Tag: Movies

Incredibles 2: It’s incredible, too

Incredibles 2: It’s incredible, too

Forewarning. I do my best not to address anything beyond what can be seen in the trailers for Incredibles 2 in very specific detail in this pseudo-review. But just in case, consider this a spoiler warning, as I may throw some minor details around that I wouldn’t personally consider overtly spoiler-y.

You have been warned.



Full disclosure walking into this one: I absolutely adore the first Incredibles movie. Like I have no qualms admitting that my rose-tinted glasses were on securely when hearing this particular sequel was coming out.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the first movie, but as I found out while discussing things ahead of showtime with my friend Juan, I can still recall most of the film in striking detail.

I also recall a lot of things that happened surrounding the original movie’s release. I took a class field trip when I was in elementary school, where we all got to go to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to see a screening of The Incredibles together. I don’t quite remember why we had that field trip or who I was there with, but I distinctly remember doing it.

There was also a game based on The Incredibles for the Gameboy Advance that I played to death, not even fully aware of the fact that it was my first exposure to the ever-popular side-scrolling, arcade-styled beat-em-up genre.

So yes, I was pretty pre-disposed to enjoy Incredibles 2. It’s a universe I was excited to see on-screen again.

I absolutely loved this movie for what it was: A really fun family-centric movie that knew how to balance comedy, heart, a number of plots and — mostly — keep what I really liked about each character alive.

A lot of that love certainly comes out of the nostalgia factor. Seeing the characters I loved on-screen again was like visiting an old friend, and I was excited to see how their stories continued.

Being 14 years wiser meant I could see past the nostalgia enough to address what I didn’t necessarily like about the film as a film, both in terms of the overall plot and in terms of how the characters were treated. But I still really enjoyed the overall experience.

Where the movie primarily failed for me was in the fact that… Well… It’s a kids film.

Yes that’s an obvious thing to say when we talk about a Disney Pixar flick, but that fact really stood out to me.

It was obvious how I was well above the general demographic for the movie, as Juan and I were literally surrounded by eight-to-10 year-old children.

Pretty close to how old I must have been when the first film came out 14 years ago, to be fair.

But hey, you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy a Pixar film. That’s one of the big draws of them after all. So what exactly hit me about Incredibles 2 specifically?

Well… It’s incredibly, incredibly predictable. Pun somewhat intended.

The second the plot gets into motion, I knew exactly where it was headed in regards to the big bad of the film, and I was (mostly) spot-on. For anyone old enough to have some movie-going experience under their belt it’s telegraphed in an almost annoying manner.

There were a couple of times where I groaned seeing the characters on-screen not realize what was about to happen.

In a sense, that skepticism and older knowledge base somewhat ruined about a third of the movie for me.

That makes for a fairly good segway, actually. When you walk into Incredibles 2, you should expect to see three major divides in the movie.

After a great cold open making good on the cliffhanger ending to the first film, the plot splits in twine. Alternating between Elastigirl, Helen Parr, Mrs. Incredible — whatever you’d prefer to call her — going off to do superhero work while Mr. Incredible has to watch the kids, dealing with insecurity over being upstaged by his wife and dadly duties like math homework and boy drama.

The Elastigirl superhero portion of the film is the weakest part, in my opinion. There’s a lot of cool action scenes, mostly involving the sweet motorcycle she rides that can split in two as a way to use her powers while driving, and has some sweet moments watching her be successful.

However, the obviously telegraphed plot development makes her side of the story drag, as I constantly found myself waiting for the reveal I was expecting to be revealed.

I much preferred the Mr. Incredible side of the story, which was focused on the family’s dynamic. Particularly regarding the youngest Parr, Jack-Jack. While all of the children’s problems weighed heavily on Bob, trying to figure out how to deal with a baby that has every super powers with no control comprised a majority of the run time.

You watch Mr. Incredible descend into madness and it’s pretty funny the whole way through. As are the reactions of side characters like Sam Jackson’s Frozone and Brad Bird’s Edna. Jack-Jack really stole just about every scene he was in.

I had a particular fondness for Violet and Dash from the first movie, but they were somewhat sidelined in the second.

Violet’s portions of the film are excellent representations of the angsty teenager archetype, clichéd but well-done and very funny each time she has (frequent) angry outbursts.

Violet also winds up being the crux of the family’s dynamic and spurs much of the emotional moments for the rest of the characters. The interactions between her and her father are particularly lovely and stand-out. But her scenes are few and far between.

Dash, however, is somehow shafted further. There’s no moment in the second film that embodies the same youthful childlike wonder of Dash discovering the extent of his abilities, like when he runs on water for the first time in the original.

Instead Dash is very one-note: He’s bad at math/generally not responsible and he’s obsessed with cool gadgets.

I also have some gripes with how long Mr. Incredible seems to stick on the ‘jealous of his wife’ train for a lot of the film. It’s somewhat in-character, but there’s so much more he does in the movie that’s compelling that his jealous moments stick out like a sore thumb.

All of that may sound like I didn’t enjoy the film, but frankly it’s probably closer to accumulated nit-picks based on wanting more out of characters I’ve loved for a long time.

Eventually the superhero and family portions of the movie converge, and when they do, Incredibles 2 seriously kicks it up a couple notches.

I could’ve watched an entire movie just seeing more fun superhero family shenanigans.

Beyond the plot, Incredibles 2 is a gorgeous movie. Everything is crisp as hell after 14 years and does justice to the 50’s art deco comic look that I’m sure is partially why everyone remembers the first movie so fondly.

One example early on is a scene where Helen and Bob are sitting in front of a pool, and the animated water effects glowing up against them make for a great visual.

The only scene where the visuals really hurt more than they helped involved a room full of flashing lights where Helen fights the main villain. The lighting effects on the characters look amazing… But unfortunately it’s hard to focus on them with how much the screen flashes.

I’ll definitely recommend that anyone and everyone should go see the film, as even with my gripes against the story and certain characters, it’s an incredibly fun and engaging experience through-and-through.

One that I would say was 100 percent worth the 14 year wait.

I’ll look forward to Incredibles 3 in 2032.

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Take your Child to Work Day

Take your Child to Work Day

Okay so it’s not actually Take your Child to Work Day…  As far as I’m aware… But for my dad it was.

Since I’m off on summer break, he decided to take me along to the office today so I could get a change of scenery and tour the office — something that my sister has been able to do, but I haven’t considering I’m off in Fullerton 99 percent of the time right now.

Obviously I can’t bury the lede too deep considering the big reveal is spoiled in the featured image.

If it even is a spoiler? I’ve probably talked about this before.

My dad is a Senior Director at Fandango, the movie ticket and streaming media site owned by NBC Universal. It’s a pretty perfect place for him in the way it blends movie stuff and technology stuff.

But to be fair, it’s also a pretty awesome place in general.

Just in the last week he got moved into a different office, so I got to be an early observer.

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Fun fact, apparently the desks are all mechanized to allow people to adjust them into standing desks if desired. That’s neat, in my opinion.

Not just my dad’s office is cool, though. This place is chock full of movie posters, memorabilia and all sorts of other neat modern spaces.

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The more casual parts of the office extend to the outdoors as well.

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But of course there were other benefits to coming in on a Tuesday than just a nice couple of spaces to work in.

Fandango apparently does catering for its employees a couple days a week, and someone had enough foresight to bring me in on one of them. On the menu was a pretty good Mediterranean spread:

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We had lunch with one of dad’s co-workers from the NBC side, which actually was one of the nice things of coming to work with him. Getting to watch him in his element, talking with friends and colleagues.

Even if I felt like I was kind of just off to the side doing my own thing, possibly even in the way during such exchanges, it was still a good time.

Oh, but let’s not forget. The other cool perks of the job.

We were able to watch The Last Jedi on the big, fancy curved TV that was apparently a Korean prototype left over from the previous inhabitant of the office.

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That was pretty sweet. Especially when some of his co-workers came in and sat around for a while to shoot the shit about movie stuff.

While I make it sounds like the whole day was just fun-and-games, there was plenty of downtime for me where I sat around doing some work as dad went off for meetings. Plus, many of the visitors to his office were there for official work business before getting distracted by fun movie stuff.

So if anyone else from Fandango winds up reading this, don’t take it as me saying my dad just did nothing all day. I assure you that isn’t so.

However, it still was a fun day overall. A full day with my dad, going all the way back to our early morning stop at the voting booth for the California primary election today.

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Gotta do your civic duty, folks. Especially since this midterm for us means a Gubernatorial and Congressional seats race alongside a whole bunch else.

But hey, this isn’t a political post or anything. So I won’t dwell on that for too long.

It all just plays into the overall message, that I went out, had a fun day with my dad and got to see him in his natural element. Plus I got some work done in the process, so I can’t say I have too many complaints.

Deadpool.

Deadpool.

Alright look. I don’t have any sort of deep, philosophical thoughts that are way up my own ass today about human psychology or the value of sentimental material goods. Haven’t exactly done enough today to warrant that kind of thinking.

All I’ve really done was clean the downstairs bathroom and watch Deadpool 2.

As much as I have spent time talking about my cleaning habits in the past, there’s clearly a much more overwhelming force taking up brain space right now that I need to vent.

An X-Force, if you will. Because movie humor.

So I’m going to blather on for a while to debrief after that rollercoaster of a movie. Cool? Cool.

If I get into anything spoiler-y I promise I’ll let you know ahead of time. I’ll also put it under a ‘read more’ line on the blog here just in case. Continue reading “Deadpool.”

April 2, 2018 Articles Published

I have an unexpected two-for-one deal for everyone in the audience today.

That’s right, one newspaper, two Jason-branded stories. Deal of the century folks, I can tell you that much now!

… Okay, so I guess that’s not really a novel situation for me to be in all things considered, but it really did come up at the last-minute in today’s case. See, it all began with an unfortunate bit of timing.

Though it wasn’t exactly ‘unfortunate’ for me necessarily. But I’m overly qualifying each statement at this point so I’ll stop fooling around.

Last Friday, my family had plans to go see the new Steven Spielberg film “Ready Player One.” We all absolutely loved the book, so it has been on our list of things to do together pretty much since the film was first announced. Our tickets were purchased well in advance…

But then my Dad got stuck with work at the last-minute. Since he couldn’t go, my sister and Mom didn’t want to go either. The only issue with that was I had already promised our Lifestyle editor Hannah a review of the film. Plus we had four tickets already bought.

So I did the next best thing and brought my friends to a free movie.

As much as I wound up being disappointed that I couldn’t gush about how much I liked the movie with my family that night, it was a pretty dope day hanging out with my friends, playing video games and seeing a movie.

Also, as I just mentioned, I really liked “Ready Player One.” It’s not exactly a heavily story-driven film by any means, and the actors aren’t anything to write home about… But visually the film is just gorgeous, especially for the way it diversified each world the heroes travel between.

Plus, despite not exactly being super accurate to the book, the different take on Cline’s overall framework is pretty cool in its own right, so I’d argue the movie is a perfect companion to the book rather than being a replacement for it.

Sort of like the characters going through similar situations, but in alternate universes. That’s the best way I can think to put it.

I obviously don’t want to play all my cards here and not direct you right to the review, so you can see my thoughts on the film through this link here. All I’ll add at this point is that I highly recommend seeing it just for an enjoyably pretty moviegoing experience.

Especially with the Stanley Kubrick scene in the middle of the film that just continues to blow my mind with how gorgeous it was.

However, as promised, I still have more to go into.

See my first day back from Spring Break in the newsroom was a busy one. I was essentially juggling five different things all at the same time.

Not only was I fact checking and section editing stories as usual, I was also helping to set everything up for my movie review, transcribing out a 47-minute-long interview for a profile I’m working on (more to come on that soon enough), studying for two exams I have this week and working on a completely different story I was thrown at the last-minute.

Over the break, a 19-year-old man who does not attend CSUF was visiting some friends in the University House apartments near campus. At some point, for one reason or another, he fell off the third floor balcony and was hospitalized in a  “critical” but not “life threatening” condition.

Even though the event happened early on into the break, our advisor wanted us to do some sort of follow-up. That responsibility went to me.

I tried to get in touch with our University Police department, but they were not involved in the case and directed me to Fullerton Police.

So I called Fullerton Police and had to cycle through multiple different departments, likely because people were off thanks to Easter. Eventually I did manage to get in touch with Sergeant Dan Castillo, who gave me some real basic information but directed me to the officer who was a watch commander that night.

A few hours later, when Lieutenant Michael Chlebowski was in the office, I called back and talked with him for some more specific details about the case and why the Fullerton Police won’t be following up on it.

It was an easy 300 words to write, and even then my editors cut it down quite a bit from the looks of the final piece, but I can’t really complain. With Comm 471, easy points are easy points.

If you want to read that story in its entirety, check it out here.

You can also see my full archive of writing for the Daily Titan over on the right!

Entertainment Beat Report – March 15, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – March 15, 2018

I know this is exactly what I said on my last post, but I don’t believe I have a quippy opening to put up before this beat report. It’s just a standard round-up of the video game news from this last week thanks to some help from my friends that have way more time to pay attention to it than I do.

So I won’t waste too much time. Let’s see what the news of the week is in the video game world so I can continue to appease my lord in Comm 436.


New “Tomb Raider” film adaptation prepares for release

Probably the biggest mainstream video game news is the upcoming release of Roar Uthaug’s new adaptation of the 1996 classic game Tomb Raider. Or I suppose this adaptation is more based in the world of the 2013 reboot, Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born, but those are semantics we don’t necessarily need to go into here.

The new Tomb Raider will be out on Friday with Alicia Vikander (known most arguably for her work as Ava in Ex Machina) starring in the titular role.

As of this writing the movie has a 7.2 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database and a 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. While not fantastic, these scores are better than the 2001 Tomb Raider adaptation with Angelina Jolie, which got a 5.8 out of 10 on IMDB and a 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

So who knows, there may be potential for this to at least be a fun movie.


Popular Twitch streamer plays Fortnight with rapper Drake

A Twitch streamer named Tyler “Ninja” Blevins broke the record for most concurrent viewers at one time on Wednesday when he played the first person shooter Fortnite alongside Drake, a rapper known (in my circle anyway) for his  ridiculous dance in the Hotline Bling music video from 2015.

Of course he’s far more popular than that, but just to give everyone an idea of where I stand on this whole thing.

Now, when I say he broke records, I mean for non-tournament gameplay. According to the Polygon article I’m looking at, there were over 1.1 million concurrent viewers during an Eleague event in Boston. But for non-tournament events, Ninja’s stream nearly doubled the previous record by amassing 635,000 concurrent viewers at one time.

Apparently, Twitter analytics say that the top four trends that night were all related to the Drake/Ninja stream:

That’s pretty nuts.


Upcoming Monster Hunter World update detailed further

One of gaming’s biggest titles thus far in 2018 has been Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World. As a return of the long-time action-adventure multiplayer title to the Playstation side of the console debate, it brought huge changes to the beloved series that seem to have made the game a bigger hit than ever.

On March 22, it will receive its first major update.

Though that update will primarily be a series of added customizable armor sets and weapon balances, it will also feature the arrival of one of Monster Hunter’s most popular beasts:

The Deviljho.

Affectionately called the angry pickle, Deviljho is a fan-favorite Brute Wyvern that comes from the series’ third generation. It’s known for being a difficult fight with a creature design as terrifying as it is hilarious.

The Deviljho is also known for its claws, which in previous Monster Hunter games have facilitated the creation of items that boost player’s offensive and defensive capabilities.

There isn’t all that much to this piece of news, Monster Hunter just happens to be one of my favorite game series of all time, so I figured I would give it a shout out in my continued attempt to not be jealous of all my friends that are able to play it without me.


British Academy Games Award nominees announced

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) released their nominations for their 2018 games awards.

BAFTA recognizes 16 different categories every year, including “Best Debut Game,” “Best Narrative Game,” “Best Game Beyond Entertainment” and “Best Game Innovation” on top of the obviously expected music, performance and game design categories.

In what’s arguably the biggest category, six games are in the running for “Best Game.”

  • Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • What Remains of Edith Finch

Out of the games I’ve personally played here, I’d want Mario to win, but would probably expect Zelda or Horizon to win.

Though I’ve also heard nothing but good things about Hellblade, so who knows.

Whatever the case may be, these awards will be presented on April 12 in Troxy, London. There are 45 games nominated in the 16 categories, so it’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out there.


Foundation asks Nintendo about putting Dragon Ball protagonist in Smash Bros.

Alright, this is a bit more of a ‘jokey’ news piece… But I’ve seen some other outlets pick it up, so I figure it’s at least worth bringing up as it fits into my interests.

Following the announcement of Super Smash Bros. coming to the Nintendo Switch at the Nintendo Direct last week (which I summed up in my last beat report), one of gaming’s oldest questions came back into the limelight with a much more serious twinge:

Will Nintendo put Goku from Dragon Ball in Super Smash Bros.?

See, as funny as this joke is when it’s just a joke, the fact that Funimation is poking at them about it makes everything that much funnier.

Plus Dragon Ball FighterZ is such a popular fighting game hit that perhaps the idea of Goku appearing in a party fighter like Smash is not so farfetched…

Okay it is farfetched. But interesting to consider all the same.


That’s all I’ve got this week, and it’s about time I wrap things up so I can make it to class.

As usual, let me know what sort of big gaming news you think I missed in the comments! Obviously I can’t be in five places at once, so I know there are some things out there I didn’t get to.

In fact the most obvious video game news I didn’t give a shout out to is the soon-to-be-released Kirby Star Allies. I’m really looking forward to that, and it’ll probably be the next piece of gaming news you see out of me personally.

Interviewing on Location

Interviewing on Location

My work with Gladeo this month has me investigating more technical jobs than I have since the summer began. I’ve started to do my research into being a database administrator, a system analyst and a network architect specifically.

I wound up scheduling a good amount of my work today since I’ve been busy with orientation for the Daily Titan the rest of this week. Early on this morning I spoke over the phone with Tom LaPorte, who does work with databases for DreamWorks Animation (DWA) Nova.

However, this afternoon was a bit more special in that I got to do my interview on location. That location happened to be one of my favorite places: The DWA campus in Glendale, California.

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My dad worked at DreamWorks for a number of years and made plenty of friends while he was there. What kind of a journalist would I be if I didn’t use those connections where I could?

I talked with Scott Miller, who does system analysis among a variety of other roles in both the behind-the-scenes and audience-facing aspects of technical work.

While the conversation was wonderful, equally wonderful was the chance I got to explore the DWA grounds. I did it fairly often back when dad worked there, but being able to leisurely stroll around on my own a number of years later was great. After all, I haven’t been since the Asian American Journalists Association Trivia Bowl in 2015.

I talked about my time at the Trivia Bowl last year, but I wasn’t really blogging the year before. So in case you were curious, the Trivia Bowl was held at the DreamWorks campus that year. Now you know.

Exploring the campus is generally one of my favorite things to do because of how beautiful it is there. It’s seriously like a high class park that happens to have buildings for work on it. Sometimes I almost feel like it’s akin to an open-air art exhibit.

So, I figured why not share some pictures of a bunch of the cool natural architecture that has been built up there? After all, I’m sure not many people will get the chance to see it themselves.

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Honestly that’s all I wanted to do here tonight, spread the word on how beautiful the DWA campus is for those who might not get the chance to see it.

And humble brag about the cool thing I got to do, if I’m being completely transparent.

While I’m still waiting for my Gladeo pieces from June to get published (since they’re going down whatever spaced out pipeline has been planning out beyond my control), expect to see some more DreamWorks-focused pieces also sometime down the line.

I also put in a message to my bosses today that I’ll be keeping on with the internship into the Fall semester, so I’ll likely keep having more to talk about for some time.

Carrie Fisher – Rest In Peace 

Image courtesy of NBC News

So obviously I don’t do this kind of thing a lot, but as a fan of just about all things geek, this feels especially poignant to at least mention.

After suffering a heart attack last Friday on a flight from London to Los Angeles, 60-year-old Hollywood Actress Carrie Fisher died at 8:55 a.m. this morning, Dec. 27, 2016, according to the New York Times.  Though it’s hard to imagine anybody has not seen at least one branch of the legacy it spawned, her most renown claim to fame came from playing Princess Leia Organa in the 1977 phenomenon “Star Wars.”

Though playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise from Episode 4 in ’77 to Episode 7 in 2015 (with somewhat of a cameo in the Episode 3 to 4 transitional film Rogue One that came out earlier this month) has been her most famous role, Carrie Fisher also has at least 110 other credits for either acting, writing, producing and performing in various movie and television appearances, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).  Fisher has also written a number of books, including a recent memoir titled The Princess Diarist published on Nov. 22, 2016.

In a year which has also seen the deaths of quite a few other highly acclaimed celebrities, including Prince, Alan RickmanGene Wilder and David Bowie to name a few of the many, this loss in particular hits pretty hard for science fiction like myself.  It’s rather hard not to echo the general sentiment that 2016 has been a hard year for many at least in part because of such a largely star-studded death toll.

However, her titular role as the princess of a destined-to-be-doomed planet by the hands of a black suit-clad Sith Lord will likely live on longer than any of us and keep Fisher’s memory alive for a long, long time – much like many of the aforementioned stars who have also passed in the last year.

On July 22, 2016, Star Wars Episode 8 director Rian Johnson confirmed that principle photography for the next movie was completed.  Thus, the film series that jump started her carrier will likely hold Fisher’s last film credit as well.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a memorial to her at the end of Episode 8, and if anything I’m looking forward to seeing it so I can get emotional about it all over again. With New Year’s Eve in less then a week now, here’s to 2017 hopefully being a little less cruel to our Cult of Celebrity than 2016 has been, even during its home stretch.

Rest In Peace Carrie Fisher, and may the Force be with you.  Always.

September 12, 2016 Article Published

Alright so the title of this post might be a little misleading.  Technically, I did have another article published for the Arts & Entertainment section of the Daily Titan this issue.  It was just published solely online, not actually in print.

This article was also a movie review rather than a look into an art exhibit on campus.  After getting to see the film early through Alt-101, a College of Communication’s program on campus, I wrote a review for Kevin Smith’s “Yoga Hosers”.

Probably the hardest part about writing this piece for me was that, ironically, I had to inject my own specific opinions into my writing.  As someone who writes hard news almost exclusively, I’m much more used to sticking to the facts and not letting my personal biases slip through.  For a review, however, it was almost entirely my personal feelings about Smith’s movie on display – even if I had to write everything in third person either way.

As a fan of some of Smith’s other flicks, including “Clerks” and “Dogma”, as well as his podcast “Hollywood Babble-On”, I was pretty much predisposed to enjoy this movie walking in.  However, as I try to articulate in the review, the same probably couldn’t be said for everyone.  It’s full of crude humor and referential jokes that only devoted fans will probably pick up on, and  I would argue that most people wouldn’t like the movie even if I did – something that Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me on.

If you want to see the review in its entirety, you can see it here.  You can also check out my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan through the link over on the right!

Why you should watch Merchants of Doubt

For my Communications 233 class, Mass Communication in Modern Society, one of the things we were meant to learn about in the course is media literacy.  I say were because today is the day of our final exam so the course is technically over but… I’m not really here to get into semantics.  Media literacy was defined by our professor as having the ability to analyze the impact that forms of communications have on life.  This referred especially to being able to look at things like advertisements and being able to discern their true meanings through semiotics, for example.

Continue reading “Why you should watch Merchants of Doubt”

Representing History through Film

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The famous Hollywood Sign in black and white, as it would have appeared in “old movies”.  (Image Courtesy of circa71.wordpress.com)

Somehow the historical side of my blog for my Honors World Civilizations course has almost become more of a platform for me to talk about films.  In the first two posts I did (Post 1 and 2), I talked about Chantal Akerman’s documentaries in various degrees around the times that I watched them.

So, I figure why not take this last post for the class to talk about the relationship between movies and history as a whole?

The way history is depicted in media often has a large impact on how that history is addressed and thought about in our everyday lives.  Whether this is a good or a bad thing is generally debatable.

The fact that events in our past are recorded and repeated through films and TV programs is a great reflection that we as a species are continuing the legacy of those involved in various historical periods and moment.  As one of my favorite clichéd phrases goes, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  If stories from, say, the Holocaust are consistently depicted in films, we’re more likely to keep the Holocaust in our collective consciousness as a reminder that we can’t let it happen again.

In his book Visions of the Past: The Challenge of Film to our Idea of HistoryRobert Rosenstone talks about film as a tool which can alter our perception of history by saying, “In privileging visual and emotional data and simultaneously downplaying the analytic, the motion picture is subtly […] altering our very sense of the past.” (32)  Rosenstone ponders the differences between written and visual representations of history, wondering whether or not film can hold the same weight as history books or novelizations of events.

In this same vein, there are questions beyond the general strength of film as a medium.  Are films accurate in their approach to dramatizing history? What additional issues can we cultivate in portraying historical recreations?  Yes, it’s great that movies like Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” help to draw large-scale attention to the Holocaust so we can remember it.  However, to what extent is it irresponsible to make those who watch the film believe that Schindler was the same man who trained Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is also the same man who saved his family with “a particular set of skills”?

There are other potential issues with how we depict historical moments in our filmography beyond this name or face association.  Of course, I’m referring specifically to entertainment, fictionalized or blockbuster films and shows rather than documentaries.  There’s a very common complaint that Hollywood is too “whitewashed”, hiring caucasian actors in roles which are better suited for or meant to be people of color.  There’s also the possibility that the very desire to create a film, which by convention tends to be restricted in view time and the perspectives shown on-screen at a time, results in certain editing or removal of pieces from a history.

Now, whether or not I’m qualified to judge if a movie is historically accurate is a different story entirely.  I’m not planning on tearing apart or championing any particular film for how it addresses the history it desires to address.  I just figure this is a good place to talk about why I believe it’s important to try to be as accurate as possible when showcasing history in a film.

Part of why I say I’m not necessarily qualified to judge historical accuracy is because I’m not a history major.  I enjoy learning about history, but I’m not an expert in any time period by any means.  One of the ways I enjoy learning about history is through movies, as it’s much easier to understand or appreciate something that happened when it’s shown in a recognizable way.

Gillo Pontecorvo‘s 1966 film “The Battle of Algiers” is an excellent example of this.  I knew next to nothing about the Algerian War for Independance before watching that movie.  The struggle between the National Liberation Front (FLN) and the French Government, the escalating animosity of the two parties from the means of warfare that was used, the large-scale bombings and attacks that devastated the common people, the use of women and their perceived gender roles to sneak things through French boundaries… All of these ideas and more were represented in the film, and therefore all of them were things I learned about the Battle of Algiers from watching it.

Wars and revolutions as a whole are complex, that’s a given just in the nature of building up to such events.  It’s hard to totally understand everything that happens to both parties that physically and psychologically drives them to any sort of conflict.

That’s where I think “The Battle of Algiers” succeeds.  In my opinion, it teaches the history of an event that seems a little less well-known in a way that you get an idea of how both sides are thinking and responding to things throughout the film.  As far as I’m aware, the movie does a great job of teaching someone who knows nothing about the Algerian War (like me, as I’ve said) what they need to know to understand the struggle.

Bear in mind, filmmakers take creative liberties in their art, and what you see in film isn’t always exactly what transpired in history. To some extent, it’s realistically impossible to recreate history exactly as it happened.  For an audience, there should be a balance between suspending your disbelief when you go to a movie and understanding that life is too complex to represent in an hour and a half to a two-hour celluloid format. For a filmmaker, there’s nothing wrong with taking creative liberties or trying to show history in an entertaining way, but we should keep in mind that the movie being created could become someone’s only connection to that period of history.


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