South Park Self

I think the metaphor broke my spleen

Movie club! By age-old (i.e. approximately year-long) tradition this entails two movies linked by a theme. I've owned and been wanting to watch the original Godzilla for a while, but kept on coming up blank on something to pair it with. (Re-make? Aargh. Other daikaijū films? eek! Cloverfield would have been ideal, but everyone else had seen it. I wanted Akira for a "Destroy Tokyo!" theme, but Stv had seen it already.) Finally, as despair set in, I remembered that I also had a copy of Rango which I hadn't got around to watching. Perfect! the theme: LIZARDS!

And, of course, conceptual whiplash of the more neck-bracey variety. Godzilla is a black-and-white Japanese monster film hailing from 1954; Rango just won the Best Animated Film Oscar. And I don't think a chameleon is technically a lizard, anyway1. However! they were both thoroughly enjoyable for very different reasons, and mature reflection suggests that the common theme could have been Fire And Water, or The Corruption Of Water, or even Water And Control.



The 2010 Hugo ballot contained a novella by James Morrow called "Shambling Towards Hiroshima", which featured Hollywood history, rubber monster suits and plots against the Japanese, and if I loved the story at the time (which I did), I love it even more having actually seen the film. Godzilla is one of those wonderful cinematic archives which makes you realise from moment to moment exactly how far film-making has come in half a century, at the same time as it ineradically demonstrates the power and precision with which the older tropes, conventions and special effects draw you into the film. (And how frequently black-and-white frames are starkly poetic). It was slow, clunky, alienating as much in terms of Japanese body language as the different pacing and storytelling, but it's a thoroughly worthwhile watch if only because it's one of the few examples I've met of unabashed allegory that isn't actually annoying. You have to realise quite how terrifying atomic bombs and their implications actually are when they're enacted on three levels simultaneously, two of them metaphorical. Also, it's enormously refreshing to watch scientists being respected and instantly credited instead of being silenced in the name of politics. And the special effects are surprisingly effective. The slow, inexorable, stumbling advance of the monster is somehow more terrifying than anything fast-moving, and Tokyo burns.

I could babble enthusiastically about Rango's extended pastiche of Westerns which is also a devoted love-letter, its pitch-perfect musical score (the music is genius), its brilliant voice cast, its frequently extremely beautiful visuals, its rapid-fire humour and continual film reference (the recreation of bits of the X-wing assault on the Death Star is extremely happy-making), its plethora of beautifully eccentric desert-creature characters, its ecological message, and the extent to which its animators were clearly having a blast. But I don't need to. I can sum up the film, and the indecent amount of pleasure it gave me, in two words. Mariachi owls. The chorus and commentary of the mariachi owl group caused me to lie on the sofa and giggle hysterically until jo&stv became quite concerned. No, really. Mariachi owls. Go and see it. Also, it's incredibly self-concious about narrative construction. Basically I was doomed.




1 Edited to add: no, wait, Wikipedia says they totally are lizards. And have "parrot-like zygodactylous feet", which is a curiously wonderful phrase. I love chameleon feet. Like little alien paws.

  • Current Mood: apathetic apathetic
Heee
I watched it last year and immediately thought of you when I saw the mariachi wols. They're so cute!!

I also love all the cameos and references. It is, all in all, a great film.
Re: Heee
It is a testament to my love of wols in all their manifestations that they reconcile me to actual mariachi, which normally gives me hives.
We watched it for New Year's Eve. 6yo passed out at about 9:30, P and I propped our eyelids open with matchsticks. 4yo was going strong at midnight. She insisted, at about 10 or 11, that we set up a little table with her paper dolls in front of the television and she was perkily multitasking as the new year rolled in.

Yes, great film :)
It's an extremely frenetic film with a lot of very snappy dialogue, took me hours to get to sleep afterwards, so I'm really not surprised it kept your mad 4yo awake. Her energy levels are a lot higher than mine at the best of times ;>.

Edited at 2012-03-14 09:16 am (UTC)