Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nothing New Under The Sun

I believe it is in the book of Ecclesiastes where it is observed "there is nothing new under the sun." Now I am sure there are people who might argue that bromide but in the movie industry at least it IS an axion.

Quite by accident yesterday I ended up renting "Promethus" from my local Red Box. I wanted "Looper," took what came out and never actually looked at the DVD. Yesterday evening I sat down with my wife and said that I rented "Looper" and that would be fun to see how the future man kills himself in the present. Within a few minutes after the movie started, and in fact it didn't start very easily on my Blue-Ray DVD player, I realized that hey, this WASN'T "Looper." My wife said to call Red Box and explain what happened. I did and they guy on the phone said, "Well, it does say "Promethus" on the DVD and so I ejected it and sure enough it did. I replied it did but that wasn't what I wanted. He promised me a credit (that as of this minute, now a day away I have not received an email for) and said to return it by 9 pm Wednesday.

When I went to the Red Box this morning, I checked out how I could have made this mistake. It did read the movie that I had but in checking the listing in the machine, "Promethus" was nowhere to be found. "Looper" was there all right in both DVD and Blue-Ray.

Since we had the darn thing we decided to watch it. Which leads to the comment there about design and there seems to be nothing new under the movie creation sun.

Ridley Scott is a favorite director and his much earlier movie "Blade Runner" is a classic of the sci-fi genre. It seems that not only was he content to revisit this movie but a host of others as well starting with "Forbidden Planet" with it all knowing Robot, Robbie, then a huge debt to Kubrick's stunning and forever movie changing film "2001, A Space Odyssey," on to his own movie dealing with replicants, "Alien" with monsters popping out of bellies and nearly indestructible, and finally this smartly created and infinitely derivative film about who created us, yes these aliens, but why were they trying to destroy us? After all the blood and mayhem, did we care?

Why indeed. How did all this money and you can bet a lot get spent on what was at best a "C" grade movie ever make it past the secretary's desk? I thought scripts like these were what was shown in "Argo," they went somewhere to die.

A movie, or ANY creative event has basically the same basic design. You have a blank canvas, page, music sheet that has to be filled in in some way. Words, notes, paint. For some, painters maybe more than the others, are given a freedom to create what they want on a canvas. Some may make small thumbnails, smaller versions of their work while others just paint away. Writers and screenwriters initially have a lot of freedom until they hit the editor, movie producer, etc. What comes out of those meetings oftentimes little resembles what went in. Who hasn't heard of how the script of "Casablanca" or the original "Moby Dick" was rewritten each night before shooting not once but frequently every night. Somehow it works. Usually, though it doesn't.

I pilloried myself in an earlier column and even showed how a still life I wanted to paint went so very wrong. I stopped and started again. The result was so different it would be hard to believe the same painter did both paintings.

Most of what we do each and every day has design to it. If you don't think so, stop and consider what you do. There is a design to just about every part of our lives. How we deal with it, is what makes us all unique and often quite different. However, not so different that we can't find some mention of it in a book as old as the Bible. So I guess there really isn't anything new under the sun!

Check out the increasing number of photos at my Etsy store:


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