Author Topic: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon  (Read 13036 times)

CSSCHNEIDER

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #70 on: March 25, 2010, 12:24:53 AM »
What did you think of that ending?
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Junior

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #71 on: March 25, 2010, 12:33:13 AM »
Do you count the Escape from LA/NY films as post apocalyptic or just dystopian? I haven't seen either in full but the parts I have seen could go either way, I guess. And Kurt Russell is awesome.
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CSSCHNEIDER

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #72 on: March 25, 2010, 08:48:02 AM »
Yeah, they count.  NY is really good, and LA isn't great, but was better than I would I have thought.
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DrKimble

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #73 on: March 25, 2010, 08:53:39 AM »
LA isn't great, but was better than I would I have thought.
I can't remember ever reading reviews more vicious then the ones Escape from LA got.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2010, 09:30:32 AM by DrKimble »
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Zhankfor

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #74 on: March 25, 2010, 10:19:54 AM »
What did you think of that ending?

I quite liked it. I sort of figured something along those lines would happen to her eventually given the generally misogynistic tone of the movie.

CSSCHNEIDER

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #75 on: March 25, 2010, 12:47:55 PM »
16.



Things To Come
1936
Dir. William Cameron Menzies
Based on the Novel by H.G. Welles

Christmas Eve has arrived, and with Santa and his sleigh have followed the air raids of a foreign enemy.  War is for Christmas with a side of turkey.

This war rages for decades, finally coming to some form of an end in 1966.  The world is decimated.  Turned into the Post-Apocalyptic wastelands we've come to recognize in later literature and films.  Civilization has been upended on its ear having been ravaged by air raids, ground assaults by modern war machines and chemical warfare.  As a result of this new version of war, a disease is wiping out the remaining population.  ZOMBIES!!!  Yup, this movie has an early version of zombies!  Sweeet!  Warlords rise to power by simply motivating the population to kill the infected.  They are praised and elevated to high status for taking command during a time of need.  But, they are corrupt and use their power over their small populations to further the cause of war, but no longer on a foreign enemy, but on their neighbors who have things they need, like coal or petrol.  

One day, out of the sky emerges a new fangled flying machine, piloted by one of the original characters from the prewar portion of the film.  He promises safety and peace in the walls of a new futuristic city where society is being rebuilt.  

We will soon come to realize that no matter how advanced we become as a people, it is human nature that will eventually destroy us, time and again.

OK, here we go.  I've been thinking on this since last night.  I'm gonna get the bad out of the way first.

The Bad,
This film certainly came from the 30s era of Science Fiction, where the filmmakers of the genre didn't understand subtext the ways filmmakers like Ford did, or even the writers of Kong, let alone Orson Wells and modern screenwriters (good ones anyway).  Every line of dialog becomes platforms for the actors to argue, debate and pontificate their inner thoughts and ideals.  The themes of the film are spelled out the audience with every flap of the mouth by an actor.  This is bad since I felt brow beaten most of the time.

That's the bad, and as far as I'm concerned all of it.  The rest is gravy.  

The filmmaking, the raw craft of Things to Come is astonishing.  Beautiful frames abound.  I was tempted to pause it and take stills every minute or so.  Things like this really excited me:



Then, there is the level of effects shots.  I'd estimate that 80 percent of the shots in this film are incredibly complex FX sequences.  I paused some shots and analyzed them, breaking them down to find them consisting of forced perspective, matte paintings, miniatures and even some backdrops and rear projection.  All are near seamlessly blended to make for one of the most ambitious of early FX driven films and one of the most successful.  Sure, this isn't exactly the most innovative of FX films, after all many of these FX were achieved brilliantly in King Kong.  But that's just it, this film achieves many of the same FX but does so even better, as one would hope seeing as this is a few years after.  Yet, I never hear people talk about this film as a masterpiece of cinematic FX.  Take a look at some of these stills I've pulled:


The above still constitutes a matte painting, a practical set and set dressing.  Its perfect.  Its real, or at least its photo real.  I was talking with Frozenhamster last night, and I mentioned how I adored Matte Paintings because they were more photor ealistic than a lot of the digital mattes we see today.  This is exactly why.  Its blended perfectly.  Often times with Matte Paintings you'll see a seam.  Where paint masks reality.  Here, the blend is perfect.  I know its a matte cause I'm looking at it blown up and studying it, but even blown up I can't find the seam.  Astounding.


More Matte Paintings!  Look how beautiful!


Look at that shot above!  Its a miniature with forced perspective applied to the live action actors climbing the ladder set against the sky.  That is absolutely beautiful, especially considering the era it was made.  Yay for practical effects!!!!

And more!!!


The above still is taken from the end of a very long tilt down through a miniature of the futuristic city.  The people at the bottom of the image are standing in front of a rear projection of a blending of more live action actors beneath the miniature itself, a forced perspective shot.  Its not perfect, but it is certainly impressive when combined with the tilt down move.


Here again, the people at the bottom of the frame are live action actors standing before a rear projection frame.  But notice how the crowd of live action actors are grouped around a miniature aircraft taking off in another brilliant forced perspective shot.

There are loads and loads of these type shots throughout.  I could spend all day breaking down these complex and amazing shots!  I love it!!!

The film starts real strong, but once we get to the futuristic city it slows down immensely.  But, with the incredible special effects this becomes a great, great film and a must see for cinema history and SFX enthusiasts.  Please see this under appreciated gem.  

Grade B+

I wanted to write a lot more, and more eloquently, but this will have to do since I have to run out and do some work, I hate lame work.  But I was floored by the craftsmanship of this film and how it is ignored in the annals of SFX Film history.  Anyone have any incite on that?  Sure  its not nearly as good a film or story as Kong, but its awesome.  I need to see Metropolis since they seem to be borrowing heavily from it.  Maybe that's why its overlooked, its too much like Metropolis?
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CSSCHNEIDER

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #76 on: March 25, 2010, 04:51:46 PM »
17.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
1981
Dir. George Miller

"My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called "Max". "

I didn't pull any stills from this since I watched my own Bluray and I don't have a way to pull bluray stills.

This is the first re-watch of the marathon.  I watched it before I saw Things to Come felt compelled to write my review, as poor as it turned out, first since it had me so excited.

This is easily, far and away the best Post-Apocalyptic film I've ever seen.  Miller puts the camera and the actors/stuntmen in such incredible places that you can't help but watch this with an elevated pulse.  There are times that the camera placement makes me flinch because it feels like the rear end or front bumper of a car is about to punch right through the screen.  Especially with the absolutely beautiful transfer the Bluray provides.  

Dean Semler's photography is beautiful and bold.  Both adjectives not being enough to truly describe the images he was able to capture.  For such a brutal and action packed film, Semler and Miller make such a conscious point to keep the camera on a tripod or a dolly as often as possible.  Only ever shifting to handheld when there is no other way to get the shot.  This is so against the ways these films are made today, but so beautiful to look at.  Its got such a professional polish because of this.  And it also allows you to focus on the incredible framing.  

The opening of the film is brilliant, even if it uses the much maligned voice over device.  The use of stock footage, the 1:37 aspect ratio and the voice actor are great.  When the opening finally ends we are treated to the 1.37 image opening up into a brilliant Cinemascope chase scene.  Great filmmaking and storytelling.

One thing I'd love to dwell on for a moment is how well directed the Max's dog is.  Its one of the best animal performances I've ever seen.  Next time you watch it pay attention to the dog.  Its incredible.

The Road Warrior one of the standards of the genre for a reason.  Be sure to see it if you haven't.  And if you have the means, get the Bluray.  Its an inexpensive one, and the transfer is well worth the money.

Its such a shame that Thunderdome is so awful.  It accentuates all the weird of The Road Warrior and none of the cool.

 ...and the Road Warrior... He Lives now, only in my memories.

Grade A
« Last Edit: March 25, 2010, 06:18:10 PM by CSSCHNEIDER »
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'Noke

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #77 on: March 25, 2010, 05:42:18 PM »
Hooray! A good film!
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

CSSCHNEIDER

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #78 on: March 25, 2010, 05:57:47 PM »
2 good films!
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smirnoff

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Re: Grim Horizons: Post-Apocalyptic Marathon
« Reply #79 on: March 25, 2010, 06:00:21 PM »
Do you need to watch part 1 first?