Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 King of the Hill Semifinals

We are down to the last four films of the year for the best film.  Brave swept the entire month.  The Avengers was the only movie in May and has so far stood well coming in as the last seed.  Hanna was the January champion.  The Dark Knight Rises has, well, risen well to be one of the better films of the year.  Today, two of these films will find their downfall.

This project has been an interesting project that has blended a range of classics featuring Maryland Monroe to the horrifically modern film of Snow White and the Huntsman.  Each film, be it good or bad, has gone head-to-head with the other films of the year until only these four remain.

Brave v The Avengers
It is time for a small confession time.  I initially didn't hold The Avengers very high when I saw it the first two times, I have seen a bunch of Tumblr photos that have shown parallels between characters and subtle things might have missed.  For example, Thor tells Tony Stark not to touch him again.  Later in the film, there is a point where Tony Stark pokes (or maybe pats him on the shoulder).  Seeing this pointed out and given the circumstances for the touch, it is clear that Tony Stark is trying to push Thor's buttons.  This isn't obvious and makes for a subtle detail that adds to the film.  There are other areas such as the strong parallel between Tony Stark's story in this film and Captain America's film.  Given that Captain America very pointedly calls Tony Stark out on his lack of heroism, this is very interesting to see in the film.  These discoveries have helped raise the appreciation I have for the film.

Brave has not changed from my initial assessment.  The film is a great one.  I have encountered some parents that didn't take their child to the movie because of how dark it was.  I felt that this was a shame and have tried to explain why it is a great film for children.  The movie still remains highly accessible, despite the dark overtone.  The film has a great story, one that I would encourage everyone to see.  It has a great moral lesson.  The film is also very entertaining, something that is important to remember is a necessity in movies.  There are several movies I've seen over the year that had moral lessons, but lacked entertainment.

Comparing the two films is extremely difficult.  However, there is definitely one thing in The Avengers that sets the movie apart from Brave.  The Avengers team consists of six members.  One of the members of that team is Black Widow.  As the only female in the film, I don't expect to see a lot of moments depicting strong female characters.  What I do expect is to see the depiction of the heroes to be the same no matter what the circumstances.  And there is a scene in the film when the Incredible Hulk is on a rage and is going after Black Widow.  During this scene, she shows true fear.  She could have been fearless.  Someone else could have also shown fear in the film.  Or someone else could have been the subject of the Incredible Hulk's pursuit.  Instead, the one member of the Avenger's team that shows fear is the one female member.  And while I don't think it was intentionally planned, it still mars the film.

Winner:  Brave

Hanna v The Dark Knight Rises
What is going to determine the winner between Hanna and The Dark Knight Rises is going to be based around what makes the movies different.  Both movies are as close to flawless in my mind as a movie can get.  Yes, you could go through the two films and find issues.  But as far as entertainment value is concerned, the movies are as good as they can get.

The first major difference between the two films is the length.  Hanna is a full feature length film.  It stands alone and runs from start to finish in one movie.  The Dark Knight Rises is the third movie of a trilogy.  This allows the movie to take well established characters with previous character development, and go forward with them.  There are new characters introduced, such as Selena, but the movie is mostly old faces brought back.  This requires that I give Hanna credit for doing in one film, what The Dark Knight Rises does in three.

Hanna is a story about the loss of innocence.  The Dark Knight Rises is, well, its a lot of things rolled into one.  There are many stories and messages in the film.  And I think that to a degree, this adds into The Dark Knight's favor.  It isn't quite as powerful of a win as having everything done in a single film, but if you look at just what takes place in The Dark Knight Rises, you can see that there is a lot there.  That is definitely worth something.

The final major difference between the two films is imagery and filming techniques.  The Dark Knight Rises is an action film.  Hanna is as well, but in a different way.  Hanna takes the story of a character and uses the settings and the color of those settings to naturally tell a story.  You could watch the movie without the audio and still notice these changes.  With The Dark Knight Rises, the story requires that you hear the conversations.  I'm not saying that Hanna is a movie you could watch in complete silence, but you can see the major theme of the movie without having to listen to a word.  That trick was wonderfully done, something that I could point out is also found in Pan's Labyrinth.  Hanna wins on this front as well.

Winner:  Hanna

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