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国外影评人是如何评价《小时代》的?

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2015年07月22日

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  Writer-turned-director Guo Jingming brings his series of adaptations of his own Shanghai-set romance novels to a close.

  Catfights, cancer, corporate conspiracies, cosmetic surgery, Chippendale-aping striptease: true to style, Chinese novelist-turned-filmmaker Guo Jingming has thrown in everything but the kitchen sink in Tiny Times 4.0, the latest and final installment in his tetralogy of adaptations of his novels about the fluctuating friendships among four young women in modern-day Shanghai.

  Just like his characters, however, Guo seems to have not matured into his new artistic calling: despite being flanked by two "executive directors," he remains completely at a loss in adapting his material to the constraints of the film medium. He simply doesn't do structure and subtlety, as is evident in the awkwardly reshot and re-edited scenes aimed at reducing the presence of the drug-busted and black-listed actor Kai Ko.

  The myriad cracks in the previous installments have largely been papered over by Guo's near-maximalist representation of material excess. Indifference is not actually an option when confronted with something so over-the-top and in-your-face. Having pared back on the bling-fueled bluster - perhaps due to slashed budgets, or the need to avoid censure from a current Chinese leadership bent on advocating austere lifestyles - Tiny Times 4.0 reveals itself as a novice visual storyteller's failed attempt to inject gravitas into a tired premise.

  Read More'I Am Somebody': Shanghai Review

  While steadfast Chinese fans will most probably support Guo and his stellar cast to the very end - a loyalty epitomized by the $32.2 million gross it has attained in the country during the first two days after its July 9 opening - the film's takings have been eaten into somewhat by the release of the similarly teen-oriented bosom-buddies drama Forever Young. The film's fortunes beyond China are minimal; 3.0 has, for the moment, yet to be picked up for release.

  As for many a film series, the uninitiated need not apply. Guo doesn't suffer newcomers gladly in his universe. And after the plethora of characters being thrown into the mix in the third film - most of them young hunks bearing the same muscular physique and furrowed-brow expression - the labyrinthine web of relationships poses a near-impenetrable challenge for anyone beyond the diehard.

  Picking up where the third film left off, 4.0 mostly revolves around the trials of Lily (the bankable Amber Kuo), the once-rich queen bee who finds herself near financial ruin because of the debts left behind by her father. Perhaps fearing that the number-crunching might be too daunting for his target demographic, Guo has given Lily the more relatable trial of having to combat a newly diagnosed cancer. Too proud to seek solace from anyone around her, Lily sets off a chain of self-destructive events which lead to her estrangement from erstwhile best friends Lin Xiao (Mini Yang), Nan Xiang (Bea Hayden Kuo) and Ruby (Sie Yi-lin).

  Read More China Box Office: Foreign Movies Have Upper Hand

  As Tiny Times soars into its climactic grand finale, tragedies abound as relationships are cast asunder. Lin Xiao's personal and private lives spiral into oblivion in quick succession; the femme fatale of the four, Nan Xiang reveals her true social-climbing colors as she eases her way into the heart of her boss (Vivian Dawson) and up the greasy corporate pole; and Ruby, the jester of the group, recoils from contact with anyone else as she struggles to recover from the disfiguring aftermath of her falling out with her friends.

  Probably more at ease unveiling his intertwining storylines across wide swathes of space in print, Guo struggles to pace his plotlines. Rather than offering a script in which characters are sketched out of small but revealing and symbolic gestures, he has instead hedged his bets on pretty faces striking poses which try and fail to signify sadness. Tiny Times 4.0 is an anti-climax that brings an erstwhile controversial and cacophonous cinematic juggernaut to a whimpering close.

  《小时代4》是由作家转型的导演郭敬明根据他自己的小说改编的电影四部曲的最新一集、也是最后一集,小说讲述的是四个生活在当代上海的女孩之间起伏不定的友情。在电影里,郭敬明堆砌了所有的东西:撕逼,癌症,公司里的勾心斗角,整容手术,Chippendale式的裸男,唯独没有现实。

  不过,就像他的角色一样,郭敬明在新的艺术领域里的尝试看起来并不成熟。尽管有两名“执行导演”的辅佐,但郭敬明在把自己的小说改编成电影时却完全迷失了。他完全不管电影的结构和质感;这一点在那些为了减少因为吸毒被抓而上了黑名单的柯震东的出场而重新拍摄和剪辑的拙劣场景中体现得尤为明显。

  前几集里,巨大的情节漏洞基本上被郭敬明用对物质最大化的铺陈给糊弄掩盖了过去,面对那样毫无节制的、挑衅似地扔了你一脸的物质展示,要无动于衷是不可能的。《小时代4》减少了这样珠光宝气的炫耀,这可能是因为预算的削减,也可能是为了避免被倡导艰苦朴素生活方式的人批评。于是,这部影片就暴露出了一个视觉叙事新手在试图给一个陈旧的主题赋予严肃性时所遭遇的失败。

  7月9日上线的《小时代4》两天内在中国揽下3220万美元,显示了狂热的粉丝们将会对郭敬明和他星光熠熠的卡司团队支持到底,不过它们的票房部分地受到了另一部瞄准青少年的花样少年题材电影《栀子花开》的影响。而在中国以外,这部电影的市场前景几近于无;《小时代3》到目前为止还没有在海外上映。

  许多系列电影都不适合对其不太了解的人观看,郭敬明构建的宇宙对新观众来说也并不轻松。第三部里混杂了大量的人物角色,其中大多数是年轻健壮的美男子,他们有着一样的肌肉和一样的眉头深锁的表情。如果不是资深粉丝,要弄清这样繁杂如迷宫一样的人物关系对于任何人来说都是几乎不可能的挑战。

  第四部延续第三部的情节发展,主要围绕对顾里的审判展开,这是一个曾经富有、但因为父亲留下的债而陷入财政危机的女王蜂。也许是担心具体的审判过程对于他的目标观影群体来说有点太难了,郭敬明给了顾里一个更容易让观众理解的审判方式——与刚刚诊断出来的癌症作斗争。由于太过骄傲而不愿意向身边任何人寻求安慰,顾里开始了一系列自我毁坏的举动,导致了她与曾经的好友林萧、南湘和唐宛如渐渐疏远。

  也许郭敬明能够更加得心应手地用文字来展开互相交织的故事线,而在电影里,情节的把握对他来说变得相当艰难。他的剧本没有能够让角色去做出那些细微但是一目了然的肢体语言,而是把宝押在了让漂亮脸蛋摆pose上,结果完全没有传递出悲伤的情感。《小时代4》是一部反高潮的电影,此前极富争议、充斥刺耳杂音的来势,最终以一个低迷的结尾收场。

  译者:假装在纽约

  除了《好莱坞报道者》,目前还没有看到别的主要外媒关注《小时代4》。不过,两年前的《小时代2》曾经被很多媒体集中报道。美国另一份娱乐行业的专业媒体《综艺》(Variety)当时是这样评论的。

  因为泛滥的物质主义和荒谬编造的情节设置,《小时代》曾在中国的微博上遭到嘲笑。比如说,一个刚刚毕业的大学生怎么可能立即当上CFO?不过,来自四川小城的男孩郭敬明,为主要来自乏味的二线城市的大众编织了一个大都会之梦。从这一点来看,所有矫揉造作的卖弄就和一个小女孩偷偷试妈妈的口红那样,既可爱又无害。郭敬明也许是把物质的丰裕变成了让人着迷的奇观,可巴兹·鲁赫曼(《了不起的盖茨比》导演)也是这么做的;看到片中角色如同机场跑道一样的更衣室,你甚至可能会想到盖茨比那些剪裁考究的衬衫。

  炫目光鲜的制作会让观众觉得自己在精品服装店或者家具展厅里被困了两个小时,但是电影在审美上的许多处理方式却充斥着坏品味。摄影车亮逸用了很多夸张的镜头运动和糟糕构图让剧情发展显得不自然;顾晓芸的剪辑一塌糊涂;而候志坚的煽情配乐一直就没停过,有时把人物的谈话都给淹没了。

  《纽约时报》也曾经接连发了两篇关于《小时代》的文章,这里节选一下。

  布鲁克林或许属于莉娜·杜汉姆(Lena Dunham)和《绯闻女孩》(Girls)。而在《小时代2》中,编剧兼导演郭敬明继续改编自己的成长三部曲小说,讲述四个从中学起就是好朋友的年轻女人在当今这个野心勃勃、物欲横流的上海寻找自己道路的故事。“姐妹情有力量”,这句话似乎很容易被翻译成普通话。

  《小时代》第一部推出了四个女主角:时髦、富有、全能妈妈一样的顾里;多才多艺的艺术家南湘;胖乎乎又花痴的唐宛如,以及叙事者、“普通”女孩林萧。有点像年轻版、无性版的《欲望都市》(不过《小时代》里的都市可能就等于性,它如同一个令人眼花缭乱的奥兹国,充满光彩熠熠的建筑和奢侈品牌)。

  《小时代》对《穿普拉达的女魔头》(The Devil Wears Prada)借鉴颇多,比如林萧就是在一个要求很高的时尚杂志编辑手下当实习生,并证明了自己;不同之处是,她的上司是个男人,名叫宫洺,有点像凯莉 (Carrie Bradshaw)的Mr. Big,只不过这个人物长得更像汤姆·克鲁斯。

  该片第一部今年夏天在中国票房极佳,因此郭敬明提前发行了这部续作。这一集里,四位主角已从大学毕业,上演了一部关于背叛与分手、误会与原谅、疾病与死亡、董事会会议室政治与公司收购的肥皂剧。20多岁的人就是这样,你懂的。

  作为娱乐片,这是一部典型的粗制滥造之作。但是这部影片同时也是一种幻想,一种结合了崛起的财富与西方生活方式的21世纪青年文化的产物。

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