Since its technological and artistic breakthrough in the character of Gollum from Lord of the Rings, filmmakers have experimented with the possibilities and limits of the technology, with varying success. From single characters (like King Kong) to whole races and worlds (like Avatar and several Robert Zemekis films), motion capture elicits anything from wonder in the face of its breathtaking realism, to criticisms that overuse of the technology dumps the audience smack dab in the center of "Uncanny Valley." Why does motion capture draw from critics and audiences such polarizing responses? What films use the technology wisely, and which overuse it to the extent of alienating its audience? Look at both the original instances, like Gollum, and more recent instances, such as Alita in Alita: Battle Angel, and analyse how the different instances work and how they avoid or encapsulate "Uncanny Valley" in their films and characters.
I wonder if this is an issue with veracity, a sense of truth in what we're seeing. One of the most unerring examples I remember was 2001's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, a film with such weirdly photo-realistic animation it made little sense that real actors were not simply used. It's different with physical creatures or aliens, or say Caesar in the Planet of the Apes trilogy, as they can benefit from strong motion capture, but humans? I suspect it feels like a blurred line. – A J. Black1 year ago
Interesting topic. It would be topical to tie it into the upcoming "Cats" adaptation. I suggest you check out Patrick Willems' recent YouTube video essay on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1nQoWnFBSw&t=1264s – Matt Hampton1 year ago
I think it's important to define a "wise" use of technology. How much is too much? Is it possible to draw a line applicable to all films or do we have to take it on a case by case basis? We rush to embrace technology for all of its spectacle and newness, but do how often do filmmakers ask themselves, "Is this really necessary?" I'm of the opinion (for what it's worth) that technology should be used as sparingly as possible. As an audience member, too much technology overwhelms me and creates an emotional distance from the narrative. – fspinelli11 months ago
The recent film Ophelia (2018), starring Daisy Ridley, and the crowdfunded video game Elsinore (2019) marks the latest in an increasingly popular trend of adapting Hamlet by shifting its focus from its conflicted titular character to his doomed lady love. While adaptations focusing on supporting or minor characters in Hamlet are by no means uncommon (with Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as the most notable example), the focus on Ophelia in particular is something new. Ask: why the especial focus on Ophelia, ever-popular in art, as a protagonist? What about Ophelia made it universally panned while Elsinore has been almost universally praised? Which version offers a more compelling take on the character and the story of Hamlet?
I'm not familiar with either of these particular works, but one reason why Ophelia in particular is a popular character might have something to do with the way her situation reflects those of girls in general, throughout history. For instance, there is a fairly well-known nonfiction book called Reviving Ophelia, which talks about the toxic messages that young girls receive in modern times. Simply put, there's something relatable about Ophelia to a girl living in a patriarchal society, where the men in her life try to use her as an object or a pawn. – Debs1 year ago
This is an excellent time to examine this question, as there seems to be renewed interest in the perspective of the character, as well as Ophelia's overall depiction within Hamlet. – Sean Gadus1 year ago
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. – aprosaicpintofpisces4 years ago
You could also reference the difficulties of crafting a screenplay, which follows many story rules, compared to the wandering nature of Alice in Wonderland. Think of The Wizard of Oz--it has a similar path, but the character journey and story structure are quite traditional. ALICE takes more liberties. – Nate Océan4 years ago
You read my mind... Been thinking about a way to make Alice reverberate to contemporary minds, as I, like you, first experienced it as young child. It's a tale that always prods and pokes at the right strings in the pivotal moment. Meaning, I walked away from Alice as soon as first grade was over, only to find that Wizard of Oz was faithfully waiting in the wings of second grade. Third grade weighed in with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, just as I figured I'd seen it all. (High school brought the MTV variety, with Tom Petty's Alice.) Can it get any meaner? Peter and the Wolf? Write this one as a classic, in and of itself, shouldn't be hard to do, with such a fan base. – lofreire3 years ago
Known as the "maverick" or "auteur" era of American film, the 1970’s represented a unique era of American film-making, perhaps the most experimental since early silent ear. Traditional musicals, melodramas, and epics were no longer drawing in audiences, and, desperate, studios began giving money to fledgling directors often fresh from the brand new film schools cropping up, leading to far more daring and unusual films, such as Taxi Driver, the Godfather, and Star Wars. Well documented as this period is, take some time to examine the period just preceding, and how it enabled these films to exist at all.
That is, look back, first at the Paramount Decision in 1948, which ended the studios monopolies on theatres and film distribution and enabled independent filmmakers to gain foothold in the American film landscape, and the rise of television in the 1950’s, which forced to make going to the movies far more of an event, with big-budget epics, full color, and features such as 3-D and widescreen. By the late 1960’s, the mediocre performances of the anachronistic Hello, Dolly! and plodding Cleopatra rendered tried and true money makers impotent. Examine how changing audience expectations, over saturation of the market, and other such factors allowed movies like Bonnie and Clyde to set the scene for the New Hollywood of the 1970’s. If the studio system hadn’t failed, would the 1970’s era of film-making ever been allowed to happen in the first place?
I would include certain film and TV examples that defined where the Studio System was heading towards. – BMartin434 years ago
Despite its popularity in the written world, fairy tales are notoriously difficult to adapt to the big screen, especially live-action film. While the fantasy epic can see great success (though even that took decades of box-office failure), why is it so rare for a live-action fairy tale film work while animated fairy tales are among the best movies studios like Disney have ever made?
Analyze both the successes and failures, and discuss: why do fairy tales fare better in animation (such as Disney films) then they do in live-action? How is that a fantasy epic like Lord of the Rings succeeds while the Hobbit, by and large, fails? Address the curious case of the Narnia films, beginning strong with the relatively faithful Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, before crashing and burning with Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Is there something about animation that lends itself better to the relatively smaller scope of the fairy tale, as opposed to the more expansive world of an epic?
Hi! I would be careful and clear about how you categorize success and failure. The Hobbit, while not critically as successful as Lord of the Rings, was a commercial success making almost 3 billion dollars worldwide.In writing this article, I would also try to get a clear definition of a "fairy tale". Is LOTR a fairy tale? It depends on your definition.https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2015/02/11/the-hobbit-trilogy-grossed-almost-3-billion-and-no-one-cared/#c9d1b3148382 – SeanGadus4 years ago
I would be careful with writing this. Narnia, LOTR and TH are not fairy tales. Yes, they are adaptations but they aren't fairy tales, they are fantasy, like Harry Potter. These film series are more compared to the Harry Potter series than fairy tale ones. I like that you want to look at the lost cause from animation to live-action films. I suggest looking into the Grimm's Brothers Fairytales, hopefully that will help you understand what fairy tales are. Do some more research into understanding fairy tales :) http://www.surfturk.com/mythology/fairytaleelements.html
https://www.reference.com/art-literature/characteristics-fairy-tale-3fae6bcb14080f7e – meganstalla4 years ago
Fairy tales are absolutely not a lost cause. In fact, I wish we had more and better adaptations of them, because they are so often the building blocks for modern literature and other media. – Stephanie M.3 years ago
The tall, noble and beautiful elf has become almost a cliche in fantasy at this point, but this was not always so. As Tolkien traces in his landmark essay, "On Fairy Stories," from Spenser’s "The Faerie Queene" and Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" up to his time, elves had been diminutive creatures of mischief, cutesy and not worth taking seriously. Beginning with Tolkien, and his reliance on Northern European mythology to craft his legendarium, analyze this shift in the treatment of the Elf, and what it meant for fantasy as a genre. Also, compare Tolkien’s Elf with a more modern one, and look at recent deviations of the now archetypal elf.
Great topic! A portion of this article should definitely be devoted to the portrayal of Christmas elves, as a complete 180 deviation from the kind seen in Tolkein. How did the archetype of a tall, noble, immortal warrior turn into the short, subservient toy-makers (or tree-dwelling cookie-makers, or nocturnal shoe-makers, etc) that's become so ubiquitous in our contemporary lore? – ProtoCanon4 years ago
The writer could also stand to look into pixies/imps/brownies and other fae folk for this topic. More than a few of them have gotten mixed together. – Mariel Tishma4 years ago
Oh, the possibilities.... I'd highly suggest devoting a whole section of the topic to the Christmas elf, since they have about 1000 incarnations themselves. I've seen them as whimsical humans (Buddy in "Elf"), a Nordic-looking stop-motion troupe ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and as children with silver-specked cheeks (The Santa Clause franchise). – Stephanie M.4 years ago
Take a specific case, such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: one of the most popular of the classic novels, it has been subject to various reinterpretations which of course include the occasional modernization. But updating such a novel comes with a hefty set of challenges, not the least being this: is there anything Lydia could do in our time which would ruin her sisters prospects as completely? That is, the social norms and stigmas from Austen’s time to ours are so different, is it possible to construct a modern analog for this novel? Is it worth it?
I think this topic could also be written contrary to your title, as one could make the argument that there is always a way to update the classics, maybe even essential to update the classics in order to make them accessible. I LOVE the way the new BBC Sherlock Holmes updates Sir Arthur Canon Doyle's stories. I think the change from pipe to nicotine patches and the updates to Dr Watson being a soldier in Afghanistan in the 21st century instead of in the 19th century are some examples of great updates that lead audiences to want to revisit the classics while still enjoying the new interpretations. – Kevin4 years ago
The Lizzie Bennett Diaries (youtube series) did a good job of updating the story, including Lydia's story line. I think as long as people feel like women should be shamed for their sexuality, people will use it against them. – chrischan4 years ago
This is a very interesting topic. If I was to write it, though, more time would be spent probably on the "why things shouldn't be 'modernized'" in the first place. I've seen Much Ado about Nothing set in 1940s Argentina performed in the West End of London- even David Tennant and Katherine Tate couldn't save that one. Even locally here, we've had Cabaret set in a Kabuki Theatre because Nazi Germany is too offensive, and not to forget the all-white version of The Wiz. I believe great art, whether movie, TV, theatre, or what have you, should be left alone. There's a reason it's known as great art, or classics. Sorry for the rant, but as you can see this is something near and dear to my heart. Cheers! – NoDakJack4 years ago
9/11 was the most devastating terror attack on American soil, and consequently its repercussions are still felt 15 years later. Examine how 9/11 influenced American media, in both the immediate aftermath and more long-term reflections. Don’t focus just on films and TV shows about 9/11, but look more at how it informed film aesthetics, story-lines, and how we depict terrorism and political issues in film and television (e.g., how depictions of destruction changed in the advent of 9/11, analyzing the 9/11-like imagery of films such as Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, and the DC Cinematic Universe). Focus on specific themes these films tackle in the wake of 9/11, such as PTSD, fear of the unknown threat, and, again, the proper response to terrorism.
This is a hugely broad topic. Is there a way to narrow this down? As it stands, this could be like at least five or six different articles. I could write one just on Spiderman. – Christen Mandracchia4 years ago
This topic is a good one, but it covers a lot of ground. I would focus on just a certain movie or just include some of the films and TV shows from the years right after 9/11. There have been a lot of movies and TV shows that display the affects of 9/11 in the past 15 years. – TaylorNCampbell4 years ago
The most damning critique of any work of fiction is that it’s "cliched." Cliches are obvious detriments to the success of a work of fiction, but why? Can there be instances when the use of a cliche actually strengthens a work of fiction? Give careful definitions of terms such as "cliche," and track how an effective storytelling device, or special effect–like the "Vertigo effect" or "bullet time"–becomes a cliche, and whether it can be salvaged after endless imitation. As lazy as it is to pepper a story with overused cliches, ask, can the use of cliches be a good thing (in some instances)?
I agree that cliche is such a damning critque. But to answer your question, I think cliches could be used as a good thing, if the writer itself can twist the cliche and create some sort of originality to it and grad the reader's attention even if the reader already knows its a cliche. If that makes any sense! – Tkesh4 years ago
Clichés can be used effectively when there is a surprise twist to them. For example, M. Night Shyamalan usually writes a story with a twist. – Munjeera4 years ago
Great topic. How can Bob Dylan use cliches and tap into collective conscience while others are just unimaginative or lazy? – Tigey4 years ago
It depends how the cliché is being used. For example, you could try twisting one so much to the point where it criticizes the use of original version of the cliché or you can use a tried and true cliché and use it to underline the importance of certain aspects in the story. – RadosianStar4 years ago
Probably one of the reasons cliches are dreaded as much as they are is because of what it does to the reader. Our minds tend to disengage from phrases we've heard over and over again. I agree with what everyone else has already said about adding a twist to cliches to make them sound more original. That being said, everything we consider cliched now was original at one point in time and the likely reason it's been overused is because it once captured that particular truth so well. Nothing is one hundred percent original anyway, so why are cliches given such a hard time? In the case of cliches, we notice its unoriginality right away whereas other forms of repetition may be better disguised. – aprosaicpintofpisces4 years ago
I think that a cliché knowingly used with a hint of irony visible to the reader can be worthwhile. The real problem emerges when the author isn't aware that parts of their work is unoriginal. – IsidoreIsou4 years ago
I think this writing not can be very useful to writers if there were some articles that could point them towards publishing! – VAnnM4 years ago
Analyse "canon" vs. "fanon", and whether the latter has any validity as regards interpretations and criticism of the former. Are fan theories a legitimate way in which to explore the deeper facets of a certain work or franchise, or is it merely a socially acceptable way for adults to waste their time? Discuss how certain fan theories have influenced (or not) storylines in different franchises and creator’s rejections, adoptions, or subversions of popular fan theories (e.g., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, Doctor Who, etc.)
'Canon' has always had its 'fanon,' insofar as canonical work requires a certain apparatus of replication. Nothing is canonical if it does not get to the point where it invites imitation. Example: Cervantes's 'Don Quixote' invited, in C18th, the self-explanatory 'Female Quixote' of Charlotte Lennox. It also caused Flaubert to write, a century later, 'Madame Bovary' (about a woman who believes herself to be a character in her favorite romances). Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina' also deals with a protagonist who feels misplaced in the world she is inhabiting. If Cervantes was the original, then all the rest are reinforcements of the same 'canon.' They are, to a certain extent, 'fan fiction.' But they are also excellent examples of how imitation of a precedent can create powerful independent work. – Francisc Nona5 years ago
The R+L=J theory for Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire is practically considered canon in the fandom even though it hasn't been revealed...yet.I think it would be interesting to look into the psychology behind fan theories. Why do people discuss fan theories? What draws them into engaging in "fanon?" – Lexzie5 years ago
Vince Gilligan's attitude toward Breaking Bad is something like, Sure that could be in there. I guess that's a strength of ambiguity, which he admits to employing throughout the series. – Tigey4 years ago
Even a small dose of coincidence is needed in a work as lengthy and comprehensive as the novel, but Victorian novels seem more comfortable using it than many modern writers. Some consider that a defect, or put up with it as the artifact of a bygone era: but it might it be more than that? First, examine what "coincidence" actually entails, is it really a bad thing? Second, consider specific cases, such as Dickens, Dracula and Dostoevsky, whose brilliantly constructed novels sometimes make liberal use of coincidence. Might coincidence be an integral component in the success of these novels?
This sounds like an intriguing topic and I like the idea of using specific cases of literature to prove your thesis. For whoever chooses to write this topic, it might also be useful to examine how exactly coincidence is seen as a detriment in literature and what made it appear to be undesirable to use for modern writers. – MAG954 years ago
Perhaps the Victorians were big on fate. There's so much coincidence in Dickens thwt I can picture people,rolling their eyes at a retell ins of one of his stories, but his stories are wonderful and believable. – Tigey4 years ago
You might also examine whether modern writers or genres still use coincidence and if so, how. I'm a published writer for the inspirational market, and in that circle there is a bit of the attitude, "You can pull off anything as long as you explain God was behind it." I tried that in college Creative Writing, and my very understanding professor introduced me to the term deus ex machina. Now I avoid coincidence like the proverbial snake in the garden, but have seen it used successfully. It might be an angle worth exploring. – Stephanie M.4 years ago
Since the success of Marvel’s "The Avengers" and the films connected with it, the series of crossover superhero films has become the next big thing. Analyze and discuss this phenomenon in connection with DC’s less than stellar efforts to establish much of the same (including possible missteps such as refusing to put the TV versions of their characters in their films), as well as compare with other properties of these companies that are distinct from their "cinematic universes" (e.g., the X-Men series, the Dark Knight Trilogy). Why was "The Avengers" a success, but "Age of Ultron" and "Batman v. Superman" met with middling or downright negative response? When does it work and when it is too much too soon? Is the complexity inherent in this concept ultimately worth it? With many suffering "superhero fatigue" from the glut of comic-book films in theaters, is this ultimately a concept worth pursuing in the future?
A few things to consider...there are moviegoers who are well-versed on the comic book series of these films and take the material very seriously. As with book adaptations, audiences become frustrated when a film is untrue to the original story. As for "The Avengers,"...part of the appeal, in my opinion is the numerous characters featured that lead to audiences to find a connection with a particular character(s). As for "Batman v. Superman," I do believe part of the problem was the characters--especially that of Batman--not staying true to his perceived persona, as previously established. When a character that is beloved acts differently than what people expect, audiences become angered. Now, "The Dark Knight Series," with met with exceptional critical and viewer praise. Why is this? Well, the films were exceptionally done, and the moral conflicts, the human turmoil, and the complex multi-dimensional villains provided audiences with not only a high-octante film, but one that viewers connected with on an emotional level. – danielle5775 years ago
In addition, it might also be interesting to discuss X-Men, and 20th Centurty Fox's lack of continuity throughout not only their trilogies, but the whole movie franchise. – Maureen4 years ago
Part of what sets Marvel apart from other production studios is that they spent more time building their universe. I can't remember there being any shared universes in major studio movies before Iron Man came out, and Marvel had a game plan that they were working from. Now that other studios have seen how successful a universe with multiple connected properties can be, they're jumping on the bandwagon, but without enough time to sufficiently build the worlds that their characters exist in.Also, and danielle said this, Marvel was working with B-level comic characters, so they had to make sure the characters and they're stories were engaging before relying on the spectacle of a superhero fight. DC/WB knows that the names Batman and Superman will sell tickets, so they felt confident in throwing the two together without taking into account their core characteristics or how they would deal with the world around them (which has been done fantastically in several animated movies and TV shows). A lack of widespread familiarity with characters like Iron Man or Captain America meant that marvel could define these characters in stand alone stories, and then put them on a team knowing what the dynamic of that team would be. – chrischan4 years ago
Discuss the difference between what "sci-fi" and "science fiction": that is, what differentiates a Star Trek, Star Wars, or Stargate from Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick? Is one inherently a better art from than the other? Does inaccurate or fantastical science somehow negate a potential "science fiction" work and downgrade it to "sci-fi"? are these designations warranted, or even altogether accurate? Can cover the literary, film, and televised examples of each genre, and examine if one is more commonly found in one dramatic form than the other (e.g., is "sci-fi" more common to film and TV, and "science fiction" to the written word?).
This seems to be a similar question as to what are the ill-defined differences between the popularized term of "Indie" verses the proper term "Independent?" Is an "Indie Film" or an "Indie Game" something that is produced by a young up-and-coming artist(s) who wish to make it big in the industry without the help of a big studio production? Or is that what the term "Independent" means, and "Indie" is in fact a term coined by the Industry to make smaller independently studio funded films and games sound more cool? Also, I would argue that the term "Science Fantasy" ought to be included in this discussion, because "Science Fiction" is a term meaning a fictionalized tale that uses current scientific facts and theories to spin an intentionally pseudo-realistic story that has a percentage chance of actually happening at some time in the future, or could have happened some time in the past under the right conditions. "Science Fantasy" chooses instead to only coat the surface and setting of a story in "technological" advances and gadgetry, or it perhaps takes place on another world or in another dimension, but it does not bother to base it's world in anything accurate or scientific. It's all just for looks, not for logic. So then what is "Sci-fi" supposed to mean? It seems it is intended to mean a science fiction tale that may or may not be based in scientific facts, but is nonetheless a more sensationalized story that does not go down the same thought provoking, philosophical, and psychological routes that a more "well-crafted" science fiction story might. Perhaps a discussion in definition of terms would be in order before a discussion of labeling and association of certain stories with such terms can begin.– Jonathan Leiter5 years ago
I agree with Jonathan in regards to his comments about "Science Fantasy" vs "Science Fiction" and I think it would not only be extremely interesting, but extremely helpful if you share what you find to be the difference and where there may be a misunderstanding or interpretation of these in regards to literature and media. The questions you are asking are perfect, but I think it would be quite a bit more tangible for the audience if you provide the "answers" (opinionated or expository) as the bulk of your writing instead of potentially perpetuating the questions and merely bringing them to the forefront (which can be a great part of it as well). I hope this helps. – EvanWebsterWiley5 years ago
I have found ideas recycled in the movies from science fiction classics. One example is a plot twist in James Cameron's Avatar, with the twins at the beginning having to exchange places was straight out of Heinlein's Time for the Stars. If you read enough science fiction it is possible to find where writer's of screenplays have "borrowed" from science fiction authors. I guess it's inevitable because the screenwriters probably were avid science fiction readers before they became sci-fi screenwriters.I think a well set up sci-fi or science fiction universe has a set of principles like – Munjeera5 years ago
Though Ringo and George tend to be overshadowed by the contributions of Paul and John, George Harrison’s contributions to the group, while few in number, rank among the greatest songs of the Beatles’ repertoire. An analysis of representative examples like "While My Guitar gently Weeps, "Something," and "Here Comes the Sun," highlighting Harrison’s contributions to the development of pop and rock music.
That would be a really good article but be careful not to fall into the cliché of the 'overshadowed' Beatle. True the Lennon-McCartney tandem often seemed more prominent but George has always contributed in an extremely rich and powerful manner and has offered the group many hits. And his solo career was very successful too. I think people know that now and are aware of his enormous contribution . In writing the article, it would be maybe best to focus less on the 'overshadowed' one in relation to Paul and John. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun6 years ago
Fairytales are often read in one of two diametrically opposed ways: either as a light and unrealistic story of princesses and "true love," or as disturbing Freudian journeys into the dark recesses of human consciousness and behavior. While both contain aspects of the truth, a more accurate reading reveals and understanding neither so superficial nor so disturbed.
Would need to include a brief overview of the major models used by academics to analyze fairy tales: the Proppian model, certainly; the Jungian model of anima/animus/shadow; etc. Also, a very brief history of the evolution from pre-Grimm, collection/printing by the Grimms and others, Disney-specific contributions, modern 'dark' re-tellings. so forth. – Monique6 years ago
There's been a recent release of a set of Grimm fairytales that include all the, well, Grimm-ness and some history that might be beneficial to this? http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/12/grimm-brothers-fairytales-horror-new-translation – Hannah Spencer6 years ago