We Are The Robots

This became kind of a weird week thanks to the Randomizer. At the beginning of the week it chose Heartbeeps, a movie I had never heard of. And because of that movie I ventured into oscar nominated robot movies:

– Heartbeeps (1981)
So as I said, Heartbeeps was the first one out. It has Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as the lead, make up (for which it was nominated) by Stan Winston and a synthy score by John Williams. Too good to be true? Too bad it’s the worst. No wonder I hadn’t heard about it. Heres a fun fact according to imdb: Universal Pictures gave Andy Kaufman a blank check to make this film after focus group testing indicated that children liked robots, apparently in the wake of R2-D2 and C-3PO.

– Salt (2010)
Before the next robot flick I had a detour with Salt. Just because I recently got the UHD version of the movie, and didn’t want to wait. The oscar nominated sound mixing was subtle and balanced. The movie… not so much. The plot is way to silly and would have been excusable as a silly James Bond film. Salt takes itself way to serious to get away with it.

– Real Steel (2011)
Surprisingly, Real Steel was a real treat. I know it is by the numbers and clichéed and all that, but it felt like it was made with good intentions and it made me feel like a kid. Good feelings all around.
Nominated for best visual effects.

– Bicentennial Man (1999)
Woof, was this one tough to sit through. It has potensial (no surprise since it is based on a story by Isaac Asimov), but the script does not have slightest idea how to be an emotional sci-fi story about humanity without going into overly sentimental territory. Worst Star Trek episode ever!
Nominated for best make up.

– Forbidden Planet (1956)
The last of the robot bunch was this old sci-fi classic based on The Tempest by William Shakespeare, starring Leslie Nielsen in a dramatic role. I only know Nielsen as the silly persona from Airplane and Naked Gun, so it was fun to see him young and serious. Forbidden Planet is all mood through visuals and sound, and it got me hooked. Weird out of this world soundtrack, great colorful set pieces, and absolutely amazing special effects for which it was nominated.

– Logan’s Run (1976)
After I was done with my robot theme I wanted to focus on director Michael Anderson who recently passed away at the age of 98. I have never seen any of his films, and since I was already in a sci-fi streak I decided to start with his own sci-fi film. Simply put, this is the disco version of sci-fi films. Extremely dated, but that was the appealing part of the film, as the aesthetics are as seventies as you can get. The special effects win is a head scratcher, as it almost look like old Doctor Who, a series not exactly well know for it’s effects.
Winner of a special achievement award for best visual effects.

– Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
This is the big one for Michael Anderson, although it is often referred to as the worst best picture winner. I can understand why. First all, it is all spectacle with spectacular visuals and exotic locations, but as the world is shrinking every day it is not as impressive anymore and downright false in it’s presentation. It is also dated when it comes to the endless cameos that surely was a kick for people in 1956, but has become to obscure for younger people watching it now. The cameos are pretty pointless too, which leads me to the biggest problem; underwritten characters that makes it hard to care about anything happening in the movie, and when you passively sit and watch and not care for 3 hours, that’s not a good thing.
The photography on the other hand is great, and I kind of regret watching it now and not waiting for a chance to see it in 70mm.
Winner of best picture, best adapted screenplay, best color cinematography, best film editing, best dramatic or comedy score. Nominated for best director, best color art direction-set decoration, best color costume design.

– The Dam Busters (1955)
A great war movie! Really liked the pacing and the problem solving aspect of the plot. It was fun to see where the Death Star trench run got its inspiration from.
Nominated for best visual effects in 1956.

– Brazil (1985)
No robots or Michael Anderson here, but I just felt like finally completing Brazil.
This is my third try watching this film, in earlier attempts I have not gone beyond the one hour mark. There’s much to be admired in the film, but it is just to manic for my taste. An exhausting watch.
Nominated for best art direction-set decoration and original screenplay in 1986.

– The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)
The last of the oscar nominated Michael Anderson movies. There is no reason it should be almost three hours long. The subplot with the reporter is not doing anything for the rest of the movie. It is also very bland in the directing (sorry Anderson) making it sometimes very hard to keep your mind not wandering off and fokus on the film.

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