Sunday, September 06, 2009

Compare and contrast...

...the two most recent films you saw in a theater. Show your work. Be as spoiler free as possible.

Cost of production:
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra- $175 million.
District 9- $30 Million

GIJ- Sienna Miller! Dennis Quaid! Channing Tatum! Marlon Wayans!
D9- Sharlto Copely? Jason Cope? Nathalie Boltt?

GIJ- Stephen Sommers (previous work “The Mummy” and “Van Helsing”)
D9- Neill Blomkamp (previous work... none, directorial debut)

GIJ- Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett, Michael Gordon, and Stephen Sommers
D9- Neill Blomkamp

What the films have in common:
Both feature extensive action sequences involving explosions and gunplay. Both feature a character going through a strange metamorphosis. Both show weapons tech ahead of its time.

Domestic profit as of 06 September:
GIJ- Still $40 million in the hole (Current domestic earnings around $139m, versus production cost).
D9- $71 million profit (Current domestic earnings of $101 Million, versus production cost).

Current Rotten Tomatoes ratings:
GIJ- 37% fresh
D9- 89% fresh

Lessons which will not be learned by Hollywood:
A smart director with a project he personally loves can make a more emotional, intellectually stimulating, and remarkable film with less money than the make up budget of an overblown piece of fluff there to do nothing beyond sell toys and distract an apathetic audience for two hours. The studio will make money on a smart film, and the critical review will be better. Relatively unknown actors who actually believe in the work they're doing will deliver better performances than big names who are just checking the "I need a blockbuster" block.

In the end, regardless of the money the smaller, less expensive film makes or how much people agree its a good film, the toy and merchandise sales will out-earn the smaller film at every turn. G.I. Joe is also and easier film to make, requiring no sense of art or plot. It is also an easier film to watch, asking only that you turn off your brain, even if you are a long time fan of the characters (who are barely shadows of their much better conceived former selves). District 9 asks you to immerse yourself in a world perhaps too similar to our own, and watch as a lead character develops from hate-worthy to sympathetic to hero. It asks you to think about where you fall in it's allegory. It's a genuine fine piece of film, that may expend as much ammunition as G.I. Joe, but also tells you why.

Can you guess which one I liked better?

1 comment:

Belladonna said...

Nicely done. When I used to teach college sociology classes I was famous for asking compare and contrast questions. Any idiot can memorize a definition without understanding what it means. A detailed C&C does a lot more to illustrate in depth comprehension.