Friday, December 19, 2014

Dead Leader Films: Then vs. Now, Us vs. Them

     2004: Team America: World Police is released.  North Korea's high and mighty whatever for life Kim Jong-Il never commented publicly, though his government did ask the Czech Republic to  ban it.  They refused, somewhat dismissively.

     2006: some Brits produce Death Of A President, a mockumentary about the assassination of George W. Bush.  It wins the Prize of the International Critics at the Toronto Film Festival. Senator Hilary Clinton, no fan of the then-serving President tells the press, "I think it's despicable. I think it's absolutely outrageous. That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick."
     The U. S. Federal government does....nothing.  There is no computer hacking of the studio that made it, no drone strike on writer, producer or director, and Senator Clinton's comments are typical of the most violent reaction out of Washington.

     2010: the Red Dawn remake, with Red China cast as the aggressor, is about to be released.  Leaked copies of the script find their way to the People's Republic of China, which complains in state-rune newspapers.  MGM goes through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Studio suddenly decides the film would play a lot better in the PRC if they weren't the bad guys.  At least, that's what MGM says.  Lots of post-production later, the invader is now North Korea.  Released in 2012, film does not do well at the box office.

     2012: Innocence of Muslims, a 14-minute film clip, is released on YouTube and is blamed for widespread rioting in the Middle East by people already much inclined to anti-U.S. rioting.  Murder and misplaced apologizing ensue. 

     2014: Sony prepares to release The Interview, a film about the assassination of the North Korea's leader, gets hacked by claimed agents of same, backs down.  Some cinemas attempt to replace The Interview with Team America: World Police, a plan which is nixed by Paramount.

     ...Sudden Spinelessness Syndrome?  Norks tired of being the bad guys?  (Yeah, well -- shoe fits, donnit?)  Film studios continuing their spiral into nebbishy irrelevance?

     Whatever.  This doesn't look like where we came in but the picture is getting terribly dull.  Hey, didja hear the one about the auteur who turned a charming (and relatively short) fantasy novel for children into a film trilogy with huge, bloody battles between orcs, elves, humans, dwarves, hobbits, dragons, wizards and whatever else he could throw into it?  Or the SF film that tossed science out the window in favor of fancy images and the Transforming Power Of Love?

     I'll try to barf quietly.

13 comments:

LCB said...

I think a lot of people forget that Sony is a Japanese company. You know, that little island with missile range of the NORK's. Might have something to do with why they caved.

LCB said...

dang it. "within"

Tam said...

"Or the SF film that tossed science out the window in favor of fancy images and the Transforming Power Of Love?"

Which one was that?

LCB said...

Could be Interstellar? The whole idea of, what was it, String Theory, that allowed the dad to see his daughter from behind the bookcase. Was just WAY too pat.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the film. But was just a tad disappointed in the end.

LCB said...

Roberta and Tam,
Wishing you both a very Merry Christmas!!!

Tam said...

Thank you! The same to y'all!

Roberta X said...

And a very Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday) to you, too, LCB!

"SF film that tossed science out the window in favor of...Power Of Love," is a very long list. Most of 'em are such BS and yet take themselves so seriously, that I just can't watch them.

Joe in PNG said...

As a rule, if you're going to toss aside the laws of physics, at least give us something super awesome in the bargain. Like, ultra giant mecha using galaxies as throwing stars or something.

Roberta X said...

Yeah -- have some *fun* with it. This business of offering some sliver of Serious Message nestled in a lovingly arranged plateful of Appalling Violations Of Basic Science ain't cuttin' it. Never has, never will.

Bubblehead Les. said...

So HAL wouldn't open the Pod Bay Doors because he was Jealous?

Roberta X said...

See? That's another SF film that starts out good and degenerates into meaningless goo.

wheelgun said...

http://youtu.be/N9CGD_db48A

The "transforming power" of every bias and stereotype Hollywood could serve up - including the noble savage - together with the standard 1950s put down of the noble savage.

Windy Wilson said...

If MGM was going to cave on who the bad guys were in the remake of Red Dawn, why go at half measures and stop at North Korea? They can just about manage to conquer South Korea if they do it within 2 months of getting a payoff from the USA. Go all the way and have San Marino or Andorra or the Duchy of Grand Fenwick be the bad invaders.