Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Warning: obscure Internet trivia quote follows.

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.

'Dog approves.

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.



aepilot_jim said...

You almost had me convinces NOT to go see the movies. I was all thinking "Great, It's an A-Team adventure." I'll definately put it on my list.

Christina RN LMT said...

Loved the movie, and that scene with Lucy at the bridge was one of my favorites.
My one problem with Susan was her never-ending supply of arrows. Has it been too long since I read the books? Is her quiver magical, do her arrows indeed never run out?
Inquiring mind(s) want(s) to know...

Anonymous said...

thanks lawdog,
for the heads up, i may have to wait for the dvd but i'll make sure to see it.

M.E. Again said...

Loved the movie - and yes, Susan's bow-and-quiver are enchanted. They are from Father Christmas' appearance in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. In the book Susan stays away from battle (and doesn't have a thing for Caspian) Those are 'updates' for our modern sensibilities. We'll be buying that one on DVD.

Anonymous said...

I liked it. Prince Caspian isn't my favorite of the books and I thought the movie expanded on it pretty well. I could have done without the kissy scene between Susan and Caspian, but on the whole, it was a good-un.

I hope they film The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next.

Ky Person

Anonymous said...

Ky "Dawn Treader" is in production now,

I'm going to see the thing again later this week,

very well done,

Even the changes from the book were made to carry this through to the Dawn Treader I serioulsy hope they make all of the Narnia books the way they did Lion Witch and Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.

the Unlimited Ammo really helps when dealing with recalicitrant calvary or turning dedicated lancers into recalicitrant calvary/pin cushions

I was pleased that they followed the Lucy/Aslan link that shows why she and Edmund return to Narnia.

woerm from THR

qiqvkzn wasn't that for hairloss? or halitosis

Monkeywrangler said...

I can't place the quote forsure, but my thought is it is from Secondhand Lions...

Kelly(Mom of 6) said...

Didn't see it..probably won't. I hate movies out of books. Books are just so much better.

tottergirl said...

Since you like "ICHC" look up ihasahotdog.com.

And also Prince Caspian was totally rockin!

Cybrludite said...

Given that it's Narnia, shouldn't that quote start, "Jesus Christ is a lion!"? ;-)

Dr. Coyote said...

What would Lucy be charged with for whipping out that lady's last-ditch dagger publicly in the U.K. today? Reminds me of how she was pleading to the trees earlier in the movie, "Please wake up." God, we need Great Brittan back all great again.

Fine movie though, can't wait to see more in the series.

Firehand said...

Yeah, the movies will blow people up by the hundreds, mow them down with guns by the dozens, but actually stick a sword in a bad guy? Or slice him in two? No, we can't have THAT!


HokiePundit said...

"Killing with the point lacks artistry."

-Duncan Idaho, Dune

If they wind up making The Last Battle they'd better not have Susan show up at the end.

Anonymous said...

Try the 2003 movie Zatôichi by Takeshi Kitano. Some very impressive fight scenes by a blind swordsman and some very good over the top humor.


Anonymous said...

What I'm wondering is how are they going to do The Horse and His Boy?
The Calormenes are Arab-like and I just know some oh so sensitive plant is going to get his turban in a twist.

Ky Person

Anonymous said...

I always liked the swordfight at the end of "Prince Valiant" (the 1954 flick with Robert Wagner). Good shield bashing!

-- chicopanther

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the film, but I has a hard time getting past the fact that King Philip apparently decided to take his armada to Narnia instead of England.

But then, if I had to choose between facing Bess and Walsingham and staring down some talking animals, I'd probably make the same decision.

Rico said...

Swordplay? Rico nominates "The Princess Bride" for best recent movie sword work.