“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”—
The usual reproach to psychoanalytic criticism is that it reduces everything to family complexes: whatever the story, it is “really about” Oedipus, incest, etc. Instead of trying to prove that this is not true, one should accept the challenge. The films which are furthest from family dramas are catastrophe films, which cannot but fascinate the viewer with a spectacular depiction of a terrifying event of immense proportions. This brings us to the first psychoanalytic rule of how to read catastrophe movies: we should avoid the lure of the “big event” and re-focus on the “small event” (familial relations), reading the spectacular catastrophe as an indication of the family trouble. Take Steven Spielberg: the secret motif than runs through all his key films - ET, Empire of the Sun, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List - is the recovery of the father, of his authority. One should remember that the family to whose small boy ET appears was deserted by the father (as we learn in the very beginning), so that ET is ultimately a kind of “vanishing mediator” who provides a new father (the good scientist who, in the film’s last shot, is already seen embracing the mother) - when the new father is here, ET can leave and “go home.”
And the same story goes on and on. Empire of the Sun focuses on a boy deserted by his family in the war-torn China and surviving through the help of an ersatz-father (played by John Malkovich). In the very first scene of Jurassic Park, we see the paternal figure (played by Sam Neill) jokingly threatening the two kids with a dinosaur bone - this bone is clearly the tiny object-stain which, later, explodes into gigantic dinosaurs, so that one can risk the hypothesis that, within the film’s fantasmatic universe, the dinosaurs’ destructive fury merely materializes the rage of the paternal superego. A barely perceptible detail that occurs later, in the middle of the film, confirm this reading. The pursued group of Neill with two kids take refugee from the murderous carnivorous dinosaurs in a gigantic tree, where, dead tired, they fall asleep; on the three, Neill loses the dinosaur bone that was stuck in his belt, and it is as if this accidental loss has a magic effect - before they fall asleep, Neill is reconciled with the children, displaying warm affection and care for them. Significantly, the dinosaurs which approach the three next morning and awaken the sleeping party, turn out to be of the benevolent herbivorous kind… Schindler’s List is, at the most basic level, a remake of Jurassic Park (and, if anything, worse than the original), with the Nazis as the dinosaur monsters, Schindler as (at the film’s beginning) the cynical-profiteering and opportunistic parental figure, and the ghetto Jews as threatened children (their infantilization in the film is eye-striking) - the story the film tells is about Schindler’s gradual rediscovery of his paternal duty towards the Jews, and his transformation into a caring and responsible father.
And is The War of the Worlds not the last installment of this saga? Tom Cruise plays a divorced working class father who neglects his two children; the invasion of the aliens reawakens in him the proper paternal instincts, and he rediscovers himself as a caring father - no wonder that, in last scene, he finally gets the recognition from his son who, throughout the film, despised him. In the mode of the 18th century stories, the film could thus also have been subtitled “A story on how a working father finally gets reconciled with his son”… One can effectively imagine the film WITHOUT the blood-thirsty aliens: what remains is in a way “what the film really is about,” the story of a divorced working-class father who strives to regain the respect of his two children. Therein resides the film’s ideology: with regard to the two levels of the story (the Oedipal level of the lost and regained paternal authority; the spectacular level of the conflict with the invading aliens), there is a clear dissymmetry, since the Oedipal level is what the story is “really about,” while the external spectacular is merely its metaphoric extension.
“Mr. Bay is an auteur. His signature adorns every image in his movies, as conspicuously as that of Lars von Trier, and every single one is inscribed with a specific worldview and moral sensibility. Mr. Bay’s subject — overwhelming violent conquest — is as blatant and consistent as his cluttered mise-en-scène. His images, particularly during the frequent action sequences, can be difficult to visually track, but they are also consistently disjointed. (And proudly self-referential: the only director he overtly cites is himself, with a shot of the poster for his movie “Bad Boys II.”) The French filmmaker Jacques Rivette once described an auteur as someone who speaks in the first person. Mr. Bay prefers to shout.”—Manohla Dargis
[lacan] starts from the assumption that communication is always a failure: moreover, that is has to be a failure, and that’s the reason we keep on talking. if we understood each other, we would all remain silent. luckily enough, we don’t understand each other, so we keep on talking.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has announced extensive plans to convert the old Discovery Island in Bay Lake to a new Lost-themed attraction. Lost Island is set to receive guests by the Summer of 2011, a year after the show concludes its six-year run on ABC.
“We strong believe that the show will live on in popularity after its conclusion. This type of show can be successful in syndication for decades and with the advent of DVD—sales of which have been very high for this series—there is clear evidence that Lost will remain popular well after next Spring’s series finale,” said Celandine Coda, vice chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
The immersive experience will bring guests to the islands in disparate ways, providing two distinct experiences per each trip to the island. The attraction is also unique as the exploration of the island in its entirety forms one complete experience, however each area of the island works as an individual attraction.
“We have this great experience for the Swan station which guests get to tour as if they were the survivors first discovering the infamous ‘hatch’. But suddenly things go wrong and this station tour becomes a ride! It’s an extension of the Imagineering used in rides such as The Twilight Zone Towerof Terror and Star Tours taken to the next level!”, explained Coda.
Imagineers will use similar technology to give the infamous smoke-monster a presence on the island, much like it was displayed in the first season. “There were some obvious issues with depicting the monster the way it’s been portrayed in recent seasons so we took a page from those initial episodes and cast the monster into the trees,” detailed Coda.
“In some ways, the island of Lost has always been like a twisted open-air haunted house, with dark mysteries waiting around the corners in the most unlikely places. When developing this, we knew right away that there wasn’t much we could do with traditional ride technologies as the whole point of the show was this wandering band of castaways. We wanted the guests to experience the world instead of pass through a non-interactive collage.” explained Imagineer Lila R. Chiseavie.
That said, there is one ride vehicle that will be making its way to the island. The Dharma Volkswagen Van will take some guests from their arrival on the island to the barracks. Along the way, they will contend with hostiles and other surprises that the imagineers wish to keep secret.
Further, the island and the water surrounding will be enhanced with videos and auto-animatronics of the cast of the popular TV show. Guests arriving on the island will pass Michael’s raft and throughout the jungle of the island, will pass through popular moments from the television show.
Guests passing Michael’s raft on the way to the Lost Island.
The Imagineers chose to plant the guests into the experience of the show after the survivors had established a presence on the island so as to more easily access the mythology of the show, which picked up significantly in the second season. As such, Dharma stations and the Others are an integral part of the storyline of the attraction.
Lost co-creator/executive producter Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse had a hand in helping the Imagineers pare down the show’s dense mythology and its presence on an island much larger than the old Discovery Island. “We had to take some obvious liberties with the geography of the island on the show since they cover a much larger distance. As such, we limited the amount of stations and other landmarks but tried to keep to the general area near the initial Oceanic 815 crash site. Carlton and Damon were extremely helpful in assisting our imagineers with mapping out the island in a way that stays faithful to the show but also creates a new experience,” said Coda.
Concept art of boat leaving island and encountering Kate and Sawyer audio-animatronics.
The attraction will center mostly on the area of the original encampment, the Swan and Pearl stations, and the barracks. (Though there is discussion about adding the Orchid station at a later date.) The Statue of Taweret, the iconic four-toed statue that has come to epitomize the deep mythology of the show, will act as the island’s landmark icon, which will be seen from many vantage points around Bay Lake, including the Contemporary Resort and Wilderness Lodge.
“We wanted to focus on the iconic landmarks of the show which were all in relative proximity to each other in the show. Some landmarks such as the Hydra station and the Looking Glass were economically and logistically prohibitive but we connect to them in a clever way. The Orchid is essential in our future plans and we think that aspect of the experience will blow guests away,” explained Chiseavie, who says that the Orchid station is unlikely to become part of the experience until 2013 or 2014.
The old River Country area will also be cleaned up and utilized as a launch to the island and will also be themed appropriately for the attraction. Imagineers are trying to keep some of the specific story points a mystery in an effort to capture the spirit of the television show. Much like the television show’s viral marketing campaigns, Disney plans on incorporating clues into attractions and architecture at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s Future World. Also in Summer 2010, a preview center will be open at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Discovery Island, an 11.5 acre island located in Bay Lake at Walt Disney World, was open from 1974 to 1999. The wildlife preserve contained swans, lemurs, tortoises and other animals and was a viable destination in Walt Disney World’s early days before its expansion into other theme parks. However, with the opening of Animal Kingdom in 1998, the island was rendered moo and ceased operations.
“The question is have I learned anything about life. Only that human beings are divided into mind and body. The mind embraces all the nobler aspirations, like poetry and philosophy, but the body has all the fun. The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter… if it turns out that there IS a God, I don’t think that He’s evil. I think that the worst you can say about Him is that basically He’s an underachiever. After all, there are worse things in life than death. If you’ve ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman, you know what I’m talking about. The key is, to not think of death as an end, but as more of a very effective way to cut down on your expenses. Regarding love, heh, what can you say? It’s not the quantity of your sexual relations that counts. It’s the quality. On the other hand if the quantity drops below once every eight months, I would definitely look into it. Well, that’s about it for me folks. Goodbye.”—