Monday, July 26, 2010

Jason goes to Holehead--Monday July 26

Two movies, starting with (and I'm trying to be fair here) the abomination that is the 1984 version of METROPOLIS set to a rock score, partially colorized, and released by Giorgio Moroder as METROPOLIS 1984 REDUX (to really be fair, I wrote this sentence on the BART while on my way there. I haven't seen it yet)

Okay, I've seen it now and while METROPOLIS will always be a strong film, there's plenty to hate about what was done to it. The colorization (tinting and spot-color) was completely wrong. It looked beautiful in black and white, and while tinting didn't completely ruin it, the spot color was ridiculous. It just took me right out of the movie, calling attention to an irrelevancy instead of the story. As for the music, in a way it's more inappropriate, and in a different way just made it not METROPOLIS. While the METROPOLIS I saw just over a week ago at the Castro had a remarkably fluid, logical story (aided by the extra footage and possibly by improved/restored editing), what I saw last night was a series of connected scenes made to accompany music. The best comparison I can make (and I'm not the only one who noticed this) is the difference between a good narrative film and Pink Floyd's THE WALL, a movie made to accompany an album. Which is an interesting comparison, because I really like THE WALL, and it's possible (likely, given the crowd's reaction that if this were the only version of METROPOLIS I knew, I'd like it the same way. But having seen the most complete version since 1928 (not, as the film's intro claimed, 1926), it's but a distorted fun mirror reflection of true beauty.

Oh yeah, and the film's intro claimed a Fritz Lang quote in which he admits to being visually oriented, but not much for the audio elements, as if that makes it right to replace the original soundtrack with this. Fuck that! If you want to change it, just say you wanted to do something different with a movie you like for the sake of a new and different experience. Don't try to pass it off as you're improving something the director said he didn't do well.

The only thing more blasphemous would be re-casting the role of the robot.

I will grant that METROPOLIS 1984 REDUX can get some people who normally aren't interested in silent film to see one. And maybe that will get some new people (especially younger people) interested in silent film. And, by the way, if you saw this and are now interested in more silent film and live in the SF Bay Area, there's a place you can see silent films with live piano accompaniment every Saturday night--the Edison Theater at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

And then I stayed to see DR S BATTLES THE SEX-CRAZED REEFER ZOMBIES again. Because Dr S is awesome. And you know what, the boobies are fine (and got some of the biggest laughs last night). I have to stop pretending the audience is cinephiles who know about the Hays Code era (and besides, with the gore and swearing it wouldn't have passed the Hays Code anyway) and remember that we're cult film fans who just want kick-ass awesomeness (and boobies!)

Total Running Time: 163 minutes
My Total Minutes: 191,109
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