July 13, 2020

Death Stranding’s Example: Abandoning The Comfort Zone

Death Stranding's Example

This post about Death Stranding’s example is technically my third overall here at IndieGala. Previously I’ve covered both the game and it’s creator Hideo Kojima, and I loved every single one of those posts. Like I mentioned in both of them, I became a huge Kojima fan after playing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Oh, and not to mention that I’m looking forward to purchasing the game for my PC.

The pre-purchase offer ends in a matter of hours here at IndieGala, and before the 14th July release, I thought it’s good to revisit Death Stranding. Once more. The Death Stranding released date is scheduled, the keys are already prepared, but it’s good to explore other similar topics. Namely the Death Stranding’s Example. What do I mean by that? Well, allow me to elaborate. Up to Death Stranding, the game creator and director Hideo Kojima has been known mostly for his Metal Gear series.

Death Stranding’s Example and Hideo Kojima’s Goodbye To Metal Gear

A series of action/adventure stealth games (The Metal Gear Series that is) are forever going to be associated with Hideo Kojima. It’s a fact. But after the acrimonious split from Konami, and 5 years after going solo, Kojima presented Death Stranding. I’ll explain the symbolism and the meaning behind Death Stranding and a separate post (stay tuned for that). But for now, I’ll explain a phenomenon if you will that some directors (Kojima is probably the last on the list) experience late in their careers.

The phenomenon of abandoning their comfort zones. Take Hideo Kojima for example. Until his departure from Konami, he was responsible (for the most part) in nurturing one massive franchise. He spent almost 3 decades in the company, and his exit meant that he would need to start over. To start fresh indeed.

Death Stranding's Example

Death Stranding’s Example: Going in the opposite direction

The topic here is going in the opposite direction. Abandoning the comfort zone and trying out something new. Kinda like Hideo Kojima did with Death Stranding. He showed us an open-world game that’s not just different from his previous work, but different from most of the game you can find anywhere. Furthermore, Kojima refers to Death Stranding as the first “strand game”. An original genre characterized by the game’s incorporation of social elements. In addition to refraining from giving my opinion about the game, I’m also going to refrain from comparing it to plenty of other games. I’ll leave that to you. You can also share your thoughts and impression about the game in the comment section. Would love to know if you liked it or now. Tell us. We’d love to know.

But which directors (similarly to Hideo Kojima) did that as well? Which famous directors abandoned their comfort zone and why?

Kenneth Branagh – Thor

Can you imagine Laurence Olivier directing Iron Man? Well, Marvel’s decision to hire Branagh for the directorial job was very similar. The man who made a career of directing and starring in acclaimed Shakespearean dramas directed Thor back in 2011. Go figure. In fact, Branagh was confirmed as director of Thor back in 2008. More than a year before the production even began. And according to plenty of reports, it was this Shakespearean connection that really brought Branagh his job. J. Michael Straczynski, co-writer of Thor said about Branagh:

“Thor, at his best, has always had a classic bent in terms of his history, the way he speaks and the often Shakespearean dramas that surround him. That kind of dialogue and character needs someone who comes from a classically trained background for it not to sound forced or artificial. Branagh is a perfect choice.”. So you have William Shakespeare to thank for Thor.

the dark world thor GIF

Wes Craven – Music of the Heart

The director that was synonymous with the horror genre, showed us Music Of The Heart back in 1999. Who’d have thought that? A biopic about an East-Harlem violin teacher with Meryl Streep in the lead? Yeah, I had to do a double-check as the opening credits rolled too. But. Wes was such a layered and talented man. Did you know that all he ever wanted to make were romantic dramas? He was a fan of classical music too. Also, did you know that at the very start of his career he directed adult movies? He did. And I think that Music of the Heart was his one opportunity to fulfill his dream.

So, Immediately following the success of 1996’s Scream, Bob and Harvey Weinstein offered him a three-picture deal, two of which were to be horror films. However, the last of the three movies had to be “a petticoat film” (i.e. a costume drama for which the Weinsteins were known at the time). And since Craven, was a fan of classical music, chose to direct this film. And the rest is history. I suppose… You have the Weinstein’s to thank for this movie?

Clint Eastwood – The Bridges of Madison County

Here’s the thing. Clint Eastwood directed his first movie back in 1971. His directorial debut was the psychological thriller Play Misty for Me, and it’s fantastic. Check it out. He was 41 years old, and since then he directed dozens upon dozens of great movies. The man turned 90 this May, so you can imagine the scope of his career.

But back in 1995, he gave us The Bridges of Madison County. Again, with Meryl in the lead female role, and you’ve guessed it. It’s probably your mom’s favorite movie. I know it’s my mom’s. It’s a romantic drama about let’s call them star-crossed lovers, and before Eastwood agreed to direct it, Spielberg should have been taking over the project. Since he bought the rights for the novel. But he signed on to direct Schindler’s List instead, and after Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford declined, the script fell into Clint’s lap. The rest is history.

the bridges of madison county gifs | WiffleGif

David Lynch – The Straight Story

If you’re trying to seek meaning in David Lynch’s movies, don’t. You’ll probably have more luck finding the meaning of life. But, sandwiched between Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, sits a very different David Lynch movie. The Straight Story.

A movie based on the true story of Alvin Straight’s 1994 journey across Iowa and Wisconsin. On a lawnmower. That’s right indeed. The great Richard Farnsworth played Alvin and Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton offer a great deal of support as well. Furthermore, Richard Farnsworth was terminally ill with bone cancer during the shooting of the film, which had caused the paralysis of his legs as shown in the film.

He actually took the role out of admiration for Alvin Straight and astonished his co-workers with his tenacity during production. Because of the pain of his disease, Farnsworth committed suicide the following year, at the age of 80. It’s a great movie, but very different from Lynch’s prior project. Worth giving it a shot though.

Death Stranding’s Example and some of your picks

Which movies would you add to this list? Maybe Francis Ford Coppola’s Jack? Or maybe Spike Lee’s Inside Man? Tell us in the comment section.

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