TV: The Meaning of War According to True Blood.

“War isn’t about whether you think you can win. It’s about being willing to die for something you believe is worth dying for.”

After this speech from the new and improved brainwashed Eric, Sookie goes on to declare that she’ll be fighting the witches alongside Bill and Eric, despite their best interests to “protect” her, which they seem to try to do every episode.

“Call me crazy, but I’m willing to die if it means keeping an entire group of people I know—and love—from being eradicated in the name of hate.”

With shades of pretty well every war in history, as well as the latest ruling allowing women to fight on the frontlines, who ever said True Blood doesn’t tackle the big issues?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Male Rape on True Blood.

Images via VideoBB.

Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes*.

Proposition me with a trip to the movies to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and, ordinarily, I wouldn’t be interested. Sci-fi, James Franco… not a fan of either.

But show me the trailer, with a heavy focus on the humanity of apes and how they’re  “just like us!” and hella yeah, I’m down to see it.

The film begins with James Franco as a scientist, who has been working on an anti-Alzheimer’s drug by injecting it into apes to see if their brains can repair themselves. Not only does the drug A-1-12 do this, it also creates new pathways in the brain, which means the recipient knows and can do things they couldn’t before.

Bright Eyes, the ape who produced such results, goes ape-shit, so to speak, and is put down. What was thought to be the drug’s fault is attributed to Bright Eyes’ unknown pregnancy and birth, and “she was just being protective” of the baby ape hidden in her enclosure.

The experiment is shut down and Franco’s character, Will Rodman, sees no option but to take the baby ape home to the San Francisco house he shares with his Alzheimer’s-inflicted father, Charles, played by John Lithgow.

Fast forward three years and Caesar, whom they’ve named the now-super ape, has had the A-1-12 transferred to him at birth, it is discovered. He has his own play area in the attic, and he gazes down at the human world below him, aching to experience life outside the confines of the Rodman home.

During this time, Will steals some vials of the A-1-12 drug and secretly gives them to the ailing Charles. The results are overnight and miraculous. With the introduction of Freida Pinto’s veterinarian Caroline, who barely has five lines in the movie and is literally the only female character, bar Bright Eyes who is killed off in the first five minutes to further the story for the male characters, it’s all one big happy family.

Five years later, Will is struggling to care for his dad, whose body has developed immunity to A-1-12, and to wrangle the increasingly smart, inquisitive, lonely and strong Caesar, who attacks a neighbour for roughing up Charles when he tries to drive away in his luxury car in a dementia-induced stupor.

Will is forced to send Caesar away, to a primate enclosure in the city. Unbeknownst to Will, Caesar and the other apes are treated like crap by the attendants, who are the first victims when the apes stage a revolution.

Each time Will and Caroline come to visit Caesar, he gradually wants nothing to do with them. He begrudges Will for abandoning him and allowing him to be treated “like an animal”.

This notion is really at the crux of the film. We treat animals like beings less than ourselves, even though we know more than ever about their thinking and feeling capacities, and we will live to suffer the consequences.

There are consequences when we treat them too much like humans, too. (Paging Paris Hilton.) We can see that when Caesar leads the motley crew of apes freed from “sanctuaries”, like the one Caesar and the other apes escape from, laboratories and the zoo, and when he tells (yes, apes can speak now. The miracle of A-1-12.) Will he’s “home” with his own species.

This is after the climactic Golden Gate Bridge fight scene, where man versus ape in an overwhelming victory for the latter. This scene perfectly illustrates the “pack mentality” we accuse sports stars of, and is illustrated by the London riots and the gang-rape of Lara Logan.

Other subtle and not-so-subtle metaphors in the film include the dichotomy of war, racism, prison, how we treat refugees, how we treat those we don’t understand, testing on animals (which, in this film, is null and void: Franklin, a lab technician who dies towards the end of the film after being exposed to the virus strain of A-1-12, A-1-13, proving it may work on apes, but it certainly doesn’t on humans) and, of course, the aforementioned way we treat animals.

I’m a sucker for an animal movie, and cried pretty much through the whole thing! And these “animals” weren’t even real! But, in retrospect, the flawless special effects and underlying meaning weren’t enough to save the dismal character development and non-ape related storyline. Pretty much all the characters were interchangeable.

I’m not a big fan of James Franco, and in this movie he didn’t annoy me with his James Franco-ness but, having said that, I would rather that than a repeat of his Oscars coast-through, which his performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a mirror image of.

In terms of Pinto being the only woman in the movie, perhaps her no-character Caroline could have been spared in favour of one other female character with a bit of substance, a backstory, and a driving force in the storyline: mother Charlotte instead of father Charles.

But really, this reasoning is clutching at straws, as Rise of the Planet of the Apes is really all about the… erm… apes. Humans are merely transposable caricatures.

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

 

 

 

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Time’s “What Animals Think” August 16, 2010 Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Asylum Seekers: Have a Little Compassion.

Image via IMDb.

 

On the Net: Nine Lives.

Tavi Gevinson wished she was a cat, so she could have nine lives to fulfill all her dreams:

“I would have a life to fulfill my fashion dreams, one to fulfill my acting dreams, one for guitar, one for writing, one for movie directing, one for photography, one for fine arts, one for a normal life, and one for teaching…

“Also I could poop in a box.”

Lately I’ve felt like I’m barely existing (and this could be attributed to Mercury being in retrograde), let alone fulfilling the copious amount of dreams I have.

I remember at the end of my first year of uni I wrote a list of all my dream jobs, in case writing didn’t work out for me. I’d been exposed to so many new things during that first year that I was somewhat questioning my decision to be a writer. So, instead of facing my future, I pondered the unreality…

Wedding Planner.

Being a wedding planner would combine my love of aesthetics, organisation, bossing people around, flowers, location-scouting and weddings in general. Matthew McConaughey is just a bonus.

Wrestler.

I’ve loved professional wrestling for ten years now. I never desired to be a pumped-up, over-inflated ring decoration until World Wrestling Entertainment starting doing their annual Tribute to the Troops Christmas show in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq, and I saw the dedication and emotion that goes into the mission, by both the troops and the WWE Superstars.

I still have no desire to be a pumped-up, over-inflated ring decoration; I would much rather be an actual professionally-trained, fight to the death pinfall/submission, respected female wrestler. Except for the fact that I have asthma, am not flexible, and get hurt too easily!

Historian.

After reading over-hyped works of fiction like The Da Vinci Code and The Historian, I thought being an historian wouldn’t be so bad. You get to fight vampires and unearth “the greatest cover-up in human history”. Or I could just be a character in a Stephenie Meyer work!

Big Cat Trainer.

Tavi wanted to be a cat, I wanted to train them. Not your everyday domestic housecats either.

Mia Freedman.

Okay, so I can’t actually be Mia Freedman, but I can continue in my unadulterated admiration for her. In all seriousness, her current career as blogger, author and media commentator is highly coveted, in my opinion.

Australian Idol Contestant. (I guess that would be X Factor contestant now…)

So this isn’t really a “job” per se, and I don’t really have the skills for it, ie. a voice. However, I do have a mental catalogue of the songs I would sing if I did have said skills. “Need You Tonight” by INXS, anyone…?

Magazine Editor.

When I was still interested in working in magazines in Sydney, I thought being the editor of Cosmo was definitely in my stars. Fast-forward a few years: not so much. A lot of the magazines I envisioned myself working for have gone so far downhill that I think the blogosphere and freelancing are where it’s at.

Small Business Owner.

As recently as last year I wanted to have my own small business within the next couple of years. That’s not my focus anymore, but I do see myself owning some kind of business in the future. All that’s left now is to decide what line of business that might be. It’s a Romy & Michele conundrum.

Stylist.

I would die to be a Rachel Zoe wannabe, but from what little exposure to the fashion world I have had, I’ve drawn the conclusion that it is far too pretentious for me. As Whitney Port said, “They’re just clothes.”

Okay, so some of those are more within reach than others, and some aren’t actually all that impossible. It would be awesome to be something like a big cat trainer or a wedding planner, but in all honesty, I think of myself as a go-getter-type person, and if I really wanted to be an editor or an historian, I would be fighting tooth and nail (hey, maybe I wouldn’t make such a bad wrestler after all!) to be, instead of working away on this here blog.

[The Style Rookie] Dreams.

[Gala Darling] How To Survive Mercury in Retrograde.

Images via YouTube, All Movie Photo, Amazelabs, The Business Bakery, Purseblog.