Getting Emotional with Movies, Part 10: Wonder
If I was going to devise an emotional spectrum for movies, I’d put Contempt on one extreme with Wonder on the other. Films that fall under Contempt tend to be the ugliest and most disenchanting that cinema has to offer, while those under Wonder are the most rejuvenating and magical. I’ve traversed the spectrum many times throughout my movie watching career, perhaps mixing my concept of Contempt and Wonder a little along the way.
When I was much younger, my imagination was captivated primarily by non-provocative movies like The Last Unicorn . Except for maybe The Secret of NIMH, The Last Unicorn is the animated film that I’ve watched more times than any other. In fact, before Beauty and the Beast came out, it’s one of the very few that I remember watching, period. As an adult, I’m not entirely sure what the appeal was. The music is bland and irritating, with no showstoppers along the lines of “Be Our Guest”. (NOTE: The Last Unicorn isn’t exactly a musical, but the soundtrack is boring folky stuff. And Jeff Bridges performs a really terrible song. Maybe it’s just me… listen to the clip below and decide for yourself.)
Speaking of bland music, I encountered few fan-made videos for The Last Unicorn on YouTube. This one features the song “White Flag” by Dido (NOTE: I actually kind of like Dido):
Around the same time I was overdosing on The Last Unicorn, cable TV was feeding me a steady diet of a film that came from the visionary mind of Michael Crichton. Many of you are more familiar with the Michael Crichton behind this:
Looker is about a plastic surgeon whose female patients have the habit of leaping off apartment balconies. When he investigates their mysterious deaths, he uncovers a plot by an evil corporation involving consumer mind control. Part of their sinister scheme is to replace real models with perfect computer generated replicas, hence the assassinations. (I assume that since CGI technology has become so advanced, we’ll be seeing movie actresses dying under strange circumstances soon…)
The corporate hit man’s weapon of choice is a light gun that causes confusion and disorientation in its target. So, when he flashes the gun in a model’s face, she just stands there with a blank expression. Since models are stereotypically thought of as not having much going on in their heads in the first place, such a weapon seems humorously redundant. But the light gun is also put to more exciting use during a car chase and an amusing fight scene. Here’s the theme song, which further served to embed the movie in my mind forever:
As I got older my cinematic interests became a bit darker. At one time, I was obsessed with the opening to Coppola‘s version of Dracula for some reason. I even bought the soundtrack so I could synch it up with the movie and blast the music on my stereo. My bedroom rumbled as Gary Oldman freaked out over Winona Ryder‘s death. (I rarely watched the rest of the movie.)
Lately, my sense of Wonder has been greatly diminished by my disappointment with the Star Wars prequels, and the Indiana Jones disaster. I knew that my childhood was dead and buried when I heard the “Raiders March” at the end of Crystal Skull and felt pissed off rather than elated. In fact, I’ve hardly went to see any big budget adventure/fantasy/Sci-Fi spectaculars in quite some time. Maybe I’m being lured over to the dark side by Contempt because my hopes for a Wonder-ous cinematic experience are so often betrayed...
The most recent film to bring back that sparkle in my eye is perhaps the perfect combination of Contempt and Wonder. Possession is something like what would result if David Lynch and David Cronenberg totally lost their minds and made a movie together. Without a doubt, this is the most mesmerizingly bizarre and nutty motion picture I’ve ever seen.
At first, it appears to be a movie about a crumbling marriage, but by the end all traces of reality and sanity go out the window. Right from the beginning, both Sam Neil and Isabelle Adjani hit the ground running with energetically crazy performances. This scene about midway through where Adjani completely flips out reminded me that movie magic still exists (well, thirty years ago):
I think I’m in a good place now.
This post is part of our User Showcase series. You can find Chad as kingofpain on Flickchart. If you’re interested to submit your own story or article describing your thoughts about movies and Flickchart, read our original post for how to become a guest writer here on the Flickchart Blog.