The Soul is Located in the Chest

See other posts in the "Chris Dane Owens" series.

I just watched this video, as first blogged about by our own Matt. This is mandatory viewing.

What happened? Did Chris Dane Owens just waltz into my life, reach into my chest, and, with much pomp, touch my soul? Is the chest even where the soul is located? Most importantly, could the fanciful reality that exists within C.D.O.'s mind pull me out of blog-sabbatical? The answers are: Providence; Yes; Probable; and obviously, Yes.

I'm finding it difficult to organize my thoughts, however. I think it's safe to chalk that one up to the schizophrenic cinematography, which has mind-scattering effects similar to that of heroin, fire alarms, or a Vietnam flashback. Let me be clear -- that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

At first glance, "Shine" lays siege to the concepts of sustained thought and traditional storytelling. It seems to synthesize elements from Lord of the Rings, Master and Commander, and Dragon Ball Z into a stunningly ambitious four-minute window.
Despite repeated viewing, I was unable to connect more than a handful of frames into a coherent story element. The only "themes" that revealed themselves to me were a stubborn refusal to choose a consistent temporal or physical setting, and a recurring set of three women. And I was hesitant to identify the women as a theme, since each successive appearance places them in such a ludicrously unrelated context that any attempt to derive meaning from them was akin to putting my brain into a food processor.

Oh, cool, they're Dark Knights.

Oh, wait, ok, they're some do-good angels!

Ok, hold on -- a dragon-queen triumvirate?

Witches? What?

Futuristic Charlie's Angels? COME ON

With much persistence and a blog-wide effort, especially from Matt S, I'm starting to grasp the narrative depth and, perhaps, coherence, of this video. And so
despite feeling, mentally, like Harrison Bergeron, let's set in motion the proper analytical treatment that "Shine" deserves.

Obviously, our first pressing question to address is: "Who IS Chris Dane Owens?" I could draw equal physical comparisons to Vincent Price, Legolas, and those ghost-twins from "The Matrix Reloaded." With a bit of gumption and some internet digging, contributor Matt N found an excellent primer to all things C.D.O. -- this interview with the LA Times music blog.

With this background under our belts, I would like to highlight a few aspects of this video that vex me. For starters, there are a few shots that seem wholly out of place. I'm aware that "Shine" attempts to create a genre-transcending, mis-en-scene-borrowing mega-world -- but certain scenes are just downright puzzling:

Is this a colonial drumline?

Another source of confusion (although perhaps my favorite scene) comes up at just before the halfway mark, when we're abruptly introduced to a Chris Martin-esque captain, who apparently detonates an enemy ship with a flick of his sabre. Questions immediately arise: "Whose ship just exploded?" and, "Is Chris Martin an ally, or an enemy?" (his questionable facial expressions impel me towards the latter).

This (above) suddenly leads to this (below)

As much as I love this video, C.D.O. has a frustrating penchant for following up his totally sweet scenes (and some of them are
totally sweet) with lackluster shot. For example:

Not Sweet
Not Sweet
Totally Sweet
Incredibly Not Sweet
And we're back to sweet
Of course, the common theme of these "not sweet" shots is C.D.O.'s love interest. I understand that the power of their love is one of the main messages in this video, but I would have preferred that it was represented with the same passion and vigor as the action shots.

I'm confident that my brief criticism will be overshadowed by our further investigation of "Shine." After all, Owens has given us the greatest gift a man can give: the redemptive light of his chest-cavity (the soul?).


Edgar Keats said...

I haven't even read this yet, but YES


I'm planning a 27 page reply, but I need you to tell me how you got the screen shots. They are a necessity.

Coaltrain said...



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