Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman

Sunday, June 22, 2003

I'm going to Merritt for a couple of days, so I may not be able to post. This ought to keep my dear readers occupied:


12:49:39 AM        Internet Mixed Bag

On Friday, Todd and I went to see Ang Lee's Hulk. This was, too my great joy, a different kind of super hero movie. Partially, I think, because the Hulk is a different kind of a super (anti-)hero, but mostly, I expect, because of Ang Lee's exceptional direction.

My complaint about most of the super hero films made since the original Batman with Michael Keaton is that they're all made from the same mold. They're all about a lonely, distant guy who reaps vengeance for some personal hardship in (and this is particularly important) a rainy, scummy, eternally-dark city.

Most super hero films seem to draw the comic's mood into the film. Hence, the dramatic camera angles, the muddy streets, the rubbery costumes. Lee has gone one better by drawing inspriration from the format of comics. He makes creative use of swipe cuts, split screens and clever editing to constantly remind us that we're watching a comic book tale.

The Hulk doesn't there in a city. He spends his time in suburbia, in cabins in the woods and the desert. So this is immediately a point in this movie's favour. This film takes its time--it builds a powerful and effective backstory that doesn't focus solely on the protagonist's 'creation myth'. We grow to know and care about the characters before anybody gets green and angry.

Lee's films--particularly something like The Ice Storm--are very dreamlike. I remember the desert scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as if through the fog of sleep, and this movie works in a similar fashion. Its pace is contemplative--it gives us time to consider, maybe, the monsters in all of us. Mind you, Hulk's themes aren't as compelling or sophisticated as Crouching Tiger, but there's still plenty to think about.

An Ang Lee film's plot seems to almost stumble along. Events occur, enemies triumph and falter, love is won and lost, yet we're unaware of anything too remarkable having occurred. In this way I think they mimic life more than the average Hollywood film.

Nobody makes their actors more beautiful than Ang Lee. How can you not fall in love with Ziyi Zhang the first time you see her unmasked. The same is true of Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly in The Hulk. I can't figure out if it's camera angle or lighting or some combination, but everyone in Lee's films goes a little anime--their eyes seem to get huge.

In short, then, an excellent film. It's a departure from Batman and The X-Men, and has more to do with, say, The Hidden Fortress. Here's what the critics thought.

12:38:58 AM        Movies