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November 1997, Week 3


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"D. Matthew Ramsey" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 18:01:04 -0500
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  One has to wonder why
>Verhoeven would choice to adapt  a book which he obviously disdains
I'll agree Verhoeven isn't subtle, but from the reviews I've seen, maybe
he's too subtle for the audience the film seems to be marketed for.  I
simply can't see how anyone is reading this film straight.  It's being
marketed that way, sure.  But at what point does this film do anything that
jingoistic sci-fi films such as INDEPENDENCE DAY are doing?  Yes, the aliens
are once again hostile, but it's made pretty clear that the Earth probably
trespassed first.  The entire "rightness" of the cause is obviously being
put into question (mirrored by Ricco's misguided reasons for being a trooper
in the first place).  And as has been noted by others, there is no pat
conclusion.  The climax is the anticlimactic revelation, made by a
Spock-like mindreading by Doogie Howser, that one of the brainy bugs is
"scared."  Hardly the chest-thumping antics we see at the end of ID.  Maybe
all this is being performed none-too- subtly, but I'm amazed everyone is so
eager to jump on Verhoeven just because, it seems to me, he made one really
really bad film (SHOWGIRLS obviously).  Now if you want to say that it's a
bad film because it doesn't work, the acting's bad, it's too gory, it's too
long, it's too formulaic, fine.  But I find it interesting that terms like
"fascist" are used to describe the movie.  Is anybody else disturbed about
by all this?
As for the idea that a director shouldn't adapt a book he/she might disdain
ideologically, that would eliminate a few classics, such as KISS ME DEADLY
(Aldrich's politics obviously don't jibe with Spillane's), APOCALYPSE NOW,
LAST OF THE MOHICANS, and, it could be argued, even something like THE
NATURAL.  Since when do directors have to politically and ideologically
approve of their sources?
Matt Ramsey
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