Making the world safe for filmgoers since 2002.
Why is it just now hitting me that two of last week’s releases have the device of an asteroid hitting the earth as the plot catalyst? BLACK PANTHER (review here), in the form of Chadwick Boseman, gets his super powers from the heart-shaped herb that is either the gift of the Panther God, or the result of mutation caused by the vibranium asteroid that hit east Africa millions of years ago. Vibranium is definitely the reason for Wakanda’s advanced technology, as utilized, I must note, by Black Panther’s kid sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), the one who raises a very specific finger to pomp & circumstance.
It has been said that different people experience a different film when viewing BLACK PANTHER, which I’ve always though was the mark of a great piece of art. For me, the way there is no internal comment within the film about the role women play in driving the plot is the most rewarding part, though I certainly appreciate the social commentary about cultural theft, colonial exploitation, and the struggle to do what is best both for the world and for one’s own people. Oh, and it’s a first-rate action-adventure, too.
My flashback interview with another one of those women, Lupita Nyong’o, who plays the socially conscious Nakia, for 12 YEARS A SLAVE is here.
The other asteroid landing last week was in EARLY MAN, wherein the rocky visitor from space was reduced in size and shape by atmospheric friction to an exact prototype of a soccer ball. Football as it’s known in the rest of the world. Nick Park (interview here), creator of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, explores the putative origins of that game, and the cave folk that must learn the game in order to win back their ancestral home. It’s a comedy but one that touches on one or two of BLACK PANTHER’s themes as our cave folk are confronted by a Bronze Age army out to seize the mineral ore in the former’s valley and displace them to some pyrotechnically problematic badlands. N.B.: You don’t have to know a thing about soccer (football), or even like sports to love this gentle, silly, and entirely charming bit of stop-motion animation with just enough CGI to make the crowd scenes possible in this lifetime. Further N.B.: Feelings about the game notwithstanding, it is nice that the expert who comes to the cave people’s rescue is a woman out to prove she’s as good as the guys when it comes to whatever it is that soccer (football) players do.