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May 08, 2012

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The "Tesseract" problem is that it wasn't meant to be a tesseract, but (in Marvel Universe canon) the "Cosmic Cube" which isn't a tesseract at all but [handwaves improbable and contradictory backstories] and thus appears as a glowing ... cube. One lusted after by the dude in the mid-credits interlude.

I suppose someone decided that "Tesseract" sounded more cool / less dorky than "Cosmic Cube," but, yes, if they were going to call it that, they should have made it more ... 4-dimensional, I guess.

Full agreement on all the positives, and agreement as well on the "stupid gaping bystander" behavior in #6.

6. I am getting really, *really*, REALLY, REALLY pretty frakkin' tired of seeing New York City destroyed arbitrarily.

I've theorized that this might account for the reason that, while almost every major critic everywhere in the nation has loved The Avengers, it only got one good review from any of the New York papers.

I loved the movie but do think your points on the depiction of New York under attack are good ones. It's obviously not cinematic realism, but a few shots of stoic citizen heroes wouldn't have hurt.

One of those "Celebration" TV shots at the end should have been about the number of dead and missing, you know. Seeing people putting up signs is only a start. *We know how this works* -- we've been there, done that. Show some respect, or at least nod in the direction of people's lives and memories.

There was such a shot, and such a nod.

Though I did wince at the "Destroy New York for entertainment", too.

Er, never mind. The one I was thinking of was the one where they put up signs, which you mentioned already.

Well, it is mandatory that either New York or Tokyo gets smashed. An ocasional detour to Washington may be acceptable but only to tip over the obelisk.
Slightly related (through New York smashing): Does any USian here know, whether "Iron Sky" will make it to the big screen in the US? Potential distributors could be afraid of negative reactions to "Sarah Palin vs. the Moon Nazis" especially from but not limited to the Right. Also Hollywood does not like to be reminded what can be done with a measly 7 million €€€ when skill, creativity and enthusiasm are made use of.

"Why was it released in Europe a week before it came out in the US? To torment us?"

Given us Europeans have been on the receiving end of this for the last ... uh ... forever, all I can say is Bwahahahaaaa. :-)

As for the city destruction stuff, while I sympathise with you, I'm not sure there's a good way to do this in a 12 rated movie whose selling point is violence as spectacle. (I'm not all that happy about violence as spectacle in anything rated below R, anyhow.)

Why doesn't the Tesseract look like a tesseract?

To be fair, a tesseract only looks like a tesseract from certain perspectives. And of course there is precious little to tell us what a real, non-wireframe tesseract is going to look like in reality.

I rather doubt it looks like just any glowing cube.

Why Europe (and India!) saw this release before the US was covered in rather a lot of detail on NPR (here, among other places) last week.

I am getting really, *really*, REALLY, REALLY pretty frakkin' tired of seeing New York City destroyed arbitrarily.

Seriously. Can't somebody blow up Chicago, or Atlanta, or Denver, or Houston, or..... for a change?

Also, in a continuing demonstration of my utter disconnection from current-day popular culture, I clicked through expecting to see something about an English guy in a bowler and a girl in a leather jumpsuit.

Time to get offa my own lawn, I guess.

Well, it is mandatory that either New York or Tokyo gets smashed.

Los Angeles is also acceptable.

I think this is more or less inevitable. Movie makers are much more likely to set a movie in the city where they live and work than anywhere else, including movies that involve the city being destroyed.

When NY has been flattened as many Tokyo has, we can talk ;^)

But seriously, the Godzilla movie which basically flattened Tokyo was just a decade from the atom bomb and the firebombing of Tokyo, so I wonder if there was any sense of what you are complaining about among Tokyoites at that time. I'm not dismissing it, but it does seem to be different. (funny aside, there is a Godzilla movie where he busts up models of the town I live, and on the various Japanese youtube clone sites, you have folks from here bubbling with pride that it was *their castle* getting reduced to matchsticks)

Not to excuse the booty pose, as far as the problems of gender, there's a structural problem with team superhero films, in that anything that hews anywhere closely to the actual original comic version (ie early 60's) is going to have problems with gender representation so you either have to do a pretty radical reboot, or you have to take what is given. It sounds like Whedon has done the latter, and invested the Black Widow with a lot more personality, but I think that requires someone with the creative genius of a Whedon.

Finally, as someone who really watches a lot of choreographed fight scenes, the glimpses I've gotten of the Black Widow fight scenes look really good.

One of the folks I saw the movie with pointed out that not only did we never find out how much collateral damage was done, but (other than Coulson*), we never saw a single on-screen death. Which is ridiculous, given the sheer scale of the destruction, but probably necessary for the PG-13 rating.

I concur on your frustration regarding the behavior of the bystanders: they would not have stayed at the windows! Everyone in big office buildings gets trained for emergencies, and evacuations would have started almost immediately.

All that said, I still prefer this to movies like the Nolan Batman series, where just as much collateral damage is being caused by the purported "good guys". Whedon had the heroes go out of their way to protect the bystanders, because that's what a Whedon hero does.


*And some people think Coulson's not dead.

"I am getting really, *really*, REALLY, REALLY pretty frakkin' tired of seeing New York City destroyed arbitrarily."

Speaking as someone whose sports teams generally get disdainfully curb-stomped by the monocled-and-spatted teams from New Jersey/NYC, often to the sneering enthusiasm of drunken visiting fans, I have to say "Not me, pal!" I'm probably a few years from being even a little put off by it. My feelings can be pretty much summed up as "Crush it again! Crush it again! Harder! Harder!" Any movie which features the arbitrary destruction of NYC gets an automatic additional star in my book.

[grumpy guy]

Is the superhero movie craze going to end soon?

[/grumpy guy]

Rob: nope.

Sorry!

Rob:

At the moment, The Avengers has been open in the US for less than a week and has grossed over $200M. It's been open in many overseas markets for less than 2 weeks and has grossed over $400M. It hasn't even opened in Japan yet.

There is *no way* the superhero craze will fade anytime soon with that kind of money floating around.

Now, I actually think the take-home lesson *should* be, "movies with special effects AND dialogue AND characterization will make you insanely wealthy", but you know they're going to try to get away without the dialogue & characterization bit.

If "Battleship" does really well, we're probably all doomed.

It occurs to me that, while the movie was made by Josh Whedon, the posters, etc. are done by a PR department over which he probably has no control. Anbd apparently the fossils in PR think that they know what sells to their target audience of teenage males. (Why don't they realize that there are other demographics? Don't know -- but then, I don't understand PR and I know it.)

Seriously. Can't somebody blow up Chicago, or Atlanta, or Denver, or Houston, or..... for a change?

Not Chicago -- we've priced ourselves out of most big budget movies. I also think Chicago isn't recognizable to enough USians to have the same impact. Sure there's the Sears Willis Tower, the best Hancock building in the world, and stretches of Michigan Avenue but I don't know if people would recognize much more than that and internalize the big city-lots of people around-OMG people will die if the heroes don't save them that comes from NY or LA.

Besides, the Blues Brothers already blew up Chicago and set a standard that may never be matched.

[insert snarky comment about how I can't wait for someone to blow up Houston for a change here]

But part of the reason we don't recognize those other cities is that we don't see movies of them blowing up. Blow up the Sears Tower a few times, and people will start to recognize it.

I assume Houston has something recognizable. But since I never see it on TV or in films, I have no idea what it might be....

Who, outside of Houston, would care if Houston blew up(in a movie)? Sorry McK but even people in Dallas would shrug and say "it's not like it's Austin or something".

The Transformers movies blowed up Chicago. At least the most recent one did. (That's my understanding, anyway. I didn't see it.)

Not Chicago -- we've priced ourselves out of most big budget movies.

Irrelevant - they don't actually have to film there. Nearly all of the action scenes in The Avengers were filmed in Cleveland, OH and Albuquerque, NM; New York's skyline was composited in as necessary. (The scenes in "Stuttgart, Germany" were also Cleveland, but they left the skyline untouched. The big fight scene there was filmed in Public Square in front of the Terminal Tower; I watched them shoot it. Iron Man is fully CGI in that scene, btw.)

I assume Houston has something recognizable. But since I never see it on TV or in films, I have no idea what it might be...

I am really busy at the moment, far too busy to respond fully to this marginalization of the finest city in the known universe, but, for the record, if you recall the scene in Independence Day were the troopies sitting in an armored personnel carrier call in a nuke to be dropped on one of the alien spaceships, that APC was located on I-45 South, maybe five miles from downtown Houston and the skyline was definitely downtown Houston.

So, we've been blown up. Nuked, in fact. It's no big deal.

As for Dallas, it's part of Texas but only because that's the way the border was drawn. I would cede Dallas to Oklahoma in a heartbeat.

Irrelevant - they don't actually have to film there.

I live just outside Philly and am a big fan of most anything involving zombies (and was even before it was as cool as it is now). World War Z is partly set in Philly, but due to cost, the Philly scenes were (going to be - I guess by now they have been) shot in Glasgow, Scotland.

I don't know how much effort was going into changing the background afterwards. Maybe they were just shooting in places that would look to most people like they could be in Philadelphia, since most people don't know or at least care what Philly really looks like, anyway.

But, no, the setting according to the plot does not dictate where the movie gets shot, or vice versa.

Russel, I jumped to the same mistaken conclusion as you. Now I'm disappointed.

The scenes in "Stuttgart, Germany" were also Cleveland, but they left the skyline untouched.

Many films that take place in NYC are not filmed there (e.g. Iron Sky had most of its NY scenes filmed in Frankfurt a. M., Germany). Canada is a favorite. Still cheaper than the US and the natives often speak and understand American.
Other places often are more -ish than the original, esp. when the setting is not present day (Downfall was filmed in St.Petersburg because it had lots of German Gründerzeit style buildings that in Berlin had become victims of WW2 and post-war Haussmanism). Dublin often doubles for London, Budapest for about any old European city. Apart from that, Bible films tend to be photographed in Morocco and Westerns in Spain*. Finland was the classic stand-in for Russia before the Soviet era ended.

*Eastern Bloc Westerns (yes, lots of them) in Yugoslavia

I would cede Dallas to Oklahoma in a heartbeat.

McK, what evil did Oklahoma ever do you???

McK, what evil did Oklahoma ever do you???

None. That's not the point. Moving Dallas to Oklahoma would be an upgrade for the Okies. Currently, only Dallas admires Dallas. The Okies would likely think a bunch of movie stars had moved into the state. They're like that, you know.

Who, outside of Houston, would care if Houston blew up(in a movie)?

I would cede Dallas to Oklahoma in a heartbeat.

Uh oh, I think we started something here....

Gott sieht alles, nur nicht Dallas!

Gott sieht alles, nur nicht Dallas!

Que?

Ok, that was a reference not to the city but the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_%281978_TV_series%29>TV soap.

To denizens of 2-space, cubes - and all other 3-dimensional objects - look like lines. To denizens of 3-space, tesseracts look like cubes.

I suspect that it would be more complicated than that. A projection of a cube in 2 D space looks like a square if it is perpendicular to the space, and more like the classic 2D drawing of a cube at other times. If the 2D space is a plane passing through the cube then it looks like squares, or triangles, or various parallelograms depending on how it intersects the cube. I have always seen a Tesseract projection into 3D space presented as a Cube in a cube with a line connecting the each of the points of the inside cube to the corisponding points on the outside cube. I am not smart enough to figure out what a crossection of a tesseract would look like in 3D space, but I suspect it will look like various parallelogram solids.

I'm all for blowing up Atlanta. It would mean big bucks for us!

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