Monday, 3 January 2011

My name is Dances with Wolves. I will not talk to you anymore. You are not worth talking to.

No 137 - Dances With Wolves
Director - Kevin Costner

I thought this was going to be another Avatar film, and to a certain degree it is... man becomes ingrained with the indigenous people and fights against his own kind. However, where it differs is that the fight scenes are so brief, they are merely moments in a story which follows one man's journey. It is not a journey leading to a battle - it is a journey which happens to feature a couple of battles in it.
So, the American army isn't painted as all out evil, but they're certainly not painted in a good light. I think they're mostly shown as strange strange hicks. And a lot of them may be certified insane. One of the film's weirdest moments is one Costner's John Dumbar (before he has his new native moniker) is sent to his post by Major Fambrough.... Something seems to be wrong with Fambrough.... he represents the sheer loneliness of the Frontier - he represents what could have happened to Dunbar (and what probably would've happened if he didn't meet the Sioux tribe).

So there is a gradual set up as Dunbar goes to his isolated post and slowly - oh so slowly - gets to know the nearby tribe.
It is here that you realise quite how painfully sad the plight of the native Americans was. It isn't helped that the older westerns show them as savages and killers and not as what they were - people desperately trying to protect their world. It is the same across the world... be it the Zulu the Aboriginals or the Maori, we did seem to stomp about and ruin things for people.

However, there is one thing that Wolves misses from the old Western-times. Technicolor. I bloody love Technicolor, and when it comes to vast western vistas of orange and teal you want something that will make it pop from the screen.
The vistas in Dances with Wolves are great and moments like the buffalo stampede are genuinely incredible - but the colour palette leaves them feeling muted. We need the fake colour of technicolor to make it super-bright.

I mean, I think what surprised me most about this is how NICE it is - it is essentially a story about human relationships, about gaining trust and - eventually - about love. It is a real heartwarming tale.

Unfortunately, all of that is bollocksed up by the final text which is heart breakingly sad:

1 comment:

Siobhan said...

Remind me to look out the title of a brilliant Western that is in technicolour and has a far better representation on the "injuns" that most, if not all of its contemporaries (I have seen most of the Westerns in my time and this one was genuinely heartbreaking to watch - you would love it)