Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Film Review - Monomyth - Terminator 2


Terminator 2 is a 1991 science fiction film directed by James Cameron and is a sequel to the 1986 film; The Terminator. The plot focuses on the son of one of the protagonists of the previous film; John Connor, who becomes the target of assassination by a robot terminator sent from the future, Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role of the terminator, albeit this time a protagonist, who also returns to save John Connor. 

Figure 2 - John Connor as a boy
ACT - 1
In terms of the "Hero's Journey" the story starts off with John Connor living a relatively normal life, he lives with foster parents as his biological father is dead (killed in the previous film) and his mother is incarcerated in an insane asylum because of her actions since the previous film. John is introduced as being a rebellious teenager who steals from ATM machines, plays arcade games and has a disregard for authority. 

"The refusal of the call" During the course of the film it is apparent that John is aware of the existence of Terminators thanks to his mother, who has evolved into a hardened soldier after her experiences, but he willfully rejects her and the notion on the belief that his mother is insane. John shows no interest in fulfilling his role as "leader of the human resistance". 

"Supernatural aid" comes in the form of a robotic terminator sent from the future to protect John who has become the target of assassination by another more powerful terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the famous "terminator" and exhibits extreme physical strength and durability but has a poor grasp of human customs.

The crucial segment of the film that can be called the "Crossing the threshold" is when John is purused through the shopping mall by the assassin terminator, John barely manages to escape and is only saved by the direct intervention of his guardian.

A critical aspect of their relationship is that despite Arnold being John's guardian, John eventually discovers that he has a form of control over his guardian and he takes the lead of the duo. At this point John begins to exhibit the characteristics of a leader, first taking his terminator to the asylum to rescue his mother and then throughout the film teaching him human characteristics and informing him on human customs. 

"The belly of the whale" is the segment when John discovers his terminator is real and that all of the stories about the terminators fed to him by his mother are actually real, at this point John realises that the judgement day holocaust, the robots and Skynet (the computer that controls the terminators) are all real.

"The Road of trials" find John and his terminator against the odds, not least by having to contend with a nigh invulnerable and relentless robotic assassin, but also with the authorities who want to track down both John's terminator (who was implicated in a massacre in the previous film). John's foster parents are killed by the assassin terminator, robbing him of any former allies and he has no known other friends.

At this point John "Meets the goddess", but instead of her bein an actual goddess it turns out to be his biological mother, who (as mentioned earlier) has been institutionalised because of her actions and supposedly impaired sanity. There is tension and hostility between both John and his mother, because they both share a dysfunctional relationship. In a deleted scene in the film John is forced to accost his mother and assert his control when she attempts to kill their guardian terminator.

John's mother becomes the temptress by forcing John and his terminator to deviate from their original mission as she attempts to stop judgement day first by trying to kill the programmer responsible for the creation of skynet and then by destroying the computer company that ultimately creates skynet. Since John's mother is not a mission critical aspect of the Terminator's mission (which he quite literally quotes in the film) it would be logical to leave her to her fate but John cannot bring himself to abandon his mother and pursues her.

The reckoning with authority or "atonment with the father" occurs when the protagonists try to destroy the computer company responsible for creating skynet, the police turn up en-masse and manage to kill off one of the protagonists, ultimately the group manage to escape relatively unharmed.

Despite the mass police presence the protagonists manage to successfully destroy the Skynet research offices and sieze parts of the terminator from the previous film (that had been killed and salvaged for scientific study). This is the "ultimate boon" of the film as while judgement day is not actually stopped (as revealed in the third film) it is for the time being delayed and skynet suffer a setback in its progress. 

The protagonists become emboriled in a high speed chase with the assassin terminator (who pursues them in a stolen police helicoper), John is nearly killed and his mother is wounded from gunfire yet the guardian terminator once again saves them. The assassin terminator also hijacks a truck carrying liquid nitrogen whichs proves pivotal in the plot. The chase ultimately culminates in the group crashing into a molten metal refinery.

This leads onto the "rescue from without"; the crash into the refinery wounds both John and his mother leaving them at the mercy of the approaching assassinm, however as mentioned above the assassin terminator was driving a truck filled with liquid nitrogen that crashes and showers him in the supercool liquid. As the assassin attempts to pursue the protagonists his body begins to break down and shatter, the guardian terminator sees this and delivers a coup de grace by shooting the frozen assassin, shattering his body.

At the final area of the film the "crossing of the thresholds" occurs when the protagonists finally kill off the assassin terminator. The assassin is practically invulerable and shrugs off gunfire and even explosions, the group ultimately kill the assissin terminator by drowning it in molten metal and utterly destroying it.

At the end a final task must occur, that is the protagonists destroying their own guardian terminator who, as he rightly points out, has served his purpose and must die to prevent his technology and CPU core from falling back into human hands and creating a new skynet.

The penultimate "master of two worlds" occurs when John finally becomes the man that occurs in the next film; Terminator 3. John in essense assumes the mantel destined for him; a leader and fighter, now that he has killed off his assassin and been given new hope about the future.

John and his mother ultimately survive but lived changed lives, although the threat of judgement day is averted for now they still must survive off the grid on account of the destruction they have caused. This final chapter is the segement about being "free to live", although the protagonists are trapped in a certain sense (i.e. never being able to return to a normal life) they have succeeded in their task and are able to survive.

Illustration List
Figure -1
James Cameron, 1993, Terminator2poster.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/Terminator2poster.jpg

Figure -2
James Cameron, 1993, edward-furlong-as-john-connor-in-terminator-e1377940092520.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: https://crawlspacemagazine.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/edward-furlong-as-john-connor-in-terminator-e1377940092520.jpg

Monday, 28 September 2015

Group Project - Inital Ideas

For our group we were alloted the themes: "Jealousy", "Tonal Montage" and "In the laboratory".

Jealousy encompasses the intense emotions that one feels in response to a potential loss of something important or someone close to another party. It is distinguished from envy in that jealousy refers to the loss of something important whereas envy is the wish that one has something that someone else possesses. Jealousy is particularly relevant in human relationships and can also be accompianed by envy. Jealously has a negative effect on relationships and also leads to feelings of disgust, hatred and lonliness.

A Tonal Montage is a film montage that relies on a particular emotion to ellicit a reaction from the audience, this emoiton is prevalent in the environment of the scene and the various aspects of the filming (such as lighting, sound, etc) also reflect the emotion.

In the laboratory refers to the scene being shot inside a laboratory, a laboratory is a workplace where scientific work in undertaken. A few positive themes from a laboratory could be "progress" in the form of scientific research and development, "connections" in that scientists often work closely together therefore forming social bonds.

Alternitavely more negative themes could be "lonliness" in that some scientists work in solitude,  bury themselves in their work to escape from someting in their lives or be cut off from the world. "Jealousy" could also be another; expressed by one scientists' jealously over a colleague's success.

A few plot ideas could centre on idea of a laboratory being a self-contained world, a laboratory is usually a small area where only a few people can work effectively, it makes sense that these people will probably enjoy a close relationship away from others. One of these characters may feel threatened when a new party enters the laboratory and gets in the way of this relationship or becomes part of it.

Another idea could be that a non-human character (like a robot, Artificial Intelligence or sentient scientific specimen) becomes fond of the scientist(s) interacting with it. It becomes possessive and jealous when others become involved.

These are some of the ideas I have had in a storyboard form.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Character Project - Second Ideas

This was an idea I had quite soon; it is an FPS game or scenario where the player must deflect or resize food particles being thrown at them, this incorporates the idea of scale as a gameplay mechanic. The player can reshape or remove food matter from their line of sight but cannot destroy it.

I later thought about an idea where upon the player is shrunk down on a plate of food and then has to escape before the food is eaten.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Character Work - Some Ideas

I thought one of the easier ways to explore my ideas was by doing some simple doodling, although these are only abstracts they form the basis for some ideas which could be expanded upon.

I've found "Scale" not to be easy, I've never noted much scale in games as I am too busy shooting stuff or looting to take much notice of the technical aspects. That being said one idea for "Scale" was making some kind of "scale engine"; a device that can rearrange or resize matter.

Another idea was Alien food, that floats or defies gravity.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Character Project - Intial Ideas

One of year two's first projects; the Character project, more to do with designing a game. I got the cards: Food (Ingredients/Recipe), Scale (Dimensions/View Point) and Gravity (Floating/Falling).

As a fan of too many FPS games these aren't amazingly appealing, that being said they are the perfect candidates as they will make me think of ideas that aren't automatically connected with shooting games and should prove challenging enough to take me out of my comfort zone.

Initially I was reminded of an app game; Fruit Ninja, a game that involves slicing fruit with ones finger acting as a makeshift sword, although I can't copy this game it tweaks at the mind. An app game for a phone would be quite interesting, I'm having a hard time envisioning a board game or fully fledged computer game but we can wait and see. I want to explore these ideas first before starting anyhting concrete.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Group Project/Narrative - Colour schemes

This is a simple page of some colour schemes for our group project's studio. Just a few basic ideas.

The first four are simple stripe designs with a cool background colour and a contrasting stripe.

The other two consist of a metal like textured surface and a cheap comicy style.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Summer Work - Photoshop - Birthday Card

An illustration done for an 80th birthday card for a friend of my parents.

A small story behind this idea: the recipient of this card was at one point a crewman in the Royal Armoured Corps and had the pleasure of operating a tank.

While on a training run at a tank range they managed to get their hands on a can of potatoes, and probably out of typical masculine curiosity decided to see if said spuds could be used as a projectile.

Funnily enough they succeeded and fired the can of potatoes down range and managed to blast a hole in their target. It was a most joyous moment by his account, I wish I could've been there to see it.

"Moley" is acutally the name of their pet dog, not the birthday man.