Friday, July 02, 2004

I am officially on strike! I refuse to mark another script. I am going absolutely potty making judgments on other people's written work and making decisions that they are not likely going to be happy with. Over and over again. For hours on end. I want a break and I'm claiming one now!

I'm sitting in front of Watson now, having spent the night far, far away from any comprehension script. I'm wearing a blue t-shirt that June bought for me from Bossini last week. At the bottom left corner of the t-shirt is a plastic label with a little red spider motif embossed upon it. I'm wearing it today for the first time, and for a special occasion. June bought a similar t-shirt for us to wear to watch Spider-Man 2!

SM2 is gorgeous! A roller-coaster not in the sense of thrills and spills, but rather of emotional responses to the conflicts the characters (yes, in the plural!) go through. While the main focus is of course on Peter Parker, each supporting character is similarly under one crisis or another that is neither overplayed nor overblown but realistic and believable within the context of their situation.

What works is that the superheroics and colourful costumes only play on the edges of the story and are really a metaphor for the internal battles that rage within each character. The story is a human one. It's about Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborne, and Otto Octavius. Even the villain, Octavius, has a reason for being, a conflict triggering his madness. I've never seen Doc Ock in this light before -- a noble, brilliant man struggling for control over the amoral technology of his own making. Ock's robot arms likewise almost have a personality too, and a primeval motivation for their actions: fight to survive, kill or be killed, fulfill your raison d'etre. Each arm can act independently but always in concert with its partners; which must be hell to choreograph but such a marvel to watch.

The Parker-type is a character usually played as a buffoon and a loser by the likes of Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller. Sam Raimi's Parker could have been played that way for laughs too, but there is a fine line between the clown and the tragic hero. The difference lies in the character's mortality, and not their pain. Pain is comedy, death is tragedy. Sandler and Stiller are clowns because despite the pain their characters endure at no point in their movies is there any actual danger to their mortal being. Parker's motivation is in constantly fighting death (his own and everybody else's); heck, it originates in the death of his mentor and father-figure. The driving force is darker but the stakes are higher and it's what makes Parker a hero.

The lofty "messages" such as "we are responsible for the choices we make," and "we are responsible for the gifts we are given," are balanced out by "we don't have to face our responsibilities alone." The latter is a message that is so important but we always neglect to consider it whenever we focus on just carrying out our duties, responsibilities and obligations, and we think it's all so overwhelming.

Watch SM2 for a morale uplift! Don't waste the weekend!

On a slightly different note, here's a link to England's Euro Cup hopes which I place here to commemorate their fighting exit from the tournament.

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