Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Fantasies

I must be on vacation as I saw two tongue-in-cheek series-starting superhero blockbusters today: Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" (in a cinema, in 3-D no less) and Stephen Chow's "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons 西遊,降魔篇" (on a computer, and for the second time). I don't know for this sort of movie, but these were lots of fun to watch. Much of the time I knew that some convention of the genre was being cleverly mocked, but not what that convention was. But these films also make fun of themselves, and that I got. Also, I think, how the self-mockery allowed the story to affirm some values it started out treating as laughable - though I'm not sure if this wasn't the way they ultimately pay their dues to their genre. "GOTG" discovers the possibility of friendship and self-sacrifice, a familiar enough storyline to me; it's pretty conventional, too, that one of the characters already had a pure heart to start with though nobody noticed, the literally wooden Groot. "JTTW" redeems platitudes about humans' essential goodness, which start the film as children's fairy tales. But when the hapless hero's "300 Nursery Rhymes" gets torn up by a hot demon huntress enraged by his refusal to requite her love and then patched back together (though she's illiterate) it becomes a sutra and his enlightenment achieved. "We were all born pure, like children"! I'm already overthinking these confections, so let me stop here!

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