Thursday, April 05, 2007

Why pretend?

I am too dismal and badtempered and pissed off and homesick to summon up the enthusiasm for writing blog posts, so why don't I just dispense with any pretence that my blog consist of more than just descripions of films and list the things I've been to see in the last week.

300 (2007): Rubbish. The dialogue is appalling, and the visual spectacle is samey and cliched, and the bizarrely historically truncated plot effaces every nuanced and interesting aspect of the story itself. All the Persians were flamboyantly queer or deformed or both, which was dull and offensive enough, but the Spartans themselves were less attractive by far - revolting identikit pneumatic bodies devoid of any vestige of humanity, erotic appeal, or (absurdly) armour. The whole thing was a two-dimensional and crappily-acted nipplefest. If this is what graphic novels are like then I'll stick to Fielding, thanks. The high point was the credit sequence, which included the magical character description "Transsexual Number 3 (Arabian)". That's something to have on your CV.

The 300 Spartans (1961): quite funny. Leonidas as clean-cut, laconic (you do the jokes) all-American hero; Xerxes as mildly dastardly British army officer in the colonies, and as for Themistocles - well, at least he was in it. Artemisia was a cracking bit of steely-minded totty, and there was a touching and hilarious subplot about a simple Spartan youth who is desperate to fight at Thermopylae in order to win the hand of his sweetheart, with whom he frisks around the olive-shaded landscape. My favoutite bit was Ephialtes, portrayed as a dumbly brutish mountain-dwelling simpleton in a goatskin jerkin. Brilliant. His cackhanded attempt to grope the virginal Spartan maiden was black-hat/white-hat characterisation at its best.

A university production of Euripides' Medea: okay actually. They were using the translation I used to teach to 13 year olds, so that was a nice trip down memory lane. You could see the chorus' underwear through the armpits of their dresses when they moved their arms though.

Rome: a blast. I recommend it to all comers. My only regret is that we were watching it on a school night and therefore had to go home before the commencement of the promised affair between Octavia and Servilia. (To give non-classicists an idea of stupid this is, Servilia was the mother of Brutus, of "et tu Brute?" fame. She was the lover of Julius Caesar. Octavia was Caesar's great-niece. That's some age gap, quite apart from anything else). Best of all was, of course, JC himself, played by Ciaran Hinds. Caesar really is my heart-throb through the ages, which I dare say is highly revealing of some fascinating aspect of my personality blah blah blah. Anyway, I love him. The casting was the icing on the cake for me, since the last time I saw Ciaran Hinds he was in a BBC production of Persuasion playing Frederick Wentworth, the thinking woman's crumpet of the Austen corpus. A friend in the English department told me the other day that in my life here I remind her of Anne Elliot. I hope that means there's a Wentworth at the end of it.


Blogger chris said...

Strangely, this is the only occurence of the phrase crappily-acted nipplefest on the internet (or will be, once google indexes it). well done!

9:28 pm  
Blogger Bo said...

Oh I didn't think it was *that* bad! Although one of David Wehham's tits is noticeably bigger than the other.

I quite agree with you on Rome: marvellous, marvellous stuff. There should have been more Gaulish though....xx

9:54 am  
Blogger Prentiz said...

Argh - I got dragged to see 300 - it was awful! In addition to your issues: a) they talked far too much b) one of the got upset because his son died in battle c)they fought ridiculously - they'd have been massacred in no time with all that no-breastplate-wearing, ballet dancing, not-fighting-as-a-unit nonsense d)they didn't comb their hair...

I could probably go on..

10:42 am  
Blogger Scarlet said...

I am prepared to admit that I was somwhat harsher on 300 than it really deserved. In fact my chief impression is that it was the silliest film I've ever seen, which made it quite amusing in its way.

2:15 am  

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