After almost a year of hyping it up, I finally saw Turbo Kid today. All the acclaim from Sundance, SXSW and personal sources were right. The film was perfect. It set the tone from the opening frame and never let up. Unrelentingly goofy, but earnest. A wonderful mix of deadpan humour and gratuitous violence. The comic timing was exceptional. The violence was notable not only for its over-the-top nature, but creativity. The sheer number of ways that people were dismembered, disemboweled and obliterated required a certain dedication to a goal and succeeded all the way. The film was an homage to 80s throwback culture that paid respect without cynicism. A number of excellent relics surfaced which all helped build a commanding aesthetic. The world sucked me in without attempting to really ground it in heady science and logic. Mad Max vs BMX Bandits was easy to buy into and proved for an enjoyably bumpy ride. A stellar soundtrack and great performances all around solidified the movie. The characters felt built up and buffed out, to the extent that no matter who was on screen I felt that I wanted to see how events would play out. It was one of those films that hit all the beats it needed to and then some. It’s rare for me to finish a film and be enthusiastic about the concept of a re-watch, but it was hard not to be.
Watching the film and its central romance (which wasn’t heavy handed) made me realise something. I’d love to see a new direction taken in stories to de-emphasise the importance of a romantic sub plot. Just because characters interact, that doesn’t mean romance is necessary. Would it be a travesty to have characters of opposing genders go through a series of trials and come out the other end as close, trusted friends? Does romantic/sexual attraction really further the story that much? Or is it just a case of appeasing audience expectations? Veering towards a platonic resolution feels like a more honest reflection of the world we live in. Has society still not progressed beyond a When Harry Met Sally mentality? Do people truly think that every emotional connection with a physically potential breeding partner has to involve intercourse as end-game? We’re convinced that we evolved beyond apeship, but did we really?
Potential Force Awakens spoiler (but only in the loosest sense). Does Rey and Finn’s friendship really need to develop beyond compatible companionship? They help each other out, respect each other and trust one another. I’m not gonna pack a shit fit if they get together, but I think it’d be refreshing to have Rey develop as someone who has a true passion for her quest/destiny without the need to have motives inevitably motivated by romantic desires or attachment. She’s a great character, Finn is too. That doesn’t mean they have to be together. Pacific Rim is an example of a film that I feel really gets it right in this case. While there’s most certainly a strong bond between the central two characters, the film doesn’t shoehorn in a heavy handed romance.
I’m not in any way advocating for the eradication of romantic entanglement in films. Fuck no. I love witnessing palpable chemistry between characters and hoping for the payoff when they do connect. Do it when it makes sense and furthers the narrative in a meaningful way. If it’s not necessary, don’t push for it. I feel like rewriting that dominant narrative would do wonders for societal gender relations. Someone’s worth isn’t relegated to their viable sexual organs. There’s so much valuable connection that’s lost through this idea that if someone can be fucked, that’s all they are. Most of my close friends are women. Do I want to sleep with them? Fuck no. They’re important people in my life and I can care about them without their worth being tied up in primal desires of procreation. It’s helped me grow as a person and enabled better connection with others around me. If I was going around trying to fuck all the women in my life, I’d never have time for fun activities.
I’d miss out on all sorts of neat stuff. Like Turbo Kid. That seems like an unworthy trade off.