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On "In the Name of the King" Being the Greatest Movie Ever

December 26, 2008

I watch A LOT of tv when I’m home visiting my parents over the Winter. And so I was led to the movie pictured (and mentioned) above.

Taking into consideration my recent post (On Escaping Race) about how white-washed fantasy/sci-fi books and movies tend to be, the photo above is a breath of fresh air. It’s an image taken from the film “In the Name of the King” – a fantasy film that actually has a large number of actors of color in it. And not just as token characters meant to die, but rather major characters (on the side of good, no less), as well as being sprinkled throughout to make a positively DIVERSE fantasy landscape. There are even Asian ninja-warriors who are the king’s sort of elite guard. Wonderful.

The problem is, this is one of the most ridiculous movies ever made. Seriously. So much so that it feels almost insulting that this is one of the few sci-fi movies with major PoC representation (and with no Rock to make up for it, Sis). The effects are awful (about 10 years behind its release date in terms of technology), and the acting is even worse (with a storyline to match).

But then I let it percolate a little bit. And I soon began to appreciate this amazing film. From Burt Reynolds as a heroic king (the way he delivers commands is captivating) to the evil warlock played by freaking RAY LIOTTA (he wears a leather trenchcoat that I keep expecting him to pull a sawed-off shotgun from) the fun and hijinx are non-stop. In a medieval-type setting, I really can’t explain how funny it is to see Ray Liotta wearing an outfit that would be perfectly natural in one of his contemporary roles as a crooked cop or a mobster (and delivering his lines in a similar manner).

And when we’re talking about line delivery – half the cast are young actors and actresses (one such being the obnoxious friend -murderer from the original “Scream” movie) who deliver their lines in such a manner as to have me constantly expecting a “dude” or “man” to be uttered with every-other sentence. Unfortunately, that did not happen (or maybe it did, and it was so natural that I didn’t even notice). And of course, half the characters have British accents, some have American “dude” accents, and the rest of generic mid-west American accents. All from the same country . . .

There are also a race of “wood-nymphs” who fly around on vines a la Cirque du Soleil acrobats – which is just so very breathtaking; jiggly rubber suits galore; awkward grunting and hopping by said jiggly rubber-suit-wearers; and a soundtrack that is to die for.

In a nutshell? Mind-blowingly hilarious, and subsequently quite enjoyable. I honestly can’t do the movie justice with the written word, as so much of it must be heard (or at least mimicked). “Dude, your comportment doth be so below your dignity. Man.”

If only you all could be here with me, watching this film, laughing uproariously – a diverse audience for a diverse film.

Because, in the end, what makes this movie so fun for me right now is the fact that my “race-radar” hasn’t screamed out once the whole time, and so – in spite of the horrendous nature of the actual film-making – I can actually relax and just enjoy it for what it is – the unintentionally funniest movie ever made. And thus – the greatest.

Go forth and view it.

Dude.

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3 comments

  1. Glad to see you enjoying yourself, and having fun while watching a movie. (That seems to be a hard combo to have these days with the tragic state of typical films in the genre.) Sometimes you just have to let go of the little expectations like: quality dialogue, plot, and high caliber acting skills.

    I might just rent it myself! I don’t know that I can buy Burt Reynolds as a King though.


  2. Burt Reynolds as king is probably the funniest casting move ever made. Really. I don’t want to give away too much – but his death scene really blew m mind (the whole time I kept picturing him as his sleazy character from “Striptease”).

    That’s right, I saw “Striptease.” And I just admitted it.


  3. Have you forgotten about The Matrix movies?
    They seemed to have an inordinate amount of Blacks represented until it becomes a story of religion. Since all it took was blind faith to enter the Matrix – it almost made sense. Okay… the Asians were martial arts experts, but so were most others.
    Or the Pitch Black movies? Many races and cultures were equally represented.
    But on the whole, most minorities are portrayed as subjugated.
    It is pretty bad when we can’t even fantasize about equality.



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