Monday, August 10, 2009

Culture War: Charlton!

The Omega Man opens with Charlton Heston - see, it sounds great already - driving his convertible through the streets, clad in a safari suit and with tunes playing on his 8-track - the epitome of 70s cool. It's takes a few seconds to realise that the streets are kind of trashy, even for LA, then a few seconds more to realise that they're also kind of empty... Say, you don't think a Sino-Russian border conflict has spiralled into global biological warfare, resulting in the extermination of humanity, do you?

Funnily enough: yes.

Yep, Charlton Heston is the last man on Earth, and the bad news is he's not alone. A weirdo clan of deranged, albino plague victims emerge at night and lay siege to Charlton's pad, while he hunts them down by day, in a movie so conservative, mere contact with the DVD causes liberals to spontaneously combust.

Take Heston's character: he's Colonel Robert Neville, an unapologetic military man who always dresses for dinner on a Sunday. Meanwhile, the deranged plague victims, known as 'The Family', are led by a former MSM news anchor who preaches the dangers of technology and condemns Neville as the 'last of the scientist, bankers, businessmen and users of the wheel' - so apart from the hideous appearance he's just your typical Lib Dem.... wait, that's exactly like your typical Lib Dem.

Of course, in so far as these freaks reject technology, they're kind of at a disadvantage when dealing with a user of the trigger like Neville. Contenting themselves with bombarding his apartment building with giant catapults and attacking him with axes, petrol bombs and even bare hands, making up for what they lack in weapons with numbers and homicidal insanity (geeks: think the castle cultists in Resident Evil 4). Meanwhile, Neville fights back with courage, cunning and lots of guns.

The first act is brilliant, but if the story starts to drift afterwards, the conservatism cranks up a notch when Neville falls in with a group of fellow humans, all slowly succumbing to the virus. What to do? Well, as it happens, Neville has been vaccinated against the virus and his blood could yet save them. So not only are firearms useful when repelling liberals but science can yet save the day. At which point you're wondering if the script writers were competing to see who could annoy the left the most.

Fortunately, as Neville is also a top scientist, he manages to purify enough blood to save a young black kid from the brink of joining the plague-infested weirdoes. At which point Junior decides to sneak off to The Family's lair - in a court house -and pass on the good news: he's been saved, and so they can they be. Oops - as our MSM guy explains from the judges' bench, they're not victims, they're quite happy being liberals mutant weirdoes, and furthermore as a non-freak, he deserves to die - and so another black kid is sacrificed to goofy liberal values.

Anything else? Well, how about Charlton Heston - the guy Michael Moore got a Oscar for smearing as a racist - taking part in the silver screen's first mainstream inter-racial sex scene? Or The Family's even more bonkers Number 2 being an ex-black power dude? Or that the longer the film goes on, the more explicit the Christian overtones? Or the fact that - in a break from Hollywood tradition - the film is based on Richard Matheson's filthy, sleazy, disgusting, nihilistic book 'I Am Legend', yet inverts the meaning 180? Or just the plain respect for the utility of violence and the refusal to enter into slippery '28 Days Later' moral equivalence imbecility?

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