Hangtime Predictions/Tomb Raider/Comments

On Hang Time…

Figuration is evident throughout the short film, mostly in the depiction of Olu.  From the first scene when he drives up in his red jeep, like a throne of blood, the audience knows he is the evil villain.  The music also helped in the forming of his character. Towards the end an evil theme song plays as Olu hands the grandma a Sprite at the basketball game.  At 48 minutes in, it is clear that Kwame will most likely succomb to the pressures and join Olu’s gang and do whatever it takes to make the money to get those new shoes. Kwame is trying to overcome his past and without his father’s support, he has no one else to turn to. Olu takes on the form of a strange father figure, but he his only out for his own personal gains.  What struck me about the actual ending of the short film was how brutally the plot turned once Kwame joined with Olu. The cookie cutter Lifetime movies about these subjects that I am used to watching do not typically take this harshly realistic turn as HangTime does. Thus the film seems less “American” to me, although comments in class also argued it wasn’t very “African” either.  I didn’t predict his father would die and leave Kwame with the shoes drenched with his blood. Interestingly though Kwame still gets a shot at his dream as the recruiter is there at the final game. But with Olu right by his side, his future does not seem as promising.

On Tomb Raider…

Angelina and Djimon in the forest with man eating monsters

Angelina and Djimon in the forest with man eating monsters

The mysterious depiction of Africa as an unnamed “cradle of life” was actually central to the plot and the film.  The “Cradle of Life” was meant to be hidden in a place so remote, so foreign, that no map could locate it.  Thus the intentional choice to leave the location unnammed had a functional purpose for this particular film. However, what should be questioned is why Africa is the easy choice for such a plot function.  Countries in Africa are often depicted as the mysterious, un-named, uncivilized, third-world countries. Out of all the locations that the film portrayed, only Africa remained unnamed.

Found on: http://madeinatlantis.com/lara_croft/locations.htm

“Next, the cast and crew geared up for the “Tomb Raider” African adventure. After landing in Kenya, the production traveled from one side of the country to another, filming in the famed Rift Valley, game reserves, remote hideaways and busy Nairobi thoroughfares.”

A recent example of this same portrayal is in the film “He’s Just Not That Into You”.  One reviewer from USA Today cited the following: “A bit involving cross-cultural variations on the theme is one of the movie’s funniest scenes. Several African women sit around a campfire and discuss their errant men. Translation via subtitles: “Maybe he forgot the number on your hut” and “Maybe he was eaten by a lion.””  I think it’s time we find another punchline.  At the same time that the film is trying to make the statement that all women face the same problems, the audience they are targeting is clearly one-note. Out of the 5 leading ladies and 4 leading males, not one is ethnically diverse.  If these problems are so universal, perhaps the movie could have protrayed this idea in a more sophisticated way.

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