December Sun – A Web Comic

July 2, 2010

Clones and Kurosawa

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 2:49 pm

For some odd reason I regrettably had the urge to rewatch ‘Attack of the Clones‘ the other day, and I was really struck at a very deep level by how bad this film was.  Deeper than just the ridiculous story and bad acting, what really struck me was how gratuitous lifeless the computer-generated imagery was for this film.  Its excessive, and more than that, its completely soul-less.  Take for instance the battles on the big robot-building planet:  scene after scene features nothing but inane computer-rendered sequences of animated characters battling one another, all of which are little more than video game sequences in movie format.  Sure, there will be a human or two interposed over the computer generations, but for the most part, ‘Attack of the Clones’ is an ANIMATED movie, not live action.  In thinking more about it, Clones is little more than a “Roger Rabbit”-style movie, with humans scattered within an animated universe, albeit one rendered by computers and not hand-drawn by animators (and to be honest, I dislike both, but if I had to choose, I’d prefer Toontown to Lucastown…)  I ranted about CG in my previous post, but I’ll say it again: I prefer to watch actors, puppets, or something that otherwise occupies the same reality and not animated characters.  There just isn’t a tangible believability to something generated in a PC and interposed on the screen.

Enough of my rant:  I then cleansed the palate with ‘Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams‘, which after a miserable video game like Clones, this film is a breath of fresh air.  In fact, I would submit that Dreams, although not untouched by a little (non-CG) special effect work, is a film in which director Kurosawa makes full use of real characters, real light, color and shadow.  The film, divided in various short segments, is just amazing (although a little fruity at times with giant daffodils and an over-acting Martin Scorsese), particularly the last segment about the valley of water-wheels. 

That final segment, of which I’ve included some images, is just unbelievable.  No special effects in Hollywood (CG or otherwise) could replicate the natural beauty that Kurosawa has captured here.  And its much more than just being a “pretty” film -  its the way that Kurosawa frames each sequence, and how he positions characters and details of the landscape in various film sequences, how he edits and blends one scene meaningfully to another, and how he gives so much narrative detail of light and color with the story he tells in film – it just has so much more substance than the video game junk that Lucas offers.

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