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film review. rim of the world

MOVIE: Rim of the World

YEAR: 2019

DIRECTOR: McG

WRITER: Zack Stentz

MAIN CHARACTERS: Jack Gore, Miya Cech, Benjamin Flores Jr., Alessio Scalzotto

RUNNING TIME: 1hr 38min

What a treat of a film this turned out to be.

Rim of the World: Dariush, Zhenzhen, Alex, Gabriel

Rim of the World is about four totally different kids that meet at a summer camp. Abandoned by the adults, it’s up to Alex, Dariush, Zhenzhen and Gabriel to save the world when Aliens invade.

If you watch it close enough you will see that is only one part of what this movie has to offer; there are layers, upon layers, upon layers to this film.

It is stuffed to the ‘rim’ of movie references from the last thirty-odd years making it a relatable, fun flick for adults and kids alike. It’s a mix of Sci-Fi, Horror, Adventure and Comedy genres, and it has absolutely no qualms with throwing every stereotype in the book into the mix.

Most recently audiences have been going mad for the likes of Stranger Things and IT for their nostalgic throwback to the Western World’s most favoured Adventure blockbusters of the last few decades. Movies like ET, Goonies and Breakfast Club were the backbone of Generation X. Unlike Stranger things and IT, Rim of the World is set in the present, but with the same sort of adventure format. Generation Z benefits from references of movies like Gladiator and Rush Hour and then more recently the Millennials will be more familiar with Wolverine and John Wick.

Using the countless politically incorrect inferences we have all grown up on to pack a funny punch; filmmakers have cleverly highlighted contentious issues, instead of hiding them beneath the surface as a cheap gag trick. The main clue that this film is openly commenting on politically charged stereotypes or agendas is when Carl & Logan, the Camp Leaders (who are also “the black men on Campus”) are sitting about the campfire talking about Toy Story 3. It’s not to say that Carl & Logan’s interpretation of Toy Story 3 is true (“the ruling class justification for the inferior conditions of the working class”), but it is how the filmmakers say to the audience, “yes, films are meant to talked about; yes, they have hidden meanings and agendas – including this film; and yes, we know what we are doing – that’s the point”.

I won’t list all of the film references in the movie, I am sure there are a tonne of websites that’ve already made it their mission to; besides, spotting them yourself is part of the fun because for many of them it’s just one line of dialogue or a prop or special effect that’s the reference instead of the actual name of the film.

What I think is so important to take away from the film is its coming of age theme and messages.

The guy that wrote the film, Zack, has mentioned in a few interviews about the emotional importance of the films he grew up on in the 80’s and the lessons they taught him and millions of others. They relied a lot on how kids in the audience identified with what the characters are going through. Childhood traumas like bullying, poverty, grief, peer-pressure or some sort of in-house/domestic abuse are usually used as part of the background info in most of the main character arcs. In Rim of the World, it’s all about abandonment. Alex’s Father died traumatically in front of him, Dariush’s Father is going to Jail, Gabriel’s Father leaves when he’s Ten and Zhenzhen is an orphan – Not to mention they’re all left alone by the ‘adult camp leaders’ when the whole movie kicks off.

Generally the plot of the all these Generation X movies features a Headmaster or Evil Grown-up, a Monster, or in this case Alien, which acts as the metaphor for the main characters’ trauma and how they overcome it is always based on how they pull together and ‘Stand By’ each other; it’s the lessons they learn through their friendship that gives them strength, not just in the immediate battle, but also the one they are fighting at home or school.

Rim of the World packs a LOT into an hour and half. I could mention that I thought the special effects were kind of wooden and I could say the introduction of the characters and even some of the interaction and dialogue sometimes felt awkward and unnatural and I don’t think many would disagree. However, the fact that it’s full of hints and clichés from the last forty years makes me thinks all of this part of its purposeful charm.

Overall it does well to be its own unique take on western pop-culture. It brings together the last three generations of audiences in a hilarious, albeit crude and obvious, complement of one-liners, shoddy CGI explosions and an evil looking monster while also facing the crushing trauma of family torment with your best mates at your side.

Nice one Zack.

reading films: an intro

reading films? what is this girl on about?!!

Yes, I am here to tell you that reading films is a thing.  

Have you ever watched a film and felt puzzled at the end… and then had to Google the meaning? (and then wondered afterwards, who are these people that know this stuff?)

As it happens, they’re people that read films.  It’s not an exclusive skill and I bet you’ve even done it yourself a few times without realising and if you’ve ever spoken to anyone in depth about a film you’ve seen, then you definitely have.

Since over a century ago when films were invented there have been huge changes in what we expect from them. From at first not having any sound, to the soundtrack being one of the most important devices a filmmaker may rely on, to computer generated images opposed to handmade props and puppets. 

Like art and music and poetry and storytelling, film-making has been a fluid evolutionary process as it expands and experiments with new ways to project our interpretations of humanity.

That was a deep I know, it gets worse.  

When we study English in School, we learn how Shakespeare used storytelling devices like Metaphors in Imagery to convey the states or the emotions of the characters. More than that, they would sometimes communicate entire existential crisis’, like mortality!! There are now even studies into how Shakespeare may have been a political rebel, hiding subversive messages in his works.

Films are a great way to learn about people, kids, friendships, relationships, politics, cultures, humanity and even history (I know they’re generally fictitious but sometimes they inspire people to do a bit of research). As the years have passed the dramatic became more realistic, backdrops became Ariel shots and the suspense became more intense. Reading films is about appreciating those changes and asking why they happened. 

It’s not to say that every single film is trying to ask some life changing question or state some intense political agenda… However, many of the most famous (and infamous) films do use different devices and techniques to make some sort of statement, and that goes to show as an audience, that we like watching clever and meaningful film-making.

************ 

There’s a lot of places for Directors to hide clues and messages in plain sight. They reinforce something in the plot, create a theme or develop the characters and their motives but mainly, they show us the story, without telling it.  

Go to my next post reading films: a breakdown for what to look out for next.

my cinema: summer 2019

I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner but I guess it has been a while since I have made regular trips to Cinema.

My local Odeon Cinema, in Hull, recently had a refurbish, so I have been going almost once a or twice a week since my first time back there after it became all new and shiny. I’ve decided that I love going there so much more than any other Cinema (EVER), that I am going to make a point of going as much as I possibly can this Summer, hence the massive list.

I am even debating signing up for their Limitless Card, but I have a few commitment issues and as soon as I sign up for something, I stop wanting to do it… if that doesn’t make sense to you, then too bad; the things I do rarely make sense to me either.

There are are tonnes of films I’ve been adding to my list for a few months (here are twenty of them) and all I can do is hope they’re all going to be shown at Hull’s new Odeon.

So here is my light and fluffy (with occasional blood-soaked violence) list of films that I definitely want to see this Summer, and unless there are any secret productions that are going to drop onto my lap, I don’t see this list changing.

What’s left of May;

Aladdin 24/05/2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters 29/05/2019

June;

X-Men: Dark Phoenix 05/06/2019

Men in Black: International 14/06/2019

Brightburn 21/06/2019

Child’s Play 21/06/2019

Annabelle Comes Home 28/06/2019

July;

Spider-Man: Far from Home 02/07/2019

The Dead Don’t Die 12/07/2019

The Art of Self-Defense 12/07/2019

The Lion King 19/07/2019

August;

Artemis Fowl 09/08/2019

Once upon a time in Hollywood 14/08/2019

Dora and the Lost City of Gold 16/08/2019

Where’d you go, Bernadette? 16/08/2019

Angel has Fallen 23/08/2019

The Informer 30/08/2019

September;

It Chapter Two 06/09/2019

The Kitchen 20/09/2019

Rambo V: Last Blood 20/09/2019

a brief history of the origin of plays

There’s a clear link between the origin of the play and what’s known as western philosophy. A few philosophers and playwrights developed the principle the techniques and devices in storytelling (including films, books and plays alike) that we use today.


Melpomene (Tragedy) and Thalia (Comedy )

Philosophy on its own, just means the solving of problems – Big problems, with broad subjects like; existence, knowledge, language and reason. It can be applied to all sorts of things.

Why are plays so important?

Being able to read or write was not something just anyone could do a few thousand years ago. Even if people were telling stories, unless they could shout very loudly or write them down, not many people would hear them except through word of mouth which means there was a lot lost in translation.

Luckily for us, some storytellers did end up finding ways to write their stories down. But, it was hard enough finding anyone that could write, so imagine trying to find anyone that could read!

Someone eventually saw a niche in the market though, and figured that those who could read, could read stories out loud to a group of people… and so it began. Plays.

Have a guess where it all started… Did you guess Ancient Greece? Gold star for you!

The first Plays were performed in Athens in the Theatre of Dionysus around 500 BC and they consisted of one actor called the Protagonist who told a story with the help of a Chorus (a group of people). A man called Thespis was apparently the first ever man who went on stage and acted as a character. He even went on Tour after winning one of the first documented theatre competitions. Ha! Imagine that, Thespis on Tour! People loved him and he was a complete celebrity – like Thespis Depp or Brad Thespis.

Theatre of Dionysus

As time went on, the Tyrants and Politicians (same difference really) would buy their people’s favour by building theatres or sponsoring plays and employing playwrights to write for them.

Plays were so popular that within years there were Theatres popping up all over the place. But it didn’t stop at reading out loud, these were exciting times and once the ideas started rolling, they just snowballed.

A Playwright called Aeschylus (aka The Father of Tragedy), decided to change the game. He added a Second Guy to help tell the story. So there were 2 men telling the story and less chorus! The second person became known as the Antagonist. Aeschylus literally introduced the Conflict amongst his Characters. This is where storytelling evolved into something really complex.

We had our first Goodie and Baddie on stage.

So, Aeschylus had a student called Sophocles. You will never guess what he did… OK, you might. Well, he introduced a THIRD GUY!

Sophocles did other great things too but the competition was tough by now and he was overtaken by Euripides.

More of Euripides’ work survived because it was more popular than Aeschylus & Sophocles’. He was all about the representation of traditional mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. That’s because us lot in the audience loved to be able to imagine our plain-Jane selves as heroes.

Anyway, then there was Socrates who happened to be a this great mind-blowing philosopher who, in 407, met Plato. Plato abandons his first ambitions of being a playwright and becomes Socrates student and personal biographer.

Then! After ALL that comes along Aristotle. Aristotle begins studies at Plato’s Academy and becomes his student and with that, the first ever Play-Writing Manual was written.

“Tragedy is a form of drama exciting the emotions of pity and fear. Its action should be single and complete, presenting a reversal of fortune, involving persons renowned and of superior attainments, and it should be written in poetry embellished with every kind of artistic expression.” – Poetics, Aristotle 

It was written by Aristotle called and was called Poetics . It was like the beginning of Literary Theory. It talks about the elements found in storytelling and shows where they appear in Plays.

It documents the start of literary theory as we understand it today. It supports the close connection between philosophical thinking applied in plays, stories and films.

The western thinkers

The link between plays and western thinking is clear when you see how closely these men all worked together. The stories that were told and the impact they had were an insight into our psyche at the time and much of it is still relevant today. The Greeks explored the world they lived in and what it meant to be human through the Plays they watched and the reason the rest of us in the western world did the same is because we could identify with each other through them.

Stories go hand in hand with philosophy because they’re our way of thinking about those big subjects – existence, knowledge, language and reason.

There were only really three types of Play at first. Comedy, Tragedy and Satyr. Poetics outlines them all in the introduction however the main subject of the book is Tragedy (there may have been a second book which covered Comedy but it’s thought to have been lost).

The Comedies mainly made fun out of the men in power (and their vanity). The Tragedies were about Love and Loss, pride and abuse of Power. Typically the Protagonist would do something really bad and be arrogant or foolish. But, as he realises what he has done, his world falls apart around him. 

Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides are thought of as the Three Great Playwrights of Tragedy. 

The Satyr plays were short skits which played between the acts of Tragedies and they mocked the misfortune of the Tragedies characters. The origins of the play and what you can find from the public interaction with them is how important they were to the culture in Greece and subsequently the rest of the world. 

We may think we have evolved and grown but even now when it comes to most of what happened in all those Plays written in the few hundred years after 600 BC we still find the stories are relatable. Why? Because they are stories about the human condition and they were written by philosophers that shaped our history, way of thinking and perspective.

Thousands of years on we can identify with the stories they left us – so what does that say about the films and stories we see and hear today? How relatable will they be to the future generations?

In order,

Thespis, c. 6th century BCE (exact dates unknown)

Aeschylus, c. 525 BCE – 455 BCE

Sophocles, c. 497 – 406 BCE

Euripides, c. 480 – 406 BCE

Socrates, c. 469 – 399 BCE

Plato, c. 427- 348 BCE

Aristotle 384 – 322 BCE