Movies – Standing The Test Of Time.

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Over at Gay Patriot, Dan is taking a much needed break from politics to talk about movies, especially those that have held up well over time. The conversation starts by focusing on which stars of yore have to transcend the era when they made movies. For instance, I think Katherine Hepburn and Carry Grant are still quite watchable. As is Jimmy Stewart. John Wayne…. mmmm… depending on the movie, it’s a wash. Burt Lancaster has always rubbed me the wrong way.

The conversation in the comments section soon shifted to genres. I’m a big SciFi nut. In that genre, I think movies with supposed near-future tech in them are challenged, because often the devices end up looking very dated in a very short time. This is especially true for movies that are set in the near future.

Robocp was a very good movie. When it came out though, I saw the previews and thought it would be just silly. Then one day, soon after it came out,  one of my classmates in screen writing class showed up with a copy of the script in hand. First off, this is pre-internet days, so getting your paws on something like that, especially so soon after its theatrical release, was almost unheard of….  and WAY cool!  Once I started reading the script I quickly changed my initial opinion of the potential quality of the movie. I went to see it and was very glad I did.  I am not much of a fan of Ver Hoven when he go all gore – which is strange, because I LOVE when Cronenberg does!… Scanners is still a guilt pleasure.

Fast forward twelveish years.  Me and the Sonic-mate had recently purchased our first DVD player. We had been revisiting some old favorites, and, since this was a movie we both liked very much, we decided it was time to revisit it in all its now digital glory. It is still a very good movie, and the strength of Peter Weller’s performance helps it hold up well. What didn’t hold up well at all…. was the use of Ford Taurus as the futuristic car. Yes, it was a break from the past as far as the auto industry goes in the 80’s, but MAN, every time you see the car in a shot, you can’t help but notice just how dated it looks, even with the “futuristic” wheel well covers applied. It just jars you  out of the story.

Movies that are set far into the future, Alien, Aliens, Blade Runner, yes, even 2001 Space Odyssey, or movies set in a galaxy far, far away, all have the advantage of inventing all the tech from scratch. They can make things up as they go along. And yes, I do think Blade Runner still shines some thirty-two years later. It is a masterpiece. And since Joss Wheaton’s name came up in the comments, I’m firmly in the camp that his Firefly wrap-up Serenity will definitely hold up well as time goes on. Even if you don’t know the Firefly TV show, you can still get wrapped up in this fine space tale.

2 Comments to “Movies – Standing The Test Of Time.”

  1. By Wesley M., July 29, 2010 @ 3:37 am

    Another one like “Robocop” is Michael Crichton’s (remember when Michael Crichton used to write and direct movies?!) “Runaway,” with Tom Selleck, Gene Simmons, and Kirstie Alley. All the police cars were these little subcompacts. I want to say Ford Tempos, but I’m not sure; they were the smaller version of the Taurus. They looked *way* cool and futuristic when the film first came out, but when I saw it again years and years later? Well, not so much.

    Then again, the line “The robot’s running a standard 8086 processor” is unintentionally hilarious today. Made several of us in the room snort beer out our nose.

  2. By Jeff Alberts, July 30, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

    2001 holds up very well, I think. We still don’t have video phone booths. The computer graphics on the terminal screens are obviously pretty dated, but still amazingly well done for the time, and much better than many subsequent movies.

    The only place Star Wars falls down, and maybe this isn’t a downfall, is the use of WWII weapons for almost all the blasters. Han Solo’s blaster was a Mauser pistol. The Storm Trooper carbine was a Sterling SMG, some of the heavy Imperial blasters were German MG34s and WWI Lewis guns.

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