Monday, June 01, 2009

Lucas Syndrome

Film critic James Bowman provides an excellent definition of Lucas Syndrome, aka Lucasitis, in a take-down of the new "Star Trek":
It’s another manifestation of the way in which, in the era of the cartoon movie, both film-makers and audience both suppose that nothing needs to accounted for as if it were an event in the real world. Fantasy means never having to worry about motivation or consequence. Yet motivation and consequence are so much a part of what audiences throughout history have worried about, and in particular have gone to the movies to have presented to them in carefully worked-out fashion, that you’ve got to wonder what has changed in our culture to make these things matters of such unimportance as they are today. Partly it must be simply because we have grown so accustomed to fantasy that we have forgotten there can be any other kind of movie. But also, it’s a mere matter of the kind of self-indulgence that fantasy was invented to appeal to.

Only consider. The young Kirk is a hell-raising bad boy who first appears as a young teenager (played by Jimmy Bennett) in a vintage car stolen from his step-father, which he proceeds to drive off a cliff. Neither then nor subsequently does he appear to have any good habits of diligence or application nor does he ever crack a book. Yet he becomes in record time at the Starfleet Academy Spock’s intellectual equal and, without effort but with his natural insubordination and impertinence intact, is transformed in a twinkling into a Starfleet captain and a hero to young and old alike. You’ve got to suspect that not worrying too much about how their hero got to this position of honor and eminence is obviously a necessity to the kind of people who are being invited to identify themselves with him.


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