Friday, April 20, 2012

Escape to the Movies: "Detention" & "Lockout"

Now with EMBEDS! (below)

Warning: "Intermission" includes MASSIVE SPOILERS for "Cabin In The Woods."


Lord Slithor said...

My fiancee and I saw Cabin in the Woods yesterday, and we loved it!

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who got a similar vibe out of it. Like you, towards the end I also couldn't help but think of Mass Effect 3, though I don't think I read into it as much as you did. The characters' attitutude of "Fuck it. We'd rather let the world end and be masters of our own fate than just continue to be puppets for the amusement of others and perpetuating the cycle" was just as nihlistic - and somewhat similar to - ME3's ending (particularly the "Destroy" or "Red" ending). I didn't read as far as the Elder Gods and their response as being surrogates for the audience, but that feeling was scratching at the back of my mind. And you just came along and articulated it. Once again, bravo!

I'm still sort of a little surprised that some audience members you saw had the reactions you described. But I guess I shouldn't be. "That was a stupid movie," is usually the catch-all rationalization most people have when the either miss the point or fail to comprehend the subtleties a movie, whether it's Sucker Punch or even Starship Troopers.

But yeah, once again kudos for pointing this out once again. And I'm sorry you're getting comments about it over at the Escapist from people who still think you're harping on it for no reason or think you're missing the point about the whole issue.

By the way, I couldn't believe I had an arguemnt about it with my cousin a few weeks ago - who we're normally on the same page on about a lot of things - side more or less with the re-take movement where I sided with the "ME fanbase being whiny, entitled brats" side of it.

Anonymous said...

I think they'd make about double the money making a feature-length version of Overdrift than Archie.

B.L.C. Agnew said...

And now I want to see the uncut version of Lockout - more convinced than ever that it's basically "Escape From Space" sans Kurt Russell and John Carpenter.

As for Intermission. . . dammit Bob, really? This is just kinda getting sad.

Yes, the "audience as the Elder Gods" thing is cute, but not what you want it to be. Key difference - who was actually EXPERIENCING the events of Cabin? Was it the Elder Gods watching the events unfold, or the PLAYERS caught up in the story, the ones who's choices (however directed) were stressed as being of supreme importance. Who lived through (or didn't) the events only to rebel against those directing the experience.

The movie tells us THESE GUYS ARE IN THE RIGHT.

Seriously Bob, just step away from the damn horse already. This is another area where the "games are NOT movies" thing comes into full force. The heroes of the film are the players in the game, the ones who, when those directing the experience get arrogant, lazy, rushed, or incompetent and FAIL AT THEIR JOBS, bring the whole system crashing down around the directors' ears by using the very system against its operators. Gosh, sound familiar?

Hell, the film even foreshadows this with the "the world NEEDS to end, we're just too chickenshit to let it" business in the RV.

B.L.C. Agnew said...

Also, there's the difference between incidental audience, and TARGET audience.

The incidental audience are the ones who likely won't "get it" anyway, who basically came for the gore and tits and maybe the genre-aware giggles featured in the trailer. But they're not where the film is consciously aiming.

Cabin panders SHAMELESSLY to its target audience (namely you and me) throughout the film - the smart and self-aware tone, the winking twists in the genre, the obvious audience insert character who "gets" everything (and has the best "big damn hero moment" and has the best lines AND is a nerdy on-the-nose casting decision), heck even the "have your cake and eat it too" bits in the movie like the topless scene(s) and the balls-out finale.

That differential is actually not too dissimilar to the difference between the dude-bro Gears-fans just wanting an actiony shooter (that EA made SURE to market Mass Effect 3 to) and the long-time fans who would be sure to actually get the most out of the experience.

Only in this case, guess who actually got worked over? Hint: not the action junkies.

B.L.C. Agnew said...

But at the end of the day, the whole "Retake Mass Effect 3" business has gotten blown WAY out of proportion, but both sides.

On the crazy fan side, yeah you have the emotional response at the extreme hateful/entitled end of the scale, and the FTC complaint nonsense, and yeah that's embarrassing. But by and large what you REALLY have is a large group of people verbally expressing dissatisfaction with a product, getting refunds on said product, canceling products from the same company, and generally VOTING WITH THEIR WALLETS AND EXPRESSING THEMSELVES THROUGH FREEDOM OF SPEECH.


On the other side, you have people like Bob and Devin Farci completely failing to grasp the fact that A) art changing for the audience happens all the time in every other artistic medium (revised editions of books, director's cuts of movies, remixed sings, etc.) and B) that it has already happened IN THIS EXACT MEDIUM IN ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.

Fable: The Lost Chapters adds an extra boss fight to the game's ending. Final Fantasy XIII-2 held back the game's actual ending for DLC (yes, this is a real thing that HAPPENED). The Witcher 2, just releasing on XBOX 360 this week, is an enhanced edition of the game featuring additional endgame content because fans wanted it. Hell, Fallout 3: Broken Steel completely NULLIFIES one of the original game's endings with a "no, you didn't ACTUALLY die, you just got a really big boo-boo" device.

And you know what? The world didn't end, the medium wasn't set back a decade, no artists decided they simply couldn't do actual ART anymore, and the sky didn't fall.

The ONLY difference with Mass Effect 3 is that the quality letdown coupled with the way the actuality of the game flew in the face of advertised content COMBINED with the goddamn invitation BioWare handed to players (in the form of "Hey, y'all should buy our DLC") created a perfect storm of pissed off people with a perfect item for the suggestion box.

"Buy your DLC? Hey, you know what you should release as DLC FIRST?" Yeah, that.

Mads said...

Yes. Because Josh Whedon has always been let down by the fans. The Elder Gods don't repressent Fox, or anyone else who might dare question his artistic vision.

Like how they wanted Firefly to be widescreen and Whedon didn't. Nope, no clash of formula there; it's all about how the fans are too demanding.

And yes, that reading is probably also unfair - but you know what? Maybe this isn't an alegory for anything in particular. Maybe it just showcases one type of relationship between performer and audience in a damn cool way.

But then...I wouldn't know. I haven't watched Cabin in the woods. Fortunately, that's no longer a prerequisite to have an oppinion about it, apparently.

genguidanos said...

So let me get this strait. If everything that happens in Sucker Punch is a dream, then that means that at the end of the movie, Babydoll may have very well helped an actual deranged and dangerous mental patient escape from the asylum. Since we never get to see who the real Sweet Pea is in real life, there is no way of knowing that she wasn't in the asylum for a damn good reason. I wouldn't be surprised if by the time that buss reaches Fort Wayne everyones faces are eaten off.

JP said...

Hey Bob, what's the screenshot showing at 4:27?

Please link it!

Anonymous said...

@ JP

Its a game called Fez, I think its exclusive to the Xbox Marketplace right now.

Blue Highwind said...

Yeah, I really don't buy for a second any of your comments about Cabin in the Woods. It doesn't look like a movie made by a tortured artist looking for a way to make a metaphor for his limited artistic freedom. Instead it looks like a movie made by a horror fan for horror fans. Then again, I don't give a shit about metaphors. I just want to see werewolves, clowns, mermen, zombies, cenobites, tree monsters, and a robot going around killing people in hallways. And that's probably where the filmmakers were coming from.

The movie follows formula, but it never goes ahead and says that formula is bad. One guy is upset that a merman didn't kill the kids, whatever. He gets his merman in the end, don't worry. The observers seem to love their jobs. The main characters are a bit disgusted at their roles of being sacrifices to the Elder Gods, but then again, its all necessary. In fact, the movie goes ahead and says that classic horror formula is the only thing keeping us from complete annihilation by Cthulu. This isn't deconstructing horror, its celebrating horror.

Also, if this is being made by disgruntled artists who couldn't make the movie they wanted, what movie did they want to make? Would the final result have been any different?

Also your Mass Effect comparison made no sense on any level. Because again, the Mass Effect guys didn't make that ending for any artistic reason. They made that ending because they were lazy.