Saturday, March 29, 2014

Noah – Film Review

This film confused me so much. I walked out of the theatre wondering what all of it was about. I figured it had to be some sort of fan fiction. A fan fiction of the Bible. It isn't an adaptation. Calling Noah (the film) a Biblical adaptation would be close to calling Inglourious Basterds an adaptation of the account of the downfall of the Third Reich. So much of the building blocks of the original story has been changed that by the time the movie has finished, it is already unrecognisable. 

Now that we have made that clear, I can say I enjoyed the movie just enough to give it 6/10. And they are all technical credits. 

The creation narrative, especially, was amazingly done. That will please the pro-evolution-pro-creationism crowd. Beautiful style, great production design, engaging original music, stunning location... 

Emma Watson outshone everyone else with her convincing performance. Russell Crowe as Noah probably just needed a knock on the head with some of those logs that were lying around in plenty. Some roles in films are intentionally annoying (like Joffrey in Game of Thrones), and they are great because they annoy you. Noah isn't like that. He is just really dumb, and thus annoying. Like the annoying cousin that everyone has who simply cannot understand why 2+2 is 4. There is nothing else to do other than give the guy a little knock on the head. All the other pretty boys (who were conveniently Noah's sons) didn't do much more than look pretty, and try and prove their worth as men by looking pretty and doing cute manly stuff (like hug their women, get angry, try to fight, etc). 

I am not really into trolls or rock creatures. They bore me. Peter Jackson's films always have too many of them. I switch off when I see stone creatures. Noah, in that way, bored me. Think about this, the production team had all the options in the world, there are no reference in the Bible to these 'watchers'. They could very well have been cool creatures (a centaur, say, or an angel, or even a gargoyle). But they picked slow clumsy stone troll-like creatures! What imaginations people have! People are so messed up!

The director, who also did Swan Lake, I have to say has a great talent in shocking the audience. His disturbing scenes work. He knows what music to use, and how to reveal elements on the frame to shock the viewer. There are also techniques that are new in this movie. One of them is the stop-motion styled narrative. Yes, stop-motion has been used in film before, but this movie uses it quite interestingly to convey passage of time. 

In conclusion... I don't know.. Like I said, it confuses me so much. What a mess of a movie. I don't even know what to think about it. On a positive note, the imagery still plays in my head though, they are strong and powerful. And if anything, I loved it that it was disturbing, loud, shocking and beautifully shot. I believe there is a lot of grit to God and his ways, and popular Christianity hasn't been faithful in conveying that part of the message. So, if it has to come to a Game of Thrones kind of brutal story telling to show this, then so be it. 


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Interview With Fictional Character

Why did you create me? 
- Because there was a world to be explored, and I had to find a way into this world. 

What kind of world?
- The world that you are living in.

What kind of world I am living in? It's boring to me. Nothing happens.
- That's exactly the point! We need a world to escape into. Our lives are painful. Our lives are a bit too close to home, and we need somewhere far to run to now and again. That's why you exist. That's why I made you.

So making me was a very selfish thing you did?
- I am sorry, but yes, that's right. You are me. I am you. I needed to walk on the pavements and smell the market scenes, and hear the cacophony of life in your little town. 

Why are you so obsessed about my town?
- Because I have dreamt about it. When Muhammad Rafi sings I can hear that such a town as yours exist somewhere in the hills, basking in afternoon sun. When I hear the songs of the British rock, I know that Melody exists, so does Deirdre and Lizzie, all galavanting about on busy small-town-lanes, rubbing shoulders with ivy that grow on walls. When I hear the rains fall, I know the old shanty roofs of Sirion resound like thunder. I have travelled all around the place looking for these places, but have not found any remotely like it. So I made you. And I made the world for you and your friends to live out your lives in. 

Should I be thanking you for breahting life into me then?
- No, I should be thanking you. Because of you, I know what it's like to celebrate holiday season with street food at the town outdoor-mall while the red sun sets on your horizon. Because of you I know what the sound of a thousand students roaring at a tennis game on the hill-side sound like, resonating all across the valley. Because of you I know how the plastic and abandoned kites flutter in the breeze hanging off electric wires on a lazy unambitious day. Because of you I know how sleepy Geography classes get at 2:30pm. Because of you I know how Lake Hira's wintry mist squats all across the valley covering the town in freezing gloom. 

I Met Myself From Five Years Ago

I met myself from five years ago.

His name was Elijah Emory. His eyes were bright and deep, a pool of intense life brimming within. He answered my question, what is your greatest fear? and said, growing up.

I told him, I am you grown up. I am you with a life. 
I am you with responsibilities. I am you with things to do. 
I am you with expectations to meet. I am you with a job. 
Do you like what you see?

He didn't answer.

He took me on a dive down memory's sepia pools. It didn't take long for me to drown in it again.

How things have changed. How dreams have changed. How wishes have changed.

How does one become so different, morphing into someone else as though the old someone I used to be was as unimportant as discardable old clothing?

How heartless is life? How even our own selves change over time? Something as unshakeable as our affections. Something as unshakeable as our very selves. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bird Calls

There’s a field behind my house. When I got home tonight, under the cover of bleak clouded night sky, it was midnight. I walked to the middle of the field. Strange night-bird calls ushered me into that unholy unclean tussocky expanse. 
I’ve never been so lost. 
In the distance, droplets of light descend and ascend into the city skyline. Planes descending into airports.
But for me, there’s no Paris or Vienna or Ooty that I want to be tonight. I cannot summon up dreams of Roman holidays and Casablanca’s and Cairo’s hot nests. 
I just want to sleep to the sound of that birdcall, strange and uncanny, out-of-place in the midnight eerie cloudy field, lit partially on the fringes by orange street lights.
I belong there in the middle of that expansive field. Lost and uncomfortable, but comfortable in that lostness.