‘Writers Choice’ is a monthly segment. Each month a theme will be chosen and the contributors asked to choose a film to mini-review based around said theme. This months theme is ‘adventure’.
Growing up, there was only ever one person that I wanted to be. Okay, well, there were two. They were both prominent figures of our most embarrassing decade, otherwise known as the eighties. They were both played by Harrison Ford. Is it clear enough, yet? The first was Han Solo, for obvious reasons, including the fact that he is possibly the coolest, yet simultaneously the nerdiest, man in the galactic universe. The latter, and the one that I have an inexplicably high level of admiration for, was Indiana Jones. The greatest fictional archaeologist ever known to man. This franchise is the very epitome of adventure; complete with a trademark accessory in the form of a dirtied fedora, along with a makeshift whip. There might not be much depth to them, you won’t find yourself contemplating the complexities of humanity afterwards, but they are shameless fun. They might not compete with, say, Citizen Kane, on lists of influential films but they will have you desperate to explore hidden civilisations and skilfully defeat any enemy that you may encounter on your journey. Indiana Jones, for me, is the definition of escapism; travelling the globe in search of a lost artefact, recovering the Holy Grail from Nazis and protecting rural villages from rather violent cults. It is the perfect way to distract oneself from the pressures of daily life, whether that is the looming threat of exams or the dullness of a Monday morning. It is, by far, one of the finest examples of adventure in the simplest sense of the word. –Hannah Ryan
It seems that pretty much everyone has some sort of Wanderlust or an itching in their shoes, but for myself it has never necessarily been about travelling long distances or visiting as many countries as I can. It’s more about this specific feeling I get in my gut, when I feel an adventure coming along, usually when i’m in the woods or I’m in the back seat on long car journeys (i could be heading an hour up the road to my uncles and it could still feel like an adventure). It all sounds very cringey but i really like the feeling, I also get it when i’m driving my own car and it’s sunny and i’m listening to really great music. A craving for this feeling always always creeps up on me when I watch Where the Wild Things Are. When nine year old Max runs away from home after a fight with his mother, he comes across a boat, which he gets in, sails for a bit and arrives at an island to meet the Wild Things. The movie is based on Maurice Sendak’s children’s book of the same name, so the Wild Things aren’t scary, just bear like, goat like creatures who are actually really friendly. Max sort of just stomps around the woods for a while causing wild rumpuses and crowns himself King of the Wild Things, declaring himself a peace keeper. Things are pretty good for a while before the tantrum throwing Carol finds out that Max is in actual fact just a human boy in a wolf onesie pretending to be their King. Eventually everyone is forgiven but Max decided it’s time to go home and hops back in his boat to find his mother. Even though it is just a young boys imagination, there’s something about the feeling of being somewhere you aren’t usually, being somewhere different or not knowing where you’re going or being outdoors or being ~at one with nature~ that i really love. even after just writing about the movie I want to go find a forest to wander about in. –Mel Sutherland
Not only is The Lord of the Rings an adventure unto itself, a sweeping journey across the fantasy world of Middle-Earth, but adventure is important to the characters. At the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo learns that his Uncle Bilbo has a ring of power, and Gandalf urges him to leave the Shire. Frodo finds himself confronted with the faces of darkness, the Nazgul, and gets stabbed by one of their blades. Seeking peace in Rivendell, Frodo confesses to Bilbo that. “I spent all my life pretending I was off somewhere else. Off with you, on one of your adventures. But my own adventure turned out to be quite different. I’m not like you, Bilbo.” After hearing tales from Bilbo of his own adventures with the dragon Smaug and the dwarves, Frodo dreamed of having an adventure of his own like his brave uncle. Even though it’s the very beginning of this epic story, Frodo finds himself not having a whimsical adventure taken out of the storybooks, but a very perilous one. He finds the world outside of the Shire is dangerous, made all the more by this strange magic One Ring. Yet he still makes the brave decision to take the ring to Mordor. Frodo’s adventure does end up being quite different than Bilbo’s, for the fate of the entire Middle Earth was in his hands. It ends up leaving Frodo scarred by dark memories, and pain from carrying the evil ring. The Fellowship of the Ring feels like a rousing adventure story, but slowly and slowly that adventure turns into a dark one as the trilogy continues. But, like most adventure stories, there is a happy ending, one where good wins over evil. –Caroline Madden
What if you could start all over again, become your own person, surrender yourself to the big wide world and take an adventure trail across the great lands of america? A favourite of any adventure-at-heart’s film collection, comes the visually beautiful, touching and impeccably acted Into the Wild.
Chris gives up his conventional life of rules, arguing parents and tedious education to pursue his secret dream of running away by himself to start a new life. He gives himself a new name, burns the spare cash left in his pocket and sets of to live a life of spontaneity and exploration. Now named ‘Alexander Supertramp’, he sets off to explore, hitch-hiking his way across states, discovering the wonders of nature and facing good times and bad, coming across generous, interesting and friendly people as well as the odd a-hole.
This is probably the movie that helped me realise I wanted to travel as soon as soon as I was old enough to, to get away from my small home town and see the world and meet beautiful people. But it also taught me that no matter how alone you feel, you cannot hide from everyone forever, or before long you will become miserable and lonely (as is seen at the end of the film where Chris is stuck in the wild, alone and scared). After all “HAPPINESS IS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED.”-Katie
Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson’s only film where he fully indulges in the children’s movie genre, pouring his symmetrical, colour-coordinated aesthetic into an animated film about the adventures of Mr. Fox (George Clooney), who goes against the wishes of his wife (Meryl Streep) to raid the farms of their human neighbours. Fantastic Mr. Fox, like all of Wes’ work, looks like a storybook come to life – which it essentially is, as the film is based off the Roald Dahl novel of the same name. The film follows Mr. Fox and his selected team of fellow foxes and other animals (including Bill Murray as a badger) as they attempt to pull off a military style plan against the humans. A story of troublemaking animals versus aggravated humans isn’t a complicated plot to follow, but an overwhelming sense of adventure is created nonetheless, as Wes refuses to be bounded by reality and steps outside of normality, bordering on eccentricity. Filled with action sequences, a combination of childlike humour and witty remarks and cute animated animals, there’s nothing to not like about this film. Although marketed as a children’s movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a film for everyone – from middle-aged George Clooney fans, to artsy film critics and to twee Wes Anderson diehards. The film encourages everyone to go and have their own adventure (but with a perfectly curated colour palette).-Georgia Berry
“Adventure is out there!” This line exclaimed by a young Ellie encompasses the overarching theme of Up. When the main character, Carl, meets Ellie for the first time, he finds out that she is also a fan of the explorer Charles F. Muntz. She tells Carl that her dream is to move to Paradise Falls and become an explorer herself. After the two befriend each other, the film cuts to a 5 minute montage. I can watch this montage over and over again, and each time I still feel a wave of emotions. The story within that short time frame is so concise and wonderful that it could be a short film on its own. I’m glad it isn’t though, because then it would just be plain sad. I can’t really continue discussing why I chose this film for this month’s theme without going into spoiler-mode, so WARNING! After a great life together, Ellie becomes sick and passes away. Carl is left with a feeling of guilt, and decides to fulfill Ellie’s dream of adventuring to South America by attaching thousands of balloons to their house. He befriends a boy named Russell who resembles a young, adventurous Carl. Dug, a talking dog, and Kevin, an exotic bird, cross paths with Carl and Russell and become companions on their journey. Every story has a conflict, so of course there’s an evil villain. In a twist of events, it turns that Carl’s childhood idol, Charles F. Muntz, is actually an evil hunter. At the end of the film, Carl finds Ellie’s “adventure” scrapbook, and as he flips through it, he finds a note. The note thanks Carl for the adventure he gave Ellie: their life together. I love this film because it teaches us that we do not necessarily need to go to an exotic land to have an adventure. As long as we are surrounded by people we care about, life is an adventure in itself. Not only that, but Ellie teaches Carl that it’s okay to move on and create new adventures. This allows him to reach out to Russell in the end, strengthening their bond.-Cristina Vazquez De Mercado