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Greatest Fictional Sets

x-jla

Dune, Blade Runner, AI, Aeon Flux, Lord or the Rings, Edward Scissor Hands, Wall-E, etc.  What are some of your favorite fictional sets or specific buildings of film or literature?  

 
Jan 11, 22 1:31 pm
Almosthip

I really enjoyed reading The Dark Tower Series by Stephan King.  I have not seen the movie associated with them because the books were so awesome that there is no way the movie could ever do it justice.  As with most King books....the movies are always subpar.

Jan 11, 22 1:55 pm  · 
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przemula

Few years ago I was really fascinated by story of some ancient stone city in snowy mountains in "At the mountains of madness" by H.P. Lovecraft. While I enjoyed most of his novels and he's probably my favorite fiction writer, architectural descriptions in that book were very captivating.

Jan 11, 22 2:36 pm  · 
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Chad Miller's comment has been hidden

Any of the 'news' that you consume and the conclusions you make is rather epic fiction x-jla

Jan 11, 22 4:33 pm  · 
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square.

i admire your humility to admit that you're wrong 10% of the time

Jan 11, 22 4:49 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

The other 1,000+ things x-lax was also wrong about, but let's focus on these ten, yeah?

Jan 11, 22 5:01 pm  · 
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citizen

Way to bring down a fun topic.

Jan 11, 22 6:38 pm  · 
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Meh, x-jla is dishonest and without credibility. I can't respect anything the man says and refuse to polite to such a liar.

Jan 11, 22 7:28 pm  · 
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tduds

Just once, can we not?

Jan 12, 22 11:20 am  · 
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Meh - x-jla can think what he wants. I don't care.

Jan 12, 22 12:14 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

What's funny is that I was going to say JRE, and Alex Jones, those two fuckers are epic creators of fiction, next to PTL, and the other grifters.

Jan 12, 22 8:59 pm  · 
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citizen

I enjoy when a set/structure also acts as a co-star.  One case I can think of is Panic Room.  Though all dimensions are exaggerated to give sufficient breathing/ elbow/ filming room, the plan and section of that rowhouse set is pretty accurate-- and important.  And the relationship between floors and rooms was highlighted cinematically to pretty good effect--even using structural and mechanical systems strategically.  Not a bad story, either.

Rear Window is a similar case for me, though it was building facades and exteriors that were featured.  The relationship to reality of interior apartment layouts suffered, if I recall.

Fun topic!

Jan 11, 22 6:48 pm  · 
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monosierra

There were a couple of relatively low budget horror flicks that toys with the idea of a building within a building - the serial killer lives in an abandoned townhouse around which a new condo was constructed, and whose occupants he preys on by traversing the two buildings through ductwork. I think one of them was called The Toolbox Murders and the other called Walled In.

Then there's Ghostbusters and one unfortunate sequel to Hellraiser, where architects designed buildings that channel malevolent forces. Not much set design to ogle at but it's nice to see architects wielding some (evil) power!

One complaint about fan fav Denis Villenueve's sets - I love the sheer scale in his recent sci fi films but the raw concrete aesthetic is getting old real quick! Another complaint I have is Wakandan interiors - the cityscape looked intriguing but Shuri's lab was right out of some car showroom.

Jan 11, 22 8:09 pm  · 
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citizen

If occupants hurling vile profanities at bad design is any indication, then architects' decisions are channeling malevolence all the time!

Jan 11, 22 8:17 pm  · 
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ham17

The Harry Potter series has some really amazing designs even excluding the fantastical stuff. Parasite is another obvious one.

Jan 11, 22 10:53 pm  · 
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monosierra

Parasite integrated spatial hierarchies into its story - the basement is pretty important to the plot!

The grand daddy of sci-fi set design has got to be Metropolis way back in the 30s.

In animation, GITS had very detailed urban dystopian backgrounds - it owes some debt, like all in the cyberpunk genre, to Blade Runner. But that aesthetic could end up cliched, like in the Total Recall remake starring Colin Farrel. Minority Report had a more interesting take on the future DC - those vertical highways strapped to skyscrapers looked great.

Oh, and a subtle one, albeit on an urban scale - future LA in Her. I think Spike Jonze consulted with Liz Diller on creating a city that is at once familiar and futuristic without the standard sci fi trappings, augmenting the isolated vibe experienced by Joaquin Phoenix's character. They added Shanghai into the design of the city, mixing its urban spaces and skyscrapers with LA's sunshine and hustle.

Dredd and The Raid both played with Hero-Battling-Through-a-Skyscraper genre recently. Die Hard was the grand daddy of course, with the Nakatomi Tower featuring heavily in the storyline as Bruce Willis crawls and jumps his way through the building innards. In contrast, The Rock's Skyscraper doesn't really do much with the spaces themselves, opting for set pieces on bridges and that weird holographic deck.

Jan 11, 22 11:25 pm  · 
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tduds

One of my favorite movie tropes is when "Future US" is just filmed in present day Asia.

Jan 12, 22 11:23 am  · 
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tduds

or Vancouver. It's cheaper, but not necessarily more futuristic.

Jan 12, 22 12:11 pm  · 
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tduds

If you haven't seen it before, I highly recommend Every Frame a Painting. They retired the series a few years back but the old episodes remain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojm74VGsZBU

Jan 12, 22 12:12 pm  · 
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monosierra

Singapore doubling as some futuristic metropolis has been pretty amusing recently.

I can't remember if it was Every Frame a Painting but there was a breakdown of the opera scene in MI: Rogue Nation that explained how the choreography was instrumental in setting up the sequence and its payoff. It was a complicated set piece featuring three points of view (and agendas), multiple locations in space, and overlapping time - all done with minimal exposition. The dexterity of the camerawork in navigating the complex space to shoulder the burden of storytelling was fantastic.

Jan 13, 22 8:38 am  · 
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SneakyPete

I miss Tony.

Jan 13, 22 11:50 am  · 
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randomised

What about Cube? The set is the main character...


Jan 12, 22 7:26 am  · 
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monosierra

Those new Escape Room movies have a similar premise - where the spaces that the characters have to navigate are rife with traps. But nothing compares to Cube!

Jan 12, 22 8:39 am  · 
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SneakyPete

Cube is fantastic. The sequels, while nowhere near as good, are worth watching too.

Jan 12, 22 11:58 am  · 
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Very good movie!

Jan 12, 22 12:14 pm  · 
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citizen

So much tension set by that first slice 'n' dice scene.

Jan 12, 22 3:23 pm  · 
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So much just watching and going ????????

Jan 12, 22 5:43 pm  · 
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tduds

Clue did a fantastic job translating a board game floorplan into a realistic-enough set. The house is practically its own character.

And of course, what future architect didn't pause on this screen to study the McAlister home?

Jan 12, 22 11:25 am  · 
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I found the world of SEE really interesting.  The idea of how the world would change if almost everyone lost their sight was fascinating to me. 


Jan 12, 22 12:16 pm  · 
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TIQM

2001 A Space Odyssey

The Shining

Mother!

Rear Window

Jan 13, 22 10:01 am  · 
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randomised

And although more of a documentary ahead of its time, I’d put the dystopian sci-if masterpiece The Truman Show on that list as well…

Jan 13, 22 11:07 am  · 
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SneakyPete

Brazil, anyone?

Jan 13, 22 11:50 am  · 
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citizen

Is that an invitation? Or a movie shout-out?    =O]

Jan 13, 22 4:13 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

Why not both?

Jan 13, 22 6:13 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Alien yet. 


I'm glad somebody finally mentioned Cube. 


The Fifth Element


Inception tried to be architecturally interesting but fell very flat imo.


Charlie and The Chocolate Factory


Most 007 movies use interesting sets


Jumanji (?)


Dawn of the Dead (the set isn't really interesting but that's kind of the point, and 90% of the movie takes place in one building)


Gangs of New York

Jan 13, 22 1:56 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

lebbeus wood's designs for 12 Monkeys 

Jan 13, 22 2:20 pm  · 
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randomised

Logan’s Run should also be on the list, nice article here about the set design: https://ascmag.com/articles/logans-run-and-how-it-was-filmed


And the original Paul Verhoeven Total Recall:
https://ascmag.com/articles/memories-in-total-recall


Another Verhoeven gem, Starship Troopers: “I borrowed from the films of Leni Riefenstahl to show that these soldiers were like something out of Nazi propaganda. I even put one in an SS uniform. But no one noticed” https://amp.theguardian.com/culture/2018/jan/22/how-we-made-starship-troopers-paul-verhoeven-nazis-leni-riefenstahl



Jan 13, 22 2:43 pm  · 
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atelier nobody

The first two Tim Burton Batman movies.

Jan 13, 22 3:14 pm  · 
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proto

I produced a fictional set once. We got paid for design & nothing was ever built. Sort of an ideal project from a liability standpoint.

Jan 13, 22 7:55 pm  · 
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z1111

Fantastic Voyage


Fantastic Planet


Dark City


Farscape


The Illustrated Man


Final Fantasy


Things to Come


Sky Captain and the World of Tommorow


Citizen Kane


Road Runner 


The Jetsons


Who Framed Roger Rabbit


Dick Tracy(movie)


Fireball XL5


Total Recall(original)


Bad Day at Black Rock


Viva Zapata


Starship Troopers


Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon


Die Hard













Jan 13, 22 11:32 pm  · 
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mightyaa

Can't remember any specific titles, a lot of newer martial arts movies have  great sets, particularly the fantasy ones. (you know, swords, demon realms, magic... and subtitles, not dubbed). 

Jan 14, 22 2:00 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

The Tragedy of Macbeth, the sets are brilliant.

Jan 14, 22 5:52 pm  · 
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K2 on Broadway. The set was a wall of snow, the day was the change of light from dawn to dusk. The characters entered the set awakening at dawn from beneath the snow and exited the set climbing up or down.

Jan 14, 22 8:47 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

That sounds wonderful.

Jan 15, 22 1:11 am  · 
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