Saturday, July 17, 2010

"The Expendables"

A short while ago Dana Stevens wrote a sharp review of the latest Twilight movie concluding that the series really defies any kind of critical judgment:
The choice of whether to see Eclipse isn't really a question of whether the movie is good or bad. (By any objective, thumbs-up or thumbs-down standard of aesthetic judgment, this installment, directed by David Slade, is in keeping with the previous two films: a competently made bit of Gothic schlock.) It's a question of whether or not the movie speaks to your secret, unregulated, inherently ridiculous experience of identification and desire—not who you should be, but who you are. Does the warm blood of a teenager still flow beneath your icy grown-up flesh?
My impression of "The Expendibles," based solely on the trailer, is almost exactly the same. Who cares if the movie is any good? The experience of watching "The Expendables" will almost be entirely dictated by how awesome one's nostalgia trip is.

Take, for example, the latest trailer:

There really is no other band that could serve dish out the soundtrack to this spot other than Guns n' Roses, as good a sign as any that the producers of the movie are on the right track.

The second promising sign: just look at the names of the characters:
Stallone plays Barney “The Schizo” Ross, the fearless head of an elite group of warriors-for-hire whose ranks include Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren).
Yin Yang? Hale Caesar? There's only one word for names like that: awesome.

Anyway, in terms of cultural artifacts, "The Expendables" should be pretty amazing.

1 comment:

Blinded by the Light said...

Dunno who Dana Stevens is, no opinion on Ihe Expendables (except Stallone is a joke)
However re: Teh Twilight. I think it's about people's "hidden" views of romance. Regardless of age, and I think it seems "teenager-ish" because older people will not be as honest about it, but I think the style remains, part of personality types or something. So I think if you can enjoy it "straight up" you have to be a certain romantic "type". If not, it can be enjoyed for the Camp, or just as a Diversion (many TV shows are worse, but that's not really much of a recommendation I realize)

The third option allows for appreciating the camp, as well as enjoying moments here and there of actual diversion (until you hit that Wall Of Edward and crash back to earth) AND it also involves belonging to that "counterculture" alternate pairing band of 'shippers who ask the eternal question "why didn't she choose Jacob" (these people are surprisingly known as Team Jacob. imagine)

Finally, I'm not so sure about the idea that this is actually "Gothic" in any way. Stories can have suspense, danger, romance etc and not be Gothic at all. Bella may be depressed but it is suburban ennui, not Gothic gloom, there is very little true darkness in either books or movies (tho' I wasn't able to keep reading all of them due to the aforementioned desire to scream God, Edward STFU!!!, so if they get "darker" later then my mistake) but Harry Potter has more far more actual Gothic feel IMO. Bella does seek solace in the Mall for god's sake, not exactly The Moor if you see what I mean. Bella hates leaving sunny Arizona, etc etc and the atmosphere of Forks isn't really Gothic, just very prosaic.
I think it's much closer to just a straight Romance novel of the old-fashioned Georgette Heyer/Harlequin variety.

But it seems to me that a number of people of all ages wonder if a truly Gothic "forbidden" and passionate romance shouldn't look and feel a hell of a lot more like a Brandon Lee/The Crow and a whole lot less like The Brady Bunch.