Like any critic who dared to show themselves less than impressed with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight juggernaut, I caught a lot of abuse for my dismissive review. Being called a mouth-breathing mountain dweller and a hat-wearing Brooklynite is fine by me, but when my nerd cred was insulted, I knew it was time for a fanboy throwdown: The Dark Knight vs. my favorite film of 2005, George Lucas’s much-maligned pop masterpiece Revenge of the Sith.
Click over to About.com to read why Star Wars beats Batman in every respect — and then I’ll promise to return to your regularly scheduled coverage of art house films, including the lovely In Search for a Midnight Kiss, Johnny To’s Mad Detective, and the much anticipated Fear(s) of the Dark.
The promising first half of George Stevens’ Texan epic sets up a tiresome three-and-a-half-hour descent into mediocrity. Displaced northern bride Liz Taylor slowly fades from the center of the story, nouveau riche James Dean is woefully misused, children come and go, and Rock Hudson’s stubborn cattle rancher is granted an improbable redemption. Giant keeps pulling its punches, and in the end, it’s home sweet home and upstart Jett Rink lies under a table where he belongs. After 201 minutes, we have arrived in the cornball fifties, cheated out of any kind of pay-off, and that’s the real tragedy.
No doubt There Will Be Blood owes more to Giant than just the Marfa location; in fact, Anderson’s film feels like Giant’s evil twin, made up of all the scenes the other movie suppressed: the real drama, the truth of the matter. You know, the good scenes. After the jump, screenshots from both movies that seem to talk to one another, in the spirit of Kevin Lee’s influence spotting. Don’t click if you haven’t seen the movie yet: There Will Be Spoilers. For more Blood talk, I Drink Your Milkshake.com is the place.
Giant. George Stevens, 1958. ***