The Age of Clone

Please, oh please, dear lord, make Abrams stop.
I sat through six seasons of ‘Lost’, expecting a massive pay-off in the final episodes but was left thinking – really? I mean really?
This was followed by one of the biggest hypes in recent movie history – Cloverfield, and again I was left wondering what had happened in those two hours I will never get back. (Now there is going to be a sequel – but why?)
Clearly too stupid to learn from my mistakes I then went on to watch the rebooted Star Trek franchise, which did not upset me too much. Except they were the same storylines only with a Bizzaro world twist. Everything was mirror reversed. Spock shouting ‘Khan’, instead of Kirk and the like.
Ok, I can deal with that, especially after Scott Bakula destroyed the TV Star Trek franchise – one Quantum Leap too far?
But now that I have seen Star Wars VII I know – to some extent – how audiences felt in 1977, at least as far as the story goes. Because it was the SAME movie!!! Only with a bigger death star and better special effects – really? I mean – really?
There was nothing else in all the worlds of imagination that they could put to paper and then onto the silver screen but the same story? I guess Disney is to blame as wellĀ  – Avatar was just Pocahontas in space with cool special effects – same formula.
I predict that this our age will become known as the age of the reboot and clone flicks, with Disney the grand temple of profit and Abrams its supreme priest.
Please, oh please, give me a few more original pictures like ‘They live’, ‘The man from Earth’, ‘The game’ (with Michael Douglas – how about that ending?), ‘Casablanca’ (there is no cooler final scene) or even ‘Spirited away’. You notice something here? No sequels. No franchise. Just great self-contained stories that will leave an impression.
I know the gods of profit reign supreme, but one can hope.

On the topic of movies…

Movies – literally projected pictures that move – changed the scape of entertainment as well the shape of our civilisation. They elevated a hitherto obscure and much maligned art form to an almost godlike status and presence.

In times of traveling performers and small, underpaid troupes of actors, acting itself was not seen as a decent occupation for respectable folks. Indeed, one could watch a performance and then pay a little extra afterwards for a private performance, if you know what I mean.

Not so today. Far removed and aloof actors and actresses move in realms inaccessible to ordinary mortals.

And this is where my gripe lies. I do love movies and the entertainment they bring. But the people in the movies are actors and actresses, not gods. These people are not curing cancer or busy solving the world food crisis. They act. Period.

And get paid unbelievable amounts of money.

This tiny point is just another signpost of our civilisations steady decline into irrelevance and obscurity.

“You are putting the wrong em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble.”

Indeed, we are.

Live long and prosper! (Spoiler alert – do not read if you have not watched Into Darkness)

Yes (surprise, surprise), I am a Trekker, not the derisive and belittling Trekkie, but a dyed-in-the-wool, self-proclaimed, die hard Trekker.

Starfleet, come and sign me up.

On that note, the much dreaded reboot of the franchise did not suck, nor did the sequel – the lovingly crafted Into Darkness, with many a nod to people like me, referencing constantly the almost infinite Star Trek Universe.

My brother astutely observed that the new Trek movies are following the pattern of the old ones. So, this installment really was the Wrath of Khan – and what a Khan we now have!

(In case you were wondering, the actor portraying Khan is also portraying Sherlock Holmes in the British modernisation of Doyle’s classic.)

My favourite scene in the movie was Spock crying out:” KHAAAAAAAN!” Much like Kirk did in the original Wrath of Khan, and then having Kirk expire. After all, it is new timeline.

What is next then? The search for Kirk? Well, no, as Kirk was not jettisoned into a planet that was just about to undergo Genesis. Hmmm, maybe Khan’s blood alters Kirk and it will be -> The search for Kirk, the Freudian vector, with our protagonist spending hours on the couch searching for his true self.

Probably not though.

One thing is for certain, I am enjoying the new franchise and look forward to the next installment of a future I hope humanity will have.

Movies

I love movies. Most movies anyway. There are some I hate.

But this is not that blog.

This blog is about movies I adore.

Storytelling is as old as time. In the long forgotten days of yore when weary travelers, merchants, adventurers and innkeepers would sit around a fireplace or cooking fire to trade stories and news from far distant lands, there was an art to the telling of the story.

It had to be interesting, engaging, maybe even a little bombastic and perched just on the edge of disbelief. Stories like that that have survived to this day are the adventures of Sindbad, Gulliver and Munchhausen. They, in my humble opinion, represent the best of the craft.

These days that art is almost lost. Especially in movies. Special effects and pretty faces have replaced the simple elegance of a good story.

Jack Lemmon said (in the 80s) that he could make 5 great movies with the blood and special effects budget from Terminator. ***I am not disparaging Terminator – actually quite liked the original*** But the point Jack made stands.

So here are the movies I adore. They have complex, interesting and at times surprising story lines. The characters are rich and layered, they draw you in. You start caring. You hate them, you love them, you feel for and with them.

Casablanca – Bogie and Bergmann, love lost, found and lost again. One of the best ending scenes in movie history. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship….

The man from Earth – Truly a surprise when I first watched it. This is the kind of movie that makes you wish you could watch it over and over again for the first time. A very strong and engaging story, with clever conversation and a number of twists. The final twist though was the most rewarding.

The Shawshank Redemption – Brilliant acting and a truly epic story of one man’s will to live and overcome. The final 20 minutes of this movie are magic and amongst the most rewarding I have had the pleasure to spent in a cinema.

Don Camillo and Pepone – An Italian classic, black and white, set just after World War II. It is the kind of cinema that fills you with joy at being alive. I strongly urge you to watch this movie, it is well worth the subtitles (in case you do not like subtitles).

They live – Odd choice, you think? I am a big fan of John Carpenter movies. He breaks the mold of Hollywood. No happy endings, no final justice – for the most part anyway. This movie speaks to me on a very personal level and represents one of the best cinematic attacks on our over-bloated consumer society I have come across. Apart from other, deeper layers of meaning and understanding.

Spirited away – A triumph. Miyazaki did everything right in this astonishing and enchanted tour de force. I was blown away. I wanted to be there. I longed to be in the spirit world. It all felt oddly familiar. This movie tapped into something deep and hidden within me.

There are more movies I love, but these are the ones I would pack on a one way trip to Mars.

I am sure you have similar lists, and hey, it might just be time to re-watch one of those old favourites. What do you think?