Science Fiction Films discussion


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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Thanks for mentioning this one Rob!!

message 2: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Gets a huge A+ from me as well...reminds me I need to buy it again...

message 3: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments The more I watch it, the more I like it.
Something about those slick stylized sets makes it so beautiful to watch.

message 4: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca "Gattaca" is one of my favorite movies. My favorite scene is when the brothers swim out into the ocean and Vincent says "we're closer to the other side". Found it on youTube.

Not SF, but I also love writer/director/producer Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War" and "The Truman Show". They have that same depth of lessons learned.

message 5: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Saw it, wasn't impressed. Worked really hard to have really cool type design but just didn't really come together into anything really very interesting, to me at least.

message 6: by Phillip (last edited Dec 04, 2008 07:57PM) (new)

Phillip i liked it. i have a special association with this's personal, i won't go into it. it was shot up here in nocal...worked for me. it's a good sci-fi film, i thinks...

message 7: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Gattaca is an interesting film. It's unusual for an American science fiction movie in that it's quiet. There aren't a lot of explosions and people running around screaming. It's a great mystery story, a terrific love story, and a story of sibling rivalry. It's good hard science fiction. It's plausible and possible. I think some people may have trouble with it because it's a thinking movie, not an adventure movie. The pace is methodical and seems slow, but it flows well. It's visually stunning.

I've only seen it two or three times, but it's etched in my brain. I especially loved the scene with the sunrise over the solar panels. It was spectacular.

message 8: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) You're right, Rob. It was a very emotional movie.

message 9: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.

message 10: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Here's my review: not a big fan of the film but like the concept.

GATTICA (Andrew Niccol, 1997, USA) A very interesting premise bogged down in a rather bland story about brotherly love, finding the girl of your dreams, which terminates in an unsatisfying “whodunit”. GATTICA wants to be a serious science fiction film in that it relies heavily on the science, as the fiction is a fanciful extrapolation of current facts. I think the future of genetic manipulation to the degree that Director Andrew Niccols envisions is very likely but the story is not believable. If I am led to believe that Vincent undergoes an extremely difficult operation in Jerome’s apartment then medical science should be able to regenerate his (Jerome’s) spinal cord nerve cells. Also, Vincent tries to minimize his DNA exposure while assuming the false identity but that’s just utter crap: not only would his DNA be everywhere but there is no DNA in hair or eyelashes…and why would they take a urine sample? What a waste of time! I suppose if you’re genetically perfect then you have to wear a dark suit and walk emotionless with your hands behind your back; these characterizations were absurd. The murder of the Director was not only an idiotic diversion but also only served the purpose of introducing Vincent’s long lost brother. Jude Law’s character Jerome was poorly scripted and his motivations made little sense: I suppose that disabled people are of absolutely no value in this future society…even one as smart as Jerome. I guess he couldn’t have used his superior mind to further science, write novels, or sculpt, paint…or make a decent movie. Overall, a great disappointment that tells a boring story and gets the basic science wrong. (C)

message 11: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments One of the things I love about this site is the interaction of different views on what we hate or love in popular films. Thank you Rob and Alex.

message 12: by Phillip (new)

Phillip hitchcock was one to say it didn't matter if the macguffin (in this case, the dna material) was plausible, as long as it strung the audience this case, i think it worked for me too (i didn't know this fact....thanks for clarifying, alex!)...

message 13: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Great post, Alex, thanks. You nail the easy sentiment the film tries to whip up and the planet-sized holes in the plot. A hard-boiled noir drama in a sci-fi setting has been tried before with middling success in BLADE RUNNER, but GATTACA really blows it. I alos like what you say about the genetically perfect being such emotionless automatons.

message 14: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments i'm sorry but i think Alex's review is overly harsh

i think its perfectly scientifically plausible to not be able to regenerate the spinal cord...if you wanted to be critical, i think it would be more appropriate to question why he didn't have some biomechanical fix to allow normal function, you know, like robot legs or something-that would have negated the whole crawling up the stairs bit (kind of jeromes redemption i guess) plus, if i recall correctly, vincent's surgery is no where near as complex as trying to regenerate the spinal cord

i think rob's got it right about jerome's kind of self loathing and regret over the loss of the life (perfect?) he had and the spinal injury is a device to take him from the top of society to the being one of the forgotten (ignored) ones. I think he does it to himself (the injury i mean). you know, there's no "fix" for jerome cause really no one "important" in society who would have this kind of problem

and i think the bit of critism about emotionless and not using his superior mind and stuff kind of misses the point of the film (or IS the point of film, depending on how you think about it)

btw, you absolutely can get DNA samples from hair good enough for forensics, esp if you get the root

and maybe you're right, in the future it'd be impossible to remove every single trace of ourselves containing DNA, but again, i think that critisism misses the point (or is again the point, how no matter how hard you try, or what "masks" you wear, you can't really hide who you really are)

but i don't believe it's justified to say that the film "gets the basic science wrong"

message 15: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments sorry, i just wanted to add

i really liked the sunrise on the solar panels too! ever since i saw the film i've been trying to figure the meaning of that shot

that and when jerome crawls up the stairs are my favourite parts

message 16: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments hey rob, no prlb. GATTACA is one of my favourite movies, and one the best sci-fi movies i've seen

message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 07, 2008 11:21AM) (new)

I loved Gattaca. It's been a while since I saw it but I think the pace and cinematography complement each other beautifully:I remember that relationship being something I was aware of on some kind of subliminal level but it was only after I read about the directors intentions regarding the length of shots and scenes being related to the intensity of the suspense that I understood (again, on a subliminal level!!!)why I kept thinking of this as an almost Hitchcock-ian Science fiction film.

I'm also reminded of Huxley's 'Brave New World' and the societal detachment that is necessary for both 'Utopia's' to survive.

Anyway, enough analysis, I'm off to watch 'Death race'!

message 18: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Dec 07, 2008 02:05PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
You need the root to get DNA from hair or eyelashes. Though I'm no expert, I've been invovled in my share of Homicide cases where DNA was essential. And with stem-cell research, I think it would be more probable to regenerate nerve cells than to complete this complicated your own home! I just didn't buy it, but that's only my humble opinion. It's interesting how we look at films: I can "buy" talking Apes but not the characters of GATTICA. I suppose I see the writer's manipulation in creating obvious plot devices to further the story (like the murder). Overall, I do like the film and appreciate any intelligent science fiction.

message 19: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments i believe mitochondrial dna is possible without the root, obviously the root would allow genomic dna analysis

mitochondrial dna may not be able to clearly id who you are, but would be good enough i think to determine that vincent was lying about his identity

and regenerating the spinal column is i believe orders of magnitude more complex than the "complicated surgery", i think it's perfectly plausible that spinal cord regeneration is something they couldn't get done "under the radar". think of this way, vincent's "complicated surgery" is something that can be done now, and spinal cord regeneration cannot, so extrapolate to the future...

anyways, again though, i don't think that's the point

maybe you're right alex and there's not that much sophistication to the storytelling and it was too transparent for you, but not buying the science...

message 20: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Thanks Kai, you know more about the science than I do, but I ask an awful lot of questions:) I said I didn't "buy" the characters and the "fiction is a fanciful extrapolation of current facts". I liked the science and could suspend my a point. I think you hit on my point exactly (and phrased it much better than I did!) when you said "there's not that much sophistication to the storytelling and it was too transparent". The science of science fiction really isn't that important to me; I'm more interested in how the science affects human lives and society, in much the same way that Ray Bradbury dictates in his definition.
This forum is great and has turned into exactly what I hoped: intelligent discussions of serious films! Sometimes we disagree but it's through this genial friction that we discover new truths and often review our own opinions.

message 21: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments hey alex, i think it's evident you've seen a lot more movies than i have, and i have to admit, when the storytelling devices are "simplified" it's a lot more accessable to me! (to point of the narrative that is)

message 22: by Phillip (last edited Dec 07, 2008 07:26PM) (new)

Phillip agreed, rob.

it's clear that alot of sci-fi films (think 50's B movies!) are based on questionable scientific fact. the question is does the film grab you and pull you into an otherwise alien world?

gattaca didn't throw me in any way by using this dna material (i was probably too busy gawking over uma, for one thing). but the real emotional weight came from the conflict between the ethan hawke character and the jude law character. again, the dna thing was kind of a macguffin, i didn't feel the film hinged on its validity.

message 23: by Phillip (new)

Phillip no....why, do you want to start something?

; )

message 24: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
No Rob, this is how we try to understand since we can't all sit around with each other, share a few drinks, and talk movies. I think the storytelling to CLOCKWORK is very sophisticated: on the surface it is a superficial (though highly stylized)exercise in ultra-violence, but Kubrick/Burgess creates an empethetic and likable/despicable protogonist. But there are some serious philosophical questions that are embedded into the narrative. The same applies to GATTICA and I'm glad many others find it so. Phillip is right, the weight of the story is the relationship between Ethan Hawk and Jude Law (I'm sorry, I forget their character's names) and not in the science. I just didn't feel connected to them or their dilema and thought the plot and resolution too contrived.

message 25: by Phillip (last edited Dec 07, 2008 08:27PM) (new)

Phillip i'm with alex on clockwork orange - that's a very slippery, difficult story. it's just that kubrick is such an excellent storyteller, you kind of just flow along with all this difficult material and it somehow (miraculously) reads as effortless, which can easily be confused with transparent, or non-existent.

message 26: by Angie (new)

Angie This movie brought up a lot of discussion I am going to check it out!

message 27: by Phillip (new)

Phillip if you like sci-fi, or films driven with moral dilemmas (what film isnt'?), i would recommend checking it out.

message 28: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments i think maybe GATTACA can come across as "unsophisticated" (maybe not such a good word) because it's kind of easy to see the themes etc as long as you've taken a 10th grade english class (in N America i guess)

not nessecarily that it is an unsophisticated movie/film/story, but that it could be "transparent" in terms of the direction the fimmakers are intending to go if you have a reasonable level of experience trying to analyze narratives (esp in film)

message 29: by Phillip (last edited Dec 08, 2008 08:51PM) (new)

Phillip so, what exactly are these "unsophisticated" themes you're citing, kai?

message 30: by George (new)

George | 63 comments Kai, hmm. as opposed to a 6th grade education anywhere else? This is another film where I liked the concept more than the execution. Just didn't reach me. But for those of you it did, soldier on.

message 31: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments well, i'm just going with Alex's review, for him i guess the execution of the storytelling was a little simplistic for him

i'm just talking about basic themes like man vs nature etc

george: i just meant that that kind of analysis was the kind of stuff i learned about in 9th and 10th grade english class (eg in china, english class is actually about learning english, don't know where you went to school, so i can't say what you learned in the 6th grade, all i remember is puberty :)

i personally very much liked the execution of the film

for example i really liked the one-dimensional "characterization" of the genetically "perfect" characters of the film alex was complaining about...i think it was intentional to express the fixation of a society on defining the individual based solely on the content of their DNA (physical qualities), creating a homogeny based on shared beliefs in "ideal" qualities. kind of expressing the loss of individualism (the "soul" of society) (btw, one of the reasons i think the murder is ok at the end, you know hubris, anger, etc)

my point was only that maybe for alex, this might be a little bit to conventional and over-simplified for him...thus he's not able to enjoy the film

message 32: by George (new)

George | 63 comments that's fine. anyone is entitle to like whatever they like. just didn't do anything for me. no reason whatever for you and Rob not to like it.

message 33: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments well thank you george, i'm glad to have your affirmation :)

message 34: by George (new)

George | 63 comments you're welcome. well, what I'm really saying is simply that it shouldn't matter to you or anyone else if someone doesn't share all your tastes.

message 35: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments does it come across like it matters (to me)?

i think if someone disagrees with your opinion, it's an opportunity to reflect on the foundation of your opinion-why it is i think something is or isn't. Also it gives me a chance to try and see someone else's perspective (and maybe learn something new-although with my ego that gets kind of tough at times :)

so sometimes i think it does matter (and it can change my opinion) or else what's the point?

message 36: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I have really liked this film since first seeing it in theatres. I bought it as soon as it was available and have watched it many, many times. I'm always surprised that so many people dislike it.
Like someone else mentioned. it's a quiet sci-fi movie, and I really enjoy those. I did find it a bit simple in theme, but put that down as a way to show you how simplified the human race had become. Yes, they were technologically advanced, but in seeking out perfection, emotions were sacrificed, thus simplifying us as a whole. I think the message was that we had lost so much more than we gained. Simple idea, simply shown.

message 37: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 39 comments I think this is a truly great SF film. I was on a panel at the 2000 World Con (held in Chicago that year) that was to review the films of the '90s and then select the best of the decade. Three out of four of us ended up selecting "Gattaca." For me it represents SF film at its best, showing it doesn't have to be twenty years behind where SF lit is.

A few years later I got to interview Andrew Niccol (the writer/director who also wrote "The Truman Show") and tell him we had picked his film. He seemed pleased. He later did a comedy called "S1m0ne" that tanked, but which I found very funny. Al Pacino plays a movie director who gets fed up with divas and, with some help, constructs a virtual actress who becomes his biggest star.

message 38: by Esther (last edited Jan 19, 2009 01:29AM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) I found Gattaca inspiring.
As someone who has always dreamed of being an astronaut I could identify with Vincent.
I appreciated the fact that although he is determined he isn't cruel.
In a 'thinking' film I am most critical about the emotions and relationships. Vincent and Irene, Vincent and his brother, Vincent and Jerome and Vincent and the world - I found all these relationships believable and ,thankfully, not overwrought or melodramatic.

As far as I was concerned the murder investigation was just a macguffin to add tension, introduce Vincent's brother and show Jerome at his best.

The solar panel scene is beautiful but my favourite scenes are the swimming scene and crossing the busy road. They are so tense and almost wordless but show us exactly who Vincent is.

message 39: by Kai (new)

Kai (wlow) | 28 comments Daniel M. wrote: "I think this is a truly great SF film. I was on a panel at the 2000 World Con (held in Chicago that year) that was to review the films of the '90s and then select the best of the decade. Three ou..."

I vaguely remember seeing S1mone, and thought it was ok

message 40: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Esther, you are so right about that crossing the road scene. I'm extremely nearsighted and that scene precisely captured what it's like to lose your vision correction when you are severely myopic.

message 41: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I'm very nearsighted as well, and I just don't think someone with good vision can fully grasp the faith it took for him to cross that road. Or grasp the terror! (I would have peed my pants)

message 42: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Exactly! I thought that terror came through very well in that scene. Especially when you have to consider that he's pretending to be a guy with perfect eyesight, so he has to keep up the facade despite his terror and blindness.

message 43: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Oh I agree. He definitely did a good job of showing us the terror and attempt at concealment. What I mean is, someone with good eyesight probably just didn't get that at all! It's so much more real to us. In the way a well acted movie about grief is more real to us once we've experienced it. Not everyone esperiences bad eyesight, so some of us get a bonus performance! Did that make sense?

message 44: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) My focus terminates at the end of my nose. I can hardly recognise my own children when I'm not wearing glasses.
Just looking for my glasses if I knock them off the beside table in the morning leads to tears or a panic attack.
That scene had me hyperventilating.

message 45: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Though I'm lukewarm on this film, I love the excitment it generates! This is what great films are supposed to do, even if we don't all specifically agree. Thanks everyone for intelligent insight into GATTICA. I tire of other forums that become inundated with moronic blurbs about "how awesome dude" and "it rocks" without explanation. OK, this forum rocks. There. I guess I'm a bit moronic too:)

message 46: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Esther wrote: "My focus terminates at the end of my nose. I can hardly recognise my own children when I'm not wearing glasses.
Just looking for my glasses if I knock them off the beside table in the morning leads..."

I'm right there with you, Esther. The point at which I can focus is the same as the point at which I go cross-eyed. My optometrist tells me to take out my contact lenses every night to prevent infections (even though they're extended wear), but I leave them in anyway. I like being able to see when I wake up.

message 47: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) Sandi wrote: "...My optometrist tells me to take out my contact lenses every night to prevent infections (even though they're extended wear), but I leave them in anyway. I like being able to see when I wake up...."
When I wore contacts I always had to have glasses as well so I could find my contacts in the morning!

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