Once upon a time My Life at the Movies was primarily concerned with being current. Following in the footsteps of every other film critic I itched to cover what was cool. Like bubblegum pop stars I chewed on the common cud because I didn’t know what else to do. Aeon’s Flight changed everything. In the months following its inception I’ve been able to truly discuss life and the movies I love.
Branded by an aspect of ancient Western philosophy, and surnamed after the desire to let it soar, Aeon’s Flight is all about what lies beyond the image. Ever since writing Romeo + Juliet I’ve been enamored with discussing images from yesteryear. This week’s edition is no different as West meets East with Fist of the North Star.
My father introduced me to Japanese animation in the early 1990’s. Fist of the North Star was one of many releases he brought home. As an adolescent I was enchanted by the aesthetics of this foreign film. Heads exploded in almost every frame, it was all so picturesque. Battered in blood with a side of boobs, what was not to love? Twenty plus years have passed and I still love this movie, but not just for the brains on the wall. No, despite its broken narrative it’s still got a bit of brains inside. Much of it is had in the introductory voice-over: Humanity has finally destroyed their world, and men who live in fear find solace in oppressing others. Corruption abounds, but a regenerative spirit is on its way to strike a balance. An unbalanced existence seems to be what we’re living in now. The world is in pain, people are too, and the fear this is true is masked by bravado. Yet, the masses ponder aloud, “Where is this spirit destined to set the scales aright?”
I doubt it’s in the next purchase, or even the paycheck that affords it. Sure it’s nice to have nice things, and adorn oneself in the same. After all a picture paints a thousand words right? But perhaps we need more depth than two-thirds of a high-school essay. Perhaps like Ken we need a challenge.
Nothing financial or social, it’s got to be more than surface. It’s got to rattle the core. Like when Ken rids the world of Jackie; gains his revenge over Shin; or triumphs over Raoh, we have to discover the nothingness within the accolades we lust after. The moment after success is often an odd one. Wandering in the wasteland of achievement our minds wonder why it’s not enough.
I don’t believe this a bad thing, success or the confusion that comes thereafter. The first has been spoon fed to us as utterly important, and the second comes so naturally. Such is our challenge, to overcome this cycle that consumes us. Either our heads will explode from the effort, or a brighter day will dawn. Regardless it’ll add a few more words to the image that hasn’t been enough.