What makes a film dated?

Discussion in 'Misc. Films' started by Movies205, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    An interesting question that I think merits some discussion considering that Hollywood alone releases I believe somewhere in the range of 500+ films a year, and the many films that are made from other venues as well. Many of these films within simply a few years will be considered a relic of that particular era, superhero films seemed to be quite prey to this... Daredevil springs to my mind. So what's seperates the dated from the classic? Now folks let's all realize that what's considered "dated" is not universal, someone here might consider Daredevil to not be dated, in which case post an educated rational response to this. For instance in my eyes a film like "Rebel Without A Cause" is horribly dated while "Blackboard Jungle" which came out the same year is far more real to me and just as fresh as if I watched it 50 years prior.
     
  2. Rez Registered

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    Very interesting indeed.


    While the question has crossed my mind before, I usually settle on just pushing it out- it really is a hard question. Often, it falls upon me to just sit there and watch something, and if I think, "Damn, this is dated," then that's the end of it.

    It's far too busy a subject for me to get in depth with at the moment, so I'll just run a few random thoughts down:

    One of the biggest things to me is when a film heavily showcases a technology. Whether it be in the film itself as part of the plot(ie, a film that makes a big deal about a cell phone or something) or just a film that's blatantly showing off CGI that, years down the road, looks like crap.

    Some films spring to mind as being quite timeless... Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park. I can point out the things like flawless effects in Jurassic Park, and the lack of any real time or place in Star Wars, or the specific yet glorified appearance of the time in Indiana Jones, but it still escapes explanation.

    For example, I was watching Brazil last night. I love Brazil, but the film is horribly dated, despite only being made in the 80's. Why? I don't know, my head is going to explode. Other films that spring to mind for no reason whatsoever are Dark City, even the first Spiderman. Again, I don't know. Curse you for asking this!
     
  3. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    I'd like to follow this line of thought if you don't mind since this is an example of why "What's dated" is such a complicated question, I disagree on Brazil. Personally I find the film Brazil quite endearing in that it carves for itself it's own version of the future without the presumption of trying to explain. It allows one to fully emmerse on in the fantasy since the world mirrors are own in a horribly charicturish way. The computers they use is an example of this, obviously technology is far different than what's portrayed in Casablanca, yet it's the same. For example people watching Casablanca while the boss isn't looking, I'm sure many on SHH! are posting from work. However, I see some's validity in that the cinematography is definately from the 80s, however what seperates dated from simply being a product of it's time, surely Casablanca wouldn't be the same if it was in color.

    (Feel free to completely disagree with this, in fact I encourage it)
     
  4. Rez Registered

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    No, I agree in that it has a timelessness about it's story, it's alternate future... but yeah, what I mean is the look of the thing. There are some films I can watch and just watch, but Brazil- along with a lot of my other favorite, more niche films from the 80s, like say, Videodrome- just feels OLD. And how can this be avoided? I mean, to think that the type of film you use or the camera angles will determine how your film ages... it just boggles the mind.

    I was going to say that it seems, now we might have the opportunity to avoid such dating- as for a lot of these older films, they seem dated simply because they LOOK old, the film has deteriorated, etc. But in this digital age, where films can be kept as files on discs never to falter... that could be avoided. But then it hit me, that now we're just going to push towards even more high def, and 3D, and then being in the damn movie yourself, to the point where these flat, 2d movies of today where you can't choose your own adventure or speak to the characters yourself like a videogame will be dated in and of themselves.
     
  5. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    It might be less boggling if we start breaking things down as to understand why things look the way they do.

    Important to note however with Videodrome is the apparent lack of CGI and also the fact that this was Cronenberg's first studio film, somewhat, it was distributed by Universal Studios.

    Look at Cronenberg's filmography in this short period

    Scanners (1981)
    Videodrome (1983)
    Deadzone (1983)
    The Fly (1986)

    I'd argue there's a huge difference in look from Scanners to the Fly. Reason being, Scanners was a canadian independent film while the Fly was a studio film. The Fly is also the first film Cronenberg actually storyboarded due to intense nature of special effects that needed to be done. Comparing Fly to Videodrome, I'd say Videodrome seems far more dated than The Fly? Why? I'd argue that it's because we're now so use to CGI that this is what we perceieve to be "real" and stop motion animation is quite ugly to us now, the type of effect Cronenberg was going for was far more viseral and palpable while CGI is far more sleek looking, it's actually quite grotesque to the modern viewer to look at those effects. While the fly uses the same amount of prostetics effect, if not more, we still use those types of effects today. And also to go back to my former point The Fly was more of a studio film than Videodrome was which probably had an effect as well. Don't believe this argument, I'd cite Terminator 1 as compare to TErminator 2 which to me symoblizes this argument quite well.
     
  6. Rez Registered

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    No, you are most certainly right, and If I weren't a lazy bastard I may have constructed the same argument. My favorite Cronenberg films are The Fly and Naked Lunch, and you are correct in saying that The Fly doesn't feel dated. Naked Lunch even moreso.

    Branching off the stop motion comment, look at say, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. A film who's creatures are completely stop motion in an age where CGI reigns. It suggests to me that if more people tried using whatever technique available to them to make the film the best it could be, rather than automatically trying to reinvent the wheel or push boundaries, some of this problem could be avoided. Also, another random tangent, now that I think about it, pretty much all of Wes Anderson's films feel more or less the same- and that design has allowed his films to be rather timeless.

    The Terminator statement is also a great comparison.
     
  7. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    Different intent isn't it though? I haven't seen Zissou in quite some time but I'd like to pose this argument which is that that stop-motion almost emulates CGI's sleekness however the fact that it is indeed stopmotion gives it the palpability that Cronenberg, Gilliam, and other directors find lacking in CGI. The stop motion of the 80s wasn't trying to be sleek, it was trying to be grim, frightening, and eerie... The T-1000 might be sleek and "cool" however the T-600(or is it 800?) were far more eerie and scary.
     
  8. L0ngsh0t Registered

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    I think CGI/Special Effects can make a film dated in a second

    I think that is where Daredevil comes in, cause it follows suit with any movie that doesn't have really well crafted special effects, imo they are quite sloppy in that movie, and add a couple years and what 10 solid action movies a year and the holes and follies of DD are exposed.

    I think editing can also do it to, I think editors keep getting better and better, (this is where people usually start to disagree with me) comparing two academy award winning movies seperated by almost 30 years Godfather, and A Beautiful Mind (I just watched recently and is one of my all time favorite movies which is why I chose it for comparison) imo Godfather is a dated movie, I think the only movie that may have less of a pulse is Citizen Kane out of the movies perceived to be the "best ever" (whatever that means). And I don't know I think the story is a lot better in a Beautiful Mind for sure, but for me I also think the editing, and the pacing of ABM brilliantly trumps that in Godfather, and that is where Godfather shows its wear and tear for me, a movie behind the times of filmmaking that doesn't equal up to standards set by some of the great movies of today.

    So if you wanted a definition of dated, I think that maybe a decent one: A movie made before standards where set by a great movie of today

    or something like that

    And if you want we can get into the GF debate, I've done it many times I don't really want to, and we don't have to haha but whatever happens happens I've gotten blasted by my stance on that movie many times, but I won't budge I simply can't acknowledge a movie as great when every time I watch it I want to take it out half way through the movie and never watch it again
     
  9. Steve Rogers Registered

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    Classic movies rely on things that never go out of style: story and character, while dated movies rely on the environment it is set in: year, decade, context of a given time.

    Good characters and a solid story is the difference between a good movie and a great one. People don't change. What was relevant 70 years ago is still relevant now in terms of people. It Happened One Night is not a dated film at all, because it centers around a budding relationship between two people that, initially, hate each other. It is a character driven film. It was made in 1934 and could have been made in 2004. It would still work.

    In a time of social awareness and adversity to war a film like Rambo, made much more recently than It Happened One Night, would today be balked at by many moviegoers. The film relies heavily on the perception of war and violence of the 1980's.

    Classics trandscend time. Dated movies are trapped in it.
     
  10. Electrix Registered

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    The effects certainly make the film dated. If I were to go back and watch the first X-Men movie. The effects of Mystique look kinda rubbish compared to X-Men 2 and 3.

    Again in the X-Men movies. In X2 Bye Bye Bye was played on the radio, That will take everyone back to the time N Sync were around, dating the movie.

    I think Lord Of The Rings will not be considered dated for a good few years yet. However, with all of these 3D movies coming out, soon 2D will be dated.
     
  11. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    I hold my threads a bit higher than most of the threads on the hype because it's the promotion of ideas and discussion. If you're not willing to defend your stance than I'd rather you not share your opinion. I come to these boards for a greater sense of understanding and you get that by the sharing and discussion of ideas. If you're not willing to face the fact you could be wrong than I'd rather not want to deal with you. I have admitted fault on these boards from time to time and I'll change my opinion if someone makes a good argument and there's also been plenty of times where I've defended my opinion. However to simply shut yourself off, completely defeats the purpose of a message board in the first place other than to find others who agree with you.

    Sloppy? Is the wrong word, in my opinion, what is more accurate is poor direction. By the way I'm judging the Director's Cut not the theatrical cut. I'm actually quite fond of the movie to be honest, it has a lot of heart, and presents an interesting story. However, the director has quite a bit of talent yet he fails to mesh them together quite well. The constant reliance on "songs of the day" instead a strong score also further accentuate this point. Which is another facet of this discourse, which is to what effect does music play in this?

    I have not seen either of these two movies in a long enough time to feel comfortable enough even trying to compare editing styles. However, it seems a bit out of place and asasnine to take two movies from two completely different genres and time periods and compare them for the sole purpose of saying one is better than the other. When what you're most likely citing is something as simple as ASL(Average Shot Length), as a culture with the advent of computers and video games, as well as our inability to take responsibility and to almost breed ADD and ADHD, our collective attention spans have dwindled to almost nothing so most films need to constantly bombard the viewer with spectacle or soundeffects or it'll be seen as boring. So is that the Godfather's fault or your own? Think carefully before you answer.

    Let us clarify that sentence(though there are probably more gramatical attrocities found in my above sentences):

    All movies that have not been made in the last ten years can considered to be dated.
    ---

    I firmly disagree with this statement and personally find it quite saddening that you can not find the pleasures in older films as many of us as we've grown up have come to love and cherish.


    ---

    Please take note, I have critized many of Longshot's points however I am not trolling or flaming, each of my remarks are not centered on his character but rather his points, and each critism is backed by a rational argument...
     
  12. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    I'm not disagreeing with your points, I agree with them however there are some sticky points of contention such as:

    What about movies such as Easy Rider or Rebel Without a Cause which were consider classics because they were directly about the culture in which they were released.

    Or what about now the many films which are praised for being great such as Crash, Jarhead, or V for Vendetta due to the fact they are so blatantly about the times we live in, does that lessen their power? Should these movies be made considering by your definition they could be dated within a few years?
     
  13. Matt IKYN Guy Groupie

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    I think the problem with what you are citing is that all of these movies have some historical basis (be it based on history or they themselves are history) behind them. Same with The Godfather. A movie like X2 does not have that advantage. Its not going to go down in film history, its not a time-piece, its not a film based on history.

    I still maintain one of the most loved but dated movies would be Superman. I know that it is blasphemy to say that on this site, but the dialogue is so out of touch, the effects aren't that great by today's standards. Heck, even the plot about a scheming real estate tycoon is goofy by modern standards.
     
  14. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    I personally do no connect with Easy Rider or Rebel Without a Cause and find them to be dated which is why I ask the question. As historical pieces they work but as movies, I don't find them all together that enjoyable. However I know plenty of people that do who are my age which is what makes the question quite sticky. Since I love Citizen Kane and there's plenty of people who don't.

    As for Superman, it's the same argument that I made for Brazil so it's one of perspective and taste. I love Superman 1 and Superman 2(The Donner Cut) because they absolutely relish in Silver Age Superman, it's so refreshing to watch something so stylized and even though it's hokey and cheesy, it's not cringeworthy and is quite entertaining, the reason for this is that it sets the tone right from the get go and everything is in sync. However a movie like REbel Without a Cause is purporting to be a serious movie yet is tottally out of touch with reality(at least in my mind) as such it comes off cheesy and hokey in a bad way. It is also why Superman Returns to me was such a failure, it could not decide what it wanted to be. Many aspects of the film were quite dark and serious while over-all it was quite campy and over the top, without any actual action to make it entertaining as such it became a boring/ridiculous spectacle.
     
  15. StrainedEyes All the way up it!

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    Any film will be dated unless it says what year it takes place.

    If I make a movie right now, and don't set it in a year, hoping it will be timeless. Then the hair styles, the clothing styles, the way people talk, all of that will end up being dated in 20 years.

    But if I make a movie now, and set it in 2007, then in 20 years it won't be dated, it will be a snapshot of '07.
     
  16. Apollo Registered

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    future movies made in the 80's and early 90's
     
  17. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    This is an interesting theory... However you mind expanding on it since I'm not quite sure I understand it. What difference does it make whether a film states the year or not?
     
  18. StrainedEyes All the way up it!

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    Obviously it isn't a full proof theory. And there are plenty of exceptions. But if I watch a movie like Superman (I don't remember if it said the year in the movie, I'll assume it didn't) I look at it and go, this is a movie that was made in 1978. The effects, the hair, the acting all of it feels like it was done in 1978.

    But, if Superman did say the year is 1978 in the movie, then it causes this break in the mindset as to why the movie is the way it is. I then realize that it's not supposed to be timeless, it's supposed to be 1978, and therefor it can't be dated in a bad way. It's dated in a period way.

    It also obviously doesn't have to say the exact date. Like '25th Hour' will never be dated because it blatantly takes place soon after 9/11
     
  19. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    My problem with your theory is it seems to thin a line, if you get what I mean. I mean any movie that comes out is going to feature hairstyles, etc done in the year it's made. So why couldn't someone just treat any film like that, isn't that what there suppose to do in the first place?
     
  20. KALEL114 Impending Return

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    When I think of dated, the first thing I think of is slang and the focus of ideals at the time. Rebel Without a Cause (for example) was is a great movie, yet I agree it is dated. It was made at time when teenage angst was not really put to the forefront. It was contoversial at the time. But with the world we live in and also being inundated with "copycat" themes in similar movies, it seems dated. I do not think the same formula applies to all films. You must take it by a film to film basis. My two cents.
     
  21. Movies205 Corporate Money

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    Yeah... But if you watch a movie like "Blackboard Jungle" (1955), it doesn't feel dated at all and is quite scary as well, and relevant to today's world. Even Gangster films of the 1930s hold up well today, perhaps it's because of there preclination toward darker themes but then again many people find the "Wizard of Oz" to be timeless as well... I strongly urge people to check out Blackboard Jungle.
     
  22. EdRyder Registered

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    I completely disagree-I dont think period or visual effects date films
    Soundtracks can ,but not in all circumstances
    Compare say Flash Gordon to Ladyhawke.Flash Gordon is just a downright classic with its crappy effects and totally ridiculously awesome soundtrack,..Where as Ladyhawke is just painful to watch because of the soundtrack..

    Longshot and I have had this Godfather discussion before.I dont see eye to eye on that at all.So Godfather shows its wear and tear due to editing,But
    A Beautiful Mind(A film I hate btw) is timeless ?
    Weird
     
  23. StrainedEyes All the way up it!

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    It really depends on the quality of the filmmaker. Most movies made during a time period all have the same feel. Watch a bunch of average movies made during the 70's and you'll see that. But there are good movies made during the 70s which stand out and survive by it's style and quality.

    I don't think any one thing makes a movie dated.. Pacing, Dialogue, Hair, Wardrobe, Camera Angles, Picture Quality... All of it comes in to play and it's not the same for any 2 movies.

    Back to the future is completely timeless because of it's quality. It doesn't fall into any of the 80's trap falls that make an 80's movie dated.

    Bladerunner, despite being in the future, is dated. It just feels like a movie made when it was made.

    I don't know, it's very complicated.
     
  24. EdRyder Registered

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    It was Cyberdyne series 800 model 101 :woot:
    And although the T 100 was almost completely CGI , they incorporated a lot of in-camera effects in there.I think thats why a film like T-2(as well as the first one) hold up so well.In the future war sequence those are all stop motion models that they then projected on a giant screen and filmed the actors in front of with set pieces with pyrotechnics and all.
    Innovative way, even now.
    Same goes for Bladerunner.You cant say its dated.The only way you can get away with that statement is because Hollywood wouldnt make a film like that today.Something that reflects negatively on Hollywood more than Bladerunner
     
  25. Rez Registered

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    I agree, films set in a specific time period tend to survive a lot better than your average film made at whatever moment. For example, look at something as common as your average teen romantic comedy highschool bla bla bla movie. A movie like Footloose of the 80s or Can't Hardly Wait of the 90's look and feel terribly dated today. The American Pie films, specifically the sequels, though recent, already feel a little dated here and there(although I could see the first one remaining fairly unscathed). Most recently, I really find myself wondering how the film Superbad is going to hold up 5 or 10 years down the road.

    But then look at these types of films that are set in a specific time, a specific place, from our past. Dazed & Confused. Porky's. Animal House. Timeless classics? I haven't seen Porky's or Animal House in years, but I know they get a good rep, and Dazed & Confused still holds up just as well as the day it came out nearly 15 years ago. I think this simple, common genre that can often be overlooked or lumped together as disposable highschool movies is a great example of how a great film can stand the test of time, and emerge as a classic.
     

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