This is more of a comment than a post, but I needed a post, so here we are. On the last thread, we’re debating what allows a genre film to succeed, even despite major plot holes. Dara brought up the Fifth Element:
The Fifth Element is a good example of what I’m talking about. It’s by no means a “great” movie, and certainly not a deep science fiction story, but what sets it apart is its bombastic Moebius-designed look and feel, its soundtrack, its tongue-in-cheek presentation style, and other small touches (I particularly liked the casting of, let’s just say “not Hollywood attractive” character actors in all the roles save for Milla Jovovich). If that same movie was made in a more “standard” Hollywood model, you’d get an utterly forgettable by-the-numbers flick like Independence day.
I think this gets close to explaining that X-factor. The Fifth Element definitely has “quality,” in the sense that someone thought it through, clearly gave a shit about the small details, and made some interesting choices.
One of the knocks against genre films is that their fans that don’t particularly care if they’re “good.” This stereotype is not limited to sci-fi/comix fans. Rom-com fans just like rom-coms, and they’ll sit through any ol’ piece of Kate Hudson-Jennifer Aniston-Katherine Heigl dreck just to get the fix.
But one of the things sci-fi/comix movies have is “ideas.” A sci-fi movie should “make you think.” Not in the sense that Color Purple makes you think about racism and sexuality, but in the sense of “wouldn’t it be cool if – ?”
OK, that didn’t get me very close to the X-factor. But, hopefully it gives us “something to think about.”