Monday, September 9, 2013

Trailer: 47 Ronin, Batman-Superman Film Update

Out on video this week, Star Trek Into Darkness. If you haven't seen it, why on earth not? The film is absolutely amazing and I couldn't have been more thrilled with director JJ Abrams' creation, making him a perfect choice to direct Star Wars 7. STID was so thoroughly important, we did two posts on it: the primary post on the film was The Enemy Of My Enemy: Star Trek Into Darkness and a complimentary post, Science-Fiction & Westerns: Genre Analysis since so many sci-fi films are being done (like the upcoming Enders Game with Harrison Ford and Thor, instead of more westerns). And, sadly, speaking of sci-fi films, Brad Pitt's World War Z sequel is all ready in development,...  
Josh Brolin of Men In Black III & Gangster Squad.
Well, this certainly solidifies some details.
Mr. Josh Brolin has verified that, at some point in casting Batman for the upcoming Batman-Superman cross-over film, to be produced (and written?) by Christopher Nolan, directed by 300 and Man Of Steel maker Zack Synder and co-starring Henry Cavill (Clark Kent, Man Of Steel), he was being considered for the role and it has been confirmed that filming will be done in metro Detroit,.... what does that tell you? Ben Affleck, who has secured the role and national disdain for his casting in the iconic role, is (like Mr. Brolin himself) a known and vocal liberal; so that two liberals (Brolin and Affleck) were both being eyed to play billionaire Bruce Wayne (because Wayne Manor comes with the cape) and that Detroit will be the locale makes it look like a very different film from the Christian Bale Batman Trilogy completed with Nolan (what is confusing, however, is that reliable sources reported that Bale was offered $60 million to reprise his role; this doesn't mean the script is written, filming doesn't start until 2014; it's possible that depending on Bale and who they went with will decide plot details of the film; at least, that's my bet at this point).
Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad and Argo (with Affleck) was rumored to be in the running to play Lex Luthor, originally portrayed in the 1980s films by Gene Hackman; Cranston has denied the rumors, which included that he was signed to "make six films" as Luthor. Why is all this important? Like we have mentioned before, the early 1980s was a tight time during the Cold War, and the heroes who fought and defeated communism then are being resurrected to defeat communism today, which includes the "man of steel" Superman and his arch-rival Lex Luthor. Who the villain is will be tantamount to the film, especially since there have also been rumors that it's a Batman vs Superman film, that is, two American, iconic super heroes who fight against each other, rather than with each other. Now, that would be different, but would it be good? Would it be beneficial to see these two Americans turn against each other and use their powers to destroy one another? Well, that's called "civil war," and many people believe that the Obama Administration has brought exactly that to this country with his politics, so as details begin to emerge about the film, these are the issues we will have to be thinking about.
Why does this matter? Because this is what art does. Artists are those who say what can't be said because the language of art is encoded, so they can use their gifts and talents to create scenarios that reveal ourselves to us, the situations in which we find ourselves--like the state of the country right now--and why, what makes us the way we are, etc. Reader response theory is something we have discussed before; namely, that we are viewers of the film enter the theater with knowledge of the outside world, events and people and other films; we know that Ben Affleck is a liberal , so when we see him playing Batman, that is going to be infused into out understanding of his character, which is probably what Nolan and Synder want us to be thinking about when we see Affleck because of what they are going to do with the character, especially if filming will take place in bankrupt Detroit, rather than New York City or Washington DC. These are angles to consider in this development--not to mention that Nolan's next project, Interstellar, will probably somehow pave the way for Batman-Superman--and I will keep you posted. 
I don't know who/what this character reminds you of, but it reminds me of the "Silent Brothers" in The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones. There is sure to be something super-natural about this breed of villain in Keanu Reeves' newest film, 47 Ronin coming out in December. The official synopsis for the movie runs: that Kai (Reeves) was cast out of the samurai because he was a half-breed, then a evil lord killed their master and brought ruin to the land, disbanding all the samurai. Oishi then brings them back together to undo the damage that has been done. Now, with this character we see in this image above, there are four levels presented to us for contemplation: there is the gun (as opposed to magic, which plays a role in the film), there is the flesh, there is the tattooed muscle, sinew and bone and there is the demonic, as in the "ghost" or specter on the right shoulder. I don't know enough about the film to say a whole lot about it at this point, however, just what we glean from the trailer below, we can say that the four elements give us a "road map" of what we will be seeing in the narrative: there are weapons (the gun) because a real, tangible fight must take place; there is the muscle and bone, the face of death (the skull tattooed onto the face) because there are "mountains of corpses" from the innocent who die, yet there is also the spiritual death which Kai goes through so he won't fear the enemy of his people. Then there is the supernatural element, the magic which demonizes the enemy (symbolized by the great dragon in the trailer below) which is counter-balanced by eternity (the tagline is "seize eternity"). Again, I don't know enough about the plot to really deduce anymore, however, the entire film is probably all ready plotted in this one poster, making it easier for us to keep track of elements and organize our reading of the film and its message.
I'm not a big fan of Keanu Reeves, but I am a big fan of Japanese horror films which focuses more on the strange cracks and breaches of our relationships with others, rather than gore and violence. 47 Ronin, due out Christmas Day, is obviously passionately done, and I am a fan of that as well. Just part of my laziness and, yes, I will admit it, snobbery, the trailer has been out for awhile but I haven't watched it until I was forced to this weekend at Riddick and, I confess, I am FINALLY excited about something opening in December other than The Hobbit:
"Those who have enslaved you have taken over our land,"... what does THAT sound like? "The enemy will be watching," does that sound like the NSA to you? "Your life belongs to us," and what does THAT sound like? I might be jumping the gun,... but when the American public has become enslaved to food stamps and unemployment, and a person's life belongs to the state that has seized power after killing the rightful masters (the founding fathers and Constitution), I don't think any of that sounds like capitalism or America as we know it, especially when the guy saying someone else's life belongs to him wears yellow.
Why is yellow important?
What an excellent image. First, who hangs upside-down? As far as I know, bats, i.e., vampires. Secondly, what does the two different eye colors mean? We will have to wait until the film for exact details, however, we know the eyes are the windows of the soul and illustrates how a character sees the world; one blue eye might be a reference to partial blindness, and a mis-calculation this character makes in the film because she doesn't "see accurately." What does green denote? As we have all ready discussed in Maleficent Starring Angelina Jolie opening next spring, green either invoked hope and new life (because spring is the time when the earth turns green with new life after winter) or it invokes something that has rotted and decayed, decadence (and Maleficent herself is dominantly depicted in green). It's possible that "hope" and "change" or new life is what this evil sorceress was promising, but has delivered corruption instead. Green isn't the only similarity with Disney's upcoming Maleficent: both films also have dragons, along with The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug and next year's Godzilla (all reptiles, which dragons basically are, fall into the category of "dragon," especially when they are as big as Godzilla, the "king of the monsters").  Why are dragons important? They are ancient, and being as such, invoke the Serpent in the Garden Of Eden, or Satan and mankind's Original Sin. Dragons are showing up a lot lately (we have seen "reptiles" in films like the Beasts Of the Southern Wild and the alligator that is shot; the "lizard aliens" from Battleship; lizard villain and mentioning of Godzilla in The Amazing Spider Man, and Godzilla being mentioned in The Cold Light Of Day; there is a giant lizard in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and a "lizard" appearing as a Tacodile Supreme in Cloud With a Chance For Meatballs 2; there is the "reptile fund" mentioned by the socialist traitor in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Mickey Rourke's villain wears a "lizard-styled helmet" in Immortals; Tim Burton's Frankenweenie is a Sparkysaurus and there are the giant invading reptiles in Pacific Rim not to mention the scorpion-like lizards we just saw this weekend in Riddick. Why is keeping track of this stuff important? It details a dialogue taking place between films, that different narratives are "weighing in" on issues being brought up by other films, so when we keep seeing the same things over and over (like dragons) we know that's not only an important symbol in the film, but a symbol being invested with contemporary dialogue to which we should be paying attention.
Yellow is the color of gold (especially in the scene above with the golden robe the evil Lord wears) and it denotes kingship, because only a king (a monarch) is able to afford gold (because gold is the most valuable substance on earth and gold doesn't tarnish so a king/monarch is not supposed to be able to tarnish either, it's a standard of leadership). On the other hand, cowardice or corruption can also be denoted by gold because a king is supposed to go first into battle to rally his troops, instead of staying behind or ordering others to do what he won't do (say, like with Obama taking credit for killing Osama Bin Laden when he wasn't the one who killed him, the Seals were) or when someone is supposed to be truthful and isn't (the gold has become tarnished), so gold can then be understood as "what should be, but isn't" and only about 10% of the American public still trusts the government right now. I could be wrong about all this, I am sometimes, but this is shaping up to be a good film, so far thus, and I am anxious to see it.  Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner