Offline rooster

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2160 on: December 25, 2021, 04:58:50 AM »
I thought it was fine

imagine being this wrong
I also think they could have stopped after the first Matrix movie. Other than that, it was about as decent as I expected in that it wouldn't be good but wasn't absolute dog shit.


Offline honk

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2161 on: January 07, 2022, 09:36:51 PM »
Cowboy Bebop (2021)

You've heard this is bad. It is. But there are specific reasons why this ended up so bad worth exploring, and I'm worried they're being drowned out in the general wave of fanboy truisms that typically follow poorly-received adaptations, especially ones involving anime. It's far too simplistic to just shrug and say that it's bad because it's a live-action adaptation of an anime and those are always destined to be bad, and it's just plain wrong to say that it's bad because it made changes to the anime and it should have been a 1-1 remake. If anything, this show tends to be stronger when it isn't directly adapting an episode of the anime or trying to recreate one of its more iconic scenes or moments, because then at least there isn't an equivalent point in the anime you can point to as having done exactly what the show did, but far better. The point is that this show wasn't dead in the water to begin with. Netflix gave the people behind it a decent budget to work with, and more importantly, also the creative freedom to make it as offbeat and eccentric as the anime was. They had the tools to make this show into something special.

The main reason why what we ended up with sucks is the writing, both in concept and execution. And by the writing, I particularly mean the dialogue, because there's so much of it, and it's all so, so bad. It's the worst kind of Joss Whedon/Marvel-inspired dialogue, where everyone is sarcastic, everyone is detached, everyone is witty (or at least what this show imagines is witty), everyone is a little self-aware in a metatextual way, and everyone constantly quips. Going down this route would be a really lame, generic decision for an adaptation of Cowboy Bebop even if the comedy worked, but it doesn't. It's terrible. Another issue is that in stark contrast to the anime, which was very restrained when it came to strong language and sexuality, this show is full of contrived swearing and lowbrow yukking about subjects like bukkake and shaving one's pubes. It's so childish, like it was written by a bunch of teenagers loudly swearing in jubilation when their parents aren't around. The worst example of this is encapsulated in Faye. She was never going to be an easy character to adapt, but I cringed when I discovered that she ended up as a tired stereotype of a plucky girlboss here, and almost all of her lines are either awful quips or hilarious swearing.

On a related note, the show is extremely bloody and gory, far more so than the anime ever was. It's a splatterfest, and a splatterfest that the show apparently thinks is hilarious and plays for comedy. This is one of the more baffling decisions the creators made, I have to admit. I just don't see the logic. For a show like The Boys, by way of a counter-example, with a similar level of nasty violence and a similarly mean-spirited presentation of it, the grotesqueness of it all is meant to parody the usual sanitized, bloodless violence of most capeshit and show just how horrible and messy the effects would really be if capeshitters used their powers on people. In Cowboy Bebop, nothing about the violence seems to be intended as satire, deconstruction, commentary, or anything like that. It's just there, and it's just played for laughs, with jaunty music playing over slow motion footage of people being killed in horrible ways and the main characters quipping in their wake. I'm not offended or disturbed by any of it, but I don't think it's appropriate for this show. It feels like very unnecessary edge for edge's sake.

What's kind of interesting about that last point is while the violence is far more gruesome and horrific than it was in the anime, the universe in general is presented in a far more egalitarian, hospitable, and overall pleasant light. The showrunner has claimed in multiple interviews (here's one) that he never saw the world of Cowboy Bebop as a dystopia, and while that's led to him predictably being roasted as an out-of-touch elitist whose wealth and privilege have blinded him to the anime's portrayal of the future as absolutely horrible and dystopian in the extreme (I'm reminded of this meme), I actually don't buy it. The show is too deliberate in its sanding down of the obvious political and social commentary present in the anime. Grungy neighborhoods are replaced with cheery suburban homes. Virtually all of the extras and side characters we meet appear to be either affluent or comfortably middle-class, in stark contrast to how often the anime would focus on the lives of the poor and desperate. And perhaps most importantly of all, for every institution that the anime portrayed as being systematically corrupt, like the police or the medical industry, the show goes out of its way to stress that it was only one or two corrupt individuals behind their problems, and the institutions themselves were perfectly fine. So, yeah, I think the showrunner and writers willfully excluded the political and social commentary present in the anime for this show, probably to fit better with the "fun" MCU-like tone they were aiming for, and the showrunner tried to get in front of any criticism by pretending he didn't think the anime was dystopian at all.

There's a lot more I could criticize this show for, but I'll end this by talking about its two biggest additions to the story of Cowboy Bebop - the expanded roles of Vicious and Julia. In the anime, Vicious was a one-dimensional villain, while Julia was little more than a plot device. It was a perfectly sensible decision to beef up their parts, but the show handles them both about as badly as they possibly could. Vicious is one of the lamest, most pathetic villains I've seen in a movie or TV show in a very long time. He's weak, he's whiny, he's inept, he's constantly being shown up and humiliated, and the show makes a point to stress that the only reason he has any power at all to begin with is that he's the spoiled failson of one of the Syndicate's leaders. None of this added focus makes him a more sympathetic or rounded character, nor does it make his struggle more compelling. Like I said, he's simply a pathetic villain.

With Julia, there's at least a decent idea at the core of what they're trying to do. She's an active character with agency, and not a passive ingenue or damsel in distress waiting around to be rescued. But this is hampered by both Elena Satine's weak performance (she's the one member of the main cast who really drops the ball) and the crude writing that has no grasp of subtlety. Here's the best example of this, which sets the tone for this character nicely: Vicious at one point tells her that he plans to assemble the people loyal to him and openly go to war against the leaders of the Syndicate. Julia protests that this will put them in great danger, and when Vicious rhetorically asks what she would suggest doing instead, there's a big dramatic pause, and then Julia says he should arrange a coup and assassinate the leaders instead of openly fighting them in a gangland war. And the show treats this obvious idea like it's fucking brilliant. Julia carries herself differently now, Vicious looks at her with new respect, and we in the audience are presumably meant to be impressed by the fact that this seemingly innocent woman is more than just a pretty face, she's a tactical genius! That's the kind of writing we're dealing with here. I also didn't like what they did with her at the end of the show. I respect the writers' desire to take risks and deviate from the anime's overall story, but something about the way they handled this specific detail feels wrongheaded to me.

So that's Netflix's Cowboy Bebop. There are occasional moments of promise sprinkled throughout the show, but on the whole, I wouldn't recommend anyone watch this unless they're consumed by morbid curiosity to see how it all ended up, like I was.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2022, 10:16:43 PM by honk »
ur retartet but u donut even no it and i walnut tell u y