Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Film reviews

I felt it appropriate to show this at the start of our Narrative unit as the film ultimately teaches you about the struggles you can face when making a professional film. Best of all, it shows one of the most problem-ridden journeys as Terry Gilliam aims to make The Man Who Kill Don Quixote, a film adaption of the book Don Quixote. After watching this film, it really motivates you to make your group projects work, because no matter how bad the journey gets, you can always tell yourself "hey, atleast this ain't no Lost in La Mancha". It was also an insight into the vast amount of details you have to consider when shooting a film from start to finish.

In some ways Ed Wood, for me, was a motivation film in the same way Lost in la Mancha was. Despite how badly Ed Wood's films were received, and how ignorant his working habits were, he enjoyed every moment of working in the film business. This helped me realise that no matter what brings you down, as long as you keep your head up, and continue making YOUR films, you will enjoy the journey. There's a quote in the film from Ed Wood that sums up how I, as an amateur filmmaker, should work by, and that is "Really? that bad? Well my next film will be better!".

This film was a hit at it's time probably due to the fact it had a simple but meaningful message about peace over war, being released after World War 2. It allowed me to identify some scenes that could, and have been, referenced, such as 'the tanks coming down the city street', 'the alien holding a girl in both arms' and 'the alien coming down from his spacecraft'. Also the use of the theremin became symbol in sci-films after the succesful use of it with Gort to create tension.

Being shown this film during our Narrative unit enforced the message that, even though we've got special effects at hand, you can't rely on CG, and that even with the best CG, the film will always be unsuccessful if the story and everything else isn't there. In this case, it was the 3D that helped promote the film, however, it wasn't the 3D that made it a success, it was the story, acting and everything else, the fact that it didn't rely on 3D that did . The story was really influential for me. Jarrod being established well at the start, helped in the shock factor, when you realise what he has become and what the sculptures really are really shocks you!!

Some of the shots in this films were really significant. shots of Dracula with his silhouette, such as at the top of the stars, were really memorable. Also, the gripping acting by Christopher Lee also helped the success of the film as he conveyed Dracula well with the various expressions required. The set design was also memorable, from the dark yet solaced basement to the furnished royal dining room where the final fight scene took place.

This film kept me at the edge of my seat throughout. I think it was mainly because everything was so well established, such as the rules that the creature obeyed by, and the various options available to the residents. The film felt like a really difficult game, where every situation you could think of would be tried by the residents, and you'd follow the whole journey with them. I honestly did not know what was coming next. The pacing of the film was also spot on, you'd have adrenalin moments where you'd be all excited and wanting to punch the air, followed by slow-paced, cooling down periods where this would be your thinking time. I liked this story, because I didn't come out of it thinking "why didn't they just....".

Before watching this, Alan said "the director makes a bold move in this, in terms of storytelling". I started watching the film thinking about what this 'bold move' could be, until about 20 minutes in, when the story just took me in. I really like how the director used a supermarket as a way of housing a whole bunch of personalities, it's so understandable as although these people are so different, it's not weird that they all go shopping in a supermarket. The development of the characters emotions, was so gradual and well timed that I grew with them. I went from thinking "that preaching lady needs to keep quiet", to thinkin "wow, after all that's happened, she may be onto something". It just goes to show, that no matter how grounded you believe you are in your morals, if something supposedly supernatural happened, how quick would you be to lost it. It wasn't until the end that I realised "ohhhh that's what Alan was on about", because at this moment in time, we always expect a certain ending from Hollywood, and that's not what we got from this, it really did shock me. The film overall moved me, and it made me look at my own life.

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