On Hell Boy 2, Burning at the Stake, & Other Things
The other day, we watched an interesting show on medieval torture. Incidentally, if you are ever burned at the stake make them stack the wood all the way around you, clear up by your head. You die of inhaling flame that way and actually drown before you really burn too much – the wood piled at your feet takes five minutes to die and you actually burn. The ring of wood takes fifteen minutes and you die from radiated heat. Interesting, huh?
Actually, the show would have been more interesting had they not kept pointing out the psychological portion of it. How horrified the victim must have felt, how terrible it must have been, how terrifying… blech. I don’t find that aspect all that interesting, which is why I don’t like a lot of modern horror movies. I don’t want to look into someone’s eyes and see their terror and listen to their shrieks while we, the audience, sit and slowly wait for them to die. Why would I want to be in the head of the victim? In what way is the victim fascinating? What is fascinating is the mind of the killers – the ones who torture. Whose names do we remember, Vlad the Imapler, or the names of the people he killed?
It’s like that scene from Bullet Proof Monk. The main chicky-poo is in a humanitarian museum, looking a photo exhibit of of atrocities being committed and she asks the woman in charge why they don’t present the more uplifting things. The woman then points to a picture of a man holding a gun to another’s head and asks something to the effect of, “And which one do you want to be? In the depth of your soul do you want to be the one about to die, or the one about to pull the trigger?” Of course, I have an answer to that – “I want to be the one holding the camera and thinking, ‘Wtf?! They said we were going to the zoo to take pictures of the monkeys!'” LOL!!
Seriously though, there is truth to that statement. Who consciously wants to be the victim? Who wants to be the abused? If one has to choose, isn’t it better to be the one who comes out on top? I could take this dialog exchange and really run with it, turn it into something much less literal and apply it to about anything in life. Those are the kind of movie lines I like. The kind of lines that transcend the scene and the characters and even the situation and can be applied to a broader view. Ride with the Devil has a part like that. Toby McGuire’s character declines to kill Pitt at the end of the film. The ex slave (Daniel I think his name is) says “All right then,” and McGuire says, “It ain’t right and it ain’t wrong, it just is.” Now THAT is a mind blowingly philosophical statement on so many levels if you think about it. That pretty much sums up all of life. It just IS.
Another really mind blowing movie I’ve seen recently is Hell Boy 2 – though it’s all the subtle things that make it so. There are a lot of great parallels going on in it. The fays are dying out, “fading” as the princess says, and as their race is disappearing Liz is pregnant with twins – which should be a whole new thing because they will be half human and half demon. So, as one race dwindles a new one is beginning, isn’t it? But, both of the great lines out of it belong to the prince. When he tells Red, “If you’re unable to lead then you must follow orders.” I liked that whole scene, actually, because it’s so poignantly sad. He doesn’t want to kill the elemental – the last of its kind – but he knows he can’t let it live. It was just beautifully done, with all the undercurrents of conflict and such – and then that was a fantastic line, of course, because again it’s true. You have to decide for yourself or else follow orders.
The other really good line is when the prince is dying and he says how he will die “but the world will be poorer for it”. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I am such a fantasy geek and always have been, so of course that entire theme of the fading away of something magical resonates well with me because that tends to be the underlying theme of most fantasy doesn’t it? The beauty and magic fading away and leaving humans in charge as they slowly destroy everything around them…
You know, this also tends to be a theme popular in Jap stuff, too. Probably why the original anime fans were also the fantasy/sci-fi geeks I suppose, huh? Though I find anime funny anymore. I talk to people and they talk about “old” anime and it’s like ’98, ’99. HA! OLD anime is 70-something! Gatchaman and Voltus V, that’s OLD anime! ’99 is fairly recent IMHO. I suppose it’s because ’98 was really the beginning of the Jap revolution in the US; aka when mainstream started to notice it. Meanwhile, us poor little geeks who liked it all along are now just considered as being on the bandwagon… it’s kind of annoying, really.
Song Playing at the Moment – “Samurai” – Tackey and Tsubasa