Monday, January 06, 2014

Thinking About Things

So, I've been thinking a lot about movies and books where the characters clearly voice one opinion, intended as the message of the story, but the actions clearly paint a different picture.

This one was kind of a weird monster. All of the narrative problems aside, and any of the other things you might not have liked about this movie, one thing it did really poorly was stick to its message. It tried to explore the idea of a machine with a consciousness and a life as valuable as a human being. And then at the end it sacrifices the machine specifically to save a human being, showing which one of them is really a person.

You're as good as real people, unless one of the real people needs a new heart.

A really good experience comes from a cohesiveness, where the film says its messages subtextually as well as overtly. Terminator salvation was particularly disappointing because it came from the otherwise excellent Terminator franchise. Take Terminator 2 for instance. The future is what is important, not any one person regardless of emotional attachment. They say this over and over again, and then they repeat it in the subtext, any character can die as long as they accomplish the goal of saving the world from Skynet. And in the end, to prevent the world from repeating its mistakes, the terminator destroys itself, because it has to.

Terminator Salvation could have made a similar argument, but they didn't, really. They didn't even look for other solutions. The machine was a convenient sacrifice.

I'll spend some time thinking of other movies where the message differs from the underlying values of the story.

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