Talk:Dark City (1998 film)

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Former good article nominee Dark City (1998 film) was a Media and drama good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
May 5, 2011 Good article nominee Not listed
September 15, 2011 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former good article nominee

References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.
  • Murray, Robin L.; Heumann, Joseph K. (2009). "Ecology, Place, and Home in Dark City: Is It Our Nature to Live in the Dark?". Ecology and Popular Film: Cinema on the Edge. Horizons of Cinema. State University of New York Press. pp. 73–90. ISBN 0791476774. 
  • Knight, Deborah; McKnight, George (2007). "What Is It to be Human? Blade Runner and Dark City". In Sanders, Steven M. The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film. The Philosophy of Popular Culture. pp. 21–38. ISBN 0813124727. 

Citations to use[edit]

  • Horan, Thomas A (2000). Digital Places: Building Our City of Bits. Urban Land Institute. p. 5. ISBN 0874208459. Today, postindustrial lament finds its place in the broken, dystopian visions of an entire school of work that includes William Gibson's Neuromancer and filmmaker Alex Proyas's Dark City.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  • Moran, Albert (2006). Film in Australia: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. pp. 135,139. ISBN 0521613272. In 1998, Alex Proyas' Dark City was released. Like Gordon's Fortress, Dark City is a product of multinational and international film industry, with significant Australian creative input. The film was shot primarily at Fox Studios in Sydney, Proyas is Australian, and Australian actors Bruce Spence, Melissa George, David Wenham, and Colin Friels played substantial roles (135) ... Proyas' Dark City further explores the nexus between memory, reality and identity, yet this film goes beyond that to explore the age-old question of the degree to which reality is a construct of the mind, or whether reality is objective and independent of the person perceiving it. The real question posed by the film is to ask about the essence of a human being; what it is that makes one human. Proyas constructs a compelling, dystopic world with a visual and aural texture that rivals Blade Runner and Proyas' earlier film, The Crow (1994). Alien visitation and attempted domination is a parallel narrative which differentiates this film from Blade Runner (139).  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  • Haber, Karen (2004). Exploring the Matrix: Visions of the Cyber Present. St Martin's Griffin. p. 58. ISBN 0312313594. Alex Proyas's Dark City is a noir fantasy, a gnostic fable (I asked the director, also director of The Crow, if it was a gnostic fable, and he confirmed it was) about a man who finds himself on a search for truth and identity in a shapeshifting city that turns out to be a sort of living urban stage designed for sinister, arcane purposes by malignant entities&emdash;all may be a dream, or may not. Dark City is a more mature, artistically controlled film than The Matrix, and its thesis is perhaps a little less explicit, but parallels to The Matrix are striking.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  • Pratt, Ray (2001). Projecting Paranoia: Conspiratorial Visions in American Film. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0700611509. Ridley Scott's Blade Runner initiated the category of 'future noir,' continuing into the stunning images of Alex Proyas' Dark City, one of the most remarkable-looking films of recent years.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  • Fuery, Patrick (2000). New Developments in Film Theory. Palgrave Macmilan. ISBN 0312236182. We have noted above how certain films establish dream-like settings where the elements of the carnivalesque are played out. There is also division of spaces into liminal zones where social inversion operates within the world order. Once more, one of the distinguishing features of this is that these spaces are not in themselves always marked out as difference. For this reason, something like Alex Proyas's Dark City (1998), where there are explanations offered to the social inversions of the city, has a different sense of the carnivalesque from that of the dark recesses of cities such as those found in City of Lost Children (Jeunet and Caro 1995) or The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and A Zed & Two Noughts (Greenaway 1985) where the warped social environment is the norm.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

Citations to use. —Erik (talkcontrib) 20:04, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

DVD review[edit]

American Cinematographer has a DVD review. —Erik (talkcontrib) 18:29, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Dark City (1998 film)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Viriditas (talk) 05:47, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Images[edit]

Lead[edit]

  • Dark City explores the subject matter of murder, as well as abstract ideas such as hallucination, simulated reality, and the relationship between memory and personal identity.
    • I'm not convinced the film explores the idea of "hallucination". This sounds strange. What is the exact source for this statement? Perhaps the editor means "illusions"? The lead is supposed to summarize the article, and I'm not seeing anything about hallucinations. The citation links only to the film; I'm assuming it intends to point to a featurette or commentary by the director. A little more clarity on the term and citation cleanup would be helpful here. Viriditas (talk) 12:01, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
      • At this point, I'm strongly recommending the removal of "hallucination". I will look through the edit history to see who added it and why. I'm also going through the sources to find out more. Viriditas (talk) 07:48, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
        • The page history shows that in Aug-Sep of 2010, User:DeWaine made these changes, adding "abstract ideas such as hallucination and simulated reality",[1] which he sourced to the DVD. However, those two ideas aren't the primary or central themes. To check, I just finished reviewing the "Memoirs of A Nervous Illness" featurette as part of the "Architecture of Dreams" documentary on the director's cut. Apparently, this is what DeWaine was referring to when they use the word "hallucination" in the lead. Unfortunately, it has little to nothing to do with the film, but with the backstory of the Schreber character. On the DVD, author Rosemary Dinnage talks about the basis for Schreber, the real Daniel Paul Schreber, who went "mad" and wrote a book about it. Later, Freud interpreted Schreber's memoirs and brought it to popular attention. According to Dinnage:

As Freud pointed out, when you are completely mad and you've sort of lost it all and the world has gone from you, you then have to fill up the empty space with hallucinations, voices, rays coming from God. And I think that was something really brilliant of Freud to have caught on to that. But people didn't think very much along those lines in those days. We've got through to that sort of thing now, I think."

Dinnage is not talking about the film, but Freud's interpretation of Shreber's memoirs. Viriditas (talk) 01:11, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Back in 2010, DeWaine also modified the lead to say that "extraterrestrials referred to as the Strangers...masquerade as humans."[2] They are not in the business of pretending to be humans. Their primary role is study humans and inhabit their dead bodies for survival. The reason they are studying humans is so that they can attempt to realize a semblance of individuality for survival purposes. As it stands, they have a group mind and are unable to maintain thoughts or lives of their own. So, the lead should not say they are masquerading as humans, as that isn't part of the plot. Viriditas (talk) 01:11, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
    • Because of its importance, the "relationship between memory and personal identity" needs to be in the article, not just the lead. I'm not seeing anything in the themes section. Viriditas (talk) 08:21, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
  • ...nominated for multiple awards, including the Hugo and Saturn Awards...Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, and the Film Critics Circle of Australia. It was met with generally positive critical reviews from mainstream film journalists.
    • As a reader, it seems odd to read about the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film and the Film Critics Circle of Australia is in the lead. Do we usually note film critics circle awards in the lead section of film articles? My gut says no. Ebert cited it as the best film of 1998, and it won a Saturn and Bram Stoker, which is notable. I think this could be tightened up a bit. Viriditas (talk) 12:21, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
      • Found a source that might help correct this problem: McMullen, Sean (2010). "Science Fiction and Fantasy". In Ben Goldsmith, Geoff Lealand. Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand. Intellect Books. pp. 232–235. ISBN 1841503738.  Viriditas (talk) 08:33, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
  • It was met with generally positive critical reviews from mainstream film journalists.
    • Is it necessary to say more than "it was met with positive critical reviews"? Obviously, we use sources from mainstream film journalists, so that doesn't need to be said. Considering the length of the critical reception section, one should be able to briefly expand this in the lead, mentioning exactly which elements were found favorable, for example, per Ebert, the composition, the complexity and beauty of the large lighted sets with long and deep shots, the sepia tone colors with the brown and pale yellow contrasting with darkness, etc. Viriditas (talk) 07:47, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
    • This is not sufficient for the lead (nor the body). Per Ebert in the "Introduction by Alex Proyas" featurette, the film was met with negative reviews upon release and poor receipts. DVD, television, and select theatrical revivals have changed its status over the years. Viriditas (talk) 07:36, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
    • Lead (and body) should mention that the director's cut restored Proyas's original vision for the film. Viriditas (talk) 09:03, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
    • Mention of the Titanic release is important enough for the lead, since it altered the release and Box Office take. Viriditas (talk) 11:44, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Plot[edit]

  • Checks out at 645 words. High readability. Not bad! Viriditas (talk) 12:52, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Cast[edit]

  • Is this an unconventional/older MOSFILM structure? Viriditas (talk) 12:56, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Themes[edit]

  • The entire themes section relies on the opinions of just two sources, Loughlin and Higley. I'm a bit skeptical here, since the theme section avoids mentioning the central theme of the film, which is one of the most popular in science fiction: what does it mean to be human? The secondary theme, the nature of memory and identity, which appears in the lead, doesn't appear at all. See: Knight, Deborah (2008). "What is it to be human? Blade Runner and Dark City". In Steven M. Sanders. The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 21–38. ISBN 0813124727.  Unknown parameter |coauthor= ignored (|author= suggested) (help) Viriditas (talk) 08:17, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Gerard Loughlin presents a theological analysis of Dark City as the Allegory of the Cave. While interesting, this is not the central theme, but rather a quotidian interpretation. The Allegory of the Cave is found in many works, intentionally or not, in the same way that one might find the the journey of the archetypal hero in thousands of films. This should be attributed and shortened, with greater emphasis placed on the central theme instead. Viriditas (talk) 10:47, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
  • The influences section mentions a very minor motif, but the themes section needs to mention the major ones such as the spiral shape we see in the film, from the symbol carved into the corpses, to the maze in Shreber's office, to the layout of the city, to the fingerprints. There's also the motif of the long, deep, and narrow shots. (Ebert) I notice that the design section mentions "themes of darkness, spirals, and clocks" but we have a theme section for a reason. Viriditas (talk) 05:15, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Another reference I strongly suggest to recall is Philip K.Dick's 'A Maze of Death'. There a group of people was playing a different role every time, each wondering which would be their true identity. None of them in the play was aware of the last truth: they were traveling in the space attached to a machine, which changed their memories recreating a new world at every round. During each session of collective dreaming, in the virtual reality also entities of a particular religion appear, as the Demiurge, the Form Destructor, the Intercessor. In Dark City, we find a powerful machine which acts like the Demiurge or the Form Destructor, only responding to a strong-will mind which is capable to be in 'resonance' with it. The last question (what makes unique the conscience of every human being) has not an explicit response, but for John is not laying in the human mind, conducting us to some supreme entity, also if in the Plot no kind of Intercessor is presented. Maybe it is not a base-reference, but I bet it had a strong influence on the author... Netsaver (talk) 23:40, 26 August 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.52.240.23 (talk)

Production[edit]

  • Lacks basic shooting and post info. Current article fails to document the test audience reaction and studio recommendation of adding a voice-over narration which upset Proyas and interfered with his vision for the film. This was remedied with the director's cut. Viriditas (talk) 11:39, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Influences[edit]

  • He originally conceived a story about a 1940s detective who is obsessed with facts and cannot solve a case where the facts do not make sense.
    • Proyas says he originally conceived the story as a mystery, ("Memories of Shell Beach") so mystery film might be mentioned/linked. Viriditas (talk) 09:13, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Does anybody else think this film is similar to a novel by Strugatsky brothers "Doomed City" written in 1950s? I can list these similarities:
    • People from different times and countries from earth are moved into a different city-universe for some "experiment."
    • City inhabitants get regular job reassignments.
    • "Mentors" are supervising the experiment.
    • "Mentors" are generally pale in appearance and wear bowler hats.
    • The city is surrounded by unknown abyss about which not much is known. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 144.212.3.4 (talk) 21:44, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Writing[edit]

  • Although it is slightly implicit in the section, it should explicitly mention (per the "Memories of Shell Beach" featurette) that Proyas began writing the story in the early 1990s, circa 1991. Viriditas (talk) 09:08, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Design[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Similarities to other works[edit]

  • Kudos to whomever added the Nolan material to this section. When I saw Inception for the first time, the very first thought that came to mind was Dark City. It was an obvious homage. Viriditas (talk) 09:01, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Release[edit]

  • Current version doesn't talk about the marketing campaign, which sold the film as a horror rather than a science fiction film, possibly alienating the intended audience. Although the Box Office section mentions the Titanic competition, apparently this also led to a delayed release and should be mentioned. Viriditas (talk) 11:41, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Critical response[edit]

  • Doesn't describe the poor response from critics in the context of its original release. Instead we get a current measure of the film's popularity on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, which misses the point. Viriditas (talk) 07:58, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Accolades[edit]

Box office[edit]

Home media[edit]

Criteria[edit]

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
    Lead has summary and accuracy issues (I've fixed the most egregious ones as outlined above)
    Cast section needs major expansion. Lots of information missing here.
    Cleanup/merge needed in the "Similarities to other works" section due to overlap with "Influences" (Metropolis, M, and Nosferatu). "The Matrix" material would work better in the production section about Fox Studios, which only appears in the lead at this point.
    Cleanup/merge needed in the "Design" section due to overlap with "Themes" (spirals).
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    Minor sourcing issues.
    Unnecessary use of multiple references
    Improper format of sources. (for example, "The Metropolis Comparison. Dark City DVD (1998).")
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    Major aspects are missing or incomplete.
    "Box Office" section mentions Titanic but "Release" doesn't.
    Theme section needs work; should discuss memory and personal identity, "what it means to be human".
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:
    The article looks good, and whomever wrote the plot section should be congratulated. But when one reads with a critical eye, major errors, omissions, and sourcing issues rise to the surface. The page history shows that earlier versions of the lead contained more accurate information than the current version. I've commented on this extensively above. The theme section doesn't touch upon the central theme at all nor does it discuss the minor ones. The history of the release and critical response is slanted towards recentism. Production doesn't mention basic shooting details nor does it discuss how and why the director altered the film and added the voice-over narration, an important element of the release history. I've made numerous suggestions for improvement above (should be easy to implement) and I'm willing to lend a hand, but right now, this is a B-Class article. Viriditas (talk) 01:16, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Dark City (1998 film)/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Astrocog (talk contribs count) 12:01, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Review[edit]

I'll be reviewing this article today and tomorrow. I'm kind of nit-picky, so be patient. My comments will be in the table below.

It should be noted that the editor who put this article up for a second Good Article nomination has made very minimal changes from the revision that Viriditas reviewed a few months ago. Also, see User:Erik/Dark City, where there are numerous references about the film that have yet to be used in the article. Erik (talk | contribs) 12:20, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Once I opened the review, the first thing I did was look at the contributor history, and I made the same observation. A quick skim of the article makes me think it will not pass GA review as it currently stands. Do you think the article will be significantly expanded soon? If so, then this GA nomination is premature, and should be requested again in the future. AstroCog (talk) 12:38, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it will be expanded soon; the person who put the article up has not edited since August 10. I have no immediate plans to work on the article; it's one of these perpetual projects that I hope to get to later on. I hope you can find another film article to review, I know that there are some that have been listed for a while. This one shouldn't have been on the list. Erik (talk | contribs) 13:36, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Review cancelled and GAN failed[edit]

Given the comment above by Erik, it is my opinion that this article needs significant work before being re-nominated. It currently does not meet the GA standards, and should not have been nominated. However, this article should be expanded and re-nominated in the future. I may even help, because this is a favorite film of mine.

I would have done any changes you'd wanted me to do if you'd held it and reviewed it. I'm that editor under a new account and yes I've only made a few changes here and there, but I expected the bulk of my work on this article to come once it was reviewed. Aranea Mortem (talk to me) 14:38, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Then I suggest you request a Wikipedia:Peer_review. Nominating an article for GA status means that you think the article currently meets the GA criteria. If you expect to fix up the article later, then don't nominate it.AstroCog (talk) 14:51, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Good idea about the peer review, but out of around 20+ reviews that I've done to GAs only 1 of the articles met all criteria upon review. You don't nominate because it already meets, you nominate because it has the potential to, with a little work, at least that's what it seems to me. Aranea Mortem (talk to me) 15:20, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
A little work, yes, but this particular article needs significant expansion and editing. There are so few editors doing GA reviews that everyone would do us a favor by only nominating articles that are very close or clearly meeting the GA criteria. Everything else goes to copyediting or peer reviewers.AstroCog (talk) 16:12, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Are you seriously suggesting that this article isn't close to GA? In which areas do you consider it to completely fail? Aranea Mortem (talk to me) 16:17, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Have all of the issues I described above in the original review been addressed? Glancing at the current article I see lots of problems. Why, for example, are there seven separate citations for the claim that that the style of the film is compared to Gilliam? This is usually the vestige of a past edit war. One would expect this kind of thing to be cleaned up by the time we get to GAR. Pick the very best, most reliable source, and cite it, and if necessary, use the footnote to point to other relevant sources. There is just no need for seven separate citations, and that interferes with the reading of the text. Viriditas (talk) 09:30, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Starring roles in lede and infobox[edit]

In regard to the recent edits, I posted a question here in order to get the opinions of editors involved in Wikiproject Film. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 06:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Further edits to the lede and infobox should be discussed here. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 22:35, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Glaring omission[edit]

To me the most obvious feature of the movie was the implicit criticism of priesthoods: Catholic, Orthodox, and/or Jewish. Mr. Book (Book = Bible, get it?) is like the pope, or patriarch, or maybe chief rabbi. The priests are all male. They all wear cassocks. The hats are similar to those worn by many rabbis. They are deeply interested in, or prying into, the lives of the people (parishioners, etc.), and putting ideas in their heads. They don't do any ordinary labor. They rule by virtue of their mental abilities. Murdoch defeats the priesthood with superior mental abilities when he breaks out of his leather band on the head from which he is bleeding (crown of thorns!) while lashed to a wheel-like object (crucifix), unlike Jesus who just had to take it.

Surely some well known movie critic must have noticed this. 200.83.106.120 (talk) 22:59, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Please see WP:No original research and WP:Not a forum. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:22, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
I read this a little differently. The OP appears to be aware of those policies, but believes the symbolism is obvious, and suggests that a reliable source should be able to be found which would provide sufficient support to include the content in the article. That being said, I can't find very much... A few forum discussions, passing mentions on blogs, etc. Nothing from major critics, and certainly nothing to the level the OP perceived. Did Ebert mention any of it in his DVD commentary track? I forget - it's been a while. --Fru1tbat (talk) 12:44, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
I am the creator of this section and you have gotten it exactly right. My point was that there should be a much better source for this from among the well-known critics, of which I am certainly not one. I thought about just adding my own commentary, but that seemed contrary to what Wikipedia tries to accomplish. 200.83.84.62 (talk) 21:09, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

Space habitat or the void.[edit]

Just saw the movie yesterday in a old-movies TV channel, I have some doubts. In the article it states that after breaking the brick wall its showed that the whole city was built over a Space habitat. However I dont know if it was my TV screen, but I saw something that looked more to me to The Void than Space, In other words that the city was build over a platform in the middle of The Void. Not outer space, also one character (the doctor) claimed that those beigns could even create/shut down the sun if they want to (Something the Protagonist does at the very end of the Movie). My question is this? Was the whole place/location of the movie (City and Space) a Creation of those especies?? Out of the City some could be considered it Outer Space, but also could be Part of the Universe, a Universe made by those creatures. In other words that no Earth exist and those humans are made to believe they come from somewhere, when in reality they are just something adquired by the aliens for their purposes.Mr.User200 (talk) 16:53, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

There must be something wrong with your TV or the channel, because there are clearly stars when they show outside the city. The "Sun" was just a big bright light at the top of the city, not an actual star. The original cut (not the director's cut) was even more explicit that the humans there were abducted from earth. Ian.thomson (talk) 17:00, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Matrix[edit]

This sentence is misleading: "The film continues to be reviewed positively; over the years, however, many critics have pointed out its similarities with the highly successful Matrix series, with some even accusing it of plagiarism" The word "however" indicates an opposition toward the stated positive reviews, HOWEVER, the alleged plagiarism is OF dark city BY the matrix. There is bad subject/object agreement (what is "it").

The sentence should read something more like The film continues to be reviewed positively; additionally, many critics have pointed out Dark City's similarities with the later, highly successful Matrix series, with some even accusing the latter of plagiarism.

This would clear up the confusion. -50.156.18.22 (talk) 06:23, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

I rewrote the sentence, but not exactly as you have above. First of all, "the film continues to be reviewed positively" is not really supported by the sources or the critical response section, a couple of which I'm not sure are exactly reliable anyway (Ebert is, but he was always an enthusiastic supporter of the film). I'm also not sure "plagiarism" is appropriate given the above (Ebert uses the word "recycled", but this happens in films all the time). My rewrite should eliminate the bad agreement that you pointed out above, though. --Fru1tbat (talk) 11:03, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

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Temporal setting[edit]

Though the film has a film noir feel, and many of the props suggest the 1940s (Inspector Blumstead drives a 1940's sedan, for instance), there are too many anachronisms to set the film in that period. The cab that Murdoch rides is a Checker Marathon, not made until the 1950s, and the police cars (and most of the other cars) are from the 1960s. Mr Hand also indicated that the city is a pastiche' of eras. --Badger151 (talk) 01:50, 15 August 2016 (UTC) (edited: changed "William Hurt" to "Inspector Blumstead" --Badger151 (talk) 01:54, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

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