Friday, May 27, 2011

No Fat Kings

I've been watching the last season of The Tudors. I don't get HBO so I always see these things a long time after they air and there is a long time before I see a new season. From the beginning I was confused by the choice of actors to play Henry and wondered how they would make him fat. I cringe at the idea of a fat suit but they would be using makeup to age him so ... maybe it would be OK. It never happens. Henry never seems to age and he never really gains weight. He gets some grey hair, walks with a bit of a limp and is a bit padded but really it's all pretty token.
I'm hyper aware of how fat people are represented in culture. Henry has always been an icon of gluttony and excess, which seems historically accurate. It would be silly to be offended by that portrayal. But HBO ignores it. I spent sometime this morning listening to interviews with the actor who explains this as HBO trying to make the history more appealing to young people.
I used to get this kind of feedback when I worked on The Sims. One art director said to always make pretty Sims. Pretty? What does that mean? Sims are cartoons. I often heard people refer to a Sim as "hot". Our ideas about beauty are so distorted that cartoons are thought of as "hot". The Sims 3 has great tools to make a real variety of Sims but we needed to make "pretty" Sims. What comes first? Ideas about beauty? Or Media portrayals that teach a narrow idea of beauty?
Henry is not an endearing guy. In this series he is portrayed in a somewhat complicated manner. He is manipulative, paranoid, self centered and cruel but he is also loving, generous and interested in learning. I like all of that. But he is also always young and virile and never fat. This is the kind of thing that usually makes me angry but it's so extreme I find myself somewhere between stunned and bemused. I'm not an expert on the time but it seems that a fair amount of money has been spent on historically accurate costumes and sets. So why not lean toward a more physically accurate Henry?
The acting is pretty good. The writing is pretty good. Anne Boleyn gets more coverage than any of the other wives. It's entertaining. I just wonder why it has to be so ... thin.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Movie Theology

I have never read the Harry Potter books. I'm sure they're a fun read but I'm not that into fantasy fiction and there are always other books clamoring for my attention. And I've never seen the movies from beginning to end. I've seen most of them in chunks on TV. This weekend there was a marathon and I kept seeing ten or twenty minutes here and there. On Sunday I just kept it on all day. I still wasn't sitting and watching so I still have holes in my understanding but there were things that I really liked.
I like that Harry is suspicious of his own specialness. In one scene his friends were talking up some of his feats and he said they were mostly about luck and nothing to envy. He wants to understand why he is who he is but he worries that his difference may make keep him separate.
Oprah has thing about not believing in luck. She says luck is about preparation and being ready when opportunity arrives. Some times. Maybe.
Earlier in the weekend the Matrix movies were in a marathon. It almost embarrassed me to admit how much I like those movies. The fight scenes are dance like and the mash-up of religion and philosophy makes me smile. I like the bring it on hand gesture.
There's a moment like that in one of the Potter films. He doesn't really want to fight but he really has no choice. Even though he has no choice it still matters that he makes one. He stands in the moment. I've always liked the hero journey thematically.
Maybe I felt the need for some kind of theological musing since it was suppose to be the end of the world.
A friend has been reading this book. I downloaded a sample and it's interesting. He talks about not being able to distinguish good things from bad. He mentions realizing that having Cancer brought him closer to his family and friends but the radiation caused the heart disease he has now.
Movie theology always has an arc. Life is more meandering. The rapture is rescheduled.
More time to prepare I suppose.