March 11, 2004

Hidalgo revisited

Newsflash: Hidalgo not documentary!

Reviews and articles are popping up revealing the horror that Hidalgo, it turns out, is mostly fictional. An adventure movie, that is clearly just broadly drawn action and fantasy, made up its story! Shocked! I am shocked, I tell you!

I stand by my review.

Which film were these critics watching that they thought they were seeing pure historical fact? When was "make believe" outlawed at the movies? The insult seems to be not so much that Disney added a "based on a true story" tagline, but a terror of Arab culture. No matter how much actor Omar Sharif commends the film for giving him a role that is not "old Arab man," critics insist his character is stereotypically evil, that all the Bedouin characters are evil. Never mind that there are many different characters, no more or less stock than any of the non-Arab characters: "bad guy," "bad guy's faceless minions," "loyal guy," "arrogant guy who turns out to be quite nice," "wimpy guy," "besotted-by-love guy." Never mind that some of the most wicked characters are American and British. Never mind that the movie makes a point of clear references to, if not its literal source material, the source of its spirit—turn-of-the-century tall tales of Cowboys, far-off adventure, British explorers, Arabian princes. Has fantasy been outlawed... or only certain types of fantasy, that touches on touchy subjects?

I wonder: Could Raiders of the Lost Ark have been released in today's atmosphere?

Posted by OutsideFood at March 11, 2004 01:44 PM

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