The Mad Aardvark

Critical commentary on culture…

Archive for July, 2009

The Motion Picture of Dorian Gray

Posted by madaardvark on July 30, 2009


I believe now that the war is lost.  The film Dorian Gray that is due in theaters September 9th is perhaps the most offensive thing I’ve ever been accosted with.  Note the title of the film, and watch this trailer:

Did anyone notice something missing?  In the title and in the trailer?  That’s right.  WHERE IS THE PICTURE?  Oscar Wilde’s novel was about the relationship between art, artist, critic, subject, and how the population is affected by artistic movements, particularly the decadent/aesthetic movement of his time.  What happens when you remove or downplay the art aspect of that story?  I can’t tell if the portrait of Dorian Gray is in the movie, but it’s certainly ignored in the trailer in favor of Gray’s personal decadence.

Removing the role of the picture, if not the picture itself, and replacing it with mirror images makes the story focus on the personal, post-modern, self-interpretive, self-subjective, self-interested, selfish trend in art and general media that we’ve seen building for years.  I doubt this is intended as a criticism or social commentary.  Most likely it is a Hollywood response to ‘people don’t want to hear about that art stuff.  Let’s focus on the decadence and the individual.’  In the end, this movie can say, is that there is no real art, or that it doesn’t matter.  Critic and artist are one in the same (with the merging of Basil and Lord Henry into one character, it seems), and their opinion shouldn’t matter to you because they are manipulating you into belief rather than allowing you, the individual, to make decisions on your own.

I have never heard before, in my life, that Dorian Gray’s problems were all because of ‘what Lord Henry did.’  His curse extended from a pledge that he made himself, based on the unpracticed philosophy of Lord Henry and a painting created by Basil Hallward, followed by the choices that Gray made after being linked to the painting as he was.  We’ll see how that all plays out with this new movie, and maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

What I expect, though, is another confused ‘message’ being sent out by Hollywood.  They produce a sensationalist movie that gives warning about individuals (the audience) indulging in decadent behavior, all the while giving the audience a means of experiencing that behavior vicariously through the characters in the movie.  And that’s it.  From what I saw in the trailer, if there is a portrait of Gray, it was created by Lord Henry almost in secret, and he’s using it against Gray, or some stupid thing like that.  The entire point of the story is pissed on and thrown right out the window, while at the same time, the movie stands as an unintentional metaphor for the state of Fine Art in the world – all gone, replaced by selfish individualism at the cost of understanding anything outside one’s limited personal experiences.


Posted in america, Art & Literature, movies | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

A New Topic

Posted by madaardvark on July 28, 2009

Here is a partial list of searches that have lead people to this page:

anime,  time travel anime,  badger anime,  anime yearn,  swimming anime girl, anime hands

Let’s change the subject, already.  Here are some possible topics:

1. Crazy conspiracists.  All I can say about this is “woah.”  What boggles my mind the most is the time and effort put into the posts by PaCmAn himself.  Every day he has a new 1500 word essay about something.

2. New Fossil from China lake bed.  The Theory of Evolution remains constant.  This only changes our ideas of where it might have happened.  It is still entirely possible that multiple cases of animal evolution occurred in different places at the same time.  For some reason, people want to believe that evolution is something that happens ONCE to this ONE ORGANISM in order for it to reach some pinnacle of existence (i.e., humans are an inevitable result and that they are somehow ‘better’ or ‘more evolved’).

3. Harold Ramis on Indiana Jones 4, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Batman… oh, and Ghostbusters 3.  “It all looked like the same movie to me, with diferent titles.”  Just awesome.  He echoes (much more diplomatically) the things I have to say about these same issues.  Suck it, Transformers.

Posted in america, conspiracies, movies, science | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »