We came to see this one last night, two month’s late. It’s been almost that long since we last went with our granddaughter, Brigitte. This time, her Auntie Zanna was visiting from the U.K., so that made it special.
As always, this franchise delivers a “hero’s journey” in the form of a computer game, but having Rosanna sitting beside me during the viewing allowed for shared thoughts, out loud. And the movie gave us a lot to discuss.
Movie (and Computer Game) Homages
I must admit something to you, the reader: I’m not a big fan of computer games, so I don’t get most of the cultural references for them. But I’ve always loved going to the movies, so each new level in the story seemed to be a homage to one favourite film or another.
At The Start: Indiana Jones
Starting out in the jungle meant that the movie was in familiar territory, but there wasn’t any ‘treasure’ here. It also means that almost every level of this film references Indiana’s adventures. We are introduced to the Avatars, and a hippo and a giant cobra create the lesson that is needed to be learned: you need eyes in the back of your head.
First Level: Lawrence of Arabia
Now, this one wasn’t too hard to figure out. Nothing but desert sand everywhere, and they even played the theme from the movie in the background. But the lone figure in the distance wasn’t a Bedouin played by Omar Sherif, it was an ostrich. We definitely weren’t in Kansas anymore. Lesson? You can’t outrun ostriches, you have to outwit them.
Second Level: Star Wars
An oasis bar in the outpost of some barren landscape put me in mind of the Cantina scene of any outlying planet in any out-of-the-way galaxy. They even had a Jabba-the-Hutt-style villain. Casablanca, the Casbah, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves — you name it, it’s being referenced here. Lesson? Don’t piss off your ex-flame’s husband.
Third Level: Harry Potter
Okay, this one wasn’t totally about the staircases at Hogworts, but also about some Super Mario games. The mandrills were ferocious. And the wooden bridges were almost hypnotic in their ballet-like dances. Lesson? Listen to the geometry expert.
Fourth Level: Lord of the Rings
It looked like we were back in New Zealand. Beautiful landscapes, high, rugged mountains, crystal waterfalls: maybe it was supposed to represent Canada. But it was also a moment of rest and reflection on the past. Lesson? If you don’t feel quite like yourself go for a swim; you’ll be a new person.
Fifth Level: Inception
A Nazi mountain fortress figures strongly in many films. That this should be the fifth level made Rosanna comment on its reflection of the inner levels of dreams in that movie. The “Falcon’s Heart” (aka ‘treasure’) is being kept in a safe here (as it is in our inner selves). By now everyone’s on their last life: it’s do or die! Lesson: your liberation ‘seed’ was hidden in the Jumanji Berry — in other words, ‘buried’.
“Bring the Falcon’s Heart to the sunlight.”