Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Sunday, August 20, 2017

The bright and the dark side of solar eclipse cinema

I'm doing a special Sunday post today, in honor of the solar eclipse due to arrive tomorrow in the USA. A significant scientific moment for our country and not to be missed,even on TV.

While my particular neck of the woods is not within the line of totality(aka, a place on the map expected to be fully affected), this promises to be quite an event as one thing that pop culture has taught me, it's that a solar eclipse is an event that portends change.

From books to film over the years, a solar eclipse has often been seen as something that borders on the mystical and could tilt the scales for either good or evil. To showcase this point better, here are a handful of cinematic examples of what a solar eclipse can do:

BREAK A CURSE: For many of us, the 1985 fantasy film Ladyhawke instantly springs to mind as the leading romantic couple(played by Rutget Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer) are both near and far to each other, thanks to the complexities of a rogue bishop's curse.

Hauer's knight is enchanted to be human by day and a wolf at night, while his lady love Pfeiffer is a hawk by sunrise and a woman by sunset. Not an easy thing to work around, to say the least.

However, there is one chance to break that spell by being together in human form and part of that cure involves "a day without night and a night without day", a notion that Hauer's character finds hard to believe until it actually happens and truly helps him save the day:

CONCEAL THE ARRIVAL OF A SPACE INVADER: In Little Shop of Horrors, hapless Seymour is constantly asked about his finding of the seemingly innocent looking Audrey II and his story is a simple one told in song.

During a regular visit to his favorite exotic plant store, a total eclipse of the sun occurs and when daylight returns, this strange new plant that he swore wasn't there before just catches his eye. As we all know what happened to Seymour and friends afterwards, a good lesson to take away from this is not to go plant shopping during an eclipse or immediately after!:

CONCEAL A CRIME: As Stephen King shows us in one of his more realistic horror stories, Dolores Claiborne, sometimes a solar eclipse is a dark blessing in disguise.

Both the book and the 1995 film adaptation turn on battered wife Delores' decision to do away with her horrible husband Joe St. George during an eclipse. Since they live in a remote island community, it's the perfect distraction for both her vicious spouse and local authorities, more concerned with keeping folks on the water safe from harm.

It's a harrowing scene in the book yet the film version is highly enhanced by Kathy Bates' performance, a perfect storm of anger, heartbreak and calculation in order to save herself and her daughter from the daily terror that is Joe St. George:

COMPLETE A QUEST: In the first Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film from 2001, our heroine must find the pieces of a "Triangle of Light" in order to take advantage of a special planetary alignment that is capped off by, you guessed it, a solar eclipse.

To get that last piece, Lara has to play leap frog with a giant moving model of the solar system, with plenty of bad guys hot on her heels, trying to get to the sun where that special prize is to be found. Does she succeed?  Come on, whose name is in the title there, folks?:

With that, I hope everyone has a good time in checking out the eclipse and unlike what you see in the movies, do wear those protective glasses if you 're taking part in real time,folks!

On another note, I am happy to see many of us here in America uniting together for a positive purpose, considering the tragic events in Charlottesville last week.  Condolences to all of those who were directly affected and sincere apologies to those expecting a mature and thoughtful response from our sadly current leader.

 Since we are clearly not going to get any meaningful support from the highest office in our land, it is up to all of us to look for strength and unity to square off against home grown evil from each other and I believe we're more than up to the challenge.

 In the meanwhile, let us look forward to better things such as the joy of being witness to a truly once in a lifetime event that should lighten our hearts indeed:

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