The Corner

Nazis, Movies, Etc

This sounds about right to me:

Rick writes: “I offer my opinion re: George Lucas. He and Steven

Spielberg are two of the most disastrous pop cultural figures of the

last thirty years. They converted an entire medium to

childishness–scary sharks, space men, Indiana Jones. Star Wars is bits

of plastic put together with Scotch tape. There were clever moments here

and there, and more often cheap thrills. But anything adult was

banished. Spielberg so lowered the bar that when he turned around and

did Schindler’s List he was hailed as some sort of Dante. But who had

turned Nazis into thick-accented goons pursuing the Ark of the Covenant?”

It’s hardly new to offer the Nazis as thick-accented goons pursuing

ANYTHING. How is Raiders different from The Guns of Navarone or even

Major Strasser in Casablanca? Nazis make great villains. You can kill

them and everyone cheers. Vampires are great, too. And robots. Dead,

but not really dead. Now about those Nazi Robot Vampires…

Raiders is a very fine film, and I protest anyone taking a poke at it.

As a pastiche of Republic serials, it surpasses that shlock easily. As

a mirror of Bond films, it out-adventured Bond in a pinch. The problem

with both Spielberg and Lucas, and virtually everyone in the movie

business, as opposed to the art of film, is when they take themselves

seriously. When self-importance creeps in, and suddenly last year’s

box-office king becomes this year’s artiste, then whatever fun

evaporates and leaves us with molten drek that used to be celluloid.

When Star Wars is Flash Gordon meets a Pirate movie, it’s fine and fun.

When Star Wars is some sort of weird paean to Joseph Campbell, it’s dull

as dishwater. That said, I think Schindler’s List is a fine film, give

or take some maudlin moments that verge on exploitation.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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