Metropolis / Dark City

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Professional horse shoe straightener
Always loved the recurring themes in these two. The dystopian cityscape images, the unethical leaders, the inhabitants being 'slaves to time' and 'slaves against the machine', the mad scientists, the strive to be individual and human. Two good films in their own right.

I saw 'Dark City' (1998) was movie of the month on here a few years ago but it's roots and DNA were never really discussed I don't think. So for anyone who's not seen 'Metropolis' (1927), dig it out and wonder at it's amazing knack of inspiring so many other great films since.




I love both of them, have them on my "all time" DVD shelf. I recall seeing Dark City when it was new in the theater and being blown away by all that noir-sci-fi-fantasy imagery, the strangeness of the plot and the nightmare quality of the movie. It was very obviously inspired by Metropolis, which pretty much set the visual tone for a lot of futuristic fantasy as well as some elements of the film noir look.

Metropolis was part of the source of the look for Dark City, but Dark City also added color and sound to all of that visual craziness, not to mention the whole space and alien creature aspect of the story.



minds his own damn business
I wouldn't put Dark City anywhere on par with Metropolis (and its homage to the latter was not lost on me), but it is one of the best sci-fis of the 90s that deserves more attention. Those who have seen it tend to love it. A true cult classic.
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I wouldn't put Dark City anywhere on par with Metropolis (and its homage to the latter was not lost on me), but it is one of the best sci-fis of the 90s that deserves more attention. Those who have seen it tend to love it. A true cult classic.
Dark City was definitely an "inspired by" movie while Metropolis was the original. That takes it down a few notches, but I loved the sound and color, as well as the strange, twisted reality, especially when you realize where the story is set. As much as I appreciate Metropolis for its historic value, I'd rather watch Dark City and enjoy the sound and color. The time I saw Metropolis with live music, that really helped to put it way up in my ranking. Music is often the emotional barometer of a movie so the live music really adds to the experience. It's one those things were, "if you ever get the chance"...don't miss it. I saw the silent Phantom of the Opera like that too and it was terrific.



minds his own damn business
Music is often the emotional barometer of a movie so the live music really adds to the experience. It's one those things were, "if you ever get the chance"...don't miss it. I saw the silent Phantom of the Opera like that too and it was terrific.
In high school I decided to make a dub of my then copy of Metropolis (a Good Times public domain dupe) with an instrumental psychedelic rock soundtrack that consisted of a lot of Pink Floyd (mostly using Ummagumma, "Echoes" and the side 2 "Shine On") mixed with a handful of stuff like Hendrix's "1983", The Who's "Sparks" (for the "creation" scene, obvs) and dashes of Bernard Herrmann here and there to cake it all together. I also did a version with Phantom later that wasn't quite as successful.



The trick is not minding
I finally saw Metropolis last year, after having it on my “must watch list” for well over a decades. I was given the restored version as a gift.

I was blown away. There are no words.

Dark City is also a great film, despite Sutherland’s rather annoying speech pattern. A film I was lucky enough to see after it first came out, and was “in” on before it became a cult favorite.



Metropolis is definitely the better film. However, I do love Dark City and consider it to be one of the best and underseen sci-fi films of the 1990's. In spite of some hammy acting here and there, the mystery and the ideas at the heart of the film definitely linger with you. Also, I've said this before, but I prefer Dark City over The Matrix by a decent margin.



Dark City is my favorite film, I do love Metropolis and it's the better film but Dark City helped me discover so many of those older films by tracing it's influences so it kind of has an extra emotional and mental connection that puts it so high in my rankings.



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Dark City is also a great film, despite Sutherland’s rather annoying speech pattern. A film I was lucky enough to see after it first came out, and was “in” on before it became a cult favorite.
Sutherland's speech seems to me to fit into the altered reality of the movie. The whole film is like a fever dream during a malaria relapse, where some things are normal, some make no sense at all but it all seems like you're really there. Dr Schreber seems to be damaged, but we get no explanation. His shuffling walk, the scar on his eye and his halting speech all kind of fit into the fever dream world. Why? Who knows. It's a fever dream. Nothing really fits together. So, in that world, why does Emma Murdoch sing and dress like a lounge singer in this bizarre world? I have no idea. Nor do I know why Bumstead acts so much like a movie detective. It's as though he got kidnapped on the set of Law and Order, dropped down in this alt-world and has not even noticed. They all seem to be humans but nobody notices that it's always dark. That's what I like about the movie.



Registered User
They're like trains passing each other in opposite directions. Metropolis is trying to be futuristic, imaging what might be. Dark City is nostalgia-noir, looking back at what was (e.g., automats) in the art deco era when a diner would fit in a painting titled "Nighthawks." Jennifer Connelly is nice to look at, but Robot Maria knows how to party.



I saw Dark City when it was released in 1998, a great film to see on the big screen - and I'm still wishing and hoping that Metropolis will show up in a cinema that re-releases old films, for that seems like it would be a great experience. I remember being pleased that Richard O'Brien showed up in Dark City - being a fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and similarly Jennifer Connelly.

Both films have a lot to say beyond the story on the surface. How many of us would be surprised if, when we die, we find that this has all been an illusion? Life is but a dream. I never realised how much they look alike, but @ScarletLion seems to have a great eye for those kinds of details.
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.