Monday, July 11, 2005

Land of the Dud

So CMC and I went to check out the new George A. Romero installment on Saturday; on leaving, his words were "I'm never going to the movies again!" ... those very words spoken by me on several occasions, most recently after paying to see (and that's the real point) "Minority Report" (funny how nothing elicits this level of disgust like a Tom Cruise vehicle). Many things disturbed me about this movie- what sticks in my mind is the simple-minded pseudo-Marxism (example: class war subtext, potentially interesting ambiguity about who is the consumer and who the consumed, the nature of citizenship, equal rights for zombies) in stark contrast to the very weird racial politics Romero seems to be playing. "Night of the Living Dead", still one of the scariest movies of all time, also had one of the first and best Black Heroes in film history, albeit one who meets a tragic end. This tradition extended to "Dawn of the Dead": the best line in the movie delivered by a black guy ("...the only person that could miss with this gun is the sucker with the money to buy it...") So it really chaps my hide to see the following in this new film:
1. Casual racism- Dennis Hopper's character refers to John Leguizamo as a "spick".
2. The Samoan- "Pillsbury"- is a cartoon. Islanders ought to be pissed off about this! The whole litany about stolen cars, blah blah blah. Bullshit alarms go off when characters make soliloquies in combat zones.
3. The Stepin Fetchit butler; I suppose that, combined with item 1, the purpose of this character is to make sure that we know that Hopper is an Evil White Guy. But why, George Romero, do you have to stoop to a Speilbergian level of emotional manipulation just to make this point? It reeks of someone running out of ideas.

Which is a goddamn shame, because there is a lot of potential here. Zombies start to get a little bit smart in this movie- the Zombie Hero learns to shoot a gun (Steyr AUG! yeah!), which is very bad news. I wonder, when the Zombies develop language, how they will refer to the few remaining "living" humans? Quickies? Warmies? Food? Will we ever come to an understanding with the Zombies, or at least detente? Could Zombies potentially develop technology? Oh yeah, we've already got Zombie tech- it's called Microsoft. And what are the legal ramifications of this new Zombie/human sphere? Will there ever be marriage between a Warmie and a Stencher, or will they have to go to Massachusetts?

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