{Guest Post} [Film: Ghost in the Shell, Rupert Sanders, 2017]

Mostly Shell:

Explaining the Real Problems of the Live-action Ghost in the Shell

Introduction:

Ghost in the Shell movie poster - Rupert Sanders, Scarlett Johansson - white-washing, analysis, anime comparisonIt would be more apt for the new Scarlett Johansson movie, Ghost in the Shell, to go by another name or even another franchise; if so, it would be considered at least a decent sci-fi romp. Unfortunately, the writers of the film fundamentally failed to capture or even understand the spirit of the source material.

This is disappointing because the director and the art department has definitely captured the look and feel of the series even while taking their own interesting visual deviations as well. Nor is it any white-washing that dooms this film, as explained below. It is instead the stilted dialogue, safe plot choices, and horribly forced interpretations which hold this adaptation from being a true Ghost in the Shell adaptation.

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{Guest Post} [Film: Ghost in the Shell, Rupert Sanders, 2017]

Mostly Shell:

Explaining the Real Problems of the Live-action Ghost in the Shell

was last modified: April 28th, 2017 by Alec Brouillette

[Film: Starship Troopers, Paul Verhoeven, 1997]
Poking Fun at Militarism:

How Paul Verhoeven’s Cult Classic Starship Troopers Willfully Discards Robert Heinlein’s Novel

 

Introduction:

Starship Troopers movie poster - Paul Verhoeven - Robert A. Heinlein - movie vs. bookStarship TroopersStarship Troopers - Paul Verhoeven - Robert A. Heinlein - movie vs. book—in all of its campy, corny glory—is a hugely enjoyable film. But most of the film’s fans are likely unaware that the novel on which it was based (Starship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinStarship Troopers - Paul Verhoeven - Robert A. Heinlein - movie vs. book) has almost the literal opposite themes of the movie. Indeed, unlike the blatant anti-propaganda and anti-conformist messages of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s comedic and hyperbolic offering, Heinlein’s 1959 novel is a fascistic and militaristic critique of diplomacy, diversity, and (by extension) peace.

I would make it no secret that I find Heinlein’s novel odious. Its unjustified nationalism is at best short-sighted; its casting of enemy combatants as literal insects is both condescendingly heavy-handed and laughably repulsive; its insistence that large-scale violent armed conflict is the only and best solution to factional disagreements is a demonstrably false assertion; and its premise that only like-minded militarists and willing pawns should have the right to vote in their society is nothing short of frightening. So this article will take a close look at all of the ways that Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers acts directly against the project of Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I hope you enjoy it.

The nature of this article is such that it requires spoiling basic plot details of Starship Troopers, so you should only continue reading after this paragraph if you either do not mind spoilers or have already seen the film (or read the book, though the two have somewhat different plots).

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[Film: Starship Troopers, Paul Verhoeven, 1997]
Poking Fun at Militarism:

How Paul Verhoeven’s Cult Classic Starship Troopers Willfully Discards Robert Heinlein’s Novel

was last modified: February 10th, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Film: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams, 2015]
Sudden Awakening:

A Quick Article on the Quick Pacing in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Introduction:

Now, I would like to clarify right off the bat that this is not one of the hundreds of articles grasping for attention by claiming that the new Star Wars movieJ.J. Abrams Sketch by M.R.P. - Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens - pacing criticism is worse than the abysmal prequel movies. Indeed, I consider the new entry in the series to be on-par with—or possibly even slightly better than—Episode VI (putting it just behind V and IV in my overall rankings). But regardless of how much I enjoyed it, I want to talk about one of my two biggest criticisms of the movie, which most commentators (both positive and negative) have been ignoring: the film’s pacing.

My other biggest criticism is The Force Awakens‘ excessive fanservice—with the most egregious example (which graduates from fanservice into the repetition that many have gone a bit overboard in deriding) being the Star Killer Base. But plenty of people have raised that concern. The more technical concern that I have, and most likely the primary reason that I consider it a weaker film than most of the original trilogy, is that its pacing is over-rushed, essentially throughout.

The nature of this article is such that it requires spoiling basic plot details of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, so you should only continue reading after this paragraph if you either do not mind spoilers or have already seen the film.

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[Film: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams, 2015]
Sudden Awakening:

A Quick Article on the Quick Pacing in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens

was last modified: April 6th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Film: Red State, Kevin Smith, 2011]
A True View Askew:

On the Merits of Kevin Smith’s Red State

 

Michael Parks Sketch by M.R.P. - Red State

Sketch by M.R.P.

Kevin Smith’s personal anecdotes are more entertaining to me than any of his supposedly comedic films. I like his attitude, and I like his perspective, but I don’t like his writing. When his writing is not pandering to below the lowest common denominator or disproportionately praising George Lucas’ weakest films, it is still generally a set of superficial observations about malaise or adulthood dressed up as profound insights. But Red StateRed State is a curious case.

Red State, the story of a group of teenagers’ run-in with a fanatical and violent cult, is totally unique among Smith’s films. For one thing, unlike nearly every Kevin Smith movie, it’s quite good. It’s tense, interesting, and there are only two or three minor actors who don’t give excellent performances. Further, it is one of the few films in his filmography which do not take place in the meandering boredom of his so-called ‘View Askewniverse.’ Red State fails as both an action movie and a horror movie, but it succeeds as an interesting film.

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[Film: Red State, Kevin Smith, 2011]
A True View Askew:

On the Merits of Kevin Smith’s Red State

was last modified: January 2nd, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski