the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Final Fight: Confronting the Powerless Father and Atonement with the Mother

The unplugged week is over, but I still need time to get things done and prepare for spinal cord stimulator therapy on Monday.  Please continue to enjoy these posts (even if you’ve read them before).

I will make a controversial claim here, that Wimmer is actually drawing upon the female version of the Monomyth in a manner of speaking, or rather an alternate interpretation by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

Specifically, the first variation is Confronting The Powerless Father.  Earlier in the film, we learned that Dupont was the creator of the Gun Kata, a martial arts extension to firearms that is a basis of Cleric training.

He does not seem to be powerless at first; after all, he seems to know about Preston’s actions all along (see Not Without Incident: Master of Two Worlds), and his challenge to a Gun Kata duel suggests he knows all about Partridge as well: “Be careful, Preston, you’re treading on my dreams” (the reference to Yeats).  But despite creating the Gun Kata, Dupont is disarmed by Preston, and so he tries to appeal to Preston’s newfound sense of emotion, to avoid the killing bullet.  How can he kill someone who is living and feeling?

But Preston sees O’Brien’s face in his mind, before her death.  This would suggest Atonement with The Mother, or rather, The Goddess.  Yet there is an atonement to a Father– just not Libria‘s Father, or Dupont.  Preston’s response of “I pay it gladly” is an echo of Partridge’s earlier line: “A heavy cost.  I pay it gladly” when Preston asked him why he forsook the idealism of Libria.  Partridge is sort of a Father in this sense, especially considering Preston echoed other words and actions of his earlier in the story as well.

Killing Dupont, who is the false Father, leads Preston towards obtaining the Ultimate Boon, which will be the next part of this series, leading towards the end.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston and the Resistance destroy the old order: Freedom to Live

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Questions for Mary: Meeting with the Goddess

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

For the sake of time and content, I’m skipping over Movieclip’s seventh clip, “Joining the Resistance” (part of “He’s A Sense Offender!” on the disc).  I will sum up by saying that scene is another raid on a Resistance holdout, and Preston shows mercy towards the group (leading them to escape), only to be foiled by Brandt.  Although Brandt challenges him to start the execution: “Cleric, Father’s orders are clear– sense offenders are to be shot on sight.” he insists that Brandt take the command.

I move ahead to the next scene, “Questions for Mary,” where Mary O’Brien becomes the Goddess figure, as well as a Threshold guide.

Preston takes a moment to mourn Partridge privately, and a Processing employee brings him the last of his personal effects, that are not scheduled to be destroyed.  One is a metal wallet full of photos, one turned over with “Freedom” written on it, and the photo of Patridge and O’Brien together.  He decides to interrogate Mary O’Brien once more.

After confronting her with the picture and confessing that he executed Partridge himself, O’Brien flies into a rage, trying to attack him with the pencil lying on the interrogation form and clipboard.  As Preston blocks her and binds her down on the interrogation table, he suddenly realizes he feels lust for her, and intuits that therefore she had been intimate with Partridge.

Preston discovers sexual attraction and romantic love

Jurgen confirms by polygraph that Preston is now very emotionally moved by O’Brien, to a sexual and romantic extent– he feels love.  Preston meets with her again after promising Vice-Counsel Dupont he will root out the Resistance (as Dupont further suspects Preston of treachery and betrayal) and promising Jurgen that he will arrange to kill Father.

In spite of Jurgen’s warnings to avoid seeing O’Brien again, Preston tries to stop O’Brien’s execution by incineration, seeing too many emotional parallels to his own wife’s execution by the same (after viewing archival video footage).  He fails.

In the next post, I will explore how Preston’s breakdown and accusal of sense offense by Brandt leads to his Apotheosis.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston becomes a Sense Offender: Apotheosis

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Brandt begins to challenge Preston: Man as Temptor

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

Campbell calls this stage “Woman as Temptress”, but the world of Libria and the Tetragrammaton Council is distinctly patriarchal, and I choose to emphasize the temptation as a particularly warped masculine one.

Normally this stage is listed later in the Initiation process, well after the Road of Trials.  Brandt is introduced early, however, just before Preston meets Mary O’Brien (see John Preston Meets Mary O’Brien: Guide and Goddess).  He is immediately a hard juxtaposition to Errol Partridge: smooth, eager, and idealistic.  “I only hope to one day be as uncompromising as you,” he tells Preston in one scene.  “I’m like you, Cleric– intuitive,” he tells him in another, asserting that he can tell what a sense offender is thinking before he thinks it (reminiscent of an identical claim Preston makes to Vice-Counsel DuPont, who censures him for his late wife’s crime).

More particularly, Preston begins to assume the sentiments of his late partner Partridge, right down to the dialogue in some cases (Preston: “Why didn’t you leave that for the evidentiary team to log?” Partridge: “They miss things sometimes”, later, Brandt assumes Preston’s line, and Preston assumes Partridge’s).  Brandt is wise to these changes in Preston– observations that conflict with the reputation Preston has as Libria’s senior ranking Cleric.  He eventually confronts Preston with his suspicions:

Brandt’s challenge is the beginning of the Road of Trials. He reveals that the Council has accelerated prosecution of sense offenders, and this will prove harder for Preston as he seeks to discover the Resistance and the Underground.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Questions for Mary: Meeting with the Goddess

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Preston grapples with emotion: Crossing of the Threshold

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

In the preceding posts of this series, I established that Preston’s son Robbie is the Guardian of the Threshold, and Mary O’ Brien is its guide.  He came to them by way of a dream of his wife, who had been executed for sense offense.

John Preston goes through a second dream and awakening, after looking over his sleeping children and examining a vial of Prozium from his injection gun, musing on the significance.  The dream sequence now is Preston witnessing his dead partner, Partridge, being incinerated, while remembering Mary O’Brien saying: “Without love, breath is just a clock ticking.”

Preston awakes to find there is beauty hidden behind his wrapped window: a rainbow of colors from a sunrise, refracted through the rain.  I think the scene has deeper implications; although the Tetragrammaton Council suppresses content made by humans, it is unable to suppress the beauty of nature, and Preston realizes he can tear away the facade.

Crossing of the Threshold

Crossing of the Threshold

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston further embraces emotion: Belly of the Whale

 

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Dreams and a Lack of Prozium: Supernatural Aid

Cimmy, myself, and the kids are observing an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

I was going to gloss over the step of Supernatural Aid.  This film is part science fiction, action, and thriller, in a dystopian world, which is not typical for other modern examples of the Monomyth so frequently cited by others.

But I remembered from the DVD commentary that Kurt Wimmer himself said that Sean Bean (as Errol Partridge) had some of the best lines in the film, a scene referenced in my previous post, Partridge forsakes his training: John Preston’s Call to Adventure.

Besides quoting the poem “He Wishes for The Cloths of Heaven”, Partridge says, “You always knew,” and asks “I assume you dream, Preston?”

These words set up the next scene, which IS a dream, is a memory of John’s wife, Viviana (Maria Pia Calzone).  It is a rude awakening, as his home is raided and she is arrested, on the charge of sense offense.  This dream, after a fashion, is the Supernatural Aid.

Immediately after the dream, Preston awakes (highlighted by a memory of one of Father’s broadcasted speeches: “Libria, awake”) and visibly realizes that the separate bed his wife had slept in is empty (we learn later that she was executed by incineration).

Preston goes to splash cold water on his face and take his morning interval of Prozium.  Without thinking, he takes out the vial for that interval from the injection gun (Prozium is administered at the neck) and places it on the counter, which he accidentally knocks over and smashes on the floor, as he sets down the towel he dried his face with.

These events trigger the Threshold, and introduce its guardians and guides, which will be explored in the next post.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: John Preston’s son Robbie: Guardian at the Threshold

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Partridge forsakes his training: John Preston’s Call to Adventure

Today Cimmy, myself, and the kids are starting an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

Flag of Libria. The four Ts represent the Tetragrammaton Council

In Libria, emotion is outlawed.  The Tetragrammaton Clerics are the elite arm of its law enforcement, tasked with tracking down any materials likely to incite emotion to destroy them, and to terminate “sense offenders”, that is, any citizens that have broken the law by feeling emotion.

Partridge quotes from “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” before Preston executes him: “But I being poor, have only my dreams/I have spread my dreams under your feet/Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” This quote will have significance at the climax of the film.

John Preston (Christian Bale) is Libria’s highest ranking Grammaton Cleric.  His Call to Adventure comes when he discovers that his partner, Errol Partridge (Sean Bean), has confiscated a book of poems under false pretenses.  Tracking him to a ruined cathedral in the Nethers (an area of cities destroyed by a Third World War), he finds him reading the book, and unapologetically so.  As Partridge is now guilty of sense offending, Preston executes him.

The event seems to shake Preston from a proscribed routine just enough that he accidentally breaks a vial of his morning dose of Prozium, and he begins to feel emotions.

The Call to Adventure

The Call to Adventure

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Dreams and a Lack of Prozium: Supernatural Aid

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Final Fight: Confronting the Powerless Father and Atonement with the Mother

I will make a controversial claim here, that Wimmer is actually drawing upon the female version of the Monomyth in a manner of speaking, or rather an alternate interpretation by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

Specifically, the first variation is Confronting The Powerless Father.  Earlier in the film, we learned that Dupont was the creator of the Gun Kata, a martial arts extension to firearms that is a basis of Cleric training.

He does not seem to be powerless at first; after all, he seems to know about Preston’s actions all along (see Not Without Incident: Master of Two Worlds), and his challenge to a Gun Kata duel suggests he knows all about Partridge as well: “Be careful, Preston, you’re treading on my dreams” (the reference to Yeats).  But despite creating the Gun Kata, Dupont is disarmed by Preston, and so he tries to appeal to Preston’s newfound sense of emotion, to avoid the killing bullet.  How can he kill someone who is living and feeling?

But Preston sees O’Brien’s face in his mind, before her death.  This would suggest Atonement with The Mother, or rather, The Goddess.  Yet there is an atonement to a Father– just not Libria‘s Father, or Dupont.  Preston’s response of “I pay it gladly” is an echo of Partridge’s earlier line: “A heavy cost.  I pay it gladly” when Preston asked him why he forsook the idealism of Libria.  Partridge is sort of a Father in this sense, especially considering Preston echoed other words and actions of his earlier in the story as well.

Killing Dupont, who is the false Father, leads Preston towards obtaining the Ultimate Boon, which will be the next part of this series, leading towards the end.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston and the Resistance destroy the old order: Freedom to Live


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Questions for Mary: Meeting with the Goddess

For the sake of time and content, I’m skipping over Movieclip’s seventh clip, “Joining the Resistance” (part of “He’s A Sense Offender!” on the disc).  I will sum up by saying that scene is another raid on a Resistance holdout, and Preston shows mercy towards the group (leading them to escape), only to be foiled by Brandt.  Although Brandt challenges him to start the execution: “Cleric, Father’s orders are clear– sense offenders are to be shot on sight.” he insists that Brandt take the command.

I move ahead to the next scene, “Questions for Mary,” where Mary O’Brien becomes the Goddess figure, as well as a Threshold guide.

Preston takes a moment to mourn Partridge privately, and a Processing employee brings him the last of his personal effects, that are not scheduled to be destroyed.  One is a metal wallet full of photos, one turned over with “Freedom” written on it, and the photo of Patridge and O’Brien together.  He decides to interrogate Mary O’Brien once more.

After confronting her with the picture and confessing that he executed Partridge himself, O’Brien flies into a rage, trying to attack him with the pencil lying on the interrogation form and clipboard.  As Preston blocks her and binds her down on the interrogation table, he suddenly realizes he feels lust for her, and intuits that therefore she had been intimate with Partridge.

Preston discovers sexual attraction and romantic love

Jurgen confirms by polygraph that Preston is now very emotionally moved by O’Brien, to a sexual and romantic extent– he feels love.  Preston meets with her again after promising Vice-Counsel Dupont he will root out the Resistance (as Dupont further suspects Preston of treachery and betrayal) and promising Jurgen that he will arrange to kill Father.

In spite of Jurgen’s warnings to avoid seeing O’Brien again, Preston tries to stop O’Brien’s execution by incineration, seeing too many emotional parallels to his own wife’s execution by the same (after viewing archival video footage).  He fails.

In the next post, I will explore how Preston’s breakdown and accusal of sense offense by Brandt leads to his Apotheosis.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston becomes a Sense Offender: Apotheosis


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Brandt begins to challenge Preston: Man as Temptor

Campbell calls this stage “Woman as Temptress”, but the world of Libria and the Tetragrammaton Council is distinctly patriarchal, and I choose to emphasize the temptation as a particularly warped masculine one.

Normally this stage is listed later in the Initiation process, well after the Road of Trials.  Brandt is introduced early, however, just before Preston meets Mary O’Brien (see John Preston Meets Mary O’Brien: Guide and Goddess).  He is immediately a hard juxtaposition to Errol Partridge: smooth, eager, and idealistic.  “I only hope to one day be as uncompromising as you,” he tells Preston in one scene.  “I’m like you, Cleric– intuitive,” he tells him in another, asserting that he can tell what a sense offender is thinking before he thinks it (reminiscent of an identical claim Preston makes to Vice-Counsel DuPont, who censures him for his late wife’s crime).

More particularly, Preston begins to assume the sentiments of his late partner Partridge, right down to the dialogue in some cases (Preston: “Why didn’t you leave that for the evidentiary team to log?” Partridge: “They miss things sometimes”, later, Brandt assumes Preston’s line, and Preston assumes Partridge’s).  Brandt is wise to these changes in Preston– observations that conflict with the reputation Preston has as Libria’s senior ranking Cleric.  He eventually confronts Preston with his suspicions:

Brandt’s challenge is the beginning of the Road of Trials. He reveals that the Council has accelerated prosecution of sense offenders, and this will prove harder for Preston as he seeks to discover the Resistance and the Underground.

EDIT 26th July, 2013: I’ve made a minor change post-publication– Brandt’s line in full is “Cleric, I hope to one day be as uncompromising as you.”  For some reason I had the word “compromising” instead.  Many thanks to Mark Armstrong for catching this error.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Questions for Mary: Meeting with the Goddess


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Preston grapples with emotion: Crossing of the Threshold

In the preceding posts of this series, I established that Preston’s son Robbie is the Guardian of the Threshold, and Mary O’ Brien is its guide.  He came to them by way of a dream of his wife, who had been executed for sense offense.

John Preston goes through a second dream and awakening, after looking over his sleeping children and examining a vial of Prozium from his injection gun, musing on the significance.  The dream sequence now is Preston witnessing his dead partner, Partridge, being incinerated, while remembering Mary O’Brien saying: “Without love, breath is just a clock ticking.”

Preston awakes to find there is beauty hidden behind his wrapped window: a rainbow of colors from a sunrise, refracted through the rain.  I think the scene has deeper implications; although the Tetragrammaton Council suppresses content made by humans, it is unable to suppress the beauty of nature, and Preston realizes he can tear away the facade.

Crossing of the Threshold

Crossing of the Threshold

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Preston further embraces emotion: Belly of the Whale