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The Fountain: My Two Cents

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Awk and ShawSee how that works here, too? Because you throw change into a fountain? Man, that’s a versatile bit of wordplay.

So finally, after a bunch of delays, Korea gets The Fountain. (Or as they’re calling it “천년을 흐르는 사랑,” which translates to “The Thousand-Year Float of Love.” Catchy.) The movie’s playing in exactly two theatres across the whole country, one of them’s in Seoul, and I’ve been to it twice. Recall graeme’s lambasting of the film upon initial North American release; well graeme, it’s time for a rebuttal.

I came out of my first viewing confused, to say the least, but having liked what I saw. To get the obvious out of the way, the carefully-arranged visuals are beautiful to behold, and I was especially impressed by the recurring thematic use of on-screen lighting that decorates the frame while strengthening the connections among the three interweaving timelines (suck it, Sarris). The music is more great, interesting work from Clint Mansell (who also scored Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream and created that monotonous, pounding music which is probably my favorite film theme). And I was very intrigued by the basic story/stories and characters and ideas.

As much of them as I understood, anyway. It’s debatable just what’s what in this film, and after seeing it for the first time there were elements that I wasn’t quite sure I got, and there were parts I damn well knew I didn’t. But with two days to think about it (a good sign in itself, a movie that warrants two days’ further consideration) and another viewing on Sunday, and things became much, much more clear. And those things that were suddenly more clear floored me; I can’t ever recall my appreciation and admiration for a film growing so much with a second viewing.

A fourth timeline, left on the cutting room floor -- Tom Apocalypto

The Founatin’s not just a good movie. It’s downright wonderful. The plot–how those three periods connect and impact one another, and how they move Hugh Jackman’s character–is a work of great creativity and skill, a big idea absolutely achieved (and to say that the wife’s storybook “feels like a forced plot device” really makes me think we understood the plot differently, graeme, because that book is so damn essential). As for the criticism that the film’s ultimate moral idea–“the circle of life, you can’t cheat death, blah blah blah”–isn’t anything new and that it’s handled poorly, well I don’t think that’s quite the point at all. Perhaps we expect proselytising from a grand, epic, brainy science-fiction film, but The Fountain isn’t trying to teach us any lessons, it’s merely showing how Jackman’s character comes to learn his lesson. It’s not about us, it’s about him.

There’s not much a person can do to change another’s mind on a matter of taste — we shouldn’t really even be trying, we should just be sharing our ideas and letting other people make up their own damn minds — but I have to say I think The Fountain may have been short-changed (there I go again; can I be stopped?) by certain folks. This film is anything but simple, and it deserves, begs, perhaps needs extended thought and discussion (and repeat viewing) to be properly grasped. But hey, sharing ideas, discussion — that’s why God invented the “Leave a Reply” box… laebmadada

When the Keebler Elves tried nuclear power to bake their cookies, the results were tragic.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday, March 12, 2007 7:49 am

    Glad you enjoyed it. But then, I figured you would – just to spite me.

    I’ll freely admit that it’s possible I didn’t ‘get’ what Aronofsky was going for. So perhaps a second viewing is in order. It’s unlikely I’ll be converted to an Aronofsky fanatic, but maybe there is more to The Fountain then what I initially wrote.

    I still think the space-yoga looked ridiculous. You ain’t gonna convince me otherwise on that.

  2. Monday, March 12, 2007 9:17 am

    Spite is the only emotion I’ve got left.

    I won’t fight you on the zero-gee zen stuff. That bald-with-folded-leg-thing (that folded-leg-thing I’ve never been able to pull off) is a decidedly done-before visual in a movie full of not-done-before visuals, and it’s something that, out here in reality, gets all this mysterious reverence (probably why it was used in the film, to cash in on that reverence) which I think is undeserved and bullshit.

    On the other hand, that shot of black-silhouette tai chi against the speckled star background was pretty, even though I don’t really get why he would be practicing martial arts up there at all — unless he was expecting that dying star to be full of ninjas. Which would’ve been AWESOME.

  3. Monday, March 12, 2007 9:40 am

    We should make that film. And we should call it Space Ninjas.

    And I did like the space visuals for the most part. They didn’t just look like run-of-the-mill science-fiction, space stuff. The sound too was well-done, nice and quiet, and, combined with the music, gave these scenes an interesting, ethereal atmosphere.

  4. Monday, March 12, 2007 10:39 am

    And slowly, he begins to bend to my will.

  5. James17930 permalink
    Monday, March 12, 2007 2:00 pm

    Hey guys.

    Can I help out with Space Ninjas?

  6. Monday, March 12, 2007 2:03 pm

    Depends. How much do you know about either ninjitsu or jet propulsion?

  7. James17930 permalink
    Monday, March 12, 2007 4:25 pm

    Probably more than graeme.

  8. Monday, March 12, 2007 5:56 pm

    Huh! What?! Bwuuh!?


    I knew I should have switched my medial. Film Studies and History, where has that got me??

    Wait, don’t answer that-

  9. Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:39 pm

    Wow, you guys actually followed my request and didn’t answer.

  10. James17930 permalink
    Tuesday, March 13, 2007 3:33 pm


  11. Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:14 am


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