Monday, April 7, 2008

Disatisfied with Dystopia

Oh, I tried to watch Steamboy, that four-hour piece of crap. It’s good for about the first hour-and-a-half, until you realise they’re nowhere close to finished. Well, fine, you think, the ending’s going to be a little bit dry, but it’s been a good ride with lots of explosions and neat inventions and stuff. They extend the film by finding things to go wrong. Nothing works, which is a good point about modern technology, but if you can’t say “nothing works” in five minutes, how good a story teller can you be?

I mean, they’re trying, really trying, trying so hard to make you understand what’s wrong with technology and the way we invent technologies for war instead of peace and prosperity. Again, if you can’t do it in two-and-a-half hours, you run the risk of boring everyone. That’s why everyone cuts Hamlet to shreds. I don’t think it’s ever been performed in its entirety!

So, in short, this movie takes too long to encompass its themes and resolve them. The women are useless and the men are foolish children, running around like chickens without heads. It’s not a bad principle to build a dystopic narrative on, but by the time you’re up to three-and-a-half hours, all the humanity is worn out of these characters. You just don’t care. I wanted them to just all explode in a massive steam catastrophe, and take all of London with them. And by “them” I mean the film makers. It’s all well and good to set a dystopic novel about rampant techonological development in the Victorian age when everything was run by steam or run down, but for goodness’s sake: keep me interested! Using the same device over and over again is an insult to your audience’s intelligence. (See also: Speed.)


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