Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

An Australian Guy Using an English Accent to Portray a Spanish general in the Roman army

In Movies on January 23, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I have a thing about accents, in general, and their use in period movies, specifically. I am fascinated by what we are able to suspend our disbelief about and what we cannot seem to get over in this area. For instance, as the title of this post suggests, we have Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Does he sound either Spanish or Roman? Well, actually, I have no idea. I haven’t the foggiest idea what the ancient Roman accent sounds like, but why default to something British? Is it Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar we have to blame? I, Claudius? Or is it that some form of British accent sounds classier, more timeless, or just more appropriate? Or is that a lot of good actors happen to be British? I don’t really know. Maybe good acting is associated with the Bard and his accent is emulated.

On the otherhand, I’ve heard that the English during Shakespeare’s time did not sound like the modern British accents (for all you Scots, Welsh, and shit…I don’t know…Liverpoolipaneans whom complain that there is no one British accent but a myriad collection of different ways of speaking that sound cooler than me). So Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Laurence Olivier, while amazing, are no more accurate than any other person’s accent.

But what do many people think when they hear Tom Cruise in Valkyrie or Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It sounds phoney or stupid or just plain wrong. But many rarely would complain if that accent was British, like in Schindler’s List. Not all wrong accents are created equal. Just ask Brad Pitt, an American who used a quasi-English accent in Troy so he could sound like…someone from ancient Greece, I guess?

I love how Costner gets slammed for his accent but gets a pass on the mullet. I mean, check out that ape drape.

I love how Costner gets slammed for his accent but gets a pass on the mullet. I mean, check out that ape drape.

But that’s just about what you’re used to. British accents sound right for many period pieces because they are often used in them. So Michael Fassbender in Centurion sounds fine but Channing Tatum in The Eagle sounds ridiculous. Fair enough, I guess. I have a bigger problem when accents are not consistent within one movie. The worst offender is the post-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Man in the Iron Mask. It’s set in France but we have an DiCaprio (American) as the king but also Gabriel Byrnes (British) and Jeremy Irons (British), Gerard Depardieu (super French yet kinda Russian now) and John Malkovich (Martian) as the former musketeers. Hearing these “French” dudes talk about their duty to their country and what not is hard to buy when they can’t decide what country they come from.

Maybe it’s just me.

The Preservation of an Untainted Idea

In Comics, Movies, Science Fiction on January 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm

“You should absolutely not see the Hobbit. In fact I’m calling you now.”

This was a text I received from a good friend upon informing him of my Wednesday night plans. I know you may be thinking, “Why hasn’t Scott seen the Hobbit yet?” And that is a good question. Have I lost my obsessive nature in the nearly two years since I posted? Well, maybe? Or maybe I know it’s not going anywhere and I’m not worried about spoiling the story because it’s been around for 70+ years.

But that brings me back to my original point. Why would my friend warn me off of the Hobbit? It’s about spoilage. But not the “Bruce Willis has a dead penis named Rosebud at the end of the Citizen Crying Sense” kind of spoiler. More like, a beloved property or franchise exists in your mind and you cherish it. You may treasure it and cultivate it in your memory. Then, somehow, something new comes out that threatens that memory on a personal level.

It might be like Frank Miller’s return to his 80’s roots in much maligned The Dark Knight Strikes Again that causes you to examine why you loved The Dark Knight Returns in the first place. Or how The Phantom Menance forced you to like the original trilogy slightly less than you did. Or, how the first Hobbit movie threatened the idea of the Hobbit for my friend and he wanted to save me.

And it’s not optional, in some cases. You cannot unsee what you saw. You can rationalize it all you want. Midichlorians? What are those? Josh Brolin’s Jonah Hex? Never heard of it. Crystal Skulls? It’s weird Harrison Ford has an entirely new franchise coincidentally starring a character name Indiana Jones, but whatever. Sometimes you can separate Jaws from Jaws: The Revenge and not have a problem enjoying the original.

I always thought this moment would be so great.  I really did.

I always thought this moment would be so great. (sigh) I really did.

But sometimes you can’t…and it kinda sucks.

For the record, I wasn’t over the moon for the first Hobbit movie but I understand that Peter Jackson is goofy and makes goofy movies. I enjoyed it for what it was and I will see more of them.