Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Life Aquatic

Wes Anderson creates a bizarre, cerulean world in which the characters are as unrealistic as the film itself. After losing his best friend, Esteban du Plantier, to an unidentified creature conned as a "Jaguar Shark", Steve Zissou is adamant to see to the creatures destruction. Bill Murray plays the part of Steve Zissou to be two-dimensional, yet at the same time essentric, often showing him to be contraversial, or even crazy as he requests for dynamite to aid in the annihilation of the Jaguar Shark. 

It is interesting to see the characters develop through the film as Ned Plimpton, later on referred to as Kingsley (Ned) Zissou, is under the impression that Steve is his biological father and offers to finance the new film with his inheritance. This leads to Klaus Daimler, another member of the crew portrayed by Willem Dafoe having a rather humorous dispute with the said Ned Plimpton which is perhaps the only time I cracked a smile at this film. 

The plot thickens and becomes more intense after the first part and the playful nature of the film is abolished in order for the emotional and complex themes to be shown. From the perspective of someone who is perhaps younger than the target demographic for this film I thought it was too unrealistic to captivate me and for me to relate to the characters. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

House of Flying Daggers

I watched the film House of Flying Daggers not long ago and to my surprise I rather enjoyed it. I’m not sure if it was the vivid colours and patterns involved in the costumes and setting, the cleverly orchestrated fight scenes which looked like synchronised dance routines or simply the exploration into a different type of film.

This film had an air about it, right from the beginning. I felt immediately transferred to imperial China- Zhang Yimou did a great job in staging all the scenes. I was also transfixed on Mei played by Zhang Ziyi, as many others within the film were too. She took on the role a canny woman who seemed to be able to do just about anything, if she wasn’t singing like a song bird she would be effortlessly walking in mid-air or gracefully slaughtering mere enemies. I loved her character from the start however my affection for her grew thin as I saw her slowly turning into the conventional female protagonist that falls at the hands of a relationship and a happy ending. Luckily not all is what is seems and everything works out in the end, in context maybe not quite the happy ending that was hoped and indeed not the ending a viewer would predict early on in the film but for me and purely on principle it was satisfying. I thought that I could predict the ending of the film quite early on but it proved me wrong. It took a different trajectory and for that I am grateful as it allowed me to be overcome by someone else’s imagination and not just rely on mine.

Whilst watching this film I couldn’t help but to compare it with ‘The Hunger Games’. Both stories have the themes of survival, oppression, dishonesty, and combat. These similarities became more prevalent as ‘The House of Flying Daggers’ progressed and Jin played by Takeshi Kaneshiro said ‘you and me are just pawns on a chest board- no one cares if we die’ ‘part of their games’ as said by Peeta in ‘The Hunger Games’. We all know how two films can be so opposing yet, at heart; hold the same feeling and moral thought. It takes a ground breaking film to offer us something new, to spark inspiration, to tap into an undiscovered emotion and although, as far as concepts go, this film wasn’t a jump into the void of originality, I certainly enjoyed it.