Monday, August 18, 2008


So, a rainy monday, and off to see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emporer with Angus. Oh dear. I think he enjoyed it, but with the exception of a few bits of things blowing up (admittedly, most of it), it was a fairly tedious affair, with a really tenuous storyline and characterisation that stretched reality so thinly it blew a hole straight through it and into the far side. Also, it had some really ropey CGI effects. Summed up, it would be something I'd fairly happily watch on DVD on a rainy sunday, but not otherwise. Then again, my cinema-going has been curtailed somewhat since having children - it now mostly involves stuff that is noisy and explosive. Actually, come to think of it, an awful lot of my cinema-going experiences pre-child were noisy and explosive.
And then I watched 'Braveheart' on TV a few days back. Now, this is a film to get the heart racing: an atavistic battle between freedom-loving tribesmen and evil overlords. I remember first seeing it in a plush cinema in Atakoy, Istanbul, back in '95, with my old chum Guy Elders, and being thrilled by it. It sang to the Scots part of my blood, and I cheered on Mel Gibson in the guise of William Wallace as he tore apart the flanks of the English. Watching it again, my response was anything but triumphal. The characters were ridiculously two-dimensional, the story flimsy and the historical intervention (read it - Edward II was born well after Wallace's death, for example) outrageous. Most of all, however, I felt sadness - sadness that Mel Gibson has such a blood-boltered, simplistic mind. Looking at his Ouevre subsequent to Braveheart, it is striking how much of it requires bloodshed, humiliation and pain on a grand scale, and requires the universe to work in simplistic Manichean ways. Gibson is always on the lookout for a Messianic figure, even if he plays it himself.

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