Monday, September 05, 2011

Morgan M Morgansen's Date with Destiny


Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 2010, 6 minutes.


The premise of Morgan M Morgansen's Date with Destiny is deceivingly simple. The story follows Morgan M Morgansen, played by director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, on a big date his pin-up, animal activist love interest, Destiny, played by Lexy Hulme. Morgansen anxiously prepares for his date, which goes well until he orders the rabbit for dinner. Destiny, being a vegetarian, is highly offended by his choice of dish. However, he smoothly avoids conflict by refusing to eat the meat. "Post bunny-boycott," Destiny is completely enamored by Morgansen, and, together, they run off happily ever after into the moonlight.

In this highly stylized narrative short film, the narration is exactly what is most impressive. The story is told in almost a surreal version of English. The language used is purposely verbose and the effect is equally hilarious and hypnotizing. For example, instead of calling Morgansen's chair a "chair," the narrator would call it a "person-holder." In this short, a smile is referred to as a "lip lift"and a waiter is a "food bringer." When Morgansen wants to tell Destiny she is sexy, he says "You look verily procreational." Its almost as if the creators established a rule at the beginning of production that no word they wanted to use in the script could actually be used. Consequently, basic words are replaced by descriptions. Combined with alliteration and much more word play, this short is a treat for all lovers of rhetoric.

Each time you watch "Morgan M Morgansen's Date with Destiny," you will hear or see something you didn't the last time. I've watched it countless times and with each viewing I hear a new turn of phrase I didn't catch before. My only criticism of the piece is that it tries to accomplish too much at once. Such a witty narration could easily carry a short in my opinion. However, the visuals of the film almost compete with its story. The film is, visually, a combination of Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge," the very first black and white motion pictures, and a very random selection of collage and dark illustrations. Combined with the narration, the style of the film can be too much. But this is nothing that a few viewings cannot solve.

I find this short to be extremely entertaining, and like I said before, a gift to anyone who loves word play. However, I think it will be remembered for more than just it's entertainment value. While researching the short, I found that its unique creation is what sets it apart from all other short films discussed on this blog. Morgan M Morgansen is one the first widely released projects created by HitRECord. HitRECord, founded by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (surprise!), is a production company of sorts that revolves around the online collaboration that is done on the website Members of the site can either suggest or rank ideas for a creative project, with numerous members of the website working on a single project at a time. Therefore, there were countless contributors to "Morgan M Morgansen's Date with Destiny," which I believe justifies it's tendency to slightly overwhelming. HitRECord is an exciting new approach to creation in the age where internet rules. We have all seen how the world wide web can play a vital role in the sharing of shorts, now it can play a role in the production of shorts. "Morgan M Morgansen's Date with Destiny" beautifully places form over content, and despite audience over-stimulation, shows great promise for HitRECord.


Johanna Juli said...

Oh such a wonderful short movie!
I'm very impressed!

Thanks for your blog! it's impressing,too!

Anastasia Crittenton said...

This was lovely! I think Joseph Gordon-Leviitt is doing a wonderful thing with HitRECord but I hadn't seen much of the company before this and this was absolutely wonderful!

I definitely felt a touch of Baz Luhrman. You say it could have been a simpler piece. In what ways would you have simplified it?

Justin said...

I saw this in the beginning of the year and enjoyed it for the combination of glitchy surrealism and unconventional wordplay. The black and white, silent film characteristic mixed with the strange vocabulary gives off the feeling that you are watching a scene unfold from an alternate period of the past. There is a sequel to this too, which I need to check out.