Know how we spend half our energy hating on the movie adaptation of a book just because it absolutely cannot be good?
It seems half the excitement of watching a movie adaptation is having read the book and being the fact geek at the table going, “and if this were ANY like the book, then character X would have said BLAH! And what an iconic line indeed. It’s a bloody shame to have cut that out.
The movie’s no good!”
Sure, sure, say what you like, you love doing that too. And you live for when someone adds to your practically screaming chorus, especially when in unison.
But apart from movie adaptations being a twisted horror story’s version of regrouping and unity, I’ve just realised I might have a real reason to be thankful for shit movie adaptations.
For one, they make for brilliant author disses. Author Max Brooks has said about the movie adaptation of his acclaimed book World War Z, that the only thing the book and the movie had in common was the title. It was also pretty much a sheer delight to read a snippet of Rick Riordan’s letter to the makers of the Percy Jackson movie adaptation outlining his very discernable concern about how they were taking his book and killing it, turning it into an absolute nightmare. (I haven’t been able to find that letter anywhere ever since. Would any know?)
That’s pretty much the author sitting on your couch with you during your movie dissathon, stuffing their face with popcorn and slamming their fist down on the table with you and shouting up louder, except this time, your couch has the added edge of smug self righteousness, and you feel reprived. Oh brilliant author, save me from these madmen who ruined my favourite book!
“Ruined my favourite book, hell right! I wrote that stuff!”
But movies do have a much wider reach than books do. You won’t see a repetitive blockbuster-scale commercial on air every five minutes with JK Rowling popping up and shoving her latest book in your face.
So one cool thing about shit movie adaptations are that they seem cool enough without the book to introduce you to a good idea and lead you to a better book, and because the director gets high enough on their own story to completely change the ending, they end up doing me a service: I still have a really good, suspense filled book to read!
The only real spoiler? The book isn’t going to end that stupidly. (For reference, go read Fight Club. Then come back and talk to me.)
As a semi-irresponsible occasional cyclist and woke kid who has turned the ignition key in mum’s car before promptly handing her the keys, I am mildly shook by, throughly impressed by, and do fully and disturbingly relate, to every scene with a vehicle present, in the latest Mission: Impossible movie.
[Also, running through the tags for this post, I just made a disturbing realisation: Admission contains the word ‘mission’. College admissions are collegiate advertorial missions. Crap. I mean, it’s not even wrong. Have you tried answering the “Why us?” college essay?
Oh well, I guess we know what the latest Mission: Impossible ripoff will be about!]
How many times have you seen in the movies, an empowered, emancipated person giving an emotional speech, impromptu perhaps, to a number of comrades, associates, or even complete strangers?
There’s a crowd gathered around this person, listening in rapt attention, maybe even re-evaluating their whole lives, agreeing with this wonder who has managed to sum up everything they’ve wanted to say, who’s breaking the shackles, creating a new World Order, or perhaps, retiring.
As they go over a particularly delicate piece, emotion begins to take over, and the cellos behind either snap a finger and disappear, or go crazy to the point where the emotion is lost on you because you actually can’t hear what they’re saying.
That’s also just another one of the million infuriating times you will glance at the glaring white subtitles and miss a moment’s worth of reel and then curse the subtitles for being so distracting.
Honestly, I’m not ranting. I’m just asking for the subtitles to be turned transparent instead of white. Back to the emotional speech.
The camera zooms into the speaker’s face and then slowly pans over to the audience, whose faces match the mood of the cramping, sore orchestra in the recording studio, and then back to the Orator, who suddenly cracks, first a cough, a choke then a sob, and then has a complete breakdown. If you couldn’t follow the speech before, even the subtitles can’t save you this time.
To be honest, the subtitles themselves are confused by this point.
I can only imagine the guilty party would want nothing more than to simply display five whole minutes of “*******” until the madness dies, but since they can’t do that or they aren’t getting called back (and an audio transcription of their phone call with their employers too would match their fine work), so they do the next best thing.
” (inaudible murmurings)”
Yep, that is precisely why you chose to look to the subtitles in the first place.
The look on your face is disruntled at best, but the look on the Orator and the audience’s face is disfigured, the ability to conjure up such a look being what the actors have been paid for.
Basically, the speaker is shook, the audience is moved, everyone’s on the verge of tears and the speaker’s in shambles. Glycerine does its job well. There are red eyes and screwed up eyebrows and glycerine pouring across faces. And you buy it. If you’re watching the movie alone and happen to have your door locked, you crack a sob. If you’re watching with a friend (or any other person), you curse in your head and angle your head away and suddenly want the violins to get louder and the subs to get more outrageously distracting.
But on doing some thinking, I realised I really haven’t seen these earth-shattering speeches work their magic in real life.
Glycerine does its job well. In real life, if you did manage to cook up such emotion (in which situation, the violins would actually seem out of place), there’d be bleary eyes, guilty people looking out of it as they realise something’s amiss and jerk up from their phones, and snot.
Seriously, it’s an image killer if you really think about it. In real life, crying like that would almost always be accompanied by snot. By the time you’ve shed two tears, there would be a new born stream coming out of your nose.
It’s all very nice if you’re myopic and sitting five metres away, but for someone in front, and for you, the speaker, to notice that clear line of dribble trickling down your nose, for its salty taste to fill the top of your mouth as you open it to speak in a situation where you’re already struggling to get the words out— it’s a mood killer!
I wonder how it would work if some hyperrealist filmmaker became obsessed with glycerine pouring down actors noses.
The subtitlers would have a field day:
“(Snot pours) (Sniffles) (Audibly chokes on glycerine snot)”
So… I’ve just seen Infinity War. Safe to say I’m a little shaken. Grammar may be a little screwed up, it’s a bit of a trade-off. And I’m supposed to be up early tomorrow morning, so I suppose I’m having a pre-sleep deprivation hangover-hangover.
And yeah, I can take out time without being particularly guilty. What better can I do with my time, right? (Ask yourself that question, I can seriously promise you you are going to find yourself in that cinema hall. Now I’ll exit this before I descend into just how meaningless all of human exis—
/Much welcome boom interrupts/
/After very properly depositing that last piece of flying debris/
(Yes, not only have I just watched an Avengers movie, but I’ve also been binge-reading the Martian. Sue me.)
Anyway, back to where I was.)
Man, what can I say? With every awesome Marvel movie returns a question with a vengeance: why, oh why, did I give up animation and design? Imagine making this stuff. Yes, eye-killer, I know, but for a minute, just forget that and imagine you worked on the CGI for this. Or on Doctor Strange (the most beautiful MCU CGI to date, if you ask me). Now give yourself an imaginary medal.
Then shuffle back to your desk, red-faced, and complete your latest code.
This also brings me back to my shamefully high pile of unwatched movies. Summer watching ain’t dead yet, I’m on my way!
I can reason this out.
It’s not like I’ve anything better to do. ( /Recursive argument begins, followed by a crash/ )
Technically, I’ve a legacy of engineers to follow.
Any test that contains an ‘E’ ought to be on my list.
But realistically, am I doing anything more than going crazy weighing pros and cons and hovering over an ‘accept’ button and chickening for another day? (Nukeheads, bloody learn from me.)
So my summer watchlist ought to win! We have a realistic chance! Good triumphs! …in the sequel that comes two years later.
Yep, this isn’t just my watchlist’s story, it’s my life’s. Screw this.
One thing about the movie, though, is it brought a classic law of the cineverse and shoved it in my face: the (super)hero always gets the girl(/guy).
After my parched life in institution, normalising with the outside world can take a while.
Here’s to wondering if an asexual geeky superhero ever got anybody.
Life’s a movie, there’s hope, isn’t there?
For the two hours I’ve spent, I will try not to talk much about the movie. I’m not all that evil.
I did, however, come across a very interesting post on Reddit about this earlier this week, though.
To paraphrase, it said, if you can’t join ‘em, lick ‘em.
To quote, it said, if you can’t get over your rejections, email admission officers Infinity War spoilers.
(To this, an AO very sassily replied, “You may have ruined the movie for us, but we’ve just ruined yours hopes and dreams”.
I’m guessing that post doesn’t come easily.)
I mentioned this to mum and dad as we drove back (yep, no matter how cool you might think I am, we do superhero movies as a family. Whatever.) They went on into a discussion about identity theft (I don’t know, don’t ask me, and it’s not important anyway), and I began kidding around and enthusiastically saying, “oh yeah, I should totally do this!”
After all, I’ve seen the movie, and now I’ve got a weapon much stronger than any of y’all! Beware, buggers! You can’t even give me spoilers!!
Dad broke me off from my fantasies. He said you better not do that, this could be dangerous! What if you meet them later in life/apply again for grad school/karma screws.
I only just imagine the lower the acceptance rate, the worse the inboxes will be screwed and flooded. By my own definition, that would be a ‘karma screws’ situation, but whatever. Not my main concern.
What did completely and wholly capture my attention is just how important this makes an Avengers movie!
Imagine this conversation from five years later:
ME: Hi, I’m [perpetrator]!
PROF/AO (eyes grow wide) (gasps) (whispers): You!
PROF/AO (louder): You!
ME (no memory of matter, politely): Yes? Can you help me out with–
PROF/AO: It’s you! You’re the one who RUINED Infinity War for me forever! Don’t you know I waited, waited TWO YEARS for this, how could you??
ME: uh… viscosity—?
PROF/AO (smiles evilly): Drag force.
PROF/AO (continues): And now, it is my turn.
ME: Drag force?
PROF: Drag course!
PROF: FAILING GRADES, SEE YOU NEXT SEMESTER—AGAIN!!
(Cellos play furiously in background and your ears begin to get uncomfortable. Evil laugh perfectly syncopates as the camera zooms into PROF’s face, then cuts up to a yellow sky, bright clouds reflect the the dying sunlight, as a despairing “Noooooo!” echoes through the skies.)
(Possible sequel in the making? I don’t know, but I’m enthusiastic about returning to the longer post format, it’s been a while!)
(PS: screw all this saving the world with tech biz, I should totally ditch computer science and become a filmmaker. All those in favour say aye!)
Aargh, why do I feel these days like movie scripts are a waste of actors, and half the time actors are a waste of scripts?
Have the scriptwriters lost their own attention spans? Are they writing a few punchlines and getting a sixth grader to fill in the rest of the pages?
Half the punchlines, I see the pleading faces of an embarrassed actor on screen: please do laugh when you hear this!
Some seem bored, some are boring, and why is it that the one day I ditch my nonexistent schedule for a movie it must be such a bore?
Yes, I did go for a movie, and I carried a backup with me that did end up saving me a few hours of cringing: my phone, with noise blocking earphones I scored off my mother. (Mine don’t block out noise.)
Well if you asked me if it was worth my time, I’d say it was, because I caught the decent parts of a movie and watched 2 episodes of Arrow!
Now that’s a few hours well spent, I feel proud.
On a related note, if you’ve spent too long around physics textbooks, I think sometimes, it can screw up your movie-watching experience. (Quite literally)
I sat in the hall with muffled sounds in my ears, I could hear when I wanted to, and I heard a bit of dialogue at a point. Seemed interesting, I paused my episode.
There was someone named Helix getting beaten up by the hero.
I’m thinking, oh, how interesting, there’s a guy named Helix. Never seen that before. I’m not even sitting for a sci-fi movie where a bad guy ‘screws’ everyone over, what’s the deal?
Right on cue, Helix tumbles down a staircase rolling, might I mention, in helical motion.
Ah, that must be why a self-proclaimed comedy film has a baddie who spirals down staircases, named Helix.
Fast forward two hours, I realised his name was really Alex all the while.
Boy, am I saturated with physics.
I did some reading around, and some thinking and I had a realisation.
Let me draw you a most brief timeline of female Bollywood actors ever the years:
First, they were the shy, pursued beauties, followed by an infatuated singing lover, then they were the sweet, unrequited lover girls-next-door, then went from being the cheated wives in a mix-up comedy, to boobs and legs and eye candy, to finally, the dumb blonde.
Do Bollywood casters recognise this as the fact that their female actors have no talent, and have accepted this by reducing them to the most mindless roles?
If so, then there’s plenty of talent on stage, purposeful and unspoiled by the by twisted reality lens, the long-reaching arms of the silver screen, that more than deserves the chance to bring some meaning to the entertainment of the masses.
If their actors, however, are as talented as the industry claims, then the idea of cinematic entertainment needs to up its game. These female actors aren’t passing extras. It has always been argued that movies need not reflect our reality. But one cannot deny, without being delusional, that Indian cinema has always been a reflection of the dreams and aspirations of the millions of people who flock to the theatres so devotedly.
And these are neither dreams, nor our reality.
Women in real like don’t exist to stand around and wait to get picked up by villains, (“Never walk towards the scream”, horror rule 101, ignored forever,) nor to ogle at a misogynistic hero’s biceps.
They don’t live to be roaming around an equally unemployed PIO livin’ the life; they do real stuff.
They go out. They work. They study. They’ve been in the world, and they can fend for themselves, without resorting to corny smack-your-face dialogue, or being “charming”, or for goodness sake, needing a hero’s rescue.
I’m not entirely sure which era, long gone or yet to come, (though we pray it doesn’t) Bollywood films have moved into this decade, but it is not keeping with the times, and hence losing, abusing and wasting its opportunity to be relevant or influential in a good way. This isn’t strictly true for all films, but is a general trend that’s taking shape.
Hollywood isn’t making Wild West movies anymore, after all.
Money is hardly an indication of how good a movie is.
So a movie is doing well in the box office.
I know of many heavily criticised and poorly rated recent films that were commercial hits, and let’s face the truth.
Day after day, there are new study results. We’re a country of 1.28 billion people. We’re ranked as one of the most hardworking, overworking, and in fact, heavily stressed out countries on this planet.
With so many people, even if a handful of curious/bored folks turned up from every fifth street at a half-filled theatre, how much money would you garner from 29 such states, with the film city, the city of Dreams itself accounting for about 12 million of these people?
We’re stressed out with 15 assignments behind us, 20 overdue, 10 more approaching deadlines and real weekends overdue.
Do we really have the time to analyse the last trashy movie we saw?
Nope, because they’re a dime a dozen.
That’s where Bollywood’s cashing in.
Perhaps they really mean well. Perhaps this is a low period. Perhaps things will get better, or the underground ‘scene’ may break through the surface.
But till then, the formulated, mindless grossing film structure that will keep us dumbed down will only keep baffling us- in the ephemeral free moments of truth.
A while ago, buried deep within a survey, was a little rant from this surveyor, complaining about how the world had gone and watched Spider-Man: Homecoming, including this surveyor’s little sister, but NOT the surveyor.
Well, news flash, I ditched homework (and basketball) for a day, and THIS SURVEYOR DID GO FOR SPIDER-MAN!
Every time I forget how dull my own little life is, divided between 12th grade, 12th grade, and ooh! 12th grade, how could I forget!, there comes along a superhero to remind the blind, mechanical, corporate people of the world how painfully pointless their lives are.
So basically, Spider-Man rocks.
The first credit roll has a lot of rough sketches, and I was that person who was standing at the back of the movie hall and gaping at a one point perspective hand drawing of Spidey sitting on a terrace and looking down. (The ground being the vanishing point.)
It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve geek-freaked in a public space.
Check out this little beaut I came across at the chemists’:
Sure, every person in the shop was staring at the weird kid clicking a snap of Strepsils, but hey, it’s my gain.
I’ve scarred many lives already.
(Science kids’. Now why is this scarring, you ask?
Because if you are a science student my age, you would realise that this is a structure you can draw.
Yep, the fifty character long names with a lot of x’s and y’s are no longer just fancy tough to pronounce names in a memory game, hard to crack wifi passwords, unreadable words, they are now decipherable.
Doesn’t it kill you?)
Another good thing that’s come out of this movie session of mine is that I’m on my way to fulfilling a long overdue mission of my own: to read the Spider-Man comics, right from the first appearance of Spider-Man in 1963 in the Amazing Fantasy Issue #15, to at least the 700th (and last) issue of The Amazing Spider-Man series, that ended in 1995 and its successors (2012).
Yep folks, 15 done, only 685 monthlies to go, plus minus 10, and 20 annual issues.
But the Spider-Man comics are amazing for a few reasons apart from just the fact that This is Spider-Man we’re talking about here!
First up: Peter Parker was one of Marvel’s first teenage superheroes, and one of the most multi-dimensional caped caper out there.
He doesn’t just have a white collar job and help the world in his plenty of leisure time to feel like a good gentleman: this boy has real world issues.
He gets the nerd taunts. He has the money issues, unlike the billionaire hiring him in Homecoming.
This is a guy who ends nearly half the Issues wondering if with all the blows he has to take as Peter Parker in order to be Spider-Man, is it really worth being a superhero?
Often having to chicken out of situations he could easily have handled, just to return as Spider-Man, save everybody, and then come back as Parker just to be called a coward can’t be easy.
“Spider-Man is not a party trick.”
– Peter Parker
But he takes it brilliantly, and comes back every time, and even gets to the point where, from having a ‘no-girl’ problem, he has the dreaded ‘two-girl’ problem!
Another little thing: for all the times he’s called an opposing supervillian a loudmouth, he’s the biggest of them all!
But coming back along the lines of Homecoming.
Do I have a senior prom? I’m not sure.
But if anyone asks me who I am taking as my date this year, I’ll just say it’s Señorita Baryta.
If you fell for that, shame on you. If you figured out that I’m romancing a bottle of Barium Hydroxide Ba(OH)2, shame on me.
No, I don’t have a date. I’m a science loner. But there’s hope, perhaps?
Even Parker gets Ms. Brant!
A few final words to leave you with:
News of the world: Captain America had worn a corset once.
Good luck finding that!