Monday, February 22, 2010

Solomon Kane and the Jacksonian Era of Middle Earth

Over at The Cimmerian Al Harron has written up an excellent review of the new film "Solomon Kane". Unfortunately for now those of us stuck in the new world will be forced to rely upon such reviews, while the film has a distributor now, we have no release date. I personally fear that due to Steven Sommers POS "Van Helsing".. no one wants to touch "Solomon Kane".

While I've yet to see any non online news about the film, I've seen some evidence of book retailers noticing the movie anyway, Living in sort of a geographically " In between " area.. I have my choice of which book store I want to drive 30 miles to shop at.. and in all of the various Borders Books I've been to lately.. they all seem to have an anomaly in the Fantasy Section.. As I noted in a previous post. One would think the stores would be promoting the newest of Del Rey's Robert E. Howard volumes "El Borak and Other Desert Adventures ".. However none of the Borders seemed to have a copy of it. What they all 3 do have is a large number of copies of Del Rey's Second volume .. " The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane ". I can't draw any conclusions from this, other than that obviously the volume is moving or was expected to move.. so the stores ordered (or were compulsorily sent) extra copies due to some unknown factor at work. It is curious though.

Now onto my thoughts on the Review. I liked how Al divided up the review, I enjoyed his imagined back story of the films Kane especially. Mostly I'm heartened that, while the script is its weakest link.. we aren't stuck with another worthless Fantasy film with no substance and saddled with poor directing, poor casting, poor costuming in addition to a bad script. Even if this isn't the Solomon Kane that REH fans wanted, if it can perform well enough to warrant a more authentic Sequel it may be the film that Hollywood needed in order to stop thinking of REH as a source of material to be mined when they want to churn out a crappy Fantasy movie to fill the gaps in the release schedule. Which unfortunately and undeservedly has been his lot for a very long time now.

After reading reviews with James Purfoy and now a more recent one with James Momoa, I see that the Actors get it. Even if the script writers, financiers and producers don't. My opinion of this is, of course they don't. Writers are a strange lot, either they love another author so much they seek to ape them either consciously or not.. or they hate all other authors because none of them can ever measure up to their own genius and how dare they get more accolades than me.. or the last option.. are actually a true genius in the field of writing..

Financiers and producers.. well.. number crunchers are all the same.. only interested in focus groups and a constant itch behind their eyes to keep the bottom line steady.. these are the same sorts of people who thought that Peter Jackson needed to kill off a couple of the hobbits midway into the first Ring's movie in order to lighten the cast a bit. Either to lighten the budget or to keep the mouth breathers in the audience who generally make up focus groups from getting distracted and playing with themselves.

Speaking of Peter Jackson.. and since this is still relevant to my review of a review.. Al likens the SK movie to the Jacksonian Rings films.. I think hes probably onto something here.. with one caveat..

As time has gone by, my love for Jackson's movies has not endured. In 2001 reeling from the blow not of September the 11th but the almost immediately following death of the only real father figure in my life. I really latched onto Jackson's interpretations of the Rings movies.. They sort of filled in that gap in my life and I put too much of a burden on them. A Burden they've not been able to live up too.

I'm of course nearly 10 years older now, but my tastes in film are much the same.. Now though I just can't help but resent the un-needed changes made to the Rings adaptions. Most of it, like with this Solomon Kane adaption.. have nothing to do with the director or the actors.. It all has to do with the script writing and the defilement enacted on it by the script writers.. Some of which we are still saddled with to this day.

I've become obsessed with these faults to the exclusion of everything else.. they've grown like a sore that I kept picking at until I simply had to abandon watching the movies.. from PJ's farting Dwarves and determined efforts to put Elves either where they didn't belong or the wrong elf where another belonged.. And especially Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyans tamponing of the male characters to the point where they basically come across as spineless unless they had strong female hands at the rudder.. (I can only imagine what life must be like in the Jackson Home... or rather I should say.. The Walsh Home.... Henpecked is probably an understatement) I hope that Solomon Kane's changes don't fester the same way.. I suppose what I'm trying to say is, I hope the next movie is more like Howard than this one was.

Rather than the case of Lord of the Rings.. where the first one was the most authentic.. and the second and third each successively became less and less what Tolkien wrote and more and more what Peter, Fran and Phillipa, the Script Writers.. Wanted.

1 comment:

Trey said...

I think your comment about becoming "obsessed with the faults to exclusion of everything else" is a common trap for fans to fall into when judging the quality of an adaption.

I know I've been guilty of that at times, and I might suffer with that with the Solomon Kane film.

With the Jackson films though, while I'm aware of the complaints of fans more hardcore than I--and I agree that some of Jackson's changes and stylistic tics are for the worse, others are just "differences." A very few times I feel (heresy!) that the more streamlined dialogue of the films has more dramatic impact for modern audiences than Tolkien's wordier and more archaic flavored original.