What’s silly and comes out of a DVD player?

Freddy vs. Jason.
This film pits two icons of low-brow modern(-ish) horror against each other. Freddy Krueger needs people to remember him so that he can invade their dreams and recruits the ever taciturn Jason Vorhees to jog their memories. A bunch of annoying American adolescents get hacked up and then the boys hack at each other. Jason seems to win, but Freddy gives the camera a knowing wink at the end as his rival, carrying Freddy’s head, emerges from the depths of the lake.
I think I’ve seen both of the original films, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. They had no particular artistic merit; this has no particular artistic merit. The old rule about never showing the psycho killer clearly is not only broken, but smashed with hammers.
Tired and ridiculous.

Get Smart.
Along with Hogan’s Heroes, Get Smart was one of those iconic American sitcoms of my youth. Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, bumbled his way through each episode, outwitting Siegfried and Starker, and constantly vexing the Chief with his requests for the Cone of Silence. Meanwhile, the faithful 99 had to spend whole series saying, “Oh Max” and not much else as far as I recall.
I was vaguely aware that there was a Get Smart film in the making, but that was about it. Naturally, it’s been updated with a Hollywood cliché or two. Max is an analyst who gets to live his dream as a Control agent. He’s partnered with 99, but unlike the series the relationship is antagonistic. (Told you there was a cliché. The difference in age between Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway is explained away, but he’s still potentially old enough to be her dad.) Siegfried is evil (but you can’t imagine Terence Stamp actually doing comedy), although his sidekick, Starker, is still a nitwit. Some of the old gags have been retained such as the Cone of Silence, the shoe phone, and some of the famous lines such as “The old Hollywood-mining-TV-for-movie-ideas trick” and the the dialogue where Max pre­tends that he’s got back-up when he has none.
The film doesn’t try to be an extended TV episode and, overall, I thought was a reasonable realisation. Still, like chubby turkeys which come out of Hollywood, it probably wouldn’t have hurt for Get Smart to have been put on a diet and given some exercise. The quality of the DVD was good, though.

Time Bandits.
When I wrote the entry about how Napoleon gained his empire, Time Bandits flitted through my mind. This is one of a few films which I’ve seen more times than I can enumerate, and knowing that one of the DVD shops had a copy, I went in search of it. It’s not too bad. It seems to have survived the passage of time without arriving in 2008 looking horribly dated, although some of the music is crappy 80s synth and the SFX are clunky at times. When the film came out in 1980, I don’t think I would’ve recognised Jim Broadbent as the host of the spoof quiz show.
The film has probably survived partly because of the subject matter and partly because the technology which Evil wants to know about hasn’t really been superseded. However, unlike twenty-five years ago, digital watches have long since ceased to be a source of comical disparagement.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s