movies

I had forgotten how great eXistenZ is. For a movie about multi-player VR games that came out in '99, it holds up surprisingly well.

And it reminds me, again, how much I hated Inception.

Also recently viewed:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which I last saw when I was like 8, is far, far weirder than I remembered. It's two and a half hours long, is basically three different movies, and the Child Catcher character is even creepier than I remembered. Much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the songs suck. Roald Dahl must have had a seriously hellish and possibly drug-addled childhood.

The Dark Crystal -- my fond memories of this were completely misplaced. This movie is terrible. It's slooooow, the plot is idiotic, and the creature design is not really that interesting.

I don't really recommend this as a triple bill.

Previously, previously.

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24 Responses:

  1. Qtrnevermore says:

    Some films really are time specific.
    Dark city & memento still hold up for me, while matrix, most big director hits of the late 80s-early 2000's feel pretty dry compared to years ago.

    I recommend spider & crash from that director as well.

    • pavel_lishin says:

      The Matrix still holds up pretty well for me - well enough for me to use the scrolling characters as my screensaver.

    • jwz says:

      I almost walked out of Dark City ten minutes in, after the voiceover that explained the entire plot, including the ending. I thought, "Well, now I don't need to actually watch the movie" and I was right. Also, didn't give a shit about any of the characters because none of them were actual characters, etc, etc. The mystery might have carried it past that had they not completely and utterly defanged the mystery before the opening credits.

      • Elusis says:

        Having seen this film about 100 times at goth clubs with the sound off, I feel safe in saying that it improves the experience immensely.

  2. Line Noise says:

    One thing I noticed watching The Dark Crystal on BluRay was how much it looks like it was shot on video in a TV studio. Flat lighting, flat sets, no depth of field. I guess I didn't know any better when I was a kid.

    • The thing that stuck out to me when re-watching Dark Crystal as an adult was how much every line the protagonist uttered sounded like Luke Skywalker at his whiniest. Which pretty much ruined it for me.

  3. Eric TF Bat says:

    I think I'm about the same age as you, jwz, so I probably saw Dark Crystal at roughly the same age, and I think I was unique among my friends for hating it. They couldn't convince me it was anything but a proof of concept for a mashup between crappy SF fantasy and the Muppets. Maybe that's why I disliked Farscape too, when it came out. I would be able to crow about my eternal good taste if not for the fact that I also disliked Labyrinth for the same reasons, and that is clearly wrong-headed and foolish. Labyrinth is famous for its three lead actors -- Jennifer Connolly, David Bowie and David Bowie's Crotch -- but it's truly brilliant throughout, and bears rewatching where Dark Crystal hardly even bears watching. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, but in general I just had no taste.

    • jwz says:

      I've seen Labyrinth recently, and it's just ok. If you're gonna go in that direction, I much prefer Legend, Tom Cruise's finest role!

      • mediapathic says:

        Oh man, another vote here for Legend. Although it's one of those films that I've tried to avoid seeing since becoming a grownup for fear that it will not actually be as good as I remember. Though I've often wanted to do a double feature of Legend and Clue, just for the "Tim Curry can do anything" factor.

      • jmags says:

        Make sure to NOT watch the directors cut of Legend, which dumps the awesome synth score for a bunch of incredibly boring music played on instruments that don't require electricity.

      • Chris Brent says:

        Any chance you could re-watch (or watch if you haven't seen it) Willow? I kind of remember it being up there with Dark Crystal and if someone else tells me it doesn't hold up, it'll be better than finding it out myself.

  4. Jieves says:

    Chatty Chitty Bang Bang is by Ian Fleming, who created James Bond. Postwar Britain was a deeply weird place, if my relatives are anything to go from.

    • Bill Paul says:

      And the actor who played Baron Bomburst also played Auric Goldfinger.

      I'm pretty sure that when I was a child, my family had the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang soundtrack album on vinyl. We also had the Paint Your Wagon soundtrack album. Clint Eastwood in a musical western -- I bet he's glad most people have forgotten about that movie.

      • CdrJameson says:

        Fleming was the original writer, but Roald Dahl was the screenwriter. Looks like Fleming liked that cars-with-gadgets idea.

        Dahl also screenwrote the Bond/Fleming film You Only Live Twice, apparently

        Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a very odd cut-n-shut film that makes rougly no sense at all. I get the feeling Dick Van Dyke just said 'Hey, I can do a great dance with a piece of bamboo!' and Dahl just ran with it.

        My surprise recent favourite is other Van Dyke hit Mary Poppins, where the surprise baddie is, um, lack of confidence in the banking system.

        • CdrJameson says:

          Oh, forgot about eXistenZ.

          Best computer game film evah, completely nails that 90s graphic adventure feeling where you talk to the same guy and get the same response every time. Oh, and the baffling logic where you have to 'MAKE GUN FROM FISH'

  5. TJIC says:

    > The Dark Crystal -- my fond memories of this were completely misplaced.

    100% agreed. I picked it up a few months back and couldn't watch more than about 20 minutes. Ugh. So bad!

    > how great eXistenZ is.

    I haven't seen it recently, but I recall that during the Summer of the VR Films ( eXistenZ, Matrix, The Thirteenth Floor), that the two non-Matrix movies were seriously underrated.

  6. pavel_lishin says:

    Best line in the movie: EXISTENZ IS PAUSED!

  7. aczarnowski says:

    Interesting. eXistenZ was one of the rare films that we turned off a third of the way through. I didn't care about any of the characters or the world they lived in. And the creepy blobs latched into people's spines weren't helping.

  8. Juanjo says:

    I had the same experience with The Dark Crystal. When I tried to watch it again in my 20s, and I couldn't.

  9. aczarnowski says:

    BTW: This experience of going back to films of your youth and finding they didn't hold up well is called "The Red Dawn Experience" somewhere right? This needs a name and Red Dawn, if not #1 for everybody, has to be one of the top 5 universal examples.

  10. John Carter says:

    Staying with the theme of multi-player VR game-based films from the turn of the century, Avalon (by Mamoru Oshii, director of Ghost in the Shell) is worth a look if you've not seen it.