Jul 25 2013

Pacific Rim was conflict on an intimately enormous scale


Pacific Rim is another of the many apocalyptic movies out this summer. I was intrigued by the science in this movie, but mostly I enjoyed the action and the wholesale destruction that makes this a summer blockbuster. Because Guillermo Del Toro directed the visual style is artistically interesting. Since Pacific Rim is a summer blockbuster and not Pan’s Labyrinth his themes aren’t too ponderous but I found a few to ponder nonetheless.

Much of the action takes place in Asia with obvious tributes to Japanese monster movies, especially Godzilla. The name, Kaiju is a reference to the stable of monsters from Japanese film. Del Toro says that Goya’s painting The Colossus and George Bellows‘ boxing paintings were also inspirations for the look of the film. There is an intimacy in boxing and wrestling that is not present in other types of combat. Their weapons are their own bodies. For me, this idea of internal, intimate engagement was the most intriguing theme. Continue reading

Nov 3 2012

Looper takes the journey through past, present, and future full circle


SPOILERS Looper is more than a stylish, time-travel thriller. It explores how the past affects the present and the present affects the future. Joe’s well-financed self-centered existence involves fast vehicles, drugs, impersonal sex, and the occasional murder of an anonymous bad guy from the future. In the movie mobsters 30 years in the future send their targets back to 2044, where those targets are killed by paid assassins called loopers. Joe eventually must decide whether or not to “close the loop” and kill his future self, who is sent back. Even before this confrontation Joe’s in-the-moment lifestyle is wearing thin and he is beginning to recognize the devastating effect his choices are having on his spirit.

Joe’s journey takes him out of the city where he meets farmer, Sara, and her troubled son Cid. Joe recognizes his desire for a real relationship, for family, for something deeper than a superficial life full of compromise and violence. Sara’s love for Cid arouses memories of Joe’s own mother and forces him to confront the choices and circumstances that led to his becoming a looper. Joe is faced with decisions about how much his past should inform his present, and the impact that his present decisions are having on his future. Looper also raises the question as to whether knowing the future makes any difference in present decision-making. Is present happiness worth sacrificing the future? Someone else’s future? Is future happiness worth compromising the present? Continue reading