Monday, August 4, 2014

TRAILERS: The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies, Mockingjay, Mad Max, Interstellar & Night At the Museum 2

We all know Captain America's shield is indestructible,... until it isn't. We have actually analyzed the meaning of Cap's shield before, but seeing it busted into three pieces from last week's Comic-Con, perhaps we should re-visit it. There are two bands of red, so that suggests that, somehow, both the meanings of red exist within this one shield: red either means we love something so much we are willing to shed our (red) blood for it, or we are so angry with someone/thing, we are willing to shed their (red) blood over it. The outer red band probably refers to Cap's anger he gets when he sees acts of injustice and corruption, because that spurs him onto action (please recall, in Dante's Inferno, Dante gets angry with the soul of the wrathful and is blessed for it, the reason being that anger can be a good emotion when properly used, by Dante and Captain America, but just like everything else, it can be abused and used for harmful purposes. Separating the two circles of red is the circle of silver, and this shouldn't give us any problems: just as silver has to be purified in fire, and the smith be able to see his/her face in the silver to know when it's "done," so Captain America has to discern--not only the situation calling him to action--but also his own heart and motivation for doing what he feels compelled to do. After Captain America discerns his heart and mind, he then comes to the second circle of red, love. Remember, Steve Rogers became Captain America because he was the only one who dived on a "live" grenade to save his fellow Americans. The center of the shield is where the true strength lies: we know that blue symbolizes both depression and wisdom, because the gaining of wisdom often comes at the expense of great sadness, and Captain knows both, but because he has so self-lessly sacrificed himself to fight the Nazis in Germany and the socialists in America, he is a star, a legend, one whose devotion and courage will never be forgotten,... until it is. Seeing the shield broken and busted isn't just a shield, it's Captain America himself broken and busted, because the shield symbolizes his heart and who he is; for the shield to be busted, means he himself is busted (it appears that we will see something similar to this in Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice with Superman going through a similar experience).  To see Captain America broken and beaten is, ultimately, to see America broken and beaten (America having believed we were indestructible like the shield until our enemy smuggled himself into the White House). So, why 3 pieces? That's an excellent question, and my answer may be wrong, but it will at least offer a starting platform for us: the nation is divided in two parts right now, the conservatives and the liberals, which probably represents the biggest breakage in the shield--we haven't been so divided since the Civil War--but the third break is probably the past (then again, it could be the future, but I think it's the past) because Captain America himself largely symbolizes America's past as a super-power after World War II (the serum he took to build him up is very similar to what happened to America to become a dominant player in world politics). So conservatives are destroyed, liberals are destroyed and the past making up America's identity is destroyed. It has been revealed that Ultron (James Spader) is not going to put in motion events to just rule the world, rather, he accepts that the world will have to get worse before he can make it better, so that's why so many people will have to die,.... sound familiar to anyone?
Three big trailers have been released this week: the long-awaited The Hobbit: the Battle Of Five Armies, the first official trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and a re-boot of Mad Max: Fury Road. In trailers that have been shown and put together for official events, one trailer for the final The Hobbit supposedly had Gandalf saying, "The time has come for each to choose a side," and, in a different trailer, only five words were said in the entire two minutes. It appears that Peter Jackson is still editing the film--there is a massive battle scene--and that's why this trailer looks the way it does, so keep that in mind:
What we will witness is the ultimate tragedy: Smaug's words come true. In the last film, Smaug told Bilbo he was tempted to let Bilbo take the Arkenstone so Smaug could see the ruin it would bring on Thorin, and that is exactly what happens, Thorin proves he is no king (in the truest sense of the word). The song in the trailer is from Pippin singing about Bilbo's journey, which Pippin sings before the big battle that takes place in The Lord Of the Rings: Return Of the King; the song reminds us that others will remember Bilbo because of what he did and be inspired themselves to make great acts of heroism, but that's not all that is going on here; of course, the trailer starts out with Bilbo saying that he will "remember" so why is "memory" being invoked? For at least two reasons: one, because Thorin forgets, and, two, because of the oral tradition carrying their history. Thorin both forgets how his grandfather acted before him (going crazy with the gold) and how a real king is supposed to behave; because Bilbo vows he won't forget anything of his journey, Bilbo where succeed where Thorin fails (in learning life's lessons). It's a subtle reminder that we don't just watch films for entertainment, but--as well--the inherent morality contained within.
When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey begins, Bilbo Baggins had just finally begun remembering his journey, and committing it to paper for Frodo (and anyone else interested). These two posters look entirely different, yet they invoke the same concept: Bard, on the left, will fulfill his destiny by killing Smaug; Bilbo, on the right, will be a part of Bard fulfilling his destiny by humility--him kneeling down--courage (his little but powerful sword Sting) and understanding (his head bowed in an act of meditation). As I have put forth (though the post isn't done yet, sorry) Bard is the main character of the book and films, Bilbo is a psychoanalytic double, so what happens to Bilbo, happens to Bard: what ever virtues Bilbo accumulates, Bard receives those so he can do what he has to do: kill the dragon. Thorin is also a psychoanalytic double for Bard: the bad traits exhibited by Thorin are temptations Bard has to overcome in himself so he doesn't fall prey to them himself (vicariously, this is the basic approach of readers/viewers to anything we encounter: we have to have some relationship with the characters so we feel their pain, their joy and triumphs so we can learn from them and change the course of our own lives so we can fulfill our own destinies, just like Bard). Ultimately, we can say, because Bilbo has been looking inward throughout his journey (as he does in the poster) Bard can look outward at Smaug; because Bilbo has used Sting (think of "stinging pain") on the monsters within himself (remember that nasty creature he killed when he had momentarily lost The Ring in Mirkwood? Yea, those monsters) Bard can now face the fiery pain of Smaug and live. In the poster on the right, Bilbo's gesture and the environment--including the sold of the snow--suggest that Bilbo has ascended to the highest possible level of consciousness and virtue Bilbo was destined to; Bilbo's journey, while not complete (because passing on what we have learned so others can learn is also part of our journey) has climaxed in terms of personal accomplishments; because that which is small and child-like in Bard--what Bilbo symbolizes in us all--has come to full fruition, Bard can face his greatest fear, which is not just a terrible fire-breathing dragon (symbolic of the devil) but also the fear of failing as his ancestor Gideon failed. The interior temple of the right-sided poster is replaced with the exterior public square in the left poster, because everything we accomplish within ourselves is meant to be translated into larger and greater actions for society as a whole, which is exactly what Bard 
So, what do we have? Thorin Oakenshield proves he only remembers the bad things everyone has done and it going to get even with everyone, even those in Lake Town who helped him get to the Lonely Mountain (which is what the war is about to begin with). The "war" that Thorin chooses isn't a surprise because he's been at war with himself the entire journey; Pippin's song, then, isn't to draw our attention to the idea that there was a really big battle in TLOR and now, if you can believe it, there is going to be a really big battle in The Battle of Five Armies,... wow! No, that's not what this is about: if we don't win our inner-battles, we certainly are not going to win our daily battles, or even bigger battles.
Why is Pippin's song played in the trailer? As we said, to remind us of The Lord Of the Rings, and the direction that all the consequences all the events in The Hobbit will have on the future, but also, specifically, to compare Aragorn (Vigo Mortenson) to Thorin Oakenshield, the good king, and the bad king. You should ask, "How can we say that Thorin is bad? We have been with him this whole journey and he hasn't done anything unjust or cruel?" There are three definite ways we can say that Thorin is bad: first, the way he treats Thranduil (Legolas' father) when Thranduil offers to help him get to the Lonely Mountain. Thorin's refusal to forgive--even for the sake of his own immediate advantage!--is a sign that Thorin has a hard heart wherein virtue cannot grow (we see, for example, Bilbo forgive Thorin for Thorin's mean treatment of him and lack of faith in Bilbo).  Secondly, we can say that Thorin is bad because of what Smaug says: Smaug symbolizes the devil, so it's not that we can "trust" Smaug because Smaug is telling the truth, rather, because Smaug is telling Bilbo how Smaug "knows" Thorin (this is the reason Gandalf wanted to bring Bilbo: Smaug doesn't "know" hobbits because hobbits don't commit the kinds of sins and crimes of the soul that dwarfs do).  Thirdly, we can say that Thorin is bad because of Azog the Defiler. The qualities we see in Azog exist because Azog is a psychoanalytic double for Thorin, the way Gollum is a psychoanalytic double for Bilbo (our vices are physically manifested in the forms the villains take). Azog has become stronger throughout the journey--he's been promoted to the head of Sauron's army--so instead of Thorin's virtue being able to weaken, even overcome and destroy Azog, Azog has become stronger because of Thorin's vices. 
This lesson doesn't apply just to Thorin: Sauron/the Necromancer has become strong enough to attack because everyone has allowed themselves to become weak (what Galadriel refers to as "their blindness"). Each character must overcome their own blindness in order to overcome the evil threatening--not only them as individuals--but all of Middle Earth as well.
Chris Hemsworth as Eric the Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman; due to her affair with the director during filming, Kristen Stewart has not been asked back, and that's probably why they decided not to do a sequel, they are, instead, making a pre-quel with Hemsworth and Charlize Theron reprising their roles that will, supposedly, center on how the two of them met before the events depicted in SWH
Another highly-anticipated trailer was just released: the new Mockingjay Part 1 from The Hunger Games: as I have mentioned elsewhere, significant changes have taken place since The Hunger Games was initially released some two years ago (change in director and scripts) which means, instead of reflecting pro-socialist ties as the first film did, The Hunger Games Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 both appear to be more capitalist in their nature, especially with the messages being released by President Snow before this trailer came out:
The point I would most like to make about this trailer is,... Julianne Moore. Captain America: the Winter Soldier had Robert Redford--a notorious liberal--playing the villain in that film, and--knowing Moore's character is a villain and she's a liberal like Redford--we might deduce that they are casting liberals as villains so we don't miss their point (two other films possibly taking this stance are Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice with Ben Affleck playing Batman, and Whoopi Goldberg in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). When Moore's character says, "The Games destroyed her," she's referring to Katniss becoming capitalist, becoming good at killing others for her own advancement (which is how socialists see capitalism, or at least want others to see capitalism) and so,... this is where it gets complicated.
Yea, that looks really bad. In trying to depict the inhabitants of the Capitol as perfect, untouchable and flawless, they have instead turned out to look like albino zombies (check out how dark Peeta's and Johanna's eyes are). The total white-scape, however, also emphasizes another aspect of socialism we might not pick up on without an image such as this: sameness. Socialism seeks to destroy everything that resists socialism, which is one way of rooting out difference, but it also seeks to make each "unit' (how human beings are described in socialist states) as efficient as possible, and as obedient as possible, so anyone who isn't as strong, beautiful, mindless, etc., will be destroyed, and only certain strands of DNA mined for future generations; we have all ready seen this in Man Of Steel and Clark Kent's home planet.
Because this might be the point where the original socialist intents of the author of the books "poisons" the attempts of the director to provide us with a less pro-socialist film, and, in stead, revolt against the government that has become tyrannical (Obama). Towards the end of the trailer, who are all the people looking to Katniss? The young, kids, teenagers, the early-twenty-soemthings, in a word: the Millennials. The very group Obama claims supported him in the election are being shown as leading the revolution against the Obama figure, Snow. How's that for a "reversal of fortune?"
Speaking of Clark Kent, here is a scene from Superman v Batman being filmed in Detroit. Maybe it's just me, but the Wayne Enterprises sign in mid-screen looks like Wolverine's claws,...? Anyone else get that idea? It's going to be interesting because Wayne Enterprises will be going up against Lex Luthor's (Jesse Eisenberg) "Google-like" company.
Liberals being cast as villains might not be a good approach to take towards understanding a film's position, but--as we shall see in this new trailer with Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp--it certainly carries a point with it, and with the near-fanatic level of fairy tale revivals taking place means that this is important: fairy tales are the secular morality plays for a culture, so with all the fairy tales being re-examined in films--major, expensive cinematic productions--we are consciously being led to a re-examination of those very morals contained in the tales, either to be indoctrinated into believing that they are something other than what we thought they were, as with Jack the Giant Slayer and Maleficent, or to remind us of the morality that has preserved and protected us for so long, and that we need to embrace it again (such as Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman).
"I wish," "I wish," "I wish," these are important statements with which to introduce a new film: I wish. THere is a clear "I" (it's Jack of the Bean Stalk, Rapunzel with the hair and Cinderella with the glass slippers, we know who they are and what happens to them, they are individuals who overcome their circumstances, which is not supported by socialism: only the government can help you and "you" as an "I" don't exist). We have no idea how faithful--if at all--the film will be to the original tales, but there are a couple of hints and, as always, I could be wrong, so this is just speculation. First, Johnny Depp is well-known for being a liberal and his support of socialism, so when he's advertised as being in the film, but they only show his hand, and clearly the hand of a villain (he plays the Wolf of Little Red Riding Hood), then that suggests this film--like Captain America the Winter Soldier casting Redford as a villain--wants us to see these actors and what we associate with them as villainy. We can clearly say the same thing of Meryl Streep being cast as a witch. Again, I could be wrong, but only in a free society are we allowed to wish and to follow our dreams, with all their consequences and demands for our personal growth.
Oh, by the way, Into the Woods is a musical, which introduces its own set of artistic variables (which moments contain songs and which don't) so that will add a further dimension to be explored. In this scene, Chris Pine is Cinderella's Prince Charming, and I can't tell you how happy I am! We know Pine, he is Captain Kirk and Jack Ryan, he's a masculine, physical actor, unlike Brandon Thwaites who was the Prince in Maleficent and was made to look to effeminate. The casting of a "real man" in the role of the Prince supports my hopes that this will be a great film!
The voices stating, "I wish" opening Into the Woods is similar to the voices opening this trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, but these voices resemble more of the (artistic) noise we have started becoming familiar with: "guzzling gasoline" and "wasting water" are some of the catch phrases we are meant to pick up and, if we didn't, then the two-headed lizard should signal that something is really wrong. In spite of--again, I could be wrong, this is just a guess--a film that appears to be going down the socialist road and identifying "Mad Max" with Obama, this is a spectacular trailer:
Again, I could be wrong about the Mad Max (we will get some more answers with the next trailer), but this one is far more definite, and I am quite looking forward to it, anything from Edgar Allan Poe is going to be powerful, and the metaphor this turns out being aptly demonstrates what is going on in our society and government today!
For most people, the last time they saw Ben Kingsley, he was portraying the dependent and villainous role of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. When Micheal Caine says, "All games must end," it certainly puts the Democrats' socialist revolution in a childish, but deadly, context, as the Democrats/socialists are trying to put non-Americans in charge of the American government (like with all the Muslim Brotherhood members who are in the Dept of Homeland Security) and put non-Americans before Americans (as with the government catering to sick, illegal aliens instead of American veterans). The question the film will have to answer is, how did the events happen, and we can see something like that metaphorical unfolding in Night At the Museum 2.
"No one is what they seem" is a theme running rampant through films the last year: GI Joe Retaliation, Captain America, Iron Man 3, Man Of Steel, etc. There is not only the "Animal Farm-esque" plot of the patients running the asylum with all the doctors locked up, but also that the ones running the institution are crazy and spreading the very insanity that the institution was created to keep from entering society; sound like the Democrats and socialism to anyone? This is also the second Poe film to be made in just two years (The Raven was the other).
The original Night At the Museum came out in 2006, five years after 9/11 (2001) and was, like The Incredibles (2004), exploring America as a super-power and why the world hated us so much (now we know it's really just the Muslims who hate us). Ben Stiller plays Larry, a new night security guard who watches over the displays in the history museum when they come alive; metaphorically, Larry's generation were the security guards of American power and prestige (Larry is taller and smarter than everyone else in the night museum) when things got bad (everything coming alive at night, and night symbolizing trouble and hard times) but when things do get bad, history "comes alive" (we understand it as a living teacher and the lessons to be learned from it so we can apply them to now). So, here is the trailer for Night at the Museum 3:
I need to get this post up, so I am not going to spend extra time on this one, we are just going to move on, but I am sure you can connect the dots yourself. Christopher Nolan's project, Interstellar has released it's newest trailer, and it's impressive, to say the least.
It takes a tremendous artist to balance the most intimate love with those grand-scale objects beyond our world, but I am confident Nolan will do that, he always does. Inevitably, Interstellar will be compared to both Gravity and Prometheus, and even Star Trek Into Darkness (there were two "umbilical cords" in STID and we can see one clearly tying Matthew McConnaughey's character back to earth) and that's because Nolan wants to engage these films in dialogue, so we will probably need to watch them again before November to make sure we can recognize the references!
The Fine Art Diner,
 Eat Your Art Out
P.S.--I am off to see Guardians Of the Galaxy now!