As I’ve written before, Hollywood has essentially checked out on making epic films about the current decade’s Big Story, a trend that continues to this day. One way they’ve been able to avoid expressing the reality of the age is through liberal use of comic book superhero movies, Mark Steyn writes:
Look, I know several comrades of mine were very taken by Michael Caine’s speech as Alfred the butler to Master Bruce—“Some men just want to watch the world burn . . . ”—hailing it as an incisive analysis of al-Qaeda et al. But I don’t think so. Terrorists enjoy the body count, yet, unlike the Joker, they do have an end rather than just means. The notion that they merely “want to watch the world burn” is more readily applied to your average Hollywood studio. For almost a decade, the summer blockbusters have avoided saying anything about terrorism, Islam, 9/11, Bali, Beslan, Madrid or London, but they do like to “watch the world burn.” And so they opt for explosions and fireballs and shattering glass and screaming civilians unmoored from any recognizable reality. Hence, the Age of the Superhero: the Sharpie-bright spandex boys helped the movies off an awkward hook.
In the eight years American troops have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the studios have failed to produce a single film on the subject, other than a handful of unwatched flops about rendition and torture. The Tom Clancy novel The Sum of All Fears was about Islamic terrorists, so naturally the cinematic version made them neo-Nazis. The Nicole Kidman yawneroo The Interpreter was originally about Islamic terrorists attacking New York, so naturally they were rewritten into terrorists from the little-known African republic of Matobo. If a thriller’s set on a hijacked plane, the hijacker turns out to be a bespoke minion of some obscure Halliburton subsidiary. A couple of years back they made a high-tech action thriller in which the bad guy is the plane. That’s right: an unmanned computer-flown aircraft goes rogue and starts attacking things. The money shot is—stop me if this rings a vague bell—a big downtown skyscraper with a jet heading toward it. Only there are no terrorists aboard. The jet itself is the terrorist. This is the pitiful state Hollywood’s been reduced to: let’s play it safe and make the plane the bad guy. In the nineties, upscale Brits made a nice living playing the exotic foreign evildoer in Hollywood action pics. But, unless Jeremy Irons has been practising twirling his fingers like propellers and taxiing down the garden path with outstretched arms, he’s not going to be getting many roles as the psycho aeroplane.
Found via Free Canuckistan, in-between the 7,323,927* links found so far this year by the Binkmeister. Watch for my interview with Mark tomorrow on PJM Political on slightly more down to earth matters.