You are of course correct with the implication of your question, "what kind of answer might satisfy?" It's strange that I even asked the question, because this isn't something I generally concern myself with anymore. Looking for "deeper meaning" in terms of "does this work give you some trite advice about how to live your life better?" is very high school English, and that was sort of what I was asking (for reasons that escape me now).
That being said, if I do want to think of War as having some "deeper" significance, I could point out that your subversion of action tropes speaks to the ridiculous, impossible ideas that Americans hold about lone badass heroes saving the day, and that those ideas that Americans (and others) have can actually lead to pretty severe consequences. So by subverting them in a way that's engaging and entertaining, you're doing good for the world.
(This was not in my head when I wrote the original question.)
Do you tend to support reasoning like this about art, about yours in particular? Is this what you're talking about when you say you want to the viewer to find themself in the act of seeing a meaning? (Re-reading your first reply, it seems so.)
― J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 30 April 2017 06:29 (six years ago) link
To me the tooth scene highlights the fact that action movies are (often) made up of ridiculous, contrived coincidences. I didn't think of the other possible philosophical implications.
Though I suspect it's best if the "message" of War is kept ambiguous on some level. It's the sort of work that raises questions more than gives answers. The way the lead character is killed off in a jump cut, for instance, again highlighting how much manipulation is baked in to the average action movie. That doesn't impart a moral message, but if it counters a form of subliminal conditioning (which I think it does) maybe we can come up with alternative messages.
― Blair Gilbreath, Sunday, 30 April 2017 15:29 (six years ago) link
(Also, I found it amusing how the first episode of Elfen Lied tipped its hat to War in a big way.)
― Blair Gilbreath, Sunday, 30 April 2017 15:30 (six years ago) link
"Do you tend to support reasoning like this about art, about yours in particular? Is this what you're talking about when you say you want to the viewer to find themself in the act of seeing a meaning? "
When I first considered becoming an artist in earnest while in high school, I was determined to make work that mattered, that carried an important "message" for the public. I thought I would use my skills to help enlighten other people. (I was also driven by a religious motive to proselytize). It became clear to me quickly that the claim to have this ability, on the part of an artist, is a sham. The best that an artist can hope to do is to demonstrate relationships that occur within the scope of a creative work.
That is as opposed to demonstrating any truths that relate the work to the external world. Those can only be contrivances. Those are arbitrary and can serve a didactic goal in service of completely divergent world views. They have no claim to being true or authoritative.
An artist however can rightly get the viewer to become aware of structures and patterns of meaning within the work that trigger novel trains of thought. That is not trivial and I am satisfied with that.
― Peter Chung, Sunday, 30 April 2017 16:10 (six years ago) link