'12 Years a Slave' - High-Def Digest Review - Page 4 - High-Def Digest Forums
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  #31  
Old 03-12-2014, 12:18 PM
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That is a horrible review. 4 for this movie is unacceptable. This movie is excellent and deserves an excellent which it didn't get on this site.
4 stars out of 5 is a very high rating, and Shannon went into great detail explaining why he felt that it was appropriate. A 5 star score implies that something is the absolute best of the best. If we gave 5 stars to everything, the rating would be meaningless and we'd be blu-ray.com.

You are under no obligation to agree with the reviewer. If you feel differently than he does, please explain why here. But just because someone has a different opinion than you do doesn't make it a "horrible review."
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  #32  
Old 03-12-2014, 02:29 PM
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I can recognize that 12 Years a Slave was a well-made movie that told an important story of courage and perseverance, but I agree that it was heavy-handed and believe it was too agenda-driven. IMO, the story was told as if it were an exposť about the horrors of slavery...as if we didn't already know slavery was all that "bad." Yes, slavery was shameful and reprehensible and demeaning and abusive and unconscionable, but I felt this film didn't respect that I knew all that, and McQueen's purpose was to enlighten me, as if to say, "SEE???!! This is what it was REALLY like!" And I felt it tried too hard to beat those ideas into me. Yes, we know the depiction of slavery in early, biased films like 'Gone With the Wind' was not realistic, but I felt '12 Years a Slave' went equally too far in the opposite direction. I'm not saying what it depicted was not realistic, but it overstated its point. And by the end of the movie, I resented that.
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  #33  
Old 03-12-2014, 02:45 PM
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I'm not sure I understand the argument "Slavery was really bad, why do we have to be told how bad it was?" World War II was really bad too, how come we're still getting movies made about it? Well, because there are numerous stories to tell, numerous view points to examine, and numerous characters to explore.

Let's stop thinking of '12 Years a Slave' as a commentary on slavery itself. It's not. Let's start thinking of it as a story that deserved to be told. Solomon Northup has an interesting story, which involves abhorrent slavery. That's HIS story. Should McQueen just have said, "Well, it's such a great story begging to be made into a film, but everyone knows what slavery was about so I'm not gonna make it after all,"?

It didn't tell you anything new about slavery no. But it DID tell you something new about a man who existed, went through a hellish 12 years, and came out the other side. It's HIS story. Not an all-encompassing history lesson.
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  #34  
Old 03-12-2014, 03:07 PM
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I'm not sure I understand the argument "Slavery was really bad, why do we have to be told how bad it was?" World War II was really bad too, how come we're still getting movies made about it? Well, because there are numerous stories to tell, numerous view points to examine, and numerous characters to explore.

Let's stop thinking of '12 Years a Slave' as a commentary on slavery itself. It's not. Let's start thinking of it as a story that deserved to be told. Solomon Northup has an interesting story, which involves abhorrent slavery. That's HIS story. Should McQueen just have said, "Well, it's such a great story begging to be made into a film, but everyone knows what slavery was about so I'm not gonna make it after all,"?

It didn't tell you anything new about slavery no. But it DID tell you something new about a man who existed, went through a hellish 12 years, and came out the other side. It's HIS story. Not an all-encompassing history lesson.
You'll have serious uproar from Jewish community if anyone ever criticize a movie about Holocaust or how it reminded them about the current middle east conflict. But people have no problem saying they know how bad slavery was and they don't need to be reminded of that with 12 Years A Slave. Like you said, we have tons of WW2 movies. Just last week I went to see Stalingrad on IMAX 3D. Honestly it didn't teach me anything new. Once again I was reminded about the horror of Holocaust when a Jewish mother and her little girl was burned alive. I still went to see it because it was told from a Russian point of view on the German occupation. The movie wasn't very good. It was no where as good as 12 Years A Slave. But I didn't hear anyone saying they didn't need another WW2 movie to remind them how bad WW2 was.

To say 12 Years A Slave was agenda driven is like saying Stalingrad was agenda driven, or the fact Argo won Oscar because Hollywood is trying to make a statement that resolving international crisis can be done with a little ingenuity and without violence. If you ask me I have no problem with that kind of agenda. I enjoyed Fruitville Station last year. I suppose you can say that movie was agenda driven too. But I'm not sure where we're going with this.

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  #35  
Old 03-12-2014, 03:51 PM
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I understand your points, but my problem was not with the story itself, but with the presentation and tone. I felt the presentation went beyond the story to make unnecessary statements. Not every World War II movie is an anti-war movie despite the general view that war is bad. While 12 Years a Slave absolutely honored the courage and resilience of its main character, I felt it was also trying to be an anti-slavery movie. (McQueen even said as much in his Oscar acceptance speech as he cited all the slavery that still exists around the world.) There's nothing wrong with that; it just rubbed me the wrong way. I felt I was being preached to, and I don't particularly like preachy movies. Just my opinion.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:59 PM
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I understand your points, but my problem was not with the story itself, but with the presentation and tone. I felt the presentation went beyond the story to make unnecessary statements. Not every World War II movie is an anti-war movie despite the general view that war is bad. While 12 Years a Slave absolutely honored the courage and resilience of its main character, I felt it was also trying to be an anti-slavery movie. (McQueen even said as much in his Oscar acceptance speech as he cited all the slavery that still exists around the world.) There's nothing wrong with that; it just rubbed me the wrong way. I felt I was being preached to, and I don't particularly like preachy movies. Just my opinion.
I don't know. I mean, it's all there in the book. Northup's own words. What he went through, who did it to him, and what he witnessed others go through. I mean, how do you take his account and make it unpreachy?
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:07 PM
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I don't know. I mean, it's all there in the book. Northup's own words.
Actually, the book was ghostwritten by David Wilson as told to him by Northup. So while it's Northup's story, it's not (necessarily) Northup's "own words."
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  #38  
Old 03-12-2014, 04:10 PM
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Actually, the book was ghostwritten by David Wilson as told to him by Northup. So while it's Northup's story, it's not (necessarily) Northup's "own words."
And?

Anyone who's read the book knows that. It's still lauded by historians to be historically accurate.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dbacksfan View Post
I understand your points, but my problem was not with the story itself, but with the presentation and tone. I felt the presentation went beyond the story to make unnecessary statements. Not every World War II movie is an anti-war movie despite the general view that war is bad. While 12 Years a Slave absolutely honored the courage and resilience of its main character, I felt it was also trying to be an anti-slavery movie. (McQueen even said as much in his Oscar acceptance speech as he cited all the slavery that still exists around the world.) There's nothing wrong with that; it just rubbed me the wrong way. I felt I was being preached to, and I don't particularly like preachy movies. Just my opinion.
I'm not sure how Northup's story can be told without any anti-slavery overtone. It's almost oxymoron. It's like asking a doctor to just fix my clogged arteries but I don't want to hear him advising me to eat healthier. As you mentioned McQueen has his own agenda. But that's his perogative. Back in the 80's and 90's there were many movies with strong hidden anti-drug preaches. I watch movie for what it is, and I do my own interpretation and often obvious to producer's own messages. But that's just me.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:04 PM
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And?

Anyone who's read the book knows that. It's still lauded by historians to be historically accurate.
And...nothing. You just implied it was his writing. It's his story, but it's not his words. Sorry, it's a writer's thing.
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