Manufactured Landscapes Reviews

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November 10, 2010
Thought-provoking, beautiful and terrifying all at once. This shows how our consumerism is significantly changing our world in meaningful ways - where we live, how we live, and ramifications of our choices.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2010
"Manufactured Landscapes" is a moderately interesting documentary about Edward Burtynsky who specializes in taking photographs of industry and manufacturing in an attempt to warn against the environmental depletion of the planet. The film itself is mainly focused on China which is in the process of transforming itself from an agrarian society to an industrial power. There are consequences to this course of action, especially in the displacement of the population and increased pollution.

As urgent as "Manufactured Landscapes" might try to be, there is little here that we have not seen before.(The exception being the shipwreck beach in Bangladesh which itself could have been the setting for an entire documentary.) Yes, that's a truly awesome trackintg shot that opens the movie but it does little to capture the scale of a factory(and I've been in buildings that large, anyway) and actually becomes a game of seeing which workers notice the camera. Likewise, there have been other films that have covered the Three Gorges Dam in greater detail.
February 19, 2010
Awe-inspiring documentary on the industrial machine. It's incredible what human labour goes into construction work and metal recycling.
This documentary portrays China's industry in a fairly objective manner. Very interesting.
½ December 22, 2009
Mesmerizing photos and panoramas of what mankind has done to shape his world. Well done! And Canadian, too!
neverteaseaweasel
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2009
One of the better documentaries I have seen. It manages to be both socially relevant and provogative, and also very artistic. That seems like quite an accomblishment to me. It did drag on a bit though.
½ September 7, 2009
The National Film Board of Canada had something to do with this - unbelievable. This should not be a movie. While it may be the case that this guy can take a photograph, he should not be speaking in public; you run the risk of becoming stupider for having heard him.
½ May 31, 2009
Haunting imagery, an interesting meditation on the impact of industry on China and the world at large.
½ March 30, 2009
I would preferred a more traditional documentary - then again, I was watching this on a 3-inch screen, so... perhaps the beauty of the photos was lost on me. I was just waiting for the next scene.

Still, pretty thought-inspiring.
½ October 13, 2008
Not very informative and it doesn't take positions. It's a pretty weak companion piece to the photographs, the movie basically consists of filming around where they were taken.
½ July 10, 2008
Edward Burtynsky maybe an overrated photographer but the movie is great.
April 27, 2008
This is a thoughtful and introspective Canadian documentary exploring the ideas behind the artists stills collection wherein he brings to life landscapes created by modern industry. I really appreciated how apolitical this movie stayed and allowed me to draw my own conclusions and opinions. It struck me that everything in my life from my car to my tv remote has a story behind it. Perhaps the best movie I've seen that has brought me into modern Chinese culture and life.
February 29, 2008
Very thought provoking.
½ February 27, 2008
Really interesting although it sometimes looses its string.
January 20, 2008
Doesn't seem interesting.
January 30, 2008
A movie about a guy taking pictures of landscapes? Why don't they make a movie about a farmer flinging manure everywhere?
January 29, 2008
breathtaking photography!
December 16, 2007
provides an interesting look at the world sort of like an inconvenient truth
Super Reviewer
½ October 26, 2007
Manufactured Landscapes is possibly the dullest, most painfully boring movie I've ever had to endure. This is saying a lot. I've sat through a LOT of awful movies. Hell, I've seen about half of the Friday the 13th flicks, which I'm pretty sure is illegal in most of the civilized world. And this "documentary" trumps them all for sheer self-indulgent, self-important tripe. Normally, if a movie is bad enough, it takes on a certain quality, like that of a train wreck or a dead deer on the side of the road. You watch in awe, disgust, or even pity, as nature and God exact their powers upon something so pitiful. These are thoughts I can get when I have to watch pure horseshit like Pearl Harbor or White Chicks. Manufactured Landscapes goes so far past anything remotely thought provoking that the experience of watching it is like that of being forced to sit and look at white noise, with the volume of the "kssssssssssh" blared on surround sound (actually, I would perfer the "ksssssh" to the actual soundtrack of the movie, which must consist of the same three droning notes endlessly, rumbling along, making my ears hurt). The movie is about the photography of...some guy. Don't remember his name. Not important. Anyways, he has taken a lot of very wide, huge-in-scope pictures about, well, manufactured landscapes. These pictures can possibly evoke thoughts about poverty, about the misuse of industry in China, etc. etc. But what does the documentary say about these events, or even about his photo's? Who the fuck knows. The movie never takes any stance or makes any point. It simply shows. Endlessly. It shows us the sort of places and occurances that happen within the man's photo's, but a) none of these are interesting, b) none of these are original or innovative, and c) they are filmed so ineptly, so exhaustively pedantic, so pedestrian in every level of it's making, that it lulls you completely to sleep. I am not ashamed to say that I fell asleep in this movie. Several times. How many, you may ask? I'd say, roughly, 20. I haven't fallen asleep more than once in maybe, like, 2 movies before. But this movie was so sleep inducingly horrible, that I conked out on more than one occasion in the middle of the photo class this film was shown in. Take the first shot, for instance. It's a one take dolly shot, where the camera slowly moves down and down and down the long corridor of an assembly line factory. No music, dialogue, voice overs, nothing like that is heard. The camera simply dollies along, and along, and along the factory, until blessedly it all ends. How long does this take? Approximately 8 minutes. 8. Freaking. Minutes. It took the director 8 mother fucking minutes to show us something that could've been presented with just as much effectiveness in about, oh, 20 seconds. The arrogancy of this film is simply astounding. And people buy into it. When the film was over, many people in my class actually liked it - or at least, they said they did. "Visually stunning" was a phrase tossed around more than once. You've gotta be kidding me. Nice camera angles doth not a good movie make. Movies, even documentaries, need a point. Some sort of story. Some sort of reason for existing. This film says nothing and does nothing, but takes a shocking amount of time to do this in. I don't ask that all films need to be entertaining. Hell, look at Ingmar Bergman's resume, littered with incredible works of art that are very difficult to sit through and not entertaining in the least. But I do think that if you're going to make someone invest 2 hours of their life, you need to give them something other than pretty pictures to look at (and even this ideal is debatable - I think the photographer was very average). Manufactured Landscapes is the equivalent of looking through a photo portfolio, but instead of being able to flip to the next page when you're done analyzing a photo and have extracted all that can be taken from it, the photographer forces you to stay at that page and keep looking at the one photo for another 10 minutes. It's agonizing. It's painful. It's completely unnecessary. And those adjectives, along with all the others I've been hurling in this review, very accurately describe the experience of this garbage documentary. Do yourself a favour and skip over this movie at all costs. Go out and see documentaries that are just as much a work of art, but can be inspiring, uplifting, important, shocking, thought provoking, heart breaking, and even entertaining. Go out and see Gates of Heaven, or Hoop Dreams, or Deliver Us From Evil. There's so many amazing documentaries out there. Don't make the mistake of sitting through this one.
October 13, 2007
not freaken interested
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