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Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Hazards of Hermeneutics 

Via Zemblan patriot J.D.: Actress, screenwriter and co-director of the "Liberty Film Festival" Govindi Murty, whose imposing filmography you will find here, argues that summer box-office receipts are down because "Constant gibes about Republicans, Christians, conservatives and the military litter today's movies and award show presentations like so many pieces of trash on theater floors":
Did the industry have to go out of its way to snub "The Passion of the Christ" at award shows because of its perceived conservatism — even though the movie saved last year's box office?

Did we need a movie like "Kingdom of Heaven" asserting moral equivalency between medieval Crusaders and modern Muslim terrorists, by putting lines in Crusaders' mouths such as: "To kill an infidel is not a sin"?

Did we need George Lucas implying that his latest "Star Wars" film is intended as an anti-Bush parable about the Iraq war, in which America plays the evil empire? (I thought the movie was an artistic success, but Lucas' comments spoiled my enjoyment and kept me from repeated viewings.)

Did we need to hear from "War of the Worlds" screenwriter David Koepp that the aliens in his movie are stand-ins for the U.S military — and the innocent Americans they attack are stand-ins for Iraqi civilians? Or that Americans are guilty of post-9/11 anti-Muslim "paranoia"? (A question to Koepp: Were we "paranoid" after Pearl Harbor too?)
We will not go into the movie project depicting "the realities of Islamo-fascism" that Ms. Murty and her husband could not get off the ground even though "the script received great feedback." We will merely note that the consistently meretricious Debra J. Saunders, resident termagant of the San Francisco Chronicle, seems not to have received the memo on Koepp and WOTW, a movie she finds insufficiently bellicose:
IF THERE IS a theme to Steven Spielberg's new alien-invasion movie, "War of the Worlds," it is not that the human spirit has the courage that justifies human survival. Or that American know-how and grit can defeat invaders, even when the situation seems impossible. No, it is more like: If aliens invade, don't fight back. Run.

No need for self-defense. Mother Nature will take care of the non- indigenous occupiers.

While set in the Northeast, Spielberg's alien war seems very much like what would happen if aliens invaded Hollywood. There would be no praying, no talk of God, no homeowners defending their homes, no posses defending their communities, no 90210 teens enlisting to defend their country.

In Spielberg's world, as the invaders appeared, movie moguls would be finding a quick way out of town, while extolling their children to run faster. (Those aerobics classes should be good for something) . . . .

In "Independence Day," civilians show an appreciation for military efforts, however futile and fatal the initial forays were.

Humans are angry in "Independence Day." They are afraid in "War."

"Independence Day" focuses on the demise of iconic buildings and monuments. "War" doesn't bother to evoke anger or patriotism movie-goers might experience watching cherished buildings implode.
We would very much like to invite both of the learned scholars cited above to a dinner party, so that Ms. Murty could explain to Ms. Saunders that when she roots for praying, talk of God, homeowners defending their homes, posses defending their communities, teens enlisting to defend their country, and citizens reacting with anger and patriotism while watching cherished buildings explode, she is in fact pulling for the Iraqi insurgency to smite the infidel occupier. You know us: we love a good dust-up -- so much so that we would be glad to buy the survivor an extra helping of dessert.

ASIDE: While we're on the subject, we must question the accuracy of Ms. Saunders's recollections. Although we have never seen Independence Day, we remember the trailer quite vividly; it ended with a shot of the White House being demolished by aliens, which inevitably drew applause, laughter, and whoops of anticipation from audiences here in the crazy-liberal preserve of San Francisco. That was, of course, during the Clinton administration, when the White House had it coming, and reactions of "anger" or "patriotism" would have been altogether inappropriate.

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