Friday, 15 November 2013

I Think the Hulk Gets Aquamarine With Envy

The Hulk is one of the most recognizable superheroes of all time, despite the fact he doesn't dress in tights and a cape or have an iconic insignia like Superman and Batman. He does, however, have memorable, and classic, catchphrases, such as "You won't like me when I am angry" and "HULK SMASH!".

It took a couple of edits to get right.

The Hulk isn't really a superhero though, often unable to control the destructive impulses and terrible power he wields, he routinely becomes the villain of his own comic as he is chased by various military authorities or occasionally other superheroes. 

Sometimes this doesn't go down too well for the other superhero.

Rather, the Hulk is essentially a superhero version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a means of exploring the suppressed rage and primal nature of man which must be kept in check by his rational and moral side at all times or risk causing destruction and violence. 


Writers have also used the Hulk as a metaphor to explore the crippling psychological damage caused by childhood abuse, basically as a manifestation of the anger created by feelings of powerlessness and guilt... because why not.

Oooh, psychoanalysis and pseudo-science! Truly, this is the best of both worlds.

Although oft forgotten, The Hulk has other incarnations than the well-known Savage Hulk that likes smashing things, and these different incarnations highlight different aspects of Bruce Banner's personality. One such incarnation is Joe Fixit, a grey Hulk that could talk without referring to himself in the third person, who expressed Bruce Banner's repressed manipulative tendencies and his secret desire to be a gangster like those guys in The Godfather.

Also, to be surrounded by scantily clad women and gold coins. Gold coins are where it's at.

But there is also the World Breaker Hulk which emerged after the Hulk was exiled from Earth and forced to battle like a gladiator on the planet Sakaar (eventually becoming ruler of the planet because that's what happens when you win at gladiatoring) and then comes back to Earth for revenge.

As you can see, he is far more articulate than Savage Hulk and has a ridiculously tiny head in proportion to the rest of his body.

But despite beating up the X-Men and nearly destroying New York and stuff, the World Breaker Hulk is able to pinpoint the true lesson that the Hulk teaches throughout his various incarnations, the power of friendship. 

And friendship is magic.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

This is Halloween But It's Also About Christmas

Countless generations over the years have ponder the eternal question of why, if he is the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington isn't a Jack O' Lantern?

I am Jack's Creepy Pumpkin Face.

However, this seemingly unsolvable puzzle actually has a simple answer once it becomes clear that the Pumpkin King is in fact Jack's title and is not at all linked to his anatomy or his species of monstrosity. In fact, it is not only his title but also his costume for Halloween. For Jack is a master of disguise.

Both of those costumes are totally inconspicuous.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a rare film that is aesthetically a Halloween movie, set in Halloween Town with a Gothic look, but that is also simultaneously thematically about Christmas.

It features all the tropes of a Christmas move, such as snow, Santa, and how the meaning of Christmas has jack-all to do with the birth of the Messiah of Christian religion 2000 years ago but rather is about presents and goodwill to mankind. 

Pictured: Christmas! Note the lack of babies in mangers.

However, despite having the greatest song about Halloween ever...

And teaching us the meaning of Christmas...

Presents. The meaning is always presents.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is actually about something more real and serious than two of the biggest holidays of the year, namely midlife crisis. Specifically, Jack's. 

Sad Jack is sad.

The movie is all about Jack's sense of dissatisfaction with his life and job because he feels as though he is stuck in a rut. In fact, every action Jack takes in the course of the movie following the opening song is an attempt to spice up his life and bring back some sense of excitement, which explains the way he totally loses his shit when he sees snow in Christmas Town.  

What's this, what's this? Something to distract me from my growing sense of disillusionment?

Rather than buying an expensive sports car or having an affair with a younger woman, Jack focuses all his attention, and uses all his influence as the Pumpkin King, to essentially hijack Christmas as way to deal with the growing monotony he feels in his life and work.   

This is totally not an image of a man desperately searching for meaning in the world.

In dressing up and acting like Santa Claus, Jack is adopting a new identity in order to shred the traces of his previous alter ego, the Pumpkin King, and subdue the sense of of lack he felt in that role. 

He also enforced slave labour just like Santa. For authenticity.

However, by the end of the movie, after he has been blown up by missiles and landing in a graveyard with his Santa suit in tatters, Jack realises that although it didn't work out, he did his best and haters are gonna hate. Furthermore, he comes to understand that he cannot deny who he is and with this revelation in mind, he goes on to save Sally from Oogie Boogie the Boogeyman.

And that is how Jack got his groove back.