Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trailer: Percy Jackson's Sea Of Monsters, Now You See Me #2, Iron Man 3 the Mandarin & Catching Fire Teaser

I just saw this trailer last night at The Host; I particularly like the "chariot of damnation":
The sequel to the 2010 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, the newest installation is remarkably similar to Wrath Of the Titans starring Sam Worthington (we could also mention Immortals and Olympus Has Fallen because of the title and code name provided to the most powerful residence on earth), wherein Kronos is also released and brings chaos and destruction to the world. Why is this important? Well, if you haven't noticed, there seems to be some anxiety about the "end of the world," at least "the end of the world as we know it." Kronos itself probably isn't socialism--although, in my fear of it, I equate socialism with darkness, evil, death, disease, etc., etc., etc.,--rather, Kronos is the result; as I have mentioned previously, when there are "relatives," like siblings, or parents, cousins or the like, we are dealing with "related systems," or similar models, something that has a relationship by virtue of a "family similarity": for example, capitalism and socialism could be said to be siblings because they are both in the "family" of economic models, so they are related to each other, the way the sons of Kronos are related to each other, the way--in the history of civilization--economic models were created so there would not be darkness and chaos, but order, security and prosperity.
This is the conflict the film gives us. 
The great Stanley Tucci who we have seen in Margin Call, The Hunger Games, Jack the Giant Slayer, and will be returning in Catching Fire, among many other films.  In this film, he plays Dionysus, the mythical (or not so mythical, at least in frat houses) god of wine/drunkenness and ritual madness, which would be why he wears the animal print shirt, he is the god of the "animal passions."  What's interesting about Percy (aka, Perseus, just like Worthington's character in Wrath Of the Titans)  is that, in this series, he is not the son of Zeus, according to orthodox mythology, rather, in this film he is the son of the sea god Poseidon/Neptune (hence the blue shirt, the sea is blue and why he goes to the "Sea" to face the monsters, he is the demi-god of the sea; there is probably more here than meets the eye so we'll save the rest of that discussion for a later date when I can be on more sure footing). Like all the gods and demi-gods in the film, whenever we see Dionysus doing something, we will have to remember "who he is," and what he is is "what he does," his actions, his dominion over the "animal passions and appetites." For example, in the trailer above, the girl says, "Tell me those aren't sharks," and they are not, rather, giant teeth, much like Sarlacc from the Star Wars series.  But just as Sarlacc was on the planet where Luke Sykwalker was born--and potentially could die--so the multi-ringed toothy beast in the trailer above is in water, the "home" for Percy (the opposite of the sand in Star Wars). Likewise, we can't ignore the resemblance to the whirlpool in Pirates Of the Caribbean: At World's End (the third one) where the power and structure of the maelstrom was used to advantage by the skilled Barbossa and Sparrow. Because of its resemblance to a giant mouth, we can't help but ask if it, too, like Dionysus, stands as a symbol for the appetites, and might be one of the many structural elements creating the tension and conflict in the film because Percy will have to face the Ultimate Evil in the film and the insatiable appetites might be it.
But there's a lot more to it than just that.
There is, for example, how Olympus has gotten itself in the position to be threatened. According to plot summaries, the tree seen at 0:22 above protects their home from invasion, rather like the bubble protecting the Land of Oz in Oz the Great and Powerful. Something happens to that tree, making them vulnerable to the release of Kronos (come on, it's a tree, so IF--and I am not saying it is definitely so at this point--it's a tree, it's probably a reference to environmental concerns in the political world, i.e., that conservatives not "conserving" the environment is a point liberals and socialists have used against us to break through and weaken our political standing, a point that comes across in The Host).  But what saves Olympus from destruction is just as important as who it is unleashing the forces of that destruction.
Rather a motley crew, aren't they? Stanely Tucci's appearance in the film, along with the characterization of Clarisse, summons images of The Hunger Games, but we might also be tempted to think of Moneyball when each team member uses their own skills and talents to bring victory to the team, regardless of how unorthodox what they can do and can't do is in the context of baseball. Now, given that Percy is the demi-god of the sea, and the main plot of the adventure takes place on the sea, and it's specifically the part of the sea wherein there are monsters, it would be foolish of us to not consider this journey primarily to be a "soul searching" for Percy because the greatest monsters always lurk within us and Percy has an intimate connection with the sea.
The history of the Golden Fleece in mythology is fascinating, including that it was being guarded over by a dragon (rather like Smaug in the second installation of The Hobbit due out in December).  Technically, the ram from which the Golden Fleece is taken, is the half-brother of Perseus because Poseidon turned himself into a ram to mate with a nymph and they begot the golden ram which became the constellation Aries,... what the film does with this (and given they changed Percy's father, what else will they do? But that doesn't matter: films are never about history, and this film isn't about mythology, the myths are just a vehicle to explain, explore and understand what is happening to us today, not provide an education about myths).
We have all ready seen about the first minute of this trailer, but an important detail, in just five words, exposes these Robin Hoods:
Where they call themselves, "The Four Horseman," is, if you don't know anything about the Book of Revelation, a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death, Conquest, War, Famine. While they are presenting themselves to be the good guys and helping those who have been hurt, what we will need to focus on is which of the different characters symbolizes which of the Four Horseman, but, as well, the "four horseman" who unseat the villains, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Melanie Laurent, and their primary virtue or strength which restores order and justice.
Speaking of justice, the most anticipated villain of 2013 is seen in this brief clip below. Iron Man 3 shows the Mandarin "digging" to find the 10 rings which we have seen on his fingers in trailers:
Where else have we seen a villain "digging" for some powerful treasure?
Indiana Jones and Raiders Of the Lost Ark, when Hitler was looking for the Ark. If this seems like I am stretching things, remember that in Captain America, Hugo Weaving's character accuses Hitler of "looking for trinkets in the desert," and we know that's a reference to the Ark of the Covenant because we saw Indiana Jones and, like Captain America, Iron Man is part of the Marvel universe, so the metaphysical happenings in one Marvel film is congruent with and true of other Marvel films.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire teaser for the trailer will be released this weekend; for people who hate capitalism so much, they sure do understand how to build hype to make money:
I just saw The Host last night, and was floored at how strong and powerfully it critiqued socialism and capitalism! I am quite impressed! Because some films are leaving town this weekend, I am finally getting in to see Emperor, with Tommy Lee Jones (that will be really anti-American, but we need to know the arguments) and Spring Breakers, redefining the American Dream.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner