With all the esoteric references in recent posts to the Man of Steel, dual paternity, and what not, I decided yesterday that I would take myself, my wife—but unfortunately not my dog—to the movie theater. It has been a very long time indeed since I have entered these environs, perhaps over a year or two, and I was pleased to find that things have evolved, almost progressed. We now have in Charlottesville a new complex with sixteen—count ‘em—theaters, including one with a special IMAX cinema. All of the theaters possess “stadium seating,” which allows one to see over the basketball players I invariably always ended up sitting behind. And the air-conditioning works, too.
And the product? I had my mind set on the Lone Ranger, one of my favorite TV programs as a young child. It not only filled me with white stallion envy, but it was my first real encounter with classical music. I thrilled to the William Tell Overature as the Lone Ranger (LR), mounted on Silver, went galloping through a canyon, some mighty mountain as a backdrop. I confess, too, to liking the “lone” part—it was proto-existential in my own intellectual development and helped prepare me for later high school forays into Camus’ The Stranger, which the deep-thinking crowd all read without understanding. Finally, let’s not forget Tonto. I liked him, too, and looking back—whatever some say today about the LR’s implicit paternalism—I recall Tonto being treated with a good deal of sensitivity. OK, by modern standards, maybe Tonto should sometimes have been on the other side, shooting at the LR rather than having his back, but the universal ties of humanity always have appealed to me—even then—over the cloying strictures of multiculturalism. There was a symmetry there as well, he was the Lone Ranger (LR), and Tanto was a kind of loner in his won right.
Anyhow, returning to the main narrative, we arrived at the theater and while waiting in line to buy tickets struck up a conversation with a few of the teenagers. Learning that we intended to see the LR, they quickly acted to dissuade us: “No Way, man, Bad Stuff.” I know movies are made for this age group, and my wife and I quickly decided that if it could not appeal to the group for which it was intended, it must have somehow missed its mark. We thus deferred to greater expertise. After all, I would have expected them to defer to me if it were a matter of whether to buy Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (DA).
So what to see? “World War Z, man.” We bought our tickets and rushed to the theater, #14 (of 16!), and a good thing, too, because every seat in the stadium would shortly be taken. And the teen-agers could not have been any wiser in their advice. Two hours of thrills with no pretentions of any kind. There was just one mini- scene when the script called on Brad Pitt to try to act, but it doesn’t last for very long. The movie is funny, too. The good guys win, mostly, though there is perhaps enough wiggle room at the end to leave room for a sequel. I won’t ruin the plot, though, as I am sure that Carl will have some deeper commentary in the future. I was slightly upset that the hero was connected with the UN rather than to the USA, perhaps as a navy seal, but I have read enough about globalization and the demographics of modern movie audiences to know that, now that we are leading from behind, not everyone wants to hear about the USA. Still, as I reminded my wife, it is American naval power that is the key to the outcome; and I am now convinced more than ever that Romney had it right, in the final debate, when he said we needed at least a 313-ship navy. The slight UN concession aside, Israel comes off well for a while—a bold gambit, really, for the producers in the modern world market. Certainly, making the heroine a brave woman Israeli soldier was a huge risk, and I am happy—I am sure the IDF must be too—that it is paying off big time at the box office. So go see it, and you will be especially inspired by the stirring peroration at the end. It merited the William Tell Overture as background music.
I put this movie right up there with Red Dawn and Armageddon, two all-time classics.