to invest in his journey. I call bullshit on that one. I don’t have to like Deckard to be invested in his story. In fact it’s a more novel approach to try to intrigue us with his seeming soul flatness. Why is he this way? What is the nature of his disconnect with those around him? Why does it seem the people around him suffer from the same soul flatness? What’s it gonna take to wake this guy up

    I find it more interesting to observe the contrast created by the few characters that are truly alive. Even J.F., in his profound lonelyness, is more awake than Deckard but that’s Ok. We marvel at his delight and eagerness to connect with another being – human or otherwise – and we cringe at his naivety and innocence in the presence of beings that will use and abuse his humanity to their own ends. Given that, we can see Deckard’s disconnect with life as kind of a benefit in such a cruel environment. A survival instinct, if you will.

    For more unlikeable protagonists check out A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE BEACH (especially in the book), THE SEVENTH SEAL, 2001, BARRY LYNDON, (Ok, pretty much all of Kubrick’s heroes are assholes), LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE, ROYAL FLASH etc.

    Any others?

  111. That’s right, Casey. The Scouring Of The Shire demonstrated nicely how much the Hobbit’s had come into their own by the end of the story. They no longer required coddling by benevolent wizards or rangers to watch over them from afar. They could take of themselves, thank you very much.

  112. Darryll, I agree with you, but I am not talking about likeability. I am talking about being engaging. I do not need to like Deckard, but it would not hurt the film if he was more interesting. I do not like Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, but I am completely engaged by his character. I am interested in him and his personal journey regardless of his likeability.

  113. That’s cool Charles. I totally see your point now. Perhaps it’s a sci-fi conceit that doesn’t quite work or perhaps it is the noir aesthetic, as applied to character, taken just a degree too far.

    I think its one reason Scott went to such great lengths with the production design. Perhaps he intuited that if his protagonist was not to be engaging then the world he inhabited ought to be.

    From my own p.o.v, find the whole package endlessly engaging, Deckard and all.

    Have you ever read Neuromancer, Charles? Gibson’s protagonist, Case, has a very similar disconnect with the world around him. Ironically, it takes the malevolent efforts of an artificial intelligence to finally engage Case with his humanity again.

  114. Yes, but in a book, you can be disengaged WITH a character instead of just watching him be disengaged.

    NEUROMANCER is probably my favorite sci-fi novel, by the way.

  115. ThomasCrown442

    June 2nd, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I didn’t see Blade Runner until about 3 years ago and it was the “Final Cut” version on blu-ray. It is one of the most stunning movies to look at and they did a good job with the surround sound as well (not sure if Blade Runner was released in theaters with surround sound or not). As a someone who has not seen the theatrical cut, I felt that there was no question that Deckard is a replicant. Otherwise, why bother with all that unicorn stuff. What sucks is, I like the idea of Deckard being human more than him being a replicant. I like the idea that these replicants look at life with a child like awe and want more of it while the “real” humans look at life as something that we have to slog through. Life’s a chore to the non replicants. While that idea is still there, it would hammered it home more if he was human.

    Oh yeah, Madmartigan rules. I miss old school Ron Howard.

  116. Hey, speaking of plot holes and BLADE RUNNER – why go all the trouble trying to distinguish between humans and replicants using a complex, possibly error-prone emotion test and have all the headaches of possibly retiring a human by mistake?

    Why not just simply stamp a serial number into the genetic code of each replicant? Seemed to work for that artificial snake scale Deckard found.

    Also, they seemed to have each of the replicants’ photos and detailed info on file. Why go all the trouble in the beginning to give a Voight-Kampff test to Leon when you can tell dude is obviously one of the escaped replicants by just looking a photo.

    Still love that movie to death, but that always bugged me.

  117. – darryll

    Harry Flashman is my favorite character of all time. I started reading the books when I was 12 and I`m re-reading the entire series at the moment. I`ve never seen Royal Flash, though. Is it any good?

  118. Long-time reader, first-time poster here. Getting off my keister since I’ve never before encountered any love whatsoever for BLACK RAIN (hello, Charles), a movie I’ve watched at least ten times through and that I adore only slightly less than BLADE RUNNER. Love the interstitial scenes (pans over raindrops on a car’s hood, children’s toys on a balcony), the apparent non sequiturs (elderly yakuza in mod sunglasses, the old man begging in the rain, the out-of-the-blue in-public open-mouth French kiss between Michael Douglas and Kate Capshaw), and the redemptive arc for the lead, twinned as he is with Sato, the villain, at the start (both have strayed outside the boundaries of their respective “families”).

    Many reviews at the time of the film’s release complained about Scott’s condescending air towards Japanese culture, describing how the Americans storm into Osaka, showing ’em the right way to do things. Well, aside from one line from the great Ken Takakura about how sometimes “you just have to go for it,” the movie has exactly the opposite attitude. As the replicants are to Deckard, so too is the Japanese way of life to Nick Conklin, Douglas’s character, a restorative, regenerative force. Nick has lost sight of what it means to behave in an honorable fashion and is only reborn through his experience in a foreign world, much as Deckard regains his humanity through his encounters with Batty et al.

    Sure, BLACK RAIN is, like BLADE RUNNER, just a skip tracer movie, but one whose visual and emotional resonance also makes it so much more than a matinee diversion. Think I read somewhere that there are audio cues (Japanese street sounds) common to both films, similar to the visual echoes between ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER.

    OK, back on the keister!

  119. dna – I havn’t seen the whole picture but what I did see was pretty great. It doesn’t hold a candle to the books but it’s pretty fuckin’ entertaining. Malcolm McDowell does a good job. He’s not who I would have pictured as Harry Flashman but he’s adequate to the task. Oliver Reed steals the show as Bismark.

    As far as subversive Victorian adventure films from the 70s go, I’ll take Crichton’s GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY for the win and THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION for the consolation.

    Majestyk – I already knew you’re taste was impeccable (BR notwithstanding). Your love for Neuromancer just confirmed it.

  120. “Stu, Tom Bombadil was the Hobbit’s first encounter with one of the powerful denizens of Middle Earth. Their reaction to him highlighted just how much growing up they needed to do and how much experience they lacked. The story also emphasizes how lucky they were that Bombadil was a benevolent entity and willing to coddle them. If he had been more dangerous the Hobbits would have been toast. If they hadn’t encountered him the environment probably would have made them toast. They still needed a certain amount of babysitting. The Hobbits of the films were made of slightly tougher stuff than tose of the books in my opinion and required less care. I think I preferred the more badass Hobbits of the films and that explains why Bombadil was unnecessary to their particular story.”
    I feel though that all the other races and beings they encounter after words more than covers that aspect of more powerfull beings. Even Gandalf seems a bit more powerfull potentially than he ever shows, even as “the Grey” and always seems to be holding back. Take the fight with the Balrog for instance. There’s a big element of luck and coddling too with them barely making the ferry and avoiding the Nazgul, who catch up to them anyway at the Inn and Weathertop, and basically need Aragorn to help them out there both times, and both times their fucking around (dancing at the inn leading to the ring being accidentally worn, lighting a visible fire at Weathertop) caused that.

    “In addition, as it pertains to the wider narrative, the story hints that there are creatures in Middle Earth, such as Bombadil, for whom the ring means nothing. They exist on a higher plane than the petty squabblings of the lower races and wouldn’t think of bothering to interfere in their silly wars. That interesting concept in the books adds some extra layers of complexity to the fabric of Middle Earth but it would have been distracting to the more tightly focused narrative as presented in the films. The ring had to be important to every character in order for the films to work. The notion of forest gods walking the earth, blissfully aloof to the power of the ring would have derailed the films immediately.”
    It’s also why Faramir gets a much expanded story in the films, because in the books he apparently turns down the ring outright, which would have seriously undermined it’s corrupting influence. You gotta give the film makers that.
    Also to clarify, I wasn’t seriously asking about the eagle thing. It’s been covered lots before and is a running joke by now, but I was using it as a segue as to ask why the other races were just standing aside doing nothing while the Ring was passed around, then had the cheek to run down Men for their actions. It’s also interesting specifically for Elrond, because isn’t he half human himself? I know Galadriel and Gandalf talk about how they themselves would be corrupted by it if they took the ring, but all Elrond had to do was knock it out of Isildur’s hand, or even push the guy off the cliff at most drastic.

    “The ring’s corrupting influence would have lingered on forever if they had taken the easy route and probably sprung up again later in some new, dark form. Having defeated the ring both spiritually and physically ensured the true banishment of thering’s evil forever.”
    But doesn’t Frodo ultimately fail? He doesn’t throw it in, and it only ends up destroyed because Gollum has it as he falls off the cliff. Can you call that a real spiritual victory, especially with Frodo still so affected by it years later he leaves the Shire altogether?
    As for the scouring showing the Hobbits have learned to take care of themselves, I remember the introductory chapter of the Hobbit talking about Hobbit history relating a story of them fighting off Goblins at one point, and their leader at the time knocked one’s head off with a club and down a rabbit hole, thereby inventing Golf. I think that could be a fun thing to include in the adaptation.
    As for BLADE RUNNER, I like the visuals and the world, though it can be a bit of a chore to sit through the whole thing sometimes, depending on your mood. Does anyone else think the film could easily have been made as an anthology rather than a single story? A lot of the scenes/subplots when I think about them are kinda distinct short stories themselves. A Replicant takes the Test. A Blade Runner tells a female replicant what she is, but gets involved with her anyway. A geneticist befriends a Replicant and tries to bond with her, only to get put into the “friend zone” and be ultimately used and killed by her more charismatic Replicant boyfriend. Replicant confronts his creator. Blade Runner is at the mercy of same Replicant, only to be spared and philosophised to as the fugitive dies. These all sound like something you’d find in a sf book compilation.

  121. Shit, HT, that’s all true. Never actually thought of that.

    Scratch what I said earlier….Bladerunner is balls.

  122. Andy T, I agree with you about the elegance of the filmatism in BLACK RAIN. Yet as elegant as BLACK RAIN is in it’s execution it is also equally cheesy Hollywood action film (and I mean that in the most endearing way). That elegance and attention to detail combined with pretty generic action movie premise make for a special film. BLACK RAIN features an interesting mix of a prestige director and prestige actor (Douglas had just won the Oscar) with a very familiar fish out of water cop film concept (I am looking at you BEVERLY HILLS COP). BLACK RAIN is like fast food prepared by a gourmet chef. It is comfort food done with a very high level of skill and craft.

  123. Thanks for defending Bombadil, Darryll. I can understand Stu’s point that there is a way to argue that he’s not the most essential character, but damn it, I think he’s cool, and I don’t understand why he had to get cut from the trilogy to make room for added shit like Gollum trying to get Sam and Frodo to fight amongst themselves.

  124. I like how this talkback briefly turned into TV Tropes

    anyway it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but yeah Black Rain is good too, been meaning to pick up the blu ray of it for a while

  125. oh yeah and totally random trivia, Black Rain was the very first mvoie released in theaters after I was born

  126. Jareth Cutestory

    June 2nd, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    To take Darryll’s point one step further: I’m intrigued by films that tinker with narrative to the extent that the idea of character itself is problematized. I like how stuff like LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD and MULHOLLAND DR make a concerted effort to undermine not just familiar movie types but the notion that identity is something coherent and stable. I think BLADE RUNNER pushes a bit in that direction, though Ridley Scott would represent a very mainstream manifestation of ideas more commonly and rigorously seen in stuff by Greenaway.

    It sometimes surprises me that narrative techniques that have been commonplace in literature since Kafka and Beckett are still only hinted at from time to time in film.

  127. LEGEND’s story problems comes from thinking that it could pull off what STAR WARS and ROAD WARRIOR and (to a degree) ALIEN did, which was basically tell a would-be timeless universal story in a unique fictional cinema environment.

    Except what the LEGEND people didn’t understand was, those three movies I mentioned are much much much better written, clever, and creatively realized on paper than most people/critics/buffs are willing to give them credit. LEGEND really followed too closely to fantasy cliches and tropes, you know? I mean SW/RW/Alien at least had interesting, proactive protagonists. Cruise in LEGEND is indeed too passive for his own good.

    Overall I “like” LEGEND, the aesthetics and all that shit. I do think that infamous theatrical cut with the Tangerine Dream turned it into a stupid 80s music video unintentionally and sillier than it needed to be. Director’s Cut reveals a respectable movie with a solid Goldsmith soundtrack. Not a remarkable one, but this probably is Scott’s best 1980s movie after BLADE RUNNER.

    Of course considering his competition is SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME and BLACK RAIN, that’s not exactly saying much.

    (Vern, I’m surprised you didn’t give Tim Curry more props for his work in this one. Personally I thought he was great, and honestly I never would have guessed it was him if not for the credits.)

  128. With all this talk of BLADE RUNNER and Ridley Scott I want to take a second to recommend DANGEROUS DAYS: MAKING BLADE RUNNER. It is the feature length documentary that was released with final cut release of the Blade RUNNER if you bought it on HD-DVD or Blu-ray (I am sure it can be rented individually). It is a great documentary that is very extensive in examining every aspect of the making of the film and it’s legacy and influence. If you are not sold yet, it also has a lot of Harrison Ford is in it cussing like a sailor. Whether you like BLADE RUNNER or not it is interesting look at the creative process behind it, the challenges they faced, and candid reflections on what did and did not work.

  129. Andy T – that’s one hell of a great first post. I only watched Black Rain with the idea the filmmakers were saying “the good ole American way is the best!”, but now I’ll have to watch it again based on what you said.

    Jareth – I probably mentioned on this site somewhere before (or maybe I just bored my friends with this theory) that the spiritual successor to Blade Runner is Inglorious Basterds. I think it definitely tinkers with the same subversions of familiar genre (film noir/WWII movie), sympathetic characters (or lack thereof), and even casting (which can’t be done in books, really). Harrison Ford/Brad Pitt were the biggest stars in the world, so why wouldn’t they be playing the “good” guys? Rutger Hauer/Christoph Walz were (basically) unknown foreign guys, of course they were the bad guys. Except they’re not – it’s totally reversed. I’m sure many of you will never believe Tarantino wanted us to “sympathize” with SOME of the Nazi characters, but I still maintain the fact that almost all the horrible graphic onscreen violence is done by the “good guys” and not the Nazis is no coincidence. (Landa, like Batty, does kill one person onscreen – also with his bare hands after a long interrogation)

    Speaking of which, the two movies are structurally similar – almost every scene is an interrogation – a game of chicken between two characters who are both trying to hide something. The farmhouse opening of Basterds. The interrogation of Leon. The interrogation of the guy in the freezer. Also, beating unarmed soldiers with bats. Shooting unarmed women in the back. The shitty accent by Pitt in the tux. The nerdy voice by Ford in the stripclub. The weird yet touching faux-romance of Pris and Sebastien. The weird yet touching faux-romance of the French girl and the Nazi war hero.

    Ok, sorry, just took the board one degree more off-topic than allowed. I’ll bring it back by saying that when i re-watched Legend recently, I was surprised how many visuals and scenes I “remembered” were really not from Legend but THIS Ric Ocasek video right here (especially the sword fight)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVXy7AsjvL4

  130. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 3rd, 2011 at 1:40 am

    The Limey> “I’m also a BLADE RUNNER non-lover. I saw it first at the movies when I was twelve and I guess I was expecting Indiana Solo, but got something quite different. And I’ve never really recovered”. That is exactly what I have experienced with Blade Runner.

  131. so The Limey, you’re telling me you saw Blade Runner at 12 and you weren’t at least happy to got to see Joanna Cassidy’s boobs?

  132. Charles: totally agree about the action cheese. I didn’t mean to make the movie sound like something by Ozu! After all, we got motorcycle chases, a decapitation, Professor Toru Tanaka and the immortal line “ladies of the eighties are lookin’ at shoes”!

    neal2zod: gracias for the kind words! Just happened to have been reading about The Cars last night!

  133. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 3rd, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Back to Legend. I prefer the Tangerine Dream score specifically in (but not relegated to) the dress-dance… but visually and storywise prefer the director’s cut of the movie… If only there were a way to combine the two. As others have stated before, I think the Goldsmith score takes away from the simplicity and the innocence of the story and ascribes too much (perceived) weight to it.
    Now on the other hand, even as a kid I could not stand the “Loved By The Sun” song during the closing scenes and early credits. I appreciate Tangerine Dream and I appreciate that OTHER PEOPLE like Yes but I just cannot get over John Anderson’s voice (much like I can’t get over Geddy Lee’s) and it just drips cheese all over a song that is already pretty cheese-heavy. I had the oppurtunity to book Anderson solo at the club I am a talent buyer for and wound up passing. I almost did it just to be able to get him to sign my Legend DVD (even though I hate the song) but a combination of him wanting more money than I thought we could pull in ticket sales AND me knowing I’d be in aural agony all night was a one-two that put the brakes on that whole thing pretty quickly.

  134. Andy T, no need for apologize. I understood where you were coming from. I figured any fan of BLACK RAIN gets what makes it so good. I love the opening Motorcycle race that introduces us to Nick Conklin and his magnificent mullet. It does a great job of establishing the tone of the film.

  135. I actually love that “Loved By The Sun” song BECAUSE it’s so cheesy

    Never Ending Story is also one of my favorite songs

  136. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 3rd, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Yeah, I have no problem with “The Neverending Story” song. Guess I have more stomach for Lamal than John Anderson…

  137. LEGEND is horrible, for all the reasons Vern listed. It’s hard to give a crap about a movie when the main protagonist is a wimp having a pillow fight with 2 or 3 annoying midgets.

    BLADE RUNNER is one of my favorites. I have to disagree with the “question” of Deckard being a replicant or not. By the rules of the film (implanted memories), he is undoubtedly one. If it is so deep for a real human to be taught to be human again by a robot, why is it less deep for a robot who didn’t know he was a robot to learn how to be more human through the prodding of a violent yet philosophical robot? Or something.

  138. Horrible? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? It’s a fairytale by Ridley Scott, not Brothers Grimm by Sam Peckinpah. I’ve always taken it for granted that Deckard’s an android, but why the hell would they make a police android weaker than everybody else?

  139. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 4th, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Yeah, lets not slip into AICN-level hyperbole here. Legend is a flawed movie, for sure… but calling it “horrible” (and for all the reasons Vern mentioned) is to completely ignore its many many merits (which Vern also discussed). Maybe it’s just me but I tend to reserve terms like “horrible” and “sucks” and “worst ever” for movies with no redeeming qualities OR entertainment value.

  140. rainman – Whether Ford is human or a robot, is totally irrelevant. The whole point isn’t the answer, but merely asking: What exactly is human? What does it take to be one? Isn’t the personality and soul, or the flesh required?

    Seriously how many would-be summer blockbuster movies want people to consider such a profound existential question?

    Grim Grinning Chris – Who’s the biggest/coolest act you’ve been able to book so far?

    Also apparently I’m apparently the only local who doesn’t care for BLACK RAIN. Looks great (of course), some good scenes. I liked that shot of the Italian mobster holding back another from getting involved with that Yakuza hit at the restaurant. The setpiece action climax is epic.

    Yet it reminds me of Tim Burton’s BATMAN. Lots of individual elements and touches I love, but all together its a very underwhelming movie where I never invested myself with the narrative or people. Plus that hypocritical ending is pure bullshit: The supposed idea is that Douglas the corrupt cop regains some sort of honor and self-respect for himself. So instead of giving the counterfeit plates back to the authorities, he gives them to his new buddy assumingly to make more funny money.

    (Personally if we’re talking movies about Americans coming over to Japan and kicking ass w/ Ken Takakura, I much prefer Sydney Pollack’s THE YAKUZA. )

  141. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 4th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    RRA
    Sticking with acts that have some kind of movie connection, I’d have to say Dr. John is near the top. Though I appreciate his music and legacy, I am not really a huge fan, but regardless, the guy is a legend and has done so much soundtrack work… and he signed my Princess & The Frog DVD.

    Chris Thomas King, Tommy Johnson from O Brother Where Art Thou, is a great performer and a super super nice guy. I’ve had him twice.

    For personal fandom/preference it was an absolute dream come true for me to be able to book The Psychedelic Furs.

    Hope to eventually get Seagal and Billy Bob Thornton’s bands in there.

    I think Black Rain may actually be the only Ridley Scott movie that I’ve never seen. Dunno why I never really had the urge.

  142. Tangerine Dream also totally make RISKY BUSINESS a classic. There, I said it, now we can get back to talking about (possible) androids and unicorns and whatnot.

  143. I stand by my assertion that LEGEND is horrible. If beautiful visuals marred by a terrible plot, lousy characterization, and laughably inept dialogue can still qualify as a “decent” movie then every Michael Bay film falls into that category as well. I don’t care how nicely filmed something is whether it is unicorns, Tim Curry in some awesome makeup, car chases, or Megan Fox. If it’s simply window dressing propping up an embarassing mess of a movie then sorry… it’s still horrible.

    In my opinion, Deckard is the next evolution of replicant created by Tyrell for the express purpose of going one step further than Sean Young’s character (Rachel). Tyrell is obviously a “scientific man playing God” character here – stepping into territory where man doesn’t belong, Frankenstein-style. The difference being that I think he knows what sort of danger he is playing with, and he is overstepping his bounds purposefully. Trying to make an artificial being as good or better than humans. Tyrell is flaunting the rules as well, creating replicant on Earth where they are outlawed.

    Why is Deckard a weak human-like replicant rather than a superhuman one? That would make it too obvious, wouldn’t it? How do you make a replicant who doesn’t know he isn’t human, when he has super-strength, can put his hand into boiling water and be fine, etc? Kind of a giveaway…

    Some of the obvious questions this brings up are never explained by the movie and I think there are a couple ways you could “explain” them all:

    1. Deckard is weak, not like other replicants.
    2. The one detective knows Deckard is a replicant and must have known it all along. The other detective almost certainly knows too, because he uses Deckard’s (fictional…) past to blackmail him. How do you explain this? I doubt Deckard actually had a “past” subject to blackmail – I would suggest that Deckard was created on or about the day we first see him and the movie is essentially Deckard’s complete life up to that point.
    3. Tyrell falls into Roy Batty’s “trap” far too easily. He doesn’t look surprised when Roy shows up with Sebastian, he doesn’t call for security, and he almost seems to collaborate in his own death!

    There are probably dozens of ways you could explain all this but I haven’t heard any satisfactory ones except:

    1. The filmmakers spliced the “Deckard is a replicant” plot into the movie without thinking about all of the ramifications. Tyrell is a moron (but also a genius??) and didn’t see it coming.

    Or — this is what I think, but it is just a theory:

    2. Tyrell created Deckard and set him up to kill the other replicants in an attempt to manipulate Deckard’s emotions and develop him into a full-fledged “human” (this part is kind of obvious). The two detectives knew Deckard was a replicant (also obvious) and were either bribed by Tyrell or weren’t even real detectives and were Tyrell employees. Tyrell is driven by the quest to create true artifical life as evidenced by the progression from Roy to Rachel to Deckard. Knowing the risks, he accepted his fate when his creation Roy came back to confront him. So he either sacrificed himself to his quest, or this might not have even been the real Tyrell who was killed.

  144. Griff – that part I liked.

    The flying cars I liked.

    I was just a bit young and this has coloured my perception ever since. My brother, who was 16, he loved it and it’s in his all time top 5, I would say.

  145. Late to the party, but I think a movie which succeeds on some aspects but fails brutally on others, possibly to the point of being laughable or embarassing, is a worse movie than a movie that fails in all aspects. It’s worse because of the wasted potential, and because it might sucker you into watching it or trying to like it before you realize what a pointless disaster it is.

    Obviously the line between such a film and ‘flawed but interesting’ is pretty subjective. Still I think we can all agree that ‘Spawn’ is worse than 90 minutes of contemplating a blank screen, despite ‘Spawn’ having such fine qualities as: pictures of recognizable objects, occasionally interesting weird creatures to look at, etc.

  146. Er, I should mention that I consider that a defense of ‘Legend’ being a truly horrible movie (limited apology offered to Tim Curry for this opinion, nothing but love for the man).

  147. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 6th, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I still don’t see it. Legend IS a flawed movie for sure, but it has more style and imagination in a single static shot than most of what we see in theatres today. Its main issue is that of a weak protagonist but I think 1) it is debatable whether or not Jack is even the protaganist- and Lily is definitely NOT weak if we’re to roll on it being her story and arc… and 2) Jack’s weakness is fully by design. He’s meant to be completely out of his depth. Incompetent, foolish and naive- but still he soldiers forward- for all his flaws and failings he is in love and he knows what’s right is right.

  148. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 6th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    To bring up Blade Runner again, the faults with Legend are the same as those with Blade Runner. A weak and uninvolving hero (which is underlined by how dynamic and creative the villain is). And despite only feeling the need to revisit it every 2 or 3 years due to that, I would never call Blade Runner “horrible” either.
    Of the two, I think Legend is far more entertaining, though BR is clearly the superior piece of filmmaking (flaws and all).
    And I AM very very entertained by Legend. I am entertained by its strengths, not its weaknesses (whereas with something like Batman & Robin, Battlefield Earth or fucking Megaforce I am entertained by the weaknesses, which makes it far easier for me to call THEM “horrible” movies)

  149. I just wanna say that in a thread that discusses BOTH 80’s fantasy movies and Rutger Hauer, I’m highly disappointed not one single person brought up Ladyhawke, an 80’s fantasy movie that STARS Rutger Hauer(also Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick).

  150. rainman; “Tyrell falls into Roy Batty’s “trap” far too easily. He doesn’t look surprised when Roy shows up with Sebastian, he doesn’t call for security, and he almost seems to collaborate in his own death!” That’s because god think we all love him. It comes as a shock that some (most, is my guess) people actually hate him fiercly.

    D. S.; Ladyhawke would have been a contender if it hadn’t been for that horrible, horrible 80’s synth music. As it is now it’s unwatchable.

  151. While we wait for the next 2001 review, perhaps I can ask a difficult question in this thread. I’m sort of with Vern on the whole Legend/Dragonslayer/Lord of the Rings genre. I don’t get it? What makes this the ultimate passion for some fans?

    I’ve asked this about the LOTR movies and the main response I get is “they were well made.” That doesn’t explain it because people adored it when it was just words on the page. Some have said that it’s about the least likely person fulfilling the greatest quest. Okay, but why is pseudo-medieval magic the format those fans prefer, as opposed to The Mighty Ducks?

    But I can appreciate the spectacle of Lord of the Rings. I saw Dragonslayer when Guillermo del Toro and Harry Knowles showed it at SXSW. Two accomplished people in the world of fantasy call this movie inspiration. It bored the fucking shit out of me. I wish I had that part that made me enjoy 100 minutes of talking about dragons and 5 minutes of cool puppetry.

    Is it just some people love fantasy and some love space and some like buddy cops? A little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll? For me it’s post apocalyptic survival movies. I can’t get enough of scenes where they find supplies in the wasteland.

    I just know that this genre gets to people like Star Wars gets to others. Star Wars isn’t my ultimate either, but at least I get it. I get why that captures people’s imagination. Can anyone here articulate what the appeal of this genre is?

    As it happens, one of my two favorite movies of all time is Labyrinth, but I see that as a Henson movie. Willow is great too. I guess that qualifies more as action than the really in-depth fantasy, if that makes any sense. I figured if I’m ever going to get an answer, this is the place. Maybe it’s just that they’re well made.

  152. – ftopel

    I basically think that people like to fantazise and imagine other worlds. What other genres than sci-fi and fantasy offers the audience that oppurtunity? Most movies take place in a well-defined world or real life, witch makes it mundane to fantasize about events, characters and places not presented in the movie / book. I don`t think a lot of people spend their time thinking about what John Mcclane was up to between Die Hard 1 and Die Hard 2, what his appartmen looks like, how his childhood was etc.

    George Lucas and Tolkien are geniueses in giving the audience enough pieces of a puzzle to get their brains working. I`ve never been a fan of fantasy and even found Lord of the Rings quite boring; (sing, eat, walk, look at snow, eat again etc), but Tolkien creates a universe where past events are crucial to the plot, without being too specific about the past events. He even has characters in the plot having experienced those events, but being secretive or vague about them. So there`s enough clues for the audience/reader to try to figure out important parts of the story, but not enough clues to offer any solid solutions. Which leads to a lot of speculation and discussions with fellow fans. Lucas did the excact same thing with Star Wars.

    I have been watching The Clone Wars recently. Now, I grew up with Starwars, played with the toys, read the comics and wondered what the fuck was going on in Starwars 1-3 before the movies were even concieved. Watching the animated series is a blast; it`s all my fantasies from pre-puberty being made into film, finally solving the mysteries of my childhood. But Lucas is still toying with his audience; all episodes are shown out of order. Now, I like those characters and I like the story and I want a character arc and a plot where events have consequenses, so I actually sat down and tried to make a chronological timeline of the episodes from season 1 and 2. And since characters disappear and come back without explaination, I have to fantasize about what takes place, when it takes place and why it takes place. A lot of pieces to a puzzle that almost fits together.

    I spend a coulpe of days making a timeline, researching the clone wars, reading other fans theories and having fun with the puzzle, then I realised how fucking lame I was and decided not to geek out anymore (or at least till I`ve watched season 3).

    So, in conclusion to why people geek out to fantasy; 1) It`s stimulating to fantasize about fictional worlds and characters, especially when the creators offer you clues to fill out the blanks, but not enough to actually find a solid answer to any of your questions. 2) It`s mostly a matter of taste that decides if you are into motives of serial killers, unsolved crimecases like Zodiac and Jack The Ripper, the faith of Anakin Skywalkers young padovan or how the elves something something dwarfes and Aragon. It`s all basically the same, having fun solving unsolvable puzzles.

  153. Dna, that does it. Thank you. That actually illustrates the parallels between sci-fi and old time-ish fantasy to me. I can now understand why people obsess about hobbits, even if it doesn’t appeal to me the same way.

    Now what does it say about me that I’m more likely to imagine John McClane’s apartment (cigarettes with Captain Kangaroo on the TV he left on) or where John Rambo spends his time between jungle missions? Don’t get me started on Marty McFly, but that’s also sci-fi.

    And, less important but perhaps interesting, what is the distinction between LOTR/Dragonslayer and Labyrinth/Willow? I guess the latter are more action-y and happen to take place in those realms.

  154. As a big fan of the Fantasy genre, hell I even paint little miniature models and play games with them and consider it my biggest hobby, it really comes down to it being what I liked as a child.

    I liked knights and swords and archers and all that shit as a kid. I remember going as a viking for Halloween when I was 7. At 8 I went as Gandalf. At 9 I went as an Orcish Wizard. I was a rad little dude.

    Another big appeal for me as a child is that Tolkien sat down and created Middle Earth. He was able to create the cultures, people, languages, geography, and everything else he wanted to create. As much as anything else I think Middle Earth is a real character in the Lord of the Rings.

    That’s one big reason why I never cared much for Star Wars. It has some cool aesthetics and Empire is a legitimately great movie but the world of Star Wars seemed so infinite and undefined that it was hard to get too caught up in it for me. It’s really obvious, even early on, that they just throw in whatever creature, alien species, space ship, or planet they want. It feels like they are constantly just trying to draw stuff and throw it in whenever they want. I don’t feel like there’s any logic behind the galaxy the stories inhabit.

    I also like that Fantasy is really detached from reality. I like that it can be as heroic and PG or as gritty and violent as I want it to be.

    Still, it comes down to an aesthetic appreciation for me. I was never a fan of Transformers and thought it was silly as a child. Give a guy wearing chainmail and wielding a sword as he cuts down green skinned orcs and I’ll be there.

  155. On the subject of the appeal of fantasy worlds, here’s a really interesting page I found a while ago that talks about how certain kinds of art are appealing precisely because they create their own little world that gives the mind free range to fantasize about and play around with them:

    http://www.hicksville.co.nz/PerfectPlanet.htm

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>