The Dark Knight Rises – A Grand Finale

Entirely contrary to Austin, I absolutely loved this movie, both from a media/film perspective, and more importantly, from a story perspective. I will try to avoid giving any kind of spoilers besides character’s names.

 

Firstly, in response to Austin’s criticism, the opening plane sequence is perfectly explained to the person who pays attention to the film. There was one civilian on that plane, a Dr Pavel, I believe, and he is later instrumental to Bane’s plans. Secondly, how do you mention the Joker when the actor is dead? I think it’s perfectly fair of Christopher Nolan to put the Joker in the past. And finally, the themes, such as anarchy, aren’t spelled out to the viewer because, like all great stories, it assumes some level of intelligence in the audience.

Without getting into a play by play of what happens in the film, here are my thoughts. The film has stunning sights, extraordinary character depth, and a grand finale the likes of which I haven’t seen in many a while. Sufficed to say, it makes the nightmarish 19-Years-Later seem exactly as garish as it read, and does exactly what that literary scene monumentally failed to do.

Bane is portrayed exactly as he should be: an agent of freedom. Of course, this isn’t the kind of freedom we’d normally talk about, because what Bane views as oppression is what we view as something of great importance.

We see a totally new side to Bruce Wayne. In the past two movies, he’s been the untouchable Dark Knight of Gotham, but, possibly because of several brilliantly written revelations, we see him not as the legend he tries to become, but as the man, the human being, that he is.

And of Catwoman, most definitely my favourite character in the film, few things can be said. Superb acting from Anne Hathaway and brilliant writing by Christopher Nolan make her a character at war with herself, a person on the cusp of the one defining moment that all characters of brilliant literature have. That one choice, that can alter everything. And while her answer might be predictable to lover of great characters like myself, it is nonetheless greatly enjoyable to watch her develop as a character. So, yes, I loved Catwoman in the film. Definitely my favourite character.

From a film perspective, the movie has such beautiful sequences that they are difficult to capture with words, and the ever amazing musical accompaniment, courtesy of the superb Hans Zimmer, make this film a true visionary masterpiece of cinema. The film blends a dramatic finale with an action epic, and unlike any other film I’ve seen in the last decade, is flawless in its execution.

This third and final film in what is likely to be known as Nolan’s Batman Trilogy for years to come is no less epic than any other superb cinematic trilogy, no less brilliant than either of the Star Wars trilogies, or Lord of the Rings, or The Matrix. In fact, this trilogy deserves to sit atop that great pedestal of trilogies.

And because this is Competition Writing, not Competition Film Club, I’d like to say, quite honestly, that if this movie was made as a book, I’d review it with as glowing praise as the film. A story is merely the first dimension of conveying something. The second is undoubtedly film. And like all dimensions, they cannot exist beautifully if they are not in concert, and of equal brilliance. So it should be sufficient to say that I thought this film was absolutely beautiful.

As for a rating, well, if I’m to be constrained by the concept of stars as a system, I’ll at least use the power of metaphor to convey what I think this movie deserves. Next time you’re outside at night, look up at the sky. And if you can see more than five stars wherever you are, something like the amount you can see is what I’m giving this film.

 

The Green

I am everything, I am the Green.

I bear the everlasting cycle of life supreme,

As far as the eye can see, I am all clean.

 

I am pure, undeniably pristine,

Throughout me, life will harmoniously teem;

I am everything, I am the Green.

 

I wasn’t quite sure what it was supposed to mean-

When monkeys stand up, and speak and dream.

As far as the eye can see, I am still clean.

 

My brother, the Blue, carries an ugly black sheen,

All from a human oil ocean transportation scheme,

I am no longer everything, but I am still the Green.

 

These humans see me as nothing more than a latrine,

No matter how much I try, I cannot scream.

As far as the eye can see, I am a far cry from clean.

 

My body holds not life but the greasy dead machine,

Everywhere, destruction seems to be the recent theme.

I am nothing, in only name I am the Green.

As far as the eye can see, I am no longer clean.

 

 

This is a just villanelle I wrote. Just randomly.

Kevin Tang 10F

Bolero

When asked about my favourite Classical Piece of the 20th Century (not that I ever am), I immediately think of Maurice Ravel’s one-movement piece ‘Bolero’. By combining European and Latin sounds into a full-scale orchestral composition, Ravel produced a piece that is not only triumphant and beautiful, but remarkably catchy.

Commissioned in 1928 by ballet dancer Ida Rubinstein as a “choreographed poem”, Maurice Ravel came up with the idea for the piece when, while on vacation in the French countryside, he found that a melody he was playing on the piano had a very insistent value to it. It is rumoured that the piece is modelled after the act of sex, which makes sense considering the playfulness, exuberance and… repetition… of the piece.

A constant ostinato rhythm serves as a foundation of the piece. This rhythm is derived from the slow-tempo Latin dance genre known as Bolero, hence the title of the piece. With only the snare drum repeating the rhythm at the beginning, two main melodies slowly flow into the piece.

The rhythm

This is where the genius of the song comes in, for over the duration of the piece these two melodies never change. The key (C Major) doesn’t change, nor does the tempo. It is the the timbre and instrumentation that change, with the piece being passed among the orchestra and growing thicker as the piece goes on. While it opens with a quiet and soft flute section, the full-blown orchestra ends it with extravagance. The piece is essentially one big gradual, grandiose and glorious crescendo.

The most fascinating part of Bolero’s context is how Maurice Ravel’s mental health affected the composition of the piece. Ravel had Frontotemporal Dementia; a clinical syndrome that affects the region of the brain associated with memory, attention and motivation. As such, one of the very early symptoms of FTD is perseveration; ‘the tendency for a memory or idea to persist or recur without any apparent stimulus for it’. While it is tragic that mental illness crippled such a great artist, it may have been this great illness that allowed him to create his masterpiece. Every cloud has a silver lining, eh?

I am truly obsessed with this piece. Maurice Ravel moulded a hypnotic rhythm, playful spirit, memorable theme and uniquely brilliant structure into orchestral brilliance. There is so much beauty to unravel in Bolero.

Thanks for reading!

Austin Bond, 10H

My experience with Prometheus

 

I had heard many positive reviews about the movie Prometheus. I’d read about it in the MX Newspaper on the way home from school. I had talked to my dad about it, and how critics had rated the film a worthy prequel to the ‘Aliens’ franchise. And yes, while I definitely agree to this, and can say that the movie was exceptionally well made, the rather grotesque special effects and cinematography proves to be a very effective nightmare instigator. 

 
For those of you who may not know, Prometheus is a science fiction film, directed by Ridley Scott. It is set in the late 21st century, with the story based on the crew of a spaceship called the Prometheus, who follow a star map that was discovered by the remains of several ancient Earth cultures. They fly to a distant world and find an advanced civilization, where the crew seeks the origins of humanity, but instead find a threat that could lead to the extinction of the human race.
 
Now, for the facts:
 
Pros: 
– offers insight for the events prior to the first Aliens film.
– special effects are realistic and well made, with the 3D enhancing the experience
 – the acting and characters were( on a general level) good, yet criticism may be made regarding the fact that some of the characters lacked common sense.
 
Cons:
– the plot was predictable in parts, and leaves questions unanswered int era’s of story (there is ongoing discussion about a sequel for Prometheus)
 – definitely not suitable for the more squeamish of viewers, as some scenes are quite graphic. 
 
All in all, a film worth watching, if for a bit of fun. Though, if you are like me, you’ll be sticking to only seeing this film ONCE. 

Selma’s house

This is a piece that I wrote today while at the enrichment day. 🙂

 

The house was a tired old lady with aching joints. The front porch sagged, the supporting wooden beams groaning in protest. Setting even a toe upon the gnarled and dusty floor would elicit a squeak of annoyance. 

I swallowed. Of all the dares I’ve embarked upon in my 14 years of life, this was the most frightening. Out in our country town, Selma’s house was a household topic of gossip. Some say the old bag of bones had moved away to visit family, leaving her home to wither in the hot outback sun. Others believed her age had gotten the better of her, and she had spontaneously shriveled and disintegrated into a pile of dust.
No matter which story was true, tonight was the night that selma’s existence or absence would be found.
I looked back, searching to see if Andy or Richard were still giggling away amongst the prickly bushes. Judging by the lack of snickering and muffled laughter, I was on my own.
I looked forward at the house, confronting my latest escapade. With a deep breath, I stepped up to the door, wincing at each squeal the floorboards made. Even the door was in an obvious state of disrepair. Rust had eaten away at the hinges, leaving the iron in an angry red flaky state. Cobwebs had entrenched themselves into the corners of the door frame, each inhabited by a large black spider. Interestingly, they seemed oblivious to the terror and stories of horror attached to this house, continuing to weave their webs without fear.
From this, I took some hope. Surely, if spiders, one of the more feared creatures of this earth, we’re not afraid of Selma’s absolute wreck of a home, then what reason should I have for not going inside?
With more confidence in my posture and mind, I grasped the doorknob, and pushed…

A truly glorious excursion to St Albans

 

Today, 4 members of comp writing and Ms Sheko made the trip to Victoria University, st albans campus, to take part in the writing enrichment day program. 

 
There, like many other students from different schools, attended various workshops on different forms of writing, ranging from fiction, to poetry, scriptwriting, radio journalism, biographies, and many more. 
 
The day ran from 10am-2:45pm, which meant a lengthy trip to and from the campus, but it was quite worthy of the time investment.
 
The Pros:
– the session was free! (next year, the program will run again as well)
– free morning tea and lunch (none of your lame biscuits and the like. Vic Uni knows how to do its catering, and we were treated with the likes of pizza, handmade sandwiches, fruit, sushi, pies, sausage rolls, juice, hedgehog slices, and so much more!)
– the program provides valuable experience as to whatever writing style or genre you wish to pursue.
– you get a day off school while attending.
 
The Cons:
– its far away…
– … None that i can think of 😀
 
For those interested in it for next year, make sure to speak to either ms Sheko, Eric xie, Austin bind, vishal Ramesh, or Matthew Lyons.
 
A big thank you on behalf of the boys to ms Sheko for arranging the session, and I think we all gained some valuable experience in writing today. 🙂
 
Matthew Lyons