Friday, April 06, 2007

Back in the Bottle of Men

Comics, then. It's just occurred to me that when Aunt May comes out of her coma, she's going to have forgotten that she knows Peter is Spider-Man, isn't she?

Post-Civil War you might say it's a moot point as Spidey's identity is common knowledge, but they'll either:

1) Keep her in the coma until the identity stuff is retconned, as it inevitably will be.
2) Wiggle out of it some other way (it was an imposter, etc)
3) Ignore it and hope no one notices.

I'm betting (3), because Marvel's editorial department have been a bit, shall we say, lax of late.

In other news, we finally saw Children of Men today and while it's not an excellent film, it is very good indeed. It would have been better if they hadn't been quite so broad and heavy-handed with the satire (although I accept that they may have needed to do that to get the message(s) across to everyone), and if the writers had kept their nerve and not allowed a stinking great cliché to blunder in near the end. And it's the storytelling cliché I hate the most too. Bastards.


  1. Are we supposed to guess, or will you elucidate? It's not the baby thing, is it?

  2. I think I will make you guess, actually. Here's a clue: it happened in The Mask of Zorro too, and I hated it there. I've not read Campbell's Hero of a Thousand Faces, but I'll bet it's in there, and that's why it keeps turning up. That, or scriptwriters are all involved in a hideous conspiracy to fudge me off.

  3. Not sure what the cliche is either, go one, spill the beans.
    Saw COM with my, at the time, 6 months pregnant wife, this was foolish, never felt so tense in my life.... well, until 3 months later:)

  4. I'd contend that Children of Men borrows the form laid out in Hero of a Thousand Faces, but the content of the movie subverts it.

    I'm guessing the cliché is the proposition that baby Dylan will assume the mantle of Theo and Julian's dead son, just as Antonio Banderas' son is expected to continue the lineage at the end of The Mask of Zorro.

    However, in Children of Men this suggestion is made by two desperate characters adrift in a small boat, trying to ascribe a symbolic meaning to their lives. Everything about their situation suggests this is the kind of vain hope people use in bad situations in order to get through.

    As far as I remember at the end of Mask of Zorro the future assumption of the mantle by baby Zorro is shown to be a certainty. Zorro, his wife and his baby are safe and secure.

    Zorro supports the cliché, Children of Men places it in a questionable context at the very least.

  5. Liam's close, but not quite there. It's that thing where a main character dies for no apparent reason other than that his "job" is done. It drives me round the bend, so it does. Anthony Hopkins' character in Zorro dies for no reason, as does Clive Owen's in Children of Men. In CoM, the entire story has been about Theo regaining his faith in the future (and as Liam points out, it's an uncertain faith, as we have no guarantee that Kee and her child will save the human race), and then he dies. Why? How does that relate to the story of his faith? I don't think it does. It's a cliché, and they didn't need to include it.

    I'm reminded of the end of the Ocean's Eleven remake, where the thieves are all standing by the fountain. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was absolutely sure that the old geezer was going to have a heart attack at the fountain and yet die happy because his work was done. That's how omnipresent the cliché is, it seems.

    Sometimes it does have a purpose (and I suspect Thousand Faces points out examples where it does work), but so often it seems to be done for profundity or poignancy, even if it makes no sense in the context of the story as a whole.

  6. I would have ended CoM in one of two ways.

    1) Theo lives, the ship turns up, and Theo introduces himself as Julian, taking advantage of his wife's gender-non-specific name, helpfully flagged up by Kee mantioning, not two minutes earlier, that "Dylan" is gender-non-specific. This would be the "happy" ending.

    2) Theo lives, the ship doesn't turn up, and Theo, Kee and Dylan end the film floating off the coast of Bexhill. This is the "John Carpenter" ending.

    But then I'm not a storyteller, so what do I know?

  7. (2 addendum) That's not to say that the ship never turns up, but just that it doesn't during the film's running time.