Neverland of Superheroes and the World That Doesn’t Grow Up

Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT and Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN represent the peak of the superhero genre, and for the public the most resonant superhero works to date, even if they couldn’t be more dissimilar in styles. Their aesthetics are a contradiction of the other, with Snyder’s images working through a fashion that is colorful and outrageous, with numerous superhero costumes and engaged by considerable CGI; Nolan’s contains a tactile realism that is mostly naturalistic, where real stunts are preferred and costumes aren’t popular. Snyder’s filmmaking is also occupied by cultural music and slow-mo techniques, and Nolan’s is more distant and less vivid. Yet, their stylizations aside, in terms of subtext and thematic thesis, these two couldn’t have more similarities.

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TERMINATOR SALVATION: Lost Identities

McG’s TERMINATOR SALVATION is a good action film that doesn’t have much else outside the actual action. Thematically, the franchise has long relied on action sequences as a symbol for the characters, with the coldness of the machines’ killings traced back to the numbness of their creators and what it says of them; the counter-productive technophobia that we have and how its growth declines our own lives, with the constant use of mechanic tools – from guns to robots – slowly overwhelming the men. Indirectly, Cameron’s films make the people seem like the bad guys, with the machines as evidence of what is sometimes their failure: the loss of their ability to feel, and thus care about each other, as they kill themselves over time. TERMINATOR SALVATION continues this theme rather well, with Connor (Christian Bale) and the rest of the humans acting as the killing machines while they chase Marcus (Sam Worthington), blurring their differences with the robots while they’re at it. But once the violence stops, so does the competence to manifest this theme – or anything, for that matter. Continue reading

TERMINATOR/TERMINATOR 2: Bones of Violence

James Cameron’s THE TERMINATOR begins on a field of human skulls in a destroyed society. The film cuts to a guy working late in night on a garbage truck – i.e. human’s dependence on machine – and out of this, the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is born and looks out from a rooftop to see a technological-strong society. It is a revelatory shot from Cameron and a Biblical recreation with a twist, as it is a technological paradise that is found by the naked robot and, in this, men are the God. The opening is a rememberance of the rebellion that men had on earth after their primitive origins and a suggestion that in the future the same revolution will be of the machines having it on men, as a cycle of creations substituting the creators; human skulls replaced by robotic bones – a point that is underlined again in the sequel’s opening with the robot’s face replacing John Connor’s after a fire. Continue reading

CR and QOS: The Bond Attitude

Is it about attitude and showboating coolness? I’ve found rather odd how even the biggest advocators for Marc Foster’s QUANTUM OF SOLACE seem to admit that CASINO ROYALE is a better film, almost as if it was a given. And I’m one of them. It is almost as if Foster’s film succeeded in what it attempted, but ignored something that made the previous film impressive. Unable to exactly point out why that is, of what I can find one important difference between them is, indeed, the attitude to portray the main character, James Bond (Daniel Craig). With director Marc Foster, Bond is a driven, down-to-business type of agent that we never quite see too much flair of. He’s always in a beaten up state, and there’s never much else to see other than what we need to see about the plot. Where in CASINO ROYALE, on the other hand, Bond basically has an attitude to himself in prestigious places, with director Martin Campbell using Bond in association to all things royal, as the title obviously indicates, adding a level of admiration to the character’s life. Perhaps that’s the Bond-esque thing that was missed in Foster people seemed to criticize.

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FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE: Spies Spy on Spies

The first sequences (pre-credits and post-credits) in Terence Young’s FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE epitomize much of the film’s plot, in a little more unconventional manner than future entries. There’s no big action scene for an introduction, or flashy images to make a poster of. The first sequence is an obscure, dark place in which a lost James Bond (Sean Connery) is apparently being chased in a maze – the chaser is Red Grant (Robert Shaw) – and essentially portrays the lost course that Bond is about to engage in, as Grant becomes Bond’s shadow in the plot; always watching, waiting for the perfect time, for the perfect move, as the craft of the film itself.

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