Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Cold reception

The movie 'Cold Mountain' has been getting very polarized reviews... some people say it is an instant classic, others say it is shite. Uncle Scoopy says it is over-rated:

Cold Mountain, according to some critics, is the Homeric tale of The Odyssey relocated to the era of the American Civil War...

So what does Cold Mountain have to do with The Odyssey? Well, a guy leaves a war to return to his faithful beloved. Along the way he has many distracting adventures, each of which is a separate episode only peripherally related to his trek home, and ...

Oh, let's face it, the Odyssey thing is just a red herring meant to distract you from the fact that this movie is The English Patient filmed over again with different costumes.

Has every story already been told? Charlie Kaufman doesn't think so. But it seems like most movies nowadays are thinly disguised remakes of older films... it is astounding how many films can be boiled down to "it's like Shakespeare in space/the present/the future/Los Angeles/the mafia/cartoonland". Even Star Wars, which many people think was a creative masterpiece, was just Akira Kurosawa's Kakushi toride no san akunin ("The Hidden Fortress") retold in Flash Gordon style (not idle speculation: Lucas admits this). But then of course Kurosawa's Yojimbo ("Bodyguard"), which also influenced Lucas, was based on Dashiell Hammett's 1928 book Red Harvest... and Sergio Leone remade Yojimbo as Per un pugno di dollari ("A Fistful of Dollars"), starring Clint Eastwood... the road goes ever on and on, nothing new under the sun.