Peter T Chattaway, on 07 March 2011 - 09:18 AM, said:
Perhaps, as you say, the filmmakers DID intend to comment that illegal immigrants DO pose a threat to the United States even though they are worthy of empathy -- but the overall trajectory of the film seemed, to me, to go in the complete opposite direction. And I certainly wouldn't have expected the film to receive as much praise as it has if THAT were the perceived subtext.
I agree that the film goes the opposite direction overall, but I do think it's obvious that the aliens are still presented as dangerous and a kind of threat should they be left to roam wherever they wanted. It's part of why I liked the political subtext - it didn't oversimplify the issue.
: : : Why can't the circumstances of both the aliens AND the two white Americans be allegorical of Mexican immigrants?
: : Because the two Americans are going home and the aliens are not, for one thing.
: So? That's not required for the allegory to exist.
Sure it is. What makes this a story of IMMIGRATION is the crossing of borders -- NOT the crossing of jungles or rivers or roads or whatever. A story about someone wandering around Mexico is just a story about someone wandering around Mexico; there has to be a crossing of the border in order for this to be an allegory about immigration. And it is precisely at the border that the allegory falls apart. There's a giant wall and nobody's guarding it. What's more, when the Americans (who could just as easily have been black, or Asian, or even Hispanic if they were actual American citizens) cross that border (whether by land or by sea), they have the right to do so because they are GOING HOME. This creates an entirely different set of expectations than a character might have experienced if he were sneaking into a country where he had no right to be. (I say this as a Canadian, of course, who knows that he has no "right" to be in the United States even though I drive down there to pick up the mail every now and then. I might think it is advantageous for the flow of trade, etc., for your border guards to let me through, but I would never complain that I have a "right" to cross that border -- at least in that direction. Coming back to Canada, on the other hand...)
I said this film is "allegorical of Mexican immigrant", then you said "what makes a story of IMMIGRATION is the crossing of borders." It's an important distinction, because the Mexican immigrant experience IS about crossing difficult terrain, dealing with hired coyotes, money, etc... And you seem to be saying that the allegory falls apart because the characters are going home -- but if they weren't going home, it wouldn't be an immigrant allegory at all, it would just be an immigrant tale. The fact that they are white Americans in a role reversal is what makes it an allegory.
I do think our different reactions to the film have a lot to do with you being a Canadian and me being a U.S. Los Angelino who knows many first-hand Mexican immigrants both legal and illegal.
: The point I was trying to make about the impressiveness of the ending had more to do with the particular visuals - the fact that giant CG creatures with no human characteristics communicated something that seemed so...human.
Hmmm. I find myself thinking of the T-rexes in Jurassic Park 2, but I'm not sure if they would meet that description or not. (I single out the second film because that's the one that emphasizes the T-rex "family", and in a way that is strikingly tender and terrifying at the same time, i.e. when the parent T-rexes teach their offspring to "hunt" by nudging it towards one of the humans.) The T-rexes are certainly closer to humanoid than the aliens in Monsters are, since they have two arms and two legs and similarly symmetrical features.
The significant difference is that Spielberg's anthropomorphized creatures (both dinosaurs and his various aliens) have faces
, and he uses those faces for his emotional effect. Much of what's impressive to me about the visuals in Monsters
is that Edwards does not.
As for the visuals themselves, I'm not quite sure how "unprecedented" they are, since I seem to recall catching glimpses of similar creatures in The Mist... though the visuals there were not put to the same use as the visuals here, as I recall.
What was unprecedented was the final scene which used giant, faceless aliens to inspire a positive emotional reaction from the main characters and from myself as a viewer. Didn't get that at all from those glimpses in The Mist.
: But I'm curious to know where you're going with this "impending decimation of studio filmmaking" bit: It seems to me that there are LOTS of low-budget studio-based alien-invasion movies in the pipeline right now.
A studio would spend 50 million dollars to make the exact same film. The studios will capitalize on that for sure, but it won't be long before lots of people are making lots of films at that quality level that can compete with studio fare and can be distributed for a profit within other new media. What toppled the music business was the accessibility of high quality product outside the old modes of distribution -- when teenagers and college age kids who are content to watch movies on their computers and phones are given more and more high-quality, high-stimulus material to sift through, things will change dramatically for studio distribution.
Persona, on 07 March 2011 - 03:33 PM, said:
This one is up there with Never Let Me Go. I saw both science fiction features over the weekend, and they're both unbelievable in every way and boring as all get out.
Ah, my other favorite SF film of the past year.