Friday, April 21, 2017

2 New Spots: King Arthur Legend Of the Sword

This image might be one of the most important we have seen in all the trailers, posters and spots combined; why? Arthur voices what his will is, "I'm going to kill him," but we see how he is wounded, and those wounds we are seeing articulate for us the interior of Arthur's character we cannot see. For example, the bandage wound atop Arthur's head likely has two meanings: first, we know that hair and anything on the head symbolizes our thoughts, so, in this scene, it's likely that Arthur has been proven wrong about something or he wasn't thinking correctly (maybe he had a bad idea). This is particularly important because of the second meaning of the head: the "head" of a government. Being the legitimate king, Arthur is, therefore, the head of the resistance government, and that Arthur's own head is wounded, illustrates for us how his position as head of the resistance, and the resistance itself, has taken a literal beating. Why? Look at Arthur's eye: eyes symbolize our deeper, inner-vision, our meditative capabilities and being able to "see" things as they truly are (without delusion or illusion). Arthur has obviously been beaten in his eye and it has turned purple (not blue or black, or even that tinge of green/yellow when it's been healing) and purple, as we know symbolizes suffering and royalty: only the Roman emperor was wealthy enough to afford clothes dyed in purple, so it symbolizes the royalty and wealth, but when the purple cloak was draped over Jesus during His Passion, purple also became associated with the suffering fit for a king to endure for his people, rather than the people having to suffer for the king (which had been the reigning thought up to this time). So, on one hand, Arthur's eye is swollen, suggesting he's not seeing everything (his eye is in the process of swelling shut so he can't see out of it at all) but also, what he does see is being "colored" by his suffering (the purple) and his unique role in being the exiled king (the blanket--I guess that's what it is--around his shoulders is interesting, because it emphasizes his role of kingship, without him being yet crowned).  It's further interesting, although difficult to interpret, that the swelling eye is his right eye, rather than his left eye: the right side of our body (or basically anything in general) is interpreted as being the "correct" or "strong" side (especially morally) whereas the left side of anything is usually interpreted as being corrupt or weak. Knowing that Arthur says, "I'm going to kill him," in this clip (supposedly referring to Vortigern) we might interpret this scene, at this point with the information we have, to be that Arthur's wanting to kill Vortigern is coming from a weakened moral impulse and not from a superior source of Arthur's kingly wisdom; why? His cheek.
In order to discuss Arthur's cheek, let's look at another hero with an interesting cheek mark: Captain Jack Sparrow. If you look at the very bottom of this post, there is a poster for Pirates Of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and on Jack's right side of his face, there is an "X" on his cheek; why? The most common interpretation for the cheeks is to "Turn the other cheek," inferring that when someone has wronged you, as Christ taught, we are meant to let them harm us again, rather than to take revenge (because revenge belongs to God). We know that Javier Bardem's Captain Salazar seeks revenge against Sparrow for Salazar's death, so we might interpret the "X" marks the spot (of a pirate's life) as Sparrow being marked for revenge by Salazar. So, back to Arthur, Arthur may not be "turning the other cheek," and feels he is owed revenge for the death of his parents. We have heard, I believe it was in the first teaser which came out just before the second trailer, Arthur saying, "You created me, and for that, I bless you," and that's a sign of Arthur's wisdom, because he recognizes that he had to discipline himself and become a real leader in order to be worthy of Excalibur and the people willing to fight with him. So, at this point in this scene above, Arthur might not be very wise, but he's following in the path of another famous Englishman: James Bond. Remember, in Spectre, Bond says he's going to kill Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) as announces that to Blofeld when he and Madeline arrive at the desert compound, but, when Bond really has the chance to do so, he doesn't (in Batman vs Superman, Batman also has a chance to kill Lex Luthor at the end, but doesn't). We'll have to see if Arthur kills Vortigern, or if Arthur allows the devil to take Vortigern, which is kind of what happened to Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes (and, like Blackwood, Vortigern is certainly in league with the devil). 
I am working on getting the post up for the very amazing Fast and Furious 8, but two new spots have been released for King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword. Here is the first:
It's not that we see very much new material in this teaser, however, we have an interesting new bit of dialogue: "Do we understand each other?" Vortigern says (although we don't know to who he says it: having just seen Fast and Furious 8, I want to be careful to not assume that every little thing in the trailers is going to be just as it is in the film, because there are adjustments made between the two), so even though it looks like Vortigern says it to Arthur, the chances are, he's saying it to someone else; so, for the moment, let's take it at face value: "Do we understand each other?" means that a threat, promise, or some other "implication" has been made without being spoken. This "implication" made without speech, which the person Vortigern speaks to, as well as we, the audience, should, therefore, be on the look-out throughout the film for other "implications" which also are not spoken in the film (where there is one example of a technique or device being used, it's because it's also being used somewhere else); this leads us to our second spot:
Power.
This single word deconstructs--in a good way--the entire film: there is the power that comes with being strong enough to take what is not yours; there is power that is yours but that you can't claim; there is the power over people who fear you; there is the power that you don't have to be afraid of anything; there is the power of people following you because they believe in you; there is the power of the wizard, the power of the devil; there is the power of the sword to kill, then there is the power of the sword to,... do magical things, etc. What this rambling list proves is that "power" does not have a single, unified meaning in the film, because there are many different types of power, so the definition of "power" is going to shift throughout the film; why is that important?
Above, we analyze the wounds on Arthur's face to get an idea of what his character is feeling, but not expressing in the scene. Why is this important? Because of these guards/soldiers right here. Basically, we have seen these guys before: the motorcycle riders in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Zoolander 2 motorcycle riders, storm troopers in Star Wars the Force Awakens and also Rogue One, the upcoming gold women in Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol 2 (because they all look alike, they have no individuality), the members of the mafia gang at the start of John Wick Chapter 2, and in The Mummy, think of all the birds that crash into the plane en masse, and then all the rats crawling over Tom Cruise, and all the faceless dead people, and others I'm not going to take the time to look up; the point is, when there is a lack of personality, or individuality, that's a sign of socialism; why? Because socialism doesn't want individuals, because individuals want freedom to express their individuality, and individualism makes us human, but socialists want us to believe we are animals; God gave us individual talents and gifts, but socialists want to deny God, so they will deny your individuality and the gifts God gave you. These soldiers are a perfect example of that. Further, we can see from the scars and bruising Arthur has experienced which he wears on his face that his face shows who he is, and who he is not.  We have all ready discussed how scars on Arthur's face and neck reveal traits he has (not being a good judge of character, and being led by things of the world, rather than spirituality or higher causes). The soldiers in the image above don't have those scars, they have nothing but brute force and the orders they have been given. Now, think real hard: what other soldiers in history would kick in doors in the dead of night and pull people out of their beds and send them off to never be seen again? If you answered the Nazis, you are correct, my friend! From the Nazi-style salute we see in the second trailer to these faceless goons and Vortigern's crushing need for power, we have a film championing the populist wave of anti-politicians and the embracing of "new" leaders to replace them for the sake of the whole world. 
Because what "power" is, and who has it, is the basis of civilization; it's the primary center of all human relations (who is dominant, who is submissive, is it constant or does it change?) and how is that power going to be exercised? For King Arthur, the "good power" is located in the sword, Excalibur; in Transformers: the Last Knight, we see Optimus Prime yielding a huge sword, trying to destroy the world, and in The Mummy, we see Princess Ahmanet with a little knife, she first uses to kill her father, and then everyone else (and yes, her "little, jagged knife" is a little, false phallus she uses in place of the phallus of her father the pharaoh) and then there is also the Trident of Poseidon in Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales (so a trident is like a triple phallus). All these films are employing phallic symbols (the swords, knives and tridents) to discuss power and who has it legitimately and what they are doing with it.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
This is the image with the mark on Sparrow's cheek, in the very upper-left corner, just off to the side of his eye. There is plenty to discuss in this poster, but it will have to wait another time.