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Ergo Proxy

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#21 Annibal

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:15 PM

^ Ditto that CB-Firefly assessment.

And, well, my film training being what it is, I am fully able to just watch something and enjoy it. A few weeks ago I sat through a two hour film that was just about 50 trains passing by, start to finish. Nothing more. And...I liked it. It was horrible and pretentious, but it just looked good. And anyone familiar with Brackage and watches his work regularly has a high stamina for...the darker side of motion pictures...:D

But we'll see. I may end up with the same experience of it as you did!
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#22 Cybersnark

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:56 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on Jun 8 2009, 09:43 AM, said:

I think the Appleseed movies suffer from the same problem. Lots of gorgeous looking animation and action but seriously lacking in plot (kind of annoying given how much depth the manga has).
Granted (the main draw for me was the character depth and arcs). Like GitS did, Appleseed would have greatly benefitted from a series. Ex Machina spent most of its time filling in blanks retroactively (which is certainly far better than leaving them as plot holes, but still. .).

I think this is an endemic problem with cyberpunk, actually, and may be why there's so little good cyberpunk out there. As a (sub)genre, cyberpunk relies far more on worldbuilding than any other branch of sci-fi (except possibly Planetary Romances, and no one really does those anymore outside "fantasy" books). Without the worldbuilding to explain the tech, it just becomes fantasy with shallow sci-fi window dressing. The trouble with that is that it's hard to convey worldbuilding as part of a dramatic plot. If your characters have reason to examine the foundations of their world and how it works, the setting ends up overpowering the characters themselves.

This is why GitS: Stand-Alone Complex was so awesome; not only was it a full two series (and a movie), but it was a cop show, so the characters had reason to investigate the way the world around them functioned (and consider how it affected the people who lived there). Plus the Major and the Tachikomas were crossing the Singularity threshold before anyone else (just in opposite directions), so they naturally ended up exploring the meaning of it all.

Movies just don't have the length and breadth to go into that kind of detail. TV series do, but who can sell a 22-episode cyberpunk story for no guaranteed payoff (and would still be interested in doing cyberpunk)? Novels do it best, but you still often end up with big, unwieldy, and borderline irrelevant infodumps breaking up the narrative.

*Bob walks down a street*

*Bob passes a store selling cybernetic body parts*

*cue several-chapter-long digression about how the store's merchandise is paid for via RF chip embedded in a customer's thumb, and how the cyberization of the populace has led to the development of independent surgical suites able to install and maintain cybernetic parts for private citizens who wish to remain off the grid, and how this has in turn led to the development of dedicated cybercrime divisions that specialize in policing crimes involving prosthetic bodies --divisions which are developing ways to track the RF chips now used in lieu of credit cards*

*cue second digression about how the virtualization of the economy means that all money is nothing more than a virtual construct housed in cyberspace, while the non-cyberized populace now relies on a barter economy based around worthless anachronisms like gold and non-synthetic diamond --and how this transition to a meritocratic economy was necessary to support widespread cyberization that ensures that all citizens (theoretically) have full access to any neccessary augmentations to improve the common quality of life*

*Bob is still walking down the street, oblivious*


Maybe the best way would by a mixed-media/new-media project --like sourcebooks for an RPG: surround the narrative with a whole bunch of supplementary material to explain the inner workings and unseen details of the world. (Basically what Star Wars ended up growing into, where the EU writers started drawing on the WEG/WotC roleplay material for background reference.) But again you run into the inherent gamble of a large expensive project without the LucasMarketing Juggernaught to carry it.
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#23 NeuralClone

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:00 PM

View PostAnnibal, on Jun 8 2009, 02:15 PM, said:

^ Ditto that CB-Firefly assessment.

And, well, my film training being what it is, I am fully able to just watch something and enjoy it. A few weeks ago I sat through a two hour film that was just about 50 trains passing by, start to finish. Nothing more. And...I liked it. It was horrible and pretentious, but it just looked good. And anyone familiar with Brackage and watches his work regularly has a high stamina for...the darker side of motion pictures...:D
Yikes. Yeah, that would probably make me want to jump out the nearest window... :lol:

Quote

But we'll see. I may end up with the same experience of it as you did!
If you can get through that train movie, this will probably seem like child's play. :hehe: Ergo Proxy pretty much always looks good and it generally sounds good (the music is very muted and dull most of the time but it adds to the mood). The VA work is always top notch as well. I have no problem with abstraction, metaphors, subtlety, and double-meanings in sci-fi/cyberpunk (in fact, I generally expect it in this genre), but when watching 4 or more episodes in a row, I don't expect to walk away wondering what the frak I just watched. Serial Experiments Lain was like that to some extent, but that series tells a relatively coherent story despite the fact that it's a total mind frak.

I think that Ergo Proxy is a mind frak that had a lot of potential but eventually crumbles under its own weight, whereas Lain delivers on many different levels and never loses sight of its objectives.

View PostCybersnark, on Jun 8 2009, 02:56 PM, said:

Granted (the main draw for me was the character depth and arcs). Like GitS did, Appleseed would have greatly benefitted from a series. Ex Machina spent most of its time filling in blanks retroactively (which is certainly far better than leaving them as plot holes, but still. .).

I think this is an endemic problem with cyberpunk, actually, and may be why there's so little good cyberpunk out there. As a (sub)genre, cyberpunk relies far more on worldbuilding than any other branch of sci-fi (except possibly Planetary Romances, and no one really does those anymore outside "fantasy" books). Without the worldbuilding to explain the tech, it just becomes fantasy with shallow sci-fi window dressing. The trouble with that is that it's hard to convey worldbuilding as part of a dramatic plot. If your characters have reason to examine the foundations of their world and how it works, the setting ends up overpowering the characters themselves.
Well said. I think you pretty much summed up the problems that many cyberpunk stories face quite nicely. It's a delicate balance. If the writer(s)/director can't find a way to convey the world building as part of the plot in a convincing manner, the story generally falls apart. Ergo Proxy starts off doing all of this quite well, which is why I had such high hopes for it. I wasn't expecting it to morph into a pretentious drug trip. :lol:

Quote

This is why GitS: Stand-Alone Complex was so awesome; not only was it a full two series (and a movie), but it was a cop show, so the characters had reason to investigate the way the world around them functioned (and consider how it affected the people who lived there). Plus the Major and the Tachikomas were crossing the Singularity threshold before anyone else (just in opposite directions), so they naturally ended up exploring the meaning of it all.
That's why I've been really looking forward to Appleseed: Genesis. The premise is much more suited to a series than a movie. Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires even join up with a type of police force (ESWAT) so they're in a better position to investigate the world it takes place in. The setup isn't unlike that of Ghost in the Shell, albeit in a very different setting with completely different circumstances.

Of course, it doesn't mean the people doing the series will do justice to the material or manage to make it good cyberpunk. But I have higher hopes for the series than the movies when it comes to that.

Quote

Movies just don't have the length and breadth to go into that kind of detail. TV series do, but who can sell a 22-episode cyberpunk story for no guaranteed payoff (and would still be interested in doing cyberpunk)?
True. Thankfully there are companies out there that are willing to take a chance on series like that, especially since the number of cyberpunk series that completely fail far outnumber the ones that succeed.

Quote

Novels do it best, but you still often end up with big, unwieldy, and borderline irrelevant infodumps breaking up the narrative.

*Bob walks down a street*

*Bob passes a store selling cybernetic body parts*

*cue several-chapter-long digression about how the store's merchandise is paid for via RF chip embedded in a customer's thumb, and how the cyberization of the populace has led to the development of independent surgical suites able to install and maintain cybernetic parts for private citizens who wish to remain off the grid, and how this has in turn led to the development of dedicated cybercrime divisions that specialize in policing crimes involving prosthetic bodies --divisions which are developing ways to track the RF chips now used in lieu of credit cards*

*cue second digression about how the virtualization of the economy means that all money is nothing more than a virtual construct housed in cyberspace, while the non-cyberized populace now relies on a barter economy based around worthless anachronisms like gold and non-synthetic diamond --and how this transition to a meritocratic economy was necessary to support widespread cyberization that ensures that all citizens (theoretically) have full access to any neccessary augmentations to improve the common quality of life*

*Bob is still walking down the street, oblivious*
I see you've done your fair share of cyberpunk reading/watching too then...? :lol:

Edited by NeuralClone, 08 June 2009 - 10:03 PM.

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#24 SparkyCola

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:55 PM

Damn, I wish I could remember the name of the one cyberpunk cartoon I've seen, it had mini-games. It was either the BBC or Channel 4 about a dystopian world where britain was mostly underwater except for the odd skyscraper poking out, and these four people who had been taken and formed as a unit by a computer... they each had a skill. One could tell a lot about blood from tasting it, one could manipulate time, one could sort of read someone's mind, and the other couldn't actually do anything I don't think, but I just can't remember...ugh...so frustrating... >.< I think one of them was called Soma... not sure though. Gorramit!

*5 mins later*

YES!! Got it!! Woot! Thank you Google {{{{{{{{{Google}}}}}}}}}}}

Meta4orce. Saints be praised! :hehe: Phew. That took some intensive googling. Anyway, does that count as cyberpunk? Or just dystopian?

Sparky

Edited by SparkyCola, 09 June 2009 - 03:03 PM.

Able to entertain a thought without taking it home to meet the parents

#25 NeuralClone

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 03:24 PM

^ I haven't seen the series but it sounds cyberpunkish to me.

Cyberpunk typically emphasizes dystopian-like societies in the near (not distant) future on Earth, highly advanced technology (androids, cybernetics, AI, etc.), and major social changes that result from the highly advanced technology. It then usually focuses on how these rapid changes in society affect the average person. There's typically a character or characters that question or challenge this society in some fashion. The highly advanced technology in the not too distant future (usually, cybernetic implants or other highly invasive technology is featured) combined with a form of dystopia is typically what sets cyberpunk apart from more traditional dystopian stories.

Something doesn't necessarily have to meet all of those requirements to be cyberpunk though. For example, The Matrix takes place in the distant future but deals heavily with how cybernetic technology, AI, and machines impact human society and individuals on a daily basis. Therefore, it's cyberpunk.

Edited by NeuralClone, 09 June 2009 - 04:03 PM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"



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