Wednesday, July 9, 2014

TRAILERS: Exodus Gods & Kings, Mockingjay Part 1, Dracula Untold

One of the very first film "interpretations" I had ever heard was in regards to Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, and it just happened to be a Marxist perspective. The film critic--whose name I do not know--writing the analysis said that The Ten Commandments is about who controls the labor force, both on the screen and off. In the film, Moses is going to be made the Crown Prince because Teti sees that Moses can control the labor force, whereas Ramses cannot get his city built; when Moses returns as a prophet, he takes away Ramses' labor force--the Israelites--and that signals the end of Egypt because now they can no longer build. Off the screen, the critic went on to advance this theory, there was also a labor dispute: the unions wouldn't allow their members to work until a certain contract had been signed, so DeMille couldn't get the film made in the projected time frame. Who controls the labor force, in other words, is a big, practical deal, then as it is now. This of course doesn't mean that Ridley Scott's new film Gods and Kings is going to be a pro-socialist film; it also doesn't mean that it won't. 
Again, please accept my apology for not getting posts up; it's been grueling.
I would also like to make good on my confession when Prometheus came out, and support Ridley Scott's newest film due out in December Exodus: Gods and Kings. I was dreading Prometheus like the plague, and was more than pleasantly surprised when I realized how pro-capitalist and, yes, deep it was; that doesn't mean that Scott will present us with a faithful religious film, however, I am going to be far more open to this then I was to Prometheus--when someone has earned our respect, they have the right to bank on it--and, I have to admit, it does look good:
We can go into A LOT of analysis here; sadly, I just can't at the moment, I am sorry, however, the first line is, "You say you didn't cause all this," spoken by Ramses (Joel Edgerton, The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty, Warrior) and what does that line invoke: personal responsibility. Who is to blame for the events taking place? This very well could be a pro-socialist film, however, I am determined to give Scott the benefit-of-the-doubt, and it's not that Moses (Bale) is shirking his responsibility, rather, that Ramses is desperate for someone to blame. I do not doubt that this will be a intense film, even if it does take a pro-socialist stand.
Okay, what can you deduce about the characters from the clothes they are wearing? What does white mean? What does black mean? Why does Ramses wear the golden ornaments and Moses wears the leather and armor? Why does Ramses have his head shaven while Moses has a full-head of hair? 
About a week ago, a "teaser" for the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 trailer was released (the trailer was released today; Mockingjay has been cut into two films, the first airing in November this year, and the second airing next year). This is a provocative trailer on a number of levels and details why it has been so hard to label The Huger Games as capitalist or socialist:
Suzanne Collins, the author of the triology, is a liberal, that cannot be disputed. I still believe that the first film installment, The Hunger Games, was a pro-socialist work; Catching Fire, while it appeared that the surface of the film was pro-capitalist, still had a pro-socialist foundation to it but it was apparent that something had changed between the first and second films, and that was not only a new director, but as well, a director who had the screenplay re-written for Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, who did Catching Fire, is also directing both Mockingjay films). "Ours is an elegant system," he says, "your hard work feeds us, and in return, we feed and protect you." Thank you. That is socialism. However, this signals a reverse from the initial film, in which the capitol was seen as capitalist--all the money they spent on fashion and food--and the Hunger Games themselves being a metaphor for the free market (with businesses competing for consumer dollars and putting business out being relayed as "killing children" by a socialist). So, what do we have now? Something even better:
In this trailer, the forced concept of unity is underscored--intentionally--by the dozen or so "peace keepers" surrounding Snow (you know, the soldiers that look like storm troopers). This is obviously a police state. Without a doubt, we can say that NOW, the government over which Snow presides, clearly symbolizes a socialist state, rather than the capitalist one we initially saw in The Hunger Games, so this is a good thing. With the imperial presidency of Barack Obama, who is still in office in spite of 45 impeachable offenses, America is brewing for a revolution against his forced changes in America so the new director has definitely tapped into that. There is another aspect of this teaser: hijacking.
The first image of the man of steel from Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has been released. Why is Superman standing on top of a building? Who has have we recently seen standing on top of a building (I'll give you a hint: he is also known as 007)? Why is there a part of Superman's profile that we can't see? Why is it raining? Is this the rain of "cleansing," or is this "acid rain?" Is Superman's cape being filled with air, or is it being "deflated?" Why is he looking at us, directly? Recall, many of the film posters being released as of late depict the exact opposite: the hero has their back towards us, the viewers; what does this say about Superman and his relationship with us? How does the city-scape behind him--as opposed to the rural landscape of Kansas where he grew up--influence the mood of the image?
Basically, Peeta has been brainwashed, but in the novels, they call it Hijacking, which is interesting because that takes us back to the hijacking of the planes on 9/11, doesn't it? We have recently seen another character endure the same thing, Bucky Barnes in Captain America: the Winter Soldier. What government habitually uses drugs and brainwashing to control their citizens? Socialists. There is a significant amount of material we could still cover, however, I would like to get in one more trailer in this post, this one, for the new Luke Evans film, and I just don't know what to make of this, but there are some totally cool effects going on:
Actually, I am quite confident this is going to go socialist. There has been a trend for "untold" or the "other side" narratives, and in aligning itself with minorities who believe that, in their victim-hood, their stories are untold, this is supposed to rally them to the socialist leader who has suffered as they have suffered, because the socialist narrative has always been told only from the perspective of the winning capitalists, who always make socialism look like it failed and was cruel to its citizens. This story of Dracula Untold should clear all that up and make us realize what a nice guy Dracula is and how warm and cuddly socialism is.  Oh, they are now making Chucky 7. I think that's all for the moment, still working on Transformers.
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A scene from Exodus: Gods and Kings.