Author Topic: Amazing premises executed poorly...  (Read 2929 times)

alan nagsworth

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Amazing premises executed poorly...
« on: October 02, 2011, 08:14:19 PM »
...usually ruined by one or two key performances.

Children Of Men

Potentially brilliant book-to-film possibilities, but Clive Owen is such a fucking plank in that film I found it hard to believe it wasn't Nicolas Cage putting on a British accent. Collapsing about the place like a complete idiot! That bit in the woods where he's like 'I'm gonna go for a MAN WALK to clear my MAN HEAD and smoke this MAN FAG,' and then just flops against a tree and has the hammiest tough guy mental breakdown I've ever seen. I'm surprised he didn't start punching the tree all Charlton Heston and cursing humanity. Fucking idiot.

Then you've got Michael 'you ain't gunna take my ganja you facking ponces' Caine in one of his obligatory cool-as-fuck nothing-could-possibly-make-me-look-uncool-in-this-role performances... god, it's just ridiculous. No one at that age in the future is going to be sitting there listening to Roots Manuva or whatever, let alone the rest of the soundtrack with stuff like Digital Mystikz blaring out! Shut up!

Even the [spoiler]ceasefire/childbirth scene[/spoiler] failed to illicit any emotion from me, despite my sitting there and acknowledging that the premise of such a thing was quite dazzling. Load of bleedin' tut.

Yeah. What do you think?

Harpo Speaks

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 08:25:56 PM »
I think it's a brilliant film and had no problem with either of performances you mention. I haven't read the book however.

Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2011, 08:29:22 PM »
Nope, it's great.

This thread is dying, nagsworth? What are you going to do to TURN IT AROUND?

Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 08:33:45 PM »
That's actually one of the only films I've seen him in which seems to get a good performance from Owen. His natural woodenness translates into world-weariness rather well.

For me, it's got to be John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. The premise is basically Ghostbusters played straight, with a bunch of quantum mechanics students joining a priest to research an extradimensional horror in the basement of an abandoned church. It's probably best known now thanks to DJ Shadow sampling the brilliantly creepy 'transmission' on Endtroducing. Sadly, that's by far the best part of the film, the rest of which is ruined by piss poor performances.

ThickAndCreamy

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 08:38:41 PM »
I found Children of Men to be one of the best dystopian movies I've ever seen. I also didn't really notice Owen acting terribly within it, although he wasn't really the highlight either.

alan nagsworth

  • even the bombs and scarecrows will sing
Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2011, 08:42:19 PM »
Nope, it's great.

This thread is dying, nagsworth? What are you going to do to TURN IT AROUND?

Repopulate the human race with dubstep and ganja and gritty urban violence. You in? I'm warning you though, if you ain't I'll facking cut your tits off first.

Nik Drou

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2011, 08:49:13 PM »
Blimey, bit of a contentious one to start with, then?  I quite like Children of Men.  In terms of execution, it's probably the best realisations of a near-future dystopia this side of Soylent Green.  No real complaints here!

Anyway, I've always thought the premise of the Final Destination series has been squandered on a slasher movie-style approach.  The idea of Death as a malevolent consciousness that engineers demise though sheer happenstance is pretty potent.  In the series there's very little psychological dimension and most of the deaths are staged in a way that defies the laws of physics anyway.  They may as well get shot by a magically hovering gun for all the sense it makes.

Zetetic

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2011, 08:59:19 PM »
Children of Men is a good film. It's a bit hammy in places, writing and acting, but that's fine.

Anyway,
Never Let Me Go.
A tedious, unbelievable rumination on how people would react to the situation of being bred for organs if they weren't really much like people. Oh, and if you think that there's an room for examining how a (post-war for fuck's sake) society that endorsed such a program might act, then you're more imaginative person than Kazuo Ishiguro. The film manages to be even more pointless than the book.

Blumf

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2011, 09:33:23 PM »
For me, it's got to be John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. The premise is basically Ghostbusters played straight, with a bunch of quantum mechanics students joining a priest to research an extradimensional horror in the basement of an abandoned church.

+1

Been on TV a fair few times and it always surprises me how naff the execution of it is.

Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2011, 09:34:03 PM »
Children of Men is exactly what I thought of when I saw the thread title. Acting and dialogue ruined an interesting concept and fantastic art direction/choreography etc. Clive Owen ruins everything he touches, and Michael Caine was the other extreme of bad acting and casting.

Also: Inception. Although the concept would be better suited to a ten page Borges story. Christopher Nolan has never directed a scene where the dialogue was anything other than ludicrous. And while that isn't entirely his fault, he clearly has no ear for what sounds like something a human might say.

alan nagsworth

  • even the bombs and scarecrows will sing
Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2011, 10:55:24 PM »
Children of Men is exactly what I thought of when I saw the thread title. Acting and dialogue ruined an interesting concept and fantastic art direction/choreography etc. Clive Owen ruins everything he touches, and Michael Caine was the other extreme of bad acting and casting.

THANKS.

The production on that film does look fantastic and in that respect it favoured strongly, much in the same way that the fantastic 28 Days Later did, and they are both pretty similar films I'd say. The choreography is also great and the action scenes were undeniably cool, but yeah... rest of the film is twaddle.

Johnny Townmouse

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2011, 11:19:41 PM »
I would agree about Children of Men. It has some nifty cinematography but I find all the performances to be dreadful. Even Peter Mullen manages to be far too broad and ridiculous. It doesn't help that for me Clive Owen is the kiss of death for cinematic enjoyment.

I think The Village has a wonderful premise, a really fantastic concept to be mined. But I don't care for the execution at all. The usual problem of Shyamalan's boxing-glove subtlety, and a lack of tonal realism.

Also, A History of Violence. Fantastic source material to be adapted, but some ridiculous set-up scenes (that sex scene for instance) and for Ed Harris being just far too evocative of bad thrillers.

icehaven

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2011, 11:49:07 PM »
Apollo 18. Nice idea, mock-doc about a hitherto secret Moon mission and what happened, but it's really poorly done, and the pay off, such as it is, is crammed in at the end, and feels underwhelming and predictable.

alan nagsworth

  • even the bombs and scarecrows will sing
Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2011, 11:57:10 PM »
Children of Men is exactly what I thought of when I saw the thread title.
I would agree about Children of Men.


Jake Thingray

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2011, 12:16:48 AM »
Clive Owen is the new Laurence Harvey. Without even an interesting offscreen life, or getting to play the murderer in a Columbo episode (can never happen, now).

Okay, this is reflecting my personal prejudices, but Gentlemen Broncos was a missed opportunity; it was made for TV so doesn't count, but Cruise of the Gods, repeated tomorrow, did a better job of ridiculing sci-fi-ists, especially David Walliams' cameo and his arguing with Philip Jackson's scriptwriter.

Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2011, 08:58:27 PM »
I still quite liked it, but I can sympathise with those who found Children of Men a let down; it ultimately becomes a pretty straight forward action film fairly quickly, which might be fine but I didn't find it to be a consistently exciting one.

Nobody Soup

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2011, 09:37:44 PM »
Children of Men is a good film. It's a bit hammy in places, writing and acting, but that's fine.

Anyway,
Never Let Me Go.
A tedious, unbelievable rumination on how people would react to the situation of being bred for organs if they weren't really much like people. Oh, and if you think that there's an room for examining how a (post-war for fuck's sake) society that endorsed such a program might act, then you're more imaginative person than Kazuo Ishiguro. The film manages to be even more pointless than the book.

jesus. I haven't seen the film but I think the book is probably the best that was written in the whole of the last decade. It's amazing. I found it to be a sort of new 1984 showing how expectations and class systems have now replaced CCTVs as the things that keep us in check. It's also a really heartbreaking love story and had some interesting things to think about regarding personal identity. wept like a kid at the end I did.

and I like Clive Owen in general, he's pretty cool in a lot of films I've seen him in, Sin City and that one about the bank job in particular. so I'm feeling a bit "what do I know?"

Zetetic

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2011, 12:29:35 AM »
jesus. I haven't seen the film but I think the book is probably the best that was written in the whole of the last decade.

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I found it to be a sort of new 1984 showing how expectations and class systems have now replaced CCTVs as the things that keep us in check.
No, it tell us this and tries to draw out a depiction of obscene passivity on the part of the characters (except when they're not being passive for the purposes of advancing the plot), centring on Kathy. Who might be believable as a single character, but as a prototype for the entirety humanity, she's not.

The story is set in the decades following the Second World War. For better or worse Ishiguro doesn't try hard to invoke the supposed "passivity" of the Jews during the Holocaust (being arguably the nearest thing to a real parallel to his characters' situation and reactions), but that doesn't mean he gets to ignore the rest of this period and the constant struggles across the world for power (or equality) in the face of existing structures and expectation.

British history over this period being more than sufficient to demonstrate that passivity and expectation do not function as he's desperately trying to put forth that they do. Furthermore, if we consider the period of publication, there's again plenty of evidence in the here and now to disregard his portrayal of humans born to particular class or caste.

As far as I'm considered he doesn't do the work required for me to find his portrayal of humans convincing. He hopes to trick the reader by making Kathy believable as a human who is passive in her most personal decisions and interactions (and even then she's not consistently so, elevating herself out of the position of donordom) and then hoping they'll believe that it's reasonable to extend these sort of behaviours far, far beyond Kathy and her love-life even to characters who we are shown otherwise taking strong (even self-destructive) decisions because of their desires.

Oh, and he gets celebrated for rejecting the genre convention of examining the society that this supposedly occurs in. Which wouldn't really care about - it's fine to have taken the approach of focusing so closely on those that he does - except that I can't escape the feeling that it's because he does not have the ability to write the situation believably, and this further jeopardises my belief in what he does write.

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It's also a really heartbreaking love story and had some interesting things to think about regarding personal identity.
What interesting things did you think it had to say about personal identity?

Nobody Soup

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2011, 01:56:46 AM »
but it's a parallel universe and it's sort of implied that the world has a lot more problems with cancer, so that it's probably set in the aftermath of some nuclear war. so i read it as a post-apocalyptic novel and plenty of post-apocalyptic novels ignore the overall world to centre on the personal characters. You never find out anything that happened in The Road on a large scale, only that the world's scorched and it's awful. I don't really see the holocaust parallel because I think the prejudice towards the clones was institutionalised, they had more in common with black american-born slaves (the people that didn't agree with the cloning also had more in common with the abolitionists than they do with the allied forces motives for opposing nazism), personally I think a book that drew parallels with the holocaust would be more about the escalation of racism and the change in circumstances. also, I think they genuinely did accept their mortality. Obviously I'm not saying this is definitely the case, but it's how I took it.

I thought it was really good how they were all very interested in finding their others, and how they knew they were in all likelyhood the lowest dregs of society but clung onto the idea that they might have been better people with fulfilling lives. Which again I thought illustrated things about class systems and born entitlement, they accepted their lot but at the same time wanted this evidence that if they were someone else they'd have been happy. I thought kathy was believable, and the sad sort of way her love affair was put on hold because of minor inconveniences was quite painful because lets be honest, who hasn't let someone slip away because they were too passive? I think the extreme passivity was in some ways to illustrate the necessity to deny our mortality as well.

I'm not even really sure of all it's intentions but that's why I like it, every time I think about it it takes me down a different road. I really do think there was some intention to mirror 1984, it ends extremely similarly except it's even more frustrating because they don't even get to meet an o'brien with all the answers, they just get a retired sympathiser, their love is destroyed through hopelessness not by breaking them with room 101 and then they just accept their lot like winston did.

Zetetic

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2011, 02:40:31 AM »
plenty of post-apocalyptic novels ignore the overall world to centre on the personal characters. You never find out anything that happened in The Road on a large scale, only that the world's scorched and it's awful.
That The Road is the comparison you leap to is telling. Here we have characters very much as part of and interacting with society, regardless of their status as donors. While The Road is set in an almost entirely desolate landscape devoid of human life; The Road does pay attention to the world surrounding the central characters to an extent that NLMG does not. Again, I don't think that any given book has to follow the genre conventions, but as decision it made it even harder to accept this parallel world as having much relevance to my own.

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I don't really see the holocaust parallel because I think the prejudice towards the clones was institutionalised, they had more in common with black american-born slaves (the people that didn't agree with the cloning also had more in common with the abolitionists than they do with the allied forces motives for opposing nazism),
And parallel breaks down very quickly because of the efforts that many American slaves made to change their situation.

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I think they genuinely did accept their mortality. Obviously I'm not saying this is definitely the case, but it's how I took it.
The problem is, I don't think that's a very human reaction and we're asked to accept it as nigh-ubiquitous without very much in the way of a convincer.

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I thought kathy was believable, and the sad sort of way her love affair was put on hold because of minor inconveniences was quite painful because lets be honest, who hasn't let someone slip away because they were too passive? I think the extreme passivity was in some ways to illustrate the necessity to deny our mortality as well.
I don't have a problem with Kathy as a character, but I have an issue with her as being some manner of microcosm, that she's meant to stand for a much greater set of behaviour for a much greater set of (some quite clearly different) people.

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their love is destroyed through hopelessness not by breaking them with room 101 and then they just accept their lot like winston did.
See, I think that 1984 shows a much greater understanding of certain parts of human psychology. Hopelessness for the characters of N LMG only presents itself because of this apparent endemic passivity towards their situation. The breaking of Winston's hope, and Julia's, requires enormous effort on the part of the oppressor and process and outcome utterly nullifies them.

Orwell focuses on sex so strongly because of its undeniable importance to the human and suggests that even the State in 1984 presented struggles to pre-empt this importance (even if ultimately it has little trouble dealing with its outcomes), whilst Ishiguro seems to indicate that not only will humans accept the abrogation of whatever desires they might have and the ending of their lives, that they will do so with very little effort whatsoever. Much else speaks otherwise to Ishiguro's position.

Nobody Soup

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2011, 04:24:46 AM »
I don't understand what level you expected it to engage with these constant struggles across the world for power or equality. if you were looking for some insight into the political climate or what, you're told what the situation is, and that there are people that disagree with it and went to efforts to try and change it, you're also given an inclination to how the clones are viewed by the outside world. The key scene the title comes from was revealed to be interpreted by someone as a girl clinging to an old world over a new ruthless and efficient new one, for me, those glimpses were plenty to make sense of the outside world.

I only mentioned the similarity to american slavery to highlight that comparing it to the persecution during the holocaust is off, but I do think it stands, first of all they did try and change their situation, the whole ending is set up by kathy and tommy trying to get a deference on their donations.

However, after this fails, their acceptance of their mortality (remember they also could not bear children)  could be read as a thought experiment as to how would a person without a denial of mortality, both actual and in the sense they cannot "live on" through children, would confront the world.

Which again also makes it a worth while book if you don't accept the microism of humanity thing, she's not necessarily a microism of humanity as is, but a microism of humanity that has always accepted their mortality. The reveal as to their purpose is really skillfully done to show this, all the talk of what donations involve is not made implicit until a third of the way through the book, however the language used is obvious enough to hint as to what it means, still I found myself not really wanting to put two and two together in much the same way the children did. I had an inkling of their fate but until it was brutally spelled out it didn't hit home so I thought  their reaction to their situation was pretty convincing.

I think when you say kathy is obscenely passive you've missed out moments like her and tommy trying to get a deference, the clutching the baby thing, the fact that she looks for the original in porn mags, she's quiet in her discomfort of her situation but she does feel it, she doesn't understand anything about the outside world, they have to be taught how to act in public, let alone stuff about how you would go about staging some sort of rebellion and taking a case to the establishment (can't remember off the top of my head but is there not something about stuff getting removed from the library if it incited rebellion, and the teacher got fired for even suggesting they struggle against their situation) they rebel against it in a limp way because they don't know enough about their environment (and neither do we, so in some ways the failure to show anything about the outside world could be so that we identify with their position more).

You seem to have wanted the book to be about the nate turner of the clone world, or a clone that escaped the system, but that would be a different sort of book entirely examining different things, and nothing to do with what Ishiguro was interested in and also how would highlighting an exceptional individual say more about humanity than the many more that were just ordinary?

I've used 'could' a lot because, as I said, I'm not sure, but the fact it made me mull over this stuff is what makes it such a good book. I like that it's not point blank obvious and in fact, 1984 used to be my favourite book as a teenager, but this replaced it because I think 1984, while still brilliant, spelled everything out too clearly. yeah it's a great criticism of the media, language and state that's way ahead of it's time but if you are criticising NLMG as not being accurate on the human psychology front because the character accepted her fate do you really think, no matter how horrendous and psychological, a person that was tortured by the state would then "love" the state? I know you're saying they went to huge efforts in 1984 but they also had more awareness of their situation. plus what I said about NLMG showing how expectation and entitlements control us is relevant, there is still a lack of social mobility, despite all the laws and efforts there is still sexism and racism, I think NLMG tries to show how it's a lot softer than a mustachioed man and thought police.

That we can even have this disagreement sort of shows me that it's not in the least bit pointless.

kidsick5000

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2011, 07:15:36 AM »
Also, A History of Violence. Fantastic source material to be adapted, but some ridiculous set-up scenes (that sex scene for instance) and for Ed Harris being just far too evocative of bad thrillers.

Have to disagree there. One of the rare cases where diverting from the source makes for a far better film. Much more believable. Nobody would buy the final reveal from the graphic novel.
All the changes from the original story make it better an more plausible for the film. Especially the change to the main character.
Usually with comic book adaptations I'm eye-rolling because of unnecessary or timid-hearted changes that just didnt need to be there and ruining the film - LXG, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Green Lantern... loads. But not with History Of Violence
I'll agree with your point about Ed Harris though. The default  mob henchman didn't ruin it but he could have been more subtly portrayed

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2011, 10:25:46 AM »
As someone who has never had emotionally ambiguous sex I ought to find stuff like the sex scene in A History Of Violence stupid, but I don't. It seemed to me like they were using the pragmatic realities of a sexual relationship to show the change in interplay between the two characters.

The idea that she was allowing herself to be fucked by this other new person to see what it was like might have been stretching it a little bit, but the film quite like lots of Cronenburg efforts is pretty fucked up by then anyway, and the premise of that scene is psychologically interesting enough to include, much like the difficult sex[nb]tougher to get in the bum, innit[/nb] in Straw Dogs.


Johnny Townmouse

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2011, 11:21:13 AM »
Have to disagree there. One of the rare cases where diverting from the source makes for a far better film. Much more believable. Nobody would buy the final reveal from the graphic novel.
All the changes from the original story make it better an more plausible for the film. Especially the change to the main character.
Usually with comic book adaptations I'm eye-rolling because of unnecessary or timid-hearted changes that just didnt need to be there and ruining the film - LXG, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Green Lantern... loads. But not with History Of Violence
I'll agree with your point about Ed Harris though. The default  mob henchman didn't ruin it but he could have been more subtly portrayed

I personally feel it didn't go far enough in extricating itself from the source material, or at least the source media/genre. It felt so much more broad and archetypal than anything Cronenberg has ever done. I thought this was borne out in the following Eastern Promises, which for me was a better film, though not without flaws.

I actually bought the comic book when I heard Cronenberg was in pre-production, and thought the concept was a brilliant one. As usual, with comic books/graphic novels, I was left feeling like it was devoid of ambiguity (I REALLY wanted the notion of his past to be more of an ambigious plot point) and was just far too 'of a genre'.

And to Shoulders?-Stomach! point about the sex - I think one of my biggest bête noires in film is the over-egging of a couple's close relationship directly prior to some conflict/jeopardy/antagonism to either the characters or the relationship. As soon as I saw them fucking like teenagers (even though long married) I sighed. I mean, for fucks sake, it's a device used every week in Eastenders. A couple suddenly have a ridiculous romantic scene so they can set-up and amplify some issue, problem or affair. It grinds my gears™.

Johnny Townmouse

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2011, 11:26:13 AM »
Which again I thought illustrated things about class systems and born entitlement, they accepted their lot but at the same time wanted this evidence that if they were someone else they'd have been happy. I thought kathy was believable, and the sad sort of way her love affair was put on hold because of minor inconveniences was quite painful because lets be honest, who hasn't let someone slip away because they were too passive? I think the extreme passivity was in some ways to illustrate the necessity to deny our mortality as well.

I'm not even really sure of all it's intentions but that's why I like it, every time I think about it it takes me down a different road. I really do think there was some intention to mirror 1984, it ends extremely similarly except it's even more frustrating because they don't even get to meet an o'brien with all the answers, they just get a retired sympathiser, their love is destroyed through hopelessness not by breaking them with room 101 and then they just accept their lot like winston did.

I think that's a position that mirrors my own fairly accurately. I think the parallels with 1984 are undeniable, regardless of whether the author was consciously evoking the novel. I thought the passivity and acceptance was the most profound part of the narrative. It's very brave writing - you either dismiss it as implausible, unbelievable and ridiculous; or you find a sickening truth in the passive acceptance we show both as individuals, and as a society, towards horror, barbarism and cruelty. Towards ourselves and others.

Zetetic

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2011, 11:50:53 AM »
However, after this fails, their acceptance of their mortality (remember they also could not bear children)  could be read as a thought experiment as to how would a person without a denial of mortality, both actual and in the sense they cannot "live on" through children, would confront the world.
Again, I think this brings up my major problem with the book. It treats every donor (and yet not the wider population) as part of this thought experiment and does so simply by asking us to believe that vague expectation is sufficient to bring this about.

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, however the language used is obvious enough to hint as to what it means, still I found myself not really wanting to put two and two together in much the same way the children did.
I'm probably heartless[nb]No offence intended to donors.[/nb] but I just wanted Ishiguro to get on with it.

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I think when you say kathy is obscenely passive you've missed out moments like her and tommy trying to get a deference, the clutching the baby thing, the fact that she looks for the original in porn mags, she's quiet in her discomfort of her situation but she does feel it
And this made it even less credible. Kathy's quiet discomfort, sure. But Tommy and Ruth are far from quiet in their discomfort, and yet they still display Kathy's lack of initiative when it comes their wider situation.

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You seem to have wanted the book to be about the nate turner of the clone world, or a clone that escaped the system, but that would be a different sort of book entirely examining different things, and nothing to do with what Ishiguro was interested in and also how would highlighting an exceptional individual say more about humanity than the many more that were just ordinary?
I don't think I'm quite that bad, but I found the book galling precisely because I don't believe it was about ordinary individuals. The behaviour of the main characters verged on the pathological to my mind. Which again, isn't in itself problematic, except that their environment has very little reason to engender this to such a degree.

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I know you're saying they went to huge efforts in 1984 but they also had more awareness of their situation.
Julia doesn't though - for her it's simply that the State has failed to suppress base instincts. She doesn't need greater awareness of the situation, she only has the knowledge that she wants certain things.

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plus what I said about NLMG showing how expectation and entitlements control us is relevant, there is still a lack of social mobility, despite all the laws and efforts there is still sexism and racism, I think NLMG tries to show how it's a lot softer than a mustachioed man and thought police.
Indeed. But social mobility and sexual and racial equality are things that fought for with enormous vitality and effort and regardless often of personal risk. True, plenty of individuals and groups do suffer from enforcing the expectations of others upon themselves - and that is an issue worthy of elucidation and so I should applaud the author for trying to find a way to bring it out.

However - and this part of the reason why I'm actually angered by the book and its reception - is that it takes this issue and drags it into the realm of absurdity. It tries to reject, almost out of hand, the enormous selfishness[nb]Intended with little negative connotation[/nb] of humanity - particularly as regards life - and denigrates the mass of struggles that we have seen by people born into expectation.

We've seen teenagers, told for the entirety of their lives how they were meant to live and die, face down tanks and soldiers for causes far less instinctive and overwhelming than reproduction and death. We've seen them do it in China 20 years ago and in Syria today. And NLMG tries to tell us that humans aren't really like that - that's its purpose, that's the truth (as JT notes, but positively) that it pretends to impart.

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That we can even have this disagreement sort of shows me that it's not in the least bit pointless.
Perhaps! You have convinced me that it's more interesting book than I'd found it by my own reading.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 12:02:57 PM by Zetetic »

Harpo Speaks

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2011, 12:58:26 PM »
I really liked Never Let Me Go but can understand why people would have problems with it.

and denigrates the mass of struggles that we have seen by people born into expectation.

I haven't read the book so I'm talking about the film here, but I don't believe it does. The majority of people, particularly those who are subject to the level of social conditioning that the clones are here, don't rebel or lead revolutions. Perhaps elsewhere within this particular universe there are pockets of clones attempting to strike back against the system which controls them, but those aren't the focus here.

The fact that it isn't that type of film is one of the things I liked about it, because as enjoyable as the 'opressed minority fights back' trope is, it's something that has been done a million times before.

Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2011, 04:03:02 PM »
Prince of Darkness is good. Ropey acting is part of the charm in John Carpenter's work. Fun film. Good film.

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2011, 04:11:18 PM »
I haven't seen it (ie I may as well shut up), but the criticisms sound like the exact same criticisms to people who think Big Trouble In Little China is supposed to be a po-faced action adventure.

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Re: Amazing premises executed poorly...
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2011, 04:54:34 PM »
No, it's not played for laughs like Big Trouble, just a straight horror. (did people really think BTILC wasn't a tongue in cheek comedy?) I think the closest comparison would be with The Stone Tape, which does things right.

I don't think Prince of Darkness is a horrifically bad film, just didn't hit the spot it could have, never really as scary as it should be. So a solid contender for this thread.

EDIT:
Thinking of Mr. Carpenter's films, They Live could have been better too. Great idea, some smashing scenes and lines, but the pacing is a fair bit off, way too slow at the start.