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GoatLord

Can movies avoid oversimplification? ("Interstellar" spoilers!)

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Because I was watching "Interstellar," which was fun, but I got to thinking how silly it was that humanity's salvation was riding on a dude and his kid, or how the subplot of the space station being launched via a new gravitational equation was mostly centered around one dude. I thought, why play it so cartoonishly? This is especially true of the apparently fifth-dimensional beings that had nothing better to do than construct something to muck with the past. Enormous amounts of effort for incredibly precise events to happen. Is this a Hollywood trope that's unavoidable, due to the constraints of filmmaking, or have there been successful attempts at utilizing an appropriately large cast in ambitious movies?

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They want to appeal to wide public, preferably the widest possible one. I can see how "oversimplification" helps it.

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GoatLord said:

This is especially true of the apparently fifth-dimensional beings that had nothing better to do than construct something to muck with the past.

"Had nothing better to do"??? They kind of did that to save the humanity so that it could survive and eventually evolve into these five-dimensional beings. At least that's how I understood it.

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GoatLord said:

Because I was watching "Interstellar," which was fun, but I got to thinking how silly it was that humanity's salvation was riding on a dude and his kid, or how the subplot of the space station being launched via a new gravitational equation was mostly centered around one dude. I thought, why play it so cartoonishly?

I'll give you the former, following the footsteps of a hero is basic movie logic, otherwise you'd get fractured, chaotic plot, but can you explain to me what's so cartoonish about a brilliant scientist coming up with a breakthrough equation after a lifetime of work? If Einstein and Hawking are just drawn Disney characters, I'll be pissed off.

This is especially true of the apparently fifth-dimensional beings that had nothing better to do than construct something to muck with the past. Enormous amounts of effort for incredibly precise events to happen.

You missed the part where they explain that the fifth-dimensional beings are future humankind ensuring its own survival in the past, so the enormous effort went into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I consider it rather hamfisted and afaik the original script worked with a different explanation (and no tesseract library), but at least they deviate a little from ye olde benevolent super-evolved aliens as seen in Space Odyssey or Contact.

Is this a Hollywood trope that's unavoidable, due to the constraints of filmmaking, or have there been successful attempts at utilizing an appropriately large cast?

I'd say some tropes are unavoidable in order to tell a story under three hours, yes.

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There's one popular archetype - savior. Many movies, games and books based around savior, and that's not strange, at least for me.

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It's the appeal to the lowest common denominator- fuck having meaningful dialogue, gotta repeat what the situation is so that Joe Blow from Idaho understands everything. Because fuck trying to improve crappy standards amirite?

It's the same reason why every game features a lame grizzled white soldier- easy relateability. Take the Elder Scrolls for instance- they have a fucking world full of interesting stuff to show but they'll settle for tired viking cliches so that Timmy the console player doesn't feel weirded out or...GASP...put into a world different than his own!

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The general public doesn't necessarily favour intricate story-lines,

they just want to sit down and watch a movie instead of indulging themselves in a rich story.

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let a woman stare at a male character for one and a half hour long, to the point of making them look insane. this, to make sure the dumb audience knows she is in love or needs something from the male character.

invent an entire page long meaning around a dumb action movie to attract viewers, which are dumb enough to then replicate and expand the non existing meaning into social commentary and a reflection of current life. (ex. the hunger games...)

Act as if badly acting stumbling woman playing an action hero is something special and against sexism, giving yet again non existent meaning to an action movie (for the fun of it. ex. the hunger games) But what about Milla Jovovich, she does her action acting darn well in resident evil or the fifth element. Or angelina jolie many years ago in tomb raider. yes, those are woman acting good and well in meaningless but well made action movies. Or Stargate with the Samantha Carter character, Lucy Lawless in Xena, captain janeway, Lucy liu, Uma Thurman, etc.


I could write a book about how i hate modern cinema, yet at the same time like it, and the bellow the belt marketing, or the lame attempts to give meaning to the meaningless... sigh. and remakes which fail to understand anything about the original.

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Mr. Freeze said:

Take the Elder Scrolls for instance- they have a fucking world full of interesting stuff to show but they'll settle for tired viking cliches so that Timmy the console player doesn't feel weirded out or...GASP...put into a world different than his own!

Look at this badass punk motherfucker over here, telling it how it- *looks at Morrowind* oh, never mind.

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FireFish said:

I could write a book about how i hate

Speaking of books, well I think that if we need to avoid oversimplification, we should really expect the desired complexity from books (novels) instead of films. Reasons why:

* much more content than in 2-3 hours of movie;
* less audience. Unless the book is a cash cow, the author won't really be able to market it to the lowest denominator (disclaimer: no real research from me);

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GoatLord said:

Because I was watching "Interstellar," which was fun, but I got to thinking how silly it was that humanity's salvation was riding on a dude and his kid, or how the subplot of the space station being launched via a new gravitational equation was mostly centered around one dude.


Even well-made true-story movies do this. Take Apollo 13. It's known for being ridiculously accurate, but even it had to use composite characters for the guys at mission control and make it look like they were improvising more than they really needed to. It made the movie easier to follow and a bit more dramatic for people who aren't space engineering nerds.

The sad truth is a lot of movie viewers have problems following plots. Grade 8 English was a wake-up call when I learned half the class couldn't follow the plot of The Hunt for Red October. I suspect some people never watch anything with a story more complex than Power Rangers unless pushed.

The plot of Interstellar is contrived, but given the way the necessary information had to be transmitted back to the people on Earth, I don't see a problem with the solution being focused on a small number of characters. At least the science didn't happen over night like it usually does in films.

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dew said:

Look at this badass punk motherfucker over here, telling it how it- *looks at Morrowind* oh, never mind.


Yeah, look at a game that was never replicated in tone or story, and had parts of its setting rewritten so that developers could get away with being lazy ("hurr buildings arent made out of poetry")

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You could always go the opposite direction. The Phantom Menace had about a dozen plotlines, no clear protagonists (albeit a bland antagonist... kind of? He was relevant for about 10 minutes of one of the plots...) and the film ended up confusing and not at all good.

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The broader the audience, the simpler it has to be. Like saying ET caused the collapse of the games industry is easier to say than the specifics that lead to it.

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I've found tv series to be a much better medium for telling a complex story, a as you can have an entire episode flashback in the past or the future. You also get much more attached to the characters. There really is only so much you can do in a movie.

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40oz said:

I've found tv series to be a much better medium for telling a complex story, a as you can have an entire episode flashback in the past or the future. You also get much more attached to the characters. There really is only so much you can do in a movie.


That's the exact reason I've come to love stories in games. When well done, they can rival any other format AND take advantage of the medium like no other can.

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Mr. Freeze said:

Yeah, look at a game that was never replicated in tone or story, and had parts of its setting rewritten so that developers could get away with being lazy ("hurr buildings arent made out of poetry")

What's with the nerdlord whinging? You said TES was generic and only appealed to simpletons with its unimaginative aryan characters and cookie cutter storyline. I gave you an example of a TES game where most of the population consists of black Fremen. Daggerfall and Redguard had brown people. Are you crying because they picked white people regions for the last two sequels? Maybe you should call up all your furry friends and send a teary letter to Bethesda requesting that the next game should be set in Elsweyr.

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