The Yellow Brick Road
“Joe Versus the Volcano” is both a fairy tale and romantic comedy. The goofball characters, and sneaky symbolism of this screenplay by Shanley, make this zany movie the comic delight that it is. The overall look and feel of this movie leaves the audience with the feeling that life is worth living, miracles do occur, and God is in control. There are many symbolisms and visual metaphors incorporated into this movie, and these visual elements work collectively to give the story meaning. The scene where Joe is on his way to work, he walks down a crooked road that zigzags like a lightning bolt towards the big factory. This lightning bolt symbol is the logo of the American Panascope Corporation, the big factory that he worked for. The aerial shot clearly reveals the crooked road as he walks with his co-workers in unison looking bored, uninspired, and lifeless as they walk to the factory. The crooked road symbolizes to the audience how crooked the road of life can be, thus the resemblance to the symbolism of the yellow brick road in the “Wizard of Oz”. In the apartment where Joe lived, the brick wall in his living room revealed a large crack that zigzagged like the crooked road to work. During this scene, light is shining through the crack outwardly projecting the crooked road of life like a neon sign. The office where Joe worked is very dark and dingy, with stale uncirculated air to breathe. Fluorescent lights buzzed in the background, zapping the energy from all the employees. Joe concealed a colorful Hawaiian looking lamp to brighten up his office. This lamp symbolized Joe’s need to lighten up his life, thus the additional light and warmth projected by the lamp enabled him to tolerate the redundant and boring limitations of his job. Mr. Waturi, Joe’s boss,
confronted Joe about ordering some supplies when he noticed Joe’s Hawaiian lamp. Get rid of that lamb his boss explained, “This is not your room Joe! This is an office! Take it away!”...
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