Sunday, August 26, 2007

"99 Luftballoons," Nena

Saw Branagh's new As You Like It last night and it was... not good. Really weirdly tricked-up for no good reason, with abrupt and pointless shifts in tone, and most of the great and strange lines were cut out. "Sweep on, ye fat and greasy citizens"? Gone. Touchstone's "Much virtue in If"? Gone. Rosalind's examples of "men have lived and died, but not for love"? Gone. Phebe's railing at Silvius that if she's killed him with love, why isn't he dead yet? Gone. And why is Kevin Kline only doing Sad Clown now? He's a perfectly fine Normal Clown. His Jacques here seemed to be an extension of his Bottom in Midsummer a few years back. Alfred Molina's Touchstone was great, but played as far smarter than he really should be, if you ask me. The epilogue was cute, though.

I just want Branagh to get back to the tragedies. Or the romances, which would fit his oscillation between serious and silly much better. I'd kind of love to see what he'd do with Measure or Winter's Tale.

Very little writing accomplished yesterday, but I did some reading and found a chapter in which the author does a whole lot of the work I'd otherwise have to do to make my point, but arrives at entirely the wrong conclusion. I'd forgotten the best part about other critics: you can make them do all the work and then sweep in to make the better point at the end. So, today, as a break from the ongoing close-reading I've been writing up (why did I think that I needed 20 pages of close-reading? Do I still think this?), I'll be arguing with Big Name Guy in this subfield.

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