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Category Archives: Editorials

On Fantasy, and why it’s so easy to get hooked onto Hollywood opiate

As of late, it’s been difficult for me to watch any films that take a darker, deeper look at human nature, life, and existence. Normally, I thrive on these themes, and eat them up like pineapple cakes. But lately, I have been too….emotionally  drained to want to entertain them.

In the end, what is it that a majority books, movies, television, and games provide? Outlets for our own fantasies, of course. Where the fantasy space of the viewer is carefully engaged, using the screen material. To quote a friend, “it allows your mind the freedom to wander, to consider what it finds of interest, to float past what it doesn’t.  It allows you to engage a mode of fantasy that draws energy from the story and its characters (though likely not all characters, and different characters for each viewer or reader), but is not equivalent with the story–again, fantasy will touch down on points of interest with the story, but otherwise spends a lot of time elsewhere, playing with some of its ideas, characters or scenarios.” It is a mark of powerful work of art, that is able to transport and immerse the viewer it’s own unique fantasy space. Take Star Wars, Star Trek, or Harry Potter. All of these have fanatical and active fanbases, who are, above all, active in exploring these worlds. Harry potter fanfiction is written and consumed in unfathomably large quantities by fans who love the characters, and love to write about them. There are conventions for both Star Wars and Star Trek, where fans enjoy roleplaying their favorite races.

In the end, I do believe that people have fantasies of two main themes, often intertwined: fantasies of grandeur, and of romance. Hollywood has perfected the formula, the one where a movie, immersive or not, manages to make the audience lose themselves in their own fantasies, more than what’s actually happening on screen. For guys: Fast cars, explosions, wealth, social status, superpowers/amazing physical ability, a sense of purpose, and above all, a sense of specialness, of being chosen. For girls, romance, finding passion/a connection, social status, desirability/likability, and that same sense of specialness. And it all wraps up all tight and neat in 110 minutes. For a movie to have mass appeal, it makes sense to unashamedly throw all these things together in a jumble, which is why chick flicks and action movies are so damn generic.

Art and media is, after all, something to be engaged in, and not just watched. Just like a painting evokes different responses, and is appreciated in different ways by different people. Ideally, one would be fully able to appreciate the complete depth a work of art, all it’s complexities as envisioned by a great mind. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you can find even one reason to be entranced.

The greatest works of art…they are not only immersive, taking you into their realm completely, but they explore and expand your own fantasies. They provide a framework that your mind can roost on, an area to entertain and contemplate at your leisure. They make you think, shaping your understanding of the world, and human nature.

I think it’s quite silly how … almost taboo it is to talk about the notion of fantasies, and how absolutely integral they really are to most of us. Far from being something we discard when “growing up,” we keep them with us for life; they shape our dreams and aspirations, our understanding of media and what works of art we enjoy, and ultimately, who we want to be.

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Editorials

 

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Horror vs. Psychological Thriller Part 1–A Look At Rebecca

Horror vs. Psychological Thriller Part 1–A Look At Rebecca

I don’t like horror.  When the eerie music and unsettling camera angles start in in a horror movie, I curl up in a ball, plug my ears, and squint my eyes.  Anybody who’s seen any horror knows that when those cues come into place, the movie is building up to a startling cut scene that makes the audience scream from fright.  After all, that is what horror is for – to frighten you in what is probably meant to be a cathartic way.  All it does for me is set me on edge.

On the other hand, I love psychological thrillers.  Several films that I enjoy are Se7en, Black Swan, Gaslight, Donnie Darko, Memento, and Perfect Blue, to name a few.  My favorite of the genre though, are Hitchcock movies, The Shining, and Silence of the Lambs.  I would like to take a little bit of time to talk about each of these to explain my preference for psychological thriller over horror. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Editorials, Horror, Psychological

 

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Why I Love Chihayafuru

Just yesterday, a friend tried to explain why Laguna Beach is an awesome show (I really hope he was being sarcastic), but in one of his attempts to defend the series, he asked me if I had watched any of it.  I responded that I had accidentally stumbled into one episode, thereby wasting a good half an hour of my life.  “A-ha,” he responded, “then you don’t really know how awesome it is.”  I countered with: “Truly great shows are amazing in just one episode.”

Well, maybe that’s not strictly true.  By that logic, I would’ve dropped Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya after “The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina” (still the weirdest first episode I’ve ever watched).  But then there are some that just really grab you by your shirt in the first episode and make you pay attention.  In ghostlightning’s Top 30 Anime of All Time (as of 2011), he listed Hanasaku Iroha as #29, despite its lack of completion at the time.  I truly believe that there are certain shows that are so good at the beginning you know they’re going to be winners.  For me, some examples of that were Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal, Fullmetal Alchemist, Nana, Honey and Clover, and Ergo Proxy.  And now Chihayafuru.

I have always been a huge sucker for mood first and foremost.  That was what drew me into Nana, RK: Trust and Betrayal, and Honey and Clover.  The first episode of Chihayafuru didn’t start very gloriously.  It seemed rather generic, a high school girl trying to start a club.  How many shows have we seen with girls and clubs?  It makes my head spin.  But once the episode delved into Chihaya’s past and motivation for playing karuta, that was when I was irrevocably hooked.  The art was beautiful, the music great, and the characters believable. The characters are far from perfect — with some rather annoying traits in some and character flaws in others. But what touches me is that the show documents each of their journeys to become better people and be true to themselves and their dreams.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Chihayafuru, Editorials

 

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