December 02, 2006

Great rather by design than by achievement

karas.pngRenaissance is a true cyberpunk movie - great style, no substance.

The closest comparision I can make is Ghost in the Shell, but where the manga/animes/films started out in the cyberpunk world they matured beyond it. The issues the anime deals with a far more posthuman and complex than what Renaissance allows itself to tackle. GitS successfully burned the motherhood statement while Renaissance stayed within the comfortable lines of noir and cyberpunk.

The sheer elegance of the the postprocessed Paris is breathtaking, including details such as the transparent walkways and the phone/wearables. In fact, the people looked the most artificial, almost like Poser characters. As always it is the quick sharp movements that make people look real. In many places they used particle systems to model smoke, fire and water with embarrassingly bad results - but when real water shows up it is a beauty.

In the end this movie will be remembered for its style, not for its plot. But it always annoys me that filmmakers have such a stupid concept of how research is done. If you know that two researchers working on the same research area have stumbled on the same great secret you don't need them to rediscover it - it just speeds things up a lot, but merely the information that this is where the secret is is often enough (compare to the Soviet hydrogen bomb). If you are an evil megacorporation that doesn't trust anybody you store backups of what your scientists are doing. I think the mistake here is the cultural assumption that science is magic. A kind of hermetic magic based on secrets that cannot be decyphered, only taught by masters to their students. That it actually is a big, open bazaar of concepts and practices doesn't fit in. The real problem isn't to keep your great idea secret but to get anybody to listen to it.

The Renaissance of the fifteenth century was, in many things, great rather by what it designed that by what it achieved.
Walter Pater
Posted by Anders3 at December 2, 2006 03:20 AM