Saturday, July 01, 2006

History of Violence & Corpse Bride

Corpse Bride - Honestly, not exactly what I was expecting. Looking back, I should have assumed it would have a lot of musical numbers. And I expected it to be more twisted. On the other hand, it was much more funny and charming and genuinely touching than I assumed. All the dead beings in the movie, and even the live ones, look off-putting but exhibit a degree of personality that makes them go full circle from macabre to droll. The corpse bride is voiced so well that she may be the most likable undead character ever. I also like how the movie purposely mocks any cliches it had a danger of falling into. Although some of the songs annoyed me, I thought it was a movie that somehow managed to end up cute but not at all gag-inducing.

History of Violence - This movie has two sides, but both are manipulative. It juxtaposes the imagery and vibe of small-town paradise with brutal and rapid violence. The same dichotomy that runs through the movie runs through the main character. This wasn't hard to fit into my own frame of reference: he's a superhero with a secret identity. He's Violence Man. When there's trouble, he switches from mild-mannered diner owner to the Punisher. Then I had another realization: he's a Mel Gibson character being played by Viggo. As we know from Mel Gibson movies (e.g. Ransom, Patriot, Braveheart), don't mess with a guy's family or he'll go off like a lethal weapon. Ooops, mixed metaphors there. Anyway, I don't think people should need a movie to point out that while violence is one of those "necessary evils", the thrills it affords are part of being human. We have blood that is fun to get pumpin', and we like to see dirt rubbed into evil's face at every opportunity. People without exposure to true life-and-death violence get their quota through their entertainment. Even back when TV and movies were tamer, people got into fistfights and gun duels in westerns. On the other hand, after seeing this movie, I don't feel like playing my 24 video game for the rest of today...

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