May 6, 2011

MRQE Rewind: Characters and Their Objects

This weekend we have the release of two big films that both revolve around men, and objects of their either fascination or choice. The first is the action-packed soon-to-be summer blockbuster hit, Thor, where lead actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor chooses a hammer as his choice of weapon -- he never enters a battle without it, and it is usually what helps him win. The second film is a little softer and cuddly, Mel Gibson's The Beaver, where Gibson adopts a puppet beaver to help him cope with depression and allow him to communicate. Both films involve men that are obsessively attached to certain objects, and find their strength through these emotionless "toys". Below we explore other characters from film that developed a similar attachment with a basic object.

Chuck & Wilson in Cast Away (2000) - MRQE Metric: 75

Sometimes in isolation people do crazy things. When FedEx engineer Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, ends up on a deserted island, to keep his sanity, the only thing he has to turn to is a volleyball he names Wilson. With a strong attachment to this in emotionless object it seems Chuck wouldn’t have survived for the extensive amount of time alone on the island without Wilson. Throughout the film, Chuck holds extensive conversations with Wilson. Upon being rescued, Chuck has to say good-bye to Wilson--and it's actually a very emotional scene. Once back in civilization Chuck is seen with a new Wilson volleyball, sitting shotgun as he is parked at a crossroads.

Dom & his top in Inception (2010) - MRQE Metric: 83

The recipient of four 2011 Academy Awards, Inception is one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s best films. The film revolves around the concept of lucid dreaming and the idea of a “dream within a dream.” DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a con of sorts, who uses dreams to extract information and extort money. To help them realize when they're in a dream or awake, each of the dream “extractors” carries a “totem." Cobb chooses a spinning top, an object that holds particular emotional significance. Just like Chuck in Cast Away, Cobb would have gone insane without his object. Though, some might argue that he already has. The question remains: did that top stop spinning?

Corky Withers & Fats in Magic (1978) - MRQE Metric: n/a

Anthony Hopkins' characters seem to seriously develop an infatuation with objects. In the 1978 film Magic, we meet Corky Withers, a down-on-his-luck ventriloquist. Withers' sanity is questioned, as his dummy, Fats, soon develops a mind of its own. Fats helps Withers renew a romance with a high-school sweetheart. But, eventually Fats wants to take over Hopkins’s character’s mind. Wasn't this a Twilight Zone episode?

Leatherface & his chainsaw in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) - MRQE Metric: 84

There have been a few sequels and a few remakes, but the tried and true version will forever be is this 1974 grindhouse classic. Leatherface is perhaps the most deadly, unflinching killer in horror history, and what would he be without his lethal chainsaw. Leatherface is the main antagonist, played by Gunnar Hasen, terrorizing a group of kids who happens upon him and his dysfunctional family. Inspired by real-life killer Ed Guin, Leatherface’s wears a mask of human skin, and once he slays his victims with his trusty chainsaw, he turns cannibal to enjoy the bloody taste of his victim. It must make for an interesting Thanksgiving dinner.

Frodo & The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - MRQE Metric: 87

An epic journey across many lands and three films totaling 23+ hours, we follow Frodo and Samwise, as they carry The One Ring to it's ultimate distruction. Of course, the Ring has powers, and it's those powers that divides the original Fellowship, and leads to one of the most epic battles in cinema history. It's a pretty obvious attachment issue at play here, as everyone fights for the Ring and its powers. However, in spite of all this, Frodo remains steadfast in his goal. And, though he gets tested and tricked, is able to it let go, and destroy it for the sake of Middle Earth.

Jason & his mask in Friday the 13th Part III (1982) - MRQE Metric: 53

We turn back to serial killers, with the third installment of the Friday the 13th series, where we first encounter Jason Voorhees as he puts on the notorious hockey mask to cover the flaws on his face. For the next five films in the series, Jason is attached to this mask and will not kill without it. The freakish image of him creeping around with the white hockey mask with little holes all around it has now become a staple costume for Halloween goers. Rest assured, after watching these movies, you will never look at hockey masks the same way.

Bruce Wayne & the Batmobile in Batman (1989) - MRQE Metric: 74

Everyone wants a Batmobile, and Batman knows it. While there have been many versions of the Batmobile, the Chevy Impala mod from the 1989 films is the most incredible of all. Fully loaded with a Batphone, Bat Smoke Screen, automatic fire extinguisher, voice control, police band cut-in switch, Bat-ray, and an emergency Bat-turn Lever (parachute attached), we can’t blame Batman for having such an attachment to his's also pretty damn useful in nabbing bad guys.

Neo, et. al. & their sunglasses in The Matrix (1999) - MRQE Metric: 79

It must be pretty damn sunny in the Matrix. Why else would all the characters have to wear sunglasses? Apparently, it's not to look bad-ass either. Truth be told, there is no evident reason--no story or plot-line behind it. Costume designer Kym Barrett just placed them on the guys for pure aesthetic reasons; and for reasons unknown, these men (and women) just seem to be incapable taking them off.


Dr. Hannibal Lecter & the moth in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - MRQE Metric: 87

Whereas Leatherface is the most deadly killer in cinema history, Hannibal Lecter is certainly the most notorious. And, Lecter's penchant for moths is quite symbolic, representing the transformation of a serial killer. Lecter places the moth on the victim’s mouths because he feels as if it's his conversion from good to evil.

Kane & Rosebud in Citizen Kane (1941) - MRQE Metric: 96

I highly doubt my dying words will be “Rosebud.” Though, for Charles Forster Kane, that was his last uttered words, before dropping a snow globe. But, what was Rosebud? And, of all things this great and mighty figure had, why would he choose this word as his final utterance? For a man who had everything, in the end he was missing something. After all, the Rosebud Kane speaks of is [spoiler alert] an old sled that he kept a strong emotional attachment to; it represented his childhood and, perhaps, the only happy moments he ever had in his life.

Speaking of sunglasses, from above, enjoy this funny mash-up of The Matrix and CSI: Miami.

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