Thursday, July 1, 2010

Anticipation, and High Hopes.

There is only one thing more exciting than this trailer is to me, and that's the hope that someone like Jackson might decide to accept a deal to do this. I do hope the actor who obtains the role of Elric is up to the task, for it is no small job but one that even Johnny Depp may not be up to. Elric is whimsical, extremely subtle, quiet, and generally refuses to explain himself. Characters like that are hard to carry, and Elric is one with so much depth that may be lost on an un-read audience, whereas those who've read the books will be expecting their Eternal Champion. The actor himself would need to be a god among men just to pull off the role.

Being as Harlock is all CGI, however inspiring, the only acting required is good voice work. Harlock too is a shy anti-hero, difficult to understand, and unwilling to placate. Both are Kings in their own worlds, and not through a lack of violence by any means. I find that as many very educated, intellectual persons seem to also find, the anti-hero is appealing beyond mere fantasy - it is a form of freedom we all wish to obtain in one way or another. They are the success stories in their own times.

In both cases, these men are self-made, but quite a bit more than just a man by his own means which honestly appeals to a great many other men - they are men who should have failed. Elric is a crippled albino who relies on magic to stay alive, Harlock a mere boy who shocked grown men with his ferocity and drive. Both could only succeed with a great deal of skill, intelligence, and by simply getting up every time they get knocked down until they are the last one standing.

Americans, many modern feminists, and nearly all women could benefit by trying to understand these characters - particularly where they find themselves attracted to such traits - because there is good reason for it. Girls are coddled, hugged, and fussed over when they are hurt. Boys are told to stop crying, even slapped at if they don't. The severe disparities in gender roles that people take for granted have never gone away or even abated in this "modern" society, and as such, men take themselves to be not just different than women categorically but actually removed from the sphere of femininity. We are not, or should not be. To be feminine is the hallmark of homosexuality, and continues to be stereotyped as such even in the predominantly homosexually populated movie industry of Hollywood. Men are not soft, easy, supported, or celebrated. Not in Western cultures.

The desire, therefore, of most intellectual males is to not only supersede the stereotype by stepping beyond it, but to attain such rank that even the most gender-breaking act is seen as manly when they do it. I won't ruin either movie by giving away scenes, but this happens in both character cases. A character attains a nearly godlike status of 'anti-hero' when the male lead can kiss another male with sincerity and as a gesture of affection, and nobody thinks "gay." This is the simple kiss one brother will give to another in almost any culture, and it's familial, without any real sexuality attached, however in Western cultures such things as hand-holding and kissing among men is absolutely taboo.

It's a small thing, and a powerful thing at the same time. As I said, very subtle characters require exquisite acting, and few are up to such a task. These are male characters that women die for, literally. This itself is a direct send-up of how men are treated in our societies where the reverse is most often true. Their sexuality isn't the point, or the question, but an illustration of how "male" they are. It's a question of self. The anti-hero gained rapidly in popularity throughout multiple cultures and in many forms of fiction as women's rights gained ground and men began to be castigated, stereotyped, and blamed.

I predict that either movie, made today, would net profits in the Billions.

No comments: