Chris and I went to see 'Prince Caspian' today. Not a bad flick, actually.
I grew up seeing sword-fights on the big screen -- my first favorite movie was 1973s 'The Three Musketeers/Four Musketeers' with Christopher Lee, Michael York, Charleton Heston and Raquel Welch -- and those two movies were loaded with folks getting shish-kabobed left, right and centre.
After we got Stateside, John Milius' screenplay 'Conan' starring the future governor of California set the standard for pointy ends going into the Bad Guys. And blood. Ye tap-dancing gods, the amount of fake blood used in that movie was awe-inspiring.
Over the last decade though -- maybe longer -- fantasy swordplay has rather heavily emphasized the 'fantasy' part and heavily de-emphasized the 'traumatic insertion' part.
It may just be me, but the heroes never seem to kill anyone with a sword. Instead, the queen of personal weapons seems to have become -- in Hollywood's eyes, at least -- nothing more than a distraction. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched a Hollywood fantasy hero rushing to engage the enemy, throwing his sword past the first bad guy, the bad guy stares at it go past him -- allowing the hero to deck the bad guy with a single mighty punch.
Or -- and this is my personal favourite -- a sword is treated as nothing more than a steel trapping aid, used only to move the bad guys blade out of line, thus allowing the hero to elbow, punch or kick the bad guy into lala-land without fear of getting pin-cushioned in the process.
Oh, there have been some few exceptions -- Aragorn wading through orcs at Parth Galen; and Leonidas, Stelios and Astinos serving up heaping helpings of Persian sashemi, for instance -- but there are far more examples of sword swinging good guys doing whatever they can not to actually, you know, cut anyone, than of good guys using a sword for what it was designed to do.
Fortunately, this wasn't one of those movies. The good guys are quite happy to introduce the sharp parts of their weapons to various anatomical parts of the bad guys, who promptly -- although there is a striking lack of blood -- go down and jolly well stay down.
I am happy to report that Susan Pevensie joins the ranks of damsels who are not only quite able to rescue themselves, thankyewverymuch, but are entirely capable of pulling their own weight in the whacking-and-stacking department.
Seems the darling girl not only located a branch of the Legolas Greenleaf School of Close Combat Archery, but she seems to have aced every course in the syllabus.
Come to think, Susan might have offed more bad guys than both her brothers put together.
As a side note, there is a scene in the movie in which the Bad Guy Cavalry is hauling tail across a bridge. On the far side of this bridge is young Lucy Pevensie, who promptly produces the most satanic little girl smile I have ever seen outside of a Japanese horror flick before drawing her pig-sticker.
Scene cuts back to the cavalry, then back to Lucy just in time for Aslan to step onto the far end of the bridge next to Lucy. Following shot is of a whole bunch of horses and riders locking up the metaphorical brakes.
I couldn't help myself. I leaned over to Chris and said, sotto voce, "Jesus Christ, it's a lion! Get in the car!"
Not only did I wipe out Chris for the rest of the movie, but someone in the row behind us apparently blew a large amount of expensive soda out through a sinus or two and spent the rest of the movie alternating between coughing and giggling fits.
Nice to know that it wasn't too obscure of an Internet reference.
On the whole, worth every bit of the $7.00 matinee price.