Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: "The Fountain" DVD movie

The Fountain
Hugh Jackman Rachel Weisz
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Talk about a total departure from the films I have been watching as of late! The Fountain is as far away as you can get from the high octane action science fiction movie as you can get I think. The Fountain is a thoughtful, emotional image laden treat for the senses.

I have heard the film described as one man's trip throughout the ages on a quest to save his true love. And you might be able to get though the film with just that mind set and be fully entertained. But what the Fountain really is, becomes apparent as the film moves along.

Hugh Jackman plays the lead in three distinct story lines. First as a conquistador on a quest to "New Spain" for his queen to find the "tree of life" said to grant the drinker of it's sap, life everlasting. In the second a research scientist bent on finding a cure for his wife's cancer before she dies, stumbles upon an extract from an old growth tree from central America and third a Dalli inspired trip through the universe with a monk and a life giving tree to a dying star called by the ancient Myan's Xibalba, or the Mayan underworld of the dead.

Each story line at some point will reference the other two, giving it a very intertwined feeling and you can see where the feeling of an ongoing tale through time.

The first two story lines (I say first two, but all three story lines are running at the same time) are easy enough to follow, but the third is every bit the last 20 minutes of 2001. What is the bubble that the tree and the monk are traveling in, is the tree THE tree, why does the monk show up in the first two story lines as the main character from time to time? The Wiki describes the third character as an "astronaut" in an "echospheric spacecraft" (whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Were they watching the same movie I was?) But when you watch the movie, I dare anyone to get that from the third storyline. It's mystical, almost hallucinogenic in the images that are shown.

The intertwining of the three storylines becomes almost frenetic. The Myan priest see the "astronaut" of the future, the conquistador finds the tree, dies seeing Xibalba and drops the ring his queen gave him, The doctor loses the ring too and reads a story written by his wife telling about the conquistador and the fire of Xibalba. Her book is called the Fountain...what fountain....fountain of youth? Tree of life? same thing? and then continues his research using the material from the central American "tree" and ends by planting said tree on his wife's grave, just as Xibalba novas - and now the astronaut/monk flies through the cosmos with a tree...the tree? undying because he is eating the bark of the tree, then we see that he has on the queen's ring as the star goes nova.

ok, but if the star novas in the future hundreds of light-years did the two other time lines see it in the past? huh? Oh yeah, if you have seen the ending of 2001 you know my analogy is apt. only I kept thinking that the music from the Disney movie "The Black Hole".

Don't get me wrong, the movie is good. But if you're looking for lots of action...ain't happening. The film is thoughtful, introspective and often visually stunning.

And the DVD is a treat as well! The special features included on the disk show the abortive first try at making the film earlier, the locals. sets, rushes, outakes, makeup....all kinds of short snippets that give you insight into how the film was conceived and executed. Which in my book makes it an excellent addition to your dvd library. I would give it a solid 9

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