Fan service in movies

  1. Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

    Nov 6, 2008
    i recently watched Blade Runner 2049 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

    Both movies had quite a lot of “fan service” and I have to say that I’m not sure whether I liked it or not.

    Star Wars had the whole Yoda thing, which I didn’t think was necessary at all. (I didn’t like this one bit.)

    Blade Runner was a bit more subtle, with the hooker made to look like Pris from the original and there were a few soundtrack cues that related to original too.

    What are your thoughts on fan service? Do you like it, or does it cheapen the movie?
    Feb 13, 2018 at 1:18 PM
  2. Montero

    Montero Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2008
    What is fan service?
    Feb 13, 2018 at 1:23 PM
  3. Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

    Nov 6, 2008
    Adding unnecessary content to a movie purely for fans.

    More often than not, it doesn’t add anything to a movie.
    Feb 13, 2018 at 1:55 PM
    Montero likes this.
  4. The Crawling Chaos

    The Crawling Chaos Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2014
    Interesting topic I never really took the time to sit down and think about, so thank you for creating it.

    I suppose a distinction should be made between what I would call pornographic fan service, which is distracting and serves no purpose other than having the fans cheer on in the theatre, and let's call it poetic fan service, which would be a more subtle form of the exact same thing, but that would serve the purpose of introducing some kind of tonal or formal resonance within a series of films belonging to the same universe. Sort of like rhymes in a poem, if you will.

    The first has the potential to really bother me because it becomes very hard to reconcile these manufactured elements with the greater thematic identity of the film they appear in. As an audience member I do not want to feel the presence of the filmmakers winking at me through the screen. The latter doesn't bother me at all as long as it's handled tastefully.

    So then it becomes a question of what falls into the first or second categories.

    Regarding the two examples you mentioned, I would be on the fence about Yoda - yes, there is definitely something that feels gratuitous about his appearance as an old-school puppet and his performance, which harks back to the days of the Empire Strikes Back, but at the same time I'm willing to give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt because it kind of makes sense that Yoda would appear to Luke to guide him if he ever became lost.

    The second example definitely falls into the second category for me - it's purely formal and it fits into that universe of manufactured, artificial people who all belong to one of several series of models, who probably share most of their genetic identity. I could definitely imagine that replicant prostitutes come in about a dozen of various identities, one of whom would be the "Pris" model with a similar look and base personality. Is it necessary to the movie? Not at all. Does it distract from it? Not in my case.
    Feb 13, 2018 at 2:22 PM
  5. Anthoney

    Anthoney Member

    Jan 1, 2018
    More often than not, I enjoy being serviced.
    Feb 13, 2018 at 4:44 PM
  6. Overread

    Overread Direwolf of the chrons

    Aug 22, 2007
    Hunting in the woods
    Honestly I'd say something like including Yoda in the new Starwars film isn't fanservice, but is simple continuation of the themes and characters and plot already established within the series thus far. If Yoda never made an appearance it would be stranger considering how he appears quite readily in ghost form.

    Instead I would argue that the fan service with regard to Yoda isn't that he appears, its that he's done using a puppet not CGI. That in itself is the fan-service. The use of the original technology and themes from a preceeding film for no reason other than to please fans at its use and return. This kind of visual element is often not noticed at first; things like model ships or the like can often be glossed over; but its great that it gets done.

    Otherwise I would say that fan-service is dropping in hints or background elements or even a quick camo appearance of someone or something that isn't part of the core plot of the story and which might even be only a reference to elements outside of the film itself. It might be a director or original actor taking up a role within the film in a minor way to appear before fans; it might be a quotation from another franchise (The several Firefly references in Castle); etc... Ergo I would say that fanservice just nudges a tiny bit at the window of the 4th wall. It risks breaking that bit of pure film seriousness and immersion to give a nod to the viewers and fans. Done right its subtle; does fit into the film and shouldn't distract.
    Feb 13, 2018 at 5:23 PM
    Montero likes this.

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