In one of the funniest scenes in "Animal House" a pot-smoking professor played by Donald Sutherland prattled on about metaphysical nonsense.
The difference between Professor Jennings' ramblings in "Animal House" and "The Fountain" is that the 2006 film is deadly serious.
As written by director Darren Aronofsky — who directed the powerful "Requiem for a Dream" and the trippy low-budget "Pi" — the thundering bore of a movie is full of metaphysical hooey about the nature of life, death and the benefits of eating tree bark (don't ask).
"Death is an act of creation," one character intones at one point, as if they were repeating some sort of New Age scripture.
"The Fountain" is the type of movie in which people don't really talk — they make pronouncements.
"For you there is only death, but our destiny is life!" Hugh Jackman's conquistador/surgeon/futuristic spaceman says.
That Jackman keeps a straight face spouting all this nonsense is testament to his professionalism.
The movie interweaves three story lines that are related somehow, maybe. A 16th Century Spanish conquistador (Jackman) is sent to the New World by the Spanish queen (Rachel Weisz) to find the fountain of youth. A modern-day surgeon (Jackman, again) is trying to find a cure for his wife's (Weisz) brain tumor. Finally, a 26th Century spaceman (Jackman, yet again) is floating through the cosmos while eating tree bark in what looks like a giant snow globe.
If you concentrate really hard or take some sort of chemical assistance, "The Fountain" might make sense.