Ten Commandments, parting of Red Sea, and epics that stand the test of time

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve_Ch, Mar 31, 2002.

  1. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    I am sitting here doing my annual Easter Ten Commandments watching ritual and I started to think about past "epics".

    I am old enough to have watched Ben Hur, Ten Commandment, Cleopetra, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago,...when they were first released. I remember the "Parting of the Red Sea" was a monster event at the time, now, I can't even remember when was the last time that I was impressed with that scene. Which brings me to the following:

    There are movies that stand the test of time, but some of the "big deals" at the time seemed down right cheesy now. Ten Commandment is such a movie, the movie is still very good, but the "Big Deal" really did not hold up. Ben Hur's chariot scene I say gets even better with age, but the sea battle is kind of a joke in today's standard (the "inside", underdeck scene is still great, but the "ocean" is lousy). Similarly Cleopetra largely held up well until, again, when it gets to the sea battle. In contrast, Lawrence of Arabia held up extremely well (I do not want to again start another LOA merit discussion, but in so far as the look and scenery and effect, if any, it's still flawless). Along the same line, even with the amazing advances in effects, movies such as 2001, Forbidden Planet, held up amazingly well.

    Anybody else has nominations for movies that was "amazing" at the time but looks primitive now, or vice versa, the "I am amazed that it still hasn't aged" movies.
     
  2. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    The burning of Atlanta scene in Gone With The Wind holds up because it involved a real fire.
    Forbidden Planet The effect with the Lion/Id was good for the time and even now. The matte work for the power grid of the Krell was good, but the concept was backward. Advanced civilizations will not be as profligate with energy use.
    The Ben Hur chariot race is a classic.
     
  3. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

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    A lot of people think these movies and these time-tested scenes are "dated", or "hoaky".
    And those people just plain suck. [​IMG]
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Ben-Hur's chariot race still stands as the most thrilling sequence in cinema history IMO, and I still marvel at the Opening of the Red Sea sequence in Ten Commandments, all those optical components, mattes, swirling clouds, waterfalls mixed, reversed, blended together to make a wall of water, still a colorful eyepopping spectacle.
    One huge epic thats hardly ever mentioned is Waterloo (1970) directed by Sergei Bondarchuk and starring Rod Steiger as Napoleon, I think it has the longest battle sequence in war movies, which lasts at least a full hour, no effects just thousands and thousands of soldiers and spectacular deafening battles in full stereophonic sound, the sheer size of some sequences is jaw dropping, a very underrated spectacle.
     
  5. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    Oddly enough, for those who can find it, I think the parting (and closing) of the Red Sea in the >1923< DeMille version is far more impressive! It's relatively less complex optically but it works effectively, in all its black & white glory. [​IMG]
     
  6. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    The original Planet of the Apes still seems to hold up remarkably well. The ape makeup seems slightly dated compared to the "re-imagined" 2001 version, but in all other respects, it blows that trite vehicle out of the water.
    This is not considered to be an "epic" by any means, and some may scoff at this suggestion, but in my opinion Mary Poppins still holds up fairly well. The "inside-the-painting" scene still contains some remarkable combo SFX that, while I'm sure could be done much better with today's CGI, may actually not be appropriate to the subject matter. After all, if you're "inside a painting" things really shouldn't look "super-realistic" anyway. The entertainment value that this movie provides for young and old alike, with simultaneous "semi-political" messages for both those groups, is an achievement that has rarely been surpassed.
    On the other end of the spectrum, Logan's Run now seems horribly dated in all respects, as does Earthquake. (Don't even get me started on the "Airport" series ... )
     
  7. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Most films are more impressive when veiwed as a child, the older we get the less we believe, plus we know its not real. Remember when the witch scared us in the "wizard of oz" then we grew up, now its kinda hammy.

    I'm still impressed with the size and scope of the epic films like Lawrence, and Cleopatra - the money that was spent, no CGI, the sets and extras were real.
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Well, the Chariot race was reimagined, it was called the Pod Race

    Funny, I find the chariot race to be 10x more exciting
     
  9. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    The effects in the Ten Commandments are very dated. But what do you expect. The movie premeired in 1956 I believe. Of course it looks date. But films don't rest on effects, good or bad. It's still a great film. Most of the compositing in older films is flat out terrible, especially in Ten Commandments. But I still love the film.

    As for the chariot race, I'm not sure it was reimagined in the form of the podrace. It was imagined from Lucas' love of racing. That and to show Anakin's piloting skills.
     
  10. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Roger Ebert had a good comment about why the effects in The Wizard of Oz are timeless. He said that current special effects attempt to make things look as they really exist, whereas in TWOO (and other earlier classics), things are made to look as we imagine they exist.
     
  11. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>The effects in the Ten Commandments are very dated. But what do you expect. The movie premeired in 1956 I believe.
     
  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Superman: The Movie still holds up pretty well.
    Thankfully, the movie doesn't look too 1970's (besides a few costumes and hairstyles) and still is great to look at.
    I watched a bit of Superman IV and the blue screen shots look terrible compared to the excellent rear projection/Zoptic shots in the first and second movies.
    Lawrence of Arabia is probably the least dated movie ever made. There's nothing in the film that looks 1960's-ish, nor does it look less exciting with age. In fact, I think it's time for me to watch it again. [​IMG]
     
  13. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

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    I still love Logan's Run! Phooey to you Joseph! [​IMG]
    Just watched it again recently, and boy is the print they used on the dvd release dirty! Like this will ever get a proper restoration, but it sure would be nice. One of my all time favorite films.
     
  14. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>Thankfully, the movie doesn't look too 1970's (besides a few costumes and hairstyles)
     
  15. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    David, in that case I would oppose it. Yes, Ten Commandment's effects are bad by today's standards, but this film has been around for 46 years, and is a classic. I think in this case don't touch a thing.
     
  16. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    I'd have to say Jaws (if we can count it) and Star Wars (original) both stand the test of time very well. Better than Superman which still has some ropey stuff.
     
  17. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  18. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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  19. Scott_G

    Scott_G Second Unit

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  20. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Plus in the silent version you don't have to see Stephen Boyd! [​IMG]
     

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