31/03/2016

Grizzly Man - The Invisible Line

Thoughts On: Grizzly Man

This Werner Herzog documentary containing a compilation of footage shot by Timothy Treadwell reveals snippets of the man's life as a self-confessed 'kind warrior' who lived in close proximity to the bears of the Alaskan peninsula for 13 summers until his death in 2003.


I'm not a big fan of documentaries because, ultimately, anything intentionally filmed holds an inevitable degree of artifice. Documentaries thus constantly fight the illusion of cinema, which can be distracting, and so doesn't always interest me. I have always had a soft spot for natural documentaries though, those about wild life and the inhuman world. I dislike the human elements of documentaries, I'm not too fond of human stories, neither do I like stories or 'narratives' constructed from footage of animals. This is because of their artifice and indecipherable true nature. When dealing with real situations, real human lives, I'm not fond of opinion. Art's core is in perspective and so to project one's opinion on circumstances contorts them. This is fine for me in a world without effect (cinema), but our real everyday lives, not so much. However, Werner Herzog has constructed a film beyond the average constraints of a documentary. He explores the idea of nature as caught not only by the lens of a camera but the perceiving eye of a human. This film for me explores the epitome of artifice and does so without major prejudice. Before we start, the true story of the tragedy of Timothy and his girlfriend, Annie, is not what I want to talk about. This is because with that comes questions of a man I do not know, a situation I am unaware of and, ultimately, circumstances I have no need to be exploring. In the documentary there are questions as to whether Timothy was right or wrong in the way he lived and eventually died. Some say 'if it don't scare the cows, who cares? and also that it was what he wanted. Others say he 'got what he deserved' and that the way he lived was a 'disrespect' to bears. These are opinions found in the documentary, they are not mine. I ask myself if he was right or wrong and... I simply don't have an opinion. So, what I want to talk about is the film's profound effect on me - as it is enormously poignant. I also want to talk about the key philosophical points Herzog brings up throughout the course of the film about nature and indeed human nature.

This is the only film ever to truly scare me to my very core. With the opening to the film in juxtaposition to a minimal (ineffectual) face-off  Tim has with a bear in which he has to fend it off, backed by the looming threat, the inevitability, of Tim's end, a piercing fear is driven deep into my chest. The physical reaction I have is completely different to being creeped out by good atmosphere, than being shocked by a jump scare or disgusted by a vulgar display of pulp, blood, carnage and guts. What I feel, the bear mere feet from the camera and Timothy, when it simply flexes and the camera jolts is only comparable to what I can only describe as to be my greatest moment of weakness in life. Straight off the bat, I've not been through much at all, nothing in the way of traumatic. The smallest I've ever felt is as a little kid walking my old dog and coming upon a much bigger, seemingly violent, one. The dog was, no joke, up to my chin on all fours and, shit I don't want to imagine, on its hind legs. Set-up's simple. I turn the corner, and there it is. I freeze. WOOF!! My dog, a medium-sized Staff, cowers, rear dropping, tail coming between her legs, backing toward me, stopping against my shins. WOOF!! The dog bolts forward. Frozen stiff, a sinking dread opens my hand. I drop my dog's lead. I'm seeing this in slow motion, this beast of a dog, I don't know its breed, it was as big as a Great Dane, but not at all skinny with a strange off-balance look. This thing was a tank, a machine that emanated power with a deep, resounding bark that just marks terror in my mind. The thing is mid pounce, jaws open, I'm just hoping it's going for my dog and not me, and I'm not sorry to say that. WOOF!! I'm frozen. WOOF!! I drop the lead. WOOF!! It pounces. CLANG!! Yeah, the thing had an owner, a strong one at that with a thick chain lead. I swear I then blacked out. I can't remember what happened, I must have picked up the lead and me and my dog must have slunk past with some embarrassing exchange of apologies and reassurances. In truth, I just remember the fear, the sound, the sight and then being a good 100 feet from the thing.

That, if you've read my last post, is my 100% - my most trying experience (don't laugh). For a film to reinvoke that, I hope, says a lot. What the film, for me, captures is the precise moment when man faces nature, when he looks the tiger in the eye, knowing it'll pounce. Yes, I only dealt with a big dog, but give me a break, it's my only reference point. Assuming all humans work off the same mechanism, the fear I felt faced by a dog I knew could kill me if it wanted, has to be at least comparable to what Timothy ultimately doesn't feel. This man is something -  to say the least. For him to be able to stand before a live bear is beyond comprehension for me. My big, scary dog experience and Timothy's fearlessness in face of bears describes perfectly what Herzog means by the invisible line between man and nature being blurred. Fundamentally, humans are animals. Call it as it lies and we're either pretty crappy ones, like on the level of giant rabbits--we can nip and look weird, but aren't too formidable--or we're simply not animals any more. Over the course of time humans have constructed a solid and tangible divide between us and real nature. My once in a life time 100% is an antelope's every other heartbeat skipped, is a lion's every other roar of self-defence, is a bear's every other juttered breath below the mass of another bigger bear, its jaws clamped on its jugular. I've used the George Carlin quote, 'we're barely out of the jungle' before, but the distance between us and it is lightyears in retrospect - from where we stand now. My takeaway after staring blankly at the screen for a good while after the film had finished was simply that I'm glad we're not in a food chain any longer. What this film made truly apparent to me is that humans are incredibly fragile. Actually, that's not a complete truth. What the film did was make me feel fragile, like all humans are pathetically small.

What's most interesting about the film comes at the end with Herzog asserting that the film Tim shot is not an insight into nature, but into ourselves. What he means by this comes two-fold. It means what I just said above, which is the film calls out something in ourselves, allows us to draw our own perspective on nature. But the second fold pertains to something a lot wider than this film alone and links back to what I said in the very beginning. Documentaries are never 100% true or real as they capture light. I talk mostly in metaphors here, but, light reflects off of objects and is caught by our eyes. Such is perception--sight. Light reflected off objects and caught by a camera is cinema. It's stored perception, recycled when we watch it. In the same way eyes in a painting follow you because you aren't looking at Mona Lisa, but Leonardo da Vinci's view of her, films have a forced perspective. This here also links back to Timothy and the ethics surrounding him. Like I did with Silent Running, I could talk about perspective and give reason to why Timothy as a character is so likeable. But, what's of most significance is to recognise that Timothy is clearly a character, not a person, in this film. He performs for the camera, giving real insight into his personal self--but only as he wants us to see it. This film is about artifice as it is largely about a man presenting himself and his perspective.

We get to learn an awful lot about Timothy over the 100 odd minutes of the film, but most telling of who he is, in my opinion, comes with 2 key elements. The first  element is of his contradiction. Before I go any further, 'contradiction' in my books is not a negative term. It's simply juxtaposed states. The first example of this is with Ghost and the hat. Tim lives quite close to a family of foxes. At one point he leaves his hat out and a few investigate whilst Tim tells us he loves them. But, one of the little fuckers gets away with his hat and he never (as far as I'm aware) sees it again. What this symbolises is an incredibly human behaviour of social currency. Yes, your mother loves you with ever ounce of her flesh, but, as we all know, forget that one particular Sunday, or neglect one too many calls, and she's liable to hate you for a moment--at the least, be quite sour. What such a paradigm makes clear is that humans are not completely made up of one thing. They'd love to have you believe it, but that's a lie. Your mum loves you a lot, but not completely--but a lot is enough. What this has to do with artifice is, internal consistency isn't completely lucid. There's a norm, but it falls within bounds. A second example of contradiction within Tim's character comes with the rain in 2000. A delightfully human moment. Tom calls upon God, Allah and a floaty Hindu version of a deity to asks for them ti please give him and the animals some FUCKING RAIN!! From his love and need for the bears to be fed, the water levels to rise, comes some magnificent anger. All is glum, Tim is down, but then the rain starts pouring, torrents of it. And despite his tent caving in, he's back in love with the universe. Both of the above cite that people act in tandem with circumstance. We act as we need to, or feel we must be perceived. Hence, artifice, fabrication.

The second key element we get to learn about Tim that is telling of a general human nature comes with his incomprehension. There's two key instances of this. The first comes when Tim talks, again, about his foxes and how they are hunted. He says 'if only they (hunters) knew' how wonderful or lovely the foxes really are. He furthers this tone with his idea that animals are 'misunderstood'. Tim tells, and shows us, about what he calls 'the challenge', 'the moment'. This is what we were talking about before. It's standing before the bear that's liable to attack. If Tim makes the wrong move, behaves inappropriately, he's dead. For this reason, Tim asserts that if animals are approached correctly they are safe. In short, they are misunderstood because of the experiences humans have with them. However, for Tim not to openly comprehend the flip sided argument is why he is most criticised. He sees a universal love and unity when he looks at the world, Herzog on the other hand sees that the common denominator throughout the universe is in fact chaos. Who is right? A matter of opinion. I lean toward Herzog personally. But, Tim stands in opposition and his 13 summers remain as evidence for the contrary. Tim doesn't express the same critical thinking. He, as the film as his characterisation of himself for the camera expresses, is set in his views and sees not why fox hunters wouldn't want to get to know a fox. This again cites artifice as Tim tries to polarise the argument on whether humans and animals can coexist. As in most debates with foundations in opinion, the only true answer is probably within a mid-point of sort. Before I move on, another example of this as Tim's mindset comes with him finding dead bears, or the fox he knew torn apart by wolves, and refusing to accept the occurrence of predators in nature. Again, by putting up a façade of incomprehension Tim shows himself to be more of a character than critical thinking person.

What has 'characters' and 'artifice' got to do with anything though? Well, I believe that this film's key teaching point is that people are cotton wool coated in silver. Mirrored sponges. What am I going on about? What I'm trying to say is that humans have a huge capacity to absorb and perceive so much, yet we chose not to, or to pretend that we don't. This links back to cinema and art in general. When faced with a person, just like a film or painting, you are facing a forced perspective. There's no meeting the real Mona Lisa, there's no meeting anyone. Just the picture they paint of themself. This is the hugely philosophical argument behind this film. It shows that the world is nothing more than perceived. With the other huge questions it also poses, it resultantly gives us the answer at the same time. Here's a fun one: what about aliens? This films shows a huge rift between us and animals. Human's cannot form any interspecies bonds beyond pets, farmed animals and zoos. What Tim represents, or wanted to, was a future where animals and humans can better coexist, the invisible line between us blurred. The tone of the movie really drives you in the opposite direction. If we can't completely connect with any of the millions of species on this planet, only stay out of each other's ways or manufacture circumstances in which they can be conditioned to live with us, are we at all ready for aliens? By the way, aliens exist. By this I mean life on other planets. It's an inevitable probability. Anyhow, there are plenty of test down on Earth. Are we at all ready for those beyond our safe blue sphere? Big questions I'll leave to you and the comments. But beyond the hypothetical, the films makes a huge point that the future is nothing more than a path that will ultimately be trodden, it's not perceivable as of now for the same reason a tree fallen in a forest doesn't make a noise. Here is the film posing questions, but then showing that, again, the world is nothing more than perceived.

Overall, this film is about perception and the lines drawn not only between ourselves and animals, but each other too. We are all trapped in our own worlds, just trying to project some kind of character and this is what the film shows with poetic precision. Who are we? An unanswerable question. Of  course you know, but such a thing is incommunicable. Who does that leave us? Where does that leave us? What can be done? Such is life's dilemma as mirrored sponges...





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Adventures In Babysitting - Babysittin' Blues Puttin' You In Your Place

Thoughts On: Adventures In Babysitting

This late 80s comedy/adventure follows Chris through one unbelievable night of hell with a little kid and two teens only a couple of years younger than herself right at her heels.


Oh, I love this film too much! As a person who hated Mad Max, Batman V Superman, The Notebook, and just simply doesn't care for the likes of Star Wars and--yeah, I'm just digging myself into a hole here. But, forget that, my point is, I shouldn't like this film. But, I absolutely love it. I love this film for what it stands for and because it does what no other movie (I know of) has been able to do so well. This film is absurd to say the least. At a first glance this is just a fun movie--one you're just supposed to enjoy whilst throwing popcorn at your face. It definitely has that tone, as given by Chris Columbus, who directed Home Alone (1 and 2) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Mrs. Doubtfire and wrote Gremlins and Goonies. All films you gotta love if you grew up anywhere near the 80/90s. Whilst it has a tone of a dumb, fun movie... well... no. Let me paint you the picture of Adventure In Babysitting before we go much further though. What I want to talk about is the film's divisive use of conflict (problems, issues). Conflict more or less makes stories, and how it's implemented and dealt with is often a measurement of quality. What's clear is that this film (as a popcorn, dumb, fun, movie) has too much conflict that is just absurd. Having said that, I'm going to give you a taste of the conflict devices in this film. Remember, when you read this, that this is about a 17, 8 and two 15 year old white, rich, suburban kids from Chicago...

- Boyfriend issues
- Parent issues
- Having to babysit
- Acne
- Crushes
- Running away from home
- No money
- Flat tyres
- Cheating wives
- Homelessness
- Fist fights
- Gun fights
- Physical violence
- Organised crime
- Poverty
- Sing-song break
- Back in with a gang fight
- Mob rule
- Knife wounds
- Hunger
- Death
- $50!!
- Needing to pee
- Cheating
- Identity mishaps concerning a Playboy magazine
- Getting laid
- Pollution
- Environmental issues
- Lonliness
- Immaturity
- War (Vietnam)
- Chemical warfare
- Facing your heroes
- Cheating
- True love's first kiss

... yeah... some of those things seem pretty out of place, don't they? Now, it'd be easy to pass this movie off as another one of those extreme, over the top, silly things. For that, I direct you to its remake, The Sitter. Yeah, don't think I didn't notice Jonah Hill! They remade this movie and didn't have the courtesy to tell us they did. WTF!? I think they're doing it again as well. Ugh... Anyway, whilst mixing teen drama with guns and violence (drugs in recent years) is quite common in comedy--in all cinema--it's the everyday man in the not-so-everyday situation. Whilst Pineapple Express meets Superbad (The Sitter essentially) sounds like a great thing, the degree to which this film focuses on its 'comic-yet-serious' ideas and how it slyly, yet very casually, it incorporates themes of poverty, chemical warfare and social divide is something that shouldn't be ignored. This film speaks straight to you, the movie-goer. We all love to watch Saving Private Ryan, The Godfather, Selma or A Streetcar Named Desire and feel like we've been through shit. We love to watch the likes of Spotlight and feel like we've contributed to... I don't know... solving a problem, or at least offering our support. Grown up cinema is often seen as dealing with heavy themes and big issues. 'Grown up cinema' essentially makes you feel grown up. This film sits you down and puts cinema and, more importantly, you, in your place. This film is such a cluster bomb, flying, soaring, sizzling, timer ticking, fuse shortening, about to land, to explode in a barrel of conflict, because that's what it's trying to talk about. Conflict in cinema.

This film is a perfect allegory to the average movie goer, and it best sums itself up with the idea of Babysittin' Blues... If you watched that, yeah, I know! It's not the full piece, but, nobody leaves this place without singin' the blues. Oh, and this is the one that really gets me... the opener... that, and the stupid smile stretched across my face, is why I love this film ('87 Elisabeth Shue, marry me, please!!). But, both clips perfectly demonstrate the film's style and gives insight into its satirical look at conflict. Now, as is obvious, this film is about 'white problems', 'first-world issues' and if you've seen the film, you now it's set in a place considered to have 'real problems'. It's set in a selection of bad neighbourhoods, bus stops, subways and... sorry... DON'T! FUCK!! With the Babysitter... one of the greatest lines of all time, that I promise you (seriously, '87 Elisabeth Shue, marry me, please!!). Where was I? This is how you know I love this film more than I should. Anyway,  let's get to it. The characters in this movie are, to some, inappropriately placed in stereotypical jazz bars and dodgy body shops so it can tease the hand of critics and give 'film buffs' something to moan about for a good few hours after the film is done (P.S. the moaning 'film buff' is me--passionately annoying is all I can say). The easy critique is that the film can't balance realism and fantasy. That is true, and I am linking a lot today, but I feel by saying that, you've misses the core gag of the film.

The gag of the film is 'Do you have any idea what I've been through tonight!?'. It is the juxtaposition between fantasy problems and realistic problems. What are the fantasy problems? They are poverty, gun fights, gang violence and hanging off the side of buildings. What are the real problems? Boyfriend/parent issues, zits and being ignored by your crush. What the film does is give you your issues and the issues we all go to the cinema to 'experience' before we run away with a deep sigh of relief, only proud of the fact that you can now announce you have seen... Sophie's Choice... DUN-DUN-DAAAAAA. Sorry for the tangents. The film gives us realism and fantasy in the way it does because it's mocking us. We are Chris and despite having our everyday problems we believe in 'grown up cinema'. The film essentially asks us what we think cinema is through its use of questionable conflict. Now, I know there's people who want to call bullshit and say I'm giving the film more than it's due. But! But, it's all there, right at the end, just wait till I show you. Who does Sarah love? Thor. A fantasy hero that is her end all and be all, an idol. And... She meets him in the film (kind of). Before that scene happens Chris and the others are taken down into an underpass, filled with green smog, whilst we hear Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. The song is, cinematically, intrinsically bonded to war films, especially those about Vietnam. The movement into the underpass with the green smoke is a parody of Vietnam war films, but specifically, the audience members that would suck them up one day and hail them a masterpiece, an important piece of artwork, whereas the next call this fantastical and silly. This is not me saying those films aren't important, or masterpieces, but that people put too much on art. The climax of the film is a parody of the highest kind of conflict we present in movies (war) so that it can satirises both its own use of conflict and our perception of it. But I'm not done yet. Through the smog, song over-head, who do we meet? Thor. As played by Vincent D'Onofrio, Pvt. Pyle, fresh out of 'Nam, trimmed and hunkered, blond and beautiful, post-Full Metal Jacket. BOOM.

But, what does this mean? Apart from the obvious juxtaposition between films (this and Full Metal Jacket) we have a huge moment of symbolism. D'Onofrio as Thor is Sarah's hero. But, in reality he's just a mechanic--oh wait, no, he's Vincent D'Onofrio, the actor. Duh. Sarah is the audience and Vincent D'Onofrio as the mechanic as Thor is cinema. Cinema is a bunch of talented weirdos making up stuff and putting on a magical screen, moving pictures for us all, a miracle. There are three layers of cinema that this film makes explicit. There's the truth, a bunch of actors reading lines in front of a camera. There's the illusion, a story, characters, a movie. And there's the fantasy, idols, high art, movies we are in literal and irrational love with (I'm not excerpt from criticism here). If we are Sarah, Chris, Brad. Daryl sitting in a cinema, the film looks down our irrational perspective of conflict and how it affects the 'quality of cinema'. Now, in the 80s cinema changed quite a bit. It was taken over by the teens. The biggest films were now Breakfast Club, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Star Wars, E.T, Back To The Future and so on. Resultantly, the 80s to many people the death of cinema. The core criticism here comes from the idea of conflict, reality and fantasy. What the movies where trying to do was what the Italian neo-realsits like De Sica, Fellini and Rosselini did in the 40s. Whereas films like Rome, Open City, La Strada, or Bicycles Thieves focused on war torn and ravaged cities and their people, Back To The Future and Breakfast Club focused on Ferris' ideals and fantasy.

What all the previous films have in common is what essentially what all films do. They are wish-fulling fantasies. We get to have ourselves represented on screen. Us and our problems. Adventures In Babysitting does not reduce teen problems to laughably negligible griping. It expresses what teens are scared of. Whereas Gran in '43 had to deal with hunger and Nazi occupation, Brad has to deal with the distant danger of inner city crime. Yes, Gran had it worse, a lot worse, but give Brad a break. Brad doesn't know what hunger pains feel like or what gunfire sounds like. But he's human. Fear and pain is relative to what we know. There's an arbitrary 1 to 100 for all of us and its set by norm and worse experience ever. Brad's 100 is nothing in comparison to Gran's, getting a D- in Biology is nothing like waiting out a rain of shells, but 100 they are nonetheless. What does this have to do with cinema? Well, what resonates with audiences ranges widely. You might hate it, but some people love Transformers--all 12,00 of them. At the same time some people just won't understand A Streetcar Named Desire. Adventures In Babysitting makes a case for the teens. It reflects their naivety whilst respecting their problems. Simultaneously, it talks to the old guy who doesn't get why so many people love Mad Max, Batman V Superman, The Notebook, and just simply doesn't care for the likes of Star Wars and--yeah, copying and pasting to make a point. The film juxtaposes itself with Full Metal Jacket, it juxtaposes 'fantastical conflict' with 'realistic conflict', so we can be reminded that we sit at home or in a theatre watching a bunch of grown ups play make-believe.

All in all, the film takes away a bit of cinema's magic to talk sense. Conflict (as presented through film) is a mere shadow of reality, but is also born out of fear. Fear is relative, but never irrational in a moment of panic. This means that we are consumed by ourselves and cinema is a mere form of entertainment, merely representative of situations we'll, most probably, never be in. By being unbalanced in the portrayal of reality and fantasy, Adventures In Babysitting shows the thin line cinema walks, and so brings in the truth we all love to forget. It's just a movie. Watching Full Metal Jacket doesn't mean you've been in the shit. By seeing Adventures In Babysiting you haven't either, but that's the fun. The end here point being, if one film's just a movie, than so are all the films, conflict is conflict, don't confuse it with reality.

Ok, my final words need to be that I don't criticise those who take art seriously--I'm one of you. I only think that this film makes a good point of showing us as being a little too much like Sarah knelt at 'Thor's' feet. We're a weird bunch, but needn't hold films to such a high standards. 80s films are fun after all. This is why I try not to explicitly review, but explore what a film means. So, comment below and tell me the films you think need to be taken too serious for a moment and explored to absurd depths.




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30/03/2016

Forbidden Planet - Innocence And The Tiger

Thoughts On: Forbidden Planet

This is the 1956 sci-fi classic about a team of workers that come upon the planet of an ancient race, inhabited by a Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Altaira.


I love these old posters. It's so apparent that they were either made before the script was written or thought-through, or that it was made without any consideration of anything but the fact that this is (on a surface, commercial level) a monster and damsel picture. This film is one in a million and I don't joke when I say it's something special. If I were to personify this film it would have to be the down-right repulsive, ugly girl that once you talk to you fall in love with and she becomes your best friend. This film has such a beautiful, complex and profound core, but manifests itself with cringy acting, dead, dry, drab, in an awkward and laughable position, dialogue and just bad writing in general. This film is 'special' because it spreads it's ugly, yet loveable and very intelligent, self across the wide spectrum of review. With its acting and dialogue especially, it sits on the far end of God awful and unseeable, yet it grows on you with the minutes that pass, leaving you at the 40 min mark with a strange attachment to everyone. On top of that, the set design, logic and world building range from questionable, to sound, to awe-inspiring. And all at the same time. Also, because its a mystery it does a good job of seeming nonsensical but explains itself well (ish). And the exposition... I liked it. I like exposition when it's apart of a film's style. For dramas, no, don't do it. But for spectacle sci-fi, yeah, go ahead, as long as you have cool ideas. And like Inception, this film definitely does. But, beyond the surface, what really makes the film special for me is its huge commentary on humanity. Yes, it seems like it's shouting ideals at you, especially near the end (as a lot of pictures of this type love to do). But, when you break the film down, it's a lot deeper than is obvious. This film is a secretly shouting, sickly diamond.

What this film is about is, essentially, being a father. Specifically, it spends a lot of time dealing with the idea and concept of the father/daughter/boyfriend dynamic or relationship. This will be clear even to the slightly perceptive audience member that is almost deafened by that shouty end. This does degrade a film as cinema requires you tell a story with pictures, images. This is true, but the film is also speaking in metaphors. So, that's what we're going to explore as well. This is one of those films that 'social justice worriers', sites like BuzzFeed, and other... things I don't want to talk about, would misconstrue so spectacularly, it'd be funny. They (BuzzFeed) do this with films like 500 Days Of Summer, explaining that the character of Tom is 'kind of a dick'. Ugh... I know. Tom's not perfect and nobody pretends to be, and BuzzFeed feel like they're making a perceptive point on the film's stance--when they're really just blind to it. I don't care to check if there is, but if they made an article on Forbidden Planet, they'd say it was misogynistic, patriarchal, oppressive and... ugh. Whilst the film can be described, in parts, with these terms, that's its purpose. The film is a question concerning the male approach to women, that is really discussing something a lot deeper about humanity as a whole. If we look at the 'seduction' scenes with Altaira and the crew members being described and behaving in terms of childish idiots, both fearing and yearning the opposite sex with laughable conduct, we can make a perfect example of this film being so 'special'. The writing is awful, yes, but what the scenes depict is the weird and immature way humans act almost all the time.

The film was almost written and directed from the perspective of an all-knowing (or at least, better-knowing) alien. That's why its tone is of such pretension--that's why anything trying to comment or pull apart something else sounds so pretentious. It's simply a characteristic given by an audience member who thinks they in fact are smarter than both commentee and commenter--that they are the omniscient commenter. Pretty pretentious, no? That's not me having a go at you by the way. We all do it. Anyway, what this has to do with the 'seduction' scenes is the way we look at them and how maybe we should give them a break, even if we don't agree with them (BuzzFeed--I told you, we all think we're the omniscient commenter). If we give the scenes a break and pay attention to what they're telling us, we can see that the film looks down on a dogmatic approach to relationships. It doesn't think that there's a right way for a woman to dress or behave around men. This is shown by the father's detachment when three guys basically come into his home, pat him on the back and say, 'excuse us, while we try and gang bang your daughter'. The characters very clearly says this and the fathers reaction is completely unrealistic (in comparison to our prejudices). But, the father's the bad guy in the end, right? His cool façade is lie. This is why his subconscious creates the monster and tries to kill all of the men. The film is about a father standing in the doorway of his own home, having just opened the front door to the twerp that's going to take his 19 year old daughter out for the night, and just wanting to annihilate the slimy motherfucker. Anyone with a sister, or indeed, a daughter, will understand this. Women, daughters, hate this though. It's the repulsive (socially unacceptable) reflexive attempt of men trying to protect the women they love. And this is the crux of the film.

This film about about tolerance and self-destruction. There are three archetypes, or symbols, in the story. There's the singular father trying to protect his daughter and home planet. He is the superego. The film uses Freudian terms to explain human behaviour--because as ridiculous as they are in concept, and despite how unscientific they are, they kind of make sense. The superego is the mediating factor of the mind--basically the grown up. The daughter is the second archetype and the represents the last woman on Earth--a sorry position to say the least. She is the ego--self-centred but realistic. The men are clumped together (giving reason for their poor characterisation--not that there are many strong characters in the film). The men represent a crowd of horny frat bros. Horrible, I know. They are the id--the animalistic and entirely self-centred part of the mind. Now, these archetypes portray humans as a whole through the Freudian terminology. There's the rational, the realistic and the unrealistic. Basically, the film symbolises our contradictions concerning love, war, hate and peace, whilst citing our ability to mediate and try to control our polarising tenancies. That even harks back to the cluster of good, bad, perfect and horrific that this film is. You starting to see why I think it's so special?

Whilst the film sets up these ideas of opposites and mediation within the human mind, portraying a world where a father, daughter and an invading horde of men can coexist, it ultimately devolves. The film sets up these solid archetypes of id, ego and superegos, but lets them break down, with the father not being to cool and mature, to portray how imperfect people are. Like the alien civilisation before them, humans are more than capable manufacturing their own end. This is why since the 40s films like Godzilla, The Day The Earth Stood Still and Terminator have resonated so well with audiences. What these films are all about is the idea or concept of the atomic bomb. This is one of the biggest and most used symbols in all art forms from pre-war time until now. With the massive technological advances of the early 20th century culminating in quantum physics and the atomic bomb, came the realisation that humans are very capable of ending it all, and pretty quick. With that comes paranoia and a lot of questions. What it has best done is given rise to mentalities presented in Cold War times through films like The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers or even more recently Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is basically about not letting the commies take over your mind. Star Wars in general calls back to Nazis and totalitarianism--as is very, very, obvious, just look at the uniforms and the huge red Nazi flag that Domhnall Glesson gives a speech straight from The Triumph Of The Will right in front of in the new Star Wars. Heck, I know I keep coming back to it, but look at Batman V Superman. It embodies the very American paranoia that has been ingrained in society from 9/11. I don't need to go too deep into how war and conflict shapes cinema, I think that's pretty obvious when you look for it. But he point it, this film is so nearly among this type of art. However, it takes a step further...

Whilst the film is about change, about forgetting dogmatism and totalitarian-esque power, it also portrays that these are inherent to humanity and self-destruction is the only solution for those who want complete change. The only way Dr. Morbius--by the way, what does his name sound like? Morpheus. But that's not another pathway for me talk about The Matrix yet again. Morbius is nearly Morpheus because the character so nearly changes (morphs). This is why Dr. Morbius can only let his daughter go and accept Commander Adams as a 'son' (one of his last few words) by committing suicide and blowing up the planet. True tolerance is only achievable by betraying who you are. Fathers would rather die than leave their daughter in the hands a rabble of frat bros on a confined ship for years on end. What? You think there's a happy ending? Wrong! People are going to die, rape and enslave on that ship. Shit is going to hit the fan, big time. No one's going home. Best situation is a Jabba The Hutt/Slave Leia thing on a ship flying a skull and crossbones stitched from the charred and beaten skin of what were once crew members. How could this come to be? Over the father's dead body. Here is the film in its essence. The film doesn't pretend that people can change, only the ideas that they represent be wiped out along with themselves (look at how ISIS is being dealt with). The only way preserve the human race is to take away all its toys and sit it down in a nice comfortable--very secure--play pen. No toys of mass destruction. No omniscience. No omnipotence. It's not going to do anyone any good.

So, here is the profound and impossible situation the film gives us. It asks us what would we do if we were in Morbius' shoes? Would you want to let go of your daughter, the secrets of mass destruction? Could you change your ideals set so deep within you? Could you suppress your monster? Hard questions, right? If not, then you don't know what they're asking and don't know how to deal with a hypothetical beyond feeding yourself lies. These are questions you shouldn't be able to answer, merely hope you don't ever have to face in real life. Maybe they make the Dad standing before that slimy motherfucker you want to go out with a little more understandable? Maybe it makes the leaders of countries a little more human? Humans create atomic bombs, we get lost in paranoia, we have ideals of peace, but we do not change much (never entirely) because we're not that simple. Let any one solution come to full effect (even though no one like totalitarianism) and you've ended the human race, or your own life at least - as the film shows. Things hang in the balance because that's how things seem to work. There's the id, ego and superego so humans can balance themselves. We fight, have perspective, love, hate, want peace, because humanity is simply a projection of the individual human. We are made of contradictions because a solution to a problem as complex of self-sustaining life cannot be elegant and cannot simple. In other words, the film is against change. It only wants to show you the atom bomb, then destroy it, only to show its still there and that it ain't going anywhere. That's why Robbie, the robot, and Dr. Morbius' daughter zip away in the end with the crew. Stupid is a runaway train. No one's ever going to catch it and it's setting down its own tracks so it can go where ever it needs.

All in all, this film is about navigating worlds, paths, that we as humans maybe shouldn't tread. It's about naively exploring forbidden planets. In short, this film shows that tigers cannot be tamed, yet people will always believe they can be. Curiosity, however, is what kills the cat, no matter how big. Who, what, is the cat? We are the cat, we are the innocent, we are humans. Id, ego, superego, however you want to say it, we are all three, made up of numerous facets, never just one or two. Try and cut one lose and you're only cutting into your own flesh. In the end though, the whole point is null. There's no changing who we are as a race, no changing the path we tread, Earth is the Forbidden Planet and we're lucky we're still here.

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Silent Running - Perspective

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28/03/2016

Silent Running - Perspective

Thoughts On: Silent Running

This early 70s sci-fi classic follows Freeman, an ecologist aboard a ship holding the last of Earth's botanical life, when the command is given to destroy the cargo.


I'll start by saying this is not a great film. I really like this film and it is excellent, but it is not flawless. That said, I'm not going to be criticising this film. As always, I'll be using the film as a platform to talk about its ideas. What I love so much about this film is the control of the protagonist over plot, structuring and narrative in general. Every moment of this film is imbued with Freeman's perspective. Now, this kind of makes the film great. Almost all of its downfalls in plotting and sense are attributable to the fact that this is Freeman's story, not a screenwriter's or director's. Not directly - or at least that's the fantastic illusion it creates. That's not to say that the film pulls a move like Life Of Pi and cops-out at the end by saying, 'but was it all real?'. It doesn't have its faults a matter of semantics. The 'faults' in plot such as the obvious fact that plants need sunlight, are down to Freeman's hubris and so naturally flourish from the character. This begs the question of: why don't I think this film is great then? Well, the lapses in logic are one thing, but the design and world building as well as segments of acting aren't great, but, like I said, we're not here to criticise. What we're going to talk about with this film is the idea of character driven story and the whole concept of human perception,

Watching this film, paying attention to its structure, it becomes clear it's quite an unconventional picture. What many screenwriters want when they face a blank sheet, or blank document on a screen, is help, answers, a way to tackle their story. If you're one of those people, stop. The reason why Blake Snyder's Save The Cat and his 'beat sheet' are so successful is because screenwriters want answers, a cheat, a formula to follow to make their lives easier. Now, I started off with Save The Cat and Screenplay. And what is pretty apparent is that the book's main use is of an insight into another writer's method. Knowing other people's methods is always interesting and allows you to reflect on your own. Screenplay is the better of the books as it tells you the truth that there is no formula for a good story. Save The Cat says quite the opposite. It claims that all successful pictures have the same beats. And, in fact, it proves this quite well. But, the beat sheet it then gives you... ignore it, please. Story telling is a natural thing, and so are the beats of a story. Blake Snyder has simply found a paradigm to fit the natural reflexes of story tellers. You don't need a beat sheet to write a good script. You need practice and you need to watch a lot of movies or read a lot of screenplays. That's how Blake Snyder got to the beat sheet and jumping the processes of learning and skipping right to revision notes is not going to get you a good grade in the test. I know I've spoken to screenwriters specifically here, but this applies to all facets of art and creating.

All regular movie goers know the structure of a generic film, we've been raised on them, so, whether you know it subconsciously or consciously, you know it nonetheless. Now, formulaic films are not bad films. This is like listening to your iPod and hearing the same songs playing over and over (I'm pretty sure I've used this analogy before...). Anyway, it's your brain picks up a pattern, that doesn't mean it necessarily exists. The same thing happens when you watch a movie to a certain extent. To get from point A to point B as a writer, from start to end, and give an audience what they want (happy endings, character arcs, lessons, such and so on) you are walking a wide, but one-way road. What I mean to say here is that movies follow paradigms because of the stories we want to hear - it's the same reason on horror tropes exist, any trope for that matter - we wan them. This is not me saying generic films are good though. Generic, formulaic, films are bad when they are predictable to the extent of pointlessness - you've seen A Bug's Life, you don't really need to see Antz, in the same way  that if you've seen Carrie (1976) you don't need to see the 2013 version. But because of the Hollywood machine and people's over reliance on formula at face value we're drowning in remakes, sequels, adaptations and the same old crap. What this film makes obvious is that the same old crap is quite avoidable - more than you think.

Wit the idea of character driven plotting you can very easily get an original path from a start to an end. I can draw on many examples of unconventional characters forcing unconventional films - we can look at Shrek, Gone With The Wind, The Wolf Of Wall Street or even an extreme example of Memento. Now, what Memento and this film have that really makes the stories unconventional is their concepts. You know Memento, I'm sure, the film had to be broken because the Nolans used the the character's perspective to convey story. Silent Running does the same thing, but its original concept comes from the world and situation it's manufactured. This throws back to my talk here about fantasy, so we'll move on. With character driven story and narratives not being contorted by a screenwriter wanting to hit 'beats' we can let our characters make good or bad decisions and project their inner thoughts to produce original and different films. This is not that hard to grasp. If you have an idea for any kind of story, don't ask, 'what do I need to do next?', but 'what would my character do next?', 'what are they feeling?'. Watching Silent Running you can clearly see how Freeman dictates his path from start to end. My main point here is that stories should be the product of a good idea and good characters flourishing, building their own plot. I think it's obvious that good films write themselves. Yes, we can step in and make sure our story doesn't fall into familiar territory (please do) but when you try and pump out a formula and then bend a film around it, well, we get the same old contrived and boring stuff. This film stands as testament to the idea of naturally forming films, from character and concept.

This is also why I love concept films so much. All films are about ideas. The best films have the best ideas in my opinion. Favourite films and best films are completely different - an obvious fact. This is why people say Star Wars is the best film ever made - because they enjoy it so much--it's their favourite. But, I'm not going to get into Star Wars, I always feel like I'm on the precipice of doing so--but, another time. My love of concept films links to ideas of movies giving birth to naturally forming plots and them being a way to produce unique stories. What's the concept of this film? It lies in perspective. This film is about searching in the dark, running silently through life with no idea what we're doing, unable to ask the right questions to get the answers we need. Such is existence. Watching Freeman's perspective through this film, for me, is a very humbling thing. Me and Freeman are not very much the same. He loves nature and reveres its beauty in a poetic and lovestruck kind of way. I think nature's cool and I can appreciate its beauty, but not on a surface level and so deeply as this character does. I could so easily get so annoyed at this character if I tried. People love to hate those different from them. Characters we don't agree with can make a film unbearable for some--for me at times. But this film opened up honestly and I accepted that me and it weren’t the same. It immediately said 'I love the environment. We need to protect Earth'. I have no qualms with that. What so many films like to do is spring that idea on you at the end or midway through. Look at Avatar. The main character goes through an arc of growing tolerance. This is screenwriting 101. But, audiences hate it. They hate it because you are saying they are an idiot who doesn't care about the environment and you need to change. Yeah, we absolutely hate that. And, for the exact same reason, we hate Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons knocking at our doors. Whilst we can hide from them (as best as we can) or at least hide our shame and embarrassment at the fact that everyone knows what is going on, Mormons outside especially--BUT STILL THEY KNOCK!! WHY!? They must love being ignored!... I don't know.. Whilst we can hide from Mormons we have to bear a film, writhing in our seat, growing more and more annoyed. This film respects you by staying true to its character's perspective, and doesn't try and worm its way into guilt tripping and changing yours. You gotta love that.

I think what I've got to be making clear is that character driven stories are ultimately likeable--even loveable at times. With true characters and a genuine film that doesn't betray itself you don't need to have the best models or set design, nor the greatest acting of all time. A film can work so well without relying on such components so heavily. It can stand on its own two feet. That makes for a film, any output, you can genuinely be proud of. I'm going to return to Blake Snyder here for a moment. In his book he says he wouldn't have wanted to have made Memento because, in short, it didn't make that much money and not everyone has seen it. Ask yourself the same question: would you have rather written Blank Check, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot or even one of the films he cites such as Thelma and Louise or Miss Congeniality? Or would you rather have written Pulp Fiction or Memento? If you're answer isn't Memento or Pulp Fiction, stop reading this and go away, I don't want anything to do with you, I don't want you to make films and I will not be seeing them. If you agree with me, I quote Blake Snyder here:

'Oh, and btw, screw Memento!'

Am I right in saying, SCREW BLAKE SNYDER!! What a pretentious little prick! Screw Memento!? The guy wrote Blank Check!... sigh... Anyway, all I hope is that you are put off the idea of overly formulaic writing and at least Save The Cat, and want to hold out with your 'ridiculously' and 'needlessly' thought-out, original and unique screenplay, book or whatever. I promise the reward you'll get for that is a million times more precious than millions of dollars. Please tell me that's obvious.

I'm going to leave the last section by saying not all Blake Snyder's ideas are bad, or that they deserve to be shat on. Merely take them with a pinch of salt. Save The Cat is not an anchoring point for a writing process, don't rely on it. read it once or twice if you must, but then buckle in and try some hard work. Moving back to the idea of perspective, this film is very much about being firm in your ways and so ultimately blind (kind of nullifies the last part, but stick around). We grow up to grow into a mould we build around ourselves. We develop ideas, religions, belief systems, dogmatisms--personalities in short. Unless you're a child your vision is pretty tunnelled. This is how we get though life without an existential breakdown at every turn. This is why people hold on to faith (or a lack thereof), political leanings, ideals, social perspectives and so on. As we all know, once you hit a certain age, there's just not much that's going to change us. The mind physically becomes less malleable, less plastic, and so we stay rigid in our ways. This is also why no matter how much you want your significant other to stop obsessing over how the house looks or to actually care, you are having the same arguments day in, day out. People don't change. They don't like or want to. The film presents this idea so perfectly. If you watch it and are annoyed at the decisions Freeman is taking you simply don't understand him or have any insight into your own character.

But, where does this leave us and Freeman? I like to struggle over this kind of question. If we are a certain way, in this case stuck in our ways, what can we do, why, what does that mean, where are we left? Of course there are no definite answers. This comes down to opinion, and so all I can do is give you mine. I think it leaves us in our own worlds - irrevocably disconnected. That sounds all doom and gloom, but I think it's just the reality we live in. And there's no need to try and label reality, just bear it. After all, no one's going to change it. The film seems to agree with me here. Whilst it is about preserving the Earth, it's more poignant message concerns the preservation of an idea. Despite, being forced to do the unthinkable, despite having to kill co-workers, Freeman does what he believes is right. He does this throughout the film, enduring a hell he needn't. In the end Freeman commits suicide because of the insurmountable futility he's faced with. Freeman alone isn't able to preserve the last of the world's organic matter. He tried, but he failed. The beautiful allegory he tells us explains why he tried and why he had to give up. I paraphrase, but he tells his robot about putting a message in a bottle with his name and address on and sending it out to sea, never to know if anyone found it. The film is about hope. The film is about Mr. Smith. A big jump, but yes.

In The Matrix, Mr. Smith of course wants to create a world of clones of himself. Mr. Smith is my favourite character of the Matrix trilogy because... Mr. Anderson... and because he is the most human character in the entire Matrix/Real world. He is Neo, just grounded and a true to human nature--excerpt from the Wachowskis' ideals. That's not to say they're wrong for having ideals concerning individuality and so on, but just that I most like Mr. Smith. We all want a world of clones. We are stuck in our own worlds and have those arguments with our significant other over the state of the house because we want to change them, we, to a certain degree, wish they were us, that they just did want we want them to! The film demonstrates that such fights are futile and that people don't change. We send out our messages in bottles in hope of finding like minds, but once the bottle's gone it's most probably never going to find the same hands that sent it off. The film goes a step further than this by showing that whilst we hope, that we want a world of clones, we run, we hope blindly.

Throughout the film, Freeman is bound to this idea of nature, of growing and eating his own food. But what he's also bound to is technology, his robots that he grows to love so much, more than he does other people, his plants even. The robots come from an idea of artifice, that which kills nature. Freeman's hubris here, not seeing his core contradiction of ideals and action, is him running silently through his life. He refuses to, or just can't, see how he preserves his ideals (as represented by the plants) with artifice, with their complete opposing factor. In the same way, you put up with your significant other because you like cleaning up, you like not having to clean up, you like to argue. No one wants the perfect man or woman because they'd just get on our nerves. In the end, the film demonstrates that we are set in our ways, but only because there is a atmosphere around us (that which often contradicts who we are and our ideals) that lets us remain so. Equals and opposites. We need them, but we don't like them.




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27/03/2016

Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans - Us vs. Them

Thoughts On: Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans

This is the greatest film of all time. No question.


The film puts it best:

This song
Of the Man and his Wife
Is of no place
And every place;
You might hear it anywhere,
Any time.

For wherever the sun rises and sets
In the city's turmoil
Or
Under the open sky on the farm
Life is much the same;
Sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet.

Before we start, this film is, dependant on the day you ask me, my favourite film ever. It fights with another I'm sure I'll explore soon, and first place always goes to the film I've seen most recently. This is a silent picture from 1927 directed by F. W. Murnau. Now, of all the film buffs, geeks, fanatics I've known, the term 'silent film' doesn't sit too well. A few may say they've seen one, but no one much cares for the silent movies. I don't know, maybe it's my fault, maybe I just make poor choices as to who I talk to. But, I think it's obvious that to the average movie goer 'black and white' is a term synonymous with 'death by boredom'. Say silent film to the same people and they might just throw up, ruining your shoes and not even be sorry. If you're one of those people, firstly, hello. Secondly, DON'T LEAVE! Thirdly, sorry for shouting and thanks for staying. Fourthly, yeah, let's give this up and just get on with it. Old films are, excuse my French, shat on, for the same reason that people buy toothpaste. Yeah, shat and toothpaste shouldn't be in the same sentence together, but hear me out. We go to new movies and buy toothpaste because of this idea of fresh - fresh breath, fresh entertainment. No one likes to talk about the past much, have the fermented and aged come from their mouths. We talk about movies from the 70s, maybe 60s, but hardly ever do we discuss the first 50 odd years of cinema. This is, in part, a marketing ploy and links back to toothpaste. New is often seen as better, it's a selling point of so many things. We don't buy toothpaste to take care of our mouths--not of the most part. We do it so when we're talking to friends and so on, they don't turn away in disgust and formulate some juicy nicknames behind your back: tuna breath, face farter, paint peeler, teeth ducking yawner, halitosis-smelitosis (Harry Potter fans love that one), morning glory, foghorn--fuck me!, shit talker, just bad at polo (English joke), I could go on. When in truth, modern day toothpaste is only around 110 years old. Halitosis is an invention of the dental community, the term coined in the early 1900s. Why? To make people feel insecure about their breath and buy toothpaste.

The film community did the same in the 60s with the move away from black and white pictures, and in the late 20s with the move away from silent pictures. Though, the transition from silent to sound took less than a decade. Silent films were completely dead around 5 years after the Jazz Singer came out. Black and white hung on for around a quarter of a century, through the 40s, 50s and part of the 60s. It done this because colour projection was expensive and other more technical reasons I'll leave out so we can focus on the film. My main point here is that the repulsion people feel toward old films is manufactured and irrational. What many people I know do is only watch the films of the last decade. We're talking 2000 onward. That's insane! Anyone with any knowledge of films will tell you that. By rejecting the films that are pre-70s because they're old and new is better, you are only shutting yourself from thousands of films, hundreds of them being worth seeing. And guess what? All of these films will be new--to you. And that's all that should matter: your exploration of cinema. A film's worth is in no way bound to its colouration or the way it speaks. No one likes a racist. Don't contribute to the problem! Jokes aside, I make the promise to talk about film without temporal prejudice on this blog. I'll go from Batman V Superman to Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans without a blink of an eye. I'll talk about the films I see that are worth talking about, despite when they were made. And all for you people. Any suggestions for me? Feel free to comment. But, time to get on and talk about Sunrise...

I'm not going to make a case for this picture being the best film of all time. I'm going to talk about why I love it so much - because of its ideas and message. This is a romance that explores the absolute depth of human bond, it explores the idea of need in juxtaposition to want. In short, this film is about why we need that... someone. Not anyone, someone. The one for us. No, this film isn't The Notebook--I hate that film and one day when I finally manage to get through it I'll tell you why. This film is not The Notebook because it doesn't appeal to the 'irrational feminist' view of romance. This film takes a simple stance on why we fall in love and what a man and woman are to one another. In my perspective, this is the only way to analyse the incomprehensible. To grip ideas such as love and hate we need to look at ourselves as the animals we are. When we do this life becomes much simpler. Listen to a few too many Bob Marley tracks, watch a few too many romances, and, yeah, love becomes a mystical and magical thing. War and hate become alien ideas. This bias, common in society, isn't too helpful in my opinion. Without a true picture of any situation, without accepting the opposites that make it up, we can't understand much. The film shows that love and hate come from the same place - the selfish core within us all. I'm going to break down a statuette, a monument, a monolithic, archetypal, idol, of a lie, of absolute bullshit, right here, right now. Selflessness doesn't exist. You are a liar and a complete idiot if you dare say it does. But, you know what? There's a worse lie than that. Selfishness is not a bad thing, despite what so many will have you believe.

Here are the two truths I want to make clear: selflessness doesn't exist and selfishness isn't a bad thing. I say this all the time, but, everything we do is to survive. Every action you take is a product of your mind assessing a situation and deciding the best input, or lack thereof, to preserve the body. Yes, people commit suicide and harm themselves, but this is because of mental disorders or because it's the only way they believe they can stop the pain. If everything we do is for the purpose of survival, then everything we do is selfish, for the purpose of ourselves--self-preservation. All actions help us survive in two contexts, as a single unit or as part of a group. All actions contribute to our survival as a person or as community or society. The film follows a man who has fallen for another woman from the city and is on the precipice of abandoning his wife, of killing her, and selling his farm for the purpose of staying with the city woman. Now, what the film has set up is the singular unit of the man and faced him a decision of us or them. In short, the film is about where you belong. His wife represents this idea of home, of what you have now. The city woman is an idea of more, of being apart of something bigger than you. The film makes an argument toward the smaller unit (man and wife) being imperative to human existence. The bigger group is a lie, a fabrication, a trap too easily fallen for.

This is where need and want come back in. People need the basic things in life, the fundamentals. People want excess, they want more. I'm not talking about material possession here. The film explores the social needs and wants of people. The man needs his wife, he wants the city life with a new and younger woman. Again, we also cycle back to people assuming new is better. The exact same mentality of people refusing to watch the film because it's a silent picture, is what it discusses. That's why the opening text (at the top of the page) tells us the film is about anywhere, any place, every place and so no place in particular. The exploration of need and want, of the wife and city girl, is archetypal, is relative to so much about people. By the film following a man who discovers that smaller circles are more important than the bigger ones, that need is more central than want, it talks about the whole concept of ambition. This film isn't about people losing what they want only to realise that they wanted it all along, but abandoning need and then realising they're screwed without it. This film talks to our deepest fears, the ones we are blind to. Here, we can come back to the depressing little game I like to play, called, what if you were alone? Your parents abandon you. Your family disappears. You find yourself alone. What do you do? There's more to this idea though, the film makes a point of asking, what if you lost all you need? What if your home, food, water were just taken away? We all forget how much we take for granted. We all know this, but, we do. With pure cinema this film demonstrates the problems we may face with that kind of mind-set.

I'd like to talk about silent cinema again here. Silent cinema is the most powerful kind, bar none. Pure cinema is telling a story with nothing more than moving pictures. This is a filmmaker's challenge. It's also what makes cinema the best art form out there (I've discussed this in previous posts though). Silent films, specifically, are so powerful because of the idea of selfishness. Books are so easily immersed in because they are so undefined. I have made the point that cinema is better than books because they portray a story with visuals, but ambiguity is imperative. By not defining exactly what a character looks like, by leaving them a silhouette an audience can paint themself in their position. People have made this point with Keanu Reeves and Kristen Stewart. They are so unemotional and bland because they allow us to fill their gaps. Now, be too bland, too much of a void, and you fail to characterise--that's why both actors receive criticism. Taking the concept of ambiguity and applying it to cinema we find that silent pictures nestle into a perfect niche of ambiguity and visualisation. We see characters, but we do not hear them, the actors are usually of the same breed--blonde woman, brown haired man--Hitchcock made a point of this in his films. With figures on screen that don't speak, we attribute our own voice, or the voice we most like to hear, to them. This makes the film all the better and why I fall so, so, hard in love with good silent pictures. The woman in this film?... oh my goodness.. I just want to sweep her off her feet and hug her. When a creep tries to move in on her I'm swearing at the screen, I want to slice this guys throat open. Near the end... the end.. I won't spoil it, but the first time I saw the end I was punching walls, I had to stop the film and fume before finishing. Luckily I was at home and, well, watch the film to see what happens and why I was so mad.

Silent cinema is so powerful because it embodies our prejudices and adheres to them at the same time. Ask yourself this: what do your favourite characters from novels look like? The answer: like you, or a perfect embodiment of your idea of beauty. This is the reason Chaplin and Keaton were so loveable and their films so poignant. This is the reason people are taking issue with the Oscars being so 'white'. Hollywood makes movies from the western world, for the western world, from America, for Americans. The western world and America are predominantly white. Movies are so 'white' because they are trying to appeal to their audience. At the same time, black people and those who don't fit the Keanu Reeve or Kristen Stewart cut-out revolt for the very reason same reason the majority love films. We all want our cut-out figurines. I extend this idea to the many cultural movements surrounding transgenders, homosexuals, feminists, minorities in general. We are all selfish and want our voice heard. We all want to be recognised by the bigger picture, we all want to run away with the city girl. Ahhh... maybe you're starting to get my point. This film embodies so much about how humans like to act and how we should act. This brings me to the crux of my point...

'Us' is always going to be you and one or two other people. Yes, we live in communities, countries, societies and all for good reasons. But don't let the illusion shatter you. You amongst the crowd are alone. Focus on those who chose to stand with you, don't try and keep with those who bustle by. This links to another one of my favourite films of all time, The Crowd. It's similar to Sunrise and maybe I'll talk about it another time, but definitely watch it. That aside, this film argues that 'Us vs. Them' is the most important battle you will be fighting throughout your life. And guess what? You're the only person fighting the battle. It's you against you. Don't fool yourself and believe that a crowd matters, that you're lucky enough to have more than a handful of people truly care about you. We are alone in this world, in our lives. An ultimate truth. But, we can stand alone with a few others and not feel so bad about it. I absolutely love this film because it embraces this idea that selflessness doesn't exist, that, for selfish reasons, we need each other. That we are hunter gatherers and love is the glue that keeps the caveman and cavewoman together. The film demonstrates how small, how dependent, we are on a few others. It's a lesson to all aiming to provide a moment of clarity. It asks you to step back and look at what you've got. With perspective, a new day, a sunrise, may come the enlightening truth that the world around us, that we're so desperate to be of significance in, doesn't matter. We do not need to be apart of it. A song can be heard by anyone, a film can be seen by anyone. Yes, they may seem to be about other people, yes, they may also be about you, yes, we may make them so, but the fact that everyone can see or hear is not what we should be worried about. The song of two humans is about is all, but make no mistake, you, I, am the only person who hears it as I know it sounds. I am the only person it matters in the song with those few who stand with me. It is about me and my little 'us' in the end, just as it is about you and yours. But that does not connect us. We shouldn't want it to. Forget the world and love what you've got.

All in all, this film is amazing, both in concept and emotionally. It is its emotions, the way it makes you feel, that make it so great--which is the ultimate reason why I love it so much. But, in truth, the emotions feed the concept. The way the film makes you feel is what it's trying to talk about. I love the film because of my connection to the characters and situation, because of my connection to myself. Weird, but true in all cases of favourite films, books, art forms. Never have I seen a film that works on such a cohesive and broad level. In the end, having said my piece, all I can leave you with is the film itself. You can find it on YouTube, right here...


Watch it and tell me what you think.



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26/03/2016

Batman V Superman - Human Cinema

Thoughts On: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

I've already covered this film, my first set of thoughts can be found here...


But, I'm not much of a reviewer. I don't want to be. I try not to review films, rather talk about their ideas and what they mean to an audience. That said....


Fantasy, sci-fi, superheroes. When we think of these things we think of the impossible, we think of alien planets, space travel, monsters, inhuman ability, spectacle, imagination. Through cinema we get to experience the alien, we get to have our crazy imaginings realised so we can experience them with others--or for more selfish reasons (I'm not going to delve into porn here--another time). But what do we get? The everyday, just heightened. The world we know, painted a different shade for a while. Our perception, diluted. What are the best fantasy films of all time? For me, I turn directly to Lord Of The Rings, to Disney, Studio Ghibli, films like Pans Labyrinth, 2001, E.T, The Wizard of Oz and... uh... you run out of titles and names quick. For an art form enwreathed, imbued, with this idea of fantasy, of heightened reality, cinema is not so good at it. What popularised cinema that keeps it relevant? It's capacity to present the fantastical for all to understand. I speak for myself here, and I know some may disagree, but, no matter how well a book is written, no matter how good of a writer you are, a picture is always going to portray fantasy just that little bit better than you. I say this as a writer. I've always wanted to write, to read, but cinema is where my heart is at. I love words, I love the idea my voice being under my finger tips, under my control (yeah, I'm no public speaker). But, humans are visual creatures. This is why cinema is the best art form. We are irrevocably bound to this idea of images. Images are what we construct reality from. Cinema is best at communicating with our core of perception. I mean, we've all heard it: a picture paints a thousand words, a film, a thousand words 24 time a second.

If humans are bound to their primary sense of sight, forming our perception of reality, and cinema is supposed to be an escape... why are we not that good at fantasy? Take the list of the 100 best films ever made from Rotten Tomatoes. I count approximately 19 fantasies. The genre is a little hard to define with films like Dr. Strangelove, but it's clear that in a general sense people love the fantasy genre. But, let's be real. All films are fantasy. Everything from the realist films like I Vitellioni or Bicycle Thieves to the not so realistic Once Upon A Time In America or Oldboy are fantasy. Even documentaries and reality T.V shows are fantasy. This is because events are contorted by a camera, lighting, editing, bad acting, obvious writing--especially with 'reality' T.V. I further the point with Keeping With The Kardashians. I've never watched it (no lie) but I can tell you that even if we are watching their real lives play out, from where we sit, their million dollar homes, cars, clothes, pets, their perspective, their way of living, persona, actual physique, is all a fantasy. Make no mistake, reality cannot exist on the big or small screen.

What has this got to do with Batman V Superman? Well, fantasy in cinema is becoming more and more obsolete, yet more and more relevant. What is the current movement in we're going through? Realism. We see it through our gritty and grounded sci-fi, our found footage, our demand for human drama. We're living in a world of me, me, me. I don't think this is a bad thing. It's just what happens when we all get the internet, it's how we want to be. But we're in a stilted revelation within cinema and we're kind of ignoring it. CGI. When was the last time you heard or saw the acronym before someone complained or said meh? CGI is the future of cinema and, yes, bad CGI is really bad, but good CGI goes unnoticed. We're becoming more acclimatised to this idea as CGI becomes less of a selling point for a film, but an inevitability. CGI is what has given us Batman V Superman and virtually every blockbuster of the past 5 years. There's such a movement against it and I don't fully understand why. If cinema is fantasy why must we suppress it with the realism found in Batman V Superman? Why did it have to be so PC just because some people complained that Superman inadvertently killed people in Man Of Steel? Why do we look down on mindless destruction? I think there's an obvious difference between continuity or sensical errors and heightened reality. No one else seems to think so. The realist movement is such a contradiction because where does it hit hardest? Sci-fi and horror.

Now, the horror talk is for another time, my views on fantasy and horror are a little different from sci-fi. But, people want to see themselves presented in art. This links back to the 'me, me, me' aspect of society and why BVS is so PC. I say this is a tragic blunder. Cinema right now should be an explosion of creativity. I mean, we should have been drowning in mindbogglingly other worldly films since T2 and Jurassic Park. That was a quarter of a century ago! Cinema is about 115 years old. Talkies have been around for around 90. Colour pictures about 75, but only did they fully take over in the 60s leaving us with about half a century of modern cinema. From the early 60s to the late 70s cinema changed radically. From Some Like It Hot to Mean Streets to Star Wars cinema became more and more sexualised, violent and special effects driven. Jaws gave us the blockbuster. From the 80s until now cinema has been taken over by teens and families. Cinema has not changed much in this time. Yes, we've got CGI really settling in and 3D standing on the side--still in the picture though--but everyone's against it. We are fighting some amazing cinema by demanding realism. Moreover, we could be dooming cinema, destroying its future by doing this.

Studios are getting a clear message that we want gritty realism and its reflected through he films we're getting. The majority of fantasy films are aimed for kids, I think they always have been, but CGI should have changed that. Look at what it opened with! Terminator 2! No it wasn't the first film with CGI but it was the first real good one. The movement against fantasy in this sense stems back to silent animated films, and later on, Disney. Animation is an amazing thing. Who are our key animators? Disney Pixar and DreamWorks. What do they make? Kids films. Why are our tools for creating whatever we want only used for children. From the 30s we've looked down animation as nothing better than a kids play thing (yes, Toy Story reference). Why!? I'll say it again, cinema is fantasy. Why are our world creating tools (animation and CGI) looked down on by cinema. Look at T.V and the massive cultural impact of anime. I'm sorry to those who I offend here, but these are inferior to cinema, yet we're letting them utilise what cinema should have a monopoly on. From Keaton's cinema of questionable physics to Griffith's spectacle, cinema has it's roots in fantasy. Look at romance and tell me realism has any place there. Yes, realism is imperative to cinema. I don't suggest we lose it in all genres merely give it a rest in sci-fi.

Linking back to BVS, I want to come back to the idea that sense and fantasy can coexist. The reason why realism is so important to people and rife in cinema is because the audience thinks they're making a CinemaSins video. I love the channel by the way, but people misconstrue what it's really doing. CinemaSins makes errors in writing and directing obvious and punishes the film for it. We all love doing this, to spot where we can prove we're smarter than a film. Plot holes are gold mines. This drives a huge misconception in fantasy. You don't have to follow the rules of reality, but the rules you set down. You can have 100 foot chicken roam the Earth if that's your premise and you justify it. Whom do we reserve such ideas for? Children. Superheroes are our generation's cowboys. Iron Man and Batman are our John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. They are those who we look up to and idealise in the fantasy realm of cinema. We are fast destroying their worlds with the demand for realism. In Superman, how many times have we gone to Kripton? I remember reading something from David S. Goyer, (the screenwriter of Man Of Steel) he said something along the lines of him writing EXT. KRIPTON and just not being comfortable. Instead he moved onto EXT. SMALLVILLE or some other place he was familiar with. I mean...where are your guts!? Why must cinema be so human, so familiar!?

Here's the crux of my point. Humans have invaded cinema and settled. This happened almost immediately because of money, ability and technology. Milies gave us our first special effects films - A Trip to The Moon being most notable. It took a magician to show us the wonders cinema could provide and our infatuation with such an idea has always been reduced to a friend zoney, grey area. Cinema is fantasy, but we don't want to be reminded of that fact. With BVS the neglect of fantasy is not only with its needless use of realism, but humanity. WHY IS A FILM CALLED BATMAN V SUPERMAN ABOUT HUMANS!?!?!?!?!?!? Sorry for shouting. But, this is a major issue in cinema in my opinion. Films are always going to be about people, I don't care if there's a 20 foot gorilla or thousand green people. Humans are rooted in cinema because we make it. This doesn't mean we have to sully fantasy with our on-screen presence. If you've read my other post on BVS you may or may not have noticed something. At what point did I talk about Lois or any of the other humans? Not much, probably not much more than once. This was intentional as I was both saving them for now and wanted to prove how insignificant and pointless they are in the film. Get them out! There's a shot in almost all sci-fi films when something is destroyed where I just want to be sick. It's the one of the crowd of faces we don't care about. This is never a poignant shot! We know our reaction! Unless it pushes the plot forward, such as the crowd deciding to then riot, then get it out. I don't want to see the creatures on those nameless planets in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Look at the original, all we needed was Lea's reaction. Get humans out! Especially of sci-fi!

This is so relevant to Batman V Superman because this stupid idea of overly human cinema is where the film has its foundations. It's because people didn't like the fact that people die when Gods fight that this film has come to be. People need to pipe down and find something humbling. What they essentially are abhorred over is their fantasy representations being killed whilst Superman is fighting for their life! This is shown in the film with everyone taking Superman for granted. They assume he's their saviour, that he owes them something, that he belongs in court, that we can judge him. Superman in court!? Fuck off. Sorry, I'm just passionate. Forgive me. What happened when Batman was put under the same strain in The Dark Night trilogy? He didn't show up. Bruce Wayne knew he served the people, he didn't need their validation, their permission. To reduce Superman to a cowering figure literally, literally, on his knees before Lex Luthor is absurd. If I wrote that film I would have had him punch him in the dick and do something amazing, something improbable, something only Superman could do which is to go save his mother. The fact that Superman is so overpowered should only excite screenwriters. This is their chance to show us their imaginative capacity. Superman is a script you should be able to show off, you should be able to brag, with. What we get is boring and grounded. This is how I try to write: I try to have the fantastical primary and the conflict retaliatory. It's the screenwriters job to battle Superman's overpowered nature with conflict, not to suppress him. Enhance him and then squash him. This is what I meant with the realism in Batman, that which he's tied to, battling the fantasy of Superman in my last post.

What this all cycles back to is us and fantasy. If children can learn lessons from kung fu fighting pandas, talking animals, cartoons, why can't adults at least tell proper stories with them. I'm not saying adults can't enjoy well made kid's films (Cinderella is one of my favourite films of all time) or that we should be using talking animals, but why not? Look at Family Guy, The Simpsons, the new Seth Rogen film with the talking food that swears, is murdered by humans and represents genitalia. We can do more, we can do better, with the idea of fantasy, with the idea that cinema can be whatever you want, than what we are doing now. Cinema's future is in CG, cinema's future is in imagination, cinema's future is in fantasy. Please, don't hold it back. Take the humans out, write something that sounds like the concept came from a crack den, something from the free mind of a mellowed and chilled pot head. We don't need drugs to do this people! Don't try it, we're not all Seth Rogan and I don't want to recommend drugs to anyone. Forget BVS and free cinema.

This is what I urge, this is what we as consumers, what Hollywood as a business, what cinema, needs. Freedom. Avengers should not be about Black Widow and Hawkeye. BVS should not be about Lois Lane and the goddamn morons the Planet newspaper place. Give us the inhuman and we will find humanity in it. Why do you think so many people love their cats so much!? Don't reduce cinema to an evil, scummy, pet like a cat (sorry, I just don't like them) just free it. Free cinema.

Free cinema.



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Batman V Superman - What Is A Scene?

Thoughts On: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Old Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor do stuff with kryptonite, guns, explosions, a bit of Wonder Woman, ending in more guns, explosions and Doomsday...


If you've not seen the film, don't read this, probably spoilers. Or do, I don't care. What I want to say is this film sucks. The truth? This is not a film. Or at least, I'm not accepting it as one. There is so much that is just so bad about this film and... I'm not going to talk about its myriad of flaws with specificity--we'd be here all day. Obviously, it's too long, but vacuously empty. There is no plot, just things happening. Lex Luthor is laughably bad. The film doesn't even look good. I'll bet you'll hear people praise Zack Snyder and his direction of action and the way the film looks. All lies. No, the film doesn't look particularly bad--except when Superman is revived by the sun after being hit with the nuke--I honestly thought there was something wrong with my eyes or the screen seeing the utter mushy CGI... bluh. This is definitely one of those films we'll look back on in a few years and be embarrassed to have been swept away by its visuals. The direction around the action scenes is piss-poor. The fight choreography is pretty crap apart from a few seconds within one of Batman's last fights with multiple men. But each action set-piece was directed with too much camera movement, too many cuts and way too close to the stuff happening--I say stuff because you just can't tell half the time. The film is designed to hide its flaws. This is painfully clear in the action scenes--with the direction as a whole. The only character motivations in this story come from the fact that there is a camera following them. This film leans on the fourth wall so hard, but hasn't the courtesy to turn to us like Deadpool does. The indifferent tone of this film is a detriment to the whole concept of sci-fi/action. The film talks at you with its back turned for 2 hours and then fights around you whilst a camera desperately searches for a good place to have stuff rush by, implying action.

The main flaws in this film come directly from its script. You'd have to be a complete idiot to have written this. I understand around 30 mins of this film were cut away, but that's no excuse for how bad the films is and how terribly the script manifested itself. Ask yourself this simple question: would you want to read the script? No! This is the core issue of the film as it was released, as I saw it. The film has no concept of a scene. A movie is a conglomeration of smaller narratives to build up a whole, an amalgamation of scenes into a story. How I suppose this film was written was someone decided to cut up a comic book, jumble a few pieces around, drop them on a few cards and hand it in. The director then shot a whole load of movie trailers and T.V with that as guide--T.V!? Why is there so much news and T.V in this film!? Look at a film like E.T. In this film Spielberg decided against having adults and the outside world invading the narrative as much as possible, especially the news. He done this to imbue the film with fantasy, to keep you in the film's world, with its characters. And what does this achieve? Grown men reduced to tears by the end of the film. 'E.T go home'? 'Be... good... Eliot'? Never in a million years could you hear or see those lines and think they could make someone cry, but, that's the power of cinema--fantasy--the improbable, the impossible, brought to life via a screen. The movement toward realism with the superhero genre was at first a great thing--we all loved Nolan's Batman trilogy. And those films are Nolan's, in no way do I think of the trilogy as DC's. As far as I'm concerned they don't know how to make films yet. We all loved the Dark Night trilogy because of how stupid, over the top and camp Batman, how all superhero films, were beforehand. The movement towards realism cut out all that was crap about the previous attempts. As we all know, Nolan took a comic book movie and made a film. But, the use of realism in Batman V Superman is mind-numbingly boring.

This plays back into the action and the concept of a scene. I sat in a cinema bored for 2 1/2 hours with Batman V Superman on a massive screen before me. BATMAN V SUPERMAN!? How is this possible!? The 'narrative' and 'plot' centred parts were empty. The action scenes were slow and lifeless. Batman fought Superman for all of 30 seconds (yes, it was more than that). And it was so slow! The film tried to build up and to have the fight gritty and real with gruelling, painful nonsense stuff happening, but all I saw was them slowly walking toward one another, punching at half speed and groaning a lot. I knew the Batman V Superman parts of the film were going to be minimal, but to this extent is just insulting. All the film's problems come from poor, poor, scene contruction. As we all know and saw, the film is basically split apart by its two characters. What the screenwriter tried to do was to break scenes into two and juxtapose Batman with Superman, showing how they are similar and different. A commendable attempt, but, God awful execution. There are no scenes, just stuff happening. Things happen in the dessert somewhere (I don't care to remember where) oceans, cities, this, that, blah, b-blah. But that's it, there is no narrative flow within the scenes let alone through the film. There is no plot, no flow, nothing. Just static and spliced montage. Montage is supposed to be used to show narrative flow over time, but quickly. Look at Rocky. Rocky! I need say no more. This film goes for a Rocky montage with Batman and... yeah... no. Don't do that. Affleck's no Sly and Snyder doesn't know how to cut together montage--he tries to make a film off the idea, but no. All this film manages to do is leap frog between moments with no arc, no depth, no scenes within the slithers of fractured narrative.

When you write you, know what needs to happen in scenes. You need to introduce Batman or you need to introduce the Bruce Wayne and his disdain (rhyme) for Superman. This is the film's opener and in no way is character motivated. Bruce flying into whatever city to cannon through streets in his car and run into dust plumes was not for the sake of plot, for story telling, but for visuals. Save these scenes for action! There is no character motivated action. This means there are no characters. This film wants to be a political thriller, it wants to be dramatic, action packed, poignant, but it's none of that because it cannot construct scenes. The closest iteration to a scene we get is when Clark and Bruce meet at the party with Lex. What happens here is all the characters converge, forcing the editor and screenwriter to spend sometime doing one thing and oh my God... bliss. I actually sat back in my chair and felt the movie move for all of three minutes. Here is the first aspect of a narrative flow, not segmented blocks on a page shot with a camera. A scene is like a sentence within a paragraph. If I wrote like the film plays, we'd get something like this:

Film. Bad. Boring. Realism. Scene. Set-piece. Rocky! E.T! Montage. Cut. Leap frog. Mush.

Yes, these are my ideas, but they aren't cohesive. Without compounding scenes like you do sentences you can only imply you cannot explore.

Now, I'd like to talk about a film here you just may not know about, its called Man With A Movie Camera. It's a true classic, an absolute masterpiece. This is an experimental film in montage and... wow... its breathtaking. Find it. Watch it. I don't want to say any more about it. But to talk around the film, everything is in montage, it has no story, it merely explores a location. This film teaches that visuals can captivate, that pure cinema is a powerful thing. This movie works because of pacing, direction and absolute splendour. This is one of the best directed and edited film of all time. It takes the Eisensteinian concept of montage--that which I'm sure you know, but maybe just indirectly--and builds a narrative flow like a piece of music takes a beat and lets it grow into a song, an album, concerto, movement or set-piece. A film in montage can work. But, it takes pure cinema, it takes images, it takes giving us everything with a camera. This film doesn't do this. This throws back to leaning on the fourth wall. Deadpool worked for two obvious reasons: it was its own film and it knew what it was. In being its own film it didn't have to be a trailer like I'm sure you noticed Batman V Superman was. In knowing what it was, Deadpool could turn to us and comment on what's going on, why and throw some great writing in. This film has Deadpool's mouth, just censored and talking into his chest. Exposition! Oh, it hurts! And no style. This is why Deadpool had to be R-rated. But, exposition doesn't have to be painful. We all saw Inception, almost no dialogue, just exposition, but it worked. Why? Because the film was so complex and was explaining mind-blowing ideas. This film drivels on at us about boring moral ethics. A superhero film tries to tell us violence is bad, yet sold us our tickets with the promise of a hyped-up superhuman fighting a God-like alien! Credit where credit is due though: we didn't get much.

Here, we come right back to realism. Batman needed it because of the past it was trying to quash--Batnipples is all I need to say, right? Superman does not need realism. Superman is never, not for one second, 'super' in this film. In every Superman film he's allowed to do one mind-blowing, impossible thing like reverse time, stop an aeroplane/rocket thing form crashing, such and so on. Tell me this: what did Superman do that impressed you? At what point did you say 'wow...'. When were you in awe? This film with intelligent writing could have been the greatest superhero film of all time. DC would have blown Marvel out the water with a clever screenwriter. The film's main conflict is unbalanced. We have the realism Batman needs and the fantasy Superman requires. How can the two characters, the two concepts exist in one film? They can't! Guess what that is... CONFLICT!!!! The film should have been Batman's realism trying to force Superman's fantasy into the realm of the everyday whilst Superman's fantastical elements demand Batman step up. What should have happened in the writer's room is session after session of trump card games. Two writers should sit opposite each other and say Superman has laser eyes, the other then says Batman has... I don't know... a shield thing (I'm not going to rewrite the film here--sorry I can't be bothered). This should have outlined exactly what their fight should have been, leaving the run up to it a quest to collect those materials, abilities, such and so on. Now, you could say that this is what the film did, and I'd have to agree with you, but only to a certain degree. Yes, we all knew Batman needed the kriptonite and that's how the fight would have been possible. But a gun!? Lazy. Boring. Was I the only one repulsed to see a gun in Batman's hand? I'm not even a comic book fan and I know that goes against Batman's morals. I do know enough about the whole thing to know that he had a change of heart though, but... ugh... don't need it. They didn't even explain it anyway.

The film's issues are simply that it cannot construct scenes, cannot balance realism with fantasy and that it's a trailer. With real scenes a plot could have surfaced, characters could exist (of which there were none), and a narrative flow could actually engage. The film bombards you, it doesn't entertain, it bombards--and not even in a good way like Mad Max: Fury Road (didn't even like it, but I can't deny) or The Raid. By balancing realism with fantasy, by making that the core conflict the film, it could have blown us away. It could have given us the most original, awe inspiring action scenes and set-pieces ever, not given us everything we've either seen before or don't want to. If the film wasn't a trailer for everything up and coming in the DC universe then the writer and director would be free to create something worthwhile. I, in short, am just fed up of this self-abuse coming from the blockbusters. Just stop hurting yourself. It's like Hollywood is holding a knife to its own throat and threatening to slice with us all standing, screaming, shouting, begging for them to just please stop! We love you! We give you so much! But, no. The knife stays to the throat and it's starting to pierce the skin. Eventually we're all going to get bored of negotiating and just leave them to it. When T.V and the internet decimate Hollywood it'll only be of its own doing. I don't want to see this day and, frankly, I'm never going to abandon cinema. A lot of us won't. But when the world for the most part turns its back on the suicidal idiot with the knife to its throat, it's going to be left with a choice. It'll either have to cut its throat like it promised or feel stupid and put down the knife. Maybe then the likes of Deadpool won't be rare. Maybe we won't have to turn to the indie market to get something new and exciting. Maybe then what little money the suicidal idiot that is Hollywood has left will use it to do something daring and spectacular. With a bit of guts and a lot of money Hollywood could change the world if they wanted. We all secretly know this. Look at Star Wars. Crazy idea, but it changed cinema forever. No, not every crazy idea will take, but this kind of thing takes practice. You can't be original, you can't create the next Star Wars, the way we are going. For the sake of money and the audience, why aren't we trying!?

All in all, this film.. yeah.. thanks for wasting my time. But, to Hollywood, maybe stop treating cinema as the business it inherently is and pretend to care. Pretend like cinema matters and put a little more effort into thinking. I'll stop here, but I think a part II is imminent. I'm not done with this film yet.



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