09 November 2011

The Long Halloween Vol. III: Chaos Never Dies Day

Welcome again to the Third Installment of the Long Halloween, Norwegian Morning Wood's year-long look at each month's special holidays and great movies they might correspond with. Now, November movies have always been tricky. You've got Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) for Thanksgiving, and that's about it. This year's Tower Heist (2011) actually has a nice Macy's Parade theme that could work into future viewings but this year we're checking out the more obscure Monthly Holidays.

The obvious secondary November Holiday is Veteran's Day on Friday, during which you need to watch Saving Private Ryan (1998) as ABC or TNT used to air uncut. I don't know why airing the film uncut honoured our Veterans, I guess hearing a couple more fucks just really drove home those wonderful war memories. No, today we're honouring a much more obscure holiday called Chaos Never Dies Day. It's a day when you're supposed to go nuts and believe that your life is ruled by chaos with no direction or determinism. Fun stuff.

So for a while I thought about citing The Dark Knight (2008). Actually I immediately thought about Jurassic Park (1993), then thought of mentioning The Dark Knight and then back to Jurassic Park. Either way, let's check out their statements on Chaos:

In The Dark Knight Heath Ledger's Joker professes to be an absolute agent of chaos. He exists only to upset the established order of the society he lives in (although Gotham Society was already on the edge of crumbling before the arrival of Batman). There's no backstory, no alias, no motive other than to as the movie puts it, "watch the world burn." That's one issue with The Dark Knight, it describes its own themes in language so adeptly constructed that it's hard to pull new insights from it.

Anyway, the film loses some points because the Joker loses. Kind of. His surface goal, to demonstrate a city that has lost its mind, cementing himself as the agent of chaos doesn't play out the way he supposed it would. With that turn he tries to fix it himself, which really struggles against the chaos and freewheeling anarchy he is trying to create. However, his "ace in the hole," Harvey Dent (damn you, Jonathon) succumbs to the chaos. In the end in order to prevent pandemonium Batman takes the blame, preventing chaos from ruling the day.

Not so in Jurassic Park. The film is about life and chaos and the uncontrollable nature of nature. The more mankind tightens its grip the more life breaks free (and woman inherits the earth). Every rule that the humans attempt to put on nature is broken. The fences are broken, the kitchen's raided and hell, the big bruisers even change their sex just so that they can have some babies.

By the end nature has claimed the park. Chaos wins. The flowing forces of life do not allow room for bureaucracy, rules or arbitrary human judgment. The Hunter, Robert Muldoon despite his precocious set-ups to nail the Rogue Raptors is devastated by the chaotic nature of the jungle - danger can come from any direction. Even when it seems like Alan, Ellie and those unloved bastard children are doomed, Tyrannosaurus comes in and munches the Raptors. Nothing is predictable and as Rexy smashes the delicate skeletons set up by the humans she demonstrates her reign over anything Order could throw at her.

The more chaotic movie? Jurassic Park. Through this classic in the ol' VHS player today and sit back. Just be careful of the chaos outside.

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