Dec 4, 2008

The Shadow

Be it the alignment of the planets or what, but I've been flat out addicted to the classic 90s films of yesteryear. First The Shadow, then The Phantom, Demolition Man, and etc. The nostalgia invades my senses like a tidal wave. It's truly invigorating to watch films with a completely morphed mindset. When I first watched Judge Dredd, I found an entertaining action vehicle for Stallone, now I see a horrific vision of the future displayed by an above-average film that is hated by everyone. I felt it was the right time to re watch Alec Baldwin's The Shadow.

In the world of international cinema, the great era of the 90s and 80s presented a period where language authenticity wasn't needed. Any Mongolian could pick up an educated English vocabulary and accent regardless of the time period. It was something that fans lived with. Cinema is constantly evolving, so has the audience's perception. We know notice when a Spanish conquistador speaks English. So it's only fitting that Alec Baldwin plays a humanoid Jabba the Hutt character named Ying-ko (Or something) that is passed off as a native. He ultimately finds redemption in a lost art of shadow manipulation. Then, in a Ghostbusters 2 turn, Genghis Khan's ancestor is awoken from a slumber to finish what his cousin started.

The Shadow is as much of a neo-noir as it attempts to be. Important to an extent, this isn't a Dark City or an excellent adaptation. While being close to the radio show, this contains a superhero figment that is noticed as exaggerated. The Shadow is an idea. An idea of an elusive man fighting a never ending quest to redeem himself. He might be forgiven, but for himself to forgive his own deeds is a different journey. To his aid comes an early example of the blossoming CGI experiment. For being such a young technique, it's used quite effectively.

The Shadow, not only is a great story acted by a talented cast, but is also a technical achievement. The frequent use of shadows even in the most lighted places provides a sense of evil lurking every which corner. After all, New York is the "most villainous place in the world". The comedy scale tips a bit when you watch Baldwin attempt a sub-Jedi Mind Trick on the 30s femme fatale daughter of a mad scientist. The one scene that always stuck out was the imprisonment in the water chamber by a certain Dr. Frankfurter. The Shadow is a perfect example of pulp fiction, without the horrendous droning dialogue. Wonderfully exciting and still fresh to this day. It's hard to imagine Alec Baldwin as the washed up actor that he is in this day and age. *cough* Georgia Rule *cough*



Anonymous said...

I saw this in the theaters and loved it. I saw it just recently and was not as impressed... For one, I thought the acting was over done and the script just mediocre. There were a few scenes that I did enjoy very much though. The opening of the movie is fantastic. The dream sequence in which Baldwin is ripping is own face off to reveal the antagonist. And the mirror room showdown was great. But the rest of the movie just didn't do it for me.

Keith said...

I saw this years ago and really enjoyed it. Great write-up on it. I put it in my Netflix queue so I could see it again.