In 2004 Trademarks Pictures released Sheer 2, a well-known American computer- animated fantasy-comedy film dedicated towards a mature audience due to its post modernistic approach. It is the second segment to the Sheer film series and is followed by another two films. The film starts right where the first movie finished. After Sheer and Princess Fauna’s honeymoon they are invited to the kingdom of Far Far Away to meet the princess’ royal parent’s. But then tension builds up when the couple arrives at kingdom.
Sheer and the King are not in good terms due to the couple being ogres. And it is not Just the family who are furious about this. Prince Charming comes back from an unsuccessful effort at freeing Fauna and works together with his mother, the Fairy Godmother, to force Sheer away from Fauna. The film is comprised of traditional and contemporary fairy-tale plots aiming at other films altered from several kids’ fantasies consisting predominantly of animated Disney pictures.
It also features popular music with the soundtrack consisting of songs by Counting Crows, Harry Nilsson, Chic, Morton Stevens, Lips Inc. , David Bowie and Lola Chiffon. These elements made the film explode into popularity thereby achieving numerous awards and contributing to the production of two more segments: Sheer the Third (2007), and Sheer Forever After (2010). On the other hand, due to the film’s success, it also influenced the formation of a movement questioning Trademarks’ post modernistic approach in their production of films.
Some stated that it is not appropriate to be viewed by children. The strange side effect of today’s meta-stories is that kids get exposed to the parodies before, or instead of, the originals… Someday the kids will read the original tale and wonder why the stupid straw-house pig doesn’t Just hop onto the next shelf (Pinewood, 2007, Para. 7). In order to understand how this approach on films works, it is essential to study and elaborate on the concepts of postmodern theory.
Strains (2004) suggests that the main features of postmodernism are: surface and style at the expense of substance, where playfulness and Jokes, and what things look like, are said to predominate at the expense of content, substance and meaning; confusions over time and space; and the decline of intransitives, resulting in a diverse, iconoclastic, referential and collage-like character of postmodern popular culture.
This essay will illustrate and issues these concepts in relation to the Sheer 2, and it will provide explanations and definitions from the perspective of Striating main features of postmodernism. The first difficulty in defining postmodernism is that every person has their own explanation of it. But to exemplify Striating postmodern theory, modernism must first be defined. What is modernism? Modernism is really the understanding that is associated with the rise of modern science, capitalism and rational thinking. The enlightenment-humanist rejection to tradition and authority in devour to reason and natural science. This is founded upon the assumption of the autonomous individual as the sole source of meaning and truth–the Cartesian coccid’ (Keep & Mclaughlin & Appear, 1993, Para. 3). It is merely living on modern views, values and philosophies or a different way of looking at the world. It can be considered as a movement in contradiction of the magical and the mystical into the factual and things that can be proven. Modernism was not simply a style: but more of an attitude, a determination to break with the past and free the architect from the stifling rules of convention and etiquette” (Bose, 2008, Para. 3). This is the reason why postmodernism is challenging to define cause modernism’s boundaries are so free and open. Therefore what is postmodernism? If the word is broken-down postmodernism is what exists after modernism, hence post meaner after. According to Strains (2004), postmodernism describes the emergence of a society in which the mass media and popular culture are the most important and powerful institutions.
These tend to control and shape all other types of social relationships. He also states that it is an attempt to understand a media-saturated society. It is a rational standpoint which demands that it is absurd to create monumental testimony (intransitives) about society and history for the reason that all that can be observed, signified, described and it is shaped by one’s sex, societal group, and principles. It also suggests that all information is limited and fixed, and one’s understanding cannot exceed another’s.
Jean-François Leotard (1984) defined postmodernism as “incredulity towards intransitives”. Narratives refer to stories or relations and Meta meaner after, beyond or with. The Joining of these two words provides a concept of going beyond the relations or stories. “Intransitives are ideas such as religion, science, art, dermis and Marxism which make absolute, universal and all-embracing claims to knowledge and truth… As it has been of any theory which tries to read a pattern of progress into history… In short intransitives are in decline” (Strains, 2004, p. 09). It is a skeptical attitude towards all claims of absolute truth. It simulates the role of reason that eventually is able provide answers to all else. Postmodernism suggests that a story is still open to interpretation but yet can be defined in many respects and that there are an infinite number of stories. It is simply a departure from modernism. This causes fragmentation in the social order for the reason that people are being dragged in different directions. It exults reason to such a degree that it tends to put faith second.
It is the understanding that all modern thoughts have become old- fashioned as well as an attitude or suspicion towards all claims of absolute truth. The first feature of Striating postmodern theory is surface and style at the expense of substance, playfulness and Jokes. “For postmodern culture anything can be turned into a Joke, reference or quotation in its eclectic play of styles, simulations and surfaces” (Strains, 2004, p. 207). These concepts suggest that all things can be formed into a Joke, reference or remark in its broad scope of surfaces and style.
This results a difficulty to maintain a meaningful distinction between art and popular culture because this process has taken over in defining one’s sense of reality as well as style takes precedence over content. “If popular culture and media images are taking over in defining our sense of reality for us, and if this meaner that style takes precedence over content, then it becomes more difficult to maintain a meaningful distinction between art and popular culture” (Stagnant, 2004, p. 207). This concept can be seen in the film Sheer 2 when or right after Puss in Boots tries to assassinate Sheer.
Puss is about to eliminate Sheer for good but suddenly he stops, retches and coughs out a hairball. It is obvious that this Joke takes away the seriousness of the scene because the intention of Puss assassinating Sheer was instantly ignored. Another example is when Sheer drinks the magic potion. Before drinking the potion he was expressing his unconditional love for Fauna. He then drinks the potion while Puss and Donkey nervously take cover with the music intensifying. Distraction is provided when out of nowhere Sheer farts.
A further example in the film illustrating this concept is when Pinochle attempts to rescue Sheer, Puss and Donkey. He does this in the dungeon by doing a cable drop but ends up being stuck in the ropes. It is basically a failed remake of a famous scene in Mission Impossible (1996), but the Joke here is when Zingy carries on with the rescue using Pinochle’s ability to make his nose grow when he lies. Donkey suggests to Pinochle to lie about wearing ladies’ underwear and it does not work because he is in fact wearing a pair.
Again these Jokes are utilized to distract from the sincerity and excitement of the scene. The next feature of Striating postmodern theory is what things look like predominating at the expense of content, substance and meaning. This is true and people are progressively utilizing images or appearance for natural advantage instead of for broad meaning or for what it is capable to represent. “Images and signs are consumed precisely because they are images and signs, regardless of questions of utility and value” (Strains, 2004, p. 07). This meaner that people consume images exactly for the reason that they are images, and ignore their demands of importance. “Also, postmodern culture refuses to respect the retentions and distinctiveness of art” (Strains, 2004, p. 208). Due to this, qualities like sincerity, reality and intellectual depth are likely to be weakened. The public are intensely persuaded by the brand while purchasing with the brand coming to have greater significance than the commodity and the packet becoming more essential than the contents.
With regards to Sheer 2, the concept of images over substance can be seen to be portrayed when Puss holds his hat in his chin and mesmerism anybody with his adorable wide-eyed, alluringly guiltless look. “Images dominate narrative” (Harvey, 1989, up. 347-348). The visual and stylistic effect becomes superior to the meaning and message. Another feature of Striating postmodern theory is confusions over time and space. Postmodern theory is a culture deprecated on immediacy meaning its entirety is at present.
The control of the mass media causing the rising proximity of space and time signifies that the earlier cohesive and logical ideas regarding space and time becomes distorted and confused which ultimately results in negligence. Postmodern popular culture is seen to express these confusions and distortions, as such, it is less likely to reflect coherent senses of space and time… In short, postmodern popular culture is a culture sans frontiers, outside history (Strains, 2004, p. 208-209). In the film Sheer 2, there are vast amounts of scenes where this concept is being depicted.
One is the first appearance of Sheer in the film during the scene where he uses a video camera to record a moment of him and Fauna. Clearly there is confusion over space and time in this scene in that the film is in a medieval setting and cameras should have not yet existed at that time. This is seen all throughout the film with the use of modern tools and services in medieval times. Examples of this are razor blades, bathing suits with floral design, fast food drive-thru, the industrialized factory of potions, television, the television show Knights (a reference to COPS), pepper spray, stage lights and microphones.
Also the use of contemporary music like “Lee freak” by Chic, “Accidentally in Love” by Counting Crows, and ‘Living’ La Vida Local’ made famous by Risky Martin are all over the film. These create further elements that create disorientation over time and space that results in limbo. The decline of intransitives is another feature of Striating postmodern theory. Intransitives are accounts of testimonies, stories and tales that make absolute universal claims to knowledge and truth, such as: modernism, art, science, and religion.
Postmodern theory is highly skeptical about these intransitives, and argues that they are disintegrating, losing their validity and legitimacy and increasingly prone to criticism… Rejects the claim of any theory to absolute knowledge, or demand of any social practice to universal validity (Strains, 2004, p. 209). Great examples of this in Sheer 2 can be seen with an ogre being the main character or the hero of the film. A heroic, kind-hearted and loving ogre that will do anything to make the love of his life happy is very unusual and contradicting to most traditional fairy-tale plots.
In addition the fairy godmother in this film is the master villain which is again an unusual element in traditional fairy tale. Postmodernism contends that these intransitives are progressively vulnerable to Judgment and extremely suspicious, “As a result, qualities such as artistic merit, integrity, seriousness, authenticity, realism, intellectual depth and strong narratives tend to be undermined” (Strains, 2004, p. 207). The effect of this is the dismissal of the rationality, reliability and legitimacy of these intransitives.
Striating last feature of postmodern theory is that it is diverse (mixing of styles), iconoclastic, referential and collage-like. This concept promotes the degradation of traditional ideals and the rejection to Jurisdiction to the creator disregarding their intent and right to function as a representative for an era. It refutes predictability regularly with the intention of antagonizing the audience. Postmodern theory contaminates the original using parody and ridicule. In Sheer 2 this is depicted by he referencing of famous icons known to popular culture.
Examples of this are displayed when Sheer, Fauna and Donkey arrived at what seems to be the Beverly Hills of Far Far Away kingdom with such things as Rapeseed’s tower, Cinderella castle, a Burger Prince logo (a reference to Burger King), Overreaches (a reference to Versa), the Struck logo, Palm trees referencing Beverly Hills, the castle of Far Far Away with fireworks referencing Disney, and the large Far Far Away sign a reference to the Hollywood landmark which is an American cultural icon. … Advertisements used to tell us how valuable and useful a product was.
However, they now say less about the product directly, and are more concerned with sending up or parodying advertising itself by citing other adverts, by using references drawn from popular culture and by self-consciously making clear their status as advertisements (Strains, 2004, p. 214). It takes away direct reference, decreasing essence to almost nothing as well as affronting social situations which are exposed by an essential formal approach. In conclusion, this essay has discussed Striating main features of postmodern theory in relation to the Trademarks film Sheer 2.