11 February 2013

Scavengers


United States - 1987
Director - Dee Mclachlan
Academy Entertainment, 1988, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 34 minutes

So, is it really fair to compare one object to another famous example? To say that my friend Chris is no Picasso doesn't tell you anything substantial about his painting talents. Using such well known and culturally iconic comparisons cheats both the compared object (Chris) and the audience, you, out of any real information or opportunity for original or critical thought. The name Picasso conjures up all sorts of ideas and previously received information; about his talent (and your opinion of it,) color, shape, personality, etc., etc. Whereas, you don't know Chris.
It also makes me lazy because then I don't have to do any descriptive work. I'm just counting on what you already know about Picasso. 
Nor does it do any credit to Chris, who might be a pretty decent rodeo clown and not a painter at all. See what I mean?

So if I were to say, compare some movie favorably to Citizen Kane, or unfavorably to Plan 9 From Outer Space, would that really tell you anything about the movie? Considering that we probably have varying opinions on things like rodeo clowns, painting and probably movies, would you feel that calling a movie "worse than Plan 9" really coveys any useful information?
Maybe you're ambivalent about Plan 9. Maybe I like it.

So, what if the movie I'm comparing was deliberately trying to copy, to capitalize on the themes and content of the more famous film? What if Scavengers is deliberately, well.... deliberately scrounging its plot from an extremely popular 1980's franchise. In that case, were I to say the Scavengers is a low-rent Indiana Jones, would you feel that I had given some objective measure of Scavengers' worth as a film in it's own right?

Afterall, it's protagonist is an academic scientist who travels to a foreign land for an adventurous comedy of errors and narrow escapes from the bungling forces of a totalitarian dictatorship. There is a coy sexual tension between he and a sharp-witted, sharp-tongued professional female secondary character. He does befriend a small ethnic boy who helps him escape certain death in a moment of crisis.
Scavengers may be a low-rent Indy, but if there had never been a Dr. Jones, would Scavengers be a high-rent Firewalker?
Is capital, that is the accumulation of power in the form of money as expressed in marketing, really all that it takes to form public opinion?

2 comments:

Plipt said...

Yes. Did you like it?

The Goodkind said...

No, not really.