Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some Thoughts on Death

            I have recently been thinking about the nature of reality and life and death.  Mostly because I am far too sullen for someone in his mid twenties who is as attractive as I am, and partly because I am deep and intellectual and actually do write poetry from time to time.

            While musing to myself, drinking tea, listening to podcasts of people describing psychedelic experiences, and staring at an optical illusion image that always seems to be moving I remembered this chestnut: when you die it is said that your body looses 21 grams.  How they could possibly measure such a thing, as a gram is only about 1/27th of an ounce and could literally be placed in the palm of your hand without you noticing, they don't seem to have a real answer to, but this little bit of factoid has led people to claim that it might be (or in the more extreme cases just flat out declare that it is) the soul leaving the human body.  I am somewhat skeptical.

            Regardless of this, I found myself having to do what I always do and came to this conclusion, be an incredibly cynical raincloud over everyone's afterlife picnic.  You might inexplicably loose 21 grams when you die, but there is something more certain, you do empty your bowels.  Guess which of these two things has a greater impact on the world you leave behind.

            Death is not majestic, graceful, or romantic.  Death is at best an escape route for the one doing the dying, at worst it is the final punctuation to a life that meandered and left unfulfilled.  For those left behind it is a pyrrhic victory, hopefully the person who just died will be thought of as no longer a burden or threat, at worst we are denied the further much needed or desired companionship of a person who is now beyond the veil.

            So I guess those are the thoughts I had while waiting for my tea to steep.  Now I will go listen to some aimless melodies and do some stretches before I head off to bed.

Tik-Tok on the clock and the Party don't stop...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thoughts on "The Dark Knight Rises"

            I'm not going to mince words, my favorite movie this year is "The Avengers" I loved it.  A sense of adventure runs through the whole thing; the heroes are battered and wrung out by the end; it has variety, color, and personality throughout; and it is a fun well paced story.  All that being said, "The Dark Knight Rises" is pretty good too, but it suffers from some things.

It's like it is missing something that I can't quite put my finger on.

            In "Rises" time and pacing are the enemy of the story, there are scenes that transition with ticking clocks running, and the transition is between bright daylight and stark night.  This happens twice.  That is a serious oversight.  But let's ignore that because really that is fridge flaws (flaws you notice when you are walking to the fridge to get a snack and the split second you are not being bombarded with media allows you to have some revelation because of the momentary window of clear thinking... This also happens while in the shower, or when you are pooping and have nothing to read).  the real problem with "Rises" is that it is two movies.

            The first movie, perhaps we could call it "Fall of the Dark Knight" takes a broken down Bruce Wayne and draws him into a conspiracy because he is assaulted in his home by Catwoman, over the course of the movie a love triangle (trapezoid) forms between Catwoman-> Batman = Bruce Wayne -> Miranda (another new character whom Bruce grows close to because she is trying to help him save his company), the movie ends with Batman being broken by Bane and the audience is left with the foreboding words, "When your city is in ashes, then you have my permission to die."  That is a whole movie, and it perfectly illustrates why Batman should not be Batman, Miranda is a healthy relationship that is helping him do good outside of being the Dark Knight, Bruce becomes the champion of the downtrodden that Harvey Dent failed to be.  What is more, Catwoman betraying him to Bane illustrates how his life as Batman has no healthy relationships for him.  What is more it has an "Empire Strikes Back" ending in which the hero is beaten by a guy in a gas mask.

Seriously, Luke literally falls for what seems like miles, kind of a pit like image right?

            The second half of "Rises" which should have been called, "The Dark Knight Rises" is Batman escaping from the prison (which is really a strong shout out to the comics Lazarus Pit, and a great literal interpretation of the Hero being at his lowest point), and the Gotham Police fighting with Bane and dealing with being hunted down.  This is also when Catwoman becomes a bigger character as her being trapped in Bane's Gotham is a fitting story metaphor for being guilt ridden over her betrayal of Batman and wanting to change things.  WE also have enough time to see how Batman breaks back into Gotham, a scene that does not appear in the current movie and is hand waved away as "I'm Batman".  Catwoman starts to fight against the reign of terror, Scarecrow's court, representing her trying to become good, Batman sees that she has changed and recruits her to help, the rest of the movie plays out as it did on screen: "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb".

            Yes, this means two movies that are each two hours long rather than the two hour and 40 minute bladder buster that we got, but two movies that would be better paced and have real developed character arcs for Catwoman, Matt Modine (whose lack of real development makes his heroism at the end come far too late and seem extremely weak), Joseph Gordon Levitt (though one might say that his story was the most complete arc left in the movie outside of Batman's) and Batman himself, as he lets Bruce Wayne die with the occupation and let Batman become the symbol he always aspired to make it.  (Link leads to a very interesting history of Bat mythology through history)

 I'm going to show the people of Gotham that the city doesn't belong to the criminals and the corrupt. People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy. I can't do this as Bruce Wayne. A man is just flesh and blood and can be ignored or destroyed. But as a symbol... as a symbol, I can be incorruptible, everlasting.

Overall 4/5 stars.