Trope-a-Dope

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This essay on how knowing too much makes you jaded to new things & leaves said people liking nothing more than to inform other people how crap things are is too much like Voltaire's description of Candide's visit to the house of Senator Pococurante. Try to be more original next time :smug:

Dark Templar:
Thank you, exactly what I was thinking.

There are a lot of jaded twats on the internet, even here on this site.

Hear that guys? No one thinks your cool.

My mom thinks I'm cool. Bro.

Pseudonym2:
I never got the complaints that Avatar was too much like Pocahontas or Dancing with With Wolves. It's an allegory of the material that those two movies were based on. It's like complaining that Animal Farm is Stalin with Pigs.

It's not that it's just similiar to those movies, it's just that it's so blatant about just being yet another Native American movie only all the indians are painted blue. There's being LIKE something else, and then there's just flat out plagiarizing it. Regardless, my personal issues with Avatar weren't so much about the plot, but had a lot more to do with Cameron's needless dicking around and time wasting in the flick. About the only positive comments I've heard about Avatar all stem from one basic thing "Ohhh, it's so pretty" and it takes a lot more than just neat CGI to make me give a shit about a movie.

On topic: I can't tell if this was just a general rant about internet know it alls, or just yet another "boo hoo, my vagina hurts" rant about how he doesn't understand people could not like Avatar.

HYNEDAMMIIIIIIT!!! I HATE when I lose my post! Especially when I've typed a fuckload and was almost done! Dammit, Escapist, stop refreshing! Fugah!

Y'know, I don't feel like reiterating what I was gonna post. Not now. Let's see if I can bulletpoint it and drop the couple vids I wanted down.

* Avoiding/Disregarding something despite its details and/or attention to detail and execution is a dick move for yourself and others.
* In hanging with my sister whose TV is set to Disney Channel too much, I've found redeeming (or at least not-offensive-to-my-brain) moments/aspects in some of the most decried [children's] TV of our time.
* (Whoever made the commercial for some special Hhaannuh Mhontaanuh episode don't know the dissonance</TVT> of the upbeat music, pause, finish out setup of a joke to a [melo]dramatic line ("If I knew Lilly'd be annoying to live with, [pause] I wouldn't've invited her." [paraphrase]).)
* (Hearing the lyrics (or something close) of the horrible "JoBros" song "Sady Hawkins Dance" (how is that spelled?) in an episode with that premise caused me dread (but the TV's off after expressing my distress).)
* No matter the details put in, if the tropes don't feel right or natural (unless it's a comedy, which need (at the least) only be [rule of] funny), which if the creator of a literally epic seven-part The Phantom Menace review is as right on Avatar as he was for SWEpI, I may have no interest in Cameron's new flick (esp. with those "Disney eyes").


* [insert badly typed outcry about having a paragraph-closing quotation mark mid-'dialog']
* [cue marvel at realising "dialog" is a word [to Opera's spellchecker], then wonder at what [I'd known] it means]
* [NEW [for this]: being bothered both at the spellchecker underlining "realising" and that I type such words with "s"[e]s instead of "z"[e]s very often]
* [NEW: why is a Super Bowl Announcement on the related videos for an Avatar review (a Featured Video by barelypolitical (a name which now intrigues me), and why do I see "Heidi Montag" as "Hannah Montana"? aside, I went with "Heidi" as a default name on PKMN Platinum to in speeding through for an early-game quote, and now I've seen the name twice since (less than a school week, for shizzle, I think); such coincidences...)

EDIT:

Dark Templar:
I thought the way Avatar delved into great detail about both opposing cultures, all the characters, their motivations, the technology, the biology of the forest, ect.

The technology and biology of the forest things seem like technical aspects, which I've found with my own little story-in-my-head that while I like the mechanics of my own little world (which over time I find to be more and more unoriginal, but I like their solidarities), my actual "story" part is less interesting than the fight arcs of Dragon Ball Z.

And I squee at seeing someone use "all that jazz".

I must say, I really like this article.

To be honest, I've never really understood what's so addictive about TV Tropes that some people would regularly keep 300+ tabs open just for that site. Sure it can be informative when looking into fiction across all forms of media, but it's just something I've never thought of being that interesting, or something that I would want to read addictively.

I'm also pretty sure this article has guaranteed me no longer becoming fond of that website either. As informative and enlightening it may be, becoming that skilled in reading between the lines and ignoring the small details that make the scenes different from one another to tear apart the cliches is something I don't want to do. I'd much rather be the person who has seen such a theme presented once or twice and think of it as original and clever then and there.

Casual Shinji:
I don't dislike Avatar because it isn't original, but because it does absolutely nothing unique in any way except for the CGI.

Isn't that essentially the same thing? Original means it hasn't been done before, and unique means there's nothing else like it. I'm not understanding the difference between something being unoriginal and something not having anything unique about it.

Zombie_Fish:
To be honest, I've never really understood what's so addictive about TV Tropes that some people would regularly keep 300+ tabs open just for that site. ...
As informative and enlightening it may be, becoming that skilled in reading between the lines and ignoring the small details that make the scenes different from one another to tear apart the cliches is something I don't want to do.

1) It's because of all the links in the midst of an article that you right-click and open the tab in the background, then go on reading the page you're on, then continue with the next. It's like a Hydra of interest-relevance.
2) Usually it's all in fun, and there's humor in both just listing so many things by themselves, there's also the elaborations of any entry's particularities, since they're usually written by someone in such a way that you laugh at their anger, their dismay, their sadness (as in getting all teary), and their amusement on a subject. They point out the similarities and the defining factors.

KNOCK IT OFF! YOU ARE NOT A JADED ACADEMIC! YOU HAVE NOT 'SEEN IT ALL BEFORE!' YOU JUST READ IT ON TV TROPES BECAUSE YOU HAD AN HOUR TO KILL BETWEEN LUNCH AND FIREFLY RERUNS! NOW SHUT THE HELL UP AND APOLOGIZE TO THE 10 YEAR-OLD YOU JUST SPENT TWENTY MINUTES CHEWING OUT FOR NOT REALIZING THAT KRULL HAD A GIANT SPIDER BEFORE HARRY POTTER DID!"

And on this day new copypasta was born.

MovieBob:
"Until the day that they would realize, with unfolding horror, the toll of their quest: That in seeking only the 'original' they had forgone the power to perceive all else. That they would never again be able to recognize 'beautiful,' 'moving' or even 'frightening'... unable to truly see anything but for the dust it was made of. That having 'seen everything before' means you never really see anything again."

"Aha", said the young man, "I can tell you the tale of a man captured by aliens who have seen everything, but he manages to tell them something completely original."

The aliens sighed and said "Twilight Zone - The New Series : I Of Newton."

image

"Bollocks" said the young man.

I must say that's one helluva zinger. I do really wish people all over would stop acting like the cool, aloof, world-weary Aragorn-esque character and realize they're a bunch twenty-somethings working odd jobs while they procrastinate through higher education. Though I'm still not interested in Avatar, mostly because I wonder if Cameron is trying to feel less guilty than being a billionaire in these unsure times.

That... is... brilliant. Seriously, this was an amazing column. I think I'll link this on a few of those Avatar-bashing threads on the web.

Dark Templar:

lokidr:

It was completely unoriginal in narrative. The visuals were stunning. The world details in the other materials were fascinating but largely not included in the movie. The cultures were not original, they weren't supposed to be, it would have ruined allegory and message.

So, it's great eye candy with a wealth of details implied but not examined in the movie. I liked the movie but I prefer more originality in narrative so I didn't think it should be lauded as great movie. But that's why it's art, people can disagree.

Indeed, our differences in opinion are what make for interesting conversation.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the it may not be original as a whole the shear amount of depth was stunning enough to make me like the movie.

I may just be biased though. I'm part native american and just love a good FUCK YOU WHITE MAN type movie XD

Where you see depth, I see plot holes. You like Avatar for other reasons but what does that really say about the movie as a whole? The line between "classic" and "cliche" is how often I've seen it and how much I still like it. Bob panned Book of Eli as unoriginal but I liked it but I just like post-apocalypse movies. That doesn't mean Bob was wrong.

Excellent collumn! Gave me loads to think about, and far less to be paralysingly miserable about. Thanks!

As I've come to expect with regard to discussing audiences, Bob, you hit the nail on the head.

A teensy bit preachy in the end there, but still an awesome article definitely laying down some "needed-to-be-said" stuff. Nice One!

Excellent article. I love Tv Tropes by the way, although your article was correct. But I would like to cite you (and everyone who uses tropes to bash stuff) this perticular trope: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheTropelessTale

To summarize it quickly, it is litteraly impossible to write a story without a trope. The real trick is to take old tropes and make them new/exciting/moving again. Avatar did have an amazing fictional world, and I appluade them for that. But the plot not only failed at being interesting, it didn't even try. It was exactly like Pocahauntus/Dances with Wolves, which sucks because the world they created was so much better than a quick "Stop fucking the enviroment" lecture.

Bob, can we talk?

MovieBob:
As a critic, I see a lot of movies - often multiple films in a day, multiple days a week. And that's just at theaters; I see even more at home. In fact, on average I'd say I see at least one new-to-me movie every other day, and that's probably lowballing it. Most people, I'm well aware, don't consume movies this way. The majority of the public maybe sees a new movie each week, and maybe a handful at theaters.

Are you upset at others who put in less "work" than you do the same things you do or that they get it wrong? Seeing the 50,000th person to make a "dances with smurfs" joke does get old but that doesn't make the narrative original.

MovieBob:
Is it really more satisfying to ignore/dismiss all of that innovation in order to roll your eyes about "The Hot Amazon" or Quaritch being a "General Ripper"?

And y'know what? Even if the answer is "yes," that still doesn't excuse being a douchebag about it - there's no greater abuse of nerdity than treating someone like crap because they've spent slightly less time cataloguing backstory minutia from Dragonball than you have. I'm aware that this is perpetrated mostly by "my people" . . . .

You know, Bob, you have panned your far share of movies for being unoriginal. Is this about movie watchers or Movie Bob watchers?

Every person who intends to reference TV Tropes should be required to link three pages first:
Tropes Are Tools
TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life
Just Relax

Dammit Bob.

I have WORK to do today. But now I'm browsing TV Tropes. Thanks a lot.

Zombie_Fish:
I must say, I really like this article.

To be honest, I've never really understood what's so addictive about TV Tropes that some people would regularly keep 300+ tabs open just for that site. Sure it can be informative when looking into fiction across all forms of media, but it's just something I've never thought of being that interesting, or something that I would want to read addictively.

Well some of us are obsessive geeks fascinated by how many things in the world are connected to each other, and extend it to our entertainment as well. If you're not, or prefer to look into these things another way, that's cool too. To each his own.

My life has been ruined by TV Tropes as well, but I wonder at how many tropers forget Tropes are Not Bad. All houses are built with hammers and nails, but some are well-built but plain, some are beautiful masterpieces, and some are just disasters.

As for Avatar: Yes, the story was pedestrian. Yes, the visuals were stunning. Yes, the acting seemed flat at times. But it was the details that did win me over despite the hackneyed plot, most notably how the Na'vi could directly interface with the other lifeforms on their planet. (But surprisingly, not with each other during sex.) Hometree wasn't just a big plant, it was the repository of their culture. The humans didn't just burn down some trees, they destroyed the Na'vi equivalent to the Library of Alexandria, and as a librarian and student of history, that resonated with me.

Avatar catches alot of flak because it's 1) really frelling popular and 2) hyped to hell and back. Being popular it gets talked about alot. Being (over)hyped it's going to have a bunch of folks who are disappointed or unimpressed by the level of frothing fandom the movie has generated.

It's a stunning visual experience. It has a smooth if not original or intricate narrative. The acting was stellar for a sci-fi/eco flick, but certainly not the best out there. Avatar is a box office behemoth and no amount of internet psuedo-critics are going to change that.

love the quote at the end, and it's so damn true

*sticks his head in after months of absence*

That was beautiful, Bob... just beautiful. I've been trying to tell people this for YEARS. It's a real shame when they don't get it, especially when it comes to stuff like Avatar. Luckily, though, the only people that look at it that way are the pompous asshats who refuse to look at the WHOLE picture instead of just the overall.

*returns to the wilds of the internet*

This was amazingly, and magnificently written. But very depressing.

Great article Bob.

This is what I am always telling my friends. You do not need to be original to tell a good story.

Avatar is just the modern example of this, its been happening for years.

That's a nice story. Maybe not entirely original, but I still loved it.

I tend to think that the reason why people are picking on Avatar isn't necessarily because of the unoriginal story, but perhaps because they can't put their finger on some of the deeper issues bothering them about the film, like some of the strange disparities between the apparent amount of thought put into different parts of the film.
For instance, since Cameron had crafted the world in such detail, why didn't he really make the characters (including the bad guys) his own?

Of course it's like you say, tropes aren't bad, it all depends on what you make of them.

the1ultimate:
That's a nice story. Maybe not entirely original, but I still loved it.

that's what you call a Meta-Joke.

Altorin:

the1ultimate:
That's a nice story. Maybe not entirely original, but I still loved it.

that's what you call a Meta-Joke.

I wouldn't say so, considering the tone the end of the story seemed to have to me.

I'd call it irony.

Interesting article and far too true. One of the reasons I stopped paying attention to internet celebrity The Nostalgia Critic was because of his 'Chester A. Bum' review of District 9 (best movie I saw last year) where he said the film sucks because 'aliens on earth', 'robot powersuits', 'corrupt corporations', 'guys mutating into aliens', 'faux-documentary style' and 'exploding bodies' had been done in other films before and therefore District 9 had NOTHING original about it. This was the point where I just said "mate, you don't know SHIT" and decided never to take his word for anything ever again.

I love TV Tropes and it doesn't surprise me that Bob is aware of it (and probably a regular contributor) himself.

the1ultimate:

Altorin:

the1ultimate:
That's a nice story. Maybe not entirely original, but I still loved it.

that's what you call a Meta-Joke.

I wouldn't say so, considering the tone the end of the story seemed to have to me.

I'd call it irony.

Ok, that's what I call a Meta-Joke :P

A logical question now: Is it possible to retain a more-than-temporary feeling of "Mister know-it-all"?

that little interlude story was....pretty excellent.....

Thanks, MovieBob. I, for one, will keep this in mind next time I start feeling like I've "been there and done that". We're all guilty of being jaded sometimes, but your article reminded me to step back and just enjoy stories again. 'Preciate it.

Yes, there is a preoccupation for an originality that doesn't exist. Nothing is really new. The important thing isn't the story but how it's told.

And that's where Avatar falls. It's an ok film, spectacular in it's way. But you can't justify the narrative of Avatar by mentioning the scarcity of original storylines because that's clearly a fact every movie has to deal with. And yes, you don't have to be a douchebag about it, but that's a completely different argument.

The article has a good point, there are those that gain a sense of superiority by being able to reference other (usually more obscure) stories to diminish another. I don't think Avatar is a good example of this though.

Very true.

Of course, that's not to say TvTropes.org is a bad website. That site is a whole new kind of entertainment, like reading out of a history or literary criticism text on modern culture that was written by people who aren't boring, and is cross-linked up the wazoo.

Like nuclear power, the good or bad of becoming trope-literate is on what you do with it.

Dark Templar:
Thank you, exactly what I was thinking.

There are a lot of jaded twats on the internet, even here on this site.

Hear that guys? No one thinks your cool.

I don't need others to validate my coolness, for I am cool incarnate.

There really are no more "original" stories. There haven't been for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. What we have now are countless variations on themes, and occasionally a new concept swapped in to replace an old one. Seeing how these variations can play out is good enough for me.

Sadly, it's not good enough for those people who just have to be one of the "cool rebel" types, who think that hating something everyone loves just because everyone loves it makes them "ahead of the curve" or "smarter than the sheep". And then they fanatically and tirelessly belabor their opinion as stone-solid fact, based on nothing more than their own beliefs and views. Because, obviously, if you like THAT movie you're a freaking moron, since nobody with a triple-digit IQ would be caught dead watching it. The fact that it broke every sales record in the universe only means that everyone else is stupid- but I'M smart, since I know it's terrible.

Yadda yadda, blah blah, etc. You've heard this story before.

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