Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On why Stanley Kubric sucks

"Sucks" is perhaps a tad too strong(Annie Hall's influence, I guess), but this guy really sucks sometimes. Have watched five of his movies

  • A Clockwork Orange

  • Lolita

  • Barry Lyndon

  • 2001, A Space Odyssey, and

  • Eyes Wide Shut

No, I haven't watched Dr. Strangelove and The Shining, but this is a good enough sample space to derive conclusions.

We can very safely ignore Barry Lyndon here. A totally unremarkable movie, and what's worse, a little moralistic too. One of the movies that make Mr. Bean look good.

Lolita was a revelation of sorts. I don't know many directors who can handle a story of this magnitude and not fuck it up, although I felt that the character potrayal lacked a little something(You want to see character potrayal - see Reservoir Dogs, or Virumandi).

2001, A space odyssey wasn't a movie. It was an epic - the very definition of direction and screenplay; the only SK movie that I fell for unconditionally. Those were my comments on his direction. The movie was based on a rock-solid scientific potrayal of space travel, thanks to Clarke. But where he succeeded in predicting science, he failed dismally in predicting the society.

Am reminded of a very interesting advertisement that I saw in one of the very old tamil magazines - one from 1960s(not sure though). It had an article on plastic- the wonder chemical that is going to change the world, lifestyle and bring about a revolution of sorts. Changing the world it did, as predicted, but the article assumed that the society in 2050 will be structured in the same way as it was in 1960s. Paraphrasing the advertisement,
In the year 2050, housewives won't have to take pains to clean the houses, machines will do it for them.

It had failed to foresee a fundamental change in the society, that the role of women won't be what it was in 1960s. In short, social science fiction was absent.

2001 failed in the social science fiction aspect too. The flight-hostesses were still women. Conversations with women in the movie were heavily influenced by typical talks in 1970s. Technically, this isn't a flaw in the movie, but, whatever.

Coming to A clockwork orange, the first half of the movie was brilliant, and so was the depiction of the nascent dystopian society. But the movie failed when you notice the limited number of characters and when you calculate the probability that Alex sees the exact same people that he had tortured. This is plain directorial ineptitude.

Eyes wide shut would have been a much better movie had it not been for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Stars like steal the movie's thunder. On the whole, it felt more like a Steven Speilberg movie.

To conclude, Stanley Kubric sucks, in the given sample space.


Ambar said...

I've only seen two of Kubrick's movies, 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut. The latter sucked bigtime. 2001 was blow-your-brains-away type epic.

If you want good "social science fiction", I would suggest the Dune series, or the Ender series by Orson Card.

Zero said...

Man! time to go and see Dr. Strangelove, perhaps. Satire at its best. Period.

the probability that Alex sees the exact same people that he had tortured. This is plain directorial ineptitude.
Is it? The script disregarding realistic possibilities and taking a unrealistic/surreal turn to serve its purpose (metaphorical/satirical) doesn't seem to be directorial ineptitude for me. Btw, I do not adore the movie.

Anonymous said...

What about K.S.Ravikumar?

- Guru

Ishwar said...

ambar, dune series sucks. read it during my undergrad days.

zero, point! but i stick to my point.btw, am planning to start a movie-download-sharing ring in bangalore so that we can plan and download different movies. are you in b'lore?

guru, K.S.Ravikumar is a musesta - baasha and panchatantram - mustesta...

Zero said...

Baasha ain't KSR. It is Suresh Krissna (then called Suresh Krishna).

movie director said...

Every movie has an audience, you just don't happen to be that person for these 5 movies.
People in Scotland eat Muesli & drink cider. Skiworkers in Vermont drink upto 2 pounds of honey per day. Loggers in new Hampshire practically live on maple syrup. Chinese eat dogmeat & cockroach & other exotic crap. Tambram will drown himself in buttermilk & rasam. Northie eats roti sabji.
None of this sucks. But if you ask northie to forego roti & eat cockroach & dogmeat, he will puke. Ask tambram to drink 2 pounds of honey - he will get severe diarrhoea.

If target audience is wrong, things suck. Think about it.

Ishwar said...

director, true; very true. but i was only talking about my point of view.