The World’s End: A GenX Fantasy

*This movie review has a minor spoiler.*

Out in the theater right now is The World’s End. It stars Simon Pegg who also wrote it along with the director, Edgar Wright. It’s a funny, playful movie and the viewer should pay attention to the details. This ends the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy with the preceding movies of Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). All are worth watching, if you like this kind of over-the-top humor.

The World’s End is aptly titled.

Pegg plays Gary King, an alcoholic who is growing older and now looking back on his past. He gets his old friends together and they return to their hometown, Newton Haven. Gary wants to finish the Golden Mile which they attempted once before but never finished. The Golden Mile is a pub crawl. It includes twelve pubs and the last pub, of course, is named “The World’s End”. A simple enough premise, but completing the pub crawl turns out more difficult than their first attempt. This puts a spin on the saying that you can’t go home again. The hometown of Gary and his friends is very much not the same place it once was nor the people the same either.

Before seeing this movie, I checked what else was playing at the moment – for example (in no particular order): Riddick, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Elysium, This is the End, The Wolverine, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. All of these are of similar themes: fantasy/scifi, good vs evil, dystopia, apocalypse, hero’s quest, etc. These are themes that have been popular this past decade.

These are also themes that were popular in my childhood. I thought of this because this movie’s characters, actors, writers and director all share the same childhood era. All are GenXers, specifically on the young end. Like myself, all of them (except one) was born in the 1970s (I was born in 1975).

This is a movie made by GenXers and mostly for GenXers. The worldview and philosophy it portrays is (stereo)typically GenX. The story is about a loser who is full of himself, equal parts annoying and charming. He is the anti-hero fighting against everything: against growing old, against settling down, against giving up youthful optimism, against the monotony of life, against conformity, against the system; so much against the world he confronts that it is hard to say what he is for. He just knows something is wrong with the way it all is and he just wants to make things right, even if only in one small way: to complete the Golden Mile.

In the end, he does more than that. He becomes the hero he never sought to become. The normal world of mundane existence had no place for a person like him. He didn’t fit in and couldn’t play by the rules. But when the shit hits the fan, he is finally in his element. All that vague sense of unease takes the shape of an actual enemy to be fought. It turns out that is all he needed.

The moral of the story is about the malcontent refusing to accept failure. It is about following one’s dreams even when to others they seem pointless and pathetic, about living out one’s fantasy and so make fantasy reality. It is about freedom defeating bureaucracy, rebellion defeating the status quo, the individual defeating collectivism. It is about fighting the good fight, righteousness regained… in a very messed up world that isn’t as simple and straightforward as it first appears.

It is bits and pieces of so many movies my generation grew up with. It is a loving parody about GenX, a generation that embraced youth culture and is now hitting middle age. Many GenXers have become the authority figures that we saw our generation challenging in the movies of our childhood.

It never seemed to be our appointed role to be the simplistic good guys of the early movies of cowboys and WWII soldiers. In movies, our generation was more likely to be portrayed as evil children or rebellious teenagers. As a small generation, maybe we instinctively understood the world was so much larger than us and not on our side. We never thought we’d save the world and everything would go back to normal (whose ‘normal’?).

Like in The World’s End, victory as such happens on an individual level. The world still ends, the world as we know it. Yet for others, they return to some semblance of their former lives. But there is no going back for Gary King. There are more good fights to be fought. I’m sure, as the story goes, he’ll go down fighting.

Battle In Seattle: A Personal Response

I just watched the film Battle In Seattle.

I don’t have any grand opinion about it’s quality as entertainment. It isn’t great art, but it did hold my attention. More importantly, it’s about as close as Hollywood usually ever comes to even slightly grasping the reality of a major grassroots protest… which isn’t necessarily saying a lot. It is worthy in how it gives one some idea of what it might feel like to be at such an event. But, of course, it inevitably leaves out a lot of context and substance. It’s only a movie, afterall. In order to have any real understanding, you would’ve had to been there and have read tons of material about it.

I realize many people criticize the film because of its failings, but I’m annoyed by people who criticize it with an attitude of superiority. It’s just a fucking movie. Anyway, it introduces a lot of people to an event that they would otherwise be ignorant about. It might even inspire some people do some research to learn something new.

Anyway, here is one scene that caught my attention:

Sam: “How do you stop those who stop at nothing?”

Jay: “You don’t stop.”

You could say that it’s just cheesy dialogue (“The conversations are made up of clichés or slogans.”), but that misses the point. Cheese or not, it is still true. That is the 64 million dollar question. I feel that question gnawing at my mind (not the exact wording, but the sentiment of the question). It’s always there. The character realizes that those with power control everything including the media. This protest was before the rise of the internet as we now know it. The average person couldn’t easily put videos on the web and have it go viral. Still, even with the internet today, most people feel just as powerless. The mainstream media only reports what is in the interest of the corporations that own the media.

Why did the protests fail? Was it because of the violence? No. If it had been completely peaceful, it would have had even less impact and would now be forgotten. It wasn’t a complete failure. The problem is the media won’t pay attention until they are forced to pay attention. Even when they are forced, they will still just spin the story. Seattle didn’t succeed for the simple reason it was only one protest. Imagine, however, if protests like that had been going on in every major city around the US and around the world all at the same time.

But that wasn’t the real reason I wanted to post about this movie. I was curious about the lines I quoted above and so did a websearch. I found two reviews which both portrayed different versions of an attitude of superiority.

The first reviewer is someone who apparently is an activist and he feels superior out of some sense of haughtiness. His review had two parts (here is the first part), but it was the second part that interested me where he has some minor commentary on the above scene. His commentary lacks any deep insight and so I won’t quote it, just wanted to point it out as an example. The author seemed to be expressing garden variety cynicism… and was looking down upon mere mortals who might enjoy this movie as an introduction to a major event in US history. I guess he is too cool for any movie made for the masses.

The second reviewer annoyed me even more and I will quote the relevant section below. Basically, the reviewer was entirely ignorant of this major event despite his working in the media at the time. He acts nonchalant, maybe even slightly proud, about his own ignorance. And then he blames the movie for not lessening his ignorance (considering the degree of his ignorance, that is probably expecting too much out of a movie based on a complex event).

The funny thing about this real-life incident is that I was alive and well and conscious and even working at a newspaper in 1999, and yet I have no memory of it whatsoever. I’m guessing I read the news stories, saw “World Trade Organization,” had no idea what that was or why people were protesting it, and stopped reading before I got to the good part, i.e., the part where cops were busting hippie skulls.

The film is kind of terrible. It makes almost no effort to explain the protesters’ grievances against the WTO, instead assuming that we will be on their side regardless. One of the characters even makes a joke about how the general public doesn’t know what the WTO is; all they know is that it’s bad. So, OK, ha ha, interesting comment, but it kinda undermines the WHOLE POINT OF YOUR MOVIE.

Also undermining the movie: the terrible, terrible dialogue. I quote some of the more generic examples:

“The press would have a field day!”

HE: “You know nothing about me!”
SHE: “I’ve been around men like you all my life.”

(Spoken to a pregnant woman.) “You want adventure? You just signed up for the greatest adventure of all!”

“You’re gonna turn downtown into a war zone!”

“How do you stop those who stop at nothing?”

So … yeah. “Battle in Seattle.” The minute I saw this film, I knew it was poo.

I’ve noticed there are many other films about the WTO protests in Seattle:

Showdown In Seattle

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

I noticed that some people highly recommend them, but I haven’t watched them. So, I can’t say anything about them, much less compare them to the Battle In Seattle. But let me end with someone defending the relevance of the Battle In Seattle (emphasis mine):

The issue that Battle in Seattle filmmaker Stuart Townsend seeks to raise, as he recently stated, is “[what it takes] to create real and meaningful change.”

The question is notoriously difficult. In the film, characters like Martin Henderson’s Jay, a veteran environmental campaigner driven by a tragedy experienced on a past logging campaign, and Michelle Rodriguez’s Lou, a hard-bitten animal rights activist, debate the effectiveness of protest. Even as they take to Seattle’s streets, staring down armor-clad cops (Woody Harrelson, Channing Tatum) commanded by a tormented and indecisive mayor (Ray Liotta), they wonder whether their actions can have an impact.

Generally speaking, the response of many Americans is to dismiss protests out of hand-arguing that demonstrators are just blowing off steam and won’t make a difference. But if any case can be held as a counter-example, Seattle is it.

The 1999 mobilization against the World Trade Organization has never been free from criticism. As Andre 3000’s character in the movie quips, even the label “Battle in Seattle” makes the protests sound less like a serious political event and more “like a Monster Truck show.” While the demonstrations were still playing out and police were busy arresting some 600 people, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman issued his now-famous edict stating that deluded activists were just “looking for their 1960s fix.” This type of disregard has continued with the release of the film. A review in the Seattle Weekly dismissively asked, “Remind me again what those demonstrations against the WTO actually accomplished.”

While cynicism comes cheap, those concerned about global poverty, sweatshop labor, outsourced jobs, and threats to the environment can witness remarkable changes on the international scene. Today, trade talks at the WTO are in shambles, sister institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are now shriveled versions of their once-imposing selves, and the ideology of neoliberal corporate globalization is under intense fire, with mainstream economists defecting from its ranks and entire regions such as Latin America in outright revolt. As global justice advocates have long argued, the forces that created these changes “did not start in Seattle.” Yet few trade observers would deny that the week of protest late in the last millennium marked a critical turning point.

William S. Burroughs as a Character

William S. Burroughs as a Character

Posted on Dec 30th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
Burroughs is different from Philip K. Dick.  Whereas PKD was the first to use himself as a character, Burroughs had been made a character before he even was published himself. 

That would be a tough act to follow.  He had the shadow of someone else’s fame over him (Kerouac), and the popularity and mythos of the whole Beat movement.  Burroughs had to attempt to claim himself not only as a writer but also as his own person.  Fortunately, he wasn’t one to follow on the coattails of the fame of others.  He was certainly a way better writer than Kerouac, and he was quite distinct from all of the Beat writers.

Finding works that Burroughs is in is rather difficult.  I’m not sure how many books in which Kerouac placed a Burroughs character, and it wouldn’t surprise me if other Beats had also used him as a character.  Burroughs is much more a cultural icon than PKD.  I don’t know how to even begin to seek out fictional works that feature him, but I’ll offer what little I know at present.

As far as I can figure, William S. Burroughs first appeared as Bill Lee in Kerouac’s On the Road.  Burroughs used this name later in his own work.  He might of initially used it in Junky which he did intentionally to play off of Kerouac’s work.  He chose to continue this mythologizing.  He later used this name in other Works such as Naked Lunch which was supposedly a name given it by Kerouac.  I don’t know if there are any other names that Burroughs went by in his fiction or the fiction of others.


The works of Jack Kerouac

Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas
(A recent novel that mixes the mythos of the Beats with the Mythos of Lovecraft’s Cthulu.)


Drugstore Cowboy written and directed by Gus Van Sant
(Burroughs acts the character of a defrocked priest named Tom.  He is loosely playing a character that is a mix of himself and his own fictional characters.)

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Music and Movies of Oz

Music and Movies of Oz

Posted on Dec 27th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
I was just watching some of The Wizard of Oz again.  For some reason, I never think of it as a musical.  It does have music, but the songs seem more spread out than a typical musical.  Watching it again I was as impressed as ever. 

Much of it touches upon favorite tropes in our culture.  I wonder why our culture has such an obsession about young girl characters that are excitable and have wild imaginations.  LIke Anne of Green Gables, she is raised by an older couple who aren’t her parents and she gets in trouble with a crotchety old neighbor lady.

There have been many fictional works (both books and movies) spawned off of the original books.  In particular, I enjoyed the movie Return to Oz and the tv series Tin Man.  I also just watched the musical Wicked and thought it well done.

Of course, when The Wizard of Oz is mentioned Judy Garland immediately comes to mind.  She does a good version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but here is my favorite version.

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Comedy Horror Musicals

I’ll sort of keep with the theme of my recent blogs, but lighten up the mood a bit.  One thing I’ve come to enjoy more and more is a good musical.  It was either The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Jesus Christ Superstar that first made me fall in love with musicals.  Even so, I still don’t like the classic musicals to any great degree.

I’m glad that the musical is getting a modernized revival, but there is a particular category of musical that is quite surprising in its popularity.  The category I speak of is the comedy horror musical.  Its about as lighthearted and silly as horror can get and still vaguely be called horror.

Maybe it isn’t surprising at all when considering the modern musical’s origin in opera.  There are plenty of tragic operas, but as far as I know operas aren’t known for their comedy.  In my meager research, it seems that the comedy horror musical was an American invention, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show might’ve been the first.!_The_Musical!_The_Genetic_Opera,_with_Feeling_(Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer)

One other that might be added is Wicked: The Musical. But I’m not sure as I’ve never watched it. Even though its about the Wicked Witch of Oz, it sounds more like a tragic romance story.

Then again, most of the musicals I put in my blog aren’t very horrific. Cannibal hasfew scenes ofpartially realistic ripping and eating of flesh, but its pretty silly for the most part. Sweeney Todd might be the least funny of these, but its definitely over-the-top… althoughmost horror movies are over-the-top I guess. I’ve never watched all of Repo. It looks like it could get a bit graphic.

By the way, you can watch a recording of the entire live performance of Wicked. Its on Youtube and you’ll find it at the link I provided in my previous comment. I just watched it and it doesn’t fit with the others. There is a Wicked Witch, but she is portrayed very sympathetically. I would recommend it thouhbecause it shows what happened before Dorothy ever visited Oz.

Renaissance the Movie and Tim Boucher’s Thoughts on God

Renaissance the Movie and Tim Boucher’s Thoughts on God

Posted on Dec 26th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
This blog is a two for one deal.  I’ll offer you both a movie and a blog.

On this fine Christmas, I watched a very unusual animated neo-noir movie titled Renaissance.  It was enjoyable even if not precisely appropriate for this Holy of Holy days.  I’m sure Jesus would be understanding.  Why can’t anyone make a good neo-noir Christmas special?

The Wikipedia Article on the Rennaissance.

A good review by A.J. MacReady.

I was also spending some quality time with Tim Boucher on his insightful blog.  Here is one that particularly amused me partly because the funny quote he started off with.

God gets lonely too, you know

Three bears in the bed, and the little one said
“I’m crowded, roll over”
So they all rolled over and one fell out
Two bears in the bed, and the little one said
“I’m crowded, roll over”
So they all rolled over and one fell out

One bear in the bed, and the little one said
“I’m lonely”
– (from Sesame Street)

What I really found interesting was this diagram and a related quote.

I was wondering if there were any historical theological precedents wherein Jesus and Lucifer were two stages of the same entity. That is, Lucifer transforms into Jesus through a process of purification. Lucifer is thrown out of Heaven, descends like a meteor and burns, burns, burns, until one day he just cools off. At this point, he is transfigured, and rises into Heaven once again, like a rocket shot into space.

The quote is the third paragraph below the diagram, but I had the same exact thought when I saw the diagram.  Lucifer, afterall, is an angel.  Angels are direct manifestations, extensions even, of God.  According to some sources, Lucifer fell because his loyalty was so strong to God.  Lucifer coming into this world was the first time an aspect of God directly manifested on Earth, and Lucifer’s fall parallels that of Adam and Eve.  Lucifer led the way for Mankind to fully enter this world of limits and suffering, and so likewise Jesus in becoming Christ is the Wayshower back to Heaven.

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Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 15 hours later

Marmalade said

So, God is to Lucifer as Jesus is to Christ.  Makes sense to me.  

In Lucifer’s fall (and even more in Mankind’s fall), God becomes more distant.  This tendency becomes magnified with Protestantism in that any supernatural phenomena was largely judged as Evil.  As such, Lucifer became the representative of the supernatural; and by implication representative of the greatest supernatural being of all, God.  

Lucifer’s supposed pride is the same pride that is considered to be the greatest sin in man.  Lucifer is the the pride of ego which Jesus resists, but from a more Gnostic perspective this is an internal struggle as much as a cosmic one.  All of us fallen souls are Lucifer and everyone who rises is Christ.

If you wanted get all Wilberian-like, you could say God is the pre-personal and Christ is the trans-personal.  But that is probably going too far.  lol

Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

Posted on Oct 15th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade

At work tonight, I was reading the book Secret Cinema: Gnostic Vision in Film by Eric G. Wilson.  The author is insightful and this book has more depth than most books about movies.  He talks about many of my favorite movies.  One of them is Altered States and it got me thinking.  There are some other movies with very similar themes: The Fountain, What Dreams May Come, and The Mothman Prophecies.

The most general similarity is that the protagonists are men in a position of authority but a specific kind of authority.  They are men of knowledge and in 3 of the movies its scientific knowledge.  These characters are heroes but not the traditional hero type. 

These movies are balanced by female characters who are of central importance to the protagonists’s motivation.  The women add conflict, but they also offer the protagonist an alternative.  They are obvious anima figures that represent potential balance.

Another similarity is that these movies are about the supernatural.  The main aspect of this involves themes of life and death.  In 3 of the movies, its the leading female’s death that inspires the protagonist’s obsessive seeking.  The women represent a different way of dealing with life and death.  Related to life and death, there is strong use of plants as symbols.  In 3 of the movies, tree symbolism is central.  In 2 of the movies, the protagonist is studying a plant chemical.

There is one other important character type.  The protagonist has some person who acts as a mentor/friend.  This person helps the main character in his transformation or otherwise acts as a balancing force.  This person might even go part way with the protagonist on his journey, even act as a guide.  In some ways, this character bridges the distance between the protagonist and his anima figure.  This character has something to teach the protagonist.  He/she knows something about the supernatural or at least has some spiritual insight.

In Altered States, the mentor and friend are separate characters.  The friend is completely rational, but it is a shaman who offers the protagonist his first insight to that which is beyond the rational.  So, the closest to a mentor is a threshold guardian.  There is also a shaman-like character in The Fountain who is a threshold guardian  Both of these are guardians of the sacred plant.

There is a final element I’ll bring up.  These movies are about dualities: male/female, life/death, supernatural/science, rational/non-rational, human/non-human, primitive/civilized, willpower/acceptance, etc.  All of these dualites are closely connected. 

The protagonist represents one end of the dualities.  He is a man playing an important role of civilization: doctor, scientist, researcher, journalist.  He is fighting against death and trying to rationally make sense of the supernatural.  He is unwilling to give up and accept defeat.  So, this leaves the other end of the dualities outside of him.  The women character is the most opposite to the protagonist, but in some ways she represents a less clear distinction between the dualities.  The whole dualistic viewpoint is that of the protagonist.  His either/or thinking is his central conflict.

This blog has been started as two different threads:
Community Film Picks (zFilms) Group
God Pod or Life, the Universe and Everything

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Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 6 hours later

Nicole said

I’ve only seen What Dreams May Come, but I keep hearing about the Fountain. These patterns interest me very much. Now, in What Dreams may come, he is united at the end with his wife and yet chooses to go on to seek her anew in another life rather than remain with her and the children indefinitely. This is presented as a positive and exciting thing but in the framework you have described, is he really “getting” it? In the Fountain, he keeps traveling, doesn’t he? So it’s an endless seeking, is there growth?

starlight : StarLight Dancing

about 6 hours later

starlight said

hey Ben…i’m waiting for your screenplay…i sense that it would be pretty awesome…i’ve seen all but mothman prophecies; that’s an interesting analysis my friend…hey sweet Nicole…much love and joy to you both…*

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 10 hours later

Marmalade said

Nicole, you ask about whether the WDMC protagonist really “getting” it.  I don’t know.  It is strange that after finding eachother again that they chose to be reborn which will cause them to forget eachother.  The message seems to be that the opportunity to discover love anew is more important than holding onto the love you already know.  Besides, they’re soulmates.  How can anything go wrong?  🙂

Starlight. screenplay?  I’ll be happy to get anything published eventually.  I’d never thought about a screenplay, but that is a possibility.  I’m sure I couldn’t write a worse screenplay than some of what gets made into movies.  lol

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 12 hours later

Marmalade said

I like how the tree symbolism is used.  In WDMC and Fountain, the tree symbolism is used very obviously.  In Mothman Prophecies and Altered States, its not used as directly.

In Fountain, the tree is the Tree of LIfe, ie the Fountain of Youth.  It is a ressurection symbol archetypally related to the Christian cross.  The protagonist even in a sense dies on the tree in imitation of the Mayan resurrection deity  Also, the tree is seemingly representative of the anima character.  He is seeking to save the tree/woman and be saved himself in the process.

In WDMC, the tree also represents the woman.  The picture of the tree is part of a series of paintings by the woman that represents the place the couple met.  The place is a sort of Eden and its the place he re-creates in his afterlife.  The tree also signals how strong the bond is between them, defying even death.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

…Annie, distraught at the loss of her family, takes poison and dies. Albert breaks the news to Chris, whose initial relief that her suffering is over, quickly becomes anger when he learns that suicides are sent to hell. Albert claims no judgment has been made against her; it is simply the nature of suicides. This is a reference to Dante‘s Inferno, where the seventh level of Hell is reserved for sins of violence – including violence against oneself.

In Mothman Prophecies, trees are shown in relationship to the Mothman.  People often see the Mothman near a tree.  Its near a tree that his wife saw the Mothman and this is what caused her death.  The character who was most effected by his vision of the Mothman dies leaning against a tree. 

Christmas trees also play a role, but of a different sort.  They represent the human world of normalacy and happiness.  The whole movie occurs during the Christmas season.  Christmas is the time of year most resurrection deities are born and the Christmas tree represents eternal life.  But before resurrection must come death.  The whole bridge collapse seems like some supernatural mass sacrifice.  The implication is that its fated to happen.  The Christmas gifts float in the river as if offerings.

In Altered States, there was less tree imagery.  There was plenty of mixing of indigenous and Catholic imagery which included a tree of life.  From TV Tropes:

Heavy biblical imagery from Genesis and Revelations abounds in the hallucinatory sequences. At one point Adam and Eve are rendered as Indian cave art, pictured with a giant mushroom with a serpent coiled around it- an obvious reference to the “Tree of Knowledge.” William Hurt spends time flying around on a flaming crucifix wearing a mutant, 7-eyed, four-horned goat’s head.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

I’m glad you added this about the tree symbolism. See my reply in the God Pod.

Right, that was the message I was getting from WDMC – they are soulmates and all will be well. SIgh 🙂

  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: Blog About Films: Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

Nicole said Oct 16, 2008, 11:03 AM:

  This is a great blog, thanks for cross-posting it here.

The tree archetype is a powerful one, transcending many religions and thoughts including the Norse mythology with Odin on the tree. Guy Gavriel Kay used it in his The Fionavar Tapestry, especially in part one of  three parts: The Summer Tree (1984)



  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: Blog About Films: Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

Marmalade said Oct 16, 2008, 12:08 PM:

  I originally hadn’t thought about cross-posting it.  But I figured that since its about the supernatural/spiritual that maybe somebody in the God Pod might enjoy it.

If you like mythology about trees, then I’d think you’d love The Fountain.  As long as you can handle a bit of non-linear narration.  The whole movie revolves around two visual symbols: trees and tunnels.

I hadn’t heard of those books or the author.  Is he one of your favorite authors?  I do like the Arthurian mythology which the Wikipedia article says he draws upon.

  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: Blog About Films: Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

Nicole said Oct 16, 2008, 12:19 PM:

  Yes, he is one of my favourites. One of the books I have re-read many times by him is Tigana

I am looking forward to watching the Fountain. Thanks again for the reminder. Oh yes, I’m fine with non-linear.



  1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"  

Re: Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

1Vector3 said Oct 15, 2008, 7:55 PM:

  A fabuously rich and insightful addition here, Marmalade. Worth studying !!!

Does The Fisher King fit this pattern? I don’t remember it that well…..

Is that the one where he is a doctor of elderly? handicapped?  No, that was another Robin Williams role…..

Just trying to come up with other examples of the pattern…

Blessings, OM Bastet

  Marmalade : Gaia Explorer  

Re: Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

Marmalade said Oct 16, 2008, 1:35 AM:

  I’m sure Robin Williams has played a doctor role in more than one movie.  I’m not sure which one you’re thinking of.

There are probably other examples of the pattern.  But at the moment I can’t think of any.

Two of these movies (Altered States and The Fountain) are about mad scientist types.  The difference with The Fountain is that he is obsessed with science because of his love for his wife.  Altered States fits the more typical mad scientist.  There are plenty of movies about mad scientists.

The basic theme of these movies is the relationship (and conflict) between knowledge and love.  In MBTI terms, this mostly has to do with the functions of Thinking and Feeling… especially considering the gender angle.  So, going by that basic theme, many more similar movies could be included.


  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: Man the Seeker, Woman the Anima

Nicole said Oct 16, 2008, 12:27 PM:

  Robin Williams was also a doctor in Patch Adams

I didn’t see it, but I seem to remember it was very popular and well enjoyed at the time.



The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

Posted on Sep 14th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
The Dark Knight  

(My review is at the end.)  

Official Warner Bros. Dark Knight Website  

Wikipedia Dark Knight Movie Entry  

Rotten Tomatoes
95% rating  

9.1 out of 10 stars
#3 of the top 250 movies as rated by users  

Critics: 82 out of 100 rating
Users: 9 out of 10 rating  

Box Office Mojo
Users have given it the highest rating of any movie.
Widest release of any movie.
Largest opening weekend gross and largest total gross.  

Review from The New York Times  

Viral marketing  

History Channel Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight  

Interesting Blogs

The following blogs are from other blogging sites, but if you do a search you can find some blog reviews of this movie also here on Gaia.–loses-plot.html  

TV Tropes

This is the best site I’ve come across that analyzes the patterns found in various media.  

Frank Miller’s Comic Dark Knight

Here is an article that gives good background about Frank Miller’s comic that the movie was based upon.  This movie is part of a larger storyline.  

Cultural and Philosophical Origins of Batman

Here is a very interesting thesis titled The Mythic Symbols of Batman which describes the origins of Batman.  

Marmalade’s Review of Dark Knight  

The first thing that someone should know about this movie is that its for the most part a typical Hollywood action flick.  I’m not a big fan of action flicks and I strongly dislike certain aspects of this movie.  Some of the scenes are quite contrived and some of the characters are extremely stereotyped.  Nonetheless, its relatively speaking a very good movie for an action flick.  I must admit, though, I prefer the movie Batman Begins, but Dark Knight definitely would be my second favorite of the Batman movies.  

I’m a fan of Christian Bale.  His acting in Batman Begins made Batman real to me.  Previously, I always connected Batman to the cheesy tv show that I watched as a kid and the cheesy Batman movies that came before.  In Batman Begins, there was actual character development.  It finally made sense to me why a rich white guy would want to wear a funny costume and beat up criminals.  

Some prefer Heath Ledger’s portray of the Joker.  I admit it was entertaining, but I didn’t think it was all that great… not to speak ill of the dead.  Heath Ledger didn’t make the Joker seem real in the way that Christian Bale made Batman seem real.  Heath Ledger’s Joker was a stereotypical madman.  This Joker lacked subtle psychological nuance and lacked character development.  This Joker was intended to be more of an archetype than a character, but even as an archetype I was left unsatisfied.  Heath Ledger does seem to be a good actor, but I wouldn’t consider his acting in this case to be all that original.  His acting here seemed to be directly based off of David Tennant‘s portrayal of Barty Crouch Jr in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  The whole lip-licking thing became annoying after awhile.  To be fair, however, Heath Ledger was probably just playing the character according to script.  Comic book villains aren’t known for their depth and complexity.  

As for Batman, his character also had its annoying aspects.  It seemed rather far-fetched Batman’s unwillingness to kill anyone.  The Joker is willing to kill anyone and everyone, but Batman isn’t willing to kill the Joker even to save innocent lives.  Batman has highspeed chases through crowded city streets and sidewalks.  In real life, this would lead to the injury and death of large numbers of bystanders.  Anyways, I find these kind of action flick car chases rather boring and predictable.  

Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy the movie.  Its quality entertaiment and the portrayal of Gotham is interesting.  Most of all, I liked the themes and ideas of the movie.  Joker’s viewpoint of there being two types of people added an interesting context.  I appreciated the moral complexity of the film.  I very much prefer a comic book hero such as Batman over one such as Superman.  I’ve always been a fan of the tragic hero, and this movie adds a depth to the theme of the superhero’s split personality.  

Basically, if you like superhero movies, then you’ll like this movie.  Even if you don’t like most superhero movies, I’d still recommend this movie as its much better than the normal fare.  Also, this movie has a lot to say about where our culture is and how our culture views itself.  Heck, go see it just to find out what all the hype is about.

* This review can also be found on the Community Film Picks (zFilms) Group.  Here is the link to the thread:  9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight

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Nicole : wakingdreamer
about 6 hours later

Nicole said

well, you did it! :):)

Have you seen Hot Fuzz – not the kind of movie I’d normally watch, way too much violence but surprisingly funny at parts

It’s amazing to me that i found something I could enjoy with my 18 year old son who loves action movies and horror films…

I only mention it because it’s the only thing I’ve seen recently, besides Nim’s Island which I also watched yesterday because of my 11 year old daughter 🙂 . Jody Foster did well in it despite the many challenges the premise, script and supporting actor (Gerald Butler with accent issues lol) presented.

Marmalade : Gaia Child
about 13 hours later

Marmalade said

I did it… I waited to the last possible moment, but I did it.  I was really feeling reluctant.  Maybe it was the whole deadline thing that was killing my motivation.  I could have, of course, done more with analyzing the film.  I wrote down a bunch of thoughts about the movie, but I decided to leave most of them out and just give a simple overall review.  I had researched all those links several weeks ago and so I just needed to organize them.  It still took me a couple of hours.

Yeah, I’ve seen Hot Fuzz.  I enjoyed it.  It had a great plot twist.  Have you seen Shaun of the Dead?  It was written and directed by the same people.  That movie is a zombie movie and so isn’t lacking in violence, but heck they’re zombies afterall.  Its quite humorous.

I’m not all that interested in most action films and horror movies, but as long as the story and acting are good enough I don’t care what the genre is.  I don’t mind violence as long as its an integral part of the plot.  There are certain kinds of violence I can’t stand.  I dislike movies that glorify violence or dwell upon it without giving any deeper insight.  The violence in The Dark Knight was a bit gratuitous, but its to be expected from that kind of movie.

I hadn’t even heard of Nim’s Island before you mentioned it.  I doubt I’ll be watching it unless it happens to be on when I’m visiting my niece.

  Phaedrus : Jedi  

Re: 9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight

Phaedrus said Dec 26, 2008, 7:07 AM:

  First off, let me start with saying that I really enjoyed this movie.  Probably one of the most powerful sections of the movie occurs when the Joker is being held by the police and Batman is allowed to interrogate him; that scene makes a point that is often overlooked by many I think, and it’s a point that I’ve made in my classroom after watching that scene via YouTube. (If you haven’t seen the movie, then watch the clip if you’d like to know what I’m talking about.)

This scene is an amazing demonstrator of the futility of violence.  In spite of all of his prowess and skill, Batman’s tools are still limited; a fact pointed out and actively demonstrated by the Joker in this scene.  Joker is incredibly good at getting inside the Batman’s head, and pushing his buttons.  Finally, after realizing that intimidation and threats won’t work, the Batman resorts to violence, and the Joker takes great delight in pointing out that even that is ineffective, and finally gives in and tells the Batman what he wants to know, not because he is essentially tortured and/or intimidated into telling him, but simply because it furthers the Joker’s own end.  To me, this makes the movie more than a simple action flick, and deserving of one of the best scripts of 2008.

  Will : Divine Intention  

Re: 9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight

Will said Dec 26, 2008, 9:49 AM:

  …I loved the movie too…but one inconsistency that jumped out at me was…

…Joker was the quintesential Master of Caos that espoused the virtues of not having a plan…

…then I remembered the first scene where the bank heist was carried off with detailed planning …

…I’m thinking…hey who is talking out of both upturned corners of his mouth ?…

  1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"  

Re: 9/14/08 “OLD” — The Dark Knight

1Vector3 said Dec 26, 2008, 3:03 PM:

  Wow, Todd, thanks for pointing out those lessons !!!!

And Will, glad you brought that up; isn’t it SOP (standard operating procedure) for the DF to “talk out of both sides of their mouth?” Inconsistency is one of their tools. As I said elsewhere, lying, deceit and trickery are what we can EXPECT from them. Absolutely nothing is to be trusted, even their utterances of what we consider Truth will have some distortion, some dark under-energy, some nefarious goal.

Blessings, OM

Blade Runner: Rick Deckard

“I need you Deck. I need the old Blade Runner. I need your magic.”

: May I ask you a personal question?
Deckard: Sure.
Rachael: Have you ever retired a human by mistake?
Deckard: No.
Rachael: But in your position that is a risk.

Rick Deckard is based on the stereotype of the film noir detective.  He is a loner with old ties with the police, and is hired again by the police to be a replicant bounty hunter(blade runner).  Initially, he sees the world in simple terms, a man of action and not of thought.  When he had been a blade runner earlier in his life, replicants were less developed.  Now, they’re even starting to implant memories in replicants.  Such a replicant(Rachel) ends up playing the damsel-in-distress role to his hero.

The question of Deckard being a replicant has been asked many times.  Harrison Ford said that he and the director Ridley Scott had agreed before making the movie that Deckard wasn’t a replicant.  But Ridley Scott has said that Deckard is a replicant, and he says that Harrison Ford now accepts this about the character.  Nonetheless, when Harrison Ford was playing the role, he apparently was acting it as if he were human.

Maybe this confusion is fitting because Deckard himself can be read as being confused by his situation.  The evidence for his realizing he is a replicant has to do with his unicorn dream.

He has this dream shortly after his speaking with Rachel about her implanted memories.  Near the end of the movie, the detective Gaff leaves an origami unicorn at Deckard’s apartment.  This implies that Gaff knows Deckards innermost dreams and this could only be so if they were implanted.

Deckard’s apartment was created in the studio, using the block motif from the Ennis-Brown house. Quoting from Future Noir:

Continuing with Lawrence Paull’s notion that “every Blade Runner set was designed to generate an emotional aura,” the interior of Deckard’s apartment (whose number is 9732, and was erected on Stage 24A of The Burbank Studios) was built to reflect both the idea of Deckard’s bachelorhood and the enclosed, oppressive atmosphere of his manner of employment.

Deckard’s apartment was designed by Syd Mead. The set representing that apartment was composed of an entry hall, bathroom, bedroom, living, and dining room. To help select the apartment’s fixtures and furnishings, Lawrence Paull used an early 1980s book of futuristic illustrations, High Tech, as “an inspirational guide.”

From Wikipedia:

It has been suggested that Rick Deckard’s name may be a punnish reference to René Descartes, whose philosophical writings include several on the topic of what is and is not human, as well as the concept of the human body as a machine. This interpretation is reinforced by the reference to his famous statement “I think, therefore I am“, by the character Pris (to the robotics engineer/scientist J. F. Sebastian)[4]:

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Nicole : wakingdreamer

35 minutes later

Nicole said

My God! I never even realised that origami was a unicorn, and definitely not what it meant. I did suspect he was a replicant and that he doubted, while wanting to believe he was human. But I wonder how Harrison understood the unicorn origami, if he was being told that Deckard was human?

And I didn’t see the connection with Descartes but now it’s obvious. Cogito ergo sum. Wow.

So he was a replicant who was made to destroy replicants, while believing himself to be human. How sick is that? And at the same time, how absolutely true to life is it?

We believe we are different from others and so we despise and hurt. But we are all the same and need to nurture, protect and love each other.

Wow, Ben. This really hits me hard. I’m tearing up here.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 1 hour later

Marmalade said

There is much that can be gone into about this character.

The Descartes connection is the aspect that I would never have thought of on my own.  Eric G. Wilson mentions it in his books.  He writes about how Descartes believed humans were machines and souls at the same time, and that totally relates to Deckard’s job as a blade runner.  His job is to discern whether a humanoid has a soul or is simply a machine.

It does add a lot of depth to the movie when you accentuate the conflict Deckard has in his wondering if he is human.  Its downplayed in the movie.  Someone watching it as an action flick would never even notice it.  His being a replicant hunting replicants is sad, but the whole implanted memory thing is heart-wrenching.  The most emotional scene in the whole movie is when Rachel realizes that her childhood memories aren’t her own, that her whole life has been a lie.

The implanted memory idea is similar to the movie Dark City.  In that movie, aliens acting like gnostic archons are manipulating human memory in their attempt to discover the essence of humanity.  Of course, the Matrix movies also play around with that idea.

Anyways, the whole questioning of identity and reality goes back to Philip K. Dick.  Its interesting to consider Blade Runner in light of A Scanner Darkly where the main character is even more confused and questioning.  In both movies, there is also a theme of betrayal and manipulation as we spoke of earlier.  Deckard is being used by the authorities in the same way that Bob Arctor was.  Deckard thinks he is in control of his life, but he is just another pawn like Roy.

One very important detail is that Roy saves Deckard because he doesn’t beg for his life.  Its only after Deckard spits at him that Roy saves Deckard.  Roy was a soldier and respected someone who fought back.  That whole scene is so pivotal and so hard to understand.  Deckard’s character changes as he sees how Roy changes as Roy approaches his own death.  In some ways, Deckard takes the place of Roy.  His decision to try to save Rachel makes him a criminal who will be hunted down just as he once was the hunter.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 12 hours later

Marmalade said

The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film
Edited by Steven M. Sanders
“What Is It To Be Human? Blade Runner and Dark City”
By Deborah Knight and George McKnight

p.25: “Both Deckard and Murdoch must determine just which broacer schemes they are pawns in.”  “Deckard must reexamine his own identity when it ocurs to him that if he is a replicant, he may, like Roy and the other Nexus 6 moodels, have a very limited lifespan.  These narrative twists display the fatalistic element of film noir, where Deckard and Mrudoch must struggle to regain control over their circumstances.  Until they sort out the schemes they are each inadvertantly part of, neither Deckard nor Murdoch fully understands what he is caught up in or the potential consequences that lie in wait.  Only when they understand  these things can they take actioln to extricate themselves.  At the same time, both Deckard and Murdoch must discover who they are.”

The authors write about the events that relate to Deckard’s questioning his identity.  They mention the origami unicorn scene at the end, and they mention another scene which has to do with photographs.

The replicants have implanted memories, but they also have photographs that they’re given to work as memory devices, to make the memories seem more real.  Leon had returned to get his photographs but was unable because the police had already arrived there.  Leon knew his memories were false and yet he was still attached to the photos.  The authors mention how Deckard had examined Leon’s photos and he realizes one of his own family photos is identical.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 12 hours later

Nicole said

the more i think about all this, the more complex and troubling it becomes. wow, the parallels to Scanner are really strong…

i’m going to have to ponder the implications of him being a replicant some more

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 21 hours later

Marmalade said

In A Scanner Darkly, Bob Arctor is a drug addict narcing on drug addicts.
In Blade Runner, Rick Deckard is a replicant hunting replicants.

In both movies, Arctor and Deckard work for the police and it is the police that are manipulating them and withholding information.  Also, there are mega-corporations that are more powerful than the police, and these mega-corporations falsely present themselves as working for the good of society.

Both worlds are dystopias where normal human relationships have broken down.  For instance, neither movie presents an example of the modern ideal of the nuclear family.  All of the characters are presented as individuals with fleeting relationships with eachother.

Both characters have become isolated within themselves and yet want to connect with others.  But both need to first determine who they are as individuals.  Both question even if their memories are real.  Arctor remembers having had two little girls which he is told he didn’t, and Deckard wonders if any of his past is real.

Both Arctor and Deckard are prototypical PKD protagonists.  And both Donna and Rachel are prototypical PKD love interests.  Donna is deceiving Arctor about his identity and Rachel is antagonizing Deckard’s self-questioning.  In both relationships, the protagonist seems uncertain about the woman he is in relationship with.  Are Donna’s feelings for Arctor real?  Are Rachel’s gestures of intimacy genuine?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

i questioned Rachel’s love too… not sure whether it was the weak acting (am I too harsh? I was distinctly unimpressed by that actor) or the direction but she did not seem to be clearly in love with him.

And as you know I have doubts about Donna’s feeling for Arctor. I think she was too conflicted to love him, and as a woman I didn’t really see the telltales I would have expected. She was using him.

I was trying to discuss this with dailyplanit yesterday but he has not seen Blade Runner so he couldn’t compare… but he found your blog interesting, I think.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

I don’t know if it was weak acting, but the portrayal of the relationship between her character and Deckard was dissatisfying.  I wanted more focus on it in the story.  Instead, the focus was more on Deckard’s interactions with Roy… because, I suppose, the conflict was more straightforward and made for good action.  It is interesting that in both movies the love relationship is mostly on the side, important but not exactly central to the plot.

Another thing I just now was thinking about is that…
Roy is sorta the equivalent to Jim Barris(Robert Downey Jr.) and
J. F. Sebastian is kinda like Ernie Luckman(Woody Harrelson)

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

yes, very true about the focus… is that a more male approach? forgive me if i’m being judgmental but the feminine is usually to prioritise love and give it the central place, but the masculine is often, or so it seems to me, to refer to it as if it’s almost peripheral…

in a sense the love relationship is important, yes perhaps, but in both movies it’s so compromised as to call into question not only that love relationship but love itself – do we really love each other? the movies seem to me to ask. can we really love each other?

Marmalade : Gaia Child

7 days later

Marmalade said

I couldn’t tell ya if that is a more male approach, but it could be.  It could just be PKD showing through.  He had a very up and down relationship with the women folk.

When he was attracted to a woman, there was an absolute intensity that probably scared off many women.  This side of PKD isn’t being shown in these 2 movies.  Beyond the enfatuation stage, PKD did prioritize his work over women.  I’m sure that he at times felt a conflict between the two.  Also, he seems to have had a bit of a problem with first idealizing women and then demonizing them.  Women get a bit of the short shrift in much of his fiction… in particular the earlier books.

I’m going to have to consider this angle some more.  I think David Deida agrees that men prioritize work over women… and he says that is the way it is meant to be, how men are psychologically designed.  Deida goes so far as to say that most women prefer men who don’t make them their first priority.  What do you think?

And how would a woman tell a story about humans, androids, and love?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

8 days later

Nicole said

i do think men prioritise work over women – i observe that most women even very driven professional women like myself tend to prioritise love in terms of whether or not they feel successful, while men will look to their work to gauge success even if they are happy or unhappy in love. so it’s not just PKD and because Sci Fi as a genre is heavily male dominated in terms of authors and read mostly read by men and boys, it tends to be much more focussed on ideas, tech, action etc rather than the love relationships that appear more incidentally.

a woman would tell a story about humans androids and love with all the intricate relationships at the forefront. there would have been a lot more development of the two main love affairs, and probably more drawing out of the other more subtle relationships, more of a feeling of family between the replicants, etc

Vietnam War Movies of My Youth

I liked this review. I hadn’t thought about this movie in a long time. I remember watching it when I was younger.

It came out during the age when I was just beginning to comprehend the larger world. Movies about the Vietnam war had great influence on my young mind. Vietnam had a massive impact on our country even if the lessons weren’t learned, but the political aftermath of that war particularly shaped the collective attitude of GenXers. There is good reason we’re known as a cynical generation.

“In Country” was another movie about Vietnan veterans that I watched as a kid. It wasn’t as good of a movie, but it also had a strong impact on me.