Monday, September 9, 2013

Heroic Speeches in Movies: Weaker and Weaker?

Heroic speeches in films are getting weaker and weaker.
I remember 'Braveheart' and its legendary speech written based on Shakespeare's Henry V. I mean, who does not remember, "They can take our lives! But they cannot take our Freedom!"

But now, the last two speeches I recall seeing are the ones from 'Immortals' and 'Pacific Rim' - both cases in which it feels like the soldiers are responding to a cue from the film's director rather than to the words said by the protagonist.

Pretty lame, huh?
And by the way, disclosure, Pacific Rim kicked Kaiju ass!
But back to speeches; I absolutely LOVE what HBO did in Game Of Thrones, when Theon Greyjoy makes a heroic speech before his raiders, with glorious music and all, only to be clubbed in the back of the head and betrayed to enemy! (I don't think this was even in the books?)

And on that note, let us not forget the all-time predecessor of Speech-Interruptus: who can forget Samuel L. Jackson ( the man who belligerently demanded to know whether Marcellus Wallace looked like a bitch?!) giving a motivational speech in Deep Blue, only to be swallowed whole by a shark even before he was finished! Legendary!

Let me just say that 'Deep Blue' is worth watching just for that one scene.

And yet, if anything, these last two examples illustrate only what a mockery inspiring speeches have become. But why is that? Have we seen too many? Are we a generation so desensitized that we can't be moved by a strongly voiced oration? Or are the films nowadays just so lame that we can't bring ourselves to care whether the characters make it or not?

-Georg Freese

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