Okay, double post time. Found it:
First of all, ask yourself if you liked the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. We'll come back to this in a bit.
The Fountain is a spirally flick by Darren Aronofsky, the feller who brought you π (or Pi ) and Requiem For a Dream. I have to mention that I thought his previous films to be interesting for a new filmmaker. Pi (or π) was a film I did not really get, but found interesting, however depressing. I do remember having to switch off the edited Blockbuster version of Requiem For a Dream because it just became a little too intense, so that I could catch my breath for a moment. A good film, especially to elicit such a response, but so depressing I doubt I could put myself through that again.
With the past out of the way, he made The Fountain with beefcake Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from the X-Men flicks), and Rachel Weitsz (in those dumbass Mummy flicks, and wife of the director, which I mention both to cut her down a notch from her turn in the Constant Gardner, which I hear she was good in). What I heard was it was Sci-Fi flick, and I saw some of the visuals and that made me want to see it, and hearing who was directing it made me think it might be something special. An ad for the film called it the best film of 2006, which I thought was high claim for a Sci-Fi flick. From the look and the idea of several timelines, my mind went to one of my favorite directors, Terry Gilliam. I have been hoping for a new good Terry Gilliam film lately, and although I've not seen Tideland yet, I hear it sucks more than Brothers Grimm. So I was hoping this was the next best thing.
Well, it still has Aronofsky's bleakness, which should not be a bad thing, but I felt this story could have used a little bit of brightness occasionally. The visuals were definitely the high point of emotional response, as some of the shots are just truly lovely. And the story had an interesting element or two that I really wanted them to develop and make the movie about, but rather it ended up been muddled up in its own message that really was not especially clear. I typically have no problem with think pieces, and I tend to search them out. But I think the open-ended point of the movie like in this one is nothing but frustrating. After some of the dumbass comments from fellow moviegoers at the end of the flick, I was annoyed, as I felt like, "well, this is just a movie you have to sit and contemplate." By now, it has settled in enough that I feel like I should have made heads or tails of it by now, but I have come to the conclusion that it is too open to interpretation, much like the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It has the dreaminess of ending, the full lack of understanding of intent, and I felt the same frustration and occasional boredom. And the occasional giggle which, in this one, was due to Hugh Jackman looking like a Buddhist monk in a lotus position, which is what his character looks like in The Future.
So, would I recommend this flick? Yeah, definitely to my friend who likes to smoke pot and watch Stanley Kubrick's "masterpiece." He could probably eke out some meaning in this. Maybe I am getting old and grumpy, and am just frustrated because I did not "get it," but I do not feel there was enough to go on to not be just wide open to personal interpretation. So people I recommend see this film is stoners, those dealing with death, and those that think I am full of shit, and want to judge for themselves, or those that just want to see pretty visuals or are hot for one or both of the leads. I definitely would not recommend this to the hard-of-thinking. Or people that like their movies to be about the story and characters, rather than about ideas.
Fun: 2/10 Eye-Candy: 9/10 Deepness: 8/10 Emotional: 5/10
For the after movie coffee shop discussion crowd:
I must say I was intrigued by the Mayan Tree of Life mythology. I hoped that they would expand upon the Tree of Life mythos, as it is prevalent in so many religions, and even other bits of literature. It is a very interesting symbol, and so much more could have been done on it. In this, as near as I could tell, it was used as a symbol of the futurists view of "death is a disease, and can be cured." Yeah, none of us want to die, or at least a very small minority want to, and so eternal life has always been an appealing storytelling device. I feel that is what catapulted the vampire myths to popularity. But in this, one of the major themes is letting go of life. The message, as far as I could glean, is that holding on to life is not such a good thing. However, it gets muddled with all of the ideas of "sacrificing yourself to give life." I never quite connected with what that was saying, unless it was to help people get over the loss of someone close to them, or dealing with a terminal disease.
Still, I liked that this movie dealt with Big Ideas, and was not just about the story. In fact, you could argue that the characters and plot were not the point of this flick, probably pretty successfully. As it is dealing with four characters in three different times, and interspersed throughout, and maybe one turned into a tree in the futuristic bits, it can get a little freaky, but not too much so, as they all look very different.
I enjoyed the "quest" aspect of the historical parts of the film, the love bits of the present day bits, and the visuals of the future bits. But the quest bits were a little trite, the present day bits grew a little old, especially with constant repetition, and the future bits just felt a little corny.
Lingering questions: What was the deal with the jism spouting from the Tree of Life that the Spaniard Hugh Jackman swallowed up like a porn star? And the vaginal spiraling "underworld" starâ€¦ummâ€¦thingy? The penile symbolism of the dagger thingy? Am I reading too much Freud into this? I think I understand that the tree in the future scenes were either Izzi or at least a symbol of her. And that he was trying to keep her alive in a coma state, or whatever. But why was he bringing her to the "underworld" if he was trying to save her? It brought up the idea of Hades in my mind, which is a place of death. Whatever. Maybe I am trying too hard.
Overall, I enjoyed it much more than 2001, but I could tell it would have the same ending when it got close to ending. If I saw a baby on the screen though, I felt I would need to leave.
Now that I have written this up, I sought out interpretations, and sure enough, they are widely varied, hanging up on the Tree of Life aspect. And the same sort of people that deconstruct the Matrix movies are all over this one. I love analyzing films. Hell, it's the English Lit major in me, and part of why I constructed my reviews this way, but maybe I am getting old and grumpy, and do not feel like a film like this is worth the work to try to come to grips with it.
It's terrible, but I guess songs are just interesting things to do with the air.