bonny_kate: (rose)
I was going to write a post about The Happening, in which I said it was the weakest of Shyamalan's films, and that it lacked his characteristic depth, but I find myself in the strange position of having to retract my statement that I have not yet made. To put it more simply, I have changed my mind about the film. Josh Sikora's brilliant post defending The Happening quite changed my mind, through his arguments about the sublety of the movie, and the subtext, which I must confess that I dismissed. The movie is not to my taste, that is to say, I do not particularly like it, even though I admit that it is a good film, perhaps a great film. I may not like a work of art or wish to hang a copy of a painting on my wall while still recognizing that it is a great work of art. So, if you like thrillers, or if you are a fan of Shyamalan's films (Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable, The Village, Lady in the Water), I would encourage you to think about seeing the movie because it is quite worth seeing, and without going into details that would give anything away, it is not as simple a movie as it might seem.
bonny_kate: (rose)
Being my thoughts about Prince Caspian, the movie, containing some SPOILERS for those who have not yet seen it.

I will start by saying that the movie left out bits of the book, included bits of the book, and generally changed various things, which I was expecting. I'm not particularly happy about any of the changes, but I can't complain, because they are what I was expecting based on the trailer and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. That said, I have two points I want to make about the movie.

for Narnia, and the North )
bonny_kate: (pi)
Containing nothing spoilerish, or that is not pretty obvious from the trailer.

You should go see Stardust because it is a jolly sort of film. It is a fairy tale for grownups, in much the same way that Princess Bride is a fairy tale for grownups. In fact, it has a bit of the feel of Princess Bride, without feeling that it is attempting to be that movie, but instead that it has something of the same essence. It has so many of the wonderful elements of a fairy tale. Wicked witches. Enchantments. A quest. Flying Pirates. True Love. A falling star. And it avoids that cynicism that I find so many modern fairy tales seem to think necesary (I am tired of Shrek). It is also funny, and witty, and has a weird sort of humor that is almost British. It is not so light that it is empty, though, because I think it does have some things to say about the deep things of fairy tales. I do not think it is one of those movies that will go down in history, or that is really groundbreaking, or anything like that. But it is a splendid sort of romp, and jolly good fun. And it has a star who is a woman. So go see it.
bonny_kate: (castle)
Why can't Jean be saved? Where is the third option?

(some major spoilers for X-Men 3, because of what I want to talk about, and also a few Phantom of the Opera spoilers)

I watched the latest X-men movie at the dollar theatre, and thought it was the best superhero or futuristic movie I've seen in a while. The story was well written. The characters were interesting, and had more depth than I expected. I never felt like slapping any of the characters for being complete idiots (which I often felt like doing with both the first two Spiderman movies). The action scenes were great, the special effects cool, and there was even a nicely placed Shakespeare quote. But when I got home, I found myself with the niggling sensation that something was dreadfully wrong with the movie. I finally realized what bothered me. Wolverine kills Jean.

Wolverine is faced with an impossible choice. He loves Jean; there is no doubt about that. She has become so powerful that she cannot be controlled; that is also quite obvious. He can let her go on destroying things, and more importantly, people, or he can kill her. Neither option is satisfying. She isn't a villain, so when Wolverine kills her it is horrible. She is out of control, with no apparent way to save her, so he can't just let her go. What if there was another way? What if Wolverine surprised all of us, and did something completely different? What if Jean was saved from herself?

The idea of redemption is startling. It takes an impossible decision between two bad choices, and chooses neither. This is beautifully seen in Phantom of the Opera. Christine is faced with an impossible choice. She must either choose the Phantom, and live with him, hating him, or watch Raul die, loving him. If she stays with the Phantom, she loses her true love because she is married to another, but if she does not stay with him, she loses her true love because the Phantom will kill him. In one of the most beautiful moments of the opera, she sings "God give me courage to show you, you are not alone," and she kisses him. She takes pity on him, and she loves him. It is a striking image that goes beyond any explanation I could give, and the Phantom is redeemed. Her love redeems him. It is one of the reasons that the opera is so deeply satisfying.

But I still have not answered that first question; why can't Jean be saved? I think it is because the writers do not understand the power of love. The simple story of the movie gives a certain power to love. Wolverine loves her enough to kill her. Perhaps that is a great love. But a greater love is capable of redemption. A greater love saved the Phantom. Dante saw perhaps the greatest love. Beatrice the good, the beautiful, and the pure, leaves her footprints in hell to redeem Dante. The greatest love harrowed hell and sent Beatrice. Dante woke to find himself in a dark wood, where the right road was wholly lost and gone, but all was not lost, even then. You can't get any more lost then Dante, or the Phantom, and yet both were redeemed. It seems a lack of imagination to think that Jean could not be redeemed.

I was disappointed in the story told in X-men. I want a greater love that echos myth. I want a love so great that it moves will and desire, and transforms. The specifics of this aren't that important (perhaps love could have made her a whole soul, both feeling deep feelings and able to think rationally, or perhaps love could have burned away those bits of her that were the Phoenix). But I find that the essence is terribly important. I am steeped in stories that give impossible hope, love, and redemption in impossible situations. Those are the only stories that I can find deeply satisfying.

(see also: Jane Eyre, Lord of the Rings, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the original Star Wars trilogy, etc)


bonny_kate: (Default)
Kate Saunders Britton

April 2017

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