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MindfulInquirer
01-23-2019, 02:11 AM
I just randomly got hooked on 'Robocop' some time ago, YouTube suggestions..., and finally watched it again today.

Sci-fi action flicks don't seem to carry any metaphorical meaning whatsoever anymore, and that's something I really loved about those good old 80's/90's flicks. For a movie that quickly turned into a caricature in the collective imagination, it sure was loaded with symbolism. Any movies you'd like to bring up that fit that description ?

Kjbartolotta
01-23-2019, 02:30 AM
Heh, few movies balance symbolism, camp, and ultraviolence in the way Robocop does. But then, Verhoven is a rare combination of artiste and schlockmeister.

ElaineA
01-24-2019, 01:02 AM
Umm...Star Wars TFA? Black Panther? Day After Tomorrow?

I think I might be misunderstanding the question. And by blockbuster, are you referring only to SF Action movies? Because there are a lot more blockbusters than just that genre.

MindfulInquirer
01-24-2019, 03:22 AM
Heh, few movies balance symbolism, camp, and ultraviolence in the way Robocop does. But then, Verhoven is a rare combination of artiste and schlockmeister.

I know, right ? They make this film pass for this huge caricature of a typical superhero/indestructible Machine policeman who saves the day yet again, yay the good guys win... but there's such a good balance in that film between all the main aspects.

I wonder just how much the ultraviolence would've influenced the film not being there. Plays a major role.

MindfulInquirer
01-24-2019, 03:25 AM
Umm...Star Wars TFA? Black Panther? Day After Tomorrow?

I think I might be misunderstanding the question. And by blockbuster, are you referring only to SF Action movies? Because there are a lot more blockbusters than just that genre.

I mean any big budget H0llywood movie, that contains underlying symbolism.

Elle.
01-24-2019, 03:34 AM
Another Verhoeven film with a big subtext and symbolism is Starship Troopers.

Kjbartolotta
01-24-2019, 04:30 AM
I wonder just how much the ultraviolence would've influenced the film not being there. Plays a major role.

Well, I know that the two reasons Verhoven agreed to the project were the prospect of ultraviolence and the potential for parody and allegory.


Another Verhoeven film with a big subtext and symbolism is Starship Troopers.

Often overlooked, though idk how...

Trying hard to think of non-Verhoeven examples, though I do love the man and his art. Abrams and Nolan are hardly my favs, though I think their symbolism and nuance game is pretty solid. Philip Kaufman had some pretty big hits under his belt, but definitely balanced the artsy with the fartsy. I'm sure there's plenty more.

Albedo
01-24-2019, 04:36 AM
Sunshine had symbolism up the Khyber, through it's a bit older, and probably not a blockbuster (nor action, till its inadvisable third act). Ditto anything else Lem or PKD or a conscious imitation. Blade Runner 2049? A Scanner Darkly? Minority Report?

Kjbartolotta
01-24-2019, 04:40 AM
Sunshine had symbolism up the Khyber, through it's a bit older, and probably not a blockbuster (nor action, till its inadvisable third act).

I love that movie and officially consider it part of the Hellraiser franchise.

Albedo
01-24-2019, 05:07 AM
I thought they accidentally spliced in the last reel from Event Horizon.

MindfulInquirer
01-24-2019, 05:07 AM
Another Verhoeven film with a big subtext and symbolism is Starship Troopers.

Right yep. Not quite as atmospheric as Robocop, and more emphasis on the action packed/gory aspect of such blockbusters but, indeed Starship is another.


Well, I know that the two reasons Verhoven agreed to the project were the prospect of ultraviolence and the potential for parody and allegory.

Yes. Apparently his wife thought he should give the screenplay another go because of the metaphorical elements there, he'd just skimmed through the first pages and dismissed the idea pretty quick but then looked again and finally agreed to do it.
It's interesting how those two elements connect: ultraviolence and metaphor. The film needed the shock value of the ultraviolence as aesthetics and drama, to make the symbols shine out more brightly. And the director wanted tons more gore but had to tone down the original scenes substantially due to the rating they were aiming for.

triceretops
01-24-2019, 06:23 AM
Heh, nowhere did it occur to me more than in Avatar (Huge Movie) that symbolism, theme and message meant so much. Corporate greed running all over the universe and then picking the wrong planet to fugg with. Understanding cultural diversity and respecting it--a lesson we still have to learn.

Night_Writer
01-24-2019, 07:35 AM
Pleasantville (1998)
Labyrinth (1986)
The Matrix (1999)

All these movies seem to carry a lot of symbolism, especially the first two, which are downright Jungian. I don't know if they all count as blockbusters though, but they were commercially successful. The Matrix was definitely an action blockbuster.

Kjbartolotta
01-24-2019, 07:41 AM
I thought they accidentally spliced in the last reel from Event Horizon.

The director has been emphatic that the apparent supernatural elements were a metaphor and there's no magic or spooky stuff happening in the movie. I'm not one to argue with another's interpretation, especially that of the creator, but he's totally wrong. Like I said, I like every part of that movie, but the third half is rather silly.


Yes. Apparently his wife thought he should give the screenplay another go because of the metaphorical elements there, he'd just skimmed through the first pages and dismissed the idea pretty quick but then looked again and finally agreed to do it.
It's interesting how those two elements connect: ultraviolence and metaphor. The film needed the shock value of the ultraviolence as aesthetics and drama, to make the symbols shine out more brightly. And the director wanted tons more gore but had to tone down the original scenes substantially due to the rating they were aiming for.

I can't remember the last time I watched anything but the director's cut. Seeing that guy get hit by the car and explode really appeals to the high-brow intellectual in me.

Did anyone mention Snowpiercer yet? Not a blockbuster, but a rather large and profitable production. And so much symbolism, so much violence.


All these movies seem to carry a lot of symbolism, especially the first two, which are downright Jungian. I don't know if they all count as blockbusters though, but they were commercially successful. The Matrix was definitely an action blockbuster.

I was kind of meh on the Matrix when I saw it (having discovered gnosticism and anime the year before that), but the more I think about it, the more I've grown to appreciate it. What if we're living in the Matrix? ZOMG!

Night_Writer
01-24-2019, 08:03 AM
In a way, I think we are living in the Matrix. And there's a whole lot of people who don't want to be unplugged.

Albedo
01-24-2019, 08:23 AM
2016 onwards have been proof we're living in a simulation, IMO, one set fully to Stupid.

I like Sunshine as well. It's got some beautifully moody moments. Like when they find the crew of the lost ship all together, and one of the characters says he thinks they 'had an epiphany'. Praise the Sun! The whole Event Horizon bit is goofy, but.

Re: the director, that's a bit like the maker of Donnie Darko insisting his movie is all about time travel, to the point of putting out a ponderous director's cut to ram his interpretation home. And still being wrong.

Kjbartolotta
01-24-2019, 08:47 AM
Heh, gnosticism in movies is certainly a discussion that goes beyond the Matrix. Remember Truman Show? And one of my favorite movies of all times, which holds up much better than I expected it would on rewatch, Dark City.


2016 onwards have been proof we're living in a simulation, IMO, one set fully to Stupid.

I like Sunshine as well. It's got some beautifully moody moments. Like when they find the crew of the lost ship all together, and one of the characters says he thinks they 'had an epiphany'. Praise the Sun! The whole Event Horizon bit is goofy, but.

Re: the director, that's a bit like the maker of Donnie Darko insisting his movie is all about time travel, to the point of putting out a ponderous director's cut to ram his interpretation home. And still being wrong.

I seem to be the only person who thinks that the reality we're living in is reality. More depressing that way. I'm not going to get into my rant about scientifically accurate movie SF, because it always goes wrong, but suffice it to say I think it's a mixed bag. So Sunshine gets eternal points from me for using sorta accurate real science instead of ridiculous nonsense delivered in a serious tone movie science.

MindfulInquirer
01-24-2019, 11:21 PM
Pleasantville (1998)
Labyrinth (1986)
The Matrix (1999)

All these movies seem to carry a lot of symbolism, especially the first two, which are downright Jungian. I don't know if they all count as blockbusters though, but they were commercially successful. The Matrix was definitely an action blockbuster.

Right, but Pleasantville was always about that extended metaphor that goes on for the entire film, that was the one and only point of the film. I like it when the film makers conceal the symbolism under layers of sci-fi, or horror, or sometimes blockbuster action (as with Robocop or The Matrix, both rather superb).


I can't remember the last time I watched anything but the director's cut. Seeing that guy get hit by the car and explode really appeals to the high-brow intellectual in me.

sarcastic much ? ;)

Dark City ? Remember watching that when I was younger and thinking to myself, damn, what an underrated dystopian scifi flick. Had no idea why I or no one else had never even heard about it.

kuwisdelu
03-01-2019, 02:09 AM
Shin Godzilla (2016).


Heh, nowhere did it occur to me more than in Avatar (Huge Movie) that symbolism, theme and message meant so much. Corporate greed running all over the universe and then picking the wrong planet to fugg with. Understanding cultural diversity and respecting it--a lesson we still have to learn.

Don't forget the white saviorism!


The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix is a pretty good metaphor for being trans as well. :)

Sage
03-01-2019, 08:25 AM
The Matrix is a pretty good metaphor for being trans as well. :)

As soon as the Matrix was mentioned, this is what I thought of.

Diana Hignutt
03-04-2019, 04:21 PM
Shin Godzilla (2016).



Don't forget the white saviorism!



The Matrix is a pretty good metaphor for being trans as well. :)

The red pill is estrogen.

robeiae
03-13-2019, 10:54 PM
Godzilla (Gojira) is the first movie I think of, when someone says "blockbuster with symbolism." Even though I know it wasn't that huge when it was initially released, it's the kind of movie that was intended to be a huge blockbuster, yet still carry a deeper meaning. The Day After Tomorrow fits that bill pretty well, too, far moreso than most "disaster" blockbusters (there's little depth in Earthquake, for instance).

A lot of other films are guilty of trying way too hard, imo. There's an awful lot of movies with an awful lot of symbolism, but imo the symbolism is rarely well-served by the movie. It's a special thing to get it right. Doesn't mean that such movies aren't any good, or that the symbolism is lost on people, just that maybe there's a less-than-perfect meshing. Starship Troopers is, I think, a good example of this. The movie is bloody awful, imo. I get the symbolism, I know where it all is, but it doesn't make the movie any better for me. Really, it makes it worse.

That all said, it's an interesting topic, because I'm sure there will be a great variety of opinions.