Friday, May 15, 2009

Godzilla's Atonement: Big Movie Weekend

Tne long-awaited release of the director's cut of 'Atonement', which restores Godzilla to his rightful place in the film.

Among the restored scenes is the Alternate Ending (known in studio circles as the "Bambi Conclusion") where, as Vanessa Redgrave's character stumbles through a self-deluding apology, The Big Guy steps on her, then lets out a primal roar of triumph so familiar to fans of His seventy-odd films -- a much more satisfying ending in so many ways.

Last week, the newest take on Star Trek opened; this weekend, the Tom Hanks Full Employment Project continues with Angels & Demons. I read the book years ago and was staggered at what a poor writer Dan Brown is -- that work, at any rate, was hackneyed, riddled with cliches and caricatures. I remember skipping through the book to its last twenty or so pages and (once I knew how it had ended) finally, mercifully, closing it.

(And, just because we want to know how a story ends is no proof of the quality of the author's writing. It's the skipping to the last twenty-plus pages that's the giveaway.)

Recalling Brown's book reminded me of two things -- the first, that in other eras most popular novels were just as execrable, and long ago faded into complete obscurity even though their publication made some authors momentarily famous and financially comfortable.

The second is an exchange between Kirk and Spock in Star Trek V: The Journey Home. The pair are riding a bus across the Golden Gate Bridge; Kirk disparages late 20th Century American culture and mentions "the literature of the era: Jacquelyn Susann, the novels of Harold Robbins."

"Ah," Spock says. "The Giants."

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