Friday, January 31, 2014

yin & yang: anarchy

ytr: batman theme - danny elfman (batman 1989 ost)


i will always think of this song as the batman theme song, it was the one that was embedded into my system as a child after all. wow we grew up in a time of awesome soundtracks actually. espesh dat john williams. anyway.. suddenly decided to look this song up at like 4am last night (after staying up and watching top 10s for like 3 hours -- the top 10 anime list is insulting to otakus of all walks of life)


so directly before picking up my brother from school, i related link hopped from this theme song, to "the making of batman - the joker" (1989) feat jack nicholson as the joker, from there another video about mark hamill voicing the joker in the animated series.. and then watched a clip from arkham origins of the joker meeting harley. and what did i gather from those 3 videos? well they all seemed to arrive at the same conclusion: that batman and the joker were each others' natrual nemeses.

and what is startling, as explained in the hamill video is that there is no natural connection between clowns and bats; no natural rivalry. instead the natural rivalry is rooted in the characters themselves. the nicholson video explained that the joker represents anarchy, and all things random. he performs crimes not out of greed or selfishness, but out of the true random nature of crime. batman in the meantime, his parents were killed by a random act of crime, and so stems their natural conflict. and in any of the joker's incarnations, he always represents anarchy in one way or another, although the world's favourite still seems to always be ledger.

and it's no wonder why.. christopher nolan's dark knight trilogy explores levels of the human experience that burton and schumacher didn't. for starters.. batman's origin was never even really explained in burton's films. although it was touched on in batman forever.. i really love that movie. i might watch it again after this. my favourite out of the four. but yes, a technique that mr nolan excels at is pulling us as viewers into the personal experiences, personalities and turmoils of the characters on screen. besides teh fact that we had a very hefty backstory to bale's bruce wayne.. the whole thing is a very personal journey about bruce wayne.. and not at all about the backstory of the joker. the reverse occurs in the 1989 batman, we get bombarded with joker stuff, and know very little about our mysterious caped crusader. and i'll get back to this soon.. my pizza is cooked.


okay so i'm back from eating now, let's try get back on track. there was a point brought up by one of the staff in one of those videos i watched.. a connection between batman & the joker and sherlockhe's utterly mad and unpredictable and that's why we love him. but why is this so important? well besides from opposing our heroes' goals, our nemeses also represent the complete opposite personality. in this case.. our hero (order) is opposed by chaos.

i love the word anarchy.. it will always make me think of this type of character. but why is having an anarchical villain so outrageously great? well besides thef act that they run the most muck.. it really narrows down to ridiculing the hero.

"you won't kill me, out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. and i won't kill you, simply because you're too much fun. i believe we are destined to do this forever" - the joker, the dark knight

moriarty is constantly mocking sherlock (and making plenty of faces in the meanwhile). and the thing about moriarty and the joker is that neither are stupid people. both are highly intelligent characters, who in realising the weaknesses of the hero, seek to destroy them from the inside out. they're always steps ahead of our hero.


final example.. i don't feel like i talked about moriarty well enough, that food break was a bad idea, but i was hungry.. and it would've burnt. the final example of the chaotic nemesis i have to talk about is L. L, beloved by all, far beyond the love the audience has for light.. parallels him to ledger's joker for the same reason. hattori explains to ashirogi in bakuman that a good comic has a compelling hero.. and sometimes, an even more compelling villain.

this was something i always got wrong as a kid when id rew comics. my villains were always just there, generic villains to be there to be bashed up by the heroes that i loved so much. something more like dynasty warriors more than anyhting else.

so why do we love L? besides the fact that he's ridiculously clever and outsmarting our anti-hero.. there are moments when he just outright ridicules him. one of my favourite moments throughout all of death note will still always be when L picks up misa's phone. suddenly the calm and collected yagami light has made a major screwup.. likewise we are constantly seeing sherlock and bruce put to the ultimate tests.

but that's why these nemeses are the enemies.. because as viewers we are naturally inclined to root for the underdog, but we love our villains so much because they put our heroes through so much pressure and it gets so exciting. in all honesty, my favourite "fight" scenes in the dark knight trilogy are pretty much when the joker is just beating up batman. why? well besides the fact that they're unconventional fight scenes, the joker's entire personality comes out in his fighting style of vigorous kicks and baton beats.. i think it's awesome how such a personality extends into the fights. i mean you could say the same thing about bane, but it's not nearly as exciting and compelling as the joker as a whole.


if we considered reversing the roles.. making the hero the chaotic one and the villain the calm and collected one.. well this is often the premise of a more light-hearted comedic movie. rush hour for example follows this. the most chaotic hero i can think of off the top of my head is captain jack sparrow. not to say that barbossa is calmest of opponents (i love captain barbossa btw.. geoffrey rush does an amazing job).. in this case, it seems more fitting to pit davy jones as the polar opposite.. the terrifying tyrant we're used to seeing against our hero who makes a mockery of..

hang on.. no.. james norrington in this case is the opposite. commodore norrington naturally opposes pirates and the pirate way, but because of that, he is always being ridiculed by captain jack in all his ridiculous escapades. the result? well it's not that exciting tbh. well not AS exciting. why? well we love captain jack.. everybody does. he's insane, but he's clever.. and his random acts of chaos are hilarious to watch. see when the hero is the chaotic one, the result is comedy.. but when the villain is the chaotic one, it adds a whole new level of unpredictability that catch us off guard time and time again. and they pose as challenges rather than instances of comedy.

awesomeness in short. i feel my writing is really shit today. i'm trying to force points, i know i can think better in other times. either way.. while still entertaining to watch, the journey does not match the thrilling and compelling ride against an anarchical mastermind like we have in our previous examples.


these are among the most intriguing and compelling characters and rivalries that i can think of off the top of my head. (i also can't think of other words right now besides compelling).. and i want to figure out and learn more about this kind of stuff.. what makes a lasting and worthwhile conflict.. what is it about certain characters and certain others that makes it all so addictive. but honestly, i think it lies within the whole natural opposites, natural conflict thing.. it's just about figuring out the two rivalling centres of the characters.
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