Past, Future and Dinosaurs: The Movies That Made Us | newspaper

Films that may or may not be artistically relevant – in the most pure and romantic sense within the canons of the seventh art – but were certainly significant for their cultural influence beyond the confines of the screen. take care of them The films that shaped us, a Netflix original documentary series whose first season premiered at the end of 2019, with four chapters dedicated to hot dance (Emile Ardolino, 1987), hard to kill (John McTiernan, 1988), Ghostbusters (Evan Reitman, 1984) y My poor angel (1990, Chris Columbus).

The second season, which has just been released on the same platform, deals with four other films; Some of them not only trained us, but also marked a new way in filmmaking, especially in terms of special effects. They showed us that the impossible world was entirely possible, at least during the two hours we spent in an armchair in front of the screen – and then in the chair or armchair or whatever, because those are the movies we watched by mistake. television -.

The first chapter of this new season is dedicated to less than Back to the future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985) It focuses, as in this series, on the backgrounds that gave life to the film out of its plot. Bob Gill, who wrote the script with Zemeckis, is the most relevant person interviewed and tells how the project has evolved since he came up with a very simple idea, after visiting his parents’ house, in the early 1980s, when he was browsing through his father’s high school yearbook, who went To the same institute he attended nearly 30 years ago: what would it be like to share that time? Will father and son be friends?

Thus was born this unique blend of comedy and sci-fi that, against all odds, turned out to be the highest-grossing movie in the United States in 1985. Because, come on, a priori, his argument is very strange and very oedipal: a teenager travels to the past, his future mother falls in love with him, then she must make him communicate with his future father, otherwise he will not be born? What were they smoking?

The most die-hard of movie enthusiasts surely know the labyrinths of production by heart, and those who don’t, here have an entertaining way to find out. For example, Eric Stoltz was the first actor to be hired for the role of Marty McFly, because Michael J Fox – the director’s original choice – wasn’t available, but after five weeks of filming they fired him, since the Zemeckis gave him a chance for a more serious – and even dark – tone for the film . Finally, they were able to hire Fox, and we already know what happened.

It is interesting to see, once again, how in almost all cultural mega-successes – of any kind – there is always someone who is supposed to know – generally, an executive – and order changes that show they don’t really know much but that fortunately don’t internalize. . Like that Parama CEO who told Francis Ford Coppola over and over again, while creating The Godfather (1972), that he didn’t even think about choosing Marlon Brando for the role of Vito Corleone … Here we have Sidney Sheenberg, president of Universal, who wanted to change the name of the movie, because “Back to the Future” seemed like a temporary contradiction and I didn’t understand it, when he sums up this title Exactly its essence, in such a clear way that it loses its grace if explained. What was the name the director wanted? Spaceman from Pluto (“Space Man from Pluto”) …

The one who answered kindly that they wouldn’t change the title was the film’s executive producer, Steven Spielberg, who was the protagonist in another chapter of the series – although not specifically interviewed, but it appears thanks to the archive – dedicated to Jurassic Park, which he directed and released in 1993, which became the highest grossing in history at the time (will there still be someone who hasn’t seen it?).

This chapter shows how, at the dawn of the 1990s, the process that culminated in the widespread use of CGI (computer-generated graphics, for its English acronym) was to “create” dinosaurs, a technology that would later become ubiquitous in cinema. the current from Hollywood. In addition to the famous animation – a giant mechanically controlled robot – of the dinosaur, which was used for the closest shots, the original idea was to use ancient animation technology stop motion (frame by frame), but Spielberg wasn’t convinced by the first results.

So, even within a Hollywood blockbuster of $65 million – plus another equal amount only for a marketing campaign – where everything is under tight control, you need someone a little rebellious, with a romantic head and handcrafted, to break the mold and improve the art product. So Steve Williams, who specializes in visual effects, worked secretly—because they didn’t trust him—to design an all-digital specimen of a running dinosaur. The rest is history and has been left on the screen (the person responsible for stop motionPhil Tibbett, who walked here and there with puppets, and watched the results achieved with his keyboard and mouse, exclaimed: “I am extinct!”).

The other chapters of the series are dedicated to Forrest Gump (Another of Zemeckis, from 1994) and Pretty woman (Gary Marshall, 1990). The latter, among those addressed in the new season, is much simpler (and that is not taking into account the plot of a prostitute who finds “salvation” in a charming prince and a millionaire …).

As is usually the case for short Netflix documentaries with short chapters – no longer than 50 minutes – the pace is amazing, judging by our times of inattention. narrator in turning off It’s ubiquitous and makes jokes about; There is a constant switch between the film’s in-service images and interviewees’ comments, which if they appear to talk for more than 30 seconds without a single cut is a miracle. But, nevertheless, you have a good time, and of course you want to see again these films that we know by heart and which, for the most part, are also on Netflix.

The films that shaped us (The movies that made us). Creada Pour Brian Folk Weiss. Netflix.

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