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The UnPopular Opinion: Gone Girl

03.12.2015

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

I love David Fincher's work, I really do.  I may be one of the few who actually looks at ALIEN 3 as a strong entry in the franchise.  I love THE GAME and SEVEN and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON.  But, something has happened to Fincher.  Since directing THE SOCIAL NETWORK, his films have become muted and safe.  That seems like an odd statement seeing as his last two films were as dark and violent as any of his previous work, but they both felt tame and watered down.  I have already shared my take on THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, but now I want to discuss the absolute disappointment that is GONE GIRL.

Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, GONE GIRL fails in the same way that THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO did.  By being faithful to a fault, GONE GIRL manages to be neither unique, distinct, or anything more than another movie.  I have come to expect more from David Fincher.  The multitude of projects Fincher has not gotten to make all seem to be much more interesting in subject matter and execution than GONE GIRL.  This movie doesn't exude anything special about it and instead allows what typically sets Fincher apart from other filmmakers to be it's downfall.  The gray color palette, the elegaic musical score, the deliberate camera shots and angles.  All of Fincher's hallmarks are here in spades and yet this feels like a glorified Lifetime Original Movie under the guise of an adult psychosexual thriller.

Shampoo is better!  It goes on first and cleans the hair!  Conditioner is better!  It leaves the hair silky and smooth!

Part of the problem is that the conceit and format of the novel does not translate to the big screen.  Gillian Flyn, adapting her own book, still tried to use the alternating perspectives between Nick and Amy which ends up being only utilized partially through the film.  In fact, GONE GIRL doesn't seem to know what kind of movie it wants to be.  THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was a dark, edgy thriller that painted by the numbers of genre conventions.  GONE GIRL cannot tell if it is a sexy thriller, a mystery, an homage to killer women films of the 1960s, or a satire of modern true crime culture.  There are points in GONE GIRL that are supposed to be funny but miss, badly.  Casey Wilson as the stereotypical nosey neighbor and Missi Pyle as a very thinly veiled version of Nancy Grace seem like they are in the wrong movie.

Everyone talks about Rosamund Pike's performance and rightfully so.  She creates an enigmatic villain in Amy Dunne that would be a worthy foe if this movie existed in the same fictional universe as THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.  If Clarice Starling had been investigating Amy's disappearance, I probably would have been more intrigued.  But, Pike does steal every scene she is in, leaving us wondering if we should be applauding or cowering in fear.  The motivation for Amy to be this calculating psychopath never feels fully realized which may be why the ending was such a letdown for so many.  It could be that or Ben Affleck as Nick.

NCIS: Almost Famous Edition

I have come to appreciate Ben Affleck more and more as a filmmaker and expected his role in GONE GIRL to be some of the best work he has done.  The problem is that Affleck is not given nearly enough to make his performance in any way believable.  Nick, as a character, is utterly two-dimensional and forgettable.  Nothing about him makes you want to root for him or against him.  In book form, you cannot tell if Nick is truly a killer or the victim of Amy's plot, but on screen he just seems edged along by the narrative rather than being a driving factor in his own story.  Everyone in this movie seems to be sleepwalking with the exception of the trio of supporting characters played by Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, and Carrie Coon.  All three of these actors deliver outstanding work that is overshadowed by the numb Affleck.

What used to set David Fincher apart from other filmmakers works against him here.  All of his choices feel slightly off, like the pacing of the film.  The editing feels like a jumble, almost as if two disparate films were being coupled together.  The movement between Amy's journal entries, Nick's current legal plight, and Amy in hiding feels very uneven and clumsy.  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, whose scores have been the highlight of Fincher's last two films, deliver some nice somber sounds to the movie but nothing that truly sets itself apart.  GONE GIRL feels completely generic which could be the biggest insult to the work of Fincher and all of those involved in this production.

One of these two is wearing a merkin.  Guess who?

At the end of the day, GONE GIRL suffers the same fate as a lot of adaptations of popular novels.  Instead of being an interpretation of the written work for the big screen, GONE GIRL is instead a paint by numbers recreation.  Flynn and Fincher teased a potentially new ending for the film which ended up being exactly the same as the source work.  Even a surprise switch like that could have elevated GONE GIRL from being just another movie to something special.  Instead we are left with a cold movie that has no bite or originality to it.  Except for the beautifully framed shots by cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, GONE GIRL is nothing more than a tabloid TV movie writ large with an underused cast and a shot of Ben Affleck's penis.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

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Source: JoBlo.com

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12:35AM on 03/22/2015

Underrated

I can understand people not liking the movie... If they read the book. I didn't read the book, but I thought it was one of the best movies of the year. It was great! However, I also thought girl with Dragon tattoo was freaking awesome too... And have been waiting for the sequel. Again... Another book I didn't read or never watched the original movies. So when I watched these films, I was completely surprised by a few of these major scenes. They are different than his earlier films.... But
I can understand people not liking the movie... If they read the book. I didn't read the book, but I thought it was one of the best movies of the year. It was great! However, I also thought girl with Dragon tattoo was freaking awesome too... And have been waiting for the sequel. Again... Another book I didn't read or never watched the original movies. So when I watched these films, I was completely surprised by a few of these major scenes. They are different than his earlier films.... But they are still great.
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8:55AM on 03/13/2015
I think there area couple of unpopular opinions in this piece. For starters, Alien 3 was bad. And secondly, I felt Gone Girl was the best movie I have seen in YEARS. I loved it from start to finish. There was nothing about it, in my opinion, muted nor safe. It was daring, bold, creative, with twists and turns and subtle and not so subtle characterizations pushing it. The entire film was quality from the cinematography to sound and make up and of course the stellar performances by
I think there area couple of unpopular opinions in this piece. For starters, Alien 3 was bad. And secondly, I felt Gone Girl was the best movie I have seen in YEARS. I loved it from start to finish. There was nothing about it, in my opinion, muted nor safe. It was daring, bold, creative, with twists and turns and subtle and not so subtle characterizations pushing it. The entire film was quality from the cinematography to sound and make up and of course the stellar performances by EVERYBODY in the cast. Frankly it is hard to find a fault with any of the performances. Every character was fully realized. So I disagree, and while you MAY be giving an honest assertion I get the feeling that you're really just trolling.
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9:04PM on 03/12/2015
I can understand the points made in this article. A David Fincher movie is suppossed to be one that only the man himself could have made. It worked wonders for The Social Network, because only Fincher could have succeeded in making a movie about Facebook. Gone Girl to me is one of the first movies he has made that feels like any other director could have made the film as well. Now I never read the book, but from the narrative of the movie I feel it's more of a he said/she said type. I did
I can understand the points made in this article. A David Fincher movie is suppossed to be one that only the man himself could have made. It worked wonders for The Social Network, because only Fincher could have succeeded in making a movie about Facebook. Gone Girl to me is one of the first movies he has made that feels like any other director could have made the film as well. Now I never read the book, but from the narrative of the movie I feel it's more of a he said/she said type. I did still enjoy the movie & even if the twist occurs in the middle of the movie, it was Rosamund Pike's performance that saved the movie, everyone else was just by the numbers.
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6:11PM on 03/12/2015
"muted and safe"...yeah, that's exactly how I'd describe Fincher as well. He's stopped taking risks and I feel no passion behind his work, just a lot of classical paint by numbers images from the Hollywood storytelling playbook.
"muted and safe"...yeah, that's exactly how I'd describe Fincher as well. He's stopped taking risks and I feel no passion behind his work, just a lot of classical paint by numbers images from the Hollywood storytelling playbook.
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6:01PM on 03/12/2015
Click Bait. Alex Maidy is a JOKE.
Click Bait. Alex Maidy is a JOKE.
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4:58PM on 03/12/2015
I liked the film and think Fincher did a fine job but I also think he wasted his talents on material that isn't at his level. It doesn't feel like a "David Fincher" film but just a proficiently directed decent thriller.
I liked the film and think Fincher did a fine job but I also think he wasted his talents on material that isn't at his level. It doesn't feel like a "David Fincher" film but just a proficiently directed decent thriller.
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+0
4:05PM on 03/12/2015
Is this an unpopular opinion? I've heard a number of people say they didn't like it. If anything, it seems like a divisive film to me. Personally, I loved it, named it one of my favorites of the year. But I understand people hating it.
Is this an unpopular opinion? I've heard a number of people say they didn't like it. If anything, it seems like a divisive film to me. Personally, I loved it, named it one of my favorites of the year. But I understand people hating it.
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+2
3:36PM on 03/12/2015
9/10.
9/10.
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3:32PM on 03/12/2015
Gone Girl is really overrated.its an okay film but not great.bummer ending.last Fincher's film i liked is The Curious case of Benjamin Button
Gone Girl is really overrated.its an okay film but not great.bummer ending.last Fincher's film i liked is The Curious case of Benjamin Button
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-1
3:17PM on 03/12/2015
Yes. I agree. This really summed it up for me "The motivation for Amy to be this calculating psychopath never feels fully realized." I don't think she even deserved a nod. Over-rated and bad, considering the cast and crew.

Next, DOFP please.
Yes. I agree. This really summed it up for me "The motivation for Amy to be this calculating psychopath never feels fully realized." I don't think she even deserved a nod. Over-rated and bad, considering the cast and crew.

Next, DOFP please.
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2:32PM on 03/12/2015
I stopped reading when I read this - "I may be one of the few who actually looks at ALIEN 3 as a strong entry in the franchise".
I stopped reading when I read this - "I may be one of the few who actually looks at ALIEN 3 as a strong entry in the franchise".
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2:49PM on 03/12/2015
Many people do.
Many people do.
4:51PM on 03/12/2015
I am one of those people. Even with it's problems it is a fitting end to Ripley and the series. That said, I am intrigued by the upcoming Alien sequel to give a "final" finale to Ripley's story.
I am one of those people. Even with it's problems it is a fitting end to Ripley and the series. That said, I am intrigued by the upcoming Alien sequel to give a "final" finale to Ripley's story.
9:07PM on 03/12/2015
I actually agree, I like Alien 3 for what it is & it was the studio's fault not Fincher it has the reputation it does. Fincher himself even disowns the movie.
I actually agree, I like Alien 3 for what it is & it was the studio's fault not Fincher it has the reputation it does. Fincher himself even disowns the movie.
-1
1:38PM on 03/12/2015
Gone Girl was a good movie but not overall impressive if it comes to visual style and representation. Neither were The Girl with the Dragon tatoo or the social Network. Compared to his early body of work (Seven, Fight Club, The Game) those movies felt underwhelming. like well directed tv movies and not representative for what Fincher is capable of.
Gone Girl was a good movie but not overall impressive if it comes to visual style and representation. Neither were The Girl with the Dragon tatoo or the social Network. Compared to his early body of work (Seven, Fight Club, The Game) those movies felt underwhelming. like well directed tv movies and not representative for what Fincher is capable of.
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1:34PM on 03/12/2015

I sort of agree...

But I still really enjoyed this movie despite the flaws. There were some great ideas in it that had me intruiged, but I had to suspend my disbelief over and over again. In the end though, it gave me something to think about and a lot to talk about to anyone else that saw it.
But I still really enjoyed this movie despite the flaws. There were some great ideas in it that had me intruiged, but I had to suspend my disbelief over and over again. In the end though, it gave me something to think about and a lot to talk about to anyone else that saw it.
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1:29PM on 03/12/2015
Looks like its time for all the cool kids to say they hate something great.
Looks like its time for all the cool kids to say they hate something great.
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-2
12:44PM on 03/12/2015
Sadly, I agree with most of this. While I liked the movie overall, the plot was predictable, the structure a mess, and the ending just dragged. This seems to be a common problem when an author adapts their own work: they write the screenplay like it's still a novel.

Gone Girl is two and a half hours long. Why? The story is fairly simple, and it only follows two people. I realize that in a movie like this, you need ample time for character development, but a lot of it just felt like
Sadly, I agree with most of this. While I liked the movie overall, the plot was predictable, the structure a mess, and the ending just dragged. This seems to be a common problem when an author adapts their own work: they write the screenplay like it's still a novel.

Gone Girl is two and a half hours long. Why? The story is fairly simple, and it only follows two people. I realize that in a movie like this, you need ample time for character development, but a lot of it just felt like padding (the secret girlfriend) or worse, a plot mechanic (the money belt). And Affleck just didn't work. Not to say that he was bad in the film, not at all, but at no point did I even begin to suspect that he'd murdered his wife.

I guess I'm bashing on this pretty hard, and I don't really mean to. I definitely enjoyed the movie. It's the kind of thriller De Palma would've done in his heyday. I just think it has some serious problems, and can't understand why so many people shower it with praise.
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-3
12:28PM on 03/12/2015

Aweful...aweful Movie

I try to avoid all Affleck films because of his limited ability, but after hearing all the praise this was getting, I decided to give it a try. God, was I right...one of the worst mainstream movies I have seen in quite some time. It was almost a parody of a Criminal Minds episode...and those are already hilariously horrible! I don't know where to start with this train wreck...
I feel I am the only one who considers the acting in this movie atrocious. Affleck is Affleck, so we know what we were
I try to avoid all Affleck films because of his limited ability, but after hearing all the praise this was getting, I decided to give it a try. God, was I right...one of the worst mainstream movies I have seen in quite some time. It was almost a parody of a Criminal Minds episode...and those are already hilariously horrible! I don't know where to start with this train wreck...
I feel I am the only one who considers the acting in this movie atrocious. Affleck is Affleck, so we know what we were getting going in, but Pike (who is normally great) was absolutely horrible. I almost think she knew how bad the film was going to be, and decided to turn into a cartoon character. The dialog was unbelievable, dumbed-down drivel. I felt a 5th grader wrote the script.
It was absolutely boring, and was all tacked together poorly. I could not help but think the film was made to insult the intelligence of the viewer. It's like they wanted to make a Saturday morning cartoon for adult idiots...and it worked. This is good film making in the eyes of the same people who think the Big Bang Theory is good comedy.
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9:50PM on 03/12/2015
"This is good film making in the eyes of the same people who think the Big Bang Theory is good comedy." Haha love it! I'm also glad I am not the only one who thought Pike was awful.
"This is good film making in the eyes of the same people who think the Big Bang Theory is good comedy." Haha love it! I'm also glad I am not the only one who thought Pike was awful.
12:00PM on 03/12/2015

Agree

I thought this film was so boring, bland, and drug on for absolutely no reason except to make the audience suffer. There was nothing memorable about it besides how dull and pointless it was. I don't care for Ben Affleck, so that reason alone I never had any intentions to watch it but because everyone was raving about the twists and turns throughout the movie - it got my attention. The twists and turns in episodes of Full House have been much more entertaining than this piece of shit. If you
I thought this film was so boring, bland, and drug on for absolutely no reason except to make the audience suffer. There was nothing memorable about it besides how dull and pointless it was. I don't care for Ben Affleck, so that reason alone I never had any intentions to watch it but because everyone was raving about the twists and turns throughout the movie - it got my attention. The twists and turns in episodes of Full House have been much more entertaining than this piece of shit. If you were lucky enough to not sit through this yet.... DON'T!
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11:48AM on 03/12/2015

100% Agreed!

At this point, I wonder if the Fincher of old will ever return. This movie is so far removed from the thrilling unpredictability of his 90's output or the visceral gut-punch of Zodiac that I don't recognize his stamp anywhere on it. It's good material but this film is strictly paint-by-numbers which is a way I never thought I would describe a Fincher film.
At this point, I wonder if the Fincher of old will ever return. This movie is so far removed from the thrilling unpredictability of his 90's output or the visceral gut-punch of Zodiac that I don't recognize his stamp anywhere on it. It's good material but this film is strictly paint-by-numbers which is a way I never thought I would describe a Fincher film.
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+0
11:13AM on 03/12/2015
Overall, this is a good adaptation of the book. I feel like it's the type of movie you can only watch once though; it loses a lot of its impact once you know all the twists and turns. The exact same thing happened with the book. I started reading it before watching the film and thankfully I only got as far as part one, so it was still a surprise. Afterwards, I'll only be seeing it when I show it to others.
Overall, this is a good adaptation of the book. I feel like it's the type of movie you can only watch once though; it loses a lot of its impact once you know all the twists and turns. The exact same thing happened with the book. I started reading it before watching the film and thankfully I only got as far as part one, so it was still a surprise. Afterwards, I'll only be seeing it when I show it to others.
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11:03AM on 03/12/2015
I agree with about 50% of this article but I still like this movie. I admit I never read the original book but with twists and turns I couldn't predict how the movie would end up and that kept me on the edge of my seat.
I agree with about 50% of this article but I still like this movie. I admit I never read the original book but with twists and turns I couldn't predict how the movie would end up and that kept me on the edge of my seat.
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11:00AM on 03/12/2015

Alex Maidy a question...

If you dislike virtually every popular movie of recent years... What kind of films do you actually rate?
If you dislike virtually every popular movie of recent years... What kind of films do you actually rate?
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11:09AM on 03/12/2015
Probably a million ways to die in the west. I hate these articles. I'm done reading them.
Probably a million ways to die in the west. I hate these articles. I'm done reading them.
9:12AM on 03/13/2015
Apparently the franchise killing Alien 3 rates high for Alex Maidy. And an Oscar nominated film like Gone Girl is not to his tastes. Maybe Alex needs to be watching Scyfi Originals???
Apparently the franchise killing Alien 3 rates high for Alex Maidy. And an Oscar nominated film like Gone Girl is not to his tastes. Maybe Alex needs to be watching Scyfi Originals???
10:53AM on 03/12/2015
words. oh how I miss them.
words. oh how I miss them.
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10:49AM on 03/12/2015
I agree with most of your points but I still love all of Fincher's body of work. And I'm the type that doesn't mind a band doing an exact over of the song or their own interpretation, so Fincher's literal take doesn't bother me. Not everyone reads the source material.
I agree with most of your points but I still love all of Fincher's body of work. And I'm the type that doesn't mind a band doing an exact over of the song or their own interpretation, so Fincher's literal take doesn't bother me. Not everyone reads the source material.
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10:39AM on 03/12/2015

I almost stopped when you said The Social Network started his trend of being muted and safe

The film took a boring concept and made it a story of two friends ultimately becoming enemies. It's easily one of his best films because it's not about violence or chasing a killer. TGWTDT was definitely disappointing, but Gone Girl followed the book and carried the same utter coldness and indecisiveness that the movie incapsulated.
The film took a boring concept and made it a story of two friends ultimately becoming enemies. It's easily one of his best films because it's not about violence or chasing a killer. TGWTDT was definitely disappointing, but Gone Girl followed the book and carried the same utter coldness and indecisiveness that the movie incapsulated.
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10:38AM on 03/12/2015

I like the idea of these articles

I really like the idea of these articles, but I hate the execution. Its all vague feelings and general claims, but no real evidence to back anything up. Basically, they always feel like a missed opportunity and that is a shame.
I really like the idea of these articles, but I hate the execution. Its all vague feelings and general claims, but no real evidence to back anything up. Basically, they always feel like a missed opportunity and that is a shame.
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-7
10:31AM on 03/12/2015

Totally agree..!!

"GONE GIRL doesn't seem to know what kind of movie it wants to be"

Exactly! My feelings were the same... it started out thriller-cool, then went black-funny-crazy (minus the funny part) and ultimately just plain dumb.

The ending... my God... talk about dumb...

Fincher is a master in his craft, but damn, I felt betrayed by this movie.

The best part was Tyler Perry... Perry! And that's saying a lot!
"GONE GIRL doesn't seem to know what kind of movie it wants to be"

Exactly! My feelings were the same... it started out thriller-cool, then went black-funny-crazy (minus the funny part) and ultimately just plain dumb.

The ending... my God... talk about dumb...

Fincher is a master in his craft, but damn, I felt betrayed by this movie.

The best part was Tyler Perry... Perry! And that's saying a lot!
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11:10AM on 03/12/2015
Oh stfu
Oh stfu
11:34AM on 03/12/2015
@Jhowington32: don't be childish!SuperRO may be a little provocative in his way to talk about Gone Girl which a film that I actually loved too,but he has a right to say his opinion even if you disagree.A good friend o'mine also hate that movie and I'm not gonna punch him in the face for that.Chill out!
@Jhowington32: don't be childish!SuperRO may be a little provocative in his way to talk about Gone Girl which a film that I actually loved too,but he has a right to say his opinion even if you disagree.A good friend o'mine also hate that movie and I'm not gonna punch him in the face for that.Chill out!
+7
10:28AM on 03/12/2015
Sigh... this column.
Sigh... this column.
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10:16AM on 03/12/2015
Movie was great and all involved did a great job. Definitely one of the better films to be released last year.

I thought it was also one of the better novel to movie screen transistion of the last few years.
Movie was great and all involved did a great job. Definitely one of the better films to be released last year.

I thought it was also one of the better novel to movie screen transistion of the last few years.
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1:24PM on 03/12/2015
Are they magically releasing movies into the past? Because that would be a very neat trick.
Are they magically releasing movies into the past? Because that would be a very neat trick.
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