This lovingly sculpted background only appears for about a second in the middle of a big montage in Alice Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland which came out earlier this year to poor box office and worse reviews.
And maybe it was just because ALTLG is about Alice going backwards and forwards in time, but while I watched the movie I kept thinking about how if you traveled a few hundred years into the past and showed an image like this to an Italian Renaissance painter they would lose their goddamned minds. To people that were just beginning to master perspective and shading and proportionality a painting with this level of texture, detail, and depth would be gob-smacking, a true miracle that they could only hope to emulate.
And yet Alice Through the Looking Glass threw totally threw this image away.
And more importantly, I didn't care that it threw it away, because the whole movie was full of shiny sights and none of them had any meaning or importance to me.
I've watched two movies in the last two days - one a $200 million dollar Disney film and the other a Harmony Korine art piece called Trash Humpers, which is about some disturbed weirdos in old men masks who run around an anonynmous suburb acting like lunatics. (Just so we are clear: the title Trash Humpers is not a metaphor; the movie opens with explicit man-on-bin thrusting.)
And even though Trash Humpers looked like crap ( - it was obviously shot using a camcorder someone had purchased directly off the shelf at a Circuit City - ) and even though I actually slept through the last half of it ( - I was tired and I felt like I'd already gotten the gist of it after the third or fourth round of garbage frottage -) I would have to describe it as the much more memorable film, in that I at least remember watching it. In comparison, I just finished spending almost one hundred minutes of my life observing Alice's immaculately rendered nonsense and I could barely tell you anything about it.
(I do remember that Johnny Depp was there, and that I was deeply ambivalent about his presence, but that's about it.)
I'm consistently amazed at how good human beings are at adapting to things. I've grown so jaded by my incessant media consumption that when you show me the wonders of the world I'm just like "oh yeah, it's Tuesday again." But honestly? I don't think that's necessarily a tragedy, because there's no reason to be impressed by a film that's all sound and fury, signifying nothing. After all, lightning is bright and electric and you can't help but look at it when its happening in your line of sight - but once it's been spilled into the Earth the only sensible course is to move on with your life as if it had never happened at all.
Winner: The Cat