The Terminator

During this week’s episode of the Totally Rad Show, Alex Albrecht theorized that one of the many reasons Terminator Salvation didn’t work for him was because he believes that the concept of machines or technology rising up against humanity has been done so many times before, that it is no longer valid (I’ve included an excerpt from the show after the jump).

How can a story work on the same level of the first Terminator film, when the machines and technology are no longer scary. Even in the critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica television series, the Cylons weren’t even scary (It should be noted that the show worked on many other dramatic levels, but it never tried to be a thriller).

Or could it be that we’ve reached a place where both the animatronic and computer generated machines no longer look real? And maybe the same could be said about technology. We now live in a technology-infused world, and the evil tech in films like Eagle Eye just ring false.

Terminator Salvation aside, lets have a discussion. In this post-Matrix world, is the story of humans having to defend themselves against scary machines and evil technology a thing of the past?
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How Can IMAX Save Their Name Brand?

IMAX vs. Digital IMAX

Last week, spurred by Actor/comedian Aziz Ansari‘s experiences with Digital IMAX, we published an article titled “Why You Probably Shouldn’t Waste $5 More For Digital IMAX .”

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In this week’s episode of Totally Rad Show, Alex Albrecht went off on a mini-rant about the use of computer generated backgrounds in Angels & Demons (I’ve embedded a clip after the jump).

Due to the controversial nature of the book, the Vatican wouldn’t allow Ron Howard to shoot the film in many of the locations featured in the novel. Instead of constructing large sets based on the actual locations, some of the movie was shot on green screen stages. The computer constructed backgrounds left a lot to be desired. Would the film have been good if they had shot on location or on constructed practice sets? Probably not, but the backgrounds wouldn’t have distracted the audience from the story going on in the foreground.

Discuss: So I’m wondering, what are some of your most hated uses of CG in movie history? Good movies ruined by bad CG or just unnecessary CG that took you out of the story…

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Do You Care About a Fantastic Four Reboot?

fantastic four

IESB has learned that 20th Century Fox is developing a Fantastic Four reboot, but does anyone care? The studio has released two films previously, both of which made around $300 million worldwide and are considered commercial successes (but not compared to such franchises as Batman, Iron Man, and Spider-Man). Marvel has changed the game, and the way studios are looking at superhero properties. Fox now wants to reboot the series in a tone described as “less bubble gum” and more in the vein of Marvel’s Iron Man than Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

But as I asked before, does anyone really care? Any interest I had in the comic book property was ruined by Fox’s previous efforts, and I assume that anyone who wasn’t a fan of the previous two films (i.e. anyone over the age of 12) won’t be on board for a potential reboot. I doubt that Fox would be able to lure any “visionary” filmmakers to the project, especially since they have developed a reputation of not being artist-friendly. I’d much rather see a sequel to The Incredibles, which we all know will eventually happen.

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Does Pixar have a gender problem? A blog called Vast Public Indifference thinks so, claiming that the Emmeryville computer animation studio doesn’t have any good women characters as the central protagonists in their stories. Caitlin GD Hopkins claims that most of Pixar’s female characters are “helpers, love interests, and moral compasses to the male characters whose problems, feelings, and desires drive the narratives.” I highly recommend reading Hopkins’ rant as she examines each and every Pixar film, one by one, even taking a look at the studio’s future projects.

Does Pixar have a problem with creating strong female protagonists? I’m a Pixar fanatic and this is a question that has never even occured to me. I would like to think that Hellen/Elasticgirl and Violet were well rounded female characters in Brad Bird’s The Incredibles, and you could argue that WALL-E‘s EVE is both smart and strong. While she is the romantic love interest of the film’s title robot, EVE is a driving force within the story, many levels above Dory from Finding Nemo or Ratatouille‘s only female lead, Colette.

But I do see the point — why does Remy have to be a male rat anyways? Or as someone quickly pointed out in the comments, would that then open the argument up to perpetuating a stereotype by making a female the one who is good at cooking. It might have been more interesting if Linguini was a woman.¬† Heck, even Colette said that it’s harder for a female to make it in the kitchen.

Discuss: Does Pixar Have a Problem Creating Good Female Characters?

via: Kottke

I’ve never really thought about it before, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a movie trailer narrated by a woman. Variety has an article which cites a quote from Don LaFontaine, known as “The Voice of the Movie Trailer”, who as you might recall, recently passed away:

“I think women are vastly underrepresented in this area,” LaFontaine said in 2006. “You’d think that for films directly aimed at women, chick flicks, the logical choice would be for a woman to narrate the trailer. But studios hold focus groups and the people in them, women included, seem to prefer the male voice.”

Ryder also notes that William Morris represents only three female trailer voices, all of whom work primarily in television or scratch (aka temp tracks), compared with 33 male trailer voices.

Discuss: Why couldn’t LaFontaine’s successor be a woman? I’m interested to hear what do you guys think…

You can watch the trailer for Gone in 60 Seconds after the jump, considered to be one of the only mainstream examples of a movie trailer with female narration that “works”

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