Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top Films: "Wuv, Tru Wuv"


There is a trend in—well everything today—toward deconstruction. Any text, any story, any movie is seen as an attempt to impose some view upon people, and an effort is made to expose this message and counteract it. In fact, there is some truth behind this idea, and the only question is: What position is an artist taking? Which view of reality do they want to communicate? The problem is that anything “traditional” has been deemed bad simply because it is “traditional.” This is nonsense.

The problem with tradition is that things are believed or done mindlessly, and the current trend of attacking traditional values has become mindless itself. No one stops to question whether a tradition is good or not, if it is established then it has to go.

A refreshing “deconstruction” of this trend exists, however, in stories like The Princess Bride. Sure it has some of the hallmarks of deconstruction: it wears its artifice on its sleeve. The story is clearly presented as a fiction told by a grandfather. But it also completely embraces the traditional structures and the values of the Fairy Tale. So much so, that at first it comes across as a satirical take on the whole genre. By the end, however, we realize that the traditional values: true love, good defeating evil, beauty, etc. are the themes of this story.

Those are the messages of The Princess Bride: beauty does exist, good does win, and true love is the most important thing in the world. When you doubt those truths—when you don’t believe, then like Buttercup, you risk helping ugliness and evil. Sort of like abandoning values and traditions in favor of cynicism and smugness. And that is casting your lot with a losing side.

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