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|Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2023 8:04 pm Post subject: FEATURED THREADS for 11-21-23
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A wild, wild example of miscasting and misguided story telling — sort of like casting Sidney Portier as Rhett Butler in a remake of Gone With the Wind. roll
The Wild, Wild West (1999)
This was the big budget feature remake of the '60s TV series about a couple of intrepid secret agents in the 19th century who work directly for the President (Grant, in this case).
Now, the thing is — and I'll say this up front — to me, agent Jim West IS Robert Conrad . . . and always will be. I mean, Conrad is THE MAN, all right? Modern filmmakers such as director Barry Sonnenfield, being the doofy flakes that they are, probably thought, "Is there any reason why James West cannot be. . . Will Smith?"
Well, I could have told them why; because for all these years he's been Conrad! And Conrad certainly brought a unique sensibility to the role. The way he carried himself makes it difficult to imagine ANYONE else as West, let alone an actor specializing in easygoing comedy.
Will Smith's comic timing worked well in Independence Day and great in Men in Black, but is totally inappropriate for this part. I think at this point in time, Smith was thought to be capable of anything and the biggest box office star (coming off Men in Black among others). So, he was considered a good bet for this, even though a black man being the top secret service agent just after the Civil War doesn't make any sense — unless it's some alternate reality.
They might as well have given him a different name, maybe as a replacement for the real Jim West.
___________ Wild Wild West (1/10) Movie CLIP
Of course, modern filmmakers, being the doofuses that they are, also thought, "Is there any reason we cannot include a giant spider in this movie?:
But the other Smith (Kevin) has already explained enough on that subject (see trivia below).
Will Smith's chemistry with partner Gordon (Kevin Kline) is OK at first, but seems strained later and overdone — their back 'n' forth jabber becomes tiresome quickly and not at all amusing, just tired.
It also goes against the grain of the established relationship in the original TV series. The two characters respected each other in the origina. Here they just tolerate each other, and it's uncomfortable to watch.
Brit actor Kenneth Branagh plays villain Loveless with a thick Southern accent to the point of self-mockery. His role is mostly absurd and, for some reason, no one bothered to get a little person actor to play the role (essayed originally by Michael Dunn).
Salma Hayek is there as eye-candy, but I'm struck by how short she is, almost little-person size.
The FX are good, as should be for such a huge budget (last I heard, about $180 million!). Despite the camp, this also has its pluses as Steampunk adventure. And there's nothing really that bad about the plot. But there's no sense of real danger — and therefore, no real tension. Here's where Smith's limitations show. All the kidding around make for a pointless story. I guess it's supposed to be plain fun.
Hey, just for fun, let's get the real Jim West to beat up the Director.
__________ Wild Wild West (10/10) Movie CLIP
Wild Wild Trivia: Writer-director Kevin Smith has made famous his recounting of how the film ended up with a giant mechanical spider; Smith was involved with producer Jon Peters about a possible other film project and found out that Peters was obsessed about having a giant spider in the film — any film, apparently. Robert Conrad had made no secret, either, about his dislike for this film version and refused a small role in the film. Smith — Will Smith, that is — issued an apology to Conrad some years later.
BoG's Score: 3 out of 10
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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)