Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Godzilla

As much as I have seen of Godzilla I had never actually seen the original film, so this was a treat.  Talk about a phenomenon.  You know you’ve made it big when America remakes your movie fifty years later and totally misses the whole point.  But hey, Mathew Broderick was in that one, right?  The very obvious analogy for the big lizard monster is the consequences and threat of nuclear war and fallout, Japan having a very real relationship with this fear.  While the movie is excellent to sit and analyze halfway across the world and decades later I don’t think contextually it will ever have the same meaning outside of Japan in the fifties.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Atomic Cafe

It is a stretch to call this a movie as it is just a collection of propaganda and news reels but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.  I have not seen much of the footage in Atomic CafĂ© and it helps frame so much of what we are watching.  Being of this generation I don’t think we’ll ever fully understand what iti was like to grow up and live in a time where we were just dropping nukes all willy nilly, or at least threatening to.  That type of stress becomes a very deeply ingrained cultural thing and it is natural for that to be reflected in all types of mediums, film being one of the most easily expressed and consumed.  While some may have found this boring I think it is a very important way to see just the tip of the iceberg as to what was going on in this time period.  Historically important, and so on.  I am not an atomic playboy.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Star Wars

I don’t even think I should have to write a review about this.  How can I even begin?  It is the holy grail of sci-fi, not even because it is the best but because it is the most accessible.  The only people who haven’t seen Star Wars and the people that were in Star Wars, and that’s because they lived it.  It has made “geeky” stuff the mainstream.  The Big Bang theory wouldn’t exist without Star Wars, I grantee it.  

Frankenstein

Frankenstein, in all of its incarnations, is a look inside the struggle between the natural state and the advancement of science and technology.  In the 1931 James Whale version this is particularly poignant in that Henry Frankenstein has, outside of his experiments, a fairy tale life.  He has a wealthy father, a loving fiancĂ©, loyal companion and a somewhat concerned former mentor, all of whom sacrifice something to attempt to save Henry from his obsession. 
Henry’s obsession with creating life stems from a core human concern, a fear of death.  Henry exhibits man’s desire to conquer death through science by assembling his monster and creating life where there was none.  If man can cheat death then man has overcome god.  Henry goes so far as to exclaim that he now knows what it feels like to be god after his creation has risen.  The whole need for spirituality and faith is lost if humans can dictate how and when life is created and destroyed.  But similarly to the creation of Adam, Henry is now responsible for the enlightenment of his monster.
Shortly after the monster is brought to life there is a scene in which Dr. Waldman tried to warn Henry the danger of the monster.  Henry claims that he is just in the darkness and it will be himself to bring him into the light.  Directly after that dialogue there is a shot of the monster quite literally being uncovered from the shadows from the light Henry lets in from the skylight.  Henry is going to educate his creation on how to exist with the conventionally living, a task that very quickly goes awry.  As Fritz brings in a torch the monster is enraged and confused.  Fire, often used as a symbol for man’s harnessing of nature, does not educate as Frankenstein may have hoped. 

The clash of the natural state of man and the advent of technology struggle to reconcile in the film.  Frankenstein, the obsessive mad scientist that stops at no moral quandary in order to achieve his marvel of science ends up creating something destructive and terrible.