Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fuck you and the horse you rode in on

Joe Straczynski is one of the best scriptwriters in television. There's been a golden age of television this decade, but Straczynski was years ahead of it, with the ca 100 episodes he wrote for Babylon 5 in the 1990's. Nobody since has come close. Babylon 5 was a freak accident, where Straczynski was given the kind of creative control that is normally reserved for authors. The music, the actors, - the writing. Near perfect. An accident.

Now Straczynski has written his first movie, Changeling, which by Mysterious Means I've managed to see. (Angeline Jolie and Clint Eastwood are also involved somehow, but who cares?) I'm not fully pleased. Changeling is too subdued, especially at first. The story is realistic - a boy is kidnapped, the police screws up and sends the mother the wrong kid back, and when she complains they commit her to a psychiatric institution for being a nuisance. Realistic, oh yes. But it isn't played in a believable way. Jeffrey Donovan plays the cop like his con roles in Burn Notice, light-weight. They should have filmed and cast this more like Carnivale.

Later it gets better, even quite good, and there are several Straczynski moments, (fans will know what I mean). And people in Hollywood seem to have liked it, and have given Straczynski more major movies to write. Good for him. I can't evaluate this just as a movie. This is my hero's big chance. He will never surpass Babylon 5, but maybe he'll get the recognition he deserves.



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