martinlivings: (Eat Flesh)
[personal profile] martinlivings
Dear Steven,

I might have once berated you for your miniseries Jekyll. In fact, I definitely did. I might have intimated that anyone, literally anyone, could have made a better adaptation of the source material. Certainly, no-one could make a worse one. Surely.

I was wrong.

Last night we watched Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, starring the usually-reliable Dougray Scott (who we once bumped into in a hotel in Mauritius, but that's not important right now...). We thought it might be cool. At the very least, it would be better than Jekyll.



Again, I was wrong.

Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde made Jekyll look like, I dunno, friggin' Citizen Kane. It was stupid, inconsistent, badly written, horribly acted, and, worst of all, one of the most blatantly homophobic movies I've ever seen. Yes, while Doctor Jekyll (Dougray Scott) was butch, strong and American-accented, Mister Hyde (also Dougray Scott) was effeminate, fey and had a prim and proper English accent. It was unbelievable. If people protested about The Silence of the Lambs promoting a negative stereotype of homosexuality, they should have been screaming bloody murder (pardon the pun) about this movie. But luckily, it was a piece of made-for-TV crap, so was only seen by a select - and unfortunate - few.

I also need to mention the half-hour section of the film where the lawyer is trying to find Edward Hyde, while Jekyll is in custody. Looking through security camera footage, following leads, interviewing people... all of which is completely pointless, since the audience already knows that Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same person. Is there anything worse than watching a completely clueless character waste a third of a film on something you know isn't going to lead to anything? I wanted to throw something at the television. Hard.

Also amazing was the point at which it transformed into a courtroom drama (straight after his pretty lawyer who's in love with the good doctor (of course!) injected him with a completely unknown substance that would supposedly cure him), at which stage I got a new appreciation of how well written stuff like Law and Order is. The judge's only lines were repetitions of "Order in the court!", yelled while banging his gavel. The trial was utterly ridiculous, the defence swinging wildly between (a) Jekyll has a dissociative identity, (b) Jekyll was possessed by Hyde, and (c) Hyde was a completely separate person and was "still out there", as the lawyer lied to told the jury. It made no sense whatsoever. Plenty of pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo, none of which fitted with any of the other pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo. And then he was found not guilty, of course! And then the big twist - the injection didn't get rid of Hyde, it got rid of Jekyll! Except we'd all figured that out pretty much immediately. So he goes and kills the lawyer. Or we assume he does, she opens the door, he changes into Hyde (despite having been Hyde for the last half an hour of film time), she looks shocked, and the screen goes black. The end.

Damn, that was a bad movie.

So, again, my apologies, Steve. At least your Jekyll was occasionally entertaining. This one was the cinematic equivalent of anasthetic-free root canal surgery.

The Forbidden Kingdom with Jet Li and Jackie Chan, on the other hand, was a lot better than I was expected. Fun, light, sometimes clever, often cliched, but always entertaining.
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Martin Livings

December 2009

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