Monday, March 31, 2008

International Embarrassment

The most recent issue of the international edition of Time Magazine has a depressing and very embarrassing cover story: the youths of Britain.
More specifically; their out-of-control behaviour.
I don’t regularly read Time, because I find most American-led news journalism to focus on sensationalism rather than the facts, much like British tabloids which I also avoid like the plague.
On this occasion, however, they’re spot on, which makes it doubly painful to read.
The situation can be compared to a scene in an up-class restaurant, with the nations of the world wining, dining and engaging in civilised conversation….and then Britain turns up with its feral children, who proceed to scream, throw food at the serving staff and use the decorative table candles to set fire to the napkins before drinking too much and vomiting all over the dessert trolley.
The “tutting” from the surrounding tables should make all in fair Blighty cringe.
“What the hell happened?” people ask “Britain was the land of good manners!”
Yes. It was.
Why? Because we used to beat said manners into kids from an early age. If you did something wrong, you’d get a clip ‘round the ear, which is fair incentive not to do said wrong again.
These days, kids are given something more dangerous than a loaded gun; too much freedom.
They are out of control because we let them do what the hell they please. There is no discipline because the powers-that-be say that this is unfair on the children. They have to be shown leniency and given a choice whenever possible.
A child will always test their boundaries and see how far they can push things to get what they want. If there are no repercussions for their behaviour, do you honestly think that they will stop by choice? Or will they grow into the vermin that Time has made a feature of?
The Government is proposing typically limp-wristed responses to this growing problem in the form of new parks and youth clubs.
What utter bollocks.
A child must be taught right and wrong at an early age by any means necessary. They must be encouraged to think as an individual and to think creatively, thus keeping occupied and expanding on what they hear and see through music, film and video games rather than letting those influences rule them. Lastly; they must be made to understand that there will always be a harsh consequence for wrong action, and not just a slap on the wrist.
A couple of swings and a slide isn’t going to do that.
Tough discipline will.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Edit.

Things have to be cut from TV and film from time to time.
Violence and swearing is cut from movies aired on TV early in the evening to keep up the na├»ve belief that kids don’t already know about blood-soaked-zombie-decapitation and appropriate use of the phrase “you sh*t f**king little bastard son of a whore”.
Cuts in cinematic releases are usually to streamline the film. To trim the fat so that what’s left is gristle free goodness crafted purely for your viewing pleasure. Superfluous dialogue and drawn out events are given the scrap, and their own feature in the ‘deleted scenes’ section of the DVD.
On other occasions; scenes are cut to prevent the movie-makers looking like ambitious amateurs/George Lucas.
Scenes like that with the Giant Octopus in The Goonies.
Had that actually made it into the film, I’m pretty sure Spielberg would have been accused of losing the plot and gone on to direct dog-food commercials and not Jurassic Park.
Yes, the edit is important, nay, vital to a good film.
When it’s done well.
When it’s done poorly the bouncing-up-and-down-with-glee-at-what-you’re-watching is replaced by a great big “huh?” as you try to work out just what the hell is going on.
I like the film Cutthroat Island. It’s a great little pirate romp that I’ve watched often enough to know just when to hit ‘Mute’ on the remote and avoid Gina Davis butchering her lines.
There is one part during this Caribbean-based merriment that really irks, though: “Dog” Brown, the dastardly villain, orders his men to set sail. One minion inadvisably says “We can’t. We don’t have enough food on board”. Dog turns and snarls “Then we need less mouths to feed” and he pulls his pistol….
I didn’t get to see this flick at the cinema, but I’m willing to bet that what followed next was a shot and some blood. On the DVD you don’t get either. You just get a bunch of sailors looking at something on the floor. You don’t see what, but we can assume it’s the mouthy sailor, minus his face.
A fine example of bad editing, the reason for which is probably down to an event in the news that got the censors in a twist prior to the DVD’s release, but a couple of years down the line; is forgotten.
Another example is the recent Top Gear: Great Adventures DVD. Their road-trip across the southern states of the USA was a classic bit of telly, but because of legal reasons all the funniest bits had to be removed. The resulting mess doesn’t make a bit of sense, with the 3 ‘heroes’ of the piece constantly referring to and joking about events that, unless you caught the show when it aired, you won’t have seen.
Worse offenders than those who ruin DVDs are the TV Schedulers that run a series containing action related violence at an early hour to maximise viewing figures but hack away at the programme in order to do so.
In Blighty, Channel 4 does the best job of ruining a show. Try vegging out in front of their Sunday afternoon line-up and you’ll easily be able to spot their crappy cuts. Be it Smallville of Stargate SG1, any time a fight kicks off, a gun is drawn or a particularly gruesome sci-fi incident is about to take place; the action is removed and we skip straight to the aftermath.
When something is made to be so disjointed it ceases to be a source of entertainment.
As a result, I tend not to watch my favourite shows when they air, but when I pick up the DVD sets cheap off ebay.
I laugh with mild satisfaction at the knowledge that somewhere a little counter that monitors viewing figures has dropped by one.
Slightly pathetic, but I’m going to laugh anyway. HAHAHAHAAHAA!