Pan’s Labyrinth is truly a wonderful film and many probably consider it Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece.
“A fairy tale for grown-ups.” as he calls it during one of his interviews. It holds an even balance of the brutality of war and the wondrous imagination of an 11-year-old girl who should not be anywhere near war to begin with.
But she is taken to a base by her very pregnant mother who is due any day now. They are escorted through the ancient woods as we learn that the girl Ofeila is a book worm especially when it comes to fantasies.
Her mother says she should not be filling her head with all that magic and to basically accept reality for what it is. But this is only touching the surface of what is to come as the story unfolds.
From the very beginning we learn that Ofeila is adventurous and never lets anyone know where she is going. She finds a mantis that appears from an ancient stone head.
Later on she will find the mantis once again as it turns into a fairy that will guide her deep into her imagination which will be her way to escape the harsh realities of life and death.
This is a rare film that leaves the audience with thought provoking questions rather than answers. I think the real magic of the film comes from the fact that you can’t tell whether or not her imagination is real within the film. The real world gets just as horrific as her fantasy.
Is this a story shown partially within her dream-like point of view? Or is the film set in a place where fantasy is possible but she is the only one who sees it? It is never made completely clear. It shouldn’t be made clear otherwise it would take away the mystery.
Of course she is the only one who explores her little quests while the adults are off tending to there own operations.
It truly leaves you wanting more. Maybe even a sequel dare I say.
This film doesn’t hesitate with violence even though it is a fantasy. The antagonist of the real world is known as the Captain and soon to be step father of Ofeila. Ofeila has a problem with this from the very first chilling scene we meet him in.
He is a ruthless captain of a platoon camping out in a farm during the Spanish Civil War set in 1944. He and his men are fighting off the resistance so they can settle down. But you will find out what he really wants as the story unfolds.
The film is effortlessly directed as it mirrors Ofeila’s imagination with what she sees in the real world. So you can bet there is a lot of symbolism involved. Notice how well the creatures represent the human characters. Notice how her actions in the underworld are also happening in the real world.
Ofeila’s dreamy tasks are so conscience with the real world that we can’t tell if it really is just her imagination. As the story progresses she really hopes it is not just a dream.
Truly a rare film this is. Del Toro said that you can’t make a film like this in Hollywood. I don’t doubt that for a second. So he made it in Spain.
It is a story told in Spanish but well worth the extra effort to read subtitles. Pure innocence and pure evil are mixed together surprisingly well. The acting is very convincing.
The visuals are as real as I ever seen in a movie. All that matched with a mesmerizing soundtrack and you got one heck of an experience. It carries a lot of weight so I watched it twice to really embrace it.
Warning: This article contains many spoilers of the story so if you have not seen the film I strongly recommend seeing it before reading this post. Also this is a really long post.
Some critics hail it as the greatest movie of the 2000s. Some hail it as one of the greatest love stories of all time. It won the Oscar for best original screenplay.
When I saw this movie for the first time I wasn’t really sure about it which seems to be the case with many great films. It may take another viewing or more to fully grasp all the layers of the film. Just take a look at Memento.
This movie has a secret that is brilliantly demonstrated to us using a science fictional procedure. That procedure is called a memory erasure. It is the process of getting painful memories erased from the mind. And what a booming business that would be.
The film starts off like a common rom-com. Joel is your average every man who on the way to work finds out that his car has a nasty dent in the side. He thinks that it was the car next to him even though it looks like a mark from a fire hydrant.
Then before getting on the commuter rail to work he makes an impulsive decision. He decides to ditch work and take a train out to Montauk. He doesn’t know why. He’s not an impulsive person.
Then at the beach he walks along the tide even though it is very cold. He sees a girl and then kind of turns around. He sits down on a nearby set of stairs and wanders around a beach house close by.
We get a good idea of what he is like as he is narrating his journal entry. He is painfully shy especially with women. He thinks about getting back with a woman he knew a long time ago. After all she was “nice”. But he’s nice too which is why it didn’t work.
Joel and the girl are then sitting in a diner far from each other but are facing each other making some eye contact. He is looking at her. She looks at him. He looks down. He is writing. She is reading.
Then it skips to him at the station waiting for the train ride home. She is at the other end and starts waving as he is being shy but nice. He waves back and quickly turns away.
On the train they are once again seated away from each other. Facing each other. She makes the first move. She is impulsive. He is resistant. Opposites connect. She introduces herself. Her name is Clementine.
Then we get to watch as their chemistry deepens. From the train ride home back to her apartment. He is helpless as she comes onto him but for some reason he cannot get her out of his mind. She wears her emotions on her sleeve. He is close-mouthed.
We then cut to possibly the most memorable frame of the film. They are laying on the frozen Charles River looking up at the stars. At first he was afraid of the ice cracking but Clementine’s adventurous attitude brings him out of that fear. They share memorable moments rather quickly.
We then cut to Joel arriving at Clem’s apartment the next morning. She is asleep, he gently wakes her up and she asks if she can sleep at his place. He agrees and she goes into to get her toothbrush.
Then something peculiar happens. A boy taps on Joel’s window to ask him if he can help him. What he’s really doing is seeing what the hell is going on and why this guy is moving in on his girl. But we don’t know this for sure until way later.
This is when the story takes an unusual turn. That first sequence made the movie seem like it was going to be a mediocre romance, even a chick flick. But little do we know that what we just witnessed has a lot more meaning to the story.
The next scene is set before their meet cute. We think it cuts to the future.
It would make sense since Joel is heart broken after breaking up with Clem. But they just met for the first time didn’t they?
We as the audience find out with Joel that Clem has erased him from her mind so that she literally has no idea who he is when he tries to reconcile with her at the bookstore.
He gets handed a notice from a company through his buddy telling him not to mention anything about Clem getting the procedure done. But his buddy ends up showing him anyway out of sympathy. So he finds the place that does this because of how skeptical he is and learns that it is for real.
The company is called Lacuna which I believe also means a missing part. Joel hands the notice to the head doctor who I assume has never been in that situation before. The doc explains that he cannot go into detail but says Clementine was not very happy with the way things were.
Joel can’t take the emotional pain so he decides to get it done himself. Then some clever things are thrown into the story that help us get immersed into the movie.
One is when the doctor says that February is the busiest time of the year for them because of Valentine’s Day when everyone would rather forget about their Ex’s. Another is when Joel asks if there is any risk of brain damage and the doc responds by saying technically the procedure is brain damage.
Now he must go back to his apartment and gather every single object that would remind him of Clementine. From a snow globe to her potato head collection . He stuffs it all in a couple trash bags and sits in the waiting room noticing that two other patients are getting the erasure done.
One is erasing his broken dreams of possibly not making it as a pro athlete while the other is erasing her loving memories of her dog “Buster” that recently passed.
Once Joel goes through all of the tests and puts the erasers at Lacuna in charge of his memories he goes home that night. He takes a strong sleeping pill. That way the technicians can come in, setup the equipment, go to work, and there is no risk of him waking up.
The movie really picks up as it takes place mainly in Joel’s mind where his memories of Clementine are. So because we’re inside his imagination it gives the film makers a legit excuse to bend the rules a bit without getting too far out of the realism.
We are now going through his memories starting with his most recent which are of course the worst ones. We start off with the most painful. Their break up.
As he is dreaming the memory he couldn’t be happier that he is erasing her from him. It is revenge as far as he is concerned. As this is happening we are taken back to the present where the two technicians of Lacuna are manning the computer getting rid of all the memories (spots) on the diagram of Joel’s brain (mind).
Then we go through some boring memories and an awkward fight in public. All of which I actually found pretty funny.
Early on in the memories Joel learns that this process is much like a dream. He can actually communicate with everybody inside his mind before he is taken to a new memory. We learn this when he is taken back to the office and sees himself in the chair.
He walks in and is freaked up because he sees himself. He starts talking to the doctor and he talks back to him. It is like a heavy case of deja vu as he remembers exactly what was said. So what does that mean exactly?
Well since this is basically a dream that is being washed away Joel is really just talking to his imagination. It is not actually the doctor he is talking to. It is how he remembered the doctor. So the doc’s response is what Joel would expect him to say based on the short time he has known him.
This applies to everybody inside Joel’s mind and that includes Clementine. But he won’t think of this ability as useful until the story takes a brilliant turn. At which point he will start to learn of other abilities.
The brilliant turn happens once the memories go from sour to very sweet. The first sweet memory is with them under the covers as Clem confesses an embarrassing childhood thought. “Please let me keep this memory. Just this one.” Joel whispers to the memory erasers moments before Clementine is lost in the covers.
Then they are back on the frozen Charles river only this is clearly a different time. It is day light and Clem’s hair is not blue. It’s red. It is a very romantic moment they share. But then the sky darkens and once again Clem is pulled away from him.
Heart broken Joel cries out to the sky that he doesn’t want this anymore as if the technicians can hear him. They are away from the laptop and got the procedure on autopilot. Even if they were listening they probably couldn’t hear him.
He changes his mind about changing his mind! This is when the movie really picks up. It goes from a walk down memory lane to a run down memory lane.
He yells for Clem and luckily finds her as she is not far away. He frantically takes her hand and runs with her to someplace safe where the erasers won’t find him. In his mind they are physically running. On the screen of the laptop it just signals that Joel disappeared and it sounds an alarm.
One of the technicians Fink finds this out and ends up calling the doc over to fix the situation. Meanwhile Joel is trying everything he can to stop the procedure otherwise he will lose Clementine for good.
He tries to talk to the doc once again inside his dream but remember it is only his imagination. He starts to think outside of the box and imagine a memory that Clementine was not apart of and then take her with him.
It works, for a while. Joel ends up having a great time with Clem as they disguise themselves as different people. First he is a baby version of himself while Clem is his babysitter. Then they are children and relive a couple childhood memories. The doc finds this out as he has to improvise and take the procedure away from autopilot.
Having failed again the only thing Joel accomplished is erasing some more nostalgia.
After this he figures there is no use. He gives up and decides to just enjoy his last memories with Clem. She tells him to try and remember her. And poof! She disappears again.
The last memory is of course the first time they met which is at a party at the same beach in Montauk. Is it a coincidence? This takes place about 2 years before the present.
Joel decides to go with his buddies Rob and Cary. Joel’s girlfriend at the time Naomi couldn’t go. He feels out of place. He sits up on the same set of stairs as before eating. He narrates how he was drawn to Clementine’s back before having met her.
She appears next to him. They both don’t know how to act at parties. She persists by grabbing a piece of chicken off of his plate. He lets her. They connect right away.
They trade names. She says the same exact thing she said when they meet again. “No jokes about my name.”. Only this time Joel knows her very well having just gone through an ocean of memories with her.
So he is already crazy about her. Unlike when they met for the first time on the train where he is more withdrawn. He replies by bringing up the Huckleberry Hound reference. He actually did know about that song because he then goes on to admit that his Huckleberry Hound doll was his favorite toy as a kid.
Then she brings him back to the harsh reality that “This is it Joel. It’s going to be gone soon. What do we do?”. Almost as if she for a little bit forgot that it was a dream. But remember it is all just Joel’s dream so we are not looking for any scientific explanation.
We could point out that they wouldn’t remember it is just a dream since those memories of running away have vanished. But this is the “what if” game. This is a story that is meant to tickle your fancy and make you wonder. And I think it does a phenomenal job.
Joel simply replies to Clem, “Enjoy it.”. What else could Joel do?
He tried to keep Clem in his mind by rescuing her from the erasers before she disappears.
He tried hiding them both in memories that were not even on the doctor’s map. But the erasers caught him not knowing that he doesn’t want the procedure any more.
He tried telling the doctor that he changed his mind about changing his mind but he was just an extension of his imagination. The real doctor that could have stopped it was right in front of his unconscious self in the real world.
He tried getting on his knees yelling to the heavens that he didn’t want this anymore. But the technicians couldn’t hear him even though he could clearly hear them from inside his dream echoing.
He tried waking himself up but he could only open his eyes.
So screw it! They might as well enjoy the very last memory before she becomes a stranger to him.
As it gets dark they frolic along the shore and make their way down to the reminiscent beach house that Joel was hanging around at the beginning of the film. Because of how adventurous Clem is she slips into an unlocked window and proclaims it as their home just for that night.
This is a very interesting scene and in my opinion the most emotional. After she opens the door letting in the hesitant Joel she pretends that they are the married couple living there. She starts looking for candles and liquor to have a romantic night even though she knows he has somewhat of a girlfriend.
Even though the lights are out and they could get caught. And even though they just met. That shows how impulsive she is.
Joel’s quiet and scared. The beach house starts to crumble. Why? Obviously this is not how it really happened. But remember this is Joel’s dream/imagination.
The first time I saw this scene I thought the beach house started to crumble because the erasers are slowly decaying this memory.
But it may not be the erasers who are doing this. It may be Joel and his imagination. He can’t help but control it. Think about dreams that you’ve had. There is a flow that the dreams have. You only have so much control over it. So really the crumbling beach house is symbolic.
At this point Joel realizes that he blew it. He had something incredible. A woman who completes him. They immediately connect. He is boring and shy. She is exciting and impulsive. She saves him from the mundane. The boring routine.
But now it is all falling apart just as the beach house is. This was a bad memory that he wanted to forget because he was scared and thought she was a nut.
Remember their break up? That was another bad memory.
As she was leaving him and scowling at him a car fell. “Look at it out here. It’s all falling apart.”.
Anyway back to the beach house scene. He says “I really should go.”. She says “So go.”. And he did in real life.
But now realizing what he could of had he stays talking to his imaginary Clementine. “I wish I stayed.”. He admits he was scared, humiliated, and thought that he was not worthy of her.
He runs out to finish the last memory as it happened. She prompts him to stay and make up a good bye to pretend that they had one. What follows is the most tear jerking moment of the film and one of the most heart felt scenes in film history. Right up there with The Green Mile, The Deer Hunter, and dare I say Titanic.
He slowly walks to her with a frown on his face. She walks down the stairs emerging from the dark with a smile on hers. He is standing with sand up to his waist. She leans forward and gently says “Bye Joel.”. He says “I love you.”.
Rather than kissing she whispers “Meet me in Montauk.”. And that right there is the secret of the film!
That mesmerizing piano piece picks up and we as the audience can’t help but get goose bumps as we watch heart broken Joel get driven away from Clementine as he looks out his window gazing at all the vague wonderful memories that are no more.
His friends say “We saw you with a pretty girl.” “Yea man who was that?” Joel biting his tongue says “Just a girl.”. We can barely tell if that is what he really said or that is what the present Joel said. That’s great acting.
So the film repeats some of the very first scenes showing that they indeed happen after the procedure. Joel ends up meeting Clementine in Montauk for the first time. It is the first time to them but it is the second time to us. Little do they know that they were together for 2 years before this.
That is a secret because we know something that they don’t know for now.
It skims over the same scenes showing Joel ditching work and going out to Montauk. Then it picks up where the first sequence left off. Clem goes inside to get her toothbrush. The boy taps on Joel’s window.
Before coming back out to the car she grabs her mail. Joel drives off.
He confesses that he had the best time of his life last night. He is very happy. She is very happy.
She sorts through her mail and sees an unusual envelope from Lacuna which isn’t familiar with them. She reads the letter from Mary the secretary saying that they have met but they don’t remember and there is a tape.
She plays the tape. It is a recording of her verbally ripping Joel to shreds and she is being very honest about it since it was right after their break up. So it like the polar opposite of what she thinks of him now that they just had a wonderful time.
In the tape she explains that he is very boring. She can’t stand how she is around him. She hates how timid and fragile he is and she wished she had a real man. He thinks she is screwing with him. Hurt by the things she says he opens her car door and she leaves.
Both are heart broken once again. Then she makes her way to his place and he is already listening to his tape talking about what he hates about her. He offers to turn it off but she refuses saying “It’s only fair.”.
Knowing that they have been together before they are trying to reconcile and handle each other’s nastiest sides. Listening to Joel’s hate speech he mentions how BS her hair is. But present Joel says he really likes her hair.
It is amazing because I could totally picture this happening. In a way nice Joel is battling rude Joel to keep Clementine around. But then she really gets hurt from what he says next. He says that Clementine only gets people to like her by screwing them or at least dangle the possibility of getting screwed by her.
That is the same thing he said to her that made her break up with him. She can’t stand it slowly breaking down on her way out. He follows her. She turns and says that it was nice meeting him and all.
He hesitates to go after her until he is reminded by the recording about how much time they have spent together only for her to end up a stranger. This really hurts him.
He goes after her. Then the inevitable happens.
There is some great acting in this scene. He gets her to wait. They sort of stare at each other with still faces. Then she breaks hers. She says yet another line that she has said before the erasure. “I’m just a fucked up girl who is looking for my own peace of mind.”.
They come to the realization that if they stay together they will go through some rough patches. Joel says “I can’t see anything that I don’t like about you.”. Clem replies “But you will think of things. And I’ll get bored with you because that’s what happens with me.”.
Then that magical moment happens. He says “OK”. She nods and says “OK”. They smile and laugh. And they live happily ever after frolicking back in Montauk. But not quite…
Living happily ever after is the biggest cliche ending with love stories. But this is different. It is more like they live happily for a while until they start to hate each other and fight again.
But at least they will expect it and can see it coming. Rather than going through the misery of being without each other they decide to go through the misery of being with each other.
Because that is the way it is. True love is when two people (usually a man and a woman) can withstand each others nastiest sides and stick around. It is almost like an unscripted test. It is a very nice thing but sometimes it can feel like something that you are stuck with.
What makes this story remarkable is that it borrows an element of science fiction to show us something. Whether it is actually true or not is in theory because this procedure will probably never exist.
We ask ourselves would two people really find each other again and connect in the same way as before? It sparks curiosity because of how serious this idea was demonstrated to us within the film.
It must be really difficult to take an absurd idea like this seriously. What I especially loved about this film is that there is more to it than the relationship between Clem and Joel.
There are two brilliant sub plots (relationships) in the story that hint Joel and Clem will get back together. One is the relationship between the doctor and Mary the secretary at Lacuna who comes over to Joel’s apartment to hang out with Fink the technician as he is erasing the memories.
But the really brilliant one is between Clementine and Patrick the less experienced technician. He is a sneaky little bastard who is desperate for a girlfriend. He claims he fell for Clem while they were doing the procedure on her at her place. But she was unconscious!
He steals Joel’s journal entries of Clementine as well as the gift Joel was going to give her on Valentine’s Day to help reconcile with her.
Patrick manages to get a date with her because she is a little desperate herself. So now his plan is to use Joel’s entries as his “notes” to seduce her as well as use the gift. He might have a good shot if he wasn’t a creepy little bastard who stole her panties.
He calls her in the middle of erasing Joel’s memories. She is very upset for some reason. Patrick really doesn’t need to be there as Fink has everything under control, sort of. Clem is crying over the phone and Patrick gets her to invite him over to her place.
What is funny is that Joel hears this phone conversation echoing inside his head and realizes that he stole Clementine. He learns that he even knows the nickname Joel gave her, Tangerine.
Patrick heads over to Clem’s house bringing a bag filled with Joel’s journal entries and uses them as notes to use to seduce Clem. She is upset as if something is missing from her.
Of course as the story unfolds we know that it is Joel she is missing. There are a few cues Clem effortlessly gives us that show Patrick is failing at this little love scheme he has.
Notice the suspicious look she gives him after giving her Joel’s gift. You can tell she is thinking “I just met this guy. How the hell does he know my specific taste in jewelry?”.
As part of her traditional date she takes Patrick out to lay on the frozen Charles River. But not before he recites Joel’s quotes from his journal entry from when she brought Joel out. This very moment is shown side by side with Patrick and Clem.
Only Patrick is clearly faking Joel’s line and has no feeling into what he is saying. He is a bad actor but in the movie if you follow me. Her heart sees right through this imposter but her mind is confused. His seduction line has no effect on her.
Impulsive blue head Clem immediately decides she wants to go home and basically ditches Patrick on the ice. His plan is failing miserably.
Joel on the other hand really meant what he said. It was from the heart and red head Clem feels it. She gets close to Joel which is exactly the result Patrick wanted.
Back to blue head Clem. She storms off and Patrick chases after her. She drives them both back still upset and crying. Another wonderful little hint is when Patrick lists adjectives describing her.
He stumbles upon “nice”. This freaks out the confused Clementine. She turns to him and yells “What!”.
And so we don’t catch up with Patrick until later when he goes from a random boy tapping on Joel’s window asking him peculiar questions to the needy little bastard who failed miserably at stealing Clem.
She is inside brushing her teeth listening to Patrick over the answer machine being painfully needy. Mocking him to herself she clearly has no interest in him having found Joel her missing half.
But this really becomes evident a little while later after Joel kicks Clem out of his car. Yo-yoing back to upset she screams a couple times at Patrick “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” which is beautifully acted.
Doctor Mierzwiak and Mary
The doc and Mary have a history together as the Doc puts it when making the confession to Mary. Mary fell in love with Mierzwiak before. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if he didn’t have a wife and kids. By the way when we learn this we can pretty much get that the first sequence of the film was them falling in love again.
She is in love with Mierzwiak again. We learn with Mary that she got the memories of her relationship with Mierzwiak wiped clean. He privately erased her memories of himself not even thinking that Mary would fall for him again.
It almost seems like common sense doesn’t it? It’s ironic that the doctor doesn’t even think of this. I guess you can say this takes away from the mythology of the story. But I think it adds more to it than not having it at all. It gives us insight as great films tend to.
She is going to be the same girl she was before she knew the doc. So she will fall for him once again. She is doing the same exact thing. If they erased her memories again she would probably do it again. That is insanity. That is the major flaw with this procedure of getting memories erased.
All you end up doing is waste time and kill wisdom. Don’t memories equal wisdom? If you can’t remember an experience then how are you supposed to learn from it, move on, and become a better person?
Forgetting bad memories is tough but it shouldn’t be done artificially. Otherwise you get caught in a forward. We must keep them in the back of our minds and move on. That way we can make better decisions and drive ourselves forward. Our memories are a big part of who we are.
I think she ends up being the hero of the film in a way because she ends up destroying this business. It’s funny because not too long ago she was talking about how amazing this “gift” is that Mierzwiak gives the world.
Sure it seems like a good idea and I think it would be a thriving business especially because of how none of the patients would remember to get a refund. But it is all based on a lie that everyone around you must follow. Why would your close friends and family put on a show for some doctor?
We don’t think of it as being lied to until this poor girl learns this harsh reality. She feels used and ends up letting all the Lacuna patients know the truth. Unfortunately they cannot get their memories back but maybe their money. It must be expensive.
But as pointless and stupid as the procedure is it actually finds the nugget of hope. It gives insight to Joel and Clem once they learn this. It is all thanks to Mary for letting them know they have been together before and yet fell for each other again.
So now that they realize how much they really do belong together having met twice for the first time (man that sounds trippy) they realize that in a way they have to be together. Notice how miserable they start to get as they yo-yo away from each other at the end of the film. What a mind ^&*% that is.
He kicks her out of the car. She goes back to him. He is happy to see her as he realizes she wasn’t screwing with him. She gets hurt from what rude Joel says and leaves. He lets her go at first. Gets reminded of how they invested 2 years of their lives together only for it to mean absolutely nothing. He gets heart broken once again.
Catches her. He wants her to wait. She is obviously happy he came back to her. There is love in both their eyes. She waits. She brings up the fact that they will have their fall outs. He says OK. She says OK. Now hopefully they have freaking learned their lesson. God! What a crazy freaking movie.
I believe it is one of the most unforgettable love stories shown on camera. It has got an emotional center meaning great chemistry between Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.
There is such whacked out yet funny scenes like when he is a baby version of himself and Clem is his baby sitter. She shows him his crouch to help comfort him and yet he finds it gross because he is way too young to even be looking at girls let alone find them sexy.
Carrey is of course very different from the usual characters he is known for like in Liar Liar and Ace Ventura. If you know him from these roles then you may sense he is holding in his crazy persona at times in Eternal Sunshine.
But he doesn’t break character at all. His cries are convincing. This seems to be the type of movie that is tough to take seriously especially for the actors. The slightest smirk or hint of mocking the idea can kill the flow of the movie. It is like having a good poker face.
Sometimes comedic actors step away from mainstream comedies to explore more dramatic roles and are very convincing like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.
Jim Carrey has done this before with movies like The Truman Show another fantasy with an unusual idea which he was excellent in. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t get an oscar nomination. Kate Winslet got one for Clementine.
What an original entertaining character she was. She is the playful adventurous girl next door type that most guys secretly hope to find in the most unsuspecting places like an empty beach at Montauk.
I think Kate Winslet disappears into the character pretty enchantingly. She is most known for her role in Titanic as well as some pretty dramatic roles like in The Reader. But I really liked her in this.
The soundtrack had a spaced out but emotional feel to it so it was directly in sync. There were a few moments in the film that the music lifts up. One is that piano piece that plays as Joel is remembering himself as a kid playing in the rain.
Another is the touching scene when Clem and Joel are at an elephant parade and Mary is reciting the Alexander Pope poem. Who would have thought that a line from a poem would fit a movie so perfectly.
The final memory in the beach house is accompanied by yet another simple yet beautiful piece that warms the soul.
When it comes to stories being shown on screen this is a rare gem. It seems like such a risky film to make. Many films can be easily placed in categories.
Good films tend to be resistant to labels. Many call it a science fiction. You can also call it a romance. You can call it a comedy because there are parts that are funny. It can be a drama. Even a thriller because Joel tries to save Clementine from being erased.
The order of the scenes is so unorthodox it almost doesn’t work but the scenes must be shown in a precise order so that we get it. This was the case with Pulp Fiction.
Pulp Fiction was another movie that gave Hollywood a good kick in the ass by challenging conventional Hollywood stories.
It is has many layers that it can be pretty confusing with the first viewing.
Yet the director Michel Gondry pulls it all together. How Charlie Kaufman wrote this is way beyond me. He must have come up with the secret first and then wrapped the convincing love story around it.
This film borrows science fiction to demonstrate a thought provoking secret to us. It shows how important our memories and true love really is.
Would two people who have fallen in love do it again after their slate is wiped clean? And if so does that make it true love? I guess true love is something like religion. Either you believe in it or you don’t.
Tron: Legacy is one of those Sci-fi stories that only touches the surface. But if you are looking for a movie that appeals to your eyes and ears then this succeeds admirably in those departments.
Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges aka The Dude) is a software engineer who was the head of a major software company Encom and well known for creating one of the best selling video games of all time which is you guessed it, Tron.
But now he has mysteriously disappeared from the real world. This leads many to believe he is dead. He is survived by his son Sam who is now 27 and is the biggest share holder of the company.
But rather than take back the company from the greedy executives he pulls a prank every year on the date of his father’s disappearance. We get to witness his latest gag and then are brought back to his home which looks like an abandoned garage on the outside but is actually his apartment on the inside where he lives with his dog Marv a “rescue”.
He is greeted by Alan who was Kevin’s close friend and business partner and is the only one who believes Kevin is pursuing his dream of a “digital frontier”. And of course he ends up being right.
The real action in the film begins on “the grid” which is slang for the digital frontier. Before we get there we are taken through Flynn’s old arcade which will feel nostalgic if you have seen the first Tron (made 28 years ago) or played in an 80s style arcade as a kid.
Once Sam finds the secret passage we then get warped onto the grid but we don’t know for sure until he runs outside Flynn’s new arcade. It’s new because it is the new world.
The CGI in this is so stunning it really makes you feel like you are there especially if you watch it in 3-D. I felt the same way when seeing Avatar only Pandora and the Grid couldn’t be further apart.
We follow Sam to the Games which is basically a digital version of gladiators. Only when a program dies he breaks down into little pieces that sound like glass when they hit the ground.
The plot and story are alright but like I said the movie thrives on the visuals as well as the soundtrack which was composed by Daft Punk. The special effects and the tracks go so well together the movie almost seemed like a 2 hour Daft Punk music video.
There are a few things you may question. When Sam meets up with his father and Quorra you may wonder where and how they got a pig for dinner. Also why some of the programs act so human like especially Castor played by the charismatic Michael Sheen.
Or how Sam and Quorra are supposed to develop a relationship if Quorra manifested in the wastelands of the Grid. But this isn’t the type of movie that has answers nor should it.
It is an escapist type of movie where amazing things are possible. I’m an escapist so that explains why I enjoyed it. I also like how they cleverly reflected our world with the digital world.
Jeff Bridges one of the great actors of our time plays 2 versions of himself (even a third one if you count the first scene). He plays Kevin who seems to be similar to Bridges himself. And he plays CLU which he created when he was younger and needed partners to build the Grid.
CLU is basically his alter ego and can’t necessarily be mad at him since CLU is his creation. It can be pretty entertaining when an actor plays two versions of his character (just take a look at Nicholas Cage in Adaptation). Bridges plays both pretty convincingly especially towards the end.
Spoiler Alert: The last scene on the grid is Bridges vs. Bridges on a bridge!
The ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel. I just hope it doesn’t take another 28 years.
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