Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Re-Make/Re-Model: Rollerball (1975) vs. Rollerball (2002)

My latest Re-Make/Re-Model column looks into dubious futuristic satire of corporate power that spawned one cult classic and the most scathingly reviewed film of a great but neglected artist's career. Surprise, surprise, it's John McTiernan's remake, a jumbled and mediocre affair dotted with bad acting and chaotic patterns, that handles the material with more honesty and moral depth. Norman Jewison's holds the conduit of its satire at arm's length, treating the sport, and, more specifically, the television medium through which it is transmitted, with disdain. McTiernan recognizes how much cinema has tried to keep ahead of TV since its inception (widescreen, color, 3D, etc.), and with cinema about to fall behind and start desperately trying to keep up with TV, his Rollerball makes no distinction between prestige cinema and boob-tube brain-drain, shooting everything with the same rollicking, occasionally incomprehensible style. At the very least, it indicts Hollywood in the material's vision of a society tamed through bloodsport. I'll take that over Jewison's sense of superiority any day.

My full piece is up over at Spectrum Culture.

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