Thursday, August 07, 2008

High(lander) Thinking

When I'm on my bike, when I'm feeling relatively far from an asphalt death, some strange thoughts come into my head.

Such as: Why was Highlander popular?

The first movie was bad. The main character could barely speak English. Sean Connery dies off too soon. The love story was cheezy. The bad guy looked kinda pathetic. There are lines like "love is for poets" and "it's a kind of magic."

Why did the franchise blow up like it did? A bunch of movies, each worse than the one before, and a meandering series with another highlander? I watched them, sure. But why?

My theory, conceived as I navigated 14th Street, is that the Highlander is what guys want to be. Good with a sword and immortal. We watched it as young teens and thought, hey, that guy's awesome. Sure, you could want to be James Bond, but there are no guarantees about surviving a shot to the chest. If you're an Immortal, the only thing that can get you is a chop to the neck. We think, hey, we can deal with that. Do we get to dally with lots of ladies and then fake our deaths if we get too attached? Can we have lots of different adventures, practically never-ending? Do we have some sweet catchphrase to say after every swordfight? Check, check, and check.

That kind of hero worship is what's lacking from the latest Batman movie. The Dark Knight is an amazing movie, but the Batman portrayed is not somebody we really wanna be. Sure, he's strong, but he can't fight like Blade. Sure, he's got pretty good tactics, but he's no Jason Bourne. The best things he's got were waiting for him at his company before he got there: the Batmobile, the bike, Lucius Fox. So I'm guessing that there are no kids out there who wish they were Batman. More likely, they're wishing they were the Joker. My proof: on opening night, Joker outfits outnumbered Batman outfits by 4 to 0.

That sucks. Christopher Nolan, please smarten up the Batman in the next movie. And maybe have him fight with swords. A lot.

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