Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mother Russia: A Good Day To Die Hard Trailer 2

This is the trailer from the latest Bruce Willis Die Hard that I have been waiting for; yea, Brucie goes to Moscow, (so he does the opposite of what they did in The Chernobyl Diaries) and guess what he finds there?
John McClane (Willis) goes to Moscow to aid his wayward son Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative trying to prevent a robbery of nuclear weapons, so the father and son team up (it's rumored that Patrick Stewart plays a Russian general in the film). This is where I must confess that I have done nothing but dis-service to you, dear reader, because I totally dropped the ball on Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and I still haven't gotten up the reviews for Expendables 2 and Arbitrage (but we might also reference The Chernobyl Diaries in February when this comes out, so one more reason for you to see that one); yet God brings good from all things, so knowing A Good Day to Die Hard 5 is also about Soviet era nukes, will make it easier for all of us to see the "communist radiation" coming our way as a result of current economic policies under the Obama administration.
"Mother Russia" begs the question, to what has Russia given birth? The demons of communism still lurking throughout the world, or a new dawn of capitalism and freedom? If you stop the trailer above at 0:35, you will see, on the taxi driver's rear view mirror, an image of Jesus Christ and at 0:41 a man in gas suit blessing himself by making the sign of the Cross; why is this important? The Communist government of the USSR expressly forbade any religious worship because teachings of the church (regardless of creed or denomination) might interfere with the teachings and practices of the state, for example, birth control and abortions. That two such obviously religious signs are employed in the trailer is meant to communicate that (regardless of your own beliefs or lack of beliefs involving God) those who wish to worship have the right to worship freely and openly now whereas in the past they did not (which is why, at 0:35 we see the driver looking in the rear view mirror, symbolic of "reflecting on the past" and his invitation for us to do the same). As with the tiger Vitaly in Madagascar 3, this insight into the advances of Russian society into personal freedom and liberty, means that they are our allies now who once (during the Cold War) were our enemies.
What is different about A Good Day To Die Hard's plot is Jack (Jai Courtney, John McClaine Jr., technically speaking). We all know younger generations tend to be rebellious and go for liberal policies and ideas (this was the bedrock of Disney's Brave), so--like his father--audiences will probably be shocked to discover that Junior is fighting on the same side as his dad, against the destructive post-Soviet-era influences working to take over America,... once again. Why are these films (Expendables 2, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, The Chernobyl Diaries, A Good Day To Die Hard) important? They draw our attention to the the enemy that, like a possum, is only "playing dead," but quite alive and fatal. Now that we have all this information, let's consider the first trailer that was released (I don't think I posted it because there wasn't any information in it) because now, a minor joke becomes an important thesis on the history of the cinema:
At 1:00, McClane jokes, "The 007 of Plainville, New Jersey," and that is the critical statement for, not only AGDTDH, but the entire James Bond franchise: one of the greatest action heroes of all time's identity was the fighting of the Cold War and the stopping of Communism's spread; McClane of Small Town, USA, is taking up that fight and calling upon each of us to do the same, just as his son is, symbolic of the future generations of America (more specifically, of the economic future of America). Linking James Bond to the Cold War, especially days before the international opening of Skyfall, puts Bond (possibly) in a difficult position: does Skyfall go socialist or capitalist? If Skyfall breaks with the Bond tradition of being anti-socialist, such a dramatic twist in history would completely undermine every previous James Bond film, even Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace.
Jack driving the car re-enforces his role as a symbol of the future of the American economy because young men (the "active nature") symbolize the active force of the future, the economy (whereas young women, by virtue of the "passive nature" symbolize the future of the land of America in general). Driving the car substantiates this idea linked to Jack because of the current debates of whether socialism or capitalism will be the "vehicle" of the economy; as an older male (57 years old) McClane symbolizes the "founding father" who sits comfortably in the passenger's seat, not driving, but still a part of what is taking place. At 1:28 in the trailer at the top (technically trailer #2) McClane asks his son, "Need a hug?" and Jack responds, "We're not a hugging family," and McClane responds, "Damn straight." Why? This could be called the "tough love" of capitalism, that (unlike the kind of baby-sitting government figure for which the socialists advocate) in America, you have to grow up and accept responsibility and learn, in the words of England's Queen Elizabeth the II that the world isn't a nice place and you're going to get hurt but you'll be okay. This brief exchange between father-son is a direct refutation of the "big government" of a socialist society. AGDTDH, like another Bruce Willis film, In the Cold Light Of Day, argues that the younger generation (Generation X, my generation) is "good to go" and is going on the straight path whereas Expendables 2 (also with Brucie) argues that Generation X is "in love with the French" (with the character played by Liam Hemsworth) and bound to become socialist. So that's the question, not only for Baby Boomers, but Gen-Xers as well: which are we, American capitalists or French socialists?
At 0:32-34, when McClane is in the elevator and hears the ding signaling he has arrived at his "intended destination," that has to be taken symbolically, because--with his gun loaded--he fights a war on a "higher level" (an abstract war, or a war of intellects) and McClane is being raised up to fight the battle above the mere daily drudgery of reality. "Ascending" (in whatever manner) in a film always means that a character enters a higher form of reality/a higher level of consciousness and ideals, whereas descent means a digression into the primal unconscious and the realm of the unrestricted animal appetites. There are more films I am looking forward to now in 2013 than the rest of this year (Skyfall and Red Dawn being the only two I anticipate).