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govinda

'The Kingdom' main titles

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I just got back from seeing it (good flick, very smart, tight as a drum, Jennifer Garner holds up her end, superb interplay among the characters).

 

The main titles were a surprise, because I hadn't heard that they went for the nookie with them. As a quick run-down, the titles consist of a quick history of Saudi Arabia from 1938 to the present, heavy on the somewhat 'pat' conflict between Wahhabi fundamentalism, xenophobia and nativism on one side and the forces of modernity and resource exploitation on the other. I'm not saying that isn't a real conflict, but in distilled form it has a bit of a 'Cliffs Notes' ring to it. All the same, for the purpose of the film, it set up the conflict perfectly.

 

In fact I can't remember titles that better established the mood, the main theme (history v. modernity and revenge), the milieu and the graphic style of a film. It risks being over-didactic and over deterministic by means of literally presenting a bang-bang, just-add-water, timeline history of Saudi Arabia. But for my $11 at the Arclight Dome tonight, the titles hit exactly the right note.

 

The very first few seconds of the titles are really a gem. You aren't sure how, but a line of sand dunes becomes a timeline. How'd that happen, you think, and suddenly you realize with joy that you're in for good graphics without knowing they were coming. The distressed type comes up, and you're off. When someone finds a link to the quicktime, it's going to call out for arrowing through a few times, definitely, and I hardly ever do that anymore.

 

My only technical crit is that the 3D portions are pretty reliant on that 2005-ish ambient occlusion look. Some of the automobile models look a bit turbosquid. Finally, the 3D doesn't match the 2D as well as it could--they look to be two different worlds. For example, there's a distressed look to all the graphics, but not to the 3D lines, which are straight as rules. But these aren't really major crits--these are some outstanding graphics, and I couldn't have done them as well. Whatever the small inconsistencies I thought I saw between 2D and the 3D, they did completely stellar work integrating the 2D into the video interludes, almost on the order of Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy.'

 

Now here's where I'm going to teeter over the edge with a govinda-esque rickety speculative assertion. Here it is: the designers seem to be schooled in chapter and verse of 'What Barry Said / Knife Fight' from 2004. There were two transitions that brought 'Barry' right into my head--for one, when a gathering of various kinds of armaments transitions into video of a flying airplane, and for two, when an extruded outline of the United States viewed from the side resolves into a very famous building. Those and a few other things (the banked camera, the typography, the narrative...) had me making what could be a spurious connection. But assuming I'm not off-base, well then, I'm kinda proud that 'Barry' has made a real stir in the world of agitprop, 'protest' style graphics, of which 'The Kingdom' is definitely one. Now if they saw 'Baghdaddy' also I'd be reallllly happy (hee hee)...

 

I waited through the end-credits, and the titles were credited to 'PIC.' Who? Maybe I have that wrong. Someone throw a bone?

 

 

-=-

 

(Okay, stop here if you don't want politics.) One of the main positives I take away from this movie as a political animal is that it states right up front in three-foot-high letters that 15 of the 18 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis. I say that because, look, every bit of factual recall helps, especially when both neocon and paleo-conservative idiots alike are desperately trying to drum up a feckless military adventure in yet another country that didn't have anything to do with 9/11 (Iran), all while the fourth Bush brother, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, watches the leaves turn at his ranch in Vail. Really, probably only 40% of Americans even know that 15-of-18 statistic. A shocking number of our own troops in Iraq think that Iraq was behind 9/11. But it's not all anti-Saudi. In the end, the director succeeds in showing both heroes and villains from within the difficult Saudi society. Jennifer Garner's forensic autopsy is one of the smarter scenes in the film in that regard, as are all scenes with the main Saudi police contact. It's amazing how, 2000 years later, storytelling returns to the Iliad and the old 'Hector with his kids' trick to engender sympathy for conflicted characters.

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I waited through the end-credits, and the titles were credited to 'PIC.' Who? Maybe I have that wrong. Someone throw a bone?

I'm not entirely sure, so don't quote me on it, but I think some people who worked at Kaleidoscope broke off and formed PIC. Supposedly it's in Hollywood somewhere.

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Bad ass intro, saw the movie yesterday. Some parts felt cheap, but didn't take away from the intro.

 

The movie itself...well the action was great, but you need to turn yourself off and think that "wow, 4 Americans can get away from 6 RPG's and random shooters from an elevated point"...once you do that, you'll enjoy this pro-American movie :D

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I'm not entirely sure, so don't quote me on it, but I think some people who worked at Kaleidoscope broke off and formed PIC. Supposedly it's in Hollywood somewhere.

 

Slick title. Yeah, if you read the "about us," it mentions that the team has previously worked on the Van Helsing titles, which I just mogoogled and confirmed to be a kaleidoscope piece.

 

Nice work pic people!

 

Edit: Just noticed the music was by Danny Elfman. This is the most un-oompa-oopma Elfman music I've ever heard.

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Guest dumbo
One of the main positives I take away from this movie as a political animal is that it states right up front in three-foot-high letters that 15 of the 18 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis.

 

according to that preview i just watched on yahoo, its 15 of 19. but yeah whatever...

 

15of19vx0.png

 

looks like a very interesting movie though.

 

i watched Syriana last night. quite an interesting & entertaining film.

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according to that preview i just watched on yahoo, its 15 of 19. but yeah whatever...

 

looks like a very interesting movie though.

 

i watched Syriana last night. quite an interesting & entertaining film.

Yeah I saw my mistake as soon as the title quicktime went up. Duh!

 

Syriana is the clear comparison film. It had more depth and tried to be more 'naturalistic' than Kingdom, but it was also so all over the map that it really lost me the second time I watched it. There was one part of Kingdom that made me a little nutty, the hell-fired hurry to cut off the head of Justin Bateman while a battle is going on in the next room. Ever since Daniel Pearl and the other guy, the act of ritual beheading has taken on some kind of totemic significance that the director just wasn't going to do without, no matter that it didn't make a lot of sense. Personally, I'm tired of beheading scenes in films before they've even begun, probably because of how much beheading is insisted upon by second-rate right wingers as the Fate of Us All if we don't support the Grand and Good and Forever Righteous War against MilitantIslamoFascism. All of us beheaded, one by one! So for my part I hope this trend in films doesn't get off the ground.

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