reel revo­lu­tion

In­spi­ra­tional sto­ries of change ex­plored on the big screen.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By JA­SON LIM

REV­O­LU­TIONS through­out hu­man his­tory have been at times tragic, tu­mul­tuous and some, ul­ti­mately tri­umphant. As a gen­er­a­tion which has per­son­ally wit­nessed few sig­nif­i­cant rev­o­lu­tions, we tend to ro­man­ti­cise the idea and use his­tory texts as the main source of ref­er­ence to fuel fan­tasies of up­ris­ings against the sta­tus quo.

Thank­fully, we also have films to turn to when we want in­spi­ra­tional sto­ries of change and safe es­capist so­journs down rev­o­lu­tion­ary roads with­out in­cur­ring the heavy per­sonal losses and tur­bu­lence of real-life rev­o­lu­tions.

Of course there are films about real-life rev­o­lu­tions, too, like Che star­ring Beni­cio Del Toro, based on the life of Cuban rev­o­lu­tion­ary Che Gue­vara, and Gandhi star­ring Ben Kings­ley based on In­dia’s non-vi­o­lent rev­o­lu­tion­ary Ma­hatma Gandhi.

These are re­ally good al­ter­na­tives to read­ing thick non-fic­tion books.

They also pro­vide more drama and pro­duc­tion qual­ity as op­posed to doc­u­men­taries. How­ever, be­cause they are based on his­tor­i­cal events, it is just not as fun to fan­ta­sise about them.

Films about rev­o­lu­tions are ac­tu­ally some of the best sto­ries and best-made films around. Al­though in re­al­ity it is not al­ways easy to hon­estly seg­re­gate and ap­ply good and evil la­bels to in­sur­gents and rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, in films this can be made more straight- for­ward. It’s eas­ier to fig­ure out who to root for and to de­cide which cause to sup­port.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to con­sider fic­tional rev­o­lu­tions told in films and what it would be like to be a part of some of these:

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle #1

Bat­tle for the fate of mankind on Mid­dleEarth and the de­struc­tion of a creepy eye’s prized jew­ellery/ac­ces­sory item.

Rebels: Hob­bits, elves, as­sorted buff-men, an old wizard, a cou­ple of ghosts and oh, some talk­ing trees too for good mea­sure.

Evil ad­min­is­tra­tion: De­formed orcs, old wizard with a weird com­bi­na­tion of white hair and black eye­brows, masked ninja-like bad guys and foul pre­his­toric-look­ing crea­tures.

Would you join the cause?: Things look pretty bleak from the start. The good guys are out­num­bered and aren’t united against the bad guys. There’s a creepy Gol­lum crea­ture who seems to be the only one who knows the way to de­stroy the cursed item and these orc guys are pretty fe­ro­cious. All the coolest pointy-eared war­riors and magic-wield­ing al­lies don’t want to fight pre­fer­ring in­stead to leave Mid­dle Earth.

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle #2

Some cool look­ing hack­ers re­volt against ma­chines which have en­slaved the en­tire hu­man race and placed their con­scious­ness in a dig­i­tally cre­ated dream world.

Rebels: Fash­ion­able hack­ers and a cryp­tic Or­a­cle whom ev­ery­one lis­tens to but no­body un­der­stands.

Evil ad­min­is­tra­tion: Com­puter-cre­ated evil en­force­ment Agents and squid-like fly­ing ma­chines.

Would you join the cause?: A lot of hope seems to rest on one par­tic­u­lar hacker but see­ing how he fights and dodges bul­lets, he might just be the One. I’d join the cause just so I won’t be a hu­man bat­tery ex­ploited by ma­chines prob­a­bly run­ning on Mi­crosoft.

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle #3

Bat­tle for con­trol of the uni­verse be­tween two fac­tions in­flu­enced by pseudo-re­li­gious zealots, one from the Dark side and the other from the Light side.

Rebels: Scoundrel pi­lots for hire, preachy pseudo-re­li­gious zealots, noisy droids, brighteyed hu­mans and bushy tailed teddy bears along­side an as­sort­ment of cute alien crea­tures and a cou­ple of pretty princesses.

Evil ad­min­is­tra­tion: Sadis­tic pseudo-re­li­gious zealots, not-so-cute alien crea­tures and guys in plas­tic bat­tle ar­mour who all sound the same.

Would you join the cause?: Why not? Who doesn’t like cute alien crea­tures, ad­ven­tur­ous princesses and lightsabres? Only prob­lem is these Jedi guys seem a bit too up­tight all the time…

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle #4

Un­der­ground move­ment against a to­tal­i­tar­ian govern­ment set in London.

Rebels: Dis­fig­ured creepy guy in a cool Guy Fawkes mask and his spunky cute girl pro­tégé.

Evil ad­min­is­tra­tion: To­tal­i­tar­ian gov­ern- ment which lies to its peo­ple, im­pris­ons in­no­cent civil­ians and isn’t op­posed to si­lenc­ing dis­sent with murder.

Would you join the cause?: If I get a cool Guy Fawkes mask – why not? That should pro­tect my iden­tity and I re­ally can’t stand the idea of gov­ern­ments us­ing fear to cow its peo­ple. Gov­ern­ments should be afraid of the peo­ple and not the other way around.

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle #5

Full-on war against the ma­chines which seek to ter­mi­nate hu­man ex­is­tence in the near fu­ture.

Rebels: Rag-tag group of hu­man re­sis­tance led by John Con­nor, the cho­sen leader who some­times still needs his mum to tell him what to do and bears the same ini­tials as a real-life his­tor­i­cal re­li­gious leader.

Evil ad­min­is­tra­tion: A net­work of self-aware ma­chines that have built spe­cial killing ma­chines re­sem­bling a cer­tain real-life Gover­nor of Cal­i­for­nia.

Would you join the cause?: The fu­ture is bleak and these ma­chines are re­ally hard to kill. I’d like to opt out of this strug­gle but it doesn’t look like there would be much of a choice, see­ing it’s ei­ther that or ter­mi­na­tion.

There are plenty more ex­am­ples of films with plots cen­tred on rev­o­lu­tions and re­bel­lions such as To­tal Re­call, the sci­ence fic­tion film star­ring Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, and Jame’s Cameron’s 3D vis­ual feast, Avatar. They ba­si­cally pro­voke us to ask our­selves what would it take for us to take a stand and make a dif­fer­ence in an op­pres­sive world.

Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger in Ter­mi­na­tor3:RiseOfThe Ma­chines.

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