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Forum namePass The Popcorn
Topic subjectOkay, since no one else is talking, I'll retort the best that I can:
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=6&topic_id=240898&mesg_id=241725
241725, Okay, since no one else is talking, I'll retort the best that I can:
Posted by Frank Longo, Fri Dec-29-06 10:13 PM
>Other criticisms echo my own -- I seriously started this
>movie about 5 times before I finally finished because it drags
>so much, and that time I finally finished it was a major piece
>of will power. I'll admit I didn't re-watch it before I
>posted this, because I kept clamming up at the thought of
>going through with it again. I might do it before this sinks,
>but then again I just might not.

I recommend it. I really think rewatching movies at different points in your life make all the difference in the world, especially films that give you strong negative opinions.

>Basically, much of the film feels like a re-tread to me:
>A bloated, distant beauracracy? WOW -- cutting, that satire
>Invasive government police? IT'S LIKE HE CAN SEE THE FUTURE!
>Modern living disrupting personal relationships? It's like he
>looked at art from the 1920s or something! Amazing!
>Man dissatisfied with life finds revelation in revolutionary
>female love interest? What a totally unique romance!
>I don't get the appeal -- I've read 1984, I've read the Brave
>New World, I've read Fahrenheit 451, I've seen Terry Gilliam's
>other pieces of whimsical fantasy, I've seen huge numbers of
>dystopian fantasies, and this one just doesn't click with me.
>It seriously lifts central elements from each of the works I
>just mentioned -- Big Brother from 1984, strict social
>hierarchy from Brave New World, revolutionary love interest
>from Fahrenheit 451, and all the art direction you know and
>love in every other Terry Gilliam film.

But see, there's a problem inherent in that argument, and it's the problem with every "there's no original messages anymore" argument. Those things don't seem unique because they continue to be relevant, and when issues continue to be relevant, satire will continue to base their stories on these problems. The originality comes in the vision, in the delivery of it, and it's my belief that what you call the "art direction" is including the story, the characters, the world of the film. Every little thing is an absolutely important detail, so you can watch this movie several times and still not get the ENTIRE vision of the future. It's not just a visual thing, it's the storytelling through the visuals as the plot progresses.

>I mean, it's Gilliam so it has all the fingerprints of his
>talent, and as far as these dystopian things go, it hits all
>the notes and hits them rather predictably, but coming to it
>as basically the last of all the dystopian fictions I
>consumed, I'd have to say I'm pretty disappointed in it.
>Frankly, I'm hesitant to even class it as a sci-fi -- it's
>more just a cheesy fantasy with a non-descript time setting.

It doesn't classify well, that's what I love about it. And I doubt that the whole thing, especially the end, was predictable to you. I mean, sure, if you've seen a bunch of Terry Gilliam you get a feel of how things will go, but that doesn't make the experience of watching events unfold less pleasurable.

>Still, given the paucity of sci-fi film which actually makes
>any effort to be something besides a space soap opera or an
>action movie with lasers, I suppose it's refreshing in that
>sense. Worth watching for serious film buffs to admire Terry
>Gilliam's handiwork, but nothing particularly ground-breaking
>in light of the huge number of other works which basically do
>what this film does, only better.

What exactly do you feel this film "does"? For me, I think this Gilliamesque pessimism combined with the wicked sense of humor combined with the absurdist visuals...turning THAT into the "standard dystopian tale" is something no other film has achieved to the degree that this one has. No "Brave New World" style vision of the future used such absurdist imagery, or gets so much laughter. You might even argue that not many views of the future get too much darker than this one. I think this film does a number of things, many of which are better than any attempts by other directors, specifically the VERY difficult task of handling pessimistic humor and making it hit so consistently within the context of science-fiction social satire (nice alliteration).

>In the end, I'd rather watch Blade Runner again, then read a
>Brave New World and call it a day.

I think both of them achieve different things than Brazil does.

>If a fan of the film could give a detailed analysis of exactly
>what works for them, I'd be curious to hear that. The art
>direction is pure Gilliam magic, I know that, but that story?
>How is it NOT one huge rip-off, and poorly paced at that?

The pace you could argue, especially when in the sections where he's merely "showing us the world," not moving along the plot. The plot is admittedly rather thin. BUT I think there is a story there, and the story allows us to see this vision that truly is a one-of-a-kind, hilarious, and potentially brilliant creation. It's hit-and-miss in terms of sheer moviemaking and storytelling, but I think that's a product of the ambition.