Monday, June 9, 2008

John Milton's Paradise Lost

Author(s): Josh P.
Location: IL

"John Milton’s Paradise Lost"

Directed by Ang Lee
Screenplay by James Schamus and Dan Futterman
Produced by Ang Lee, Robert Zemeckis and James Schamus
Executive Producers: Diana Ossana, Tim Beaven, Eric Fellner
Based on the epic poem by John Milton
Art Direction by Dante Ferrerti, Timmy Yip, and Francesca Lo Schiavo
Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto
Edited by Stephen Mirrione
Costume Design by Janty Yates
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Sound Mixing by Drew Kunin, Eugene Gearty, and Reilly Steele
Sound Editing by Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
Visual Effects by John Knoll, Michael Lantieri, Caleb J. Howard, Gary Roberts

Main Cast

Eric Bana (Satan)
Jeremy Irons (God the Father)
Jonathan Rhys Davies (Beelzebub)
Ethan Hawke (God the Son)
Ciarán Hinds (Belial)
Mary Louise Parker (Sin)
Mario Van Peebles (Gabriel)
Jim Sturgess (Adam)
Eva Green (Eve)
Dominic Monaghan (Mulciber)
Andrew Garfield (Moloch)
Paul Dano (Uriel)
Hugo Weaving (Michael)

Tagline: "When evil is shunned, his revenge falls upon us"

Synopsis: There is an epic sight stretched across a blood soaked sky. An army of angels collide with each other, striking blow upon blow with each side attempting to secure his victory. It is decided that the betrayer and all his followers shall succumb to defeat and be banished to a lake of fire, chained together as their eternal punishment. Yet the power of rage and the incentive for revenge overpowers the senses, and the conquered angels escape their chains and fly to a vast landscape they claim as their own.

Satan (Bana) has built his Pandemonium, his own sacred heaven, and his safeguard for plotting revenge.

Immediately, Satan is surrounded by the greed of retaliation. The thought of enacting vengeance against God consumes him, and he thinks of a calculated assault to perform. It is here when his second-in-command, Beelzebub (Meyers), suggests that the revenge should come from the corruption of God’s newest and most prized creation: man. Satan believes this is a brilliant solution, and many other devils in his company (Hinds, Garfield, Monaghan) agree. After being greeted by his sister, the half-snake and dog-chained Sin (Louise-Parker), he propels towards Earth to seek out this new creation.

Though the initial battle had been decided, God (Irons) and his accomplices in Heaven are still fearful of Satan’s plans. Once they become aware, all try to do their part. Uriel (Dano) is charged with protecting the Earth, Gabriel (Van Peebles) commands the armies of Heaven, and the Son (Hawke) has offered himself as a sacrifice to man. God is weary, but his senses remain intact to battle the evil that may still hold strong.

Satan is very clever. He slips past Uriel and quickly begins his seduction of the new inhabitants of the Garden of Eden: Adam (Sturgess) and Eve (Green). After Gabriel intercepts him intervening in Eve’s dream, God visits Adam in human form to warn him about the possible dangers that Satan will give him. Adam is nervous, but tries to heed to this warning. Still, Satan has plans, and takes his infamous form as a serpent and tempts Eve to eat from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. Despite her better instincts, she partakes, convinces Adam to do so as well, and everything is lost.

God is infuriated and delivers punishment. He forces Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, all while Satan is receiving glorious cheers for his victorious return to Pandemonium. However, Adam and Eve truly repent, and as God hears their prayers, he sends Michael (Weaving) to deliver a message: as they must leave Eden, their children and descendents will suffer through atrocity and greed. But visions of later events such as Noah, Moses, the Son’s sacrifice and other events inspire this couple to continue on. As they journey beyond the gates of Eden, they know they will have a hard life but will continue with their obedience to God. The life they knew is lost. But spawned from it is knowledge, experience, and the memory of how one act of disobedience changed the course of all souls forever more…

What the Press would say:

Epic. Grand. Marvelous. These are just some of the great descriptions to apply to Ang Lee’s greatest masterpiece. The Oscar-winning director provides a triumphant work of art. He infuses a lengthy film with the highly stylized, visual moments (such as the beginning battle sequence) with a vivid and surreal sense and brings the scene alive. He also crafts a great character study in many intimate scenes, using all in his arsenal to evoke a poetic sense in every frame. Lee provides further evidence of why his Oscar winning title is well deserved and also why another one is just as deserved. Eric Bana, a previous employee to Lee, provides great depth and insight into a complicated character. Bana does not make Satan the incarnate of evil that we all know, but he makes him a clever, intelligent, and handsome intellectual who uses his gifts for his own self fulfillment. Satan is a more complex entity that imagined, and it is all thanks to Bana’s endearing portrayal. Another endearing portrayal is from Jeremy Irons, and if Bana turned Satan into a questionable antagonist, then Irons makes God appear to be a more questioned and confused entity that most would think. His God is still wise and powerful, but he is aware that Satan could possibly beat him with his own revenge. The moment Irons showcases this vulnerability in his soft spoken persona, he completely infuses the humility in such a heavenly figure. Jim Sturgess and Eva Green do a good job in their respective roles of Adam and Eve. Sturgess shows Adam almost like a confused teenager, a man who wants to obey God but is all too aware of the temptations that exist, even the lustful nature in Eve. Green has a delicate sensibility in Eve: she is naïve, but at the same time possesses a fearless quality in her. It a memorable performance. The script is a marvelous retelling of a great epic poem and every part of it touches on greatness. Each of the technical aspects is used in great numbers here, showcasing their excellence, from the grand set design, the vibrant cinematography, even to the exquisite sound design. The campaign consideration:

Best Picture
Best Director: Ang Lee
Best Actor: Eric Bana
Best Supporting Actor: Jeremy Irons
Best Supporting Actor: Jim Sturgess
Best Supporting Actress: Eva Green
Best Adapted Screenplay: Dan Futterman and James Schamus
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score
Best Sound
Best Visual Effects

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