Friday, July 05, 2013

No emotional appeal to grownups

David Denby writes a New Yorker review:

The first large-scale digital spectacle in years that’s likely to have some emotional meaning for grownups. It’s just a big zombie movie, but it stirs up fears of plague and anarchy and ...
No, there is no emotional meaning for grownups. There are a lot of action scenes centered about Brad Pitt. People turn into rabid zombies 12 seconds after a bite. The zombies spread around the world because no one bothers to check whether there are any zombies on board airplanes. Pitt is on some UN mission that makes no sense, but he never reports to his superiors anyway. He only took the job because of a promise to save his family.

While civilization collapses, none of the good guys dies or becomes a zombie. There is no significant character development or moral issues. The movie was supposedly based on a book, but the book did not have the Pitt character, so I don't see how there could be much connection beyond the title.

The low-budget amateurish 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead is vastly superior in terms of emotional appeal to grownups.

I am not sure whether the "Z" stands for Zombies or Zionism. If there is any message to the movie, it is that the Zionists have it right, and the only way to preserve civilization from the invading overpopulating barbarians is to build 100-foot walls to keep them out or to shoot them on sight. There is no mention of curing them or coexisting with them. The front lines are places like Jerusalem borders and Newark housing projects.

Man of Steel is similarly entertaining as a mindless 3-D action movie, but it is a disaster for anyone who likes the Superman character. The movie re-invents the Superman story, and abolishes "mild-mannered reporter", secret identity, vulnerability to kryptonite, and "truth, justice, and the American way". He is a coward who is unwilling to face the public or stand up for his beliefs, and who timidly surrenders to the evil General Zod. We are not sure if he even has any beliefs, as he has to collect a lot of advice before he can make a decision. Lois Lane has more guts than he does.

The movie is anti-American. Superman is even played by a dopey British actor, and his father has an Australian accent. Hollywood makes most of its money outside the USA, so maybe it thought that wrecking an American comic hero would have some global appeal. Again, there is no emotional appeal for grownups. Maybe that is a trend. It is fun to watch all the steel and destruction, as long as you do not take these movies seriously.

No comments: