The Mummy: New or old

Recently, the Mummy was released in June, as a fan of the series of the Mummy, I felt excited, but also worry. Is the change a good thing? Should I praise its courage to progress and innovation or deny it?

After I finished watching, I found that the problem is not change or not, But the effect of this change is good or bad.

Let’s compare the new mummy and the old mummy, the old mummy means those two classic mummy movies which released in 1999 and 2001. I’m not exaggerate the fact, but these two opus really opened the world of fantasy film for me. “WOW! So cool!” is my favorite sentence when I was watching them.

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But time’s flying, I already watched so many commercial film in these years, although I still love the Mummy, but I have to say, my enthusiasm is reducing on it.

It’s so risky to review the classic.

New mummy retain lots of classic elements, for example, protagonist’s group has three people at least, strong and handsome protagonist, smart and beautiful heroine, interesting and funny male supporting role. They got the adventure team but still didn’t make a good film. The reason of the old mummy became classic films is the historical background, the story was happened in the early 20th century, human society get into the new time, industrial civilization started develop in high speed, the world pattern start changing after the World War, the immortal ancient evil gods awake in the chaotic times, the conflict and blending of old and new civilizations happened in the magnificent modern times, these elements are familiar, but also strange, all of these have strong adventurous, fantastic atmosphere.

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In the new mummy opus, the historical background is modern time, technology has great improvement, the sense of history and romantic color decline sharply.

About the actor, I think the male supporting role and the heroine are good, their image are suitable for the roles, but I don’t think Tom Cruise is suitable for this role, because he acts modern or future roles in most of his former opus, that’s not match with the adventure film.

Of course, actor’s image can makes audiences feel strange at best, the biggest problem is the movie’s type and emphasis, comedy and adventure are the most important elements, clearly, the new mummy lack of them.

Finally, as a fan of the mummy movie and Tom, I still hope more people can support this film, but I suggest you better forget the classic mummy when you are watching this. Its background music makes me feel a bit dreariness, actors are also tried their best to present an interesting story to audiences.

Kang Yuan

References:

http://movie.mtime.com/207927/reviews/8008162.html

https://movie.douban.com/review/8590553/#comments

Stifling Beauty: Lost and redemption

Music video (MV) is an important part for a song and its singer, with the times flying, more and more MVs become more and more interesting, audiences can see a completely story in MV, scene and sound were combined perfectly. Slowly, producer used to shoot MV with the same standard as a film.

 

Beautiful now’s MV is one of my favorite MVs. This song comes from Zedd who is an electronic music producer, and Jodeb is the screenwriter and director of this creative MV. The story tells the story of five people, a girl who wants to murder her lover, an old lonely mountaineer, a boy who wants to revenge with a gun, a bully robbed a supermarket but failed, a suicide attempt girl.

I was attracted by its rich plot, gorgeous colors and dazzling switching, specially the “We are beautiful, BAH BAH BAH BAH…BAH BAH BAH”, the picture will switch like a Powerpoint, that’s also the highlight of the whole music video. Vision match with the background music can bring audience into the climax naturally, at the same time, the story shows the role’s memoirs which full of laughter and dance, it seems a beautiful picture and have a clear comparison with the role’s current dilemma. The five stories are different, but there is one same point: they are not happy now, but they both have happy life before, that’s worth to remember.

I think the last interesting point is all protagonists see their faces at last. The lesbian see her face from the mirror after her lover was rescued, the old man fell on the ground then see his face from the water in front of him, juvenile see his face from the mirror next to him, Zedd see his face from the reflected light of the knife, suicide girl see her face rom the from the reflected light of the window. Meanwhile, the background music with “You’re Beautiful”. Maybe they will feel regret, life is so beautiful, how can just give it up just because some difficulties, just like the song’s name, beautiful now. That can highlight the key point of this MV: We’re all beautiful, and even when things look their worst or we do ugly things, there’s still a chance to see that beauty in all of us as well as life itself.

In my opinion, they have their own difficulties, they both remember the joy time when the moment they facing danger or death, it should be said do not to focus on the problem of life, in fact, happy time is always more than bad time. This interspersed story telling style let me watch it over and over again, the editing makes every second, every frame is stifling, strong sense of rhythm makes audiences cannot stop watching.

Kang Yuan

References:

http://www.vmovier.com/46889

https://www.zhihu.com/question/31229328

https://www.zhihu.com/question/39077939/answer/126947670

Demon Seals Online: Innovation of China’s CG movie

Demon Seals Online is a China’s online game, it launched a CG game movie in 2015. Whether it is role’s details or movement of object and hair, this opus represents high level tech on CG area.

In China, the biggest problem on CG area are investment and details this opus changes people’s mind. The duration of this movie is just more than 6 minutes, but it cost 13 million RMB and two years to finish it, For example, this picture of the old monk, it’s so difficult to reduction people’s skin details, the CG makers have to simulate every details to bring accurate visual cognition to audiences, such as pores, wrinkles, spots. Although this work isn’t worth to highlight, but in China, it’s a rare opus in this area.

In this movie, there are lot of elements have strong relation with the real world, for example, production group shot the real jokul as the CG material. Except that, the monk is sitting on the dais to fight. In fact, the artists research lot of books and historical sites to set up the dais.

Talk about the big scene shot, this picture is from the Demon Seals Online CG movie.

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Actually, every single soldier in the picture has different action, CG makers need to use computer to act the “figurant”, then the computer decide action by itself, this step can save a mass of CG makers’ work. In the past, if we want to shot the scene like this, we need to invite hundreds of people as figurant, but now we just need to have a set of computer equipment. I think the CG maker team of the Demon Seals Online did a good work and use it to prove China’s CG team is progressing.

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(This one is a picture from The lord of the Rings.)

In China, there is an old saying, if you want to do your job well, you need to make your tool well first, I want to use this saying in China’s CG movie, if Chinese want to make better film, CG tech is a very necessary part, whether we pay more investment or pursue more details, it’s always “make the tool well”. In the past, some Chinese directors do not pay much attention to CG technology, for the knowledge of special effects, they were still stay in the way to make up the mistakes, relative to the star paycheck and publicity, the fee for the special effects is too little. In recent years in China, CG movies are developing, many works received praise. Recall that Chinese do not know much about the computer when Hollywood launched the Toy Story. Have to say that many of China’s production team is trying to learn the experience from the West, at the same time, with constant practice to increase their experience. Although there are still many shortcomings, but the film let me see the hope of innovation.

Kang Yuan

References:

https://www.zhihu.com/question/36556196

http://news.17173.com/content/2015-10-30/20151030152613482_all.shtml

Transmedia Storytelling: take The Matrix as example

In the ideal state, each media platform is doing their own special part for storytelling. For example, the overall information of the Matrix is not limited in movie itself. They are spread by films, series of animated short films, comic story books and lots of relevant games. In the multi-screen era, there is almost impossible a single platform can display all of information that audiences needed.

 

American producer association had founded a position called “Transmedia producer”, which can explain that understand transmedia narrative is an important lesson from producer to marketer. Among them, producer need to change their way of thinking from traditional single-line story thinking to transmedia narrative mode, and marketer need that more.

 

In fact, since Warner Bros own DC, and DC published their new comics before Warner’s new movies Batman Begins and Superman returns, it is not difficult to find out the merger and acquisition, or synergy between different media platform has make transmedia get huge improvement. Similar practice makes audience be able to gain more background information and strengthen their viewing experience. As I mentioned before, new comics released not only has promotional effect for the coming movies, but also combine the promotion and entertainment effectively.

 

From the first episode The Matrix was released in 1999, it has been exploited to various media form and were popular. In the next part, i will show some different form to present the entire “phenomenon of the Matrix”.

 

Animation

A successful presentation of transmedia is Animatrix, which is a series of nine animated short films set in the world of The Matrix. They were was released in 2003, bringing together some of the most influential talent of the anime world and still free downloaded. A fifth film (Final Fight of the Osiris, informally deemed ‘The Matrix 1.5’) was shown theatrically with Dreamcatcher to allow viewers to learn the setup for Reloaded before the release of that film.(The MATRIX101, 2003)

Game

With the succeed of the Matrix, a series of relevant games were exploited as well, and released in GameCube, PS2, Windows and Xbox these gaming platform. The design of these games are similar with the movie, which is the important constituent part of the Matrix. This close working relationship between filmmakers and game producers is a first for either industry and is leading to groundbreaking games that would be impossible to produce otherwise.(The MATRIX101, 2003)

Comic book

The comics about the Matrix has been released two volumes so far. Meanwhile, the Matrix also interact with audiences online, to meet their reading requirement on the internet rather than buy a book.

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CAO ZHENHUI

 

Reference

 

http://thematrix101.com/animatrix/ 

Kangsi Coming: witness of Taiwan verity show changing

Recent years, there were too many funny variety show came out in China. Such as Freak talk, Roast… From the scenery to program form, there is copying Taiwan talk show more or less. However, there was a talk show has been broadcasting 12 years, once was the most popular talk show between Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, become a unforgotten memory for most of post-80 Chinese. It is so-called the forerunner Chinese entertainment talk show: Kangsi Coming.

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Ten years ago, I was attracted by this show when I watched it first time. In that episode, Kevin Tsai and Dee Hsu was interviewing the former Nationalist party chairman Lien Chan. The whole show was full of laughing and fun. It was difficult to imagine that some serious topics could be discussed by a relaxed and happy way like that. At that time, mainstream talk show in mainland China were serious and boring, full of preaching, which makes most of young audience felt disgusted.

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Before Kangsi Coming was shut down, except a few episodes were interviewed celebrities, most of them are talk about some hot topics like “Evolution of idols”, “parenting experiences between wife and mother-in-law” and so on. These topics are contemporary young people cares extremely, which has multiple values and funny.

 

Another popular Taiwan variety show called University. This program was produced by Wang Wei Chung and James Chan, they are the producer of Kangsi Coming as well. They focus on college students , discuss different thoughts of young people. Such as: “relationship”, “generation gap between parents and children”, “Part time job”. it is also object to preaching audience but use entertaining way.

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With Kangsi Coming and University were shut down and many excellent variety shows comes out in China, more and more Chinese young people turns their attention to mainland variety shows. Meanwhile, many famous producers in Taiwan also move their office to mainland. James Chan and his team cooperates with Chinese entertainment company AIQIYI, produced two variety shows named Hungry Sisters and University (mainland version) both have positive response. According to AIQIYI official statistic, Hungry sister totally gained 40 billions play amount in China, which is a good mark in online show.(Chen, 2016) However, no matter Hungry Sister or University, there are always some questioned sounds around them, which is still copying Kangsi Coming in a way. Such as some old gags of Kangsi coming still used in Hungry Sister.

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Faced with this question James Chan expressed: “There are nothing change in Taiwan variety show, but mainland’s programs has get huge improved.” Audience’s interest changing so fast, they might be lost interest if a program got nothing change in several months. As a producer who has 20 years experience, James has been researching audience’s interest, so that predicted which kind of program will be popular in the future, “At least make the program out half years before.” 

CAO ZHENHUI

 

Yang C, 2016, Hungry Sister get succeed by 40 billions play amount, accessed in: http://www.jiemian.com/article/892867.html 

Wonder women and her responsibility: save DC, change Hollywood

A cardiotonic for DC and Warner Bros

 

In terms of building their own super heroes, Warner Bros has struggled many years. Compare with Marvel Studio, Warner Bros seems like a impatient player, seeking quick success but run to the opposite direction. From the Batman V Superman to Suicide Squad, each film both revealing their ambition for catching Marvel’s step. However, originally should have an equal footing with the Avengers, the Batman V Superman not only was criticized by media, what is more, the box office was robbed by Deadpool, which the cost of production is only one-fifth of BVS.(Agar, 2016)

 

After all, the most deadly defect of BVS and Suicide Squad is too anxious to put as many roles as possible into two hours film, but reckon without audience’s viewing experience and acceptance. Therefore, these series of super heroes movies neither did great on the story itself nor build a solid super hero image because it is too difficult to happens within two hours. Even if the Man of Steel also being criticized by lack of emotional bedding narrative and sermonic lines.

 

video link:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2016/mar/24/batman-v-superman-ben-affleck-henry-cavill-video-interview

At this point, Wonder women showed up and hit a wonderful turnaround. The director put world war as the background of whole story but build up a huge blueprint of the world, so that earn more time to shape a character, talk about her relationship and growth experience. After all, for the current DC, there is nothing more important than build a real popular role for audiences. Meanwhile, Wonder Women also could be a example to shake the long-term promotion mode in a way. For a long time, there are sixty percent audiences of super heroes films are male.(Wilson, 2014) If Wonder women can keep male audiences and attract more female audiences at the same time, it must impact the future of Hollywood pattern. Just imagine, young male audiences no longer the only target group that all producers chasing, because female audiences also need super hero’s story to cheer them up and cause their resonance.

 video link:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2016/jul/25/wonder-woman-film-trailer-comic-con-dc-superhero-video 

 

Break the invisible ceilings

 

Refer to the sexism of film industry, i am afraid there is no more any position severer than female directors. According to relevant statistics, in 2016, women make up just 7 percent of all directors on the top 250 films, and has been two percent decline from 2015.(Kilday, 2017) Before Wonder women came out, there is only K-19: the widowmaker over 10 billions cost film directed by women. What’s more, from Fifty shades of Grey to Pitch Perfect 2, even though there were some impressive work directed by female director, they also be treated as a case.

 

The same problem was bothering Patty Jenkins as well. “Of cause in the end of that day, I see it and I see a women playing that war and I am so excited that it make some different.”

 

Cao Zhenhui

 

 

Agar.C, 2016, Batman V Superman cant beat Deadpool in North America, accessed in http://screenrant.com/batman-v-superman-box-office-deadpool-domestic/

 

Wilson.M, 2014, Five Thirty Eight Digs Into Demographics Of Superheroes, Finds theyre Still Overwhelmingly man, accessed in

http://comicsalliance.com/fivethirtyeight-superhero-demographic/

 

Kilday G, 2017, Study: Female Filmmakers Lost Ground in 2016, accessed in:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/women-filmmakers-2016-statistics-show-female-directors-declined-number-963729

Network film: hopeful job and challenge

Written by Kang Yuan

2015 is a rapid growth year for network films. After the “micro-film”, “Internet movies”, “new media film” and other business models have failed, the “Network movie” in the video site paid “outlet” under the business was an unprecedented success.

AiQiYi, for example, before 2015, their network of large film library has only a total amount of about 200, to the end of 2015 it growth of 612, several major production companies are still filling their library content with around more than 30 percent a year. For the producer it is positive, because the net profit is very transparency. “Taoist mountain” with their production cost around 28 million, access more than 20 times profit in the end. It changes the awareness of people for the network movie from the ground. The whole network behind the large area seems to be a large precious deposits to be dig. Some young people can directly upload to Youtube and other video sites after the shooting the production of low-cost network movie with their film dreams, they also want to use this as their habit, this job is easy to join the career, everyone can do it, but it is also difficult, it’s hard to do it well.

Music Video analysis: Last Dance

Written by Kang Yuan

Last Dance is Bigbang’s song, Bigbang is the highest level Tony & Smash, they publish this song before T.O.P join the army, T.O.P is the oldest one of them, other members are G-DRAGON、TAEYANG、DAESUNG、SEUNGRI, join the army is a very serious event in Korea. In my opinion, this is a sad song and what they want to tell is they don’t willing their old brother and fans.

Not a VIP but damn the MV got me so emotional. They’re some of the strongest going group from the 2nd gen that still has high public support, and god if words can even explain how as a Cassiopeia, my envy for them keeping their lineup.( EunHae_AKTF)

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I am afraid that time will let us go drifting away, one day you will no longer be with me.

The sky is full of fireflies. You are incarnated as one of the stars shining on me.

This two sentences are the lyric, which means their fans, they are saying: “Please wait for me, I’ll sing this song and walk to you when I come back.”

References:

EunHae_AKTF, 2016, Big Bang last dance MV analysis

https://www.asianfanfics.com/blog/view/1178992

Narua, 2016, BIGBANG ‘LAST DANCE’ MV REVIEW

http://aminoapps.com/page/k-pop/1557720/bigbang-last-dance-mv-review

“Dan Mu” in Bilibili: Understanding of a Model of Movie-Watching in the Context of Assemblage

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Dan mu can also be called as “bullet screen” which is a model of movie-watching that has been widely used by website and has been introduced in certain cinemas in China since 2014. It is the function that allows audiences to text message during they watch a video and their message will be projected onto the screen which means it offers a access for audience to exchange their opinions and ideas about this video in a virtual “public space”. Casstti argues that assemblage is “what transforms a collection [of components] into a whole” (80) , and it is a kind of unpredictable process which keeps developing and combines disparate elements into a dynamic circle.

In the case of “Dan Mu”,  audience’s discourse are added in this process which plays a role of re-decoding text.What needs to be paid attention to is that this kind of re-decoding are shared to other audiences directly, and even, this kind of sharing is not limited in time and space cause once audiences choose to turn on “Dan Mu”, the messages from people watched this before or are watching this can all be shown. So watching a video or film on Bilibili is not only a process that audiences connect with the content of video or the environment of watching it anymore, it is more like a process of discussing a certain topic or issues with other people. If cinema is like a ecosystem, I think the meaning of Dan Mu in those websites plays a role of what the first cognitive revolution plays in the history of humankind which means a kind of new mode to think and to communicate. It is the first cognitive revolution enables human approaches the top of food cycle in nature, and Dan mu may changes the way people identify cinema in there future.

Reference

Carol Vernallis (2013), “YouTube Aesthetics”, in: Unruly Media, New York: Oxford University Press

By Yi Zhang

Music Video of Ride (2012) : Can music video be a new mode of cinema?

The characteristics of Music Video in contemporary period seems to be repetitive scenes follow the  rhythm or lyrics, non-narrative visual effects,  the reflectivity of music video makes it become a almost synonymous of postmodernism. It is like a kind of thing that stems from cinema but at the same time destroying cinema. Vernellis points out a kind of aesthetics of music video after 19080s which is called as ‘mixing board aesthetic’, it it characterized by new digital technologies, new kinds of cross media authorship and new trans media potentials for expression (2013,P5-6). Those elements in the tendency of music video’s development make it even goes far away from the conventional identification of cinema. However, Music video shows its potential to be closer to the concept of cinema in recent decade.

Ride is a sony by Lana Del Rey which released in 2012, what makes me interested in that is the music video of this song. The duration of this song is about 4 minutes, but the music video of that remains 10 minutes long. The basic editing method of this video is montage but this video shows a clear sense of traditional narrative model of cinema because of the long monologue of singer before the music. It even makes it become that music itself is subordinated to the story in the video that the director tries to show, but at the same time, this kind of mode does appeals strong empathy of audiences both about the scenes and the music, therefore, the story in the video and the music of this video together creates a new way to connect with audiences which is different from mere cinema or MTV. If, in a fundamental way, music and cinema actually are all about expression, maybe Music Video provides a new direction of people to express in a more coherent way.

Reference

Carol Vernallis (2013), “Music Video’s Second Aesthetic” in: Unruly Media, New York: Oxford University Press

By Yi Zhang