In this class we have studied many heroic tales. Some of the most important ones were the stories of Ancient Greece, such as Icarus. Whether they were written in 2010 or 1610, stories such as this still have relevance to our modern life. The struggles that men had in ancient times are still the struggles that we all face in our lives today. Human nature never changes and throughout time we will all be faced with the same problems and turmoil that have plagued man since the beginning of time.
In the myth of Icarus, we meet Daedalus, a skilled Athenian craftsman who was building a prison in which to hold the evil monster of Create, a Minotaur, which was a creature that was half man and half bull. However, the monster captured and imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus, first. In order to escape, the craftsman fashioned wings and attached them onto both he and his son. He then told his son not to fly too close to the sun. If he did then the wax from the wings would melt away and they would fall to the ground. Icarus grew too giddy and excited for his own wellbeing and flew too close to the sun thus falling out of the sky.
He drowned in what is now the Sea of Icaria, named after him. Icarus had became too brave and decided to soar the skies like a well-trained bird at flight. He was a victim of his own ego. Daedalus did not ruin his wings because he was more careful, wiser, and mature. This story is, of course, a myth meant to teach people a good lesson – never let your ego get the best of you! Many writers over the years have claimed that the father and son fled Create by boat and said that Icarus fell over board and drowned. The Minotaur could be a metaphor for a “human monster” such as a murderer or other human anti-hero.
Brewster McCloud is a movie from 1970 about a 19 or 20-year-old boy from Houston, Texas who, like Icarus and Daedalus, had many ordeals in his life. First of all, he was semi-homeless, secretly living in the Houston Astro Dome. Brewster must evade security guards to do this. Another issue in his life was his lack of money; therefore he must depend on women to bring him food. He also stole a camera, but that was simply to take pictures at the zoo. Fortunately, he had the help of one special girl, Louise, played by Sally Kellerman.
With the power of beauty and her seductiveness, she helped him sneak around the arena as well as steal anything he needed for both survival and the ability to fly. The main goal for Louise and Brewster is to fly around the dome. Throughout this movie, they were on the run from the police as well as “San Francisco Super Cop” Frank Shaft. The entire city of Houston is looking for them yet they managed to escape. Unfortunately, Brewster dies while falling from his successful flight around the Astro Dome. This film was shot on location in Houston in 1970. Brewster Mccloud is the story of “A Boy Who Must Defy Gravity and the Houston Police”.
The movie’s correlation with Icarus is for many reasons, the most obvious being that both Icarus and Brewster are both lower class teenagers who are fascinated with the idea of flight, therefore they risk it all in order to live out their dream. They also must outrun the people attempting to take them prisoner, weather it be the police or a half man, half bull monster. Speaking of monsters, both young male characters are antagonized by a mean old man who runs the land. In Brewster Mccloud, he is the 99-year-old land- lord who Brewster drives around in a Rolls Royce.
This old man makes degrading remarks to his chauffer while the young man simply drives around Houston with him. The half man, half bull in Icarus also rules the area in which the father and son are held captive. Brewster murders the old man, while Icarus and his father simply fly away. Vanity is another subject displayed in both stories. Icarus is so vein that he flies too close to the sun and drowns. Brewster could be considered even more vain. This character is almost a psychopath. He murders and steals just to get his way. In the movie, Brewster kills a cop, his employer, and an angry man who simply wants his racecar back.
Both of these characters hold themselves in such high regard that it is hazardous to themselves and others. One more complicated correlation is that Brewster is not necessarily modeled after Icarus, but aspects of him are more like the monster of Create. Both characters murdered and killed people, both were in some way imprisoned, whether it be in an actual jail or simply a room because they had nowhere else to live. The authorities in both stories wanted both characters caught and tried for murder. One group was more successful than the other. Another similarity was that both the monster and Brewster were good with women.
The monster stole Daedalus’ wife and Brewster had two girlfriends and went home with a girl after sleeping in her car. In fact, the girl was so impressed by him that she even gave him her stolen racecar. A monster could be human and very real in the natural world. In this case, we could say that Brewster was the monster. He had a warm, innocent exterior – a guy that seemed like he meant no harm. Behind that light, childlike behavior, he was a cold-blooded murderer who stole from stores and cared more for sex and his own wellbeing than for the safety of others.
This was very much like the Minotaur in Create who kidnapped the wife of Minos and murdered all of those people in Greece. The only difference between the monster in Icarus and Brewster was that the later cared about his women, loved animals, and was only doing what he had to do. I am not saying both characters are purely evil. Both Brewster McCloud and Icarus had one brutal factor in them which was death. Many people were killed in both stories, weather they were the authorities, women, or simply those who stood in the way of achieving the goal of the journey.
Is death so common that it should appear in every story? Are these storytellers simply saying to their audience that death is going to happen in any risky story of survival? Brewster McCloud was an entertaining and wonderful example of indie films of the 1970s. Despite the low budget, I feel that the production was well conceived and was a great way of bringing these stars of the television program M*A*S*H to a wider audience and may have brought their careers beyond TV and onto the far-reaching silver screen.
According to the Wikipedia entry, this film still has a cult following to this day. Icarus is a fabulous Greek Tale of someone being an egotist and someone being blinded by their emotions. It teaches us that in order to succeed, we must keep a level head and concentrate on the situation at hand. Like many other Greek Myths, it has been handed down by many generations. Some scholars believe that Icarus is based on a true story and that instead of flying, the father and son escaped the island by boat. The fact that the son drowned was due to falling off the boat and not falling from the sky.