Though there is no end to the number of quality scenes in Battlefield Earth, none better exemplifies the word “great” than the moment when alien warlord Terl (John Travolta) downs an intergallactic martini and heckles his friend at the bar with the line…. April fools.
This month’s real pick, The Witch Who Came From the Sea, is not a great film either, but it does make use of bizzare imagery and conflicting emotions. The opening scene is particularly devastating, even though it is a simple establishing shot. For me, it deserves repeated viewing.
The audience is set on top of an empty beach to view the length of the shoreline. We see thin green credits flash on and off the screen. We hear the sound of waves rolling in and out. Though a bit grey and brown, things seem calm enough. If we were unaware of the film’s title, we might even believe the shot is modestly asking us to reflect on some childhood memory.
Then, in an instant, the camera is struck by a giant black wave. Our vision is shaken and blotted. We briefly see the consistency of the water as it rewinds: it is crummy. It leaves splatter on the camera as it pulls out to sea again. We hear two minor notes burst out from an offscreen horn. This sound repeats twice more. Then we are told to rethink things again, when we hear the peaceful whistling of a flute. In the distance we see a woman and two children running along the water’s edge toward us. They are playing innocently, unaware of the shadow that might await them. Occasionally, the horn plays again as the family comes closer.
But the ocean never changes. The waters roll on top of each other incestuously, brother and sister wave mixing themselves, smashing up against the resilient and ever silent sand. The sea never touches the camera again, but the audience is not comforted. We know something is brewing. The greater percentage of the earth’s surface is inching in on the lesser, incessantly like an abuser. Out of the murky ocean the witch is coming. She is coming with a vengeance.
Check out the whole film bellow:
Also, if you haven’t already, check out last month’s One More Scene: Nietzsche’s Potatoes