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"Batman & Mama Mia" or "Darkness & Light"

It's been an eventful last few days. I got a bunch of rush projects done and then yesterday Lisa and I went to the SF Zoo. It was a good day to go...though while on the (very) chilly side it was also decidedly uncrowded. We spent a long time in front of the tiger enclosure watching the 3 baby tigers play and tussle while their mama lay sleepily by. They were most adorable and I plopped down the camping chair we brought and got to sit and sketch them for a leisurely amount of time.
Tigers are hard to draw...their markings are so exotic and beautiful it's easy to get lost in the details and not pay attention to the structure underneath. They eventually wore themselves out and plopped themselves into little tiger puddles and nodded off to sleep. I like how when cats close their eyes it always looks like they are squeezing them shut...and it's even more amplified with tigers since the markings around their eyes goes and accentuates the "squeeze look."
I remembered the last time I tried to draw a tiger. I was less than 6 feet from her and like most of the rest of the class we couldn't really draw...we could simply LOOK because there was a live TIGER in the room.

We spent some time in front of the Baird's Tapir and the hippo and a lot of time in front of the penguins which were absolutely delightful. I am always surprised at just how nimble and articulate their necks are. Penguins always look so squat and stiff it's surprising to see one suddenly twist it's neck under its wing or preen some hard to reach area. SF apparently has a bonded pair of male penguins that "live in the 4th cave from the left and maintain their home like other penguin couples." We saw them preen each other a little and it was very cute.

After the zoo we stopped by the nearby Lake Merced to get some more pond water. Our two little newts are doing very well...one has lost his gills entirely but we needed to get some more water to put in with them since theirs was slowly evaporating. It was a beautiful time to be there..the golden hour for photos and out on the lake we could hear calling and then saw two dragon boats racing. It looked like a lot of fun. Someday I will have to try that.

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE DARK KNIGHT:

That evening we went to see The Dark Knight which isn't just a good superhero flick...it's one of the most intelligent films I've seen in a very long time...especially for a summer blockbuster. Already I have have some thought provoking conversations about the movie...how to fight someone who uses your ethics against you...combating modern day terrorism, when is going too far going too far...what exactly ARE the costs in putting your ethics to the side in order to catch the guy without any whatsoever. Must you burn down the forest?

It's impossible to not note the allusions to the current war the US is in and watch a side of the debate one doesn't usually see from Hollywood. There were scenes and conversations where my jaw dropped and I wondered how Hollywood who prides themselves so much on heavy handed blatant anti military pieces of drek that they keep churning them out despite the severe financial losses allowed a film so unrepentantly ...dare I say *conservative* get made.

(I think they make them to impress each other at awards time rather than really hoping they're going to change any minds in "flyover country." "We made "In the Valley of Elah." "Okay..we'll see your Valley and raise you "Redacted" and throw in "Lambs for Lions.")

I remember in my animation history class watching cartoons that had been made from behind the Iron Curtain...and they were obviously so politically defiant to the system they were made in I wondered how The State had allowed them to be produced. Since they were all done in allusion and metaphor my teacher explained that basically the bureaucrats in The System never even caught the political jabs and commentary. I thought about this watching The Dark Knight. Since it is Batman battling the Joker...perhaps the symbolism is disguised enough that Those Who Might Be Offended let it pass or at least get made.

It is not multiculturalism and tolerance and appeasement and self loathing that finally ends the Joker's nihilistic rampage...it's a willingness to get very, very dirty, to make hard choices, to completely invade people's privacy and ultimately accept the publics hate for it in order to do what is necessary. The Batman is no HERO to the people of Gotham...by the end he deliberately allows himself to be loathed...but it's who he needs to be to get the job done.

ON TODAY:

Today I got some more small projects finished and another one started. Theo had given me a puppet head to try and paint and I started that today. It's been really fun..a long time (far too long) since I actually physically PAINTED anything. I used to watercolor and use acrylic all the time in the days before Photoshop and it's nice going back to something with immediate consequences...there is no CTL-Z...there is no eyedropper to match colors exactly.

We went over to Theo's later and decided to go see Mama Mia which I also thoroughly enjoyed. Where Batman was dark and gritty and full of compromises down to hell, heavy and death soaked...MM was color and light and love and life and really fun music. It was also shot in Greece which was simply gorgeous. Made me want to go and visit. Absolutely stunning. Even had some semi weepy moments...when Meryl Streep is singing to her daughter "Slipping Through My Fingers" as she's helping her get ready for her wedding I caught myself tearing up a little. I acknowledge the cheese factor and I don't even have kids!

Everyone involved seemed to be having the time of their life...even poor Pierce Brosnan who ...shall we say...is not a natural singer gave it everything he had.
It was just a fun summer movie. I loved it.

I've got a bunch of things to work on and hopefully finish tomorrow. I'd also like to get the house really cleaned and organized, top to bottom before we leave on our extended road trip. Next week we are going to San Diego to see Lisa's family and the week after that we are heading to Utah to see mine. Much to do...much to do...

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
natgertler
Jul. 27th, 2008 01:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, but...
The film is also supportive of the belief that those like the Batman inspire those like the Joker, that his existence is a reaction to those type of tactics. And (without going into spoilers) Batman's willingness to sacrifice his own pleasantries for what he sees as the force greater good ends up corrupting that greater good. And much of what happens could be arguably based on Batman's efforts to defend his own privacy while he chooses to invade that of others.
So it's not exactly a unilateral endorsement of his methodology.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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