15 March 2011

Blah Blah Blah Mars and Moms

Apparantley the "buzz" which hip persons love to follow and respond to is that Disney's mo-cap picture "Mars Needs Moms" is something of a flop.

Big whoop! Return to Oz is one of my favorite films, and that pretty much bled money at the Box Office, too.

To be fair, I haven't seen "Mars Needs Moms". But some people really seem to love to hate it.

like Brandon Gray
"Mars was severely limited by its premise, which was better suited to a television cartoon, and its execution looked awkward, incoherent and creepy in the marketing."

Dave White

Though not directed by Robert Zemeckis (the evil performance-capture devotee who inflicted The Polar Express and the Jim Carrey version of A Christmas Carol on the world) he did produce it, and on top of its main crime of being unimaginative and cobbled together from chunks of other movies, it ices its fallen failure cake with that same creeped-out, dead-soul facsimile human being quality of those earlier endeavors.

And Select posters at Cartoon Brew

...didnt like it at all. the designs are ugly and unappealing, the story is cliched , the ‘animation’ soulless...

...It is the single closest thing to the literal equivalent of pure bile that a movie could aspire to be. Sour, burning, painful, and acidic in the way that it thrives on disintegrating the very notion of integrity into absolute nothingness...

Okay, so here's my question: What's the big deal?
So you have a movie that's in the red at the Box Office, and expensive to boot.

And it's stars are creepy puppet people.

Or maybe critics dislike it since the emphasis is more on spectacle than story.

Or maybe it is just a generally horrible, inept movie.

Seems to me, "Mars Needs Moms" has been outdone in all those respects. Also, Box Office Returns are no indication of quality, since beloved movies from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" to Disney's "Pinocchio" lost money in their initial theatrical runs.

I dunno. Maybe all this critical/internet backlash for "Moms" stems from a resentment toward Motion Capture features in the first place. But my question is, if "Mars Needs Moms" is really such a thoroughly awful whatever, why is it such a point of fascination? Cuz nowadays, who gives a damn about Howard the Duck, either way?

08 March 2011

Site's up

So just as an open appeal to feedback...
my website www.wirtsalthouse.com proper is up and running.

I seriously considerd going the more graphics-heavy photoshop and fireworks route, but opted for the minimalist result in order to get better display on mobile devices.
I intend to keep this thing updated and to weed out the bugs. How does it look? How does it function? What bugs do I need to iron out?
Is is amateurish, if so, how? Bascially, consider this an invitation to tell me how much the site sucks, and I will use such criticism constructively.

Peace out
- Erik.

05 March 2011

Why Sharks Explode

Remember the end of Jaws?

My goodness, it's convenient that Cheif Brody is a skilled enough shot to hit a half-eaten oxygen tank in the shark's mouth, under water.

Everything from the actual psi in the tank to the physics of optical refraction make that scene effectively impossible.

Popular (and often critically acclaimed) movies have completely B.S. endings. Superman reverses time by flying around the world backwards. The Tyrannosaur in Jurassic Park saves Alan Grant and his surrogate nuclear family. Freaking eagles show up to save the Hobbits from Mount Doom.

Remember when I was trying to eat you? Me neither.

These are films that more or less, made sense up until the end. Why do the writers keep throwing logic out the window at the last act?

Simply put, the nature of entertainment in general, with or without logical, narrative, demands successive climaxes. Like how a good fireworks show starts with a few small bangs, but finishes launching everything into the air short of a SCUD missile.

They'd probably load them in a shark if they could.

At the end of a story, the audience expects the deepest meaning, the biggest laugh, the most spectacular stunts, the tensest suspense, the big payoff. And it doesn't have to be a literal explosion, just the biggest payoff or reaction.

At the end of Bridget Jones' diary. It looks like Darcy,

this guy

the main love interest, has read Ms. Jones' aforementioned diary, while she's changing clothes. He reads the nasty things she wrote about him and leaves, prompting a passionate chase through the snow.

But ihe was just being considerate enough to buy her a new Diary (Aaaww), and the whole episode was basically tacked on the end of the story proper to wring out one last final tense situation for the protagonist and give the audience a big kiss in the snow.

Why didn't Darcy even mention he'd be right back? What's he doing reading the Diary anyway?

Who cares? This movie was designed to be watched in a theater by a paying audience expecting to be entertained. A big fat kiss in the snow is more dramatic, a bigger boom!

In this idiom, the rules of thumb of entertainment ( in this case, the rising action), presuppose those of narrative (causally-related events) and in fact work independently of the latter.

Here is a song about a horse.

The video starts simply enough, with two priests singing about a horse on a stage, but the degree of spectacle increases as the video goes on, natural surroundings, an actual horse, a pool scene and ping pong.

Much like a fireworks show, "My Lovely Horse" has no plot in of itself, there's no pursuit of a goal, or obstacles to that point whatsoever. But like Jaws and Bridget Jones, "My Lovely Horse" follows some basic rules of showmanship, pacing, presentation, successively building climaxes (in this case, gags), and to the point, a killer ending.