Thursday, September 02, 2004

Intending to go to bed early last night, I began watching Quo Vadis at 2am . . . and watched the whole thing. Three hour long movie. Damn.

I like long movies, though. I like when the cinematic narrative gets to stretch itself out comfortably. There ought to be more three hour movies.

Quo Vadis had a lot of week points. Robert Taylor, as the lead, is astoundingly bland. There's an irritating pro-Christian thrust that does even Christians a disservice. In an earnest attempt at converting Taylor's Roman commander, and obviously intended as a portrayal of righteous evangelism, Deborah Kerr and the numerous Christians fail to even really explain their philosophies very clearly. Yet we're meant to feel sorry for Taylor when, even though he's had the word "Christ" repeatedly shoved in his face, he resists becoming a Christian.

So the most likeable characters have nothing to do with Christianity. Mainly I'm thinking of Peter Ustinov's Emperor Nero. It's fun to watch the deluded, bad artist cream-puff and his cadre of fluffers. Ustinov's absolutely wonderful. He's positively soaked with self-adoration and self-pity.

A part from this, the movie was fun to watch simply because it was Ancient Rome with action, great costumes, great, huge, expensive looking sets, intrigue, and all that. Usually unrealistic lighting pisses me off, but here the vibrant Technicolor made everything look like Pre-Rahpaelite paintings. So I forgive it, even for a big banquet scene where a single wall sconce in the background is supposed to explain to us why the room is so bright there aren't even any shadows.

Anyway. I'd better start drawing, now.

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