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The Raid 2: Berandal

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As previously mentioned, I have been very excited for the release of the sequel to the action film masterpiece The Raid Redemption.  This weekend, I saw The Raid 2: Berandal  and went to great lengths to make sure I would be able to.  The movie came out as limited release this weekend and would  be released in more theaters the following week.  However, my friends and I were so anxious to see this movie that we drove an hour to go to a theater that had it and we bought our tickets online to guarantee our seats (which turned out to be a brilliant idea because it was actually sold out).  The excitement in the theater was palpable as everybody sat in their seats waiting for the lights to dim and for the previews to end, signaling awesomeness was going to be witnessed.  I walked into that theater with ridiculously high expectations due to all the hype that surrounded this sequel, including that it was the next Terminator 2 of sequels, and if anything this movie was under-hyped.  It was that good.

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This movie picks up directly from where the last one left off, but this time Rama (the protagonist) gets involved in an undercover cop scheme to exploit the crimes of the mob bosses running Jakarta, Indonesia.  This scheme involves him going to jail and becoming friends with one of the bosses’ sons and ultimately joining the mob while maintaining his undercover identity.  However, things go sour due to miscommunication and suspicious activity from the cop who hired him for this job and from activities going on between the different mobs.  The Raid 2: Berandal had much more story and plot in comparison to the movie that preceded it and it was a wonderful change.  The first movie was very simple: cops fight their way up the tower and fight the mob boss.  This one has much more complicated story compared to the first movie but at the same time it wasn’t too overwhelming.

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This movie being an action/martial arts film, it is known that walking in there is going to be some level of violence.  However, this movie does have a lot of violence and some gore, so just as a warning for those who don’t like those types of movies.  First off, I would like to say that the cinematography of this film is much better than that of the first movie and is absolutely breath taking.  The more cinematic, landscape-type shots were very placid and calm in contrast to the more fast paced parts of the film.  The camera work for the fight scenes is mind blowing in how I still don’t understand how they were able to film everything so perfectly.  One scene had a car chase and a fight happening in one of the cars, and the way the camera weaves through the different parts of the car was so smoothly done.  In addition, their ability to capture the different angles of the hand to hand combat was beautiful.  The fight choreography was done in such a manner that the moves went together and flowed almost like a ballet, but more violent.

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I truly believe that this movie is revolutionary when it comes into terms of action films and the approach to how it is filmed.  It is a testament to how such a quality film can be made without a large budget or fancy, expensive special effects.  However, one thing that is disheartening is that American filmmakers want to make The Raid franchise but with American actors.  I believe that a film like this shouldn’t be remade to fit a more mainstream audience, it should just be remembered by how it is and how it was originally intended to be seen.  This movie will inspire aspiring directors and filmmakers and one day they will remix The Raid franchise into something new and different for the future generations.  I highly recommend this film to any action movie fan and especially if you are into martial arts/hand to hand combat.  You can count me in to watching this movie again in theaters when it is released to all theaters.  the-raid-2 review

 

Only God Forgives

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I have recently watched the film Only God Forgives thanks to the wonders of being able to stream Netflix.  If you are a fan of this blog you would know that the fact that this film features Ryan Gosling is pretty important.  This film was released last year and takes place in Bangkok, Thailand.  It is directed by the same director as Drive which is actually one of my favorite movies.  I stumbled upon this movie while browsing through Netflix and decided to watch it since it looked interesting, having a more indie movie kind of vibe to it.  Plus, the title interested me and the synopsis mentioned how it dealt with a brother trying to get revenge for his brother’s death….which actually turned out to be much more complicated and profound than that.

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Just a warning, this movie does tend to be on the slower side and doesn’t have much action.  Only God Forgives is supposed to be a more contemplative and reflective cinematic work.  From the opening scene, it is apparent that the cinematography is something that is other worldly.  I had never seen camera work and lighting like it before!  The shots were perfectly thought out and weren’t so much as just a way to tell a story, but they conveyed emotion and enhanced it.  Right off the bat, you could tell that it is going to be a serious movie as the camera pans down the lighted corridors of Muy Thai club run by the main character Julian, played by Gosling.  The premise of the story is that Julian’s brother, Billy, gets killed after a cop, Chang,  allows the father of a prostitute that Billy killed to ultimately beat Billy to death.  The rest of the movie is Julian and his mother’s struggle to exact revenge and determining the morality of it.  Despite how Julian doesn’t want to exact revenge because he feels it would be inhuman, his mother goes behind his back to try and gain vengeance on the father of the victim and Chang.  This very plot scheme is what is so central to both the movie and its title, Only God Forgives.

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Only God Forgives has a plot that goes to another level as far as symbolism when one takes into consideration the religious meaning behind the figures and events of the movie.  Just as a warning, I will reveal some plot details and there may possibly be some spoilers.  First, it is clear that Chang in this movie represents God as he is the character in this movie that exacts justice and grants mercy to those who deserve it.  People who interact with Chang see him not as if he is a normal person, one scene of the movie where Chang hunts down a “sinner” it seems as if he teleports and is omniscient.  In addition, to those he does grant mercy to he leaves them a way to always remember their sins, by cutting off one of their arms.  For example, Chang allows the victim’s father to kill Billy but Chang then questions why he forced his own daughter into prostitution.  He then cuts off the father’s arm as a permanent reminder of his sins as long as he is alive.  Chang’s crew of police officers that admire and follow him are his angels helping him bring justice to the lawless and the sinners.  The way Bangkok is portrayed by its dark and neon lighting is almost hellish (mostly red, orange, and yellow tones) with smoggy fumes, while when Chang is in his home the lighting is brighter and heavenly, suggesting its his Heaven.

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Whenever Chang brings justice through his sword, it is as if it appears from no where because it isn’t seen in any shots before at all.  In another scene, where Julian challenges Chang to a fight, Julian doesn’t land a single punch on Chang and Chang proceeds to horribly defeat him.  This suggests that when one fights God that there is no winning.

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In this movie, Julian plays the role of the common man and this will be explained further on.  I believe that Julian’s mother plays the role of the Devil in this clash of good against evil.  She is obsessed with trying to get revenge for the death of her son, but as soon as she appears in the movie it is clear that she isn’t a normal mother.  Her attitude and manner of carrying herself comes across as cruel and sinister.  She tells Julian to find the father that killed Billy and kill him.  When Julian does find the man, he realizes that he shouldn’t do this and realizes that he will live with the consequences seeing that his arm got cut off from Chang.  He sets the man go and grants him mercy.  His mother is furious that he did that and continues to egg him on to find and kill the man.  She results to tempting him to do so and by insulting his manhood.  It is clear that she is a dominant and demanding mother and that it affected Julian growing up.

Throughout the movie, it seems Julian has trouble interacting and talking with women and perhaps it was a result of his horrible childhood with his mother.  One also learns that his mother demanded him and forced him to kill his father which will play an important part at the end of the movie.  In the end, Chang ends up killing Julian’s mother’s henchmen and herself in order to end the attempts at revenge by her.  Throughout the movie, Julian has a recurring vision of his arms being chopped off by Chang and the movie ends with the two of them in a field and Chang chops off Julian’s hands.  This symbolizes how despite Julian being a sinner, much like humanity in general, Julian is able to feel the guilt and repent for his sins, not letting them become a part of himself.  With this final vision or scene of Chang and Julian, the cutting of Julian’s hands could be a symbol for a new beginning and letting go of his horrible past.  I would definitely recommend this film and despite its slow pace is an excellent film.  I found it especially interesting since at the time I was reading Heart of Darkness and how it has allusions to the story of Faust and Mephistopheles.

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Tarzan and The Heart of Darkness

Africa1910sSmall Right now I am currently reading The Heart of Darkness, and upon reading it I immediately grew my own personal connection to it.   However, this connection might be an odd one and not the most scholarly, because it is the Disney film Tarzan.  Since I was a kid, Tarzan has been one of, if not my favorite Disney (non-Pixar) film.  Not only does it remind me of my days at my dad’s movie theater, as I attended a ShoWest premiere in Las Vegas of Tarzan along with a concert afterwards by Phil Collins, but its a genuinely excellent film with a legendary soundtrack. Tarzan-1 As a kid, I remember owning this film on VHS and it brings back memories of sitting in front of the TV and watching it, then taking it out the VHS and rewinding it so I could watch it once again.  The opening scene always left me in awe with the shipwreck scene and the montage of Tarzan’s parents building their tree house all to the magical voice of Phil Collins in the song “Two Worlds”.  This memory was triggered while I was reading Marlow sailing along the African coast as he tries to go into the Congo River.  Besides the African setting, the imperialistic theme that goes on in Tarzan is also in The Heart of Darkness.  Both of these works deal with European conquest and imperialism, as in Tarzan it is the English that try to exploit the native species and land; in Heart of Darkness it is about the conquest of Africa by Europe in general.    tarzan-walt-disneys-tarzan-20329730-853-480 These two works also explore the concept of savagery and the idea of perception.  In The Heart of Darkness, there is the idea that the Europeans believe that the natives are so primitive that they are referred to as animals.  This is very similar to how Clayton views Tarzan, as nothing more than basically a gorilla and not the man that he is underneath.  So far I have only read the first third of The Heart of Darkness, but one scene in particular sticks out.  The scene where Marlow gives one of the natives a biscuit and perhaps this act of kindness with continue throughout the novel.  Hopefully the effects of imperialism will be revealed to the masses and the errors of their ways will self correct.  One must also remember that the book the movie Tarzan was based off of was a book that was much more similar to The Heart of Darkness.  Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was written in 1914 and focused much more on Africa as an untouched land that is then disturbed by civilized man.  This can be seen in how Tarzan and the natives are able to live in harmony with the jungle until the Europeans come and spoil it.

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Two Worlds one family!

A Review of The Lego Movie

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Hello everybody!  I recently have watched The Lego Movie and right off the bat I will say that it can be summed up pretty much in one word…awesome.  I seriously feel this is the best animated movie in the past year as I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much fun in a movie theater.  And yes, I am saying it is better than Frozen but do keep in mind they are different types of movies.  I was compelled to watch this movie as soon as I heard about it being made because as a kid my childhood was dominated by piecing together Legos endlessly.  My whole room was consumed by different Lego sets and the makers of this movie have a crystal clear understanding of their fan base.  Right off the bat I will start by saying the animation and visuals of this movie are stunning.  I was mindblown by how literally everysingle thing in the movie looks as if it was entirely created by Legos and its supposed to.  Heck, the explosions and other visual effects look as though they were made of Legos.  The filmmakers understand that this movie is for both younger and older audiences as they know that their product has entertained plenty of generations of people.  These two concepts are what made me extremely interested in this movie and then once I learned of the cast I instantly had to drop everything I was doing the day came out and go to the theaters.  The cast consists of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, and has a host of cameos from different celebrities like Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.  I mean, you can’t ever go wrong by having Morgan Freeman say words in any given movie right?  I absolutely love and Charlie Day was in this movie though because I am a huge fan of his from the TV series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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The idea of using a tool of imagination, the Lego brick, and using it as the building block  (no pun intended) for a film was genius.  Due to the vast number of sets and characters in the Lego Universe, it made it open to pretty much anything is in the realm of possibility.  The movie plot consists of Lord Business (Will Ferrell) obtaining a super weapon to rule the Lego Universe and Vitrivius (Morgan Freeman) must help the Chosen One in the prophecy to save the world.  The Chosen One just so happens to be Emmett (Chris Pratt) who is just an ordinary Lego man who follows the instructions.  The integration of all the different universes and characters is just masterful.  I found this movie to be ridiculously funny.  The packed theater was almost laughing throughout the entire movie.  Kids will enjoy this movie for purely the entertainment aspect of an animated film and they will also get the jokes aimed towards younger audiences.  However, I feel as though older audiences will find the movie funnier than the younger ones.  There are so many witty and funny references to other movies and things that I couldn’t help but laugh at them.  The jokes are all delivered at perfect times and the whole experience was just a hoot.  My favorite character was Spaceship Benny (Charlie Day) and if you go see the movie you will see why.  Spaceship!  My girlfriend didn’t want to go see this movie with my friends and I because she felt it was going to be a stupid movie.  She was a skeptic.  However, she walked out of that movie absolutely loving the movie and apologized she didn’t give it a chance at first.  She was laughing the entire time and thought the movie was really cute as her favorite character was Unikitty.

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Batman and Spaceship Benny

I really recommend going to go see this movie, drop everything you are doing and just go.  Go!  This movie is that good, seriously.  I know the hype is all about how Frozen is so good and all but this movie is something to get hyped about.  It is what a comedy movie experience should be like, full of laughter and good times.  Plus, the take away message from this film is one that is very important and meaningful.  It teaches people to not live by the “instructions” in life and to ultimately follow one’s own path and to create something entirely new.  I feel like individuality and freedom is something not entirely stressed in today’s society or school systems.  It is important to have people feel as though they have a voice, an opinion, and the ability to create for themselves.  This movie also brought me back to my childhood and has resparked my love for Legos.  In fact, after seeing this movie my girlfriend went to go buy me a Lego Architecture set of the Seattle Space Needle as a surprise.  If you have nothing to do or want to go see a movie, go see The Lego Movie.

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The Seattle Space Needle in Lego form build by Yours Truly

“You had me at hello”

Hello everyone!  It is February now which means that one thing in particular is approaching quickly, Valentine’s Day.  Yes, the day where people are either elated with the fact that they are spending it with their special someone, or people are jealous/sick of the happy people.  I recently read a poem called A Work of Artifice by Marge Piercy, and it is about how some men take down and constrain women through the norms of society.  It also suggests that some men do nice things expecting nice things in return, but I am here to say that love isn’t really about that.  Love isn’t about receiving, it’s about giving for the sake of that special person.

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Now with it being Valentine’s Day pretty darn soon, I have decided to compile my favorite movies about romantic love, whether it be a romantic or romantic comedy.  I am the type of guy that lives and breathes action films, especially those from the 80’s.  I mean, I have my autographs of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford up in my room, and I don’t know how many times I have seen Rambo: First Blood.  However, I do have a soft spot for romantic comedies and romantic films.  Here is my compilation of my favorite romantic/romantic comedies that I have seen so far:

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The Notebook

I have decided to start off with my favorite “chick flick” of all time.  No joke, I have probably seen this movie more than my girlfriend.  In fact, she gave me the DVD  to me as a part of my Christmas present because she was surprised I didn’t have it.  I love this movie.  I love this movie for a combination of things: Ryan Gosling, the story, the setting, and the dialogue from the movie.  Ryan Gosling is one of my favorite actors for movies like Drive, Gangster Squad, and this movie.  I first saw this movie because my girlfriend wanted to watch it when we first started dating around two and a half years ago.  Ever since, I have seen this film quite often because not only is it frequently on TV but because it is a top notch film.  The chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling is so phenomenal and believable.  The romantic mood and tone of this movie is only supported by the landscape and scenery of North Carolina’s marshes.

For those of you who haven’t seen this movie, it is one of those movies where there is one outer storyline and within that storyline another story is being told, in this case through a notebook.  The movie is about an elderly man, Noah, who is at a retirement home and wakes up everyday to tell his wife with dementia, Allie, a story.  He tells her the story of their love but everyday she forgets who he is or who the story pertains too.  While reading the story, Noah doesn’t tell her they are the people in it and he hopes one day she will remember on her own.  Now, the story of their love begins in their teenage years where young Noah, played by Gosling, tries to ask out a young Allie, played by McAdams.  From there, the story continues on to cover their teenage love until problems arrive between the two with parents and their personal lives.  To not ruin the story, I will just say that they get reunited and the movie continues on from there.  And yes, there is the scene where they argue about writing to each other and its raining.

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Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire is the movie with the famous quote, “You had me at hello.” This movie is great and one of Tom Cruise’s best performances.  This movie has an A list of actors including Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr, and everyone’s favorite child actor Jonathan Lipnicki (the kid from Little Vampire and Stuart Little).  One of my favorite aspects of this movie is the humor in the movie provided by Lipnicki as the cute little kid and Cuba Gooding Jr.  The plotline follows a young, ambitious sports agent named Jerry Maguire, played by Cruise, obsessed with his job who eventually realizes that his firm is doing it wrong by being obsessed with the money and not the personal care of their clients.  Thus, he sends a memo to everyone with his own mission statement for the firm and basically gets fired for trying to change things for the better.  One of his coworkers also decides to leave, and she does it because she loves the message he is trying to promote.  She is a single mother, played by Zellweger, with a child, Lipnicki, who struggles on whether she should be involved with Jerry.   Jerry on the other hand, also doesn’t know whether he should be involved intimately and work with this women as he hates being alone but realizes she is special.  The movie tracks his struggles to balance work with his lone client (Gooding Jr.), his love for her, and his own personal emotions.  The ending of this movie is quite emotional and climactic that is perfectly wraps up the whole movie.

 

 

 

The Raid 2

As previously mentioned in a post, I have claimed The Raid Redemption to be one of my favorite modern martial arts/action films of all time.  Last Tuesday, The Raid 2 Berandal premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and I was waiting that night for reviews of the film.  I patiently waited until early morning the next day and finally…word came out.  Suddenly, a flood of attention and hype came on other blogs and movie review sites appeared.  Let the hype begin.

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The Raid 2 Berandal is supposed to pick up immediately following the first film and follows the story of Rama, the protagonist, in his journey to take down the crime underworld of Jakarta, Indonesia while undercover.  For those of you that have seen the first film, you will understand where I am coming from when I say it is not the type of movie you would watch for its story, its more about the action.  However, from what I have read and heard, the plot in this movie is much more captivating in depth and expansive.  The action scenes and stunt work is also supposed to be revolutionary.  In fact, this movie has been called “one of the greatest action sequels since Terminator 2: Judgement Day”.  That kind of comparison is something that you just don’t throw around.  I grew up hailing Terminator 2: Judgement Day as one of the greatest movies of all time.  I mean the last scene where Arnold goes down on the chain and sacrifices himself for the sake of humanity that was a pretty emotional and heavy scene.  On top of that, the special effects James Cameron implemented where revolutionary in the sense that it added a new dimension to action films, CGI.

Even he gives The Raid 2 a thumbs up.

Even he gives The Raid 2 a thumbs up.

 

Being compared to the sequel of The Terminator is something that is extraordinary, but with these high expectations it opens up more opportunity for the movie to not live up to the hype or exceed the anxiety of influence of previous action films.  However, on Rotten Tomatoes it currently has a fresh rating of 93% and seems to only be increasing.  The only criticism of the movie that I have heard of is that for those that don’t really enjoy violent movies, it may be too violent for those kind of people.  This also raises concerns for what kind of rating it will be given, an NC-17 or R?  The Raid Redemption was released in the United States rated an R, and there has been talk that this sequel might have to cut out some scenes in order for it to get an R rating.  Will these potential changes perhaps affect its performance at the box office or change the vision of those behind the camera?  We will have to see as unfortunately it gets released in the United States in March, which makes me really sad.  You can count on me attending the midnight premiere though.  Here is the trailer released by Sundance:

-Carlos

 

A Review of Lone Survivor

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Last Saturday, I saw what I would consider one of the greatest war films I have ever seen and it was completely by accident.  I went with my friends to go watch the new movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, Her, but it was sold out.  My friends and I then made a decision on the spot, with most of us loving manly action films, we naturally went with Lone Survivor.  Despite the title of the movie and the opening science giving away the end, it is a non-stop suspenseful action movie that is a worthy and fantastic dedication to our troops.  Mark Wahlberg did an excellent job producing this film and of portraying Marcus Luttrell, the survivor of Operation Red Wings.  The whole cast did a fantastic job of taking on the personas of the real flesh and blood people they are dedicating their performance to.

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The special effects and the costume/make up department did a fantastic job as they flawlessly recreated the injuries the SEALS sustained, from trauma wounds from falling down cliff sides to bullets and shrapnel.  The several gory and agonizing scenes where completely necessary to accurately portray the reality behind the film, and to remind the audience that all of this was real.  Actual people lived through the events in the movie.  This movie was an emotional roller coaster as I laughed at the humorous scenes at the base, felt suspense in the action sequences, agony at the injury parts, and I teared up at the heart to heart, emotional sequences as well as the tribute at the very end dedicated to our troops.  Okay, I’ll admit it…I almost cried….definitely got watery eyes.  I can now add this to the list of movies that I have gotten emotional in and the list so far is BraveheartThe Notebook, and now this.  This movie is near and dear to my heart as I had an uncle that was a Marine and I am actively involved in the Wounded Warrior Project.   I felt it was a fitting and well made tribute to the story and you can tell the people behind the film really put their heart into it.  It moved the whole audience.  As soon as the movie was over, a USA chant was started in one corner of the theater and a standing ovation was given.  The movie made my group feel proud to be an American and made us even more grateful for our troops as they put their own well being on the line to protect our livelihood and liberties.  I highly recommend you watch this movie.

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In addition, I would just like to provide an update on the recreational basketball league I am starting that I mentioned in my post High Flying Movies.  The league, the ABA Recreational Basketball League, is starting to take shape as we have teams signing up to play and we are starting to gain a following over Facebook and Instagram.  Our Facebook page is called ABA Recreational Basketball League and our Instagram can be followed at @ababasketball.  We are in the process of editing our and releasing our videos just as the league starts to make the players feel like it is the NBA.  We plan to make highlight reels of the teams and players while documenting the process of making the league along the way.  In addition, with All-Star Weekend coming up in mid-February, we will host an All-Star event as well.   Feel free to follow our pages and support the league, thanks!

-Carlos

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Robocop and Frankenstein

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When reading Frankenstein, I couldn’t help but notice it strikes similarity to another classic 1980’s action movie, Robocop, starring Peter Weller.  This movie is…well…about a robot cop, but is much more complicated about that.  More specifically, it is about a cop that gets in an accident and to bring him back he is the test subject of a new technology program which turns him into basically a crime fighting android.  For the younger audience out there, it is a grown up, darker version of the iconic Inspector Gadget character.    In the movie, the program responsible for the construction of Robocop is responsible for many police officers going on strike since robotic cops would put them out of work.  From this point on in the movie,the parallels between the Creature and Robocop become similar.  

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Much like the Creature, Robocop is a creation that struggles finding its own identity in the world.  The Creature upon learning about his appearance and origins doesn’t quite know how he fits in to the world, besides the fact that he is an outcast, because he is the first of his kind.  Robocop, having a machine body and a programmed human head, struggles between his programming and his own human memories.  This identity crisis between crime fighting robot and the man behind the machine is what propels the plot line, making it more than just an action film.  The Creature and Robocop both have moments where they see their true selves, they see their own reflections.  However, Robocop is able to accomplish something the Creature simply couldn’t, destroy his creator.  This movie , much like The Terminator, shows society’s fear of the potential of the progress being made in computers and robots in the late 1980’s.  It is also worth noting that this movie is being remade, and the new Robocop is coming out next month in February.  It stars Joel Kinnaman as Robocop and it also features Michael Keaton and one of my favorite actors, Samuel L. Jackson.  I will be sure to post a movie review upon seeing it, but already I have one concern that I can’t shake off.  Why does the new Robocop have human hands?  Doesn’t that kind of take away from the robotic aspect of him when he faces enemies causing them to just shoot his hands?  I don’t know if that will be an issue but it was just a thought.

-Carlos

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Frankenstein Flicks

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is not only a classic novel, but it has become the basis of a variety of movie genres, from horror to science fiction.  The story of Frankenstein, a scientist who aspires to create life and when he does his creation fumbles out of his own control, has been referenced to and remixed in works of literature, movies, and popular culture.  At the time of Mary Shelley, science was about to reach another revolution as the potentials of science weren’t quite realized to a majority of people.  It was apparent though that science could intrude upon the beliefs of religion and ethics.  Mary Shelley uses the idea of ethics and of the unknown potential of science to fuel the true horror evoked by Frankenstein.

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      The story of how this novel has gotten to the level of popularity it reaches today starts with the novel itself.  The book at first got mixed reviews but over time it gained a following.  At the turn of the century, the first film adaptation of it was made by Edison Studios in 1910 as a Silent short film.  However, this would not get the reception that the Universal Studios’ version staring Boris Karloff would receive in the 1931 version.  This movie solidified and introduced the horror genre to popular culture, while also setting up a kind of archetype for horror movies at the time.  The idea of man playing God and the consequences that follow captivated the minds of audiences everywhere.  This and the rest of the Frankenstein movies by Universal built upon this idea.  These movies helped to build the idea of the mad scientist in the laboratory whose own creation spins out of his own control.  Actually, Frankenstein brought the idea of one’s own creation being more than what the creator could handle, which has been an important staple in the science fiction world.

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The ideas presented above have influenced a variety of famous movies, from action to science fiction.  For example, The Terminator franchise builds upon the idea that man won’t be able to control its own advancements when it comes to robotics and computers.  The idea that machines will rise against man creating a skull filled post-apocalyptic world terrified audiences upon being released since at the time in the 1980’s advancements were being made in computers.  In Jurassic Park, man tries to play God again by bringing back dinosaurs through modern genetics in order to create an amusement park.  In the words of Jeff Goldblum, “Uh…uh…Life finds a way.”  Yes, yes it does, as then the dinosaurs escape and terrorize the island.  Once again, playing on the potential fears of the time, as in the 1990’s advancements in genetics and cloning brought new scientific ethics to the field.  These classic movies, just like in the times of Mary Shelley, is a response to potential fears at the time.

-Carlos

     

 

 

 

 

To be or not to be…

I recently watched one of my favorite musical turned movies, Les Miserables, with my other favorite being The Phantom of the Opera.  Upon watching Les Miserables, I noticed there were two scenes very similar to that of Hamlet, which I happen to be reading as of this moment.  These two works both have the motifs of revenge and serious contemplation.  Hamlet is bent on revenge for his father’s death through killing Claudius, while the revenge in Les Miserables comes from how Javert is obsessed with catching Jean Valjean.  However, the scenes of serious contemplation really intrigue me.

There are two scenes in the beginning of the movie that are central to setting up how the audience views Jean Valjean. The first one is immediately after the police come to the church where Jean Valjean is staying and are about to arrest him for stealing but the priest clears his name.  Realizing how the priest saved him from going back to jail, he has a soliloquy where he contemplates what he is doing with his life and his character.  Now, it isn’t of the same subject matter of whether he should commit suicide or not, but this scene is important as it leads to the all important question of the movie in the next song.  The next more comparable scene is the scene where Jean Valjean has heard how an innocent man will be tried for being mistaken to be him, and he must make a decision: take action or don’t.  If he takes action he risks his life, but if he doesn’t he has the guilt of a man’s life over him.  He asks the question that will continue to echo through the play/movie: Who am I?

Toward’s the end of the movie, the scene I am about to discuss takes place, and note if you haven’t seen the movie/play I am warning you this is a spoiler.  Now, if you recall the end of the movie has the scene where Javert has failed to catch Jean Valjean ater he just watches him walk away from the sewer exit.  The next scene the audience finds Javert on top of a bridge walking on the edge.  He then continues to sing the song titled “Javert’s Suicide” where he decides what to do with his life after failing at his really own purpose for living, justice.  He believes he has failed  and contemplates whether to live or die.  This is very similar to Hamlet in the “To be or not to be..” soliloquy as he too contemplates suicide.  The only difference between the two is that Javert takes his own life and Hamlet instead takes a different action, deciding to carry out revenge.

-Carlos