Yes, I have a Boston accent. Isn’t that WEIRD!!??
“Intermission” is about TV Tropes: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/moviebob/7190-Trope-a-Dope
13 thoughts on “Escape to the Movies: "Shutter Island"”
I like how you're starting to “Overthink” movies now. More, please 🙂
In a bit of irony, after watching a very good episode of a show, I checked TV Tropes to see if there was a classification for what I saw. I was dismayed when I saw none, not because I had failed, but that there weren't enough examples of the trope.
That was a clever story you bookend the Escapist article with. Is that a MovieBob original? I will keep it in mind for these sort of debates in the future.
This quest for originality has been getting on my nerve for quite some time. It seems to be more common the younger one is and the more one dislikes reading books.
You know, I made that same Mona Lisa analogy while trying to convince my Dad that Avatar is totally worth seeing again (and again and again).
Now I'm wondering, does that mean I'm as clever as you, or you're just as dumb as me?
Goog Review Bob. Except I have to take umbrage with one thing you said.
In the video, you state that you don't like it when people complain about new films sharing a similar set up or premise to past ones (i.e. the “Avatar is just Pocahontas/Dances with Wolves” in space argument). And earlier thsi year you complained that the story in the new Star Trek was nothing but a rehash of Top Gun.
Regardless of how you felt about the film, can you please explain why you feel it's okay to compare the new Trek to a Tony Scott action-er even though it's not cool to compare James Cameron's latest sci-fi opus to a Kevin Costner bore-fest.
Absolutely beautiful story Bob, and good review of Shutter Island, I'm looking forward to catching this one.
I haven't spent enough time on TV Tropes to find it all that interesting. It's too much concentrated jadedness from the outset. It doesn't have the bite of fresh, first hand experience.
It's not that it's “not cool,” it's that in one case it detracted from my experience and in the other case it didn't. Not much more to it than that.
I may be wrong on this, but it sounds as though you don't mind if it is is predictable or rehashed as long as it does a good job when it comes to the details. For example, a predictable beat-em-up action flick can be good if they do a good job on presenting believable and interesting characters that are doing the predictable stuff.
Though the review sounds like a good reason to pick it up when it comes out on DVD. Yes, I know the theater is often a better version of the movie then DVD(Batman Begins proved that). Till it is acceptable to use children as form of fuel, theater going and child raising are things I shouldn't do.
I came to the conclusion long ago, specifically when listening to Radiohead's The Bends that there is only so much one can do, only so many narratives that can be constructed, it's what one does with the narratives. If the creator in question can add an interesting angle, a new, inventive spin, etc then it can be considered original.
Your intermission article was excellent, and I felt awestruck and a bit humbled reading it, something I haven't felt since Ratatouille.
On the other hand, I feel like you've chosen a bad champion for your stance. Yes, Avatar is timely since it is currently the but of the Dances with Smurfs argument, and it seems an appropriate defense especially because people are attacking its originality with something they're stealing verbatim from South Park, but I don't think this is the kind of movie that deserves defending on this ground.
Taking your analogy, James Cameron isn't the little boy trying to impress the stern aliens with his small personal story, he's the grand alien with all the resources in the world coming down and expecting all us little boys to be impressed by his amazing triumph of a story.
Avatar is a movie with no humility, it might be easier to stand up for it's unoriginal story if it didn't shove itself down your throat as the mighty James Cameron's 14-year 500 million dollar magnum opus, which bragged incessantly about bringing us an imaginative new world.
And it's hideously disingenuous about the story, it prattles on it's Captain Planet environmentalism and saving the CG rainforest and then cashes in with McDonald's and every other corporate interest that'll probably use most of that money to hack down the real environment.
It's not the kind of story that's unoriginal because it's universal and deserves retelling, like boy-meets-girl, the quest, the Faust, or anything like that, it's the kind of safe, committee designed plot that lets them pretend to have a vaguely political, blandly positive message without actually ruffling any feathers.
Of course, proofreading this I find myself a bit bothered by myself, since I realize I sound like an elitist jerk putting on some Che Guevera air and talking down to a film just because it has a big budget, and I really can't get around the fact that I kind of am. So take everything I just said with a huge grain of salt.
A friend of mine whose opinion I respect highly I think made a very good point about the flaws of Avatar (and yes, he enjoyed the movie quite a great deal). The problems with its use of tropes isn't its use of them, but how strictly they are followed. Very basic archetypes are followed to the letter and not much else detail is provided since we recognize them immediately for what they are. We don't need the gaps filled in. I agree with my friend's prognoses.
However, that doesn't stop it from being my favorite movie this year (my friends make fun of me for seeing it three times haha). I still think Up in the Air and The Hurt Locker are better films and I hope one of them wins best picture.
hmm, I see.
Well, thanks for clearing that up, Bob. I didn't mean to offend.
Keep up the good reviews! You've been going strong for years now!
joseph campbell anyone? the holy trilogy is actually based on the idea that there are only a handful of hero archetypes and setups.
but, i think some of the desire for originality comes from plot lines being lifted in an obvious manner with nothing fresh added to the mix and the over use of remakes, adaptations, reboots, and sequels/prequels. and let's face it: people always want something new.
and happy belated birthday, bob.
Bob, I wish you'd mentioned in your review that Shutter Island grinds to a halt in the last 15 to 20 minutes.
The movie has so much momentum, but then it all evaporates during the 15 minutes of exposition that Scorsese felt was needed to explain the (ultra predictable) twist to all the dummies in the audience who didn't get it.
And for the love of God, did he have to include the super-cliched aerial shot of DiCaprio looking to the heavens and shouting “NOOOOOOO!”???
Compare Shutter Island to a movie such as The Machinist. In The Machinist, the final reveal is so well crafted that there is no need for 15 minutes of exposition to explain it. Rather, the truth is revealed succinctly and visually, and then the film promptly finishes, leaving the audience satisfied. In The Machinist, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place of their own accord; they weren't forced into place by clunky dialogue.