Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Brilliant Actor, and Blasphemous

Boy, do I love the performances of Ian McKellen. Obviously, folks will remember him for Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films... and rightly so. His involvement in the X-Men films adds quite a lot, especially in his scenes with Patrick Stewart.

I don't remember much of the first film I saw him in... The Keep. I remember I was creeped out when I watched the video as a kid. He's quite good in the 1980s television version of The Scarlet Pimpernell. His performance in Apt Pupil was captivating... and one of the redeeming features of the film. (It wasn't bad, but it was not great.) I've been meaning to see his Macbeth (still sitting on my shelf) with Judi Dench, and of course Gods and Monsters.

Now his interview with Matt Lauer.
Lauer: "There have been calls from some religious groups, they wanted a disclaimer at the beginning of this movie saying it is fiction because one of the themes in the book really knocks Christianity right on its ear, if Christ survived the crucifixion, he did not die for our sins and therefore was not resurrected. What I'm saying is, people wanted this to say 'fiction, fiction, fiction'. How would you all have felt if there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie? Would it have been okay with you?"

McKellen: "Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they've seen it."

Thanks, Dame Ian... shut up and act.

All kidding aside, sir, you are a brilliant actor, but you are not doing your film any favors. (Unless you just want to stir the pot, as I expect you do... but that's just a short-term game.)

Look, although I am Catholic, I don't have much of a dog in this fight. First of all, the book and the film clearly have a blasphemous subject matter. To some folks, the very idea is insulting. Some Catholics and Christians are not too bothered... some might even see the film and enjoy the roller coaster ride.

Those who choose not to see the film because of the blasphemous topic probably choose not to see several films based on subject matter. This is not bad. This does not make them pea-brained and closed-minded... it makes them selective. Is a person who refuses to see horror films small-minded for not seeing Halloween or Psycho or Silence of the Lambs? No. Anyone who thinks so might very well be an elitist.

The studio backing the movie and the movie makers themselves were hoping for protests and boycotts. It amounts to a special kind of publicity. The news media can cover it and willingly or unwillingly bolster the profile of the movie.

Some time last week (or the week before), KTLK morning co-host Andrew Colton stated that Tom Hanks pretty much said that religious folks protesting, boycotting, or complaining about the movie should "get a life". Actually, what Tom Hanks said was far less insulting than what the simpering, obnoxious Colton claimed.
The actor told London's Evening Standard newspaper the film was loaded with "hooey" and "nonsense".

"If you are going to take any sort of movie at face value, particularly a huge-budget motion picture like this, you'd be making a very big mistake."


...Hanks, who plays a Harvard professor in Ron Howard's film, said the film was "a lot of fun", likening it to a "scavenger hunt".

"We always knew there would be a segment of society that would not want this movie to be shown," he said.

But he claimed that it "never hurts" for a film to provoke "dialogue" about religious issues and history.

"Get a life"? Hanks' comments were respectful and kind, Andrew. Pah, Colton's just looking for an audience to annoy so he job lasts longer.

Back to Ian McKellen. His comments are the kind that make some folks reconsider seeing the speaker's films. I won't refuse to see any of his films, and I won't toss out or sell the disks I have with him. I just won't go out of my way to rush out and see X-Men 3... I'll wait until the studio has their share before I throw my money at a matinee showing. I think that's about a month or six weeks, right?

Oh, and I might just point out how much of an ass this brilliant actor is every time his name comes up.

Nice work, McKellen. Another unbelievable performance.


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