Thursday, April 28, 2011

MUSIC - White Hat Dark Sky

A piece for open skies, shimmering horizons, and a lone rider with a gun on his hip.

White Hat Dark Sky

Daniel Tekunoff, guitar - http://www.guitarmusicaz.com/home.php

Sunday, April 24, 2011

REVIEW: Megamind

This one should have been called Tangled.

Megamind, by Dreamworks, is a wild, weird film. Some of it, like the poster at left, is downright hilarious. Some parts are remarkably well-done. Otherparts- less so. Overall, the film left me disturbed and feeling... dirty. So. Into the "labrynthian mind" of the film. (shameless SPOILERS ahead)

The Worldview

The Good

I really enjoyed the exchange between Megamind and Metro Man when Metro Man was trapped in the observatory. "You can't trap justice! It's an idea..." Nevertheless, this idea must be founded on God's Word, or it's just... well, a good idea.

We also see that we are responsible with what we do in our lives- it's not destiny's fault. It's not up to fate. We are to be judged by our actions. This is an important thing to understand, and a good moral.

The Bad

The counterpoint to above point- this film brought out some serious humanism/Nietzscheism. It begins blaming many events on fate- it's because of fate that Megamind is a bad guy. It's because of fate that Hal gets blasted with the superhero potion. Happily, this is later on reversed, but is replaced with the philosophy that we are masters of our own destiny, which is only a good moral if understood as our responsibility in the light of and in subjection to God's Sovereign Will and Providence.

The Super-Intelligent E.T. Philosophy. This is a school of thinking rooted in evolution with quite dark repercussions for us the viewers. "If we evolved then surely other intelligent life has evolved elsewhere in the universe!"

So we get Metro Man, who can violate the laws of nature at will (which is only explicable by the supernatural, and yet that power is transferred to someone else via Metro Man's DNA...), and we get Megamind, who has, basically, supernatural intelligence. These gods descended from Olympus then duel for the fate of mankind, and we, like ants, watch helplessly.

Metro Man and Megamind act like actors in a over-rehearsed play. They're not really scared. They're not really hurting anybody. Megamind doesn't expect to win, and when he does, after the first thrill of success, he realizes that he now has nothing to live for (amidst an existentialist discussion with a toy bird. More on that in a sec). Metro Man later calls Megamind "little buddy". This is odd. Is Megamind really a bad guy? He's the hero, but he's in jail, and he breaks out amidst some "b-b-bad to the bone", and yet the hero acts like his pal. This is blurring lines seriously.

It is during Megamind's duel with Tighten, however, where we really see the "gods from Olympus" syndrome. Towers are broken, buildings are burned, cars are smashed, and while they don't show it we may assume that many are killed. This is very dark and, ultimately, unScriptural. Let us rejoice that we do not have a fickle and capricious God ruling over us. These creatures with "god-like power" (yes, that was in the film) are not bound by man's (or God's moral or natural) laws, and they break them with impunity. There's no hope for a righteous man to stand up and bring justice. We just have to hope (pray, maybe, to our... benevolent aliens???) for another Metro Man.

Megamind, who is the hero by the end of the film, during his bad-guy stage at the beginning was playing darts with peoples' cars, desecrating property, stealing art, and enjoying every bit of it. He never repents, he just... changes. Kinda. Never is what he did shown as anything more than funny, in a superbly evil sort of way.

Existentialism. What is is. The existentialist believes (as I understand it) that there is no God, there is no judgment to come, there is nothing beyond the physical, there is no ultimate and inviolable Law. This gives way readily to pragmatism, where the ends justify the means, and paints a bleak picture of a world left to chance and the whims of the strong.

There is also some eastern mysticism in the film. Yin and Yang- where there is bad good will arise. This leaves us with "bad guys and good guys are two parts of the same whole." Everybody has some good in 'em, right? Well, except for Tighten, because we have to make him bad enough that the audience will be glad when he loses. And even he, in the end, is apparently having a blast in jail.

The good guy can't kill the bad guy- good guys don't do that. They take 'em to jail. How is jail Scriptural? The civil magistrate should punish the villain according to God's Law- and sometimes that means by death. Interestingly enough, when we're talking "gods from Olympus", the civil magistrate can't do this. The police are helpless. We need Batman, or Superman, or Metro Man, or somebody who's awesome enough to take down the bad guy- whatever the cost. More pragmatism. (And there's another reason I like Bolt- he's not anything more than just a man who did what's right.)

Irreverence, toward the elderly in the minor way of the lisp in Hal's "Space Dad", but much more destructively in Metro Man, when he walks on water, and Megamind- "Who is this man whom we have infused with god-like power?" Not only does the film act as if God does not exist, but it really creates gods out of its hero/villains.

And there's another problem. The Cool Bad Guy Syndrome (CBGS). It was even worse in this one than with Flynn in Tangled.

From the trailer: "All men must choose between two paths. Good is the path of honour, heroism, and nobility. Evil... well, it's just cooler." Um- I'm sorry. Evil is evil. Evil will be destroyed in the wrath of a just and holy God. It's not OK for us to portray it as cool.

The crude humor. It wasn't dealt out in spades, but they gave some good spoonfuls. For example, when Tighten (Hal), enjoying his new-found superpowers, is giving himself a wedgie and saying "look, I can hardly feel it!"- I'm left with a feeling of ugh. They could have taken the exact same well-acted vocal line and shown Hal banging his head off of the wall- "look, I can hardly feel it!"- and it would have been more hilarious and far less dirty. A desire for holiness doesn't mean that we can't enjoy hilarity- though it will take more work to create humor that pleases God. I have been convicted recently over my sense of humor, which is sometimes not as sanctified as I think God would have it to be. I'm also grateful to people like those at HeuMoore Productions who make hilarious films without crudeness, and speakers like Mr. Ray Comfort and others who model dignity while still being quite funny.

And, though I know that I'll have readers who disagree, we have another model feminist. Roxanne, shown in plenty-tight-enough (but more covered up than some of her other wardrobe choices in the film) clothing at left, is apparently out making a career for herself as a reporter.

Yes, I am a proponent of home-keeping mothers and bread-winning fathers. Yes, I'm a proponent of male headship. (Oy, I just can't stop stepping on toes.) Does this mean that women should sit at home knitting all the time? No. But Miss Roxie should "get married, bear children, keep house, give the enemy no occasion for reproach." Why does this seem like such an onerous calling? Maybe because we've watched one- or fifty- too many Megaminds.

She's hanging out with the cameraman all the time. He goes bad when she denies him. There's a good moral to be drawn here. Spend enough time with someone, you will tie heartstrings, most likely. Be careful with whom these strings are tied, and how tight you allow the knots to become!

I would have loved it if she were married to the cameraman... there's helping her husband.

Short hair again. And you say, "What's with the short hair? Leave it alone already!" Well, I have no desire to offend! Yet I cannot remain silent because I might hurt feelings. Paul says "if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her", and I want to embrace that as much as I want to embrace that it would be shameful for me to grow a three-foot-lo
ng ponytail. If someone can give me Scripture to show me otherwise- please, bring it to the table! As it is, I'm tired of this being modeled as good-looking for women- normal for women- feminine. Period.

The Art

The Good

The animation of the fishbowl was very neat looking and impressive. The falling scene at the beginning was a great shot as well.

The story was very unique and full of different twists on old themes. I really enjoyed the freshness of the concept.

The voice acting and sound design was good.

I've been noticing a running theme of cute characters in these animations. Dug in UP, the frog-chameleon-nuance in Tangled, Minion in Megamind, Rhino in Bolt, and so on. Very smart move by the filmmakers. They nailed the cute character in this one. Minion is admittedly adorable.

And some of the humor was both clean and hilarious. Some great scripting, hilarious stereotypes, and excellently-acted banter between heroes and villains.

The Bad

The animation wasn't bad, but I wouldn't consider it great, and our main characters had a touch of animé that I didn't enjoy.

The resurrection of the fish I have mixed feelings on. It made more sense than the resurrection of (SPOILING another film now) Flynn in Tangled, but it also seemed more forced. Again, the death of Minion would have added some gravitas to the end. Could have been a heartbreaker. Instead, it wound up a semi-cheesy, rather predictable, and underwhelming joke. Here we have the fish acting like he's dying, Megamind acting worried, the fish gasps his last- and then Megamind tosses him into the fountain and laughs about his acting, and then we admire the fish's cute face. It seemed to be... just odd. Uncomfortable. Too stark of a contrast, maybe? There were multiple moments of such inconsistency in Megamind's character that bugged me from an artistic standpoint. If Minion's theatricality had been referenced and experienced a few times previously, this might have made more sense.

The score was unique. The main theme was weird. I like it, but I don't know if I like that I like it. The rest of the score fit well, but something about it bugs me.

The source music. Ugh. The film was filled with rock songs from days gone by. It seemed to, at least in parts, be an attempt to parallel the Joker's behavior in Tim Burton's Batman. Again, how fitting that rock music be associated with pride, destruction, and all-around evildoing. This not only cheapened the feel of the film, but it made it darker and more disturbing than it would have been without.

Altogether
,

I wasn't impressed with the film. While the story was a neat and fresh concept, the worldview was disturbing, and it felt overall B-grade. I wouldn't recommend this one. 2.5/5

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

REVIEW: Tangled



This is a film that I've heard a lot of controversy and debate over, so I was excited to see it for meself. Review, here I come- and SPOILERS, here I come as well.

The Worldview

The Good

Rapunzel's father and mother love their daughter and want her to return. When she does, we learn that she, basically, carried on her parents' vision for the kingdom.

Flynn, by the end of the film, has repented of his thieving ways and asked Rapunzel to marry him. He also gives his life for Rapunzel's freedom. Rapunzel, in turn, was willing to give her freedom for his life. "No greater love..."

We see Flynn go from a man who values the shallow, to a man who would give his life for the woman he loves- a decision, albeit, not made on The Foundation of God's Word, but the right decision, nonetheless.

I loved seeing Rapunzel doing all these homemaking tasks, and having a blast at them.

And we also get to enjoy a pleasant amount of good, clean humor. I am really enjoying the lack of crude jokes in the animations I've seen of late.

The Bad

Another film with magic in it. Drops from the sun and magic incantations to draw healing powers from Rapunzel's hair. And the sun emblem all over the city makes me think "sun-worship," even though we see nothing in that direction.

Rapunzel and mother Gothel could both use dresses that were a bit looser and a bit higher-necked up top. ("They're animation!" Right. So it shouldn't be that hard to animate a more modest top.)

Now for some less obvious issues.

The film creates a dangerous hypothetical situation that causes us to cheer for Rapunzel when she chooses to rebel against the woman who she believes to be her mother. Situational ethics, again. "Well, if she hadn't rebelled, since Gothel stayed ever-young because of Rapunzel's hair, Rapunzel would have been locked in the tower ad infinitum!" Yeah, see what I mean. Dangerous hypothetical. They're easy to create- Jack Bauer (of the popular TV show 24) must shoot his (innocent) boss or the terrorists will blow up 2 billion people. His boss is a jerk- OK. Go for it, Jack! Well, Jack, what if it was 2 people? What if it was a choice between your daughter or 25 people? If we don't ground our choices in God's Law-Word, we're left to being lost in the labyrinth of our own depraved minds.

No. Rapunzel shouldn't have disobeyed the woman she believed to be her mother.

No. Jack shouldn't kill his boss. I don't care how big the threat.

Obey God, and trust Him to deliver.

It is a wisdom issue, definitely, how far obedience is to be taken, and how late into the child-now-adult's life. But for Rapunzel to leave home to pursue her dream is wrong in multiple ways.

I've heard the use of the tiara analogized to Rapunzel's virginity. I think it's a stretch, though one that is visible if looked for. Mother Gothel says that the tiara is all that Flynn wants and when she gives it to him he will leave her. Take that at face value and it sure sounds like a sermon for chastity- which is disobeyed with happy consequences when Rapunzel "isn't afraid" to give the tiara to Flynn anymore later on, and he tells her to keep it. But in the context of the film, they didn't play that up very much.

"When will my life begin?" Miss Rapunzel, your life has begun already. I understand the desire for advancing. That's good. So is contentment. This line in the song stated her theme very effectively, but was rather a downer in the midst of her celebration of homemaking.

The Disney Dream Theme drives me up a wall. Do you have a dream? What's your dream? Follow your dream! Will it be as good as I dreamed? And then I've heard Christians talk about how wonderful of a theme it is. I'm sorry, but I must respectfully disagree- you'll have to help me see how this is a redemptive message.

What's my dream? (I prefer vision. More manly.) To build The Kingdom of God. To have a family. To compose awesome and excellent music that testifies to The Glory of God. Ultimately, to conform my vision to be more like God's Vision for me.

Are those good dreams? I think so. But dreaming isn't good for dreaming's sake. And if all we are is dreamers who hope that everything turns out as well as we dreamed, then we've missed the point of investing our lives in Something Eternal that isn't subject to the fluctuations of our emotions. "Living your dream" isn't the highest goal in life, but I fear that that's what Rapunzel seems to think.

This brings up two other points:

1. Flynn. And his vision, or lack thereof. He's a vain, happy-go-lucky rascal who commits grand thefts and leaves his thief comrades to be caught by the king's soldiers. And when he meets Rapunzel, she's the one with the vision. He's her helper who helps her achieve her vision. She's the proactive hero- he's the guy who's stuck with her. Now, we've already discussed how he repents at the end- which is good! He learns to value deeper things than his beautiful nose. Nevertheless, he's still another example of the "Cool Bad Guy Syndrome".

2. The pub full of ruffians that Rapunzel transforms into a group of loving, singing, joyous brotherhood-of-man types. 'Cuz they, too, have a dream. (And I gotta say, I loved all the stuff about concert piano-playing. Though Mozart lived in the 1700s, so that threw me for a second...) Well, I find this interesting modeling as well. We already know that mother Gothel says Rapunzel can't handle herself in the real world. And we also know (this is Disney, after all) that Rapunzel is perfectly capable of handling herself in the real world. Right?

Well, if the real world is that a restaurant full of low-lifes can be transformed into an ecumenical meeting hall for dreamers of all shapes and sizes by a girl singing- she sure can. But that's not actually the real world. Rapunzel wouldn't last long in the real world. Sure, it allows for some hilarious stuff. But your average 18-year-old girl who sets out to pursue her dream today may find herself in a lot more trouble than Rapunzel does. Criminals aren't really just loving people who haven't ever been able to express their dream.

The haircut at the end. It was a great twist in the story, but a horrible twist in the worldview, in the eyes of yours truly. Rapunzel now looks like any 2011 teenage girl who happens to be stuck in a dress. Why does it rub me so wrong? Did Flynn do the right thing? I think so. It just grates on me, because of our culture, I guess, that they gave her such a modern, egalitarian haircut in the end- after seeing her with yards and yards of gorgeous, feminine hair the whole film long. Modeling, again.

(Quick question with regards to story consistency- why hadn't the dead brown hair grown any since it was cut when she was a baby?)

And while we're talking modeling, I think probably my biggest issue with the film is that we have one young, handsome, fiendish guy and one beautiful, childish, naivë girl hanging out together day-in day-out in all kinds of secluded spots. Problem.


The Art

The Good

The story. Very well told. Very exciting, wide-ranging emotionally, fulfilling, classic Disney. The twist at the end was a great story point.

The animation. It was good. Maybe not great- I still like Pixar better, and Owls still takes the cake- but it was good. The hair looked beautiful.

Another Snyder rule- "A Limp and An Eyepatch". They gave the minor characters that would be tough to keep track of certain things that made them readily identifiable. Very smart. Be it a hook on the concert pianist or an eyepatch on one of the twins, I didn't struggle with remembering who was who.

The score. Mr. Menken did a great job with the mickey-mousing, and the score on the whole was enjoyable.

The Bad

Couple of things. First, this film broke one of Mr. Blake Snyder's Immutable Laws of Screenplay Physics- the Double Mumbo Jumbo Law. I can swallow one piece of magic per film. Sun-drop causing magical golden hair? Fine. I'll take it. Carry on.

But wait- this magic tear thing at the end? Where'd that come from? They broke the Double Mumbo Jumbo Law, and the result was a less satisfying climax as well as a scene of Velveeta.

It was a great twist that led to Flynn's death, but I think the story would have been better, albeit sadder, if he had stayed dead. Or something. Yeah, him staying dead would have gone over like a lead balloon for all the kids in the audience. Granted. But bringing him back from death by her tears was a stretch that was painful for this viewer.

(It is worth mentioning that the original story does involve Rapunzel healing her husband's eyes with her tears.)

The other thing that really bugged me was the use of non-fitting music. "When will my life begin," regardless the lyrics- why do we have a pop song in a fairy tale again? Why did they do the music like this? Knights (well, a thief, actually), castles, a beautiful maiden in distress, and electric guitar. Odd one out? Howzabout a drumset?

They did another montage later. And then there was the credits. "That was really super. WAIT! No, it wasn't..."

I don't like musicals, from a story perspective. It's odd. It's unrealistic. And it's telling, not showing. I love musicals from a musical perspective- when the music is good and fitting to the film. The pop songs in Tangled disturbed me "on a number of levels".

I don't like the title, either. I know there's a connection between "Tangled" and "Long Hair", but that appears to be where the connection stops. My little sister suggested "The Lost Princess", and I think that title does a much better job describing the film in a way that makes me want to see it.

So this film was OK. If you're watching it for fun, it's fun- plenty of laughs. Don't shut your mind off, though. There's more of the same tired old bad worldview, and there are also some good things we can pull from it. I wouldn't consider it anything amazing one way or t'other.

3/5

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Batman Saves The Cat

This is a three-in-one review. I'm going to be commenting on, comparing, and contrasting three things- a book, Save The Cat, by Blake Snyder, and two films, Chris Nolan's Batman Begins and Tim Burton's Batman from 1989. And you say "um- that's a weird combination..." Right. Well, just hang on.

(Batman? Really? If you question the appropriateness of what I review, please see my statement on Questionable Films, and shoot me an e-mail if you want to discuss it.)

I'll start with Mr. Burton's 1989 work, starring Michael Keaton.



What I liked:
This film was one of the most artistically and aesthetically amazing and beautiful films I've seen in a long time. The set design was amazing- the directing was stellar. I still have one dutch angle (An angle that is off-kilter- not level. A powerful but easily overused artistic effect.) seared in my mind that is the kind of shot that is worth the whole film. From a visual perspective, this film amazed me. It translated comic book into film so well that while it still had a very strong comic flavor it was not at all overdone or garish. I loved it.

The score by Danny Elfman was also very appropriate, and while I wouldn't consider it an excellent score I would call it very good overall, especially for the film. The weakest part in the score was, I think, during a romantic scene- it wasn't very beautiful music, there, I thought. I enjoyed the opening credits, and would recommend the score itself as a good purchase.

What I didn't like:
Batman was a heathen. Our hero and heroine sin. Blatantly. And there was something in this one that seems common in most superhero films that I've seen- the woman is purposefully sensualized, by the costuming, by the angles, all of it. The romance in this film was thoroughly unBiblical and completely unnecessary. This was the big problem in the film for me- the sensual packaging of the girl in the film, and the immorality modeled by the hero. Yes, the corrupt officials are immoral too. But they're the bad guys. They're supposed to be.

And, of course, in this godless worldview, we're left to... *drumroll please* humanism, relativism, and at best situational ethics and man-made "laws". If Batman can be a fornicator and a superhero at the same time... well... obviously we lack an Objective Standard of heroism.

If you are considering watching the film and would like to know the content in more detail, feel free to e-mail me. I won't go into that here.

If you do go out to buy Elfman's underscore, take care not to buy the CD release of music by "Prince". These songs are played by the Joker on a boom box that he or his henchmen carry around as they commit crimes of all sorts. Remarkably enough, this makes a huge and very true statement about what music like that of Prince says. Why don't we use Prince for Batman's theme and some big brassy fanfare for the Joker? Because it doesn't fit. But a psychotic lunatic criminal? While I didn't like the "music" and we turned down the volume, I think it fit... please ponder for a moment, my friends. Music isn't neutral.

And the film is dark. Very dark. Artistically so, topically so. The excellently-acted Joker is an excellently acted wicked man. It's a corrupt Gotham with a psychotic villain and a hero who suits up in (remarkably tight...) black. Careful. Bathe in The Light!

Also- it's funny how the graphics in 1989 look so cheesy now.

3.5/5, I wouldn't recommend it unless you are a filmmaker or some other kind of visual artist- in which case I would highly recommend it as a remarkable study.

OK, there's that one. Now for Nolan's prequel to the oft-mentioned Dark Knight.



What I didn't like (because what I liked will tie into the book I'm going to mention):

Bad guy: "I never knew! I swear to God!" Batman: "Swear to me." When I heard this, I didn't like it, but I was searching for some other meaning that it could perhaps encompass than the blasphemous statement that my Dad later explained it to be. That was an unnecessary and godless line. Not that the bad guy should be swearing at all, nor cheapening God's name by using It as a cheap stamp of assurance.

There's some swearing in the film, and plenty of violence. I was pleasantly surprised with the romance in this film. It played a very small part and only went so far as a kiss. Which it would have been even better without. The girl in the film is, overall, well dressed- there are things that could have been better as far as modesty goes, but this was the first superhero film that I've seen where it didn't seem purposefully eroticised.

There is a short scene involving women in swimsuits and some scenes with women dressed in party gowns- very nice from the waist down, but a bit lacking up top...

There are also multiple spots where we see through the eyes (and hear through the ears) of people affected by hallucinogenic drugs- they had fun with the graphics on those, but it's neat or gross or disturbing or demonic depending on where you stand.

We also see Batman being a vigilante law-enforcer. This is one of those hypothetical moral dilemmas that's tough. He rarely actually kills anyone... he saves Rachel, which is certainly OK for a non-law-enforcement person to do. He comes real close to killing, if he doesn't actually kill, multiple police officers in his attempts to escape capture. He definitely speeds... he's not out to break laws or fight police... it's a tough topic worth praying over. Same issue here in the Keaton Batman.

Now comes a big issue, and here it gets real tough. (SPOILERS ahead, but this isn't a film with any huge twists or anything of the sort)

Bruce Wayne becomes a criminal so he can understand the criminal mind, but later we learn that apparently the only (major?) crimes he committed he committed against himself- he stole from his own company. Huh. (I say major, because I don't think the fruit seller was a division of Wayne Enterprises.)

He wants to "turn fear against those who prey on the fearful", or something like that. He then goes to study under Liam Neeson's character who trains him into a fighting machine. And we get a mix of good and bad and wacky stuff here, all confused even more because (here's the

BIG SPOILER
)

Liam Neeson turns out to be the bad guy. So... was what he said right? Wrong? A mix?

And what did he say? Well, here's a dangerous one- that right and wrong aren't such hard-and-fast concepts. I'm sorry, but as a Christian Theist who believes that God has spoken to all areas of ethics (and everything else, actually) in His Law-Word, and we are bound to obey, I can say that that's not true. IF he means that right and wrong are ambiguous, situationally-relative and subjective concepts. Or does he just mean that there are some less clear areas and contextual dilemmas? I don't think so, or he wouldn't really need to say it...

"If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely - legend, Mr Wayne."

A good theme if understood rightly, but stated like this it sounds pretty much egocentrical. True meaning comes from devoting oneself to The Higher Cause or Ideal of God's Kingdom.

Further, he (Bruce's trainer) talks a lot about addressing the fear within Bruce's self, and becoming fear himself, and becoming one with the darkness, and all this- very dangerous. The solution to our fear isn't sucking some hallucinogenic potion and then dueling a bunch of black-clothed ninjas. Nor is it turning inward and addressing our inmost parts. It's focusing on God, submitting to God, repenting of our self-focus and sin, and giving ourselves wholly to obedience to Him, regardless the odds and the consequences. Turn inward? Well, only if you plan on bringing what you find inside you into submission to God's Objective Standard which is true apart from yourself and your perception of It.

And now we make a smooth transition into What I liked:

While in training, Bruce is told to kill a farmer who it is said murdered someone. Bruce doesn't deny that justice demands the man's life- he simply states that it's not his place to kill the man, and that the man needs tried for his crime, not just beheaded by vigilantes. An EXCELLENT statement.

Bruce is upholding the Wayne family legacy. Though his father and mother are no longer with him, their family was close and loving, and he honored his father in life and honors his memory now. Very nice to see.

Bruce does push-ups. I wish he was wearing a shirt in that scene, but I loved that, and all the other exercises and training scenes. :-D

Bruce also had an awesome car. "I've gotta get me one of those."

I also liked his suit, which wasn't disgustingly tight and form-fitting.

And now a smooth transition into the artistic value of the film, and how Save the Cat ties in.

There were a few spots that sniffed of cheese, especially when Batman was on screen. Over-epic, methinks.

The music. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard- how could I not like it? Well, here's how.

It was a very fitting and appropriate score, but the thing that I missed from Elfman's work was the melody. This one didn't leave me with anything but a very simple string part, a staple of action music, stuck in my head. I missed the Batman Theme- something big and grand and heroic that I could leave the theater- or living room- with. Though I'm quite glad there was no pop song in the credits.

As far as filmography goes, it was a well done film, no question about it. I missed the dramatic, comic flair and the distinctive sets of Mr. Burton's, but the graphics, stunts, etc. were much better here.

Now for the story. This was a classic example of Mr. Blake Snyder's story template discussed in his book Save The Cat!

I haven't finished the book yet, and there are some swear words and a few less-than-modest pictures, as well as- well, he just writes like a non-Christian screenwriter writing a book on screenwriting would, I suppose.

That said, he's very fun to read, and the book is excellent as far as information goes.

Lest I give away one of the best bits of information in the book, the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet, I shall refrain from telling in detail how amazingly well the two correlated. Save The Cat! readers and owners who would like to see the film "beaten out", just e-mail me and let me know. I'll give you what I've got so far. :-)

But one can watch this film with the popcorn in one hand and the Beat Sheet in the other. I was.

Oh, and my favorite line from the film?

"What's the point of all those push-ups if you can't even lift a bloody log?"

Batman Begins: 4/5, great for studying story, well done, remarkably romance-free, and with plenty of action, but not without its issues.

Save The Cat: 4.5/5 - excellent book for screenwriters, cautions above being understood.

Monday, April 4, 2011

MUSIC - Sinking The Treacherous

I really enjoyed putting this one together. Take the title and run with it, and I'd love it if you commented on the piece and told me what story you're hearing.

(Hint- pirates, soldiers, rough seas, and maybe a captain's daughter...)

Sinking The Treacherous