Civil War (Alex Garland)

Tools    








I didn't hate Men(like a lot of people did) and this is getting an IMAX release so it might look good. But this concept has been done to death


This movie is coming out late April in 2024



And with this, we're beyond the polite euphemism of "zombies." Zombies were always code for "the hordes of people of whom we live in terror." Our anxiety has finally pressed itself firmly into conscious articulation. Hell is other people and today Americans hate other Americans more than any other foe.



It is interesting to see the band-aid ripped off the premise. Cool. Show us hell with the lid off. I like that the premise acknowledges that a true Civil War would not be five guys in a Dodge Durango, but rather states and elements of the military splitting off and away from the federal structure. It would be, in a word, messy. This film might be an interesting thought experiment to consider the horrors of collapse. And if this doesn't serve, I suspect that we might see a real-deal civil war in Russia, depending on how the Ukranian war plays out.



Garland has talent, I've really liked some of his stuff, but he's pretty inconsistent. And man, this just seems ridiculously on-the-nose. Clumsy, really.

If it's going to be any good, it's going to have to have some really interesting, thoughtful stuff about the ripple effects and implications of its core conceit. If it's just the conceit itself, depicting some kind of worst-case scenario without anything clever or surprising, then I'm not sure I see the point. And in all likelihood it'll end up looking like every other overtly topical film that took some current problem (or sometimes, mere fear at a problem that hadn't even materialized and never would) and extrapolated it wildly in a way that aged horribly. Like Soylent Green.



This looks great. I'm noticing a trend of movies focusing much more on americas internal issues than external



I like Garland, but this looks uncomfortable to watch haha. Not sure what the full intent will be yet, but I'm sure the Spring 2024 release date is no accident



And man, this just seems ridiculously on-the-nose.
How is directness an indictment? Or is the "nose" itself objectionable? If so, what is the nose?

If it's going to be any good, it's going to have to have some really interesting, thoughtful stuff about the ripple effects and implications of its core conceit.
What if it is just fun?

If it's just the conceit itself, depicting some kind of worst-case scenario without anything clever or surprising, then I'm not sure I see the point.
Safety valve for anxiety? Thought experiment (would we really want to live in such a world--if we had to, what would it look like)?

And in all likelihood it'll end up looking like every other overtly topical film
I am not sure how topical ("on the nose"?) it is. The rebs are a California-Texas alliance(?), which is a most improbable brew in our current world.



As general proposition, nations rise and fall, usually violently. The bare idea ("All empires fall" or something like that is the tag-line) doesn't seem to be just a concern of "present year."

that took some current problem (or sometimes, mere fear at a problem that hadn't even materialized and never would)
Fiction explores possibilities, what ifs. How likely must a premise be? I like Phase I Marvel, but "Purple man seeks magic rocks to remake the universe" is something that has not yet happened, and I wager never will.

and extrapolated it wildly in a way that aged horribly. Like Soylent Green.
Did it really age that horribly? Tyson has Borg cubes filled with debeaked and defeathered chickens (hidden from view under "Ag-Gag" laws that violate the 1st Amendment) pumped up on hormones and antibiotics producing meat which is fat-rich and nutrient-poor. And we wonder why we're sick when microplastics are literally in everything we eat (word on the street is we're eating a "credit-card's" worth of micro-plastics every week). If anything Soylent Green was arguably too chipper.



I think the great doom prediction that is falling through is the Mathusian prediction (Soylent Green, Avengers, how many others?) of endless suffering and mass-starvation from over-population. Present stats are pointing at population collapse.



What if they made this movie, but it had superheroes in it?
The Avengers version was interesting in that it raised the question of whether special people should submit to official authority. The answer was weakly yes (i.e., just until the next emergency arrives), which was functionally, a polite "no." When Thanos showed up, our heroes were not orders from anyone. Our fate. Their hands. Ditto for Batman. He will destroy all that data-snooping tech just as soon as he defeats Bane. But should a Bane ever return your civil rights are forfeit. And people think these movies are deep.



X-Men offers a more dire scenario in which the mutants war with the normies. In this scenario, the muggles would lose, handily. Game, blouses. The new leaders of the new establishment would laugh at the idea of 2A under the new regime: "You think you're going to take on the Mutant Government with guns? You're going to need level 4 mutant powers to even have a chance, and we're the mutants."



_________________________
Finally saw this trailer and the only thought it spurred was, “who financed this?”

Looks like it will be a good watch, appreciate Kirsten Dunst in these middle-age roles and Plemmons is always dead-eye gold.

Just don’t really see much insight coming out of this. We are already a country of common people, dividing ourselves to fit into a narrative we get fed. Didn’t need the guy who made Dredd to fill me in on his thoughts.



A system of cells interlinked
Yea, I think around 2018 or so, I would have maybe been a bit more open to stuff like this, but at this point, I am just straight up sick of this nonsense. At a Christmas party recently (as opposed to the silly and banal holiday party), a bunch of us were lamenting the division and animosity in the country, and how we all just needed to get past it already. The group consisted of a wide variety of political viewpoints, and we were all in agreement. A good start, if I say so myself.
__________________
“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” ― Thomas Sowell



How is directness an indictment? Or is the "nose" itself objectionable? If so, what is the nose?
Being "on the nose" is examining the issue in a clumsy, artless, or superficial way.

What if it is just fun?
It sure doesn't look fun. Or like it's trying to be fun. Also, I've seen most of Garland's other films. I've liked some of them a lot, too, but I wouldn't classify any of them as fun.

I hope I'm wrong, though. I'd love to watch a fun movie.

Safety valve for anxiety?
That's not interesting to me.

I am not sure how topical ("on the nose"?) it is. The rebs are a California-Texas alliance(?), which is a most improbable brew in our current world.
This is why I included the word "if." Maybe they have an interesting angle there. I am dubious.

As general proposition, nations rise and fall, usually violently. The bare idea ("All empires fall" or something like that is the tag-line) doesn't seem to be just a concern of "present year."
There are certainly ways to explore this idea that are not overtly situated in present concerns, yes. I think that mostly involves finding ways to entertain the idea indirectly.

It's kind of like exploring the idea of corruption in the halls of power and then including a scene where people storm the capital dressed like shamans and steal lecterns. The former is a timeless theme. The latter is clumsy (and not just because lecterns are heavy).

Fiction explores possibilities, what ifs. How likely must a premise be? I like Phase I Marvel, but "Purple man seeks magic rocks to remake the universe" is something that has not yet happened, and I wager never will.
Exploring something superficially implausible to indirectly comment on real things is fine. What's clumsy and bad is the Uncanny Valley of depicting something superficially plausible, something that almost looks like reality, but basing it on a rote extrapolation of current trends.

Did it really age that horribly?
Yes, for the reason you go on to post immediately after:

I think the great doom prediction that is falling through is the Mathusian prediction (Soylent Green, Avengers, how many others?) of endless suffering and mass-starvation from over-population. Present stats are pointing at population collapse.
This is what I was referring to.



Yea, I think around 2018 or so, I would have maybe been a bit more open to stuff like this, but at this point, I am just straight up sick of this nonsense. At a Christmas party recently (as opposed to the silly and banal holiday party), a bunch of us were lamenting the division and animosity in the country, and how we all just needed to get past it already. The group consisted of a wide variety of political viewpoints, and we were all in agreement. A good start, if I say so myself.
This is kind of where I'm at. Rather than making me want to see the film, the trailer only had me dreading the inevitable (and inevitably mind-numbing) fights that it will cause. Everyone will take a side (too woke/not woke enough) and bicker about it endlessly. And it doesn't matter if the film ultimately has some sort of uplifting message because 75% of the people fighting about it won't even watch it.

I'm a fan of Garland and the film might be great and he's allowed to make it, I just have no interest in wallowing in this *bleep*.
__________________
Captain's Log
My Collection



Being "on the nose" is examining the issue in a clumsy, artless, or superficial way.
Given the director's prior entries, I don't think that's a fair assumption. Dude's got store credit with me.
It sure doesn't look fun. Or like it's trying to be fun.
Serious horror movies don't look like fun or an invitation to fun, but yet we watch them because we enjoy them. I hated Audition because it scared the crap out of me, and that is why it was fun (that rare amusement park ride that actually thrills).
Also, I've seen most of Garland's other films. I've liked some of them a lot, too, but I wouldn't classify any of them as fun.
If so, perhaps this is a mere semantic quibble? I have a promiscuous definition of "fun" and you don't? If you have liked other films by this director, but wouldn't say that those films are fun (again) I would say that this director has earned a bit of store credit with you (or should have some to spend).
There are certainly ways to explore this idea that are not overtly situated in present concerns, yes. I think that mostly involves finding ways to entertain the idea indirectly.
You seem to be averse to the directness of the thing. We're back to that "nose" thing again. This subject matter appears to be too tender or repulsive for you to want to view it directly, but why? You have committed to the position that there is no way that this could happen, so it cannot be that this is "too real," right?

Why not have a direct examination of our subject matter? Kramer vs. Kramer offers a direct look at divorce. This is a film that offers a more direct look at national divorce (how direct "present year" it will be remains to be seen).
It's kind of like exploring the idea of corruption in the halls of power and then including a scene where people storm the capital dressed like shamans and steal lecterns. The former is a timeless theme. The latter is clumsy (and not just because lecterns are heavy).
Must all films be timeless? And what of the old argument that the timeless is always individuated in the particular (e.g., one death is a tragedy, a million a statistic).

The premise of the present film is a third-term president. That's not really "current events" or "present year," at least not for the United States. That is, however, a move that dictators inevitably take (e.g., Jingping, Putin). That's timeless enough and realistic enough, and that's not really MAGA Shaman.
Exploring something superficially implausible to indirectly comment on real things is fine. What's clumsy and bad is the Uncanny Valley of depicting something superficially plausible, something that almost looks like reality, but basing it on a rote extrapolation of current trends.
In this case, we'd basically have to condemn every episode of Black Mirror for extrapolating from current social and technological trends. What makes that show good is that it is uncanny. It is distorted, but still shows something disturbingly verisimilar.

We've had people prepping for the end of the world since the 1950s. In the last decade, we've witnessed increased violence, legitimization of violence as a political tool, inconsistent condemnation of violence (e.g., it's OK when my side does it, because of...), families walking on eggshells while drinking eggnog at family gatherings. Your forum has a "no politics" rule, because you find these discussion to be unmanageable (i.e., uncivil). The BLM protests did happen. January 6th did happen. A car just crashed into the president's motorcade. According to a Harris Poll a slim majority of those 18-24 think Israel should be ended and given to Hamas and Palestine, whereas older people feel quite the opposite. We are a house divided.
This is what I was referring to.
And yet never has America needed some hero to rise up to scream at us that what we're eating isn't really food. It's just sugar, soybeans, corn, food-coloring, and a witch's caldron of flavor enhancers which is quite literally killing us. Obesity and malnutrition now walk hand in hand. We would have five horsemen of the apocalypse now, if it weren't for obesity crushing his horse. Maybe he should ride a rascal scooter instead.



Pundits offering commentary. They appreciate that the Texas-California alliance is so implausible as to make it "not" be on the nose (i.e., red vs. blue).


A more "right wing" take seems to be cautiously intrigued at the idea that it won't simply be a left vs. right affair.




I watched this today. I don't think this is as good as Alex Garland's other films. I still liked it, but it felt like it was missing something. Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny are good here and there are some effective moments. I just was expecting more substance though. The film isn't as political as one might assume. It is a fairly traditional journalists during wartime action movie. I didn't feel like it took any particular side or was attacking any group. The main message seems to be simply war is bad. It's a 7/10 from me though, but would not make my top 10 of this year.



I watched this today. I don't think this is as good as Alex Garland's other films. I still liked it, but it felt like it was missing something. Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny are good here and there are some effective moments. I just was expecting more substance though. The film isn't as political as one might assume. It is a fairly traditional journalists during wartime action movie. I didn't feel like it took any particular side or was attacking any group. The main message seems to be simply war is bad. It's a 7/10 from me though, but would not make my top 10 of this year.
I agree that it seems to lack substance, as if it was hard to for it to say anything beyond the trite "war is bad, duh!".

Also, although the movie is very cleverly planned to avoid easily offending anyone at all, if you read between the lines you'll find perhaps it suggests quite a bit more than is at first apparent. I'll just leave it at that



Cinemascore: