Jan. 21st, 2014

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I saw Spike Jonze's Her on Saturday and I loved it approximately 1000% more than I was expecting to. I'd wanted to see it, but I hadn't conquered the lurking fear that this was going to be an SF spin on tired old Manic Pixie Dream Girl tropes. Well, I was completely wrong.

Her turned out to be really well-made, thoughtful SF, and hit basically every narrative button I have: it was an SF love story, a story about AI that wasn't dystopic or grim, a story that did its worldbuilding by zooming in as close as possible on one well-drawn character and only showing you the bits of the world he happened to interact with (which is my favorite way to do it).

It's a film that asks a few simple foundational questions: can AIs and humans love one another? What form could that love take? What are the difficulties-- and the advantages-- to love between a human and a disembodied sentience? And it takes the time to think through its premise, to actually consider the implications of what it's positing, and work through those implications in the life of one person.

All that is happening in the service of a love story that is compelling, often sweet, and genuinely thought-provoking. I don't want to get into spoiler territory, but the way the relationship progressed, developed, and changed over the course of the film was really, really interesting, and genuinely a joy to watch.

Having said all that, there was another aspect of the film that made me really happy, and that's the production design. Someone clearly sat down and thought for a while about what kind of material culture the world of the film should have, what aesthetic trends hold sway in that future culture, what the logical implications of current fashion trends would be. The result is a film with costume design, sets and props that don't look jarringly 'futuristic' or out of place, but which clearly don't exist in the here and now. The color schemes, materials, and even things like the cut of men's trousers and trends in facial hair have all obviously been given a lot of thought.

I found it all very visually appealing, personally-- the woodgrain computer monitors and leather-covered smartphones, the shades of coral and creamsicle that appear repeatedly, the way the clothes are cut and the way people wear them. I have no idea how well this film will age-- maybe we'll all be laughing at how dated it looks in twenty years-- but for right now it's a really eye-pleasing aesthetic.

love meme

Jan. 21st, 2014 05:16 pm
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Words and Deeds Love Meme 4: Jan. 18th - Feb. 2nd; Hosted by J.J. Hunter at Dreamwidth

My thread is here.


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