Friday, April 10, 2009

Double Bill: Watchmen and Metropolis

Two big, long films with many ideas... and at both their cores, the theme of societal alienation. Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan (left) achieves a kind of perfect power--unlimited, pragmatic, and even physically attractive. He embodies the dreams of a society on the verge of atomic holocaust; he is their hero, because he represents that frighful power put to positive use (or at least, to the preservation of America). The military and the media hale him as the leader of the glorious future. But Dr. Manhattan can no longer relate to human beings, and they eventually turn on him.
The Maria Robot (right) is the creation of the masters of Metropolis--the uber-rich who dominate the world of the future but rely on the labour of a permanant underclass to maintain it. The robot has two purposes: first, to undermine a nascent protest movement in the underground caverns where the labourers dwell. Second, to replace those workers with tireless robots like itself. The Robot is covered with a false skin that makes it resemble Maria, the beautiful and benevolent leader of the movement. However, the Robot lacks Maria's kindness--it is seductive and chaotic, and eventually, the citizens turn on it, incinerating it on top of a bonfire.
Two powerful beings with limitless potential, and both the products of powerful men with short-sighted dreams.

No comments:

Post a Comment