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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: The Man of Steel (2012)  (Read 6892 times)
Will

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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #30 on: Feb 14th, 2014, 08:03am »

on Feb 10th, 2014, 09:26am, Clerk wrote:
Im probably going to beat a dead horse, so Ill keep it short- I really hated Man of Steel. It felt like they planned out a bunch of cool scenes (Superman saving the oil rig, Superman suddenly at a bar), but never had any big plot to really push it through. At least Batman told you why he was traveling the world and what he wanted, it felt like Superman lacked any of that in the beginning.


In Begins, Wayne is rather lost as well. It also fits in with the larger thematic idea of Imprisonment that runs through to DKR...but anyway, that''s a different discussion.

More to the point with Superman, I thought aimlessness was the film's point. He's adrift at the point in the film's structure; the visual narrative makes sure to hit on this pretty strongly, with the very literal image of him out at sea. It's about him trying to follow his Earth Father's Ethos -- otherwise, as we learn later, what was the point of his death? The idea of trying to be anonymous. The idea of trying to be a common man and a faceless god in the same body.

The structure of MoS has Nolan's hands all over it so far as the asynchronous time shifts in the narrative-build (one could point to Watchmen for Snyder, but the film's larger outline is a slave to what it's adapting).

Begins presents a similar visual statement, relative to Steel, with the very early shot of Wayne dumped in the frozen wilderness; it's a pretty obvious psychological statement through framing.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #31 on: Apr 28th, 2014, 08:38am »

http://www.newsarama.com/20972-zack-snyder-to-direct-justice-league-more-dc-films-in-development-named.html

Man Of Steel mindless, tasteless, thoughtless, soulless, meritless, joyless action. Amped up.

My money's on the next announcement being Power Girl 3D I'm amazed DC/Warner have managed to resist the magical cleavage window in 3D for this long. Just imagine the poster: Batman '89 was all about the iconic logo, so surely Power Girl 3D would follow the same marketing format? I think so. Just you wait, it'll happen.

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I think the poster would look a little like that top panel. It will happen. tongue
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #32 on: May 2nd, 2014, 3:31pm »

Who did Snyder blow? Seriously. Even Bryan Singer wants to know.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #33 on: May 14th, 2014, 05:42am »

Well here it is.

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For starters I do not like the short stubby ears. Never did in the comics. I always liked the more stylised gothic look with longer ears, give me Kelley Jones towering ears over Adam West stubs any day. But then it seems they're going for a Klaus Janson DKR look, and that had stubby ears. And Jim Lee favours stubby ears, and with the creative control he has these days I wouldn't be surprised if there were some little pushes sent Snyder's way.

To be honest though, this one photograph looks more "Batman" than Bale ever did, his costume sucked, I always hated his costumes, they lacked the grace and style that the character had always embodied. Can't say I like Jim Lee's comic Reboot designs (for anyone) either, what's with all the armour plate looking lines he put on everybody? Considering all these superheroes are supposed to have independent origins, it's amazing they all dress like they went to the same costume designer.

Also, it's good to see a more glossy 'leather' look cape back again, rather than Bale's jarring and cheap looking fabric one.
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I went into Batman Begins expected good things from Bale, and was sorely disappointed. I'm going into this expecting to be disappointed, will I actually come away more satisfied with Affleck than Bale? It's possible I suppose. If they wanted an older, more despondent Batman, I can't help thinking Misha Collins would have fit the bill. Yeah he's not a big guy, but I feel he would have pulled it off like Keaton.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #34 on: May 15th, 2014, 11:19am »

The photo is a microcosm. Not for Affleck, but for Snyder. This is what he does; his framing reminds me, at times, of an Alex Ross painting. It's striking at first glance, and the simplicity carries it forward. There's nothing wrong with that, in its selfsame context. It's very sophisticated trace paper.

The detailing is all about "bringing these characters to life". As an exhibit, it would appropriately be titled something along the lines of "Comic Book Heroes Within Verisimilitude".

The problem is that this truth is half-lie. It's all affect. It's all look. Ross' work is usually, if not always, pressing this point as a communicated assumption of being "adult". Of having gravitas simply by way of the implication: i.e. it looks real enough. Typically he matches this to the Silver Age, JFK/Camelot and hazy, mournful nostalgia.

You can see his attempts at being comic book Norman Rockwell. It feels like cheap Americana, like a self-aware fifties diner in the late eighties.

I've always said that style can be the highest of substance. But this style is the opposite: it's beautifully framed, with statuesque, sometimes Roccocesque ornamentation, that has/have no deeper value.

In the case of Snyder, this results in all those Watchmen stills which appear to be exactly what the comic was: superheroes in the real world. The square root of this material; going back to the source, purely.

Again, it's impressive as a screengrab. It's impressive as a trailer; suggesting that perhaps the Peter Principle is in effect, and Snyder should have been stopped at half-minute commercials (even then I doubt if he could equal, say, Scott's 1984; though I'm tempted to argue that his films don't even do that).

As marketing, it's not too bad. But what of Truth in Marketing? Exactly.

You get into the film, proper, what is it? It's a stripped down, soulless and safe translation of a seminal work. It's not that it makes changes, that's not what I object to. It's that it makes changes purely to be 1) of the politically correct zeitgeist (oh, look, Global Warming!) and 2) to pull back from uncomfortable implications intrinsic to both the direct source and the medium it was deconstructing.

Snyder doesn't care about or, if we take him as something other than a cynical opportunist, understand that source. He doesn't understand much of anything that is not a surface-read. And that's why his films have this intermix of Iconic(!), serious, "transcendent" scope matched to a textual -- and arguably tonal -- result that is empty. They don't elevate the medium or properly comment on much through it. They have pretty pictures which are supposed to overcome this, not understanding that those pictures should be that substance.

Man of Steel has this problem, unsurprisingly. It's not that it lacks fully in content, but rather that the content feels divorced from Snyder's framing. It really does. It feels like a half-interesting script directed by a guy who sees the spectacle of a scene but not the implications underpinning it.

The casting of Affleck is a pure studio move. If it works, I'd hazard it will work through the lowered expectations, as you hinted at.

But the idea that Affleck is a very interesting choice, let alone the best, from an acting standpoint is laughable.

The character is always in danger of being an iconic stiff. I don't doubt Affleck can pull at least half that off, with Snyder's boring direction filling in the other half.

I'm not calling for 1:1 casting of McConaughey, but when I think of what I value in the Batman character, and what I want as tonal/thematic marker, it can be found largely in the imprint of a character like Rustin Cohle. A morally questionable, depressive, psychologically damaged and, likewise, philosophical presence.

I seriously doubt that Snyder/Affleck are going to provide that. And on the Affleck side, let's be realistic: he has never shown, that I'm aware, the type of manic, hair-trigger temper and wit that the role requires. Acting is as much between the lines. What implications -- what energy -- does Affleck carry with him? The reason the Keaton portrayal was so effective was this idea of someone obsessed with control, that we could tell was barely able to control himself; that brimming, though contained, violence and sadism that makes the character interesting.

Both Snyder as director and Affleck as actor lack in this understanding of textual leveling: sub, supra and surface. 1 out of 3 isn't going to get it done.

Are we going to get Tenses? Are we going to get Blind Justice (itself a continuation, in my judgment, of themes in Hamm's Batman script)?

My guess... an advertisement for future Justice League movies.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #35 on: Jun 18th, 2014, 04:38am »

I rewatched Watchmen (Ultimate Cut) the other day. Other than the retarded changed ending I really think it is a mostly decent adaptation. While it was obviously abridged, even in it's near 4-hour cut, I do feel it kept very close to the book. So much so that the changed ending not only makes no sense in the context of the spirit of the book, but it makes no sense in the context of the preceding film. Dr Manhattan has such conceit and arrogance, all he cares about is himself and feeding his own ego, there is no way he would let himself be blamed for the attacks across the globe. Alien invasion that doesn't involve him? Yeah, he can objectively see the merits for earth, but his lack of interest means he doesn't really care. Blaming it on him, there's no way even with understanding the merits he'd agree to it if it is at the expense of his own precious ego.

Anyway, the reason for that mini rant is I cannot possibly say I enjoy the Watchmen film without making that point clear.

What this is all about, is that I think Watchmen did a decent job of conveying the themes of the book without dumbing it down to ridiculous levels (aside from that ending of course). Watchmen actually treated it's audience like they had a modicum if intelligence. I genuinely think it lacked the arrogance of the Nolan Batman trilogy, which thought it was far more clever than it was, and I think it lacked the tedious superficiality of most superhero films, Man Of Steel being prime example. Obviously it has some of the usual issues, it's too glossy and has unnecessary CGI, but it seems to actually try to have an intellectual/emotional impact, rather than the soulless trash we're usually fed.

I don't think the Watchmen film ever reaches the levels of sophistication as Batman Returns, but it seems to be one of the few superhero film more aimed at free thinking individuals over blindly following sheep idiot masses since then. I can commend Watchmen for at least making the effort, even if it fell short of the source material. Most don't make any efforts to rise above lowest IQ member of the audience and will always dumb everything down. As ever it all comes back to profit, and how much you're willing to sell out to make it, or how much the studio will force you to sacrifice to make it.

In short what I'm trying to say, is that Snyder is capable of delivering a mostly respectable film with Batman & Superman. But he wont.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #36 on: Jun 19th, 2014, 03:33am »

The film bothers me, largely, in the margins. Implications are redacted and, for all intents, excised. And what that does is tears away at the pathologies the book explored.

A couple examples for me involve the Comedian. The first is his age. Why was it changed? Because of the uncomfortable statement it makes about teen sidekicks, conflated as sex & violence in the rape scene. The narrative and thematic layering vis-a-vis the Comedian and his daughter is subverted by excising the under-age element from both characters' pasts.

Another is with how sanitized the post-Vietnam scar is. You say, well, it's cosmetic. But that's the point textually. And that's, unfortunately, the point of removing it on film. The scar needs to be deep, gruesome as cultural tract.

You mention Batman Returns. Contrast, for instance, the scenes when Wayne is investigating the Penguin. First is the question -- finally answered as a confession near the film's coda -- as to why he immediately suspects the Penguin, then feels the need to undermine him.

The visual outlay and interplay between the two characters, and between the second film and the first, is largely through implication. The parental loss, and darker secret(s) driving these characters, summed up by both with two roses.

it's not verbalized, here, but the mise en scene/tableaux creates a synergy between the two. The Penguin is a funhouse reflection of the title character.

Likewise, the Penguin's obsession with children. He's debased not only by embracing his animal side, but also by acting out as a lost child. The childish iconography -- the umbrellas, the union-suit-as-onesie, the giant duckies -- all plays to this. The culmination, of course, is with his plans to drown the first born sons.

But before that, Wayne discovers through the microfiche that the Penguin has already murdered multiple children; thus, why he's at the hall of records.

Embedded within the narrative as well are these ideas of yhe Penguin as Twisted Moses, anti-Christ of the Freaks (born on Christmas, dies at 33) and, yeah, as Dickensian, (anti?)Semitic figure.

Returns remains an outlier of sophistication tonally, and in its ability to both challenge and, depending, outrage through visual recall (intertext) and implication. It doesn't just feel European, but like pre-war Berlin -- you know, Murnau, Lang, etc.

Snyder can't even leave the Comedian's headstone alone.

We've gone over the Nolanverse, and you know I agree that there's an inability to allow for implications that challenge an audience. I feel this less about the third entry, which manages to be a franchise coda that is also some kind of secret sequel to Inception, simultaneously.

But your point made me think again about the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight. A (the) key contrast between Burton and Nolan is in that scene, yet people seem to largely take it as a parallel with the same intended aim. I'm talking about the "freak" lines in both films.

In Nolan's hands, it's an accusation that Batman/Wayne disdains -- the Joker sees them as one and the same -- whereas with Burton, the Penguin's taunt is about Batman's inability to ever be a genuine freak. More strikingly, is what Batman admits: unlike Bale's version, the Keaton Wayne is jealous of a freak like the Penguin. This frustration at having to fake being a monster, contrasted to the Penguin's narrative struggle.

It's also a great implied contrast to Browning's Freaks: this Batman is a complete outsider. He'll never be "one of us". As damaged as the Penguin's body is, there's Wayne's mind to match it.

The psychological perversions of the Burton films -- the way he explores these things, uses them through homage and auteuristic concept&conceit, and just the ability to let them be, no matter if it discomfits audience and studio expectations -- creates an elevated textual exploration that someone like Snyder seems to fear, at best.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #37 on: Jun 20th, 2014, 02:22am »

It's been a long time since I read Watchmen, as such the broadest themes I recall, but the small subtleties have perhaps been lost on me, in this case perhaps making me that very audience type that pisses me off with Batman films, the type who enjoys the thing without fully grasping the incongruities and betrayal of the changes. I do not have an intimate knowledge of Watchmen, so some of the bastardisations will slip through unnoticed and I enjoy the film. With Batman those bastardisations scream out. In the end I'd rather be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied, as it were. But time has not afforded me the luxury of gaining better understanding of many things I would like to, Watchmen being one of those.

But simply put, I think Snyder is capable of better than Man Of Steel. Something to the pedigree of Batman Returns he is not capable of, but if given free reign he could at least do better than a live action representation of what a five year old does with their action figures, which was Man Of Steel.

on Jun 19th, 2014, 03:33am, Will wrote:
But your point made me think again about the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight. A (the) key contrast between Burton and Nolan is in that scene, yet people seem to largely take it as a parallel with the same intended aim. I'm talking about the "freak" lines in both films.

In Nolan's hands, it's an accusation that Batman/Wayne disdains -- the Joker sees them as one and the same -- whereas with Burton, the Penguin's taunt is about Batman's inability to ever be a genuine freak. More strikingly, is what Batman admits: unlike Bale's version, the Keaton Wayne is jealous of a freak like the Penguin. This frustration at having to fake being a monster, contrasted to the Penguin's narrative struggle.

It's also a great implied contrast to Browning's Freaks: this Batman is a complete outsider. He'll never be "one of us". As damaged as the Penguin's body is, there's Wayne's mind to match it.


Ah yes, one of the countless lines in Returns I love so much, right down to Keaton's defeated weariness of the delivery. The accusation of "freak" angers the Nolan/Bale Batman, which doesn't make sense to me. The taunt that the Burton/Keaton Batman is not a genuine "freak" touches a nerve, because he internally he's the biggest 1930s Universal Monster Movie "freak" around, the misunderstood outcast. Aside from Alfred, the other "freaks" are the only people who he can be himself with. Out of place with all the other beautiful people that outwardly he belongs so well with.

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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #38 on: Jul 25th, 2014, 10:38am »

Hey look. Chin decolletage.

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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #39 on: Sep 3rd, 2014, 02:25am »

OK, it took me months to respond. That's not so bad: there are posts on here that I meant to respond to in 2005.

on Jun 20th, 2014, 02:22am, Nick wrote:
It's been a long time since I read Watchmen, as such the broadest themes I recall, but the small subtleties have perhaps been lost on me, in this case perhaps making me that very audience type that pisses me off with Batman films,


You don't have to insult yourself; although I liked Rises a lot, so maybe you're insulting me? tongue

Seriously, you can look at it on the other side. Maybe I'm doing what I've often complained about:expecting a film to slavishly follow the book/source, without regard for compromises needed and/or that film is inherently a different standard from print. It's a question of whether the right choices are made in that jump from one medium to another.

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the type who enjoys the thing without fully grasping the incongruities and betrayal of the changes. I do not have an intimate knowledge of Watchmen, so some of the bastardisations will slip through unnoticed and I enjoy the film. With Batman those bastardisations scream out.


The last time I read it was after Nolan's Dark Knight, ironically. I thought the trailer for Watchmen was decent; I always felt it was questionable as to whether the film would end up even passable, but I did like that trailer. It's a theme for Snyder's work.

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In the end I'd rather be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied, as it were.


I know one thing: that I know nothing.

Now there's a Zack Snyder tagline.

Forgive me. I was going to make a joke about what's kosher and what's not, keying off the pig (Latin?, in the context of Michael Bay versus Snyder. But then I remembered Michael Bay is Jewish. Meh. Still, whether or not he's a pig (I'd say yes, just as long as it's understand that this isn't a shrill stand for Dunhamesque ugly/idiot feminism), Bay is some sort of pathologically debased personification and microcosm of so much (not everything: he can mount a shot, frankly) that's wrong with Hollywood. The joyful embrace of tastelessness feels like The Ugly American Syndrome reflected back, only equaled by the implied hatred of culture and taste that goes hand in hand.

Zack Snyder is Michael Bay without the tackiness. Man of Steel is a good example; it's unthinkable that Bay could direct it merely because it has a thin sheen of gravitas, and is at least lacking in the gaucheness that preloads a "Michael Bay Film". But instead of a bottle of Petrus, Snyder's stuff just comes out as flat pop.

It's an odd thing. In this contrast it occurs that the only thing that gives Bay's films...soul(huhhuh) is their utter tastelessness. What could be more postmodern? It may be one of the bad sides of postmodernism, but nonetheless...(of course, how supratextual do we have to be to define "bad" postmodernism?)

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But time has not afforded me the luxury of gaining better understanding of many things I would like to, Watchmen being one of those.


I'm sure there's a lot I've missed in Watchmen. But it's hard to get past the idea of Snyder as another hack making CGI action figure porn. It's like confusing a ToyBiz action figure with Michelangelo's David. Well, more postmodernism. But the over-belabored point is the good/bad postmodenism dichotomy; Moore's Watchmen is good (great) postmodern structure -- keyed on deconstructing superhero comics and exposing many of their unsavory, or subconscious, elements -- while Snyder's adaptation is bad postmodernism (for the reasons I've been over).

I don't even know if I wanted devotion to the text. What I wanted was something that at least attempted to be as intelligent as that text.

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But simply put, I think Snyder is capable of better than Man Of Steel.


Sure. But what does that mean?

Yeah. Rhetorical.

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Something to the pedigree of Batman Returns he is not capable of, but if given free reign


I don't have much hope, period. But in this context? He's almost certainly being tightly managed -- by a small army of Warner execs concerned about Disney/Marvel and property decay -- into making a franchise film that's supposed to launch a half-dozen franchises.

Dawn of Justice. Subtle.

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he could at least do better than a live action representation of what a five year old does with their action figures, which was Man Of Steel.


We are on the same wavelength, at least as far as Snyder's action figure issues.

Both as native narrative and as metatext, Man of Steel is about the soul. Though I think the latter presents a film that is about the futile search for one. i like the film's Platonic, Gnostic themes, yet they feel like something that isn't quite....felt as conflation with Snyder's framing. It's The Watchmen issue either as inversion or subversion (in this case, of Superman himself): if the film has a soul, it's arguably personified directly and in larger context through Jor-El. Superman comes off as an expression of largely mindless Hollywood action tropes, thanks to the never-ending Battle for Earth sequencing.

I really liked some of the ideas in the film, until the film lost interest in them. The climax isn't bad, and it's structurally sound so far as driving home thematic conflict between Zod and the Els. On the other hand, the newsroom epilogue is a great example of how the film falls flat on its face; it's discordant and dull, completely lacking in any attempt at something striking or ethereal. It's a fucking closeup of Cavil pretending to be Christopher Reeve pretending to be Clark Kent. It's their idea of tying off the Kryptonian/Earthling conflict by introducing Clark Kent; hence a phony, squared (within and without), persona is supposed to be an expression of Superman's humanity. It's corny and insincere, inherently.

It's utterly self-defeating as both text and sequel marketing. Who's going to be excited leaving the theater after that shot? And who can believe in Superman's devotion to Earth when the final scene is played as Bad Act (Cavil knocked those scenes out that day)?

Compare that to the first Reeve film (Sun God, rising). The contrast is hideous for Snyder's film.
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xx Re: The Man of Steel (2012)
« Reply #40 on: Sep 16th, 2014, 05:58am »

I'm quoting months' old posts in reverse-order. Am I breaking the internet?

on Feb 10th, 2014, 5:40pm, dudelovebaby wrote:
Then I must apologise. I don't consider it a smart film. My pretentious 18 year old self did way back when (Funnily, the film's biggest fan is Quentin Tarantino, just about every non celebrity who has met him describes him as a pretentious teenager!).


Tarantino's inter and meta obsessions means that he's becoming more of a pretentious 18 year old with every film he makes. I don't know if I think there's anything wrong with that. But as a film that's about film -- everything Tarantino makes -- I feel he peaked with Jackie Brown, at least as far as tonality; it's world weary but self-aware. The later stuff is far more insular -- solipsistic, really -- and simultaneously cartoonish in a near-fourth wall breaking sense. One could as easily say that Jackie Brown is the exception to the rule dating to 1992. But the sense I get is of a filmmaker that in some ways is hewing closer to the work he did as script doctor for Bruckheimer/Scott/etc. in his 2000s directorial efforts; that idea of pop culture as the pivot point, exploring and subverting it with equal measure. I suspect that he looks at True Romance with jealousy; it's (mostly) his script with Scott's relentless, slick techniques. It's this trashy pop opera that finds the right balance with its working class/cornpone emotional core, unlike, say, Death Proof (the latter is a well-made-awful-movie, that uses the grindhouse aesthetic as an excuse rather than as an opportunity; it's grindhouse meets (rather than meats) politically correct, bubble gum feminism with four ditzes who are soooo owning it, buddy; it's postmodern oxymoron rather than synthesis).

That is arguably a positive. He's graduating his craft even if it becomes more childish(?) tonally. At the same time, his attraction to trash didn't bother me when it was filtered through his characters' attraction to that same trash; Sam Jackson quoting the Fonz works better than Tarantino crafting long sequences that, purely, play as leftovers from an Alias script. Kill Bill is kind of wonderful in its references to film as a whole, but it's just as much a love letter to pop culture and, in some ways, loses any sense of world-building. Verisimilitude is highly overrated, at least as a conflation with quality, yeah, but there's the counter argument, outside the German Expressionistic and/or Felliniesque absurd, that atomized postmodern sequences for their own sake start to take on the character of three-panel comic strip storytelling; the world hangs together only because it rubber bands, forgetting the latest contrivance or excess as quickly as it ventured into it. Does that graduate the form? Does it push the postmodern aesthetic or reduce it?

Tarantino may be the best postmodern director/script writer alive, but his attraction to trash, at times, seems to drag him down rather than elevating that selfsame garbage. Yet he does craft pop-art from, often, embarrassing trash. He's what Kevin Smith has occasionally talked about, but has no ability to actuate through scripts and directing.

And thank God, he hasn't gotten old.

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He could've become a great pulp adventure director who gave us stuff in the vein of EC comics and the old serials. But no, lets overstuff what should've been simple pirate and cowboy stories with child hangings and constant double crossing.


Modern Westerns don't really exist. I don't even know if I should talk about Verbinski's intent on Lone Ranger since these films have been on excessive, postmodern/feminist autopilot dating back to Butch and Sundance. I got ahead of himself, but what is the future, what is the past, when dealing with Hollywood's Postmoden Westerns? The only type of western that can be made.

The film's opening is, just, Little Big Man. So it immediately starts as a textual joke: Johnny Depp, nominal Indian, mostly white, starring in a film as a REAL Indian that opens as homage to a Dustin Hoffman film where he played a white man pretending to be an Indian. It's pretty funny, if only because Johnny didn't appear to be in on the joke.

But the rest of the film's flaws stem from that same reference. Little Big Man is mournful of Indian culture, and scornful of white culture. It is not a masculine expression. There's nothing wrong with that, but this has become the starting point for nearly every western post-cultural revolution, as it reductively and expressly is here. So rather than being a big Hollywood action film, largely masculine by that same assumption, it is inherently politically correct, feminized and racialized through white guilt. Fun for the whole family.

Subversion can be a great thing, but what is this subverting? It's Hollywood's id run amok. They never attack their own tropes, but rather beat a dead horse dating to the late '60s, the whole time decrying violent outcomes while they visualize the violent beatings of Richard Nixon and Pat Buchanan.

The way to make a subversive, futurist and postmodern western can be found in the film's of Sergio Leone. Ironically, Zimmer obsessively references Morricone's score, particularly the Leitmotif of Frank/Harmonica and the film's operatic showdown between the two; and it amounts to a dull thud in the comparison, both on visuals and sonics. So much more is said in stillness in Leone's masterpiece; all closeups, buildup and a flashback, rather than in the action. It's visual storytelling: so much said with barely ten words.

The Lone Ranger can't stop moving and can't shut up, but it's as wooden and vacuous as Armie Hammer, the film's white minstrel sidekick (yes, they *still* think this is subversive).

In a larger thematic, and political, context, The Lone Ranger has to border awful, and often step into it, because of its pedigree. The Leone style is far more relevant and daring, even now, and that's the problem. They're complex films that are both attacks on Old Hollywood Westerns and celebrations of them; this conflict makes for astounding postmodern, Hegelian graduations of the form. A New Way (New Wave?) Forward that has been ignored for 40 years.

The problem with Leone's Westerns for today's Hollywood, no matter how much they reference them in one of their own train wrecks, is that they are hyper-masculine, Randian love letters to the romanticized ideal of the Old West's anarchy. As much as Hollywood hates their own catalog of Classic Westerns, their politics are inherently embedded in government (something close, ironically, to a lawman) control and feminism, things that are diametrically opposed to the narrative outline, and quirks (complaining about the waste of lives during the Civil War, for instance), in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Little Big Man faithfully mourns the near-genocide of the American Indian, and attacks white men and white culture throughout, natch. Once Upon a Time in the West mourns the death of anarchic west and lays the blame for this death on women and emasculated business men. One ethos does not go with the other, and suddenly the Hegelian and the postmodern can be thrown out in an ongoing culture war.

More's the pity.
« Last Edit: Sep 16th, 2014, 06:28am by Will » User IP Logged

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