Since this blog is primarily dedicated to artful moments in cinema, I can't resist writing about a beautiful (and probably also cliched) moment in the recently released to DVD film "9".
Humanity, along with the rest of life on earth, has come to a nefarious end, save for a few little mechanical creatures brought to life from the transference of a single human soul, who battle for survival against an intelligent super machine slightly reminiscent of a Jurassic Park predator.
The film as a whole is a nearly non-stop, teeth-gritting, thrill ride as the numbered creatures (1 is the elder "leader", 8 the cronie, 2 the wise intellectual, 9 the hero, and so forth) attempt to destroy the machine before it destroys them. One such attempt is the point at which the moment in question occurs:
Amid the desolate, brown hued, dust ball landscape piled high with the demolished human record, a fire ball rages where once stood the laire of the enemy machine. The surviving numbered creatures relax in the tranquility of knowing the predator is destroyed. In a surreal choice, marked mainly by the emotionally jarring "uncanny juxtaposition" over this disturbing visual landscape of death and destruction, floats the defiantly innocent voice of Judy Garland singing her most famous number, The Wizard of Oz "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Perhaps the metaphor is too obvious, as literally moments later the machine drags its crushed limbs from the inferno and begins once more its death dealing pursuit. Its not as though we the audience have never seen this type of musical juxtaposition; however, due to the quick-fire pace of "9"'s action sequences, this moment of pause is especially effective. Before the viewer is made aware of the approaching machine, Judy's voice gleams a reflexive sorrow. We, along with the our numbered friends inside the diagetic world, grieve. As long as there is someone to fight against, the bitter reality of an extinguished planet Earth can be temporarily avoided. But here, in this aftermath of a seemingly successful last battle, the calm is bitter-sweet. Nothing survives, and beyond the rusty vinyl sounds of Garland song, is the most terrifying silence imaginable. While 9 and his tribe feel at ease for the first time in the film, we feel disquieted and anxious, a feeling then justified by the appearance of the machine. A metaphor, within a metaphor, within a metaphor. This is but one rich moment in a fantastic film.