Thursday, September 30, 2010

Will the Real Epic of Epic Epicness, Please Stand Up?

   First of all, no, this is not a review or biography of Eminem, or a look into the imaginative world of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  It is, in fact a look into what made one of th greatest films of all time so amazingly, well, epic.  In my mind, this movie stands out there above the rest, because, as was brought up a blog  read the other day, it simply has inspired a generation of writers and film-makers to create, and turn their dreams into reality.  The Lord of the Rings, which was originally written by J.R.R. Tolkein, the master of fantasy and epic literature, and then directed for the sliver screen by Peter Jackson, tells the tale of a young hobbit named Frodo, who must take a ring, or, rather, "One Ring to rule them all," to Mordor, to destroy it in teh same firey volcano in which it was created.  The journey starts in the homely Shire, or the home for these certain hobbits, and then takes him through practiaclly all of Middle Earth, which was J.R.R. Tolkein's world of imagination, slightly paralleing our own.  Now, what stands out isn't necessarily simply the awesome cast, and beautiful scenes and locations (which were pretty much all filmed in New Zealand), but rather the fact that, for those of us who have dedicated ourselves to reading the books, including The Hobbit, and the various other books pertaining to the history of Middle Earth, the films followed the original story, down to some of the most miniscule details, and told the story exactly how J.R.R. Tolekein had originally written it.  While watching teh movie, all of teh locations, from the Shire, to Helm's Deep, and even Rivendale, fall into place, and actually seem to perfectly reflect the ideas and perceptions conceived while reading the novels.  For instance, as afore mentioned, at the huge built-out-of-the-side-of-a-mountain stronghold, named Helm's Deep, the battle scene which erupted between the 10,000+ large army of Sauron, the great evil ruler of Mordor, who now only lives in the form of a blazing eye atop his tower, ever since he was defeated by a human soldier during the Great Battle for Middle Earth in the pre-Lord of the Rings timeline, and the rest of the coalition force of Middle Earth, brought to life the power and might of of the battle, which was so gloriously described though the novel.  One of the most awestriking and powerful moments, in my opinion, happens during this battle, and, as seen in terms of the plot and story, pushes it further into the climax, which is built upon through all three movies, and books alike.  When all hope is seemingly lost, the Elven army arrives, and walks majestically up the walkway to the core of the stronghold, putting aside all previous greivances, ready to fight along side the forces of man, as they once did many ages ago.  Then, to show the more beautiful and majestic side of the film, I turn my attention to the hidden Elven city of Rivendale, which is situated somehwere within a valley in Middle Earth, and adorned with a mighty, yet gentle waterfall and river.  It is a city filled with beuaty, which has never before been shown though any other medium than the author's pen and paper, when J.R.R. Tolkein created it in the development of Middle Earth.  It is also filled with history and lore, which is brought to life through the brilliant artisty behind the film's production and direction, as it has the sword which was used to kill Sauron, and many other writings of old.  Also, considering the fact that it is home to Elrond, the wise and seemingly young looking Elven leader, who was around all the way back during the Great Battle for Middle Earth, which took place many ages before the timeline of the Ring.  Over all, the Lord of the Ring trilogy tells the story of J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle Earth, and it's battle to save it from the power of Sauron and the Ring of power, both masterfully, and epicly.  As a movie which isnpired a whole generation, and will inspire and entertain many more to come, it is a masterpiece, and is, in my opinion, and the opinion of many others, to best and most emotional and, well, epic, cinematic feature to ever bless the silver screen.  And, if anyone feels as though I haven't thouroughly talked about everything that made the film great, I apologize, but to perform such a feat as that would require a lifetime, as J.R.R. Tolkein himself devoted to the creation of this amazing journey and story.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dream a Little Bigger, Descartes Dares You

   Now, before I begin, I would just like to say that if you haven't seen, Inception, yet, this may spoil the ending, or a few of the key twists throughout this theatrical masterpiece.  However, considering that practically everyone and their Grandmother have seen the movie already, if YOU haven't, then it's about time you figured out what all the hype was about.  As a piece of entertainment, this movie satisfied the whole way through, and kept it's viewers on the edge of their seats.  Going deeper, on an artistic level, it surpassed all expectations, in my opinion, and, in a way, turned out to be more of a follow up to Descartes's, "Meditations," than a movie.  One of the key concepts in this great philosopher's essay was the idea that, even though we may think we are awake, we may really be sleeping, and, when we are dreaming, we are actually awake.  This concept was seen in the movie when, after being tasked with planting a thought inside the dream of another man (Cillian Murphy), Cobb, played by the great Leonardo DiCaprio, visits a friend who shows him a room full of people, sleeping on cheap hospital beds, all connected to a device I will simply refer to as the, dream machine.  When asked about what they were doing, man  replied that they were dreaming, and that, because they "dreamt" so much, their dreams had become their reality.  This statement made me wonder if, in all honesty, we look at reality backwards, and what we perceive to be true, is simply a figment of our imaginations.  What if, every morning, when we get up to go to school or work, we are really dreaming, and none of it is real?  This simple concept rips a whole into everything we know and perceive to be real, and destroys all knowledge and logic in the world.  In "Meditations," Descartes's attempts to use this very concept to dissolve all scientific knowledge, in order to bring himself one step closer to denying and proving everything he believed untrustworthy.  Maybe he was onto something... or maybe he was just off his rocker, but, I'd much rather like to believe that one of Philosophies greatest minds had some amount of sanity to his name.  The film, Inception, took this idea a step farther when Cobb discusses how after coming out of a dream within a dream, within a dream, and the limbo dream state which followed, his wife, Mal, played by Marion Cotillard, didn't believe that they were actually out of the dream, and she was determined to kill herself to get out.  In her insanity, she stumbled upon territory that was reminiscent of the dreamers who believed that their dreams were reality, and their real lives were their dreams.  I feel that, even if she had been right, she would still feel as though the "real" world which she tried so hard to get to, was still a dream.  I would like to call this, the Dream Paradox.  The Dream Paradox is simply a way I like to refer to the idea that, even though we think we may be awake, we really may still be asleep, just simply in another lower level dream.  To conclude, I would like to take a look at the ending of the movie.  The very ending seen is a close up of Mal's top, which she, and now Cobb, use to tell if they are in a dream or in reality.  if the top falls, they are supposed to be awake, but if it keeps spinning, it is supposed to signify that they are still in a dream.  As it is spinning the camera gets closer and closer, until suddenly... a black screen which leads into the credits.  Now, referring back to the dream paradox, it also works for when a person doesn't want to believe that he/she is still asleep and dreaming.  In a dream, anything in and out of reality is fair game, and, i don't see why, if you want to believe that you are in a dream still, the top wouldn't simply topple over because you wanted it to.  By the same token, the whole movie could have been within a dream, and, then, to follow suit, the couple hours i spent watching it could have been within a dream, and the movie could not even exist, for all  we know.  It is in my opinion, that Cobb was still in the dream at the end of the movie, but, hey, it's only my opinion, and it could all simply be a part of my own dream... or is it reality???

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Introduction: The Movie Method

   There are plenty of blogs out there devoted to simply critiquing movies, and giving opinions on which are to be the summer's next, "must-see," and which should be tossed into the trash can, or, even worse, put onto the shelf next to movies by the infamous, and equally egotistical, Ed Wood.  This is all fine and dandy, of course, for those who see nothing more in a movie than a few good memorable lines, and a happy feel good ending, sure to send you home with that warm fuzzy feeling inside we all know and love.  Movies, however, are no more entertainment, than they are works of art.  Every movie, whether the suspense thriller of the year, the psychological mind-bender of the century, or the chick flick of last week, all have one thing in common.  They were all created by brilliant minds (some more brilliant than others, mind you), and with the intent to lure you away from reality, and into their worlds of wonder and enchantment.  Whether it's Francis Ford Coppola's, The Godfather, taking you down into the dark world of the Italian Mafia, along side such memorable characters as Don Corleone, and his Son/Don-to-be, Michael Corleone, or George Lucas', Star Wars, launching you out into outer space with Luke Skywalker, as he is thrust into the conflict between the Republic and the evil Empire, the worlds in which these stories take place take what we know to be reality, and, if only for a couple hours (or more, as with such classics as, The Shawshank Redemption), bend it until we can no longer tell what is real and what is all imagination.  This is the true beauty of Cinema, and, it is my opinion that, behind every story, are many remarkable concepts, plots, and ideas, which can spark thought, and change how we perceive everyday events and dilemmas, even after we walk out of the movie theatre.  As the title suggests, I have concluded that, even after a movie ends, the lights come back on, and you realize that you have stepped in hundreds of other peoples spent gum, there is a so-called, "Method," behind movies in how the Writer and Director force the mind to think deeper into the film, and, if never come to a complete and true answer, at least spark the curiosity which is still young and thriving in the every man and woman's mind.  It is my goal to point out the many small, and maybe even slightly minuscule, points of interest in the movies of today, yesterday, and tomorrow, and give insight into the mysteries which lurk behind the velvet curtain, on that magnificent silver screen, we call the movie theatre.