Sunday, May 16, 2004

Commentary Commentary by Chrisloth-Tabor: BTILC

You know what would be really stupid to review? DVD commentaries: They are supposed to be an artist commenting on his work. Judging people as they speak to their work is both unjust and unfair. Directors direct, they are not conversationalists, and judging them on their social skills is just damn cruel. Oh well. Commentaries provide valuable information for potential film makers, gossip for those of us who care, and angles on films that help us appreciate them more. The horrible Jennifer Lopez outing, Angel Eyes, is based on a real event in the director’s life, and it very well have been his inability to objectively evaluate his work that led to the film’s downfall. After I heard the commentary I loved the film. Perhaps love is too strong a word.

For my opening review – I give you Big Trouble in Little China.

This John Carpenter / Kurt Russell pairing is interesting in that the commentary was completed only recently. In the intervening years the film was hyped by the studio, only to have all advertisements pulled on its opening weekend. It bombed at the box office, but then garnered a large following on video. I suspect a lot of the history has to do with the fact that Carpenter and Russell have enjoyed playing with the concept of what constitutes a hero in their films such as Escape from New York and The Thing. In Big Trouble in Little China our lead, Jack Burton, is technically the sidekick, and co-star, Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), is technically the Hero. Most folks, including the studio, didn’t get it. Carpenter / Russell discuss their original hopes for the film, and their feelings about the studio desertion. And then they happily discuss, but don’t gloat, about the double decade long validation of their work. These two guys are great friends, and they don’t mind giving each other shit.

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