The Big Think

June 7, 2007

Black Hole

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 6:39 pm

Okay, this is just weird.

Mario Harley

Filed under: Games,Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:14 am

Great stop action and a funny story line if you’ve ever played Mario Kart.

What Makes A Masterpiece?

Filed under: Disclosure,Movies — jasony @ 12:02 am

Erin and I just got through watching Return of the King. It’s something we wanted to do since I finished the 12″ subwoofer a few months ago. Those battle scenes gave it a real workout.

I was thinking while watching it that our generation has been lucky to see not just one, but two masterpieces come out of Hollywood in the last few decades. While Star Wars is arguably a sub-par script with so-so acting, it came along at just the right time and ignited the modern movie blockbuster. I think it can be termed a masterpiece, and judging from the number of times it ends up on “Most Influential Movies” lists, I don’t think I’m alone in believing that. Tonight while watching Return of the King I caught myself thinking there will never be another movie like this. Then I checked myself and thought I’d like to be involved in the next one.

ROTK, as well as the whole LOTR trilogy, surely stands alone as a masterpiece of filmmaking. The craftsmanship and sheer audacious nutbaggery of details that went into the film alone qualify it. I was excited to see the Matrix films (and got less-so as they went on), and Serenity had a lot of emotional impact, judging by its fan-roots and canon, but there was just something special about LOTR that made it different. Sure, there are awkward parts, occasional funny acting (how bad do fake English accents sound to British ears?), a few clunky lines, etc. It’s not perfect. So what makes it special? Why does it (and the Star Wars trilogy) have the hold on people while other movies (The Matrix, for instance) tend to fall off after awhile? I believe it’s for a number of reasons. First, the source material is top-notch. It’s like cooking- if you’re going to make something great, start with great ingredients. Now normally I would say “and follow that up by getting the very best people at the top of their craft” to mix the ingredients, but I’m starting to doubt that belief. There’s a certain minimum amount of competence I’ll grant is required here, but a small Kiwi company of professionals can turn out the Rings trilogy. And a very small aerospace firm from Mojave can beat NASA at its own game by launching a cheap suborbital spaceship. And a tiny little team from the UK can break the speed of sound on land. And countless other underfunded, unexpected teams can step up to the line and beat the big boys. We even have a celebrated word for it in our culture: the Underdog. It’s not about the funding or the connections or even how much talent you have. It really is about heart, determination and will. I hope this isn’t coming off as an after school special, but it helps me to remind myself that great things can be accomplished outside of the traditional channels. Sometimes that’s the only way they’ll get done.

I think we all have the capacity to create masterpieces. I’d almost go so far as to say that the people who realize this truth have the responsibility to attempt it (though it’s never a guaranteed thing).

So what will yours be?

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