Rewatching movies, old and new.

I’ve been rewatching movies recently and enjoying them. I used to rewatch out of boredom (I think I’ve seen Towering Inferno half a dozen times because it came on TV and I had nothing better to do at the weekend) but I’ve realised that deliberately setting out to rewatch a movie you enjoyed, especially one you don’t remember very well, can be extremely rewarding. The movies I rewatched recently are:

1. Alien
I thoroughly spoilt alien for myself when I was a teen. I was so hungry for information that I saw all the sets and learnt the entire plot before it came out in the cinema. It’s one of my biggest movie going regrets that I didn’t get to experience it cold not knowing that the flippin’ heck was going to happen next.

Seeing it again I was stunned by how real that world and those characters feel. The Nostromo feels like a real, working ship despite the old fashioned computers (the ones I grew up with.) Also, watching Ash, the science officer and paying close attention to his expressions, is chilling. I had no idea of his agenda when first watching it but, on rewatching, it’s clearly exactly what he’s doing.

2. Monsters (2010) Directed by Gareth Edwards
My kind of monster movie. It doesn’t really work the same way as many movies of it’s ilk. I can see some being thoroughly bored by it. It’s more of a tone piece. A look at what the grounded realities would be if there were monsters that had a foothold on Earth. It has my favourite ending to this kind of movie ever.

I sometimes watch Blade Runner and The Fifth Element back to back to look for similarities and differences between the two, other than Brion James. They seem to mirror each other in a way, a dystopian west coast and a high strung east coast with a similar feel.

I also watch and try to figure the chronology of Star Wars movies. Example: The Empire Strikes back seems to take place over a span of days, but that can't be right.

Not sure if this is on topic though.

Definitely. Any ruminations on movies you’ve seen a few times.

This is an interesting topic. Although I don’t rewatch movies that much anymore, but I was recently listening to a podcast and the host mentioned it’s interesting to rewatch movies that you first watched when you were younger. For instance, this host had re-watched Dead Poet’s Society and had a completely different experience because now he is a father and watched the movie from the perspective of a parent.

It happens with social issues too. I was flipping last night and caught the last hour of Lethal Weapon 2 which was one of my favorite movies back in the day. I was struck by how much of the “good cops break the rules to stop the bad guys” trope this movie had. Suggestions to steal money, breaking and entering, and straight up murder - not even a mention about arresting the bad guys! Still a fun movie though, but weird when viewed through today’s lens.

Well, I have to comment in here, don't I? I've been re-watching movies for a podcast for the last 10 years. With each show we pick a film we barely remember and purposefully don't watch any trailer or read about it before recording.

When we record I read the plot from the back DVD or VHS tape. So, if I picked the film out at a video rental place 30 years ago, you'll hear me read out the plot for the first time in 30 years on the recording. We've seen plot points we'd forgotten, actors who we didn't know were in it and even major spoilers.

What have I learned? Tastes change, times and people change. By and large, it's not a good idea to revisit films you saw when you were younger. You'll end up tarnishing a memory of something you may have cared about.

There are some exceptions to this, but that's often because the emotion you felt about a title when young, overrides the your criticism of it as an adult. Sometimes that bond is so strong that you might appraise the movie as poor or problematic, but you still care for it.

Here's the podcast:

I always remember seeing episodes of Man from Uncle as an adult. As a kid it seemed to be a sophisticated spy drama with super cool main characters. Seen as an adult there was all sorts of campy nonsense going on and it shattered that illusion completely.

Rewatching more recent films is good. Especially ones that were laying the groundwork for future events without you realising. I’ve just started watching Arrival again. Another all time favourite. It’s quite bleak to start with (I’m two minutes Forty nine seconds in and I’m weeping a little already) but it’s a beautiful story all told.

I watched the pilot for the 1970s Spider-Man TV series recently. It too was had an incredibly cool character, with cool stunts and fight scenes. Going back to it revealed that, objectively, it has none of those things. But the illusion persisted for me as I couldn't help but see it through the lens of my childhood. I even found myself smiling as if I were a child again.

Another one, when I first saw In The Heat of the Night, when Sidney Poitier slaps the rich white guy, I was young and the power of the scene didn't resonate. When I was in college and saw that movie again, that scene was like 'Whoaw, this was set in the 1960s in the south!?"

I’m realising I love Arrival because it’s a story about communication. I write science fiction and it’s always about that subject.

Edit: Rewatching it the film hit me more powerfully than it did the first time. It's moved to the top of the list as my favourite Science Fiction/Alien contact movie.

That was a surprise. With a new Avatar game on the way I decided to rewatch the original film. I remember seeing it in 3D at the cinema and spending most scenes thinking, ‘That works well in 3D or ugh, that doesn’t.’ Watching it without 3D I was so much more invested in the characters, the alien world and the plight of the tribe. The creature designs are fantastic. I’ll look forward to a game set on Pandora and the new movies.

I watched the ‘collectors extended cut’ which has 16 minutes of new footage. I couldn’t tell you where those 16 minutes were added (which is a good thing) but it was a way, way better movie than I remember with them in. The special effects and the detail on the Na’vi, etc is also phenomenal. I don’t know if they’ve been improved or if the 3D hid the finer details. Probably a bit of both.

Another one to go on the favourite sci-fi movie list.

I watched Conan the Barbarian and not too long ago. One thing I noticed is that whomever wrote the screenplay was really swinging for the fences. I think they were told this would be an epic fantasy akin to modern day Lord of the Rings and not a cheesy adventure movie with the three main roles being played by bodybuilder, a dancer, and the director's surfer buddy, none of whom had had any substantive acting roles before. I mean, there is some real dialogue in that movie. Valeria talking about her love for Conan. Subotai crying for Conan because he won't. Conan's prayer to Crom. All of these scenes are fine, but I wonder how much better they would have been with better actors. Hell, the movie has three Academy Awards nominees, James Earl Jones, Max Von Sydow, and Mako(to Iwamatsu), and they're just side characters.

That said, Schwarzenegger's acting skills have grown by leaps and bounds. Given that the first story ever published by Robert E. Howard was about Conan as the aging king of Aquilonia, I would actually like to see him jump back into the role.

I often think Commando had a great start and could have been a better movie if it hadn’t gone all ‘80’s cheesy action but then that’s probably not a popular opinion. Like you, I do wonder sometimes if the script writer or writers see a final movie and shake their heads at the travesty they’ve become when compared to what was intended.

Grenn wrote:

That said, Schwarzenegger's acting skills have grown by leaps and bounds. Given that the first story ever published by Robert E. Howard was about Conan as the aging king of Aquilonia, I would actually like to see him jump back into the role.

That could have been good. Definitely.

Commando is amazing and hits exactly the right tone how dare you.

Double post. Herumph.


Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Commando is amazing and hits exactly the right tone how dare you.

I have come to understand that many people love that style of action movie.

Love the music.

Started rewatching the original Italian Job. A very smart chap is having a great time driving his red Ferrari through the Italian countryside…