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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » The Power of the Preview (Page 2)

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Author Topic: The Power of the Preview
Robert Nowall
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I liked 'em, liked 'em a lot...but the books were better, a lot better...
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Strychnine
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I am convinced that previews are the root of all evil. They either show you the best parts of the movie so you donít need to see it, or they donít do the movie any justice. Unfortunately you canít figure either out until itís too late. There has to be a better way, but Iím at a loss as to what that is. But then again, Iíve become pretty cynical towards Hollywood for some time now, mainly for wasting my time and taking a lot of my money.

I got tired of walking out of movies and asking for my money back. Let me put this into a little perspective, I am married with two kids. If I take the family to a movie it could cost me well over a hundred bucks, once you add in the price of flat soda and stale popcorn. if it's just me and my wife probably $50. I could reduce this cost by going to matinees, but I got better things to do while the sun is shining. I'm a cheap bastard and that is a lot of money to me.

To remedy this I bought a surround sound system, a 106Ē screen, a projector, and built a custom home theater PC. Now I simply wait for the movie to come out on DVD and spend $15 - $25 when I buy the movie. Yes, I always buy the movie, because I always forget to take the rented movie back and end up buying anyway. Now Iím in heaven, you would be amazed at how much better a movie becomes with a glass of JW Black Label in your hand.

I'm not saying that all the movies coming out are bad, I'm just saying that Hollywood could try a little harder.

[This message has been edited by Strychnine (edited August 19, 2010).]


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philocinemas
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Strychnine, that's because you are probably looking for the wrong thing in the preview. I had a friend that saw the preview for 2012 a while back and absolutely had to go see it. He and another friend dragged me along. I told both of them that this was going to be a DUD! They wouldn't listen to me.

Now, I know some people liked 2012, and I am sorry if what I am saying bothers them (everyone has the right to like what they want), but I felt the preview was just too over the top (literally - it showed a tsunami hitting the Himalayas).

My friends, at least, left greatly disappointed.

I suspected something similar from The Last Airbender.

What I saw in the preview was zero character development, some cool special effects, and a disjointed story structure. A good preview will give you a small pleasant taste of all three: character, story, and sensory.

Now for my report card -
My pics (I know - it's a play on words):
A+.....Despicable Me - $222+M
A+.....Inception - $248.5 M
C-.....Dinner for Schmucks - $58.7 M (But I did suggest this will do better on DVD and it only cost $69 M)
D......Salt - $103.4 M (What a disappointment - where were all the guys? - Cost $110 M)
B+.....The Other Guys - $70 M (Not bad for 2nd week and no holiday)
B......The Expendables - $34.8 M (Good opening - I predicted a quick fade)

The two big movies I bet against:
Extra credit..........The Last Airbender - $129 M (Cost $150 M)
Extra extra credit....The Sorcerer's Apprentice - $59.5 M (Cost $150 M - and I bet against Disney!)

And I am still rooting for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited August 19, 2010).]


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Robert Nowall
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I can't say HDTV or Blu-Ray is as good as a movie experience---picturewise, that is. On the few digital channels I've inspected, the picture doesn't seem that different from regular TV or DVDs. (I haven't wired up for surroundsound or anything like that, either.)

One thing my Blu-Ray player lacks, that a couple of my regular DVD players have, is a zoom button. I'm the kind of guy who likes to read signs in the background, and so on. (The Pixar stuff is rich with this sort of thing.) I don't know if this is a matter of a missing feature that's on other Blu-Ray players, or if it's just not available in Blu-Ray---I haven't researched it as thoroughly as I should've...


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Strychnine
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If by movie experience you mean: a movie seen on a larger than life screen, with great color contrast, the perfect level of brightness and clear focus. Combined with crisp highs, thundering lows, and clear voices that mysteriously come from a two-dimensional picture. Then I'm there.

If by movie experience you mean: long lines, overpriced snacks, stcky floors, and snotty teenagers that think they're cool because they work at the theater. Yea I don't think I miss that at all.

The only drawback I have found so far is that I have to wait 3 months to a year to see the movie. Where blu-ray is concerned, some movies look great on it. But for the most part it's not something I absolutely need. A couple of weeks ago I was in a home electronics store and I caught the blu-ray version of "pirates of the carribean" on a led TV. The combination had removed all of the lighting effects. It looked like the move had been shot with a handy cam.

Philo- I don't do myself any good by using absolutes. There are a lot of previews that are great. But I have become jaded over the last couple of years by all the bad previews Hollywood is producing. The few things you mentioned are things I look for, but I think my cynicism blinds me most of the time.


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Robert Nowall
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Oh, that reminds me...watching the regular versions of The Lord of the Rings movies on a Blu-Ray made some of the SFX, particularly several bits with the Nazgul King in the third movie, look like cheesy back projection. I know the theater-cut movies are out on Blu-Ray, but I'm waiting for the "special edition" versions before I buy.
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philocinemas
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All right, it's time for some new predictions:

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR!

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - owls are going to become very BIG (they will be the next hamsters).

I also predict The Social Network to do very well - I wasn't too thrilled with watching a movie about Facebook, but the preview looked GREAT!

Secretariat also looks good, but with The Social Network getting out of the gate first, it will have a hard time catching up.

I haven't seen the previews yet, but Harry Potter..., Tron: Legacy, and Little Fockers are all but guaranteed to do well.


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PB&Jenny
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Almost dozed off during the Tron previews. No immediate interest with the initial preview but I'm sure there will be more to come with a bit more pizazz. There were 'some' interesting CG effects but nothing I haven't seen before. I'm more on the side of 'wait and see' with this movie.

Oh, and the Karate Kid... that should have been named the Kung Fu Kid. No karate in that one. It was Jackie Chan's kung fu. Cute story, though. Very predictable.

[This message has been edited by PB&Jenny (edited August 26, 2010).]


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philocinemas
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quote:
...And The Karate Kid is still going strong (great movie even though it is about kung-fu and not karate, which is Japanese).


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KayTi
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quote:
I haven't seen the previews yet, but Harry Potter..., Tron: Legacy, and Little Fockers are all but guaranteed to do well.

The Harry Potter preview is outstanding. It gave me chills, and made me tear up. Looks very dark (of course.) I recognized instantly many key scenes from the book, but then there were some that I didn't quite recognize which always makes me as the writer/Harry Potter geek curious.

The preview that is out now (which we saw before Sorceror's Apprentice, which was only a so-so movie with a sketchy plot and some barely likable characters) for HP7 is for both parts, I think. (they're dividing the last movie into parts one and two.) I think it'll be interesting to see if they release a more targeted preview just for the first movie, as I'm REALLY curious where it ends...


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Corky
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This is the topic where there was a bit of discussion of Shymalan's version of THE LAST AIRBENDER, right? I ask because I finally saw a bit of the original cartoon the other day.

It had what appeared to be a renegade firebender trying to get Aang (is that his name?) to take his training seriously because his father, the leader of the firebenders planned to destroy all the earthbenders when the Comet of Sozin (or something like that) "arrived."

So who is this renegade/prince firebender? And what happened to his left eye and the skin around it?


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Robert Nowall
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A lot of these Japanimation cartoons (and those influenced by them) have such incredibly complex backstories that it's nearly impossible to figure out what's going on when you drop in on one somewhere in the middle. Even putting a "what has gone before" bit won't help, because to truly explain things it would be longer than the episode.

A warning for series writers, huh?


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Natej11
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It looks like the conversation has drifted away from Shyamalan, but I'd gotten about halfway through the thread and decided to say something about The Happening.

As my friend put it "it looks like he just stole a bunch of suicide home videos from Youtube and played them one after the other". Add to that the little preachy message of the film and it joins the ranks of one of the worst films I've ever seen.

The funny thing was I was actually a pretty devoted Shyamalan fan until I saw this movie. But then after I'd seen it it was so bad that I actually thought back to all the other movies of his I'd seen and realized what pretentious garbage most of them were.

I've seen creative work so bad that it's poisoned any future viewing of that artist's work, but I think this is the first time ever that something has been so bad that I've retroactively come to hate all of his previous work as well. That he's dipped his meddling little fingers in Avatar: the Last Airbender, a cartoon I've always enjoyed, is just annoying. I don't plan on seeing it.


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