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Famous Side-Characters in Movie Series

Analyse different movie franchises and their array of characters other than the protagonist, specifically, where these side-characters or villains seem to contribute more to the widespread allure of the movie/series more than the hero. And then, discuss the reasons behind their contribution i.e. quality of acting, depth of character, character popular appeal, etc. There are many examples one could run with, for example, Han Solo in Star Wars, Legolas/Aragorn in LOTR, Joker in The Dark Knight, etc.

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    Future Film Movements: How will reflexivity tackle fully-immersive cinema?

    4D movie theaters are known for their immersive qualities including smells, seat vibrations, the simulation of certain weather conditions, etc. to replicate for the viewer what is being experienced in the fictional narrative presented onscreen. So far, 4D movies haven’t exactly dominated the movie-going experience but their existence does raise questions about how reflexivity will be achieved in the future. Self-reflexive films make viewers aware of the fact that they are watching a film, revealing “the artifice” as it were of the narrative and the characters involved. It’s a technique that’s often associated with art house or new wave cinema, though it can be found elsewhere in more palatable and consumer-friendly forms. Moviegoers usually like a fully immersive movie-going experience rather than be reminded that a film is a construct (it provides a nice escape from the tedium of reality for a few hours). With the increasing popularity of virtual reality in gaming nowadays, how will these increasingly more immersive technologies impact future movements in self-aware cinema? Will it undermine it all together? If not, how can reflexive techniques find a loophole around it to engage viewers as participants (not just spectators) again?

    • Cinema is designed to be communal. VR and video games are designed (for the most part) to be experienced alone, or at least in the domestic sphere of the home. Examining the aspects of place would be a critical view into your questions. There have been very few successful cross overs of video games to films (Lara Croft being an exceptIon) primarily because the social geography is different, and filmmakers rarely take that into account. An environment designed for personal consumption has some personal geography that is difficult to translate to a communal experience. So the question becomes, not how the reflexive techniques will find a loophole, but how the social geography can best be brought into the reflexive, because that is where the difference will really be made.Note to self, don't leave the page to look up an author's name... lest your note be deleted! Check out Lynn Spigel's work. – staceysimmons 14 hours ago
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    The Cinematic Space Odyssey

    Movies such as Gravity, Arrival, or the upcoming Passengers and Life films showcase the persistent human curiosity about outer space and who else (if anyone at all) is out there. We’re no longer in the era of little green men coming to invade the Earth in their silver flying saucers to abduct us or otherwise probe our brains. Cinematically speaking, how has the human vision of extraterrestrial life and exploration changed over the years? How have certain historical landmarks in the space program transformed what moviegoers want and expect to see in outer space-themed films? Has the recent media coverage about a possible mission to Mars in the not-too-distant future shifted the cinematic focus away from an interest in aliens to issues of human evolution/multi-planetary colonization? Is there something else at work here?

    • An interesting topic, for sure. Although I don't have the a very eclectic understanding of science fiction in cinema, I wonder if there has been a shift from the foreign/invading extraterrestrial to a interior extraterrestrial. That is to say, I have always perceived a shift from the flying saucer alien to the kind of alien that takes the form of human; an alien that changes our perception of the human body as human. Movies like Alien (where the alien is born from/comes from the human body) and Invasion of the Body snatchers. One might also consider Men in Black and Under the Skin. What we consider to be alien has, in some instances, become remarkably more human, and I think this would be a fascinating angle to take for this topic. – Dethlefs 3 days ago
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    • The movies tend to change with science. The more things science figures out, and by extension, theories it creates, just add to the writer's creativity. One possible reason earlier movies were more about alien invasions is the fact that humans overestimated the planet's resources. Up until somewhat recently, people thought that we had a great thing going here. Now we see that the planet and its resources are finite, and that we are going to have to leave at some point. Which is why more blockbusters are centered more around space exploration rather than invasions from space. – MikeySheff 4 hours ago
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    The Sequel Syndrome

    With most major franchises releasing timelines of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs years in advance, it has become increasingly obvious that sequels are a fast way to create interest and reap box office revenue. However, it has also become increasingly obvious that many movie-goers are tired of this industry tactic, and have called for a return to original content. Discuss the relationship between a sequel being successful, and of it being necessary/wanted by the public.

    • Sequels aren't inherently bad, but they can be abused. It really comes down to loyalty and attachment. Does the Star Wars prequel and sequel trilogies need to exist? No, but because so many people are invested in the universe and the characters, they'll keep making Star Wars movies. The same can be applied to any successful movie franchise. The only ways a sequel won't get made is if the movie does awful or the creative team makes a bold decision not to make another one, even if it means losing out on profits. – MarkSole 2 days ago
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    • This topic would benefit from market analysis, though I imagine your quality of "being necessary/wanted" will be hard to quantify if that's not tied to box office revenue. – Kevin 2 days ago
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    • Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, X-Men, and the list goes on. There is no way that any of these movies would have the same impact without their sequels. I can definitely see your point, that some sequels are just cash tactics, but the great many seem to make sense to the story. – MikeySheff 4 hours ago
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    Should movies exist solely for escapism purposes?

    Watching movies has always been a favourite pastime for many people around the world. However, many people do tend to criticize the fantasy and surrealism of films as they tend to askew audience’s expectations of life. Discuss whether or not movies need to be more self-aware of this surrealism and whether or not there should be a balance between fantasy and reality.

    • Mean-world syndrome can be explored as a part of this topic. – Aaron 7 months ago
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    • In my view yes! I have enough reality in my life. But I know so many who are interested in documentaries about tense issues for those who disavow escapism. – Munjeera 7 months ago
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    • I think even fictional films shouldn't always be used for escapism. There's plenty of great films that hit close to home. Even Miyazaki films or other Studio Ghibli films don't always allow an escape for me, because they challenge me to engage with certain social issues. – chekhovsraygun 7 months ago
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    • This is an essential, complex question to debate. I would recommend erring on the side of "no," due to considering the problematic associations attached to consuming uncritical, naïve cinematic portrayals of "reality." This is particularly relevant to the complex art medium of film. – Lucas 7 months ago
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    • Re Munjeera's point, I wonder how age and socioeconomics affect viewing habits. I wonder if younger viewers watch more documentaries while older viewers watch more escapist programs. The same might also be true of wealthy or healthy viewers vis-a-vis poor or unhealthy viewers. There just has to be some reason explaining why my otherwise intelligent great-uncle, in his 80's, willingly watched "Walker, Texas Ranger."This is a rich topic. – Tigey 2 months ago
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    • No. Escapism is a feature of entertainment -- in the blood of entertainment lies the ruin of art. – Brandon T. Gass 2 months ago
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    • Escapism is important for entertainment especially to cater to someone's mood. – Mal415 2 months ago
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    • It depends on the content and the theme. Some films carry heavy content or have a message to be relayed and require critical awareness for delivery. Some films are all about imagination, playfulness and the absurd. It's okay for there to be different types. Some films are hybrid. Everything has its place. – bluishcatbag 2 months ago
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    • Perhaps one could include the effects/inspirations that films have on people, especially in dealing with contemporary/topical themes. Films are often used as social commentary, and it could be interesting to explore that side of the industry. – SuzannahRL 2 days ago
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    • "I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it."--Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories – C8lin 2 days ago
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    The Success of Marvel Movies and Why DC Falls Short

    A long fought debate since the dawn of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A comparison behind the cohesion between franchises, writing, and overall story arc between DC and Cinematic Marvel and where DC is heading next in order to keep up with and eventually catch Marvel. Could take many approaches for this.

    • A worthwhile topic. There are any number of possible reasons and explanations for why DC has been unable to live up to Marvel's success. This has come to a shock to a lot of people, considering that DC, overall, owns the more popular properties. I don't think anybody was expending Civil War to crush B v S in opening weekend box office the way it did; Batman and Superman are the two most famous superheroes of all time, and the lost out to an equally unnecessary grudge match between Iron Man and Captain America (who, it can be easy to forget, nobody outside of the highly esoteric world of comic book fandom had ever given a second thought prior to 2008). Personally, I think the biggest reason for DC's failure -- aside from the obvious point about Zack Snyder -- is a matter of anxiety of influence. It's actually not the case that this is a "long fought debate since the dawn of the Marvel Cinematic Universe," given that the DCEU only launched in 2013 with Man of Steel (i.e. five years after Iron Man 1) and only really became an extended universe this year with the release of B v S. Having come late to the party, DC is frantically trying to play catch-up, which has added the extra burden of trying to not seem as though they're overtly imitating their more successful rivals. The dark aesthetics that seem to have characterized their first three movies seems to be in direct opposition to the fun Whedonism that has contributed to the MCU's charm. This clearly deliberate differentiation effort has only worked against them, since it's operating off of the self-sabotaging premise of, "let's do the opposite of what seems to be working for Marvel." And the ironic thing is, the reason why the DCEU is so belated is because, while Marvel was getting things rolling with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, Christopher Nolan was busy releasing what is objectively the greatest superhero movie ever made. If DC had used Nolan's trilogy as the jumping-off point for their universe, they might have had a much better chance for success -- as they would have gotten started even before Marvel (Batman Begins being from 2005), with a much stronger foundation. However, because of the realism factor (which was a large part of what made The Dark Knight so good), the world that Nolan created proved to be not very conducive to the inclusion of other (more "super") heroes, requiring a fresh start. – ProtoCanon 1 week ago
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    • Would be helpful to define success here - is this cinematic quality of success? Financial? Quantity of movies? Appeal to the masses? Are there some areas that DC movies are more successful than Marvel? – Kevin 6 days ago
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    • I think part of Marvel's success has come from making a large cinematic universe that connects over many movies and two TV shows (Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter). DC has TV shows that are not at all connected to the movies, which is why we are seeing two Flashes, instead of seeing the same actor play the same character in both TV and Film, like Agent Coulson. Also, Marvel built their world from the ground up, starting with iconic and traditionally important Marvel characters and working from there. DC started out by focusing on their most important characters, but then crashed (in my opinion) by making Suicide Squad. If you're a comics fan, you know that this completely ruins the normal timeline. We also skip over Harley Quinn's and all the other characters' origin stories. They tried to do too much too early. They should've known from Marvel's success that great movies are built on great and relatable characters. This is a really interesting topic, and one you can go in-depth on if you want. Great idea. – JamieRich 4 days ago
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    Evolution and Regression in Special Effects

    As technology marches on, special effects in movies have gone from being practical to doing everything on a computer. Now as far as convenience goes, going digital is for the better. However, some will argue that digital effects will never compare to something that’s in front of the camera. So is it necessary to keep marching onward and keep improving digital effects or should we take a step back and try to make practical effects an honored practice again? We would need to realize the advantages and disadvantages for both of these special effects if we are to bring out their full potential.

    • There's a lot that can be explored here. One thing I have noticed is a movement toward using technology to achieve a pre-technology effect in cinema and animation. I think this largely stems from nostalgia, or a population that mourns the loss of traditional effects. One startling example is the Disney Lion Guard series - the creators have actually engineered the animation to look hand-drawn, with digitally enhanced "pencil" strokes similar to its film forefather, The Lion King, years before Pixar. Some would argue that this is a regression, but maybe this is how we attempt to move forward digitally while still paying tribute to practical effects. This brings up more questions like, is artistry completely lost in the digital landscape? Will digital become the only artistic platform left for effects? Is nostalgia the only reason to cling to practical effects, or are we also missing essential artistic elements by going with cost and convenience? – wtardieu 1 week ago
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    • Very important movie is Mad Max: Fury Road, whose practical special effects are almost good enough without CGI enhancement - however some CGI added to make it perfect. – Kevin 6 days ago
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    "Alice in Wonderland" in Adaptation: What Makes it so Difficult?

    Lewis Carroll’s nonsense novel has seen endless variation in adaption across all forms of media, but how many of these are actually successful? Look at both the more faithful adaptions (Disney, the 1999 TV Movie), and the "darker" or somehow radically different ones (American McGee’s Alice, The Looking Glass Wars). Compare some of the adaptions which are similar in tone, like Tim Burton’s recent film and American McGee, or the Disney film and the TV Movie, with an eye for determining, which one does what it’s trying to do better (e.g., a faithful translation from book to film, a darker take), while examining what makes adaptation of this novel so difficult.

    • One of my favorite adaptations is actually the 1999 TV movie. That's likely an incredibly nostalgia-based opinion since I watched it a lot during my early childhood. Nevertheless, it's one of my favorites because it still retains the intelligence of the book. I wasn't a huge fan of the Tim Burton version (although I still haven't seen the sequel yet) since it was more of a fantasy action-adventure story involving good versus evil. For me, it lacked a bit of Lewis Carroll's signature wit whereas the 1999 version did a good job of showing just how ridiculous and nonsensical the adult world can be through the eyes of a child. – aprosaicpintofpisces 2 weeks ago
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