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Massawyrm digs (and digs into) THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

Published at: March 4, 2011, 5:49 a.m. CST by AICNStaff

Hola all. Massawyrm here.

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU isn’t so much science fiction as it is theological fantasy – and if the film has one problem finding an audience, it will be this immutable fact. It belongs with a wonderful, but often ignored subset of films like CONTACT and GATTACA that despite their star power, expert direction and top notch material, fail to connect to the mainstream because they spend so much time exploring philosophical ideas that the audience is left to wonder why they aren’t being treated to all the typical clichés they were promised. Watching this I was reminded of the beautiful ending of CONTACT, when Carl Sagan’s philosophy is laid out there on the table and I walked out glowing to the sound of bitter griping, wondering aloud “Why didn’t I get to see the god damned aliens?” Occasionally a film comes along that is dedicated more to the presentation of an idea than it is following convention, and ultimately ends up ignored as a result. That, sadly, feels like the fate of THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, something undeserved for something so polished.

This isn’t just a cross-dimensional chase film – it is a discussion on free will versus determinism set in a universe in which both exist. It feels more like a big budget, action packed TWILIGHT ZONE episode than it does a mainstream film – and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. It doesn’t try to establish anything resembling our reality. Instead it is an allegory for our own beliefs in both free will and destiny. It asks: what if you met the perfect girl, but getting together with her meant derailing both of your dreams forever? Making matters even more complicated is that the dreams of these characters also happen to affect the fate of us all. Would that love be worth fighting for…or against?

It’s an interesting dilemma, one that brings up a lot of questions involving chemistry, causality and our own ability to function beyond the desires we are programmed to have. But it is also one that may prove too meta for some viewers. After all, they are used to a standard romantic film consisting of BOY MEETS GIRL, BOY LOSES GIRL, BOY GETS GIRL BACK – but when the characters are ushered behind the curtain and we see the actual events keeping them apart represented by somewhat divine beings, it ceases to be about the events themselves and becomes an us against them fight that isn’t really much of a fight.

Of course, that’s exactly why I dig the shit out of this movie. It’s an engrossing take on a rich and complicated philosophical quandary. If there is a divine plan, how much of what we do is really us and how much is someone else pulling the strings? And if someone need only manipulate a single event to produce a predictable result, are we really beings possessed of free will at all? THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU wants you walking out thinking about that.

Sadly it has one flaw, a story problem that crops up with the explanation of why these two are so inexplicably drawn to one another – despite the plan having other ideas for them. This will cause some members of the audience to ask a question the movie has no answer for – one that doesn’t ruin the movie but provides an alternate path that you suspect would cause a number of adjusters to smack their forehead for their total lack of imagination. The film does set up that adjusters aren’t known for their ability to improvise, but they are shown to reason in a way that the question asked would have a very real answer. And it is just one of those stupid lingering questions that knocks an otherwise great movie down a peg.

Invisotext for after viewing: If the two were destined in the original plan to be together and Damon is so dead set against a determined fate, why wouldn’t they just tell him the reason he feels so strong a bond was because he was programmed to for the sake of an old – but now revised – plan? The nature of this revelation actually causes us to ask how much of their emotion is genuine and casts fundamental aspersions on its authenticity.

The acting here is superb – exactly what you’d expect from its Oscar caliber cast – and George Nolfi’s script and direction are slick, lean and convey some pretty big ideas in very digestible ways. The film is pretty solid on all fronts, never becoming as ridiculous as an idea this out there could have become; it’s kept cool, intriguing and never lingers too long on any one thing. The film’s one execution problem is a small bit of unnecessary monologue at the end, which feels like it was more for the sake of the heartland than it is the folks most likely to embrace the film; it doesn’t ruin anything, but it does slightly devalue the ending and the mood Nolfi has worked to create.

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU is a really good film. Satisfying, fast moving and the type of film you want to discuss over a cup of coffee afterward. This comes RECOMMENDED.

Until next time friends, Massawyrm

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Readers Talkback

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  • March 4, 2011, 5:51 a.m. CST

    post 0

    by darth_hideous

    Massawyrm loves THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU! Read all about it at AIN'T IT COOL NEWS! Gee whiz!

  • March 4, 2011, 6:21 a.m. CST

    IT'S TIME FOR AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT!

    by Arafel

  • March 4, 2011, 7:12 a.m. CST

    contact

    by harold_maude

    that's all you had to say. couldn't quite tell about this one but thanks I'll be going to see this tonight

  • March 4, 2011, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Awesome....

    by ThisBethesdaSea

    Cant wait!

  • March 4, 2011, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Hmm, interesting review. Thanks Massa.

    by dr sauch

    I absolutely LOVE Contact and Gattaca. The commercials made this look a little hokey in the Truman Show vein (I actually like the Truman Show, I appreciate the movie it could have been). I guess I'll check this out in a couple weeks when the "AW HELL NAW" audience has lost interest.

  • March 4, 2011, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Gattaca and Contact are both perfect examples of

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    thinking persons sci-fi. A lot of people don't like them because they have been Bayified, and are wondering where all the explosions are instead of using their brains. Plus, Gattaca has The Borg!

  • March 4, 2011, 8:40 a.m. CST

    The "perfect girl" but she derails all our dreams?

    by None_So_Blind

    Then she isn't the perfect girl. The perfect girl would allow them both to blend and advance/fulfill each other's dreams.

  • March 4, 2011, 8:55 a.m. CST

    I say, go for your dreams...

    by HarryKnowlesNonExistentInceptionReview

    ..there's ALWAYS more pussy out there.

  • March 4, 2011, 8:59 a.m. CST

    am I the only one here

    by Wookie_1995

    that is getting a dark city vibe here

  • March 4, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    My only question about this movie...

    by nostairway

    Why is everybody wearing fedoras?

  • March 4, 2011, 9:54 a.m. CST

    wookie...no you're not.

    by film11

    I've gotten the DARK CITY vibe from this, as well as INCEPTION (which even Nolan has admitted). Just hope I'll enjoy it as much.

  • March 4, 2011, 9:57 a.m. CST

    The Perfect Girl...

    by Hipshot

    Derails the plans others made for him. Reveals what he really wants to be, and helps him get in touch with who he really is. Is, in other words, what he needs, not what he wants. It's called growing up.

  • March 4, 2011, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Wookie, I See It Too

    by wrx

    My girlfriend wouldn't stop pointing out all the little similarities for the first hour. She's new to geekdom so this was a huge deal to her cuz she had never heard of Dark City before i showed it to her. She seemed to think no one else had either.

  • March 4, 2011, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Everything is predetermined

    by K-Gin

    Its just a lot of things have sooo many dependent and independent variables that determine the outcome that we either aren't aware of, or understand their influence, that we can't make a prediction of the outcome. It gives us the illusion of freewill.

  • March 4, 2011, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Contact and Gattaca were never intended for mainstream

    by spidercoz

    The mainstream wants gladiator fights. Movies like these are intended for the people who'd rather listen to Cicero. Can't wait to see this. I've enjoyed every PKD movie so far, except Blade Runner.

  • March 4, 2011, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Garbage

    by LesterDelRay

    I saw this at a preview about a week ago and thought it was the worst movie I've seen this year. Can't believe the positive reviews this is getting. Bad acting, boring direction, really really stupid screenplay...at was hoping toward the end that at least we would get something over the top weird...but the script chickened out and went completely blah. The Phillip K Dick story was no masterpiece but it was at least clever and interesting...this is just a complete waste of time.

  • March 4, 2011, 11:13 a.m. CST

    another original movie no one will see

    by Datascream

    It'll be compared to another movie in some way for some reason and people will hate it because it's too much like it or not enough like something else. It's not a sequel or a prequel, superhero flick, remake or a franchise adaption. It's everything people have been screaming for but no one will see it. Why people blame Hollywood for all the shit movies is beyond me.

  • March 4, 2011, 1 p.m. CST

    Saw it earlier this week - what garbage

    by RZA

    No for real, it was laughable at best and comepletely, mind-numbingly retarded at worst. Magic hats? Their powers don't work when it's raining? WTF? However, Damon and Blunt's chemistry is SOOO good that I kept wishing I was watching a straight up romance film or rom-com. Massawyrm - the best writer on AICN, we completely disagree YET AGAIN!

  • March 4, 2011, 1:02 p.m. CST

    And for the record

    by RZA

    I think Gattaca and Contact are amongsome of the best films of the past 20 years

  • March 4, 2011, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Another movie where all the bad guys...

    by ravenloff

    ...are white, establishment-looking types like Matrix? Hopefully not. I'd enjoy enjoying this movie.

  • All this talk about how audiences will not dig the smart movie you liked and how you are so smart that you liked it and are it's great champion. Bullshit! You loved one of the dumbest movie ever made in the last decade, so give up the pretense, please. It looks bad on you. I bet THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU will be a fine movie, but not because of the stuff you tried to pass as thoughfulness in your review. You are not half the smart fella you think you are. You are still climbing, baby steps at a time. don't fancy yourself to be somethign that's still decades away in the future.

  • This movie focusing on the love story doesnt make it any less a SF story, as BLADE RUNNER didn't get to be less SF because it's so influenced by the noir genre. You are not talking like a true SF fan, dude. A true Sf fan wouldn't had said the same thing you said above. What gives, dude?

  • Every year i see a movies that shame CONTACT in the brains department by many mile. The book was smart, the movie is dumbed down idioticy pretending to be smart and failing miserably at that.

  • March 4, 2011, 1:47 p.m. CST

    so what you're saying is...

    by RZA

    ... you didn't like the movie Contact because it was 'idioticy'

  • March 4, 2011, 2:07 p.m. CST

    asimove lives, I haven't read the book.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I'll have to give it a shot.

  • March 4, 2011, 2:34 p.m. CST

    I always thought GATTACA was a silly name.

    by Frank Conniff

    Oh! Look how clever we are, spelling the name out of DNA nucleotides! So I never saw the movie because of that.

  • March 4, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Problem with Contact

    by SmokingRobot

    2 and 1/2 hours trying to resolve science and religion? Give me a break. Resolving science and religion is easy. Religious people are crazy. The more religious someone is the more crazy they are. The most religious people are the most crazy. This is axiomatic.

  • March 4, 2011, 3:09 p.m. CST

    braindrain, i knew you would complain about reading.

    by AsimovLives

  • March 4, 2011, 3:11 p.m. CST

    grammaton cleric binks

    by AsimovLives

    You do that. Though the book is a bit dated now in that the story is set in the year 1999.

  • March 4, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    smokingrobot

    by AsimovLives

    What upsetted me in the movie CONTACT is that in the end the movie promotes blind faith over reason and evidence. We had this Holywood Atheist Joke that is Ellie's character in the film. I call it an holywood Atheist joke because this is the typicla way that Holywood portaits an atheist: they are always this bunch of emo shits who turned their back to god because someone in their family or their pet died and they are pissed at god for that. That's not atheist, that's just bullshit. And the, by the ed of the movie, when Jodie foster's character is in an inquiry and she hard-pressed to show ecidences of her travel to the stars and she can't deliver none, and the people in the inquiry are obviously skeptical of she even had a space adventure at all, she gets anoyed and pulls a tantrum, but then gets all emotional when she sees a bunch of people outside the hearing court showing plackards sayingtheir beleive in her and her preacher boyfriend does a "moving" speech about believing inher without proof because he has faith. so now faith is convient to the starw atheist that is fosters character in the film. Well, fuck you, filmmakers. Fuck you, scriptwriter, fuck you Robert Zemeckis, fuck you all very much. In the book for starters, the character that Foster's play is an agnostic. Though Carl Sagan hismelf was an atheist, he was not projecting himself to the character of Ellie. He didn't made her his soap box mary sue character, eh was more clever then that, he actually created a wholesome character who acted as her own person. Then, when at the hearing, in the book, she accepts the fact she has no proof of her travel, and since he's a rationalist herself (instead of the emo weakling she is in the movie), she starts to doubt she actually had that trip, because there is no outside evidence of it at all, she could had allucinated it all. The last part of the book is she searching for evidence of her travel, an indirect evidence from something her "father" said to her in the voyage, which ironically ties together with an important moment of her childhood. Carl Sagan wa a scientist, he knew the important of evidence in one's claim. So, in the book, when Ellie cames out empty handed, he knew that Ellie as a scientist had to accept her situation and go look for he evidence the way sicnetists do: by searching. Instead of what happenes in the fucking movie, which she takes it all BY FAITH! The fucking movie that pissant fuckl Zmeckis fuck did is a completly cntradiction and betrayal of all the points that Carl Sagan made in his book. The fucking movie is moronic. The fucking movie is a piece of shit dogmatic piece of crap, the kind of fuckign idioticy that thinks itself oh so clever but in fact it stupid like hell. In fact, all of Zemeckis's recent filmmography is just that, him making incredibly stupiud movies who think themselves so clever and shit. My despise for Zemeckis today has no bound. Fuck, how i despise that cunt! The moron who think he's much smarter then he really is.

  • March 4, 2011, 3:37 p.m. CST

    So, asimovlives...

    by ravenloff

    ...I assume you hate Verhoeven for the same basic reasons for what he did to Heinlein?

  • March 4, 2011, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Asimov, unfortunately everything is dated now

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Escape from New York, SPACE:1999, Party like it's 1999. I think the only thing that isn't is In the Year 2525.

  • March 4, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Every movie is stupider than its source material.

    by kabong

    If it isn't, then the producers failed in their professional duty.

  • March 4, 2011, 4:44 p.m. CST

    asimovlives is right about the book "Contact".

    by Db

    The problem with the movie "Contact" is as he says - it forces a formerly-rational character to wuss out in favor of faith. The book resolves this problem by giving Ellie another direction, another message to decode, this one hidden in the very fabric of the universe itself, a message the aliens themselves do not even understand. What she finds, buried deep in the numeral expansion of pi, attempts to unify the religious and scientific themes of the book. It doesn't give the reader all the answers, but it at least suggests that there are answers to be found, and that they are amenable to science.

  • March 4, 2011, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Dumb Question

    by RRRansom

    Matt Damon's character is a public figure. Why didn't Emily Blunt's character pursue him at any point in those years they spent apart? He is not a needle in a haystack.

  • March 4, 2011, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Jesus AsimovLives...

    by Massawyrm 1

    22 months. You've been swearing about STAR TREK for 22 months now. I'm terrified of the day you climb a bell tower with a rifle and pantyhose on your head, picking people off people while mumbling incoherently about "That fucking Abrams." And when they come to us and ask "That was clearly a cry for help, why didn't you help him?" all we'll be able to say is "Because he was a fucking dick." And then WE'LL be the bad guys...

  • March 4, 2011, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Asimovdies

    by edwardpenishands

    Ain't it funny

  • March 4, 2011, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Just saw it...

    by Hipshot

    And loved it. Definitely more fantasy than SF, but well written and acted, and tightly directed.

  • March 4, 2011, 8:35 p.m. CST

    The Adjustment Bureau is not a smart film.

    by Kevinicus

    Unless you're dimwitted I guess. The premise is interesting, but the more you think about everything, the more it crumbles apart. It's really very silly and based on a complete lack of logic and reasoning. The performances were not bad, and Blunt is particularly good in what little time she has. The ending is incredibly weak, and pretty much just a totally embarrassing cop out. Overall it's a mildly entertaining movie, mostly for the chemistry between Damon and Blunt, but you have to turn your brain off because it's anything but smart.

  • March 4, 2011, 8:40 p.m. CST

    i just watched this tonight - good flick!

    by antonphd

  • March 4, 2011, 9:40 p.m. CST

    I just got back from seeing this

    by D.Vader

    The theater was PACKED. And it was a very enjoyable film; I liked it a lot.

  • March 4, 2011, 9:51 p.m. CST

    Does anyone believe reviews in TB's?

    by Andrew Coleman

    I'm seeing this tomorrow but when it comes to newly released movies some reviews that TBers give just don't sound real. The one's who are overly negative are the one's that give me pause. Like if they are real it makes me think there are other reasons the TBer is so mad. So did you see AB alone and saw a bunch of couples watching it? You got pissed so you hated the movie? The reviews where guys are like "Acting was shit. Plot was stupid. Ending sucked". You can say that without seeing it. You can say that without even watching the trailer. Negative reviews that are well written I take seriously same goes for positive. But really it's a lot easier to be negative so I take positive reviews a lot more seriously in general.Though the dudes that just write "It sucked because it wasn't possible"... I doubt the movie was bad I think you're just a stick in the mud. That response makes me furious if you ever say "That's not possible" in a movie... You're an idiot because it's a move.

  • March 4, 2011, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm, your invisotext spoilers...

    by D.Vader

    Uhhhhhh, they DID tell Damon that from what I remember?

  • March 4, 2011, 10:01 p.m. CST

    Asimov, you're wrong

    by D.Vader

    " Ellie as a scientist had to accept her situation and go look for he evidence the way sicnetists do: by searching. Instead of what happenes in the fucking movie, which she takes it all BY FAITH! " No, she takes it by her own evidence which is EXPERIENCE. That's like saying a scientist wouldn't believe his own conclusions he had written down if the paper was suddenly destroyed in a fire. Shit! He has no evidence! Maybe he'll start doubting himself now!

  • March 4, 2011, 10:02 p.m. CST

    rransom

    by D.Vader

    She was obviously not that kind of girl. That, and she had her doubts about him.

  • March 4, 2011, 10:55 p.m. CST

    just saw it...

    by Jared

    At certain moments it succeeds as a philosophical/spiritual thriller but it's ultimately derailed by lazy writing and a hokey 3rd act.

  • March 5, 2011, 12:26 a.m. CST

    Asimovlives

    by hatemphd

    While i disagree with 90% of his comments here (startrek rocked) he's right about Contact. Hell, in the book, there are other scientists who travel with her, which the movie took out completely, eliminating the faith dilemma from the get go. Sadly, he's also right about the tone of this review: "Normal people don't like these movies cause their not smart enough, but don't worry, we are. /wink." And yes, praise for episode 1 cannot be forgotten nor forgiven.

  • March 5, 2011, 1:11 a.m. CST

    Asimovlives

    by agnosticyesno

    I completely agree with you about the movie Contact. The book was so much better.

  • March 5, 2011, 1:24 a.m. CST

    And I must add...

    by agnosticyesno

    For example, Ellie in the book had a complex relationship with her mother which layered the concept of "contact." She found it difficult to connect with those around her, and all long seeking the "other." The film disregarded that completely. Characters are constantly speaking the line (to paraphrase) "with all those billions of stars out there, if there isn't any life, that's a whole lot of waste of space!" As if the audience is to thick to get the point. Never mind the ridiculously bad rebuttal by Palmer Joss, "Do you love your Father, prove it!" Really, your a philosopher /theologian and that is the best he could come up with. And Ellie a scientist was at a loss of words. OK.

  • March 5, 2011, 1:26 a.m. CST

    Your are?

    by agnosticyesno

    I meant "you are"

  • March 5, 2011, 1:49 a.m. CST

    k-gin

    by Keith

    Agreed. Most people use the terms "free will" and "randomness" without actually understanding what they mean, or that they can come in various flavours. It's possible to have kinds of both within a fundamentally deterministic system. (And I think that this is indeed what we have.) Most people mistake in-practice unpredictability for randomness, for instance.

  • March 5, 2011, 3:51 a.m. CST

    Brilliant. On par with Dark City....

    by tensticks

    ...yet another brilliantly underrated film which was overshadowed a year later by The Matrix, much as the overhyped hackwork that was Inception will likely overshadow this one (despite the vastly superior pedigree of this one's origin). I highly recommend you see this. Now.

  • March 5, 2011, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Massa, my answer to your invisotext question - Spoilers

    by Kai_Mah'gra

    Damon's character wasn't programmed to be attracted to her in the original versions of the plan. His original attraction to her was natural and it just so happened that such an attraction and possible relationship wasn't in conflict with the original version of the plan up to that point. However, when the plan changed, his attraction became in conflict with the new plan, and had to be adjusted to eliminate the possibility of it ever coming to consummation. Even though elements of their attractions were still needed to aid the new version of the plan (his "chance" encounter with her in the restroom - along the subsequent kiss - at the Waldorf-Austoria men's restroom led to him giving that off-the-cuff concession speech which put him in the front seat for the running for the Senate seat, the second time around. One thing I'm not clear about is whether that chance encounter was really a "chance" encounter as just earlier, Anthony Mackie's adjuster character (the black guy) had told his superior that he was working on something to rectify Damon's character's demise at the poll when those prank pictures were published ruining his chances to win the Senate seat the first time. So maybe the chance encounter was his doing to help him get back to the plan only it came with additional unwanted results) But at the end of the day it was later revealed that as much as the Bureau couldn't circumvent something as strong as that attraction with the plan, the adjusters (like Mackie's character) were also subject to doing things that aided events that were beyond the plan, without knowing it - events like Damon and Blunt's attraction to each other. At the end of the day, their attraction wasn't pre-programmed - at least not by the Bureau anyway. The emotion was in fact, genuine and completely unmanipulated in its purest form. But at the same time it, oddly enough, seemed pre-destined by an even stronger force in the universe than the Bureau had influence over despite their multiple attempts at circumventing it. (But again here one could argue that they could have just lobotomized Damon's character if they really wanted to stop the attraction dead on it's tracks - however his character seemed crucial to their plans, or rather, "The Plan" so that really wasn't an option neither). Lots of thinking aloud goes into a post-viewing session of this movie.

  • March 5, 2011, 5:08 a.m. CST

    One other thing......

    by Kai_Mah'gra

    I am currently re-re-re-re-reading Isaac Asimov's The End of Eternity as well as Second Foundation and Foundation's Edge which also deal with this kind of Supernatural guardians/watchers manipulating and changing the fate of mankind but doing so through making changes in the timeline to conform to a "plan" and I have to say, this movie came the closest I have ever seen any movie come to capturing the kind of Isaac Asimov Ultra-hard science fiction that deals on multiple levels with social, philosophical, humanist issues and hard science fiction in the multi-layered way that only Asimov could do and why none of his books can never be faithfully translated into the big screen. Forget that 'I, Robot' crap and that other Robin Williams nonsense that Hollywood shat out a few years ago bastardizing Asimov's masterpieces. There was also a touch of the Foundation series with the Adjustment Bureau being like the Second Foundation complete with a plan. The only thing missing was a reveal at the end that the Chairman just happened to be Harry Seldon (point of interest: The chairman who was filmed and unfortunately left on the cutting room floor (I hope that scene makes it into the DVD) happens to be a woman. Of course we all know that the Chairman is an allegory for God and that the Adjustors are allegorical or at least stand-ins for Angels, so it's easy to see why they cut that scene out). IT wouldn't surprise me if the writers were huge Asimov fans (not Asimovlives - that douchebag has no fans) and they were deliberately trying to write a contemporary version of the above novels or an Asimov-esque type story set in modern day. I hope that if they ever make the Foundation series into film (which apparently they are trying to do so), that they feel like this movie did or at least have a similar level of multi-layered depth if not more. It won't make that much money, but it sure will be enjoyable for true Asimov/Foundation fans. As for End of Eternity,they should just forget about ever trying to adapt that shit for the big screen. Just way too deep and complex with a surprisingly accessible storyline which makes it one of Asimov's best stand-alone novels. I would highly recommend reading it as a companion to watching this movie, or if this movie leaves you feeling like you want more, or like it just didn't do it for you. I just can't pimp it enough.

  • March 5, 2011, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Matt Damon seems to look down on

    by CreasyBear

    his entertaining movies (Bourne) as just money-makers to build starpower capable of being part of cerebral movies like this. Same with George Clooney with the Oceans movies. It's like, "okay, we pandered to the masses with entertainment that was . . . (rolling eyes in disgust) "fun", but now we have the dough to produce the shit that we love, knowing it's going to be a money-loser for the studio." <p> I know I sound plebeian for this, and that's fine, but movies shouldn't be awarded some kind of bonus points for simply subverting audience expectations. I'm not advocating formulaic pablum for the easy money, those are usually the worst movies, but it seems some critics and talkbackers get some kind of devious pleasure thinking that the movie they're watching is boring everyone else in the theater. As if the separation in taste makes them feel superior, regardless of the quality and content of the film.

  • March 5, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    One movie NOT stupider than it's source material....

    by v3d

    ...is Andromeda Strain. They only changed one character and the dialogue is almost exactly as written in Crichton's book. The update/remake/re-imagining however was crap.

  • March 5, 2011, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Absolutely loved it

    by oisin5199

    saw it as a date film, my partner and I came out of the film exhilarated and totally inspired to talk about our relationship and destiny and free will in our own lives. We were on the edge of our seats the whole time, invested in the couple onscreen and what was happening and were fascinated by the ideas and the dilemmas involved, especially given the political nature of Damon's character. I guess this is just one of those films that requires that you have some experience with love and relationships, which probably discounts most people on a talkback like this, especially those that complain about faith in science, that can't imagine anything that doesn't completely conform to logic or is quantifiable, the same people that endlessly bitch about the ending of BSG and can't handle the notion that there may be unexplainable things in the universe. and here I am once again in the parallel universe where I agree with and respect the intelligence of a post by kai_mah'gra. I guess as long as no one brings up Firefly, we're ok.

  • March 5, 2011, 4:35 p.m. CST

    ravenloff

    by AsimovLives

    No, because Verhoeven mocked the shit out of the fascism in Heinlein's book. That's why Verhoeven rocks!

  • March 5, 2011, 4:37 p.m. CST

    massawyrm 1

    by AsimovLives

  • March 5, 2011, 4:45 p.m. CST

    [dioxholster]

    by AsimovLives

    In the book CONTACT there is character progression. But Sagan was a too good a writer to do it in suddent change of heart in-the-moment bulshit that the movie does. The movie doesn't have chatacter developement, it has character derailment. And worst, as the Jodie Foster character is a typical Holywood Atheist, aka, a bulslhit depiction ofan atheist, they contantly put her at a loss for arguments about her ideas with the most basic dumb argumentation by their conterparts, in ways that in reality an atheist would find very easy to refute. The movie is pure midwest biblebelt ass kissing bullshit. It's a mvoie made by morons who try to be smart and fail miserably all through it. don't let the technical excelency of the moviemaking of that movie fool to think you are watchign a smart movie, because it's not, it's a very dumb one.

  • March 5, 2011, 4:49 p.m. CST

    d.vader

    by AsimovLives

    There is no such thing as her own evidence. Evidence is physical, not something she saw alone and might be nothing but her own allucination. The book understands that well. The movie doesn't. The movie doesn't even care to. "That's like saying a scientist wouldn't believe his own conclusions he had written down if the paper was suddenly destroyed in a fire. Shit! He has no evidence! Maybe he'll start doubting himself now!" Exactly. that's what a real scientist would do, he would doubt and would start again. what matters in science is HARD EVIDENCE, not say so. The book understands that, the movie doesn't evne understand the most basic notions of scientific procedual. The movie is a collection of retard moronic ignorant bullshit one after the other.

  • March 5, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    agnosticyesno

    by AsimovLives

    Thanks. And indeed it was.

  • THE GODFATHER and THE SHINING.

  • March 5, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST

    kai_mah'gra, i also love THE END OF ETERNITY. What a fantastic book.

    by AsimovLives

    I'd love to see that as a film, but it would take a fantastically talented screenwriter and director to pull it off.

  • March 5, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST

    mattman

    by AsimovLives

    I have been ranting against the movie CONTACT since 1997. Imagine my sense of betrayal when, after waiting for it since the book was first published in 1987, i finally get to see it, and it's... that thing! That dumbed down humunculus crap! Insulted? You bet i was!

  • Emily Blunt! Oh my!

  • March 5, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Again this was not a smart film, or even a good attempt at one.

    by Kevinicus

    I have to question the intelligence of anyone who believes this is a smart film. There's holes throughout the whole concept as it's presented. The Adjustment Bureau basically come across as a bunch of fucktards that don't know what the hell they're doing.

  • ........it's just too multi-layered with quite a bit of philosophical depth and discourse which would undoubtedly get lost in translation. As much as I'd love to see this and the Foundation series faithfully adapted to big screen, the only way Hollywood would see to pulling it off is if they bastardized the stories like they did with I, Robot and put some flavor-of-the-month actor like Will Smith or Brad Pitt in the starring role and then got rid of all the philosophical discussion and hard sci-fi elements to make it more accessible to the Disney crown and IPod generation. Actually Foundation could work as a mini-series on TV with a director and screen writer who really really know his shit and where they don't have to worry about making Box office bank, (like on a channel like A&E or HBO). But End of Eternity will just never work on big or small screen. It's also the reason that the rumored big screen live action adaptation of the Ghost in the Shell series and movies will be a disaster of epic proportions.

  • ....and don't even say Inception. That's just too easy. And also don't say the classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Citizen Kane. Again, too easy.

  • March 5, 2011, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Yes, they don't know. That is part of it

    by HornOrSilk

    Didn't you get it, they don't know the plan. They only follow what they are told to do. That is exactly why things which don't go according to plan confuse them and easily succeed.

  • March 5, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Two good examples, countering my theory, asimovlives

    by kabong

    forcing me to amend my theory: MOST movies are stupider than their source material. It takes Kubrick or Coppola to be exceptions.

  • March 5, 2011, 11:53 p.m. CST

    asimovlives

    by pax256

    Id read that Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan's wife, co produced and liked Contact.

  • March 6, 2011, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Blade Runner is a favorite of university graduates...

    by pax256

    Of that generation... Like 2001 before it. Some of you guys really need to watch them again if you think they are shit.

  • Funny how I see atheists talk about how the better educated you are the less likely you are to believe in god (I dont quite believe the hard theistic polls on that one myself). But somehow educational principles that cant be applied to a nurtured ability to appreciate certain other things more.

  • March 6, 2011, 4:01 a.m. CST

    Isn't this TalkBack about The Adjustment Bureau?

    by eveelcapitalist

    Why the fuck is some sweaty shitcock going on about Contact? Really guy? Really? That movie came out, what, 12 years ago? Jesus Henry Christ, you are truly a special kind of retard. I can see you now, with your MySpace page decked out in anti-Zemeckis hate with a picture of him overlaid with a barred circle as the background image. Long rants in your blog about how disappointed you were combined with longing eulogies to the genius of Carl Sagan. Do yourself a favor. Step back, take a deep breath, take a shower (with soap, shampoo and a lots of hot water), go out and meet people. People! And maybe a girl! Talk about things. Anything. As long as it's not about Robert Zemeckis, Carl Sagan or Contact. Given time, you might start to pass as a halfway decent human being.

  • March 6, 2011, 5:52 a.m. CST

    kabong

    by AsimovLives

    I have to say, despiste the exceptions we aforementioned, in the end it's true that the majority of the movies adapted from books are inferior to the original work. There is another type of movies, the ones who ended up AS GOOD as the books they were based on. Movies like APOCALYPSE NOW (based on Joseph Conrad's "Heart Of Darkness"), FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, BLADE RUNNER (based on Philip K. Dick's "Do Androds Dream Of Electric Sheep?"), the russian movie WAR AND PEACE and Kenneth Branagh's HENRY V film (based on the Shakespeare play). I have heard that the GHOST IN THE SHELL movie is actually superior to the manga it's based on.

  • March 6, 2011, 5:53 a.m. CST

    michael_jacksons_cold_dead_pale_corpse is a school drop-out.

    by AsimovLives

  • March 6, 2011, 5:55 a.m. CST

    pax256

    by AsimovLives

    You will notice that that among scientists there is a huge incidency of atheism. There is no other branch of society with the most percentage of athiests then in sciences. Is it coincidence? I don't think so. There is many educated people of faith. What kind of education they got is the real issue.

  • It's also a movie made by people who don't understand much of what atheism or agnosticism is (Ellie, the character played by Jodie Foster in the film, is an agnostic in the book), and they have, at best, a very shallow and immature understanding of what is science and the scientific methodology and scientific rationalism. CONTACT is like a movie made by a bunch of 16 years old who suddently discovered that there is more to life then just videogames, that movie can be more then just stuff blowing up, and tried to make a smart movie while being wholefully ignorant, immature and not very bright.

  • March 6, 2011, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Sounds good!

    by the_box_drone

    Excellent review. Made me totally want to see this film without giving anything away.

  • March 7, 2011, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Asimov, no, you're wrong

    by D.Vader

    If a scientist lost his paper, he would NOT doubt his conclusion. Only a stubborn idiot would say that to prove his point. A scientist would still be sure of his conclusions. Just bc they are lost doesn't mean they don't exist. What he would do is continue to believe his conclusions were right until he could retest them once again.

  • March 7, 2011, 3:25 p.m. CST

    asimovlives...

    by ravenloff

    "No, because Verhoeven mocked the shit out of the fascism in Heinlein's book. That's why Verhoeven rocks! " Utterly predictable answer.

  • March 8, 2011, 8:55 a.m. CST

    d.vader

    by AsimovLives

    ascientist is alsways skeptical and doubtful until evidence. If there's no recorded evidence even of his own findings, a true scientist will still take it as uproved and thus not as true. Real scientists demand as much strict scurtiny of themselves as from others. If a sicentist doesn't not have his own evidenc,e if he lost it, then he was to start it all over again,and notjust screaming to the winds that he knows the truth but the dog ate his homework. You might know a lot, but you seem to not understand the proceduals of science. Science is all about PROOF, not belief.

  • March 8, 2011, 8:56 a.m. CST

    ravenloff

    by AsimovLives

    Predictable yet true. Next, you will accuse gravity because it's so predictable.

  • March 8, 2011, 9:03 a.m. CST

    michael_jacksons_cold_dead_pale_corpse

    by AsimovLives

    Let me guess, you also use the god of gaps falalcy as well to "disproove" the atheists, right? By the wa,y the god of gaps falalcy was first postulated by an american clergyman, a 19th century clergyman who was far smarter and knowledgable then all the religious people of today's America like youself. By the way, saying that there's no proof of god existing for lack of evidence is a type of atheist. It's called weak atheism, in contrast with strong atheism, which plainly dictates that god doesn't exist because everything in the universe points that way. Weak atheism goes from a denial of existence from lack of evidence to strong athiest that declares lack of existence from lack of evidence. Mattman above showed he is a weak atheist, not an agnostic. But it's still atheism. The confusion is yours. But then again, the majority of faithheads of our ilk can't tell the difference. And it's the bibleheads like yourself who have the presuption to know how everything in the world and in the universe works, and all from a book that's a compilation of bronze age myths. The presumption is form the bibleheads, not the rationalist atheists.

  • March 9, 2011, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Asimov, you might know a lot, but you don't truly understand

    by D.Vader

    You still haven't mastered reading comprehension. Did you even see what I wrote? A scientist would test again to get the results he got the first time. That's what I said; that's what a scientist would do. But what are recorded results? They're recorded from EXPERIENCE. From the scientist's own observations. Therefore, the scientist is relying on HIMSELF to record the results. He has senses- vision, smell, hearing- that he relies on for the results, in essence, his EXPERIENCE. Without it, there is nothing to write down. But like I said, the scientist would remember what happened the first time and would try to recreate it. He wouldn't suddenly doubt it never happened in the first place. That's completely foolish and inhuman.

  • March 9, 2011, 3:53 p.m. CST

    d.vader

    by AsimovLives

    The scientific methode exists to seperate and eliminate error. Human memory is fraught with error and misremembrance. A scientist who would lose everythign would had to start all over again. It has happened like that before. Science is not ego. I can english quite well, thank you.

  • March 9, 2011, 10:34 p.m. CST

    "I can english quite well, thank you."

    by D.Vader

    QUITE OBVIOUSLY.

  • March 10, 2011, 3:49 p.m. CST

    d.vader

    by AsimovLives

    Lame. OK, i'm going to have to say the obvious thign again, but here it goes: how's your portuguese, friend?

  • March 10, 2011, 9:28 p.m. CST

    Asimov, friend

    by D.Vader

    Come on, you've got to see the irony and humor inherent in such a statement as that!

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