Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Brokeback Vendetta?

"The Matrix" is one of my all-time favorite movies, and their sequels, while far from great did at least provide a fun diversion, so on the strength of the Wachowski brothers' record I went and saw "V for Vendetta" last weekend.

Ok, so the hero of the movie is a terrorist who blows up buildings. I knew that going in. He only blew up empty buildings, and only killed the "bad guys", so I had no problem with that really. It was symbolic -- a statement he was making -- I got that. (Even though I never could buy mere vengeance as a noble cause to root for.)

And the future is run by a neo-Christian fundamentalist/fascist regime that persecutes Muslims. I knew that going in, too. I was prepared for that. All stories about dystopian futures are about pressing the current ideologies to their uttermost extreme. They try to show us ourselves at our worst. They try to warn us away from an ugly future by showing us what we would look like. Portraying a future run by Muslim extremists would not serve that purpose.

What I was not really prepared for was the whole "Brokeback" aspect.

Must every movie now be about gays and lesbians?

I'm sorry, call me a homophobe or whatever, but I just cannot buy homosexuality as a noble way of life. During my stint here on earth, I've known several people with what I would call "gender confusion issues", and I've never seen it be a good thing.

And besides that, I just don't understand it. I'm sorry all you noble-minded, good-hearted gay people out there, but I just don't. Let me explain.

In a pinch, I will sometimes use the handle of a screwdriver as a hammer. I've done it, I admit. I'm either too lazy to walk out to the shed and get the hammer, or I don't know where a hammer is. Either way, I know I am using the screwdriver for a purpose it was not designed for. I know that it is going to be a little more difficult to drive the nail in with the screwdriver handle. It will take a lot of extra swings, and I will miss the head or glance off it at an odd angle many times. I accept that as the cost of using the tool for a purpose it was not designed for.

When I am using a screwdriver this way, I accept the difficulties and hazards and so forth as part of the package. My reasoning is that the difficulties involved in using the screwdriver's handle to drive my nails are less troublesome to me than the difficulty of getting up and finding my hammer.

All this is simply to say, if a person has what we might call "guy parts", how can he say he's meant to use them with other guys? I don't get it. If a person has "girl parts" how am I to believe that she is meant to use them with other females? It seems to me as absurd as a man trying to make an argument that driving nails is the proper use of a screwdriver.

I acknowledge your right to do with your tools what you want, but if you make it a practice to use your screwdriver to drive your nails, and try to use your kitchen knives to turn your screws -- I mean if you are able to convince yourself that this is the right and proper way for you to use these tools -- you are going to have a hard time getting anything done.

I'm not trying to judge anyone here. All moral issues aside, really. You can use your screwdrivers to drive nails if you want to. That's not the point. It seems that society today is trying to make us believe that driving nails is a perfectly proper use for a screwdriver - on an equal footing with screwing screws, and I just can't see it. Look at the darn things! They have a specific and well-defined function for which they are obviously designed. I can certainly understand a person might have the desire to use his tools for purposes contrary to their design, but why must we go the next step, beyond reason, it seems to me, and try to believe that they were designed for these other uses? I just can't.

Now back to the movie.

I could not buy V's "cause" as anything but a visceral desire for revenge, and so I didn't really buy the public support for him. I think the writers could have made their story better if they had made V a believer in something. As it was, V was nothing more than a person who had been sorely mistreated and wanted to get back at the specific people who had wronged him. While this is certainly a good movie motive, and it worked well in "The Bourne Identity" , it did not work here because the story was trying to be something grander than a revenge story. Can you imagine if at the end of "Bourne" we saw thousands of people marching on Washington demanding that Mr. Bourne be given his due, and heard some lofty speech about how Jason Bourne was "my father and my mother, my brother and my sister... he is me, and you, and everyone...", etc. Ugh. It doesn't make any sense.

And where were the great fight scenes I'd read about? When V finally gets down to kicking butt, it's just some slow-motion knifing, and a lot of squirting blood. It was underwhelming after seeing the showdown between Neo and Agent Smith in the Wachowski's last movie.

All in all, I cannot recommend this movie at all. It's not even a thought provoking story, unless you count thinking about all the ways it failed. If you want to see Hugo Weaving in a great movie, go see The Matrix again. If you want to see Hugo Weaving be great in an average movie, see the Matrix sequels.