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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Interesting movies

So I finally watched the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, just called The Invasion (I probably saw "the Donald Sutherland version,"which is what everyone calls the 1978 remake, but I don't really remember it; there have been 2 other versions - in 1956, just after the novel came out, and in 1993).  Now the aliens have brought a virus that turns humans into calm, affectless beings who all share one mind.  The movie is creepy as hell, but the message is fascinating.  In an early scene, a Russian diplomat says the following, and the passage is repeated in voiceover at the end of the movie:

"All I am saying is that civilization crumbles whenever we need it most. In the right situation, we are all capable of the most terrible crimes. To imagine a world where this was not so, where every crisis did not result in new atrocities, where every newspaper is not full of war and violence. Well, this is to imagine a world where human beings cease to be human."

The movie is clearly saying that, while we don't want to give up free will and the other (positive) things that make us human, the trade-off is violence and destruction and cruelty and the other (negative) aspects of humanity.  It was intriguing and I thought about it long after the chills that the movie evoked had faded.

I know this movie was not a critical or financial success, and I assume that has much to do with trying to blend an action/horror movie with a message (not really political, but more like commentary on humanity).  People who wanted more horror were probably irritated and people who would have liked the message probably stayed away (like me!)

I thoroughly enjoyed The Social Network - it was witty and involving, topical as hell, and packed with great performances.  The people seemed so real to me - flawed, but not caricatures or types.  Mark seems petty, but he also worked his ass off.  Eduardo has integrity, but he completely misjudged what would be the best business model for the site.  Sean is an arrogant jerk, but he's also right about the site's potential.

I've heard Aaron Sorkin interviewed a couple of times for the movie, including on NPR and on CNN's Reliable Sources.  He clearly feels bad for portraying Zuckerberg so negatively (his trademark rapid-fire dialogue is a big factor in making the movie so compelling).  The movie is at least partly based on Ben Mezrich's notoriously exaggerated book, The Accidental Billionaires, but the script relied heavily on actual court transcripts and extensive interviews, with a little dramatic license (which can only be expected).  Even if the movie isn't "true," it's still a fascinating story about our modern age.



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