Review: Darren Aronofsky’s The FountainBeyond UCF, Culture, Entertainment, Movies & TV — By Myron McGhee on October 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm Tweet
I had first heard of The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky through watching the film late one night on HBO. It was late, I couldn’t sleep, and that was the only thing that was on.
I didn’t understand the film. So I re-watched it and still didn’t get it. Then I wrote a quick essay on it, turned it in to my professor and got an “A”.
After a few days I got the graphic novel in hopes of trying to understand the movie a little better. The story spans three different time periods, the distant past, the present, and the distant future.
Tom, the protagonist, goes by three different names in this story. Tomas, the Spanish conquistador looking for the fountain of youth, Tommy, the doctor looking for a way to keep his dying wife alive, and Tom, a space traveler looking for a way to keep a special tree from dying.
Each storyline, each lifetime, faces the same problem; trying to keep death at bay. The conquistador story takes us to the Mayan civilization as Thomas searches for the fountain of youth. If he can find it his love, Elizabeth the Queen of Spain, will be able to keep power over the throne.
The story then changes timelines to the present in which Tommy, a modern doctor, is working on a way to “cure” death, for he sees it as a disease. His wife “Izzie” is sick with cancer and may die any day now, a fact Tommy is aware of. Finally he and his colleagues find what they are looking for in the bark of a rare tree. Tommy is ecstatic, but the discovery comes too
late for his wife.
The final storyline takes place in a sphere floating through space. The same tree that managed to ward off death is now dying itself and Tom, the traveler of empty space, is looking for a way to keep it alive; keeping himself alive with it. In this lifetime he is haunted by the memory of his dead wife, telling him that he had made one of the greatest mistakes of his life;
running from death.
The three lifetimes intersect, crossing back and forth in a strange way; almost trying to communicate with each other. The conquistador lifetime is contained in a storybook Izzie is writing, which she asks Tommy to finish before she died. The memory of that book still haunts Tom as he travels through space.
The art work, done by Kent Williams, is interesting. Instead of being drawn with pencil and shading, this book is painted using watercolors. Each lifetime has a different artistic atmosphere. Williams uses heavy colors in the conquistador storyline to create a “traditional” feel, but in the modern day storyline he uses muted colors to convey a depressed world, one in
which death is seen as an enemy.
The Fountain is not just a lesson on death, but on how obsessions can span lifetimes; how running away from death only makes it our master. The Fountain is a work that is dense and complicated and may require multiple readings (or viewings if you want to see the film) to fully understand. You can learn from it, or, if all else fails, you can write a killer essay on the film and you’re professor will think you’re brilliant.