Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Charlie:

Okay, so watching Cabin in the Woods again, I can't help but be both amused and appalled by a scene close to the end.

Spoilers, people. But seriously, how have you not seen this yet? It's Joss Whedon!

Anyway, the whole contrast between the friends in the woods fighting for their lives (more against the puppeteers than against the Buckners, actually) and the office drones running the control center is how callous to their jobs the puppeteers have become. They've seen (caused, actually) so many deaths in the name of noble sacrifice that they feel almost nothing. They've disconnected themselves from their empathy to the point that, even knowing they are directly causing these deaths, they still watch those screens like us watching the movie.

Nowhere is this illustrated better than when The Virgin is being pummeled and thrown around on the dock by one of the Buckners, and there's an honest to God party going on in the control room. See, because The Virgin can either live or die, so long as she's the last, neither her life nor her death has any value to the puppeteers beyond making sure she doesn't die out of order.

So while she's still fighting to survive a brutal knockdown drag-out on the screens in the background, the puppeteers are sipping tequila and talking about the job and bopping absently to some classic rock and basically going through all the awkward office party hobnobbing, oblivious to her struggle now that it's no longer important to The Cause.

She literally has no value to them now. Whether she lives or dies is no longer so much as a technicality. She no longer blips their radar.

That's just beautiful storytelling there. I mean, it's horrible to contemplate how unplugged you'd have to be to make those sacrifices every year, but to make all of that blatantly, brutally clear without actually saying it right out? To have her life-and-death struggle reduced to an ignored flicker on the screen in the background? The entire movie coalesced into a moment's juxtaposition of their world moving on while hers teeters on the brink?

Awesome. Especially when their empathy disconnect towards her flips on a dime when she has the power to save or end the world in her hands and they suddenly need her to take their side. She can kill her friend and save the world, or she can go gently into that good night -- after The Fool, of course, because her death still means no more than her life to them beyond that crucial distinction -- on the word of callous, asympathetic people who have already cost her all but one of her friends.

As The Fool himself says of their options, they're both so enticing. Heh, whichever should she choose?

Love this flick.

Oh, and my Chiefs are 3-3, so that's good. Go Chiefs!