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The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

(2012)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

It's no understatement that Christopher Nolan's final entry into "The Dark Knight Trilogy" was immensely anticipated. "Batman Begins" successfully provided the iconic characters to a respectable manner while capturing the idiosyncrasies, quintessential and thematics that are embedded within this cultural figure. Additionally, Nolan continued his diagnosis of the caped-crusader with "The Dark Knight"; a comic-book adaption that accumulated integrity, a balance of moral distinctions; the first superhero film ground through a sense of reality, morbid atmosphere; and a film that has been embedded within pop-culture - contributed greatly by the late Heath Ledger. So, as previously stated, the anticipation for Nolan's final entry was unparalleled. After six months after its release, whether the film is considered 'great' or not is purely subjective and is a subject that is likely to be contentious. Basically there are people who love it, and obviously ones that depose it. Personally, "The Dark Knight Rises" is an ultimate success; a film that may not compare to its predecessor, but nevertheless accomplishes its sole purpose: a final entry that is grandeur, monumental and concludes Batman's and Bruce Wanye's story in equal measure. However, while the film succeeds on many fronts, there are glaring flaws: plot elements (not plot holes) that have evidently been rushed; sloppy sound-mixing - the score quite frequently engulfs the dialogue - characters that are brilliantly fleshed out, but at times seem superfluous; and dialogue that seems stage-bound. Like most final segments, Batman's finale contains an accumulation of notions, various sub-plots and too many characters. Nevertheless, Nolan juggles the various elements to present - at times messy but also attempting to be cohesive - a conclusion that succeeds on producing the big moments, but failing on the subtle ones.

The plot picks up eight years after the events of Harvey Dent's death. Gotham's climate has shifted from the reigning chaos of the Joker, to a time of peace and solace. After Batman took the fall for Dent's crime, he has been branded a criminal, which in turn sends Bruce Wayne to a reclusive status. When the evasive Selena Kyle comes out to play with accompany of a new mercenary, Bane. The people of Gotham must to turn to the man they once branded a criminal: The Batman.

While the plot may seem relatively simply, Nolan's ability as a story-teller allows it sprawl (similar to a novelistic technique) with continuous bends, turns and the demanding of the viewers attention - as previously stated, there are many characters that contribute to the plots perpetual motion. In regards to this train-of-thought, Nolan adopted the pacing of 'The Snowball-effect.' A technique used for a film to continuously gain momentum, upon momentum to the inevitable climax (think "North by Northwest"). The use of such an effect come with its merits, and its pitfalls. The first hour and a half fly's at brisk pace; action after action sequences with dosages on the relations between Bruce and Alfred within a substantial measure. However, with Nolan continually attempting to gain this perpetual momentum, many plot elements are rushed: John Blake's discovery of Batman's identity is paper thin, along with Bruce's return to Gotham; and within the space of 5 minutes, the time duration goes from twenty-three days to fourteen hours. And while this effect builds to a sensational climax, there are many subtle moments that you wish were taken with that extra care of delicacy.

As with adopting such a pace and aiming for them 'monumental moments,' the atmosphere and mood of "The Dark Knight Rises" tends to lend to the fantastical elements used within "Batman Begins" rather than the gritty realism of "The Dark Knight"; in fact, Nolan's latest entry could well be his most fantastical (comic-boo-key). Consider the various elements: there's the "The Bat," a new-toy from applied sciences which provides Batman with the ol' air-support; then there's the central mechanical antagonist - No, not Bane - a ticking time-bomb (obviously influenced from Nolan's love of "James Bond." Looking at you "Goldfinger"). And it's obvious that the action sequences have been given that extra little bit of juice for a grandeur outcome. Thankfully - and despite striding for such heights - Nolan doesn't substitute the authentic realism of his action sequences for the use of CGI. For example, the introduction is simply breathtaking. Watching Bane - with the introduction of his sinister voice - hijack a plane with the accompany of real props and searing Imax shots is an entity to behold. Furthermore, the climax consist of hundreds of extras with various vehicles engaging in a battle for Gotham's soul that turns the city in a full-blown battle-field. Nolan's craftsmanship towards the film's thrills evokes the aesthetic principles used within the classic studio-era blockbusters.

Despite its focus on action, "The Dark Knight Rises" still contains emotional resonance. At its core, the films sole focus is to conclude Batman and Bruce's story. Similar to the source material and after the events of Rachael; Bruce has become a recluse. His mansion has become a substitute for society, and ultimately, his tale is quite tragic. Living in a world that has rejected his sole purpose and burden, his passion and desires ultimately led to his downfall; continually rejecting Alfred's (Caine) advice, Bruce once again dons the cape and attempts to overt his ideals of liberty, autonomy, and bravery in a world that is obviously oppressed by evil. However, after being defeated by the juggernaut Bane, Nolan takes us back to where it all began, and takes us to a question that his father made him address "Why do we fall?" - as "Hell on earth" functions as a metaphor for Bruce's reemergence with the internal notion that began his crusade: fear.

With Bruce being a central figure (more than actual Batman), Bale provides his best performance yet as the old-crippled Bruce (especially the sequences within 'The Pit'). Besides Bale, the rest of essential Gotham are back; Freeman as Fox and Oldman as Gordon both provide substantial performances. However, above everyone, Michael Caine's efforts as Alfred are truly memorable. Two sequences come to mind that are profoundly melancholic and poignant. And of course there are the new-comers: Tom Hardy as Bane and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle.

Subjectively, if there is one entity that Nolan has perfected within these films, it's the villain - not only as an antagonist for Batman's actions, but rather a menace to societies hypocrisy. All motivated by ideological purposes: Ra's (Neeson) beliefs with destroying certain decaying societies for the next movements within western civilizations; Joker's (Ledger) nihilistic qualities that challenged the moralistic pillars established by the so-called 'Good-doers' of Gotham; and now there is Bane. And while he is motivated (well, initially) by a certain belief that reflects a Marxist extremist, he's a villain that contains eccentric attitudes within comparison to Batman's previous villains: physicality over mentality. With the accompany of some brilliant low-angle shots and Hardy's physical transformation, Bane's physicality is profoundly felt with each appearance. Furthermore, such a villain - a brute force - can drag the characters essential qualities to generic notions (Let's face it, many antagonist that are characterized with such fundamentals are influenced from some of cinema's most generic villains). Fortunately, and thanks to Tom Hardy's acting ability, Bane is provided with seminal actions (purely subjective and a extremely contentious subject), such as Hardy's accent (which is wholly welcomed). A voice that captures the classy, sardonic, sinister capabilities and humanized abilities in various (and interesting) ways. Basically, well it seems, Hardy can convey more emotion that most Hollywood actors with 80% of his face covered. Unfortunately, Anne Hathaway's performance works to an extent; her actual embodiment of the characters quintessentials are pitch perfect; encapsulating the desirable, evasiveness, sexiness and the Femme fatal qualities. However, overall her addition seems superfluous to the plot, and while she does to a degree represent the scathing thematic of social classes and functions as the catalyst to Bruce's happiness; her purpose is simply not fleshed-out enough.

Once again, "The Dark Knight Rises"is another Batman film that succeeds on most technical fronts. Wally Pfister's cinematography is richly beautiful; a montage of various Imax shots that are simply jaw-dropping to witness in Imax. In particular 'The Football' sequence and the vast cliff-dropping shots of Wall-Street. Additionally, the elegant grace of Gotham covered with the Snow-palette is a beautiful metaphor of entrapment. Once again Hans Zimmer score is monumental; basically functioning as another character, providing the morbid emotion, the anarchy of base, and at-times the continual lifting inspiration of liberty against evil. However, as previously stated, the sound-mixing is often sloppy - Bane's voice at times is difficult to understand (thank-god for subtitles), and when the characters engage in a minimalistic tone, Simmer's score often engulfs it.

Usually - especially within the superhero genre - I have established such an emotional investment within these characters that I love and care about, the third entry usually leaves me with bittersweet disappointment. Whether it be "The X-men series," "The Spiderman Trilogy" or "The Matrix"; each fail within their final entries. Thankfully I don't have to situate "The Dark Knight Rises" under the previously mentioned categories. A final entry that ultimately succeeds on many fronts, but still contains various flaws. But all in all, Nolan's final entry full-fills his motivations: a conclusion with monumental elements, while concluding Bruce Wayne and Batman's story in equal measure with an ending that leaves us wanting more. And while Nolan will not return, if every wants to, it will be immensely welcomed.

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer

(2009)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"This isn't a love story, but a story about love." A quote from the ominous narrator that begins Marc Webb's refreshing and eccentric perception on the-now-generic Rom-Com sub-genre. Presenting a film that doesn't let itself be degraded by the popular clichés, but rather encapsulates the mythologies of the generic love story and rips it apart to present - most importantly - a refreshing, realistic and predominate tale of love.

The narrative follows two conflicting beliefs: first, we have the young Tom (Levitt) who believes in the generic notions of love. Secondly, we have Summer (Deschanel), a young woman who rejects the generic notions and claims that 'true love' does not exist. As you could imagine, Tom is the one who falls for Summer, and through their straining beliefs, both are perpetuated into a field of emotion. Upon immediate appearance, it's quite obvious to gather that "500 Days of Summer" is your above-average effort within the repetitive genre. Thankfully, through the films introduction (not mention Tom's hilarious/depressing state), there seems to be no genre blue-print; no archetypal state, but rather an innovative, and impressive aesthetics appreciation towards the films narrative structure - Within a non-linear structure, we are presented with a film that is told through the past, present and future (without losing itself within the middle).

As the story progresses, Tom and Summer divine interests come together at the workplace (A substantial card factory, and you know what they about work-based relations). It's quite impressive to watch a romance that attempts to accumulate plot elements that never seem superfluous, but rather contain meaning - and dare I say metaphorical resonance? Yes, this is what Webb's film has achieved. For instance, consider the previous mentioned workplace where the two central characters meet. In most Rom-Com's (well contemporary ones anyway), the natural or urbanized landscapes and activities that are performed in these locations are simply locations for the back-drop of the characters. However, in "500," the work-place contributes to characters central ideologies: Being a card-factory, it's obvious that Tom's notions of love have been contributed from the perceptions of Pop-culture, - the ideas of faith and 'Soul Mates' - while Summer's perception on love are grounded in realistic fashion rather than influenced by the clichés. As for my previous statement of " metaphorical resonance," Webb's efforts and Tom's job function as metaphor for all the love cliches that society continually absorbs (along with Tom's heartbreaking speech) and "500" stands as and realistic triumphant over the cliché ridden bull-shit.

As stated, with these two separate characters sharing different and various traits towards the notions of love, "500" creates a profound, brilliant and continuous juxtaposition between two separate perceptions of love: the idealistic and the realistic. For example, consider a sequence that occurs later on in the film after Summer and Tom have separated. After countless efforts at winning Summer back, Tom becomes a recluse; a life riddled with depression. Finally, Summer invites Tom to get-together at her new apartment, to which Tom assumes that the situation is the perfect opportunity to regain the love that Summer once shared. Upon Tom's arrival, the current frame is split into two separate parallel sequences (think any Tarantino film), one projecting a perception of reality, the other viewing idealistic
expectations. A juxtapositions that brilliantly captures a moment that contains internal resonance: hoping, and hoping greatly - with the accompany of divine intervention that seems to be contained in most Rom-Com's - that the women that you once loved ('Love' may be an abstract entity, but everyone has engaged with it, whatever the actual entity may be) will miraculously return to the comforts of your arms. But they don't and they won't, because Reality, or the eventuality of Reality will always win. Dare I say: many of the innovative techniques used within "500" evoke Woody Allen aesthetics.

Additionally, with containing as much style as substance, "500" displays the epitome of how execute direct homages. Namely, the use of "The Graduate" and Ingram Bergman to express Webb's thematics. Thankfully, Webb's homages do not only function as a gimmick or an expresses use of displaying the directors cinema-pedia, but further fuel and enhancement to characters internal perspectives and emotions. Consider the various scenes: Tom and Summer's are watching "The Graduate" in the theaters. Upon finishing and similar to the films ending, Summer is left in a melancholic state. Following in similar sweeps to "The Graduate" conclusion - as the film finale identified if the abstract emotions of love where worth to purse - Summer obviously identifies and shares a similar emotional state; she's realizes whatever her and Tom shared (with Tom still containing genuine emotion), has most certaintly became redundant for her. Secondly, the other homage consist of the great Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal." A film that deals with notions that revolve around poignancy, great depression and the entity that all humans fear: death. While the notions of death may be an extremity, the films homage purpose still serves as an appropriate comparison to Tom's internal state.

Personally, the reason I regard "500" with such pride is because (subjectively) it captures the essence of the abstract notions that revolve around 'love.' A notion that has gained its existence through many artificial methods. Within Tom and Summer's final conversation, they highlight the evasiveness of love and it's unpredictably motives - which contemporary romances rarely achieve. Finally a Rom-Com that depicts love with a funny, but most importantly realistic fashion through its off-beat environment.

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

(2012)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I guess the most satisfying aspect gained after finishing "The Amazing Spiderman," is that while spidey's latest adventure takes advantage of the familiar pillars established within Raimi's efforts, as a sole effort, the future of this beloved iconic character seems to contain a future that is worth revisiting. As you could gather from my sentence - and with being a reboot after only five years - the previous "Spiderman" and the contemporary one are obviously going to draw parallels. Thankfully, Marvel's latest efforts stick to the essential qualities of a Spiderman story: a plot that is fueled by emotional resonance and the troubles of being in your adolescence than the the generic accumulation of various action scenes. And in this regard, the emotional concepts are contributed marvelously (yes, pun intended) from the leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

As stated, whether you were a fan of the Raimi's previous trilogy or not, you'll notice many similarities and many subtle differences. Basically, a similar plot unfolds: we have Peter Parker, troubled and bullied teenager at school; then we have the archetypal 'radio-active spider-bite'; and then the Dr. Curt Connors who is incarnated into "The Lizard." And while the marketing suggested that the plot would contain an eccentric route that would focus on Peter's parents, the suggested element merely functions as a sub-plot and is obviously left for further investigation within the inevitable sequel. Despite such similarities, the various approaches to the characteristics of Peter Parker are evidently different. While Maguire contained an uncanny ability at capturing - quite effortlessly - the sense of innocence that inhabits the young teenage hero, he seemed have difficulties with other attributes; like the arrogant, smart-alec and naïve nature that parallels to the innocence (quite evident in "Spiderman 3"). This is where Garfield interpretation soars, a performance that creates the perfect balance of the essentials: emotional,arrogant and devilsh-humour in equal measure.

Emma Stone's efforts also deserve praise. An woman that has a pretty face but still contains an incredibly ability as an actor; she embodies the character of Gwen Stacey with expertly fashion. Conveying a character that demands attention rather than being constructed for the superfluous notions of 'Eye Candy'. Once again in comparison with Raimi's (which I do not want to degrade because I am quite fond of them), there's no denying Emma Stone's "Gwen Stacy" excels over Kirsten Dunst "Mary Jane."

Yes, there is also plenty of action sequences and some quite captivating set pieces. The battle between antagonist and protagonist within the High School (with, quite probable, Stan Lee's best cameo yet). However - thankfully - Webb has, in a sense, placed action sequences as an secondary importance; a concept that evidently works, as the entertainment aspects do not stem from the impressive action sequences, but rather the connecting chemistry shared between Garfield and Stone.

Webb has not necessarily created a film that doesn't seem completely superfluous, but nevertheless, it's still a Blockbuster were, as the audience, we share some quantities of emotion within the characters; and that - especially in this day-and-age - is an achievement within itself.

Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain

(1952)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

If you were situated within a position to describe "Singin' in the Rain" as minimalistic as possible, your answer would consist of the various adjectives: Magical, Spell-bounding, Elegant and Graceful. The reason for such a answer is due to the the glowing flamboyance and exhilarating energy that is on display; an essential entity that use to be within the Hollywood classics but is evidently lost within the majority of modern movies. Co-directed by Stanley Doden and the wondrous/hypnotizing dance choreographer Gene Kelly, "Singin' in the Rain" was a towering success on its release; a musical that functioned as the epitome at displaying an accumulation of essential elements of the mass audiences most cherished aspects; ranging from laughter, emotions, musical numbers with the accompany of a number of extravagant dance sequences that evoked a level of Chaplin's spellbinding comic efforts. Judging from these various elements, it's obvious why the film is considered a masterpiece within the musical genre: a monumental example of the organic nature that the musical displays; characters continually and beautiful expressing their emotions through the notions of singing and dancing with such energetic movements that it's quite impossible not to watch without having a big goofy smile on your face. Furthermore, it's not only considered a masterpiece within the musical genre, but rather in the broader context of the cinematic universe. With a current 10* ranking on the AFI list 100 years....100 movies, and while there are the minority - thank god only the minority - that question why does a musical hold such towering status against the likes of "Citizen Kane" or "Vertigo." Well, yes it doesn't consist of such lofty thematics as the previous mentioned masterpieces, but it does contain an entity that many, many films lack: Fun.

The story follows Don Lockwood (Kelly) and Cosmo Brown (O'Connor) rise to fame in Hollywood. They begin their careers together through performing duet musical numbers. After numerous attempts, Lockwood finally finds his big break as a stuntman (through a number of hilarious sequences). Eventually, Lockwood becomes a star along with Cosmo and the pretentious Lina Lamont (Hagen). However, trouble strikes as motion pictures begin to transits from silent films to the era of the 'talkies.' While struggling with such changes, Lockwood finds solace and love within Kathy Selden (Reynolds).

"Singin' in the Rain" offers a lighthearted portrait of Hollywood within the 1927's. Riddled with humorous tongue-and-cheek against a slight satirizing innuendo towards the artificial and superficiality nature that surrounds the Hollywood Star (don't worry we don't go into Sunset Boulevard territory, but it does draw parallels). Nevertheless, Tinsel town depiction is simply mesmerizing. The wondrous town contains flamboyance with the accompany of some truly spontaneous characters that makes for a beautiful journey, and while the journey is pure escapism, it's an invitation that's impossible to neglect.

No matter how idealistic Lockwood's life may seem, he cannot tolerate the relations he shares with the superficial, but the undeniably hilarious Lamont - their 'love' or 'relations' simply function as a community for the tabloids. After the premiere of Lockwood's most recent film - with the accompany of Lamont's irritating nature and his vexatious fans - the perplexed star looks for a place of solace. Exasperated, Lockwood comfortable and spontaneous hops, climbs and scatters over the various moving vehicles that eventuate within him meeting the love interest, Kathy (Reynolds.)

The choice of Debbie Reynolds as the femininity lead contains quite the peculiar history. Initially a gymnast before a genuine dancer (let alone an actor), Reynolds time behind production was a sense of hard-ship to say the least. Initially mocked by Kelly himself for her lack of dancing experience, and suffered to point of crying; studio worker Fred Astaire would eventually agree to help Reynolds against her subordinate methods. In later years, Reynolds would comment that "Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life." Surprisingly, - with all hiccups aside - Reynolds' performance as the emerging star is manifested with glowing elegancy and grace. From her beautiful smile to her illuminating eyes, Reynolds evokes a sense of beauty that parallels with likes of other 50's star Grace Kelly. Additionally, O'Connor's dancing ability and comic genius is simply astonishing. For instance, his musical number "Make 'Em Laugh" culminates in a numerous set of impressive back-flips of the bare walls without the use of wires - now that's talent folks. A sequence that contains (as do many more) a sense of dextrous ability and flamboyant energy that is unsurpassed within the musical genre.

As Lockwood's successes continue, the inevitable occurs, the introduction of the 'Talkie.' With "The Jazz Singer" popular success, R.F Simpson's (Mitchell) studio is sent into a frenzy, urgently pursuing Lockwood's next film to be a 'Talkie.' As previously stated, the film does display parallels with Wilder's masterpiece 'Sunset Boulevard.' However, rather than displaying the transition of the silents to the talkies in melancholic fashion, Kelly and the crew exploit the difficulties for some of their most hilarious gags. Such gags include the frustrated Roscoe Dexter (Fowley) hilarious attempts at capturing Lamont's voice into the microphone, the switching of Lamont's and the antagonist aural presentation at the films premiere, and Lamont's ridiculous pronunciation - "Can'ttttttt."

Furthermore, despite the obvious illumination to the difficulties that film-makers sustained during this grandeur transition, "Singing in the Rain" evidently wants to display the magical commodities that Hollywood offers. Through a brilliant sequence, Kelly displays Tinsel towns magical, dextrous and fantastical ability: using various stage props, Kelly creates an idealistic landscape to overt his love to Kathy. It's an enchantingly sequence that evokes the artificial escapism that celluloid craftsmanship can offer.

And of course there is Gene Kelly. Man, what a performance and what a Icon. His two most memorable dance numbers are an entity to behold: the iconic sequence of Kelly striding through the drowned streets with the accompany of the encapsulating tune "Singin' in the Rain," while Kelly dances, jumps and splashes in one exhilarating and perpetual momentum (with minimal use of editing, but rather tracking shots). A beautiful sequence that captures the essential nature and purpose of the film: delectation. Secondly, "Broadway Melody Ballet" is another sequence that consist of Kelly exuberantly dancing through a 'visualized' dream sequence (which contains loads of extras). Simultaneously a passage that displays Kelly's dextrous ability while providing some truly enchantingly visual imagery, e.g, the moments when Kelly is dancing with a sense grace through the thin, but evidently elegant clothing material. Truly magical.

Ironically, after finishing my first viewing of "Singin' in the Rain," it concluded on a melancholic note (not the actual film but rather a subjective emotion), as there simply isn't a sense of energy and flamboyance like this founded within modern films; I do realize that there is still modern musicals being made, but simply none compare to this, and that is why this film will remain an encapsulating masterpiece. It contains such exuberance, heart, emotion and laughter, that it will never fail to put a smile on your face.

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey

(1968)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Within my previous review (if you are familiar with it), you'll notice that my previous diagnosis of "2001: A Space Odyssey," is relatively short. A review that barely scratches the surface of its stirring secrets, anonymous mysteries and its unquantified imagination. My opinions are obviously not valid and purely subjective, but over the course of my years as a cinephile, I haven't interpreted a film with such profound effect like "2001." My first experience still contains resonance: Sitting in my lounge room, surround sound, slow but ultimately dextrous and hypnotizing pace, and left within a perplexing and bewildering state upon the films ambiguous ending - Yes, I knew upon soon as I had finished, that this film would require repetitive viewings. Ultimately, I have to thank "2001" for its internal power; a film that was solely responsible for illuminating the possibilities of production values while containing the ability of expressing, thematically and philosophically, views on such a grandeur scale.

Similar to most of Kubrick's films, "2001" was annihilated on its initial release. One critic classifying Kubrick's efforts as "a monumental bore." Besides finding a connection with adolescence (who watched the film frequently with the accompany of marijuana), Kubrick Sci-Fi was lauded. However, the steeped irony of all Kubrick efforts is that, like "2001," many of his films, while disgraced on their release, have evolved in the future generations as classics. The probable reason that "2001" suffered on its initial release is that its final presentation contained such a level authenticity, that cinema-goers were left extremely perplexed; a monumental leap that was light-years ahead of its time; it defied a genre (the Sci-Fi genre usually contained the aesthetics of exploitation B-Movies); used the notions of the mysterious infinite to break the boundaries of imagination; displayed the insignificance of humanity to the anonymous divine; and contained an overt vision of space with a wholly realistic atmosphere. With a run-time of only 140 minutes - and with such lofty themes - it's quite amazing that Kubrick was able to cover a narrative structure - divided into four acts - that basically creates a subjective hypothesis and map of human existence.

Shortly after finishing the audacious "Dr. Strangelove," one thing was ultimately certain about the fearless director: the man contained an imagination unparalleled with. To no surprise, Kubrick become fascinated by the notions of extraterrestrial life (what better way to let your imagination run-wild within the untapped universe of the infinite?). Fixated on making "The proverbial good science fiction movie," Kubrick met with Sci-Fi author Arthur C. Clarke, to which he described as "a recluse, a nut who lives in a tree." Eventually, they met through a mutual acquittance that worked at the studio, and upon their first meeting they would engage on project that would take the next four years of their lives.

Kubrick begins his magnum opus with the first chapter: "The Dawn Of Man." Beginning with a Darwinist approach, Kubrick details genesis' civilization. Accompanied by beautifully shots detailing a natural landscape inhabited by Apes. Similar to various sequences throughout, Kubrick's direction and atmosphere is evidently subtle; with the applications of 'Silent Films' aesthetics, for the first 40-minutes, the auteur allows his narrative to unfold visually rather than verbally. Ultimately, the overall attenuated atmosphere and attention to bantam details forms an emergence of cinematic technicality and documentary presentation; a beautiful example of "Pure Cinema." As the passage continuous, the Apes actions are obviously still primitive; they are subordinate within comparison to the other Apes and miserably fail at defending their area, all due to their inferiority. Banished from their previous position, the Apes wake to a strange Black-facade-God-like-statue (with the accompany of a truly shattering score). The following day - the Monolith has now Vanished - one Ape begins to dismantle decaying skeletons in the vast terrain with the use of a bone. Perplexed, the Ape realizes that the bone could serve as a commodity for physical defense, to which he proves by killing the supposed superior Apes. Conclusively in the opening passage, Kubrick's thematics and personal beliefs accumulate for an audacious statement: the Monolith is symbolically situated with the connotations of a divine teacher, a God like figure if you will, and this teacher is a catalyst for these primitive creatures intelligence - the provider of civilizations first weapon.

Victorious, the Ape lodges the bone of out his palm and into the air with Kubrick following the bones transaction elegantly. Upon its return to earth, the sequence switches from a Bone to a spacecraft in the year "2001." A monumental editing sequence in its own right, but even more granduer as a monumental statement. In one shot, Kubrick transcends a four million spatial span, and with a juxtapostion of weapons (Bone to Spacecraft), Kubrick is suggesting the minimalistic differences over the course of humanity and that our motivations haven't changed from the beginnings of our intelligence. The human race is still manufacturing weapons for the purpose of power, the only difference is that our technological skills have dramatically improved.

The next segment is dubbed "TMA-1" and begins with an assemblage of various Spaceships gracefully orbiting with the accompany of classical music. As stated from the director himslef, the music chosen for "2001" would be vital to the films resonant atmosphere, and as I previously stated, Kubrick's most certainly gained inspiration from the aesthetics of 'Silent Cinema,' as his comments concur "he wanted the film to be a primarily non-verbal experience." Initially, Kubrick hired Alex North for an actual score, but Kubrick being as meticulous as he is, choose the triumphant melodies of classical music, most notably Johann Strauss II's waltz, "An der schönen blauen Donau." Triumphantly displayed within this chapter, and with the accompany of his visceral vision of space with the emergence of Strauss delicate waltz, Kubrick's aesthetics are astonishing; the following passage contains the presentation of a breathing painting, moving with profound elegancy and flamboyance. Furthermore, the special effects still contain contemporary resonance. As previously stated, Kubrick was extremely meticulous and one of his sole motivations for such a movie was to create a realistic projection of space. So as you could imagine, his final projection of the ships would most certainty have to replicate the real prototypes. Obviously, Kubrick most certainty succeeded with the richly detailed Spaceships that he provides. Eventually we meet our first humanistic character: Dr Heywood R. Floyd (Sylvester). Really only serving as the catalyst to the plot, Dr. Floyd is assigned to investigate a mysterious object that he has been assigned to investigate on another planet. Once Floyd arrives, himself and his teammates discover the Monolith as it begins to instigate a piercing sound-wave.

In the third chapter "Jupiter Mission" the audience finally gain their protagonists, Dr. David Bowman (Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Lockwood). Both have just wakened from hyper-sleep and begin engaging daily rituals to form a social routine (accompanied by some brilliant innovative shots that reflect a perpetual rotating motion within the interior of the ship). However (and more importantly), we are introduced to humanity most recent technological development: HAL 9000 - Artificial Intelligence. The most interesting aspect within this accumulation of characterss is Kubrick's humanity paradox, as we begin to gain the various traits of the central characters, HAL - with being simply a red dot within the wall - is the one that seems to contain the most humanistic characteristics and genuine emotion. Where Scott's "Blade Runner" would obviously gain inspiration from, Kubrick's view on humanity and technology displays an irony and a paradox: the irony is that (like the faith of Poole) the entities that we consider as our greatest achievements ultimately lead to a greatest downfall. And the paradox, well, the further humanity race delve into the extremities of technology, we are slowly losing the essential humanistic emotions by developing them in other forms of Artificial life - obviously displayed through the juxtaposition of Bowman and HAL.

Eventually, HAL detects a problem with the ships mechanical functions. To rectify such set-backs, Poole attempts to fix the exterior of the Spacecraft. Through this passage, Kubrick evidently displays his meticulous style. While the sequence is undeniably slow, the attention to detail is astonishing - Kubrick continually interplays between Poole breathing within the interior of his suit to the eerie silences of the cosmic atmosphere. As stated, it is sequences like these that give "2001" that realistic documentary environment. After their investigations, Bowman and Poole realize that there Artificial acquittance is wrong, and quirky enough, a battle of wits and mysterious emotions begins between the humans and technology. However, despite these growing problems, Bowman and Poole continue to the nonfunctional component, with HAL watching all the way. As Poole slowly descends upon his destination, the pod sinisterly begins to move on Poole's position to which Kubrick switches to a three-way interval edit-zoom while simultaneously we see Poole fly lifeless into the depths of space. Dealing with such a passive character (let's face it, he is just a red dot in the wall after all), it's quite astonishing the amount of life Kubrick is able to bring a character that contains very few characteristics: from his questioning of genuine emotions; from his lip-reading which obviously identifies that he is conscious of human deceit; and the final edit sequence previously mentioned, HAL is really a robotic character like no other. Similar to "Psycho," but also in completely different proportions and with HAL assuming the role as the antagonist, Kubrick ultimately leaves us to sympathize with the most recluse (in terms of humanistic) character. And HAL's electronic disposal hits like a poignant jack-hammer as Bowman proceeds in dissembling his functions in a apathetic manner while HAL pleads for humanity by singing "Daisy Bell." Truly melancholic. Through this process, Bowman learns the true nature of his mission: the capture of the Monolith.

Bowman proceeds in mission and eventually engages with the dark entity, and what follows is undeniably perplexing, transcendental, ambiguous, audacious and simply breathtaking. Upon his engagement, Bowman is shot through the"Star-Gate": an accumulation of a range of dazzling, flamboyant special effects and futuristic landscapes that suggest a transcending moment of space and time to another dimension. Eventually, Bowman finds himself within the interior of a lounge room. Slowly we watch Bowman travel through the various stages of his life; eventuating and descending to his death, Bowman is reborn as the "Star-Child" and is perpetuated gracefully over the inferior earth. Perplexing to say the least, Kubrick's conclusion to his monumental efforts is riddled with ambiguity; offering multiple interpretations that would be wholly acceptable. So within this case (and if you disagree that's fine), my perceptions are purely subjective. Ultimately, within this ending, "2001" thematically and wholesomely comes full circle. The projection of Star-Child is the signalization for the 'new'; the redefined species, the next step of civilization. From the genesis' of man, "2001" details the relevance of humans inferiority under the prowess power of the Monolith, and the year "2001" is a manifestation of humanities intelligence; we, as the human race have reached our capacity and the "Star-Child" is the next step within our evolution. Using this train-of-thought, the room that Bowman is situated in could be well argued to represent a laboratory (for the aliens); an area for them to utilize their capabilities on subordinate humans.

As previously noted, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is the epitome of the boundaries and profound effect that the cinema can contain. An authentic experience within its power of conveying such monumental thematics to a transcendental state. "2001" was not only an experience that made me question the concepts of my own beliefs, it provided one for me: there are most certainly outer beings within the depths of the unknown, and if we ever share contact with them, we are most certainty going to be primitive to their superiority. Riddled with sheer philosophical power, "2001" is not only a film you must see, but rather believe.

The definition of a masterpiece.

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Intel Hollywood Star Program (July 2012 - December 2012)
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