Oooooh, I’m in a good mood for an angry rant! Haven’t had one in a while, and this one has been preying on my mind of late.
Films – especially the big cultural phenomena – have a way of entering and shifting the social consciousness wholesale. This can be for the better, allowing film makers to affect positive social change when such change is needed, or it can create a culture all of its very own, as fans turn into gatherings turn into societies. Sometimes that change can be negative, be it a kind of misinformation, unintentionally spread by a work of fiction; or an idea so potent that it spreads despite the negative impact it can have.
This might have actual, real world consequences, but most of these are ones that just get on my nerves…
In 2003 Pixar added another original character to its ever-growing cast, one that would grant a sequel in time. Finding Nemo was a powerful story of a broken family, fighting to stay whole against incredible odds. It plunged us into one of their classically fantastic worlds, something if not wholly original then at least new enough that it will go down as one of the must-watches from the century.
But I swear the next time I hear a kid in an aquarium shouting “Look Mum, it’s Nemo” they’re going to go be Finding Nemo the hard way!
Harsh? Maybe, but dammit these are supposed to be places of education, as well as relaxation and entertainment. More importantly I have never once heard the parents try and correct, or maybe persuade the child around to the proper answer and that’s maddening! Call this an appeal for facts to be known, let your children enjoy these films, but let them know the facts behind the animation, I beg of you.
And while we’re on the subject…
Velociraptors (and dinosaurs in general)
Do you know how big a velociraptor is? I bet a whole lot of Jurassic Park fans would like to think they do, but the velociraptor would have only been about knee high, and only a metre from nose to tail-tip. Oh don’t get me wrong, they’re still fast and equipped with built-in murder weapons, so for a couple of pre-teens they’re still a terrifying threat, but they’re about the size of a turkey, rather than an ostrich.
The mislabelled Utahraptors were discovered initially in 1975, although became more widely known in 1991; the year after the book was written and only two years before the film. However author Michael Crichton consulted a palaeontologist and had based them on deinonychus instead, so intentionally chose the wrong name and the wrong therepod! That kind of intentional inaccuracy is beyond mere “poetic licence”, it’s intentional misinformation. What’s wrong with deinonychus?!
Ok, so let’s talk about the reboot. I can let go the fact that they’re keeping the wrong velociraptors; the damage is done, another generation of deceived dino-fans, but there’s one thing they could have updated. It’s now a well known fact that many of the dinosaurs – especially the various raptor species – were partially or heavily feathered. The excuse? In-world it’s said that the biologically manipulated Frankensaurs are what the public expect dinosaurs to look like. Well you had the power to change that Spielberg, and you willingly chose not to.
The Actual Definition of Inception
It was funny for a while, but the concept of “inception” is not the weird Matroska doll style embedding of one thing inside itself:
The establishment or starting point of an institution or activity.
The use of the term in the film, was the insertion of an idea so deeply into a brain that it becomes the beginning of a personal thought. The seed of a notion so far buried, that it seems like something wholly new. A wonderful concept, an ingenious method of manipulating someone that required the “inceptor” to burrow into the “inceptee”s subconscious mind like a tapeworm.
Can we please quit using the suffix -ception to talk about… I dunno, baking a cake into a cake? Or when you open up a packet to find there’s another packet sealed inside? We had a better meme for that, it was the Xzibit meme “Yo Dawg”, and it died. Let us leave the whole damn thing behind.
Quick Fire Round
I’m too angry, let’s rush the last few!
Sharks – Violence against sharks by humans increased massively after the success of Jaws. Funny how attacks against humans by sharks stayed as rare as they ever were or ever have been. Thanks Spielberg, you ruin everything. Y’know what? I hope aliens have seen E.T… No, worse, I hope aliens have played the video game, and are laughing at you!!!
Lemmings – They don’t jump off cliffs! Disney executives are one of their biggest natural predators and are known to drive lemmings off cliffs to their death, for the sake of a faux documentary full of lies.
The First Saw Film – Atmospheric, clever, genuinely scary and featuring a twist that was impressive. Saw reshaped a genre and created many imitations, and among the weakest were the sequels! Seriously, watch and enjoy Saw 1 – The rest are just a boring torture marathon.
The “Grimm” in Fairy Tales – Disney took the teeth out of children’s stories and cautionary tales. The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson made some truly dark tales that have spread roots so deep into literature and mythology. Disney have spent better part of a century turning them into musicals; an all consuming media empire and merchandising revenue worth more than most countries.
Thank you all for listening, I feel so much better for that! Let me know the things that films have introduced to the zeitgeist that you think need to be extracted through curmudgeonly ranting and better education. Leave a comment, or come join me, I’ll be angry on Facebook too.