Videovista has my review of Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Kathryn Lasky’s Legend of the Guardians.
Despite really liking Zack Snyder as a director, I thought this film was absolutely terrible. Though, to be fair, Snyder’s direction is the best thing about it. Here’s a taste of my review:
Snyder is shamelessly misanthropic and perfectly adapted to a cultural climate where the individual is king and the king is assumed to be a complete cunt. His exquisite fetishisation of violence, his love of gore and grue, his spirals of death and destruction are not just an expression of a personal philosophy, they are a coherent and beautiful directorial vision. Zack Snyder speaks to the miserable, lank-haired, compulsively masturbating homunculus in all of us, but while the singularity and power of this vision has won him a legion of fan-boys, it also makes him a somewhat poor choice for making a children’s film about owls.
I have always found my view of the genius perceived by others in Alan Moore’s Watchmen (1987) to be obscured by the looming presence of the bleeding obvious. I respect the form, less so the matter. Zack Snyder’s Watchmen (2009) failed to turn this respect into love. For most of the film I felt the adaptation so submissive and passive that I might as well have stayed at home and read the comic. However, there are moments of greatness in Watchmen. Moments that have very little to do with Alan Moore and a lot to do with Zack Snyder. Moments when Snyder allows himself off the leash, and no… I am not talking about the stupid fight scenes.
In an essay entitled “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920), Freud argues that pleasure stems not from stimulation but rather a lack of stimulation. The lack of stimulation that comes, for example, from taking off shoes that pinch your feet and the moment not of orgasm but the instant of satiation immediately after the orgasm but before post-orgasmic tristesse sets in. If pleasure is the complete lack of stimulation then it follows logically that death is the ultimate pleasure and that the pursuit of pleasure is somehow also the pursuit of death. Freud called this drive towards death Thanatos. No film maker argues the case for the connection between pleasure and death more aggressively than Zack Snyder.
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