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Old September 5 2012, 06:09 PM   #1
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Thoughts about Filmmaking

I didn't know if it fit into the Filmmaker's Primer thread. And I don't know if I'm even allowed to post it, but I'm doing it anyway.

I was browsing Youtube and found uploaded versions of Conan - The Barbarian (2011) and Conan - The Barbarian (1982).

I'm gonna link to them, but if mods disagree with this, feel free to remove the links please.

I watched the first 15 minutes of each version. And I can't help it... the old version is superior to the new version in ANY WAY, in my opinion. Music. Cinematography. Direction. Acting. Action. Editing. Pacing. Sound design. Voice Overs.

Just the scene where the village got raided, and James Earl Jones approaches Conan's mother, just staring at her, getting her to lower her sword and then cutting her head off. No dialogue, just the power of images and music.

It's like each image in Conan 1982 carries an extra OOMPH with it. It's something memorable. Great compositions, great lighting, each image transports something powerful.

In Conan 2011, it's like... it's hard to describe it. It's generic? Cinematography isn't that great. The only iconic image is the baby almost getting stabbed by the blade inside the womb. But even that doesn't feel that powerful to me personally. The music is forgettable, there is no theme. Morgan Freeman's voice over doesn't hold a candle to the voice over in the old film.

The intro exposition in the 1982 version vs the intro exposition in the 2011 version... there's less "babble" in the 1982 one. Powerful drums, a powerful voice, and some text. In 2011, Morgan Freeman "babbles" about Archeron and Necromongers and some funny names and stuff, while flames shoot around the screen and we see skulls and people getting killed and shit. And yet, the intro isn't as powerful to me.

There's even the possibility of a direct comparison. Around 15 minutes, the sword is forged. I find the scene in the old version again much more powerful than in the new version.

The standout thing about Conan 2011 seems to be that it's bloody, gruesome and violent. But to me, the scene where James Earl Jones cuts Conan's mom's head off (without seeing it) is a lot more violent than blood spattering around.

And if you randomly switch through both movies, I, personally land at powerful moments in the old Conan, but pretty generic moments in the new Conan. There's a chase here, random kills there, dialogue that is shot in generic fashion... I dunno. It just doesn't move anything in me.

I can't help but thinking that you could take all those scenes in Conan 2011 and make them much more powerful, with better cinematography, slower editing, a more powerful score, and dialogue where all the "babble" is removed.

This is NOT supposed to be a Conan 1982 vs. Conan 2011 bashing. This thread is about filmmaking in general, started off with one specific example. I would love it if people would tune in into this thread throwing their own thoughts about films into it, making comparisions of why they think one film or scene is more powerful, memorable, better than the other.

One thing I notice all the time lately. Movies throw so MUCH at you in a very generic fashion, and lose iconic, memorable, powerful moments. Music, editing, cinematography, direction, it somehow loses the OOMPH.

In Avengers (or any Comic Book/tentpole scifi action movie), it's come to the point where I think: does this action scene really have to go on and on and on, yawn? They just throw one generic explosion and fight and kill after the other at you. So that at the end the climax AS A WHOLE might be something memorable, but the events in it are pretty much forgetable.

Standing out of that are, kind of, the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises. I've read a lot of reviews that complained about the lack of action, or that the action scenes are too short, and that the fist fight scenes are lacking. I think the opposite, because I find all that over the top, over long stuff to be generic, lame and pointless. Why waste 1 generic minute when I can achieve 10 powerful seconds in an action scene?

Another good film was Prometheus. While I hated the story and characters, the film contained the OOMPH. There was nothing generic about it in terms of cinematography, direction, editing. Even the score had a memorable theme, which surprised me.
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