Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Fountain - Don't bother to drink from it

This weekend we watched "The Fountain", a slow-moving art movie that has been compared to the art of 2001: A Space Oddessey. Lots of buddhist reincarnation crap with some stunning visuals of a star nebulea that was actually microphotography of chemical reactions.

The two main characters (Hugh Jackman being the male star after Brad Pitt pulled out of the movie in mid-production) (Kate Blanchett likewise dropped her roll) are seen in 16th century, present day, and 26th century parallel story lines where the man is trying to save the woman he loves from death. The following storylines are cut into a dozen pieces and interwoven in the film. Some nice parallel scenes, but overall its more confusing than helpful to slip between centuries.

In the 16th century, the woman is Queen Isabella of Spain who is facing the Inquisition, and he is a conquistador she sends to Incan Mexico to retrieve the Tree of Life from where it was hidden after being removed from the Garden of Eden. The conquistador finds the temple, kills the head priest who recognizes him as the "First Father" and cuts open the tree and drinks sap...which promptly makes him sprout flowering plants from his skin that kill him. Failure.

Present day she is his wife with brain cancer and he is a researcher performing experiments on monkeys with brain cancer and he injects one with tissue from a tree in Mexico (the above mentioned Tree of Life) but his wife dies before he learns the success of the tree tissue. She has written all but the last chapter of a book called "The Fountain" which coincidently is the above story of the conquistador. Hugh is to write the last chapter for her after she dies. Failure.

In the 26th century, he is a buddhist monk living in a round space-traveling bubble with the Tree of Life, trying to get the tree to the star nebula Xibalba which is the center star in Orion's sword and supposedly the Incan idea of an afterlife. The tree has little hairs on it that I don't get, he eats little bites of the tree (to stay alive on the journey?), and he self-tattoos. Somehow his wife is in the tree or part of the tree or something. Perhaps she is the tree, because after she died in the present day story above, he plants some seeds over her coffin so that as the tree grows the roots digest her. Anyway, the tree dies just moments before he breaks through the last nebula cloud and just moments after that the star explodes. Failure. Movie over.

From this you are supposed to learn about love and life. One commenter on Amazon said that we should interpret this as living life fully while you're here and not trying to stave off death..just look forward to joining loved ones in the next life.

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