Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Fountain

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Fountain – 4 out of 5

Boy, there are a few films that are about drinking fountains…and this in not one of them (granted that’s a pretty shitty opening to a review but this movie is so majestic that I couldn’t think of anything else).

Hugh, we can totally see you...

The Fountain tells three stories in one film (and that’s a deal if I ever heard of one, my friends). It tells of a conquistador trying to find the tree of life hidden by the Mayans for his beloved Queen, a modern day doctor researching on trees that may unlock the cure for his dying wife and finally it shows a space traveler trying to reach a dying star in a cosmic bubble and joined by (you guessed it) a dying tree (okay, you may not have guessed the “dying” part but you probably guessed the “tree” part and that’s why you’re awesome—I don’t care what your mother said about you, she was wrong). Each tale intertwines and parallels each other as each man becomes obsessed with the person they love and trying to defeat death in an effort to reach immortality.

"Immortality and adamantium claws maybe?"

Probably one of the most ambitious projects I’ve ever seen from director/writer Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan) and certainly one of the most visually stunning films I’ve ever seen by the man, this film seems to be an acquired taste for those on the internet as their either love it or hate it. Check the score, bro…I love it!

Seriously, stop looking at this picture and check the score!

Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz star as the star-crossed lovers that appear in all the stories from the past, present and future. In doing so, we get to see various sides of each actor as they play characters that have similarities but are different enough where you can really, and very definitively, see the range these actors can perform. Especially from Wolverine Jackman thanks to each story focusing overwhelmingly on his struggle/ordeal. We get all sides of good ole Wolvie Jackman…
For example...normal...
Looking to his left...
As a monkey (he really played a lot of parts in this one)...

Emo Wolvie...
A bald guy who likes to make out with trees...
And beard.


That isn’t to say that Weisz doesn’t have her part to play—far from it. Her characters act as the catalyst for Jackman’s characters’ obsessions and motivations. Without her, he has no drive and, as the film successfully shows, no meaning.

I want to make a joke here but, like all guys, the sight of seeing a woman cry
has left me frozen with fear.

As I stated, this movie is just visually amazing and absolutely beautiful—to put it into perspective, this film is the equivalent of the pretty girl (or guy, let’s not be sexist here) at the bar/party you want to talk to but they are so impossibly beautiful that they instantly make you look 12 shades uglier so you don’t go up to them and try to start a conversation and just decide to go home, get some Taco Bell drive-thru on the wayn and furiously masturbate and then cry yourself to sleep surrounded by 7-layer burrito wrappers…or is that just me? Anyway, this movie looks that gorgeous and it’s intelligent and creative to boot!. Something you probably wouldn’t have received from the girl (or guy) at the party/bar. “I like stuff,” is probably the deepest thing you get from that individual.

Cloaks need to make a resurgence in today's fashions...also capes.

Even more amazing than the lonely night-quality of the visuals is the route taken to create the special effects. In an effort to make the film timeless, Aronofsky decided against computer effects and went a different route that involved filming chemical reactions in petri dishes—that’s thinking outside the box. I wouldn’t have thought of doing such a thing but that’s why I’m not directing movies and, instead, am blogging about movies but you can’t argue with the results…
I imagine this is what the inside of a sarlacc looks like.

Finally, my favorite aspect of the film is how one could interpret the events you are witnessing. Aronofsky has claimed there is only one way he sees the film and believes that to be the final interpretation (and that’s okay—a little arrogant to say that but it’s his film) but what he presents on the screen is vague enough where you can infer the events the way you want. Personally, I had pondered that all the characters in the stories were the same person that somehow managed to achieve immortality. However, as the film ends and as all the stories wrap up, I changed my theory to only include that the 2nd and final character portrayed by Jackman were indeed the same person and the story about the conquistador was just a story written by one of the characters portrayed by Rachel Weisz. However, even this idea can be cancelled out due to all the elements within the film and a new theory can be reached. This dynamic made the film something beyond the clear-cut A-to-B story and plot we so often see in films.

Instead of another Wolverine joke, here's a picture of Ethan Suplee who was
also in the movie.

The Fountain is not an easy watch. It’s not a film you just put on and can do other things while it’s playing. Miss a moment and you might as well start the film over again. The movie requires you to pay attention because Aronofsky, like much of his other work, wasn’t going to hold your hand and guide you through the film. It’s one of those films that requires you to be an active viewer; taking in all the visuals and cues to learn what’s going on without it being explained to you through dialogue. With strong performances, touching and strong themes and tear-creating beauty, The Fountain is nothing sort of art and is like nothing else out there. Now, if you’ll excuse me, these Taco Bell wrappers ain't going to clean themselves up.

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