Thursday, April 24, 2008

Woofer Punches and Eastern Mythology

I went to see The Forbidden Kingdom. That Jackie Chan/Jet Li movie. Funny, because a little while ago I heard Jet Li was retiring from making kung fu movies. And a little while before that I heard the Jackie Chan was. Anyway, I went to see it, sort of expecting it to be half bad. But I tell you what, it wasn't. It was awesomeness on a stick, was what it was. An all around just fun movie to watch.

They had this one fight scene between Jackie Chan and Jet Li. It went on for a while. They did this really cool thing, though, with the punching sound effects; ran them through the sub-woofer. The huge speaker at the bottom of the screen that makes things like explosions in movies sound really big. I thought that was very cool. It made it seem like these punches could have broke through rock.

Good movie.

This movie also had this story about the Monkey King in it. I already knew the story it told--about the Monkey King crashing the Peach Banquet that the Jade Emperor was at, and the Jade Emperor finding the Monkey King funny and so declaring that he, as Jade Emperor, thought the Monkey King was okay and ought to have a title, but then the Jade Warlord, mean guy that he is, didn't give the Monkey King the title. I already knew that story. Sitting and watching it, though, it occurred to me that I hadn't ever seen it in a movie before, but it looked exactly how I had imagined it.

It made me think of western myths-turned-movie that I've seen. Or, more specifically, of this frame of mind that I had where I took it for granted that there was already a movie enterpretation of most of the legends that I could think of. However, seeing this big-budget enterpretation of this Monkey King story got me thinking about this idea of enterpretation. Then reenterpretation.

Robin Hood. Mucho mania times reenterpreted. The earliest film version of it that I have seen was the one with Errol Flynn. Hilarious movie. Not meant to be hilarious, I imagine, but hilarious. Furthermore, as far as the look of a thing goes, the Errol Flynn movie really looked the most like many of my ideas of Robin Hood from reading books of Robin Hood. Errol Flynn: sort of an idea of benchmark, original Robin Hood.

Contrast: Kevin Costner as Robin of the Hood. Darker, gruesomer, more exciting movie. Gone are almost every-heckling-single signpost of the Robin Hood visual. Green-clad-ness, long bow, archery tournament, lovable scoundrel, English accent, no fucking feather in his hat.

So we have here two movies, one released in 1938, the other in 1991. That's fifty-eight years between a movie adaption of a story that looked how I imagined, and another...that didn't.


1 comment:

The One and Only John said...

I'm gonna read this when I actually see the movie.