The Fountain

From: January 27, 2011

I knew that I liked Darren Aronofsky, but when I first watched The Fountain in 2006 when it came out I was not a fan. In fact, I fell asleep before I even saw the Spanish Hugh Jackman. But, since I realized that this movie is about The Tree of Life I thought I’d give it another chance. I’m glad I did. The sets are absolutely beautiful, which really made the entire viewing experience worth while. I’m not utterly impressed with the obsessive husband part of the story, I guess because it seems really coincidental that Tom (Jackman), just happens to be a surgeon who can potentially fix the illness of his wife. But, I loved the interweaving of the three narratives throughout the film. The viewer goes from Tom’s waking life, to the story of Tomas (a spanish conquistador in his wife’s novel), and the meditative alternate reality of Tom and Izzi (Rachel Weisz). I also appreciated the heavy symbolism and allusion, though if you aren’t familiar with the theology that drives them, you can still follow the plot.

fountain2

Most impressive were, as mentioned, the sets. The spherical ship, the Aztec Temple, the Izzi Tree; they were all actual sets. The crew literally built these sets both outdoor and on stage, and they are pretty breathtaking. It’s always nice to see honest craftsmanship being opted for over digital flim-flam. This set design element really makes the making of featurette worth watching, as it details the process through which the crew went to render these awe-inspiring scenes. I thought that the quasar and space dust effects were just a green screen overlay, what they actually were was a venture into macrophotography. What you’re really seeing is photos of chemical reactions on a microscopic level, which were taken my Peter an expert in the field. The images are then superimposed behind the actors to create cosmic “floating in space” effect. Very cool.

Created using macrophotography.

Created using macrophotography.

If you are willing to stick with it’s slow unfolding, The Fountain is worth a try, especially if you enjoy hopeless romanticism.

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