Sunday, December 30, 2012

The lightness of our age

Amazon.com: Outland: Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James Sikking: Amazon Instant Video: What a disappointment. The movie is consciously patterned after High Noon.  There is a clock in the background showing the time of the space shuttle's arrival that is supposed to build tension. But what a terrible missed opportunity. What a dispiriting lack of imagination! Most of the original movie was devoted to the Marshall's unsuccessful efforts to get the towns' people to help him. This involves mainly speeches that are full of complicated, sophisticated and specious arguments that are rich and full of overtones for contemporary politics without being in distractingly obvious or partisan. This is almost completely ignored in the Sean Connery version. He merely walks into a dinning hall and says dejectedly "I could use some help." No one answers and he says, "I thought so." As he is walking out someone says, "That's your job, what about your men?" He says, "My men? My men are shit."

That is all. That is all the entire middle of the movie, the heart of the dramatic action is distilled down to. Almost cretinized down to. None of the complicated rationalizations the towns people give. None of the great moral questions vigorously defended on both sides. Nothing. Just a corporate conspiracy. The entire movie is motivated by the fact that it looks really cool when people are exposed to the vacum of space. They clearly spent a lot more time worrying about this special effect. That was my main motivation for seeing it when I was 14. A culture aimed at 14 year olds.

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