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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 in retrospect

Well everyone it is going to be the end of 2013..well it have been a hell of a year in film for me. Sadly I do not have much time to watch films and I seem to be focused on Televison series on the second half of the year. It does not mean I will stop watching it. I just find television programs easier to catch on

I am become a Whovian (aka the nerd of Doctor Who) after two attempts and it is fitting that it was the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. I am glad for that new journey as a Whovian. For the next few months til August I would be catching up Classic Who mostly Tom Baker and McCoy.

I discovered Sherlock-such a great mini series with acting from Freeman and Cumberbatch

For films-wise

Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man-GODAMNIT it was beautiful,in addition I am excited for his latest film Only Lovers Left Alive

The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings are pretty mind-blowing for me especially after visiting the Shire in N.Z. I mean I questioned to myself why I did not watch that!

Richard II from The Hollow Crown

Oh my god,I know the play towards David Tennant acting in this play..Guess what I found a Shakespearean play that have so much depth. It stuck in my mind with Whishaw’s haunting performance.

Black Orpheus by Marcel Came-God it was beautiful!

Watching Taxi Driver and two Italian Neo-Realist films ( Vulcano and Stromboli) in the big screen for me in Film Restoration Asia-guys. Man it was mind-blowing! It was sooo good

Two deaths that struck me recently

Kumar Pallana

Being a big Wes Anderson fan,it saddens me that one of his collaborators passed away. I hope Wes would do a tribute to him for the Grand Budapest Hotel because he makes a difference for him.

Before Christmas,my acting hero Peter O’Toole passed away..It have a been a week. I still cannot comprehend on the passing of that man. I miss him dearly and I do wish I would have a chance to say thank you to him.

However I do managed to meet with 3 famous persons

Lord David Puttnam,this man is my hero. Ever since he talked to us via Skype in my film school. He does enegrize me with his love for stories. I do meet him on February and my god it was one of the best moments in my film life. I would love to go to the education area. Aside from Peter O’Toole,David Lean. Lord David Puttnam is the best human if you get to meet him,you would be changed

I get to meet  Apichatpong Weerasethakul at film restoration asia where he introduced his debut film. He is very easy to talk to and wonderful 🙂

Simon Weaving-Hugo Weaving’s brother (Yep I nerd a bit when I heard that Elrond’s brother is teaching us). He is an amazing and fun guy ! BTW his lessons are damn fun

Making friends with Missmirandaslife,she is lovely! I love you gal!

Now here are the films/TV Shows I am looking forward for 2014

  • Sherlock Season 2 (It’s coming after new year’s day YES!)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Captain America 2:Winter Solider
  • Only Lovers Left Alive
  • The Hobbit -There and Back Again
  • Doctor Who Season 8-with Mr Capaldi

My goals for next year

Well I am using a Doctor Who quote as one of my resolutions

“We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

This year have been pretty tough for me,realizing that I am not too fantastic in the practical aspects of film and of course shooting makes me a nervous wreck. Man I realize I loved writing about films and I am reading more often (My literature nerd is leaking in me)

  • Improve my grammar and spelling-well I am going to write films for my degree,might as well get started
  • Try not to put a face in front of others,it is pretty much a bitch. I have to do this to fit in.
  • Take care of myself and be more postivite.
  • Try to watch at least 1-2 films per week,I am getting lazy because of tumblr.

So Happy 2014 everyone!

A lament on Peter O’Toole

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That picture of him as Macbeth was the first thing I saw on my Facebook. My sister wrote this as the caption “Oh dear sis hope it doesn’t ruin your hobbit experience”

She kinda knew that today I would be watching The Hobbit:Desolation of Smaug and she is trying not to make me upset that my acting hero-Peter O’Toole passed on.

Of course I was in denial when I read the caption RIP Peter O’Toole. I was like “No it cannot be”. My entire morning I was really upset and trying to come into terms with Peter’s death. I even looked at the sky and cannot help but to think how fun Peter is rocking in heaven with all of his hell raisers

The reason why I am writing this post and perhaps this blog is because of that man’s acting. You may know the story on how Lawrence of Arabia have changed my life. Yes that haunting stare in the coda. This year I have a chance to share my love of Lawrence of Arabia to all or experience that magic I have at 19.

I did a directing presentation of “No Prisoners”,that scene that shocked me to the power of cinema.

There is a lot of discussion despite many know how much I love Lawrence of Arabia so much. I was so proud of my presentation.

I get to try to do a livestream of that film with my newly purchased DVD of Lawrence of Arabia,I see things that I did not notice about that film,even the power Peter O’Toole have that is rare in today’s screen.

Most of all,I get to see clips of the restoration of Lawrence of Arabia,during the week-long programm. I swear that I nearly wept in seeing how gorgeous it was. I was moved on its sheer beauty and seeing O’Toole’s piercing blue eyes.

On the other hand I managed to catch his filmography beyond Lawrence of Arabia. Ratatouille, Anton Ego’s moving speech of critics and criticism,his scheming role as The King in Stardust, his haunting role as Mr Johnson in The Last Emperor on the big screen,god I was in tears that I saw my acting hero is in this film. His tenderness in “Venus” as an aging actor was wonderful and lastly Casanova,as the older self-he delivered it with finesse. I mean whatever role he have big or small-he delivered it with such beauty.

The reason why I lament is that moment when I heard he retired,a little part of me just died. I got upset that he is no longer pursuing acting. I think there is no actor that could fill the screen such as his.  I wanted him to do more,maybe work with Wes Anderson-my current favorite film director. I imagine him bringing his wry pre scene into Anderson’s childlike roles. I wish he could do Tom Bombardali in Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings,he would bring magic into the screen. There are few stars that can deliver it in O’Toole’s standards. However you cannot beat the hellraiser.

Most of all ,the real reason I lament on his death is in my bucket list,I wish I could meet that legend in the flesh itself. I would give that man a big hug and just thank him for changing my life. If it wasn’t for him,look I will not be blogging about films I loved. I would just wander my head aimlessly in my film school. I would not build my love of old films and film preservation. I would not want to write about films. I would be just an anime otaku. Peter O’Toole is the reason for the love of cinema on that evening with parents on the television watching Lawrence of Arabia. Sadly my dream of meeting him would forever be unfulfilled.

I think it would be pretty difficult that I would watch a film with him,knowing that a legend would never be easily found. Maybe it would ease if my country would show Lawrence of Arabia in the big-screen. However I do feel that I am indebted to him for my love of cinema.

My condolences to his family members and friends especially Omar Sharif who is perhaps weeping over the loss of a great friend. So Rest in Peace,my king,my acting hero and lastly my inspiration. Without you I would not be that person again.

Phases…

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Ah changes are taking the pace Im going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-changes
Oh, look out you rock n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time

Well David Bowie would totally understand what I am feeling about

I am itching to write about how I became such a cinephile,and I thought of that phase I have as a teenager. The anime phase that perhaps shaped me as this person.

What is a phase? Perhaps it is at that period of time where you got obsessed over these things and so. Perhaps there is a period of time where you are crazy about something and you are motivated to do that. As you grow older,you may not like it as passionately as before.

Like any usual teenager who searched for that identity ,you are looking for a place to belong. For me,I recall when I was 14-15 and recently transferred from a class that is not so kind to me. I saw one of my classmates who drew manga during my home economics class. That is where I got motivated to draw manga,and there I have the obsession of watching anime. I read random curiosity  religiously! I even asked my parents (who are pretty supportive) to get some merchandise of Fullmetal Alchemist (which I still owned til this day). I even tried cosplay (I only did it once and it was fun). Perhaps I though there is somewhere I belong

I think I started to slowly growing out of my anime obsession when I actually enter film school. I do leave cosplay for personal reasons. I got into a fight with a person I know in my film school,that I became jaded at anime figures who display hope and joy. I started to listen to 60’s-70’s Rock music. I discover the joys of film and sometimes it feels more fulfilling than seeing the animation on screen. Watching all types of films (including all animation) and diverging myself into reading all types of literature seems to intrigue  me more. I mean I get to somehow travel the worlds that are not simply one-dimensional.

I somehow look at myself in that phase,what am I in this phase ? I see that I was pretty lost and just desperate. I thought by looking at these two-dimensional figures with goggly eyes. I just want to masquerade myself in outlandish costumes to hide all my feelings.I do see anime as an art form. I do sometimes catch up with certain animes which I loved. However the joy of that it was over. It is not that I look at people being joyful at their obsession with anime with disdain,but I kinda look at it with bittersweet manner. I see that I grew out of it,it does not stick it out with me.

However if I look it with some form of gratitude,me scribbling reviews on my thoughts of what I watched in my anime episodes leads to me loving to research and write about film. I am glad that I do not get arrested for outrage of modesty as I read that hooha that an auntie arrested a cosplayer during AFA 13. I am glad that I appreciated animation and not to be too snobbish.

Sometimes you cannot turn back to the past but instead you move to the present.

Film restoration Asia retrospect

Well hello everyone,I am so super sorry for the silence of that blog. I have been a very bad admin as I am busy with my dissertation on Wes Anderson (which thankfully I am done) and lots of coursework!

However I was given perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue my interest in film history…Film restoration! As I do mentioned earlier,it was Lawrence of Arabia (and Hitchcock’s Rear Window) that make want to pursue my love for film preservation

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That is where I am gonna tell my event…originally this programme is collaborated by the mother of all film restoration center,Cinema Bologna in Italy and National Museum of Singapore. They do ave the practical classes which I originally wanted to do but due to cost skip that thing. Oh well luckily they have free lectures and screenings for me to go to,thanks to the invitations of lecturers.

Here is a funny story I would like to share,originally there is supposed to be 3-5 of my classmates who signed up with the program. On the first day they came in,but I did not see them for this entire week. It is such a pity because they are so many lessons in regards to film restoration,so I would summarize my thoughts of that programme

The Highlights

1)Two Italian Neo-realism films in a row!

Nice! Personally I do think that I need to watch more Italian Neo-Realism films-the last one I watched was Umberto D which is like ages. Of course one does not simply skip a double dose of Italian Neo-Realism films. It was interesting as both broke the conventions of what I perceive of Italian Neo-Realism films,Rossellini do have that flair that is very opposite to Satiro’s sparse style and I liked it. Both are very strong films of their own…However Stromboli(1950,Rossellini) etch a very strong impression,that I nearly teared at the ending.

2)Meeting Apichatpong Weerasethakul

I know his name due to Uncle Boommee (2011) by actually him discussing his debut film was an eye-opener. In addition I do have a quick chat with him and he is a very easy guy to talk too! Apparently The French do love his films. It makes me wanna watch his body of works (Recommendations for him please)

3)Lawrence of Arabia and Taxi Driver restoration (in addition watching Taxi Driver)

It’s sad that Glover Crisp is unable to discuss his works on the restoration of these two Sony Classics! However by the look of the restoration clips,I was tearing up on the inside. It looks gorgeous on screen…I mean seeing the clips on the big movie screen it was mind-blowing. I was cursing to myself that Singapore should bring this,I mean if you are looking for film restoration-Lawrence of Arabia was one of them. The main head Dario said that it was the most remarkable restorations in 10 years.  I did approach the head of my local cinematechque if it is possible to bring that film here. So crossing my fingers to get this film on the big screen

In addition guys,if you do manage to catch Taxi Driver on the big screen,I swear it was the most magical moments here. The cinematography looks amazing,I was soaked to that film. It was mind-blowing beautiful.

4)Why do we restore films talk

Perhaps I see it as the most important talk among this week,yes you can have the practical aspects of fixing each film strip but why do we restore? It’s not glamourous. It is to give future people a glance on the past as we seen films as time capsules of cultural and historical significance. I nearly teared at the end and gave a quiet hell yeah. It retouched that core why I wanted films to be restored.That quote that Gian Lucan (The head of Cinema Bologona) said “You never battle alone” just tugged me.

Things what I learned from this week

  1. The state of Asian film archives blew my mind big time,for a while I have been bugging my local archive if I could take part. That panel enlightened me on that state,film preservation is Asia is considered second priority. I think we need to change that! I mean we need to get people excited about film preservation
  2. I do need to be more unaware about the filmmakers around my region…Watching Lewat Djam Malam (1954) by an Indonesian filmmaker that I do not know,gave me a shocker….I feel that film reminded me of a teen melodrama Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause..Yes it’s local yet it have a global film. It happened that I blog a picture on tumblr and there is a response of it…It happens they wanted to watch that..Sadly the films of my region is not easily available…so there is a big problem..
  3. Lastly I do feel that young persons need to be excited about film preservation,being the only person who is neither an archivist or a working adult but a film student. It is a shame that we do not take these lessons… I know it’s not interesting as shooting it but personally we need a love for old films and do not disregard them as films that are stuffy and old. As Martin Scorsese said “Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our life time, we need to keep them alive.” If we do not care about the films. It could be gone and it’s sad. So I am hoping that the museum would at these people.

Overall it was an eye opening event on film restoration,I would like to thank the ushers who greeted me fondly when I came early,a lady Yvonne who I bumped at the Taxi Driver screening always eager at my thoughts,Mr Gian Lucan Farellini for such a moving speech on the preservation of film and the cinematechque team who made this event possible. I would like to end my thoughts of that event with a quote of Martin Scorsese,an advocate of film preservation

” And that’s actually part of the wonder. Whenever I hear people dismiss movies as “fantasy” and make a hard distinction between film and life, I think to myself that it’s just a way of avoiding the power of cinema. Of course it’s not life—it’s the invocation of life, it’s in an ongoing dialogue with life.”

These films spoke about our lives whenever the past or now. That is why we need to preserve that heritage

An appericatetion to Rushmore (1998)

“You’ve gotta find something you love and do it for the rest of your life”

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Living in Singapore, we are reaping the kids to be successful n climb up the social ladder. However there are some people who are not so.

Incase you are wondering why I decided to talk about this film. I just finished attending my grad ceremony. While I am happy that I have qualifications of these stuff,I can see elements of Rushmore in me. I would to talk my love of this film.

As you guys know I am in love with Wes Anderson’s films. I considered my second film god to David Lean. It’s quirky n textured wo
Story goes on high achieving Max Fischer who is recently expelled from school suddenly falling in love with Ms Cross and making friends with Herman Blume.

Sounds a little bit aloof and at most surreal ? However I will try to convince u guys that inside it’s the heart we can relate. I would be highlighting this point
through out this post.

First I would like to highlight Wes Anderson’s brilliant use of music. I always like Wes Anderson’s eccentric choices. Here it was soundtracked to the British Invasion bands (those who are unaware in music-it was a period where British bands are big in the 60’s). If I have pick out my fave music moments from Rushmore-
The quick one who gets away-The Who
Ubtiqously one of the most fun revenge sequences n interestingly he chose the second half of the song. In addition the acting of Bill Murray was amazing

Making time-Creation
How to show off Max’s abilities in Rushmore by a pretty badass montage? Plus the song was catchy.

Ooh la la-The Faces
This ending,it was a nice way to tie the loose ends of Rushmore. Plus the melancholic air of tht song fits so well. I did listened to the Criterion collection commentary of Rushmore,apparently it was pretty sad.

Recently I have a soft spot for The Wind by Cat Stevens for its quietness amidst the noisiness of the British Invasion bands n Here Comes my Baby is pretty cute.

Secondly it was the production design of it,which will president the next few films here. I particularly like the husband’s bedroom to show the trapped nature of Ms Cross.

However you can have great visuals n a kickass soundtrack. I always feel that the narrative must be strong in order to connect the audience. While some of Wes’ films feel a bit on the aloof side,Rushmore is perhaps the most relatable films among Wes’s filmography (along with Darjeeling). How many films can u totally relate to.

Perhaps max is my spirit animal I do notice my gestures is like him and so.. I watched these films when I faced a crisis n it reassured that I would be fine.

Perhaps one of those films I loved..

Thinking back on my Wes Anderson paper

Well hello guys again,yes I am still alive and I would try my best to keep it updated as possible. However I cannot gurantee as my third year is getting busy with projects and of course that dreaded dissertation paper that every student have to do. Now speaking about dissertation paper,O.K you have 8,000 words to write with your specialism. Well for the majority of my cohort,they dreaded it like the plague and meanwhile I was going “O.K no biggie” as I have ideas on writing on my topic on Production Design (It was the neglected child of the film theorists gang-you better change something O.K?)

Now here comes my story, being in my nerdy phase of watching The Hobbit and LOTR. I thought that it would be fricking awesome to do a dissentation on it. However my fairy-tales and mythology nerd have somewhat took away my topic. Luckily I do have some backup topics on what I want to write,I am also itching to attempt to do Wes Anderson’s mise-en-scene for my writing (I mean it was a Production Designer’s dream). My lecturer was like yup,your idea is more solid. So it sealed me the deal of Wes Anderson as my dissertation. Of course I was elated with joy that I get to watch Wes Anderson’s filmography again and writing about that guy is pretty sweet.

For the past few weeks I have been kinda of talking non-stop but Wes Anderson films to everyone who breathes even to my mum (Of course one of my classmates make me have a fangirl freakout when he mentioned that he finished Grand Budpast Hotel). I watched his films (with commentary thanks to criterioncommentaries when I was freaking out that my TDL (The Darjeeling Limited bluray cannot play in my DVD). Whenever I have a chance to get a seat at my local MRT (It was kinda like Singapore’s version of the tube or Subway) I scribbled notes on the settings and costumes,and process what it means. Every night I milked out Mother Google in finding articles about Wes Anderson (which was very little) and read it to get understanding. I changed my Itunes music to my playlist of Wes Anderson’s soundtracks and film commentaries (God bless Criterion collection for these beauties). I thought of people that need to work with him. Whenever I listen a song from the soundtrack of his,it flash me back the moment where it was held.

There is one moment I became Sherlock in his mind-palace  during Production Design class (with the punch of milk tea in the morning). I cannot stop but to think about Wes Anderson’s sets

I cannot fathom my fascination about him,his eye of detail is just killer-OMG the plate become significant and even the scruff thanks to his hands. I sometimes feel pretty inferior to Wes Anderson’s gorgeous production designs. I became restless. I just feel amazed and in awe of my new idol. I became sucked into his worlds of irony and brokeness.

However the reading of the key texts on aueter theory was pretty much a bitch. Usually I can understand a text easily and somehow it absorbed in my brain. I cannot wrangle what Francois Truffaut and Andre Bazin is trying to say,even the late Andrew Sarris have left me pretty baffled. The film gods are probably laughing at me on my lack of understanding.

Fast forward to this week,I have just received feedback from my lecturer in regards to my proposal. It wasn’t great as I think. I suddenly have my “The Graduate” moment when Benjamin is pretty shocked on Mrs Robinson’s seduction

I have to submit that proposal this week on Monday,with projects on..It’s gonna be  a bitch….. I have that writer’s block. Today I attempted to reconstruct my proposal to be clear as I humanly can (I am pretty much everywhere like Sherlock). I questioned why the hell do I want to write about that director that I slowly grew respect on. I could have done David Lean,my ultimate film god or something simpler but why Wes Anderson?

There I have that revelation after attending someone’s funeral after my feedback session. While hearing all of the eulogies and trying to be the rock of my twin sister,weeping eyes of for a person we barely knew. I immediately of  that scene of the first film I watched in conjunction of my paper-The Darjeeling Limited . That scene where the Whitman brothers witness a funeral of the boy Peter (Adrien Brody) is unable to save. It was set in Wes’ slow-mo shot with the song “Strangers” by The Kinks. Everyone was silent,all united by grief like his family members and friends dear to that person. I suddenly seen a vignette of my sister as Peter,that scene in the toilet where he was moved by Jack’s story as she cried for that stranger she is unaware of. Slowly it unveiled to me that I relate to The Darjeeling Limited (and slowly falling in love with this film)-I was like Francis (Owen Wilson)-I can be bossy and ambitious,my eldest sister was like Peter and my twin was like Jack (Jason Schwartzman),she kept most to herself and only tell me. I fought with my siblings like this. On that night after the funeral service,I can’t sleep so I decided to journal that night and I recalled moments when I see  myself as these characters he created-Max Fischer(Jason Schwartzman) from Rushmore

I m not too good in film school technically. I am pretty ambitious like him. I loved his saying “Do something you like and do for the rest of your life” gave me that comfort especially receiving my results.

The Royal Tenenbeums which I watched a few days ago is like my family where sometimes it gets pretty dysfunctional but we loved each other in the end.

His characters are just like me,struggling the problems of the adult world in their childlike way. All have vignettes of me in so many ways. That revelation struck me on that night. Perhaps why I wanted to write that paper so badly that I make everyone pretty annoyed about me loving Wes Anderson. It is because Wes Anderson touched me on that personal level. If David Lean woke me up on the beauty of cinema with his epic of Lawrence of Arabia. Perhaps Wes Anderson touched the heart in saying how can cinema impacted me personally. His wry characters navigating a broken world which is otherworldly grounded in reality. Some people find it indulgent,others loathed of his boringness. Whatever. If it touched the right people at the right mindset,then that is the beauty of cinema. Maybe it give me that clinging hope and strength to tread through my semester of writing nothing but him. So Wes…whenever you are busy preparing for the release of Budpast (BTW excited like hell)…thank you very much…..I said that I am very proud that my dissertation would be about your fantastic works which one day may touch people as much as me.

The western goes East

Hey everyone! Apologies for the silence as I have been busy. Well good news I am back to film school and I would like to share with you on my workshop experience. Well I am in my specialisim so I am majoring in Production design (super underrated area in film) and minoring in Screenwriting. Ok here is the thing I am not too good in creating my ideas clear despite having too many! Well it’s a struggle for me,but look at the bright side… It’s much better for me fiddling the camera n Premiere Pro lol.

It happens that the brother of Hugo Weaving (aka Elrond from the LOTR fans adn Mr smith from the Matrix) came over to my school to conduct a workshop. Of course I was fangirling because I get to meet a sibling of a famous celebrity. Ok you must look professional as it was someone big. Apparently he is friends with my head

Well you get to be taught by him,he was the funniest,warm and overall pretty awesome lecturer. He has the coolest background ever,a film critic,screenwriter n even an organizer. I sense the Weaving siblings are darn talented. He share fun snippets of his life n his knowledge do enlighten me! He even shared a story of how Hugo Weaving got his role in V for Vendetta.

For films-wise,well I get to know the Western genre better. Of course if you are interested,my reviews are here (Expect for The Good,Bad and The Weird) The western goes east. It does help to fill up for screenwriting and plus I do get to create my fierce bitch character here.

Well if you guys do have that chance to meet him for lessons,it was a great one!

Pan’s labyrinth and its influence in narrative with The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey

Well hello today,given that the desolation of Smaug is coming up on December 13th (Yes I am super excited for that!)..I shall talk about The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey treatment would be like if it was under Gullimero Del Toro’s treatment in terms of narrative and perhaps design-wise… I decided to write this because there is a comment which I read that there is some resemblance of Del Toro’s treatment for J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit despite Peter Jackson’s direction to the film itself. For those who followed the production of The Hobbit would be aware that Peter Jackson was considering to adapt the Hobbit in 1997 but decided to explore LOTR. After the success of the LOTR Trilogy (2001-2003),there Peter Jackson explored the idea of creating the The Hobbit. When announced in 2008,it was said that Del Toro was attached to that project as screenwriter and director.  However due to creative differences-Del Toro left the project but he was attributed as screenwriter for the film. Therefore I would dissect the aspects of the narrative which is similar to Pan’s Labryrith and the Hobbit.

For those who are unfamiliar with Pan’s (I suggest you guys go and watched that film!!! It was the most beautiful fantasy film that I ever watched),it was about a little girl Ofelia who went to a labryrnith and was given 3 tasks to accomplish her destiny. Those who have a strong knowledge of fairytales and mythology would spot subtle references everywhere in this fairytale film. F0r instance,the pale man could refer to the Greek mythological monster Lamia and while Ofelia’s underworld dress and shoes referred to Dorothy’s Shoes in the Wizard of Oz. Del Toro actually kept a sketchbook during his process of creating Pan’s whenever it was the illustrations of famous illustrator Arthur Rackman or perhaps his experiences with dreams to create such a layered parable. With that experience,Del Toro could have created a multi-textured film for The Hobbit

Looking at the source adaptation of The Hobbit,those familar with Lord of The Rings this was the so-called ‘prequel’ of LOTR (Lord of The Rings) by J.R.R Tolkien which focused on Biblio Baggins’s adventures with a group of nomand dwarves. It was fruitful ground as there is aplently of room to play with Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth whenever it was the mysterious misty mountains or the lost dwarf city of Erebor. Peter Jackson explored Middle Earth in his trilogy LOTR with breathtaking sights of New Zealand (Peter Jackson was Kiwi)

In looking if Del Toro would have created Middle Earth is vastly different,The Hollywood reporter posted a video exploring on Del Toro’s direction and the producers said it would have a ‘more fairy-tale’ like aspect and a different visual aesthetic. Perhaps that fairy-tale element was seen in the progoule of both films that frame the mood and tone of the film,was the fall of the characters

For The Hobbit,it gives a sense of warmth for those familiar with the LOTR trilogy where the main protagonist (Old Biblo Baggins played by Sir Ian Holms) was recalling a warm memory and we are cut to a sketch of young Biblo (Martin Freeman of Sherlock fame) and here we are transported to the events before the Hobbit.

For Pan’s we are transported to Ofelia’s dying moment and we zoomed into her eye,the remaining memories as the princess of the underworld. There it zoomed to the destruction of Fascist Spain which shows the contrasting world where Ofelia lived.

Both opening scenes needed the use of fairy-tale narration to create different tones,for The Hobbit,it was used as if Biblo is retelling his experiences to us in personal perspective and perhaps to his nephew Frodo. He is giving us his perspectives on the things he seen and do. It reels us back to that feeling when you watched LOTR again,the comforting feeling when we seen the Hobbits in the shire. On the other hand,Pan provides a somber tone of the situation Ofelia was facing and her predestined destiney.

Secondly it was seem that both films used on the 3 tasks plot,to illustrate the character’s journey and growth in the story. For Ofelia (Moanna),these tasks symbolize on Ofelia’s outcomes,for the first task on getting the key from the toad that inhabit the tree represents either her baby brother who caused problems or the rich fascists who sucked the money according to Matt Graeff’s analysis on the creatures in Pan’s Labriyrith,which cuts to the rich people eating dinner together. These tasks could symbolized the female sexual awakening for Ofelia herself especially when the tree represent the female reporductive organ which Del Toro do mentioned on the warm “womb-like” tones for the underworld especially in the end where Ofelia wore a red coat and yellow dress in contrast of the forest-like colors of the real world.

On the other-hand Biblo was accomplished with a huge task of defending the infamous dragon Smaug,at first he was approched by Gandalf wearing the colours of yellow and turquoise that symbolized his stable and safe place in Hobbiton. He refused that task,and later unexpectedly seen a company of dwarves as he wore his patched dressing gown to show a breaking of his comfort zone. However during his push to go on an adventure,he was wearing his ‘adventure’ outfit which echoes Holms’ outfit in LOTR. He accomplished his first task as the Burgular,to accomplish his task as the burgular. Perhaps what is the most symbolic of the tasks in the unexpected journey  Biblo have to do,is the cave scene especially on the ripping off the brass buttons which ultimately showed his unintended push and eventually he grows to be more courageous which paid off in his fight-off with Azog. His dirtied down clothes shows on his readiness to save Erbor and show that he pushed his comfort zone out to be more courageous physically and mentally.

Thirdly I could see some thread of Del Toro’s influence in the narrative in An Unexpected Journey,is perhaps the use of vast influences from different literary and artistic influences into their mise-en-scene and story.

For The Hobbit,Tolkien used Norse and English mythology and languages to create a layered story and with the film’s adaption. Philip French commented on the veins of influence of The Hobbit as “echoes of the Old and New Testament, of similar journeys from Homer’s Odyssey through Morte d’Arthur to Gulliver’s Travels, and there are all the essential mythic elements.” Dan Hannah,the production deisgner of the Hobbit commented on the atmosphere of the film to be more “whimsical” and light-hearted as ” the script and the story itself of “The Hobbit” is that it’s written for a younger audience, or a younger reader.” and he  commented on the Lonely Mountains’s cinematography as “ at times resembles paintings by John Martin and Caspar David Friedrich, and is beautifully photographed by Jackson’s regular cinematographer, Andrew Lesnie, who has that feeling for landscape that’s such a feature of antipodean cinema.”  It shows the lighter side of Middle Earth which was apt as Tolkien wrote the Hobbit before WW2,in which he wrote Lord of The Rings

While Pan,like The Hobbit is richly textured with Catholic influences like the story Ofelia told her unborn brother on the forbidden rose perhaps resembling Christ and his return on Earth,the horrifying image of the Pale Man limping was influenced by Goya’s macrebe works and the detailing of Arthur Rackman’s lines. They even got Greek Mythology influnences like the Faun and Janus the god of Time. What makes Pan so intriguing as how Del Toro weaved the political turmoil of Fascist Spain,for instance the monstrous creature The Pale  Man,represent the greed of Vidal and the corruption of religious figures as Del Toro explained his thought process of creating the pale man as wanting a “church-like and a concentration camp feeling, with shoes piled up in corner; this perverse creature has a lot of food in front of it, but only eats children—innocents.”

In conclusion,white it was a pity that we would never seen the full impact of Del Toro’s vision of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I could see little remants of Del Toro’s influence on the narrative,the various influences of the story of The Hobbit provide fertile imagination perfect for Del Toro’s hands. There he provided us a perfect fairytale narration to set the tones of the films,like Biblo warmly recollecting the memories of past and Ofelia’s predestined fate. The tasks these protagonists have to hold to achieve themselves higher,like Biblo’s experience in the caves make him grew up as a courageous character and Ofelia’s sexual growth by her tasks assigned by the faun which she was rewarded to immortality and happiness in the underworld. Indeed both films provided worlds for us to escape into and perhaps get lost here.

Therefore I would end with a quote by J.R.R Tolkien

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

Best LOTR moments

Well hello guys! Apologies for the silence as I have been busy with internship! It dawned to me after visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand,what I need to do is to watch LOTR and the hobbit. Well I watched the Hobbit and I loved it! With the release of The Desolation of Smaug (yes I am excited),I shall count down my favourite moments in this beloved franchise. Anyway it was my personal opinion and feel free to comment your favourite moments in LOTR

The Fellowship of The Ring

Arwen V.S The Nazguls

Yes Jackson took some liberation for Tolkien’s female characters,but this scene is pretty amazing especially the score and when Arwen chant the water barrier spell.

Bonmoir’s Death

Well he is one of my favourite LOTR characters,and despite his fall of being tempted by the ring (and nearly killing Frodo). That scene where Bonomir acknowledged Aragorn as his ruler,just plain beautiful and the acting was amazing here.

The meeting Between Aragon and Arwen in the garden

If you think LOTR is just simply lots of awesome battle scenes,think again….It showed me that fantasy films can handle romantic scenes and I must say that the relationship between Arwen and Aragorn is just wonderful. The chemistry between Liv Tyler and Viggo Morentersen is just passionate and lovely. I would like to include that scene where Aragorn was awakened by Arwen after the battle

The Two Towers

The curing of Theoden

I love the makeup effects of comatstic Theoden,it was damn beautiful but that scene is pretty wonderful and I loved the softness Sir Ian McKellen do to the enchanted Thedon. Thereafter there is a heartbreaking scene of Theoden griefing over his dead son just show the redemption element in LOTR.

Sam’s Speech “there is good in this world”

Despise that Two Towers was not my favorite film the trilogy but this little moment that shed light into the darkness. Sean’s sincerity in this scene with the jutaxplostion of the race of Men and Gandalf fighting at Sauron’s tower was no less inspiring. I think I shed a tear or two when I was watching that

Gandalf’s return

Yes I was doing the Frodo No when Gandalf the Grey died,but the awe Pippin and Merry seen Gandalf alive makes us tear up…

Treebeard discovering his forest

One phrase:BAMF trees! Yes I love the Erts’ designs in LOTR (It have that Arthur Rackman element which I loved) and that special effects are amazing. Saruman,you have make one tree really angry. Tree-Smash!

That is why you should not cut so many trees,they will create hell for you

The Return of The King (Yes I am slightly biased but the best moments are from this film)

Arwen’s Vision

Yes I chose another Arwen and Aragorn scene,oh man the music and the visuals of it is just plain beautiful. The suspended motion of Arwen crossing her journey added that ethernal scene was no less tear-jerking especially the gaze of the child

“The Edge of the Night”

Well LOTR have a chockful of songs,but if I have to choose one song-it would be that song. That juxtoplostion of Dethethor eating his food in an animalistic manner,and Faramir charging for battle unprepared irked out disgust on Dethenor and yet heartbreak on Faramir’s fate. Even the acting of Billy provoked that reaction of horror.

“Death is another path”

This part is so philosphical about the journey of life and it brings hope to otherwise bleak subtext of the battles

“Rohirm Take Charge”

If I have to choose for the best battle scenes in LOTR,Return of The King have so many to boot. This is perhaps the most inspirational battle scenes ever. If you do not tear up on the commandoes screamed “DEATH” from Eowyn to Merry. There is something wrong with you. And there they charge,I nearly tear up here.

And of course the epilogue of Return of The King,what a way to end the fantastic trilogy…It was nothing but emotions….JEBEUS…

Aragorn’s coronation-O.K I am tearing up on Aragorn bowing down to the hobbits and saying “You shall bow down to no one”..It was no less inspring and shows that even the smallest beings can make a big difference.

Oh yes the Gray Havens sequence is too painful and you feel so bad for Frodo. For the first time,I seen a fantasy character feeling so human. Of course Frodo’s kiss to Sam and his smile is just so heartbreaking. I love that line that Gandalf say that “Tears are not for weeping.”

Well Jackson could end the Return Of The King with the bang with the coronation of Aragorn or the emotional parting of Frodo leaving for The Grey Havens. However he chose a quiet ending of Sam closing the door which brings closure to that franchise. When I watched that ending,I feel that a part of me just died because I followed the characters along the way and seen their adventures. Here closing the door,is metaphorically saying that a chapter ends for LOTR.

Now I am done with that,a little bonus scene from The Hobbit which I really liked,ideally the majority would choose the hug between Biblo and Thorin (Yes it cause so many feels). However I chose that scene of Biblo receiving his sword and I thought it was very thought-provoking for me. Indeed LOTR showed that quality here

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