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1st draft: Tell your story

2nd draft: Tell your story right

3rd draft: Tell your story well

4th draft: Fuck. No. This wasn’t what I wanted to write at all.

5th draft: Drink

6th draft: Give up and send it in as is

"Snowpiercer" Should Have Been The Breakout Blockbuster Of The Summer »

Hello friends, I couldn’t disagree more.

SPOILERS BELOW!

One of the crucial elements, as this review notes, to a summer blockbuster is simplicity. Hero vs. Monster, Journey to Goal, etc. On this crucial point, Snowpiercer fails. It’s just a mess. A mess with LOTS of good ideas and elements of striking craftsmanship, but nonetheless, in terms of plot and theme, it’s all over the place. For all its shocking moments and high-end visuals, Snowpiercer remained an overtly derivative, poorly planned movie that to be frank, contributed nothing of substance to the genre of dystopian future films or to summer blockbusters generally.

Throughout the film, I had  the impression that a very talented director had some great ideas for shots and sequences and got a second rate writer to string them together into a plot. One good fight sequence does not a great movie make. And nothing short of a great movie will fix the summer blockbuster (if, indeed, it needs to be fixed).

The lack of creativity in Snowpiercer is clear in the two most obviously stolen aspects:

1) Tilda Swinton’s character is literally Effie Trinket. Now I don’t mean to say that Effie Trinket was the first or the best example of this kind of character, I just mean to say that so little effort was put into separating the two that it was almost comical. Swinton’s character served the same plot element - an member of the arbitrary upper class enforcing their cruel justice/oppression on the lower class and delivering ill-recieved propaganda, while remaining oblivious to how cruel and hated she is. Not only that, she served the same exact visual effect - bright and clean and happy against the drab and dirty and angry.

2) The final sequence was, of course, stolen wholesale from The Matrix 2. What would possess anyone to steal anything from The Matrix 2 is beyond me, but there it is. Our revolutionary has succeeded in his fight to the top, ready to dismantle everything, when a kindly old man appears in an empty room and explains that his revolution was engineered from the beginning and that others have succeeded before him, because the revolutions happen on a cycle for some very badly thought out higher purpose. 

And that’s the thing that got to me the most about Snowpiercer - the whole master plan was so convoluted that it seems to have been pretty much intentionally obfuscating the writers’ lack of originality. There weren’t enough resources…so they doled them out unequally….but then there were too many people for them to even be doled out unequally…so they killed 74% of the people…even though they have the ability to do things like raise cattle and create perfect nutrition bars from insects (something which is actually not that gross and would be fucking revolutionary if actually possible in today’s world)….and then people began to procreate again and the cycle began all over. And no one put this together even though this happened over the relatively short time span of 17 years. And no one in the front of the train questioned it or had a problem with it at all.

Basically, it’s a forced metaphor for capitalism and even forced as it is, it makes no sense. Who was making the fancy clothes and who was washing them? Who was tending to the cattle? Who was picking the fruit? The labor required to supply even fifty people with a 24/7 life of luxury and opulence isn’t reflected at in this model where at least 50% of the population is kept in forced idleness (a situation which would create a revolution likely twice yearly, as opposed to every five years or so).

And look, friends, I wouldn’t be nitpicking the details if the entire movie looked like that scene in the dayschool. Surrealism would have been a GREAT way to tell this story, but they didn’t go in that direction. Some things are explained with much detail and pragmatism - why people live in the cars they do, how the protein blocks are made, resource scarcity (like bullets and the fish), what the route of an endless train looks like and how it works, etc. If none of this were touched on, I would have loved this movie. But instead, I’m left confused and frankly, condescended to. Did they think we wouldn’t notice? 

Also they introduced a magical element (precognition) and then never addressed it - not the why, how, or when of it. Nor was the magical element ever truly crucial to the plot, so it dangles quite awkwardly.

On top of all those plot issues, there were moments in this movie where my friend and I had to stifle audible laughter because such basic, basic writing mistakes were being made - namely the heavy use of expository dialogue to explain worldbuilding elements that could just as easily have been shown to the audience, not told. Expository dialogue should not be the answer to the problem of the global film market. Don’t even bring that up to me because we will come to blows. We can expect reasonable levels of story-intelligence from everyone in the world. 

Oh! And one of the most crucial moments of emotion and plot is delivered via monologue while two characters sit facing each other, one smoking a cigarette. THAT IS NOT WHAT MONOLOGUES ARE FOR. THAT IS NOT WHAT TWISTS ARE FOR. THAT IS NOT HOW CHARACTERIZATION IS BEST DELIVERED. Not that poor Chris Evans wasn’t acting his perfectly sculpted, heaven-sent ass off, but it did nothing to help the bad construction of plot, character, and dialogue. It was even a cool idea! Just delivered in the wrong place and time. 

Finally, the optimistic note at the end made no sense thematically with the rest of the movie. Where the whiteness of snow represented utter death and oblivion throughout the movie, now it’s supposed to brightness and hope? Get your visual metaphors straight.

Simplicity is one of the hardest things to pull off correctly. Snowpiercer has simplicity of plot, to be certain. But its execution is a piece of very, very bad engineering - it’s off its tracks long before it gets us to the destination.

“I suppose you know the famous story of the writer who racked his brains how to show, very shortly, that a middle-aged man and his wife were no longer in love with each other. Finally he licked it. The man and his wife got into an elevator and he kept his hat on. At the next stop a lady got into the elevator and he immediately removed his hat. That is proper film writing.”

– Raymond Chandler (via theroyalkallietenenbaum)

gaydicks420:

verygaygirlfriendfoxmulder:

gaydicks420:

gaydicks420:

new aesthetic: surreal pop punk

your shorts are glowing and are made of a material not known to this world. your vans die and regenerate every night. every band does covers of gregorian chants. your bangs extend into infinity.

fall out void

Abandon your mortal form and ascend to a higher plane! at the disco

Holy shit, Welcome to Night Vale has seriously screwed up Tumblr’s idea of what surrealism means.

schmergo:

I want a movie about a kid who just so happens to be born a Classic Gothic Hero, but in modern day. His name would be like Byron Dangerfield or something. 

Whenever he has EMOTIONS, there are claps of thunder and lightning. Every time he leans against a piece of furniture, it turns out to open a secret passageway leading to some dark secret, until eventually he’s just like “REALLY, GUYS?” All bad dreams are prophetic, even if it’s just that Starbucks will be out of pumpkin spice syrup the next day. Every girl he talks to swoons a lot and has a tyrannical heavy-browed father who are all played by the same actor. Ravens flock around him.

There are inexplicably paintings with moving eyes and moving suits of armor everywhere he goes, even McDonalds. Every time he moves to a new apartment, there is ALWAYS a screaming woman chained up in the room above his, and she invariably sets the place on fire. He’s so over it.

Hello, friend! Let me tell you about a short story you might like: it’s called Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire by Neil Gaiman.

It’s a metafictive meditation on the nature of storytelling and it’s pretty much exactly what you’re talking about here and it’s hilarious.

princess-neville:

girls being kept out of the sciences and pushed into the humanities; the humanities being valued less in our society than the sciences; and the humanities and sciences being looked at as stark opposites that couldn’t possibly be enjoyed for the same reasons are all problems that need to in some degree be tackled together 

wizzard890:

mallelis:

You are in a library that may not exist. You are having a terrible time.
It is unclear whether you have been writing the story, or the story has been writing you.
You visit the south of Argentina, where something terrible happens to you.
You are standing inside a sphere. Its center is everywhere and its circumference is nowhere. You are terrified.
Everyone around you is being murdered in a perfect Kabbalistic pattern.
A Scottish man sells you a book that ruins your life.
How To Tell If You’re In A Jorge Luis Borges Story

"You are lost in a desert. Your map is the desert itself."
"Everywhere you look, you see a sinister equilateral triangle."
"A gaucho with a knife is laughing at you. There is blood on your saddle, but you have been in a hospital for the last four days. There is no saddle. Now it is you who is holding the knife, and no one is laughing."
"You are standing in the middle of an empty city that is also the corpse of a tiger. There is one company in the entire world, and it does not exist, but it is watching you."
When even parodies of Borges leave a ringing in my ears. 

wizzard890:

mallelis:

You are in a library that may not exist. You are having a terrible time.

It is unclear whether you have been writing the story, or the story has been writing you.

You visit the south of Argentina, where something terrible happens to you.

You are standing inside a sphere. Its center is everywhere and its circumference is nowhere. You are terrified.

Everyone around you is being murdered in a perfect Kabbalistic pattern.

A Scottish man sells you a book that ruins your life.

How To Tell If You’re In A Jorge Luis Borges Story

"You are lost in a desert. Your map is the desert itself."

"Everywhere you look, you see a sinister equilateral triangle."

"A gaucho with a knife is laughing at you. There is blood on your saddle, but you have been in a hospital for the last four days. There is no saddle. Now it is you who is holding the knife, and no one is laughing."

"You are standing in the middle of an empty city that is also the corpse of a tiger. There is one company in the entire world, and it does not exist, but it is watching you."

When even parodies of Borges leave a ringing in my ears.