Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Lower Tolerance

So my brother-in-law Dean has had a few other problems beyond the broken collarbone, and ended up having to go into the hospital yesterday.
He’s on his way home tonight, but, without getting into any details, there are some lingering issues, so if anyone wants to throw out some positive energy on his behalf, you’re more than welcome to do so.
Yesterday Scott came over for Riff Trax night, and – by his choice – we watched Battlefield Earth.
With a shitty movie like Batman and Robin, I can understand why and how it could turn out shitty – the people responsible for it had no reverence for the character or concern for the fans. It’s really that simple.
But how could Battlefield Earth, which is, amazingly, much worse than Batman and Robin, turn out so incredibly shitty?
I mean, the movie was produced by and starred John Travolta, a devout Scientologist, and was based on a classic novel by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology.
You would think that a massive effort would have been forth to make sure that it turned out great.
You would think that.
Then again, maybe that was the problem: too much effort was put into it.
Somehow that doesn’t seem like that’s the case, though.
I have a vague recollection of having read the novel at some point in the past, but I’m not sure that I ever did, as I can’t remember anything about it. I did read Hubbard’s multi-volume Mission Earth series, though, and while I wouldn’t classify it as great literature, it certainly had its moments, and was well-written enough that as a result I have to believe that the problems with the movie version of Battlefield were not the result of the source material. At his worst, Hubbard was better than the movie would suggest.
In the Mission Earth books, he wrote in a satirical voice that was meant to recall the works of Jonathan Swift, intending to point out many of the foibles of modern life by describing them in ways that were either the complete opposite of their reality, or describing them in terms that while technically correct painted them in the most ridiculous light possible.
(By way of example, he has someone describe the statue in front of the United Nations depicting someone beating plowshares into swords, when, in fact it depicts the exact opposite.)
There were a lot of scenes in the Battlefield Earth movie that stood out to me as likely candidates for that sort of satirical view, but which were played straight and serious, indicating to me that the people responsible for the movie had clearly missed the point.
Ah well, must have been the thetans that caused the problems, or maybe an early iteration of Anonymous messed with it.
Scott expressed amazement at the fact that I had, in the past, watched the entire movie without the benefit of Riff Trax commentary. I explained that I once had a higher tolerance for shitty movies than I do now.
In any case, not much else is going on, so I suppose I’ll bring this entry to a close.

1 comment:

Merlin T Wizard said...

John Travolta's sinister - I mean - high-pitched and goofy laugh linger in my memory still. I fear I will never be rid of the image of him in his six-fingered pointyhead makeup trying his darndest to be intimidating.

Pizza cake.