Saturday, April 20, 2013

Trailer: RIPD, Star Trek Disruptions Teaser, Thor 2 News & Oblivion

The first poster for Thor the Dark World, to be released November 2013; there has been a correction: the first trailer will still be attached to Iron Man 3, however, we will be able to watch it via iTunes April 23; in the meantime, let's look at this poster. Pretty basic, huh? Not too original, or is that the point? There are at least three dominant characteristics standing out: first and foremost, in the center field of our view, is the right hand of Thor clutching Mjolnir the hammer with lightening charges coming from it. Contrary to belief, this would actually be a difficult poster to design, because you have first and foremost a decision to either show the god of thunder suffering and weak--in a vulnerable position, especially given the events of the film--or strong and dominant, still in control, and this poster depicts Thor as strong as ever. Thor's right hand, up high on the handle of Mjolnir, communicates his control even amidst the storm  (the second element) of the poster. The third element of the poster is: Thor's hair. We know hair reveals how a character is thinking (cool and collected for hair that is all in place, or disciplined and controlled for hair pulled back); part of Thor's hair appears to be pulled back, but there are also loose strands flying around and getting in his eyes. This might seem merely aesthetic, however, we know Thor has displayed "clouded judgment" in the past, like in Thor when he took his crew and attacked Jotunheim, or crashed in at The Avengers to take Loki back to Asgard without getting Iron Man's and Captain America's permission. We do know that Thor seeks Loki's help in the plot of this film, and part of Thor's journey might be in regard to his judgment of Loki's character. On the other hand, it might have to do with Jane (Natalie Portman) or Earth, but we can be pretty sure Thor will learn something about himself during this film, and that something will pertain to the grand scheme of American justice and how we view ourselves. But we should also note: there's also nothing missing. Thor doesn't sustain any apparent physical injuries (like on his face) nor does he appear to be missing any of his armor: the cape and all seem to be just as it should and this illustrates the steadfastness of world order and the triumph of good over evil.
Oblivion is excellent!
Whether or not it's fair of me to do this, I always ask, could only this actor have been in this role, or did they just plop someone in who needed a vehicle? Oblivion is classic Tom Cruise and I actually don't think another actor could have done this role, not like Cruise does. I've never been a big fan of his, but Cruise communicates a humanity you feel and cherish, and in a film about clones, that's a sign of great skill and craft. Without a doubt, it's 100% pro-capitalist and pro-American, very consciously aware of the arguments it puts up and the films to which it's responding (The Hunger Games & The Vow), so there's a lot to discuss and numerous elements we shall be referring back to in the future as Oblivion makes a direct point. The visuals and special effects are fantastic on the big screen, so if you are in the mood for a film, take it in this weekend!
Something you might particularly like about Oblivion is the role this painting plays in the film. You know the role of the implied viewer in art: the artist knows that the audience/viewer has knowledge about "something," so they incorporate that "something" to create a sub-text dialogue with the viewer and expand the realm of the art's message: for example, of the many books Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) reads, one of them we see clearly is Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. If you have read the book--or should I say, if you remember having read it in high school--then you know it's about the French Revolution. The film makers know people know this book title, to they included it in Jack's reading so we would know something more about him without the film having to stop and spell it out for us; the people, like my dad, who haven't the slightest idea what A Tale Of Two Cities is about, is the unimplied viewer, because--not knowing what the book is about--he can't complete that part of the message the film is trying to send him, he can't even recognize it's a code he is supposed to decipher, just like the coordinates that have to be deciphered in the film. So, back to the painting. This is a perfect example of when you don't have to be an implied viewer to get the message of the painting being included because they give it to you: "It reminds me of home," Julia (Olga Kurylenko) tells Jack, and you can make the mental calculations to fit in her emotions with the scene depicted in the painting. Of all the paintings they could have chosen, however, (and the scavs have an actual art museum of works they have saved and preserved, so they consciously know they could have chosen any number of paintings) we have to ask, Why this one?  In my original critique of the painting I did last year, I closely analyze the details and why artist Andrew Wyeth chose this scene to depict and why it has become so recognizable to so many people, and I think that's part of why it's still important today and, in effect, being resurrected today, because we are in the same plight as the girl in the image (for my complete analysis, and I will be looking at the painting again in my full review of Oblivion, please see Christina's World & Our World).
A couple of days ago, we saw the villain of Man Of Steel, General Zod, release a noise-filled message to the world, and today, the villain of Star Trek Into Darkness (Benedict Cumberbatch) has done the same: I'm trying to get Oblivion posted, so I am going to let you tease this one out on your own, but do pay attention because these are elements we will be discussing in Emperor and other posts:
Don't look at it in terms of originality, rather, that redundancy in communicating noise in communication (please recall we saw the same features in the character of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and in the trailer for Prometheus) and this wouldn't be happening if there were not a problem, somewhere in our culture, where someone was saying something that we weren't getting,... but I will leave the rest of this to you.
Moving right along,...
I just saw the trailer for RIPD last night at Oblivion, and this has me concerned; what does this remind you of?
Numerous elements suggest a reversal of Men In Black: the strange partnership between an older agent and a younger agent, the bizarre characters they come up against hiding out among the regular people, the strange weapons, and their other-dimension habitation. How does Ryan Reynolds' character die?... He falls "over a cliff." Okay, "cliff" might be a bit of a loose interpretation for me, and I could be completely wrong, I confess that up front, but what happens at 1:15? "An old Chinese guy? What about you?" and we see the gorgeous blond. Why? Well, isn't that the "two faces" of socialism in America today, the Hollywood glamor backing Obama and his agenda, and an old Chinese guy from the land of the Iron Rice Bowl? "If the dead take over, that's it for the living world," which, again, is a pretty typical kind of story line for films nowadays (World War Z has zombies like Resident Evil Retribution and Evil DeadGallowWalkers has gallow walkers, Fast and Furious 6 has the "dead" Lettie [Michelle Rodriguez], etc.). 
Without a doubt, there is also an element reminding me of Ghostbusters, perhaps because the third one--according to rumors--has finally been approved by Bill Murray and nostalgia is creeping in.
As a capitalist, you know that I think of socialism has being "dead" for two reasons: one, when the Soviet Union fell, socialism as a viable form of government for a large country/population, died,... that's it, it won't work. Two, socialism is dead because of what it does to people: denying any person has a soul and being treated like livestock by the government means you are dead as a human being. To socialists, on the other hand, I as a capitalist am dead because I deny all people equal access to a community's resources and I don't want all people to have a fair chance to succeed in life, and I'm just mean (most things, I believe, socialists and capitalists agree on, we just differ on how it can best be accomplished). What might make this a pro-capitalist film, for example, is the setting of New York City, which has been demolished in films as of late: Expendables II, Total Recall, Oblivion, Men In Black III, among others, because it's the financial capitol of the world and the site of the 2008 economic crash which triggered the "perfect storm" for Obama to take power. So we will see.    I am working on Oblivion right now and will have it up asap!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
"Earth is a memory worth fighting for," and the role memories and identity play are crucial in the film. Have fun catching all the film references throughout the narrative, because there's a lot of them, I don't think I even got them all.