Causation, Karma, and Kung Fu: Dragon (2011) | Film Analysis

This is the third and final film analysis paper that I wrote while I went to the Colorado Film School. The first two were The Dark Knight: A Scene Analysis and Of Monsters and Men: Trollhunter (2010) | Film Analysis. I wrote this third paper for my Contemporary Global Cinema class and this class was taught by Andrew Houston at the time. It was originally published on December 7th, 2016 and was one of my last assignments at CFS. Since this is a blog-post and not in the original format, I have made minor revisions to this film analysis to make it up to date with the rest of my blog. With all of that in mind, here is my film analysis:

When considering cinema in general, a quintessential part that is often glossed over is the worldviews that the characters on-screen inhabit. Consider this the subconscious factor in a character’s motivations as they make decisions from both an explicit and implicit sense. In particular, a character’s worldview helps us as the audience understand more fully why a character believes what they believe. Now in the West, the worldviews of a cinematic character are rarely elaborated on, in order to appeal to the broadest audience possible by avoiding points of controversy like religion. So instead, we will look at Eastern cinema for a more fleshed-out look at worldviews in film.

When deciding on which film precisely, I have chosen the Hong Kong movie Wǔ xiá (2011) which is translated into Dragon in English. I chose this film because it portrays a great difference in thinking in our two main characters who make for quite the odd couple. The film is about a burglary that takes place at a general store where Donnie Yen’s character, Liu Jin-Xi, works and the aftermath case is investigated by Detective Xu Baijiu played by Takeshi Kaneshiro. The film opens with the inciting incident of the burglary, but what coincides thereafter is an investigation to sort out the loose ends of a peculiar crime scene.

At first it seems that Liu Jin-Xi has, in an attempt to protect the general store, accidentally killed both burglars in some sort of brawl. With too many loose ends, Detective Xu Baijiu looks further into the crime scene only to find that Liu Jin-Xi is actually a former martial artist named Tang Long. As a former martial artist, Long used to be apart of the “72 Demons” gang led by his own father, The Master, played by Yu Wang who famously portrayed the One-Armed Swordsman in the 1970’s in a series of Chinese films.

Now the main scene that shows this conflict in worldviews between these two characters is right after Detective Baijiu pushes Long off of a bridge to see if his martial artist theory is correct and he truly did intentionally kill the two burglars. Turning the case from a self-defense to a double homicide, but Long simply falls onto a tree before falling into the river below as the theory appears to now hold no water. Once Long is recovered from the river, wet and shaken up, the two have a conversation over a warm campfire as the sun sets behind them. It is here when the themes of karma and materialism clash as the two converse, revealing their innermost beliefs regarding the world they equally share.

Long begins this discourse as he says “If you hadn’t come today, I wouldn’t have fallen. It’s karma.” Detective Baijiu replies sternly with, “It was an accident.” In response, Long says the following monologue that succinctly presents his perspective on human existence:

“No. What I mean to say is: the fabric of existence is composed of a myriad of karmic threads. Nothing exists in and of itself, everything is connected. For example, if I hadn’t come to this village, I wouldn’t have met Ayu. If her husband hadn’t left her, I wouldn’t have married her. If I hadn’t gone to the store, I wouldn’t have seen the criminals, and they wouldn’t have died. Then you wouldn’t have come here… No one truly has free will. When one man sins, we all share his sin. We are all accomplices.”

So with this knowledge in mind, we now know what Long’s viewpoint in life is and even in his current situation of potentially going to prison for murder. There is a lot to unpack here, but first we need to understand Detective Baijiu’s perspective on both the situation at-hand and his perspective of the world as well. Earlier in the film, as he is attempting to solve the case, he is quoted saying the following during a montage of sorts:

“Good or bad, it’s determined by our physiology. The Shanzhong Meridian controls our emotions and gives us empathy. My Shanzhong Meridian is overdeveloped. It makes me too empathetic… my rational self appears separately from me, it tells me human emotions can be altered and controlled by manipulating the Meridian. That’s why I use two needles [for acupuncture therapy]. One is inserted in the Shanzhong, to suppress my empathy, the other in the Tientu to control the poison. You can’t trust humanity. Through science, I’ve discovered only physiology and the law don’t lie.”

When compared side by side the two worldviews bear both commonalities and stark differences. For starters, let’s observe the film from an epistemic perspective and see how their differing worldviews compare to one another. Long grew up in a world outside of modern civilization in rural China.

A common man that was surrounded by the ancient belief in karma that can be found in Buddhism. “Karma is the law of moral causation” and is a foundational doctrine of belief within Buddhism (1). Put succinctly, karma is the idea that whatever wrongs or rights that are made in the past will directly affect the present as one is rebirthed. This causational link of events is very much attached to a linear concept of time and thus is limited by that conceptual idea.

To contrast, Detective Baijiu has grown up in a more civilized part of China where Western thought has made its greatest impact: in the city. This influence is what pressed upon Detective Baijiu to adopt some form of a materialistic worldview. Where only matter is reality and everything can be answered through the power of scientific inquiry.

Although, his faith in science is an idolatrous logical fallacy at best and his version of naturalism is quite common in the West. As a detective, Baijiu also sees the world through a much more pessimistic perspective as most likely in his career, he has only seen the worst in people. It must be hard for him to see saints when his job is to stop sinners. The world he sees is only functional and right when the law is firmly established in society and everything lines up.

Now that our two main characters have been briefly described based off of the story they are apart of, let’s see what makes this clash in worldviews so unique. How they actually believe almost the exact same thing in the long run, but have differing definitions for their stances in life. Between the two ideologies, they share three distinct similarities with each other that are fundamental to both worldviews: that there is no god, that there is no soul, and that we are bound by circumstantial causation. We will reflect on all three before going full circle and seeing why at the beginning of the film, Long and Baijiu are at odds, but by the end are allies fighting for the same goal. First, we will start with their shared belief in no god(s).

Now when the topic of contrasting different religions and belief systems is brought up, the reality of it all is that most of these faiths bear several similarities across the board. Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, John C. Lennox, remarks on this similarity when he says that “in particular, ancient Near Eastern accounts [on the origins of the universe] typically contain theogonies, which describe how the gods are generated from primeval matter. These gods are, therefore, mere deifications of nature and its powers. This means that such ancient worldviews stand much closer to modern materialism than might at first appear (2).” In short, as odd as it may seem, polytheism and atheism are much closer in relation than one would expect and the same can be said of other pairings like Buddhism alongside materialism.

Both Buddhism and materialism share the fundamental commonality that they both hold to the belief in no god(s). For materialism, the existence of a non-material deity and/or force somehow living amidst the material or separate from the material is illogical. This is based on the grounds that only matter and the laws therein that bind matter are all that exists in our universe. The affirmation that neither the spiritual nor the supernatural could possibly co-exist within a universe constructed of only matter. Matter is all that there is and all that there ever could be in our reality, according to materialism.

When it comes to Buddhism and whether or not it is a form of theism is a hot-button topic of debate in religious circles. While there are certain factions of Buddhism like Pure Land Buddhism that some suggest as theistic in nature, the vast majority of scholars and Buddhists affirm that Buddhism is very atheistic on a fundamental level. This is because it is silent on the subject regarding the existence of god(s).

As philosopher Ravi Zacharias would put it, “there is no teaching about god in Buddhism… the goal of the faith is to cease desiring (3).” Hence, Buddhism is rooted in the implicit belief that one can be good enough to get to Nirvana without the assistance or grace of god(s). While modern Buddhism may have theistic themes in certain sects, classical Buddhism is strictly atheistic in its origins and fundamental values.

In regards to the soul, materialism again has the belief that matter is all there is to life in the universe. The soul in its most basic definition is the essence of who we are as individual persons and what makes us human even after our life is over. Materialists, like Baijiu, believe that time itself is the measure that makes our reality real. To say that there is an existence or a life after our own time ends is preposterous to the materialists because everything that is exists solely in the confines of time. We begin. We live. We end. This is an essential truth for the materialist.

For the Buddhist, like Long, the soul is not real and is a fundamental of Buddhism called Anatta meaning “non-self” or “non-soul” that separates Buddhism from the majority of world religions all together. A Buddhist may believe in the ever-present recurrence of the rebirth cycle, but to have an eternal soul is not supported by any Buddhist writings. The soul happens to be an issue that yet again divides Hindus from Buddhists, respectively. On the other hand, it is a second fundamental similarity between both materialists and Buddhists.

At last, we arrive at one more commonality that both Baijiu and Long share and that is this: they both assert strongly the notion of circumstantial causation. A term that I coined to show the parallel between the two and can be taken in the literal sense. In that everything that is caused is the direct result of the circumstances that one may find themselves in the moment or in the long run of their life. For instance, a Japanese woman may find herself in an internment camp in the Midwestern United States due to the previous circumstances of her living on the Pacific side of the U.S. during the duration of World War II. She is simply where she is based off of circumstances that she cannot control because of the ever long list of circumstances that led to this very moment of her imprisonment.

The materialist would respond to a scenario like this and say that this Japanese woman is apart of a less-developed section of the evolutionary tree that is struggling to survive amidst the presence of a stronger branch of human evolution. The Buddhist would reply with the fact that this is happening due to something awful that the Japanese woman did in a previous rebirth and karma is giving her exactly what she deserves. In this same respect, both materialism and Buddhism carry this idea of circumstantial causation into their own belief systems. The materialist has to logically conclude that all humans can do is fit the most basic evolutionary needs with the use of their cognitive faculties guiding them to reproduction and survival of the species. This conclusion follows because naturalism is the underlying force behind materialism in most cases, especially for Baijiu in the film.

Due to the circumstances of previous members of the evolutionary family tree, the modern human has the sole purpose of surviving long enough to reproduce, in order to pass on their genetic makeup onto the more evolved next generation. This cycle of evolution is interestingly similar to the way karmic rebirth plays out in the mind of a Buddhist. We are born due to circumstantial causation and must perform better in this life to guarantee a better life later down the timeline, according to this Eastern philosophy.

An oddity, but nevertheless a similarity between the two differing viewpoints. In other words, natural selection through the process of evolutionary naturalism within a materialistic worldview is identical with Buddhism because karma through the process of rebirth within a Buddhist worldview has the same exact circumstantial causation. Thus, the two belief systems are almost perfectly aligned in this respect.

So how does this culmination of a case in favor of the similarities between materialism and Buddhism connect with the relational dynamic of both Long and Baijiu? Well in the explicit sense, the two are at odds over their differences, yet by the end set their differences aside to fight the ultimate evil: the Master of the 72 Demons. In the implicit sense, could it be a stretch to argue that subconsciously the two figured out their own similarities in their own worldviews throughout the unfolding of the film’s narrative, which led them to fight alongside one another in the end? For Long, a battle for redemption, honor, and family. For Baijiu, a battle for truth, justice, and the survival of the fittest to make way for the next generation.

The two have differing reasons because of differing worldviews during the whole film and yet they work together to stop this evil threat. Why would they do that exactly? The field of sociology might just have the answer. Within sociology, there is common idea that there are more differences between two people within the same sub-culture than there are between two people in different sub-cultures. Therefore, these two different people, Baijiu and Long, being from two different sub-cultures fought against the Master because they were more aligned than they thought at first. The Master, who was from the same sub-culture that Long was apart of, in the end viewed the world drastically different than the way Long views it and hence they differed so much leading to this battle.

To summarize, at first Baijiu and Long appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum of worldviews, that is Buddhism and materialism. As seen previously, the two subconsciously may have recognized some similarities in their thinking (i.e. no god(s), no soul, and circumstantial causation) and this led to their teamwork throughout the final battle in Dragon. Which when the title, Wǔ xiá, is translated into English, it means knight-errant. This word equates to a medieval knight or a warrior searching in the hopes of finding an honorable quest.

So two warriors from two polar opposite worldviews are subconsciously looking for something worth fighting for that is greater than themselves. In this instance, beyond the self, in order to bring about a satisfactory end to their individual quests. Baijiu fights in the hopes of eradicating the outlaw to further the human species and Long fights in the hopes of entering Nirvana by fixing the debts of his past life. Together, by the end of the film, the two are walking on their own quests and both have only a few more steps before reaching the end of their journey. Like an ancient Chinese proverb once said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

Footnotes

  1. http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/karma.htm
  2. Seven Days That Divide The World, P. 94
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5jr00Hyk54
  4. Disclaimer
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Of Monsters and Men: Trollhunter (2010)|Film Analysis

So this was one of three papers I wrote in college at the Colorado Film School regarding film analysis and because I enjoyed writing them so much, I decided to upload all three eventually here on my blog for you all to enjoy.  The first one was already posted in February, which is called “The Dark Knight: A Scene Analysis,” there is this one regarding the Norwegian film Trollhunter (2010), and then the last one called “Causation, Karma, and Kung Fu: Dragon (2011) Film Analysis” that I plan on uploading later during the summer. I wrote this in one of my favorite classes, Contemporary Global Cinema, and this was a lecture style class on foreign cinema that was taught by the always down-to-earth Andrew Houston. It was originally published on October 5th of 2016, but this is an updated version of the original paper. With that said, here is my film analysis of Trollhunter:

Although there are many films one could analyze concerning foreign cinema, I have chosen to critically analyze the cult-favorite Trollhunter (2010), which became an international hit essentially overnight. But why did such an obscure, Norwegian film become the hit that it was and still is years after its initial release date? How has it managed to remain on Netflix since September 23rd, 2011 and has been available for over six years (1)? Well, let’s figure it out by starting from the very beginning with the concept itself, namely trolls.

André Øvredal, who wrote and directed Trollhunter, is quoted saying that the idea came to him as far back as 1999 (2) when he conceptualized and came up with the idea of what he would want to make a feature film about: a guy that hunts trolls. Then in 2005, Øvredal revisited his idea and began to develop it into the film he always wanted to create as he wrote for several years before anything ever got off the ground. Once production was done and the film was made, it took the world by storm. Along with this craze came all sorts of critics giving Øvredal some well-earned praise on an international scale. From there, the concept became a cinematic hallmark of Norway and a call back to Norway’s heyday as the film is as popular as ever in its native land. Yet, the question remains: why did Trollhunter do so well? How did it resonate globally with so many people that it grossed 1.5 times its budget in a country not known for large scale blockbusters (3)?

Is it perhaps that a movie of this nature has never been made? Before assuming such a bold proposition, let’s look at the facts. The film is constructed in a “found-footage,” mockumentary style with a satirical edge that presents the film to Norwegians as comedic, while international audiences believing it to be an action thriller. A strange and perplexing effect indeed as I, along with other American audiences, noted in first and second viewings. At first viewing, I thought it to be a well-crafted sci-fi, action thriller that focused on the mythology of trolls. On second viewing and the viewings proceeding the second one, I found it to be extremely funny and brilliant, with a sense of wit to it.

It could be received so well, due to its absolute originality, in that it hearkens back to the film language of The Blair Witch Project (1999). But instead of attempting realism, this film uses that method to mock its subject matter subtly and other shaky-cam made movies in the process. When the aforementioned, The Blair Witch Project came out, audiences flocked to theaters to catch a glimpse of the once-in-a-lifetime experience that that film marketed itself to be. The public was on a buzz because for a small amount of time, people truly believed that The Blair Witch Project was actually a documentary and not a hoax. Did this same effect happen to viewers of Trollhunter?

Possibly, but not probably due to the vast suspension of belief one must take as the viewer to go along with the film’s preposterous plot of a conspiracy of troll sightings in Norway’s wastelands. When the film premiered at Sundance during one of the Park City midnight premieres, there was a veil of mystery as all attendees that saw this movie had no idea what was going to appear as it was a mystery screening. Not a soul knew what was coming or playing until the movie’s end credits rolled. This may have affected the perception of the first initial audience at Sundance as there were a lot of glowing reviews right out the gate, especially in Norway. Even Øvredal had this thinking when he notes, “I think that the sense of humor wouldn’t come through if you shot it as a regular film.” Nevertheless, while this structure for the film and the hype surrounding it may be the reason, I would argue it is only part of this puzzle and was not the primary reason as to why it was internationally acclaimed.

Maybe it is the cast, which consists largely of comedians playing serious roles, including Otto Jespersen who is known as the biggest comedian in Norway and Hans Morten Hansen who holds the record for the “World’s Longest Stand-Up Performance” that clocks in at 38 hours, 14 minutes (!). If it is the cast, that at first glance seems miscast, yet works wonderfully in the final cut, then how did Øvredal know this was going to work? Why comedians for a dramatic actors job? Easy, comedians usually make great dramatic actors when given the right role. From Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) to Peter Sellers in Being There (1979), comedians can deliver powerfully resonating performances when the right film comes along from far left field. Øvredal is quoted saying that the actors were purposefully cast for their comedic abilities, especially Jespersen in multiple interviews for the press tour, in order to add a layer of humor to the final product.

The final result? A film that is littered with dichotomies that should not work, but do. As mentioned earlier, it is filmed as a documentary in the “found-footage” subgenre, yet mocks such methods and hence is a “found-footage mockumentary.” It is jam-packed with comedians in very serious roles who add both wonder and wit, yet never break character during the movie. Adding to those factors, is how seriously the absolutely bonkers plot is treated, right down to the realistic production design and the overall visual aesthetic that screams realism, yet reveals an extremely mythological story at the forefront. Through the framework of nonfiction, Øvredal takes us, the audience, through a whimsical journey into fairy tale fiction for the modern era.

So back to square one: why was this movie so successful? Well, we have briefly paid attention to certain variables that made this film pop out to the public eye such as its unique film language, the mysterious marketing campaign, the cast of comedians playing dramatic roles, and the various well thought out dichotomies that are fine-tuned to fit the narrative needs of the story unfolding before our eyes. I would argue that these are only effects of the true, root cause as to why this film was so successful on a global scale. Trollhunter was and is so successful because it tells a universal, typical monsters-under-the-bed children’s story like every classic fairy tale.

From the ludicrous schemes of the higher powers that be the government holding back the truth to the fantastical creatures that lurk in the backyards of the locals in Norway, this film plays out like the imagination of a child through the perspective of adults. It represents high concept themes of corruption in government, belief in a higher power whether mythic or religious in nature, and so on with a tilted, humorous angle that an innocent child might have in a situation like this. Before understanding this first cause of sorts that sparked Trollhunter’s success, we must understand what exactly a children’s story is, specifically fairy tales of old.

A fairy tale is a short story told through either oral tradition or in writing of a fantastical fable that explains to children the moral truths of day-to-day life. For this film in particular, there are three main fairy tales that were strong influences for Trollhunter throughout the film: The Boy Who Had An Eating Match With A Troll, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and Soria Moria Castle. There are other references to fairy tales within the narrative of Trollhunter, but these are the main three. So if fairy tales are usually aimed at children and Trollhunter is a film that brings fairytales to light for a mostly adult audience, what is the moral truth that Øvredal is trying to show us?

After some reflection on the thematic threads of the storyline, the moral truth of Trollhunter is twofold: 1) to never stop pursuing the truth like a child never stops seeking answers from their innocent inquiries about life and 2) to not let faith fade into fiction. For now, we will look at the first clause before exploring the second clause. So, the pursuit of truth. How does Trollhunter present this theme of seeking to find the truth without hesitation in pursuit of said truth?

In actuality, that is the main plot thread of the film, for the character of Thomas played by Glenn Erland Tosterud, along with his friends Johanna (Johanna Mørck), Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen), and somewhat Malica (Urmila Berg-Domaas) near the second half of the film. The movie begins with Thomas, Johanna, and Kalle searching across Norway for a lone-wolf type of bear poacher that has been illegally killing wild bears past the prescribed rate set by the government. So our three heroes embark on an unexpected journey to find this obscure poacher for a documentary they are making for a college assignment of theirs. Bottom line: they wanted to know the truth regarding the infamous bear poacher.

But once the bear poacher is found by the three students, he rejects being in their documentary and does all that he can to evade their pursuit of him. Despite the setback, they are unwilling to give up, Thomas especially, and the three follow him to his next hunting expedition only to find out he is not a bear poacher, but a troll hunter. After this startling realization of the truth, Thomas becomes ever more adamant in understanding this newly revealed truth about the world. This pilgrimage for truth leads to Thomas and the rest of his crew in helping the troll hunter named Hans (Jespersen) expose the cover up of the troll epidemic growing insurmountably out of control in Norway’s wastelands.

Yet again, in the pursuit of truth there will always be outside forces pressuring the seeker to stop their search. Simply put, Kalle the camera operator is killed in action due to his Christian blood being detected by a pack of trolls in a cave that smell his God-filled scent. So Thomas and his crew of just Johanna and Hans hire a new Muslim camera operator named Malica, which is actually an indirect jab at Islam as they comically discuss whether trolls can smell Muslim blood. For within this film’s mythology and Norwegian mythology all together, the reason trolls could smell the blood of Christians is because of a misinterpreted and bad exegetical understanding of the Biblical letter of 2 Corinthians, specifically 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 that uses an allegorical, not literal aroma illustration to separate early Christians from the rest of the world in God’s perspective from eternity. Hence, if it is true that trolls can only smell the blood of Christians because they have repented of their sins and believe that Jesus is God (4), then from the Norwegian worldview Muslims and other theistic associated belief systems do not truly believe in the true God since Trolls do not smell their blood for it does not give off a “sweet smelling aroma.”

Some other Norwegian sources also say a number of other reasons trolls can smell the blood of Christians. These include, but are not limited too: jealousy that the Christians that came to Norway during the Medieval Ages stole the people’s worship from trolls to worship the triune Christian God, trolls are some form of demonic force that has been expelled by the triune God to live in darkness, or that they used to be humans/are humans that were never “Christianized” by the advancement of the religion during the time these fairy tales were penned. Whatever the case may be, the point being is this: trolls can smell the blood of Christians because they truly believe Jesus is God and that He rose from the dead, while other religions do not believe like the Christians do. Hence, the movie runs with this claim found scattered in all sorts of troll stories from time past and makes for an interesting clash of differing worldviews within certain cultural predispositions towards these belief systems.

In the pursuit of truth, it is truth that kills Kalle in the basic sense as he believes in the true, triune understanding of God as a Christian, according to Norwegian culture. In the pursuit of truth, it is Hans who allows the three students to follow him and expose this cover up. In the pursuit of truth, it is why this movie began in the first place as the faith that Thomas has, along with his crew is tested as everything that they thought to be true is false and vice versa regarding the bear killings that are directly linked to the troll sightings.

As a child grows into adulthood, there is a period of time known as “childhood innocence” that precedes the teenage years and eventually adulthood. Like Patrick Rothfuss once said in his literary work, The Name of the Wind, “When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.” The intended audience for the majority of fairy tales, as already stated earlier, are children during this age of innocence. If Trollhunter jumps off from this precedent regarding the intended audience that has grown up, then how does childhood innocence play into the narrative strings of the story and in what way? How does the film’s version of childhood innocence fit with the idea that faith must never fade into fiction as noted above?

When our journey into the unknown world of bear poaching begins and the mystery with the poacher hunting more than the allotted amount, we find our protagonist Thomas with his companions still in this age of innocence. For they think that there is simply a bear poacher, that is Hans, who is killing more than everyone else during the hunting season and they want to know why that is the case. Most likely, presuming that it is for either prideful, sport reasons or something in the vein of seeking fame and fortune from the populace. Yet their innocence in this situation is challenged when confronted for the first time that this is a lie set by the government to distract people from the truth of a troll problem running rampant in Norway.

Not only that, but the stories that they were told as children take a reverse course in this film versus reality. For here in this movie, the more fantastical the story becomes, the more true it becomes (i.e. the fable that trolls can smell the blood of Christians leads to the death of Kalle because of his faith in Christ), while the more plausible in reality, the less true it becomes (i.e. that there is a rabid bear poacher killing off the bear population leads to a government cover up of a darker kind). In the real world, with the advancements of knowledge in various fields of study like philosophy, science, mathematics, and so forth, there is the elimination of the supernatural as the likelihood of such persons, places, or things is relinquished to oblivion by our own exit from innocence into experience. Our belief in Santa Claus ends as our belief in logic and truth flourishes through the maturity of mankind over the years as we understand more and more about how the universe we inhabit works like a series of fully-functioning gears in a sequential motion of expansion to its inevitable end.

By the end of the movie, Thomas, Johanna, and now Malica have had their innocence fade as their faith has only flourished under these extreme circumstances of troll hunting with Hans in the name of telling the truth. What a poignant end to a film that follows a group of people trying to stop tire-eating, trolls. After some investigation and a little theoretical speculation regarding certain aspects of the film, we must indeed conclude that the primary reason for the success of Trollhunter is the monsters-under-the-bed theme underpinning that explores a return to childish things that may have been forgotten by some. Something of a subconscious resurgence through the form of a cinematic experience.

From the literal monsters (trolls) hiding under a bed (government conspiracy) to teach children (the audience) an essential truth: the risk for the pursuit of truth is worth the payoff as is the firm convictions of faith we all have in a postmodern society that rejects such objective realities as false illusions. With all that said, perhaps the film is trying to evoke us to remember a time when anything was possible and nothing could stop that free thinking.

This is why the movie succeeded internationally. It reignited a sense of awe and humor into something that lay dormant for years since our own innocence faded from reality to mere fragmented memories: imagination. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless!

Footnotes

  1. http://www.flixlist.co/titles/70170065
  2. http://collider.com/andre-ovredal-interview-troll-hunter/
  3. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=trollhunter.htm
  4. Romans 10:9

The Dark Knight: A Scene Analysis

Photo Cred: https://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=57349#

As you may have noticed by the title of this blog-post, this is not what I usually post about on this website. Since I studied screenwriting and directing for the screen at the Colorado Film School, I wrote a lot about film and this was the most in-depth paper I wrote for school. It was for my “Development of Film Expression” class I took almost a year ago and was taught by the wonderful Trai Cartwright.

It was this assignment and my obsessive, perfectionist nature that led to this paper earning an A+ (100%) at the end of the semester. Since I did not want my hard work to go to waste and I loved this paper so much, I have decided to do a final edit before publishing it online for you all to read. In fact, I worked so hard on this project that I basically lived in my living room for three days as I would watch this 53-second sequence over and over and over until my paper was completely finished. The only time I took a break during those three days was to eat, to use the restroom, or to sleep on the couch in the living room. With that in mind, you could say I know this particular scene pretty well with all things considered.

Anyways, the original assignment was supposed to be a 25-40 page scene analysis on a movie that had not been done before by a student previously. Surprisingly, no one had done this scene from The Dark Knight (2008), so I jumped on the opportunity as it is also one of my favorite films and I had always wanted to study this film on a deeper level. Although, I was so close to analyzing a scene from There Will Be Blood (2007), but decided near the last minute to do this scene instead.

Regardless, I chose this scene and it is during Act II when Batman (Christian Bale) has to save both Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), but knows he can only save one. What follows are the repercussions of Batman’s decision and the collateral damage that comes with it. My paper that I originally turned in was around 36-38 pages and was double-spaced, Times New Roman with 12-point font. This time around, it is only 22 pages because I changed the font to Philosopher with 10-point font and is now 1.5 spaced to shorten the page length. To make it even easier for you to read, here is the PDF version of my blog-post that you may read here: thedarkknightasceneanalysis. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless!