Friday, September 10, 2004


Welcome to those of you visiting from The Hurting!

Earlier this week, Tim posted a reply to my recent post on movie trailers -- specifically my comments about Sky Captain -- more specifically my wish for more real-life stunts, rather than CGI-created stunts. Since there are no comments on his site, I'm responding here.

(Note: I'm always hesitant about replying to things I see on other blogs, because no matter what you say, you're most likely going to look like a pissy jerk. Which is not my intent. And yet, here we are.)

Number one, let me just say that this sentence:

Watching real violence – or a realistic portrayal of fantasy violence designed to titillate the worst instincts of the average moviegoer - is just depressing.
is the only thing that really rubs me the wrong way. The rest is just someone having a different opinion from me, which I've learned to live with, despite the fact that I'm always right. But I really don't care for the implication that there's something wrong with me for getting a kick out of John McClane wasting Hans Gruber. Some of us average moviegoers are able to differentiate between fake movie fights and, say, the war in Iraq, and thus can enjoy action scenes for what they are, whether they involve human actors or CGI monsters.

Other notes:

--Action scenes with real people don't have to be violent -- I'm thinking of, say, the suspended from the ceiling bit in Mission: Impossible, or one of the comic car chases in The Blues Brothers.

--As for the ones that are violent, the CGI-type action scenes are generally violent as well, as in the Jurassic Park movies, or The Matrix movies, or Will Smith Kicks a Bunch of Robot Ass (known to some as I, Robot). Why is CGI-created violence acceptable and human-stuntman violence not, when you know they're both equally fake? And are there then varying degrees of acceptability? Is CGI-created human-on-human violence less acceptable than dinosaur-on-human CGI violence, which is less acceptable than alien-on-robot CGI violence?

--Speaking of which.... The specific scene I was thinking of when I mentioned "a million CGI robots fighting a million CGI aliens" was the Gungan vs. droid battle at the end of The Phantom Menace -- a movie which I hated almost in its entirety, but especially that bit, because after a while I started thinking, "There's nothing but a grassy field up there. I'm watching a grassy field, with 1s and 0s superimposed on it. Whee." That works for some people, obviously, but it bored the hell out of me. A real person doing a real thing can be exhilirating, like James Bond snow-skiing off a sheer cliff just before opening his Union Jack parachute; things that aren't there doing things that never happened is, as Mike put it so well, "like watching someone else play a video game."

--As far as the aliens vs. robots being "not something I can see outside my window every day": I've been in car crashes, too... but I've never seen 100 cop cars get demolished by a couple dozen 18-wheelers, like in Smokey & the Bandit 2. I've been in fights... but I've never seen Chow Yun-Fat and Zhang Ziyi in a treetop sword battle outside my window. Because it involves real people, that doesn't automatically mean it's something that's been seen before. Just as simply being computer-generated doesn't mean it hasn't been seen before -- if you've seen one CGI spaceship explosion, you've seen 'em all.

Damn. That's a lot of words about something no one will care about. Oh well.

And on a personal note: Tim, if you really see violence every day -- dude, you should move.

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