Secrets of a long lost symbol and further journey through Dan Brown‘s world

There are writers that you fall in love with once you read their book. And it‘s always a pleasure to read something new written by them. Everyone has their own author, or maybe few of them. I do too. One of them is Dan Brown. I remember I‘ve made a post about one of his books, so pretty much I‘ve already told why I like him, so I won‘t go into the same details. All I want to say is that I like how he writes, I like his writing style, creating a story that might be completely untrue, but you will believe it as if it was true. I love how he incorporates history, historical facts, religion, science, figures and symbols from all these fields and joins them all together in this masterpiece of his. I admire this ability of his so much and I wish I could do something like that… However, at the same time in this book there‘s so much of everything that you don‘t even know whether it‘s good or not. On the one hand, you get so much interesting information and things to think about, but on the other hand, these things start to look too unreal. Oh, well… Let‘s move on and discuss „The Lost Symbol“ book.

This book also involves Robert Langdon – a character we all know. See, this is one more reason, that makes Brown‘s books interesting to read. There‘s a character that goes from book to book, so all these stories has duration and connection, and you can see how the character develops. Yes, there might be similar situation, yet it still is interesting. Remember Sherlock Holmes stories they all are the same: mystery/crime – solving it – it is solved schemed stories that are still interesting to read. The same with Robert Langdon – he‘s a scientific, nerdy superman that keeps you alert all the time as you read the story.

This time thes story involves mystries of Capitol in Washingto D.C. No more Italian history and art. This time story is filled with detective and thriller elements and of course mysteries, mysteries, mysteries that has to be solved. And these mysteries are gathered around the organization of Masons. And this organization is known for all kinds of conspiracy theories, mystique stories, so one way or another, it makes us pay attention, because there are lots of people who still think there is something mysterious about Masons. Maybe there is? Who knows. The exact same thing can be said about all these secrets on a governmental level. Sure, there are such secrets, but are they really that groundbreaking? Who knows? Maybe. And that‘s maybe why we know about them only under the title „Secret‘. And this is why we are attached to this book because of all the secrets. Everybody likes secrets and things that might be true, but known only to very few people. The same thing with gossip. Everybody likes them, even though they say the opposite. Of course, if certain things described in this book would have been so secret neither Dan Brown would know them, nor he could write about them and make fortune out of it.

Another thing that fascinates me about Brown‘s writing style is his passion about the places he writes about. Like this time, he so vividly and passionately wrote about some places in Washington that I actually felt this huge wish to go there and see everything myself. And believe it or not, not often books (and their writers) make such an effect on me like „The Lost Symbol“ did.

But more than just historical, ancient secrets, in this book is also raised family relationship issue. Especially between wealthy parents and their kids who pretty often act irresponsible due to their wealth and what they can do with their money. But sometimes kids have unexplainable hate and heartburning for their parents or certain actions made by their parents. It‘s difficult. But when a person lives with these feelings for too long bad things happen.

Religous aspect is also very interestingly developed in this book which is great, because somehow people still think religion and whatever it concerns is really boring and out of date. This is very misleading, because religion is a very interesting topic and wide topic. Moreover, nowadays lots of things are happening to different interpretation of different religions, there are lots of religious fanatics who are really dangerous and scary. So, actually, learning and  studying religions is not only interesting, but I think is also very useful for not to be misunderstood and not to misunderstand it ourselves. How can these books help us? Maybe in no way, but it can be a great trigger to start learning things. And that‘s a pretty good start.

So, all in all, every science is awesome in its own way. And I think we should stop claiming that learning things is nerdy, because actually it is great.

Why do people love bloody stories?

For a very long time I could not understand why do people like films filled with blood and bloody murders. In particular, I could not understand why there are so many fans of Quentin Tarantino movies. I mean it’s filthy, it’s bloody, it’s violent. Yup, all these features makes his style recognizable and you can say: it’s Tarantino, man. Tarantino. Tarantino.

And then it happened… I watched „The Hateful Eight“. As non – Tarantino and his style fan I enjoyed watching this one. It has its charm. First of all, because it doesn‘t feel like you‘re watching a modern film. It feels like you‘re watching something made in the 70s or 80s. Second of all, I loved the soundrack. Rarely I pay attention to it, but this time I really loved it. It brought (for me) completely other kind of mood. This was one of those cases when music is an equal partner of a good plot, good acting. Soundrack really worked for this movie. Thirdly, I loved the structure of a movie. It has chapters, like a book. So watching this film is actually like reading a story. A mystyrious story with suspicious, yet charismatic characters.

And a story is told from two places. One part of the story happens in a carriage. We learn a lot of useful information about the characters, what this story is about. Another huge parts happens at a Haberdashery. And that‘s it. Only two basic locations. On the other hand, if the story‘s good you don‘t need many locations. However, at Haberdashery we find more characters and we find the fact that all the story we‘ve known so far was actually a bit different and interesting things start to happen.

As all Tarantino’s movies this one is also full of macabrick scenes that are really disgusting to watch. Blood. There‘s lots of it (even though it doesn‘t look realistic) and vomit. But hey, it‘s Tarantino‘s film after all. I don‘t know why he chose this to be his style features. Maybe he isn‘t trying to show life through pink lenses, maybe he‘s trying to show it dirty, bloody and violent as it is, to show other kind of cinema aesthetics. Or, maybe on the contrary, he is trying to hyperbolize violence we are used to see on the screen? I honestly don‘t know and I don‘t even know how to comment on it. But in Tarantino’s and this films defence I must say that there are actually aesthetically beautiful scenes, like beautiful nature.

What is very interesting is the fact how language decorates a movie. In this case, the best language to watch this film in is only the original one. Believe me, no matter where are you from – you should watch it in original language. It gives you this specific charm, that any translation won‘t be able to. Also, it is interesting to observe how certain type of shots make a movie and decorate it at the very same time. In this case, I noticed lots of close up shots that brought certain mood into this film. You know, all these (I don‘t know how to call them) – tricks, features, or whatver, make up entire picture. It‘s like picking up a puzzle: you take great actors (one piece), great backround (second piece), killer, charismatic dialogues (third piece), beautiful music (another piece), these filming and focusing things (one more piece), some other stuff and… BOOM! You picked the picture. Amazing!

What else caught my attention is staticness of the film. There isn’t much action here. However, you don’t miss it, because somehow this story telling, dialogues gives you some sort of dynamic, though completely different kind of dynamic, not the one we are used to see in such kind of movies.

Talking about acting cast suprises (yes, I still find some acting cast choices surprising) Kurt Russell was sure one big surprise. And I don‘t even know why. It just was unexpected to see him in such kind of movie, playing such kinf of character as John Ruth. But with all my respect, I must say it was a good choice. Another thing related with actors of this film is the fact they worked under the condition that not all actors would.

I mean, there is the type of actors who only play pretty or sexy characters, they don‘t take challenges to change their appearance (look ugly, scary or unusual). I don‘t get why they are afraid of it? I mean, if you‘re an actor you should be willing to change, like Johnny Depp does, he changes every time, he tries all these different looks… So, „The Hateful Eight“ cast also played non glamorous characters and Jennifer Jason Leigh had a least glamorous role of all. And also I have one tiny notice: Samuel L. Jackson‘s characters bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren’s teeth look too good for that historical time  :). I also must mention cheriff Chris Mannix was a very good character. It was very interesting to observe his evolution throughout the film. And Tim Roth – good job, old fox.

And the very last thing that I enjoyed. Movie has some historic aspect: everything happens after the Civil war (a meaningful war for American history). Plus in this movie are actually raised important racial issue questions, like how black people are and should be treated, who can call a black man nigger and who can‘t if there‘s anyone who can actually do that at all? Even though this movie might be created to entertain us – viewers, but it also involve some serious questions that are still very important today. They really are.

Deathly Hallows: Part II. What do we learn from here?

The day has finally come to discus the very last part of Harry Potter series – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II”. I know, that it might seem that this discussion is years late, but I don’t care, because I don’t go chasing only the newest films. So let’s start discussing.

Of all the Harry Potter series this was the darkest part for me in all senses. And the saddest. First of all, we had to face a lot of losses of our beloved characters. Second of all, it was the actual end, meaning there will be no more films, meaning this great story has come to an end. And this was truly sad thing about this part. Seeing everything ruined, gone is not what you would enjoy to see at the end of the story. It’s really black and dark.

Watching scene where we are introduced with all those characters who died in a fight is really sad. Sure, there were lots of losses throughout the entire Harry Potter series, but this time we lost so many beloved characters at once. Trully heartbreaking scene.

Again, here is brought back my already nationalism idea from my previous post on Harry Potter, in this part we also face the same issue in several ways. One – incaptivated, poorly treated (maybe even tortured) creatures considering them being lower (like dragon at Gringgots bank). Two – dark forces are so much superior than the good ones (last time I made a point on nationalism relating it to the problem of pure blood wizards and mixed wizard-Muggle, or entirely Muggle born wizards) so they persecute those who are against them. In this part it was visible some sort of propaganda machine example when Voldemort reaches out for Hogwarts students, he reaches their mind like talking through radio, controlling them. And there are other examples: students marching as soldiers… I don’t know how about you, but it somehow reminded me of Hitlerjugend (I know, dark assosiations of mine), then we of course have this lodgement of a complaint politics (well, this is not only a feature of Nazis regime, but fits for it as well). And all this has one grand goal –war, fight the good powers and win over them.

On the other hand, this part represents the beauty of unity. Whenever you face a disaster and to get through it the situations requires people. People who could get together, be as one to fight for the victory even though it might never happen. In this Harry Potter part we saw the biggest unity of a magical world to fight Voldemort. Moreover, this part (more than the previous ones) shows us that cowardness, in fighting problems is a the worst feature. It doesn’t help you to solve anything. On the other hand, true love, true friendship is the biggest value and are able to change unchangeable things.

While watching this movie, I don’t know why, but I remembered “The Lord of the Rings” movies. Probably it was so, because of the scene where a huge and wild crowd of Death Eaters was running to Hogwarts. They looked like orcs to me, but I don’t know why.

All in all, it was good film. And there are few things that caught my attention and does not need detailed discussion. First of all, – Voldemort in pain. I don’t know why, but it was interesting to watch it (I hope that does not make me a bad person 🙂 ). Second of all, in some scenes it seems that Harry’s glassess are actually without glass, it’s just frames. Thirdly, Snape’s part was well played, developed and tangled throughout the entire Harry Potter story. And lastly, even the biggest bad guys care for their kids – like Malfoys.

This whole magical story was such a great journey through this this mystique, another kind of world. It was interesting, adventurous and fascinating. Sadly, it had to end as all the good things do.

About animated films and animals. One more time

Once in a while I make a post about an animated film. And I think these films shouldn‘t be considered  strictly suitable for the kids. But if I would be making a list of those animated films I would like to show to my future kids (there are people who do those kinds of lists) I would definitely write „Bolt“ film (a story of a cute dog) into that list.

Now, animals are always a sensitive subject. I don‘t know why. Is it because they are so cute and irresistable, or that they are hepless and completely rely on us – people. They bring lots of joy and kindeness into our lives and we are the ones who can guarantee a happy life of theirs. Or, maybe it is because when you get a pet (a dog, a cat, or any other) there‘s a strong connection is built between us and them, I think they become more than just a pet. They become a true friend, a family member. And that‘s maybe why it is such a sensitive subject. Yet, sometimes people act really cruel and probably don‘t even understand that they hurt animals when they leave them, abandon them, throw them out. Pets love their owners in their own way, but the problem is that the owners not always appreciate it and behave very unfair with those who can be our best and true friends, sometime maybe the only friends.

But let‘s get to Bolt. Bolt is an example of how animals too become movie and TV stars (we all remember Lassie, Beethoven, Rin Tin Tin, K-9 and many others). And in my opinion (an I think I might be right) Bolt is also a metaphor in some way of an actors who tend to bring their characters into real life. Of course, that might be an unintentional action, but it happens. They just tend to feel into their‘s part too deeply that they can‘t even separate themselves from their characters. That‘s actually kind of scary when you‘re not able to separate reality from acting. And Bolt couldn‘t. For him it was very hard to get over and finally realize that he did not have any actual super powers.

This story also examplifies a life of those young showbiz stars who are managed by all those agents leaving parents aside. And then we see a situation when agents and producers has much bigger impact on a young person than his parents do. It‘s a cruel situation in a cruel business, but that‘s how things are. So in this case, I think both parents and a young stars should be really strong and think with their own head. Well, as much as it is possible.

Despite all that was mentioned before, I have one question after watching „Bolt“: why is practically always cats in animated films are shown to be villains? Seriously, why? And the dogs are always the heroes? What is up with that? However, Bolt ends up being frieds with this cat named Mittens and his huge fan hamster Rhino (funny name for a tiny hamster).

Cannot go away without mentioning how funny it was to watch the scene where Mittens (cat) teaches Bolt (dog) how to act like a dog, all those tricks that dogs do. And I caught thinking myself how hard it is to learn all those things that for the others seem to be so natural. Nevertheless, it‘s also a story about differences and how these differences work out for a friedship. I mean cat can become friends with a dog, and a hamster can become a friend with both them. Then, why is it so hard for different people to come together and be friends, or am I wrong here?

At the end, I‘d like to say that Hollywood lights and sparkling life is great (probably, because I don‘t know), but somehow it seems to be empty. And at the end of the day people (in this case animals) are longing for peace and home warmth where they can be regular. And I think everyone needs that kind of place to feel happy.

Letting some magic into our world

It might sound naive, but I think it‘s a need. We all are so busy, running fast, stressing out, we barely can see things around us. We should stop. Take a deep breath and dive (at least for a few hours) into a magical world where there‘s no our daily routine. I did it, and I liked it. How did I do that? Easy. Jus watched „Stardust“ movie.

This was a beautiful story with lots of magic. But generally, it involved the same old subjects as it always does. One of them was a theme of constant division. We constanly face divisions, we make them ourselves, we build walls that separates: us from the others. So that wall in the movie between real world and magical is the best representation of how everything is divided and that we are so much happier when there are no walls. Unfortunately, not in all cases we can go on without having walls build. Sometimes they are inevitably needed, but even then they bring this negativity. However, a true love might happen between anyone who seem to be on the very different sides, even between a simple, clumsy boy (who turns out is prince and also a hero) and a star. And then you know the story, they lived happily ever after.

The movie represents another common thing of our lives – we tend to fall in love with wrong people. And by wrong I don‘t necesserilly mean bad people. No, I mean just those who won‘t respond to our feelings the way we would want or expect them  to respond. And before realising that we tend to make a lot of foolish things. Just like Tristan did for Victoria. We even let us be humiliated and used. Ain‘t that sad?

Another thing I really love about these magic, fairy-tale movies is that they are very inspiring. They inspire not to give up on our dreams whatever they are (to buy a Ferrari, or to reach a star). This kind of a movie also teaches us. Teaches us to be who we really are, not to pretend being someone we aren‘t just to impress somebody else, or make them like us for not who we are. It‘s a simple things, but pretty often we forget about them and we act quite the opposite and that leads us to unhapiness.

Of course, fairy tales aren‘t just about nice and beautiful things like how a princess wins over a witch (in this case four witches). They also show a lot of bad things of our lives, like intrigues, in this case, royal intrigues. Sure, it is done to teach people how they shouldn‘t behave. For example in „Stardust“ it is shown that brothers kill each other just to take over the king‘s throne. It actually could be a real situtation. These things do happen in the real life too. Saddly they do. And I think it’s really a good thing that this genre is very educative, because not only kids need this quality in films, but adults as well. We too need this, and sometimes these educative moments like egoism, personal profit, wish for eternal life aren‘t those things that we should seek, must be explained in a very simple language.

I also enjoyed that it was showed (I don‘t know whether intentionally or not) the importance of someone in our lives to help us, mentor us, teach us. These people play a significant role in our lives. Just like Robert De Niro‘s charachter did in this film. Talking about De Niro it‘s always a pleasure to see him on screen, but this role… There was nothing left from the brutal De Niro we know, but he was good in this role.