Charles Austin Miller

New this week Trivia: Early in the film, as the Salt and Son theatrical troupe performs their stage version of Munchausen's adventures, the Baron is eaten by a giant fish; two mermaids immediately enter stage-left and sing a mournful ditty modestly accompanied by the pit orchestra: "What will become of the Baron? Surely this time there is no escape!" To those with sharp ears, this ditty is the same tune as the soaring, symphonic Baron Munchausen theme music featured throughout the movie.

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Charles Austin Miller

New this week Deliberate mistake: Baron Munchausen sends his courier, Berthold, on a one-hour errand to procure a bottle of the finest Tokay from the imperial wine cellars in Vienna. Berthold returns with the bottle within the hour and (in one continuous wide shot) hands the bottle to Baron Munchausen, who then hands it to the Sultan, who effortlessly plucks the cork from the bottle with his fingertips and pours a glass for himself. But there is no way the Sultan could simply pluck out the cork with his fingertips in one move; this extremely valuable bottle of wine is visibly sealed (in every shot) with a thick, air-tight red wax. This wax must first be cut and peeled away to access the deeply-embedded cork, and the cork must then be removed with a wine key (corkscrew). The action of properly opening the bottle would have required more time than the entire scene itself; so, to expedite the flow of the shot, director Terry Gilliam deliberately chose to forego a proper uncorking.

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Charles Austin Miller
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New this week Suggested correction: You're ignoring the fact that the entire scene is a story the real Munchausen is telling from memory. There are many fantastic elements that do not hold with reality, like him riding his horse out of the window, falling several stories, and landing safety, or Adolphus being able to see and shoot to the other side of the world. The bottle is simply an example of Munchausen not adhering to reality.

Jason Hoffman

Yet, at the end, Sally addresses Baron Munchausen directly and asks him the question that the audience has been wondering throughout the whole movie: "It wasn't just a story, was it?" The Baron solemnly shakes his head, affirming that he was telling the truth all along, regardless of how fantastic it sounded. This point is often missed by the movie's critics.

Charles Austin Miller

The point I raised wasn't that the Baron's story wasn't true, but rather that he embellished it.

Jason Hoffman

In any event, the Sultan's effortless uncorking of the bottle was a deliberate mistake intended to allow a whole series of actions to occur sequentially in the single wide shot in less than 5 seconds.

Charles Austin Miller

New this month Trivia: Actress Sally Field is yet remembered and sometimes mocked for her 1985 Academy Award speech that included the gushing line: "You like me! You really like me!" Problem is, that's a misquote, she didn't say that line. When accepting the Best Actress Oscar for "Places in the Heart," Sally Field actually said: "I can't deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me." So why does everyone remember the misquote? It's because Jim Carrey satirized Sally Field's award speech for his 1994 movie, "The Mask," in which he originated the misquote: "You like me! You really like me!"

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Charles Austin Miller

New this month Question: When Baron Munchausen and his cohorts clean out the Sultan's vault, the Sultan's horrified Treasurer crosses himself in the Catholic fashion. But, in this film, the Sultan is head of the Ottoman Empire (a Muslim empire), and the closest members of his court (such as his Treasurer) would surely be Muslim. So the treasurer's Christian gesture stands out as unlikely, at best. This seems to be a character error, but was it intended as a deliberate joke? If so, what was the joke?

Charles Austin Miller

New this month Answer: The Baron is a teller of tall tales and massively exaggerated stories, so it is all from his limited point of view. The Ottomans did have Christian members of staff, especially doctors and such but the treasurer would never be a non-Muslim.

New this month Trivia: In this live BBC remake of the 1955 film, Jason Flemyng starred as Bernard Quatermass, and David Tennant starred as Gordon Briscoe. During rehearsals, the cast and crew learned that Tennant had been selected for the coveted role of the upcoming Tenth Doctor Who (the public would not learn of Tennant's official Doctor Who selection until weeks after the Quatermass broadcast). During the live television performance of "The Quatermass Experiment," when Jason Flemyng and David Tennant first share dialogue, Flemyng was supposed to deliver the scripted greeting: "Good to have you back, Gordon!" However, Flemyng ad-libbed: "Good to have you back, Doctor!" This was a deliberate inside-congratulation to David Tennant for winning the Doctor Who role.

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Charles Austin Miller

21st Jul 2018

The Wave (2015)

New this month Factual error: Although this 2015 Norwegian disaster film is far superior to the many American disaster movies that it emulates, "The Wave" still suffers the most common error found in tsunami-themed disaster flicks: Crystal-clear flood waters. Of course, tsunami flood waters in particular are always inky-black with churning sediment and debris.

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Charles Austin Miller

New this month Revealing mistake: Just before Bond's miniature pen rocket blasts Fatima Blush into confetti, we see closeups of her gleefully cackling at the rocket's apparent malfunction. When the camera cuts back to a wide shot (to show the considerable explosion that follows), we can still hear Fatima laughing, but she has been physically replaced by a stiff, static, costumed manikin whose face isn't even recognizable as Fatima's. The manikin (possibly made of and costumed in paper maché) is then completely obliterated by a three-stage blast.

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Charles Austin Miller

19th Jul 2018

Blue Velvet (1986)

New this month Question: At the end, when Jefferey shoots Frank in the forehead, the film editing becomes confusing, with two different closeup shots of Frank immediately after the gunfire. One shot is obviously Dennis Hopper with a wide-eyed and shocked expression (as well a hole in his head) as he falls backwards. But the following split-second closeup shot is apparently not Dennis Hopper: He now has what looks like facial hair, a sullen expression, larger brow and eyes that seem almost swollen shut (and he's still falling backwards). This second cut looks like a rubber mask or very, very different makeup from that which Dennis Hopper was wearing just a fraction of a second before. The appearance is so different that I wonder if David Lynch was ever asked to explain the continuity error?

Charles Austin Miller

17th Jul 2018

Jurassic Park (1993)

Factual error: In this film, Dilophosaurus is characterized as "one of the earliest carnivores." This is factually off by about 100 million years. The earliest large land carnivore was Dimetrodon (a reptile, not a dinosaur), from about 100 million years before Dilophosaurus. Before that, there were many marine and amphibious carnivores, dating back 300 million years easily.

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Charles Austin Miller
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New this month Suggested correction: Since it is a park with dinosaurs, they are referring to it as an early carnivorous dinosaur, not simply a carnivore.

Greg Dwyer

Yet we know Ingen was not limited to experimentation with dinosaurs only. They were bringing back a wide range of plants and animals that even predated the dinosaurs (such as pterodactyls, which were also early carnivorous reptiles, not actual dinosaurs).

Charles Austin Miller

16th Jul 2018

Planet 51 (2009)

Factual error: The lead song, "Lollipop," wasn't written until 1958, seven years beyond the chronological order of the movie.

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Charles Austin Miller

Continuity mistake: Frederick Frankenstein only throws two darts through the window. But there are 9 darts in the car tires outside.

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Charles Austin Miller

Question: Why attempt Russian accents in a film that is purely Russian? The star, Harrison Ford, doesn't even pretend to be Russian. Why should anyone else?

Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: There is no way that the SS Venture could plow into the dock as depicted. Easily pulling a 30-foot draft, the Venture would have grounded out a mile away from the shoreline, unless the ocean was 30 feet deep right off the beach.

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Charles Austin Miller
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Suggested correction: Of course it wouldn't have grounded, it was meant to dock at the pier. They had everything ready at the shore for unloading the ship once it was docked. The bay and dock is thus deeper than 30 feet.

lionhead

Which does not negate the fact that a super-freighter-sized vessel cannot dock at a beach pier. The ocean floor would have to be at least 40 feet deep right off the beach.

Charles Austin Miller

It's not a super-freighter sized vessel, its a medium sized cargo ship, probably around 250 or 300 meters long with a draft of 30 feet at max, if it was full. The scene is shot on a fictional location outside of San Diego on a small dock, you have no idea how deep it is there. I don't see any beaches either so I don't know where you get the idea that its a beach pier.

lionhead

The scene is post-production CGI, it wasn't shot at any location.

Charles Austin Miller

Have you ever seen a pier constructed elsewhere than on a shallow beach? No. Piers are not constructed in deep water.

Charles Austin Miller

A pier can be build at any type of location including a full fledged constructed harbor where cruise-ships or even aircraft carriers can dock at them, like in San Diego itself like the USS Midway Museum (called the navy pier). Piers can be constructed in very deep water, have to be in order for big ships to moor at them.

lionhead

Btw, USS Midway has a draft of 34.5 feet.

lionhead

A dock is different from a pier, in case you didn't know. The construction in this movie is a wooden pier, not a dock. There is no way that a cargo ship (or a super freighter in this case) could pull up to a pier.

Charles Austin Miller

Doesn't matter what you call it, it's a place ships moor at. It's a fictional location and the fact it's wooden is totally irrelevant. If this ship is supposed to moor at it, then the water is deep enough for it to get there. Even if it had a 60 foot draft. Ingen built the dock, the pier, the harbor, everything, for loading and unloading supplies onto big ships.

lionhead

Umm, yeah, it makes a difference what you call it. A dock is where ships moor (deep water). A pier is where people fish (shallow water). The SS Venture crashes into a wooden pier.

Charles Austin Miller

In American English the word is synonymous to dock. Doesn't matter, like I said, the place is meant to have a ship moored at it, it's not a fishing pier.

lionhead

Trivia: One perceived problem with George Lazenby as James Bond was that he did not exude the same self-confident charm and humor as Sean Connery's James Bond (who always quipped some memorable and comedic sound bite, particularly after killing a villain). Lazenby's humor-deficiency was acknowledged during production of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"; toward rectifying this apparent lack of humor, Lazenby was allowed to do something no other James Bond ever did: Addressing the viewing audience with the line, "This never happened to the other fellow," which was a direct in-joke reference to his predecessor, Sean Connery.

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Charles Austin Miller

Deliberate mistake: Blofeld doesn't recognize James Bond in this film, even though they met face-to-face in the previous movie, "You Only Live Twice." There is a production-related reason for this. Ian Fleming wrote "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" in 1963 (in which Bond and Blofeld met for the first time), and he wrote "You Only Live Twice" in 1964. However, "You Only Live Twice" was adapted for film first (in 1967), and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was adapted afterward (in 1969). Because the 1969 film was so faithful to its source material, Blofeld and Bond are basically meeting for the first time...again. The producers were aware of this continuity problem and intended to have James Bond undergo plastic surgery for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (which would conveniently explain Blofeld not recognizing him, as well as the fact that Sean Connery had been replaced by George Lazenby in the lead role). But the plastic surgery idea was discarded in faithfulness to the novel, resulting in a glaring continuity problem between the 1967 and 1969 films.

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Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: Although Australian George Lazenby received mixed critical reception for his portrayal of James Bond in 1969, producer Albert R. Broccoli was so impressed with the actor that he offered Lazenby a contract to star in the next seven (7) James Bond films. If Lazenby had accepted the contract, it would have erased Sean Connery's return in 1970 and Roger Moore's participation in James Bond film history through the year 1983. As it happened, Lazenby's agent poorly advised him that the James Bond franchise would never survive the 1970s, so Lazenby turned down Broccoli's extraordinary contract offer.

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Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: Unlike other James Bond movies, this film is the most faithful adaptation of any James Bond novel. Everything that happens in Ian Fleming's 1963 novel, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," is included in this film.

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Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: Despite being nominated for 4 Academy Awards (and despite its decades-long cult following), this film was a box-office disaster upon its release, grossing only $8 million against a reported production cost of $46 million. Director Terry Gilliam denied the film cost anywhere near $40 million, and other reports place the total cost at around $35 million. But, even with this more conservative estimate, Gilliam went far beyond his initial budget of $25 million.

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Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: This film was actually the third installment in director Terry Gilliam's "Trilogy of Imagination," all dealing with fantasy escapism at different ages in life. The first film of the trilogy was 1981's "Time Bandits," a surreal fantasy seen through the eyes of a child; the second film was 1985's "Brazil," another surreal fantasy seen through the eyes of a middle-aged man; 1988's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" was yet another surreal fantasy seen through the eyes of an elderly gentleman.

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Charles Austin Miller

Katsura Mafune: Please kill me! Destroy my body! Inside me is the controller! Mechagodzilla's brain's installed in my stomach!

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Charles Austin Miller

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