Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. From time to time, a reflection on the movie will appear below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Empire of the Sun” (1987):
We don’t get to see many epics these days. Mostly Hollywood doesn’t even try. They really don’t know how. Thank, God. When they do an epic, it’s a remake anyway. Just look at some of the recent ones.
There was “Exodus: Gods and Kings”. A failure of a remake of “The Ten Commandments”. Lots of cgi and a bad script. We got Jon Snow’s “Pompeii” which could have been a re-do of “The Last Days of Pompeii”. (Actually it was Kit Harington but who cares.) I mean, who wants to go to see a movie when everybody dies at the end? Guess that was why they didn’t put “Last Days” in the title. Even the Ancient Romans wouldn’t go see it. And now it’s giving “Ben-Hur” the re-do treatment. Another bad idea. We’ll see how that one turns out.
Personally I am for Hollywood leaving the epics alone. Stick to what they know. Super heroes, Twilight fake vampires and it-go-boom kind of movies. They have no depth but neither does Hollywood. So it’s a perfect match.
I can think of only a few successful epics in the last thirty years. “Braveheart”, “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Lord of the Rings” are on that list with a few others. Problem is that it is very hard to make a great epic film. A film that includes both the big picture and the little picture equally well. David Lean probably did it best.
In the last few years, Spielberg is one of the few who have actually pulled it. For my money, “Empire of the Sun” is one of his best. It was made back in the days when he was hungry, and had something to prove.