His Dark Materials
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I would say that, perhaps, Joker is interesting and meaningful because of how direct and frank its story progresses. This film displays a venture through a rather tragic identity issue, one that results in an unfortunate outcome. Arthur Fleck is already a character with crippling problems and manages to finally find peace in his life, yet this peace is found through violence. Is that controversial enough? Fleck's identity is first established when he starts hurting people, killing people, and it's definitely an awful realization.
Joker is about society, and one of many people that suffer from it. To not be well-adjusted to the rules of society, as Fleck isn't, equates to becoming a social abomination and a rejected loner. With a message like this in Joker, it's not surprising that Fleck became Joker. After a lifetime of so many unfortunate events, this character finally finds peace and recognition through violence. Now, Fleck creates the unfortunate events for others.
So, Joker does have a very deep and interesting meaning, and that is why the movie succeeds. It's intense, captivating, and straightforward. The whole film works because all of the characters work. Fleck and all of his peers matter, and their roles bring richness to each other, while the film stays within the perception of Fleck. Every character is relative to Fleck, and his transformation to Joker means something because of that. Joker is about one specific person that struggles because of society, basically *all* of his peers. It's a film that fully crafts its own world, and it doesn't *have* to be seen as parallel to the real world, but that doesn't mean it is not. Joker matters, and I think it's effective. Therefore, I think it's really good.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is really bad. Now that that's out of the way, I can actually start the rest of this review.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers begins interestingly, with Jamie Lloyd imprisoned and giving birth in a strange, industrial, cult-like setting. This movie basically means nothing and it basically achieves nothing, unless that itself counts as an achievement. As the story of Curse progresses forward, it's very difficult to understand and increasingly less cohesive. No characters mean anything, not one of them. If forced to choose which character means most, it would have to be Michael because of his simplistic role to begin with. It's expected to be easy to give meaning to such a flat character that plays a role as a symbol of pure evil. However, Myers can't mean anything if his vulnerable victims don't mean anything, and they, in fact, don't mean anything.
It's unclear what the intended message to be communicated to the audience is in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. It's not necessarily just another film of the franchise that sends a message of survival, fear, evil, or trauma. It's definitely about a cult that "controls" Michael Myers and has an agenda. This agenda is never revealed, nor is it revealed how anything on screen makes sense. Nothing on screen makes sense. This movie is like a weird YouTube video made by kids, or something. It feels like it's obviously not deep, meaningful, or even understandable. No meaning is made from anything that happens, and it doesn't really even succeed at telling any story. It's definitely strange, gory, and has a dark atmosphere. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers just doesn't make any sense. It's funny.
Halloween II (1981) is a rather reductive continuance of Halloween (1978). Myers and Laurie are revealed as siblings, and this raises questions. The brilliance of Halloween (1978) is undoubtedly because of its ability to go extremely far with a simplistic idea, while never stretching its brilliant concept too far. Halloween II (1981) is a sequel that stretches the concept of Myers too far, to the point where it becomes more complex and much less brilliant. Both complex and simplistic stories can do well and beautifully succeed in their own way(s), objectively; however, only the simplicity of Halloween (1978) achieves greatness here, while the exceedingly complex story of Halloween II (1981) does not.
I would not refer to Halloween II as a "bad" film, but I might not fully disagree with another viewer that thinks it's sub-par, or less than decent overall. I think Halloween II passes for being entertaining, sometimes captivating, and occasionally interesting. In terms of deeper meanings or morals learned from this story, the audience is not given anything too much to think about from this sequel. Laurie, Michael, and Loomis might be the only characters of substance or any depth in Halloween II. The continued conflict with these three characters since the previous film is what makes Halloween II maintain and strengthen a portion of its predecessor's brilliant depth. Although some depth is strengthened, this depth is also forced into having a much smaller limit than it needed to. Halloween II may be a much more complex story than Halloween, yet the movie plays out as much less meaningful than Halloween. Halloween II somewhat works, but is far from achieving brilliance or even an obvious, great meaning for its existence.