Saturday, November 1, 2014

Furious 7: Fast & Furious 7 Symbols and Analysis

The official trailer for Fast and Furious 7, Furious 7 has been released and we have a couple of themes: cars, family and outlaws. Surprised? There are key elements we get to view: such as the black bus (Obama's tour bus), and the plane (Olympus Has Fallen, The A Team) and "cars as American weapons." There are several films the trailer references (for example, The A Team which you can watch the trailer here that includes a number of similarities), and this is because, as always, films are in a dialogue with each other, so it's not a sign that they aren't being "original," that's not important, but what is important is that the film makers carry you through a discussion and persuade you of their values and perspective on the current situation. Oh, you are going to want to watch this in full-screen mode:
I don't know a lot about planes, but that looks like the Lockheed C-130 Hercules they have the cars in at 0:21 of the trailer; why is that important? We saw this same plane used in Olympus Has Fallen, when the plane was being flown by North Korean communists to take over the White House; why were communists flying that particular make of plane? Because the Hercules was specifically developed for the needs of the Korean War and proved to be such a valuable plane, it has been in service for 50 continuous years. What does this have to do with anything?
Everything.
At the time of Paul Walker's death, this was the main poster for the film, "This is where roads part," being a sub-title for Brian's character to pull out and go his own way. Looking at the trailer, we might say there is another "road" that is going to be parted, and that's the one in Dubai. At 1:51 in the trailer, there is the road in the desert, with a group of camels walking. The growing hostile Muslim influence in the country (because there is a growing hostile Muslim influence all over the world) might be the other road that is being assumed under this tagline of "roads parting," that Muslims wanting to live under the laws of Sharia can take the desert and camels and stick with it, but for those of us who prefer the road of capitalism, we want to keep that open, too. I can highly recommend The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East by Timur Kuran. My point is, that dramatic shot provided at that point in the trailer is intentionally meant to make the audience question which "road" they would rather be on, the one of capitalism, or the one of the camels.
When those cars jump out of the back of that plane, that anti-communist plane, they are essentially taking on the roll of paramilitary jumping out during a war; given the weapons the cars are equipped with, this isn't an overstatement in the least. Further, the cars themselves become weapons, not just in the creative way the heroes use the cars (attaching parachutes to them, pulling off the doors of the bus, reaching out to save Brian from falling over the edge of the cliff, etc.) but the car itself: it's make, model, advance technologies, even if the cars aren't American made, they could be purchased because we have (or did have) a free market economy where we could buy anything we wanted which meant all car companies were constantly competing to keep up and surpass each other on the latest developments. THAT is a weapon because it means the market rules, not the government.
You might recall that, in 2011, Obama went on a tour of the US in buses costing tax payers $1.1 million dollars for a tour that Obama canceled after just a few stops because they couldn't get anyone to come out and meet the president. At 0:40 of the trailer above, you can't help but notice the similarities between the bus holding the woman hostage, and the bus carrying the dictator holding "America" as a "hostage." Yes, I said that. Need proof? What's the first thing Dom says in the trailer? "All right, let's get to work." Nearly 20% of the American work force has lost its jobs under Obama because of his policies that have discouraged economic and job growth. F7 then, makes a clear statement: take out the dictator, save the country and get back to work. 
There's another little detail: Roman makes the Sign of the Cross before they parachute out; why is this important? Freedom of religion. If you don't use it, you lose it, and Roman blessing himself is a sign, literally, that he is using this freedom to protect himself. The film makers incorporating it in, as film makers did a prayer card in A Good Day To Die Hard, is a sign that, even if they themselves are not religious, they support the freedom of religious worship; as the White House cracks down on religion, especially in the military (unless you are Muslim), this is an important political statement for them to make.
Generally, a fighter tapes their hands before they go into the ring. I'm not sure what Dom is doing in this clip, however, he's doing it in his custom garage; why is this important? Because Dom and the others take their manufactured cars, then specialize and custom tailor them to their own specifications; in essence, Dom's team turns their cars into X-Men mutants, with special features to make them stand out and do everything better. This also drives the market, which benefits all cars from which the public at large then benefits. This is the fight, then, that garage where Dom and other car drivers across the country have a hand in shaping the industry; how can I prove this? Remember a little film called Iron Man 3? Where does Tony Stark do all his inventing in that film? Harley's garage, which might belong to any one of us (but then Harley gets the cool garage at the end).  Dom being in a garage like this directly likens him to Stark because both of them "tinker" which is what made America (and don't forget the "tinkerers" in Oz: the Great and Powerful). 
What about the bus going over the cliff? You guessed it, that's the "fiscal cliff." Again, we saw this in Olympus Has Fallen, when the Presidential limo goes over the icy bridge, and just recently in Dracula Untold when Mirena falls over the edge to her death. When that bus, symbolizing a "vehicle of terrorism" because it was holding a hostage, goes over the cliff, it threatens to take Brian with it; again, this was a lesson with Dracula Untold and the potential dangers of a revolution, but it's Letty who saves Brian; why?
You can click on this image to expand it. These viewpoints are the platform of the Left.
Letty is a "double-minority": she is both Latina and female, and her risking her own life in possibly going over the edge to save a white heterosexual male (who the Democrats would argue is her arch-enemy because the likes of him is what keeps her "oppressed") she is the one saving him the way we saw Evelyn sacrifice herself in Annabelle. But by saving Brian, Letty is also saving herself: because no one in captialism takes a risk alone (like in The Dark Knight Rises when Gordon and the other officers have to walk on the ice, but they spread out--that's calculated risk taking; please see War & Revolution: The Dark Knight Rises for more). In other words, in capitalism, you are never alone because someone is always going to be looking out for you because it's in their interest to do so.
After Han's funeral, Dom says that it looks like their sins have followed them home; this is a theme we see in Liam Neeson's Taken 3 which you can watch at this link but we haven't reviewed yet. Why is this important? Personal responsibility and consequences. They don't blame the events coming down on them as being bad luck or someone else's fault or responsibility, they are taking care of themselves (like the Penguins Of Madagascar).
"We're being hunted," Ludacris observes, and he's right: capitalists who excel at what they do are being hunted, especially the minorities. The worst thing in America to be isn't a poor black man, it's a successful black man, because the other blacks don't want anything to do with you, as Charles Barkley as pointed out about the self-sabotage of blacks in America. With the exception of Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) every single hero of this film is a minority (as we saw in GI Joe Retaliation) and THAT is an anti-Democrat statement who insists they can never be anything but victims. So, when the trailer moves to images of Dubai, then it becomes anti-socialist; how? Seeing the camels in the desert, and then the fast cars going past, is a dramatic difference between what the "progressives" want in doing away with all technology, and what capitalists want in continuously developing technology for the good of the whole world.
Along with Paul Walker, as Brian O'Connor in the credits, both his brothers Cody and Caleb also receive billing, although only in name, not with the work that they have done on the film. The film makers will have an incredibly difficult time with balancing the actor's last scenes that were re-shot with CGI and his brothers' help to satisfy fans and make it realistic.
Once again, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) a police officer is helping the "outlaws" again, even though, technically, they have been pardoned for their extraordinary work in F & F 6. According to the credits, Elena (Dom's police officer girlfriend while he thought Letty was dead) is also back, supposedly helping Hobbs. When Hobbs takes off his cast and says, "Daddy's gotta go to work," it validates another favorite theme of socialists: suffering is bad. "The world breaks everyone," writer Ernest Hemingway said, "and afterwards, some are stronger in the broken places," and Hobbs' arm cast is certainly a sign of that for him. Socialists, on the other hand, want us to all fear suffering--and no one wants to suffer, but some of us recognize that there is a meaning, a purpose to suffering, and we come out stronger and better having suffered and cast off what was useless--but socialists know that, so that's why they don't want people to suffer, because they want people to stay weak and fearful.
Jason Statham plays Deckard Shaw, the brother of Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) from F & F 6. In this shot, he and Vin go over the script together. 
When Kurt Russell appears on the screen, he haughtily informs our heroes that he doesn't play by their rules there, and that is the introduction of Game Theory into the fray. In the opening scenes of the trailer, we saw how creative the heroes can be with using their cars as carrier vehicles with parachutes, and I am going to venture that the scene we see in the beginning of the trailer, is probably the beginning of the film which will establish what is going to happen with the rest of the film; in other words, the opening in the trailer is a microcosm narrative of what will happen in the rest of the film, like a Mandelbrot set in chaos theory, of the baboushka doll, with a large doll containing a smaller, identical doll inside it. The "winner" of the film will prove to be the more creative in interpreting "the rules" that Russell's character mentions, and how to take advantage of those rules to make them work for themselves.
This is a great shot of Dom. If you will recall at the end of F & F 6, he could name his price for what he and the others did in getting that device from Shaw, and being back home--like Dorothy in Oz--is what all of them wanted, because home, in this case, America, is a part of you and if you are not whole, it doesn't matter what you have, because you are missing a part of yourself. Dom appears to be "on the fence" about something in this scene, and, even though we know him to be a multi-millionaire, he wears work clothes (the mechanic's shirt, tee, jeans and work boots) and this is going to be important in the film, because in the trailer, we see him wearing a James Bond tuxedo and being in the lap of luxury in Dubai, but the real question is, what Dom values and why.
What does Dom mean when he says, "I don't have friends. I have family,"? We know what he means, but what does he mean? The group has a bond stronger than blood, and they would do anything for each other. They aren't together to mutually benefit one another, like business associates, they love one another and put up with each other through thick and thin by their own choice. Why is this important? The idea of the family is under attack, as well as masculinity, so Dom risking everything to protect his family is important as a sign of what is "normal" and heroic, but also what is increasingly becoming counter-cultural.
This is an image from the film, but I have no idea what is going on. One last detail: we notice the deep red sports car, and Letty's matching dress. Color, and where it shows up, and how they link it up, is going to be important for this film, so we will have to pay particular attention. Another film reference we will want to look for is with Mission Impossible: not just because it took place in Dubai, but because, in deciding to shoot in Dubai, the film makers for F7 were consciously choosing to enter into that group of films who have shot in Dubai, so there will be a reason for it.
So, to summarize everything that I can say about the trailer at this point: it's awesome. This film is going to rock. There is some incredible talent, vision and skill that has gone into making this movie and it's going to be spectacular. I can hardly wait!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner