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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) (1 Viewer)

Malcolm R

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Yeah, when was the last time that a studio had to send the movie out again with a better mix? I'm shocked that the "Turn it up too loud" idea didn't fix the problem. :laugh:
Yeah, that they sent out replacement prints seems to indicate there was an acknowledged technical problem. The directors saying "just turn it up" seems kind of dismissive.
 

TravisR

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"Print" is still the term used in the industry but as everyone knows, it's basically all just downloads and some hard drives now.

Credit to Sony for taking advantage of digital and fixing a technical problem rather than the highly-unlikely-to-work move that the creators tried.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Even though it’s pretty much all digital these days, the terminology of old remains. (That’s true with digital editing as well - in the old days when editors cut actual film, they’d keep the pieces they cut in bins and would pull trims they made out of the bins and splice them together. In digital editing software, you still store your film clips in “bins”.)

For the most part, studios send each new film to theaters on hard drives, and each hard drive has a unique digital “key” to unlock it. So even though in theory all of this could be done online, in practice it’s still much the same as the days of old - the studio sends a physical object to the theater which contains the movie.
 

Chuck Mayer

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but given Lord and Miller’s prior history demonstrating an inability to follow directions, it’s a lot easier for me to believe it was their hubris rather than a professional sound mixer’s mistake.
To be fair, the directions they were being asked to follow (and didn't, leading Ron Howard to "save the day") resulted in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is a worse film than each and every film they have collectively or individually shepherded to completion (Legos, Jump Street, Spider-Verses, Cloudy).

I'm also a bit baffled by the "not a Miles story" perspective on the original film. Having re-watched much of it over the past few days, it intimately feels very much a Miles story. He features far more than the other characters, and even their impact is felt through him. Consequently, you can really feel the sequel balancing that a bit more with also being a Gwen story as well. Miles is so fundamental to the first film, moreso than any MCU lead has been since (probably) Iron Man 3.
 

Jake Lipson

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I'm also a bit baffled by the "not a Miles story" perspective on the original film. Having re-watched much of it over the past few days, it intimately feels very much a Miles story. He features far more than the other characters, and even their impact is felt through him.

Agreed.

you can really feel the sequel balancing that a bit more with also being a Gwen story as well.

This works because Gwen is being held up as a mirror to Miles. Her opposite story supports his instead of distracting from it because the filmmakers want to show us the contrast between them.
 
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JoeStemme

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2018's INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE was a fresh of breath air in the superhero stakes. Brisk, witty and visually ground-breaking. It not only lapped the live-action Marvel Spider-Man movies, it even scooped them by delving into the multiverse concept before FAR FROM HOME (and did it better, to boot). It was indeed so exceptional, that one could wish that it remained a one-off. But, that's simply not how corporations view 'franchises', and so, we are on to the first of at least two sequels.

The good news is that Writer-Producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have kept the visual innovations moving forward. Even with a new three-headed Directing team, ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, is both consistent with the first film, while also still progressing forward. The multi-plane animation, rapid-fire onscreen graphics and pure visual density are cinematically breath-taking at times. It's so complex as to be impossible to absorb in one viewing (which may be part of the plan).

The story essentially picks up where the first one ended with there being both a Spider-Man/Miles (Shameik Moore) and Spider-Woman/Gwen (Hailee Steinfield). Things get exponentially more complicated than the multi-verses in the original. By mid-film there's a veritable Comic-Con full of Spider-Beings.

Lord and Miller are joined by Dave Callaham on the screenplay. It's an incredibly dense multi-verse they are creating. It zings and zags well. For the most part it follows a logical enough framework, even when it gets bogged down in digression after digression (some lasting merely seconds). Many are amusing, such a Lego-verse, but, the compounding of them smacks of trying just a bit TOO hard to impress (not to mention the almighty Fan Service that must be fed at regular intervals). Even more damaging is that by adding arithmetically more verses, they cease to be truly consequential. No matter what obstacle or potential doom the characters face - there's always another verse that can be spun out to 'save' that version of the core characters.

ACROSS is most effective when it focuses on Stacy and Miles and their immediate families. Stacy, in particular here, becomes the center of attention and Steinfield's voice-work is truly stellar. The characters are compelling. One cares about their fate. They ARE the drama.

To paraphrase Buckaroo Banzai: No matter where you go - there you are. It's the characters that count in the end, not the obstacles. Hopefully, Lord, Miller and their collaborators will keep that front of mind for Part III.
 

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Josh Steinberg

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Nobody comes out looking good in this look at the film’s creation. Certainly not Lord and Miller. But I would also argue that there’s some unspoken blame that should be held by the animation houses that the studio subcontracts. Their workers are being subject to what sound like pretty miserable working conditions, and some of that should be seen as their failure for not pushing back on the studio for shifting goalposts and making unreasonable demands. You can’t only blame the client (Sony) for asking for the moon; some blame belongs to the vendor (the animation houses) for not stepping in to protect their employees and overcommitting their employees while underpaying them. Just really not a good look for anyone involved.
 

TravisR

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Nobody comes out looking good in this look at the film’s creation. Certainly not Lord and Miller. But I would also argue that there’s some unspoken blame that should be held by the animation houses that the studio subcontracts. Their workers are being subject to what sound like pretty miserable working conditions, and some of that should be seen as their failure for not pushing back on the studio for shifting goalposts and making unreasonable demands. You can’t only blame the client (Sony) for asking for the moon; some blame belongs to the vendor (the animation houses) for not stepping in to protect their employees and overcommitting their employees while underpaying them. Just really not a good look for anyone involved.
Not that I'm trying to dismiss it but isn't this basically the standard for most animation and effects houses now?
 

Josh Steinberg

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Not that I'm trying to dismiss it but isn't this basically the standard for most animation and effects houses now?

It sure seems to be and it seems there is an across the board problem with these third-party vendors and the way studios interact with them. It’s a two-fold issue where on the studio side, studios are making unreasonable demands relative to the amount they’re paying and the deadlines they’re setting, but on the vendor side, the vendors continue to agree to those ridiculous terms instead of saying, “what you’re asking is outside the scope of the arrangement we’ve contracted to.”
 

JoeStemme

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Sadly, this is just a continuation of what has happened with Visual Effects and CGI subcontractors for decades. These subcontractors rely on the studios to survive and will often drive their employees to the brink and beyond in order to 'save' the deal -- and, to hope to get the next one. Their profit margins are usually extremely slow. Losing a big movie can mean the end of their company.
Several years ago at the Oscars, the founders of Rhythm & Hues won the Academy Award (Life of Pi) --- and, then went promptly out of business.
As long as the studio allows a Phil Lord to uh....lord over their subcontractors like this, it's going to keep happening.
 

Chuck Mayer

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It didn't read at all as if Lord was "lording over" the animators. He was operating out of historical animation process norms, and asking for redos (which even the four animators said were for IMPROVEMENTS) late in the process. In essence, he is getting dragged for focusing on making the film the best it could be farther into the process than normal. I want the people who work hard to be fairly compensated. I also want movies to be great. Sounds like Lord wanted his movie to be great as well, and tasked some animators beyodn their comfort levels.
 

JoeStemme

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It didn't read at all as if Lord was "lording over" the animators. He was operating out of historical animation process norms, and asking for redos (which even the four animators said were for IMPROVEMENTS) late in the process. In essence, he is getting dragged for focusing on making the film the best it could be farther into the process than normal. I want the people who work hard to be fairly compensated. I also want movies to be great. Sounds like Lord wanted his movie to be great as well, and tasked some animators beyodn their comfort levels.
Certainly, not the consensus of the interviewees here. Sample quotes:

- "it’s been debilitating for a lot of the artists involved. Morale was incredibly low, and a lot of people reassessed if this was even something they wanted to be a part of."
- "I don’t know if he’s delusional. It’s really nuts. I’ve worked on projects where things are rewritten — even late in production. But this is another level of craziness."
- "Phil had no idea what he wanted. Maybe he has difficulties making up his mind. I don’t know! Of course, it’s part of every movie where the director says, “What if we could do this or that?” And normally, it’s the producer’s role to push back. The problem is, Phil is the producer. He can’t push back against himself."
- "I know a ton of people who never want to work on a project with him again."
etc etc
 

Chuck Mayer

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"Everything was just endlessly moving beneath our feet because they wanted it to be the best that it could be."

"Obviously, they are successful, and the work that they produce is good. Even I was a fan of their work; I would still say that I am. But because it’s successful, because it’s award-winning, he doesn’t have a lot of people stopping him from making the changes he wants to make. The thing is, Phil and Chris are incapable of committing to an idea. They don’t really have a clear vision. What they’re good at is slowly and incrementally making things better through trial and error."
 

JoeStemme

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"Everything was just endlessly moving beneath our feet because they wanted it to be the best that it could be."

"Obviously, they are successful, and the work that they produce is good. Even I was a fan of their work; I would still say that I am. But because it’s successful, because it’s award-winning, he doesn’t have a lot of people stopping him from making the changes he wants to make. The thing is, Phil and Chris are incapable of committing to an idea. They don’t really have a clear vision. What they’re good at is slowly and incrementally making things better through trial and error."
Nice cherry-pick to ignore the basic thrust of the article.

Sure, it's a good movie, but, over 100 people quit the movie and several of those that 'survived' have sworn off ever working for him again. Bottom line is the bottom line, but, he's hardly a guy I'd like to work for.
 

Chuck Mayer

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How did I not do what you did? Sure, the article is a hit piece, but even it admits the film is good, even if it sucked to work on. But I don’t work in it, I just pay to see it. So I want it to be as good as possible. As long as laws aren’t broken or people hurt, my vote will be for making the movie the best it can be. And the film is basically a lock to win the Best Animated Oscar, so…yeah. I’ll still go see Lord/Miller movies.
 

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