Movies

Dunkirk Is Not for the Faint-hearted

I watched Christoper Nolan’s Dunkirk the other day. It was a movie that I never would have wanted to watch if it weren’t for Y suggesting it. War movies have never been my thing. Too much machismo, too much violence, too many guns, and too much brawn. That being said, I thought Dunkirk was a brilliant movie and the best movie I had watched that year. My only qualm with the movie is that it felt like an hour and forty-seven minute long panic attack but Nolan is a genius for it.

IMAX is loud but Dunkirk is louder

I know what you’re thinking. No, I did not expect the movie to be quiet but I didn’t expect the movie to be as loud as it was. In one of the Reddit threads I was browsing through, a commenter remarked that he could physically feel the sound move through him. I agree with that wholeheartedly. The sound was overwhelming. Almost every single time a gun went off, even if it was obvious that it was coming, I jumped in my seat. It came to a point where I held my hands to my ears for the majority of the movie. At times when I withdrew them, I was completely enveloped in sound. It was a bit much for me and usually I grit my teeth to bear with gun scenes in other movies I see in the theaters.

Hans Zimmer creates constant tension

This is actually one of the biggest things I both love and hate about Dunkirk. The soundtrack is endless. It’s a constant ticking of a clock and constant chugging that perpetually heightens up to a climax until it doesn’t. The music never climaxes. You’re keep in a constant state of anticipation, just waiting for something to happen and even if something does happen, it’s not satisfying and the music keeps trekking on towards the next thing. This is the best thing about this movie. While watching it, the viewer is thrown into the mindset of the soldier. There’s a persistent feeling of impending doom that follows the characters around.

You gain knowledge at the same time of the characters

Although there are multiple timelines in the movie, the knowledge of what happens in each timeline does not give you an advantage over the characters (for the most part). You are limited to what the characters experience and you never really know what could happen next. Their fate is always up in the air which just adds to the suspense.

But I loved it

Basically, I was glued to the edge of my seat the entire time. I was kept in a constant state of anxiety. Although a lot say the movie lacked characterization, that didn’t stop me from worrying about the characters and their fate. In a situation like Dunkirk, you just want as many people to make it. The ending scene where the civilians show up in their boats to take the soldiers home is a testament to that. These civilians didn’t need to know each and every soldier coming onto their boat to care for them. I think that’s the most beautiful thing about Dunkirk: love for your fellow countrymen.

Movies

The Ending of Arrival

I finally got to watch Arrival the other day. It wasn’t exactly everything that I expected but I think I wasn’t displeased with the twist.

The fist half of the movie follows Louise, a professor who specializes in languages and translations. She is recruited by the government to help translate the language of aliens who had touched down on earth. Together with a mathematician, Ian, they slowly learn the writing system of the aliens.

At the climax, the aliens are at risk of being attacked by multiple countries around the world. This is when it is revealed that Louise can experience the future. She uses her glimpses of the future to piece together how exactly she had to prevent the attack on the aliens.

Throughout the movie, Louise had been seeing visions of her child. I initially thought these were flashbacks from the past and that the stress of sleepless nights had resurfaced painful memories for Louise. What was really happening was that Louise had been experiencing the future and the present simultaneously.

Louise marries her partner Ian and have a child together and that child is the one Louise had seen in her episodes into the future. While still in the present, Louise experiences multiple memories with her daughter Hannah and eventually learns that Hannah has an incurable disease that causes her to die in her teens.

This part of the movie caused great confusion for my SO and I.

If Louise knew that her daughter would have to suffer and die early, why did she choose to have her at all?

One of the arguments that I think is the most forgivable is that Louise is not able to control the outcome of her future, despite being able to see it. That is, her future is predetermined and she can’t change her future no matter what. So it doesn’t really matter that she knows what’s going to happen if she can’t change it.

A counter argument is that when she experiences the future, it is happening and she can make choices. There is hard evidence in the movie that supports this argument. When Louise is talking to her daughter at the lake, she asks her what day it is because she isn’t sure that what is happening is real or just a vision. Another scenario is when she is trying to think of a term for her daughter and it isn’t until she hears someone say it in the present that she can tell her daughter the term in the future.

In terms of morality, I have mixed feelings. Is it immoral of Louise to bring her daughter into the world if she knew her daughter would suffer? It’s a touchy subject and I cannot come to a complete decision on the topic.

On one hand, I’m a firm believer of “it’s better to have loved and lost than to not love at all.” As a result of knowing Hannah’s future, Louise is able to cherish each and every moment with her daughter. She loves Hannah with ever fiber of her being. Who’s to say that Hannah’s happier years weren’t worth it?

While I also believe in a women’s choice to do whatever she wants with her body, this situation is different because her actions absolutely impacts another person’s life negatively. It’s unfair that someone so young and just beginning her life would have it cut short. Some people might say it is cruel and irresponsible for Louise to bring her daughter into the world.

I really don’t know what to think of it but I keep turning it over in my mind. Louise doesn’t really have a rare circumstance. Some people have genetic disorders that can be passed down to their own kids. They have to choose whether or not they want to have kids or not. Some find out about a condition while the child is not yet born and they are faced with the same decision.

Is it up to the parents? Do some situations call for different actions or is there a universally ethical way of handling it? I don’t know myself. I hope I don’t have to choose and if I do, I hope I’ll be confident in my answer.

Movies

I Watched: Rogue One

Spoilers, beware.

I am not a huge Star Wars fan. I watched the first trilogy very quickly, bits and pieces of the second trilogy, and The Force Awakens. Honestly, most of what I know about Star Wars is from the Lego video games and Family Guy. However, my lack of knowledge of the franchise didn’t stop me from going to the theaters and watching the latest installment.

When I first watched the Rogue One trailer, I was left wanting for a little more. There were characters I haven’t seen before and it revealed little about the plot. I avoided any spoilers about the movie, somehow, so I truly was going into it with zero expectations. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The IMAX Experience

Because we missed the showing we originally planned to see and I had to get home at a certain time, I picked the next showing which was IMAX. It didn’t really click with me that it was IMAX until it was five minutes before the movie started and I looked down at my ticket wondering why there wasn’t a theater number on it. Turns out, the theater number was “IMAX.”

Now, I don’t have an eye for special effects or resolution or whatever film buffs look for in terms of aesthetic quality. But right off the bat I realized that the movie was definitely not made to be 3D. There wasn’t a whole lot of depth and quite honestly, I forgot I was watching a supposedly 3D movie. In my opinion, skip the IMAX, you’re probably not missing much.

The CGI

Okay, I wasn’t completely spoiler free going into this movie. I had read somewhere on Reddit mentioning Princess Leia being recreated with CGI and not recasted. Thankfully I didn’t remember that comment until the scene where Leia appears. My first thought was, “Woah, that’s CGI?” I honestly think they did a great job.

It also wasn’t until I went on Reddit did I realize Tarkin was done in CGI as well. Not once did I get an uncanny valley vibe from that character. Now that I’m looking at screenshots after the fact, he does look significantly more cartoony. Still, it looks pretty impressive. Maybe my favourable opinion is due to the 3D masking some of the obvious CGI giveaways.

The Story

Like I said before, I had no idea what to expect going into the movie when it came to the plot. Since I’m not too familiar to the universe, it took me a while to grasp what exactly what was happening but I got the jist of it.

There were some cheesy moments, such as when Jyn goes to the Alliance with her father’s message and nothing comes out of it but wait, some people totally believe her and will go against their organization to help her! I get that it was necessary but it was a tad predictable.

The ending kinda left me in shock. When K-2 was killed my jaw hung open slightly. Then Donnie Yen died (I really don’t know the characters names very well) and I was getting a bit teary eyed. Then the big dude who follows Donnie Yen everywhere exploded. The deaths never stopped coming!

But what surprised me the most was the bittersweet ending. The mission is complete but many lives were sacrificed. One of the Rebel councillors implied that it would have been a suicide mission and it was. The last scene reminded me of the end of 2012, of the two people holding onto each other in the incoming tidal wave. Honestly, it was a beautiful scene.

The Characters

K-2 was a very refreshing character and I enjoyed his comedic relief. And I think that’s the only character in the entire movie that made a lasting impression on me.

Throughout the entire movie I was trying to determine Cassian’s accent. French? Spanish? I still don’t know. Jyn was a little bit of a disappointment but I was thrilled at a female lead, even if Jyn felt extremelt flat. Donnie Yen’s character was pretty badass and I enjoyed his dynamic with his big sidekick. Tarkin was wonderfully creepy and fit the bill for a stereotypical villain but that’s all he was.

In short, nothing spectacular about the characters.

The Summary

It was a good movie. I don’t have much to complain about other than the flat characters that I felt little attachment to. Was it worth like $20 for the IMAX? Nope. But I think most people are pretty pleased with the movie and so am I.