Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Before I start tonight's post, I just want to go on record and say that I hate Blogger's new posting format.

Anyway, I visit Gizmodo's SciFi, Fantasy and Horror blog i09 fairly regularly. They're a good source of  movie and TV news and occasionally offer up some rather exciting content. I also subscribe to their email updates and received a link from them the other day that I just now got around to checking out. It was titled "A downright gorgeous short film about doomed astronauts after a spaceship crash." 

I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I finally got around to watching Kevin Margo's 8 minute film Grounded, I was left... confused. Watch it and then we'll discuss:

Grounded from Kevin Margo on Vimeo.

So... I imagine I'm not the only confused viewer, yes? 

First, the cinematography; the effects and Ken Andrews' gorgeous score are all amazing. And yes, I get all the themes about life, death, aging and desperate loneliness. But I didn't understand why the 'Traveler' (Derron Ross) was so desperate for a new helmet at the beginning. There were clouds and there was fire, which mean atmosphere and oxygen. He should have been able to breathe with no problem. And he obviously did so, eventually becoming (I must assume) the old 'Tender' (Brent Meeker). And speaking of the 'Tender,' where did he get those seeds? Did he bring them with him? Were they there all along, just waiting to be cultivated? And just how many incarnations of the 'Traveler' fell to the same planet over the years? It looked to me as though at least three astronauts ejected from the craft in the very beginning. What happened to the other two? Was the 'Traveler' in purgatory? Or maybe even hell? Was he actually assumed into heaven, or transported by unseen aliens? I have no idea.

The filmmaker's own description on Vimeo says: "Grounded is a metaphorical account of the experience, inviting unique interpretation and reflection by the viewer. Themes of aging, inheritance, paternal approval, cyclic trajectories, and behaviors passed on through generations are explored against an ethereal backdrop."

Okay... That's an awful lot of territory to cover in just 8 minutes. Kubrick spent 141 minutes exploring many of the same themes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, with similarly confusing results. Or maybe I'm just over-thinking both films. I'd like to think that I'm smart enough to understand complex films with multiple meanings. And while I do enjoy a good puzzle, it's still nice to have some definitive answers on occasion.

Don't get me wrong - I really liked Grounded. I thought it was beautiful, enigmatic and just weird enough to keep me intrigued and I look forward to seeing other films by Kevin Margo. I'd like to know what he can do with a feature-length movie. 

What do you think Grounded was about or had to say? You know I love your comments.

More, anon.

1 comment:

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

This was an interesting short film. I thought about you, Prospero, when I took on some of the creationists posting comments on Josh Weed's blog a little while ago. I totally owned them. You should see what I wrote.