Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: Hugo (Scorsese)

I saw the children's film Hugo, oddly directed by Martin Scorsese, on Tuesday. I thought it was fair to good. Not Excellent, not solidly good, but fair to good. I did enjoy it.

Hugo is film based on the extremely popular children's graphic novel by Brian Selznick called The Invention of Hugo Cabret and I think part of its mere fairness is partly caused by the transition from book to movie. The biggest problem with it was that it didn't fully hang together. Someone mentioned that it did have a "first half" and a "second half" and while they were tied just about enough to work as a whole film there was a definite divide and sense of disjointedness between these dual stories.

But first, the good...

The way the movie was designed was quite pleasing, although quite stylized colourfully-- the old blue and yellow was back, although red, white and the occaisional pale green had been thrown in to make you think it wasn't a blue and yellow movie. (But I'm on to that!)

The script was tight; the film didn't show us unnecessary scenes and instead asked us to fill in the gaps and make assumptions, which I know is something I get very uppity about.

I also liked that it was in some ways a love letter to old film; in the first half, I wondered why Scorsese had taken on the film, but it became very clear as the movie developed into this more film-centric plotline. I liked that connections were made between life and the films and once we got into that early film based section the movie came alive.

This will contain some extremely mild spoilers:

As I said above, the major problem with the film is the disjointedness. I got the sense watching it that there were several quite separate stories tucked into one.

First thing you have to know is that the more important story of the film (not the story of the boy but the story of the man) is a True Story. Going in knowing this would actually definitely have affected the way I perceived the story. True Stories are never as well tied up as ones that have little to no requirement to match up with reality.

This True Story is actually a really lovely one and I know why Scorsese and Brian Selznick (the writer of the book it's adapted from) chose it. What the problem is, and this may be a problem with the book as well, is that the titular boy Hugo actually is largely a conduit through which we can get to this other character's story. Yes, the boy has a story of his own, but it's very much as a supporting role-- at least in the movie.

Now, this is fine as a concept. I actually really like it. The trouble is that the film actually doesn't really fully realise it. One of my favourite quotes from a film maker is from Sidney Lumet who talked about a good film being the product of people who were all making the same movie. This means that everyone is onboard with a single vision. All the parts work together perfectly to tell a single, or set of matching, stories. Hugo doesn't quite pull this off.

The movie is centered on the train station, partly because of the True Story, but this is used to make it a convergence of stories. There is a line in it somewhere along the lines of, "This is a train station. People are either getting on trains or off them. Nothing else goes on here." Clearly, the movie says, it does. To an extent, the stories pulled together but maybe an inch more cohesion, a tiny bit more woven together at any point in the movie, would have really pulled this story together.

As it stands there were a few loose threads that I thought were a little too loose.

First, Sasha Baron Cohen. Cast for humour and within his own story, he was quite good, but as part of a cohesive whole he was in a different film. Part of this is the fact it was Sasha Baron Cohen, and there is something a little too satirical about him. The rest of it was simply that I'm not sure Scorsese really knew what to do with him. He was also the only villain in the film but lacked any real convincing villainy. He was simply there to get in the way when the film was getting a little too easy for the characters. It would have maybe been good to have him connect more with the early film plot through some more obvious device and also connect with Hugo through something slightly less simple.

Secondly, the tug of war between Hugo as the main character and Georges was a bit unstable and unbalanced. I would have liked to see more of the early-on story lines converge on or (perhaps more subtley) circle arond Georges. The use of a montage to establish the relationship between Hugo and Georges was especially weak. A single strong scene probably would have done a better job. Perhaps Georges should have been more visually and philosophically part of the train station, even if it wasn't immediately obvious that this was the case.

Thirdly, the girl was I felt a decidedly weak point. She was a tool with character traits, not a full character. I nearly guffawed at some of her more cliched lines and actions. I suspect that this is a flaw of the book rather than simply of the film or the actress. She could have been more key to the story (if you've seen the film, pun intended). Given she was at the station frequently, she could have provided the central character between Georges and the disparate station characters, and clearly did interact with them (teaching all the children to dance), but never became the rounded and full character she could have been.

I may be showing my feminism a little, but I fear part of her problem is not simply that she is a bit of a tool between Hugo and Georges and nothing more, but also that she's a female character in a book about two male characters, by a male writer, made into a movie by a male director. Very little about her rang true for me and I feel this was a significant loss of what could have been a crucial glue that would hold the story together. In fact, as I write this I am becoming more and more convinced that more than anyone she is the most important character in the story and as such should have been much more fully developed and this is a huge problem for the story that she isn't. After all, it's her who creates the mystery by uttering the fateful paraphrased line, "Pere Georges won't let me watch movies, and I don't know why."


Lastly, where the girl should have been the literal and central person linking Georges and Hugo, Hugo's invention should have been the philosophical/emotional link. These two people share something very important that is represented by the invention, and we never really got that sense. Partly, I think, because Scorsese was playing his Georges cards very close to the chest, but also because the focus became on early film. The original title suggests that there was also this other key part of Georges-- encapsulated in the invention-- that actually represented him as a person so much so that it was the object chosen to cause [/i]the whole plot to happen[/i]. And yet, it was the film that got centre stage and all the glory. It should have been the invention!

This last problem is possibly/probably an artifact of the movie being filmed by Scorsese, who is clearly and perhaps inevitably more interested in the early film aspect of the story.

What a shame! This was one of these films/stories that was so close. However, I think it used to people and objects as just tools, rather than full developing them. It needed a woman's eye looking at that girl and punching the male writers before pushing her further into the plot to provide more glue between the different parts. It needed someone to remind Scorsese that the story is first about the invention, not about the films.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: Alphas (Continued)

Bad news.

Alphas, the show whose pilot I reviewed most recently, is not-- so far-- delivering. Alphas was always going to be a slow-burn show and I was optimistic that it would deliver a cool, low-tech take on the superability genre.

It hasn't quite made it.

One reason is the premise: there is an Alpha of the week, causing mayhem and the team must track them down to stop them on their often distructive path. Unfortuantely, this isn't enough. Ultimately, this is duller than the usual crime-of-the-week show because there is far less to impede an investigation. Superabilities speed up the search for a missing person, mind-control speeds up their interrogation.

To fill the 40 minutes, there is rather a lot of discussion. In every episode so far the group has rehashed a number of the same points about who they are, what they are doing etc. While this happens in real life fairly often, showing it in a 40-minute tv show slows it down and when the action is primarily occurring in a peripheral, non-threatening way, this is a problem. There's only so many speeches on the same topic the audience can listen to quietly.

Lastly, as sometimes happens once a pilot gets picked up, the environment and locations that I felt were interesting and leant an important air of reality to the show have been neatly swept up and disposed of. Now the office is well-decorated and in some kind of business park. The lives of the characters have been compressed into that solvent middle class nothingness that almost all American tv characters on the more mainstream channels seem to exist in. What a shame!

The only interesting thing is the clear moral ambiguity of the Alpha's goal. They capture and imprison dangerous Alphas and it is obvious that the facility where they go is on the wrong end of the experimental spectrum. And yet this is not the focus of the show and it will no doubt be a while before the character who is aware of the obvious issue actually gets around to even telling the others, let alone acting on his knowledge.

So Alphas is dry and dull, throwing us violence, action and intense emotional outbursts as if those somehow make up for the nondescriptness of the rest of the show and the sense of disconnectedness that is growing among what was initially a fairly promising ensemble.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Alphas (Pilot)

With Heroes and Smallville over and buried there is a superhero void in the television world. Syfy has filled this with their offering, called Alphas.

Alphas is very much like Heroes on the surface. A group of people display abilities beyond the norm and use them to handle crime and intrigue. Alphas takes a step away from Heroes in terms of superabilities-- they are more limited and also more unusual abilities, and yet still broad enough to be useful in a variety of situations. Alphas also deviates by being more closely linked to government agencies and while it has all the intrigue and ambiguity raised by the X-Files and Alias, it lacks the mythology that Heroes developed. This is not a bad thing.

So Alphas works as a concept and offers a promising future, but most shows work as an elevator pitch or they wouldn't have gone into production at all. Stargate: Boring certainly offered promise and failed to deliver. Does it work as a show?

Well, Alphas is not excellent. Nothing about it is bold or surprising or even particularly thrilling. It does not deliver the slam-bang opening that, say, an Aaron Sorkin show does. But it does work, and it works for several rather usual, for a television show, reasons.

The first is the cast. It is an ensemble piece where all the characters have roughly the same importance-- Stargate: SG-1 rather than Bones, let's say-- and it has six primary characters who require screentime. This can mean characters who take a while to get going while they jostle for their true position within the group. Alphas is no exception: everyone's got a personality label and in the short time we get for each of them to present themselves we're mostly only getting that one characteristic. However, this wasn't as disastrous as it was in Fringe. Characteristics were usuallt subtle, rather than in-your-face, which meant we weren't being smacked in the face by how much of a jerk one character was or how much of a powerhungry sociopath another was.

And there were a few standouts. David Strathairn fit his role as scientist/psychologist/team leader very well, providing exactly the right mixture of competance, intelligence and concern for his team. Ryan Cartwright, who I recognised as the factual intern from Bones, has also secured himself an interesting part as a person with high-functioning autism-- which as one of the bolder moves for the show could have been a disaster had it gone poorly, but in fact it was played remarkably well and actually gave the characters something to react to and rally around. I suspect things wouldn't have gone quite so well without Cartwright's excellent performance.

Another thing I noticed about the show was the dialogue. It wasn't stellar, by any means. However, it was, for the most part, invisible. The writers, Zak Penn (with a writing past littered with superhero stories) and Michael Karnow (with a comedy background) wrote a very naturalistic script with a lot of naturalistic chatter, which was probably instrumental in saving the characters from having wholly canned personalities. The script felt like a lot of time was spent on it. The only thing lacking was anything more than the faintest whiff of humour-- but it certainly has the potential for a quiet kind of amusingness in the future.

Lastly, what made the show work was location and I suspect this comes from the writers as well. It felt like someone's personal environment-- a record shop, a laundry, a low-end house with older cars on the road, nothing particularly flashy or exuding the kind of wealth that normally populates a show like this. Location choices like that add colour to a show, literally and figuratively, because it looks more real than the beautiful, clean (or all-too strategically cluttered) all-American locations we are used to in shows like this.

"But Teshi," I hear you cry! "You have not talked about any of the normal things you witter on about-- how dense the show is, or what it does in the first ten minutes, or whether things make logical sense!"

Alphas is not a standout show yet. The Pilot wasn't great, but neither was it awful. It does make logical sense, if you accept the superabilities at face value. It is not dense or fast moving but aside from a few moments that overextend their welcome it's dense enough to keep me interested and has the ensemble, the abilities and the location to carry it along well.

And yes, in 10 minutes the opening is done and the plot is in full swing. No stretched out action, no dithering about with mysterious unknowns. It's not a spectacular opening by any means, but it sets the scene, introduces the characters and and puts them all together in ordinary show time by just over the ten minute mark. Good work, team!

There's still something I haven't mentioned because it didn't really strike me until I put all the above factors together above. This show is homey. Most of the characters already know each other well and you get that feeling from their relaxed and familiar dialogue. The settings are lived in and interacted with. You've entered in medias res but that's okay because you don't feel unwelcome in the story.

I look forward to seeing this show develop and I really hope it is a slow burning show that delivers consistantly, because it has that potential.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stargate: Boring (Pilot)

I'd been holding off on watching Stargate: Universe for two reasons. The first, because I (gasp) haven't finished Stargate SG-1. I find it difficult to finish a beloved show, but that's another psychiatrist visit.

The second reason was that I had heard uninspiring things about SG:U. However, I love the world of Stargate and knew I would have to give Universe a try eventually. So finally I decided to watch 'Air', the first episode.

I didn't make it even half way.

A while back, I watched two versions of the same pilot of a tv show and lamented how, within the first few minutes, a viewer could already sense problems in the show.

I found SG:U played right into this same issue of struggling before it had started. Being the third in a franchise, it-- like that Life on Mars pilot-- invites comparisons to its stargate predecessors. Both SG-1 and Atlantis had their troubles but were overall highly successful shows loved by many. Both had very tight pilot episodes that sucked me in.


Universe, starring Robert Carlyle and Brian J. Smith, among others, opens with a large ship gliding in space. So far, so good. Seconds later, we are watching people get tossed at speed through a stargate, presumably aboard the ship. They are landing with enough force to be injured and frequently be hit by flying luggage and other travellers. Initially, I was drawn in, but my content was almost immediately crushed by a single line spoken by Brian J. Smith:
Slow down the evac! We're coming in too hot!

What is it about this line, spoken two minutes and fifty two seconds into the show that stopped me from believing in what was happening? It may have been the self-consciously military phraseology that lacked the specifics to make it interesting, perhaps it was the inevitable knowledge that a lot more people were going to leap through that stargate and lie there shrieking and crying before it was closed and we could get on with things. Perhaps it was also the obvious nature of the statement. Aside from the word "evac", which hopefully you guessed from what you could see, everything the lieutenant says is obvious.

So that's the three minute mark and the air is filled with confused cries. If you listen to the soundtrack alone, you hear two things. One, these confused cries. Two, clearly spoken above the shrieks, some lines of dialogue which only compound the tragedy unfolding.
MAN: My God! Where are we?

WOMAN: What is this place?

Aaah! How awful! These lines are separate from the scene, edited on top of the random screams and crying in an artificial way, evenly spaced. They are spoken in a very amateurish way that sets them apart from the general environment of shock and confusion. Lastly, they are poorly written. Who says, "what is this place?" People in period films written in the fifties. Not only that, these two lines say precisely the same thing and it was something we already knew.

So now my heart is sinking. The writing is unimaginative, the sound editing is bad and nothing about the setting suggests we're going to get some idea of what is going on any time soon.

Other thoughtless actions occur while evacuees continue to fly out of the stargate. A medic identifies herself with a shout. There are people all around unconcious and bleeding and we watch her dealing with a man with a broken arm. The medic says, "hold still, I'm going to put your arm in a sling, okay?"

Hang on. We just saw a picture of a woman, unconcious, with a bleeding head wound. There are still more poeple pouring through the stargate while others lie on the ramp in danger of more injuries and this woman is going to start dealing with a broken arm right now?

Now I start to realise not just in bad writer territory, we're in bad character and environment development territory. The writers have just shown us that they are out of touch with the very situation they have written.

And it goes on. The Colonel is the last through the stargate, thrown much further than the others. There is blood all over him and he slumps to the ground, clearly close to death. The Lieutenant asks the Medic, "Is he okay?" If it was intended to convey the lieutenant's confusion, it didn't quite work. The colonel was clearly badly wounded before he came through the stargate. Of course he's not okay.

Except for quick glimpses of various characters, we've not yet been introduced to any characters. Now, however, the camera focuses on Eli (David Blue) for a moment. And suddenly, we're in flashback mode.

For me, Eli's how-did-I-get-here flashback was the nail in the coffin of Universe's opening sequence. We learn in the next few minutes that Eli was hired by the Stargate program by breaking a secret code hidden in a Prometheus video game. He is, in short, the geek fantasy character-- the audience. Within a minute of opening the door, Eli is offered a non-disclosure agreement (which he doesn't initially sign; he is basically kidnapped by the Air Force and emotionally blackmailed into signing) and we're beamed up into space to have the Stargate Program explained to us by a recording Daniel Jackson.

The crucial ten minute mark has been and gone and we know almost nothing about the characters or the situation. Worse, we do not care about the characters or the situation-- Daniel Jackson's recorded cameo has more personality than the main characters. Nobody's particularly believeable or likeable and the situations are hamfisted stereotypes of scenes most science fiction fans have seen if not on screen, then in their dreams.

Lastly, this flashback has no common link to what is happening in Eli's present at the stargate on this mysterious. Sure, that's the bizarre story that got him off world and no doubt the whole story will be told, but as of yet the audience is not making the link. So far, neither story is really improved by having the presence of the other one. In short, Eli's backstory was entirely unnecessary.

So, compare, if you will, Universe's opening ten minutes to SG-1's.

SG-1 opens with five unimportant Air Force plebs playing cards near something Very Unimportant deep underground. We know all these things in the first thirty seconds of the show after two lines of dialogue. Within a minute, we know that the Very Unimportant object is actually Very Important. Within two and a half minutes, we're already being invaded by aliens. This, if you remember, was the appproximate time of that first disastrous line in Universe. At five minutes, the invasion is over and the wheels of the show are in motion and we meet the first main character of the show.

Colonel Jack O'Neill is on the roof of his house, looking up through a telescope at the place we know this show is going because we saw the promos. We learn in a word and a non-action that he's retired and bitter and he delivers some beautiful opening lines for a show:

A little piece of advice, Major? Get re-ass'ed to NASA. That's where all the action's gonna be. Out there.

That is the main character's first real line. The audience knows: The lead is going to be dry, grouchy and funny. It's going to be space, and it's going to be action. That's at five minutes and fifty-six minutes.

And so the set-up is over and the real plot can begin. Already we're into that moving-right-along feeling that the middle of a show gets. Things are unfolding, introductions being mode, detailed conversations are occuring. At ten minutes, everyone is up to speed: the aliens are here and we have to take action.

The show would be taking action for ten seasons and movies after that.

Back to Universe at ten minutes: The plot was already plodding, the characters were dull, dumb and lifeless, the explanatory flashback unnecessary and too far separated from the action, the action itself thoughtless and grating.

Universe was mostly dead on impact, just like that unfortunate Colonel.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The 'Chaos' Catastrophe

Hello again.

In case you missed the three whole episodes it aired, there was a show on this spring on CBS called Chaos.

You would be forgiven for missing it, though, based on the picture on the Wikipedia page. Take a look at this:

Ironically, that image is called "Chaospromo", although what exactly it was promoting, I'm not sure. Four men, wearing grey suits of varying shades, on a black background with perhaps the most boring font choice.

This photo, and what it represents, killed this show. The show was shot in shades of grey, promoted as "rogue agents battle the bureaucracy", and seemed-- at first glance-- to be about just that: CIA Office Politics, starring rogueish but otherwise unexciting show.

IMDB tells a different story, bar the promotional description. The show is action, adventure, drama. The greyness of the show belied its actual content, which involved world travel-- one episode took us in the dead of night to the North Korean border-- and was quite reminicent, I found, of McGuyver. McGuyver was bold enough, and ridiculous enough, to go fake overseas-- to dream of far off and tense situations and places. Not just another hospital or city somewhere in America. Not just a few flashbacks to a hotel room in Amsterdam.

It was fun, it was quirky, and it delivered a good time and a few laughs, with truly heartfelt moments. The designer could have made a point of having the CIA all grey and the four characters, whose chemistry grew with each week, be stand out colours against the greyness of the bureaucracy-- but someone went with grey and made it look like the dullest show on the face of the Earth.

Chaos was an adventure show in a world deminated by intrigue, action and endless drama. It was the first genuine adventure show I've seen on tv for the first time-- marketed as colourless bureaucratic drama.

So three episodes aired and then CBS, not able to support anything for longer than that, apparenty, axed it. Did they even watch the show? Did they even know that the promotion didn't sell the show for what it was?

So long, Chaos. I will remember you fondly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To Mr. Ray Comfort: A Lesson on the Proper Use of Metaphor in Argument

So, if you don’t know who Ray Comfort is, be glad. Comfort is a religious man who for the last couple of years has been providing arguments for Creationism/Intelligent Design. You might know him as the banana man.

Recently, Mr. Comfort decided that he would issue a version of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species with a foreword of his own. He intends to hand this out at universities. Mr. Comfort’s Origin has caused a bit of a hoo-ha, especially among the skeptical community which opposes people like Mr. Comfort.

This post isn’t actually about evolution or the evidence for it. There are many people who are much more qualified to explain why evolution works than me. The only thing I would like to say that Darwin and the Origin of Species is not the be-all end-all of evolution. A 150-year-old text is not the only thing you should be reading if you want to learn about this subject.

But, as I was saying, I am not going to talk about evolution. In this post, I will respond to a pair of grievous errors in Mr. Comfort’s forward to his edition of the Origin of Species. I feel qualified to respond because they relate to stories and writing.

Here is the text, so you can read it for yourself, if you wish.

After a brief biography of Darwin peppered with dour photographs of the man*, Mr. Comfort’s forward begins: “Darwin’s work has helped fuel intense debates about religion and science…” a mild and even-handed beginning. The end of the foreword, however, sounds like this: “…there’s nothing more important than where they will spend eternity. Thank you for reading this.”

From these quotes, you can tell what happens within this foreword. It goes from introducing Darwin to an extended argument for becoming a Christian of the same type as Mr. Comfort. It is in this section that Comfort makes his two errors.

The first is a mistake in storytelling. Comfort makes a common mistake of many people who are not particularly familiar with storytelling. I see it a lot among young people who aren’t very strong writers. They overlook a crucial detail that is there in their head, but somehow never made it onto the page. The result is nonsensical to the reader.

Both of these occur later in the foreword, when Mr. Comfort has started his conversion attempt.

Here is the quote (pg 44):

To say that there will be no consequences for breaking God’s Law is to say that God is unjust, that He is evil. This is why. On February 24, 2005, a nine-year-old girl was reported missing from her home in Homosassa, Florida. Three weeks later, police discovered that she had been kidnapped, brutally raped, and then buried alive. Little Jessica Lunsford was found tied up, in a kneeling position, clutching a stuffed toy.

How do you feel toward the man who murdered that helpless little girl in such an unspeakably cruel way? Are you angered? I hope so. I hope you are outraged. If you were completely indifferent to her fate, it would reveal something horrible about your character. Do you think that God is indifferent to such acts of evil? You can bet your precious soul He is not. He is outraged by them. The fury of Almighty God against evil is evidence of His goodness. If He wasn’t angered, He wouldn’t be good. We cannot separate God’s goodness from His anger. Again, if God is good by nature, He must be unspeakably angry at wickedness.

What is missing? Do you know?

Comfort begins by telling a story. He goes onto to draw the conclusion than God is outraged by this. But he doesn’t give the bit of the story that tells how we know that God is outraged by this. I’m not entirely a proponent of show-don’t-tell, but in this case, I feel that it would be a good thing for Comfort to look into when telling his stories and making his argument.

The way it is at the moment, it sounds like Comfort knows somehow that God is angry, but that that’s it. He was angry. Surely there is more to the story, Mr. Comfort? Or it seems God is about as good as any one of us who are equally and impotently outraged by this incident. God in Mr. Comfort’s world begins to look like this guy, and surely that’s not what Mr. Comfort was going for.

The second mistake involves metaphor and is another common mistake. Metaphor is great for making arguments because it creates a story that can be used to clearly compare arguments. However, it does contain one pitfall we should all be wary of. Many people, and Comfort is one of them, get so into their metaphor that they forget that it is just an invented metaphor—they start to get carried away.

Comfort’s metaphor compares death to jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet. In this metaphor, Christianity is a parachute (sorry, I spoiled it for you) and—to give another example—Islam is flapping your arms as you jump. You get the idea.

But Comfort begins to take this metaphor and draw conclusions from the metaphor as if it were the argument itself. Saying that you would regard a parachute as crucial in this situation (pg 47) demonstrates what you think of Christianity, but it doesn’t mean that this metaphor can be turned around the other way to prove that Christianity is like a parachute and Islam is like flapping your arms. Metaphors should only be used to convey an idea in a clear fashion, not to make arguments themselves. They only come out of the argument—the argument cannot come out of them. Ray Comfort has made this mistake in his foreword.

In conclusion? Don't forget to take this into account when you are writing using metaphors. Be sure to use metaphors only to illustrate and not to draw conclusions from. In addition-- read over your stories. Have you got all the necessary details? Especially all the cause-and-effects. Without them, your argument, like Ray Comfort's will have nothing to hold it together.

Finally, in parting, a little quote that’s slightly amusing also taken from this metaphor (pg 47):

You know that the law of gravity will kill you when you jump.

* Another side note. Darwin is a favourite photograph of people who wish to dismiss the theory that he proposed. There is a particular photograph of him as an old man, looking a bit sad, a bit pensive, aged, tired, cynical. This is what happens, we are meant to believe, when we become atheist and/or believe in evolution. Lawl.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Disney to Remake Yellow Submarine

Yes, you read correctly, Disney is going to remake the beloved Beatles-song-based animated film, Yellow Submarine.

I'd like to start off by saying, not all remakes are bad. Some take an old film or an old idea and bring something new to the table. Perhaps new technologies and situations have changed the way something would play out, or the older film just wasn't living up to the potential of the plotline. There is room for remakes and homages, and some of them are excellent films.

But there are certain films for which remakes seem not only unnecessary but actively negative and stupid. I would like to suggest that Yellow Submarine is one of these films.

Now, I have a soft spot for the film: Yellow Submarine was the film my parents put us in front while they had to focus on packing for family holidays. But it goes beyond childhood memories. Yellow Submarine is not just a psychedelic movie set to 16 Beatles songs, it's indicative also of a time of a place and an artistic vision that simply no longer exists. It all came together in 1968, and I doubt very much it can all come together now.

I think that all artists sit around saying, "I wish I could do something like what was done with Yellow Submarine/Casablanca/1984," but it's only major companies like Disney who can afford the rights to the exact songs and the voice actors to actually take the ridiculous step. Other artists have to use their imagination to pull out something 'inspired by'-- and end up with something new and relevant, rather than something that's simply the most thoughtless remake.

What is Disney thinking, really? What can possibly be driving this desire to remake something so intrinsically tied to a date over fourty years ago-- using much of the original film? Is it money? Are they really going to make significant money on this project? I have no idea.

To me, this marks the end of Disney. Nothing about this suggests that there are intelligent people behind the decision making process at Disney. I hope this movie contains jumping sharks, because that would be its only redeeming factor.