Part 78 - Maille and Hollywood III
by Lord Thomas the Black
Maille & Hollywood III
Welcome back to another edition of Blackmaille! Grab some popcorn and take your seats, because Blackmaille’s going to the movies again!
This time around, we have a great crop of movies to review. We’ll be looking at the use of maille in the following movies:
Flesh + Blood
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Rome (HBO Series)
This should be good…
The good news is, I never read the books, so I'm able to review this movie on its own merits. The bad news is, there aren't many. It's standard "poor young villager becomes the savior of the world" fare that's been done to death in the fantasy genre. John Malkovich and Jeremy Irons (two of my favorite actors) chew scenery like it's cake. Oddly enough, for a "medieval fantasy" movie, there's not much maille. What little exists is worn by the Vardan near the end, and looks serviceable enough, but the rest is mostly decorative.
King Arthur (2004)
This is another movie like "Beowolf and Grendel", where I'm ashamed to have rented it from Netflix twice. This is such utter crap. I don't know which is worse: the fact that they blatantly rip off Jack Whyte's "Camulod Chronicles", or that Kiera Knightly is so embarrassingly flat-chested that they photo-shopped her chest for the DVD cover! The history is absolute garbage (as is par for Hollywood), but the maille looks good. Unique among Hollywood epics, there are several scenes where the maille on a person's sleeves is actually going the right way!
"Check it out: It's a freezer-geezer!" - Jimbo, "The Simpsons"
I kid you not, 5 minutes in, a character comes across "Frostilicus"! I don't know if the "Simpsons" reference was intentional (in which case, cool!) or not (in which case, sad), but sadly, the movie goes downhill from there. The whole flick looks like a Frank Frazetta painting, without as much thought to its production. Clancy Brown basically reprises his "Kurgan" role from "Highlander" (Seriously, can you tell the difference?)
I liked the animation technique used here, and Angelina Jolie ... wow; but what is with this recent trend of depicting heroes as flawed people? It used to be that hero tales gave us something to aspire to, rising above ourselves for something better. Now it seems we'd rather tear heroes down to our level than rise to theirs. Sad. But I digress. For an animated movie, the maille looks really good. Sometimes better than maille in live-action movies! So, yeah, I liked the maille. The movie it was in? Not so much.
Flesh + Blood (1985)
Mercenaries (led by Rutger Hauer) take over a castle and kidnap a nobleman's fiance' during the black plague. Not a lot of maille, but what there is, is fairly well done. The rest of this movie comes across like a bad made-for-TV movie. Not one of Rutger Hauer's better efforts (and that's saying something!).
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
A sweeping epic, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age ("E:TGA" from here on out) is the sequel to 1998's "Elizabeth". Set against the impending war with the Spanish Armada, "E:TGA" also tells the story of the Virgin Queen's tumultuous relationships. A great film. I admit I don't know much about later period history, and I doubt the Queen herself would don armor and ride to the front, but the armor looks good, and the maille is first-rate.
Rome (HBO Series, 2005)
Another sweeping epic, and one of the best shows I've seen yet on HBO. Beautifully shot, dramatic, I can't say enough good things about "Rome". The armor is very well-done, and is correct to the period (instead of the usual mish-mash you see in historical dramas). Add this to your Netflix list immediately. If you don't have Netflix, sign up and add "Rome" to your list!
Well, that wraps it up for another edition of Blackmaille. Thanks for joining us again! As usual, any questions, comments, fan mail, or hate mail can be sent to me at:
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See you next month!
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