I see a couple other posts going super deep into random religious thought and social commentary about this short film. While that is perfectly acceptable and I see things on there I like, I personally don't see it going nearly that deep. So, I would like to discuss the possible future of this universe while maintaining grounded to what it is: a badass alternate reality taking place in Vietnam with some sci-fi thrown in. No aliens, no psychosis, and no recognized religion babble here, please. However, the general idea of Good vs Evil or balance of the universe itself, is still ok. Let us stick to the nitty gritty.

    I see this short as being more simple, with multiple possible story lines to explore. First, I see it as a more science and technology battle happening between the US and the Soviet Union. While they were testing and fooling around in Vietnam, either something went right or horribly wrong for the Soviets. This created the so called River God, for the lack of better description I'm sure. Now I like the idea of an alternate dimension, similar to Event Horizon, that they were trying to tap into. This would help explain how all of the crazy things happen that change people physically. Also, it explains the distortion in reality with the people floating. I do, however, think that most of this, with the exception of the River God, can be explained easily with sufficient technology.

    Now, onto the River God and the protagonist's relationship. This is where the balance of nature or Good vs Evil I mentioned comes into play. Just like talked about in the short, he has a need to kill the River God. He is compelled to hunt it. My theory is right when the River God was created, the universe had to bring balance. A force ready, willing, and able to deal with the threat. The man-made tech sure doesn't hurt either.

    Now about teleportation part with Corp Bracken. I believe this actually happened in the same continuity of time as the short. You see the CIA agent panic and write things down when he asks if it happened.This means that Bracken was actually teleported exactly when he was saying he was. So, this leads me to believe that America itself is under attack by a technologically superior Soviet Union at the same time.

    Now, I have ideas following what I have said, but this is already long enough. How do you guys think the airbase and Vietnam are connected? Do you think this could go much bigger with the Cold War being at at our doorsteps? Or do you want it to be more localized in Vietnam?
  • Hayley

    Hey, I am one of those deep thought people on Firebase threads. I personally enjoy thinking more abstractly, just because the Vietnam conflict was a very confusing time (even now) and there were a lot of different thoughts to consider. I prefer looking at it from a historical perspective and working from there, but I think we need to keep it localized in Vietnam. The Cold War, as you know, lasted around four decades, and Vietnam was a perfect example of the US getting a little too paranoid when it came to Communism/Domino Theory.

    If you'd like to share this on the same Firebase thread to keep it all centralized, please go for it. I'm sure we can find a way to combine ideas relatively well. :)
  • Johann
    I understand your point. The thread I started became a very convoluted back and forth creative process, which to me is part of the creative process. However, the psychoanalytic justifications are a heavy reading. To me a good story is good because it is founded on what is psychologically true so I tend to measure creative ideas against psychoanalysis (which has become an important aspect of film theory). I'm hoping to summarize the outcome of that thread at some point and distill it into a basic story outline without all the baggage.

    I don't think you can remove the aspect of social commentary - it seems to be an inherent part of Blomkamp's films. My own sense is that art should change the way people think about their lives and the world they live in. So in line with that think you also have to consider what is inferred by the first episode.
    But of course that needs to be packaged into something entertaining and there must also be place for simply indulging the creative process and having fun with it all.

    There's no reason why we can't start different discussions and have different story lines and ideas emerge. At some point I will try and post an overview from the other thread.
  • TheGravetenders
    What about the tech attached to the RG's skeleton before the meat armour comes on? The RG isn't an organic creation, it's a tech creation. The attachment on the spine appears to be an antenna or post for one. My point is you don't even need to apply metaphysical mumbo jumbo to the RG. It's a tech creation. I like your path.
    That is a great point about the tech attached to the RG's skeleton! It obviously boosted his telekinesis and gave him more powers like invisibility. However something has to account for his face exploding. Not to mention him still being alive as basically a walking skeleton even before they put that on him.
    I do believe that this could still be explained by sufficient technology, though we will have to brainstorm a little. I was just using that as an easy means to explain it, but lets get creative! How do you think he survived that? Or, do you possibly think that the CIA guy was saying that to pump up the protagonist and sprinkling in some embellishments of his own?
    I totally understand where you are coming from. I do enjoy a breakdown in depth like that from time to time, but it isn't exactly what I enjoy with something as action oriented as this. There is definitely a place for it in this short film for sure, and you have that covered.

    My enjoyment comes from speculating what conflict will happen and specific scenarios in which they will unfold. Instead of speculating on the theoretical principles of every shot and projecting possible meaning to current social events, I enjoy action and story building. What will happen when the RG and Hines finally meet? It's not going to be some inner battle of some dude's delusions, it is going to be a clusterfuck of mind-bending abilities that tear apart anybody weaker than the two of them. Also I would like to speculate on what a battle with that giant landship thing would be like, especially if the US had something of similar power.

    Do you have any ideas on what types of scenarios you would like to see played out, centralized to Vietnam or elsewhere? Also, what do you think might happen when we stay more tech/logic grounded? You seem to write really well and I'm curious to see what you think could happen while trying to stay clear of hallucinations and theoretical concepts!
  • Johann
    That's great. It would be a boring and counter-productive if we all had exactly the same ideas. I'll summarize the other thread soon into something more consolidated but in the meantime, briefly:

    • Hines gets shipped out at the end of ep. 1, so assume we see him being dropped somewhere in Cambodia along with a platoon early in ep 2.
    • Hines has his first contact with the RG. Orders are for the platoon are to keep the undead away from Hines so he can focus on the RG.
    • One ore more of the platoon get pulled into their "personal hells" (we can see this either as the delusion or the warping of space time, or the way I've set it up as actually both). I know you don't like the religion idea but my idea here was to source from the Book of Revelations as the manifestation of the apocalypse (Christian and Capitalist ideology becomes the source of the soldiers' nightmares). The scene with Bracken in Charleston and the Russian jets was "fire from the sky". We could play with ideas such as "blood in the oceans" and "the creatures in the oceans died" and so on. It would be good if these play out in places that are close to the soldiers' hearts, possibly in the U.S. rather than in Vietnam. It doesn't even have to happen at military installations. Perhaps the centre of New York or elsewhere but one doesn't have to limit it to that. Go wild.
    • At some point Hines disobeys orders to take out the RG so he can rescue his brothers in the platoon. (He has to go rogue for me and it's the beginning of his salvation to have empathy for others). This begins to happen during this first battle but somehow it could be woven into the action.

    After that we need to slow the pace and there might be some flashbacks filling in some of the back story and other scenes with the Major and Palmer from the CIA. By this point Hines and a few members of the platoon ("apostles" who believe in him and his divine hand) have gone completely rogue so there is no air support, artillery etc, just a handful of men pitted against the RG. (This stacks up the odds against them increasing tension, plus we don't want to visually repeat the previous confrontation where we've possibly seen Huey's on fire in the sky etc)

    At some point we could have one of the platoon members (aka "Judas") loose faith in Hines and radio in their position to the military / CIA. This emphasizes Hines as a "third force" gone rogue. They're then pursued from the rear by U.S. military while confronting the RG. It would be good if at some point Hines is completely solo, just himself vs the RG (perhaps the U.S. military is still in pursuit but they're some time away or have temporarily backed off).

    After that the only thing I need for my part of the story to really work is that Hines doesn't completely kill the RG but approaches him for some kind of final killing blow. He's then "tempted" by the RG and enters his own psychosis where he redeems himself and the RG which isn't really a battle scene but rather a revisiting of the RG's creation scene in the village.

    If you can work with those ideas it would be great. If not, see where it goes and I will try to make my ideas fit or maybe the story line goes in a completely different direction...
    Those bullet points sound good and make enough sense, even if I still disagree on some parts. I will say that if we have to make a jump to religion, the Book of Revelations is a good choice.

    I like the idea about the US chasing them in the jungle. Instead of the military backing off or being far away, it should be that they now need his help. Maybe their forces were being decimated and were in retreat. Then, Hines drops from a Huey and an epic showdown happens with the RG. The US military is now regrouping to defend him from the reanimated soldiers but are unable to get close to the duel due to the distortion in space-time.

    I have an idea for your part you speak of. As I mentioned earlier, Hines didn't have the urge to hunt the RG forever, it came from somewhere else to balance out the universe. This means that when he kills the RG, he will either lose his powers or die himself. This could cause the hesitation or the need to get up close for a final blow. That would leave room for your temptation part.
  • Johann
    I really like the idea that the US military are now in trouble and Hines intervenes. It rings true of "rescuing the archetypal father from the underworld", in other words as a metaphor for the psychology behind the war, he restores the sanity of the patriarchy. (I keep seeing these deep metaphors etched into the film, Tar Heel being a reference to soldiers not breaking ranks, the Jolly Rogder implying dissidence etc.)

    I think Biblical references are innate to the story but that said don't necessarily limit your creativity to that or other people's ideas. The best ideas will emerge through multiple competing story lines. Why not elaborate on your ideas where you disagree with mine and we see what emerges?

    My idea was to have Hines die (and be resurrected in the true style of the Campbellian heroes journey). It's not necessary to have the temptation scene but yes he has to undergo some kind of death. Prior to delivering the final blow to the RG, he drops off his weapons and armour, possibly opting for using a sharpened stake. (As psychoanalytic metaphor, the one-sidedness of the collective US psyche had to be "disarmed" by a call to empathy before the horrors of war would be felt and understood.) Without the protection of the armour of God Hines now succumbs to the RG's psychic powers and gets pulled into his personal hell which turns out to be a revisiting of the RG's creation, where he redeems both himself and the RG. (I've written about that already so won't duplicate it here).
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