Monday, February 9, 2009

Empire of the Sun

“Mom’s going to the store, then she’s picking up little Christian Bale from the library,” my dad announced as he put the phone back in its cradle.

Alex laughed at the mental image.

“I hope she’s polite to him,” I said. “He might kill her on the ride home.”

Poor Christian Bale – everyone making fun of him losing his temper on set (or maybe it was John Connor who lost his temper...). Myself included. But I only find it humorous because he sounded like my older brother – he would rant then start to calm down but would get pissed again when someone would intervene to try to calm him down.And on the related topic of the ridiculous sensationalizing nature of US media, check out SNL's great take on the Michael Phleps with a bong fallout: Here.

Of course, my dad wasn’t really referring to my mom picking up little Christian Bale who was waiting for her at the library, but rather a film starring 13-year-old Christian Bale: Empire of the Sun.

The film came out in 1987. I wondered why I hadn’t seen it until now, then, as I wrote the date a few moments ago, realized that would be because I was four when the film came out. I’ll never understand why I tend to think that I’m much older than I really am.

I loved how the film (and the book it is based upon, which I should like to read) portrays WWII through the eyes of a child who, being an English boy in China during Japanese occupation, isn’t sure which side he wants to win the war. He is resourceful, clever, and charmingly innocent. Needless to say, Christian Bale showed immense talent, even at such a young age – gracefully carrying nearly every scene, never once breaking his concentration enough for the camera to catch a slip in focus that reminded us, “oh yeah, this little boy is just an actor, he’s doing his best, but he just pulled me out of the film.” No wonder they invented an award just for him after this film was released.

Intrigued, I did a bit more reading about Bale last night and learned that he was in Newsies. Newsies. Not only was it a shock to realize that Batman’s only 10 years older than me (or rather, how frickin old I am – wait, see? There I did it again!) and was therefore a teen around the same time that I was a kid, but that he was someone we made fun of. Yep. My older brother Nic and I would wait for the previews for Newsies to come on and roll on the floor in hysterics, imitating the singing, dancing newspaper boys. I think once we even watched part of the film and nearly wet our pants before our mom kicked us outside.

I am so borrowing that DVD next.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend Empire of the Sun. Not only is it a powerful, unique film, but it showcases Bale’s rare talent, even at an early age.

Empire of the Sun Trailer

Mackenzie’s Momma – That’s awesome – good for you! I’m wondering if we have anything like that around here, aside from 4-H. I wanna take some of your classes!

1 comment:

Mackenzies Momma said...

Sadly my library doesn't have "Empire of the Sun" *pouts* I just checked. Though I do have a stack of 'classics' staring at me at the moment.

Singin' in the Rain, A Streetcar Named Desire, Titanic(the 1953 version), To Kill a Mockingbird, The Marrying Kind, Judgement at Nuremberg, Hotel Rwanda, Hamlet(the Laurence Olivea version)

As for the classes check with your extension office and see what they have. They may have a similar program that(much like ours) isn't highly publicized. You can read a *short* article about our event here: in the Capital Press.