Friday, August 26, 2005

An old and a new...

David Meadows posted a couple more links on HBO's Rome in rogueclassicism today. One is from the Philadelphia Daily News and requires signing up. You can see in RC a tidbit about how they purposely casted Brits because of their accents. I get the theory, but I'm not sure I agree with it. It's a bit pretentious, if you ask me. Julius Caesar would be about as likely to be speaking with a British accent as he would with an American accent. I'm usually wary of the argument that Americans who use British spellings are pretentious, but deciding that dead Romans should only be portrayed with British or Italian accents is ludicrous. The later, perhaps, I can believe, but British? I should think they'd try to give their audiences a little more credit for intelligence.

The other article is from Newsday. It's certainly voicing a lot of my worries, but the line describing it as a "tawdry soap melodrama" made me raise an eyebrow. It's not exactly beyond this period of Roman history to be resembling something of a soap melodrama...

Anyway, I re-watched the TV movie of the Odyssey (from the 90s) earlier. I love most of the casting, but the script leaves something to be desired. It's still better than most of the dreck that's been airing recently, though. The two things I really do like about this version (besides the casting), though, are:

1) The relationship between Athena and Odysseus--I just think it's well done and is an excellent way of incorporating gods in a film about a Homeric text. I also like how they show Athena directing Penelope to Odysseus in the final scene. There is a strong sense of both Penelope and Odysseus being strong in Athena's spheres of influence.
2) The emphasis on the relationship between guests and hosts. It's done so well that by the end, you're left wondering if Odysseus just blatantly violated all of it, particularly in light of his dealing with the Polyphemus. I mean, you know the suitors violated guest-friendship first by going to the extreme, but the line is left rather blurried. I really do like how they emphasised that in this movie.

Of course, there are still nagging things. They certainly downplay that Poseidon might be mad at Odysseus because Odysseus killed his son. That seems basic to me, but they shift it to emphasis on Odysseus bragging against the gods. They also mess up some of the adventures and shorten Odysseus's time with Calypso in order to give him more time with Circe (although, being a Bernadette Peters fan, I don't really have a problem with this).

Some day, I'd really like to see an accurately done version of the Odyssey, perhaps with Sean Bean as wily Odysseus. That piece of casting was one of the few things Troy managed to do well!


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