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Inception was a regular thriller pretending to be smart. Interstellar was a film with a smart background for a story that is rather simple and did not necessitate all that smart. It was pretty good.

However, the consultation and adhering to an expert physicist theory stuff felt more like an excuse than a focus to tell a simple story about a family bond. The family bond takes precedent of the science without exploring any fresh concept in terms of our relationship with physic. What does the film teach us about our human relationship with science? That gravity transcends time/space? That black hole has an event horizon? Those are more like plain information than story elements that make us implore our relationship with science. For example, Ghost in the Shell asks the definition of humanity and existence in light of full cybernetic surgeries while 2001 Space Odessey questioned the danger of AI and human morality in light of rationality. I will even argue that Lucy -even though it was an inferior film with its wonky terrible science- implored more interesting sci-fi ideas on how human won the evolution race with its ending 10 mins.

Interstellar can function without any of the accuracies. Strip them all out and replace them with magic. All it will lose is the “based on accurate physic” allure but you will still find the same regular film about family love, which is the biggest issue of the movie because there’s no great story for all that adhering to accurate science. If you don’t care(I care a bit) about the adhering to science aspect, it kinda is just a well done but not excellent movie. Good for science class, but just an all right narrative experience.

Gunbuster and Voice of a Distant Star also did similar time dilation stories so it’s not that fresh or unique of a concept, nothing mind blowing if you are a fan of sci-fi.

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Recently , I watched two movies , Future X Cop and Ip Man 2 and they make me ponder the state of Chinese Cinema . Before going deeper into both movie , I will like to share some of my thoughts for Chinese film. The Chinese film Golden Age to me is definitely the 70’s  till the end of the 20th century. After that , we will only get the occasional Internal Affairs and Red Cliff .  Other than that , Chinese films are underwhelmed by the big budgeted Hollywood.

Before the 21 century, there are 3 types of Chinese films that allowed it to gain its golden age status : Kungfu/Wuxia action films , Gangster films and Mo Lei Tau comedy . The gangster film loses out because Hollywood can make bigger gunfight and bigger explosion while the Mo Lei Tau comedy was deemed to be too low-brow and cheap to gain any recognition . With that,  only our hand to hand combat action film remains better than the western counterpart. Though that’s like saying  a professional  pianist is better than a green horn one; we have been doing these kungfu film since the black and white era and have thousands of years of kungfu culture to support it so how can we even lose at it?! This point led to the discussion of Future X Cop and Ip Man .

Ip Man is a revisit to the Kungfu films . Yes , it is true that the Kungfu films are the shit in the 90’s thanks to stars like Jet Lee , Jackie Chan and others , however , there is a lack of these films during the 21th century . This is due to the mentioned actors expanded their career in Hollywood and the advent of CGI . With CGI , fight scenes can be great even without real martial arts . The Hong Kong cinema coped with CGI pretty well in the late 90’s and early 00’s with acclaimed movie like Storm Raider and Shaolin Soccer . However , CGI is a competition of technology and budget , the one with more of them wins . With that , Hollywood created movie like Terminator 2 , Matrix , Spiderman and such while refining the CGI usage to a matured level while Chinese Film struggle with cartoonish special effects and finally lose out . When comparing to their western counterpart , the CGI just look cheap and jarring so the result wasn’t too much of a surprise. The recent Future X Cop just strengthen this fact. It is like why should I watch Future X Cop when I can watch Iron Man 2? They are providing the same service and one is way more superior than the other!

Now , Future X Cop sucks , it really sucks . However , I must praise it because if there are no movie like Future X Cop to become the stepping stone for the refinement of CGI in Chinese films , the technique will stay stagnant and it will just lose out more. But then again , looking at those CGI , I lamented at why the hell do they waste their time and money do make this crap and not do what they are good at instead? So it was quite complicated , should Chinese films remain stagnant with their CGI and stay by the old formula that may become obsolete  any day or should they do otherwise? That’s for producer to decide and for me to find out.

Now on the other hand , Ip Man is great . It is simple ,touching and exciting at the same time . However , as much as I enjoyed the film , I hate to say that this won’t last long .  The kungfu films formula haven’t change since the Bruce Lee era. The basic premise follows: A great kungfu master with exceptional moral imparts and impacts people with their spirit and Chinese culture values. They are often being oppressed by a bigger power – mostly Japanese or Westerners due to the occupation by  both of them during the early 20th century .  Then they will fight the greater power in some form of martial art fights to impart Chinese culture and the importance of respect .They often played around with the ideas of underdog and how Kungfu is more than brutal fights for their theme . Jackie Chan added more to that by having interesting stunts but the premise more or less remained similar(Though he did try and succeeded with innovative plot as shown in Shijuku Incident and some other films of his).

The above mentioned formula is a winning formula but it will fail one day . Why? Did you noticed how those actors are all in their forties?  How can it keep on going when such talents are one in a million? Not to mention , the idea will get old one day . It might still be a joy to watch  Fearless and Ip Man thanks to some biography of well known real life Martial Artist and awesome choreography  but how many more Kungfu masters are there for you to depict and how exciting and innovative the choreography will get when the same premise is rehearsed a million times? The Jackie Chan formula is a long-lasting one though but there is a problem , it had been so many years and there is still only one Jackie Chan . If Martial Artist stars are one in a million then Jackie Chan will be one in a billion so how long will his formula keeps out? Not long  I guess.

So now they can either nurture another Kungfu star and keep the formula going or try another winning formula . Both of them take the same amount of time to succeed but the latter is of course more lasting . However  it will be more risky and take more tries to warm up the audience as shown in Future X Cop .

Of course , there are still some occasional gems like Red Cliff and such but compare these to the more widespread and frequent Hollywood/Western productions, how will the Chinese films keep up with it is still unknown . They are now coping with their interesting plot and rich histories and culture but how long will this last is still something that we odd to be careful of .

With that , I will end my thoughts . As for Singapore films , let’s just say that we are too young to be worth anything .

IWICSYI

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