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Old September 12 2012, 01:12 AM   #80
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Re: Rename The Motion Picture

Christopher wrote: View Post
I think what needs to be remembered is that TMP came along during a paradigm shift in the way SF film was done. People today look back on it as a generation whose view of SF cinema is defined by Star Wars and its successors, the trend of SF as action-driven roller-coaster rides. But TMP harkened back to the SF of the '60s and '70s, to films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running. It wasn't about mile-a-minute excitement; it was about ideas and atmosphere and grandeur and sense of wonder. And it wasn't just SF; there were a number of films in other genres that weren't afraid of long, slow, contemplative passages that were about immersing the audience in the atmosphere of a scene. See films like Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, the works of Kubrick and Leone and Bergman, etc. This was part of the language of cinema in the era where most of Robert Wise's career fell. It can be hard to understand today when so many of us watch movies on DVD or our computers, but if you experience something like that on the big screen, with all distractions taken away, it's a far more immersive and effective experience.

So it wasn't that Wise's approach was wrong or inept; it was that he was following an older paradigm, one that audiences weren't as quick to embrace after Star Wars changed the rules (and not necessarily for the better). And I don't think that was a mistake. I think TMP is perhaps one of the last big statements of that particular paradigm, the swan song of a cinematic era. After all, TMP and The Black Hole, which came out only two weeks later, were the last American films to feature overtures in their theatrical releases, something that had been a common practice in earlier decades. TBH was also an exemplar of the older style of SF filmmaking, essentially a space-based remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, although showing some of the influence that Star Wars had on SF cinema.
Well said, and I agree. I think "Apocalypse Now" and "Alien" would also qualify as films done in that slow manner, which were also released in 1979.

Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
Stokely: In an insane society, the sane man must appear insane.
Harvey Holroyd: Where'd you get that?
Stokely: Star Trek. [leaves the room]
Harvey Holroyd: [to himself] God, I miss that show. (Source: "Serial", 1980.)

Last edited by Navigator_NCC2120; September 12 2012 at 01:45 AM.
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