Cinema's Unlikable Movie Characters?

BAYLOR

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Yeah this is what I mean-the cheapness is made up by Corman, Richard Matheson, etc.
With a film like Transformers you have a higher budget for FX but that positive is is negated by the input of Bay, Orci and Kurtzman among other things. It's not a win win.
The first Transformers film wasn't bad and wasn't great, the Sequels really really went steadily downhill. Michael Bay should never have been allowed anywhere near that franchise. He is not a good director and certainly not good at story teller.
 
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KGeo777

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Shows like UFO ,1970 Space 1999 in 1975 and the Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato ( Star Blazers) preceded Star Wars in the regard by about 3 years.
Right the Andersons should be mentioned.
JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN.
It should be noted that Hollywood did not give any of these filmmakers a large budget (well ok Kubrick). They gave it to comedies or slice of life dramas with sad endings--CASTLE KEEP cost $8 million and only made $1 million? Did heads roll?). Hammer got money from Hollywood for a number of films and they either had to pinch pennies by command or from their own stinginess. An example was One Million Years BC where Harryhausen wanted to use an experimental motion blur process but Hammer or Fox shot it down because of the time/cost.
They could have done a high budget Flash Gordon film in the 1960s but no one could have got the money for it.
As we pointed out before--DOC SAVAGE 1975 could have been a Raiders style film with the right people and support. It was not given adequate support.
 

BAYLOR

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Right the Andersons should be mentioned.
JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN.
It should be noted that Hollywood did not give any of these filmmakers a large budget (well ok Kubrick). They gave it to comedies or slice of life dramas with sad endings--CASTLE KEEP cost $8 million and only made $1 million? Did heads roll?). Hammer got money from Hollywood for a number of films and they either had to pinch pennies by command or from their own stinginess. An example was One Million Years BC where Harryhausen wanted to use an experimental motion blur process but Hammer or Fox shot it down because of the time/cost.
They could have done a high budget Flash Gordon film in the 1960s but no one could have got the money for it.
As we pointed out before--DOC SAVAGE 1975 could have been a Raiders style film with the right people and support. It was not given adequate support.
Ive seen the Doc Savage film They had the perfect actor in Ron Ely , he looked and he souned the part of Doc. if the idiot running the studio had had given George Pal a budget, that film would've been the beginning of a very lucrative and successful film Franchise.
 

KGeo777

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Bay is sure terrible at directing FX (I think he improved a little by the second). Orci and Kurtzman are horrible writers. The idea of having a futuristic map on the glasses of someone's grandfather would have been too ridiculous for Ed Wood.
I think the best Hollywood directors for FX scenes are Zemeckis, Verhoeven, and Cameron (but Cameron has hokey story sense). The other two are not FX experts like Cameron is but knew to use good FX supervisors.
 

KGeo777

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Ive seen the Doc Savage film They had the perfect actor in Ron Ely , he looked and he souned the part of Doc. if the idiot running the studio had had given George Pal a budget, that film would've been the beginning of a very lucrative and successful film Franchise.
The plane looked good, the opening couple of scenes were serious, and then it got cheap and rather stupid. I don't believe they were following audience surveys or anything--no way--the studio brass hated the film-the idea of it-and when they realized what was being made they shot it down and added all the moron stuff. And I bet they did not care one iota that it lost money.
Too bad for Pal. I am sure he was not happy with what was forced on him. The Mexican in the babycrib and the guy getting a lobotomy and singing Christmas carols?
Uh yeah-that's always been a crowd pleaser gag.
 

BAYLOR

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The plane looked good, the opening couple of scenes were serious, and then it got cheap and rather stupid. I don't believe they were following audience surveys or anything--no way--the studio brass hated the film-the idea of it-and when they realized what was being made they shot it down and added all the moron stuff. And I bet they did not care one iota that it lost money.
Too bad for Pal. I am sure he was not happy with what was forced on him. The Mexican in the babycrib and the guy getting a lobotomy and singing Christmas carols?
Uh yeah-that's always been a crowd pleaser gag.
Don't forget the cheesy animated green snakes.
 

KGeo777

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Don't forget the cheesy animated green snakes.
That is where a really good FX supervisor could have improved the film a lot.
Imagine if those snakes were more like the Ark angels in Raiders.
Oh but that reminds me--I have read the biography by FX man Jim Danforth talking about his career in the 70s and he mentioned visiting George Pal while Doc Savage was being prepared and there had been plans for some kind of dinosaur in it or the follow up.
There was also a Conan-like film in development around 1976 with people riding around on giant lizards but there was a lot of animosity towards stop motion so it never proceeded.
 

Star-child

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Mario Bava was not talked about very much in American genre circles but he provided important inspiration for ALIEN, DEATH RACE 2000 and probably the slasher film. The more one focuses on the pre-blockbuster age and international film, the more one encounters Bava. Kurosawa only gets referenced because he satisfies the international non-European arthouse pedigree but Prince Valiant was a bigger inspiration on Star Wars than Kurosawa (Gary Kurtz acknowledged this in his last radio interview where he said the Jedi were based on medieval knights-not samurai as Lucas claimed).

Star Wars was essentially a remake of Prince Valiant-a Fox film from 1954. That film did have better dialogue (and James Mason). Compared to other sci fi films--like a film written by Nigel Kneale or Richard Matheson, Star Wars is horrendous. It has great visual style and innovative action fx scenes, but story wise there was little ambition to character or dialogue.
Annie Hall is an experimental art house film given a lot of artificial boosting. Interestingly it supposedly cost $4 million to make and grossed $34 million--while Smokey and the Bandit cost $4 million and made $300 million.
Interesting contrast between genres and the return. Yet the director of Smokey and the Bandit did not get to direct films so easily as Allen always did. I never met anyone rabid about Allen films but he always had funding without any problem.

If we were going to look at Star Wars from a historical cinematic perspective, the most important artist in the film is Ralph McQuarrie --just as there would be no ALIEN without HR Giger, there could be no Star Wars without McQuarrie. He provided the art design which was the main selling point for the film (Vader and the stormtroopers-and whoever designed the spaceships). Everything else was either taken from Prince Valiant or provided by the FX team.
R2D2 was strongly inspired by the robots in SILENT RUNNING for example.

But back to point--the fact that Star Wars was said to make SF mainstream meant a writer like Kneale was no longer needed because spectacle replaced writing.
None of that changes the fact that Star Wars was, and continues to be, lauded by critics as excellent filmmaking. Scripts aren't films, the dialogue isn't the film. The film is the synthesis of plot, visuals, acting, dialogue, score, etc. If you think dialogue is what makes good SF, I suggest you should read the scripts of 2001, Alien and Bladerunner.
 

KGeo777

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None of that changes the fact that Star Wars was, and continues to be, lauded by critics as excellent filmmaking. Scripts aren't films, the dialogue isn't the film. The film is the synthesis of plot, visuals, acting, dialogue, score, etc. If you think dialogue is what makes good SF, I suggest you should read the scripts of 2001, Alien and Bladerunner.
Star Wars, 2001, and Bladerunner have all been savaged for their characterization, dialogue etc. so they were not considered perfect.
Especially at the time they were made-and that is significant since the critics around then would or should have been dazzled by the FX but not all them were. They were more interested in other things. Does anyone really think Poole or Bowman are interesting? Hal is more interesting.
Reportedly, 2001 didn't even make its money back for 10 years and Bladerunner was not a crowd pleaser either.
The fact is, without the fx people (and the music), those films are zero. You could not turn Bladerunner into a compelling classic noir because the dialogue is not noirish enough --the only characters with some gusto are Holden, Chew, and Bryant:

"This is Zhora. She's trained for an Off-World kick murder squad. Talk about Beauty and the Beast - she's both."
 

Star-child

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A skilled director / producer can make a low budget film look and sound pretty good. Roger Corman also comes to mind, he did some truly great and imaginative B Pictures. :cool:(y)
You can make a low budget film about superheroes or spaceships, just not one that actually shows any real action by either.

Star Wars, 2001, and Bladerunner have all been savaged for their characterization, dialogue etc. so they were not considered perfect.
Especially at the time they were made-and that is significant since the critics around then would or should have been dazzled by the FX but not all them were. They were more interested in other things. Does anyone really think Poole or Bowman are interesting? Hal is more interesting.
Reportedly, 2001 didn't even make its money back for 10 years and Bladerunner was not a crowd pleaser either.
The fact is, without the fx people (and the music), those films are zero. You could not turn Bladerunner into a compelling classic noir because the dialogue is not noirish enough --the only characters with some gusto are Holden, Chew, and Bryant:

"This is Zhora. She's trained for an Off-World kick murder squad. Talk about Beauty and the Beast - she's both."
Again, that poor dialogue does not make them anything but excellent films, lauded by critics. I know this is a writing website, but if you are evaluating films purely on their writing, you're missing the point of the medium. Who are these critics 'savaging' these films?

And who says we need to find Poole interesting instead of HAL? Specific people don't have to be the most important part of a film.
 

KGeo777

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Again, that poor dialogue does not make them anything but excellent films. I know this is a writing website, but if you are evaluating films purely on their writing, you're missing the point of the medium.

And who says we need to find Poole interesting instead of HAL? Specific people don't have to be the most important part of a film.
But it gets back to what you said-you said realistic sets and fx made SF films more appealing to people because they didn't need suspension of disbelief but it also means that for those who do care about story and dialogue--they are necessarily as satisfied and since these films have been criticized for character and dialogue etc--the suspension of disbelief is not total. In other words you cant satisfy all of the people all of the time. Those who do care about the FX will be satisfied, but those who expect more will not be.
I thought the FX in Transformers 2007 was awful-not because the FX people did a bad job-but because it was choreographed in such a way to avoid showing it in the best light-and on top of that, it had awful characters and story. At least with Star Wars I can admire the humor or something, Transformers sucked, no matter how realistic the robots looked.
 

BAYLOR

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You can make a low budget film about superheroes or spaceships, just not one that actually shows any real action by either.


Again, that poor dialogue does not make them anything but excellent films. I know this is a writing website, but if you are evaluating films purely on their writing, you're missing the point of the medium.

And who says we need to find Poole interesting instead of HAL? Specific people don't have to be the most important part of a film.
Battle Beyond the Stars was made for 2 million dollars in 1980, It looks decent , had good ship to ship battle scenes. It had a good screenplay by John Sayles and yes Im well aware that It was essentially The Seven Samurais In Outer Space . Bit overall its a good film. And yes im well aware that the Villains space ship was a recycled prop from Battlestar Galactica.
 

Star-child

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But it gets back to what you said-you said realistic sets and fx made SF films more appealing to people because they didn't need suspension of disbelief but it also means that for those who do care about story and dialogue--they are necessarily as satisfied and since these films have been criticized for character and dialogue etc--the suspension of disbelief is not total. In other words you cant satisfy all of the people all of the time. Those who do care about the FX will be satisfied, but those who expect more will not be.
I thought the FX in Transformers 2007 was awful-not because the FX people did a bad job-but because it was choreographed in such a way to avoid showing it in the best light-and on top of that, it had awful characters and story. At least with Star Wars I can admire the humor or something, Transformers sucked, no matter how realistic the robots looked.
The quality of dialogue is not a dependent variable of the FX budget. They have nothing to do with each other.

The reason those films have sparse or simplistic dialogue is that is all they need to have to tell their stories. Great monologues and touching interpersonal moments aren't more realistic, unless you believe real life resembles theater. There is no suspension of disbelief for characters that are no.more sophisticated than their audience.
 

KGeo777

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There is no suspension of disbelief for characters that are no.more sophisticated than their audience.
But as I said, there are older SF films with cheaper FX and yet people compliment the stories acting etc, so it is not either or. Some people will watch 2001 and say they like the music but the characters bore them--that they have no emotional attachment to them like in other movies with less innovative fx.
 

Star-child

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But as I said, there are older SF films with cheaper FX and yet people compliment the stories acting etc, so it is not either or. Some people will watch 2001 and say they like the music but the characters bore them--that they have no emotional attachment to them like in other movies with less innovative fx.
I already pointed out that cost and script quality weren't mutually exclusive.

Not does dialogue quality contribute to realism. Which is what we are talking about.
 

KGeo777

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Not does dialogue quality contribute to realism. Which is what we are talking about.
For some suspension of disbelief is easy so a cardboard set is not a deal-breaker. For others it is. But for some poor dialogue can undermine suspension of disbelief also--it is not an absolute for either. Whether it is realistic is not so much the issue as being entertained, drawn into the story, etc.
For some bad or uninteresting dialogue and characters can be enough to break suspension of disbelief.
 

Star-child

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For some suspension of disbelief is easy so a cardboard set is not a deal-breaker. For others it is. But for some poor dialogue can undermine suspension of disbelief also--it is not an absolute for either. Whether it is realistic is not so much the issue as being entertained, drawn into the story, etc.
For some bad or uninteresting dialogue and characters can be enough to break suspension of disbelief.
That just doesn't appear to be an issue fans, critics or movie goers have with those beloved films.
 

BAYLOR

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I think we've gone way off topic on this one.
 

BAYLOR

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I already pointed out that cost and script quality weren't mutually exclusive.

Not does dialogue quality contribute to realism. Which is what we are talking about.
What are your thoughts on unlikable movie characters . Who do you think are the most unlikable and why? Thats what this topic really about.
 
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