Archive for December, 2013

#SHERLOCKLIVES!!! I am OBSESSED with this show. So much that I wrote a research paper on it for one of my Communication Studies classes this past semester. It got one of the few A’s I’ve earned recently, which probably means my teacher is a fan as well. Anyway, I was absolutely thrilled to learn that there’s a mini-episode prior to the season 3 premiere out there, and I wanted to share it here in hopes that it’ll draw some Sherlock fans out of hiding. I’ll do reviews of the show itself later. Enjoy!

All thanks go to Coke Talk (now known as The Coquette) for introducing me to this song. If you follow that link, she’ll explain the song and idea behind it better than almost anyone else – save for Arcade Fire themselves – could do, but I’ll give it a shot too.

I did my research on supersymmetry while listening to the song, so I had to go back and listen again to fully understand it. Once I got there, though, I was awestruck by how perfectly some random indie rock band put words to one of the deepest, purest raw emotions I know of.

Supersymmetry is all about yearning for someone who’s gone beyond where you can reach them. As if it needs any more poetry, the song also seamlessly merges science and art by borrowing a few things from elementary particle physics. In the scientific sense, supersymmetry is the proposed bridge between two fundamentally different types of particles – fermions, which make up the material universe, and bosons, which are the intangible particles responsible for forces like gravity, light, etc. That’s not at all a scientific explanation, just as I understand it so far.

The Standard Model in particle physics says that these are the only two kinds of “things” in the universe, and in fact, all of Quantum Field Theory is built upon the idea that fermions interact by exchanging bosons. The theory of supersymmetry was proposed as an extension to the Standard Model and takes it one step further by linking them, partnering them up. I don’t really understand how that works, but the gist of it is that each physical fermion has an intangible boson superpartner, and each boson corresponds to one fermion. In the scientific world, that theory was recently disproved.

The beauty of supersymmetry as a general concept rather than a scientific theory is that it connects something that can be touched and seen with something else that exists only in theory. It’s like a photograph preserving the memory of a happy couple long after the breakup. Or, more profoundly, the broken connection one feels when someone they love leaves the physical world.

This song goes along with the second interpretation:

I know you’re living in my mind 

It’s not the same as being alive

That person is still living in your mind as long as the memories, hopes, dreams, and wishes you had with them are still in your head. But it’s not the same as listening to that person speak, seeing them move, touch things, and live their life as a part of your world the way they once did. You know that person is lost to you forever, and yet your connection to them is almost stronger for having been broken. But now you’re linked only theoretically, because that person exists only theoretically, no matter how much you want them to be real. You can never truly be linked again because you’re not the same “thing” of the universe that they are now.

Heard a voice, like an echo

But it came from you

That voice can’t really have been heard because it came from “you”, who can’t make an echo anymore.

This is the stuff that spawns entire belief systems, and this song captures it all in one word. It’s heartbreaking, but beyond beautiful.

Because my first impressions can be wrong sometimes, mmmkay?

I will be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the series when I first heard of it around a year ago. There’s a not-too-exciting review of both the book and the movie on this very blog. But I went to watch Catching Fire with some friends earlier tonight, and I have to say I changed my mind…about the movies only! My biggest issue with this series is that it’s probably the only one I know of where the movies are actually better than the books. The prose just doesn’t hold my attention, but all that means is I won’t ruin how much I enjoyed this movie by reading the book.

Jennifer Lawrence’s acting truly surprised me – even though she’s won an Oscar, I wasn’t expecting her to be so good! Everything right down to the tears seemed genuine enough that it left me wondering if she was really crying. I’m still in awe of how she can express changing emotions so clearly (or appear so stony, as called for) without moving anything but her face. I LOVE her now and I think she did a fantastic job.

Everyone else played their roles to their best effect too, and the action sequences and special effects made me cringe so hard in my seat a couple of times. Despite the storyline being so similar to Hunger Games, I didn’t find it predictable or stale. But I have to say, the costumes were the best part. The burning wedding gown can be seen as superficial showing off or deeply symbolic depending on individual interpretation, but it is a true artistic accomplishment. Personally, I didn’t even have to read the book to understand the statement it makes – the dress it turns into recalls the simplicity of just before the Reaping in the previous Hunger Games, and the addition of wings represents the liberation Panem is going after. To me, the fire represents the rebellion taking place.

The idea of rebellion in this series is really what gets its target audience hooked. So many teenagers are going through that phase in their everyday lives, and every one of them will feel a certain sense of solidarity when they see it put on screen. That’s why it’s a little disturbing how violent and gory the film is, but on the other hand, our particular generation is pretty much exposed to that all day long as it is. I know a lot of viewers (especially the older ones) have an issue with the seemingly purposeless violence going on, and I won’t pretend that’s not warranted. At the same time, the kids watching this are the same ones who already live in a nation where a mind-blowing number of real-life, well-publicized mass shootings occur within one year, so I don’t think there’s too much more damage to be done.

All in all, Catching Fire was an amazing movie all around – graphics, costumes, acting, the whole package. The storyline hasn’t been particularly meaningful so far, but it’s still definitely worth a watch – maybe even worth an Oscar – for its other merits.