Monday, December 24, 2007

Pretty much what I expected...

Well, Mrs. Wit and I did watch "The Last Man on Earth" last night. Good flick. You should check it out. It's superior to the subsequent remakes ("The Omega Man" & "I Am Legend"), both of which replace the twisted climax of the original, which is stunning in its moral ambiguity, with over the top Christ allegories. The original was also made on a shoestring, but unlike the other two versions it manages to keep the tension aloft throughout the entire film.

But I digress. That's not what this post is supposed to be about.

We finished the movie and switched over to "In God's Name" on CBS. We came in half an hour into it. We couldn't finish watching the damn thing. And is was pretty much what I expected.

Imagine being locked in a room with a bunch of well-groomed marketing directors droning "God is Love" over and over again while the same piece of music loops endlessly in the background, and you get an idea of what kind of documentary this is: like "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians," it is a Cinematic Crime Against Humanity.

The first thing I noticed was the soundtrack. There were only three pieces of music used, and the were looped almost without pause. I did not recognize two of them. The third, however, was Peter Gabriel's "Low Light" from his album Ovo. I love Peter Gabriel's work. I own all of his albums. I try to catch his show whenever he comes through the area. But I was really getting sick and tired of hearing "Low Light" after 40 minutes! The filmmakers needed to spend a little more time on the soundtrack.  Actually, it seems to me that if you have enough content in your documentary, a soundtrack score is really not all that necessary.

Speaking of the filmmakers, they spent an inordinate amount of time on camera themselves talking about how 9/11 inspired them to make the film, or having soulfully slow panned still shots of themselves with the various religious leaders they interviewed for the film. The whole time their attitude was to reverently declare something along the lines of:

"Everyone wants to know where God was on 9/11. Well, golly! He's everywhere! Look at all these neat-o keen-o religions and how wonderful they are!"

And every time a nod was made to religiously inspired violence, the various talking heads would inevitably declare: "But that's not real religion!" (With no backing, of course.)

And all these leaders were, of course, only shown to be the most pious mo-fos ever to walk the Earth. Seriously.

And, as predicted, the filmmakers did not even bother with skeptics, freethinkers, and other non-believers. That would have destroyed the treacly junk food they were presenting by introducing some intellectual nutrition into it.

By the last fifteen minutes, it had become too painful to watch. It switched over to a re-run of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" to watch something equally fictional, but much more honest.

Shame on you, CBS. After earning my praises on Sunday morning, you had to destroy them later that night.

Shame on you.

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