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Did "Raiders" ruin movies?

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FunBobbyMucha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:20 PM
Original message
Did "Raiders" ruin movies?
In the new issue of EW a critic is asked what movie has had the most influence on modern film making, and the reply was that as fun, cool, rockin' etc as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was, it inadvertently constructed the modern thrill-ride pacing and de-emphasis of character, plot, and dramatic tension that many of us argue has ruined the movies.

The critic exempted Spielberg and Lucas' previous movies, Jaws and Star Wars, since they were so rooted in classical film style. He/she also is quick to point out that he/she is a fan of Raiders, but the effect of its success on the face of American film is hard to dispute. Michael Bay's whole catalog? Emmerich and his pal? The hack that made The Mummy and Van Helsing? The slew of comic-based films?

Youwch. Quite a legacy.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hadn't Thought of That
but maybe the critic has a point.

The Indiana Jones movies worked, but that because they were well done and drew vivid characters with a few quick brush strokes. In the hands of a hack, that methods leads to disasters. The Mummy in particular was pathetic -- no suspense, boring characters, insipid dialog -- nothing but a series of great special effects.

Of course, a hack attempting to create a human int
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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
2. Jaws may have been in the classical style, but it made the case...
for the studios to have a runaway blockbuster every summer, and then one ever winter as well.

With Jaws and Star Wars, "the business" became more of a business than ever. Riskier scripts began to be sidelined in favor of pre-digested, formulaic crap.
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FunBobbyMucha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
3. For my money, nobody sucks ass like Michael Bay.
Bad Boys, The Rock, etc, and then he tries to be "serious" with that excretable "Pearl Harbor," which played like a sheet of tracing paper placed over "Titanic" so Navy insignia could be scrawled over the hull.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
4. How Could They Exempt Jaws?
Jaws introduced the market-yer-blockbuster, open simultaneously across the country everywhere.

Jaws, the movie, scrubbed the story of all subplot.

Jaws' use of score permanently took from (most movie watchers) the experience of seeing/experiencing tension built strictly out of the onscreen drama, creating the use of music as a total crutch.
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FunBobbyMucha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. I would think the fact that I can remember the names of the three leads
is a pretty good testament to the characterizations in that movie. We actually gave a shit about them, whereas the Bruce Willis character in Armageddon, for instance, has less weight than the POV character in most video games. Brody is fleshed out pretty well, his Northerner-ness, his fear of water, his love for his wife, sense of duty, etc.

And the restraint (thru necessity) of limiting the shark's on-screen time--let's see Emmerich, etc do that.

Jaws was certainly not the first film to bastardize aspects of a book (though I always thought Lorraine Gary played Brody's wife as being smitten with Hooper anyway), but an affair didn't fit the action film SS wanted to make, I guess.

Jaws and Star Wars you can cite for their influence on the marketing of movies, but the Raiders influence is felt more in the film-making itself. The nearest comparison, I guess, is the wealth of bad hipster movies made in the wake of QT's success with Pulp Fiction, where they got the references to Cocoa-Puffs but blew the dialogue, characters, and surprise.

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stinkeefresh Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. yup.
Jaws really is a character-based film. That scene where they show each other scars is a fine example. Just people talking, and it's the best scene in the movie.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
5. To answer your question.. No
Jerry Bruckheimer and gratuitous CG ruined movies.

Raiders was meant to emulate the Saturday serial genre, and it succeeded IMO. It was pure entertainment and gave us one of the greatest characters in cinema history.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
6. Sorry, but Star Wars did it
Edited on Tue May-25-04 12:38 PM by jpgray
Just fair on acting and writing, but whiz-bang great on effects and marketing--made $700 million at the box office and untold millions in merchandising. Movie studios thought to themselves--'fuck this drama and good writing crap, let's do merchandizable thrill rides.' Star Wars is still a great movie, though.
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BOHICA06 Donating Member (886 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
7. Then ....Peter Jackson saved us all....
let the 10 hour Bladder Busting Ring Fests Begin!

As long as we're throwing blame around - Disney's Xerox animation of The Jungle Books, The Rescuers, & The Aristocrats nearly killed the animated feature. Thank God for computers - for Beauty & the Beast, Toy Story, Antz - we can go to a cartoon and not be insulted.
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stinkeefresh Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Antz?
I was with you 'till Antz. (and I think you left off Mulan- never fails to make me weep)
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BOHICA06 Donating Member (886 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. well....
it was Jennifer Lopez's best role.
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stinkeefresh Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
8. I have to agree, as much as it pains me-
Not that Star Wars didn't whet their appetite, but the fact is that they didn't replicate Star Wars. The early eighties did not see a glut of 3-part space epics.

Raiders surely can't be saddled with the crime of turning the moguls on to empty-headed blockbusters, but it may have given them the pattern that they still use: one hero- all action- two goals that the hero is forced to decide between in the last reel... like clockwork.

Still love it, though. And Star Wars. And Jaws.
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
12. A matter of timing
How widespread was cable until the early 80's? How many channels? How many households had VCRs? Not many.

Back before Raiders the whole structure of the movie industry was more like it was than like what it would become. The biggest difference was Jaws and Star Wars and the dawning of the age of the Summer Blockbuster. Add into that the ever-developing Electronic Sandbox to play in (increasingly versatile visual FX applications), and it's not so much that Raiders is to blame as it is the one where it first seriously came together.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
14. I'd back it up to Irwin Shaw and "The Poseidon Adventure", "The Towering
Inferno", and "Earthquake". The special effects and sets took precedence over plots, script, and acting.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
15. No.
For one thing, I don't agree that movies have been ruined. Yes, there's a lot of crap around, but there was a lot of crap made in the 70s, 60s, and so on before Raiders or the like were ever made. In fact, according to user opinions at IMDB, three of the six worst movies of all time were 60s productions. Moreover, I can name a bunch of great--not just good, but great--movies just from the past few years: Chicago, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Gangs of New York. Not to mention dozens more fine movies below the epic line.

Raiders of the Lost Ark successfully pioneered the technique of creating a vivid character quickly using a minimum of exposition. Jaws brought about the use of music to build atmosphere and tension. In the hands of hacks, yes, these techniques will result in bad movies. But these people were going to make bad movies whether they used these methods or not, because they are idiots looking to cash in rather than create.
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