So just a day or so ago I read A.O. Scott’s NY Times review of Thor and I loved it. I thought it was witty, incisive, thoughtful, and sprinkled a dose of reality into this Hollywood pipe dream we all buy into every year in the name of the Great Summer Movie Season. It was cynical, claiming Thor is the ultimate victory of commercialism over imagination (paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it), and I couldn’t agree any more fully.
Though I hadn’t seen the movie.
A day or so later… um… today. Just saw Thor. And I gotta say to the Great Scotts of the world, including my yesterday’s self: STOP IT!! Yeah, we love to be highbrow and think movies have to mean something and be remarkable in some unexpected way, or at the very least have some depth beyond the surface… but who cares if they’re not? It’s a MOVIE! It’s FUN! There’s a bunch of explosions, yay!! ENJOY IT, just like you did when you were a kid and the sheer spectacle and fascination of it all eventually led you into the business of film. Or, perhaps more accurately, the business of criticizing the business of film. Which can very easily be seen like a grownup criticizing a kid for not being grown up.
Because really… we all grow older, but movies don’t. Nor should they. (Did I say nor? Ugh. I am getting older!). And just because you’re grown up now and realize that the world is more complicated than you thought it was, and you expect movies and all art to reflect that complexity, to validate that you’re not as happy as you once were when you were, um… five… then like an abusive parent, you blame and accuse your innocent child for not being more awesome and perfect than you are, and they should DEAL WITH LIFE, DAMN IT!!
Not that the parent’s wrong to wish better for their kid. But it sure ain’t the kid’s fault that they don’t dip into the deep end when really they only came to splash around and get wet.
Which is where Thor really kicked it. We all splashed around in the spectacle of it all, then we got out of the pool… er, theatre… and felt better for it. Our childhood imaginations were rekindled. Reminding us not of how difficult the world is but how wonderful the escape from it can be.
Thor is not a triumph of commercialization over imagination. It is a win-win, a triumph of commercialization AND imagination. It’s not a loss for thought and meaning, just a temporary reprieve from the need to pursue it.
But of course, the world at large already knows all of this. It’s just the intellectuals that need reminding every now and then: In the fight between intellectualism and imagination, imagination always wins.
And that’s the way it should be.
This entry was posted on Sunday, May 8th, 2011 at 6:45 am and is filed under Rants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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