Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It Was Bound to Happen

Is anyone even the least bit surprised to see a mainstream film focused on our randy ex-president's exploits in the oval "orifice"? I argue that it was inevitable, simply because the story is "too sexy" to ignore. Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long. In the fullness of time, I expect that we can look forward to endless alternative presidential dramas ranging in historical fidelity from HBO's acclaimed John Adams miniseries to Oliver Stone's caricature W. Was President Lincoln really a closet homosexual? Did JFK bury serious medical problems under a mountain of pharmaceuticals? What about Dick Cheney shooting that guy in the face? None of this territory is off-limits.

This points toward a rather more radical proposition I am fond of making that when it comes to narratives, virtually every story that can be told will. Virtually. This springs from the fact that the storytelling drive is a more or less universal human trait. As access to state-of-the-art technologies become more and more democratized, we'll see an explosion of full-scale productions aimed at even the tiniest niche. We can see this happening already. Now that digital video and editing software have become ubiquitous (and cheap), information networks are awash with a flood of original, independent material.

Even before this paradigm shift, relatively tiny, obscure "fan film" communities were able to support a shadow industry of unauthorized, clandestine franchise spin-offs for iconic series like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. Even George Lucas, pioneer of studio independence that he is, made himself into a bit of a Darth Vader figure trying to litigate his most dedicated fans into submission before finally embracing the phenomenon. It's irrepressible.

This raises the prospect of a better Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, or a whole host of them, a flavor to suit every taste. (Anything but the steaming turd dumped on the public by Lucasfilm itself, please.) The imagination reels at the possibilities. I see Harrison Ford starring as Harrison Ford joining forces with Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Jack Ryan as different possible selves each from their own alternate universe in which each is his own kind of badass. That's all I've got so far.

But wait a minute: isn't Harrison Ford like, kinda, yunno... not young? So what? Lawrence Olivier is fucking dead, and that didn't stop him from being in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow all of five years ago. It just takes a team of people with the right tools and a shared knowledge of what gives Harrison Ford his unique Harrison Fordiness to be the various homunculi behind every trademark smirk and jaunty physicality it would take to fool an audience, which is easier than you think.

By the way, I'm not kidding.

No comments:

Post a Comment