I've been a very keen and enthusiastic observer of Michael Apted's epic UP SERIES for a long time now. Spanning 56 years he has been revisiting the same group of people every seven years and documenting their lives. I'm sure most of you know of it... no doubt. It's a fascinating and ambitious project but not one without its detractors (including some of the participants themselves). The criticisms levied at the series are not so much aimed at its intrusion and imposition of their lives or the fact that as children they had no say about participating. They didn't choose a life of documentation, although the choice to continue appearing in it has been entirely theirs. Most of the criticisms has been regarding its depiction of their lives. With seven whole years between each instalment and yet only a small portion of screen time, how accurately are their lives portrayed? As one of the subjects (Nick, a nuclear physicist) notes, at the end of the day the film is not really about these people at all... but rather a broad examination of the directions in which life takes people from various backgrounds. It is not a critical eye on who they have become but more of a curious observation. There have been some participants who have bowed out of the whole thing along the way and others who begrudgingly persist with it. And then there are those who embrace it and enjoy the recognition it provides them. Strangely one of them (Bruce) lives near me in Melbourne and I often see him at shopping centres and various other social events. Yes they are regular people. lol.
Anyhow, such a big and ambitious project will inevitably draw criticism. I choose to see it on broader terms and find it's ongoing narration fascinating. Only now that it is over 50 years into its story is the reality of it starting to truly resonate. Recently one of its participants passed away and while I won't reveal who, it is nonetheless a stark reminder that these are real lives being documented. Almost like a circus freakshow these people are on display for our own amusement and perversions. What a sacrifice they have made. I recently watched 56UP for the second time and as any followers of the series will know, each instalment is an arduous undertaking. With flashbacks to all previous chapters as well as character updates it's a long and taxing experience. We are 4 years away from the next film and with age comes greater drama. One person has left us already... will they all be around to share themselves in 2019?
With the UP series being such an important cinematic experiment I felt it was important to have it featured on our website. I find it almost impossible to critique and review each film due to its structure and the nature of it all. There is only so much director Michael Apted can do to flesh out his story. With on-camera interviews, footage of their day-to-day lives and flashbacks to previous years... there's little else he can reasonably do. And so this article serves the simple purpose of having the series on the site. Please feel free to chip in with your own thoughts.
I was reading an article earlier today about writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan signing on to write a new HALLOWEEN film. They're good writers and I have complete faith in them... however the following phrase in the article troubled me....
"it’s not a remake, not a reboot, and not a reimagining. One source said the project is a “recalibration.”"
.... so does that mean that "RECALIBRATION" is going to be the new Hollywood go-to word? Are they about to ditch the "remakes" and "reboots" in favour of a new "recalibration" trend? And how many classic franchises will they "recalibrate"? It sounds ominous to me. We can only pray that Michael Bay doesn't read this article and get any bright ideas. And what exactly IS a "recalibration" anyway? If a reboot is a reimaging and a remake is a re-do then where does that leave things? Obviously anyone with a brain will know that a "recalibration" is just another way of saying "reboot" but because it's an entirely different word Hollywood will exploit the shit out of it and assume us all to be monkeys.
And if a "recalibration" isn't a reboot then what the fuck is it?