Tuesday, July 9, 2013

At the Movies: A Tale of Two Worlds

The Matrix sequels not only did nothing to further the meaning or appeal of the original, but they did nothing to hurt the claim that the Waichowski siblings completely ripped off the the idea for the first.  But there was an earlier indication that The Matrix was a one-off.  V for Vendetta seemed like it was phoned in.  The fight scenes and general style were like a parody of The Matrix, the writing/acting/direction was reminiscent of the Dick Tracy movie, and its defense of torture as a means of political education were among several problems that made the film a major disappointment.  And all that was aside from the hint-hint implications of "Oh, by the way, we're thinking of George Bush" innuendo.  I think they even flashed an image of George Bush at some point.  Where people of various political persuasions (but probably libertarians most of all) could relate to The Matrix, V for Vendetta adapted a graphic novel into an anti-Republican political commercial.

A blogger named SLavery writes at this message board:
V For Vendetta was liberal crap.  And that's coming from a liberal who loves the original story. They hijacked a story about anarchy and facism [sic] and made it about American politics.  I half-expected "IT'S BUSH!" and "HEY, CHENEY!" to flash on the screen during V's talk with the detectives.
Elysium: Universal salvation
Gee, was it really that obvious?  One blogger sees more than a bit of 9/11 Truthism in V for Vendetta.  (Echoes of trutherism as well in the Waichowski Cloud Atlas's blaming of terrorist attacks on evil corporations.) Some people are noticing that V for Vendetta does may have an ironic relevancy now.  For others, the idea of an administration that talks freedom and instead implements secret wars, foreign meddling, civilian casualties, cover-ups of botched foreign policy and increased domestic surveillance, etc. is no longer a relevant subject now that there is a liberal administration.

More recently, I've noticed a rash of liberal sci-fi propaganda of the Two Worlds variety.  The film In Time has a series of borders separating castes of people based on how much currency they have saved up.  The movie condones robbery on the premises that if you are wealthy, the money was, in some sense, stolen from the poor.  More recently Upside Down features worlds separated by two separate forces of gravity.  Here the separation of.   Somehow, the world with the wealth ("cheap oil"... as opposed to expensive oil) is exploited by the world without the wealth.  None of this is, of course, explained.  Soon the movie Elysium will tell a tale of a world made fat by sucking the life out of another.  All the wealth of the world is somehow consolidated on a remote space station.  It all comes from the Earth though.  Notorious gun-hater Matt Damon is going to get mad and lead a revolution by turning himself into the ultimate weapon.

Noteworthy is the new wind of anti-colonialism breathed into the recent Total Recall reboot.  The otherworldliness of the Martian outback is replaced by:  Australia.  It all takes place on planet Earth.  The image of Britain sending troops to wipe out Australian colonists would be enough to get Obama to send back our bust of Winston Churchill.  Oh, too late, he already did.

I realized recently that a smart and funny children's movie fits this world-exploiting-world pattern.  Monsters, Inc. tells the tale of a world with a morally corrupt energy policy.  The monster world's energy needs are met by emotional torture of children.  No political undertones there.  The sequel, I hear, will tell the story about how Mike and Sully revolutionize the business of tormenting children by making childhood terror an even more advanced art.  It's a heartwarming story.  Many is the fiend who can tell you that two heads are better at tormenting a child than one.  Monsters Inc. though, didn't stand out to me as a movie with a lot of overt messaging (as in Escape From Earth), in spite of the apparent political inspiration for the story.

There is the world of the victims and the world of the predators, the world of the 99% and the world of the 1%.  That is the narrative.  Look for it.  You are imbibing it.

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