Sunday, July 02, 2006

Brokeback Krypton

Steven Den Beste looks at the box office take for Superman Returns (post dated 7-1-06; scroll down to find it), and uses the numbers as a lesson that he wishes Hollywood would learn: stop making these gigantic "blockbusters". Fair enough; nobody would argue dispute the notion that Hollywood blockbuster movies cost way too much to make. But I was struck by this statement of Steven's:

I have nothing against the Superman franchise as such. I'm not uptight about "the American way" being abandoned. I don't really care that they've decided to make it "relevant" by giving Lois Lane an illegitimate son and hinting that Superman might be gay. I don't care about any of that.

I'm not sure that Lois's kid is an attempt to make the movie "relevant", so much as an indicator of -- well, I don't think it's really an indicator of anything at all. It's just there, really: Lois is now a single mom. If this indicates anything, it's that single moms are a pretty routine thing in society today. The film doesn't really dwell on this, except of course for the matter of the kid's parentage, but that's a different kettle of fish.

But if any of my readers has seen the movie, can you tell me where it's hinted that Superman might be gay? I didn't see this in the movie at all. Not once. The guy's completely in love with Lois, isn't he? Did I read something wrong? I can't fathom where this is coming from.

(On a somewhat tangential note, this morning's addition to Roger Ebert's ongoing series on The Great Movies is a silent epic made in 1914 called Cabiria. Here's a key portion of Ebert's article:

The sets for Griffith's "Intolerance" possibly grew so large after he saw "Cabiria," and DeMille was also fond of enormous sets. When a modern film like "Troy" creates a vast Greek city out of digital information, we aren't fooled. We may be impressed by the visual effect, but we aren't impressed by the achievement. Watching these silent films, we feel a kind of awe, because we see that the sets are really there, and really that size.

The same reality is true of some of the stunts in "Cabiria." There is a scene where a city's walls are besieged by warriors on ladders, and others in a wicker basket are raised high up at the end of a crane. The city defenders push the ladders off the walls, and use lances to overturn the basket. Yes, there are probably piles of straw down below to cushion the warriors as they land, but look how far they fall while they are still onscreen. The risks they are taking are chilling.

This is one thing about the Lord of the Rings films that I find so satisfying: pretty much alone of all the Big Digital Epics of late, those films look the most real to me. This has nothing much to do with SDB's post, but there it is.)

(Welcome to all of SDB's readers, and thanks to the one who pointed out a gramatical error of mine. The first graf has been edited for clarity.)


Steven Den Beste said...

It was something I read somewhere that said that the movie hinted that Superman might be gay. I don't remember where it was.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Ah. Maybe there was such an element in an earlier cut of the film or in an early draft of the screenplay (after all, Superman's been in development hell for years before this movie got made)? Anyhow, I didn't see anything in the finished film as it arrived in theaters that suggests a gay Superman. If anything, he's straight to an almost creepy degree, pretty much using his superpowers to stalk Lois Lane!

BeckoningChasm said...

I haven't seen the film (and I'm not all that inclined to do do), but I did read a brief mention on the IMDB's "News" section Friday that said the studio was retooling the ads to "stem the gay buzz surrounding the movie." No idea what they're referring to, but it seems to be definitely out there (no pun intended).

Sarah E. said...

I certianly didn't see it, but then, I didn't see the whole "Superman as Jesus" thing either until it was pointed out to me. Wait, if Superman is Jesus, does that mean they're implying Jesus was gay?


Anonymous said...

In fact, SDB is indeed arguing "that Hollywood blockbuster movies cost way too much to make."

You mean that nobody would dispute that proposition.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Yup, I agree with his take on that and mis-wrote that sentence. Thanks for the correction.

Mark said...

The "Superman is gay" thing is just misguided hype. Some gay magazine wrote an article doing what people do: interpreting a story in a way that relates to themselves. They basically said that because Superman has a secred identity, he was "in the closet." Nothing wrong with that interpretation, but the MSM got a hold of it and had a field day... to the point where now everyone thinks Supes is gay even though there's nothing in the film indicating such a thing. Maybe people were also reading into the fact that Bryan Singer is gay as well, though that's just as silly...

Anonymous said...

The rumor started for little reason other than that the film's director, Brad Singer, is gay.

- Dirk Deppey

RPD said...

Regarding the stunts; you could see a lot of this in the Hon Kong cinema into the early 90's. Jackie Chan really made his name doing dangerous stunts without benefit of much FX

Anonymous said...

The movie actually cost nowhere near 260 million bucks, that figure is creative accounting that factors in the fact that the "new Superman movie" project per se has been in development for over a decade and a bunch of "if-it-films" options were given out to different folks. The actual PRODUCTION cost was around 100 mil, I think.

I personally liked the movie, and failed to pick up on any real political overtones. Americaphile and arch-libertarian as I am, a Kal-El of Krypton fighting for Truth, Justice, and The American Way sounds like some sort of 50s Shinola ad.

And Lois Lane was NOT a single mother! She was living in a big old house with her wealthy fiancé, Cyclops. Unless the complaint is about LL being an unwed mother, which I seriously doubt.