Tuesday, 12 April 2011

700,000,000 Screaming Chinese

Red Dawn: one of my favourite films. Maybe some day I will immeasurably enrich the culture of our world by writing an essay on the Nietzschian and Platonic conflicts in that 1980s masterpiece.

But today is not the day. I'd just like to link to this article. For quite some time the Hollywood vultures have been circling John Milius's 1980s work of genius, with plans of remaking. Certainly, of all the films you could remake, at least Red Dawn is one with lots of shooting. And (though it lacerates my soul to admit it) it wasn't exactly perfect.

But then there's the name. I'm sure they'd love nothing more than a bit of Russophobia and have a despotic Russian tyrant, but the Russian Federation doesn't have a red flag. Luckily for the film makers, or so they thought, there's still China. With the world's largest population, 2nd largest GDP and 3rd largest landmass, China was the one to go for. Quite why they would invade America is open to question: they'd be at risk of damaging their own assets and the effect on the American economy could stop them from getting back all the dosh they're owed.

How the film makers answered these questions, however, we'll never know. They've now digitally altered their fillum so that America will be invaded by North Korea. This sliver of the Korean Peninsula might have the 154th highest per capita GDP, a population of 24 million and a landmass that's smaller than the state of Mississippi, but- uh, well that's the point actually: China has too big and too rich a population. Seems these days Hollywood can only be smug and self-righteous about nations that are too poor to make much of an impact on the overseas box office. Don't know how it will go down at home: America being owned by one of the puniest nations on earth. Maybe they just take it for granted the average American is too thick to know how small and poor North Korea is.

I feel a bit sad reading about the entire thing. I'm no great fan of Hollywood, but the American film industry I suppose was an icon of Modern Western civilisation, and films such as the original Red Dawn demonstrated a potential to make challenging and interesting works. Now it seems as well as being intellectually bankrupt, Hollywood will also crumble in its defence of principles (which I don't entirely share or not share) just to benefit at the box office.

Gone are the days when a possible Stalinist sympathiser could be 'run out of town'. In future it could be the democrats.


  1. Darn those commie Hollywood liberals! Always putting profits first!

    It is sad how Hollywood has declined. I am hoping that as the Baby Boomers retire and have more free time, Hollywood will respond by making better films that cater to older tastes.

    I have no real data to prove this, but I think Hollywood's decline has a lot to do with adults no longer going to the movies much and the resulting domination of the film marketplace by comic book films and the like.

    What is perhaps even more depressing is that the matinee fare produced today is not even much fun. I don't know how you make excruciatingly boring movies about space aliens attacking major cities, but Hollywood has managed this feat several times since the 1990s.

  2. @John
    Thank you for your comment.

    'I'm hoping that as the Baby Boomers retire and have more free time, Hollywood will respond by making better films that cater to older tastes.'

    In a sense I hope so, but the last time I saw a Hollywood film that was aimed at an adult audience, Charlie Wilson's War, I thought it was oddly sinister in a way that meat head action movies aren't. Quite astounding that they glamourised medieval nostalgist theocrats AFTER the Sept 11th bombings. And this was written by a liberal.

    Still, I do wonder if more sophisticated films will bite into the non-fiction market: if people watch Fox news because there is, as it were, no alternative. Lefty that I am, I can't deny Bill O'reilly is rather more compelling than the interchangeable baby faced 'stars' that populate Hollywood. For all you can say about Glen Beck he probably still has a more fertile imagination than most hollywood screenwriters who think that changing the names of a few characters constitutes 'a reimagining'.

    Actually, the last really good film I've seen funded by Hollywood (I think) was 'The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada' which really demonstrated the kind of thing Hollywood could do well. Perhaps the growing Latin American population will bring more cojones to the industry.

  3. LOL! Does North Korea even have a functional airforce other than a few old Migs.