Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wish I Was Elsewhere

Ayn Rand wrote "Fountainhead", a fantastic book where she explained concepts of achievement and mediocrity through characters such as Howard Roark - as the striving for personal excellence, Peter Keating as the clueless yet exalted mediocre and Ellsworth Toohey, as the one who knows the difference and maliciously encourages the latter.

I watched this film - "Robot". Not to be confused with Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot" (now a major Hollywood motion picture starring Will Smith). This can be called Rajnikanth, Robot. Or Rajnikanth, Terminator. Or Rajnikanth, Mask. Or Rajnikanth, Bicentennial Man. Or Rajnikanth, Rubbish.

After 3 hours of relentless exposure to its gamma rays, I want to kill myself now. Not because it's a film that i wish i had made, or that i feel inadequate (I wish!). It's because i'm surrounded by people who are raving about this regressive piece-of-shit work... and the only reason can be that it's too socially uncool to do otherwise.

Themes covered in this film:

a) A perfectly understandable cause of suicide/mortification is being rescued naked from a burning building. In a choice between life and modesty, it's best to choose modesty.

b) It's all right to be almost-gang raped by your neighbors and then, a few screenshots later, look at them smugly across your balcony because "Heh heh, my pet Robot beat you! Nyah nyah nyaa nyaaaaaah nyaah." Don't involve the cops, don't stand up for yourself... just get a robot.

c) And now that you have a robot, it's okay to use it to beat up people in your neighborhood just because they annoy you, cheat in an exam that will determine if you are fit to be a doctor... oh, and speak to mosquitoes!

d) All robots - and machines really - can be taught emotions through speed-reading of self-help books and a healthy shot of lightning. And voila, we have a robot that is insane with lust and irrationality. Oh, and also a quivering lump of pathetic because "he's in love".

e) There is a species called Robo-Erectus. Half human, half machine with gobble-de-gook scientific claptrap explaining how metal molecules will fuse with human DNA through the act of a human copulating with.. yes, the robot who is now erectus.

f) It seems robots can be created but not destroyed. Even when completely dismantled, and powered off, and thrown into an out-of-town garbage dump (yes, because our scientists are smart enough to create an android, but still can't sort out the pesky problem of effective recycling and disposal), at the end of the day, the robot can still find its parts amidst the mile long garbage heap, and it can still speak to humans from behind plexiglass. Robots thus are beyond the laws of physics.

It's sad that the only thing to commend this cult film that has crossed all the usual boundaries of language and star power, is the computer graphics and animation team that is entirely from Los Angeles.

As a filmmaker, I'm really depressed that this garbage perhaps is the real standard i have to hold myself to.

Maybe Peter Keating is the real hero in this world. And maybe we're all Ellsworth Toohey.


WhoMe said...

Whaaat.... you comparing Robot with anything... ?? and then saying robot lacks quality.... !!! :)

Darling let me quote from your favorite movie.. "You cannot define GOOD without BAD... hence you need BAD to see what is GOOD..." not exactly the words of The Joker.. but i am sure you get the drift.. !!! ;)

So Now the REAL question is - What is it that YOU WANT ??? the hoots and claps of the audience from Robot or the silent admiration of people who understand and respect quality.. !!! ;) Peter Keating vs Howard Roark !!!

Searcher said...

Ah WhoMe: We all want the admiration, whether its from the audience or the "quality" people. The point i was making was that as filmmakers, we have an ethical duty - just like journalists and teachers - to set standards, to reach for something beyond the lowest common denominator (or atleast, try to RAISE that LCD). My irritation is not with the audience - it's with my peers, whose only argument for creating crap is "The audience loves it." The truth is, the audience will love anything. The somalian audience loves the ration of 10 grains of rice. The french audience likes wine with their meals. The question is, as you rightly asked, what do we want to aspire to?

newport said...

my favorite movie.

Tamanna said...

Absolutely LOVED the reference to Fountainhead. Made so bloody much sense.